Obituary, University of California:
Bhuwan Lal Joshi, Psychology: Santa Cruz
Bhuwan Lal Joshi developed a profound analysis of the stark realities of the modern world and its malaise, which he worked to counter by a reconstruction of thought, with human dignity and greatness as nonnegotiable core values. As his ideas developed from historical, philosophical, and psychological study, he chose to articulate them as teacher to an increasing number of dedicated, intelligent, and hardworking students.
He had nothing in him of a cult figure. His vision of a teacher had traditional sources from the East and West, but his mind was absolutely his own. Both his students and his colleagues, not a real distinction, journeyed with him, because he had the capacity to express ideas as unavoidable truths. Those who had the privilege to know him invariably felt an urgency about giving practical effect to his ideas. He had a tough-minded vision of education that transcended any egotism, or any disposition to treat ideas as his own possession or discovery.
Bhuwan Joshi was born in Kathmandu, Nepal on June 15, 1930. As a boy, he studied economics and mathematics at Kathmandu. His interest in education was shown early, when, at the age of fourteen, he helped organize the first private school in Nepal as a coeducational high school. He continued his studies in Nepal, and then in India, where he took his B.A. with distinction in economics, mathematics, and English literature at the University of Patna. Now twenty, he founded a boarding high school in Kathmandu. He took his M.A. Ed. degree at the University of Delhi and was awarded “best student” certificate in 1954. He was appointed instructor at the National Teacher Training Center in Kathmandu and then left to study at the University of Oregon (M.A. 1956), where he was among the first group of Nepali students to come to the United States. A further period of educational work in Nepal followed, after which he was admitted to the psychology department at UC Berkeley for graduate work. He took his doctorate in 1964, and began teaching at Berkeley. He was in the first group of faculty when the campus at Santa Cruz began in 1965. He became Associate Professor in 1967.
At Santa Cruz, Bhuwan Joshi played an important role from the beginning. He served as chairman of the Cowell College Faculty, and in his quiet way he was a unique presence in the College. An important book (with Leo E. Rose, Democratic Innovations in Nepal: A Case Study of Political Acculturation, 1966) came out soon after his arrival, and there were other studies in the psychological analysis of political ideology and class perceptions. In his last years, he was engaged in a major restatement of his scholarly interests. He developed a critical appraisal of Western psychological and social thought, which he was able to put forth in a manner that–if it did not find acceptance from his colleagues in his own discipline–was treated with great respect, and its importance was generally admitted. His force as a thinker and as a person was expressed in his project for relearning the alphabet of psychology by purifying it from the madness of systematic manipulation. He proposed a perspective that could regard the constituents of psychology, and ultimately humans, as unique, nonrecurring, and therefore nonstatistical. This accorded with his deep appreciation for the arts, his vision of necessary restraints in both occidental and oriental culture, and his persistent encouragement toward his friends and students to undertake lives of creative endeavor.
Bhuwan Lal Joshi suffered a heart attack in his office, where he was preparing for a class, on October 17, 1977. He is survived by his widow, Sushila Devi (Shrestha) Joshi, and three remarkable children, Ashok Lal, Sushil Lal, and Uma Haimavati Joshi. Sushila, an exceptional person in her own right (M.A. in English literature, Mills College), has her great loss shared and understood by many friends who much wanted and needed Bhuwan Lal to have his full time.
Richard Mather, Richard Randolph, Andrew Schelling, Page Smith
Bhuwan Lal Joshi Memorial Plaque
I recently found out that a bronze memorial plaque named “Bhuwan’s Peace” had been set in a rock near the front entrance to Cowell College. It is under some small redwoods and is not noticed unless someone knows it is there. I also found out that Bhuwan’s widow, Sushila, was not happy with the location. When I found this out, I informed the current Cowell Provost, Alan Christy, that I knew exactly where it should be. So we took a walk and he understood that a placement next to the great oak on the upper lawn would be the proper place because that is where Bhuwan liked to teach his class.
More pictures to come when the rock is moved!
Hurray! Bhuwan’s Piece/Peace has been moved (September 2018). Here is a better picture of the rock and plaque:
These two pictures show the location by the oak tree on the Upper Lawn of Cowell College (Photos courtesy of Angie Christman).
At the Cowell College Alumni Memorial gathering (April 2019), I offered to transcribe my notes for the classes I had taken with Bhuwan. These notes are more than double in length than the ones in The Voice from the Himalayas. They will be added to the Cowell College Archive, and are provided here.
Bhuwan Lal Joshi: Class Notes by Peter Kirkup
During my years at Cowell College, UCSC, I took 2 classes from Bhuwan. These included Psychological Theories and Systems of the East, and the first in his Consciousness Series: Archaic Consciousness, Modern Consciousness, and Consciousness for a Post-Modern World.
Although I did not take his last two classes (he died during Post Modern, which was completed by Norman O. Brown), I following the course and course readings for Modern Consciousness (by this time he was my thesis sponsor). I was on leave during the Fall of 1978 when he died teaching Consciousness for a Post Modern World.
When I returned in the Winter Quarter of 1978, Bhuwan had died. Although I was able to attend the Memorial Service held on the Upper Lawn at Cowell College, I was not aware until recently that some students and colleagues had put together a book of memories (Voice from the Himalayas, 2005).
In 2017, I was informed by Cowell Provost Alan Christie that there was a memorial stone to Bhuwan, but placed where it was not easily seen. Alan let me know that Bhuwan’s widow, Sushila, was concerned that the stone be placed in a more suitable location. I helped Alan locate the most proper location for the memorial — under the oak tree in the upper lawn at Cowell College where Bhuwan loved to hold classes seated in a circle. The stone is now located next to where Bhuwan’s sat, where people can sit and ponder the wonders of nature on one of the most beautiful campuses in the world.
