Nirvana in the Blue Books

15. Non-attachment is freedom from longing for all objects of desire, either earthly or traditional, either here or hereafter.

Non-attachment can also be described as thirstlessness. This is the most correct occult term to use as it involves the dual idea of water, the symbol of material existence, and desire, the quality of the astral plane, whose symbol is also water. The idea of man being the “fish” is curiously complete here. This symbol (as is the case with all symbols) has seven meanings; two are of use in this place:

  1. The fish is the symbol of the Vishnu aspect, the Christ principle, the second aspect of divinity, the Christ in incarnation, whether it is the cosmic Christ (expressing Himself through a solar system) or the individual Christ the potential savior within each human being. This is the “Christ in you, the hope of glory!” If the student will also study the fish Avatar of Vishnu he will learn still more.
  2. The fish swimming in the waters of matter, an extension of the same idea only carried down to its more obvious present expression, man as the personality.

Where there is no longing for any object whatsoever, and where there is no desire for rebirth (ever the outcome of longing for “form-expression” or material manifestation) then the true thirstlessness is attained, and the liberated man turns his back upon all the forms in the lower three worlds and becomes a true savior.

In the Bhagavad Gita the following illuminating words are found:

“For the possessors of wisdom, united in soul-vision, giving up the fruit of works, freed from the bondage of rebirth, reach the home where no sorrow dwells.

“When thy soul shall pass beyond the forest of delusion, thou shalt no more regard what shall be taught or what has been taught.

“When withdrawn from traditional teaching, thy soul shall stand steadfast, firm in soul-vision, then shalt thou gain union with the Soul.” (Gita II, 51, 52 and 53.)

J. H. Woods makes this clear in his translation of the comment by Veda Vyasa which is here appended:

Passionless is the consciousness of being Master on the part of one who has rid himself of thirst for either seen or revealed objects.”

“The mind stuff (chitta) – if it be rid of thirst for objects that are seen, such as women, or food or drink or power, if it be rid of thirst for the object revealed (in the Vedas) such as the attainment of Heaven or of the discarnate state or of resolution into primary matter – if even when in contact with objects either supernormal or not, it be, by virtue of elevation, aware of the inadequateness of objects – will have a consciousness of being Master…”

The word “traditional” carries the student’s thought away from that which is usually regarded as the object of sensuous perception into the world of thought forms, into that “forest of delusion” which is constructed of men’s ideas about God, heaven or hell. The sublimation of all this and its highest expression in the three worlds is that “devachan” which is the goal of the majority of the sons of men. Devachanic experience must, however, be transformed eventually into nirvanic realization. It may be of value to the student to remember that heaven, the object of aspirational desire, which is the outcome of traditional teaching, and of all formulations of doctrinal faiths has several meanings to the occultist. For the purpose of a clearer understanding the following may be found to be of use:

  1. Heaven, that state of consciousness upon the astral plane which is the concretion of the longing and desire of the aspirant for rest, peace and happiness. It is based upon the “forms of joy.” It is a condition of sensuous enjoyment, and being constructed for himself by each individual is as varied as there are people participating in it. Non-attachment has to be achieved with respect to heaven. It is realized as enjoyed by the lower self, and by the man when bereft only of his physical body, prior to passing out of the astral body on to the mental plane.
  2. Devachan, that state of consciousness upon the mental plane into which the soul passes when deprived of its astral body and functioning in, or limited by, its mental body. It is of a higher order than the ordinary heaven and the bliss enjoyed is more mental than we ordinarily understand by the word, yet nevertheless it is still within the lower world of form and will be transcended when non-attachment is known.
  3. Nirvana, that condition into which the adept passes when the three lower worlds are no longer “attached” to him through his inclinations or karma, and which he experiences after he has:

a. Taken certain initiations,
b. Freed himself from the three worlds,
c. Organized his Christ body.

Strictly speaking those adepts who have achieved non-attachment but who have chosen to sacrifice themselves and abide with the sons of men in order to serve and help them are not technically Nirvanis. They are Lords of Compassion pledged to “suffer” with, and to be governed by, certain conditions analogous to (though not identical with) the conditions governing men who are still attached to the world of form.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 1 – The Problem of Union


Stage VI – The Chela within the Master’s Heart

We arrive now at a consideration of the last of the six stages of discipleship. This was described by me in the following terms:

“The stage where the disciple is in close touch always; he is being definitely prepared for immediate initiation or having taken initiation – is given specialized work. At this stage he is described as a Chela within his Master’s Heart.”

One thing I would here emphasize as I seek to give some light upon this subject. Being within the Master’s Heart in no way indicates a love-relationship between Master and disciple. The normal reaction is that at last the disciple has merited the right to be truly loved and, therefore, to be truly close to the Master. His life or lives of service have brought him at last the reward; he has now free access to the Master in the closest possible and mutual relationship of loving understanding. This stage of discipleship has absolutely no reference to this at all.

For another thing, brother of mine, when the disciple reaches this stage he is no longer what you understand by an accepted disciple. He is an initiate of high standing and of elevated degree and has passed out of the supervision and the safeguarding of a Master into a direct relation with the Master of all the Masters, the Christ, who is the central point in the Hierarchy, just as the Master is the central point in an ashram. The Master is the heart of his group and the Christ is the heart of the Hierarchy. The closer one gets to realization, the clearer becomes the concept that the point at the center and the periphery are one.

