In2-MeC

newly discovered entries of In2-DeepFreeze       First Generation Animations

Wroclaw, Poland
12 October 2003

As I announced in an earlier entry here, yesterday a flight took me away from Finland to Warsaw, Poland. I was picked up at the airport by Vidyagati and Rocana Prabhus. I took lunch at the Warsaw temple, then Rocana drove myself and Vidyagati to Wroclaw in his BMW. We stayed overnight in a vacated apartment that belongs to a devotee who is at the moment in India. Tomorrow we shall proceed further south, down to Prague.

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Everyone has heard of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I remember as a kid seeing the movie of that name on television, an old black-and-white thriller made in the 1930s. The "original" story was written by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886; its full title was The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll was a mild-mannered physician who, after drinking a potion that he'd developed in his laboratory, was transformed into the loathsome Mr. Hyde, a fiend given to horrendous violence. But this was all just a fiction, a creation of Stevenson's imagination.

Not quite.

Four years before he published Dr. Jekyll, Stevenson had collaborated with W. E. Henley to write a stage play called Deacon Brodie or the Double Life. This play explored the same theme as Dr. Jekyll, that is, the two sides of the human personality--the good side and the evil side. It turns out that Deacon Brodie was a real person who lived in Stevenson's city of Edinburgh one hundred years before. When Stevenson was a boy, his nurse used to tell him tales of the real-life William Brodie, who held the respectable position of Deacon (or head) of the Cabinetmakers' Guild. Brodie was also a city councilor and a man of considerable influence. Yet the same William Brodie was the leader of a band of armed robbers that had plundered the city for some time.

He used his respectability to learn the layout of the General Excise Office, the headquarters of Scotland's customs and tax department. That was also how he managed to make a copy of the key to the place. On the night of 8 March 1788 Brodie and his gang visited the Office again, this time to plunder it. However they only managed to filch some petty cash before they were interrupted by a lawyer, James Bonar, who'd come to the Office to collect some legal papers. The gang escaped but one of them, John Brown, soon made a deal with the authorities. He named two other gang members and said that the head of the outfit was a leading citizen of Edinburgh.

When these facts were reported in the press, Brodie fled Edinburgh for London and then to Amsterdam, where he was nabbed before he could board a ship for New York. He was taken back to Edinburgh and put on trial. The sentence was death by hanging. He tried to cheat the gallows by 1) bribing the hangman to use a short rope, 2) wearing a hidden steel band around his neck, and 3) having friends stand ready to take his body away immediately after the hanging was done. Unfortunately for Mr. Brodie, the authorities noticed the short rope and ordered the hangman to lengthen it. When Brodie dropped through the trapdoor on 1 October 1788, the longer rope snapped his neck.

In the system of analytic psychology taught bought C. G. Jung (whom Srila Prabhupada said was the most sensible of all the Western philosophers he'd discussed with his disciples), the criminal is symbolic of the Shadow (Jung's term for "the shadow self", i. e. the side of a person's identity that is mostly hidden in the shadow of the subconscious).

Now, devotees often question whether there is any sastric validity to be found such a notion coming from a Western psychologist. Well, as I have tried to show in the "transcendental psychology" series here in In2-MeC, Srila Prabhupada spoke of "the subconscious" as the storehouse of desires. In a song entitled Keno Hare Krsna Nam ("Oh Why While Chanting Hare Krsna"), Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura refers to the maner manush or "imaginary man of my mind" who appears to be the subtle material identity of the living entity that is indicated in this verse, from Srimad-Bhagavatam 1. 3. 32:

atah param yad avyaktam
avyudha-guna-brmhitam
adrstasruta-vastutvat
sa jivo yat punar-bhavah

Beyond this gross conception of form is another, subtle conception of form which is without formal shape and is unseen, unheard and unmanifest. The living being has his form beyond this subtlety, otherwise he could not have repeated births.

