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Note: My maya-gaia website is a chronicle of my maintaining an open-minded but healthy skepticism as I pass any considered opinion through the lens of my Nirvikalpa Samadhi
Synchronicities in the Brihadaranyaka and Katha
Upanishads and My Nirvikalpa Samadhi
Presenting the remarkable synchronicity in my Nirvikalpa Samadhi with the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad in regards to metaphors and allegory describing the cosmic geography in the soul's journey in death and to events that spirit guides orchestrate as it is transported to Isvara.
Background to my recent encounter with the Brihadaranyaka and Katha Upanishads
In the Katha Upanishad the synchronicity is in regards to how my consciousness was absorbed in three stages during my ascension- from sensory ecstasy, to All-mind, to the non dual Supreme Spirit.
Starting with the fact that at the time of my spontaneous Nirvikalpa Samadhi in 1970, I was utterly naive concerning metaphysical concepts such as samadhi, non-duality, religious philosophy, psychical psychology, NDEs, etc., so had no preconceptions by which to mediate the mystical episode that transpired. This eliminates any of Katz's constructivist interpretation which may apply to many transpersonal experiences.
It was only in the first two years immediately following my experience that I conducted a rather frantic research in the few books I could access in my local Miami library that helped with a basic explanation concerning my episode and during this period I reacted to the Gaia imperative that I was imbued with to change my whole life-style from buying and selling real estate in Miami to owner operator of a retreat for back-packer, nature lovers in the mountains of North Carolina.
Within another couple of years I had become disenchanted with the reality of the clientèle of young nature freaks who simply used scenic settings as background for their primary goal of getting high and sold my retreat to eventually wind up back in Miami to concentrate on my next nature-oriented business enterprise.
It wasn't until another twenty five years, when I accessed the Internet and started my Maya-Gaia website in 1995, that I began to seriously advance my integration of my samadhi. For the next fifteen years, virtually all my research was based on third- and fourth-person accounts of religious, metaphysical and non-dual traditions, transpersonal psychology and various new science theories of consciousness.
From the start, I had intended my website to include both pro and con references to each of the topics covered, not only so readers could access both sides of the dialectic that consistently arose over interpretations for numinous events but so that I could use my website as a personal library for returning to issues I had only considered perfunctorily in my haste to get them at least plugged into the content for each subject.
Finally on Christmas day, December 25, 2009 I decided I would start a review of my entire website (now over 100 pages) with perhaps a thousand links to references- many of which I had barely read- much less digested.
In a random start I began researching the feature described in my samadhi account when I became enveloped in a sweet field of electrical energy and my field of vision was completely filled with absolute blackness and I was overwhelmed by a feeling I was about to be launched on a journey- inward, outward or wherever, like that one feels when seated in a jetliner just as the engines start their tremendous thrust for takeoff. The black field seemed to shrink to a narrow, rectangular slot and with a force that seemed to kick my head backwards I shot through the slot and immediately found myself shooting upwards at fantastic speed in a stream of energy.
I had already noted the synchronicity of this "narrow slot" to the space between heaven and earth as wide as a razor's edge or a fly's wing in the Upanishads, and started to investigate various translations from the Sanskrit concerning not only the metaphor of the razor's edge used in the context for this "space" but also for how it is used in Maugham's novel The Razor's Edge where it refers to the hazards in the path to realization.
After the Vedas, ancient sacred literature from India, the Upanishads are the most revered texts in Hinduism. Of all the upanishads the Bhagavad Gita is the most famous. It sums them all up and it is also in modern times become a kind of Bible to Hinduism.
The Lotus of the Heart: A Summary of the Upanishads by Alex Krawciw Levin (Based on the translation by Eknath Easwaren. Title quote is from the Chandogya Upanishad .) The Upanishads are a series of brief writings that originated from hymns and teachings in early Indian civilization, some dating to approximately 1500 BC. Typically, these teachings were an oral tradition illumined teachers passed down to students seeking truth and knowledge about themselves, their world, and the universe.