In 2019, during the Cowell Memorial Service at the UCSC Alumni weekend, I promised to transcribe my class notes and submit them to the Cowell College Archives. This is because I realized that my class notes are more extensive than those included in The Voice from the Himalayas.
Notes on Style
The pace of Bhuwan’s talks and his aphoristic style of presenting material lent itself to a chant-like taking of notes — the telegraphic style of hand recording notes somehow matching Bhuwan’s expository cadence. Breathing, speaking, and writing had an entrained rhythm for me in his classes.
Aside from the acoustic environment created by Bhuwan, he also presented material in mandala form. I doodled a number of these, and have tried to keep that format intact without having to learn how to re-create them electronically. Specifically, I hand drew the mandala circles after printing out the text, and then scanned the result into the transcribed notes. In one example, I scan the original diagram to show how I included the information while adapting the format somewhat to make the electronic version easier for me to create.
The notes are almost all verbatim. I have made some spelling corrections, and have tried to verify the spelling of a number of Sanskrit words. That being said, Bhuwan often presented spellings somewhat different than the current standard dictionaries, often leaving out vowels that historically, or popularly, are not included (e.g. Rta for Rita: cosmic order). I have also made minor format and grammatical changes to clarify the meaning. The few clarifying comments that I added are presented in [brackets]. I have also added some internet pictures for the fun of it.
Not included in my notes, but still very vivid in my mind, are Bhuwan’s perspectives on Human Evolution and Anthropology. Included in his studies of materialism, individualism, and reductionism, was a critique of the Hunter/Tool-Maker image of the first humans. I don’t know the reason I have no notes on this: it may be that his views were shared outside of class, or it may be that I was so intrigued with his views that I had no need to write them down. In any case, I have viewed human interactions and taught students about Bhuwan’s views on fire, cooking, and storytelling (which includes music and dance) for 40 years now (as a clinical social worker).
Bhuwan was aware that the mother of all tools is language, and that no technological innovation occurs without the aid of language. Other animals make primitive tools (birds, monkeys), but humans need to cook in order to store food and digest it sufficiently to support the growth of our human brains in infancy.
But what is the birthplace of language, as well as its nursery and classroom? Around the fire, where cooking and storytelling occurred. Certainly not on the hunt, where signals serve to direct the group effort (which also included hunting dogs — grey wolves). No, it was remembering the hunt, extolling the hunters, and planning the next hunt, that language serves. And even more so, motivating the people to work harmoniously for the survival and benefit of all.
So when someone tries to tell you that we are basically grunting individuals who would turn on each other at the drop of a hat, give them a vague smile and tell them that Bhuwan has a class for them!
Of course, The Far Side has a perspective on this:
I think Bhuwan (and St. Francis) would be please to know that there is a new academic discipline call “Anthrozoology.” It studies the co-evolution of humans and animals, particularly the mammals of dogs (all domestic dogs are descended from grey wolves), cats (human’s fiercest predator before domestication as “mousers”), and horses (which give us “horse-power”). Even Freud had a therapy dog!
Psychological Theories and Systems of the East
Tivo Bhava: given phenomenon — veiling, mystery
Explicate the cosmic mystery by personalized mysteries — our natural mode.
We do not grow up, we forget.
The understanding of nuclear physics is child’s play in comparison to the understanding of child’s play.
Maya: Mind, Man, to Measure.
Ma: to measure.
The errors of measurement — we always produce an error in measurements.
How much error is there? Fact vs. Artifact.
Imagination/Magi: The ability to appreciate and do magic.
Myth: magical reconstruction of the universe.
A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy
Vedas 1,500 BC to 900 BC
Upanishads 900 BC to 700 BC
Yoga Sutras Attempts to systematize archaic knowledge
Stop at 2nd century BC.
People didn’t have the historic sense of Westerners or Chinese. They had no sense to calibrate time.
Disease = the loss of tradition.
To Know = re-minding.
The future will take care of itself if we remind ourselves of our origin.
Memory is for those who have forgotten.
Civilization is a diffusion of culture.
If we can harmonize what we do with the dead, there is nothing left to be done.
Yaj: to join.
Unification Ritual — balance relationships with the dead. Without it, the universe would collapse.
Rta: The Order of the Universe [Rtavan, AnRta]
Science = the search for hidden likenesses.
Commitment comes once we understand purpose.
How to use language responsibly? injunctions Vac: speech
Original meaning of cosmetics was to help understand the cosmos, not misleading.
Amrita: immortality. When one has embodied the cosmos.
Mritu: Physical body loses Rta.
Satyam: truth (is) — Asat
Brhat: big (to grow)
Satyam Rtam Brhat
what is what is true what is great
Swami Nikhilanande: The Upanishads
Heinrich Zimmer: Philosophies of India
- Commentary on an Upanishad
- Compose an Upanishad for modern times (learn to become a translator)
[Modern Upanishads: Death of a Salesman (Henry Miller), Moby Dick (Herman Melville)]
Causality: Why does the human mind engage itself in what it does?
