Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Ocean's 12

This is one of my favorite music in the movie along with the imagery in the movie. I am not sure why majority of the people do not like Ocean's 12 at all. I believe it was the best one compared to the other two and even the director of the movie Steven Soderbergh agrees with me.

Steven Soderbergh Doesn't Care If You Like 'Ocean's 12,' But Don't Hate It For The Wrong Reason

I do not like Oceans 13 much. May be my interests and tastes are different.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

I need to seriously rethink about my career

I am not quite happy with where I wanted to be by now. My career interests have been changing over the years. When I was a teenager I wanted to be an evolutionary biologist motivated by good biologists like Richard Dawkins and Ernst Mayr etc. Reading the Australian WebsterWorld encylopedia motivated me to pursue a career as a molecular biologist seeing all the fantastic research that was taking place in this field. In fact I had even applied for the 5 year integrated Life Science programme in one of the universities. I also wanted to be a science reporter, a nano-technologist, a synthetic biologist, a robotics engineer, an astronomer etc.

May be since I am a Cancerian my mind is fickle and I keep changing my interests quite often. Finally I pursued information science because molecular biologists were expected to have a fair knowledge of coding and scripting in order to keep up with the growing fields like genomics, proteomics, metabolomics etc. I for some reason is no longer interested in biology now because I cannot start my career again from scratch. The other option is to be a data scientist.

But honestly speaking I do not really have any interests in anything except Theurgy. The below commentary by Aurobindo explains why.
The solar energy is the physical form of Surya, Lord of Light and Truth; it is through the Truth that we arrive at Immortality, final aim of the Vedic discipline. It is therefore under the images of the Sun and its rays, of Dawn and day and night and the life of man between the two poles of light and darkness that the Aryan seers represent the progressive illumination of the human soul. It is so that Shyavashwa of the house of Atri hymns Savitri, Creator, Increaser, Revealer.  
Surya enlightens the mind and the thoughts with the illuminations of the Truth. He is vipra, the illumined. It is he who delivers the individual human mind from the circumscribed consciousness of self and environment and enlarges the limited movement which is imposed on it by its preoccupation with its own individuality. Therefore he is brihat, the Large. But his illumination is not a vague light, nor does his largeness come by a confused and dissolved view of self and object; it holds in itself a clear discernment of things in their totality, their parts and their relations. Therefore he is vipascit, the clear in perception. Men as soon as they begin to receive something of this solar illumination, strive to yoke their whole mentality and its thought-contents to the conscious existence of the divine Surya within them. That is to say, they apply, as it were, all their obscure mental state and all their erring thoughts to this Light manifested in them so that it may turn the obscurity of the mind into clearness and convert the errors of thought into those truths which they distortedly represent. This yoking (yunjate) becomes their Yoga. “They yoke the mind, and they yoke their thoughts, the enlightened, of (i.e. to, or so that they may be part of or belong to) the Enlightened, the Large, the Clear-perceptioned.”  
Then the Lord of Truth orders all the human energies offered up to him in the terms of the Truth; for he becomes in man a sole and sovereign Power governing all knowledge and action. Not interfered with by conflicting agencies, he governs perfectly; for he knows all manifestations, comprehends their causes, contains their law and process, compels their right result. 

            - Sri Aurobindo on the Secret of the Vedas 

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Descent, Search and Ascent - A common theme in mystery religions

"Because of this element of secrecy, we are ill-informed as to the beliefs and practices of the various mystery faiths. We know that they had a general likeness to one another".  
- Ernest William Barnes

Eleusinian mysteries

This is the mystery of mother Demeter and her daughter Persephone who descends to the underworld and her mother Demeter sincerely searches for her daughter and finally she ascends to earth to live with her mother which returns joy, happiness and fertility.

The above myth is nothing but the descend of the soul into this world, searching and suffering of the soul in this world and finally ascension of the soul through the Eleusinian ritual practices. Eleusinianism is the most ancient of the mysteries which was followed by Greeks from time immemorial and was open to everyone for initiation.

Orphic mysteries

Orphics believed that man was made up of an immortal soul which was in bondage with a material body. They established the hierarchy and the origin of the intellectual and the intelligible gods with Zeus or Jupiter as the Demiurgus who fashions the souls of man and seeds it on earth which formed the descent.

Orphism explained the origin of the cosmos through Phanes who originated from the cosmic egg and possessed all the gods in his womb.