In researching the context in which the "razor's edge" was used in the Upanishads I quickly got confused because it coincidentally shows up in two different Upanishads but as metaphor for two completely different concepts. The matter was somewhat explained in Yoga Age by Katha Upanishad translated and commented
by Swami Paramananda: The story (of the soul's journey to Ishvara (Brahman) is first suggested in the Rig-Veda; it is told more definitely in the Yajur-Veda (in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad); and in the Katha Upanishad it appears fully elaborated and interwoven with the loftiest Vedic teaching.
In the Katha Upanishad, a father (Vajashrava) gives up his son (Nachiketa) to Death (Yama) who then reveals the secrets of life, realization and death. The metaphor as it appears in the epilogue of Somerset Maugham's novel The Razor's Edge is from 1-III-14: The wise say the path to Salvation is sharp as a razor's edge, impassable, and hard to go by. Here the storyline is essentially Yama revealing to Nachiketa the Vedic Purusa of life: dharma (moral code); artha (duty); kama (sensual gratification); karma and reincarnation and becoming dispassionate and deathless for spirit to attain moksha (Brahman).
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad presents the most specific synchronicities that relate to my Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Here, the cosmic geography the soul experiences in its death journey to Isvara is revealed, resembling the form and events in my own ascension and where the metaphor appears about the razor's edge (and the fly's wing) as it relates to my "slot" and the "space" through which the soul passes to godhead.
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (III-iii-2) starts with two sages in dialog. It presents a scenario where the great sage Bhujyu is in conversation with another sage, Yajnavlkya that began with Bhujyu recounting an anecdote in which the daughter of an acquaintance became possessed by a spirit whereby she began to speak in a tongue unknown to her but understood by the sage that told the secrets of the cosmic geography and events that a soul encounters on its journey to Isvara. The question of Bhujyu which follows gives to Yajnavlkya the occasion to show that his knowledge is equivalent to that of a clairvoyant person. He answers the question viz. whither may have the Pariksitas (a long forgotten royal family with many controversial traditions now considered transgressive and repugnant) gone after death, with the assertion that they (in spite of their outrageous crimes) must have gone thither where the performers of the horse-sacrifice go.
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad The Resort of the Performers of the Horse Sacrifice: presented by Swami Krishnananda (Discourse-17) (Commentary for III-iii-2:) Tam samantam prthivim dvis tavat samudrah paryeti: "There is a cosmic ocean, which extends beyond this earth principle, and the extent of that ocean is double the extent of that earth principle which I have described to you earlier which in turn is double the extent referred to as that belonging to the sun." Now, this is perhaps going almost to the borderland of the cosmos. We have gone so far. It is so wide - dvis tavat samudrah paryeti. Tad yavati ksurasya dhara, yavad va maksikaydh pattram, tavan antarendkasah; tan indrah suparno bhutva vayave prayacchat: "After reaching that tremendous distance, you will reach what can be called the borderland of the cosmos. The two halves of the Brahmanda, or the Cosmic Egg join, as it were, at that particular part." The juncture is so subtle that you will not be able to know where it is. It is stated here in the Upanishad; "It is so fine as to be compared to the edge of a fine razor or the thickness of the wing of a fly." Very thin indeed. You cannot even know that it is there. When the soul reaches that borderland of the cosmos, Agni takes possession of it. It is difficult to reach such a noble height. According to some interpretors of this passage, (here the word Indra is used, not Agni. And Indra does not really mean Agni) it is God (sic) Himself appearing in one form and not as Agni - suparno bhutva vayave prayacchat. God (sic) Himself takes one particular shape and transfers the soul to a higher region which is called Vayu here. And the commentators say that here Vayu means the Cosmic Vayu - Hiranyagarbha Prana. That region of Hiranyagarbha is reached by the help of this Supernormal being called Indra (m-g comment: I equate Cosmos Gaia in the gatekeeper role of Agni/Indra or specifically as another aspect of God in duality.) who takes possession of the soul at that particular spot. Some such discussion occurs in the Chhandogya Upanishad also where we are told that some superhuman being (Atimanava Purusha) comes and guides the soul along the path to liberation. Tan vayur atmani dhitva tatragamayad, yatrasva-medha-yajino 'bhavann iti. Now Hiranyagarbha Prana holds the soul within itself, and then transfers it to the higher region of Isvara (sic) Himself.