Lila: a dance, the body coming out
The Cosmic Dance (bronze statue)
- the creation
- the preservation of what is created
- the veiling (mystification)
- release from the veil of ignorance
11th chapter of Gita — revealing of truth (absolute)
Free from pleasant preoccupation, fear and anger
Fascinating & Horrifying
Raised Right Hand — drum (sound)
Instrument of Creation
create whatever world you want — rhythm
Gesture of Protection — 2nd Hand
Flame — Instrument of Destruction
Dance is a Mystification
Hand pointing to raised foot
Trunk of the Elephant
Uplifted Foot represents release
Foot of the Cosmic Dancer planted firmly on the earth
Forgetfulness: human condition
Uplifted Foot: release
Circle, ball of fire, friends of fire, the fiery dance with which we warm our lives
All this is fire, the fire is latent in the world — the vanity of ownership (appropriating the earth)
Re-collection of Tuesday
Every day is covered by a particular veil — ambiguous expression
Swa bhava: true, intrinsic, innate nature
Must penetrate the veil of ambiguity, the curtain of empirical reality
“truth” is also a veil
enigmas can only be restated in ambiguity
art, poetry — ambiguity is genuine
Sam Vega: aesthetic shock — it will move, it has power
Kavi = Seer (poet)
their reflection is one step removed from experience, intuition
Civilization — systematization of culture
Sam Vega languishes in civilization — they have forgotten
Unitive Vision is lost
Sam Vega is the essence of being alive
With this, we can never be things (commodities)
To pour out rather than take in, this is what a child does
the search for truth is intellectual greed
Rta is a delicate system
must be kept in balance by humans who pour themselves out
Yojma — come with fuel in hand
Faith is the greatest fuel, a willingness to be moved
Samaya: Time (come together) — time is when we come together (human time)
Kala: Absolute Time (death)
When we come together, we form Samsara (the world — not equivalent to the earth)
Reformer — altruism or vanity? Tries to make the rest of the world in the image of his own (the world is psychological)
Trivium: language, grammar, rhetoric
Quadrivium: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music
Education: 6 Roles
- Kalpa (sacrifice rituals)
- Siksha (correct enunciation)
- Chhanda (verse)
- Nirukta (etymology)
- Vyakarana (grammar)
- Jyotisha (astronomy)
Aesthetic Shock (Sam Vega)
experience can be made into a concept (personal, as a baby)
A Vega = Arousal (alive)
Sam Vega — to be aroused with the rest of the universe (personal & cosmic) makes you a participant.
There is life in the universe, there are only potentialities
There are not things, but energy
Vega = Passion, Force
A = uncontrolled, egocentric
Sam = participant in Rta
Reification = making things out of the universe
Inert & Alert — principle of motivation
Concoct an energy force to put in action
Everything is Alive
A Vega: the condition we are born in
question is not to find a motive force, but to tame this innate force
We are all born artists — how can individual passions be translated into compassions?
— incorporate the transpersonal into art for it to be great art.
- artistic impulse (intuition) Samsara: moved by passion in a confluent way by any facet of life
- modulate the arousal into a statement of beauty and truth (Sam Vega) impersonalization/personalization
- technique (craftsmanship) express in social way, externalization
- critics — pours himself into the world of art, and renews the life of the artist
By his interaction, he brings beauty to art, pouring out rather than taking in
Critic is as important as the Artist.
Sandhya: coming together of two contrary forces (day and night come together in the morning)
The Fusion of Opposites — every sentient being must participate in this fusion.
Descartes: discourse on method. Fission: Hammer apart to reconstruct. How to penetrate doubt (tiro bhava).
Explication — enemy of ambiguities.
Implication — poetry, metaphor, art — to exploit ambiguities (what lies in between the words)
John Weaver, The Universe as Home for Man (American Scientist, Nov./Dec. 1974)
Life – Continuity – Death
human universe, ambiguity
“a consequence of having held the veil” release = freedom
Critics trying to understand this work of art called the world
You must pour out more for release
Knowledge is a process of participation — reenact the past
Proper emotional attitude is necessary for the reenactment
It is innate to us, but may be forgotten
You cannot learn or live passively
No such thing as a detached knower — participation in the production of knowledge
What he brings to bear in what he is looking at — any knowledge
Upanishads: explication through implications.
Reflecting — isomorphic (equal forms, metaphoric)
The same symbols in a wide variety of situations (richness of imagination)
We are always at home — nothing is to be excluded
6 Systems: Categorical Reflections
Categories are not to be questioned
Vid: to know
Veda: knowledge (not to know)
re-source — meaning
money, power — utility
To put meaning into the Universe
— problem of modern age is meaninglessness — utility without meaning
Vita Raga Bhaya Krodha: without pleasant preoccupation, fear, anger; i.e. tranquility, peace.
9 Emotions: erotic, heroic, odious, furious, comic, terrible, pathetic, wondrous, peaceful
Vidyartha: use the first 8 to obtain the 9th.
To feel at home wherever we are: Modern Man, “the syndrome of topophobia.”
The navel of the universe is where you are — there are many ways there
— Pagan Attitude — when we are born, we are all pagans
- Tapas — practice (adequate emotional condition — glow, warmth, heat); after obligation, you must engage in practice for originality.
- Then the Desire (then the world comes into being)
the nature of desire — a centering process (how to focus yourself)
Out of this vast array of objects, we focus on certain ones (object-relationships)
Cathexis/valient: a sign of vitality — centering is the key activity
We must learn non-egocentric centering
We must learn non-ethnocentric centering
Buddhist: we must stay in the human world, or
Brahman (non-anthropomorphic): to bring the human mind to its ultimate ends, even if it isn’t human.
The Innocent Eye (conceptual barrier obstruct):
Everything has a Center (the art of self-deception)
The Wheel: It Turns and Returns (something we find)
Upanishads: Isomorphic Meditations
Inspiration — Hidden Likenesses (All Traditions): This is always the Center
Extrapolate these things for social purposes
6 Orthodox Systems (externalizations)
Nyaya: Logic and Epistemology (that which leads you from here to there)
Vaiseskhika: Particularities (accepts empirical reality — how to use knowledge for transformation?)
