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3 – The Upanishads

Okay, here we are. I withheld. Okay. So let’s keep going. So the vector didn’t Joseph, because thank goodness it’s going to be on some, going to be amusing himself with some JAG. Um, there’s only really the first rule in life is amused by myself. Right. Because if you’re laughing and no one else’s laughing, you don’t give a shit. Right? Like, so you can just laugh. Right. So amused myself. Um, and as a footnote to that, just because everyone in this room may not know that I did once.
I think it must be more than 25 years ago because it started 40 years ago. I wrote the 108 rules of life. Um, and they’re pretty, and they’re written there. They were written as a spoof of potentially, uh, and the first rule is amused myself. Um, and then you only were allowed one sentence to comment on, on the wall.
So, um, I will put those up on the Dropbox, but you have to, you have to swear on, on Sadie’s nose that you won’t, um, that you won’t distribute them, that you won’t pass them along. Okay. That they won’t end up on the interwebs somewhere. I mean, I don’t really care, but I, I kind of do, um, it’s the same reason. I don’t want you to tell the Ganesha head or the Iowa story. Like we got to keep some secrets to ourselves for a little while. And then as I said to Tessa and Kate, this one, I go, I’m dead.
Don’t have so much to, I there’ll be so much of my voice out there. You couldn’t possibly miss the author. It’s like, where is I have any whack? Just like, so anyway, so the vectors of time are plural and they do extend and converge in the four kinds of time.
That becomes a kind of an interesting issue of the, of what we might call the vector or the trajectory of the Panasonic world, because, um, we’re going to spend the morning still in, not in the, in, in let’s let’s map this out very plainly. There is a, and so we can kind of, and once again, kind of just a little bit of historical structure in a conceptual way. So you can frame these, these ideas and teachings and see them see them, uh, both lucidly through some kind of armature of history, rather than like all the details and, and sort of, we’ll give you like a basic, a basic armature to hold the canvas.
And you can paint as much detail on that canvas of history as you like. And what we can do is create a basic structure. And then, um, and once we have that in which we can do that with, with, with some alacrity, it won’t take, but a minute we can, um, we can then return back to our, our, our deeper concern, which is, which is to read, to read through the material all for it’s it’s it’s humanist value and it’s symbolic and empowering analytic opportunities in order so that we can just apply it to ourselves.
We can say, well, this is what it says, and this is what we understand it to mean in this house. This is how it might affect us. Um, and in all of those ways, those are all vectors of disorder, because there there is there’s, there’s no income. There is no incorrect interpretation from that latter point of view. That’s kind of what makes the distinction sort of more, more, if we want to make a distinction between the two ways to approach the text, um, we, if we, if we create an armature of history, we, we could get that wrong.
Like we could be lying. We, we could, we could, we could make a mess of that. Or we could tell you things like yoga is 10,000 years old for which we have no evidence. Right? You see? So, so the first side of this is you can get things wrong, right?
Like there are things that are, there are facts, there are things that are true about this. And then, and then there are things that are not, and we should take those. We should take those matters seriously, just enough, because as upper would have it, if we take, if we take the truths of the world, the facts, like the unpleasant things that are often or the, or, and, and, and we are lucky enough, fortunate enough to arrive at a binary, like it would not be true that youngest 10,000 years old, it would be true that we could find evidence that goes to say here, that would be a binary way of thinking about it.
We’re lucky enough to arrive at a binary because sometimes you just can’t like, sometimes you just don’t need to know. Um, and that becomes the binary. The binary is, I wish I knew.
And I don’t know. Um, but if you arrive at that, um, then you can do the more, the more interesting piece, which is to say, so what do we want from this? Like, how do we interpret this? How do we make this all around? And in that way, I would often kind of exhort up to say, well, what do you think this means? And he would eventually give it up. Like he would eventually offer you is his idea.
But he was, he was entirely committed to, to that, to that basic strategy, which was first, let’s get it. Let’s find, let’s find the short way home. Let’s find the facts. That’s fine. Let’s find the binaries. Let’s find the ways in which we can say, this is true in that essence. And then he would say, and then he would say, now, what do you think?
And he always gave it back to me first. And when we started doing that, and that was a puppy, you know, it was 20. Um, I found it kind of disconcerting and somewhat annoying. Like, I’d come here to like, figure out what I think. I came here to ask you what you do. Like, you’re the guy who knows things. I’m just this kid. And, but he insisted that once we, once we, once we find the short way home, that the long way home belongs to you, that at the, at the interpretive truths are your heart that they’re yours to have.
And so you can’t, so we can get the facts wrong, but we can’t get the interpretations wrong because those belong to them. So that’s that, and, and, and the consequences are, are rich. The consequences are rich if we get the facts wrong, because think of the way COVID is, uh, or the intelligence wrong.
Like we just, we made a mistake and we have to live with the consequences of that. Um, but it’s also the case that, uh, that our interpretations fluid and evolving and developing over the course of our lives and seen through the lens of, of how we might empower ourselves are themselves volatile. And we, and the best thing we learned to do of course, has learned from our mistakes, which is difficult. So, uh, and, and part of what the punish God wants to do, and this is lovely, is it wants us to know how, how easy it is to make the mistake that everyone does it, that, that th that the vector of the vectors of disorder, the vectors of entropy, or an ordinary state of affairs, right?
Like, it’s not simply that we enter, except the very process of things unraveling is quite literally unruly.
Like, it doesn’t quite follow the rules because there’s Leila, because it doesn’t always make sense because we don’t have all the variables. So, so the Punisher kind of abraids us, it wants us to get it right. Like, it’s, it’s got a little bit of that stern, you know, like buck up, step in, try hard to get it right. But it, but it’s also has that sort of sweet some of the Morty way about him, you know, up, I used to love that old saw the one I give you all the time where he goes, if you make a mistake, don’t make it again.
If you make it again, don’t make it. Right. So, so he’s, and that ethos, I think, I think he first said that when we were talking about it shots, because it has sort of both attitudes, like it’s, it’s, it really is about like, do your best to try to get the facts, right.
Because in a certain way, the best part of those are easy, because even when you don’t know, or even when you can’t know, or even when you get it wrong, you can say, I know, or I don’t know, like, it, it, it wants the binary. It wants to see things, um, in that, through that lens of binary so that you can, so that the choice allows you to do the next thing, which is, which is take the vectors of this disorder and interpret them and give them more meaning. And like, in other words, read the charts or read the ideas or the concepts, how they create the next set of like, how they work for you, how they become more interpretively, empowering, and helpful.
So, okay. So that process of an unraveling world is, is that the traditionalist are trying to are, are trying very much to create a world where, where if we could find the footprints in the snow and put our feet down where, where those previous footprints have gone, we could re we could re arrive at the source and cause an origination of ourselves.
So let’s make that first project clear the interpretation of the, of the punish shots in the hands of those who claim it as their principal canonical resource, those would be the dawns, right? Those are the, Downtons all have the same agenda. And that is what I would call the myth of the eternal return, which is, which is to paraphrase, which is actually the name of his book by the great Marciano who was the Romanian historian of religion, who wrote a book called the myth of the eternal return.

Mircea Eliade also wrote a book called the sacred in the profane, he wrote important books on yoga and shamanism. The inclusive Vedanta agenda, it doesn’t matter what kind of interpretation you bring that the dolphins have have an agenda and that agenda is the myth of the eternal return. And in the simplest way to think about that, or just allegorically is that the universe leaves, it’s a Hansel and Gretel, the universe leaves breadcrumbs, the universe leaves footprints in the snap. The universe leaves the tracings of the path and your task is to find your way back home. Right. It’s Dorothy, right? It’s the follow the yellow brick road. And somehow when you do, you arrive at the source, the cause the origination being. And so many stories you can see, like, I I’ve referenced wizard of Oz, Hansel and Gretel. I just go down the list of all of the you’ve heard that are really, are really going home. The world is more like traffic and you hear Steve Winwood’s voice say, I can’t find my way home. Let’s understand that the interpretive agenda that follows out of the Upanishads follows that basic sensibility. The Vedantin philosophers is that they claim to know the way, I do know the way, follow me.
And that’s where you get the history of the Indian philosophers kind of becoming Guru becoming Swami. I can take you to the place you always wanted to go. I can get you there. We have whole games about this, look at the purpose of baseball, it’s to go home, is to get back home. And if you get stranded on second base, it’s a bit like a bad rebirth and you need help. Like somebody has to like hit you in, or you have to walk or like something has to happen. You can’t really get home by yourself. Unless you hit the home run, in which case that really is what the definition of Swami is, but let’s not get too far down that problem, that allegory, but just look for it everywhere.

In the big picture, the goal of the Vedanta is that there is a path, you can follow it, and you have to follow in very particular ways, its footprints in the snow. And when you arrive, you arrive at the place from which we all originated, into which we all resolve. That is the basic concept of Brahman interpreted according to the Vedanta, I’m going to say that again or something like it. So what is the Brahman? The Brahman is… so we all have our own footprints, we all have our own footsteps, So part of the question of the Vedantin metaphor is are we following every person’s footprints? Are we following the Guru’s footprints? Are we falling behind the group in following the footprints home? Are we following our own footprints? I think the answer to all of those is in some ways, yes, they are just yours. You’re following in the footsteps of the one wh who knows the way back because they in some are, or are going to be waiting for you there. So there’s another way of thinking of this project of what liberation would be, or what human fulfillment would be as told by the Tibetans. The Tibetans have a story about these characters, which is a retelling of an Indian story, of two characters called Milarepa and Marpa. And Milarepa is the character who’s sort of the seeker and he’s looking for his way home, and to find his way home, he wants to find his true teacher who is Marpa, and he knows that Martpa is this true teacher, and he knows that he’ll show him the way home. On the way on his journey, he comes upon this field and there’s, and there’s this bedraggled, smoking, slovenly, drunken guy sitting next to his plow, sitting in the dirt and Milarepa is just looking for any clues he can. And he comes up to this guy and he goes, “You know, I’m looking for Marpa’s house. Do you know where Marpa lives? And the drunk guy does “Huh, uh Marpa’s over there,” And Milarepa  carries on and a little while later, he’s not quite sure if he’s back in the same place or not but it’s just the same guy. He sees another guy in the field. It seems to be the same sort of slovenly degenerate and it comes up to him and he’s looking for another clue, and the guy kind of points off in the distance. Okay. Lather, rinse, repeat. Milarepa makes it like up the top of the mountain and opens the gate and like closes the door and then you get inside and you find out that the wizard was the guy, right. That’s exactly the same story. Right? So Milarepa gets all the way inside and kind of walks, comes into the throne room to see the great Marpa the same guy he met in the field who was the degenerate slovenly guy. So it’s a simple tale and it’s told endlessly, and the Tibetan version is even mildly amusing.