The significance of the word “heart” is the significance of life itself, as it beats eternally at the very heart of the universe. Within that life, the initiate now consciously stands, realizing himself not so much as being a recipient of life, but as a distributor of life. This is a very different thing and holds the key to this stage of discipleship.

The “Master’s Heart” is a technical term, indicating the sources of life and many analogous interpretations. There is at this stage and after a certain major initiation, a direct line of energy or of life – sensed, recognized, active and utilized – between the conscious disciple and

  1. The disciple’s heart center.
  2. The heart center in the head.
  3. The egoic lotus, which (until the fourth initiation) is the heart center of the monadic life.
  4. The Master at the center of his group.
  5. The Christ, the heart center of the Hierarchy.
  6. The life of the Monad which begins to make itself felt at the third initiation.
  7. The Lord of Life himself, the heart center of Shamballa.

The line of relationship then extends from these onward and outward, and upward (spherically considered) to the Life at the very center of our Earth’s “alter ego,” the planet Venus, to Jupiter and thence to the solar Lord himself and on to a point in the Sun, Sirius. You can see, therefore, how different this stage is from what might be imagined. It is one which marks a new departure or beginning and a great transition. It is a stage which one enters through the open door of Nirvana, the beginning of the Path of the Higher Evolution. It is a stage which marks a specific location (if such an inappropriate word can be used) of the disciple upon that upward Way which is revealed by the lighted Way; it is the attainment of the innermost point of realization, called esoterically “within the heart.”

Discipleship in the New Age I – The Six Stages of Discipleship – Part IX


We are on that path of transition (can we call it the Path of Discipleship?) which will lead us into a new dimension, into the interior world of true fact and right energy. It is a world in which only the spiritual body can function and only the eye of spirit can see. It cannot be perceived by those whose inner perception is unawakened and whose intuition sleeps. When the spiritual body begins to be organized and to grow, and when the eye of wisdom slowly opens and trains itself to see truly, then there will come the indications that the Christ, latent in each son of God, is beginning to control and to lead man into the world of spiritual being, true meaning and essential values. This world is the kingdom of God, the world of souls, and – when manifested – is that expression of divine life which we can call the fifth kingdom in nature. But it cannot yet be generally perceived. It is through the process of initiation that this world stands revealed.

Before initiation can be given, the significance of the above ideas must be grasped, and certain great developments are necessarily presupposed. These requirements can be seen working out in the life of every disciple at this time, and, for those who have eyes to see, they can be seen actively bringing changes in the race.

Aspiration is a basic requirement, both in the individual and in the race. Today humanity aspires to great heights, and this aspiration is responsible for the great national movements seen in so many countries. At the same time, individual disciples are striving anew towards illumination, incited thereto by their longing to meet world need. Spiritual selfishness, which has been such a characteristic of aspirants in the past, has to be transcended and transmuted into love of man and a sharing in the “fellowship of Christ’s sufferings.” (Phil., III, 10.) Self must be lost to sight in service. Service is rapidly becoming the keynote of the time, and one of the incentives in racial endeavor. The meeting of disaster and the undergoing of painful experiences is ever the lot of the individual disciple. It is becoming obvious that the world disciple, humanity itself, is now deemed worthy of such a testing. This universality of difficulty, in every department of human life and excluding no group, indicates that mankind as a whole is being prepared for initiation. There is purpose underlying what is happening today. The birth pangs of the Christ within the race have begun, and the Christ will be born in the “House of Bread” (which is the meaning of the word “Bethlehem”). The implications of our present world pain and suffering are too obvious to need further explanation. There is purpose underlying all world affairs at this time, and there is reward at the end of the way. Some day, sooner perhaps than many may think, the portals of initiation will open wide to the suffering world disciple (as they have ever opened in the past to individuals), and humanity will enter into a new Kingdom and stand before that mysterious Presence Whose light and wisdom shone forth before the world through the Person of Christ, and Whose voice was heard at each of the five crises through which Christ passed. Then will mankind enter into the world of causes and of knowing. We shall dwell in the inner world of reality, and the outer appearance of physical living will be known to be only symbolic of inner conditions and happenings. Then we shall begin to work and live as those who are initiate in the mysteries, and our lives will be regulated from the realm of reality where Christ and His Disciples of all time (the Church invisible) guide and control human affairs.

The goal which They have in view and the end towards which They are working has been summed up for us in a commentary upon an ancient Tibetan scripture. The words are as follows:

“All beauty, all goodness, all that makes for the eradication of sorrow and ignorance upon earth must be devoted to the one Great Consummation. Then when the Lords of Compassion shall have spiritually civilized the Earth and made of it a Heaven, there will be revealed to the Pilgrims the Endless Path, which reaches to the heart of the universe. Man, then no longer man, will transcend Nature, and impersonally, yet consciously, in at-one-ment with all the Enlightened Ones, help to fulfil the Law of the Higher Evolution, of which Nirvana is but the beginning.”

Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines, by W.Y. Evans-Wentz, p. 12.

