One Creator or Two?

Per the text Yoga Vasishta, which is published by New York University press (SUNY), creation began as a mental construct. Vedic literature calls the cosmic mind as Brahma, the creator. A strong intention arose in the cosmic mind for the universe to come into existence. We can liken this to the way an architect envisions the design for a building. Building blocks come together, after that, under the able supervision of engineers and manager. Of course, workers play a big role in giving a concrete shape to a building. Brahma is like an architect, then who is the supervisor?

Prajapati is the creator at the next level. The word Pra-ja-pati refers to a paternal figure who has a closer affinity at the physical plane to created beings. There is a single cosmic mind which implies that there is only one Brahma in this universe. However, several Prajapatis are involved in the subsequent step of creation. They make this creation to be diverse with their skills. A Prajapati maybe associated with beings of a certain genus or an era. The distinction between Brahma and Prajapati is lost in translation because present day experts in the Vedas assume the nomenclatures of Brahma and Prajapati to be references to "the" creator.

A rudimentary understanding of the above distinction enables one to appreciate the possibility that the cosmos may be consciousness. This creation is partly of the nature of a dream and partly of the nature of a tangible experiences. A human being belongs to two realms. Our mind is a part of the big mind or the Cosmic mind. Our body is a part of an evolving galaxy. Astronomers are already convinced that that every atom in the human body belonged long ago to a far away exploding star. Scientists simply need to recognize the other fact also.

Jet lag of a departed Soul

The idea of reincarnation has gained more acceptance in main stream America today.  Per this idea, a Jiva or a Soul rests in a different realm until the right conditions arise for its next birth in the material realm. Time moves differently for a Soul in the higher domain than in the material domain. This is not much different from the fact that the length of day is different on different planets. For example, the length of the day on Venus is 116 days and on Jupiter only 10 hours.

A Jiva perceives the length of a day in the higher domain to be 365 days long. A year in the earth plane is equivalent to one day in the realm of ancestors per Vedic texts. Vedic texts also say that the psyche takes some time to adjust to the new length of the day in the higher realm. The transition happens over twelve lunar months. This is like our body adjusting gradually to a new time zone during Jetlag.

Purana texts describe the abstrat idea of the slow transition as an year long journey through the realm of Yama, the Deva of death. A Jiva crosses twleve milestones, one each in 29.5 human days. In, adddition it crosses four important mini milestones which are at 27, 40, 170 and 340 day markers from the time of its exit from its body. A Jiva uses these milestones as an opportunity to release unwanted impressions related to its earlier birth from its psyche through dream like experiences. A son or a daughter performs rituals to a departed soul at these milestones to strengthen the "spirit" of the JIva. These rituals allow the Jiva to get its psyche totally ready for its next assignement in the material domain. 

Spider's web and Entanglement

A spider is known for its visual acuity. Spiders have a unique pair of eyes, one among several pairs of eyes, which can act like telescopes. Nature has endowed a spider with another amazing faculty in the form of its web. The web acts like a field of vibration. It enables a spider to "sense" the location of its prey with precision. It grants a spider sovereignty over its own web.

Human consciousness too has two facets, namely, (a) perception which is anchored to the five senses and (b) the ability to sense with the help of feelings. The education system today is designed to develop the former. Sensory skills however squeeze our consciousness into a narrow field of perception. The spider's precise binocular vision too is narrow. Developing the skill to know without the help of the senses is important to tap into the full power of consciousness.

Vedic texts call these two facets of awareness as "Buddhi" and "Bhava". Both are needed to gain freedom. Either of them can create entanglement without the presence of the other. Entanglement is not self-inflicted per Vedic texts. It is the mischief of Varuna, the Deva of waters. Varuna is depicted as holding a Pasha, a symbol of entanglement. The proverbial "wink" of Varuna is a reminder for the easier way to gain freedom from entanglements, namely through Surrender to the higher powers.

The origin of Pitrus

அருந்தமிழ்: 209. நடுவீடு என்கிற ...
A symbol of the domain of ancestors

Brahma, the cosmic mind, is the creator of the universe. Devas are a part of the collective mind and are therefore Brahma's helpers. From another angle, Devas are like any oher being, but with the distinction of being able to maintain their self-awareness. There is a story related to the Devas losing self knowledge.

Long ago, Devas had offsprings. Devas' attatchment to their offsprings once made them lax to their role as Brahma's helpers. Brahma took away self knowledge from the Devas upon noticing frequent occurances of this lax attitude. Devas prayed for self knowledge after realizing their loss. Brahma asked the Devas to seek it from their own offsprings who happyly taught it and blessed the Devas addressing them as "Putrakas or little ones". Devas acknowledged their teachers as Pitṛs or elders and gave them the status of Pitru-Devas. Pitru-devas, a class of devas, receive honors in ancestral worship rituals.

There are seven groups of Pitṛu(Vairajas, Agnishvattas, Barhishada, Somapas, Havishmanas, Ajyapas, and Sukalins) who are each assigned to different categories of beings. Seven great female Yogis emerged as mind born daughters from each of these seven categories of Pitru-Devas. Hari Vamsa text, a supplement to Mahabharata text, describes the influence of these Yoginis in the affairs of human beings. Their stories are fascinating. Acchoda, one among the seven, took birth as the mother of sage Veda Vyasa.

