Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Woes of Addiction to Transcendence

1.
What Christ spoke more than two millennium ago, the living message speaks equally true in our time and now. Then he spoke about the pharisees, the corrupt people of religious garb, self deluded spiritual teachers - all of whom were the archetype of addicts of transcendence in the time of Christ and to greater extent they still are the central villains who maintain, infect and propagate such ignorant addiction.

Rose on BibleAs this servant contemplated over the subject of Addiction to Transcendence, an oracle (consulting and asking for guidance and in surrender opening a page for inspiration) was done with a copy of New Testament. Following is a highlight from the passage which was shown on the first facing pages opened during the Oracle where Christ speaks now as he spoke when he spoke. The brief commentaries on the passages are in italic. Holy benediction be upon Christ and his blessed mother Mary.

2.
Seven Woes from Gospel According to Apostle Matthew

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: "The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

"Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them 'Rabbi.'

"But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher .."

When Christ speaks, 'you have only one Master and you are all brothers' he is giving the teaching of immanence (oneness of humankind) descending from the transcendence (divine oneness). At the same time whats important to note that he is advising that the sacred law given to Moses are to be obeyed - which is maintaining our vertical relationship with the Transcendence. So the teaching of addiction to transcendence must not be misunderstood as negating the transcendence but rather honoring its other part, immanence (the horizontal access) and thus making a wholesome relationship which is the condition to become holy.

"The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."

Servant is one who is at Service. Christ testifies for us that the station of the servanthood is the highest station. He says that from you those who serve you ('the greatest among you will be your servant') receive the highest honor from the Most High. Infact everything in the creation is at service, thus are instruments through which Divine glory manifests. The symbiosis of nature to the inter-penetrated interconnectedness in everything around us is the undeniable proof that each and everything is in service to each and every 'other'. Thus everything in creation is in the station of perpetual servanthood, is in the dynamic action of service.

There is none in the heavenly and the earthly planes but must come to Most Gracious Lord as a servant. - The Quran 19:93

Even Christ when his mother was challenged of her chastity when she gave birth to the Son of Man, this was the reply from Jesus Christ where he first identify himself as one in service to God, one who is servant of the Most High.


Jesus said: "I am indeed a servant of God: He has given me revelation and made me an awakener (Nabi); And He has made me blessed wheresoever I be, and has enjoined on me prayer and charity as long as I live. - The Quran, chapter of Mother Mary

When Muhammad, the Last Message bearer, upon him be holy benediction, was asked what is the best personal name one can have, he replied: Abd'Allah - Servant of The One - (Abd meaning servant).

Beatitude Christ Jesus Sermon
As Christ continues to speak in the Gospel of Matthew exposing and condemning the woes of addiction to transcendence, we hear from his holy lips:

"Woe to you, teachers of the religious law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

"Woe to you, teachers of the religious law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

"Woe to you, blind guides! You say, 'If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.' You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? You also say, 'If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.' You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? Therefore, he who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. And he who swears by heaven swears by God's throne and by the one who sits on it."

The addiction to transcendence is a replacement for the addiction to materialism. The addiction of later type (materialism) has always been present as it was during Christ's time and in the above section Christ was exposing the woes of such addiction.

"Woe to you, teachers of religious law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices- mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law - justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

"Woe to you, teachers of religious law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness."

Using the zen like parable of a cup which is cleaned on outside but left filthy in the inside, Christ gives us the ultimate woe of addiction to transcendence. Through our self delusion of being spiritual and religious, by putting on religious garb and going to temples, churches or mosques we try to fool ourselves by showing outside of the cup clean, yet the real work which is not seen but more real remain undone. As for the cup it is the inside that affects the quality of the drink, similar reality is applicable to the reality which is immanence, here and now which is the most certain reality we are situated in to know and live. The immanence is the living fountain of life from which we must drink by participating in it; thus the cup of our drink must be cleaned, most importantly from inside as well as outside. Yet by ignoring this immanence and shying away from serving the creation which is present in front of us we keep ourselves busy with the addiction of transcendence which Christ inform us with no unambiguous term as 'self-indulgence'. With the sword of haqq (truth) Christ rightly call this attitude hypocrisy and wickedness.

3.
Going back to the words of contemporary mystic and a lover of the sufi path Andrew Harvey, again from The Unknown She published by Golden Sufi:

"It is essential to know and see and experience that the world is the living manifestation of the glory, the power, the radiance of the Father-Mother's unbelievable passion and unbelievable love. .. So you see the world as totally holy. And when you see the world totally holy, you see yourself as totally responsible for the protection of every living thing in the world, and of beauty and of joy in the world, so the Mother's (Divine) truth can play out everywhere.

A Sufi text I love says, 'When you attain union, you are drawn near, and when you are drawn near you never fall asleep and the rays of sublime heartbreak engulf you.'

You see, on the path you're being led to the moment where you can be strong and surrendered enough to see the world in its total divine glory and also to feel the infinite pain of the infinite love that has created this glory and is trying to awaken the entire creation to its presence so that creation can become transfigured with its power and divine justice.

.. It includes the very real initiation into heartbreak, and into the tremendous passion and compassion that arise from the heartbreak, and into the living commitment to direct action in the world that is born from that tremendous compassion. That's Jesus' path, that's the Sufi path, that's the Buddha's path, that's St. Francis' path."

Rose in Hand, Sadiq, MysticSaint Photography4.
In sufi path the term 'heartbreak' has a profoundly different meaning than what it conveys conventionally in romantic sense . Its a condition that comes from identifying in real compassion the sufferings of this tear stained world and thus entering and merging into the ever passionate Heart of God. The sublime heartbreak about which the sufis talk about in the context of turning to immanence and recognizing the Presence of Real in creation is best said in one of the most beautiful saying where God speaks through his servant and instrument, Muhammad, the praised one:

"I Am with the one whose heart is broken for My sake."
- Sacred Tradition of Islam

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