Om Namo Bhagavate Narayana Guru

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11/23/12 Verse 1 – beforehand Three people sent premeditations:
This is from our new friend in Latvia, who Sujit assures me is named Maris:
Namaste_ Interestingly, yesterday I also read about Nancy’s trip in Kerala :) Then started to read the first Atmo lesson. And was very, very surprised from both that clear vision and explanation. Years ago I took a part in study circle wich was organized by Latvian Sri Satya Sai Baba center. We studied a lot about human values... also theme I AM THAT was observed. Also, later I read from other sources about it. But never I found such great way of thinking. After 15 years of different studies of similar texts I am really surprised. It is good we have a week for each verse, because I have to look in dictionary, too - because english is my third language - I am still learning it :) In short - today I can say - I am very happy to be on the new and bright path.
~ Om Namo Bhagavate Narayana Guru ~
from Jake, who admits “I'm taking a decidedly American bent on the work and trying to address that audience, a non-existent audience perhaps. We'll see.”
Verse 1: “Permeating the knowledge which brilliantly shines at once within and without the knower is the karu; to that, with the five senses withheld
prostrate again and again with devotion and chant. “ (p. 1)

“May the chanting be commenced, with the five organs of perception turned inward and pacified, again and again prostrating before that mysterious embryo, the Karu, shining within and without the knower.” (p. 712)
In his foreword to That Alone, Nitya Yati presents an anecdote about a student asking Narayana Guru the nature of Vedanta. The answer is so simple—Do you know that the wave and the water are not two?—that the student misses the point and continues with his questions until they turn on themselves, leading the student right back to the beginning. This circular path describes the danger inherent in reading this opening verse straight through in order to move on to others with, perhaps, more familiar references. The key to the entire work appears in such a straightforward and simple manner that it one can easily overlook it as obvious and forgettable, especially if you are well versed in an American education for which bits of experience are anything but in-formation, a continuous evolutionary process of knowing the transcendent/immanent self.
The wave and the water are not two. This opening offers a perspective on that claim and constitutes the Core of the Core. In this simple metaphor is the essence of all the guru’s visions but can represent mere words to those refusing (or incapable of accepting) anything other than what their senses and mind present as possible. From the materialist’s point of view, issues beyond measurement—life/death, meaning/meaninglessness—are temporarily inexplicable but will be revealed sooner or later once the human mind rationalizes the post-rational Absolute in terms it (mind) can reduce to rationalizations. The mind’s obsessive compulsion to spin endless and elliptical narratives in its focus on somatic survival, a universal will to life, reinforces the distraction

with enormous power as do the senses’ constant input. What appears “out there,” to those of us with nowhere else to stand, is on the other side of a very thick boundary of our own design.
Many of us deal with the paradoxes and ironies that keep popping up—innocent children developing terminal cancer, the material inequalities of a bewildering variety, or random act of violence and hate—by handing them off in one way or another to any number of organized groups for which the conformity itself is the coin of the realm, one that fiancés an infinite number of “isms” and “ologies” of our Electronic Dark Age.
If, on the other hand, the wave and the water are not two, if, that is, the concrete sense perceived “reality” (we interpret as stationary and within time) of the ever-changing Cosmos and our interior interpretation of it are not two, Narayana Guru’s 100 Verses as handed down to us through Nataraja Guru and in this more recent commentary by Nitya Yati offers a universal vision that not only makes sense of existence as we experience its continuous manifesting and dissolving and manifesting but does so without the characteristic self-righteousness that is built into such works in the West, especially in contemporary America where puerile ethics and collectivist dogma more often than not masquerade as profundity.
In this opening verse, the guru begins by identifying that which is common both “within and without,” the Karu or unlit eternally shining lamp identical to the light of the universal Absolute. Our interior experiences of the mind in constant flux are mirrored in the motion of the world constantly arising out of the transcendent: the metaphoric wave on the water, the Prakriti (material) out of the Purusha (spirit) for the Sankhyans, the explicate order out of the implicate one for the physicist David Bohm. Experiencing that unity, that bi-polarity, in daily life is the lesson of this first verse, one that the guru states is best approached by devoting one’s full attention to the task, again and again, holding fast to that which is not changeable in our elliptical worka-day world.

