Thursday, May 17, 2012

Psychic models and the path of prema

For the course in Rishikesh, we reviewed Freud and Jung's models of the psyche. Looking first at these two, we then looked at three others, that of the Tantra-yoga and two others represented by the Rāsa-līlās in the Bhāgavata and Gīta-govinda.

Freud's model

Freud's psychic model sees the instinctual urges as id or libido, an unconscious energetic force that in its attempt for gratification strikes the external world, the reality principle. This shock then creates the intelligence, which becomes internalized as the superego, conscience, etc., and is projected outward as God. Freud sees the economy of the psyche as essentially one of sublimation: libidinal energy is syphoned off for the strengthening of superego, which through self-discipline then produces all the gains of civilization.

For Freud, God was perhaps necessary for the beginnings of civilization to strengthen such self-discipline, but has now outlived his usefulness. Human beings should through self-awareness control the functions of the id and superego and become autonomous agents without recourse to an internalized God-figure or Divine authority.

The Yoga-tantra model

This model clearly has its analog in the Yoga-tantra model, which similarly sees the psychic forces of the Kundalini (which in itself is not conscious or consciousness, at least not according to everyone) being raised to the higher chakras in a kind of evolutionary process. In fact, Freud has spoken extensively of three phases of infant development--oral, anal and genital. The yoga model does not emphasize the first, but the two latter are the primordial mūlādhāra and svādhiṣṭhāna chakras, which also represent the beginnings of the sublimation of the Kundalini energy. [The oral does fit into the domain of the viśuddha-cakra.]

In other words, Freud sees character formation being influenced by the way the child develops through the three stages as it learns to delay the gratifications coming from uncontrolled functioning of these psychic foci and sublimates them. Though Yoga-tantra is not interested in child development, it also sees the control of the lower two chakras as the beginning of the process of sublimation.

Freud of course does not go on to discuss the higher points, which the Tantra-yoga model sees as specific and important centers of control and psychic mastery, each with a wide range of gross and subtle effects. Freud, however, is only interested in maximizing the benefits to the superego and finding the minimum indulgence given to the Id to keep the psychic mechanism from exploding.

Tantra-yoga sees something more transcendent as the goal. Moreover, the Tantra-yoga model does not see the Id as a dangerous force, per se. Only when it is not channeled properly does it create havoc. Otherwise, it is a friend and partner, an energizer of the higher spirit.

Tantra-yoga sees the Kundalini as feminine, but generally, the goal is not to subjugate this energy, but to maximize it and to bring it into the consciousness as a fully illuminating agent. Thus, most Tantra-yoga models see the union of Shiva and Shakti in any of their multitudinous forms as the goal of the practice. In this, it more resembles the coniunctio oppositorum (union of opposites) that we will speak of below.

The Bhāgavata Rāsa-līlā model. 

From here we can move to the Bhāgavata Rāsa-līlā model. As with most powerful myths, this one also has several messages, but the first thing to note is that Krishna is the Supreme God. Although he is belatedly identified as human (mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritaḥ) and therefore becomes the basis for later developments in the understanding of madhura-rasa, the Krishna of the Bhāgavata Rāsa-līlā is still God, and the story cycle primarily represents teachings about the relation of God to his devotees and, on a different level, to his energies.

As a model of the psyche, God always represents the Self, in the sense of higher Self. Please remember that this distinction is not well-defined or absolute. The word "self" has multiple possibilities of meaning depending on context. But psychologically, when we speak of God, there is always an ambiguity about whether we are talking about the collective or ideal Self or the individual self, whether we use the term ātmā or puruṣa. Both ideas should therefore always be kept in mind.

If we look at the Bhāgavata Rāsa-līlā in terms of the first, it is the story of the minute individual soul's journey to God, energies being harmonized with the energetic source of all being. In the second, it is the individual Ego taking control of the various psychic energies and complexes and "dancing" with them, i.e., sublimating them. The gopis' abhisāra can even be seen as analogous to the rising of the Kundalini, a metaphor that has been used in the Caryā-pada.

