Black Spirituality Religion : The Lunar Theology in the Kausitaki Upanisad

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by ANUK_AUSAR, Oct 13, 2006.

  1. ANUK_AUSAR

    ANUK_AUSAR Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    (Note: all quotes are taken from the Valerie J. Roebuck translation of the Upanisads, available from Penguin Classics.)

    Hetepu,

    The Upanisads were said to have generated from Eternity, but, while their impact indeed extends into perpetuity, most Indologists have their composition at around 800-700 B.C.E.

    The significance of the Upanisads is their widening of the narrow focus of the earlier Rig-Vedas, which were, essentially, the rituals peculiar to the Indo-European Aryans who crossed into Asia via the Eurasian steppe, c. 2000B.C.E.

    Indeed, we find several vestiges of the earliest metaphysical labors of the European nomadic mind extant in the Upanisads, most tellingly, in the Brihadaranyaka Upanisad, which opens with a horse sacrifice, the propitiatory offering par excellence of the Aryan Raj, or local king, whose prized steed had the same value then as a Hell's Angel's Harley today.

    But, curiously, we also find a deeper penetration of philosophical thought, one which expresses itself in an almost iconoclastic fashion.

    The sramanas, or "wandering ascetics," probed the vogue Vedic (Aryan) cults of their day with an unprecedented philosophical acuity, the workings of which would ultimately subvert the stagnant tendency of the Aryan religion which had pushed them around the periphery of Indian society; for it is true that the sramanas were the ousted priests of the expunged Dravidian element of the Indus Valley society, which antedated the Indo-European facet of India by several thousand years.

    The cooperative efforts of the Upanisads and the Bhagavad-Gita finally made the cult of Shiva, that is, the religion of the Dravidians- "tantrism"- inextricable from any discussion of Hinduism.

    But, we shall return to this phenomenon later. Let's begin with an examination of a particularly African nuance in the Upanisads: so-called "lunar theology."

    In the cosmology of the Kausitaki Upanisad, we find that the Moon recalls to Man his memory of an earthly assignment, given him before its elaboration by the varied and tempestuous demands of the material realm. The Creator-God Prajapati, in his macrocosmic grandeur, cannot be solicited by earthly means, but through the Deity's vehicle, the Moon, man can "honor the contract" drawn with the Fashioner of Life, and, having recognized the illusory nature of man's earthly being, can then petition Prajapati- who is he (the Man)- for his sustenance and legacy.

    In the following verses of this Upanisad, we find Kausitaki, a renunciate sage, as the model for our supplications thus:

    "8. Now each month, when the new-moon night comes round, when the moon appears in the west, one should worship it by this method, or cast two green grass-blades at it, saying

    'Since my well-formed heart
    Rests in the moon in the sky,
    I think myself a knower of it.
    May I not mourn for harm to a son.'

    Then his offspring do not pass away before him. That is for one to whom a son has been born....

    9. Now on the full-moon night, when the moon appears in the east, one should worship it by this method, saying, 'You are King Soma, the shining. You are the the five-mouthed Prajapati.

    'The Brahmana is one mouth of you. With that mouth you eat the kings. With that mouth make me an eater of food.
    'The king is one mouth of you. With that mouth you eat the people. With that mouth make me an eater of food.
    'The hawk is one mouth of you. With that mouth you eat the birds. With that mouth make me an eater of food.
    'Fire is one mouth of you. With that mouth you eat this world. With that mouth make me an eater of food.'


    Here the sage Kausitaki propitiates the creator-God Prajapati in his form of the Moon, and the matter-of-fact treatment of the Moon as the residence of the heart in verse 8 evinces a sort of unanimity between his contemporary Hindu metaphysicians on the Moon's function and relationship to Man.

    The endemic mystique of the Moon, which effulges in the cool of the night while man is appraising the value of his day's works, served naturally to facilitate Kausitaki's message of the necessity for transcendence of the emotive part of our being, by realizing that it (the emotional or chakric body) is a construct necessary to the experiences of an ineffable being, (Brahma as the Demiurge, or Prajapati), which is, undisturbed, incapable of emotions and the pleasure of experiences.

    Verse 9 concretizes this notion that the Moon is physical vicegerent to the metaphysical Creaotr, by gradually reducing the complexity of the Forms from

    -the Laws concerning it, to

    -the arbiters upholding and effecting the laws, to

    -the people which sustain these arbiters, who are the kings,

    -to the animals by which the people are sustained, and finally,

    -the Fire, Agni, which sustains them all.

    By arriving at an irreducible denominator for all other spheres of the human world, Kausitaki identifies a common "life force" (Agni, the "solar power"), which endows all Beings, and because all things are reduced and interspersed throughout the drama of Creation by the device of Fire, so are the concerns of the sustenance of the common man of equal importance as the concerns of the Law which organizes the common man into a society. One is irretrievably stitched into the other to constitute the reality of the universe.