What I’m telling you is that the archetype of this myth is the Vedanta agenda which is, how do you find your way home? And if you do, you find, and here’s an interesting point, the reason Marpa is the same character in all of those points in the story is obvious, right? Which is that when you find your way home, you find everyone’s way. And you are the same character, you’re not only every character in this story, you’re the same character in every story. Your Dorothy, you’re your Milarepa, your Marpa. That’s the other thing that they want you to know, you’re not only every different character in the story, but every different character and story is the same character. Why? Because it’s the same source, cause and origin from which you come. That’s the basic strategy of the Vedanta interpreters. That’s why the Brahman, the eternal is the atman, the self, which is you. So you’ll each have our own individuation is not, again, not only every differentiated character in this story. It’s the final recognition that every time you meet your, every time you meet something different, you meet yourself. And every time you meet this different character, who is really the same character, who is yourself, that when you finally arrive home, you find out you’ve been home all along and you’re every character and every character is the same character. Eliade gives you that example, the wizard of Oz gives you that example. It’s told everywhere, all roads lead home.

There’s something very consoling and comforting and, and dare I say, (I’m going to be mean now), easy about that story. And that’s the Vedanta (you might anticipate that I’m about to tear down that castle made of sand). It’s that the Vedantin’s themselves are enormously complex and diverse in how they think you find your way. Whose footsteps those are., and what it is you find when you arrive home. They have their completely different opinions about how to find the footsteps, whose footsteps those are, who does the leading, and what it is you discover when you arrive home. The later Upanishads, which we’ll be covering, speculate and offer very opinions about what that means. Now, if we all arrive at the same place, because we all originated at the same place, and it really is true that we can find our way back home, then all of the Upanishads will agree to call that by the word dharma, and the self that you find when you arrive home, which is the same self that’s here, and there’s the same self in the journey and is everybody’s same self, right. Is atma right? What they’re going to interpret differently is those other factors that we just pointed out, whose footsteps are there, who’s the best guide and what exactly is it like to find that source, cause, and origin? In other words, by whom are we led, that’s going to be the Kena Upanishad, we’ll get to that. And literally who is it we find? To put that another way, is there an instigator of this process? Does the Brahman have an agency? Does it have an identity? Is there a potter to the pot? Does it have not simply a material cause, but does it have what philosophers call an efficient cause. Let’s make sure we understand that difference. That’s a pretty simple one. So the material cause of a pot is clay. It’s what the pot is made of. The efficient cause of the pot is the potter. And later Upanishads want to say does Brahman happen, is it self generative? Or how did we get lost in the first place? That’s a lovely question. They’re going to basically agree upon that we got lost in the first place because we made mistakes. We made mistakes, we don’t know where we’re going. We forgot. We don’t know, we’re ignorant or we’re in a malaise, it’s maya. Now depending upon who you think, if you think that the source and cause is a potter, or let me put it this way, maybe a watchmaker making a universe that’s like a watch right now. Notice what just happened. You turned the Brahman into God talk. You don’t just have a luminous, light of universe. You’ve got the question, who is there and by what means did this all happen, and how it happened. That’s all going to be turned back  because you just see what happens, because notice what I just did. I said all Vedantins share the agenda of going home, going home to whom, and how this happened, and astonishingly, how did we get lost in the first place?

The questions of the Upanishads are going to evolve and so eventually we’re going to get the Brahman is not only yourself, who is the same self, who is the differentiated self, but the Brahman is the Deva and the Deva that is ishvara and that’s how we get to god. Is god the source and cause and origin, that is the same as the Brahman? We’ll take that up later. The Upanishads have lots of opinions about that, but interestingly, that’s where Vedantins differ. Let me clarify, I I may have thrown in or mixed too many metaphors. I was really saying pots don’t just happen any more than watches just happened. Watches need a watchmaker, pots need a potter or do they? Or do they? And what I would suggest to you is that early Upanishads is where the nondualists are still giving us a more coherent answer. And that is that this universe is continuously in the process of its own self-organization, or to put it in another way, it doesn’t have a beginning because it doesn’t need one. That’s the idea of how this all first happened is a feature of the way we experience our ourselves or a Shankara would say, the way we experience our limited self. We think we have a beginning, there was a time before me and we’re reasonably sure there’s an after me, even if you don’t experience that. So the idea that there’s a before, where there’s a first, where there’s a beginning, to put it another way, that there’s a Genesis at all, is a feature of us, not a feature of the universe. The universe just doesn’t need a beginning. It doesn’t need for that source, that cause and that origin to have to have a before, to have a beginning. The Upanishads essentially all throughout and even the Vedantin interpreters will agree to that. They will all agree that the question that we raised, which is literally the Genesis question, it’s the name of the first book, is in fact the wrong question. That’s what makes the Indian tradition so interesting. The West begins with God and creation and it assumes that creation is literally a beginning. That there was a beginning Indians never talk like that. When they, when they use the word, you don’t use the word beginning, they used the word before. They use the word purva, this is the word for before. And when they use the word adya, which is usually translated beginning,  all they mean is the last before, the previous before. They literally don’t have a concept of beginning that isn’t itself a structure, a sequence. So literally beginninglessness is the beginning. This is really hard for us to fathom because again, no matter how you look at it, deep in our imprint, is that the book of Genesis comes first and it’s perfectly normal to say, how did it all start? If you even go to like big bang, then you say to yourself, what was before that? And the Indians go, that’s an easy question. Just the previous  big bang. Because there is literally no beginning. There  are just ways in which to mark a process, you lay down markers, you never find the beginning.

Hindus later on in Vedantin interpretations, and then later in, later Upanishads like Isha and Svetasvatara, those are going to let you do that. We want to know, like, we want to think, is someone responsible for all of this? Is there a potter to the pot? Basically the Upanishads are going to give you multiple interpretations. But in these early texts, the potter and the pot are the same thing. This is what we’re calling self-organized criticality.

like there had to be a hand that made this and the answer is maybe it can make itself. And that’s the earliest speculation.
that the Brockman, that the source and cause when you get back home, there’s somebody to greet you. And it’s a supernatural agent. It’s an it’s, it’s a consciousness of identity that can do something you can’t do. Right.
That’s the ism.

Why would the intelligence at the beginning, if it is, you be an intelligence that isn’t yet. Right. But it would be like, why would there need to be, uh, something that can do that, that does everything that you can’t do. This is one has to, I’m not going to pause on that too far, except to say that there’s a whole slew of Buddhists who are called vijnavada, mind only consciousness merely, that’s what the name of the school is, who get into a pretty good conversation with those cats. we call the catenary shots and they go, you guys just got this rubbish went that’s right. The Buddhist did get it right. You don’t need, if you arrived at a primal intelligence, why would it be not yours? Right. Why would it be something other, so it’s all getting interesting in here.
Where does consciousness? What’s the content of the mind Bindu come from would have asked the question. That’s a Groupon, a shot at question. And they they’re going to give you as they go on. And then the dolphins go on.

I think that the Upanishads get it increasingly wrong. They had it right in the first place. And the idea of where does it come from in the first place is that there is first place. Iit just comes. It goes through process. It goes through vectors of its own process. It doesn’t need us. In other words, it’s source and it’s cause, and its origin.
Doesn’t not only doesn’t have a beginning, it doesn’t need an agent and that’s going to be a dispute. That’s going to be an argument they have amongst each other. And if you want to think that there’s a God or you want to think that there’s a purposeful consciousness go on, but you’ve got no evidence for it.
Right? What you have is the evidence of a world. That is what you’ve asked is a quote. In other words, part of what the Upanishad is going to do. And this is why I started here today was not only to give us an armature of the interpreters, but of the Vedanta and Austin comparison or in contrast. But it’s to say part of what the punishment is saying, where we’re landing this morning is that you can ask questions that you can answer that are effectively unproductive questions.We are so capable. We are so imaginative. We are so astute in the creativity of the mind that we can invent questions that literally can’t make the correspondents, can’t make their way back home. They don’t in fact ask. So in effect, you’re asking the wrong question because when you, if like there’s a, there’s, there’s one of the bad star Trek movies.

