Saturday, September 2, 2017

East vs West : Conscience vs Karma

Take the Knowledge of the West and the Understanding of the East and seek — G I Gurdjieff
The eastern religions are consciousness-oriented; the middle-eastern religions are conscience-oriented — Ravi Ravindra

Our Times

  • Britain … is Brexiting
  • Germany, France, Sweden … are Immigrant-ing
  • US … is Trump-eting
  • Japan … is dying
  • Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Burma … are burning
  • Korea … um… preparing?
  • Africa … is exploding
On the less political front:
In short we are looking at End-Times
In my understanding, one of the principal factors behind the collapse is the

Divergence of Conscience and Reason

Below I try to expand on this
The Western world, especially in the periods it has functioned somewhat harmoniously for the last couple of hundreds of years, is fundamentally based on the separation of our sacred and secular lives. It behoves us, to study both these sides in isolation and in union and why and how and where they work. Maybe then we may understand the breakdown we see unfolding before us today And to see why the fabric of our social existence, viz ordinary mutual relations based on a universal sense of goodness, has fallen between these sacred-secular stools.
Christianity sees and presents itself around the person (even Person — logos) of Jesus Christ. With no deficit of respect for the divine being Jesus Christ, for me (admittedly an oriental) this is excessively personalized. The real question is what are the fundamental principles of Christianity Equivalently can we shift the teachings of Christ from the person of Jesus Christ?
We may take encouragement from the fact that Jesus himself seems to have approved of this line — “Those who say father-father and do not do the will of father build a house on sand
So what is…??

The DNA of the Christian ideal

Lets look at the original words.
  • Agape, Philos in Greek
  • Caritas, Amor in Latin
Unfortunately all these 6 kinds of love only get translated to ‘love’ which has very unfortunate connotation in our society. At best it signifies a wishy washy sentimentality. Mostly it has implicit or explicit sexual associations.
I would suggest that the original intent of the the Christian teaching is translated with more fidelity if instead of “love” we regard “conscience” as the central teaching of Jesus Christ
Turning now to the context and precursor to Jesus Christ…


The first commandment I am the Lord is clearly more important than all the rest. But it begs the question: Who/what is the God being described?
So lets ask the question a little more carefully: How do we recognize those Jewish actions that are true to the spirit of Judaism?
Two words stand out in the tradition : Law and Obligation
  • A jew is one who abides by the Law
  • A jew is one who fulfils his/her Obligations
And now when we put these two traditions together we get one of the basic tenets of Christianity:
  • From Moses to Christ was the age of Law
  • From Christ onwards is the age of Grace
And here already we have a big problem: A lawless grace and an ungracious law conduce to a hell of a world.
In fact if we would allow the personalization we have
  • Adam — Sin
  • Noah — Favour
  • Abraham — Covenant (Agreement… To grace? Or to racism?)
  • Moses — Law
  • Jesus — Grace
  • Muhammad — Hope
And today we have no grace, no law, not even (a sense of) sin Only endless disorderly favor
  • favor between individuals eg nepotism
  • favor between corporations ie systematized monopolies
  • favor between nations eg EU NATO and ultimately UN SC
Clearly a different integration is needed. Where shall it be found?
As at the birth the 3 wise men came from the east once again it is the wish and need ot the time to look to the East…
To us orientals, the question is naive and the answer obvious…


Colloquially we may say, a bad (unlawful) action gives us bad karma. More rigorously, the bad (or otherwise) action is itself bad or otherwise karma. This notion is so central to oriental ideology and so far from Abrahamic that it is best to leave the word karma untranslated. And remember this constellation of ideas orbiting around this word — results, consequences, cause, causality. And behind all these the fundamental scientific idea of law and lawfulness — mysteriously returning to the Judaic essence via a different route.
Karma can be obviously scientific and yet deeply metaphysical.
A man who smokes 6-packs-a-day dies of cancer — the karma is of the obvious variety. But the man (or child) who did no such thing also dies!
How to explain??
For the Oriental the answer is axiomatic: There is a reason, even if we don’t understand it.
(Then getting greatly expanded into “… because of past lives” etc)
Let us for now leave aside these elaborations and stay with the basic:
There is a reason even if this reason is not patent
How does the Christian (or Jew) answer these same riddles: It is the will of God!
Now a skeptical/secular type of person would find both these explanations similar and unsatisfactory enough to club them together as one: The typical religious crap and nonsense
[Parenthetically noting that the skeptic too has no better explanation(!!), we return to a more careful view of the choices]
  • The idea of karma as a cause is at least in principle understandable even if not understandable with my current level of knowledge.
  • The idea of “The will of God” is in principle beyond human understanding.
And so we reach the junction:
  • The essence of Judeo Christianity is Conscience
  • The essence of Hinduism and oriental philosophies is Karma
And each of these sides needs to appreciate the other
What this section I will stick with one direction: Why Judeo Christians need to understand karma? In [other section] I will also address Why orientals need to awaken conscience So we turn to actions like Angela Merkel killing Germany — too much good feeling Not enough wise-dom
is the wisdom of conscience
is the feeling of karma

Towards Law

Judeo Christians — and the more well-intentioned the more so — need to retract for a bit from actions and even from their good intentions (if only for a bit) and to study the invisible but not too deeply hidden laws of the matrix that bind us humans together… And as far as we can see are hurtling us towards the edge


Rheostat of laws: Conscience

  • Karma is unstranslatable into English; conscience is untranslatable into most Indian languages!
  • technology growth ↑↓ loss of sensitivity
  • consumerism ↑↓ reponsibility
  • freedom ↑↓ protective structures
  • συνείδησις in Greek used for conscience actually means self-judging consciousness. A good mid-point between conscience and karma. 
  • Analogous to Greece being west of the East and east of the West

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GCF Abstract

Our existence on planet Earth is characterised by three interacting components {Life, Values, Laws} which interact to produce a resultant ...