Theme for Contemplation: Samadana-Irreversible Commitment

“This must be done without qualifications, without contradictions, but with that holy simplicity of which the mystics speak, a childlike innocence and trust.”—The Aquarian Almanac

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May 28, 2015 Theme for Contemplation: Samadana-Irreversible Commitment

“Firmness is the power of taking up some thing and sticking to it through thick and thin. It is more or less inherent in all things; otherwise the world could not subsist for a single moment.”

– M.K. Gandhi

May 29, 2016   Theme for Contemplation: Samadana – Irreversible Commitment

“When the disciplined mind abides in the Self alone, devoid of longing for all objects of desire, then one is said to be steadfast.”

 — Shri Krishna

“You can stand upright now, firm as a rock amid the turmoil, obeying the warrior who is thyself and thy king.”

 — M.K. Gandhi

The six glorious virtues mentioned in The Voice of the Silence are the six pāramitās, while samādhāna is the fifth or sixth of the sixfold group of sampattis, which group of six is the third of the fourfold sādhana-catuṣṭaya. These are found in some Upaniṣads and in some of the writings of Śaṅkarācārya. In Theosophical writings they are found in At the Feet of the Master.

Thank you David. Also found in The Friendly Philosopher (Letter and Talks on Theosophy and the Theosophical Life), Letter 26, p. 78-81.

The path of divine wisdom which Theosophy describes is likened to a mountain climb, a narrow footpath that “winds uphill to the very end.” It is a path in which even the disciple who has reached the upper summits may slip and fall at the precipice edge. Yet, among the many mysteries that surround the process of true spiritual awakening is the idea that there is a stage or virtue, though not the final one, in which the aspirant releases the love, the inner strength of commitment, the continuity of purpose and detached, unconquerable perseverance, by and through which all difficulties, known or unknown, can be overcome. This virtue, calledsamadana, marks the point where the goal becomes certain of attainment, where the student becomes, as Robert Crosbie says, “constitutionally incapable of deviating from the right path.”

For those of us almost constantly buffeted by both the external events and circumstances of our lives as well as by the fluctuations of our internal states of mind and emotions, such a virtue may seem impossible of attainment. Yet, all of us have learned lessons and overcome seemingly insurmountable difficulties in our lives. We see such a natural and happy perseverance of the soul in many aspects of early childhood development, for example, in the process of learning to walk, to speak a language, in the training of fingers and eye for the purpose of writing and drawing. All of these amazing feats of learning that involved detailed and prolonged attempts at self-discipline and the surpassing of old boundaries are now second nature to us. We take them for granted on a daily basis and we require no special effort of the will to execute them. 

Socrates pointed out that all true learning is recollection. Not only the capacity to walk, but the capacity to walk the Path without deviation, may be a process of recollection. Should we use analogies such as that of “alignment”, like the adjustment of tumblers in a lock that now provides no resistance to the key? Or perhaps, as Crosbie suggests, we need to think in terms of cosmic metaphors, such as that of “a new Manvantara in our little solar system.” What is it that will bring about that state in which each of the principles of human nature become like so many planets, dedicated to a constant rotational pattern around the true source of light and life, incapable of deviating from their course and purpose, willingly captivated by the magnetism and gravitational pull of the central Spiritual Sun?

In Sufism, it is said that when a man seriously undertakes the journey to God and begins to travel on the Way, he undergoes a series of experiences that comprise both “states” (h­al) and “stations” (maq­am). A “state” of the soul is a condition of blessedness, awareness and divine grace which, though it may suspend the normal activity of the carnal soul and be compelling and magnificent in its event, is nonetheless temporary and transitory. 

“…My state (h­al) is that of leaping lightning.

One moment it appears and at another it vanishes.

I am sometimes sitting in high heaven.

Sometimes I cannot see the back of my foot...”