From Information to Transformation: How to be Reborn (atomic theory)
Samkhya: enumeration, descriptive analysis — roots of Buddhist Thought
How to transform through exhaustive analysis
Yoga: oldest systematic psychological handbook, technique of transformation
Purva Mimamsa: antecedent reflection, transformation through ritual (“headless tradition”)
Uttara Mimamsa: consequent reflection (Vedanta), end of knowledge (pinnacle) and theory of perception (the world is mental)
Ontology: Theory of Being
Satyam Tram Brihat (the real, the true, the great)
Satyam Siram Sundaram (the real, the good, the beautiful)
Knowledge (cognition), Action (volition), Feeling (connation)
Perception, Will, 9 Moods
Expression is ambiguous: Veil cannot be removed, only uplifted
Epistemology: Source and Limits of Knowledge
4 Steps in Artistic Creation
- inspiration: image
- intermediation: idea
- externalization: expression via symbols
- criticism: renewal of the creative process
- Indra-Urtra Struggle
- the opening of the cave
- the golden gem
- Ka Who
- That one
- Purusha: the Person
- Prajapati: the source of life (Gods, men, demons)
- Kala: Time
Natarata: genesis (why all this?)
The Universe as a Dance of Matter
Life as a Dance. Consciousness as a dancer.
The individual as a dancer.
The Universe as a stage.
The Universe as a Play of Consciousness
The Dancer and the Stage are inseparable.
The Mind and Matter are inseparable
- Sristi: Creation
- Sthisti: Preservation
- Samhara: Destruction
- Tiro bhava: the veil of appearances
- Anugraha: Freedom (the veil uplifted)
- the overcoming of amnesia (apasmara)
- psychology of re-minding (re-membering, re-cognition, identification, unification)
- Sam Vega: aesthetic shock
- Vrata: commitment
- Tapas: the glow of incubation
Da: adequate emotional condition
Gods: self-control (power)
Man: to give (greed)
Demons: be compassionate (cruelty)
Ontic-Thirst: to saturate the self with being (to live as fully as possible)
Modern Man: the ability to capture the surfaces of things.
To live without ontic-thirst is to slay the Self.
I am my brother’s keeper vs. I am my brother.
Translators [Joshi considered English to be the best language for Indian philosophy]
We all translate, put things in our own terms
Major part of learning is not to get in our own ways
How to unveil the ambiguity of the Upanishads? translation
Try not to impose a new veil
Gross Veils vs. Transparent Veils (no attempt to mislead, this is necessary)
We are all born poets — reconstruct the Upanishad
Etymology — to understand the blossoms, you must understand the roots
Delusion = Ideology, a cultural view of the way things should be (seen as truth)
The ignorance of the learned is more profound than that of the simpleton.
Once-Born = Innocent Bodies, they will manage their lives
Twice-Born — always inventing chains, intellectual addiction
All that is wrong with the world is seen by intellects
Knowledge of the Many & Knowledge of the One
Abstract Mentality always “knows” what is right, most rigid rules
Must not feed vanity — teaching can be dangerous (problem of exploitation)
Concrete Mentality — less stringent rules
How to re-unite the knowledge of the many with the knowledge of the one.
Knowledge is a tool — know its limitations — truth is one step removed from the real
Reconstructing: Two Aesthetic Choices
See yourself in the Mirror, you have invented
Where do ideas and meanings come from? (desire for profit or power?)
Why were the Upanishads written?
The Lady of the River comes from a source greater than individuals
We are space-time vehicles
You understand to the extent that you are ready to understand — openness
What time is it for you? Right emotional condition
9 Qualifications for Being a Student
- sense of discrimination (what is transient and what is permanent)
- attitude of indifference towards pleasure — seek not only pleasant knowledge — all that has been acquired can be dis-acquired
- state of mental quietness
- sense of control of the senses (mastery)
- cessation of the active and passive faculties of the mind (reaction — sense organs present the world to us passively)
Action — attributes of the participator (speech, grasping, locomotion, evacuation, reproduction)
7) constant concentration of the mind
8) faith (in student, teacher, subject)
9) yearning — desire for release from ignorance or knowledge
A Self Portrait
What does it mean? The artist gazing at the viewer and the viewer gazing at the artist
When does one truly understand a self-portrait?
Self Significance: The meaning of anything lies within itself.
When somebody tries to perceive their self-significance, they are both subject & object (I & Me)
Self-Consciousness: “Me “ has self-significance/“I” is trying to extrapolate this self-significance.
Historic Consciousness — History is the highest form of communal self-consciousness
What is the way out of historic-consciousness? Shared subjectivity
A way to penetrate other people and things.
The medium for understanding? Enter Mythic-Consciousness, an exemplar of the universal human mind penetrating the world.
Two modes vacillate: Historic & Mythic
Time & Eternity
Myths exist in us (trans-historical)
We must overcome historical amnesia
Reconciliation of opposites, the fusion of opposites/melting of dichotomies
True knowledge is healing
(wet is the way we define the state of water)
—the self-healing property of organisms — doctors only remove the barriers that stand in the way of healing
Surrogate living is fractured — we need healing
Medicine should be preventative, not curative
Psychoanalysis is part of the disease trying to cure itself
Knowledge should unify — if it doesn’t, it is part of the disease
To see the Unity is to destroy Self-Consciousness
Marriage is one of the best educational institutions
1 + 1 = 1
Self & Other to Self & Self-Reflection
Civilization — Material prosperity covering up ontological vacuity
Inner richness — renew artistic perception of childhood, remove your censor that you put in the way.
Upanishads: psychological translations of Vedic Poetry
An inquiry into the origins of mythical translation
The Renewal of the Universe:
Meals (renewal of cosmic body): even the myth must be renewed
Indra tore the Universe in half, but there was no existence
Vrtra covered the cosmic waters — cannot be killed, but can be subdued
Sources: 1) Gita (chapters 2, 11, 16), 2) Sankhya, 3) Yoga-Sutras
Fear, at any time in life, is a form of the´original fearfulness of childhood
Thinking in the presence of others: you fear what you know, you fear what you don’t know
Sankhya: Ideology, 1st System (physics/psychology/evolution)
Descriptive Analysis (Yoga/Buddhism)
Yoga Sutras: A Book of Psychological Techniques — a psychology of will transformation from one level of consciousness to another
- enjoyer (through the senses)
- actor (operator) we leave our marks on the environment
5 Sensory Modalities, passive and active
In both cases, mind is involved
the 6th sense of reception & the 6th sense of action process all sensory inputs (thought, cognition)
- receives sensations, perceives sensations, cognizes sensations
- will — to learn non-egocentric centering
Kratu — that which transmigrates
Willfulness: the will to find the right will, the will to remain unwilled.
