Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gott im himmel!

"Gurus play a social role, so do prostitutes" [UG Krishnamurti]

The Führer of Neo Advaita, Karl Renz has left Tiru abruptly for a new bolthole in Goa. Karl had been lurking near the village of Adiannamalai with his chum Kalidas for 10 days and was planning to stay for a full month, but suddenly he fled the stage. Are there no plans for the Deutsche Top Gun to unveil his latest verbal pyrotechnics? We know a mouth that big cannot be shut for long!

Karl had been sighted touring the fleshpots of Tiru, perched precariously on his 50cc moped (affectionately known as Der Übermensch). Karl is a spiritual colossus whose jutting jaw and clean cut profile announces his unquestioned supremacy. We asked him for an interview but unusually he was overtaken by a strange reticence. Like that fabled movie star of the silver screen, Greta Garbo, Karl replied: "I want to be alone!" It seems the mighty one has been overtaken by existential doubt: even his latest neti neti - "I am NOT a wanker, I am NOT a wanker!" - has failed to restore his Teutonic pride. Will a Goan beach babe be able to put the lead back in Karl's pencil? As Elvis so eloquently put it: "Are you lonesome tonight?"

Karl has avoided Tiru for a number of years now, since he was unceremoniously ejected from his Advaitic throne by that rapacious rastafarian Mooji. So he went on to Plan B which involved playing lots of computer games and hanging out at an infamous brothel on Koh Samui. In recent years he has muscled in on the Mumbai scene, jumping into the dead man's shoes of Ramesh Balsekar. Has the ghost of Ramesh come back to haunt Karl and is this the source of his malaise?

Anyway according to Ramesh, "Who cares?" ... If Karl gets his just deserts for being a jumped-up headfuck merchant, it's all God's will. Karl certainly deserves a good kicking. These days he sounds just like Nisargadatta Maharaj and has even revised his famous catchphrase of "That Which is Prior" to "That Which is Prior to Nothing and Everything." Sounds like a swipe at Tony Parsons to us, whose territory in England Karl has said he is studiously avoiding because he wouldn't win the turf war ...

Both Karl and his estranged cousin Tony are failed stand-up comedians, the stars of their own philosophical talking-shop. They claim their lineage from the Godfather of Neo Advaita, UG Krishnamurti, but it's highly doubtful whether UG would have endorsed either one of them. Parsons is lost in Dzogchen world, which rather curiously, he labels 'Nondual Buddhism.' Just like his 8th century forebear Gaudapada who twisted the Buddhist theory of ajativada to revive the fortunes of the Upanishadic Brahman, Parsons has sneaked in the Two Truths doctrine of Buddhist Madhyamaka to allegedly reacquaint us with the "essential essence of Advaita." Meanwhile Karl has fallen into telling pretty stories about an intentional Consciousness which is perpetually trying to know and find itself. Both have endlessly sophisticated explanations for the way that the world works, whereas UG stated that after the death experience he called The Calamity, such concepts would simply not arise.

During The Calamity, swellings of various shapes and colours appeared along UG's torso, neck and head. These resembled the hard blue chest medallions found on Krishna, the traditional cobra-headed image of Shiva in the form of a throat-ring, and the lotus-style lumps found on the crown of the Buddhist bodhisattva statues. As his third eye (ajna) took over command of his body, his nervous system churned, causing torturous pain. This transformation was not the product of a fevered imagination (à la Karl & Tony) but involved gross physical changes that went right down to the cellular level. UG even developed breasts and all sexual activity ceased. When questioned near the end of his life whether someone could take his sperm to make a UG clone, he famously replied that 'nothing came out anymore' (if you catch our drift!) Over the years Karl has become synonymous with a highly misogynistic attitude towards his sexual playmates, even going so far as to humiliate one of his ex's by miming fellatio in front of her in the midst of satsang. After all his bullshitting and nondual posturing has Karl finally succumbed to his own Calamity and become the Alchemical Androgyne?

To quote David Bowie, has Karl been going through "Ch-ch-changes" and is this the real cause of his angst? How will he behave now he's grown tits and his wiener and baubles have dropped off?

[BREAKING NEWS: We have just discovered that Karl Renz is a direct descendant of world-renowned fantasist Baron Münchausen. Is Münchausen syndrome a genetic or a contagious disease? ... See the explosive Firefly comment for the full disclosure!]