So there’s all kinds of ways they fancy this, but here’s, here’s the takeaway so we can move on, right? They all are looking for their way home. And then when they find their way home, they have very different ideas of who’s home. And, and if, and if the forget the sexist language, if the guy at home is the creator or not, right, they’re going to go through that. And the later Upanishads are going to be all over that problem.
This imaginative, creative, this artistry of the world can invent worlds literally for better and for worse, right?
And for better. And for worse means we can ask questions that are quite literally not worth it. In other words, there’s other questions in Chandogya Upanishad there are whole passages. And I want you to see them in versus in chapters three and six, particularly where it looks like the person asking the question in this case, it’ll be Yajnavalkya our sage, goes through pages and pages of query and call and response and the king Janaka whose dispenser of wisdom in these stories ends up being the guy who kind of maps it all out for him, he’s kind of showing him the way home. And then it ends by saying, you know, enough with the questions, like I’ve shown you the way and if you ask another question, your head will literally explode. Like it’ll blow into pieces, literally what the text says. And it’s a very curious thing to say. And I think part of what that part of what the ethos of that is, isn’t that, oh, no, you can’t, you, you, it’s not a, it’s not a catechism. Like, it’s not like when the priest said you have to believe, or you’re not allowed to ask that question. He’s not cutting him off. He’s telling, he’s trying to show us that we are so creative, we are so capable that we can lead ourselves into, into places where, where we’re not finding any way home. We’re not finding anything of particular value, right. Where we’re not doing something where it’s not worth it. It’s in effect. I want to overstate it. Say if it’s intentionally the wrong question, right? Like we’ve been looking in the wrong place.

Let me give you another way of thinking about that. There’s that marvelous moment in the Raiders of the lost Ark, where Indi turns to, to, um, John Reese Davies, whose character I can’t remember. And they both look at each other and they simultaneously say, they’re digging in the wrong place. That’s the idea that’s in the Upanishads. We might be digging in the wrong place. So no matter how far down you dig, you just don’t find the arc. Like you don’t find the thing you’re looking for. That’s a real concern. Are you digging in the right place now? How do you know if you’re doing the right place? So early on here, we don’t get a God. We don’t get the equation that Brahman has an agency, or is the ishvara. We get gods, we get characters in the story, but they aren’t the source and cause of the world. And they aren’t the puppet masters. They’re not agents that made the world. We have to wait for the Isha and Svetasvatara Upanishad and make a mess of it. What we have early on is the idea of a self-generative, self-creative process that for all of its powerful imaginative abilities can also lead us astray. We can be looking in the wrong direction. We are capable of using our greatest gift of creativity and imagination to lead us down to dig in the wrong place, to lead us to a futile exercise. And, and how do you know that?  How can you be sure of that? You see how problematic it is? When do I know that, right? When do I know I’m digging in the wrong place? If the idea is to keep digging, ask every question, follow the evidence, wherever it takes, you be willing to admit that you could be wrong,  try to address your, our own confirmation biases. How would I know if I were mistakenly digging?

So let me move this periods. I’ll start at the I’ll start where we can start. And that is that the Upanishads come from a world that knows it has a prehistory. And that it’s pre histories are largely, are, have largely been forgotten and are lost in the unconscious. The Upanishad knows that there was that there was a consciousness that is now unconscious that originates in a very ancient past of collective memory. Let’s just call that prehistory. I submit to us that we now know more about the Upanishads prehistory than we’ve ever known, because in the, in the 18th century, we began the project of doing exactly what the Upanishads and the Vedas tell us, which is to find the breadcrumbs, to do the Hansel and Gretel work. That if we do more of it, we can step back. We can literally step back in time. And that’s what the linguists did. So all of this sort of parsing out of the world as language, all of this very strange kind of Sanskrit world of using etymologies and creating imaginative etymologies and all of this fantastic wordplay. If you’ve been reading the Upanishad you see like all of the parentheses, we did one of those, like Rudra, who is the god Rudra? He’s the one who weeps. And it goes back to the verb, almost on every page, you can open the texts across the array arbitrarily, and there’s some kind of wordplay, there’s some kind of language comment there. That’s exactly was how we figured this out, because prehistory was unpacked when Sir William Jones, this character who was a magistrate in the court of Calcutta, he and his cohort formalized the project that said, “Hmm, these people who gave us the Veda, they related to the people who gave us Greek and Latin? And where does that come from? And again, where does that come from?” So the prehistory of this unconscious world goes back to those folks who we call the Proto Indo Europeans, who gave us the horse, who gave us the first letter of the alphabet who gave us the wheel and the ratha the rod, literally the rod like German, write the letter, the chariot that got them there. So the prehistory of the Veda goes back through language to those sources and their ancestors would give us this language in the Upanishad, this specific Indic language, have their origins, back in the region around the Ukraine. But what happens at about 5,000 sixhousand before the Christian era is that we run out of xxxxx

If there is a mother tongue, and literally that’s what we think, right. We now as linguists, think that Greek, Latin Sanskrit  it doesn’t matter what language is in the family all goes back to one language. Where does that language come from? Well, that’s only 6,000 before the Christian era it’s post-neolithic. That’s after the ice age, where did the, what happened before that? Well, again, we can keep asking that until we get maybe 65,000 years ago, when homo sapiens sapiens leave the African continent, where would you like to begin?
That’s again, the Upanishads question of origins of beginnings. That’s why there is no first we can go, well, there’s a mother, right? There’s a mother that takes us to all of these languages. We can get there and that’s going to be, like in the tantra, that’s why it’s a mother tradition because mother represents the last, the first, last place we call home. So if we get to the Proto Indo European, if we get back there. And this is the period of prehistory of the Indic world. The pre-history of India starts much to the chagrin of the political BJP and some folks who don’t want this to be the case, it begins four, it begins 4,000 miles away. And with human migrations. DNA evidence of the last 10 years or so have shown us this. There’s every reason to believe that every language of this family that takes us as far West as Ireland, and as far east as India originally in one language. But that one language isn’t the language, it’s a language, it’s a mother. So mother is plural. Mother means first. It means the beginning, but it isn’t a singular.

So we can say PIE is the mother of all of these languages. It’s the prehistory source. And the Indians didn’t get back there, scholarship got there. The Hansel and Gretel here was done by the history of linguists. And now there’s archeology. And now there’s the human genome because the Hansel and Gretel that we’re really following is in the DNA. And interestingly, just to make that perfectly clear, is that everything that we know about human migration tracing using now the resources of the human genome confirm what the linguist of the 19th century told us. This is freaking out the Indian nationalists who want the Indic world to start in India. And it doesn’t, it starts in the vastness of human migration. And we get as far back as the PIE and we go, okay, before that? and now we’re in a whole different level of storytelling. Now, are there people in the subcontinent that don’t belong to that migration that are kind of part of another complex vector of time and history and who got there first? Well, sure, because there are people in south India, our Tamil folk of ancient origins who, whose languages don’t point back in that direction, they point elsewhere. Now you see how complex this story gets because there isn’t one mother, there are multiple mothers. So she is a plural. And she is literally the one before. There’s just another one before, but pre-history is our first place. And we look at those prehistories and we’re not going to recount them, but they are here. There’s a language of prehistory in this text that kind of know that all of this comes back, um, no, they didn’t. So Indic people didn’t arrive into India from Africa, African peoples, all humans left, we African continent. Right. And then about 65,000 years ago, that’s about what we think. And then a lot of stuff happens between then and 6,000 years ago. So that it’s more rightfully correct in a certain way to say that our story begins with the PIEs about that’s our prehistory. But in other words, we’re just landing wherever it seems we can find the last breadcrumb. We can go back to the African continent and say, all human beings originate there, but, but we’re looking at a project of the diversification and the invention of culture. And there’s a direct cultural, historical mappable linguistic connection that takes us back to the people 6,000 years before the Christian era, 5,000 years before the questionnaire. That’s the PIE. are the Dravidians who are the tattle or the kind of the mothers of the Tamil folk. Are they already in the sub-continent? Yes. Maybe, probably they’re. They, they certainly are part of a different story of migration. They may have migrated by plate tectonics, which is what we also think to able know what I mean by that, like at the end of the ice age, literally the geography of the planet changes. India is a piece of Africa tucked underneath the horn of Africa. Like just go back and watch the plates of the earth move apart. That’s how come we know that south Indian people who are Dravidians like the color cast iwe know genetically that they’re related to the people in Papa, new Guinea. And then we know that they’re related to Australian aboriginals. How do we know that? Because those were all once one geography,. It was all once one piece of a thing. And over the last 15,000 years, it went like that.
It moved apart. So either either people migrated or the land literally migrated under them, but it goes back a long, long way. Our identifiable species is maybe a 100, 200,000 years old, something like that before that we weren’t even really like this. So again, where does it all begin is a question that raises interesting questions. Our first benchmark is can we make what cultural connection can we make?

One of the things that makes early Upanishads interesting is that it gives us an evolution of the Indic world, the Vedic and Sanskrit world. Now, is there a literature, like, is there a work poetry, artistry, language, as old as the, you punish awe that is Dravidian. And the answer is in fact, older than that, there’s Dravidian languages, oldest Veda, and Veda is a thousand years older than the Polish. The punish. That is the end of the beta, right? It’s the last piece it’s historically we’ve arrived 600, 700 years before the Christian era in the right in the early ones, the ones that are going to take us all the way through Kaushik Koshi Turkey, which we’re going to talk about today this morning. And I, today, these are the old Yukon shots. And then they’re the ones in verse they’re a little later historically. So the Upanishads are about 700 before the Christian era, the Rig Veda is a thousand years older than what’s before the RV, before the Ric data or other resources that are related to it,

What we’re saying is that the Upanishad have a sensibility of their prehistory and the way we, and, and we, we, that is the students of history, the students of scholarship, not the Indian tradition figured out that pre-history, that’s just a fact, modern India nationalists don’t like that idea because they go, oh, the Western years, you know, like the white people figured this out. In fact, just smart people figured this out in the 19th century. Okay. And what they figured out, because they came not from there. They went, oh, my, this Vedic language, this Indic language, this language would be Upanishad in the Vedas, that’s a lot like our Greek that’s a lot like our Latin that’s a lot like German and English. Right. They didn’t have to be white to figure that out. They just had to know more than one language and they did. Right. That’s the history.