The synchronicities in the metaphors in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
and my Nirvikalpa Samadhi account.
The overall nature of my samadhi was that it was a journey of my astral soul through the cosmic geography to the borderline of the cosmos. Here my dual consciousness is confronted by an omniscient consciousness (Agni/Indra) who requires I make a free-will choice between death in order to continue my journey or return to my previous life. Upon my choosing death (Agni/Indra) takes possession of my soul and transports my dual spirit to a higher region (which is called Vayu) where the energy stream deposits "me" in a (collocquial) limbo. Suddenly a blazing white light appears at my feet and starts a slow course up my body, annihilating my substance and when it reaches my brain, in a slow-mo explosion, my conscioussness transforms from dual being to an infinite state of non dual light-bliss-love - thus having been delivered by Agni/Indra/dual aspect of God to liberation- the higher region of Isvara [sic] Himself). See Dual-Non Dual Transformation a flash animation depicting this episode in my samadhi journey.
The major inconsistency in my samadhi journey and the order of events in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad is that at the moment I was first transformed from phenomenal to astral consciousness, I passed through the space- as wide as the edge of a razor or the wing of a fly to find myself immediately in a stream of energy that was transporting my astral being at tremendous speed on my journey through the cosmic geography where I was "possessed by the spirit" (which I name Cosmos Gaia as immanent manifest of phenomenal cosmic reality) that would transfer my soul via Nirvikalpa Samadhi to non dual union with Isvara (Brahman).
Consistent with my giving primacy to the truth of my direct Nivikalpa Samadhi experience I believe the specific order in which the soul enters the space between the two halves of the cosmic egg became misplaced over the millennia of story-telling. Given the unevenness of knower's recall, the ephemeral nature of details of samadhic journeys and the fact that the Upanishads are the result of 2nd-, 3rd- and hundredth-person accounts of authentic samadhi by story-tellers, singers and poets most of whom were personally unrealized- it is little wonder some mis-ordering of events might occur. The extant version of the story in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad even emphasizes the ambiguities that still persist over the identity, role and function of spirit guides and other details.
No question, although my samadhi enfolds the metaphoric events in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, it presents a more complete anatomy of an entire journey with quite specific features not even alluded to in the classical parable. That is why I believe my total recall is unique and historic and the direct result of my prayerful request during my descent that I "be permitted" to remember my journey- that my prayer was answered- with the result that I am able to create these Samadhi Chronicles.
Synchronicity in the Katha Upanishad and My Nirvikalpa Samadhi
I believe there is also a strong case for synchronicity in the stages of my Nirvikalpa Samadhi scenario (the ascent) to this description by Swami Krishnanaada in The Secret of the Katha Upanishad:
So, life and death are a continuous process. They are not ends in themselves. And the three questions of Nachiketas, as well as the boons bestowed on him by Yama, pertain to the evolutionary process of the cosmos from sense to mind, from mind to Spirit; from objects to the internal conditioning factors of perception, and finally to the Absolute. Sense, mind and Spirit are the stages of the Katha Upanishad exposition.
There is a vidya in the Chhandogya Upanishad, called Samvarga-vidya, which means the "Knowledge of the absorber of everything". Objects are absorbed into the All-mind, which, again, is absorbed into the Supreme Spirit. This is the philosophical and spiritual secret behind the sublime knowledge given to us in the Katha Upanishad.
