Saturday, January 22, 2011
And Jesus said " Hear, O teacher, the ordinance of the first letter and pay heed to this, how that it hath lines, and a middle mark, which thou seest, common to both, going apart; coming together, raised up on high, dancing, of three signs, like in kind, balanced, equal in measure]: thou hast the rules of the Aleph." - Infancy Gospel of Thomas (80 Ad)
The Infancy Gospel of Thomas and the mystical Aleph-Bet
I found a part in the "Secret" Infancy Gospel of Thomas (80s C.E) that suggests that Jesus had a mystical understanding of the Aleph-Bet.
VI. 1 And on the morrow he took him by the hand and led him to a certain teacher, Zacchaeus by name, and said unto him: Take this child, O master, and teach him letters. And the other said: Deliver him unto me, my brother, and I will teach him the scripture, and I will persuade him to bless all men and not to curse them. 2 And when Jesus heard that he laughed and said unto them: Ye speak that ye know, but I have knowledge more than you, for I am before the worlds. And I know when the fathers of your fathers were begotten, and I know how many are the years of your life. And every one that heard it was amazed. 3 And again saith Jesus unto them: Marvel ye because I said unto you that I know how many are the years of your life? Of a truth I know when the world was created. Behold, now ye believe me not: when ye shall see my cross then will ye believe that I speak truth. And they were astonished when they heard all these things.
VII. 1 Now Zacchaeus wrote the alphabet in Hebrew, and saith unto him: Alpha. And the young child said: Aleph. And again the master said: Aleph, and the young child likewise. Then again the third time the master said: Aleph. Then Jesus looked upon the teacher and said: Thou that knowest not the Aleph, how canst thou teach another the Bet? And the child beginning at the Aleph said of his own accord the two and twenty letters. 2 And thereafter saith he: Hear, O master the ordinance of the first letter, and know how many incomings and lines it hath, and marks, common, going apart, and coming together. And when Zacchaeus heard such designations of the one letter he was amazed and had nothing to answer; and turning about he said unto Joseph: My brother, this child is of a truth not earthly born: take him away therefore from me.
Another version also discovered:
VI. 1 Now a certain teacher, Zacchaeus by name, stood there and he heard in part when Jesus said these things to his father and he marvelled greatly that being a young child he spake such matters. 2 And after a few days he came near unto Joseph and said unto him: Thou hast a wise child, and he hath understanding. Come, deliver him to me that he may learn letters. And I will teach him with the letters all knowledge and that he salute all the elders and honour them as grandfathers and fathers, and love them of his own years. 3 And he told him all the letters from Aleph even to Tav clearly, with much questioning. But Jesus looked upon Zacchaeus the teacher and saith unto him: Thou that knowest not the Aleph according to its nature, how canst thou teach others the Bet? thou hypocrite, first, if thou knowest it, teach the Aleph, and then will we believe thee concerning the Bet. Then began he to confound the mouth of the teacher concerning the first letter, and he could not prevail to answer him. 4 And in the hearing of many the young child saith to Zacchaeus: Hear, O teacher, the ordinance of the first letter and pay heed to this, how that it hath lines, and a middle mark, which thou seest, common to both, going apart; coming together, raised up on high, dancing, of three signs, like in kind, balanced, equal in measure]: thou hast the rules of the Aleph.
VII. 1 Now when Zacchaeus the teacher heard such and so many allegories of the first letter spoken by the young child, he was perplexed at his answer and his instruction being so great, and said to them that were there: Woe is me, wretch that I am, I am confounded: I have brought shame to myself by drawing to me this young child. 2 Take him away, therefore I beseech thee, my brother Joseph: I cannot endure the severity of his look, I cannot once make clear my (or his) word. This young child is not earthly born: this is one that can tame even fire: be like this is one begotten before the making of the world. What belly bare this, what womb nurtured it? I know not. Woe is me, O my friend, he putteth me from my sense, I cannot follow his understanding. I have deceived myself, thrice wretched man that I am: I strove to get me a disciple and I am found to have a master. 3 I think, O my friends, upon my shame, for that being old I have been overcome by a young child;- and I am even ready to faint and to die because of the boy, for I am not able at this present hour to look him in the face. And when all men say that I have been overcome by a little child, what have I to say? and what can I tell concerning the lines of the first letter whereof he spake to me? I am ignorant, O my friends, for neither beginning nor end of it (or him) do I know. 4 Wherefore I beseech thee, my brother Joseph, take him away unto thine house: for he is somewhat great, whether god or angel or what I should call him, I know not.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Albert Einstein said over and over again ..... “I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists.... "
What then, is this "God" of Spinoza ?? In his work called "Ethics" Spinoza says "Nothing can come into being or exist without God.
