The Tao as it appears to me

The Tao is a personal journey into oneself from within and without. This is my understanding of the philosophy stated by Lao Tzu and other Daoists like Lieh Tzu, Chuang Tzu...

                                                    

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Infinity in the Upanishads

Poornamadah Poornamidam
Poornaat Poornamudachyate
Poornasya Poornamaadaaya
Poornamevaavashishyate

That (which we do not yet know) is the whole; this(which we can sense) is the whole
From that whole arises this whole (world as we know it)
When the whole is taken out of the whole, the whole still remains whole.

I read somewhere that Lao Tzu had in his possession the copies of Indian scriptures and having read them and others in his library which he took care of, he adopted some of them in his 81 verses and more in his life. Whether this is true or not is besides the point.

More to come in this post...
--------- Added after 6th March 2005 ----------
Do note the uncanny correlation between the verse above and Chapter 1 of the TTC. The Tao does not call the gross or the sublime as parts of something. The shanti mantra above too addresses them as the "whole". What I proceed to say is my interpretation and stands to criticism as anything else on this blog.

Let us consider the 2nd line in the shanti mantra:
"Poornaat Poornamudachyate"

From the whole that we believe in comes the whole (that we would like to believe in). Some minds need tangibles before they can deal with anything. They need proofs and theories and specimens. Such a mind deals with the tangible whole (I resist using the phrase "gross whole" as it might have negative connotations) and what it can create is also in the realm of tangibles. So be it with the specialists (as JK calls them). They need statistics and lab tests and sundry before they will accept the possibility and, later, the existence of something. This is what Lao Tzu refers to when he says "Ever filled with desire we only see and observe what can be sensed" (rather as per the translation arrived at above, which is definitely not Lao Tzu's handiwork). When the need to sense doesn't exist and the need to measure and assure ourselves ceases, what we enter is the intangible whole. This whole gives rise to a whole world of tangibles and intangibles, but the tangibles here are not measured. This whole, mind you, is still derived from the absolute whole which also contains and is the wholeness of tangibles. I think we are getting vague here. Let us slow down. There is one whole which contains, although it cannot be cleaved on the grounds of containment, the whole world of tangibles and intangibles. This whole shall hereafter be addressed as Whole, merely to reduce confusion. So we realise that the whole of tangibles creates a whole world of tangibles and the whole of intangibles creates a whole world of intangibles (which includes tangibles which needn't be measured). I hope we are together. What I wish to impress upon the intellect is that the single line in the shanti mantra is applicable to both the wholes, and the need for brevity felt by our ancient sages drove them to compress the interpretation into 2 words (if you ignore the sandhi of the words in the 2nd word). Please rest to admire the brilliance of the mind. To capture the immensity of purport and import in merely two words is either the height of intelligence or presumption of wisdom of the reader. But as my starting line of this paragraph notes, these wholes are a projection of our belief systems. Hence, in the absence of belief, rather the absence of our desire to believe, we can arrive at the interpretation that the whole referred to in that line is nothing but the Whole. It is, infact, ironic that a single manifestation of the whole (viz. our mind) would issue preferences over the movement of the Whole.

Let us go to the first line:
"Poornamadah Poornamidam"

Note the impartiality in assigning wholeness to either. Both (the tangibles and intangibles) are complete in themselves. Neither takes a position of superiority over the other. Neither is intended to be superior to the other. So be it in our lives (this is a diversion). Today I wish to study philosophy and meditate but that doesn't make me in any way superior than the the stock broker on the floor who concerns himself purely with the vagaries of the monied markets. Many tales by Lieh Tzu hint at this as well, and shall be discussed later. It is of paramount importance that we lose the awe and dim the aura associated with knowledge (not wisdom) and esoteric pursuits. In the Whole, nothing is treated as more important than the other.

The most exciting beauty (at least to me) lies in the unmistakeable parallel that is drawn between the last lines of the shanti mantra and Chapter 1:

"Poornasya Poornamaadaaya
Poornamevaavashishyate"

"Both these (the named and the nameless) spring from the same source (or the Tao) although they are addressed differently
The source of confusion/wonder/mystery is the sameness of these two different entities
This mystery/(wonderful source) which holds the mystery of the Tao, is the gate to all subtleties/wonder/realisation"

I shant taint this beauty with my words. Do let the inevitable arrive.

8 Comments:

Blogger Xena said...

Interesting indeed!:)

8:47 PM  
Blogger kichami said...

Dear eroteme or whatever U R. I am happy with ur interest in Tao.It is the adaptation from 'Vedaas'suited to the eastern oriental thinking.But it dwells more on mind and metaphysical.
Ur blog on 'Upanishads' is brilliant.This 'whole' has been referred to by Thirumoolar and Sivavaakiyar.Very difficult to comprehend let alone understand it.
In a simpler way maths people used to say"Infinity to the power of

8:08 AM  
Blogger kichami said...

(contd)infinity.We R always used to finite things.Pl see my blog on Alpha state of mind and affirmations which will be a serial.Meditation,concentration,Breathing exercises,expulsion of Toxic thoughts, and Realization would thro more light on the whole inthe whole of the whole for the wholeAll the best. P.K

8:18 AM  
Blogger Eroteme said...

Dear Sir, Thank you very much. I am glad that my Upanishad post was to your liking. I don't think I have said something new (though I might in the course of time which really hasn't given me enough of itself!!). I shall be called Eroteme on this blog (although off the virtual world, we share surnames!).
I do not entirely think that it is an adaptation. Lao Tzu who was the keeper of the royal texts (a fancier name for librarian), had lesser chances of getting his hands on the Vedas (if my sense of history is correct, India and China hadn't started trade or any form of exchange, till then). It is still quite likely, although I prefer to view them as separate streams of though brought together by individual understanding.
I am sorry, I am not as well read as yourself. The names of Thirumoolar and Sivavaakiyar are familiar but there ends the familiarity. I shall read them once I find a suitable source.
Which of your blogs are you referring to? I saw more activity on one of your blogs and hence decided to leave a comment there.

