Journal
Mokshananda - Brahman is the World
November 05, 2008 14:31

 

Written by Corey W. deVos

In the Company of Truth. Part 3. Brahman is the World.
Mokshananda and Ken Wilber

In this discussion, Mokie and Ken discuss the concept of Integral Satsang, an Indian term that roughly translates as "in company of the truth." The word satsang is derived from the Sanskrit roots sat (true) and sanga (company), and can be interpreted in three important ways: a) the company of the "highest truth," b) the company of a group of students or practitioners gathered to study, discuss, and assimilate that truth, and c) the company of a spiritual teacher who acts as a conduit between the people and the truth.  While typically associated with the Advaita Vedanta tradition, the concept of satsang can be applied to any spiritual tradition or community, East, West, contemplative or traditional.  Whether you find yourself in the church, the mosque, the synagogue, or the zendo—you are in some form of satsang, seeking to understand some version of spiritual truth, taught by some spiritual teacher or leader, to a community of other seekers and practitioners.

When asked what makes an Integral satsang different than most traditional satsang settings, Mokie refers to the famous quote by Indian sage Shankara:

The world is an illusion
Brahman alone is real
Brahman is the world

Or, put another way:

Flee the many,
Find the One
Embrace the Many as the One

Most traditional satsangs tend to excel at leading people through the first two stages of realization.  Helping to dislodge our fixations within the world of appearances and leading us to the timeless Now behind it all, these communities and teachings do a great deal to shift people's identity from the effulgence of the many to the pristine stillness of the One.  For many this shift represents the primordial urge toward spiritual practice, a persistent intuition that the world is somehow brittle, facile, and lacking any real substance or meaning—a cardboard parade marching across saran-wrap streets.  There is often a sense of something infinitely more dwelling just beneath the surface, a secret eternity obscured only by its obviousness.  The melodies of timeless thought ribbon through our minds, threading our souls together into the living jewelry of consciousness, as the rhythms of a bottomless heart echo through the hallways of always.

Spirit whispers its sweet seraphic music into our innermost ear, a siren's song that leads us to the far shore of eternity.  We follow the ubiquitous hymns to the center of the universe, where all is still and silent, but never ever static.  Released from the brutalities of impermanence we begin to awaken at last, recognizing the singularity of Being that underlies every experience we have ever had.

But the story does not have to end here.

More than anything, an Integral satsang places special emphasis upon the final stage of realization: Brahman is the world. It is within this final stage of nondual realization that enlightenment comes truly alive; an overflowing impulse to infuse the world with the living light of transcendent awareness, giving sight to the blind appetites of evolution.  We begin to recognize the broken and illusory world as no different than the eternal Oneness that lies at its core, watching form slide through the effortless expanse of the One—form that is itself a manifestation of the One, a fractalized reflection of emptiness.  There is, in fact, no real separation between form and emptiness anywhere to be found—emptiness is form, and form is emptiness, as the Many and the One entwine themselves like frenzied lovers after an eternity of longing. 

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