Anyway, according to Jung, the Shadow is the aspect of the mental self that is neglected by the dominant collective attitude of society. In the Shadow will be found brutal and animal tendencies, as well as more refined cravings that are denied open expression. Jung proposed that the urges of the Shadow should be sublimated, or given expression in a socially acceptable way. Otherwise these urges will become troublesome. The Shadow cannot simply be suppressed as it is as much a part of the personality as the "public" part is. Srila Prabhupada agreed with Jung's notion of sublimation. He said it was accomplished by devotional service.

The "public" side of our personality is called the Persona, defined in the dictionary as "the role that one assumes or displays in public or society; one's public image or personality, as distinguished from the inner self. " The Persona is said by some psychologists to be only one-quarter of the whole self, but it is the part with which we wholly identify.

This division of the ego into quarters is interesting from the Vedic point of view, because indeed the consciousness of the self is said to exist in four states simultaneously: 1) Vasudeva-sattva (above the 3 modes), 2) jagrata (the life of awakening, or the material mode of goodness), 3) svapna (dream, the mode of passion) and 4) susupti (unconsciousness, the mode of ignorance). The Persona is equivalent to the jagrata state.

The Shadow is said in analytical psychology to be "everything at work in the psyche apart from ordinary waking consciousness. " I would discount the Vasudeva aspect from the Shadow, since Vasudeva-sattva is transcendental to the dark shadow cast over consciousness by the false ego. Jagrata, svapna and susupti manifest within the ahamkara as false ego in three modes of nature. So the jagrata or wakeful ego is itself in shadow; but in mundame consciousness we take the jagrata ego to be our real self in relation to the dreaming and unconscious egos, which fall behind the wakeful Persona like a long dark shadow.

Sublimation means first to cultivate the mode of goodness, then to cultivate pure consciousness beyond the modes entirely. Narada Muni speaks about this cultivation here:

rajas tamas ca sattvena
sattvam copasamena ca
etat samam gurau bhaktya
puruso hy anjasa jayet

One must conquer the modes of passion and ignorance by developing the mode of goodness, and then one must become detached from the mode of goodness by promoting oneself to the platform of suddha-sattva. All this can be automatically done if one engages in the service of the spiritual master with faith and devotion. In this way one can conquer the influence of the modes of nature. (Bhag. 7. 15. 25)

So, looking back at the strange case of the double life of Deacon William Brodie, the respectable public side of his identity is the Persona. The Shadow is apparent as the criminal side of his nature. Brodie's criminal side defeated him because he had no means to purify his consciousness of the contamination of the modes of material nature. He had no way to raise himself from the darkness of the false ego. Therefore his personality was subject to the duality of good and evil.

Lord Siva presides over the false ego. Even in his personality we see two sides. The two sides are pointed out in this conversation at Navadvip, 27 June 1973:

Sridhara Maharaja: Differentiation on two sides is Siva. This side also, Master of Devi, and this side also. He is searching after something and when the differentiated world ends in Brahmaloka, there also Siva is devotee. This side, Siva is a yogi. He's searching after. And then, there, he's going to meet Narayana, to face (indistinct).

Prabhupada: Both sides, he's a devotee.

Sridhara Maharaja: This side, he's not such a devotee. But that is pure devotee on the other side, Vaikuntha.

Prabhupada: Ah. Sadasiva.

Sridhara Maharaja: Sadasiva, Maha-visnu. On the other side, he's a devotee. Vaisnavanam yatha sambhuh.

Prabhupada: Maha-visnu and Sadasiva, the same.

Sridhara Maharaja: Same.

Prabhupada: Advaitacarya.

Sridhara Maharaja: Advaitacarya. On the other side. and this side, sometimes revolving. The other day, I told a gentlemen that Siva is rather the leader of the opposition party.

Prabhupada: Yes, in Daksa-yajna, that is the curse.

Sridhara Maharaja: In Daksa-yajna and in many a place, many demons is encouraged by him. We find.

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