Mind the cows, mind the horses

{xtypo_dropcap}O{/xtypo_dropcap}ne of the dhyaana slokas of Srimad Bhagavad Gita goes like this:

sarvopanishado gAvo dogdhA gopAlanandana: |

pArtho vatsa: sudhIr bhoktA dugdham gItAmrtam mahat ||

All the Upanishads are cows that are milked by Gopalanandana, the divine cowherd, as Partha the calf stands by. The milk thus made available is the great nectarine Gita, for the enjoyment of reader(s) having proper intelligence.

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An article in Newsweek states that scientists have long known that epileptics often feel spiritual ecstasy during seizures.(November l7,l997) It further identifies the region of this ecstasy as the limbic region of the brain, home of emotions , religious feelings and some seizures. We also know that those under the influence of drugs claim similar ecstasy, not to mention the flora and fauna of pathological events that also claim such ecstasy. How can we separate the two, the true religious ecstasy from the induced one; the true mystical experience from the pathological? And more to the point, is there any true description of mystical ecstasy we can understand as a human event, namely, capable of being captured by our own experience?

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The Problem of the Self-Body in the Bhagavadgita: The Problem of Meaning

by Antonio T. de Nicolas, PhD

The completely irreligious mind is, it seems to me, the unreal mind, the tense, void, abstracted mind that does not even see the things that grow out of the earth or feel glad about them: it knows the world only through prices and figures and statistics. For when the world is reduced to number and measure you can indeed be irreligious, unless your numbers turn out to be implicated in music or astronomy, and then the fatal drive to adoration begins again!

The numbers that are germane to music and astronomy are implicated in the magic of seasons and harvests. And there, in spite of yourself, you recapture something of the hidden and forgotten atavistic joy of those Neolithic peoples who, for whole millennia, were quiet and human. – Thomas Merton


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Audial and Literary Cultures: The Bhagavad Gita as a Case Study

by Antonio T. de Nicolas, PhD

I am arguing in this paper that in order to study cultures we must first be able to identify the models by which a culture forms itself. I distinguish. between audial and literary cultures and audial cultures I further distinguish from oral cultures. Oral cultures used songs to transmit information (like the navigation rules of the Somoans), while an audial culture provides us with a structure ruled by the corre- spondence between the innate auditory sense of harmony and tone on the one hand and the arithmetic properties and ratios of the vibrating strings on the other. The literary culture takes the eye as the primary sense and organizes sensation by the criteria of a semiotic model that takes sight as primary. These texts are based upon the properties of sentences as embodied in grammar, two-valued logic, mathematics, classical physics, constructivism.

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