Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Bede Griffiths was a Christian monk who lived in South Indian and created "Christian Vedanta" -- a synthesis of Vedanta and Christianity.

"The Cosmic Cross bears the inscription: 'Saccidananda Namah' around the circle, and 'OM' at the centre of the cross. This means that we try to live our Benedictine Life in the context of Indian spirituality, that is, in the recognition of the Divine Presence in the whole cosmos and in the centre of our own being." --Dom Bede Grififiths

'Sat-Chit-Ananda', of course, is Sanskrit for "Being-Consciousness-Bliss", and is a synonym for Brahma, the creator. 'Namah' means "to bow down before" something. And 'Om' is perhaps best described as that certain kosmic je ne sais quoi.

Now that's a Christianity that I can approve of.

Friday, August 27, 2004

The Ramakrishna Kathamrita is usually or always translated The Gospel of Ramakrishna. This echoes The Gospel of St. Matthew, et al. -- the accounts of Jesus' life. The translator is drawing a parallel between Jesus and Ramakrishna. Which is ok, such as it is -- there are definitely parallels. But Jesus is Jesus and Ramakrishna is Ramakrishna. Their distinct personalities are part of their individual beauties.

I asked my wife what a literal translation of "Ramakrishna Kathamrita" would be. Turns out that it means "Story-nectar of Ramakrishna." But that's awkward. But I think that The Nectar of Ramakrishna works. So henceforth, that is how I shall refer to the book. Those who look at me quizzically when I do so shall receive this explanation.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

I just found volumes one and two of the (five volume) Gospel of Ramakrishna, AKA the Ramakrishna Kathamrita, online. Also, it's mirrored here.

The Ramakrishna Kathamrita is one of the most important spiritual documents in the last 200 years, indeed perhaps of all time. The mystical realization of Ramakrishna influenced, and probably gave rise to, the insights of Vivekananda, Aurobindo, Gandhi, and so forth on up to, in our time, Andrew Harvey, Ken Wilber and Stuart Davis. Ramakrishna is the intellectual godfather of the New Age movement and of the Integral Movement. There are few more important books. The unabridged version is over 1000 pages, so might as well get started!

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Steven Johnson gives an account of progress on the exterior political collective (Lower-Left quadrant).

Monday, August 23, 2004

Enjoyed Facets Multimedia's Bernardo Bertolucci Film Festival. Fifty years of Italian history through the eyes of a communist in the director's cut of 1900. Experienced timeless Saharan Arab culture in The Sheltering Sky.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Kubrick's star-child is one of the first visions of the transhuman. It also makes Kubrick perhaps the first transhumanistic filmmakers.
We saw Troy (again) last night, and I had a few thoughts.
1. Achilles' impiety -- his lack of respect towards the gods of his time -- resembles Socrates' impiety. He sort of represents the emergence of red egotistic mentality from purple tribalism, just as Socrates represents the orange rationalistic mentality emerging from blue myth.

2. The key line is: "The gods envy us. They envy us because we are mortal. Because every moment could be our last, and everything is more beautiful because we are doomed."

For some odd reason, I connect this with the difference between Aurobindo and Ramana Maharshi. Ramana Maharshi says that waking life is not different from dream life. They are both basically illusion from which one must awaken to realize the Absolute Self.

Aurobindo says (reflecting, I believe, the influence of Western thought): No, that's wrong. Waking life is important. We are here on Earth for a short time. We must grow and evolve in the life we are given, and as we evolve, God grows and evolves.

3. There is a process by which v-memes become mundane. That is, at one point long ago in human history, Romanticism didn't exist except as a stage through which only the most gifted mystics passed. Then in the sixteenth century, it became more common. It sort of came down to Earth from Heaven. Historians refer to that event, when the green meme came down to Earth and became mainstream, as the Romantic Movement. It, of course, had major socio-political ramifications on human history.

Perhaps we can use this example to understand what Aurobindo refers to as something like 'bringing down the Overmind'. He is referring to the process by which mystical, transpersonal realms become common, mainstream memes, features of human history.

Perhaps we could go further and speculate that as Aurobindo was deep in contemplation in Pondicherry for thirty years, he not just gathering a cultish group of followers around him. Perhaps he was, as he claimed, bringing down the oversoul -- making real and concrete and mainstream what was previously rare and fleeting. It would be difficult to know what the effects of Aurobindo's contemplation, but we could speculate.
a. We have now had several political figures who opposed violence with spiritual power. They were called Gandhiji, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela.

b. We also now have a medium by which thoughts can be communicated immediately, without regard for distance or space, which one could call a sphere of the subtle realm. It is called the Internet.

c. We also have a mainstream New Age author who is bringing Aurobindo's theories and Ramana's spirituality to the masses. He is named Ken Wilber.

These thoughts are surely heretically speculative. But they are the thoughts that I had.

Stuart Davis, one of the most important singer-songwriter-mystic-musicians around, now has a weblog. Apparently, he has had one for some time and I'm just out of it. Enjoy!

Friday, August 06, 2004

Now that's what I call responsive!

Thursday, August 05, 2004

I just thought that it was completely hysterical that Walmart sells Oswald Spengler's The Decline of the West.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Someone should study the correlation between Tom Ridge's Terror Alerts and Bush's poll numbers.