Sunday, February 26, 2017

THE ULTIMATE SICKNESS: Causes, Symptoms, Aspects, Effects, TREATMENT, Part Seventy-Two

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TODAY'S CONSIDERATIONS

"THE AFTERLIFE" (Continued) 

"The belief that heaven or an afterlife awaits us is a 'fairy story' for people afraid of death."
---Stephen Hawking 

Maharaj did not always adhere to the Eastern tradition which honored freedom from speech. He discussed Hindu / non-dual concepts in the home of his guru; he went to the river and sat on the bank - sometimes in the heat, sometimes in the cold, sometimes in the rain, and sometimes well past midnight - and talked with a friend about Hindu / non-dual concepts; 

after his "forest dweller stage," he returned to Bombay and discussed Hindu / non-dual concepts in his shop; later, when he considered inviting visitors to his flat, specifically to the room upstairs which he had arranged as a place for him to retreat to (Maharaj's Spiritual Man Cave, if you will), and he followed his guru's advice when he continued talking during those first years in the loft: 

Maharaj's guru explained that few of the Hindus in Bombay were interested singularly in non-duality per se and that if he wanted to attract people into his loft, he was going to have to "trick them"; that is, he was going to have to put up pictures of certain teachers, drape them with flowers, burn incense, and offer Hinduism-based pointers and sing bhajans and jump and dance about in order to entice guests to come to him; in short, he was going to have to first offer what they were accustomed to hearing and doing and then sneak in some non-dual pointers. 

To that end, he was advised to give out mantras (which, by his own admission, he did long after he knew they were irrelevant). After Westerners began to show up in the loft, he would eventually break away from what his guru had ordered and would go his own route, talking more about the spiritual topics his Western guests were interested in and less about Hindu dogma which they were less interested in. 

By his own admission, his words for years were not rooted in the pure, universal consciousness but were rooted in what he had been taught and what he had heard. 

As regular visitors to this site know, he eventually abandoned the use of a Hindu / non-dual version of the Ultimate Medicine which he had prescribed for his early visitors and he would also eventually abandon the use of a spiritual / non-dual version of the Ultimate Medicine which he prescribed when his Western audiences grew in numbers. 

Both of those versions were replaced by a psychological / non-dual version of the Medicine after he came to understand that the Ultimate Sickness is a mental sickness because the seat of the Sickness is in the mind. 

By the late 1970's and early 1980's, he was speaking more succinctly. His terse talks focused on the root of the Sickness - the mind - as he explained why the only viable method for treating the Sickness involved being freed from the mind. His words by that point were coming via the pure universal consciousness and his Nisarga Yoga message prevailed as he encouraged visitors to "just give up spirituality and abide naturally." Thus he advised: 

“Stop reading I AM THAT and listen to my later talks.” He said that those talks in I AM THAT were for that time only and not applicable now

So that final understanding of the fact that the Sickness is a mental sickness led him eventually to advise seekers to 

stop reading I AM THAT

stop with all their religious and spiritual seeking, 

address the mind problem which is at the root of the Ultimate Sickness, 

be freed from the learned ignorance that was taught and from the insanity which was imposed from outside (via parental and societal influences), 

stop abiding unnaturally, 

stop trying to abide supernaturally (magically, spiritually, etc.) 

and then 

just abide naturally, the way that every living thing on the planet abides except for programmed and conditioned humans. 

Such was the nature of his later talks which came to an end on Wednesday, 9 September 1981, and such were the changes which brought the critics out in full force: 

One critic of Maharaj’s evolving message said, “I really hate him for telling people in his later talks to stop reading I AM THAT and that his message has changed completely from what he shared in those early talks.”

How the Spiritual Giants hated to hear him advise: "Forget spirituality." 

How they hated to hear him encourage seekers to follow "their normal inclinations," that is, to follow their natural tendencies, to abandon all of their spiritual work and just abide naturally - not unnaturally and not supernaturally (i.e., neither "religiously" nor "spiritually" nor "philosophically"). 

How they hated it when he told visitors, "Do your normal duties" 

and 

"just give up spirituality." 

