Free Will/Part II: Bhagavad Gita XVIII.61
The Lord of all beings abides in the Heart,
Causing all beings to wander, to move (to revolve),
[As if] fixed, attached to, mounted on a machine,
By the power of Illusion (maya).
hriddeshe Arjuna tishthati
The gunas (sattva, rajas, tamas) that rule us and compel our acts are Borg-like — and if ever there was a material world symbol for ‘mounted on a machine’ yantrarudhani surely what Jaron Lanier calls the Siren Servers fits! “A Siren Server…is an elite computer, or coordinated collection of computers, on a network. It is characterized by narcissism, hyper-amplified risk aversion, and extreme information asymmetry. It is the winner of an all-or-nothing contest and it inflicts smaller all-or-nothing contests on those who interact with it.”
According to Lanier, Siren Servers take information without having to pay for it (Facebook, Google, etc.), secretly analyse that information, much of it personal including personal financial data, and use it to manipulate the rest of the world to the advantage of those who own and control these elite machines. Thus technology that was meant to liberate the mass of humankind has in the hands of tyrants, or should I say pockets, become the perfect tool of our enslavement.
The clever conceit of those who care only for self-interest and profit at the expense of others and the environment is destroying the earth, her oceans, air, and soil. Lightning quick, shallow thinking, using however brilliant algorithms to amass information in massive servers that only benefit the few is leading us to inevitable collapse. Surely our own state of near complete disconnect with our Source has brought on the creation of machines which reflect our current state of consciousness and are being misused to subjugate the many to the few. It doesn't have to be that way.
The Oneness dwells within the Heart of each man, woman, and child. The polymath savant K.K. Nair/Krishna Chaitanya feels that because Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita tells Arjuna to decide for himself, the concept of Grace is not a function of “predeterminism or divine arbitrariness. Grace comes in the wake of the enlightenment man receives in a sacred dialogue.” Whenever any one of us chooses to turn within and begin this sacred dialogue with our own true Self, our innate Wisdom emerges. Many find ourselves joyfully weeping and many are simply overflowing with poems, sacred truth, and perhaps like AR Rahman, even music.
I have often compared the God-within me to a lover waiting for Its Beloved to recognize the true Love always waiting. Its patience is eternal, for no lover seeks to force love. God rejoices at our return and as Krishna says, although all are loved, those who seek the One are sa me priyah “dear to Me” [BhG.XII.14-17]. God rejoices when we Remember and come Home.
K.K. Nair: “…vital life that was launched into the adventure of evolution and the progressive enlargement of the radius of awareness was ‘a part indeed of My own Self’ (BhG.XV.7). But the freedom to deny this ontology is also real. Hence the double search: not only man seeking God, but God too is seeking the man who exercises his autonomy to align with him. Exceedingly dear is such a man to deity, as Krishna affirms and reiterates.”
Swami Muni Narayana Prasad has a very intriguing perspective on the idea of an all-control deity in this verse XVIII.61. He says that the term Ishvara means the all-controlling one and that revealing the secret of this world to someone may cause them to “lose interest in living, for all the novelty of living is lost. Living remains an experience of novelty only as long as the secret of life remains a mystery. A life in which events happen as logically calculated and predicted will be mechanical and therefore lacking novelty.” Are we appalled and bored by a life that is totally predictable?
This observation leads me back to the Siren Servers which intend, it seems to corral all of us into predictable repetitive clone-like behaviour and patterns of consumption that benefit the ruling tyrants, the rich and the technocrats who serve them. When our highly complicated thought processes are entrapped in only specific areas of the brain, where will individual creativity come from? The over use of computers and addiction to surfing the Net has been shown to actually alter the human brain physically.
From ‘The Shallows, What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains’ by Nicholas Carr: “The Net’s cacophony of stimuli short circuits both conscious and unconscious thought, preventing our mind from thinking deeply or creatively. …Heavy use has neurological consequences. …as the time we spend hopping across links crowds out the time we devote to quiet reflection and contemplation, the [brain] circuits that support those old intellectual functions and pursuits weaken and begin to break apart. The brain recycles the disused neurons and synapses…”
One wonders how this kind of entrainment by the machine will damage our capacity to meditate. Surely the rapid-fire experience of zooming around the Internet, reading dozens of articles in the most superficial way, perhaps only the first paragraph if that, is the extreme antithesis of the state of consciousness one hopes to achieve in meditation. This ‘redirection of our mental resources’ and ‘making judgements that are imperceptible to us’ as Nicholas Carr says, have been shown to ‘impede comprehension and retention’.
Carr quotes the German philosopher, Martin Heidegger, who back in the 1950s said: "...the looming tide of [the] technological could so captivate, bewitch, dazzle and beguile man that calculative [quantitative] thinking may someday come to be accepted and practiced as the only way of thinking." The frenzy of quantity over quality, jumping from one focus to the next, using only a small part of the brain may destroy our capacity for quiet contemplation and meditation. The state of a calm and attentive mind cultivated in silence is not only the source of all genuine creativity and innovation, but also the only Door out of the temporal illusory holographic webs we have bound ourselves within.