Spinoza's Ethica ordine geometrico demonstrata (Ethics demonstrated in geometrical order) is based on a deductive method derived from Euclidean geometry. Spinoza maintains that the validity of ethical ideas can be demonstrated by mathematical argument or proof. Spinoza asserts that ethics can be based on a geometric model in which axioms and propositions follow each other with logical necessity. This reflects the view that ethical truth has the same logical necessity as mathematical truth. Spinoza sees ethics as a rational system corresponding to the rational nature of the universe.
The Ethics is divided into five parts: Part I. "Of God;" Part II. "Of the Nature and Origin of the Mind;" Part III. "Of the Origin and Nature of the Emotions;" Part IV. "Of Human Bondage, or Of the Strength of the Emotions;" Part V. "Of the Power of the Intellect, or Of Human Liberty."
Each of the five parts of the Ethics consists of several definitions and axioms, followed by a series of propositions and corollaries.
The propositions of Part III are followed by forty-eight definitions of the emotions, including desire, pleasure, pain, love, hatred, hope, fear, despair, joy, disappointment, humility, pride, anger, shame, cruelty, benevolence, etc.
Spinoza begins by describing what can be known about God. God is infinite being, according to Spinoza. God is infinite substance, consisting of infinite attributes, each of which expresses God's eternal and infinite essence (I, Prop. XI).1
God necessarily exists, argues Spinoza, because God's essence is existence. God's essence is perfect, and therefore God's perfection implies that God must exist. God's essence and existence are the same (I, Prop. XX). Each attribute which expresses God's essence also expresses God's existence.
According to Spinoza, infinite substance is indivisible (I, Prop. XIII). If infinite substance were divisible, it could either be divided into two finite parts, which is impossible, or it could be divided into two equally infinite parts, which is also impossible. Thus, there is only one infinite substance.
Since God is infinite substance, Spinoza argues, no attribute which expresses the essence of substance can be denied of God (I, Prop. XIV). Every being has its being in God. Nothing can come into being or exist without God.
According to Spinoza, the will and the intellect are modes of thought. The will is the same as the intellect. In God, intellect is actual and not potential, because in God intellect is fully actualized. This means that things must necessarily occur in the manner in which they occur, because the intellect or will of God is fully actualized.
For Spinoza, God is the necessary cause of all things. All things by nature proceed from necessity. All things are predetermined by God, and for anything that exists, some effect must follow.
Spinoza argues that thought is one of the attributes of God (II, Prop. I). God can think an infinite number of things in an infinite number of ways. God�s infinite intellect comprehends all of God�s attributes.
According to Spinoza, God is the essence of substance. Thought and extension are attributes of God. Thus, God is the essence of thinking substance (i.e. mind) and of extended substance (i.e. body).
Substance is defined by Spinoza as a mode of being which implies necessary existence. God is infinite substance, and outside of God no other substance is possible. Thus, Spinoza�s philosophy is pantheistic, in that it claims that God is present in all things.
Spinoza argues that the human mind is a part of the infinite intellect of God (II, Prop. XI, Corollary). All ideas are present in the intellect of God. Ideas are true and adequate insofar as they refer to God. Ideas that logically follow from adequate ideas are also adequate. Ideas are false and inadequate insofar as they do not express the essence of God.
According to Spinoza, an idea is adequate and perfect insofar as it represents knowledge of the eternal and infinite essence of God. Spinoza says that, since the idea of anything actually existing must come from God, the human mind is capable of knowing God (II, Prop. XLV).