Brahma: the Eternal
Atma: the Universal (I)
Agni: Fire, Will
Vayu: Wind, Life-Force
Indra: Thunder, Lightning, Rain — Intelligence (luminous mind)
Uma: Celestial Light over the snowy summits (female principle)
Sara Swati: lady of the streams, the first light when the sun comes up
Drama — out of tension emerges truth
Indra (Thunder, Lightning) —> Parjanya (Rain, giver of other lives)
Indra as the rain-giver
Myths can be handled on many levels — a naturalistic experience, elemental forces
Vrtra — lid that covers where the rain-clouds have been hidden — an expert in the art of weaving illusions (the reluctant rain-bearing cloud)
[note: Vritra is a snake that blocks water and causes draught — the snake was slain by Indra to bring rain]
Tatvamasi: That Thou Art
Soham: That I Am
Can separate the milk from the water in the milky-ocean (apparent from the real)
Human Consciousness: an awareness of coherence
knowledge is always centered
we are trying to cohere the world that we see
Yajnu: fire sacrifice — renewing the cosmos
Sandhya: meditation — renewing the microcosmos
Man is defined as a mental being (etymologically) — composite of thoughts, sensations, will
Fire is a Being who has 7 Tongues:
Mental being specialize in truth constructions
- Kali: black smoke
- Karali: frightening spread
- Manojava: fast flame tips “swift as thought”
- Sulohita: bloody red
- Sudhumravarna: white flaming smoke
- Sphudingini: scintillating
- Viswarnchi: Phoenix (cosmic delight)
Mental beings specialize in truth constructions
All truths are approximations to the real
Truth: an attempt to make correspondence between subjective and objective worlds
Consciousness: a state of coherence
Disappointment: something predicted didn’t come out
— negative feedback, criticism — one of our greatest resources
Katha Upanishad: lessons of death, the disappointment of mortality
Yama: Death (negation, limits, ordainer)
(Spain, Russia, Ireland, India, Hebrews, etc.) (Schopenhauer, Goethe)
Nachiketa: innocent, naive, thoughtless, impertinent
Svadda: openness, sincerity, faith — more than a perception (cognition and will)
knowledge and practice of truth are inseperable
[Parable] Father: Conspicuous Philanthropy
Disguised act of self-promotion
was not giving up his most treasured property, but rather his useless objects
“To whom shall you give me, father?” verbal arrow
No = symbolic version of death
— “to death I will give you” (answer hidden in the question — need to learn to state question correctly)
The Power of Svaddha
Yama: the first step in Yoga
Manu: the first man (mental being)
Yama: the first mental being who died (experienced the limits of life)
Role: the one who waits for everyone
he takes them to the land of the forefathers (reconcile the present with the past)
the one who judges
The Yoga Path (will over habit to regain freedom)
- Yama: death to habituation — requires simplicity of Svaddha
- Niyama: counter-negation — do not let non-conformity become a habit, it is not a personal crusade
- A Soma: centering — literally, learning to sit
- Prana Yama: link with cosmos — learning to regulate respiration (individual contact with the universe)
- Pratyahara: turning away from food (intake) — mental reduction diet for self-indulgent fantasies
- Oharana: process of holding
- Dhyana: the point of holding
- Samadhi: putting it in harmony — the effortlessness of will
Intermediaries to Brahman
Uma: a certain grasp of truth which not even Indra has — represents a degree of complexity which is a reflection of the truth
Playing is the Given
Display is the social function
Power of Reproduction — Power of Death
Truth by Correlation (correspondences)
How do we establish Correspondences?
- constant connection
- necessary connection
- acausal connection
How do we Learn?
- imprinting (mantra)
How do we make errors?
How do we avoid errors?
- non-attachment, openness, integrity
Society and my body (senses)
taming the wild powers of imagination
everything had to be imagined before
The Thirst for Being (what is the full being?)
Atman is the acausal connection with the universe
Mundakha — 1) know your self-portrait, 2) learn to watch someone sleep
The Gita (The Song)
Confrontation with Fear, Death, Confusion
Archer rationalizes his unheroic behavior
“had lost his memories” — recovers in 18 chapters
“Man is never what he says he is, he is always what he wants to be.” Schopenhauer
Freud and Marx missed the sovereignty of the will — means of running away from the problem in sophisticated ways.
The Art of Living and the Art of Dying involve commitment
Transcendental Ego (Atma)
Vijnaya (subjective knowledge)
Empirical Ego (Jiva)
Celestial Beings (Bhuva)
Natural Sciences (Bhu)
[For formatting purposes, I changed the diagram. Here is how it first appeared in my notes.]
Time: The Interpretation
You must take hold of your own perceptions — do not bask in others’
Yoga-Sutras: Touch is the only immediate verification, the only way to build a personal sense of reality
Life is a tension between living and dying.
The Veil can never be removed (like a man trying to sit on his own shoulders, you can think of it)
Man is both the subject and the object of nature. Disappointment is the greatest teacher — leads to introspection.
Nature: Prakriti: Maya
nature is differentiation (error)
the subject who understands he is object
dialogue is the given — develop it
Veil cannot be uplifted, only penetrated through effort and non-attachment
abhyasa vairagva (removing the colors)
Sankhya: elaborate classification
Without introspection, we are preoccupied with Maya
First understand what is around us (Prakriti)
5 Gross Elements (earth, air, fire, water, space)
5 Subtle Elements (sound, smell, touch, taste, light)
Human Body: 10 Organs
5 of perception, 5 of action (speech, grasping. locomotion, reproduction, procreation)
receiver and actor in the environment
Manas (the mind) still defined in bodily terms
the 6th organ of perception and action
Ahankara: I am-ness
Child begins to understand the difference between I and Me.