But the Upanishads know that they have a pre-history they know they come from a really strange, rich past.
I submit to you that the Brihadaranyaka using the word ashva  goes further back. It goes back to Vedic. Remember the Upanishads are not written in Vedic. They’re written in a kind of early sanskrit. It’s a transitional language. That’s one of the reasons it’s hard in these early texts. Like until we get to the verse one, when we get to Kena Katha, Manduka, when you look at your translation, you see the ones at the end of the book, that’s the language, very close to the Gita. Very close to the Mahabharata, very close to the Purana of classical Sanskrit. It gets a bit messy, but it’s not. When we’re at the things we’ve been reading so far, but I had been, tied to DIA. That’s what we’ve covered this morning.
Cause she Tiki and I today, that’s not really sanskrit. That’s really between Veda concentric. And then you go back to the rig Veda. That’s a different way. I’m telling you it can be a really good SAS. So you just have no clue. Cause that’s, I’ve told you a million times it would be like opening Beowulf. And you think you can read English. Like you can like it’s, it’s it’s way earlier than Shakespeare and Chaucer. It’s a really ancient thing. The Veda. And somehow they preserved that’s what’s so weird, right? Why? Because they honored words. They honored speech. And so that very first paragraph that we studied on Thursday gives us two clues, two important clues to the idea that they understood. they had a prehistory. The first is that they used the first word of the text is horse. Right? And that’s how they got there. They got there on the horses. You don’t get from the Ukraine to India, just walking. Okay. Well you kind of do, but that’s not how it really happened. First word it’s horse. The conclusion of that first paragraph was, was that with it, with it, this is speech. This is vac, right? They honor language. So how did they know they had a ancient past? Like where’s the, where’s the breadcrumb in this ancient memory of the Upanishad it’s that our ancestors have something to do with horses. Of course they still have a lot to do with words is it’s all a sacrifice. It’s a horsey horse world. It moves forward. The last God in our story I bought is a horse Scott, right? We’re going to talk about the usher twins, the horse twins again, this morning, all of these are clues to a kind of unconscious reference. That’s my point that they didn’t. And, and they knew it happened in language, but it took the 19th century to figure out where, how far, how much further back they could go.
Is that required comparative historical study, critical historical study. That’s what really happened. That’s the Dems, the facts. Okay.

But does the this Indian world that we’ve stepped into 700 before the Christian era, does it know it has an unconscious path, a prehistory? I think it does. But it doesn’t certainly doesn’t know where it came from. It just knows that it came by horse and the way they do it is they honor the language and that’s the way we figured it out. Like we scholarship anybody. Who’s serious about it.  You follow the language. Now you can follow the genome because what we’re following our paths, vectors of, of entropy were falling vector. We’re falling bread crops. We’re falling information between the Hansel and Gretel. My first important point was that the Vedanta and think that when you get back all the way to the source and cause you got back to the first to the source and cause, and that there might be someone there to if you got to prodo into European, where’d that come from? Because they were cause that’s only 6,000 before the Christian era, we have human beings off the African continent already 60,000, almost 60,000 years. Probably at least that much. Okay. Are we good about that?

So first stage is prehistory.

Second stage, is we’re going to fast forward all the way to what we call Vedic religion.Vedic religion is what’s sitting inside the songs and stories of the Rg Veda


So we have a prehistory and we have the Vedic religion. What makes the Vedic religion the Vedic, religion? It’s that there are these three worlds. There’s a world of gods. There’s a world of memory and ancestors and there’s this world, the world you’re in. And then that is going to evolve in the Upanishad until we finally get seven worlds. And then we’re going to find out that seven worlds or nine worlds. And then there’s going to be nine worlds above and seven worlds below. And then we’re going to get 16 worlds or we’re going to get 15, or we’re going to get 33. We’re going to get a lot of opinions about how many worlds we’re in. But the most important part of Vedic religion is that the gods are more powerful than we are point 1. And point 2, we are, they’re kind of cloning, distant eighth generation progeny. We come from the gods, but we’re sort of like that Michael Keaton multiplicity movie, where like the gods are like the original and we’re kind of like blurry. Xerox’s not getting anywhere with see this movie. It was a very good it’s about this guy who working too hard and he’s working at a company that can clone people and he starts making clones of themselves and it’s, it’s a comedy. And then the clones, I actually ended up making a clone of themselves and that’s sort of like their troubled, but it also sort of fails many political issues here. But it’s a story about, about again, about entropy. Like we are a kind of devolved form of power. Now the Upanishad is going to turn that around. It’s also going to tell us we already evolved form of power.

The Vedic tradition wants to say you’re in a complex world in which there are gods and demons and the gods are on your side and the demons aren’t. The gods will help you and won’t eat you and won’t particularly punish you. They might scare you or inadvertently wipe you out. Like you didn’t mean to step on that ant, but you did… see the problem. Like that’s the problem in the Vedic world. Like the gods will have been, the gods will come along and take you the housefly and throw you out the window. The gods aren’t malignant, the gods aren’t Maleficent. The gods aren’t vindictive. The gods aren’t mean there’s no cruelty in that world. There’s just a cruel world. Like, you know, like some ants get stepped on. That would be us. Right. But the Vedic world definitely also gives you a really important idea. And that is, there are things that want to eat you.  Food first category. So the first thing that demons want to do is eat you. Why? Because they, cause they’re just trying to make a living to diseases, animals, things, or just trying to make a living. And if you’re the living that they’re making you on, that’s the way it goes. Then the Vedic world gives you another piece of that your food get it. Like you’re just demons are hungry and your food, like they’re coming to get you. You’re just making their living on you. The gods never made a living on you. The demons do that’s the Vedic world. It’s a Vedic religion. What you’re trying to do is cuddle up to the gods because we stand very little chance with the demons, but the gods stand a better chance with the demons. So the Vedic religion appeals to the gods to deal with the demons because we don’t stand much of a chance with the demons because the demons are really hungry and really powerful like the gods.

Now there’s another feature that the Vedic religion gives us that’s really interesting. And it distinguishes Indic ways of thinking from say the Greeks over there on the other side of their pantheon, in this very early period. And that is the demons in the Indic world are not just hungry, they are occasionally mean. They can like it. And that’s a trait that trips down to being human. So why did they think this? Trump taught us this, you know why? Because cruelty is the point. In other words, it wasn’t just policy. It was that they like it. The idea that we could like that sort of sadism or that meanness or that vindictiveness, that cruelty, that cruelty could be the point that’s mythic. That goes back to the idea that the demons aren’t just hungry to have their way to make their living, to sort of enforce their will on the world. Sometimes cruelty is the point, not all the time, but sometimes it is the point. And when you let those forms of demons carry the day, that’s the worst thing that can happen because that’s the slip to nihilism. What makes them different from the Greeks is a few things. In the Vedic world the gods are always beneficent. That’s going to carry forward. That idea is going to carry forward in all of these mythologies and all of these sources, the gods are never petty they’re never malignant. They’re never petty, that’s important because like the whole Odyssey is built on the kind of Odysseus’s behavior and Neptune’s petty malignancy. Like the gods can be just petty. Not just mean, it’s frivolous. That never happens in India. Even by the time we get to the Upanishads they are never that way. Here’s a way to think about this: the Upanishads retain that Vedic world – gods, demons, power, power divided between gods and demons. Gods are on your side in some way, demons in some sense aren’t and making get nasty.

The demons in the Indic world make a choice to be mean. And they make a choice to be mean because it’s pleasurable. They like it. It’s cruel. Cruelty is the point. Now they don’t offer that isn’t their motivation, but that’s not really the ego. That’s not the driving force of it. The driving force of it is they’re hungry and they don’t want to lose them. And the gods are there. The gods of their enemies. The gods are always trying to marginalize them and keep them at bay and not let them have the amrita. And the later myths, like the gods are like, no man, no demons. Like we can’t lose the election. Right. Demons over there, not in power. Gods and demons are both motivated by hunger. It’s all food. Everyone is hungry, everyone. And it’s all the way back in the Veda that they’ll even feed the demons. Why? Because a hungry demon is a more dangerous demon. And the Vedic world is a dangerous world of interests and your job is to mitigate danger. It’s key. Keep on that idea. That’s going to be important for us. You can’t stop a mean world and you can’t prevent a dangerous world, but you have to address it. You have to mitigate it. That’s going to carry on much later on in our, in our parsing, out of history, because these early Upanishads will tell you, you can’t stop death. Like you can’t stop it. You can’t stop old age disease and death. That’s also Shakyamuni’s message, the Buddha’s message. You can address them. You can mitigate them, but you can’t can’t cure it. This is part of the process of the cycle. Just like you can’t cure demons. Like they’re going to be that way. They’re hungry and you’re food. Do some of them kind of turn on you? Like after they eat, like, do they take pleasure in it? Yes, they can. That can be cruel.

So in the Vedic world, it’s all about friends, adversaries, and indifference. There are whole creatures that just don’t care about us. Like they’re just cutting your deals elsewhere. It’s a Michael Pollan, acorns and squirrels are cutting their deals with each other, not with us. It’s an interrelated world, but it doesn’t fully integrate. That’s really important. It doesn’t fully integrate because we may like say the shade of the Oak tree, but it’s not for us. The Oak tree is cutting its deal just like everything else is. And that’s going to be really important. The Vedic world cuts deals and not every deal is with us. Putting us at the center of every deal that kind of that’s.
Now you’re back to like Genesis. Like now you’re back to the way middle Eastern religions go along. If somehow the whole world is about us. Like God, and you come to the seventh day and we become the stewards. And somehow this whole thing is about us or for us, or with respect to us, it’s kind of integrated into us being here as the point. The Indian world never thinks we’re the point. It never, never makes the point. It never misunderstands that human beings are the point of the universe. You’re a point. You’re a point in a constellation as points, but the way it mythically treats that is to make sure you understand that we’re in a world that interrelates like with Oak trees and squirrels, but Oak trees and squirrels are not for us. They’re not that’s that. We’re sort of their stewards if we get in the way, does that make sense? The Vedic world doesn’t entertain the problem of climate change. Like it doesn’t entertain the problem that we’re the problem.
It entertains the problem that everybody’s got their own problems, including Oak trees, Oak trees have acorns. They want to make more Oak trees. They cut their deal with the squirrels, see what we’re getting like it isn’t it  anthropocentric. It’s the opposite. But that’s all it is. You find the gods, you ask the gods for help. You ask the gods, particularly for help because the demons threatened the gods and they threatened us. So the gods are pretty worried about the demons. That’s what the Indra Vrttra story or is about read through Rg Vedic hymns, that’s the world.

