Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fascinating Quote on Lila and Why We're Here

Found this on Wikipedia:

Brahman is full of all perfections. And to say that Brahman has some purpose in creating the world will mean that it wants to attain through the process of creation something which it has not. And that is impossible. Hence, there can be no purpose of Brahman in creating the world. The world is a mere spontaneous creation of Brahman. It is a Lila, or sport, of Brahman. It is created out of Bliss, by Bliss and for Bliss. Lila indicates a spontaneous sportive activity of Brahman as distinguished from a self-conscious volitional effort. The concept of Lila signifies freedom as distinguished from necessity.

—Ram Shanker Misra, The Integral Advaitism of Sri Aurobindo

Monday, May 28, 2012

Blogger Found Alive, Dazed

Well, good god. The Coil article's long since handed in (probably twice as long as it's supposed to be)... this past semester was the craziest on record and now I'm facing either a massively expanded workload in my department chair job or poverty and relative freedom if I return to the ranks... our dear daughter is home for the summer from The Fancy School (hallelujah!), and I'm having the unexpected joy, as they say, of teaching a class on Hinduism at the Unitarian church Sophia and I attend because she's a lapsed Baptist and I'm a Kali worshiper and this is East Podunk and we don't remotely fit in anywhere.

For the first time I've been taking a tour through Hinduism from the perspective of the curious outsider rather than the believer, and it's been like a banquet in a dream resort. There was the austere appetizer course of Advaita-- sutras like raw fish, Nisargadatta's and Ramana Maharshi's bracing discourses like vodka from the freezer. Now, it's plates piled high with gooey Vaishnavism and a side of firm, flavorful Bhagavad Gita; sweet bhajans, champagne buzz from a bio of Chaitanya, and all the lush, eye-candy psychedelic religious art you can eat: Radha and Krishna covered in lotus blossoms; nearly-nude gopis bathing, serenaded by their Lord; Arjuna staggered by the Cosmic Form of Krishna who chants, "I am become death, destroyer of worlds."

Then we'll move on to some tasty Shaiva cosmology and gamey folk-tales of the priapic, stoned Lord of Meeting Rivers, accompanied by the great vacanas of Akka Mahadevi, and for dessert we'll have Kali, of course, since, like Ramprasad, we "want to eat sugar, not become sugar."

And the people at church are thanking me for doing it!

This is always the hardest part: finishing the blog post, thinking of something clever or appropriately summative. So I think I'll just bow, in my heart, to my dear Guru whose presence is stronger than ever, though I think it's been nearly ten years since we were even in the same area code, and bow to my Sophia, whom my Guru says should be my Goddess, and bow to my kids--my associate gurus-- and bow to my beautiful Kali whose wild lila has swirled us all together. Namastasye, namastasye, namastasye... I bow, and bow, and bow again, my Loves.