— the unequal situation (appears) — playful ways to get even.
Transpersonal I: kinship with other humans and the universe (Boddhi)
awakening — “alarm clock” — discrimination
Mahat: the great discriminator
Prakriti ——————> Purusha
Clarificaton: beyond inertia and motion and tranquility
Gunas: tamas, rajas, sattwa (isness, thatness, tranquility)
Develop your self without trampling others
Rajas: activity (hysteria)
Tamas: inertia, darkness (depression)
Beyond the 3 Gunas, to be free even from freedom!
[Gunas = going out]
Upasana: meditation, education
Sandhya: meeting point (time)
Sunrise/Sunset: moment of birth
Regeneration of time, agreement
Tirtha: ford, a place of crossing (space)
Acceptance of Universe
We are caught in temporal and spatial processes, but these can be suspended any time we want to regain ontic-fullness — a break from the ultimate pursuit of activity.
Images, Visions: stimulation of the mind’s eye
Comes out of language in metaphor
Indwelling — plunging into the greagt lives of mythical heroes
Ritual is very important to transcend the ego — pay homage to great mythical heroes.
Cannot be neutral during moments of Inspiration
Sam Vega: aesthetic shock, transports from mundane historical existence
There are times more conducive to awakening — how much do we have to lose in order to gain emotionally that is harmonized. Contrast to A Vega — rank emotionality (unharmonized).
Universe is governed by obligations.
Teacher has 3 Main Functions
- to enunciate the body of knowledge that is being transmitted — set basic outline (siksha = sounds right)
- exposition or filling out (upadesa upapatti = formed right)
- Initiation — to plunge into (diksha): once the knowledge is received, make it a part of oneself — diffuse it through your being
Exemplary Beings: prophets, visionaries who suspended or transcended time and space (the sense of eternity).
Darsana: Vision — philosophy is the ability to see the unknown regions of knowledge
Kavi: Seer — poetry is the ability to see images, how to differentiate authentic images from spurious images. Concern with the genesis of knowledge rather than the self.
Superimposition = Adhyaropana
3 Different Kinds of Events
- synchronous and non-synchronous
- contingent and non-contingent
- causal and non-causal
Art is the expression of the information of ideal beauty.
Men perceived as gods, animals, machines…
How to raise the I-It relationship to an I-Thou relationship [Freud/Buber]
Superimposition of signs on symbols, making them common-place.
Not only can we regenerate the life in life, but we can also generate life in tokens.
How the Universe Affects Us: 9 Principal Moods (tranquility)
- sense of mystery (strangeness)
- erotic sense
- heroic mood
Ek-Stasis: breaking out
En-Stasis: developing within
a sense of unification (love) with concreteness
4 modes: lovers, parent-child, friends, master-servant
Overcoming the I-It barrier.
The Idea of the Holy Rudolph Otto
“Erschauern” [shiver] (fear, respect, majesty, fascination) the affective presence of an immediate presence.
Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom (Kali, Yahweh)
Humans try to assimilate the “wholly other” into the human realm
There are things beyond the human grasp — must remind ourselves that it is an alien force that supports the universe. (Atman was the attempt to know Brahman)
Mysterious, furious, terrible
Atithi Devo Bhava: God is the stranger
Atithi, Tithi = date (one who follows a different calendar — cannot be made to follow human calendar)
The Progression of Fire
- terrifying energy
- tongues of flame (thoughts)
- conflagration — overflowing red
- purple overflowing
- scintillating sparks
- phoenix (golden) arises out of the ashes
The Supreme Assertion: to defy death willingly until the bitter end — to die willingly with no complaints — assert life through death
To strive for fullness of being — only true activity
— become like cultural heroes
— become like the gods
— become like the source
To free oneself from Subjectivity
Creation = over-flowing generosity, comes from (has a share in) the Creator — the original creation.
Every worship is poetry in action, to participate in the creation
Ritual of Eating = Primal Man Consuming Time
The Transformation of Nature in Art, Ananda K. Coomaraswany
The Crest Jewel of Discrimination, S. Prabharananda, C. Isherwood
4 Types of Mentality (Temperaments), Hymn to the Primal Person (Rig Veda)
- intuitive, imaginative, mythic, poetic (subtle)
- bridge between subtle and gross
- pre-occupation with gross (visible)
- happy and unconcerned with distinctions
How do we tame individuality (subjectivity)?
The New World: symbol of the individual separating from society — wandering as a process of emergence
Develop a strong “I” in order to shed it.
To be a great teacher, you must merge with the greatness of your teacher.
Initiation: restoration of lost memory (recollect)
5 Barriers to Overcoming Subjectivity (Yoga Sutras)
- primordial delusion (superimposition) that universe is to be understood strictly in terms of ego-processes (mistaken identity).
- sense of personal authorship (“I am the doer”)
- hedonistic model of behavior — search for pleasure and avoidance of pain(ful truths)
- clinging to habit
Wise Man should not be co-opted by society, but neither should be co-opted by pride.
The drummer who drums alone and obliterates time and space
After the performance, he abideth alone in his happiness
(The Primordial Drummer Who Never Stops Drumming)
A true Dancer is unaware that she is dancing (freedom)
To attain freedom from error — time trying to attain eternity
Deep Sleep as the state before and beyond Desire
Desire creates dualities
Deep Sleep absorbs dualities
The beats of the drum, the steps of the dance, come together in a statement of life
Must be done correctly, but correctness is not enough to become a symbol
Play (Lila): not instrumental behavior, has no discernable purpose (games are corrupted play)
The King of Dancers: where does the cosmic dance take place?
