Sunday, July 19, 2009

Kalibhakta Sutra, Part Two

Verse 2:
Evolution happens.


Here the chaos of Verse 1 is companioned with order. It is important to understand, however, that "order" here little resembles its Euclidean or Cartesian counterparts-- it is not a state of perfection or freedom from irregularity, but rather a set of interconnected, self-similar patterns that form part of a larger, cosmic pattern. Though a picture of the entire universe must ever be elusive, Kalibhakta reminds us in an undated journal entry that, like the Mandelbrot Set with its interconnected, infinitely iterated mini-versions of itself, the macrocosm also mirrors itself endlessly. In a moment of intellectual crisis, he is said to have asked his Holy Guardian Angel if there could be such a thing as an ultimate pattern or tendency in the universe, to which She replied "Yes. Evolution." Of course "evolution" is understood as distinct from "progress."

Again we find it valuable to consult Monier-Williams. We are reminded that the very name of the Deity in Sanskrit, Brahman, means "'growth,' 'expansion,' 'evolution.'" The choice of the adjectival vakva ("winding about, rolling, bubbling") underscores the sense here of evolution as a nonlinear process and may be a product of Kalibhakta’s fascination with dissipative structures and the concept of "maximum entropy production," in which seeming disorder is synonymous with extravagant creativity and diversity. Vakva is also used in the Rg Veda to describe the divine libation Soma. Soma, like evolution itself, represents a bridge between matter and spirit. Kalibhaktian exegesis tends to interpret Soma not as a drug but as the upward flow of shakti within the devotee as he or she evolves in consciousness to become one with God.

One must remember that Kalibhakta's translations tend toward the pithy and are at times burdened with the colloquial. This verse might be more thoroughly translated as "The nature of Godhead is a nonlinear evolutionary unfolding which is mirrored throughout and indistinguishable from the cosmos."

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