Urban Sadhu Exploration February 2023
guru brahma, guru vishnu, guru dēvō mahēśwara guru sakshat, param brahma, tasmai shri guravē namaḥ - From Guru Stotram
The beginning of a cycle is a teacher, the middle of a cycle is a teacher, the ending of a cycle is a teacher. There are teachers in plain sight. There are teachers that will be revealed when the time is right. I humbly bow down to the guru, the remover of ignorance, the enlightenment principle that is omnipresent. – Interpretation, Austin Sanderson
Is the beginning the beginning? Is the middle the middle? Is the end really the end? Is consciousness a straightforward continuum or does it cycle back around, repeating itself over and over, lifetime after lifetime?
Image defining your consciousness as a circular pattern and not a straightforward pattern. Circles, unlike every other geometric shape, have no straight lines; circles have no corners, no right angles, and no pointed edges. Circles have no beginning point and no end point. Yes, it is true that in reality if you use a compass to draw a circle it obviously has a beginning point where you started to draw it and an end point where you stopped the drawing. If you accept the mathematical definition of a circle as “the set of points equidistant from a given point called its center,” then in the pure mathematical world the circle has no beginning and no end – but for a circle to exist it must have a center.
The center point within a circle gives it a focal point that other geometric shapes do not have. Like pretty painted wooden ponies on the rim of the circle of a merry-go-round, unconscious, subconscious, other-consciousness, i-consciousness, supra-consciousness, half-consciousness, group-consciousness, and even super-consciousness go around and around the center of God-consciousness.
God-consciousness is referred to as “Param Brahma” in the Guru Mantra. In Sanskrit, the term Param means “highest,” “supreme,” “absolute,” or “best”; the Sanskrit term Brahman (in the Guru Mantra the final “n” is dropped in the chant but is implied) connotes “the highest universal principle,” “ultimate reality in the universe.” Therefore, Param Brahman is the “Supreme Universal Consciousness beyond the universe”; it is the pervasive, Infinite, and eternal Truth, which does not change and yet is the cause of all change within and without. Param Brahman as a metaphysical concept refers to the single binding unifier behind the diversity that exists in the universe. Like the center of a wheel with spokes reaching out from the center, Param Brahman holds the circle together and keeps it spinning round and round.
God-consciousness (Param Brahman) is revealed to the seeker when the time is right. Think about those painted ponies on the old-fashioned merry-go-round. When we first look at a merry-go-round, most of us see the colorful animated wooden horses, but few of us focus on the center, where the mechanics that make the circle rotate are housed.
A circle is a defense against chaos – it’s a universal symbol. It represents the notions of totality, wholeness, perfection, Self, infinity, eternity, timelessness, cyclic movement, and God. Hermes Trismegistus, a mythical scribe to the gods, was once reported to have said, “God is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.”
In nature we can find the circle as the sun, and we can note the cyclic movement of time during the day: it moves through beginning, middle, and end, and then the cycle starts again. This is why Sun Salutations have regular calculated sequences. Then we see the circle in the night sky as the moon with its waxing and waning movements. The sun and moon cycles imply an idea of circular movement and symbolize the cycle of time: the perpetual motion of everything, the planets' journey around the sun, the circle of the zodiac, the overall rhythm of life in the universe.
The circle is zero in our system of numbering, and symbolizes potential, options, and possibilities. It’s also an expression of the formless. In numerology a zero is a magical number that is protective and indicates the end of the small ego personality; it moves us to focus on the cosmic Self and strive toward a psychic wholeness and self-realization.
It is important to look at the broader symbolic meaning of a circle, because energetically the circle plays a major role in shaping consciousness. Our birth, growth, decline, and death can all be seen in the mystical shape of the circle, but it’s the ultimate state of God-realization, the center point that the circle emanates from, that is the enlightenment principle that is always present.
Austin Sanderson – Urban Sadhu