The Center of the Universe and the Center of the Heart (Shiva)
The Drum: creation of the universe
The Fire: destruction of the universe (changes, but does not obliterate)
The Palm: fearlessness, security — the finger points to uplifted foot = ambiguity (but to those who know, it is freedom)
Creation —> Preservation —> Destruction —> Freedom
One foot is always grounded in subjectivity (forgetfulness)
Ambiguity: it is, and it is not
destruction (negation) is the taming of subjectivity
the multiverse of the universe
sight (modern emphasis)
sound (archaic synthesis of all senses)
One cannot see the invisible, but there are ways of sensing it
The Sounds of the Universe
With the right sounds, we can penetrate the mysteries of the universe that cannot be penetrated by sights (Om)
Bali — The Dawn of the World [Bhuwan used the clashing of symbols to re-enact the birth of sound, such as heard in gamelan music.]
Truth is always ancient, never new — that which steers things through all things
Sanatana: that which is eternal
(Scriabin: Poem of Ecstacy)
Ariostos (character) Dharma
Breathing as the basic repetition.
2 Kinds of Sounds
Unstruck Sounds: silence (universe of unstruck sounds is the original universe)
Struck Sounds: audible universe comes from unstruck sounds — this is the smaller universe
Is the sound of a Bell from the Clapper or the Bell? — it comes from the two against each other
Language reveals not through adjectives, but interjections
world cursing and universe bestowing
these reveal rather than hide
Regenerate time = now
Regenerate space = here
Regenerate life = we are the primordial beings
Brahma Muhurta: primordial moment before creation or dissolution
Regeneration of Time — body, mind, speech
Vedic Initiation (Sandhya)
- Achaman — sipping of water, purification
- Indriya Sparsa — touching of body parts (body becomes center of universe)
- Sprinkling of water on body parts — energizing the body
- Pranayama — learning to breathe with dignity, keeping the whole body of the cosmos alive (layers)
- Repetition of Vows: protection from corruptions in mundane world
- Second sipping of water
- Mental Circumambulation — traveling through the universe mentally — 10 directions (4 cardinal directions, 4 diagonal directions, 2 zeniths)
- Upasthana: approaching the presence of the great one, a series of praises (if the other steps have been done with the proper attitude)
- The Great Savitri (mantra): this is asking permission to meditate on the splendor that illuminates the whole world (The Great Vivifier, inner and outer)
- Offerings — homage, submission
- Further Offerings
- Peace Incantations
The Mystery of Sounds (the flesh and blood of rituals)
Science as Magic vs. Science as Technology (science that has lost its head)
Works of Art as Magical Products — can accomplish purposes
Science as Mythology, principles of explanation (scientists as storytellers who incessantly worry that their story may be wrong)
Sounds that help us transcend the profane space
Pure sound is above lyrics and words — the ultimate ingredient is very simple: the voice as recreating the primordial time
What does the profane say to the sacred? Samsa (praise) — if you truly praise the ancestors, you will become like them
Mellifluous: the creation of sounds spiraling up
Shattering: the destruction of sounds descending, falling down
Praise is the bond of affectivity — to learn the non-judgmental mode (or positive judgment)
Suspending Space — The Fire Sacrifice — the ultimate transformer
Fire as the best messenger upwards — the power of the daemon
The efficacy of the sacrifice depends on the faith of the practitioner (sraddha)
- lay the bricks in a certain way (sometimes in the shape of a phoenix)
- 3 People: conductor (chants), assistant (libations), silent witness (spirit of sacrifice)\
- Sipping of Water (maintain attitude of faith)
- Symbolic washing of parts of person (sense and locomotion)
- Fire put in sacrificial plate (ask permission to contemplate fire)
- Fan the Fire
- Feed fire with fuel
- Offer liquid fuel
- Sprinkle water and repeat incantation
- Offer more clarified butter: sparks — the sign of the messenger
- Praise (Projapati, the lord of life)
How did the Lord of Life create the universe? The basic element, desire.
How we copulate with our desires
Projapati wanted to be many, so he copulated with his desires
We create our desires and copulate with them — incestuous relationship
a single desire becomes many, but when Projapati is tired, we must maintain the world for him/her — desire always eludes.
3 Levels of Initiation
- participation in the cosmic heirophany
- teacher and initiate (new life and/or power) — life is a condition of potency
- human social indoctrination
Always a Process of Renewal
Must be an incredible process, results in ascending, regeneration, re-invigoration — then return to the credible.
Fire is the support of the universe — it dwells in the hearts of the wise
Katha Upanishad (Initiation by King of Death)
there is the good and the pleasant — he who chooses the pleasant misses the end
Pleasure & Knowledge — knowledge that is beyond reason, beyond cause and effect
Om: light and shadow
Nachiketa (नचिकेत) The Thoughtless One
naive mind, free from preoccupations —> the perfect learner
Death initiating Life — qualified as a teacher, death verifies life
(The Origin of the Species is the presence of death in life — the transformation of life)
Affirmation through Negation, Life Devouring Life (the tragic sense of life)
3 Deeper Urges than any normal temporal temptation (power, profit, fame — the temptations of death)
The True, the Beautiful, and the Good as One
Judgement is a human intervention
It is incumbent on teachers to find students to transmit the knowledge, pass on the tradition of truth
One should not travel to wander aimlessly in pleasant obscurity
A pilgrimage should always return to where it started from — must return to the affair of life.
Romantic Hero fights to return from exile, to regain paradise.
Indians did not believe they were ever in exile, that we only forget the home in which we live
They did not separate Sky from Earth, but rather it was meant for them to be married [Black Elk]
Submission: purification prepares the initiate with the proper attitude
Submission is not just a personal act, but something with an inherent community responsibility.