How they hated to hear him advise seekers to stop reading the book I AM THAT and to heed his later teachings (advice offered after he witnessed clearly that spirituality and spiritual exercises and the adoption of a spiritual persona did not cure the Sickness but actually aggravated its symptoms). 

And how those embroiled in the Self-Inquiry process hated to hear him say: "I got involved in spirituality, in the business of spirituality; finally, I lost that love of Self also. I have no more love for the Self." 

He lost interest in - and love for - the Self, the Supreme Self, the Ultimate Self, the Real Self, the Godhead, the Godself, or whatever else supposedly noble identifiers can be called. See? The "Realized" have transcended both the false self / selves and even "the True Self" and even "the Supreme SELF," so all that happens among "the Realized" merely happens . . . spontaneously. 

All of that is shared so that seekers can understand how his message changed and why it changed. To comprehend his final understanding about "karma" and "rebirth" and an "afterlife," one cannot study the words he shared during his Hindu / non-dual phase or during his spirituality / non-dual phase. 

True, early on he did offer certain flashes of facts, making clear that humans invented God and that there is no such thing as karma and rebirth and reincarnation. He did offer some clarity around the fact that no afterlife exists for any persons or for some "soul-version" of persons. He tried to offer clarity, but few really want to see clearly.

(For example, here, the man living next door who told me that he did not want to spend eternity with the woman he's presently married to was inspired - as a result of his fear of an eternity with her and his desires for someone "better" in heaven - to dream up a new concept of heaven. He said that now believes that God will line up something better for him once he gets to heaven. I asked, "So according to your beliefs and perspective, God is going to pimp for you?" He didn't like the phrasing but he did admit to the belief expressed therein.) 

What were some of the early clarifications which Maharaj sprinkled throughout his talks even though religion and spirituality were influencing him? Consider: 

A questioner asked, "When an ordinary man dies, what happens to him?" 

Maharaj replied: "As life before death is but imagination, so is life after." 

In other words, the "afterlife" is just a concept imagined by persons. 

Maharaj on occasions also suggested that the notion of "the person" - which is limited in space and time - should be cast aside and replaced with an understanding of "a de-personalized, universalized awareness of nothing in particular." 

He asked: "What is birth and death but the beginning and the ending of a stream of events in consciousness? Because of the idea of separation and limitation they are painful. Momentary relief from pain we call 'pleasure' — and we build castles in the air hoping for endless pleasure which we call 'happiness.' It is all misunderstanding and misuse. Wake up, go beyond, live, really." 

He said: "Physical 'death' will make no difference in my case. I am timeless being." 

[Note that he said "timeless being," not "a timeless being." That which the composite unity is involved with (elements, air, conscious-energy) will be. Those three parts will continue being; the particular composite unity, however, will not be post-mahasamadhi.]

So what happened regarding the composite unity which was called "Maharaj" on Wednesday, 9 September 1981? Much ado about nothing. Much ado which he would have opposed vehemently. 

First, on that day: 

After it was clear that Maharaj had "died," his body was covered with flowers, exposing his face only. Later, his body was placed in a reclining position in a chair which a Belgian named Josef Nauwelaerts had presented to Maharaj a month or so earlier. 

Next, a little after noon, the reclining body of Maharaj in that chair was placed in the back of a large truck adorned with hundreds and hundreds of flowers and driven along the streets in a 2-1/2 hour procession to the Banganga cremation ground. Hundreds walked along ahead of, beside, and behind the truck, and many more lined the route to pay homage as the truck and crowd passed by.

After a ceremony which lasted about an hour, Maharaj's son lit the pyre. It burned until what remained was earth / ashes / dust / elements.

So what really happened that day to the body of Maharaj? By the time his body was loaded onto a truck in the chair, the air has stopped circulating through the body. The conscious-energy was departing and merging with the field of conscious-energy. (The conscious-energy leaves the human cells over a period of time, not all at once). 

After the cremation process was complete, the physical plant food elements merged with the universal pool of elements, except for one handful. 

