I was reminded of this when seeing an advertisement. In a little over a year, the Kumbh Mela will gather Hindus at the sacred Gandhara at Nashik. already Hindu’s are preparing too attend. I have seen pilgrims immerse themselves both at Nashik and the nearby sacred temple of Trimbakeshwar, both men and women immersed and emerging, kin freshly wrapped in clean cloth. So, I wonder if the Hindu veneration of sacred sites such as the Ganges teach us this.
Western truth is a cellular and compartmentalised and Eastern truths are viewed merely as a frame of reference. To an Easterner science is like trying to see the world from a heliocentric world view you must transcend. Indian truth is an inner discovery that allows you to take the next step.
In Classical myth, Jupiter wanted control of the divine light, or fire, and punished Prometheus for taking knowledge out of the realm of archetypal purity and extending it to earth. It is as if by compassion the purity if the circle had been extended, drawn down to earth to form a spiral. The light of science may reached down to earth, but now corporation patents hold onto discovery with the inertia of the rings of Saturn.
Go to sacred sites like Sanchi, and the earth organism, like a cosmic egg, or temples like sacred mountains – magnetic sacred centres – draw our attention. However, all nature has hierarchies, like the hierarchy of chakras, each revealing one aspect of truths experience, so any religious truth is in fact only a part and never a whole.
Now, especially since world War II, people seek a Gestalt of integration. Where Western science is atomistic, society is seeking holism.
As Pierre Chardin reminds us, man has a “reflective consciousness” that can stand outside of data and consider his place in it.
However, in this dualistic world of opposites, many neglect the earth in pursuit of heaven, o since the physical dissolves like a body in cremation, care little of rubbish cast besides a temple. Ironically it is economic benefit that drives keeping tourist sites clean.
On an individual level, it has been said we change every seven years. The life of youth, power, psychological, social growth then individuality flower halfway through our 70 years. Then slowly fall our efforts dissolve, our society shrinks, all the psychic worth of work and family shrivel, and our power declines as we face death.
In the second half of life, personal truth requires we break through the constraints of our personal theories .
Sometimes it seems that in those – sadly it is all too few – who are truly moved by India’s implant their knowledge into the earth organism. As if some travelling gurus ritual symbols may implant the unclear impulse, and with the regularity of ritual exteriorize a vision embodied like a leaf. Would we with life allow the flower of revolution to descend, like Prometheus’ fire, its fruitage in mind, sacrifice the past, and our spirit be a seed for the future?
In India, people experience intense social pressure to conform. Yet it is the few who have defied that pressure that are honoured as gurus and saints.
We need to see the world not just in our heads, or through the lens of social pressure or reflexive conditioning, but as a holistic living experience both felt and thought. We live in a world needing planetary experience.
Be it by the kavannah of a heart offered to heaven Jew before a meal, the sacred altar in the corner of a Hindu home, one in prostrations to Mecca, in every moment we need to make life a sacred experience.
Maybe , these will be for some mere words with ancient, archetypal echoes and for others a connection to a deeper inner self. At least it will encourage us to pause and see beyond the social and personal layers to find our real truth.
Perhaps a guru can transcend the physical to experience the divine. For most of us, we need to experience the sacred through life’s foibles, like the river shaped by its basin, that turns challenge into a sacred gift.