28 October 2004
I finished editing the 5 Transcendental Psychology articles that I published in In2-MeC last year. The articles will soon be published as chapters of a book.
Some devotees tell me the original articles are difficult to penetrate. I tried to make them easier going for the book. Though I made changes, I did not completely rewrite the 5 chapter articles. It remains to be seen if readers will understand more than before. I hope so.
The book is a product of my endeavor to cope with my own personal psychological challenge, depression. Mental health professionals classify depression as disease. Lots of books are in print about how bad depression is. Having studied this condition for years now, I agree: it is a disease, and it is bad. It's more than just sadness. A month ago, when I was told about a Godbrother's spiritual crisis, I became so depressed that I couldn't sleep for several nights. It's been rough right up till now.
Modern psychology doesn't know the cause of depression. Even Ayurveda as practiced today, as I have seen myself, doesn't go the full route. Today's Ayurveda attempts to treat depression by Panchakarma and medicine for the body. But about the subtleties of consciousness, there weren't clear, realized answers from the Ayurvedic physicians I spoke to.
Quite recently I came in touch with a mental health professional whose explains depression and other mental illnesses from the standpoint of consciousness. His teachings are very much in line with sastra. I am going to leave this person unnamed, for several reasons.
He says that prayer and meditation are the best means of purifying the mind. (Prayer and meditation, of course, are what devotees do when they chant japa. ) He advises his patients to be vegetarian and in general to live a sattvik life. And he teaches a model of the mind quite similar to the one that is taught in the Srimad-Bhagavatam and other Vedanta literature.
What particularly sets him apart from many other professionals are his views on the invasion of the mind by subtle entities. Now, when this topic is brought up, under such names as "possession" and "psychic attacks", it is viewed by mental health professionals as a superstition. On the other hand, those who do believe in it often do so because they think it's a neat way to excuse themselves of blame: "The devil made me do it. " But according to the teachings I'm describing, the invading entities take shape within the mental energy of a person's state of mind. The invaded person is responsible for what state his mind is in.
Let us take for example the depressed state of mind: being tamasic, depression plays host to tamasic entities that intensify the apathy, unhappiness, lack of energy, and loneliness that are typical of depression. Such entities do more than that. They can make a person mad. They take command of his activities. They haunt him.
Such subtle entities become "lords" of the inauspicious mental state (depression, for example). The mental energy these entities exert is actually our own. They "take a body", so to speak, from our mind-force. The control of that force is taken over by them. But their entry ticket--the inauspicious mental state--is our own making. It's a question of quality of mind.
What are these entities that enter the material mind and grow strong there? Srila Prabhupada gives this answer:
Krsna is described here as Madhusudana, the killer of the demon, Madhu. Madhu-kaitava-ari. So Arjuna was attacked by a demon of forgetting his duty, being too much afflicted by bodily relationship. This is our position. In this material world, we are so much attached to this bodily relationship that it is to be considered just like we are ghostly haunted. In a poetry, Prema-vivarta, it is said that pisace paile yena mati chana haya, maya-grasta jivera sei dasa upajaya.
Note that Srila Prabhupada said that Arjuna was attacked by the demon of doubt because he was too afflicted (depressed!) by bodily relationship. His affliction brought on the attack. The pisace paile verse Prabhupada quoted compares people in maya to people haunted by ghosts. So again, what are these entities that enter the material mind and grow strong there? Ghosts and demons, of which there are many kinds. Lust can be mentioned in this connection. Gita 3. 40 talks about lust invading the mind, intelligence and senses. In the purport Srila Prabhupada writes:
The enemy has captured different strategic positions in the body of the conditioned soul, and therefore Lord Krsna is giving hints of those places, so that one who wants to conquer the enemy may know where he can be found. Mind is the center of all the activities of the senses, and thus when we hear about sense objects the mind generally becomes a reservoir of all ideas of sense gratification; and, as a result, the mind and the senses become the repositories of lust.
This mental health professional teaches that deep and sincere prayer (e. g. chanting good rounds of the Hare Krsna mahamantra) purifies the mind, thus making it uninhabitable for such subtle entities of the darkness.
We know that when the mind is purified completely, perfectly spiritualized, it is host for pure spiritual entities. Doyal Nitai Caitanya bole nach re amar man, goes a song of Srila Bhaktivinoda's: "Chanting the holy names 'Doyal Nitai Caitanya'--O my mind, please dance!", which means that the purified mind dances with Lords Nitai and Caitanya as They appear within it.
I saw a book the other day about the psychopathic mentality. (A psychopath is not a raving crazy man, as one might suppose from hearing this word without knowing what it means; a psychopath is someone who leads a very primitive, self-centered emotional life, though in other areas he may appear normal. ) The psychopathic individual really has sympathy only for himself/herself. He/she can shed tears for himself/herself, but not for others. When the psychopath is punished for a violent crime, s/he only understands "I am being hurt. " S/he therefore expects of others, "You should feel sorry for me. " There's little sense of responsibility, that "I hurt this other person needlessly, therefore my hurt is deserved. " And of course there's no empathy--no resonance with the pain the victim feels. The other guy--the victim--deserved it, the psychopath believes.
Reading the curriculum vitae and psychological profile of a psychopath can induce in the reader a strong sense of creepiness. It seems like some dark force took the psychopath over to cover his conscience, his sense of guilt and responsibility, and his normal emotions.
I think that force is an entity of sinfulness. When someone--not a determined psychopath, just an average person who chooses to do wrong--gives up to sin, a limited sort of psychopathology manifests in the mind to help the sinner do the sin, to justify it, and to assure the sinner that he'll not be caught and punished for what he did.
