The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 4 – Illumination

23. Then the mind stuff, reflecting both the knower and the knowable, becomes omniscient.

This sutra is in the nature of a summation and emphasizes the fact that the mind, being stilled and quiescent through the practise of concentration and meditation, becomes the reflector of “that which is above and of that which lies below.” It is the transmitter of the knowledge of the self to the physical brain of the man in incarnation, and the transmitter also of all that which the self knows and perceives. The field of knowledge is seen and known. The knower is also perceived, and the “perception of all objects” becomes possible. It becomes literally true, therefore, that for the yogin nothing remains hidden or unknown. Information on all subjects becomes possible to him, for he has an instrument which he can use to ascertain that which the soul knows concerning the Kingdom of God, the realm of spiritual truth. He can also enter into communication and convey to the soul that which is known to the man in physical incarnation. Thus the knower, the field of knowledge and knowledge itself are brought into conjunction and the medium of this union is the mind.

This is one great stage upon the path of return, and though in due time the intuition will supersede the mind, and direct spiritual perception take the place of mental perception, yet this stage is an advanced and important one, and opens the door to direct illumination. Nothing need now hinder the downflow of spiritual force and wisdom into the brain, for the entire lower threefold man has been purified and dominated, and the physical, emotional and mental bodies form simply a channel for the divine light, and constitute the vehicle through which the life and love of God may manifest.

24. The mind stuff also, reflecting as it does an infinity of mind impressions, becomes the instrument of the Self and acts as a unifying agent.

Nothing remains for the spiritual man to do in connection with this purified lower self but to learn to use his instrument, the mind, and through it the other two bodies are directed, controlled and utilized. Through the eight means of yoga his instrument has been discovered, developed and mastered and must now be brought into active use, and employed in three ways.

  • As a vehicle for the life of the soul.
  • In the service of the Hierarchy.
  • In cooperation with the plan of evolution.

In Book I. Sutra 41, we find these words: “To him whose Vrittis (modifications of the substance of the mind) are entirely controlled there eventuates a state of identity with, and similarity to, that which is realized. The knower, knowledge and the field of knowledge become one, just as the crystal takes to itself the colors of that which is reflected in it.” This gives us a picture of what happens to the man who has mastered his instrument. He registers in his brain, via the mind, that which is true and real; he becomes aware of the nature of the ideal and bends every power which he possesses to the work of bringing that ideal into objective manifestation; he sees the vision of the kingdom of God as it will be in the latter days, and all that he has and is he renders up in order that the vision may be seen by all; he knows the plan, for it is revealed to him in the “secret place upon the Mount of God,” and he cooperates with it intelligently upon the physical plane; he hears the Voice of the Silence and obeys its injunction, working steadily at the task of spiritual living in a world consecrated to things material.

All this is possible to the man who has stilled the versatile psychic nature and has mastered the kingly science of Raja Yoga.

In the hidden literature of the adepts the following stanzas sum up the state of the man who has achieved, who is master and not servant, conqueror and not slave:

    “The fivefold one hath entered into peace, yet walks our sphere. That which is dense and dark now shineth with a clear pure light, and radiance poureth from the seven sacred lotuses. He lighteneth the world, and irradiateth the nethermost place with fire divine.

    That which hath hitherto been restless, wild as the ocean, turgid as the stormy sea, lies quiet and still. Limpid the waters of the lower life and fit to offer to the thirsty ones who, groping, cry of thirst.

    That which hath slain and veiled the Real for many lengthy aeons is itself slain, and with its death the separated life is ended. The One is seen. The Voice is heard. The Real is known, the Vision glimpsed. The fire of God leaps upward into a flame.

    The darkest place receives the light. The dawn appears on earth. The dayspring from on high, sheds its bright beams in hell itself, and all is light and life.”

Then before the liberated yogi a choice is placed. He faces a spiritual problem and its nature has been conveyed to us in the following fragment of an old esoteric catechism:

  “What dost thou see, 0h! liberated one? Many who suffer, Master, who weep and cry for help.

    What will thou do, Oh! man of peace? Return from whence I came.

    Whence comest thou, Pilgrim divine? From the lowest depths of darkness, thence upwards into light.

   Where goest thou, 0h! Traveller upon the upward way? Back to the depths of darkness, away from the light of day.

    Wherefore this step, 0h! Son of God? To gather those who stumble in the darkness and light their steps upon the path.

    When is the term of service, 0h! Savior of men? I know not, save that whilst one suffers I stay behind and serve.”

25. The state of isolated unity (withdrawn into the true nature of the Self) is the reward of the man who can discriminate between the mind stuff and the Self, or spiritual man.

This state of isolated unity must be regarded as the result of the attainment of a particular state of mind, rather than as a separative reaction. All meditation work, all moments of reflection, all affirmative exercises, all hours of recollection of one’s true nature are means employed to detach the mind from the lower reactions and tendencies, and build in the habit of a constant realization of one’s true divine nature. When this realization is achieved, the need for such exercises ceases and one enters into one’s heritage. The isolation referred to is the detachment of the self from the field of knowledge, the involving of the refusal of the self to seek outward-going sensuous experience and its standing firm in the state of spiritual being.

The man becomes conscious of himself as the knower and is no longer primarily concerned with the field of knowledge, as in the early stages of his unfoldment; neither is he engaged with knowledge itself, as during the stage of mental development either as an advanced man or as a disciple. He can discriminate between all three, and identifies himself henceforth neither with the field of knowledge, life in the three worlds through the medium of his three vehicles, and the five senses plus the mind, nor with the knowledge gained nor the experience undergone. He knows the self; he identifies himself with the true knower, and thus sees things as they are, dissociating himself entirely from the world of sensuous perception.

