“Avidya is like a deeply rooted tree with four thick branches. The first branch is called asmita, or Ego. This is the part of us that seeks its own interests. It considers itself better than others, is bruised when it does not get its own way, and generally causes us to identify with this earthly body and the life it is living. It has no wider perspective than that.
The second branch is called raga and is best translated as Desire or Attachment. This is the part that constantly wants what it does not have. It desires what it does not really need and seeks to accumulate merely for the sake of it. It makes us unsatisfied and causes us to continually compare ourselves unfavorably with others. If we are wealthy, we are unhappy because somebody else is wealthier still. And so on....
The third branch is called dvesa or Refusal. This is like the recoil response. Whatever negative experiences we have had in life make us afraid of repeating them again in case the same result occurs. It can make us reject people, situations and possibilities that just might cause us pain again. In one person, it may be the fear of forming relationships with the opposite sex. In another, it may be a fear of public speaking as a result of negative childhood experiences.
The fourth and last branch on the tree of Avidya is called abhinivesa or Fear. These are specifically fears that are not caused by previous experience. For example, we may fear change, or growing old, or that we may lose everything we worked so hard to earn. In other words, things we may never have experienced before.
Avidya, in all its subtle forms, works within us constantly to root us in our habitual ways and make improvement difficult or impossible. The more we indulge Avidya, the stronger it becomes. Eventually, we feel that we are no longer the doer of these things; they simply happen to us. A person can attract one disastrous relationship after another, or continually experience uncontrollable rage under certain stimuli and feel that it is nothing directly to do with them. It is just bad luck. The person fails to see that there is only one person responsible for everything that happens!
So what can we do? If Avidya obscures and clouds, it clearly must be obscuring something. Yoga philosophy calls this something Purusa. In the West, we know it as the"Higher Self"or"The Silent Observer," the true divine spirit that lies within each of us. The task, therefore, is to bring Purusa out and live from it moment by moment. By doing this, we minimize the effects of the four forms of Avidya. A Spiritual Master is one who has completely uprooted the tree of Avidya forever and sees things as they really are. Thus, one of the names for the Buddha is"The Awakened One.”
How do we increasingly live from Purusa — the highest within us? The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali suggest three methods. The first is actual practice of Yoga — both the physical postures and the breathing exercises. If this is something you feel comfortable with, it is definitely worth considering. There are many physical and mental benefits to be gained from a regular practice of Yoga, no matter how simple. However, be sure to consult your doctor before even contemplating such a regime, especially if you are over 40 and have never done it before. Yoga should only ever be learned in the beginning from a live teacher. Books are helpful as a supplement but should never replace live tutoring. Regular Yoga does progressively diminish the force of Avidya in our lives.
The second method is through self-examination. Regular contemplation of our actions and habitual thought patterns will awaken us to take increasing responsibility for our lives. Meditation is one excellent method that can help. So too can keeping a journal of our progress. Activities like these can break the habitual stimulus-response cycle and place that moment of choice back in between the two [parts of that cycle]. In other words, instead of responding automatically as we usually do, we can choose in that moment to act differently. Instead of remaining creatures of habit, we become increasingly conscious and responsible.
The third method is to create a certain detachment to the actions of our life, and almost become an external observer. Rather than being an active participant, taking our hopes and dreams terribly seriously, we become more like an actor in a play, playing the part the best we can. This form of spiritual detachment does not mean we under-perform in life in any way. It merely means that we become more detached and objective about the movement of our lives; less elated when things go right and less distraught when disaster occurs. In this way, the ego, and indeed all aspects of Avidya, are progressively weakened.
In truth, all three methods work best together. However, one or other approach can prove immensely beneficial. For most of us, Avidya will remain to some extent throughout our lives. However, the more we can live from the true spirit within, the Purusa, the more authentically we live our lives. We relate to others better, make better decisions, and the hold of ignorance upon our lives gradually diminishes. We become the best person we can possibly be and thereby benefit the world. Surely that is the goal of life?”
Asoka Selvarajah, Ph.D., www.aksworld.com
The fulfillment of eschatological instruction promised by Jesus
An apocalypse (Greek: apokalypsis meaning “an uncovering”) is in religious contexts knowledge or revelation, a disclosure of something hidden, “a vision of heavenly secrets that can make sense of earthly realities.” (Ehrman 2014, 59)
“An apocalypse (Ancient Greek: apokalypsis ... literally meaning "an uncovering") is a disclosure or revelation of great knowledge. In religious and occult concepts, an apocalypse usually discloses something very important that was hidden or provides what Bart Ehrman has termed, "A vision of heavenly secrets that can make sense of earthly realities". Historically, the term has a heavy religious connotation as commonly seen in the prophetic revelations of eschatology obtained through dreams or spiritual visions.” Wikipedia 2021-01-09
Total number of recorded talks 3058: Public Programs 1178, Pujas 651, and other (private conversations) 1249
“The Paraclete will come (15:26; 16:7, 8, 13) as Jesus has come into the world (5:43; 16:28; 18:37)... The Paraclete will take the things of Christ (the things that are mine, ek tou emou) and declare them (16:14-15). Bishop Fison describes the humility of the Spirit, 'The true Holy Spirit of God does not advertise Herself: She effaces Herself and advertises Jesus.' ...
It is by the outgoing activity of the Spirit that the divine life communicates itself in and to the creation. The Spirit is God-in-relations. The Paraclete is the divine self-expression which will be and abide with you, and be in you (14:16-17). The Spirit's work is described in terms of utterance: teach you, didasko (14:26), remind you, hypomimnesko (14:26), testify, martyro (15:26), prove wrong, elencho (16:8), guide into truth, hodego (16:13), speak, laleo (16:13, twice), declare, anangello (16:13, 14, 15). The johannine terms describe verbal actions which intend a response in others who will receive (lambano), see (theoreo), or know (ginosko) the Spirit. Such speech-terms link the Spirit with the divine Word. The Spirit's initiatives imply God's personal engagement with humanity. The Spirit comes to be with others; the teaching Spirit implies a community of learners; forgetful persons need a prompter to remind them; one testifies expecting heed to be paid; one speaks and declares in order to be heard. The articulate Spirit is the correlative of the listening, Spirit-informed community.
The final Paraclete passage closes with a threefold repetition of the verb she will declare (anangello), 16:13-15. The Spirit will declare the things that are to come (v.13), and she will declare what is Christ's (vv. 14, 15). The things of Christ are a message that must be heralded...
The intention of the Spirit of truth is the restoration of an alienated, deceived humanity... The teaching role of the Paraclete tends to be remembered as a major emphasis of the Farewell Discourses, yet only 14:26 says She will teach you all things. (Teaching is, however, implied when 16:13-15 says that the Spirit will guide you into all truth, and will speak and declare.) Franz Mussner remarks that the word used in 14:26, didaskein, "means literally 'teach, instruct,' but in John it nearly always means to reveal.” (Stevick 2011, 292-7)
The Holy Spirit as feminine: Early Christian testimonies and their interpretation,
Johannes van Oort, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Department of Church History and Church Polity, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
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