17. The Sound (or word), that which it denotes (the object) and the embodied spiritual essence (or idea) are usually confused in the mind of the perceiver. By concentrated meditation on these three aspects comes an (intuitive) comprehension of the sound uttered by all forms of life.
This is one of the most important sutras in the book, and holds the key to the object of the entire meditation process. This is to reveal or to unveil to the perceiver or spiritual man, the true nature of the self, the second aspect, and the correspondence to the second aspect in all forms of subhuman life, as well as to put him en rapport with the second aspect in all superhuman forms. Thus it concerns the subjective side of all manifestation and deals with those forces which in every form constitute the consciousness aspect, which concern the Christ or buddhic principle and which are the direct cause of objective manifestation and the revelation of spirit through the medium of form.
This is the AUM. First the breath, then the word and all that is, appeared.
Just as long as the great Existence who is the sum total of all forms and of all states of consciousness continues to sound the cosmic AUM, just so long will the objective tangible solar system persist.
The following synonyms in connection with this sutra must be borne in mind if clarity of thought is to be achieved:
I. Spiritual Essence II. The Sound or Word III. The Object
1. Spirit 1. The Soul. 1. Body
2. Pneuma 2. The Psyche. 2. Form.
3. The Father. Shiva 3. The Son. Vishnu. 3. The Holy Spirit. Brahma.
4. The Monad. The One. 4. The cosmic Christ. 4. The vehicle of life and of incarnation.
5. The eternal Will or Purpose. 5. Eternal Love-Wisdom. 5. Eternal activity and intelligence.
6. The great Breath. 6. The AUM. 6. The Worlds.
7. Life. 7. Consciousness Aspect. 7. Activity Aspect.
8. Synthesizing Energy. 8. Attractive Force. 8. Matter.
9. First Aspect. 9. Second Aspect. 9. Third Aspect.
In the mind of man these three aspects are confused and that which is outward and objective is usually recognized as reality. This is the great maya or illusion and can only be dissipated when the perceiver can distinguish the three great aspects in every form, his own included. When the second aspect, the soul, the middle or mediating principle is known, the nature of the form is also known, and the essential nature of spirit can be inferred. The immediate field of knowledge, however, which the yogi has to master is that of the second aspect. He must arrive at the Sound or Word which brought every form into manifestation, and which is the result of the breath, the essence or spirit.
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. All things were made by Him…” (John I, 1, 2.)
Here, in the Christian Bible, is the substance of the entire teaching, and in the significance of the three letters of the Sacred Word, AUM, lies the clue to the entire cosmic process. The meditation process when duly and correctly carried out reveals therefore the second or soul aspect, and the Sound, or Word (the Voice of the Silence) can then be heard.
Once heard and the work carried steadily forward, the realm of consciousness is revealed and the yogi is en rapport with the second aspect of his own nature and with the second aspect in every form. This is the basis of the whole science of the soul and leads a man to know his own soul or psyche and the psyche in every form of divine life. It is the foundation for the entire science of psychism, both in its higher and lower aspects.
When a man is a lower psychic he is aware of, and responds to the soul aspect of the material forms and the third or Brahma aspect (the body), dominates, for every atom of matter has a soul. This concerns all that is subhuman.
When he responds to the higher correspondence of this, to the reality of which the lower is but the shadow, he is in touch with the Christ consciousness, with the soul of his being which is one with the soul in all the superhuman kingdoms.
In connection with this, two things must be remembered. If he is a lower psychic he is in touch with the second aspect of the lower man, the astral body, the middle principle in the lower man, linking the mental body and the etheric. He is, therefore, en rapport with all that can be contacted on that plane.
If, however, he is a higher psychic he is en rapport with the second aspect of divine manifestation, the ego or soul on its own plane, mediating between and linking the monad with the personality, spirit with the body.
It is interesting here to note that a clue to the truth of this can be found in the manifestations of lower psychism such as are seen in the average mediumistic seance and the ordinary type of spiritualism. Contact with the astral plane is made through that great center, the solar plexus which links the higher three centers and the lower. It accounts also for the fact that flowers are such a feature in materializations at seances, for the vegetable kingdom is the middle kingdom of the three subhuman kingdoms, mineral, vegetable, and animal. The explanation as to the prevalence of Indian guides is also found here, for they are the shells and powerful thought-forms left by the second of the three strictly human races, Lemurian, Atlantean and Aryan. No Lemurian shells or thought-forms are left now, but many Atlantean shells are still to be found preserved through the use of certain forms of Atlantean magic.
By concentrated meditation upon the distinction between these aspects there will eventually come a hearing of the Voice of the Silence and contact with a man’s own second aspect. He will know himself as the “Word made flesh” and will recognize himself as the AUM.
When this is the case he will then hear the word in other units of the human family, and will awaken to a recognition of the sound, as it is emanated by all forms in all the kingdoms of nature. The realm of the soul will stand open to him and this, when it includes recognition of the sound in all the four kingdoms, will lead him to know himself as Master. Soul knowledge and the power to work with the soul of all things in the three worlds is the distinctive mark of the Adept.