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Satan is divine

This blog has often been described as a pustulential carbunkle on the backside of Arunachala. The main complaint is that the posts we write are "nasty" and the Chi-Ting Master is consumed by rage and lots of other bad stuff ...

Most of these comments come from people with a Christian mindset, which pits good against evil and is rooted in the very dualism that Advaita allegedly seeks to transcend. So pervasive is the instinct to reject the dark in favour of the light, we witness our critics falling into a Pavlovian, kneejerk moral absolutism again and again!

The Love and Light Club that exists in Tiru is fake and frankly nauseating. These bliss bunnies are just junkies in search of spiritual soma. The attainment of "I"-centric states seems to be the name of the game. This is an egocentric selectivity that reaches for comfort and emotional gratification: a one-sided view of life which constantly affirms the nice and fluffy while jettisoning the harsher realities of the world. Where is the anger which is also a part of life? -It has been suppressed and denied in favour of an unsustainable utopia that never was and never will be. It's a ridiculous rule-bound fiction that sows the seeds of extreme violence in its confused platitudes. The shadow side of the psyche has been rejected and remains unintegrated. But this is essential for there to be true spiritual insight!

This blog is not about purity to the exclusion of the ugly and coarse. It does not preach heart over mind or the angelic triumphing over the demonic. It is about a non-attachment to both poles of existence where each are given full rein and neither leaves a trace.

Dichotomy and competing binary pairs are found in all the religions to some degree. From what we know of recorded history, it began with Zoroaster and the war between the omniscient, uncreated Ahura Mazda and his evil rival, the destructive spirit named Angra Mainyu. (This is the world against you, with a malevolent force out there trying to do you in!) As a result the demonic 'other' is excluded from the company of the faithful. This polar opposition is by now so widespread and insiduous that its proponents do not even question the basis of their beliefs. Dualism pervades the collective psyche, its baseline assumptions are unquestioned and set in stone. The children of Ahriman skulk in the shadows, the lepers of our imaginations!

These themes have continued through Judaeo-Christian monotheism and Islam. The Jewish patriarchs recast their opponents as an evil 'other' named Satan. However this was a political perversion as the satan was originally one of God's angels: a helper sent to block or obstruct human activity and prevent man from harming himself. (Satan was not an animal or a monster then, but a superhuman being of superior intelligence and insider status!) Numero Uno conspiracy theorist David Icke interviewing Zulu sangoma Credo Mutwa gives this seminal event an interesting twist. He tells us that such satanic images derive from a far more ancient source: the horned reptilian race called the Chitauri. Dwelling in underground caves and being cold blooded, the Chitauri warm themselves beside huge cooking fires which they stoke in the bowels of the Earth. These stories have bled into the human psyche as the Devil and the Fires of Hell. Apparently this was the impetus for later Christians projecting the Horned God on to folk wisdom and indigenous religious practices - and denouncing them as "pagan."

Whether these ideas and images are allegorical or pure fantasy is besides the point. While philosophy debates the existential status of evil, this archetypal drama looms large in the collective unconscious. Even in our dusty temple town we have the example of Radha Ma's occult suicide. Then there are the persistent rumours of whole villages around Tiruvannamalai dedicated to black magic - and the undoing of the various curses that can be cast upon you. And what about the terrors of psychic attack? In the Book of Ieou, one of the apochryphal Gnostic Gospels, Christ describes a pair of obstructing Archons named Samaelo and Chochochoucha which, on reaching the fourth aeon during the stages of spiritual ascension, seek to derail one's spiritual evolution at its most critical point. The Archons in general are alien predators and the Nag Hammadi texts describe them as heavy, elusive shadow-creatures. The Gnostics taught that the true mind of human beings (nous authenticos) is part of the cosmic intelligence that pervades nature, but due to Archontic intrusion, this native "genius" can be subverted and even occupied by another mind. They warned that the Archons invade the human psyche and may also confront us physically as well. Their main impact though is on our paradigms and beliefs.