The Bhāgavata Rāsa introduces a number of other elements, especially that of the all-attractiveness of the Supreme Truth and the transformative nature of that Truth, who is the Cupid of all Cupids (sākṣān-manmatha-manmatha), through whom desire does not result in the frustrations of lust, but becomes love, who transforms the mini-puruṣa into prakṛti, etc. Nevertheless, the warnings against imitation are of external imitation. The transformed mini-puruṣa still has God-like status in his own microcosm.

On the whole, then, this model also shows the principal similarity to the patriarchal model described by Freud -- the masculine God above, the inchoate feminine energies below, Eros subordinate to Logos and victorious only by surrender.

Jung's model

Jung rebelled against Freud's psychic model precisely because of their vertical or two-dimensional nature. He also wanted to add another, horizontal axis, bringing another dimension into the schema. Here, the male and female polarities are seen as not existing exclusively on the north-south axis, but primarily on the east-west. Jung places his Shadow archetype at the lower pole of the vertical axis and various aspects of the God image or wise-man archetype at the higher pole. The personal self is seen as yet another archetype balanced at the intersection point of these two sets of polarities. It works as a self-contained organism, simultaneously seeking balance and moving towards the God archetype, in whichever particular form it has manifested itself, e.g., the wise-man, hero, Male-god, androgyne or Syzygy.

The interplay of these archetypal forces produces a mythical dynamic that gives meaning to the individual’s struggle to attain individuation. This is, of course, the dynamic of a healthy ego. Jung felt that this dynamic had achieved symbolic representation in the Christian cross as well as in other widely disparate societies and cultures as the mandala.

The Syzygy is the perfect Jungian archetype of the complete self, when the conflict of anima/animus is resolved harmoniously and the opposites are merged in union. When combined with Rupa Goswami's detailed descriptions of hierarchies within the Divine Couple model, Radha-Krishna clearly become the Syzygy par excellence, despite culturally and temporally conditioned elements therein. The coincidence with Jung is so perfect that he seems to be giving the natural explanation of the Radha-Krishna complex

The Gīta-govinda model

I keep saying that the symbol is more important than the myth, but the essence of the most powerful myths merges with their symbols. The two myths that stand at the center of the Radha-Krishna complex are the Bhāgavata Rāsa-līlā and the Gīta-govinda.
And so the eternal cycle begins.
What is the difference between
the Rāsas of autumn and spring?
The first tells of God and the jīva,
the second of God and his āhlādinī;
the former, an archetype of the spiritual path,
the latter, of the divine comedy.
Both are circle dances,
revolving in opposite senses:
The Bhāgavata is the circle without,
Gīta-govinda, the one within.
Krishna is the axis of the outer,
Radha, of the inner.
Together, They are
the center of both.
Without the balance of the two circles,
like unaligned gears, they cause
the machine to wobble and shake:
There is a frenzy of duality,
a great missing of the point,
a great failure of mādhurya.
Become a god to worship God,
while God becomes a human.
Whirl a while in both circles,
but seek out the eye of the storm.
This was really my first attempt to express an insight. Both these lilas have external and internal aspects, i.e., one specifically governing external behaviors and relations, the other intrapsychic.

As stated above, Freud identified the id with the feminine and the superego with the masculine. What he may not have recognized was that the superego is always the servant of the id, or pleasure principle. In Sankhya, the point of contact of the puruṣa with prakṛti is the intelligence, buddhi. And this is for us an important realization. For if God is the superego, then who or what is the Id? Who or what is prakṛti?

The Bhāgavata Rāsa-līlā represents the organization of the libidinal energies around the superego, like Freud's psychic model; Gīta-govinda makes it clear that the Superego (Krishna) serves the Id (Radha). From the Jungian point of view, in order to attain the goal of love, the feminine (Eros) is the ultimate guardian. Love cannot be won by strength, force or superior discipline.

The coniunctio oppositorum

The hierarchy of bhāvas, etc., in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu and Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi clarifies the details of the coniunctio oppositorum, which is fully achieved in Mahābhāva.

