In 1979, in Mumbai, they were having a gathering of transpersonal psychiatrists. I was teaching there, and Swami Muktananda was giving one of the major addresses. Mother Theresa was also present. Everybody was very uncertain about and against nuclear weapons. Muktananda stood up and asked, “What is the problem if the world blows up?” Everyone started to freak out. He continued to say that he was not against nuclear, nor was he for it, because it is just the play of consciousness. Upon hearing this everyone was very much in shock. He had stepped on the situation’s toes. I didn’t say this out loud, but I thought to myself that people who considered themselves to be spiritual, really, were appalled by his apparently Nihilistic viewpoint.
Why were people so upset? Why didn’t they understand what he was saying? What was going on here? This was very typical of Muktananda. The reason was that when one is liberated one understands the bigger picture and one understands that there is a cosmic flow. If the power of Shiva, or the power of purification through destruction, decides to blow up the world, this is ok. No big deal. It also pointed to the paradox between the absolute reality and the temporary reality. Everyone there was very spiritual, but their spirituality was metaphysical rather than the truth of things. What he did (I’m sure it was on purpose) was push everyone’s buttons to show people how unawake they were.
When we start to get too attached to our ideas of right and wrong, and into our belief systems, we lose sight of the big picture. The key to spiritual wisdom, and a quality of enlightenment, is holding the big picture. It is living in the big picture, and at the same time playing in the world of temporary reality as if it is 100% the real thing. At any point one has a perspective that allows one to play hard here holding that awareness on another level.
Most of these people didn’t get it, and they took it as a personal insult to their belief systems. Of course, Muktananda didn’t care. The deepest level of enlightenment is to be in the awareness of both the Bli’mah (the nothing) and the Mah, (the something). The big trap is that we tend to forget about the big picture, and we start to become totally attached to the small picture. That is not an amoral situation, because there are real cosmic principles of morals and ethics that still exist within the big picture. At the same time, there is the cosmic play that negates this.
We should try to do the right thing and to be moral or ethical. This is important. However, there is a bigger picture, so don’t get caught in the illusion of relative right and wrong. This is reflected in the various debates around the world today. It depends on the culture and belief system one is coming from. There is a huge cultural collusion going on around the world today. None of it really matters except to be able to see the perspective that the absolute allows you to see, and to be aligned with the cosmic principles. There is that paradox that is extremely important for how you live in the world. If we only have one side of that, only the absolute or only the temporary, the paradox is not there and it minimizes the complete fullness of how we can be in the world. Being able to fully hold that paradox is one of the most important liberation perceptions. Ultimately, as we meditate and live the Six Foundations for spiritual life and the Sevenfold Peace, the bigger truth of things becomes clear. It all stops being theory and becomes experience. The more we live this way, the more we begin to perceive from the Absolute perspective as we play in the impermanent reality.
May everybody be blessed with this understanding.