Carlos Castaneda's Don Juan Matus similarly describes how in the past, entity-like "predators" (also called "flyers" or "mud shadows") infiltrated us with their belief systems, ideas of good and bad, and social mores - making us think they were our own. Don Juan relates how they struck at a point in the past when man was a 'complete being' with incredible levels of awareness. The predators came from the depths of the cosmos, gave us their mind and thus man became sedated and enslaved. In The Predator Mind, he explains how the predators continue to use religions and ideologies to engender fear and fuel the ego. They then eat our divine energy - the glowing coat of awareness around our bodies - and we become their food:

By playing on our self-reflection, which is the only point of awareness left to us, the predators create flares of awareness that they proceed to consume in a ruthless, predatory fashion. They give us inane problems that force those flares of awareness to rise, and in this manner they keep us alive in order for them to be fed with the energetic flare of our pseudo-concerns.

The evil described here is, for sure, full of unpleasant outcomes. But Don Juan also makes it clear that the flyers are an essential part of the universe and the means by which it becomes aware of itself. Crucially, the evil of the predator is a "challenge" which can be overcome. The sorcerers discovered that if they taxed the flyers' mind with inner silence, eventually it would leave. The flyers' mind flees forever when we succeed in grabbing on to the vibrating force that holds us together as a conglomerate of energy fields. If we maintain that pressure for long enough, the flyers' mind withdraws in defeat because it has little concentration. With the discipline of perpetual serenity and an unflinching awe at the episodes of 'energetic flare' engineered to ensnare us, our glowing coat of awareness becomes unpalatable to the predator. In fact it grows, enabling our continuity in the universe. This evil is therefore friend as much as foe. Seen as grist for the mill of spiritual practice, it is more a type of complementary "anti-force" that can accelerate and liberate us.

John de Ruiter is perhaps the most renowned advocate of this view. In his dialogue "What is evil?" he speaks of an alternate dimension which has exhausted its reserves of Truth and taken over the Earth plane, entwining itself with our reality. Apparently we are mined as a source of food through tension, which is calculated to pull us out of what we are. Our mental and emotional reactions to this pressure yields an energetic output which can be fed upon. Further, many of us are expanding in consciousness, so an ever higher amount of energy can be mined from us. The energy we are capable of putting out becomes irresistible and because that energy is so high, the tension attacks us more since we pose a threat to it and promise even greater energetic yields. The idea is that as we begin to integrate what we are, we understand more and are able to see what is going on. The tension therefore only gets bigger until we die. We are a perpetual focus until we are shut down.

But de Ruiter says we can be "awesomely OK" with this force which attempts to separate, hurt and destroy. For him, the solution to all of this is to be what you honestly are, which is not a reaction, but a response to our 'innermost.' This is very painful and uncomfortable but it is easy. By not reacting, we will not give our energy away in response to tension and pressure. Energy will not be released outside of us but within us. When we surrender to what we are, we begin to awaken. This involves being highly responsive and making no move to alleviate that tension. That tension must be allowed to go anywhere inside of us and do anything with us that it wants. So it’s not extending ourselves outwards to stop something because it’s affecting our happiness, but the opposite. It’s completely opening up to what is and ‘what is’ being allowed to go inside and have free rein. When we are unconditionally and warmly OK with being devoured and destroyed, then the force of evil can do nothing. It cannot touch you.

From these descriptions it seems clear that while evil definitely exists, it can be transformed. It is not remote or separate from existence, rather, it is an indisputable part of it. Perhaps the only evil here then, is the suggestion that evil is something fixed and unchanging - something absolute and totally independent - that is inherently or externally immutable. If we accept this, we are permanently stuck with Satan as a negative adversary and the world falls cleanly apart into an irreconcilable battlefield between good and evil. Advaita gives us another option. Evil exists but because everything is the Self or Brahman, evil is also divine. The danger here though is that we resurrect the spectre of ultimate states by saying that there is always some "thing" that everything 'really' or truly is. By this token, evil is one thing posing as another, which revives the endless dualism that lies at the heart of the problem.

Perhaps we would be better off saying that while evil can be experienced, it is transient. Just like the flyers, the demons of our minds are merely fleeting phantasms. There is not really any Satan - or any divinity either - but whether we realise this depends entirely on who is looking. To the critics of the Chi-Ting Master we therefore say:

The great saw him as great
While the small him as small
To the angels he was an angel
And to the devils he was a devil ...