18. Knowledge of previous incarnations becomes available when the power to see thought-images is acquired.
The significance of this sutra is very great, for it gives the basis for the regaining of a knowledge of past experience. This basis is strictly mental, and only those mentally polarized and with the mind under control can regain this knowledge if they so wish. The power to see thought-images only comes through mind control, and the mind can only be controlled by the real or spiritual man. Therefore only egoically centered people can truly acquire this knowledge. It might be asked here what therefore do those people see who are emotional and not mental, when they claim to know who they are, and to relate the past lives of their friends? They are reading the akashic records and because their mental control and equipment are not adequate, they cannot discriminate nor ascertain accurately what they see.
The akashic record is like an immense photographic film, registering all the desires and earth experiences of our planet. Those who perceive it will see pictured thereon:
- The life experiences of every human being since time began,
- The reactions to experience of the entire animal kingdom,
- The aggregation of the thought-forms of a kamic nature (based on desire) of every human unit throughout time. Herein lies the great deception of the records. Only a trained occultist can distinguish between actual experience and those astral pictures created by imagination and keen desire.
- The planetary “Dweller on the Threshold” with all that appertains to that term and all the aggregations of forms which are to be found in its environment.
The trained seer has learnt to dissociate that which pertains to his own aura and the aura of the planet (which is in actuality the akashic record). He can distinguish between those records which are:
- Hierarchical or pertaining to the work of the twelve Creative Hierarchies as they bring to concretion the plan of the Logos.
- Imaginative forms, the result of the desire-thought activity of the myriads of men, animated by desire for some form of experience or other.
- The historical record pertaining to races, nations, groups and families in their two great divisions on the physical plane and on the astral.
It should be borne in mind that every human being belongs to a physical family which constitutes his link with the animal kingdom, and also belongs to an astral family. Through that affiliation on the upward arc he is linked with his egoic group and on the downward arc with the vegetable kingdom.
- The astrological record, or the forms taken on the astral plane under the influence of the planetary forces. These are in two great groups.
- Those forms or pictures in the akasha produced by the inflow of solar force via the planets.
- Those forms or pictures which are produced by the inflow of cosmic force from one or other of the signs of the zodiac, that is, from their corresponding constellations.
These points are enumerated to show how impossible it is that the majority of the claims regarding past incarnations can be true. They are the result of a vivid imagination and the assumption that the flashes of astral sight which reveal glimpses of the akashic film give that which pertains to the one who sees. This is not the case any more than the people and activities seen out of any window in a big city reveal to the onlooker his own relatives, friends and pursuits.
The knowledge referred to in the sutra comes in three ways:
- Direct ability to see the records if so desired. This form of acquiring knowledge is seldom employed except by initiates and adepts in connection with their pledged disciples.
- Through direct knowledge of the group activities and relations of a man’s own ego. This, however, only covers that cycle of time which began when a man stepped upon the probationary path. Experiences prior to that are relatively of no more vital importance than is a second in the life of an old man as he passes in retrospect his long life. All that stands out are events and happenings and not the individual hours and seconds.
- Through the instinctual life. This is based on memory, on acquired faculty and capacity and on the possession of those qualities which go to the equipment of the ego. The ego knows that the possession of the power to do thus and so in the three worlds, is the direct result of past experience, and knows too that certain effects are only to be achieved through certain causes. These he arrives at through concentrated meditation.
The thought images he becomes aware of are:
- Those in his aura at the time of his meditation,
- Those in his immediate environment,
- Those of his present family, group and race,
- Those of his present life cycle,
- These of his egoic group.
Thus through the process of elimination he gradually works his way through grade after grade of thought images until he arrives at the particular layer of thought impression which deals with the cycle about which he is concerning himself. This is not therefore simply a perception of certain aspects of the records, but a definitely scientific process, known only to the trained occultist.
19: Through concentrated meditation, the thought images in the minds of other people become apparent.
It should be remembered that the result of the eight means of yoga is to produce a yogi or trained knower. He is, therefore, one who concerns himself with causes and not with effects. He perceives that which causes the tangible to appear, that is the thoughts which start into motion the forces of substance and eventually produce the concretion of that substance.
The use of this power to read the minds of others is only permitted to the yogi in those cases where it is necessary for him to understand the causes, lying back of certain events, and this only in order to work out intelligently the plans of the Hierarchy and of evolution. The power here is analogous to that of telepathy but it is not identical. Telepathy entails the tuning in of one mind with another, and necessitates their being en rapport. This faculty of the trained seer is more in the nature of an act of the will and the manipulation of certain forces whereby he can instantly see what he wants in any aura at any time.
The subject of his investigation may be attuned to him or not; through intense meditation and the use of the will faculty thought images stand revealed. This power is a dangerous one to use and is only permitted to trained disciples.
Excerpted from “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 3 – Union achieved and its Results”
By Alice Bailey and Djwhal Kuhl