Such is our goal. Such our glorious objective. How can we progress towards this consummation? What is the first step that we must take? In the words of an unknown poet:

“When thou canst see
Beneath the outer seeming
The causes which to all effects give birth,
When thou canst feel, in warmth of sunlight streaming
The Love of God, encircling all the earth,
Then know thyself initiate in the Mysteries
The wise men ever deemed of greatest worth.”

From Bethlehem to Calvary – Chapter One – Introductory Remarks on Initiation


This rather unexpected responsive activity has necessitated much increased activity on the part of the Hierarchy, in order to offset the consequences of any premature inflow of the will force. After the third initiation, when the soul body, the causal body, starts to dissipate, the line of relation or of connection can be and is direct. The initiate then “stands in the ocean of love, and through him pours that love; his will is love and he can safely work, for love divine will color all his will, and he can wisely serve.” Love and intelligence then become the servants of the will. Soul energy and personality force contribute to the experience of the Monad in the three worlds of life service, and then the agelong task of the incarnating spiritual man is finally accomplished. He is ready for Nirvana, which is but the Way into new fields of spiritual experience and of divine development – incomprehensible as yet, even to the initiate of the third degree. This Way is revealed only when the antahkarana is built and completed and the man becomes focused in the Triad as consciously as he is now focused in the threefold lower nature.

Then, and then only, is the true dualism of the divine nature apparent and the illusory duality disappears. Then you have Spirit-matter, Life-form. For this the triple experience of the unfolding consciousness is only preparatory. Through the unfolding consciousness, the initiate knows the significance of life and the uses of form, but stands completely unidentified with either, though blending these dualities in himself into a conscious synthesis. The attempt to convey his state of mind, in words that but limit and confuse, leads to apparent contradictions, and this is one of the peculiar paradoxes of the occult science. Do the above imparted facts make sense to you? Have they meaning for your mind? I think not. You have not yet the needed equipment through which the type of implied awareness can work, or the realization of that true Self-consciousness which would produce in you an understanding reaction. I simply, make the esoteric assertion; later will come apprehension of the truth and that consequent energizing which always comes when any abstract truth is truly appreciated and assimilated. But the time has not yet come for the comprehension of the above information. Disciples and aspirants grow through the means of a presented vision – unattainable as yet but definitely an extension of the known and previously grasped. Such is the mode of evolution, for it is ever a pressing forward towards the sensed.

The Rays and the Initiations – Part Two – Section One – The Aspirant and the Mysteries of Initiation


After the major initiations are undergone, the state of consciousness of the illumined and liberated adept is such that language serves only to blind and to hinder true understanding. The consciousness of the initiate is of so lofty a nature that it can only be described in terms of release, of negation, and through the emphasis of that which it is not. It is a state of No-thing and Non-ego, for all egoic awareness is superseded by a state of Being and of consciousness which is only capable of comprehension and expression when form life is of no further use to the perfected spiritual life. It is a state of non-individuality, yet with the subconscious knowledge and gains of the individual experience. The center of consciousness is so far removed from any individual separate identity that that particular factor has faded entirely out, and only the macrocosmic life is sentiently realized. It is a state of non-activity from our present angle of vision, because all individual reactions to the activity of matter or to that state of being which we call egoic, have dropped away, and Life and Mind can no longer be swept into motion by any of the factors which have hitherto produced what we have called soul activity and form existence.

Nevertheless, though the consciousness is other than all that has been hitherto known, and though it can only be expressed in terms of negation, the truth must be borne constantly in mind that the greater awareness must always include the lesser awareness. Consequently all possible actions and reactions, identifications and focusings, awarenesses and contacts, ray impulses, approaches and withdrawals, and all possible expressions of the divine activity and qualities, phenomenal and non-phenomenal, are included in the state of Being which is now the natural state of the liberated and enlightened spiritual Existence. All are possible of recovery through the will or in response to a need, but the spiritual Being is no longer held by them or identified with them. Each of the stages on the great Path of Liberation or Enlightenment with which we have been concerned – Individualization, Initiation and Identification – have led the Life or the spiritual, interior man, from point to point, from quality to quality, from realization to realization, from phenomenal appearance to spiritual living, from physical awareness to sentient, emotional awareness, and from that to mental differentiation and separateness. He has been carried from hell to heaven, from heaven to Nirvana, from the life-conditioning of the personal Ego to that of the group soul, and thence to that of the liberated state of pure intuitional life. He has passed from form experience as a whole to that complete freedom from all vibratory impressions which it is the nature of pure Being (divorced from phenomenal existence) to demonstrate. But at the same time, nothing is lost of capacity, or quality or of sentient awareness. This is beautifully expressed for us in the words of the Old Commentary, found in the archives of the Masters.

“The quality of life fades out.
It flickers and is gone.
Yet the Blessed Ones reveal at will that quality.
The color pure remains.

The nature of life in form fails to appear.
It flashes forth a little while, then disappears.
The Blessed Ones, at will, can take a form,
yet are not then the form.

The seven great rays sweep into manifested life.
They are, and then are not. All is and all is not.
But the Blessed Ones at any time can sweep forth into manifested light.
They carry then the potencies of spirit to meet the need expressed.
Light holds Them not; Their purpose is not imprisoned; Their will is not subdued.
They appear and disappear at will.”

