Seminar 2011: The Upanisads are Vedanta

dahliaSpring Weekend Seminar with Babaji Bob Kindler

Student’s Reflection and Notes
One of the indelible parts of this retreat for me was to learn that many of the 97 “minor” upanisads (out of 108) in the Vedas incorporate what we have come to know as Yoga and Kundalini Yoga. Many are given the names of the Deities and some Incarnations as well, suggesting an element of Tantra. As Babaji stated in classes this visit, the rishis had a deep love of Yoga.

The first class of this four-class weekend was given to exploring from various angles how the rishis conceived of absolute and relative realities.  In their deepest states of awareness they realized that everything is Real, everything exists, because the substratum of all phenomena is pure Existence. Everything is coming forth from That and returning to That.  “Sarvosmi,” “Everything is,” is the Sanskrit phrase used to express this idea.  So if Everything Is, why does it come and go?  And this goes to the heart of the matter.  There is no origin — as in a creation out of nothing — for anything, nature or Soul.

Babaji presented three charts designed to extinguish the notion that there is life and death, beginnings and endings, existence and non-existence.  Even the more subtle idea of cycles of creation, preservation, and destruction are not able to quell this idea that we are born and that we die. Rather, on the “breast of Ultimate Reality (pure Consciousness)” waves are rising and falling, manifesting and unmanifesting, but no change is really taking place in Consciousness.

The first chart, “Manifest and Unmanifest Prakriti” shows the tip of an iceberg above the ocean, as well as its massive bulk below the surface. The idea here is that the “tip” represents what we can see with our external physical senses, which is a very small portion.  What lies below the ocean represents unmanifest Prakriti, in which are found subtle and causal realms of reality.  All of this rests in the water of the ocean (the Supremely Unmanifest).  But whether the water is frozen above the surface or below, it is still water. Further, as water from the tip melts back to the ocean, it resolidifies on the surface on and around the iceberg, thus expressing the idea that names and forms are eternal; they simply manifest for awhile, then return to nonmanifestation. And the Self is the seer of this phenomena.

The second chart Babaji showed was his “Russian Doll” chart on the Five Akashas: bhutakasha (space of physical objects), pranakasha (space of prana), chittakasha (space of thought), jnanakasha (space of Intelligence), and Chidakasha (space of Awareness). Just like the Russian dolls fit together, one inside the other, each akasha from gross to subtle fits within the next most subtle.  Each of these akashic dolls represent respectively physical or subtle realms of existence and the beings that dwell in them as well.  It is important to note that our essential nature is the Chidakasha, and all these other realms are in us and come out of us.  Depending upon where we “tune” our awareness, we can have darshan with the beings of these akashas.  As Babaji states at the top of the chart: “Like five Russian dolls of diminishing size, which neatly nest inside of one another, all ending up as one all-inclusive unity, similarly do the five atmospheres through which name and form manifest all reside within each other — from causeless to causal to subtle to gross — each holding multiple dimensions, countless worlds, and myriad beings.”

The third chart on this topic of manifest and unmanifest was “Omkara — The Great Cause, Emanation and Dissolution in Vedic Cosmology.” In this chart, Babaji covered manifestation and nonmanifestation from the standpoint of vibration as it relates to AUM and the Four Padas (waking, dreaming, sleep, and Turiya). The idea is that sound (vibration) is inherent in the bell, just like AUM as the manifesting principle is inherent in Brahman or Turiya, represented by the bell.  The sound is not created, it is already and always present.  It is simply manifested or not.  And when the vibrations die away, they return to the bell. States Svayambhava Manu, “All universes in space and time lie within Om.  With knowledge of the Word (Om), and how cosmic projection goes forth, one can follow the shining rays of Jnana-wisdom straight to the Source, penetrating all brahmandas (vibrating spheres).  Then the Mother of the Word will immerse one in the Ocean of Consciousness.”

Many more charts and Upanisadic teachings were given throughout the seminar. What is noted above caught this student’s attention in particular.  The following are some notes gathered from all the classes: