Thursday, January 10, 2013

Analogies in the Intelligence Notebooks

In his Intelligence Notebooks Meher Baba gives numerous analogies. Here are nineteen of them.

1. The Analogy of the Ocean and Its Drops (2)
Each Infinite Thinking is a drop of the Ocean and each contains the entire Ocean.

2. The Analogy of the Bubbles (51)
This is reminiscent of Vedantic symbolism of the foam at the shore of the Ocean and its bubbles (atmas), I believe first conceived by Adi Shankara to explain the relation of whole to parts. But in Infinite Intelligence there is no mention of foam. There are two senses of the bubble, one within the other. The body is a bubble and the universe around it is a bubble. The bubbles are attached to the drop.

3. The Analogy of the Cinema Operator (192)
This analogy is much like Plato's Cave Analogy, but is updated and improved. The Cinema Operator (theater projectionist) is operating an early 20th century hand crank film projector. These were common when Meher Baba was a boy. They would play one reelers, about 15 minutes (at silent speed) each. One would see several in a row for their money. In this analogy a scorpion (symbolizing the Perfect Master) stings the hand of the operator (symbolizing a man lost in illusion), causing the operator to stop cranking the projector and losing his concentration on the film, breaking its spell and making him again aware of who he is and that the movie is only a movie.

4. The Analogy of the Film Frames (151)
Frames of nitrocellulose movie film moving through the projector gate of a hand cranked movie projector. I used to load cameras and projectors for a living when I was young. Baba uses the wrong terms for this process, and I find that touching. It's also possible that words change over time. But Baba compares the individual frames of film that pass through a movie projector to sanskaras which cause the illusion of a world. It took me a while to realize how brilliant this is. The frames record past events when the film passes through a camera, and we play these back later (karmic reaction) when we run them through a projector. So the past experiences are stored on film to be played back later karmically, the reverse action. One might even add to this analogy that if you film in negative you play back the reverse of what you shot. Baba knows what he's talking about.

5. The Analogy of Real and Unnatural Light (47, 93)
The author uses an analogy of Light and Darkness, as well as real and unnatural (false) light and real and unnatural (false) darkness. What these symbols represent is not entirely clear to me, but they seem to relate once again loosely to Plato's analogy of the cave, where the bound slave sees only the light of the fire on the wall before he is released into the true light of day.

6. The Analogy of the Fetus who becomes an Old Man (210)
I think you have to be at least middle aged to start to get this one. To a young man who walked into my apartment right now he might think I was nothing special, and I might not be. But what Baba (or the author) says in this analogy is true. The old man begins to know who he is, in the illusory sense, and the young man does not yet and is still testing himself. The young man pretends at best at what he hopes is his potential. If he is lucky he will do well. But win or lose, the old man knows fairly well who and what he is. He knows his personality and becomes resigned to it, what he can and can't do, what his gifts are and aren't. He knows himself. And if he's a good man he is excited for young people to grow old and know themselves too.

7. The Analogy of the Two Kites (Second Series 29)
Here the Perfect Master is compared to one who flies two kites at the same time, his subtle body at the end of one string and his gross body at the end of the other.

8. The Analogy of the Pupil of the Eye 
Here the analogy of the point (bindu) is extended to be represented as the pupil (putli) of an eye. All that the eye sees it projects through itself as the world.

9. The Analogy of the Eye Opening (113)
In this eye example the eye of Jamshed in various stages of opening is compared to various stages of consciousness.

10. The Analogy of the Lion (112)
As a hole is scored in a wall we see more and more of a lion, symbolizing the increasing scope of experience as the form evolves slowly from stone to man. The lion represents the world, the hole being scored the greater and greater forms through which we experience it.

11. The Analogy of the Looking Glass (115)
The mirror in which one sees more and more of himself the larger the mirror is. For a long time I was confused about what a looking glass was. Checking into it I learned that many share my confusion. "Looking glass" is a somewhat archaic term that refers to a mirror specifically designed for admiring your own reflection. This analogy is much like that of the lion, but more personally directed and taken to another level. The larger the looking glass the more of your reflection you see. The analogy is for the form through which you see yourself reflected (the world). In the perfect form of a human being you fully perceive the entire world, any finite portion at a time. But this world you are seeing is your own reflection in the looking glass. Prior to that, through the looking glass of a plant or animal you only partially saw your reflection (the world), so those forms were "imperfect."

12. The Analogy of the Eye-Glasses (Second Series 9)
The colored glasses represent the tint of the world that the sanskaras caste on our seeing. This analogy is at least as old as Immanuel Kant and I think begins with the invention of glasses. The first experiments with tinted glasses appeared in about 1752 and Kant first published his use of this analogy for the conditioned mind around 1776.

13. The Analogy of the Theatrical Company (161)
Here we have the parts of a Theatrical Company used to lay out an elaborate analogy. 
  • Theatrical company = subtle and gross universe. 
  • Owner of the company = Sanskaras. 
  • Part = subtle and gross form. 
  • Play = Life. 
  • Acting = The experiencing of the fine impressions in subtle and gross form
  • Actor = Mind.
  • Feelings of happiness, sorrow etc. = Experience. 
14. The Analogy of the Book. (158)
This analogy is that all of one's lives taken together are like the pages of a book. When one life ends you turn the page and a new page begins. In the end, when you are realized, you reach the final page of the book and close it.

15. The Analogy of the Stick in the Hand. (201)
Here the analogy is given of the man who, in order to do karma (action) in the world is touching the shit of the world with his hand and becoming tainted. The Perfect Master is detached from karma (action) and his body and the world, and this is compared to one who pokes the shit with a stick to help others move along, but who does not soil his hand. When he is done moving the shit for the benefit of others he throws away the stick (his physical body).

16. The Analogy of the Stick floating in a dirty creek. (189)
Here the movement of the atma through his many lives is compared to a tiny stick floating in a creek. At first it flows freely, with no obstructions (evolution), but then the stick encounters trash (unnatural sanskaras) in its path and it comes to a stop (reincarnation). Gradually, very slowly, the trash moves along and the stick starts to speed up again, but coming to more later (subtle allurements) again its path is stopped (involution). Finally when there are no obstacles left in its path (sanskaras gone) the stick flows freely and swiftly to the Ocean (realization).

17. The Analogy of the Parrot and the Philosopher. (Second Series 11)
A parrot born free from its birth asks itself "What is freedom?" To answer him a philosopher takes the parrot and puts him in a cage. Now the parrot is unable to fly anywhere, despite all of its efforts. At length, the philosopher sets the parrot free, and then it realizes what freedom is, and it cries out, "Oh! I had been free from the very beginning."

18. The Analogy of the Baby with Poison (165)
Giving to the body what the sanskaras crave is called obverse action and is likened to giving milk to a baby when it cries. Actions opposite to the desires of the sanskaras are called reverse and are likened to giving poison to the baby rather than milk. This thus kills the original sanskaras that cry for obverse action.

19. The Analogy of the Stone (Second Series 25)
Here the detachment of a perfect master is compared to the aloofness of a stone, which is unaffected if you place it in a latrine or you build it into a palace wall. It is no different to it.

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