(An expression of the truth of this can be seen demonstrating in the world each full moon of May, when the Buddha flashes forth into manifestation, for the fulfilment of the Plan and at the urgent behest of His own spiritual will.)

“Naught holds the Blessed Ones.
Neither the deities nor form; neither desire nor mind;
nor any quality of life.
Pure life they are; pure being and pure will;
pure love and pure intent;
this is all that unenlightened man can grasp, and only that in part.

  • The Blessed Ones are not, and yet They are.
  • The Blessed Ones know naught, and yet know all.
  • The Blessed Ones love not, yet offer love divine.
  • The Blessed Ones remember not, yet all is recollection.
  • The Blessed Ones remain in isolation pure; and yet at will can take a form.
  • The Blessed Ones dwell ever in the high and lofty place, yet oft can walk on earth in light phenomenal.
  • The Blessed Ones manifest not through form; yet are all forms and all intents.”

Esoteric Psychology II – Chapter I – The Egoic Ray – The Growth of Soul Influence


(1) The Period of Pralaya between two Incarnations

This is of a triple nature and affects the substance of the three vehicles, physical, astral and mental, reducing the form to its primitive substance, and dissipating its atomic structure. The energy of the second aspect (that of the form-builder) is withdrawn by the will of the Ego, and the atoms composing the form become dissociated from each other, and are resolved into the reservoir of essence to be recollected again when the hour strikes. This condition is brought about gradually by stages of which we are aware.

The first stage is the withdrawal of the life force in the etheric vehicle from the threefold (dense, liquid and gaseous) dense physical body and the consequent “falling into corruption,” and becoming “scattered to the elements.” Objective man fades out, and is no more seen by the physical eye, though still in his etheric body. When etheric vision is developed, the thought of death will assume very different proportions. When a man can be seen functioning in his etheric physical body by the majority of the race, the dropping of the dense body will be considered just a “release.”

The next stage is the withdrawal of the life force from the etheric body or coil, and its devitalization. The etheric coil is but an extension of one aspect of the sutratma or thread, and this thread is spun by the Ego from within the causal body much as a spider spins a thread. It can be shortened or extended at will, and when the period of pralaya has been decided upon, this thread of light, or of solar fire (note the word “solar”) is withdrawn, and gathered back to the atomic subplane where it will still vitalize the permanent atom and hold it connected within the causal body. The life impulses are then – as far as the physical plane is concerned – centralized within the atomic sphere.

The third stage is the withdrawal of the life force from so that it disintegrates in a similar manner and the life is centralized within the astral permanent atom. It has gained an increase of vitality through physical plane existence, and added color through astral experience.

The final stage for the human atom is its withdrawal from the mental vehicle. The life forces after this fourfold abstraction are centralized entirely within the egoic sphere; contact with the three lower planes is still inherently possible by means of the permanent atoms, the force centers of the three personality aspects.

In each incarnation the life forces have gained through the utilization of the vehicles,

  1. An increased activity, which is stored in the physical permanent atom.
  2. An added coloring, which is stored in the astral permanent atom.
  3. A developed quality of strength, or purpose in action, which is stored in the mental unit.

These are wrought into faculty in devachan.

Devachan is a state of consciousness, reflecting, in the life of the Personality, that higher state which we call nirvanic consciousness, and which is brought about by egoic action. It is but a dim reflection in the separated units (and therefore tinged with selfishness and separative pleasure) of the group condition called nirvanic. In this high state of consciousness each separate identity, though self-realizing, shares in the group realization, and therein lies bliss for the unit. Separation is no longer felt, only unity and essential oneness is known. Therefore, as might be naturally deduced, there is no devachan for the savage or little evolved man, as they merit it not, and have not the mentality to realize it; hence, therefore, the rapidity of their incarnations, and the brevity of the pralayic period. There is little in their case for the Ego, on its own plane, to assimilate in the residue of incarnations, and hence the life principle withdraws rapidly from out of the mental form, with the resulting impulse of the Ego to reincarnate almost immediately.

When the life of the personality has been full and rich, yet has not reached the stage wherein the personal self can consciously cooperate with the ego, periods of personality nirvana are undergone, their length depending upon the interest of the life, and the ability of the man to meditate upon experience. Later, when the Ego dominates the personality life, the interest of the man is raised to higher levels, and the nirvana of the soul becomes his goal. He has no interest in devachan. Therefore, those upon the Path (either the probationary Path, or the Path of Initiation) do not, as a rule, go to devachan, but immediate incarnation becomes the rule in the turning of the wheel of life; this time it is brought about by the conscious cooperation of the personal Self with the divine Self or Ego.

A Treatise on Cosmic Fire – Section Two – Division D – Thought Elementals and Fire Elementals

Towards Freedom – Power

It may seem a little out of place to start discussing power in the context of freedom and equanimity, but it is necessary. Until you have more than a notion of your relationship to power and with power, it is difficult to have balance. Power of course has many meanings, there are many types of power and it comes in all shades. There is power in the sense of dominance, power in the sense of ability, power in knowledge and power as in material plane enforcement. Power is a vast topic itself. Some people have power, that can be positional or organisational power, it can be personal power, it can be muscular power or sexual power. There is the saying that power corrupts, though it need not, it often does. Humanity has a bit of a thing for and about societal power; it has a status hang up.