So first phase is prehistory. Second phase that takes us to the Upanishads is the Vedic world of friends, enemies and indifference. That world is not entirely integrated. It’s interrelated. If it were integrated there would be some reason for the Oak trees it had to do with us.

Third stage third stage is plainly evident in the Upanishads, that is that everything in the world, Gods, demons, Oak trees, squirrels, everything in the world is operating according to the patterns of the sacred. It’s operating in a system, it’s operating in a structure. And so you don’t need to appeal to the gods or stop the demons, you have to know how the system works. This is critical because we call this tradition Brahmanism. The reason it’s called Brahmanism is because Brahman and as you’ve seen it here in the Upanishad refers to the underlying power of the universe. The deepest, the most profound form of power in the world is called the Brahman. So there’s, there’s the power of activities and tasks, servile power. There’s the power of money and things and prosperity, mercantile power. There’s the power of influence and, and force and coercion kshatra. But if you can get to the power of Brahman, you can know the deep structures of things. So make it really easy because we need all of those three kinds of power. But the reason we have vaccines is because we have the Brahman power and the Brahman power says this virus is part of a family of viruses. It operates in a body of information. As we unpack the body of information that is the virus, we can literally re-message and encounter the virus on our terms weirdly like mRNA, right? And what do we do with that? We intervene into the deep structures of the organization of reality. And we send literally a different message. The one who can write the messages, control the messages and send the messages, has the power. I want you to tell all your weird unicorn anti-vaxxer yoga friends, that they have completely flunked Brahmanism 101 Brahmanism. I’m sorry, but there are people out there like won’t do this. And what I’m telling you is they had this idea like, and the idea was if the universe is messages, the universe is just information. When you break into it and you can write the message, resend the message, then the message you want. You can get the result you want.

The Vedic metaphor of the gods and demons literally becomes science. Does it become reductive? Does it get itself in trouble? Sure. But it, but it also produces a really helpful idea because there’s no amount of like, Ooh, my sincerity, or I wish I felt good about this. That’s going to stop a virus. The way you stop a virus is you send a message. You control the message. The one who controls the message wins the game. And the game throughout, let’s make sure that we understand that the game is live long and prosper. That’s the game. It isn’t stop death. It isn’t, it isn’t becoming immortal. It’s live long and prosper.

It raises all kinds of issues about, well, do they need to be sincere? How are they stated? Like, how do you get through to people who can’t hear the message? Like noticing that it’s like trying to get folks to take the vaccine has been in the messaging, right? Like how do we convince them? How do we show them that we demonstrate that the irony of it is that the vaccine is the message. Like it is itself the message, because it’s messaging back to the virus going, right. Antibodies are waiting for you. We got this, right. It doesn’t kill the virus. It stops the virus from doing what it wants. Gods and demons. Right.
Because the gods and the demons are in fact the same power. So think of it again, because it’s really interesting, isn’t it? We have the message that we need to give the virus, the virus, the message that gives us advantage. We have the vaccine, right? We have to message to people who have beliefs or feelings or doubts or shit that goes on in their heads or their hearts that tells them they don’t want to do this. Right.
Or that they won’t do this for other stupid reasons. They’re refusing. Yes. I am making judgements because the data tells you, this is what messages do you get? The message, or you don’t get those. So we have to message to them right now. Notice where we are. We’re saying to ourselves, we’re tired of messaging that we’ve persuaded them. We’ve invited them. We fucking bribed them. Right. We’re giving them a hundred bucks to go do it right now. What do we have to now? Notice what happened? We have to move from Brahman, which is like, here are the messages in the world. If you understood them and comprehended them and valued them, we would have to do the next thing. But what’s now what’s the next thing. kshatra power. Kshatra power is okay. You can’t go to school without a mask. Okay. We’re going to mandate. That’s the influencer. That’s the different, that’s a different kind of power. It’s saying we’re going to make you. Right. Why? Because you couldn’t get the message. Couldn’t get the higher message. The higher messages “Why would you think a vaccine is the problem? If it’s sending an effect, if the message literally gives you more good than danger?” If it doesn’t say that it’s not dangerous, it doesn’t say that there aren’t side effects. It doesn’t say that it can go wrong. It can’t go wrong. It says you’re mitigating danger. That’s the Brahmanical world. That’s the real world that they’re, that they’re talking about. You’re not stopping death. You’re not guaranteeing. It’s not absolute. You’re mitigating danger.
You’re making the world just up slightly better place that’s in your interests. Now, when you can’t persuade, when you can’t people get people to understand the message, you need a different kind of power for them to get the message. Right. Which is that, oh, okay. Then the barons and the is the warriors entered the story and they go, okay, we’re going to make you right. We’re going to, we’re going to, because you didn’t get the other message, which is you don’t need to be persuaded if it’s true. That’s kind of the way Brahmanism works. If you can produce an efficacious effect, you don’t need to be persuaded. It’s just true. Like it’s supposed to be self-evident it’s supposed to be like, okay, we got that.
And the demons will say it doesn’t work in every case, or there are side effects or what about me? You know, what’s going to happen to me, but we don’t know. The Brahman answer to that is always the same. You’re right. We don’t know it. Isn’t perfect. What it is is efficacious. It’s durable, efficacy, mitigates, danger. That’s all I got. And is that worth it? Yeah, because as the nurse in Missouri said to the patient, it’s better honey, than a tube down your throat.
That, that being the point they’re making. Right. So who controls? The messages, controls the world now, does that overstate the case? Yes. That was the problem, right? Is that, is there a truth in that? Sure. But so there’s prehistory, there’s Vedas. And then the Brahman as come along and Brahmans says, you know what?
We got messages. Everybody operates in. And here’s the point of concluding point of Brahmanism. Everybody operates in the same universe. So the messages apply to all like, that’s why this is the beginning of like where say later on that egoism meme resonates in the Upanishads and elsewhere, because you think you’re special. You think you’re different. No, you’re not. We all operate according to the same messages, but we don’t all respond to the same message the same way. It’s complex.