from Wendy: This first verse is very beautiful. It is so complete, and yet to understand this completeness we have to first take it apart. What permeates the knowledge? It is the Karu, the transcendent, the Absolute, that which contains everything. Knowledge refers to what is within, what is felt within the body. The knower is my status. The known is everything outside. Experience is the link between the knower and the known.
Guru says on page 2, ‘that although these are seemingly separate entities, in terms of consciousness there is no differentiation. On all such occasions, what you experience is a single consciousness undergoing different modulations. Here knower, known and knowledge refer only to aspects of your personal and private experience. They take place within your own awareness as mere transformations.’
My intimate sense of the Karu is one of wonder and gratitude. That I am a manifesting Self, at one with the Karu, born from its mold and being created each day afresh.
When I awoke from sleep this morning it was just becoming light. I recognized that I knew it was a new day. I understood that darkness was fading and light is breaking and I could imagine the next few hours, from my meditation, shower, breakfast etc. My senses were awakened to the temperature and the sounds of the seagulls and early traffic outside. I was the knower inside the knowledge and relating it to the known. It was so clearly all transforming from moment to moment. I was aware of my heartbeat, of my seamless body movements, of my balance and ability to make movements. It all felt a living wonder. This was before my ego, ‘I,’ woke up and started to make demands. Although it is a fine tool, it also gets in the way and dims the light. I recognize that I tend to be anxious and like to be in

control. I also am aware that when I trust, that mostly everything works out very well. That is when I am more surrendered to the Karu and feel at one with life. It is all about balance. When I become the witness of myself, I can act from the best possible motives without ego demands getting in the way. It could be so simple except that my ego is so well established it gets in before I notice!! This is when the verse is a lifeline. Instead of being angry with myself I repeat the verse. It acts like a healing balm and fills me with hope and joy. I love this verse. It is a treasure.
How do I prostrate with devotion? Well, I kneel for my morning prayers in devotion. I play and sing along with the CD of Guru chanting the verse. I read the verse in ‘Neither This nor That but Aum.’ I say the prayer at the end of verse 1 which is beautiful and makes a perfect start to the day. I feel gratitude and wonder for the beauty in the garden. In nature, in plants, animals, birds. In smiles. I feel a sense of oneness without limits, a connection. A melting of my separateness. All this happens anyway, but I am separating it out for these exercises. Becoming reminded of my patterns, which is always helpful.
I am sure we will have a wonderful adventure through these verses together. With love from Wendy.
* * * Please note, At times there will be a large amount of material being sent out. No one is expected to read everything, just what you are in the mood for! Some read everything eagerly; some read only the original material from the gurus. As with gifting, it’s the thought that counts, so just think about the ideas in whatever way suits you best. I’ll pass along everything I possibly can.

Sujit sent an exemplary meditation on the first verse:
Guru Nitya’s explanation of Verse 1 is thought-provoking and brilliantly transcends the original language that it was authored, as evidently experienced and enjoyed by those here from different corners of the globe. I humbly stop further wondering how others can enjoy it as much as a Malayalee.
Greatly appreciate how Nitya has vividly explained ‘Karu’ using the parable of the mould; and further using Narayana Guru’s own references to ‘Karu’ in other works, to bring out the author’s usage, or the intended all-encapsulating meaning of the ‘Karu’ word.
Going through this verse once again was an improvement on earlier readings. In the last 48 hours I physically moved across continents and spent quite a bit of time contemplating the three entities - knowledge, known and knower. Applied it (knowledge and known) to one and more (multiple) sensible objects, both tangible, and the intangible – like music etc.
Sitting for long hours on an airplane to India, with eyes closed, I could apply my mind more precisely to the two homes at both ends of the journey (Canada behind me, and India impending), a lot more in ‘thoughtful envisaging’, than the airplane itself (the present tense) which was so full of unknown entities in the form of co-passengers. Despite having all five senses active in my body on the airplane, the unfamiliarity was initially so distancing, while I continued to live in and extrapolate the past experiences at both ends of the journey. Seeing different peoples, all unfamiliar in person and at best understood by applying my limited knowledge, of their distinguishable and prominent features of race, ethnic, economic, aesthetic inclines and other backgrounds, I further applied this thought of extension of the ‘Karu’ outside, as different

forms of ‘jagat’. Interestingly I was able to see through all of them as manifestations, without much to worry about who they really were. I could most importantly see a common ‘purpose’ (the big ‘Self’?) in them all heading for some duty-bound or purposeful mission. That duty or responsibility of purpose is how I was able to realistically translate the prostration to ‘Karu’ (if prostration is taken as a metaphor).
No introductions, no learning curve, no inclined plane towards the peak of the philosophy; Verse 1 takes us on, full swing and bang into the heart of Narayana Philosophy. Wonder what’s left for 99 more to come! J
P.S.: Could not make much of "nature that natures" – or should it have been "nature that nurtures".
Scott: I can throw a little light on “the nature that natures.” This is part of the philosophical “spicing up” that Nitya did after his morning prophesying, in the first 8 verses. Both Nitya and Nataraja Guru were enamored with Spinoza, whose ideas closely resemble Advaita Vedanta. To Spinoza, God and Nature were the same, a single universal substance, as he called it. He divvied this up into nature naturata (nature that is natured) and nature naturans (nature that is naturing, or the nature that natures). The first is the passive, eternal aspect, and the second is the active, changing part. The active aspect is what Nitya is speaking of here in describing the Karu, the mold or original cause that produces all this.
Nitya’s prized Encyclopedia of Philosophy now sits in my workroom, and it has a terrific article about Spinoza’s thought. A couple of excerpts are worth adding to the mix, the first relating to the absolute nature of Spinoza’s substance, and the second on the

