Wednesday, April 10, 2013

VII: 13

Chapter 7, Verse 13

"Because many are deluded
By this shadow-play
Of the triple-strand of Nature,
They do not recognize me,
Supreme and timeless."

Father Bede Griffiths:

Prakriti is composed of the three Gunas, and we are under the spell of these powers of Nature, not understanding that they all depend upon something/someone beyond.  This lack of understanding is related to what Maya is, which comes from the root, "Ma," which means "to measure."  We find this root in so many words, like "matter," that which can be measured.  It is also the root of the word, "moon," the Moon being that body by which our months are measured.  Maya is the measuring element in Nature.

Sri Krishna Prem:

The eye of flesh sees but the changing forms, and, holding fast to them, is utterly deluded by the false show of things.  This divine illusion is indeed hard to cross, because long ages spent in grappling with material things have taught our minds to dwell exclusively on what is without.

A doctor, trained to look at bodies in terms of health and disease, does not with facility see with the artist's vision, and we, who owe our mastery over Nature to this fidelity to outward appearance, only with sustained practice can pass to the higher vision and reverse our customary modes of thinking.

Alan Watts:

When I was just fourteen, I saw my first landscape painting from China.  It was called Mountain After Rain, and it showed the mist and clouds drifting away after a rainstorm.  It somehow pulled me into it and made me feel a part of that mountain scene.

When the mind of traditional China expresses its religious feeling, it finds appropriate imagery in the objects of Nature.  In this very important respect the feeling for Nature is different from ours.  The contrast arises as a result of the sensation that, for the traditional Chinese, the human being is not someone who stands apart from Nature, looking at it as if from the outside, but instead as an integral part of it.  Instead of dominating Nature, humans fit right into it and feel perfectly at home.

In the West, our attitude is strangely different, as evidenced by such phrases as "the conquest of Nature, the conquest of space and the conquest" of great mountains like Everest.  One might very well ask...

What on Earth is the matter with you?

Why must you feel like you're in a fight with your environment all the time?

Aren't you grateful to the mountain for lifting you up as you climb to the top?

Aren't you grateful to space for the way it opens itself up to you so that you can travel right through it?

Why do you even think of getting into a fight with it?

Instead of a devotional attitude towards Mother Earth and her enveloping ocean of air, a domineering attitude underlies our use of technology.  We use the powers of electricity, steel and concrete to carry on a battle with our external world.  Instead of trying to live in harmony with the curvature of the land, for example, we flatten it with bulldozers and constantly try to beat our surroundings into submission.

The problem is that we have been brought up in a religious and philosophical tradition which to a great extent has taught us to mistrust the world of Nature that penetrates us and therefore in the process to mistrust ourselves.

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