Lecture I.2.5 - The World Soul

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Lecture I.2.5 - The World Soul

Post by Clemsy » Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:39 pm

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Lecture I.2.5 - The World Soul

Download this Lecture: HERE

Read the Transcript: HERE
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
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Post by Martin_Weyers » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:56 am

Recently I saw a documentary about modern science and its relation to spirituality: Quantum physicists talking about the foundation of reality in terms of information rather than matter. At it’s ground, they say, there are no particles but relations, and that it makes no sense thinking of an objective world out there that is independent from us and so forth.

One starts wondering, which images, symbols or metaphors correspond to these insights. It’s amazing that contemporary arts seems to fail miserably, while Hinduist mythology offers at least two striking images: that of Dancing Vishnu and the dream symbols as depicted by Campbell in this lecture:
Another form of a much more genial sort is Vishnu. The principle representation of Vishnu is as a human form reclining on a serpent-- this serpent’s name being Ananta, which means unending. This is a serpent of seven heads, and it is floating on the cosmic ocean, that symbol of the world energy out of which all proceeds. The ocean is the first verse of the Bible. The water, the serpent and the human form reclining on it are equivalent figures in elemental, animal and human form respectably. But they all symbolize that dark source out of which all comes.

Now one may think of that source as the bottom of a pond. And then one may think of a lotus coming up through the waters of that pond and opening on the surface. So it is in the Vishnu image. Vishnu there is dreaming. He is dreaming the dream of the world. He is dreaming his own Māyā world, and it emerges from his navel in the form of a lotus. Now this lotus is the symbol of the universe itself as divinely given.

The word lotus padmā is the name of a Goddess Padmā, and she is the consort of Vishnu. Originally undoubtedly, she was that lotus herself. She is the world. Her womb is the lotus of the world within all beings are. But with the patriarchal emphasis of the latter Indian tradition, she was removed from the lotus, and you see her in the images now as the good Indian wife massaging her sleeping husband’s foot. But there is a little secret there-- it is that massage which is stimulating the dream. She is still Śakti. And what is he dreaming about-- her.

But instead of having her on the lotus, there is now put this masculine God who’s actually a rather late invention Brahmā. There he sits with his four faces facing the four directions, imagining that he is creating the world. These then are the three deities-- Brahmā, who is the creator in the light world-- he is all light and radiance, Vishnu, the dreamer of the cosmic dream. And just as all the figures in your dream are aspects and portions of yourself, so are we as figures in Vishnu’s dream, aspects of portions of Vishnu. We are all identical in Vishnu. And the goal of our yoga is going to be to realize ourselves in that identity.

Are there any other images you consider equally convincing? And where are the artists?

Martin
Works of art are indeed always products of having been in danger, of having gone to the very end in an experience, to where man can go no further. -- Rainer Maria Rilke
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Post by bodhibliss » Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:27 pm

Great question, Martin!

We don't have many (any?) images that speak to the quantum realm apart from those supplied by scientists - the fractal pattern of the Mandelbrot set, illustrating the holographic nature of the universe and the order that emerges out of chaos, is the immediate image that springs to mind.

As for artists, Alex Grey (www.alexgrey.com) seems someone who touches on quantum realms ...
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Post by areti » Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:32 pm

Martin, I would be interested in seeing the documentary to which you refer. Would you please tell me the name of it?

It seems to be as though the Vishnu metaphor fits the scientific explanation like a glove.

Bodhibliss, I am not sure how an illustration of the holographic nature of the universe would serve as a myth even though it would be suitably substantiated by scientific knowledge. A myth is a metaphor for life and the illustration might be too literal to tap the depth.

But then I don't understand why we need any new myths at all and how/why these myths need to be any different to the ones we currently have. Perhaps this is because of my limited understanding of quantum physics (though of course I have heard such things as nothing exists in the physical world that is not in relationship to something else and that particles can come into existence out of apparently 'no-thing'), or some other misunderstanding.

Campbell has used the Jesus myth/symbol/metaphor (according to The Book of Thomas and to parts of the bible that have not been completely rewritten) on many occasions to point to the essence of what we are. So, it seems to me that we in the 'modern', mostly Christain world are not short of a myth but just persisting in reading the available myth literally (physiologically/historically/phenomenally) . And, further, I reckon that Jesus is a metaphor that fits the scientific explanation perfectly, just as does Vishnu.


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Post by Ercan2121 » Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:00 pm

areti wrote: Campbell has used the Jesus myth/symbol/metaphor (according to The Book of Thomas and to parts of the bible that have not been completely rewritten) on many occasions to point to the essence of what we are. So, it seems to me that we in the 'modern', mostly Christain world are not short of a myth but just persisting in reading the available myth literally (physiologically/historically/phenomenally) . And, further, I reckon that Jesus is a metaphor that fits the scientific explanation perfectly, just as does Vishnu.
Areti,
Let's think over about the title of this thread, it's Word Soul and I think that this name implies something greater than any geographic region of the world. Namely, in this age, it is no more possible to limit civilization with modern Europe or North America.
So, in addition to our religions, belief systems and cultural values, we have to find some new uniting principle for whole of humanity. Campbell talks of 'being a Frenchman and a human being at the same time'. We're not asked to leave our own culture but I think that the circumstances are encouraging (or maybe forcing?) everybody to make some extra effort to understand 'others, too'.
The world, I think, needs a new myth not because there's something wrong with this or that religious understanding but because we cannot unite whole of humanity under the same national/religious flag.
This should be one of reasons that we are seeking some new, uniting basis for whole of us and sometimes we're taking inspiration from science (QM, Biology, etc.). Thanks
Last edited by Ercan2121 on Tue May 22, 2012 11:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by areti » Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:39 pm

