Highlands of Scotland= “You have to go up with the water and down with the water.”
Eros is a primal, and Oriental, kind of religion, thousands upon thousands of years old. It is often called ‘the Light from the East.’ Some scholars claim that Mother India is probably its origin, but if so, this Eastern Light shines both near and far, from India through China to Japan in its eastward diffusion, and from India to the Middle East through the Near East to Greece in its westward diffusion. In fact, the Eastern Light goes on spreading through much of Eastern Europe but more or less stops at the Danube, not crossing into Western Europe. In the West, only mystics and other metaphysically inclined outsiders are touched by the Light that rises in the East, whereas in these other locales that are all ‘Eastern’ in some important spiritual sense, the Light of God is honoured in the culture as a whole, and thus the culture is built from its radiating energies and radiant luminosity. The whole culture is mystical, and cosmic.
This Light emanates from God’s Love, and manifests that Love as a primordial Gift of Goodness, Life, Joy, in which all persons, creatures, things, inherently share.
Neither old philosophical reason, nor modern scientific intellect, are able to behold this Light; both are blind to it. Both are like the person whose eyes are glued shut, telling those whose eyes are open that ‘there is no light in anything, in everything is only dark shadows.’ For those whose eyes are illumined in the light, and warmed in its gentle glowing, there are only two reactions to such ‘darkness.’ One, to laugh. Two, to take pity, and thus to take on the task, however onerous, of helping the blind to see, helping the asleep to awake, helping those living in self-imposed prison to be liberated.. The teacher who enlightens others, who truly shares what he sees by facilitating others still blind to see it for themselves, is invariably the central figure of Eros religion. This figure is the sage, the guru, the master, the elder– the Buddha, the Enlightened One. This radiant being has a wisdom in regard to everything ‘lit up’ by, and brought to fruition in, the Light, yet this very wisdom also makes him compassionate towards all other persons, creatures, things, who have exiled themselves from the Light. He does not look down on them as hopelessly lost, but on the contrary, his attitude is that they too can come into the Light, and it concerns him that they put themselves outside it. He desires to pass on to everyone else the happiness he has obtained by virtue of receiving, really of ‘realising’, the free and gracious Give Away of the Light. The Light — itself so basically generous — does not make the person in whom it comes alive a hoarder of its felicity. On the contrary, enlightenment generates the same ‘philanthropy’ of the Light in the Light-Bringer.
This ‘illumined being’ is not the Light itself, but the Light dwells in him, and passes through him to others, and in this sense, he has acquired the qualities of the Light itself= he is generous, giving without counting cost, and kindly, never judging harshly but seeking to help the person out of the ‘error of their ways’ which causes them to be lost, famished, hemmed in.. “Like a fish surrounded by water, piteously crying from thirst.”
RTa came to mean ‘Order’, but not as this term is usually meant in the West, but the Cosmic Pattern, the Way it All ‘Holds Together.’ Order= Holding Together. The Cosmic Pattern that Flows through everything, connecting everything. This is an Inherent Order, Sacred Order, Implicate Order, order-as-created-by-the-divine– not the artificial and external order created by human beings. Natural Law– not invented human customs called ‘law.’
So, also, how what Holds Together ‘Flows’..
From this you get all the Taoist [Hindu/Buddhist] teachings on Harmony, Interconnectedness and Interdependence of All Things, Balance of Opposites.. The Great Whole, the Round Dance. Everything is ‘a part of it.’ Everything has its necessary place in the Cosmic Pattern flowing through things. A tiny mollusc upstream in a mighty river is needed if there are going to be microscopic planktons for the huge whales to eat out at sea.. The Web of Life.. If termites did not fart as they build mounds, all life on earth would collapse. There are so many linkages, long and elaborate chains of link-ups, that some inherent, implicit ‘design’ is moving ‘through’ things.. This is not top-down imposition of an idea on things.. It is an organic — working from unconscious to conscious — emergent ‘holding together’ of all things..
Such order gives life, and so it is human ‘Illusion’ which breaks away and separates itself from ‘what is’, and then the human ego gets bloated, too big for its shoes, and in this falsely expanded condition it gets out of step, out of tune, with the Dance of the Whole. Hence, the ego also develops unreal desires and expectations and demands, from its position outside the Circle Dance, and these desires/expectations/demands which we put upon life [people, nature, the world] cause us to suffer, because ‘life is not like that’, and so our unreal hopes and fantasy wishes are always being rebuffed, disappointed, and made to sorrow for ‘what we cannot have’.. Within the realm of Eros, human suffering is largely self-inflicted, and as such, is not a fate. On the contrary, it is the consequence of us becoming ‘ignorant’ of Real Being, cut off from the Light of Love and Goodness that is the Origin of each and all, and consequently far removed from the place of our being vis a vis this Origin and other beings..
In Eros, all beings are ontologically wired in to the Source, and thus wired up to other beings, and even wired to their own core, or foundation, of being, often called the Self in Hinduism, but equally called the No-Self in Buddhism, and the Ecstatic Self that transcends itself in Sufi and Eastern Orthodox Christian mysticism. Our real being is not in-static, but ex-static. We are moving away from any clinging to self, moving out from the self, moving beyond the self, to be in Union with other kinds and levels of Reality. Everything is connected in some kind of basic meta-physical kinship. We too are related to the mollusk, the planktons, the whales– and the farts of the termites. They are all honoured relations, with whom we have loving and life-sharing relationships. To each and all, we can say the Lakota prayer, ‘all my relations.’ If we confine this universal welcome towards everything only to ‘all my relatives’, we fall out of the Big Circle Dance of the Whole. Even that enemy tribe with whom you go to war, to steal horses, are your relations; you and they equally ‘are a part of it.’