For Spinoza, the will cannot be separated from the intellect. There is no such thing as free will, because the human mind is determined in its willing by a cause other than itself. God�s will, which has no cause other than itself, reveals itself by necessity rather than by freedom. Thus, Spinoza explains that the will can only be a necessary cause of action, and not a free cause of action (I, Prop. XXXII).
Spinoza also argues that from any idea, an effect must necessarily follow. Insofar as an idea adequately refers to God, its effect is caused immediately by God. Insofar as an idea inadequately refers to God, its effect has intermediary causes and is not caused immediately by God.
Spinoza explains that the human mind may have both adequate and inadequate ideas. The mind is active insofar as it has adequate ideas, and is passive insofar as it has inadequate ideas. The mind may have more or less adequate ideas, according to whether it is more or less subject to reason. The mind may have more or less inadequate ideas, according to whether it is more or less subject to emotion.
According to Spinoza there are three primary emotions: desire, pleasure, and pain. All emotions arise from desire, pleasure, or pain. Desire may arise from either pleasure or pain. Pleasure may be produced by a transition from a lesser to a greater state of perfection. Pain may be produced by a transition from a greater to a lesser state of perfection.
For Spinoza, perfection is the same as reality II, Def. VI). The more perfect a thing is, the more real it is. Inasmuch as God is absolutely perfect, God is also absolutely real. God is infinitely perfect and infinitely real.
Spinoza claims that the more perfect a thing is, the more active and less passive it is. The more active a thing is, the more it becomes perfect (IV, Prop. XL). Perfection and imperfection are modes of thought.2 The mind is most perfect when it knows God.
Spinoza argues that knowledge of good and evil arises from the awareness of what causes pleasure and pain. The greatest good of the mind, and its greatest virtue, is to know God (IV, Prop. XXVIII). To act with virtue is to act according to reason (IV, Prop. XXXVI). If we act according to reason, then we desire only what is good. If we act according to reason, then we try to promote what is good not only for ourselves but for others. Freedom is the ability to act according to reason. Freedom is not the ability to make free, undetermined choices. Freedom is the ability to act rationally and to control the emotions. Servitude is the inability to act rationally or to control the emotions.
Spinoza admits that all emotions may not necessarily conflict with reason. Emotions which agree with reason may cause pleasure, while emotions which do not agree with reason may cause pain. Inability to control the emotions may cause pain.
According to Spinoza, pain is the knowledge of evil. Pain arises from inadequate ideas, i.e. ideas which do not adequately express the essence of God. Knowledge of evil is thus inadequate knowledge (IV, Prop. XIV). Pleasure is knowledge of what is good. Pleasure arises from adequate ideas, i.e. ideas which adequately express the essence of God. Knowledge of good is thus adequate knowledge.
Spinoza argues that to live according to reason is to live freely, and is not to live in servitude to the emotions. If we act according to reason, then we are guided by love and good-will and not by fear or hatred.
Spinoza maintains that reason can control the emotions. Reason is virtue, and virtue is love toward God. The more we love God, the more we are able to control our emotions (V, Prop. XLII, Proof). The better we can control our emotions, the better we can understand God.
For Spinoza, the more active the mind is, the more adequately it knows God. The more passive the mind is, the less adequately it knows God. The more active the mind is, the more it is able to avoid emotions which are evil. The more passive the mind is, the more it accepts emotions which are evil.
The question arises as to whether Spinoza�s philosophy is able to reconcile the existence of good with the existence of evil, or the existence of truth with the existence of falsehood. If God is infinite substance, then how can any kind of evil or falsehood occur? If God is perfect, then how can God allow the existence of evil or suffering? Spinoza�s answer is that evil is a lack of good and that falsehood is a lack of truth. Error and falsehood arise from inadequate knowledge of God. Knowledge of evil arises from inadequate ideas, i.e. ideas that do not adequately refer to God. Knowledge of good arises from adequate ideas, i.e. ideas that adequately refer to God.
Spinoza argues that all ideas are found in God, but that ideas are true only insofar as they adequately refer to God. Truth is adequate knowledge, but falsehood is inadequate knowledge.