The androgynous form of Chaitanya, as explained in Caitanya-caritāmṛta, is the model of internal coniunctio. The Syzygy is the union of animus and anima, which for 99% of people needs to be mediated through a person of the opposite sex*. The animus-anima complex needs to be understood through the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu hierarchy of rasas, where mādhurya includes vātsalya, etc. The relation of vātsalya to mādhurya is especially important, as the male's relation to his mother and the woman's relation to her father both enter into their subconscious animus-anima complexes, which in turn affects the madhura relation of lovers.

Freud and Jung both had problems fathoming the female psyche. I think that this defect is probably going to affect any male-constructed psychology of woman, including mine. And many women find a problem with at least some aspects of the Radha-Krishna cycle where gender roles are concerned. But on the whole, any symbol system that admits (1) Radha-Krishna are equal (i.e., each the center of one circle, and together in the middle of the uniified circle), and (2) Krishna is always ultimately subordinate to Radha and that only by his accepting the subordinate position does union become possible. The superego is always male, in both women and men, so the same principle applies to both the sexes.

Archetypal reorganization

The full Vrindavan lila is about reorganizing the archetypes on the Vrindavan model. In other words, we remap our archetypal universe through hearing and chanting, through rasa, to create a saṁskāra that is pure and loving, based on ideal images rather than purely our experiential archetypes, which are full of material experience. It is not a denial of our experience, but an aid to interpreting and purifying it. Vrindavan Dham becomes our psychic universe, which is why sādhakas need to love in sādhu-saṅga. Radha and Krishna can only unite in Vrindavan.

anyera hṛdaya mana, mora mana bṛndābana,
mane bane eka kari jāni
tāhāṅ tomār pada dvaya, karāha yadi udaya,
tabe tomāra pūrṇa kṛpā māni
For others, the mind is the heart of their own being,
but my mind is Vrindavan;
I consider both my mind and Vrindavan to be identical.
Were you to place your lotus feet
there in my Vrindavan-mind
I would deem it the fullest expression of your mercy.
(CC 2.13.137)
Of course, there are "degrees" of Vrindavan, namely braja, goṣṭha and kuñja. The real union takes place exclusively in the kuñja and that is the ultimate non-dual state in madhura-rasa.

The incompleteness of the patriarchal model

The point really is that the patriarchal model of the psyche with the male God dominating the lower energies, the lower self, the "urges", which is the external and first level of nearly all yoga systems, is incomplete. The harmony and union of puruṣa with personified prakṛti is the real goal.

Prakṛti is not impersonal. prakṛti is always the "Other", which is God, which is personal. It is the other side of oneself, animus or anima. One cannot unify with it if one is in opposition to it, trying to conquer and defeat it, but only through love and service, whether one speaks of this mechanism internally or externally.

Freud also calls the Id the pleasure principle. The essence of intelligence is the ability to delay gratification. The ultimate delay of gratification is, of course, heaven, which may look like a grand fraud to those who seek social justice in the here and now, à la Marx. But the only way to be released from the tyranny of the superego is to internalize heaven (i.e. Vrindavan), where intelligence and the pleasure principle become one. The partnership of sādhakas in the sādhanā of prema is the perfect combination of external opposites to cultivate the union of the internal. The external and internal practices are mutually favorable, and ultimately they too become unified.

Radha, Krishna and Vrindavan. The fourth tattva is the sakhi. As one proceeds inward from braja to goṣṭha to kuñja, i.e., moves inward towards the perfection of madhura-bhāva, one's archetypal universe becomes progressively feminized around the unified or transcendent Coniunctio. In other words, all archetypes are seen as expansions of Srimati Radharani, the ādyā prakṛti, serving the union of the Divine Couple.

jayati jayati rādhā prema-sārair agādhā
jayati jayati kṛṣṇas tad-rasāpāra-tṛṣṇaḥ |
jayati jayati vṛndaṁ sat -sakhīnāṁ dvayaikyaṁ
jayati jayati vṛndā-kānanaṁ tat-sva-dhāma ||
All glories, all glories to Radha, fathomlessly deep with the essences of love.
All glories, all glories to Krishna, whose thirst for tasting that ocean has no limit.
All glories, all glories to the assembly of the sakhis, in whom the Two are One.
All glories, all glories to Vrinda's forest, their own holy abode. (VMA 9.45)
Wherever there is a patriarchal model, i.e., where God is viewed in masculine terms only, there is a marginalization of the feminine as inferior. This is the great defect of the Freudian model. Woman is seen as an imperfect man, with a less developed superego, rather than sui generis. Freud himself says that this model has served its historical purpose and is now turning destructive. But as stated above, he never gave the feminine a place in the sacred universe -- he had no time for sacred universes at all.

