Saturday, March 28, 2015

Spring: a Grand Child is Born!

Last Sunday, March 22, practically on the Spring Equinox, my son's wife gave birth to their first child, aptly named, Calla Lily! As a grandparent one participates in the rite of Spring whereby new life appears as one's own life is gradually ebbing away from the halcyon days of summer. I suppose I could wax sentimental about living on through one's offspring, but that's not really my thought today.

I would rather see in Spring the resurrection of our hopes and dreams beyond their usual material forms of health, happiness, success, love, and family. All of those are fine, of course, but they cannot last, assuming they appear at all in one human life. In the unpublished writings of Paramhansa Yogananda he describes hope as the precursor to faith. Hope is rooted in the divine memory of our soul's undying happiness.

While it is true that most humans find "hope springs eternal" (or, at regular intervals, at least) in the direction of the more common material desires, this universal human "hope impulse" is rooted in something deeper and more true. Whatever may be its aspiration--material or spiritual--hope can lead to the intuitive faith that things can get better or that one will be fine, no matter.

To hold a newborn is to hold a being of Light, unfettered, for the time, by earthly bonds of not-yet-established ties and attachments. The newborn is not only light in weight but light in consciousness. Clearly one see that "wheels are turning" but these wheels are not the usual and anxious verbal thoughts of self. It is the experience of light descending and groping to make contact with earth and the five senses. A window view onto infinity and through heaven itself is vouchsafed to any and all who partake of the "darshan" (blessing of beholding) of a newborn.

Yet, as I have said often, how can any parent NOT believe in reincarnation. As I held Calla Lily I could sense a bundle of traits and attitudes at the ready. I won't say I can articulate or identify those traits, nor would I want to if I could (for her sake). Yet, across her face would float doubt, questions, curiosity, and even concern---all nonverbal, of course.

As she would sometimes become active, kicking her little legs and flaying her arms, one could sense the need to get this "thing" (the little immobile, uncoordinated body) moving and functioning. In her case, she seems very well put together, everything in working order, so to speak. I would guess her persona is strong in whatever direction it will express itself.

Calla Lily has been reborn on earth for a fresh start. Whatever her past, it is past. Her parents have every means and desire to give her the best they can and naturally a grandparent hopes this will be true and that the little one will seize the opportunity "growing," as the Bible said of Jesus, "and waxing strong."

When hope dies, our spirit dies, and the body follows our spirit's lead toward the coffin of hopelessness. It is right, therefore, that "hope Springs eternal." It is natural for one of years to perhaps weary of the human parade of false hopes and constant change: birth, youth, adulthood, old age and death. Yet one can just as well rejoice in the colorful parade as turn aside with a yawn. A life led in peace finds acceptance and rightness knowing that, as poetically offered to us in the Old Testament (Ecclesiastes), "to everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven!"

Tomorrow, one week from little Calla Lily's birth, we come to Palm Sunday. Who is this Son of Man who walks the streets with us and whom we hail "King of the Jews?" The hope that springs eternal is far too often misplaced. As the people of Jesus' time generally failed to understand who Jesus was, so we generally fail to recognize our true, soul nature. We see in little Calla Lily but a babe. (One time Paramhansa Yogananda was handed an infant to hold and bless. Later, he confessed he almost dropped the child for he saw in its eyes the consciousness of a murderer!).

Just as we cannot see in the seed the future tree, nor in the infant. the latent adult, so we do not see in ourselves our latent soul-nobility. We are princes thinking we are paupers. Who is this son, this daughter, this child? The miracle of birth and life is the "avatara:" the descent of divinity into human form. Imagine if we had eyes to see in one another that divinity, even if yet latent. Our world, our planet, our lives would be transformed.

Life goes on and emerges ever-new and does so in spite of tragedy, wars, death, and catastrophe. As family traits, both physical and psychological, continue with variations and also re-appear, sometimes skipping generations, we see hints of immortality and hints of continuity and reincarnation.

Imagine if we had the Self-assurance born on the knowledge we are immortal and that death cannot touch us. Whew!

Only Peter, the "rock," answered Jesus' inquiry to his disciples regarding "Who do men say I am." Peter, looking Jesus square in the eye, pronounced for all time "Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God." You and I may seem a long way from that state, but it's not as far as we might imagine for we are looking for ourselves in all the wrong places. In our latent memory-mirror of perfection, we judge our present self as wanting and thus we tend to identify with our shortcomings. These, being all too close, are seen disproportionate to our true Self.

Jesus' resurrection is the victory over death, not merely resurrection of a frail human body, but the resurrection of soul-memory over its confinement in the coffin of ego. By loving when others hated him, Jesus' soul was victorious. By doing what was asked of him in spite of its "unpleasantness," his soul "waxed strong." Is not his example obvious? The literal story of Jesus' resurrection is so beyond our own life experience that we dismiss it as a myth, irrelevant, or a one-time "miraculous" (otherwise inexplicable) event. But its lesson is present with us now.

While Paramhansa Yogananda related to this story as literally true and while he testified that his own guru was similarly resurrected, it matters not to us. In time our ability to see the truth of these things will come. But we can take from the life of Jesus and all the greatest saints, the "good news" that we are far more than these frail short-lived bodies. But we must work to transcend their influence which throws a veil (called "maya") over the eyes of our soul. We must not be so attached to the Easter eggs of pleasure or the pretty flowers of health, beauty, success and recognition. The path of the soul is universal. It doesn't really differ from faith to faith all that much. Meditation is the quickest way to contact our soul's indwelling spirit.

Rejoice then in the rebirth signified by Spring, by new life, by Calla Lily, and by the victory of Jesus' resurrection from death. As in the Indian scriptures, rejoice for "Tat twam asi" (Thou art that! Thou art Spirit).

Happy Easter,

Nayaswami Hriman