Crystallizing hidden potential
My Master once asked me to explain the verses colored in red. Here is my explanation full of bugs...
In the beginning the milk is raw
All human beings are born with a set of karmas. The milk itself is pure when it formed but the moment it comes into touch with the external world, it gets exposed to all kinds of germs and impurities. Even then the fundamental property of milk i.e., nourishment, remains intact. But if milk remains exposed and uncovered, insects and microbes quickly spoil it. Therefore, the solution is - either to pasteurize it to extend the life span, or boil it hard and extract the key tattava. What this means is protecting our mind from bad influences, using Buddhi to distill good karmas and move towards spiritual evolution.
When we boil the milk - cream emerges
1. Cream was already hidden in the milk but we didn't see it
2. It is necessary to apply heat to see the cream
3. Once cream appears, it always floats on the top
4. If we heat up milk, appearance of cream is inevitable process
All humans are potentially divine. The key is to extract divinity. Unless we are put to test, the best doesn’t emerge. Irrespective of diverse backgrounds and temperaments, everyone has the same spark (cream) within. Once the best (cream) emerges, it becomes front end of our personality and is always visible on the top of our mental construction. Buddhi attains a certain stage of maturity. One gets interesting spiritual experiences leading to an increased confidence that we are on the right track. However, the process of spiritual evolution is far from over.
When we churn the cream - butter emerges
1. Cream was only an intermediate product
2. If we stop at the stage of the cream, we will never see butter
3. Butter was hidden within the cream, but only some people knew about its existence
4. Cream must be subjected to another severe process
Generally people, after few preliminary experiences, think they have already reached heights of spirituality and simply stop looking inwards. Agreed that they are better than people with no experience, but their experience stays at the level of easy satisfaction, refuses further refinement. For butter to emerge, cream must undergo further processing.
When we heat butter - ghee emerges
On filtering ghee and discarding impurities, pure Ghee is formed
With pure Ghee one can make a number of sweets
1. The soft Ghee emerges only after harsh treatment of butter
2. Even though cream and butter looked clean, subtle impurities were hidden deep within
3. Impurities have now lost their seamless integration with the milk. They are physically separate and clearly visible
4. One cannot obtain ghee directly from milk in one step
Once made, the natural property of ghee is to make everything pleasant - whether it is sweets, breads or tasty dish. Ghee is the final product one should aim at, not cream or butter, which are only intermediate forms of purity. Pure Ghee has a pleasant flavor that does not change unless again brought into contact with the world i.e., left exposed and unprotected.
The concept of you and I becomes clear only at the final stage of spirituality. At intermediate stages one experiences a number of visions and siddhis. They are like cream and butter. If we run after them, the impurities that were hidden deep within will never show up. One will be under an illusion of being perfect without realizing that something else needs to be cleared up. For ghee to appear, milk has to undergo a sequence of extremely harsh treatments. In other words, a seeker who goes through life tests are necessary to evolve her / him towards enlightenment.
Accomplished Spiritual Masters know the type of training and the extent of tests needed at every stage. Imagine even after extracting all the butter from cream, a person still keeps on churning the cream.. Obviously nothing more will emerge. It would be a waste of time and effort. Similarly while burning butter into ghee, only an expert knows how long the heat should be given, at what time it should be stopped... otherwise the entire ghee will burn and nothing will be left in the pan. Thus if you hand over milk to an untrained person (Guru), either less or no amount of ghee will appear.
One a different note - impurities are thoughts and thoughts are integral parts of our life. Thoughts by themselves cannot be pure or impure. It is their context and application that makes them so. One need not develop a sense of hatred for so-called impure thoughts. They are part of our system and often necessary for our survival. But by becoming an observer every kind of thought can be evaluated and appropriately handled. One may use force, pure love, observance or a combination of these to get ride of extraneous thoughts. Force generates anger and anger manifests itself in a number ways. Pure love may generate attachment if improperly used. Probably observance seems to be safest approach, in my naive opinion.