You could be the one in 3 million who has the really bad side effect. Sorry. Why? Cause the world cause the messages aren’t perfect. They’re just really good. They just like, that’s how the world works. It doesn’t work to perfection. It works to enough.
You don’t have to be, you don’t have to be perfect to survive. You have to be good enough if to make the cut. Right. And we all answered to the same messages. That’s a very, that’s very much part of the medical world. Did they think that their messages were in violet and that they got it right? Yeah. That was a mistake. They thought that they thought that their messages were perfect and they’re not like sometimes, you know, they’re really fricking great. Like there is no smallpox in the world it’s gone. Right? Like we defeated the motherfucker, right?
So it can be really efficacious. It can also be really dangerous. Uh, Graham aneurysm tells you, we’re not fighting with the gods and the demons we’re organizing the messages. Hence the rituals. What is ritual ritual are the protocols that deliver the vaccine, right? Ritual is the organization of the material that goes, put this material up against that material. And you get these results. That’s Brahmanism.
We may have to make honest inquiry, like we may have to improve the message to listen to the fears and prejudices of BMT, boxers. That’s that’s all bedside manner, but it doesn’t make the facts. That’s fully Brahmanism. I may have to cajole you to eat the brussel sprouts, but it doesn’t make the brussel sprouts any different. So this helped them accept the fact I’m all for that.
Right. But again, in what do you punish odds won while want us to arrive at is something that’s really interesting. It wants us, you know, where it wants us to go. It wants us to make Jefferson’s self-evident truth. Self-evident right. So if the self-evident truth is that all, all are created equal, right? He says, these truths are self-evident that all let’s leave out. Men just that all are created equal. Right? He wants to go. If that were self-evident to you, you wouldn’t be a Dick.
Like you wouldn’t be a bigot. You wouldn’t be a sexist you’re equal. Like when that’s finally self evident to you, that’s the highest state. That’s the of Brockman palette. That what makes the power true is that you don’t have is that, is that you’ve taken you, haven’t taken out the rigors of the challenges and the conflicts you’ve just arrived at saying, you know, it doesn’t have to be that hard. Right. In fact, that’s what, that’s why they call it ease because you just got it.
Like you’re on the right. You got it. It’s self evident to you. So all of these ways we have to like a swatch and Sue them stroke the cat. Right. Just because we’ve told you what’s true. You just don’t want it. Or it was insincere. Cause after all Jefferson did mean even all the people who look like him like him. Right.
But the idea here is that when you get it right, it should be go up. That’s that’s what they want at it. Okay. Brahmanism gives way. Why? Because for two reasons, at least for several to just arose in my head right away, the first is that the exceptions and the mitigating messages are liable to error.
They’re liable not to produce the results. Like we thought this was the reason, or we thought this was the answer, but it doesn’t work or we’re wrong. Or we didn’t get the result we expected. Like, so, so we, so the revisionism then this like the necessary way in which it doesn’t always work the way we want it to cost an awful lot of anti-vaxxer sentiment.
They want it. They, they, the problem is that the Brahmanism sought perfection and it failed because it sought perfection. That’s the way I put it. Right. It wanted it to work in every case. Instead, instead of saying it works in so many of the cases, that’s good enough, that’s the vagina gets the vagina. The answer is if it works in 99.9% of the cases, like if we have a 92% efficacy and that’s the best we can do, thank you because the world doesn’t add up, but the Brahman has went further. And that’s where the Brahmans who ran these rituals got it wrong.
And they went Nope, 100%. As soon as you talk in absolutes or incompleteness or imperfection language, you’re going to fail. That’s the takeaway. So that’s the first issue. But the more important issue is here in the, upon the shots, because the punish odds is an answer to gremlins.
And if it stops you from getting really ill, that’s a really good thing too, right? Because exactly the point Colleen is that, and, and, and across the, across the lines here in the chat box is that, is that we’re not solving the problem of existence. We’re creating the conditions of a better life. We’re saying, what do we mean by better? And part of what they’re saying is the world is dangerous, threatening precarious, often adversarial, right? And what you got to do is find some way to mitigate address, cut a deal with a dangerous world.
The deals you cut have to do with the quality of your messages, hence to this wall. Well, honed point, the trying to be sincere. We’re trying to address their needs. And fears is a good idea. It’s a little pastoral for my case, but I get the point.
Some, everyone really happy that they didn’t ordain me. Anything. I just don’t have the, just don’t have the pastoral Jean, not too good at soothing. You I’m sorry about that. I’m really glad many of you are like, right, right, right now. So early upon the shots have all the flavor of the Vedic world and they have all the flavor of Brahmanism. And then the later upon shots, the ones we haven’t gotten to yet at all that this afternoon, they, they are, they’re going to trip the agenda into yet another phase.
So, so patients with me here at Beth for a moment. Okay. So the Mo the earlier that you punish the more the more the gods or players in this world of mitigation, and the more broken the Brahmanism is taking hold like this is so, but what’s the second to the first issue that, that upsets the science, you know, the, just get it right. Theory. The PR the first problem was that they thought they got it. Perfect. And they didn’t perfect because they didn’t quite realize that perfection is the problem.
Not the solution. They’re digging in the wrong place. When you were digging for perfection, you’re digging in the wrong place.
That’s what you’ll never find. You should be Indian. His pal looking over at the Nazis, going, you’re digging in the wrong place. Solid. Thank you, Kate. Yeah. Don’t you love that guy.
Alright. By the way, Raiders of the lost art came after I went to India and I thought, damn, they ripped me off. I wanted to be that guy. So that was, that’s what I thought I was. I was like, I’m in anyway. So, so I’m innocent comes along and claims perfection. They’re digging in the wrong place. Now I’m going to argue, keep that idea in, in the waiting and the shots. When they further claim liberation and perfection and finality, they’re looking for the wrong thing.
They’re looking for this thing that doesn’t happen.
So what is the thing that does happen? The punish has give us, especially the early ones, the key, because, and that’s what we’ve been studying. And the key is that the facts need to be interpreted symbolically, but it is the quality of our interpretations that is going to help us. Right? That is so, so, so think of it. It’s easy to go back to the virus as a metaphor, right. For us, right? The virus is filled with facts.
We have people who we have. We have, we have the way it works. If we can think of the virus as a metaphor, we can say, we can say it poses dangerous, like a demon, right? Because it wants to kill us. It’s relentless. And the best we can do is mitigate it, suppress it, manage it, right? So it’s the quality of our interpretation that gives us power.
We live in a symbolic world, but we are empowered by the quality of our interpretations, by the value of them, by what they really do for us. It’s not the facts don’t do for us. We have to interpret the facts. We have, we, we must use the facts like we need the right M and the M RNA. We need the facts. But the quality of our interpretation tells us what those facts will do and what they won’t do.
So, so the quality of interpretation is digging in the right place. Get it. How do you know you’re digging in the right place? When the quality of your interpretation, when the symbol becomes meaningful in a way that gives you that project of success, that project of advance, that project of what you can really expect, right? So now we have the vaccines. We have the facts, we have the Mr. In it, we have the messaging, that’s the Brahmanism.
Now we have to convey that we are back to either this lovely point, right? Which is we have to get that across to people. Or we have to get across to people. Is this isn’t weight? This is, this is like that. This is a metaphor. This is a symbol of the problem in the universe. And the problem in the universe is you don’t get it. Perfect. You get it better.
What constitutes better? How do you do that? How do you advance the quality of your interpretations? How do you dig in the right place? That’s what the Upanishads want to know. How do you do that? The answer is the answers that they give are respect the facts, which means follow the breadcrumbs, follow the evidence, respect the facts, follow the language, follow the ideas, right? Respect the facts, and improve your capacity to message, right?
And improve your ability to convey what, what you really can expect or what could happen. Turn those facts into empowerment. That’s the team you’re digging in the right place. When you are empowered, when you’re producing, what’s the what’s, what’s the proof of empowerment live long and prosper. They’re still there.
There’s still after that. So you say to yourself, I’m looking at, say, hopefully, colleague Joseph and I particularly, right. We are now a man of a certain age, right? And you say to yourself, what’s the quality of my life now, which is different than it was 45 or 35 or 25. That’s how you know, you’re digging in the right place.
Cause you’re asking that question. You’re asking the question. What’s, what’s better in comparison to what that’s, why all of these who punish us or what these war allegorical tedious comparisons, right. Heat is to light. Light is to the, to the sun, as the sun is to the eye. It’s this whole mapping out of comparison so that you can say, well, compare to that. This is where we stand. Okay.
And we’ll shed OODA. But the reason the Vedic and the Hindu gods are never jealous gods is because in fact, they aren’t exhorting us to perfection. That was the mistake philosophers made. That was the mistake. But damn the Donovans made the mistake because Mary Shai bites make, they’re still talking about perfection rather than what’s the best version of a glass fall, right. In Regina Anika, I’ll give you, I’ll give you another way of putting it. And Regina Anika, we had jive this morning.
I’m sorry. I couldn’t make each other this morning. Um, they, somehow, somehow there’s, there’s this rumor that I have a secret child recipe, but my child recipe really is delicious. Okay. So, so you don’t even have to like China. I have my delicious chai, but so, but, but if you fill the cup, like all the way, you just spill the cup, like you just make a mess. So actually the best filled cup is a less filled cup. And it’s a quality question.
I promise I will, but, but Claudette, my chai recipe is a Russia. It’s a new parishad, it’s a secret and we will pass it along. But if you ask, I can’t refuse you that’s good with Jonaka. Let’s keep going. So the opponent shots are in the early sense, include all these old worlds. They point back to their prehistory. They point to a Vedic world of exchange and power of beneficence. And adversarialness they point to the messaging and then they point to this.
And then their, their contribution is to make, is to make all of that contingent on interpretive symbol expansion. Are you empowered by your ability to interpret the world of facts? Symbolic. When you can see the world through allegory metaphor, comparison connection, when you can see the world, those are all what we mean by symbols, allegories, metaphors, comparisons, connections, comparisons, your eyes are like a Lotus flower.
Your hips swivel like an elephant. That’s a very beautiful thing. By the way, Sadie wants like a supermodel who’s elephants whose hips swivel like elephants. We get around our house. We get very beautiful puppy, but she gets really, she gets really good catwalk dog. Okay. So see what we just did. Like we just, we got, we got, we got insight. We got fun. We got sweetness.
We got comparison. When you can think in, when you think in those ways, that’s the Palm shots. First in most principle point, we empower ourselves by, by our capacity to engage the world through symbol, take that away. Like if camp tells you one thing, take that away.
Yeah. The agenda is going to advance because it’s going to take that basic premise. And this afternoon I’ll show you where that goes. Some of it in Regina terms really does evolve and advance, but in some ways that agenda gets better. And then in other ways I will try to argue that it doesn’t, that they lost the plot, but the key to the Punisher that unroll that unwraps it all is that by respecting the facts, we become empowered by the interpretations.
We are capable of offering because all the forms of power we’ll do our tasks better. We will prosper more. We will, we will know when to compel and when to compel, we’ll know when to use a vaccine mandate and not like when we, and we will know the power of truth because the power of truth best, best is the power that they called Brockman. And when you get it, it is, it takes you back from I’m puzzled to, this is the best proposition to this is self-evident okay.
So the empowerment of the punish shots tells us that we become I’m answering glued to this query.
And that is that, um, would have asked. So a hungry Sadie is a better city. I’m telling you this dog is always happy. Okay? And so are you, that’s not a problem. Life can be, we can, we can have kibble. We can have treats by the way that kind Kate on the ground. And Faby decided she came to play. Okay. So here’s what to take this away. A hungry Sadie is a better shady because she learns, she wants, she wants love.
She wants security. She wants treats. We’re all her, get it. But the idea of you punish on is, is that, is that we can do something Sadie can, and that is, we can see ourselves as safety, right? We can see ourselves as the toy. We can see ourselves symbolically as all the characters in the story. And then that can take us to a state of empathy that can take us to an imagination of creativity. I can do this.
Astonishingly rich, audacious, extremely dangerous that let me use the let’s, let’s make the, the, the Bo the chatbox, a good example of this. I’m seeing Claudette’s name and seeing that I’m seeing, I’m seeing deaf Carrie, right? Like just right before my eyes, that’s, what’s immediately in front of me. Right. And I can presume the Punisher says, can I imagine your life?
Can I feel what you feel? How presumptuous, right. How audacious, how radical by gender, I’m different by culture, on different by, by, in America, by race on different, right? How can I presume your experience? And the Upanishad says gracefully, but dangerous.
You must try. How do you do it? You have to see that we share many of the same. We should. We should, we should be trying to share the same facts, but we are empowered by an imagination of symbols. I can compare. And is that dangerous? Is that hard to do? Is that precarious? I must, I must ask myself, what’s this, like, what would it be like to have to tell my son to give my son to talk before the pop, the cops pull them over in America, be like, right.
And so the Upanishads are creating this vision of symbol and comparison of symbol and, and like, how do we, how do we dig into each other? And how do we dig into the right places, right? How do I present that notion to this capable, brilliant, lovely soul called that evidence and say to her, yeah, I would like you to imagine my life. I would like to imagine you honors in the Buddhist of course said wisdom and skillful means in the punishment says, and wisdom and skillful means is the empowerment of metaphor.
It’s the empowerment of symbol, because symbol is the long way home. It’s the say, I dare to find my way into your heart.
I don’t presume however, we are the same heart. I presume we have hearts.
So you see it’s a very, that’s been. So an important takeaway of the morning is to see that everything we’ve studied is kind of filled with this audacity, but it’s also filled with this. How should we say the serious, uh, serious trepidations, right? Serious reasons to pause, serious reasons to, to, to take that audacity and create what Jonaka would call, uh, some Melena to co-mingle that audacity, that urgency, that claim, like we’re all human and say, wow, that’s going to be hard to do.
Like, how do I do that? How do I, how do I manage a comparison? How do I dig in the right place?
How do I dig without causing more damage than good? How do I dig in a way that lets that that is respectful and serious and heartfelt. And again, Julie’s right. We have to learn from history and we have to take a quality of intention. These are all mitigating factors that the Upanishad that’s raised. Are you serious? Do you mean it? Or you acting in good faith? What’s the quality of your character?
Are you willing to do the hard lessons of history? Are you doing to do the, the survival work, the work, willing to do the work? Are you willing to do, make the effort? Where’s your heart in it? Those are all matters. Right?
And Jay bears, right? We all are reticent. We all are hesitant. We all fear progress the same way we fear change. Yeah. Let’s do a little loop on a shuttle at 15 minutes past noon, if that’s okay. So I want to go here.
Into the Punisher called Koshy to keep it. No one studies this. Okay. Like I’m just telling you, like this is in every transition and all the major translations it’s in all the 10, 13, 12 apartments. Everyone does move along. Nothing to see here because it’s just very strange to very weird place. This afternoon. We’ll go to like the greatest hits ones. The ones that like you find internet memes on kina Cutta Iisha should touch FITARA. That’s where we’ll land this afternoon.
And I’ll tell you where I think that they add things of great import and where I think they make a mess of things, but we’ll work that out. But in Chuck, in the so, so, so we Iraq. So past Brahmanism is the empowered world of metaphor of symbolism. That’s where the Upanishads land after the Punisher, that idea that the world is fact, and the world is meth.
That the world is, is SUT. It’s real things. And the world is the interpretation of real things that becomes the Pantheon of the gods. That becomes the news. That’s the news. And then who are those characters and how we relate to them that becomes into it. So there’s prehistory, there’s Vedas and there’s Brahmanism. There’s the transitional world of the punish odds through symbol. That’s going to give rise to the Buddhists and the Janes and others who engage in the process.
And then there’s the standards. And the Hindus take all of that previous world. They collect it. They don’t lose any of it. And they, and they projected onto their path yet. And in Regina, Monica turns it projected onto a Pantheon. They began tells us about nature and culture and ourselves, our individual conscience. And now you’re every character in the story. And you’re in the audacious problem.
What we’re going to distinguish is are we in that matrix of relationships to live long and prosper to mitigate? Or are we in the pursuit of perfection and liberation? That’s the big question. We’ll go there this afternoon. Let’s go to Kashi, Dicky, cows, sheep. Dickie is a really difficult the Punisher, but I want to point out a handful of, of issues like that. I w that I would like you to think about when you, when you read or when you study any of the texts.
And it just happens to be very kind of predominant and Kashi. The first is that is filled with obscure, difficult to follow stories that are loves, that I would, our first theme is that it’s filled with what I would call love songs for a living. So if we want to dig into our souls and into our hearts and into our bodies and into our human condition, we want to, you want to literally dig in the right place.
And the answer is, and the first place is what we need our connections of care and concern. We need connections of love. We need connections of connection.
And to make those connections, this is how you know, you’re digging in the right place. You’ll learn a song and that, and you’ll learn. You’ll literally learn a love song. And so, as the promise, Shaun progresses, it raises an issue of living is the issue is the issue. Our children is the issue. Giving our children a life is the issue transitioning our lives so that when we die, what our children inherit is a value is the issue.
How do I invite physical intimacy? Like, how do I there’s there’s a whole section. I’ll read it for you. Like how, like, what’s, what’s foreplay, like what’s sex. How do I get that to be sweet? How do I get, how do I know him digging in the right place? Right? Like, like asking for like putting in the request such as it is making the connection of a seduction. That’s a love song, right? So in every section of the Kashi punish shot, there’s some human concern.
What happens at the moment of death? What happens when, when we have to go to war because the world is filled with villainy. Cause she took, he raises these individual situations as social choices, as facts of life, as rights of passage, as concerns of culture and society and politics, right? And it says, it says, what you want to do is make a connection with yourself and a connection with the world and a connection with the, the issue you’re facing, love, war, death, sex, food, invitations, to the transition of life and death, whatever the subject is.
That’s, life’s concern here, social political individual fact of life. Matt, you need a connection to make a connection. You need, you need a song. You literally need a poem because then you have more than just the facts. You have, any vocative invitation. You have a feeling expressed in a com. You have the concern and the, and the issue. You have a feeling, you have an expression of connection.
And so in each of these sections, there is literally a love song for living.
So let me give you a whole strange series of lovely examples of this on page 2 0 9 of our L Adele translation to second book, eighth verse says every month, moreover, on the night of the moon, one should worship the moon.
As it becomes visible in the west using the very same procedure, very same method, very simple process, or else one may fro, or else you can do this thing, do this on a drag or else one may throw two green blades of grasp towards it. That is towards the moon. And then he gives you the love song and the love song. This is my heart defined. Kimberling stick is placed within moon. This I do recognize now, so may I not have to weep from my children’s misfortune?