In the West, we have dualistic ‘right and wrong’, but the mystical, and cosmic, meanings of Rightness in Greek and Sanskrit are nothing like that.. What is Right is ‘what is’, as God made it, in the beginning, from its core.. Rightness is what a being has just by being! The closest we get to this in the West, when we drop our usually dualistic ideas of trying to get right and avoid wrong, is when we say in slang about someone seeing, experiencing, doing, something, that they are ‘right on.’ You are right on target. You are right on the money.. This is a mystical state of being. Rightness means the being is, just by being, spot on; thus it needs no tinkering with, to improve it, or right it from wrong, because its inherent being is perfectly right as it is; it is, in its ‘original face’, linked with what is. The primal What Is rolls like a wave through all beings, thus at the underlying level — hard for us to see and harder to trust — all is well. All is well just as it is.
This mystical knowledge brings peace, happiness in the ordinary, spiritual joy, and maybe most valuable of all, simple contentment.. The usual discontent with one’s lot, the restless looking always to improve it, vanishes.. Washing the dishes is Right. Sitting on the creaking old porch watching the sun go down is Right. Chores, jobs, callings, are all perfectly all Right, and none is more important than any other. Every moment, anything that comes in the moment, is totally Right. Everything in its own season.. Contentment of this far-reaching kind brings gratitude to be alive. We thank the Light– by living it fully.
Thus Eros= The ‘Right Hand’ of God. It comes first, because it has to.
Hinduism is arguably the most complete Eros religion in all the globe. It gives birth to infinite variations on its central theme; in some forms, impersonal in divinity, in other forms, personal in divinity, it hardly matters, because the key theme is always present, and always the same.. Return to the Light.. Buddhism reforms this Way of Return to the Light in various interesting, and necessary, respects, yet it is also guiding us back to what is ‘Right’, mystically and cosmically.
Everything is Right, just by existing, just as it is; we forget this Rightness, turn away from it, fatuously and sadly seek something else basically opposed to it, yet we do not ever lose it. We need a raft of ‘practices’ to un-forget, and remember, what we always knew from the beginning of our being. We need practices to rewire ourselves, to ‘plug in’ again.. This is what the temple, and the monastery, offer us in Eros religion.
These practices, both sacramental and ascetic, help us turn away from the false way that leads us away from the Light into the dark of shadows [ascetical aspect= for example, fasting], and help us turn toward the true way that leads us back toward the Light [sacramental aspect= for example, ritual]. One of the more subtle challenges on this Way of Rightness is when people seem to accept the yogas, the yokes, of practice, but are secretly doing this in a manner that subtly allows the ego and its ‘delusive cravings’ to creep in and poison the practice. Acute discernment is needed on this path.
And because RTa means a river Course, you get that entire emphasis in Taoism on how things in our life, as well as in Nature and the Cosmos, have to be allowed their Mysterious Flow– provided we don’t interfere. Happy is he or she that allows things in life their inherent ebb and flow, rise and fall, coming and going, and gets in step with the Dance, or gets in tune with the Music. The Dance and the Music are always there.. By opposing it, we create our suffering from ‘attachment’ to the unreal.. Our false way tries to stop the river’s ‘course’ through life, through human events.. We choose the ‘better’, and avoid the ‘worse.’ This makes us permanently crippled by fear, since life will not go in the way we want it to go– we want it to go in a way that will entirely protect us, greedily fill us, narcissistically aggrandize us.. We go against What Is, by picking and choosing what we say Yes to as different to what we say No to.. This is a cramp on us.. This is the ‘mind-forged manacles’ we impose on our lives..
Yet, getting in tune, getting in step, walking in balance, dwelling in harmony, is harder than it might first seem, especially for ‘civilised’ people, because we must give up a lot of treasured Illusion.. This is why RTa religions are always Ascetic – the monk/nun exemplifying the process of loss to the Ego and its Desires/Expectations/Demands — yet there is also the Temple aspect – the priest to facilitate people joining the Dance, to orchestrate people’s joining in with the Music. The priest has the task of uniting people round the Light—Water [the Illumination and its Flow through all things], and to minister to them, a pastoral and ‘staying together’ role; the priest is trying to build up community, which is really a Communing in the Gift.
Thus, RTa religion always has monk and priest, with greater or lesser emphasis on one or the other of these two roles/figures, because it is necessarily Ascetic and Sacramental.. Disillusionment in what we thought marvellous, but is really toxic trash, so we can seek what is genuinely Good, is another way to describe the Ascetic aspect. We fast to overcome humanity’s usual ploy of using ‘polite eating’ on the surface to mask ‘devouring’ underneath; we fast to find the real feast. Similarly, another way to describe the priestly aspect is to point out that it is the celebrating of the Gift with everyone, all included, none excluded, and thanking the Giver for the Gift. This is a marvellous feast, and the Dancing aint bad either, and the Music will bring you ecstasy– and at last, acceptance.
It is what it is.
I accept what is.
This is the gateless gate to things wonderful beyond compare.
Let no one denigrate Eros religion. Its Rightness has to start the ball rolling..
The Sinister Left Hand of God comes later..
When the Gift comes under a new and unexpected duress, the Daemonic stirs in a new and unexpected way. The Daemonic exists in Nature, and indigenous peoples know it in that context, but it is in what the Jews call the ‘World’ that the Gift is attacked, and the Daemonic has to chivalrously step up, to protect the Sacred Origins, and face the ‘existential arena of spiritual test’, called ‘Nisayon’ in Hebrew, where the Daemonic Dragon will fight a new adversary more evil than anything faced by Eros, and go down a new, and hard road.. That is a different story for a different day.