By Asif Merchant, New Age Islam
September 20. 2013
In the late sixties, I came across a remarkable book which had just been published. It was called “ THE BOOK – On the Taboo against Knowing who You are”. The author was a philosopher named Alan Watts. This was probably his first book. Certainly the most famous. It was quite the rage for many years. For me, it was my introduction to Zen Buddhism.
Watts presents the story of creation in a very interesting manner. There is only one existence. Call it God if you like. This One is playing a game. There is no other player, but the game is a sort of ‘hide and seek’. There is nowhere to hide so a universe is created. There is no other player, so ‘The ‘One’ is playing with himself. He is hiding, while he is also seeking. There are infinite ways of hiding. The hiding takes the form of all existence. Plants, amoeba, animals and human beings. All are in reality ‘The One’. Hiding from ‘The One’.
Occasionally there is a Sighting. Perhaps it was something like this that prompted Mansour to proclaim, “An-Al-Haq”. Those reading this can get an intellectual understanding of what Mansour meant, but without an actual Sighting, such a statement would be blasphemous.
Sufis keep trying for this, and all hope to reach a level where such a Sighting is achieved
Recently, in New Age Islam, someone mentioned the works of Osho as worth reading. Certainly Osho’s thoughts have often stimulated the intellect, especially in his early days. In the sixties, when Osho was still a professor of philosophy known as Acharya Rajneesh, he must have come across this book. In fact, practically every seeker on the Divine Quest those days must have read this book. It is still very inspiring, and worth reading.
Some quotes from Alan Watts:
“You have seen that the universe is at root a magical illusion and a fabulous game, and that there is no separate "you" to get something out of it, as if life were a bank to be robbed. The only real "you" is the one that comes and goes, manifests and withdraws itself eternally in and as every conscious being. For "you" is the universe looking at itself from billions of points of view, points that come and go so that the vision is forever new.
“Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.”
“We do not "come into" this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree.”
“Irrevocable commitment to any religion is not only intellectual suicide; it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world. Faith is, above all, openness - an act of trust in the unknown.”
“For every individual is a unique manifestation of the Whole, as every branch is a particular outreaching of the tree.
To manifest individuality, every branch must have a sensitive connection with the tree, just as our independently moving and differentiated fingers must have a sensitive connection with the whole body.
The point, which can hardly be repeated too often is that differentiation is not separation.”
Comparing the DNA of living creatures on earth, we discover that an amoeba has about 200 times the DNA a human has. Most of the DNA in humans is present in amoebas. Another proof if proof were needed that all living beings are related to each other.
The relationship between life on earth and the planet is also gradually being appreciated.
Maybe, in time, the relationship between everything in the Universe will be part of our general understanding.
Asif Merchant is an independent thinker, based near Panchgani, Maharashtra, India He writes an occasional column for New Age Islam.