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Sunday, August 28, 2011

How I Wonder What You Are...

“The trait of faith is a subtle inclination from the sensitivity of the soul. If a person is attuned to his soul during a quiet time, free from the hunger of desire, with his eyes amazed at the vision of heaven above, the earth in its depth, he is overcome with emotion and is stunned. The world appears before him like an unsolved riddle, hidden and wondrous, and this riddle wraps up his heart and mind, and he is to faint. Life does not remain within him. Only to the riddle is his entire interest and focus, and the knowledge of its explanation is his entire desire; he would choose to go through fire and water for its sake. For what is life to him if the pleasant life is hidden from him, completely hidden, his being is dizzy, bemoans, and yearns to understand her secret and to know her root - but the gates are closed…

“When a person’s intellect merits seeing the truth of the existence of G-d, immediately an ecstasy which has no bounds enters him, and his soul is pleasant upon him. His imagination is complete with the intellect, to behold the sweetness of G-d. All of the physical pleasures disappear before him, and his sensitive soul is wrapped in holiness and it is like he is separated from his coarse body, wandering in the highest heavens. When a man rises in these levels of sanctity, a new world is revealed before him; it is possible for man in this world to be, for moments, like an angel, and to benefit from the splendor of the holy. All of the pleasures of the world are nothing compared the pleasure of the intimacy of Man to his Former, Blessed is His name…
“…and through recognizing his Creator he finds the answer to the riddle of the entire world, which leads him to his rest without hurt.”
-Chazon Ish, Emunah u’Bitachon, Chapter One
“Dear Madhva,
“Thanks for the tip. As you suggested, I spent the last few months alone with nature, reflecting on the mystery of existence: the inexplicable appearance of the world, life, consciousness, and the rational self.
“And, Madhva, it was in the mystical mountains of Munnar in South India that I came face to face with God, the ever-existent and the all-perfect. On a beautiful day in August, as birds sped past and the mist straggled through the hills, I became suddenly aware that every breath I take, every move I make, every musing of my mind was somehow directly held in being by God. Countless chains of cause-and-effect, innumerable agents and vehicles, all ending in HIM, always and everywhere, here and now. Even as I thought through this, even as the awareness of my dependency sank in, it became clearer than ever that Nature and the world are parts of a Whole, images of the Supremely Real, pathways to transcendent Splendor.
“But the very next day I sank into a stupor of darkest depression as I pondered death, oblivion, all those hideous fears of nameless dread that have always plagued me. Yes, all things point to supreme Intelligence, stupendous beauty. But why and wherefore are we? All that I learn in the last few months seemed to evaporate and vanish like a mirage. I was left only with the terrible thought that I would die and so would all those I hold dear.
“But, as they say, the darkest night sometimes precedes the brightest dawn. In the most unexpected and yet the least dramatic possible way, I heard from God. It was not a voice or even a thought. It was, how should I put it, a Father, gentle, tender and infinitely moving. I was aware at one and the same time that He was the Mind who thought a trillion galaxies and the Heart that felt every experience I ever had. Beyond this, I have no comprehensible way in which I can describe the nature of my encounter.”
-Roy Abraham Varghese, The Wonder of the World, pg. 393-394

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