Apasthambha, the unintended mathematician

APASTAMBA — Dharma_Grihya_sutras

There is a popular story related to Apasthambha whose works on Kalpa and Griya Sutra texts are reference materials for experts in Vedic rituals.

Kalpa Sutras discuss the construction of Vedis or the central fire pit for Yagnas. Strict rules dictate the geometry of a Vedi, right down to the size of individual bricks. Different shaped Vedis, namely, circular, semi-circular, square, rectangular, must occupy the same sized area. Mathematicians have found estimates to the square root of the number two to ten digital places in Apasthambha's texts which also list the steps in sqaring a circle and dividing a circle into seven equal parts. Mathematicians wonder about the fact that these were known centuries before the start of the Common Era.

Grihya Sutra texts are the domestic counter parts of Kalpa Sutras. They elaborate the details for smaller rituals meant for household use. Among these, the rituals related to anscestors contain the strictest rules. Apasthambha was an expert in these rules and was also a reformer.

Apasthambha was invited by a householder to a Shradha or the annual ritual for departed souls. The householder had been searching for the "perfect" guest to feed at the Shradha ceremony and Apasthambha sensed this as soon as her entered the house of the host. After feeding Apasthambha, the householder began offering Pindam or the ball of rice, to his anscestors. He took a cup of water to sprinkle water on the Pindam but the water would not leave his palm. Surprised, he looked at the face of Apasthambha.

Apasthambha said that anyone who regularly chants the Gayatri Mantra becomes eligible to be a guest to a Shradha ceremony. He explained that great scholarship is not a compulsory criteria for a guest. The name Apa-Sthambha refers to one who can stop the flow of water. People started calling Apasthambha by this name after this incidence. There is a variation of this story in the Garuda Purana. Apasthambha uses the incidence to illustrate the importance of avoiding miserliness, anger and impatience during Sharadha ceremony.

The 11th day after death

Mind is a field of bio-energy which surrounds the physical body. This field shrinks when one is depressed and expands when one is happy. This field dissipates when the mind exits along with the spirit from the body at the time of death.

The spirit is invited for a feast on the 11th day by assembling for it a transitory energy body. The transitory body is sustained through the power of Mantra chants, the emotional connection of the person performing death rituals and a certain belief which lingers in the spirit's psyche.

Food is one of the oldest impressions in the human psyche which stretches back to our evolution from lower life forms. This impression sustains the bond between a departing spirit and its emotional past in the material domain. The feast on the 11th day severes this bond and the spirit remembers its free nature with the help of Mantras chanted at that time. The spirit prepares itself for its onward journey to the domain of the ancestors on the 12th day.

Medical researchers understand the power of the placebo effect. Placebo effect is the tip of an iceberg. The iceberg in this case is a metaphor for the way in which the human psyche maintains its individuality while continuing to be a part of a conscious cosmos. A psyche merges like a wave into the ocean of consciousness when all its impressions are cleared. A spirit transitions between life and death until then.

A transmigrating psyche is thumb sized in comparison to the size of the the bio-energy field associated with an alive body. A transitory energy body is slightly larger, namely, palm sized. The rituals to assemble this palm sized body relies on the bond between the psyche of the departed spirit and the who performs the rituals. A rapidly dissipating energy field is shrunk into a "make-believe" body through rituals which demand strict adherence to rules. These rules are shrouded in awe and mystery and tinged with caution.

Long ago, an intrigued Garuda sought explanations about these rules from Lord vishnu. Rishi Veda Vyasa captured the essense of the dialogue between Garuda and Vishnu in the form of a Purana. Through symbolism and stories, the Garuda Purana explains the journey of the departed spirit. One can find many similarities between these and the recounts of those who encounter near death experiences.

Peripheral Vision and the power of its blessings

Neurologists are studying the differences between stimuli from peripheral and central visions in the context of the bigger question "How does the brain respond to environmental stimuli which are not perceived consciously but which lead to moduled human behavior?". The brain, for example, is able to trigger certain changes in the nervous system in response to facial expressions even when a person's attention is not fully there. Unconsciously perceived fear in peripheral vision alerts the brain faster than fear presented in the central vision according to researchers at the university of Lyon, France. There must be something more to the vision from the corner of the eye than what we know now.

Poets who wrote devotional text from centuries ago acknowledged the power of the corner of the eye glance. Siddhars texts say that the divine mother showers her blessings through her corner of the eye glace. There is a special term for the sidelong look. It is called Kadaikann (கடைக்கண்) in Tamil. It equivalent term in Sanskrit is Kataakshaa (कटाक्ष). When we study the formation of this term, we can not but wonder if these poets were aware of neurological nuances of brain which relate to vision.

The word Kataaksha is a combination of Kata (to go) and Aksha (eye). This seems like a non-sensical combination. But is it? Physicians say that the loss of peripheral vision leads to "tunnel vision". A person experiencing tunnel vision loses the ability to sense motion and can not walk without crashing into things. The poets who coined the word "Kataaksha" must have sensed the close connection between peripheral vision and mobility (to go). Anyone who has read devotional poems immediately interprets the word "Kataaksha" as blessings. According to Siddhars, a liberated being sees the world as a part of his own self and as a reflection in his own heart. Everyhing maybe a perpheral vision stimuli to the brain in an altered state of consciousness. Scientists have a lot more to study about the meditative state of the brain.