"O Mighty first-begotten [Protogonos], hear my pray'r, two-fold, egg-born, and wand'ring thro' the air, Bull-roarer, glorying in thy golden wings, from whom the race of Gods and mortals springs. Ericap├Žus [Erikapaios], celebrated pow'r, ineffable, occult, all shining flow'r. From eyes obscure thou wip'st the gloom of night, all-spreading splendour, pure and holy light. Hence Phanes call'd, the glory of the sky, on waving pinions thro' the world you fly.  Priapus, dark-ey'd splendour, thee I sing, genial, all-prudent, ever-blessed king, With joyful aspect on our rights divine and holy sacrifice propitious shine." 
- To the Protogonus, the first-born, Orphic Hymns

Pythagorus and Plato were heavily influenced by the Orphic mysteries and his philosophy was completely based on the Orphic mysteries.

Through their Dionysian rituals they searched for the divine spark in them and ascended to heavens.

Mithraic mysteries

Even the mithraic mysteries was based descend and ascension of the soul which was very well depicted in the main iconography of their mysteries, the tauroctony. Mithras Liturgy is a ritual practice where the magician ascends to the solar world passing through various gates in the above heavens and finally meets the supreme Godhead of the cosmos King Helios-Aion-Mithras and receives immortality from him. 

Cautes and Cautopates holding the torch downwards (descend) and upwards (ascension)
Porphyry has more on the subject.
"Caves, therefore, in the most remote periods of antiquity were consecrated to the Gods, before temples were erected to them. Hence, the Curetes in Crete dedicated a cavern to Jupiter; in Arcadia, a cave was sacred to the Moon, and to Lycean Pan; and in Naxus, to Bacchus. But wherever Mithra was known, they propitiated the God in a cavern. With respect, however, to the Ithacensian cave, Homer was not satisfied with saying that it had two gates, but adds that one of the gates was turned towards the north, but the other which was more divine, to the south. He also says that the northern gate was pervious to descent, but does not indicate whether this was also the case with the southern gate. For of this, he only says, "It is inaccessible to men, but it is the path of the immortals."  
........Theologists therefore assert, that_these two gates are Cancer and Capricorn; but Plato calls them entrances. And of these, theologists say, that Cancer is the gate through which souls descend; but Capricorn that through which they ascend. Cancer is indeed northern, and adapted to descent; but Capricorn is southern, and adapted to ascent (note 12). The northern parts, likewise, pertain to souls descending into generation. And the gates of the cavern which are turned to the north are rightly said to be pervious to the descent of men; but the southern gates are not the avenues of the Gods, but of souls ascending to the Gods. On this account, the poet does not say that they are the avenues of the Gods, but of immortals; this appellation being also common to our souls, which are per se, or essentially, immortal.  
It is said that Parmenides mentions these two gates in his treatise "On the Nature of Things", as likewise that they are not unknown to the Romans and Egyptians. For the Romans celebrate their Saturnalia when the Sun is in Capricorn, and during this festivity, slaves wear the shoes of those that are free, and all things are distributed among them in common; the legislator obscurely signifying by this ceremony that through this gate of the heavens, those who are now born slaves will be liberated through the Saturnian festival, and the house attributed to Saturn, i.e., Capricorn, when they live again and return to the fountain of life. Since, however, the path from Capricorn is adapted to ascent, hence the Romans denominate that month in which the Sun, turning from Capricorn to the east, directs his course to the north, Januanus, or January, from janua, a gate. 
- Porphyry on the Cave of the Nymphs

Chaldean (Persian-Babylonian) mysteries

The Chaldean oracles teaches us that there is a solar world which we have to inevitably ascend in order to receive the immortality of the soul. Proclus has more on this subject.

