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Parashat Devarim — Shabbat Chazon 5783 — 07/22/2023

Parashat Devarim — Shabbat Chazon 5783 — 07/22/2023

Beginning with Bereishit 5781 (17 October 2020) we embarked on a new format. We will be considering Rambam’s (Maimonides’) great philosophical work Moreh Nevukim (Guide for the Perplexed) in the light of the knowledge of Vedic Science as expounded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The individual essays will therefore not necessarily have anything to do with the weekly Torah portion, although certainly there will be plenty of references to the Torah, the rest of the Bible, and to the Rabbinic literature. For Bereishit we described the project. The next four parshiyyot, Noach through Chayei Sarah, laid out a foundational understanding of Vedic Science, to the degree I am capable of doing so. Beginning with Toledot we started examining Moreh Nevukim.

Devarim 1:1 – 3:22

Rambam will now discuss the term ‘ayin, which means both well (i.e. of water) and eye (it is also the name of a Hebrew letter which grew out of a picture of an eye).

Eye [‘ayin] is an equivocal term. It is a term denoting a well of water. Thus: By an eye of water ln the wilderness (Gen 16:7 Artscroll: By a spring of water in the desert). It is also a term denoting the seeing eye. Thus: Eye for eye (Ex 21:24). It is further a term denoting providence. Thus, Scripture says with regard to Jeremiah. Take him and have thy eyes on him (Jer 39:12 – Artscroll: keep your eyes on him); the meaning of which is: direct thy watchfulness to him. It is in the figurative sense that the term is used of Gd in every passage in question. Thus: And Mine eyes and My heart shall be there perpetually (I Kings 9:3), which means My providence and My purpose, as we have set forth before; The eyes of the Lord thy Gd are always upon it (Deut 11:12), which means that His providence is upon it; Which are the eyes of the Lord that run to and fro (Zech 4:10 – Artscroll: The eyes of Hashem they scan the whole world – the translator notes that Rambam’s quotation is not wholly accurate), which means that His providence extends also to everything that is on earth, as shall be mentioned in the chapters dealing with providence that will come later on [Part III]. When, however, the word seeing or beholding, is joined with the word “eyes” – as for instance in the verses: Open Thine two eyes…and see (II Kings 19:16), and His eyes behold (Ps 11:4) – it is intellectual apprehension that is meant in all these cases, and not sensory apprehension. For all sensation is, as you know, an affection and a state in which impressions are received, whereas He, may He be exalted, is active and not passive, as I shall explain later on.

One can see the connection between a well and the eye, which can “well up” with tears. A bubbling spring is almost like an eye into the ground, just like the eyes are “ windows to the soul .” In essence though, the eyes are one of the 5 sense organs and they provide a connection between our consciousness and the outside world. In physical terms, we understand that this takes place by photons (light) hitting the object and entering our eyes, where various neural processes take place until an image of the object appears in our consciousness. How exactly the physical impulses in the nervous system transmute into mental images is an area of current research.

Maharishi has described the process differently, albeit he was presumably speaking about a deeper level of perception than the purely physical. Maharishi described the process of perception as proceeding from our consciousness outward as a kind of rays coming out of the eyes and contacting the object. In other words, while in the physical approach information comes in to a largely passive observer, in Maharishi’s understanding, the individual consciousness as if actively goes out to gain information about the outside world.

Now the nature of consciousness is that it is aware. In the case of Pure Consciousness, as we have discussed, it has only itself to be aware of. This awareness is of course spontaneous and continuous. Nevertheless, we say that Pure Consciousness takes on the roles of both Observer/Subject and Observed/Object. Now we know that objects are inert – they just exist, even if they have some mechanism to make them move about. (That is why I feel embarrassed when I yell at my computer.) Consciousness, on the other hand, is dynamic – it is constantly restructuring itself, growing, expanding. So in the case of Pure Consciousness, we might say that the Observer is the active, dynamic element of the relationship, while the Observed is the inert, passive element.

Of course, we are making a kind of distinction within Pure Consciousness that doesn’t really exist, because Pure Consciousness is an unbroken Unity. Nonetheless, for conceptual purposes we can talk in this way, and I think it comports better with Maharishi’s understanding of consciousness as the active element in perception. Furthermore, as our consciousness grows to Unity Consciousness, this model becomes more and more useful in understanding the phenomenon of Unity Consciousness. As Maharishi describes the evolution of Gd Consciousness into Unity Consciousness, he says that the unbounded Self inside us goes out and enlivens the unbounded basis of the object of perception, and the two elements of the Self connect, creating a Unity that encompasses both.

Interestingly, Maharishi describes this recognition of the inner Self as the innermost value of the object, as an intellectual process. The senses work in the world of boundaries. The eye perceives edges as well as fields of different colors. The eye itself is a finite object, and it reacts to finite objects. In Gd Conscious-ness, the senses have become refined enough to pick up the subtlest level of the object – that is, the most transparent level of the boundaries of the object. Nonetheless, the eye qua eye cannot go further and transcend the boundaries altogether. There will always be a distinction between perceiver and perception, on the level of even the most refined sense perception.