According to sastra there is a papa-purusa, "sin personified", a universal controller of sinful activities. This entity invades minds that are infected with kuta, sinful propensity.
Kesava tuya jagata vicitra. Bhaktivinoda Thakura has sung that the Lord's creation is full of strange and wonderful variety. Commenting on this in a 1976 class, Srila Prabhupada said,
Vicitra means varieties. "So if God is kind, why He has made so many varieties?" Is this not the common question you meet? You are preaching. They inquire like this, "Why God is not kind to everyone? Why He has made this distinction?" So this is not God's creation. We should know that it is my creation. Therefore Prahlada Maharaja said, evam sva-karma-patitam. Just like a man is condemned to death. In the court the judge gives the judgement that "This murderer should be hanged. " So it is not the judge that he is giving order to the murderer to be hanged. It is the murderer who has created his situation, to be hanged.
There it is, plainly stated: "We should know that it is my creation. " A person in the grip of powerful sin personified got into that condition by his own dedication to sinfulness. Man proposes, God disposes. Anyway, there is another nature, the transcendental nature, with unlimitedly more variety than this material nature. The pure devotees, the mahatmas, Sri Krsna tells Arjuna in Gita, are under the protection of this nature, His own nature.
Chanting the holy names without offenses, that is this divine protection. Dedicate to that! I find that knowing clearly how the conditioned mind works, and how dedicated chanting rectifies the mind's conditioning, is a great help. Because the beginning is to give up mental speculation:
The process is how to become mahatma. That process is recommended by Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Not it is His manufactured process, but it is recommended in the Vedic sastra. What is that? Jnane prayasam udapasya namanta eva. The process is don't try to speculate on God. Give up this process, this bad habit. You cannot speculate. No. Jnane prayasa.
This is called jnana. Jnana means knowledge, acquired knowledge. Everyone is trying to. . . Nobody is interested now to understand what is God, but there are some. But they are trying to understand God by mental speculation. So Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, "This practice should be given up, speculation. " Jnane prayasam udapasya namanta eva. Just become submissive, namanta. Don't think that "I am very learned scholar. I can manufacture my own way how to find out God," or "I am God," and so on, so on. This practice should be given up. Just become humble and meek. Jnane prayasam udapasya namanta eva.
"Then what shall I do, becoming humble and meek?" San-mukharitam bhavadiya-vartam. You try to understand about God from a God-realized person. That you do. That will help you. Sthane sthitah. There is no need of changing your position. You remain wherever you are. Sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhih. Just lend your, this aural reception and try to hear about God from the self-realized person, from mahatma.
Then one day it will become so, that although God is unconquerable, you will conquer Him. Prayena ajita jito 'py asi. You'll conquer over God. You cannot conquer God, but God agrees to be conquered by His devotee.
--Srimad-Bhagavatam lecture, 22 October 1975 in Johannesburg
Dark Moon is a book of 568 pages written by Mary Bennet and David S. Percy. It was published in London in 1999. They announce the purpose of the book is
to question the entire validity of the official record of mankind's exploration of the Moon especially the Apollo lunar landings themselves.
Although the book does look quite interesting, replete as it is with lots of photos, skillful drawings and catchy titles (Arctic Antics, Radiant Daze, Rocket Rackets), the author's prose is heavy going. As I read this. . .
Notwithstanding that, the LM was always going to be a showcase craft for NASA. Its much vaunted temperament would enhance the 'courage' of the astroboys. Whether intentional or not, giving it the same characteristics as a wigwam, alien remoulded by the technological requirements of the day, could be seen as a statement. Twentieth century progress was allied to the fact that these incomers (who now considered themselves as the rightful owners of their own land) were once again appropriating a territory and all that went with it. This time it was our Moon, not a country and as we shall see, it was for their own purposes--not for all mankind.
. . . and a good number of other prolix paragraphs, it became clear that I was not destined to read the whole book, nor even half of it. This is not a book for reading. It is for deciphering.
Another difficulty is that despite the stated intention to question the Moon landings, there's a LOT of stuff between the covers that's not about that intention. Stuff about Yuri Gagarin and the Russian space program. (Thing is, the Russians never claimed to put a man on the Moon. ) Stuff about the mysterious huge explosion in the sky above Siberia in 1908. Stuff about alleged flying saucers that crashed in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. Stuff about the Face on Mars compared to the Egyptian Sphinx. (Seems that only old Viking photos of the Face from the '70s appear in Dark Moon. . . but NASA published Face photos taken at higher magnification by the Mars Explorer just a few years ago. The latter photos tend to support NASA's argument that the Viking-era Face photos show an optical illusion of light and shadow. Face on Mars? There ain't any, sez NASA. In any case, the Face doesn't have much to do with the Apollo Moon landings. )
After all that, what's spot-on about the Apollo program does still add up to quite a bulk of material. As I browsed through it I noted that a good portion of the issues raised here looked familiar--other books and magazines took them up prior to Dark Moon. Plus the authors indulge in considerable speculation about what they think was really going on with Apollo and other government projects. For example, they relate that in the 1940s the superwealthy aircraft manufacturer Howard Hughs invested excessive money into the construction of a single, very huge airplane made entirely out of wood. They don't believe all that money could have actually been spent on just one plane, and they wonder if Hughs gave some of it to a secret government project called Overcast. Well, OK, but why should I believe that?
The stated intention of Dark Moon is fine. But after looking through it several times I didn't come away with an impression that the authors had accomplished their intention in a way that impelled me to sit down and read the whole thing from cover to cover.
|Morning class in the camp house.|
Preaching in Oulu, North Finland.
|The devotees hold kirtana in a school.|