Dance: an affirmation of life (balancing of tensions)
Why do we affirm?
a time of need — every time is a time of need, particularly when the presence of death is the strongest
recognition of the symbols of death — irrelevant things become relevant
Infiltrators of Truth/Practitioners of the Profane
Phillip Rieff,, The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith after Freud, Fellow Teachers: Of Culture and Its Second Death, Freud: the Mind of a Moralist
researchers & therapuetics
want money want praise
Truth cannot be learned without submission and discipline, free from sadism and masochism
Cultural Revolution in China put man over machine, put peasant over technician
must turn inward to find truth rather than run wander (or run) away
Endless resources to solve a difficulty (or problem) exist at any place and time
A culture has the resources of its own solution
Must understand the Local, or you don’t understand the Universal
If there is a problem, the worst thing you can do is to ban it (must deal with your culture)
Buddhist Reaffirmations (3 Jewels)
- submit to the exemplary being
- submit to the truth
- submit to the community of truth
Breathing: Intercourse with the World
doesn’t draw in air properly
doesn’t let out air properly
True understanding and true delusion both have a mandala
Pure form — not determined by contents or uses
Archaic people did not segregate psychotic people from social life
Mandala — as it divides, it unifies
They exist in all cultures, but can be forgotten (amnesia)
Depression — unwillingness to wake up
Freud studied neurotics, Jung studied psychotics
Neurotic Triangle: hypomania, depression, hypochondria
6 Human Conditions (psychological states)
Poetic Speech the mandala of grammar is almost broken — a different kind of mandala communicates
- gods (power and philanthropy)
- titans (power)
- humans (weakness)
- night spirits (haunting paranoia)
- animals (deliberate forgetfulness)
- citizens of hell (loss of will)
Schizophrenic Speech the mandala of grammar is broken — a different kind of mandala fails to communicate
Mandala statement of integration inherent in consciousness
mandala as a means of reintegration
Initiation to reground, bring back the mandala
Pure Form: contentless (empty) <Grace>
Grounded by content (ego) <Causality>
Breaking sunlight into constituent elements: white light —> colored lights (truth as colors)
Pacifiers (Suppressors of Thought)
Chewing Gum (for mouth)
TV (for eyes)
Muzak (for ears)
Difference between perceptual truth and conceptual truth (e.g. mathematics)
From a stable to a dynamic universe
- red – differences
- yellow – unification of differences
- blue – a return to source (origins, human system of truth —> numinous system of truth —intimations of immortality (reality) should be approached effortlessly, without ambition (truth as life-enriching)
- white – transcendent
Mutuality: relative (blue) reaching out for white (absolute) empirical <—> transcendent
Causal Nexus: Links to 6 human conditions
the tying of knots and the untying of knots (effect <—> cause)
12. Death: Corpse
11. Birth: Childbirth
10. Pregnancy: Copulation
9. Clinging: man reaching for fruit
8. Craving: woman offers drink to seated man
7. Feeling: man and woman embracing
6. Touch: man with arrow in his eye
5. 6 Sensory Fields: 6 empty houses
4. Name/Form: boat with 4 passengers, monkey steering
3. Consciousness: monkey climbing a tree
2. Habits: potter making pots endlessly
1. Ego Delusion: blind man feeling way with stick
Mythological Landscape: walking as initiation, the land as a feeling
To lose a sense of self and become the land in a flow of (hidden) moods
The Absolute is in the Relative
energy = father matter = mother
Alchemy: Philosopher’s Stone
turn matter (base metal) into gold (pure consciousness)
Matter is Gold
Elixir of Life: turn mortality into immortality (essential juice of matter)
truth — mortality is immortality
Consciousness is embedded in Matter
Matter is the Potentiality of Consciousness — different gradations of matter
(Waiting is a Period of Grace — letting results become manifest) (receptivity and the gift in the process of transmutation)
3 Processes of Alchemy
- dissolve everything (mass of confusions)
- wait for coagulation
- resulting metal synthesis (rebirth)
Joyous acceptance of the world — we need the base metals for the new synthesis
Tantra: Sexual Symbolism
The Miracle of Life (birth)
Symbol of Creation as Union of Opposites
Mating as the fulfillment of Love
Creation as a Consummation
The world is inherently lovable
(Manipulation: first we turn ourselves into an object — ego — then we turn everything else into an object)
Sulphur (male) & Mercury (female)
Subjective Alchemy vs. Objective Alchemy — objective alchemy needs modern physics
Ramakrishna [Joshi assigned Romain Rolland’s biography]
What do you do when the ground pulls you down? You raise yourself up with the help of the ground.
Ramakrishna used the passions — they were not hindrances, but vehicles (as is the intellect)
World is not to be rejected — use Maya to transcend Maya
(distinctive of alchemy, Tantra, Ramakrishna) [include Hasidic concept of the Evil Urge]
Everything you need, you have — process of self-realization
(coiled spring = latent energy)
Lust — learn how to become a child (woman as mother)
Envy — community as life-style, community as devourer
Woman as Sukti (Maya which allows itself to be transcended)
Sukti as Shiva
The Earth always assimilates the foreigners
The return of the Goddess to foreign masculinity (the intrusion of Calcutta)
It is at the Lotus of the heart that one hears the unstruck sounds (lotus-meanings)
(struck sounds = sounds of duality)
Central nervous system and Conceptual nervous system (Donald Hebb)
Susamna (?) Potentiality
Ida (vowels) — negation
Pingala (consonants) — affirmation
16 vowels, 36 (-2) consonants
- Basic Source (basic) — red: 4 petals
- Individuated Self (genital) — vermillion: 6 petals
- Navel Plexus (navel) — blue-black: 10 petals
- Unstruck Sounds (heart) — red: 12 petals (transition – divine enters)
- Purity Center (vowels) — purple: 16 petals
- Command Center (white) — 2 petals
- White — 1,000 petals
50 Letters in 20 Mandalas
This is the end of my notes from Bhuwan’s classes.