The moon represents the light of consciousness that we receive. It represents the movement, the phases of life. Cause it’s phases across the world. And the new moon is when you can’t see it. So during the new moon, the moon is there but it’s absent. And so now what are you looking at? You’re looking at the horizon of the known as the unknown. You’re looking at what happens after death, not what, um, for those of you who are parents in the room, what are your children doing?
Even if they’re grown and successful and elsewhere, right? Like, am I really less anxious about my daughters? Because they’re capable, grown adult women, intelligent characters, doing something this morning, probably working, right? Yeah. Am I, am I terrified of what could happen to them? Of course I am. Right. What do I want them to have?
I want them to have the beauty of the moon be elixir, right? I want them to be sued. They want them to be, well, I want them to be content. I want them to be happy. My in control of that, do I see that? It’s like the new moon. I don’t see that. I’m not in control. It is over or under the horizon of my being, wonderful and ironic.
This is, it says on the night of the new moon, one should worship the moon. As it becomes visible in the west, it’s new. It doesn’t become visible. It’s exactly what you don’t see. Except they want to calculate a message. You can’t sit. They want to, they want to enter into a world. That’s sublime. That’s factual because the new moon does rise in the west. It’s just that you can’t see it. So the same way you can say the message is in the vaccine, but I can’t see it, because it’s real, it’s factual. And then the moon is a symbol, but the moon is also factual. It’s the unseen thing, rising on the Western horizon. And so, so if I can’t do that very same thing. I can’t do that, which will, I felt two green blades of grass saying, and then he gives you this lovely, beautiful verse. He gives you the love song. He says, what you can do is offer something of care and concern something beautiful, something wondrous.
And you can ask for your heart’s desire and what the heart’s desire of course is. So that I may not have to read for my children’s misfortune because your children, our children’s misfortune here is, is concluded on the next page. He says, and his children indeed will not die before him because that is understood here again, both factually and kind of allegorically as something you just don’t want.
Like that’s not the course of events that that’s a pain that, and having suffered that pain, that, I mean, say what we will about, about Biden, but having suffered that problem creates an opening to an empathy that is profound, right? Because, because it’s so sad that no one should have to suffer that that’s the sensibility of the punishment. And so what we ask for is a song to sing that will suit those who have suffered it, ask for that, not to happen, knowing that we don’t control it in a world that is over and under the horizon of what we experienced.
So that the light of the moon, which is in this case, absence is as soothing. And as, as elixir as it is, if the moon were full, as if we thought everything’s okay, so this, this opening, this, this is about a world we don’t control.
This is about a life where we’re not where we are over and under the horizon of what we can see and what we can manage and what we can and what we understand. Like right now, it’s a new moon moment. I don’t know where my daughters are. Do I trust them? Do I, do I trust in their judgment and their integrity and their education and their ability and their maturity and their, their goodness, all of those matters. Do I do I, can I lay hold of that?
I can like the new moon. What do I want from that? I want a song in their hearts that says something like, you know what pop is thinking. Papa’s thinking that he wants you. He wants you to live long and prosper. He wants your goodness. He wants your decent. He wants this decent. He wants a world that’s so dangerous to spare you. It’s pain. It’s a love song. Is it wishful? Is it whimsical? Is it, is, is there some portion of it? That’s just not true. That’s what makes it mythic.
It’s a, it’s a, it’s a lie told in the service of a deeper truth, right? It’s a, it’s a sweeter hope for the world. And so it reverts to this poetry because it knows it’s not a fact. It knows it’s poet.
There are two next sections and they’re both really interesting or three actually. Um, there are, um, eight and 10 on pages, two, 10, and two 11 have to do with, with the gift of turning the world over like we’re here. And the punish God is saying the world that comes after us is going to love and lose.
And you know, that, does anyone else do this? But, um, when you walk through a graveyard or you walk through the, the, the memories of people, you, one of, one of the things that I like about cemeteries, if you say to yourself, everyone here had a life. Like everyone here had a story. Everyone here lived in a certain world and that world passed on. I can pass onto the next one. And the punishment says, what kind of a world do you want to give?
Like, what kind of a world do you want? Seven? Like, it’s the seven generations argument, but the native Americans are so, so vividly attuned, like so clearly attuned to like what, what, what, what world that you have that you don’t imagine, do you want to pass on? So there’s a love song for that.
So now the proceeding is for a man who has a sub or a parent who has a child as for one who does not have a child. In the other hand, he should first seem silently these three Rick verses, because in other words, the, the love song that’s first offered is not for your children, but for a future. And the Upanishad says, do you sing a love song for the future?
What kind of love song do you sing? Swell up a solid there’s a reality gathering you from all sides, either be at the gathering, be there at the gathering of power will we’ve been talking about four kinds of power. Be there at the gathering of power, made juices at Selma and powers. May Darryl energies that sensuality gathering you, who crushed the enemies. That is the things that would make the world Latin or adversarial mean or cruel vindictive or hungry and eating you as you swell.
Oh, Soma. Right? Oh, light of the moon. Oh, Soma the elixir of S of constellation of sweetness and happiness. Some joy like having a meal together and toasting of Soma. It’s a toast to Soma. As you swell a summer to and mortality, you capture in the sky, the highest score. So Soma swelling and mortality is the waxing moon, right? There’s so much a name for the moon that tiny drop of some of that light of the moon. The oddity has made it to swell.
The audit she has are these Celestials who offer light. They are the sons of the blameless mother.
What their name means that imperishable drop back, the imperishable ones drink. And so each one of us drinks of the same moon, it’s a very beautiful image, but the punch out is creating out of the beta, right? Because when it’s saying is your ancestors saw the same moon usage? Do you have your third fitted fig looking at the moon, thanked for yourself. Shakespeare saw that moon. You know, my mom saw that moon, that great-grandmother whose name, I don’t know, swooned at the moon as I do and reveled in its light.
And it’s beauty and sell it wax and wait, and then pass it on. So, so, so the love song here is, is, is drink that moment for yourself. And then remember it’s everyone’s mood, but you are connected. We are in fact connected as the Moonlight, as the Selma, because of the very same Moonlight you see, as the Moonlight, everyone, that’s a website in casualty.
Uh, Kashi took eight to 10. This is one of my favorite ones. It’s really weird. It’s really sweet. Um, it’s this idea that like Papa comes home from work and he takes the kid in his arms. He puts his head like his face. Like we do this to Sadie in the morning. Like you hug the doc, the dog and you bury your nose from the top of their head. And you’re like, breathe them. And it’s literally a whole passage way. It says now when a man journey returns from a journey, he should sniff his son’s head.
You go like, hell, it’s like this really sweet, beautiful physical act. It’s like, take this fact, do this thing, make this a kind of like informal ritual, like make, and it, and it’s kind of given to you like a command. It’s just like do this strange thing.
And when you do, you hae your, do you have, there’s a song you sing to yourself. It says from my body, you spring from every inch, from my heart, you were born, you are myself. Oh, child you’ve rescued me. Right. You’ve rescued me. Not from death. There you’ve rescued me because my memory will be used. And you will remember this moment. Papa used to hold me. There’s this. Um, uh, maybe Joseph heard one of the literary folks going to help me out.
But you remember there’s a poem by theater refugee called, um, my Papa’s waltz. And it’s this very sad, but interesting, lovely poem about a Papa who comes home and he’s drunk. And he’s not really a very good dad in a certain way. And his son, uh, and he takes his son and you know how you’d like to use to step on your parents’ feet and they would dance.
And you would, and it’s a, it’s a poem about that. It’s called my Papa’s waltz. This is that same kind of sentiment without the kind of ref key sadness, alcoholism thing in it. But it’s a really, but it’s a love song to those cherished ways in which maybe as you, as we each approach our own death. We remember that sweet moment where we were held by standing on our, you know, our parents feel like waltzing through the room like that, or the way you, or the way like mama would hug you and sniff you, or the way your grandmother smelled when she gave you a hug and you weren’t quite sure you wanted one.
And when he confers his name, be a rock, be an axed be indestructable goal. You are the radiants called child. May you live a hundred years. You punish that is this love song of prosperity and of wishes, but intentions as for the ascent. Um, and, and yes, there’s a, there’s a kind of a bias in the story to have children, but it’s not about having your children. It’s about having it’s about a future. It’s about a life of value.
It’s about wishing a life forward. The word here really isn’t children. That’s really progeny. It’s really what you lead. What, what kind of a world do you, what do you want to be born forward? What do you want next?
And even if one doesn’t have children, one wants something for the world. So I’m going to end it here because we’re already at 1220. Um, we’ll come back at two. Um, and, but, and I’m sorry to linger and take so long, but these love songs that go on and on, and there are several other important, interesting points, but I will make those as we enter the afternoon. I promise we’ll kind of our, our goal this afternoon is to take us through kind of the elemental structures that allow us to read the rest of these economy shots, which are rather quite different from where we’ve been in important ways.
And then Monday morning, um, we’ll, we’ll draw out some, some kind of collective value of the entire enterprise and put ourselves, um, on track to do what comes next and to understand what we just did.
So, so, uh, we’ve got, we’ve got some, we’ve got quite a bit more work ahead of us for this afternoon, but I think we’d had a long morning. I hope it was worth your time. I hope I hope I spent enough of it offering things of value, enjoy the love songs of the living. There are other issues here in Kashi to God. And then, um, in the other punishments that I’ll bring out, but these are the first and most important things. Well, this afternoon we’ll touch upon the boundaries of time, the meaning of death, um, what, what heaven could be the procurement of freedom, what it means to live again, to dig in the right place.
So a big thank you for your time and energy and, and, uh, and your concern. I will see you in a few hours if that’s okay, so go and have some lunch, have some rest or whatever it takes. Uh, thank you so very much. Um, and, and, um, see, assuming 2:00 PM. Albert’s okay. Fixed becoming and shit.
Could you see, man, you just turned up to this bloody.