 

                                                -the poet Sa’di, The Gulistan or the Rose Garden

                                                (Trans. By E. Rahatsek, London, 1964, p 120)

           

In contrast to the fleeting nature of h­al is the permanence of maq­am, a spiritual “station” in which the aspirant ascends to a new level of existence and consciousness, a new plane of moral and spiritual awareness that is so firmly rooted in the transformation of his character that it cannot be lost. This implies both dying to aspects of the persona and rebirth in the higher levels of the soul and spirit. In some sense, the very substance of our being has changed.  In Theosophy we say that the elemental lives constituting the vestures have been replaced, and the aspirant does not so much possess the associated virtue, but has becomethat virtue itself. 

            So his character changes and his intellect revives: the light of truth lodges in him and he grows familiar with it; evil desire flees him, and its darkness is extinguished.  Then it is that truthfulness and its characteristics become part of his nature: nothing but this finds he good, and with this only he associates, for he is content with naught else.

                                                                -Ab­u Sa’id al-Kharr­az, The Book of Truthfulness

                                                                (trans. by A. J. Arberry, London, 1937, p 51)

Thank you Kirk.  You have given us much to think about here.  I appreciate the correlations and your own reflections added.  I was just asking about the concept of the Path in theosophy and the Way in the Tao in the Sacred Texts group.

Yes Tamiko, you raise an excellent question. “The Way” of the Tao does seem to be identical in many ways to “The Path” as spoken of in both The Voice and the Light on the Path. One could proceed line-by-line and find many correlations. Your question provides a possible link between the two discussions.

"The Way seems empty. As it is tried, it is found inexhaustible."

-Tao Te Ching

In the Light on the Path, it is said that the divine spark in man “dwells in that place where no convulsion of Nature may shake the air” and that this is always so.  In the “calm chambers” of the immortal, transcendent Spirit, is the only refuge where “constancy of knowledge, permanence, equilibrium and perpetuity lie.” However, the first true awakenings to the ineffable mystery of our own higher nature requires the “initially terrifying” and sustained confrontation with “the voidness of the seeming full,” the abyss and unreality of our current life perceptions and states of being.  This is to be replaced by “the fullness of the seeming void,” the deeply satisfying and sustaining joy of "the Eternal," the richness, magnificence and beauty of the unseen reality of our higher nature, our inner solidarity with all of life—including that great and luminous storehouse of wisdom represented by the principle of Buddhi (Alaya) and the great brotherhood of adepts who preserve that wisdom on behalf of all.

It seems that only by entering the apparent emptiness and “shutting the gate behind him,” (says The Light) only by “compelling the ears to listen only to the eternal silence” does a person gain the unshakeable, undeviating equilibrium we might associate with the higher forms of Samadana.

While such an ideal may seem beyond us at present, we can and should says Crosbie, “Try, try, ever keep trying.”

May 30, 2016 Theme for Contemplation: Samadana- Irreversible Commitment”

“Be as a tower, that, firmly set,

Shakes not its top for any blast that blows.”

— Dante Alighieri

” To love and bear; to hope till hope creates

From its own wreck the thing it contemplates.”

— Percy Bysshe Shelley

"Half-heartedness does not reach into majesty."

-Rumi

May 31, 2016 Theme for Contemplation: Samadana-Irreverible Commitment

“Come, Firm Resolve, take thou the van.”

— Robert Burns

“Darest thou now, O soul,

Walk out with me toward the unknown region,

Where neither ground is for the feet nor any

path to follow?”

— Walt Whitman

May 26, 2016 Theme for Contemplation: The Religion of Responsibility

” As the unenlightened work, attached to action, O son of Bharata, so too the enlightened man works, without attachment, for the welfare of the world.”

— Shri Krishna

” With thy multiple compassion,

Unify my heart.”

— Isaac Luria

"In action faithful, and in honour clear;

Who broke no promise, served no private end,

Who gained no title, and who lost no friend."

-Alexander Pope

"But I am as constant as a northern star,

Of whose true-fix'd and resting quality

There is no fellow in the firmament."

-Shakespeare

"Naught but firmness gains the prize,

Naught but fullness makes us wise,

Buried deep truth ever lies."

-Johann Schiller