Message of the cross

From Pratiksha Apurv's desk Media Watch

Through his cross, Jesus Christ is asking us to avoid the conflict between mind and consciousness, writes artist Pratiksha Apurv. Published in Speaking Tree on December 22, 2018.

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Consciousness is defined as a ‘state of awareness, being awake’. In the Bhagwad Gita, Krishna says: ‘Arjuna, as the sun alone illuminates this universe, so does the living entity within the body, it illuminates the entire body by consciousness.’

Consciousness and Mind by Pratiksha Apurv

Consciousness and Mind 1, Oil on Canvas, 48 x 46″, 2010

To understand this further, let’s talk about Jesus. The first thought of Jesus that comes to our mind is the cross. And through this cross, the message of Jesus to humanity is to ‘go beyond man, beyond mind’. The cross is a symbol of consciousness and mind. The mind lives in past or future, it lives in time; while consciousness is an awakening, always in the here and now; it is eternity. The movement of our mind is horizontal, while the state of consciousness or the here and now is vertical. Osho says that mind moves from one moment to another in a horizontal line, while consciousness is vertical and it doesn’t come from the past and doesn’t go into the future. “This moment, it falls vertically in the depth or it rises vertically into the height. This is the meaning of Christ on the cross… 

The cross is nothing but… a symbol of two lines meeting – vertical and horizontal. Christ’s hands are spread on the horizontal. His whole being, except the hands, is on the vertical. It means action is in time, while being in the here and now is beyond time.

[…] All action, physical or mental, is in time. Our being is vertical, it goes in depth, and it goes in height,” he says.¹ This is the deeper meaning of the cross.

Jesus’ message to humanity is to avoid this constant conflict between the mind and consciousness, between the mind’s transition through past-future versus being in the present moment. The mind is a conflict, a constant anxiety, while consciousness is grace that ensures flowering of bliss within us.

Sant Kabir describes this conflict of the mind and says: ‘abahu mann gaganahi chadhe, kabahu gire pataal, Kabahu mann unmuni lage, kabahu jaal baichal – sometimes, the mind rises up to the sky, sometimes it falls to the lowest depths, sometimes it goes into deep concentration and sometimes, it just keeps wandering into worldly affairs.’ In another verse he says: ‘Chanchal mann nestle kare, fir naam lagay.’ Here Kabir is talking about steadying this vacillating mind so it can be absorbed in the constant remembrance of God. And how does one fix this mind? Our ancient scriptures talk about watching or witnessing for a joyous life. Transformation of this continuous conflict of the mind is only possible by witnessing and bringing it to the layer of our awareness. That is all that is needed for the blossoming of bliss and a state of constant meditativeness within us.

Jesus is telling us that the mind is borrowed – an accumulation – and that is why witnessing of this mind is so important for us to realise our true nature which is ‘consciousness’. Sometimes, we use the term ‘collective mind’ to identify ourselves with common customs and behaviour patterns, because it has been cultivated over a period of time. It gives us a false notion of a larger group identity and this is why different societies and subgroups within our own culture are seen to have distinct identities but at a superficial level. If we observe carefully, we will realise that consciousness is our very nature, our only nature and identity. It has no conditioning or history and is not borrowed or cultivated over time.

That is why Zen masters focus on finding out our original face, our true nature, because our mind is in a state of constant struggle within itself and therefore, far away from stillness, meditation, and silence. While witnessing it, one realises that the mind is always in a state of flux, changing its course and flowing like a river, keeping us away from our own true Self.

Guru Nanak says: ‘Mann jeet, jag jeet – overcome the mind, overcome the world.’ Osho says it a little differently. He talks about putting aside the mind that moves in time and embrace consciousness that lives in the present moment. His message is to throw the mind that has been given to us by others, our parents, society and our learning. His emphasis is very direct when he says that meditation is this state of no-mind; it’s not about a silent mind, healthy mind, or a concentrated mind, but rather a state of pure awareness.

Osho is clear that meditation is about pure consciousness arrived through witnessing. “Remain with the simple consciousness that you are – pure and innocent. This is how one moves from mind to meditation. This is how one moves away from society – from the without to within. This is how one moves from the man-made world, the maya, to the universal truth, the existence,” says Osho.²

We need to get rid of the conditioned mind by watching it, by witnessing it. And if one is sincere in doing so, one gets centred in the here and now and what remains is pure consciousness.

Quotes by Osho from
¹ Until You Die, Ch 2
² The New Alchemy: To Turn You On, Appendix #10, Q 1

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