Writing of the Week Upanishads
In a recent meet up of our Sydney School of Arts & Humanities Friday creative writing group, the writing prompt set for members to limber up word-wise for 10-minutes was:
‘There are many truths. Each truth comes from the eye of the observer.’
Here is the response from a new member, Rossella Venturi:
‘This quote reminds me of some elevating words from the Upanishads which more or less go like this:
“Nothing is objective. Know this and the rest is known.”
But in a more prosaic way it also makes me think of myself and my husband, Graeme. He is an Australian flight attendant on the verge of retirement. I am an Italian journalist already retired. We have been married for twenty years, a long time together already, yet we are just starting on a big adventure now.
Waking in the morning, I usually see a completely different universe from the one he is used to seeing. I see Milan’s grey sky, I smell very polluted air and, down in the street, I watch elegant fashionista ladies who still dare to wear furs. He sees a blossoming jacaranda tree and people in bermuda pants and thongs, often smiling God knows why.
Well, God also knows how it will go now that we will see the same things. But will we really?’
From the Upanishads: A New Translation, Vernon Katz & Thomas Egenes, Random House New York 2015:
Self is known when the mind has completely settled and there are no perceptions of anything limited or temporal in nature. What remains is awareness itself in its unbounded state.
There he does not see. Though seeing,
he does not see. The seer does not cease seeing,
because he is indestructible. But there is no second,
nothing other than himself that
he could see. …
Each of these verses describes awareness, but not awareness of anything in particular. There are no thoughts, no sounds, nothing to see, and yet one is awake. All objective experience has disappeared and only pure subjectivity remains. This is the experience of the Self, often described as “pure being.” The Kena Upanishad refers to the Self as the “ear of the ear, the mind of the mind, the speech of the speech, the breath of the breath, the eye of the eye.” Pure consciousness is the knower and all other values are the means through which it knows the subtle and gross aspects of manifest life.
Photo credits: diego duarte cereceda & c v williams.