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I am a mystic madman, a wandering wildman, scholar of esoterica, dilettante sadhu, dready-headed hippie (only have a few jata on the back of my head right now, though more be forming of this third set of knotted hair), gentle yogi, fierce foe of falsity. I was a preacher, but I renounced that. I was married, but she renounced me. I was a grad student at one of the top universities in the world on my way to becoming a professor, but I realized they taught lies there too. I am protector of souls, lover of mountains, smoker of herb, fond of hot springs, oceans and lakes and rivers and rain and sunshine, devotee of Devi.

Hindu Gods and Goddesses

Thursday, October 30, 2008

लिल Lila, the Divine Play of Life

लिल (lila) is a term I have found quite useful. With all the injustices and imbalances and inequities and violences I have seen and read of in the world around me, to imagine all this as but scenes in a divine play made the best case for what in “Western” philosophical terminology is called “theodicy,” which is basically the attempt(s) to answer the question, “If God is good and God is omnipotent, how can there exist evil?” To envision all the ills of this world as merely illusion, playing out of something like a scripted theatrical production solves many of the problems in justifying the ills of life. We are thus all merely emanations of aspects of the divine, refracted through a crystalline lens, acting out various scenarios of variegated possibilities of divergence from Self. When all is said and done, the curtains drawn, it all makes sense and there is no further need for justification. All sufferings are shown as merely imaginative experiments of possible pathways, and proper unity and purity are shown as having never having truly faltered.

Not that I ever believed there is no place for justice to be exacted by players in this play, mind you, nor that inexcusable violences or abuses ought be overlooked. Rather I believed that so long as one maintains purity of mind and spirit, nothing cannot be overcome or transformed and fitted within a wholistic view of existence that finds life good and worthy of living, beautiful and aesthetically intact.

Well, someone sought to challenge my very effective mode of dealing with the world's ills, for better or worse, a mode which indeed made ills quite ineffective and evil at most a nuisance. I was drawn into a rather desolate and perverse version of “lila,” and indeed one I am not sure well fits the unified version I had in mind. It seems as if some other contending paradigm sought to prove it’s verity above my own, and specifically the Western version of guilt and the inherent evil of humanity, i.e., Judeo-Christian understandings of sin and guilt and suffering. It seemed rather as if the beliefs and intensions of those I had known when I was a Baptist minister were coming back to haunt me. Indeed, the depression and undue attributions of guilt and fear were again somehow injected into my mind to assail the beautiful and truly liberating mode of existence I had come to know and share along the truly र्त (rta—“righteous," and "correct”) path I had found upon abandoning the errant world view of Christianity.

In the reality I had come to know, evil and ills always met due कर्म-धर्म (karma-dharma, “action-consequence/teaching”), and all of life and being was on an exciting and wonderful journey back to the source, अत्मन् (atman—the true and good and pure and benevolent “Self”). Everything that was not of or commensurate to this good Self would be transformed or burned away in the process of तपसि (tapasia—“purifying fire”) through the course of the pilgrimage that is life (or lives) lived. In actuality, these notions are not so far from some of the teachings of Jeshua ben Joseph (aka, “Jesus”), though from other of his teachings I think he should have spent a bit more time in India learning from the yogis.

In the interim, between beginnings and return to अत्मन् (atman), the here and now is time to practice भुतदय (bhutadaya--"compassion") and योग (yoga—“union,” or as Patanjali in his Yoga sutra put it, “Yoga is the alteration of sense vibration” towards a more pure expression of our true, good divine Self), and to celebrate the beauty of existence and each other, and the archetypal modes of divine play that lead us back to the pure union in and of देव-देवि (Deva-Devi--"God-Goddess").

The challenge I faced was a manipulation of चिदचित् (cidachit—“mind and matter”), a use and abuse of powers of illusion to attempt to dissuade me from my path, and to return me to living as a fearful sheep. Well, despite struggles and sufferings and assaults on and even in my mind, my resolve is still firm. Perhaps I now view the playing field or theater of life with a bit less trust, a bit less of what might be called “naivety,” for better or worse, as it seems clear some have or at least recently have maintained some degree of power to attack that good balance and philosophy I have found. Yet I remain convinced that indeed, “all the world’s a stage” is a better metaphor than many, and that when all is said and done, the plot will meet proper dénouement, and we shall all have cause to rejoice at a play well played.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good read! Cheers.