Next, on subsequent days, right up to the present: 

Were he present and able to do so, Maharaj would likely classify what happened after the cremation - and what continues to this day - as more evidence of the symptoms of the Ultimate Sickness (which he identified as "ignorance, stupidity, and insanity"). 

Most of his ashes were interred near the ashes of his guru, but one fellow grabbed a handful and saved them. Now, those ashes are on display in a room, and each day, persons go to visit those ashes and bang on noisemakers and chant and worship and pay homage . . . to "Maharaj" . . . to remaining ashes.

Remember the story about Jesus going into the temple and driving the moneymakers out with a whip? Were Maharaj able to return and to enter that room while all that doingness was going on, do you guess he might bring along a whip? 

As for his take on an "afterlife," Maharaj ultimately made clear that there is no reincarnation, saying: 

Maharaj: “Only those who think themselves born can think themselves re-born," and he made clear that no one was born. Hence, no re-birth, no reincarnation. 

He and his contemporary Ramana Maharshi agreed as Maharshi also eventually reached the same understanding, saying: “Reincarnation exists only so long as there is ignorance. There is really no reincarnation at all, either now or before.” 

Their different-from-the-commonly-held perceptive, allowing for an understanding that there is no "afterlife" (that is, an understanding that all that remains post-manifestation is a universal pool of air and a universal pool of elements and a universal pool of conscious-energy) is not a popular perspective. 

Most persons are so attached to body and mind and personality identifications - and are so entrapped in the will of the consciousness for eternal continuity - that most will cling to the illusion of an afterlife; will dream up tales about a soul; will make up stories about vacating the present human body but entering into a half-human / half-bird body; 

will dream up some Celestial Being (as opposed to elements and air and conscious-energy merely being) and will call that Being an Infinite Self or Atman or Supreme Brahman or Divine Self or Infinite Soul or Spiritual Life Principle of the Universe, or the Real, or an Eternal Self or some such. 

For most persons, to forfeit the belief in an afterlife - and to give up the hope for the eternal continuity of certain particular specks of consciousness - is to be paralyzed with fear or despair or desolation. But to understand the pertinent facts surrounding what is possible in terms of a composite unity (and what is not possible) is to set the stage for enjoying what can be enjoyed during the only period when enjoyment can be enjoyed, namely, NOW. 

Post-manifestation, there will be no one to enjoy anything or to dread anything. Were that understood, then persons would not deem acceptable the misery and suffering which so many presently normalize. There would be no belief that "you should tolerate suffering now because it will lead to an eternal reward later." 

All that one "has" is now. 

Years ago, during the days when I owned a European tour company, direct flights from Houston to other major cities in Europe and even to Cape Town, South Africa and many other cities were available. Now, most of those flights have been permanently cancelled. 

So consider this parallel: 

What would you conclude if I were to say, "Dammit, I hate all these non-direct flights to Europe and to Cape Town which are now unbearably long. I liked the direct flights from days gone by, so I'm going to the airport and - by damn - I'm going to sit there and wait for a flight of the kind I like to take me to where I want to go and in the way I want to go there"? 

And if you asked, "So where do you want to go and how do you want to go there?" and I answered, "I want to go to Xanadu and I want to go there quickly and directly on a supersonic Concorde airplane," you would, rightly, conclude that I was delusional. If you were honest with me, you might even tell me that Xanadu is a fictional, dreamed up place that does not really exist and that there is no longer a supersonic Concorde airline to take me anywhere. 

And if I were to spend the remaining years of this manifestation pouting about that reality and being depressed and denying the facts and claiming that "I've been told that the supersonic Concorde airline does too still exist and I'm going to fly on it someday" and claiming that "I've been told that Xanadu is real and I'm going there someday," you that understand the pertinent facts would just shake your head and see how ignorant and even insane I had become, believing in the nonsense I have been told or imagined. 

So it would be, and so it is for billions, but so it need not be if wisdom were to replace the debilitating symptoms of the Ultimate Sickness. 

But that can only happen if persons find a different perspective from the one that is popular and commonly-held. 

To be continued. 

Please enter into the silence of contemplation. 

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