Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Perfect 10

Ten in Sanskrit is dashan (dasan).
Ten is the first double digit number formed by the coming together of one and zero. The zero stands for nirguna Brahman. The one stands for both Saguna Brahman and the individual Atman. In the number 10 thus we find a very deep symbolic significance. The number symbolically represents the incarnation of God, the conscious and willful coming together of the transcendent and the immanent, of the mortal and the immortal, with God manifesting himself fully in earthly form with his splendor and energies. In a less significant way it also symbolizes a self realized yogi who has experienced Brahman or Atman in human body. An awakened being is complete and different from an ordinary mortal because she has the internal awareness of 10 while the latter has only that of 01.

Durga is depicted as having eight or ten hands. These represent eight quadrants or ten directions in Hinduism. This suggests that she protects the devotees from all directions.

The eminent Shankaracharya classified renunciants into ten categories, giving
them names based mostly on natural and geographical variety.

The Rig Veda Samhita contains ten books of hymns to various deities.

The tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh wrote dasam Granth (Tenth Granth).

The villain in the Ramayana was RavaNa. He had ten faces. Therefore he is also
known as Dasakantha the ten-headed or the ten necked one. He is said to be an embodiment of dashendriya: five organs of knowledge and five motor organs.
Lord Rama is knownas dasaripu as he killed the ten headed demon king Ravana in the battle. The story is probably an allegory of a egoistic man (01) trying to compete with an incarnation (10) with the strength and knowledge of ten egoistic individuals but without the aid of the inner self (one) and God (zero).

The father of the epic hero Rama was called Dasharatha because he had ten chariots which went along ten directions which consist of the four cardinal directions (East, West, North, and South), the four diagonal ones (Northeast,Southeast, Northwest, and Southwest), as well as the upward and downward directions. He is said to have had full control over his ten as he had control over the ten horses.

In the Hindu framework the Divine manifests itself periodically here on earth
for the welfare of human kind. According to Hindu tradition Lord Vishnu's incarnations are ten in number of which nine have already taken place and the tenth is yet to come. Elevation of the humblest, the fish, the most ignored, the tortoise, and the man's headstrong antagonist, the boar, first three of Vishnu's ten incarnations, to the status of the Supreme Being, not only generated reverence for all beings but also helped cosmic unity and equilibrium.

The tenth and last day of the Navaratra festival is called Dassara
(Dusshera). It is dedicated to the Mother Goddess in some parts of India or taken
to celebrate Rama's victory (Vijayadashami) in other region.

The Sanskrit writer Dananjaya (10th century C.E.) wrote a work on theater theory
entitled Dashar√pika. Here he listed ten kinds of dramatical works. (Recall
that categorization is a science in which classical Hindus excelled.)

It's possible to continue long...
For ex., in Buddhism: taken as a group of ten fingers, the hands represent the Five Buddhas (right) and their consorts (left), the ten symbolic prongs of the vajra, the ten perfections or the ten virtues...

The Ten Commandments (Decalogue) accepted by Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

Realy, ten is perfect! HAPPY 2010!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pen and Tablet

The Pen and the Tablet are mentioned in a few Koranic verses and some sayings of the Prophet. Referring to itself, the Quran says, "Nay, but it is a glorious Koran, on a guarded tablet" (85:22). The commentators explain this tablet as an invisible spiritual reality on which the Koran, the eternal and uncreated word of God, is written. The Koran refers to the Pen in the first verses which were revealed to the Prophet: "Read out! And thy Lord is the most generous, Who taught by the Pen, taught man what he knew not" (96:1-5). In another verse. God swears by the Pen: "By the Pen and what they inscribe" (68:1). These short and rather enigmatic verses provided a great deal of food for meditation, especially since the Prophet himself added a certain amount of interesting clarification. For example, he said:

The first thing God created was the Pen. Then He created the Tablet. He said to the Pen, "Write!" The Pen said, "What should I write?" God said to it, "Write whatever I dictate to you!" So, the Pen inscribed in the Tablet everything that God dictated to it, and that was His knowledge of thecreation. He would create until the Day of Resurrection.

Here the Prophet has told us that God's first creation was the Pen. He also said that the first thing God created was the intellect. Hence, he identified the cosmic Pen with what the cosmologists call the 'First Intellect'. All creatures are latent and undifferentiated in the Intellect's knowledge, just as ink is present inside the Pen. Then, by means of the Intellect, God creates the whole universe.

It should be clear that the term 'Pen' alludes to the yang side of the first spiritual creation, while the term 'Intellect' alludes to the yin side of this same reality. The Muslim cosmologists, like the Chinese, never saw anything as exclusively yang or exclusively yin. Each thing in the cosmos has both yin and yang dimensions to it. These can be brought out by investigating the various relationships which each thing establishes with other things. Thus, for example, the First Intellect is called by the name 'Intellect' at least partly because it has a receptive and feminine side to its nature. It has a face turned toward God through which it contemplates God and takes constant replenishment from His light. In contrast, this same reality is called a 'Pen' because of the active and masculine side to its nature. It has a face turned toward the universe, which it brings into existence by the act of writing upon the Tablet.

Without the Tablet, no duality could appear within spiritual existence, and without duality, there could be no physical universe, which depends upon multiplicity. Just as the Pen is called the 'First Intellect', so also the Tablet is called the 'Universal Soul'. In relationship to God, the First Intellect is receptive, dark and yin, but in relationship to the Universal Soul it is active, luminous, and yang. This principle has important repercussions in psychology, where spirit and soul in the human being correspond to the First Intellect and the Universal Soul in the cosmos. Ebnol-'Arabi describes all the realities in the cosmos as manifestations of different divine names. He fmds the archetype of the Pen and Tablet in the Koranic verse, "God governs the affair and He differentiates the signs" (13:3). The Pen manifests the divine name, He who governs', while the Tablet manifests the name, 'He who differentiates'. On a lower level of existence, the spirit manifests the name, 'He who governs', in relation to the body. The spirit, which is the principle of life and awareness, governs, controls and directs the body in the same way that the Pen governs, controls and directs the Tablet.

Without the Tablet, the Pen could not write. The Tablet takes what is undifferentiated in the Pen and manifests all of its details. It allows for the articulation of all the existential words of God at a spiritual level of existence. This symbolism of the divine creative words is central to Islamic cosmological thinking, no doubt because a large number of Koranic verses allude to it. One of the most often cited support for the idea that all things are words of God is the verse, "God's only word, when He desires a thing, is to say to it 'Be!', and it is" (16:40). Hence, say the cosmologists, each creature is a unique expression of the divine word, 'Be'. The Pen writes out these divine words on the Tablet, thus manifesting the spiritual essences of all things. The spirit of each and every thing in the cosmos is brought into existence as a unique word on the Tablet. Both Pen and Tablet, are necessary for the spiritual realities of all things to come into actuality.