Torah and Veda are two ancient sources of spirituality still vibrant today. Torah is conveyed through the sacred language of Hebrew and Veda is conveyed through the sacred language of Sanskrit. The focus here is on meditation, mysticism, philosophy, psychology and the underlying spirituality that has been incorporated into religions, and not as much on the religions themselves. Your comments and posts are welcome.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Quotes of the Week 174 - Meditation, Mysticism and Prophecy

All of the following are quotes from Meditation and Kaballah by Aryeh Kaplan:

When an individual looks into these permutations in a proper manner, he can see all of creation. He is like a person looking into a glass mirror, who sees both his own face, and the faces of all who pass by. Abulafia writes that, “when the power of the influx begins to manifest and reveal itself to the one gazing into the ‘mirror,’ the letters and Sefirot begin to appear before him, like lightning flashes. This is like the vision of the Chayot, [Chariot] regarding which it is written, ‘The Chayot ran and returned, like a vision of lightning’ (Ezekial 1:14).

Another type of meditation that Abulafia hints at is contemplation. He particularly speaks about this with respect to the blue thread in the Tzitzit, the ritual tassel worn on the Prayer Shawl (Tallit). Speaking of the Tzitzit, the Torah says, “You shall gaze at it, and remember all of God’s commandments” (Numbers 15:39). The Talmud expounds on this, saying, “the blue thread resembles the sea, the sea resembles the firmament, and the firmament resembles the Throne of Glory.” What the Talmud is actually doing is alluding to the fact that this thread is to be used as an object of meditative contemplation, outlining the steps of spiritual ascent.

This thread was colored with a blue dye taken from the chilazon, a mollusk related to the murex. Abulafia notes that the word chilazon (חלזון) has the same letters as la-chazon (לחזון), meaning, “for a vision.” Through this dye, one could attain a vision approaching that of prophecy.

The true mystical experience is beyond description, and cannot be explained to one who has not experienced it himself. Just as a person who has been blind from birth cannot comprehend the concept of color, so one who has been spiritually blind cannot grasp the brilliant spectrum of the spiritual world.

Highly controversial was Abulafia’s claim to have attained true prophecy, even though he did not live in the Holy Land. According to the Midrash, prophecy can only be attained in the Holy Land, and not any place else, except under sharply restricted conditions. Abulafia refused to accept this literally, and said that the Holy Land discussed in this teaching referred to a specific spiritual level. If an individual reached this level, he could attain prophecy, no matter what his geographical location.

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