About Sunday morning

Sunday Morning Contemplation is informed by Eastern and Western contemplative traditions. The first, lectio divina has its origins in 6th century Europe. It unfolds in four steps or stages: reading (lectio), reflecting (meditatio), responding (oratio), and silent abiding (contemplatio). Our Eastern inspiration come from the Indian Upanishads (800-200 BCE), where contemplative practice consists of three steps or stages: listening (śravana), reflecting (manana), and meditating (nididhyāsana or dhyāna). Our contemplative practice on Sundays embraces both approaches, and each contemplation will be based on a reading from either tradition.

The texts and teachers I have chosen played a significant role in my life and I believe have much to offer. I will read presellected texts, slowly, with pauses between verses or quotes. The readings will be accompanied by soothing background music. To lessen distraction, I suggest participants close their eyes and listen. However, the screen will display the text so that people can choose to read along or mute the sound and read on their own. If there is time remaining after the contemplative period, participants can choose to either leave or stay for a short discussion.

As a preface to the reading, I will provide a 10-15 minute introduction to the text. When relevant, I’ll review facts about the author/teacher’s life. I will also present a brief explanation of the terms and language encountered in the reading.

Finally, when the contemplation is over, all texts read will be available online to read and/or download at any time on the website.

What I mean by
The Symbolic Life

This website makes liberal use of classical Indian visual art and refers mostly to traditional Indian texts (for example, the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras) in the courses, seminars, and discussions on offer. However, I am not presenting lessons in Hinduism; in fact, teaching mainstream Hinduism is neither my area of interest nor expertise. Rather, my interest in Yoga and Tantra is grounded in the concrete situation in which we find ourselves, in the places where we arrive and from which we depart. Beginning in the here and now, we will explore the underlying meaning of the symbols, stories, images, philosophies, and techniques found in Indian philosophical texts and practice, in light of our world and our current circumstance. We will excavate the meaning of the aphorisms and teaching stories; the symbolic figures of gods, people, and nature; and the sometimes terse, sometimes poetic, philosophy of the texts. Thus, in referring to the Symbolic Life of Yoga and Tantra, I mean not just the symbols themselves, but the rich explication of life that the symbols represent.

Our lived, concrete situation is wonderfully captured in the Sanskrit word loka, whose ancient meaning is “the world.”  The root meaning of both the Sanskrit loka and the English locate (and local, locale, and location) is identical. In the ancient Indian mind, the world is where we are located, in our current circumstance. Thus, the meaning of the symbols of Yoga and Tantra can occur only in the now, in the places where we find ourselves, and not in any imagined ancient and/or foreign world.

To emphasize our place of origin and return, I use the terms “archetypal” and “symbolic” quite frequently. Archetypal meaning is associated with the universal and collective aspects of human experience—what we intimately share with all others regardless of culture or era or epoch—while symbolic language forms a bridge between the realms of the universal with the culturally specific and local. Symbols are the scaffolding upon which human beings build a world and imbue it with meaning.

Think for a moment of pain and pleasure, sorrow and joy, hatred and love, and greed and generosity—universal experiences that ancient Indian thinkers called the dvandva-s. This Sanskrit term is a combination of two words, or rather, one word spoken twice: the word dva (meaning the same as the English “two”) duplicated. Dvandva is commonly translated as “the pair of opposites” or literally “the two-twos” (dvadva). The ancients who coined this compact symbol gave voice to an archetypal human experience that can be further unpacked to reveal deep insights into the human condition. Once we gain an understanding of the various symbols of Yoga and Tantra, we can further excavate their meaning and the archetypes they convey, and thus gain access to, in a practical and meaningful way, the vision of life experienced by the sages. These insights are available to us and are still relevant today, as are the resilient and adaptable techniques and forms of practice that can help us lead richer and more fulfilling lives