Re: Chris Butler, Jagad Guru, Science of Identity
Date: October 13, 2021 02:19AM
Thank you Truth Wins.
First of all, I want to get out of the way that I am in no way negating anyones mystical experiences, for whatever they are worth and have contributed to your life.
The problem with mysticism and the so-called mystical experience is that everyone can claim to have one.
This is problematic for a few reasons:
1. No one else can truly relate or testify to your experience.
2. Nothing about the process is going to systematically result in a similar experience for others. In other words, what exactly were you doing at the time to deserve or produce such an experience? Can others hope to achieve the same? And is there a functional benefit to such an experience? Does it help you with your relationships or make you a better person or answer any of life's big questions?
3. Because there is no way to verify, it's the classic scenario of your word against mine.
4. And finally, what constitutes a mystical experience? What is mystical to you can be very easily explained by science or psychology or any manner of rational explanations. But because there is no agreed-upon definition of what mystical is—beyond an irrational experience happening to you—it can literally be almost anything you consider "mystical".
We alone are responsible for creating divine forces in our lives, no others exist besides the ones we muster up. It's called taking responsibility for our experience. When a buddha character or Jesus character claims they experience some particular "state", we assume they mean a state of mind. At best, we assume the experience happened to their "soul", which is some sort of hidden self that the average person has little to no functional realization or experience of—if you are being honest with YOUR SELF. Its presence is alluded to by playful manipulation of language. We call it consciousness, life force, awareness, brahman, atman, jiva, and so on. But these are mostly playing on words and actually individually are explained variously by assorted philosophies and spiritual traditions. In that sense, all religions are ultimately cults and all spiritual paths that try to dictate what path leads to some summum bonum are simply cults as well. Because they have to use coercive methods to try to override your natural intuition of what makes sense to you. Just as a child is not born believing in any god or guru, these things are mostly, if not exclusively, planted in our minds by those personalities in our life we are socially programmed to believe are superior in intellect or social status, etc.
Putting weight in supernatural or psychotic breaks in our mind usually holds few usable and functional secrets. The mind is first and foremost subject to suggestion and a master of distortion. Many have dissolved their ego (through intense breathwork or meditation or drugs or simply malfunctions in the brain). It usually leaves them fragile beings who can only maintain a sense of sanity or sense of security within the construct of the cult or the specific rituals and mechanisms they used to achieve the so-called mystical state (i.e. chanting every day on repeat or saying some prayer or engaging in some ritual or meditation).
I would argue that the goal of life is to embrace ego and all that it reveals. Lest we succumb to self-delusion and pointless rhetoric. When the krishna god says to surrender to him, he means to flow with that which is already flowing. Even beyond the krishna faith. It's simply a stepping stone to a much larger narrative. If you don't believe that, look where you are now.
I was a pujari for 3 years. Very intimate contact daily with the deity. I had times were I felt deep sentiment and emotion. I had times where I cried in frenzied prayer and I did it all with total focus and love. In such a state there were times I felt the diety engaging with me. A glance, wink, subtle flute song. Something object moved or a food item seemed to shift or even disappear.
Of course, this was all mental projections. I wanted it to be true. Confirmation bias and a mind consumed by fanatical thinking will eventually play tricks and manifest some mental play. Like the person in a concert crowd who is convinced the rock star looked directly at them and winked or waved. Complete self-delusion. Metal/wood/plastic statues don't do a thing. And, it's not like the rest of my life became blessed or better because of it. In fact, there was nothing about the experience that was functionally useful. There is a lot of implication to consider when we start to believe that God will break the laws of physics to somehow interact with us as if we are specifically special in some way. Perhaps the one true thing that manifests from it that is positive is that I can say I witnessed firsthand the effects of religiuos fervor and fanatical sentimentalism hijacking my mind and sense organs. And I have seen this many times. I recall one woman who claimed that the Jaganath deity on the rath cart was telling her to sew some clothes for him. She was in utter tears and blubbering madly. I later found out she was experiencing her kids going off to college and any nuber of major life changes. I could not help but consider that much of that was at play in her emotional outburst and manufactured "mystical' experience. And I would argue that in most cases, if not all, such experiences are exactly there for that reason: To connect us with our deeper emotions and shake us up to make some adjustments and move beyond patterns of thinking that were not working for us.
The mind generates all types of fantasy. It's perhaps not entirely useless, so I take that back, but its function and usefulness are often considered from the cult dynamic. So a dream or vision or seemingly very real experience that is trying to jolt us away from the dependence on the cult, ends up being interpreted only within the context of the cult. This losing it's imprt and meaning. That is why we often will have such experiences but rarely do anything forward-thinking about it. Instead, we chalk it up to "krishna and gurudev want me to do this!".
When you abandon such dependant thinking, these types of experiences will often reveal that we have a rather unhealthy mental dependence on the cult dynamics. We actually give more meaning and clout to these gods and gurus than makes any logical sense for what we actually have gotten in return. Again, to me, the proof is in the pudding. I see no devotees who are in any meaningful way better off than they were 20-40 years ago. If anything they are simply more and more out of touch with reality and life has sailed them by.
I don't feel like you have not addressed the mystical side of the krishna faith. You have and others have chimed in. The problem is that sich experiences don't really reveal any deeper realities about the krishna religion. Nor does the krishna religion ever stipulate that these experieces are unified in their expression and reveald in some very specific way. As i mentioned before, there is no explanation for how the person is revealed their so-called spiritual body. And when we read such a phrase as "revealed spiritual body" from an objective and rational standpoint we are technically speaking about the height of insanity, psychosis and losing all touch with reality. How is it functional to be a 40-year-old male with 2 kids, a wife and a job and experience yourself to be in actuality a 12-year-old gopi girl (or since people don't like that one, maybe a flip flop of Subala Sakha in vraj?), It feels to be like the goal needs to be reassessed because that is what they are selling to the general public. Not some ambigious "love of god" and peace and self-realization. That is absolutely not what they are selling.
So my plea of reason to you, Truth Wins, is not to abandon the fact that your mystical experiences are real, they undoubtedly are. But rather to try to understand their deeper import outside the context of the krishna god, gurus and scriptures. And see if they reveal something deepr about what you should be doing and how these types of mystical revelations are there to reveal specific things to you, about yourself. Not about you in context to made-up gods and gurus that were planted in your brain by a cult.