    We can't help but to transpose this truth to the concern for the devotee's offspring as relayed in verse 8.

    So what we see here is that God has not forgotten the animal needs of Man. That he has stipulated the lasting fulfillment of these needs upon a realization of Man's true nature is evidence in Book I of Kausitaki, in the following eschatological formula:

    2. He (the sage Gangyayana) said, 'All those who depart from this world go to the moon. In the former half of the month it waxes by their breaths, and with its latter half it causes them to be born again. This, the moon, is the door to the heaven-world: the one who answers it it sends onward, but the one who does not answer becomes rain here, and it rains him down. He is reborn here in one place after another as a worm, a tiger, a person, or something else, according to his actions, according to his knowledge.

    'When he gets there, the moon asks him, "Who are you?"
    'He should answer it,
    '"From the shining, O seasons, the seed was brought,
    From the fifteenfold begotten, from the ancestors' realm.

    '"You caused me to arise in a male as agent:
    Through a male as agent, sprinkle me in a mother.

    'As such I was born, being reborn as the twelfth or thirteenth succeeding month through a twelve-or thirteenfold father. I know that: I know the reverse of that. Seasons, you have brought me to immortality. By that truth, by that asceticism, I am a season: I am of the seasons. Who am I? I am you.'


    The language of this passage startles us by its inattention to the specific details of the initiate's life. Notice the unconcern with the specific number of incarnations. This might be attributable to the equivocacy of the formula itself, which is supposed to be spoken by more than one speaker, but more than likely it represents the aloofness with which the realized ascendant treats the ephemeral matters of the elemental world.

    The speaker has lofted beyond their ancestral memory, that is, their orientation in the muladhara (root) chakra, and is prepared to enter the dominions of the Deities. What follows is a set of "experiences" which closely parallel the mytho-conceptions of the Kamitians (Egyptians), as well as the Dionysian and Christian Gnostics, and the Kabbalists. The initiate enters realms of successive splendor, which are, apparently, accessible to humanity without the perfection of the spirit, for, as verse 4 relates,

    '...He comes to the lake, Ara, and crosses it by mind. When they get there, those who know only what is in front of them sink. He comes to the watchmen, the Muhurtas, and they run away from him. He comes to the river, Vijara, and crosses it, too, by mind.

    'Then he shakes off his good deeds and bad deeds. His dear relations get his good deeds, and those who are not dear his bad deeds. Then, just as one driving a chariot looks down on the two chariot-wheels, he looks down on day and night, good deeds and bad deeds, and all dualities. Free from good deeds, free from bad deeds, the knower of brahman approaches brahman ."

    What this episode, in the wider context of the Book's ritual, reveals to us is an urgent need for the devotee's attention to the workings of his emotional body. It is at the inquisition of the Moon, and nowhere else, that the most important utterances are made. The divesture of the samsara would not have been possible without the disciple's acknowledgement of their Identity with the agent for their reincarnation into the world, for we find no other instance in this anecdote which would recast the disciple as "the knower of brahman" before approaching brahman in the proper sense.

    And, if it is supposed that the passage of the Vijara was the agent of this awakening, how might we explain such a crossing, and the repulsion of the Muhurtas, except by the judgment of the Moon?

    The above question intimates another nicety of the Kausitaki cosmology, because it derides the absolute notion that these travels are possible only after one's physical death. Several transcendentalists are able to enter the realm of Indra in the meditative state, and several, apparently, are able to attain at least to the gates guarded by the Muhurtas. As thinking people, we just cannot accept a priori that Kausitaki's formulae were conditional to the physical death.

    For the sake of clarifying our points, we've preferred an anachronistic sequence to the teachings of Kausitaki on this subject, but it's significant that the proper collation of these two concepts has the pragmatic aspect of Kausitaki's ritualism following after the philosophical expositions of his obscure guru Gangyayana, as the latter provides a milieu for the efficacuous employ of the former towards a holistic mode of society.

    The worldly concerns of men thus become the impetus for a socialization of the recondite Hindu cosmology by the Kausitaki Upanisad itself, and this, in a way which anticipates the goal of Bhakti-Yoga as delineated in the Bhagavad-Gita by several hundred years.


    Hetepu.
     
  2. ANUK_AUSAR

    ANUK_AUSAR Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Follow-up questions:

    What is the possible meaning of the "two blades of grass"?

    What is the Moon's equivalent in the Kamitic system of spirituality? How does this bear on the judgment of the Soul?

    What does verse 9 tell us about the way that the ancient Hindus thought about Energy? What lessons in this might be applied to the Kamitic understanding of "Ra"?
     
  3. ANUK_AUSAR

    ANUK_AUSAR Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Another Follow-up Question...

    What in the Dialogue with the Moon might be related to the deity Sekher-t and the Pert Em Heru concept of Maa Kheru?

    Hetepu.
     
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