When devotees talk of "Krishna" as God, they are falling into the same trap, mainly because they conflate Krishna with Vishnu, and therefore with the Gita model of devotion as varnashram duty. There also, the principal objective is surrender to the higher intelligence, the Superego as God. There is nothing wrong with this, but it is incomplete until the intelligence is itself recognized as a servant.

Long live the Yugal!

Mahaprabhu says, eho bāhya, āge koho āra. He is rejecting all models of the psyche that follow the patriarchal ideal. This is the significance of the defining of the sambandha as Radha-Krishna and not any subordination of prakṛti to puruṣa.

This is why it is so necessary to understand the hierarchies as described by Rupa Goswami and Krishnadas Kaviraj; these are in fact different psychic models that seek, ultimately, the coniunctio oppositorum.

Lakshmi Narayan, etc., are incomplete models of the Syzygy, namely because they emphasize the dominance of the masculine. Only Shiva-Shakti may be considered analogous, in terms of siddhanta, including that of the subordination of Shiva to Shakti. (śakti sivā śiva śava hai).

śivaḥ śaktyā yukto yadi bhavati śaktaḥ prabhavituṁ
na ced evaṁ devo na khalu kuśalaḥ spanditum api |
atas tvām ārādhyāṁ hari-hara-viriñcy-ādibhir api
praṇantuṁ stotuṁ vā katham akṛta-puṇyaḥ prabhavati ||
If Shiva is connected (yukta) to Shakti, then he is capable of being a prabhu (Lord), engaging in the works of creation, maintenance and destruction of the universe. If not, if he is not connected to Shakti in this way, then even though he is called a god, he is most certainly not even equipped to budge even slightly. Therefore, how can one who has not performed great pious acts be able to bow down to you or to praise you? You are worthy of the worship of Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma, and all the other gods, as well as all beings in the universe from Brahma to the meanest creature. (Saundarya-laharī, 1)
Yoga attempts to separate puruṣa from prakṛti and live in glorious isolation. Advaita-vada similarly overcomes duality by emphasizing an impersonal identity. Of the two, the latter is better, because union of opposites is a non-dual state, and because prema has an impersonal aspect, but prema is always personal. Prakṛti must always be interacted with as a person. Furthermore, prakṛti IS God when the puruṣa (jiva) sees it as personal rather than as mere matter.

In other words, the great illusion about sexuality is to see the opposite sex only on the bodily level and to ignore the spiritual reality.

But still, we can say, "Patriarchy is over. Matriarchy too is over! Long live the Divine Syzygy, Radha and Krishna!"

1 comment:

BBS said...

I know this is off topic, but I didn't know where to ask this. Do you know if any scripture or acarya before Bhaktivinoda talks about different classes of jivas being created by Krishna?

In Bhaktivinoda's writings he says there are some jivas who are created nitya-siddha and others that are created nitya-baddha---that Krishna creates the nitya-baddha jivas for some mysterious reason about wanting to experience different types of rasa. The nitya-siddha jivas never experience maya, whereas the nitya-baddha can become nitya-mukta from sadhana.

Bhaktisiddhanta says similar things. They also have this idea that when the jiva is first manifested or created that it has the free will at that time to choose either service or exploitation, if it chooses service it goes to Vaikuntha to be a nitya-siddha, if it chooses exploitation it goes to the mahat-tattva to undergo samsara as a nitya-baddha.

I'm sure you've heard these concepts previously, but I was wondering if you have ever heard these idea from anyone or any source previous to Bhaktivinoda?

In Satyanarayana and Kundali's book on the origin of the jiva, they say the acaryas previous to Bhaktivinoda don't really go into any type of detailed discussion on the origin of the jiva, so I was wondering if Bhaktivinoda simply made all that stuff up, or if there is any other source he could have used, according to your study and experience?

Thanks