The intellect, on the other hand, is able to transcend the finest boundaries. When this happens, we “see” the reality, not as a vision, but as an “intellectual apprehension,” to use Rambam’s words. Note that, as usual, I am not trying to put Maharishi’s words in Rambam’s mouth. I’m just seeing if Maharishi’s understanding of consciousness and its manifestations is compatible with Rambam’s words. Whether this was Rambam’s original intent I cannot say.

Rambam asserts that when we use terms like “seeing” in relation to Gd, sensory perception cannot be meant, and the word must therefore be interpreted in terms of intellectual apprehension. In Unity Consciousness our reality is that Unity is all-permeating, and all the boundaries are actually the internal dynamics of that Unity. Thus, as we have discussed, knowledge on that level is always Self-knowledge, because the Self is all that there is. Perception or intellectual apprehension, everything is within Unity.


Commentary by Steve Sufian

Parashat Devarim

Devarim can be translated as “words”.

Devarim begins with “and these are the words Moses spoke” and ends with “Do not fear them [other nations] for the Lord, your Gd, is fighting for you.”

Concerning “devarim,” words, I began to think about the letters that make up the words, the grammar that connects the words, and the different levels at which words, letters, and grammar exist and their connection to a life without fear in which we experience, without needing to be told, that Gd is fighting for us – and transforming our world into a world in which we have no enemies, neither outside our self nor inside our self. Not people, not thoughts or feelings, not storms or droughts or other acts of Nature do anything but support us, give us care, Love and Joy.

Reflecting further, I began to feel the letters are souls. They are the fundamental expressions of Gd’s infinite vibration through which Gd’s Self-Referral Awareness manifests and un-manifests the limited world that we ordinary folk experience as reality, Since Gd is Infinite Love and Joy, the letters are also this and their shapes and sounds are only limited on the surface level of their appearance. At subtler levels, they are more and more subtle and unlimited in their forms and sounds.

And at the Transcendental level they completely weave one into the other and their shapes and sounds and qualities of Love and Joy are infinitely varying.

The Hebrew letters are called “otiyot.”  Yehudi Goldberg created a flowing exercise based on the shapes of the Hebrew letters and he called it “Otiyot Chayot”: “Chai” means “life” and “Chayot” are a class of heavenly beings, described in Ezekial’s vision of the heavenly chariot.

As it is with the letters, so it is with the words, the Devarim, and sentences, this parshah and Torah as a whole.

Back to the physical level of the letters, there are 22 and there are 22 (pairs of) chromosomes in the DNA plus a Male and Female chromosome, which can relate to the long and short vowels. There are 24 books in Torah. This gives us a clear sense of the role of the letters in the manifesting of physical reality.

Kabbalah makes similar combinations for letters and the physiology and for Torah and the physiology.

The words Moses spoke were basically a review of the 40 years in the wilderness and here, too, there is a fundamental unity in the symbolism of the words of the review.

The mention of “40” often occurs in Torah as a symbol of completeness and here it occurs as 40 years spent in the desert between leaving Egypt (Mitzraim: Restrictions) and preparing to enter Canaan (“Synchronicity, Integration”), the Promised Land. This suggests the Kabbalastic view of the 10 Sefiroth (qualities of Gd) times the four worlds (the world of Emanation: Atzilut; the world of Creation,: Beriah; the world of Formation Yetsirah; and the world of Action, Asiyah.)  This equals 40. And so, when we experience the 10 qualities times the four worlds we have 40, a symbol of completeness.

“Forty” is used by Dr. Tony Nader, PH.D, MD, MARR, in showing the connection between the Veda and the Vedic Literature with human physiology, as a way of illustrating that our human body is not only flesh, bones, muscles and so on but in essence, it is Consciousness. “Consciousness” is a scientific way of referring to Totality, One without a Second, which from a religious point of view we refer to as Gd. Dr. Nader shows that the 40 aspects of the Veda and its Literature correspond to 40 different aspects of our human body.

So by exploring, intellectually, emotionally, experientially, the words and letters, sentences, paragraphs, parshahs of Gd, the grammar of Gd, the different qualities of Gd in the different stages of manifestation (within Gd), we become capable of entering a world in which we directly experience that Gd is Totality, we are expressions of Gd within Gd, Gd goes before us, makes our path safe, transforms any possible enemies into friends and we live a life very unafraid, very aware that Gd is filling our life with Joy, Love, words and actions of truth.
Such a life is one in which we fulfill Gd’s command: “Be thou holy, for I am holy” and in which we “Love the Lord, thy Gd, with all our heart, all our soul, all our might” and we “Love our neighbor as our self” and are loved by our neighbor the same way.

Such a life is a fulfilled life.

In our congregation there is a lot of Love and Joy, signs we are making good progress, signs we are experience a lot of protection and a lot of fulfillment.

Thank You, Gd, for all You do.
Thank You!
Thank You!
Thank You!

Baruch HaShem