If you wield power in the sense of political or corporate power, it is unlikely that you will have equanimity and peace. This is because people are so often fighting for power. Even if your powerful position is secure, by the very nature of that position you will be required to make decisions. Those decisions are a responsibility of positional power and rarely do they come with serenity and peace. It is not the fate of most people to learn what high positional power means and those so called are in for a bit of a tough time. All societies have leaders, and these are of varying ability and quality. Some seek power with a thirst. And it is many that are so drawn who end up abusing power. Power has many traps associated for those drawn to it.

In the context of freedom, it is useful to figure out what has power over you and then adjust that situation. Things that have power over you can be as simple as arachnophobia. If a simple spider makes you come out in a sweat, then you are not free of spiders. A tiny creature can evoke a massive drama. It is not the spider’s fault, it is your reaction. For whatever reason you have a fear and a drama associated in your mind with spiders. Chances are this is disproportionate. Few spiders attack humans just because there is nothing better on the TV to watch. People have hang ups about a host of things and this restricts their liberty. Anything which can evoke drama upsets balance.  If small creatures have power over you, then what does that say about your level of mental control and balance?

Similarly, because of co-dependency, there are many people who have power over you. Some will go out of their way to manipulate you into a dependency and if you are so oriented you might even seek such people out, whether consciously or not. There are a multitude of buttons available to others for the pressing of. If at the pressing of a button off you trot into drama, then that button and the finger thereupon, have power over you. It can evoke drama and lack of control, you are off balance and flailing around. It is in this dependency and co-dependency that people give their power away to others. If you want to be free, then you do not need other beings having emotional power over you.

Many of the things that have power over you are to be found in the truck load of baggage which most adults carry with them. There may be shame, wounds, ambitions, unresolved conflict, grudges, guilt, vengeance, fear, unrequited love etc… The list is often long and until you have clarity on where the button comes from, it will stand proud and beckoning. It is in unpacking the baggage and by examination that one can begin to understand and slowly loosen the power over which is held. To be relatively free of buttons is to have more freedom generally. One is not beholden to the past and the narratives of it, which if we bear in mind the likelihood of selective perception are in any case often inaccurate. Memories and history are prevalent members of the set of buttons which are the indicators of something that has power over.  A skilled manipulator can spot these a mile off and press them at will.

If you seek freedom, then you must defend it. This may sound ever so slightly bellicose, but one has to fight to extract oneself from situations in which things, people and ideas have power over you. The past has power over most and reorienting the past in such a manner as to be free of it, is no easy task. The common dream advertises that building memories for your dotage is a good thing, but who can really live in a sepia or rose-tinted world? It is not real. It is imagined and unreliable of recall. To build “memories” is to never be free of them. This is perhaps slightly radical but do consider this. If you live in a mish mash recollection of the past, what do you make of the present, if you even notice it all? To be bound thus, is to not experience the now.

I have used bound, shackles and manacles already in this text, emotive words of slavery and imprisonment. It is up to you to figure out if I am by metaphor over egging the pudding. Until the duvet of illusion is pulled off, there is a cosy familiarity which can seemingly be justified.

Of course, in any material society there will be people and organisations that have temporal power over the circumstances of your life. Short of going off into the wild, this will always be the case. The freedom of complete anarchy is not currently possible in large society, this need not impinge overly on your state of mind, your mental freedom. One can see it for what it is, do the minimum necessary to be a “good” citizen and not feel overly oppressed by the apparatus of state. Within this framework it is possible not to succumb to ideological power over. People will do whatever they do, they will think whatever and opine ad infinitum. None of this need impact on your own equanimity. One does not have to agree, or argue or succumb. If your own mind is clear it is not overly perturbed by the folly and behaviours of others. Unless they are directly intent on harming or manipulating you, they are not direct threats. In keeping your centre, you can rise above it. If you cannot resist the pull of hive or herd mind, then it has power over you, which means you are not yet free of it.

As you begin to see though your own façade, understand your self and get close to your true nature, you will be acquiring power in the sense of knowledge. That knowledge pertains not only to you as a being but to other beings. This knowledge then opens up choices, possibilities for you which were hitherto not available, you have more personal power and more freedom. Freedom is in your choice as to how you respond to whatever life throws at you. There will be a reduced rigidity and an enhanced flexibility of living. With more personal power comes the temptation to exploit that power and perhaps use situations and others to your “advantage”. With all growth in personal power comes temptation. In the absence there are few choices. When there is a plethora of choices available some will not be life enhancing. If you are so inclined, you may use your personal power to exert power over others. As alluded to above that way is not freedom. How can one be free if one enslaves? It is not possible.

I have briefly touched on power here. Learning to handle new found personal power is a part of the walk to freedom. Keeping oneself grounded and developing humility offsets the temptation of power, which can enslave. In this sense knowledge is power which without wisdom and discernment can be a dangerous thing.

Is Knowledge Sectarian?

I’ll wager that there are not more than a few people on this planet who have a Ph.D. in Chemical Physics and over 50 peer reviewed science articles and who have successfully completed a foundation course in North American Indian and Runic shamanism.