My mystical journey emerged directly from the most intense sensory experience in my life - thence after shooting through the slot between the worlds I experienced the All-mind where I "knew everything" (but that was absorbed into irrelevance) thence my dual consciousness was absorbed into the Supreme Spirit of Brahman non duality.
Krishnanaada also writes:
Experiences are endless. The universe is not exhausted by the earthly experience alone. We are told that there are lokas, planes of existence or various possibilities of permutation and combination of the space-time-causal nexus. Fortunately for us, all that is corroborated by the modern physical theory of relativity, and the mathematics of modern times has merged itself in the philosophy of the Upanishads. That is wonderful. When we reach the apex of knowledge, we come to the same point. The relativity of experience is an explanation of the inner connection between life and death, but the ultimate meaning of death as well as of life, which is the meaning of the entire evolutionary process, is the Self-realisation of the cosmos.
More links relating to the edge of a razor in the context of the width of the
space between the two halves of the cosmic egg.
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad - Part 1, Chapter III Third Brahmana: The Resort of the Performers of the Horse Sacrifice: Translated and interpreted by Swami Krishnananda: This is a discussion about what may be called cosmic geography, something very peculiar, not easy to understand, because in Indian cosmological descriptions especially, enumerations are made such as may look very fantastic to the modern investigating mind, world in world and world to extensions incalculable by arithmetical numbers. It contains the commentary: The juncture [of the two halves of the cosmic egg] is so subtle that you will not be able to know where it is. It is stated here in the Upanishad, It is so fine as to be compared to the edge of a fine razor or the thickness of the wing of a fly.
Translated by Swami Madhavananda Published by Advaita Ashram, Kolkatta. III-iii-2: Yajnavalkya said, "The Gandharva evidently told you that they went where the performers of the horse sacrifice go. And where do the performers of the horse sacrifice go? Thirty-two times the space covered by the sun's chariot in a day makes this world; around it, covering twice the area, is the earth; around the earth, covering twice the area, is the ocean. Now, as is the edge of a razor, or the wing of a fly, so is there just that much opening at the junction (of the two halves of the cosmic shell). (Through that they go out.) Fire, in the form of a falcon, delivered them to the air; the air, putting them in itself, took them where the (previous) performers of the horse sacrifice were". Thus did the Gandharva praise the air. Therefore the air is the diversity of individuals, and the air is the aggregate. He who knows it as such conquers further death. Thereupon Bhujyu, the grandson of Lahya, kept silent.
Sixty Upanisads of the Veda, Volume 1 By Paul Deussen, V. M. Bedekar, Gajanan Balkrishna Palsule. Brhadarnyaka Upanisad, Third Brahmanam (Aśvamedha Sacrifice) III-iii-2: [The question of Bhujyu which follows gives to Yajnavlkya the occasion to show that his knowledge is equivalent to that of a clairvoyant person. He answers the question viz. "whither may have the Pariksitas" (a forgotten royal family with many contradictory traditions) "gone after death, with the assertion that they (in spite of their outrageous crimes) must have gone thither where the performers of the horse-sacrifice go". (Already in the Ait. Br. 8.21.1, a Janamejaya Pariksita is named among those who performed the horse-sacrifice.) The description of the way thither gives an occcasion for (the description of) a short cosmography: (includes:) Accordingly, the diameter of the world-egg would amount to 416 journeys of the sun. There, i.e., indeed, on the horizon where the heavens and the ocean strike against or border on one another, there is between the two shells of the world-egg a narrow chink or cleft throught which man, coming out of it, indeed attains to the rear of the ridge of heaven (nākasya prstham) where verily, according to Taitt.Ãr. 10.1.52, association with Brahman (brahma-salokata) takes place, whereas, according to Vāj. Samh. 15.50, as well as according to our passage, the retribution or fuctification of good works takes place.
