Journal Review:

We have received the Italian journal Atrium, where we read two articles tangentially regarding a subject that someway concerns the doctrinal cut of our website. The first article is:

Caterina Conio: “I gradi dell’essere e di coscienza nei testi classici indiani dalla Bṛhad-āraṇyaka alla Nṛsiṃha-uttara-tāpanīya-upaniṣad” (Consciusness and Being Degrees in the Indian Classic Texts, from Bṛhad-āraṇyaka to Nṛsiṃha-uttara-tāpanīya-upaniṣad), in Atrium, Studi metafisici ed umanistici, Associazione culturale “Cenacolo pitagorico Adytum, anno XVIII, N° 4.

The seeming purpose of the article is an attempt of investigation on the doctrine of the three states of consciuousness (trayāvasthāvāda) of the Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad and the Gaudapāda Kārikā. Among several misunderstandings, we have chosen only the main one.

As critical approach, whenever the author was not able to understand the meaning of the saṃskṛta text, she declared that the text was confused and contradictory; that is to say, she blames on the text’s intellegibility her inability of understanding it. She certainly supposes that there is an inconsistency between the Upaniṣad and the interpretation of Gaudapāda. The matter of this supposed inconsistency is that the Māṇḍūkya’s text describes the four pādas of Ātman as real, instead Gaudapāda, who mostly focusses his attention on the first three pādas as avasthās, rejects the reality of the waking state(jāgrat) and the dream state (svapna), while consider as real only the deep sleep (suṣupti). Obviously, the inability to overcome the schematic academic process prevents Dr. Conio from using the flexibility required for any intellectual investigation. With a minimum of effort she could have realized that what is real in the four pādas, in the Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad, is Ātman. And Gaudapāda in his Kārikās explains that avasthās are illusory, and that only Ātman is real. In this way and with great simplicity the tangled knot created by the academic mentality is easily untied. In order to explain this -imagined by her- gap between the Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad and the Gaudapāda Kārikās, she recurs to that yogacāra Buddhism whose views Gaudapāda continually condemned ruthlessly. Indeed, in Buddhism there is no doctrine regarding the three states of consciousness. Moreover, mentioning some intellectually poorly qualified indologist, she has even come to assert that Gaudapāda was probably a Buddhist converted to Hinduism! Her interest to conversion, in fact, gives us the key to discover the purpose of such a gross attempt to manipulate the Vedāntic text. By accusing the Upaniṣad of doctrinal inconsistency, she simply intended to demonstrate the unreliability and insufficiency of Hindū Dharma and its need to rely on other “religions” to explain its supposed unresolved issues.

The author of the article, deceased more than twenty years ago, was in fact a follower of Henri Le Saux, a Catholic monk who lived in India pretending to be a saṃnyāsin. Dressed in orange, the alleged “swami Abhishiktananda” was a decoy of the Catholic missionary penetration in India, concealed behind the “dialogue among Religions”. That Catholic monk, undoubtedly, inspired the growth of a group of Catholic Europeans, mainly concentrated in Vārāṇasī (Assī Ghāṭa), active till nowadays, in order to contaminate the Sanātana Dharma, using both Christian theology and the so-called “Kashmir Shaivism” as a burglary’s tool. On the artificial and suspicious spread of interest towards the “Kashmir Shaivism ” we will return again on these pages.

However, one may wonder about the arcane motive that has prompted the editorial staff of Atrium Journal to republish this article.

The second noteworthy article is:

Carmela Crescenti: “La scienza delle lettere in Ibn ‘Arabî” (Seconda parte) [“The Science of Letters in Ibn ‘Arabî” (second part)], in Atrium, Studi metafisici ed umanistici, Associazione culturale “Cenacolo pitagorico Adytum, anno XVIII N° 4, pp. 72-107.

This article is the second part of an essay regarding the science of letters of the Arabic alphabet, interpreted, from the symbolic point of view, by the greatest sufi master Muhiddin Ibn ‘Arabi. The Arabic word properly used for science is ‘ilm and not ma‘rifat, knowledge, since the subject of the essay has a predominantly cosmological or sometimes ontological feature. On the other hand, ‘ilm is a word that can be referred to some initiation sciences or to some discipline belonging to the mere exoterism. Not surprisingly ‘alim is also the title for the simple exterior Law doctors.

The article is written in a clear and competent manner and what mainly attracted our attention was the paragraph dedicated to the letter ṣâd (ص); that is because here the subject deals with waking, dream and deep sleep states. The three consciousness states are also the central subject of the metaphysical treatise Advaita Pañcaratnam which is appearing on our website translated by our collaborator Maitreyī.

The science of the letter ṣâd concerns the purification of the heart through the repetition of the dhikr (i.e. mantra) which produces the experience of different inner flashes into the initiate’s chest. This kind of experiences would be more frequent during the deep sleep, when the dreams don’t pervade the internal organ. On the contrary, during the dream state, the experiences are of two kinds: the ordinary dreams, produced by the impermanent mental thoughts, and the “veridic” dreams which are part of the prophecy. Therefore Ibn ‘Arabi urges the disciples to dream, in order to reach veridic dreams and their visions, even if he considers best visions those appearing in waking state.

Although these arguments are rather interesting, they simply relate to a path performed step by step, typical of a non-Supreme knowledge method (aparavidyā sādhanā). That is to say, here waking, dream and deep sleep are just psychologic experiences of the human individuals and not the Trayāvastās of the Vedāntic metaphysic.

And yet we are still waiting for some more translations of metaphysical subjects from Ibn ‘Arabi’s treatises.

Pāpahara Daṇḍakartā Nagottama