How much of what we surf on the Net do we actually learn and absorb - and how much is mere titillation, escape and addiction? Where is our Free Will in formats generated by one-size-fits-all software? Are these new masters of the universe, who we are in fact allowing to transform the very way our brains operate — are they true masters of their own consciousness? Generic formats that gather our personal information exist and are used not for our benefit, but to manipulate us without our knowledge.
As Jaron Lanier says, yes it’s free - as long as we allow them to spy on us. What kind of freedom is that? Perhaps in this phase of our current Kali Yuga, the yantrarudhani has been projected externally into the hologram as these Siren Servers by our own lost and confused consciousness. The Kali Yuga is the Age of Conflict and Confusion. Rene Guenon’s “Reign of Quantity” has descended into new depths. Have we created a new sort of Labyrinth to escape from, one literally and physically etched into in our own brain?
Jason Lanier from his book ‘you are not a gadget’: “It’s crazy not to worry that, with millions of people connected through a medium that sometimes brings out their worst tendencies, massive fascist-style mobs could rise up suddenly.” Will the next generation be more likely to “succumb to pack dynamics” because they have grown up with “crowd aggregation, as is the current fad.” The Siren Servers make it easier than ever for tyrants to herd the crowd, manipulating masses, shoals of people who never met, on paths leading to an abyss.
The Great Mystery
Swami Muni Narayana Prasad says that it is not “one’s logical understanding of the constitution and function of the world or his ability to define it” that makes anyone Enlightened in Wisdom-Knowledge. Wisdom is rather “the contentment of being part of the Great Mystery that the world is” and this Mystery consists in the way the Oneness unfolds Itself as the world, “assuming every form.”
The same advice the master Jesus gives in Matthew 6:33, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God” is found in the verse, BhG. XVIII.62, as Krishna urges Arjuna to seek the God-within first.
With your whole being,
Go to Him [the One within], the Refuge,
From that Grace, you shall reach
Supreme Peace and the Eternal Home.
We cannot abide in harmony with eternal metaphysical Truth when we are in Ignorance of what Truth (Satya) is — and it appears obvious to me looking at the condition of human consciousness and the environment of the entire ravaged planet, that we are increasingly more disconnected from our Source. Those who choose to do so, to set Right the imbalances of our era will be served by first aligning our consciousness with the God-within, the ubiquitous One that dwells within all.
KK Nair says, “As deity’s design unfolding, the world is a sacred environment. It can be sustained only by work and since there are many who oppose that design, others who choose freely to align themselves with it [meaning the Creator’s sacred Design] have often to undertake disagreeable action, akusalam [inauspicious] karma (BhG. XVIII.10) to resist the former.” Thus Krishna urges Arjuna to get up and fight.
Swami Lakshmanjoo on BhG. XVIII.62: “…surrender everything that you have achieved, surrender everything to Him who…I [the One] that Being. Tam eva sharanam gaccha sarva bhavena, with all your might and with all your soul, you surrender in Him and just throw your I-ness into pieces, away from your existence. …and then you will be established in the eternal, divine residence of the Kingdom of Mine.”
The choice is clear. We can continue to run madly, rapid-fire around the labyrinth, blind mice in ever more complex artificial fake and self-created mirage-like mazes — or we can turn within to the Source of All that has been patiently waiting throughout non-existent time for our Return. Real Freedom lies within.
We Meet in the Heart
V. Susan Ferguson
Part III continues...
Bhagavad Gita, In the Light of Kashmir Shaivism, with original video, Revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo, Edited by John Hughes, Co-editors Viresh Hughes and Denise Hughes; Universal Shaiva Fellowship, 2013.
The Gita for Modern Man, by Krishna Chaitanya; Clarion Books, Associated with Hind Pocket Books, New Delhi, 1986, 1992.
KRISHNA CHAITANYA, A Profile and Selected Papers; Edited by Suguna Ramachandra; Konark Publishers Pvt. Ltd., Delhi, 1991.
Life’s Pilgrimage Through The Gita, by Swami Muni Narayana Prasad; D.K. Printworld, New Delhi, 2005, 2008.
The Bhagavad Gita in the Mahabharata, A Bilingual Edition, translated by J.A.B. van Buitenen; The University of Chicago Press, 1981.
The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Winthrop Sargeant; State University of New York Press, 1994.
Abhinavagupta’s Commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, Gitartha Samgraha, translated by Boris Marjanovic; Indica Books, Varanasi, 2002, 2004.
Satyaloka in the Rig Veda, A Study, by Dr. A. Venkatasubbiah (1886-1969); Vishveshvaranand Vedic Research Institute, 1974.
Who Owns the Future, by Jaron Lanier; Simon & Schuster, NY, 2013.
You are not a gadget, A Manifesto, by Jaron Lanier; Vintage Books, NY, 2010, 2011.
The Shallows, What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, by Nicholas Carr; W.W. Norton & Company, NY, 2010, 2011.
India Calling, An Intimate Portrait of A Nation's Remaking, by Anand Giridharadas; Times Books, Henry Holt & Company
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