Psychology of the Unconscious: a study of the transformations and symbolisms By Carl Gustav Jung. See page 467 citing Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 3:3:2 Yajnavalkya spake: He has told thee, they have come from where all come, who offer up the sacrificial horse. That is to say, this world extends so far as two and thirty days of the chariot of the Gods (the sun) reach. This world surrounds the earth twice around. This earth surrounds the ocean twice around. There is, as broad as the edge of a razor or as the wing of a fly, a space between (the two shells of the egg of the world).
Suresvara's Vartika on Yaj˝avalkya's dialogue with Artabhaga and others By Suresvaracarya, Shoun Hino, K. P. Jog B. Upanishad 3.3.2 There exists the sky in the hole of the cover (of the world) as is determined by (its) magnitude. Here is the simile stated in the word yavati .... And hereby (i.e. through the hole ...)1 is explained (the simile) by the Sruti.  That the Atman leads the Pariksitas, the Asvamedha sacrificers, who have come to attain the status of the worship-deserving Atman (i.e. Sutra), namely those who, after having well-controlled them as either joined together or as several (attained the same). 
(...continues with details regarding ambiguity involving the form, identity and role of deities Agni-Indra, Atman and Vayu)
1 Because the world described earlier has such a large magnitude, one could only posit the idea of a hole.
Asvamedha Horse Sacrifice Queen-horse sexual ritual of the asvamedha. Sources: the Valmiki Ramayana and Satapatha Brahmana.
Links that refer to the razor's edge in the context of the difficulties
and hazards in the path to realization.
Katha Upanishad Vedanta Spiritual Library - 108 Upanishads - Complete verses of Katha Upanishad translated by Vidyavachaspati V. Panoli: 1-III-14. Arise, awake, and learn by approaching the exalted ones, for that path is sharp as a razor's edge, impassable, and hard to go by, say the wise.
Katha Upanishad, Part One, Chapter III-14: Arise! Awake! Approach the great and learn. Like the sharp edge of a razor is that path, so the wise say it is hard to tread and difficult to cross.
The Katha Upanishad - The Pursuit of Power and Freedom. Translation and commentary by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait - (Text pp 17-77 deleted by author. Picks up at 25th from last verse of 1-II then uninterupted to end.) Includes 1-III-14: Awake, arise; find those who are wise and gain knowledge from them. This path is as sharp as the edge of a razor, as the knowers of truth say, and difficult to tread.
Jung, Religion, and Eranos: At the Edges of the Round Table by David L. Miller, Ph.D.
Religion as Edge - The image of a cutting-edge has been an important figure in the history of religions. In Zoroastrianism, the Cinvat Bridge on the road to the next life is a knife-edge that discriminates the paths to heaven and to hell. It is not unlike a similar figure in Islam, and it is analogous to that dangerous edge traversed by the Altaic shaman in the spirit-journey to the underworld realm of Erlik Khan (see Trubshaw, 2004). There is also in the tradition of Zen Buddhism the metaphor of the "diamond sword" of discriminating religious consciousness whose spiritual essence is that of enduring brilliance, dignity and strength. But, more significantly, this Buddhist sword signifies the Diamond Sutra and its teaching of the Diamond Sword of Discriminating Wisdom, which cuts away all doubts. In the Katha Upanishad, the Hindu version of this religious insight has to do with a razor's edge, which gives W. Somerset Maugham's novel, The Razor's Edge, its title. The Hindu text says: "Sages say the path is narrow and difficult to tread, narrow as the edge of a razor." (Mascaro, 1965, p.61 [1.3.14])
Links concerning various aspects of the Upanishads in general
Upanishad Meaning and Translation
Upanishads form the Veda scriptures; of 108 upanishad: 10 belong to the Rig Veda; Katha Upanishad is one of 32 belonging to the Krishna Yajur Veda; Brahadaranyaka Upanishad is one of 19 belonging to the Sukla Yajur Veda; Turiyatita Upanishad- taught by Lord Narayana to Lord Brahma and tells us about the rules of the life of an Avadhootha; Kshurikoupanishad- Kshrika means knife. It is so called because it cuts ignorance using the knife of wisdom. This is the Upanishad which in detail tells about Yoga and its practice; Yoga kundalinyupanishad- tells about Kundalini and yogic practice.