Friday, January 14, 2011
In an interview published by Time magazine, with George Sylvester Viereck, Einstein spoke of his feelings about Christianity. Viereck was a Nazi sympathizer who was jailed in America during WW II for being a German propagandist. But at the time of the interview Einstein thought Viereck was Jewish.
Viereck began by asking Einstein if he considered himself a German or a Jew, to which Einstein responded that it was possible to be both. Einstein further elaborated that he considered nationalism to be "the measles of mankind."
Viereck moved along in the interview to ask Einstein if Jews should try to assimilate, to which Einstein replied that, "We Jews have been too eager to sacrifice our idiosyncrasies in order to conform."
Einstein was then asked to what extent he was influenced by Christianity, to which Einstein replied as follows, "As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene."
Einstein was then asked if he accepted the "historical existence of Jesus," to which he replied, "Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life." TIME
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Isha (Yhsha) Upanishad
Translated and Commentated by Swami Paramananda From the original Sanskrit Text This volume is reverently dedicated to all seekers of truth and lovers of wisdom
This Upanishad desires its title from the opening words Isha–vasya, “God–covered.” The use of Isha (Lord)–a more personal name of the Supreme Being than Brahman, Atman or Self, the names usually found in the Upanishads–constitutes one of its peculiarities. It forms the closing chapter of the Yajur–Veda, known as Shukla (White). Oneness of the Soul and God, and the value of both faith and works as means of ultimate attainment are the leading themes of this Upanishad. The general teaching of the Upanishads is that works alone, even the highest, can bring only temporary happiness and must inevitably bind a man unless through them he gains knowledge of his real Self. To help him acquire this knowledge is the aim of this and all Upanishads.
OM! That (the Invisible–Absolute) is whole; whole is this (the visible phenomenal); from the Invisible Whole comes forth the visible whole. Though the visible whole has come out from that Invisible Whole, yet the Whole remains unaltered. OM! PEACE! PEACE! PEACE!
The indefinite term “That” is used in the Upanishads to designate the Invisible–Absolute, because no word or name can fully define It. A finite object, like a table or a tree, can be defined; but God, who is infinite and unbounded, cannot be expressed by finite language. Therefore the Rishis or Divine Seers, desirous not to limit the Unlimited, chose the indefinite term “That” to designate the Absolute. In the light of true wisdom the phenomenal and the Absolute are inseparable. All existence is in the Absolute; and whatever exists, must exist in It; hence all manifestation is merely a modification of the One Supreme Whole, and neither increases nor diminishes It. The Whole therefore remains unaltered.
I - All this, whatsoever exists in the universe, should be covered by the Lord. Having renounced (the unreal), enjoy (the Real). Do not covet the wealth of any man. We cover all things with the Lord by perceiving the Divine Presence everywhere. When the consciousness is firmly fixed in God, the conception of diversity naturally drops away; because the One Cosmic Existence shines through all things. As we gain the light of wisdom, we cease to cling to the unrealities of this world and we find all our joy in the realm of Reality.
The word “enjoy” is also interpreted by the great commentator Sankaracharya as “protect,” because knowledge of our true Self is the greatest protector and sustainer. If we do not have this knowledge, we cannot be happy; because nothing on this external plane of phenomena is permanent or dependable. He who is rich in the knowledge of the Self does not covet external power or possession.
II- If one should desire to live in this world a hundred years, one should live performing Karma (righteous deeds). Thus thou mayest live; there is no other way. By doing this, Karma (the fruits of thy actions) will not defile thee. If a man still clings to long life and earthly possessions, and is therefore unable to follow the path of Self–knowledge (Gnana–Nishta) as prescribed in the first Mantram (text), then he may follow the path of right action (Karma–Nishta). Karma here means actions performed without selfish motive, for the sake of the Lord alone. When a man performs actions clinging blindly to his lower desires, then his actions bind him to the plane of ignorance or the plane of birth and death; but when the same actions are performed with surrender to God, they purify and liberate him.