"On this account, it appears to me that Plato delivers a twofold generation of the Sun; one indeed, in conjunction with the seven governors of the world, when he fashions the bodies of them, and inserts them in circulations; but the other according to the enkindling of light, through which he imparts to the Sun supermundane power. For it is one thing to generate the bulk of the Sun itself by itself, and another in conjunction with a ruling characteristic, through which the Sun is called the king of every visible nature, and is established analogous to the one fountain of good. For as this fountain, being better than the intelligible essence, illuminates both intellect and the intelligible, thus also the sun being better than a visible nature, illuminate both that which is visible and sight. But if the Sun is beyond a visible essence, it will have a supermundane nature. For the world is visible and tangible, and has a body. Hence, we must survey the Sun in a twofold respect; viz. as one of the seven planets, and as the leader of wholes; and as mundane and supermundane, according to the latter of which he splendidly emits a divine light. For in the same manner as The Good luminously emits truth which deifies the intelligible and intellectual order; as Phanes in Orpheus sends forth intelligible light which fills with intelligence all the intellectual Gods; and as Jupiter enkindles an intellectual and demiurgic light in all the supermundane Gods; thus also the Sun illuminates every thing visible through this undefiled light. The illuminating cause too is always in an order superior to the illuminated natures. For neither is The Good intelligible, nor Phanes intellectual, nor Jupiter supermundane. In consequence of this reasoning therefore, the Sun being supermundane emits the fountains of light. And according to the most mystic doctrines, the wholeness of the Sun is in the supermundane orders; for in them there is a solar world, and a total light, as the Chaldean Oracles assert, and which I am persuaded is true. And thus much concerning these things."  
- Proclus on the Timaeus of Plato

Pauline mysteries (greatest mystery of all mysteries)

The great Paul of Tarsus echoed the same views in his epistles which was very well understood by the greatest mystic of all time, Valentinus, a gnostic for all seasons, the only one from the western esoteric tradition who had the correct conception of divine and having a mind and vision greater in magnitude than Plato or Iamblichus. Valentinus showed his pneumatic charisma in his seminal work 'The Gospel of Truth' which is the greatest of all the historical mysteries put together.

Gospel of Truth begins by stating the most beautiful truth of all truths that the Father held the perfection of the Aeons within himself, the fact that he deliberately created beings in an ignorant state expecting them to return to him out of love. This ignorance of the knowledge (gnosis) of the Father was the root cause for the origin of this world and all the evil which resides in it.

"And as for him, them he found in himself, and him they found in themselves, that illimitable, inconceivable one, that perfect Father who made the all, in whom the All is, and whom the All lacks, since he retained in himself their perfection, which he had not given to the all. The Father was not jealous. What jealousy, indeed, is there between him and his members? For, even if the Aeon had received their perfection, they would not have been able to approach the perfection of the Father, because he retained their perfection in himself, giving it to them as a way to return to him and as a knowledge unique in perfection. He is the one who set the All in order and in whom the All existed and whom the All lacked. As one of whom some have no knowledge, he desires that they know him and that they love him. For what is it that the All lacked, if not the knowledge of the Father?"  
- Gospel of Truth

This error and fog was nothing to the Holy Father as he knew that error and evil does not exists in him although they exist because of him.

"Forgetfulness did not exist with the Father, although it existed because of him. What exists in him is knowledge, which was revealed so that forgetfulness might be destroyed and that they might know the Father, Since forgetfulness existed because they did not know the Father, if they then come to know the Father, from that moment on forgetfulness will cease to exist."  
 - Gospel of Truth

The process of descent begins with the emanation of Aeons from the Father.

"It was a great wonder that they were in the Father without knowing him and that they were able to leave on their own, since they were not able to contain him and know him in whom they were, for indeed his will had not come forth from him."  
- Gospel of Truth

The search of the Father begins and they find the way through the Saviour - Jesus Christ.

"The Father opens his bosom, but his bosom is the Holy Spirit. He reveals his hidden self which is his son, so that through the compassion of the Father the Aeons may know him, end their wearying search for the Father and rest themselves in him, knowing that this is rest."  
- Gospel of Truth

The process of ascent begins with the help of the gnosis of the Father preached by his son Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

"Since the perfection of the All is in the Father, it is necessary for the All to ascend to him. Therefore, if one has knowledge, he gets what belongs to him and draws it to himself. For he who is ignorant, is deficient, and it is a great deficiency, since he lacks that which will make him perfect. Since the perfection of the All is in the Father, it is necessary for the All to ascend to him and for each one to get the things which are his. He registered them first, having prepared them to be given to those who came from him." 
- Gospel of Truth

What great teachings these are from Valentinus and we all should be indebted to him in helping us to understand the greatest mystery of divine in such simple poetical form rather than accusing him of plagiarizing from Plato who looks so puny in front of a giant like Valentinus. Valentinus molded the mysteries, he formalized it into a coherent whole and gave us the whole picture. As GRS Mead said very few people could ever appreciate the ideal of the man and much less understand it because for that age he was trying to achieve the impossible.