The major Upanishads were largely composed between 800-200 BCE and are partly prose, partly verse. Later Upanishads continued to be composed right down to the 16th century. Originally they were in oral form. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4;3.35-36; 4.1-2 The process of dying -Since the soul is consciousness, the body loses consciousness as the soul departs; and the soul carries the spiritual effects of all that the person has done, experienced and known (karma).
The Philosophy of the Upanishads and ancient Indian metaphysics, 1882 - Indexed in the Trubner's Oriental Series presented by Prof, E. Horsford. From a series of articles contributed to the Calcutta Review by Archibald Edward Gough, M.A. (Lincoln College, Oxford), Principal of the Calcutta Madrasa.
Academic Studies of Human Consciousness by Phil Norfleet The early prose Upanishads contain what is perhaps the earliest analysis of human consciousness to be found in the written records of mankind. Based upon my very limited review of these major Upanishads, it appears that the Brhadaranyaka and Taittiriya Upanishads are the most significant with respect to the study of consciousness.
dates of Upanishad (prose or verse); Katha (Verse) ca.400-100 B.C.; Brhadaranyaka (Early Prose) ca. 700-500 B.C.
San.Beck.org the Upanishads are referred to as the "end of the Vedas" in the double sense of completing the Vedic scripture and in explaining the ultimate goals.
From Mortality to Immortality Commentary on the Katha Upanishad - by Swami Nirmalananda Giri. When desire dies, when ignorance drops away, immortality is revealed. Shankara says that this is the only teaching in all the upanishads, however varying the approaches may be. The aspirant must not lose himself in philosophical byways, including those set forth in mountains of books on Yoga and Vedanta. He must keep his vision clear and focused by understanding that liberation is the only "point" the upanishads ever make.
Update 01/08/10: I just discovered another strong synchronicity between my Nirvikalpa Samadhi and the Vedic Subtle Anatomy for a Living Being- consisting of five kosa (states of consciousness) or sheaths. The strongest features of synchronicity are the concept that all states function "simultaneously" in life (my term: concurrently) and that at death, the astral soul retains the three kosa in the Vedic model that relate to the state of dual awareness that occurred in both the ascent and descent portions of my Nirvikalpa Samadhi journey plus the anandamaya kosa that is the ground of the soul that continues on to be transported to transcendent Brahman non dual consciousness in samadhi and death.
Links concerning synchronicity
Teapots Happen a blog examining synchronicity from an experiential perspective.
A philosophical and spiritual approach to the subject of synchronicity with anecdotes and open-minded perspectives for rational integration.
Synchronicities may occur to make a quick point. Don't blow them out of proportion. You must look at the bigger picture of the synchronicity, think outside the box, (the patterns of reality) not at the actual experience.
Demystifying Meaningful Coincidences (Synchronicities) Gibbs A. Williams Ph.D, 2010. A philosophical examination of synchronicity approaching the subject with a robust skepticism. (m-g commentary: I welcome a robust scepticism concerning mystical origins of synchronicities and acknowledge the alternative origins for such events. I also recognize that the most mystically characterized anecdotes may arise in the spirit of Lila or The Trickster both in the unexpected ways they manifest and their enigmatic qualities. However the order of correspondence of events in my Nirvirkalpa Samadhi to the fundamental processes of the non-dual tradition is such that it would be rational to aprise this synchronicity as mystical in origin.
Anthropic Synchronicity An inventory of the cosmological, geological and biogenic synchronicities that simultaneously conspired to allow the evolution of a lifeform with the intelligence of homo sapiens. And this represents only what we currently have identified- only a fraction of the total of unknown factors.
Enigmatic Synchronicity Contemplating my chancing on a rare, blue-green feather and the existential synchronicity relating to my lifetime and the anthropic universe.
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