III - After leaving their bodies, they who have killed the Self go to the worlds of the Asuras, covered with blinding ignorance. The idea of rising to bright regions as a reward for well–doers, and of falling into realms of darkness as a punishment for evil–doers is common to all great religions. But Vedanta claims that this condition of heaven and hell is only temporary; because our actions, being finite, can produce only a finite result. What does it mean “to kill the Self?” How can the immortal Soul ever be destroyed? It cannot be destroyed, it can only be obscured. Those who hold themselves under the sway of ignorance, who serve the flesh and neglect the Atman or the real Self, are not able to perceive the effulgent and indestructible nature of their Soul; hence they fall into the realm where the Soul light does not shine. Here the Upanishad shows that the only hell is absence of knowledge. As long as man is overpowered by the darkness of ignorance, he is the slave of Nature and must accept whatever comes as the fruit of his thoughts and deeds. When he strays into the path of unreality, the Sages declare that he destroys himself; because he who clings to the perishable body and regards it as his true Self must experience death many times.
IV - That One, though motionless, is swifter than the mind. The senses can never overtake It, for It ever goes before. Though immovable, It travels faster than those who run. By It the all–pervading air sustains all living beings. This verse explains the character of the Atman or Self. A finite object can be taken from one place and put in another, but it can only occupy one space at a time. The Atman, however, is present everywhere; hence, though one may run with the greatest swiftness to overtake It, already It is there before him. Even the all–pervading air must be supported by this Self, since It is infinite; and as nothing can live without breathing air, all living things must draw their life from the Cosmic Self.
V - It moves and It moves not. It is far and also It is near. It is within and also It is without all this. It is near to those who have the power to understand It, for It dwells in the heart of every one; but It seems far to those whose mind is covered by the clouds of sensuality and self– delusion. It is within, because It is the innermost Soul of all creatures; and It is without as the essence of the whole external universe, infilling it like the all–pervading ether.
VI - He who sees all beings in the Self and the Self in all beings, he never turns away from It (the Self).
VII - He who perceives all beings as the Self’ for him how can there be delusion or grief, when he sees this oneness (everywhere) ? He who perceives the Self everywhere never shrinks from anything, because through his higher consciousness he feels united with all life. When a man sees God in all beings and all beings in God, and also God dwelling in his own Soul, how can he hate any living thing? Grief and delusion rest upon a belief in diversity, which leads to competition and all forms of selfishness. With the realization of oneness, the sense of diversity vanishes and the cause of misery is removed.
VIII - He (the Self) is all–encircling, resplendent, bodiless, spotless, without sinews, pure, untouched by sin, all–seeing, all–knowing, transcendent, self–existent; He has disposed all things duly for eternal years. This text defines the real nature of the Self. When our mind is cleansed from the dross of matter, then alone can we behold the vast, radiant, subtle, ever–pure and spotless Self, the true basis of our existence.
IX - They enter into blind darkness who worship Avidya (ignorance and delusion); they fall, as it were, into greater darkness who worship Vidya (knowledge).
X - By Vidya one end is attained; by Avidya, another. Thus we have heard from the wise men who taught this.
XI - He who knows at the same time both Vidya and Avidya, crosses over death by Avidya and attains immortality through Vidya. Those who follow or “worship” the path of selfishness and pleasure (Avidya), without knowing anything higher, necessarily fall into darkness; but those who worship or cherish Vidya (knowledge) for mere intellectual pride and satisfaction, fall into greater darkness, because the opportunity which they misuse is greater. In the subsequent verses Vidya and Avidya are used in something the same sense as “faith” and “works” in the Christian Bible; neither alone can lead to the ultimate goal, but when taken together they carry one to the Highest. Work done with unselfish motive purifies the mind and enables man to perceive his undying nature. From this he gains inevitably a knowledge of God, because the Soul and God are one and inseparable; and when he knows himself to be one with the Supreme and Indestructible Whole, he realizes his immortality.
XII - They fall into blind darkness who worship the Unmanifested and they fall into greater darkness who worship the manifested.
XIII - By the worship of the Unmanifested one end is attained; by the worship of the manifested, another. Thus we have heard from the wise men who taught us this.
