Sunday, June 17, 2012

Three ways and three levels

This is something I cannot explain, but it seems that in Christianity, the three most common levels of spiritual capacity correlate with three paths of yoga in Hinduism: Karma, jnana and bhakti.

The most common category among Christians is those who have awareness of the realm of Good, in the sense that they can feel directly when they do something good, a sense of warmth and joy that comes into their heart that is not related to the pleasures of the senses. In this direct perception of something spiritual, they are naturally inclined to believe in God and Heaven, and it takes some effort to convince them otherwise, as some people these days do.

It seems to me that the path of karma - action or duty - is particularly prevalent in this group. I guess that makes sense since they feel an immediate reward?

The next and much less common group is what I call "heroes" or geniuses, those who are able to directly receive inspiration from a higher realm. Artists of all stripes, natural born leaders, teachers and scholars. I call us "heroes" because we have one or more abilities that common people cannot understand, kind of like superheroes in contemporary entertainment, although less abrupt. But in truth, no great genius is without a touch of madness, so there is also a potential for damage.

It seems that the way of jnana - knowledge, insight, wisdom - is more dominant here than elsewhere, and is viewed with a little suspicion by most members of the other two groups.

The third group is the saints, whose purity of heart and immediate contact with the holy is beyond the understanding of even those who regularly receive inspiration from high realms. Since it is always harder for someone on a lower level to understand those on a higher, there is not much I can say about these, except that there are more saints than listed in the books, since you have to be involved in miracles or die spectacularly to become an official saint. There are others, but you usually know that after they are gone.

The saints seem to particularly follow the path of bhakti - love, devotion, receiving and giving mercy. That is not to say that they don't also have wisdom and action, but these typically follow as an afterthought to devotion, a fruit of love, if not quite a side effect.

So in Christianity there seems to me such a correlation exists. I have seen mentioned that Christianity is itself predominantly a bhakti religion, even though I frankly don't see this preference in the words of Jesus Christ. What I notice is his overflowing jnana, but that may be just my limited receptivity. I must concede, I don't seem to be made from the stuff that saints are made from.


Anonymous said...

Please find a reference which points out that there are seven possible levels of Understanding

Christianity is mostly confined to the first three stages, perhaps with some kind of intuition of the 4th. At its very rare best as in the case of its famous Illuminated Saints, it is expressive of the fifth (without any way of understanding what the phenomenon that thus arise are really all about - and their limitations).

By contrast these three related reference take all of the seven levels into account.


Magnus Itland said...

These are the moments when I fear that the Adi-Bot may be a real human, trapped in the almost mindless routine of searching for particular keywords and pasting the corresponding stock text and links, rather than an advanced piece of software.
It strikes me as a terrible fate, for a human.

I am sorry, but I firmly believe that if you cannot explain something in your own words, you have not understood it. You should be able to speak at length about any topic with which you are familiar, or to concentrate it into a few memorable sentences if that is needed. You should be able to explain in simple, childlike words, or at other times employ the nuances of a language and the breadth of its vocabulary to give precision to your teaching. That which is yours, that which has become in you a firm foundation and a flowing wellspring, lends itself happily to all of these things.

Am I asking too much?