I am still reading Le Chamanisme by Mircea Eliade which is a weighty tome and in French. I am about four fifths of the way through, and I am getting to learn some vocabulary that you won’t normally come across. In principle I am “qualified” to set up shop doing dream analysis, healing, shamanic journeying etc.. I have also just put some spirit vinegar, some water and some sodium chloride into the kettle. The latter decreases the pH by the common ion effect. The idea is to remove the calcium carbonate deposits.

For me knowledge in not sectarian.

When I first started the course on shamanism, the people when they found out my background, were very suspicious of my motives for being there, even when I told them that one of my maternal relatives was allegedly a witch. I suspect that many of my science contacts would have thought me a bit of a fruitcake. At this level, yes “knowledge” is sectarian.

In my prior incarnation as a science academic, I have met physicists who have thought themselves better, purer and perhaps brainer than chemists. So even at this level there is a measure of sectarianism. Physics is pure, chemistry is dirty.

Reading the thesis I found the other day, I noted to myself that I really have very little idea what goes on in social sciences, history, even biology at universities. My ignorance is large. When I used to do tutoring for UK Grad for Ph.D. students from all disciplines, I ran a session on careers in academia. Because I am very informal there were no taboos. These were well attended, and I was amazed at how hard it was for not scientists and engineers to get funded for their research. I was fascinated by the stories of some of them getting “white glove” only access to manuscripts. I really badly wanted to go along on one such visit. These people were in many ways more dedicated than the students I knew. Their theses took longer to complete. It wasn’t bang of a couple off papers’ worth of data, write a book and then done.

We don’t really know what goes on in other disciplines. Put me in an organic chemistry synthesis lab and I would not have a clue what to do. I would be more at home in a physics lab than a chemistry one. Someone once told me that doing a Ph.D. was about learning more and more about less and less. But these days much of the interesting science and the new frontiers lies at the interface between “disciplines” and the interface between length scales.

What struck me reading the accounts from over a hundred years ago was how much more interest in things other than the well-defined there was then than there are now. We can define ourselves as a scientist, have a degree of Doctor of Philosophy but be completely disinterested in philosophy and sacerdotal things.

We may show a highly sectarian and judgemental view of things New Age {for example} and we may do this without any exploration thereof. We may be prejudiced against before any inquiry.

Are we in fact by this kind of behaviour being retrogressive?

What about the interface between science knowledge and sacred knowledge?

It certainly does not smack of any renaissance or renascence…

I doubt knowledge itself can be sectarian, those holding it, in possession of it, can be sectarian in outlook.

It Takes Power to Talk About Power

This is the aphorism I mentioned paraphrased. I could have written it; it requires some knowledge to speak about knowledge in a meaningful way. Or even; one has to have at least a modicum of wisdom to speak wisely about wisdom, its acquisition and application.

For me personally these Toltec aphorisms are by nature profound and succinct. It would be relatively easy to expand each one of them up into thousands of words.

Take the alternative meaning of power, the one of positional or political power. Until one has had a modicum of this one does not know what it feels like to wield power. One is also unaware of the temptations posed by such power. One might even get caught snogging an aide in front of a security camera.

Power of this nature cannot really be speculated upon; it has to be experienced. There are many people who might seek power but then when they have it be unable to use it or wield it. They may not like the flip side of “responsibility” which comes with great power as Spiderman alleges. The notion of power is one thing, its yoke quite another. There is another aphorism of my own writing.

“Power can do weird shit to people, man.”

When I started teaching it was before the days of PowerPoint. One used an overhead projector or old-fashioned chalk. I thought I was a smart young gun. That was until I tried to do a live chalk-based derivation of some rate laws in front of a hundred ultra-smart undergraduates. I nearly shit my pants when I had brain freeze and white out in front of the blackboard. Boy did I prepare well after that!!

Yellow chalk and black Levi’s are an interesting combination, be careful where you put your hands…

There is a strange quirk to my character that makes it difficult for me to teach other people. I genuinely have to understand it before I am comfortable teaching it. And for an INFJ that means understanding it on many levels and comprehensively. Others are able to confidently teach material without having to probe it, so far. Those that learn by rote to pass exams can teach by rote too. Because I don’t have a binary right / wrong orientation sometimes those brought up in a “I must pass exams” education system have initially found my methods lacking in confidence of delivery. They want to “know” the answer and I want to know even more questions. I want to fathom.

I had a break from undergraduate teaching for a long while. Then when I came to teach some of the material that I had done previously I started to find holes in the textbook derivations, too many shortcuts, wide generalisations. I found myself going back to square one and checking a whole bunch of stuff that I would have previously taken for granted.

There were some mistakes!!

I have had minor exposure to power back in the days of the start-up. Strange how I was more attractive to the ladies when I had board meetings and shares. At the moment in terms of material or temporal power I am powerless.

I can however say that powerlessness has its own special kind of power under certain circumstances. It takes powerlessness to speak on the power of powerlessness.

Having taught some material over a number of years, one can say that one’s understanding of that material changes with time. It is funny how a new facet and new insight can be had from the very same words. Even when we think we know, there is nearly always another level, should we be open enough to inquire.