5:10 AM  
Blogger kichami said...

Dear Eroteme;Happy! U seem to think a lot and search alot!.i am not getting into semantics but my sole intention was to point out that the thoughts contained in 'Taoism'have already been dealt with in the Bharatian way in 'Vedas' and 'upanishads'.After all'upanishads came latter to codify and simplify 'Vedas' whch are said to be 'Anadhi"(Timeless)
The subject of 'whole' has also been dealt with in 'siddar's hymns'
especially those of Thirumoolar who wasbelieved to have lived for about 3000 years and it has been documented by a professor in his papers on Siddars that Thrumoolar at the behest of his guru went to China to teach and preach the power of mind to realize the 'Brammam' the source of everything, the omnipotent,yhe omniscent and the almighty.There is also a school of thought which has recently appeared in one of the blogs on Thirumoolar that Tao or Taoism was the outcome of his effort and that Lao Tzu studied under him .U are right. It is all about a journey into oneself from within and without.The siddars are reported to have performed this with ease physically as well since they have conquered their minds.
Now can I take the liberty of putting a few Qns to U?
Why does Taoism use a symbol?( U have given this in you start)
Why did a noble thought become a cult ending in ism? U prefer soliloqy why?Can U not meditate or analyze or ponder while U are walking,eating playing ,while with others sharing something? And why do U say devil while in soliloqy. Why not angel?Why not nothingness(Nihilism)
Why mother nature if nature has no origin?Why not fatther nature?
How do U say yourself that Lao Tzu
had in his posession copies of Indian scriptures and that he adapted them in 81 versus.Note the No 9 the indestructible!
The reference to the whole and the 'Poornathvam' which U have aptly quoted refers to 'Atman'.From the 'Vedaas' to 'Geetha" this has been dealt with inexhaustibly.Ur life time and mine is not sufficient to unravel the mystery unless we conquer our mind absolutely
U should ask Qns. because '
"The why of the child is the key of the world."
All the best
Partha krish

3:52 PM  
Blogger Eroteme said...

Now can I take the liberty of putting a few Qns to U?Most certainly.

Why does Taoism use a symbol?( U have given this in you start)The origin of this symbol is unknown (or rather debated). It wasn't introduced by Lao Tzu for sure. I like that symbol. I find it very beautiful.

Why did a noble thought become a cult ending in ism?That is the unfortunate truth about so many things. They were never meant to be religions, but ended becoming one. Lao Tzu hurriedly wrote these 81 verses before he was allowed to pass the gates. That has become a religion!! It is unfortunate, but what can we do with the human mind which finds solace in names, religions, texts and symbols? Hence the name of this blog The Tao as it appears to me Not the way it has to be understood as I am not wise enough to dictate (which itself, Lao Tzu calls wisdom ;-)

U prefer soliloqy why? Always do. I keep talking even when I am alone. The conversations have been on ever since I remember anything... No specific reason. I love conversations. Not many people do.

Can U not meditate or analyze or ponder while U are walking,eating playing ,while with others sharing something? Sure can. That is exactly what I was saying on your blog. Why do I need to concentrate on one thing. I could look at a million things but still not let them stay in my mind. Wouldn't that be meditation?

And why do U say devil while in soliloqy. Why not angel?Why not nothingness(Nihilism)Oh! The devil. :-) That is simply a phrase I adopt. Actually if you notice, the devil is basically the tint of the glasses the readers wear. Whether I am an angel, devil or nothing, I still am the same, is it not?

Why mother nature if nature has no origin?Why not fatther nature?I usually associate beauty with the feminine form. Its simply my choice. Nothing sacred about it. That was one reason I liked the Tao. Lao Tzu too considers the feminine form in similar shades. And when I say feminine I don't mean the human woman.

How do U say yourself that Lao Tzu had in his posession copies of Indian scriptures and that he adapted them in 81 versus.Note the No 9 the indestructible! I had said that I remember reading it somewhere. Not sure though. Yes, the significance of 9 is unmistakeable.

The reference to the whole and the 'Poornathvam' which U have aptly quoted refers to 'Atman'.From the 'Vedaas' to 'Geetha" this has been dealt with inexhaustibly. Ur life time and mine is not sufficient to unravel the mystery unless we conquer our mind absolutelyI don't think the mind needs to be conquered as in conquering there is a force which will always present opposing forces. I think the mind needs to be understood in all its depth and breadth.

U should ask Qns. because '
"The why of the child is the key of the world."
Thanks. Someone please tell my mom that. She gets so bugged when I keep asking her questions. :-) I don't think I want to grow up!

11:13 PM  
Blogger Vetti Guy said...

Eroteme,
I am a huge admirer of the works of Lao tzu,Chuang Tzu,Lieh tzu and Zen masters too.I am posting some similar material in my blog.Try visiting sometime.
Glad to know that are others who read this stuff too.I presonally know very few people who do.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Ravi Seshadri said...

Hi

I just came across something that might interest you. There is something written by a Pre-Socrates Greek philosopher called Parmenides that is so strikingly identical with the Poornamidam... Shanti Mantram you have described above.

Here is the link:http://www.gmu.edu/courses/phil/ancient/poem4.htm#B1.3

You can also look up for "the poem by Parmenides"... very interesting indeed is this world

1:41 AM  

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