Ercan2121,

It seems we are saying the same thing when you say we need a myth ‘because we cannot unite (the) whole of humanity under the same national/religious flag’ and I say ‘in the 'modern', mostly Christain world are not short of a myth but just persisting in reading the available myth literally (physiologically/historically/phenomenally)’.

I say the same of most religious groups, that is, they read the myths literally. Or, they read the myths in a way where they do not, as you say, ‘make some extra effort to understand 'others, too' and, as a result, ‘we have to find some new uniting principle for (the) whole of humanity’.

The current myths provide this uniting principle; it is just in interpreting the myths that we all fail. We will not see that the symbols in all religious denomination point to the same uniting essence and that they all use comparable myths/symbols for the world/the universe/us /life.

The Vishu myth points to the elemental/uniting aspect of existence, the unknown. It is ‘unknown’ for in it there is no-thing to know anything - just like what is behind the mirror when there is no-one in front of it (I loved Campbell's description of the cat and the mirror in these tapes).

The myth also provides us with guidance as to how we are to live our lives - as equal/’identical’ dream characters/subjects in Vishu’s dream (chairs, trees, grass, cars, beasts, war mongers etc are equal/'identical' ).
And just as all the figures in your dream are aspects and portions of yourself, so are we as figures in Vishnu’s dream, aspects of portions of Vishnu. We are all identical in Vishnu. And the goal of our yoga is going to be to realize ourselves in that identity. Campbell

The Vishnu myth guides us, like the goddess herself and,
relieve(s) us of the commitment to our bodies, and relieve(s) us of the fear of death-- give(s) us rather the sense of returning to our source-- (s)he can be said to free us from this little ego ring that binds us in. Campbell
Campbell says also that in the myth of the goddess there is the
... notion of the ever-evolving world, the world against which there is no use fighting-- acquiescence, acquiescence, acquiescence in the laws of the universe that are given from a source that cannot be touched.
There is only acceptance for life, the world and others in this guidance. There is only unity, even when there is apparent discord. These myths both point us to that
which in Buddhism is called the “immovable point,” that center point, that hub around which the whole ever-proceeding vortex revolves. Campbell
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Post by Ercan2121 » Tue May 22, 2012 11:14 pm

areti wrote:
The Vishnu myth guides us, like the goddess herself and,
relieve(s) us of the commitment to our bodies, and relieve(s) us of the fear of death-- give(s) us rather the sense of returning to our source-- (s)he can be said to free us from this little ego ring that binds us in. Campbell
Campbell says also that in the myth of the goddess there is the
... notion of the ever-evolving world, the world against which there is no use fighting-- acquiescence, acquiescence, acquiescence in the laws of the universe that are given from a source that cannot be touched.
So true, Areti, we all long for Mother principle, the other half of any natural model.
I think that modern society's too much masculine, political and unhappy :(
At least, that's how i read your comprehensive arguments :)
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Post by CarmelaBear » Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:23 pm

Campbell expresses an appreciative knowledge of the sacred world that "cannot be touched". His greatness as a teacher is awesome.

8)
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by Ercan2121 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:05 am

CarmelaBear wrote:Campbell expresses an appreciative knowledge of the sacred world that "cannot be touched". His greatness as a teacher is awesome.

8)
-that cannot be touched or verbalized; is-this our common esothericism or the real
story of human body?
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Post by CarmelaBear » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:56 pm

Ercan2121 wrote:
CarmelaBear wrote:Campbell expresses an appreciative knowledge of the sacred world that "cannot be touched". His greatness as a teacher is awesome.

8)
-that cannot be touched or verbalized; is-this our common esothericism or the real
story of human body?
If there is a common esoteric, the source has to be the human body. Nothing else can be identified as being universally present and universally experienced..

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Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by Nermin » Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:28 pm

Then, what can be the problem of majority of us when interpreting life and death?
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Post by CarmelaBear » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:22 pm

No problem, Nermin. None at all. It is the domain of every individual. Myth is only a clue.

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Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by Nermin » Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:54 am

CarmelaBear wrote:No problem, Nermin. None at all. It is the domain of every individual. Myth is only a clue.
~
I know thousands (and maybe even millions) who would do anything not
to start hero's cycle or the process of individuation, Carmela.

Isn't humanity -at least partlly- a victim of this indolence?
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Post by Martin_Weyers » Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:45 am

test
Works of art are indeed always products of having been in danger, of having gone to the very end in an experience, to where man can go no further. -- Rainer Maria Rilke
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Post by CarmelaBear » Wed Jul 29, 2015 1:00 pm

Test 2
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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