One’s knowledge at any given time is just a snapshot of knowledge at that point in time, it is wise to acknowledge that this is all that it is, a fleeting understanding in our journey of evolution upon which there is no destination only travel.

If you think anything is absolute you are wrong.

Even the gospel of science evolves in time. There are many examples of scientists being adamant and later being proven inaccurate by the evolution of the knowledge base.

I am comfortable talking about knowledge, wisdom and power, because I have a modicum of experience of these things.

It is up to you to assess if I am bullshitting or not…

Three Golden Crosses / Caretaker of Knowledge Dream 18-06-2009

The dream starts with a vison of three golden and radiant crosses spaced equally on the perimeter a golden-sun-like orb with a golden radiance.

I am them walking along beside a river dressed in my Yukata with some loose change in my hand. I come upon a family, and they are wondering about falling in the river. They have some shoes and I say that the ones with the heels are the best. Don’t worry about falling in the river you are very far from any waterfalls and the water is cool and refreshing.

The woman wonders if I am holding something back as all the gossip says. I say that no I am not.

Then I am in the Science Museum. I am caretaker. What better place for me than to be the caretaker of knowledge. I go into a room and there are some beautiful postcards of Buddha.

I hear deep melodious voices:

“We knew when you first came into being all those millions of years ago that this is how you would always live.  A life full of compassion and that you would always be a little mis-understood, a beautiful thing and that you would always do this for evermore.”

Dream ends.

Rule 14 – Know.

Rule XIV
For Applicants: Listen. Touch. See. Apply. Know.
For Disciples and Initiates: Know. Express. Reveal. Destroy. Resurrect.

The following relationships should be noted, for the first is the seed of the other.


Listen –  Know

Touch –  Express

See    –  Reveal

Apply  –  Destroy

Know  –  Resurrect

You will note that the applicant eventually arrives at knowledge and begins to know; the disciple or the initiate starts with knowing, and through his ability to express esoterically that which he knows is able to reveal the light, and by that light to destroy all illusion, glamor and maya; he brings about resurrection upon the physical plane – a resurrection from the death which physical plane life inevitably confers.

The five words as given to the applicant are indeed relatively simple. Most aspirants understand their meaning to a certain extent. They know that the listening mentioned has naught to do with the sense of physical hearing, and that the touch to be developed has reference to sensitivity and not the sensory perception of the physical vehicle. They know likewise that the sight to be cultivated is the power to see the beauty underlying form, to recognize the subjective divinity and to register also the love conveyed through the medium of symbols. The application of soul energy to the affairs of daily life and the establishing of those conditions which permit of soul knowledge are the elementary lessons of the aspirant. With these I need not deal, except in so far as they give the clue to the significance of the five words as given to the initiated disciple.

Let us take each of these five words and seek to ascertain their significance. But first of all, I would like to point out that here we are concerned with monadic signatures, with that which synthesizes significances, and with that which contributes vital significance to the initiated life. I would have you, as you read my words, retreat within yourselves and seek to think, feel and perceive at your highest possible level of consciousness. The effort to do this will bear much fruit and bring rich reward to you. You will not grasp the full intention of these words, but your sense of awareness will begin to react to triadal impression. I know not how else to word this, limited as I am by the necessity of language. You may not register anything consciously, for the brain of the average disciple is as yet insensitive to monadic vibration. Even if the disciple is capable of some responsiveness, there are not the needed words in which to express the sensed idea or to clothe the concept. It is therefore impossible to put the divine ideas into their ideal form and then bring them down into the world of meaning, and from thence into the world of symbols. What I say will therefore have more significance towards the close of this century, when men will have recovered from the chaos and cruelty of war, and when the new and higher spiritual influences are being steadily poured out. I write, my brothers, for the future.

1. Know

What is the difference between the knowing of the aspirant and the knowledge of the initiated disciple? It is the difference which exists between two differing fields and areas of perception. The aspirant is told first of all to “know thyself”; he is then told to know the relation of form and soul, and the area covered by his knowledge is that of the three worlds, plus the level upon the mental plane on which his soul is focused. The initiated disciple knows the relation of the periphery to the center, of the One to the many, and of unity to diversity. The applicant is concerned with triplicity: himself as the knower, his field of knowledge, and that which is the agent of knowing, the mind. The initiated disciple is beyond registering triplicity and is occupied with the duality of manifestation, with life-energy as it affects or is related to matter-force, with spirit and substance. The knowledge of the initiate has naught to do with consciousness as the mind recognizes that factor in the evolutionary process; his knowledge is related to the faculty of the intuition and to that divine perception which sees all things as within itself.Perhaps the simplest way to express the knowledge of the initiate is to say that it is direct awareness of God, thus putting it into mystical terms; the knowledge of the aspirant is related to that aspect of divinity which we call the soul in form. Putting this in still another way, I might point out that the aspirant is concerned with the knowledge of soul and matter, whilst the initiate is concerned with soul and spirit.

If I say to you, my brothers, that the knowledge of the initiate is concerned with that which is produced by Sound and not by the AUM or the OM, I shall have linked up these comments with much else given previously in the analysis of these fourteen rules. The “listening” of the aspirant has now been transformed into the effectual recognition of that which the Sound has created. I refer not here to the creation of the phenomenal world, or to the world of meaning which is essentially the Plan or the pattern underlying that phenomenal world, but to the intention or the Purpose which motivated the creative Sound; I am dealing with the impulsive energy which gives significance to activity and to the life-force which the Sound centralizes at Shamballa.