unity of knowledge, a central principle of Vedanta and our upcoming study:
It is true that Spinoza follows his native Judaism in affirming the existence and the unity of God…. But since “God” is the name of the one substance whose other name is “Nature,” the contrast between God and the world, a contrast which is at the heart of both Judaism and Christianity, is obliterated. The one substance can have nothing outside itself to limit it. It is and therefore must be undetermined from outside itself and unbounded; hence, Spinoza calls it infinite. Thus, not only the unity and existence but also the infinity of God are preserved in Spinozism, although all three, it is clear, are given a new sense. (Vol. 4, 533)
Anticipation of Spinoza’s type of pantheism can be found in the Jewish mystical traditions. When both Jewish and Christian Scholastics spoke of God’s knowledge of his creatures, they found it difficult to hold that his creatures were external objects to God, about whom God could know contingent truths. In answer to this problem a sixteenthcentury cabalist, Moses Cordovero, wrote in words which are almost reproduced by Spinoza (Ethics II, Prop VII, Scholium): “But the Creator is Himself knowledge, the knower and the object known. His knowledge does not arise from His directing His thoughts to things outside of Him, since in comprehending and knowing Himself, He comprehends and knows everything that exists” (A Garden of Pomegranates). Thus, Spinoza could and did legitimately claim to be developing one strain in the Jewish theological tradition. (Vol. 4, 534)
from The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (New York: Collier Macmillan, 1972)

* * *
John H continues his lively input:
Where I am confused is when I consider the perceiver and the perceived aren't the same wave, but maybe different waves, but still part of the water? I might be able to wrap my mind around this if I go back to Aristotle's genus and difference - but not emphasizing the difference, just noting it. The wave and the water are one, but one may, for the sake of clarity we use the difference part when we talk about stuff. But the point is to understand that this differentiation is to help understand, not to draw a line, close a door, build a wall. As for devotion - well, there are many kinds. I have been meditating on the Canaanite woman who lipped off to Jesus, got her daughter cured, and in a way, showed that devotion can be not so reverential as all that, and even border on insolence. I suppose it's intention when we get down and dirty about it. Many kinds of waves to be had in the water - some tidal, some ripples. Likewise devotion.
Much L, Eeyore the Perplexed
I responded: As long as your perplexity prompts you to look deeper and not simply reject the whole business, it's a very positive feature. Of course, if it prompts you to reject something worthless or detrimental, it's also very positive. Since your perplexity is intelligent and penetrating, it's an excellent quality you should highly prize. It's a little like peering through a tiny hole in a fence outside a nudist colony. You peer as hard as you can, but you really want to make the hole bigger so you can see better. You scour it out with a knife, (intelligence) and take another peek. Once you get a good

look around, you might even decide to go through the gate and join the party. That's what they call peer pressure.
And he wrote back: Perplexion - I hadn't thought about it, but yes, I think that for some people it's an excuse to give up, throw in the towel, cover the peep hole, or justify lazy thought, improper motives, etc. What perplexion does for me is to stop and study. Kind of like some of my interactions with "wild" animals - or even tame ones, for that matter -they do something and I have to stop and observe, and consider even. Like a time I was gardening, pulling weeds, and I accidentally exposed a garden snake. She coiled up as if to strike. I wasn't alarmed as this snake was no bigger than a pencil, and it wasn't a copperhead or any of the small and deadlies. Still, I sat back, not frightened, nor particularly startled, but perplexed. How is it that such a small snake would coil like that. Then I got it. I realized that she was guarding something looking like eggs - her nest, obviously. I gently removed, and then when she relaxed, I gently re-covered her nest with some devotion, sensing that I had come upon something quite holy in its own right - the eternal motherness of the universe.
But just cause I’m perplexed doesn't mean I have this strong motivation to solve it. I can walk away from a crossword puzzle, but not quit. Sometimes one just has to let the understanding rise, as it were.
But back to the water and wave.
11/20/12 Verse 1
Nitya has provided us with three versions of the first verse of Atmopadesa Satakam, the book’s, its appendix, and his initial

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Om Namo Bhagavate Narayana Guru