XIV - He who knows at the same time both the Unmanifested (the cause of manifestation) and the destructible or manifested, he crosses over death through knowledge of the destructible and attains immortality through knowledge of the First Cause (Unmanifested). This particular Upanishad deals chiefly with the Invisible Cause and the visible manifestation, and the whole trend of its teaching is to show that they are one and the same, one being the outcome of the other hence no perfect knowledge is possible without simultaneous comprehension of both. The wise men declare that he who worships in a one–sided way, whether the visible or the invisible, does not reach the highest goal. Only he who has a co–ordinated understanding of both the visible and the invisible, of matter and spirit, of activity and that which is behind activity, conquers Nature and thus overcomes death. By work, by making the mind steady and by following the prescribed rules given in the Scriptures, a man gains wisdom. By the light of that wisdom he is able to perceive the Invisible Cause in all visible forms. Therefore the wise man sees Him in every manifested form. They who have a true conception of God are never separated from Him. They exist in Him and He in them.
XV - The face of Truth is hidden by a golden disk. O Pushan (Effulgent Being)! Uncover (Thy face) that I, the worshipper of Truth, may behold Thee.
XVI - O Pushan! O Sun, sole traveller of the heavens, controller of all, son of Prajapati, withdraw Thy rays and gather up Thy burning effulgence. Now through Thy Grace I behold Thy blessed and glorious form. The Purusha (Effulgent Being) who dwells within Thee, I am He. Here the sun, who is the giver of all light, is used as the symbol of the Infinite, giver of all wisdom. The seeker after Truth prays to the Effulgent One to control His dazzling rays, that his eyes, no longer blinded by them, may behold the Truth. Having perceived It, he proclaims: “Now I see that that Effulgent Being and I are one and the same, and my delusion is destroyed.” By the light of Truth he is able to discriminate between the real and the unreal, and the knowledge thus gained convinces him that he is one with the Supreme; that there is no difference between himself and the Supreme Truth; or as Christ said, “I and my Father are one.”
XVII - May my life–breath go to the all–pervading and immortal Prana, and let this body be burned to ashes. Om! O mind, remember thy deeds! O mind, remember, remember thy deeds! Remember! Seek not fleeting results as the reward of thy actions, O mind! Strive only for the Imperishable. This Mantram or text is often chanted at the hour of death to remind one of the perishable nature of the body and the eternal nature of the Soul. When the clear vision of the distinction between the mortal body and the immortal Soul dawns in the heart, then all craving for physical pleasure or material possession drops away; and one can say, let the body be burned to ashes that the Soul may attain its freedom; for death is nothing more than the casting–off of a worn–out garment.
XVIII - O Agni (Bright Being)! Lead us to blessedness by the good path. O Lord! Thou knowest all our deeds, remove all evil and delusion from us. To Thee we offer our prostrations and supplications again and again.
Here ends this Upanishad
This Upanishad is called Isa–Vasya Upanishad, that which gives Brahma–Vidya or knowledge of the All–pervading Deity. The dominant thought running through it is that we cannot enjoy life or realize true happiness unless we consciously “cover” all with the Omnipresent Lord. If we are not fully conscious of that which sustains our life, how can we live wisely and perform our duties? Whatever we see, movable or immovable, good or bad, it is all “That.” We must not divide our conception of the universe; for in dividing it, we have only fragmentary knowledge and we thus limit ourselves.
He who sees all beings in his Self and his Self in all beings, he never suffers; because when he sees all creatures within his true Self, then jealousy, grief and hatred vanish. He alone can love. That AH–pervading One is self– effulgent, birthless, deathless, pure, untainted by sin and sorrow. Knowing this, he becomes free from the bondage of matter and transcends death. Transcending death means realizing the difference between body and Soul and identifying oneself with the Soul. When we actually behold the undecaying Soul within us and realize our true nature, we no longer identify ourself with the body which dies and we do not die with the body.
Self–knowledge has always been the theme of the Sages; and the Upanishads deal especially with the knowledge of the Self and also with the knowledge of God, because there is no difference between the Self and God. They are one and the same. That which comes out of the Infinite Whole must also be infinite; hence the Self is infinite. That is the ocean, we are the drops. So long as the drop remains separate from the ocean, it is small and weak; but when it is one with the ocean, then it has all the strength of the ocean. Similarly, so long as man believes himself to be separate from the Whole, he is helpless; but when he identifies himself with It, then he transcends all weakness and partakes of Its omnipotent qualities.