It is not the fault of humanity that it is only now possible for the significance of the divine purpose to emerge more clearly in the consciousness of the initiated disciple. It is a question of timing and of movement in space; it concerns the relation of the Hierarchy, working with the Plan, to Shamballa, the recipient (by means of the Sound) of the creative energy which it is the divine intention to expend in producing a perfect expression of the divine Idea. It is to the knowledge of this relationship and of its effects that the first word of Rule XIV refers.

Excerpted from:

The Rays and the Initiations – Part One – Fourteen Rules For Group Initiation

Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul

What You Think You Know

Summarising many of the quotes previous on knowledge; it is perhaps wise not to overestimate the extent, profundity, and depth of one’s assumed knowledge and/or understanding. Many have trouble not self-diagnosing a somewhat premature omniscience and that can cause them problems. If you are an expert in one field, it does not necessarily transfer to another. A genius in physics may have poor interpersonal skills for example, lack self-knowledge and interpersonal awareness.

Humanity is so very often convinced that it knows best and can be adamant that it is right or in the right.

It has been quite interesting for me trying a bit of French here and there. One of the stock responses I get from French people is that French is a difficult language to learn and speak. I resist the temptation to say compared to what, German, Latin or Japanese. I occasionally get a comment that my French is OK. {se debrouiller} I am guessing that the ability to speak and understand French across the Brit expat community is low to dire. The bar of expectation is set low. Occasionally, usually a younger person, has a go at English. To date nobody has taken me upon the suggestion that if they speak French and I speak English we should be able to communicate quite effectively.

I’ll make a statement here. Only one person really knows my ability to understand French, written and spoken, and my level of my less capable oral delivery, my French language teacher. The wife is a close second.

On the whole people here know that the level of Franglais is poor. I have even had someone talking louder to me in French because that will obviously aid my understanding. People think they know that Brits as a whole are shit at French. So, when the wife speaks, they are very pleasantly surprised. I have an inkling on occasion they prolong the conversation to see how good she is.

What people do not know is that when I am communicating with them I not only use my learned level of French but my skill at intuition and interpolation. Words that have a Latin root are latent in my four-decade old vocabulary.

There is a tacit assumption that if you can’t speak the lingo that you are less intelligent. It is a prejudice common across all cultures, I suspect.

I do not have to speak French because the wife is better at it. It is quite interesting to see French men uncomfortable talking to an English woman about technical matters whilst a near silent Welshman observes. They are much more used to speaking man to man {my guess}. I have used an interpreter in Japan, so I am comfortable with this, she was a woman.

Here is my assumption, they find it uncomfortable when I try to communicate in less than perfect French and would prefer to speak at normal pace with the wife in a higher quality of language. Even though I am there. They do not know how / when to make eye contact under this circumstance.

I know that these are suppositions and assumptions, they are by way of working hypotheses. I have not concluded. I know this.

The trouble is people often conclude before they have sufficient basis for any kind of conclusion and these conclusions turn into prejudice based on what you think you know.

Here is a question:

Is what you think you know just another way of saying prejudice and preconception?

Citations Connaissance

“La connaissance parle, mais la sagesse écoute.”

De Jimi Hendrix

“La connaissance des mots conduit à la connaissance des choses.”

De Platon

“La connaissance est en elle-même puissance.”

De Francis Bacon

“Le chemin de la connaissance est toujours à sens unique.”

De Claire France

“Trop de connaissance ne facilite pas les plus simples décisions.”

De Frank Herbert

“La connaissance est le début de l’action : l’action, l’accomplissement de la connaissance.”

De Wang Young Ming

“Plus j’avance dans la connaissance de mon “moi”, plus je m’approche de la connaissance de Dieu.”

De Saint Bernard

“L’accumulation des connaissances n’est pas la connaissance.”

De Alberto Manguel

“L’homme n’a pas pour but le plaisir, mais la connaissance.”

De Swami Vivekananda

“Deux choses participent de la connaissance : le silence tranquille et l’intériorité.”

De Bouddha

“L’opinion est quelque chose d’intermédiaire entre la connaissance et l’ignorance.”

De Platon

“La connaissance est une vieille erreur qui pense à sa jeunesse.”

De Francis Picabia

“La sagesse est la connaissance des choses divines et des choses humaines.”

De Cicéron

“La connaissance seule ne suffit pas ; elle n’a pas de cœur.”

De Dan Millman

“La connaissance sans la sagesse, est de l’intelligence artificielle.”

De Juliana M. Pavelka

“On ne saurait aller trop loin dans la connaissance de l’homme.”

De Emile Zola

“Le progrès de la connaissance se résume peut-être en une meilleure compréhension de notre ignorance.”

De Robert Mossé

“La connaissance n’est pas le pouvoir, mais elle est liberté.”

De Gilles Lamer

“La connaissance des êtres, l’étude de leur comportement est le commencement de la sagesse.”

De Madeleine Ferron / Le chemin des dames