Resemblances and Correspondences X 4

Resemblances and Correspondences X, part 4

Consciousness and Speech Series X.

Sacred Speech Masterclass X, part four.

Resemblances and correspondences shape our consciousness and speech. How do things resemble each other, what are their connections and relationships, and how does this become known? How do analogy and metaphor guide our interpretation of texts?

Resemblance organizes the play of symbols, making it possible to organize them as well control and represent them. So, in terms of resemblance, we find the earth echoes the sky, faces see themselves reflected in the stars, the signs in the face, how it is seen, is reflected in the signs seen in the movement of the heavens, plants will within their stems reveal their secrets that are of use to man, painting and sculpture imitate space, not nature, but space, and representation is posited in the form of representation, the theater of life, the mirror of nature, and the claim made by all languages declaring their existence and formulating their actual right to speech.

We want to know how do things resemble each other. The first way, the most obvious way that appears to us, is convenience, is this concept of adjacency of place, of proximity. Movements, influences, passions and properties are communicated through this adjacency. The fact of two things being next to each other, this brings into play passions, movements, influences and properties that go between these two things. As I described in the book in that passage that I read the other week, when I was stung by the stinging nettles there was a plant right next to it that takes away the burn and the pain from the nettles. These plants didn’t look like each other. In fact they looked very opposite. One plant has thousands of barbed spears. The other one is this sort of soft corpulent broad leaf, and yet the resemblance is that one takes away the effect of the other. The problem created by the one is alleviated by the other. And the fact that they are proximate is telling us that they are, there’s an inner relationship there is an unseen inner relationship between these two things and we discover it through its actual application.

Ok. In terms of the body. The body we can say, in sort of classical terms, more European than Indian, but also Indian, that the body is proximate to the soul, the atma, there is a resemblance of proximity between the body and the soul, the soul has to be made dense, in order to manifest itself as a body, and the body communicates its passions, its desires, to this soul, that it is proximate to. And then there are different beings that adjust themselves to each other. The plant communicates with the animal. The mind communicates with the body. The earth with the sea. The teeth with the tongue. Man communicates with everything around him. Sometimes place and resemblance become entangled like moss growing on shells, plants growing on the antlers of a stag, grass growing on the face of a man. So we can say that the world is simply a convenience of all things, as I described as the chain of the world, everything being next to something else. And then there is emulation. First there is convenience. Now we have emulation. And in this situation, things do not have to be next to each other. Things do not have to touch each other. Things can emulate each other at a great distance. Jupiter can – a man with a prominent nose is said to have this connection with Jupiter and this is a connection through emulation. That our two eyes, as Jennifer brought up in one of her questions and comments, can emulate the sun and the moon. Now, our two eyes are not next to, share no kind of proximity to the sun and the moon, and yet there is a certain kind of resemblance. And then there’s reflection. You look in the mirror, and you ask yourself, how deep in the mirror can I measure the distance in the mirror where my reflection lies. And of course, this is something that in the Western world, Aristotle first started speculating on, is creating this virtual distance in the mirror, and it is something that finally the Renaissance artists in Europe took to perfection in creating, what do you call…, space -in terms in their art, perspective. Perspective is a relatively recent thing. And perspective really is that process of creating virtual measurement, a measurement that doesn’t really exist because the mirror is flat. And there is no distance. So what I am calling this relationship, of your face, with its reflection in the mirror, this is what I refer to as emulation. Now emulation can reproduce circles at a distance from one another in an accordance with a resemblance that requires no contact and no proximity.

Michelle: You lost me on that one.

Babaji: I was basically just rehashing what I had described before that—

Michelle: The sun and the moon-

Babaji: That there are influences that can be communicated through resemblances existing from a distance. The resemblance of your face in a mirror and yet there is not the same proximity as your face and somebody else’s sitting right next to you. If somebody where sitting right next to you, you could take out the tape measure and measure the distance. But when you are looking into a mirror, how far into that mirror is the face? Is that reflection? I mean that reflection in the mirror is not something arbitrary. It’s not like you look in the mirror and you see anything. You are seeing exactly, exactly, exactly your face. But you are receiving a reflection of it and your having a connection with that, but there is no distance involved.

Michelle: The second word you used can you say it again? You said first convenience, then ?

Babaji: Emulation.

Michelle: Is that close to mimicking?


Babaji: Yes, yes, that is close to mimicking. Part of emulation can be cloning. But this is getting – this shares with our next category, which is analogy. In analogy what happens is that emulation is superimposed on convenience.

Michelle: laughter

Babaji: laughter. What is analogy? How would we define analogy? We’re not going to use the dictionary on this one. We’re not going to use mere literary analogies based on dictionary definitions. We are going to understand what is the meaning of an analog. We have resemblance through some sort of proximity, and then we have emulation as something reflecting – let’s think of emulation as reflection, reflection from a distance, distance opposed to proximity, and when we superimpose that, in other words, we can see something happening in space. We can look at the sky, the night sky, and we can see a relationship between Mars and Aquarius, and Mars is close to Mercury and so forth and so on, we could start — and that is influencing the affairs and the passions of man then we would describe that kind of relationship, not as simply a convenience or simply an emulation or reflection, but rather an analogy and the event or the passions of man would be an analog of the story that is taking place in the sky, a story that we can read and interpret. So, using these, what is described as devices today, but what I think is more than devices, these are means of perception. These are all coming out of perception. I started out with the word resemblance. Resemblance indicates that there is a perception going on. We’re starting from the place understanding that it is all perception. So if it is starting from perception, and we can understand that it’s speech itself that is determining that, then we can look for those ways in which the world is manifested and the way that the world is laid out in front of us and how we may engage interact and influence that world.

About the Author

Baba Rampuri, author of "Autobiography of a Sadhu, a Journey into Mystic India," and frequent commentator on Oral Tradition, Sacred Speech, and Consciousness, is an American expatriate,  the first foreigner to be initiated into India's largest and most ancient order of yogis, the Naga Sannyasis of Juna Akhara.  He has lived in India since 1970, where he practices and teaches the oral tradition of the Sanatan Dharma, conducts sacred ceremony and rites, and hosts workshops and retreats.

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