He does this, however, whilst functioning as a human being on earth. He participates in earth experience; he involves himself in human activities; he walks among men, eating and sleeping, working and living. Yet all the time he “is in the world, yet not of the world,” and of him it can be said as it was said of the Christ,

    “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil., II, 6, 7, 8.)

He is at-one with the soul of all, but isolated off, separated from all that concerns the form or material nature. The next three sutras should be read as one, giving as they do a picture of the gradual growth of the spiritual nature in the man who has arrived at the state of discriminating detachment, and through utter dispassion, knows the meaning of isolated unity.

26, 27, 28. The mind then tends towards discrimination and increasing illumination as to the true nature of the one Self. Through force of habit, however, the mind will reflect other mental impressions and perceive objects of sensuous perception. These reflections are of the nature of hindrances and the method of their overcoming is the same.

The right tendencies and rhythm having been set up, it becomes simply a question of steady perseverance, common sense and endurance. Unless the utmost vigilance is exerted, the old habits of mind will very easily reassert themselves, and even until the final initiation the aspirant must “watch and pray.”

The rules which govern victory, the practices which bring success are the same for the advanced expert warrior and initiate as they are for the humblest neophyte. In Book II the methods whereby the hindrances and obstacles could be overcome and negated are most carefully given and from the moment of stepping upon the probationary path until that high moment when the last great initiation has been experienced, and the liberated man stands forth in the full light of day, these methods and modes of disciplined living must be adhered to unswervingly. This involves patience, the capacity to go on after failure, to persevere when success seems far away. This was well known to the great initiate, Paul, and was the cause of his injunction to the disciples he sought to help. “Stand therefore… and having done all, stand.” James gives us the same thought where he says “Behold we count them happy that endure.”

It is the going on when the point of exhaustion has been reached, the taking of another step when the strength to do so seems gone, the holding steady when there seems nothing but defeat ahead, and the determination to endure whatever may be coming, when endurance has been taxed to the limit, which is the hallmark of disciples of every degree. To them goes out the clarion call of Paul:

    “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

    Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the word of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph., VI, 14, 15, 16, 17.)

The equally clear command of Krishna to Arjuna sounds out also:

    “Having regard to thy duty, deign not to shrink back. For nothing is better for a warrior than a righteous battle. And such a battle has come to thee of its own accord, a very door of heaven will be opened; happy the warriors… who find such a fight as this… Therefore, arise, determined to do battle. Making equal good and ill fortune, gain and loss, victory and defeat, gird thyself for the fight.” (Gita II, 31, 32, 37, 38.)

The Sound and the Akashic Records – Patanjali

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:

  1. The life experiences of every human being since time began,
  2. The reactions to experience of the entire animal kingdom,
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

  • Planetary,
  • 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

  1. Those in his aura at the time of his meditation,
  2. Those in his immediate environment,
  3. Those of his present family, group and race,
  4. Those of his present life cycle,
  5. 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.

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Excerpted from “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 3 – Union achieved and its Results”

By Alice Bailey and Djwhal Kuhl

The Sacred Word – AUM – This is the Pranava.

From Yogapedia:

Pranava means “cosmic sound” in Sanskrit. It is the name for the mantra, Om (or Aum). It is an important symbol in yoga, Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Meditating on pranava leads to liberation because it brings about unity with Brahman, the Absolute Truth.

Pranava yoga is a technique for meditation which is considered by many to be one of the classical forms of meditation. It is described in the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, as well as Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. To perform Pranava yoga is to focus the mind on the mantra, Om, and to contemplate its sacred nature, repeating the mantra with each breath. It is also sometimes called Om meditation.

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

Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul

27. The Word of Ishvara is AUM (or OM). This is the Pranava.
(See Book I Sutra 1.)

Students should remember that there are three basic Words or sounds in manifestation. This is the case as far as the human kingdom is concerned. They are:

  • The Word, or note of Nature. This is the Word or the sound of all forms existing in physical plane substance, and as is usually known, it is sounded on the fundamental note “FA.” It is a note with which the white occultist has nothing to do, for his work is concerned not with the increase of tangibility but with the demonstration of the subjective or the intangible. This is the Word of the third aspect, the Brahma or Holy Ghost aspect.
  • The Sacred Word. This is the Word of Glory, the AUM. This is the Pranava, the sound of conscious Life itself as It is breathed forth into all forms. It is the Word of the second aspect, and just as the Word of Nature when rightly emanated provides the forms which are intended to reveal the soul or second aspect, so the Pranava, when rightly expressed, demonstrates the Father or Spirit through the medium of the soul. It is the Word of the incarnated sons of God. In such a short commentary as this, it is not possible to write a treatise on this secret of secrets, and this great mystery of the ages. All that can be done is to collate certain facts about the AUM, and leave the student to extend the concept and grasp the significance of the brief statements made according to the state of his intuition.
  • The Lost Word. The idea of this Lost Word has been preserved for us in Masonry. It is the Word of the first aspect, the spirit aspect, and only the initiate of the third degree can truly begin the search for this word for only the freed soul can find it. This word concerns the highest initiations and it is profitless for us further to consider it.

The following statements about the Sacred Word can therefore be made and should be studied with care:

  1. The AUM is the Word of glory, and is the Christ in us, the hope of glory.
  2. The Word when rightly apprehended causes the second, or Christ aspect of divinity to shine forth resplendently.
  3. It is the sound which brings into manifestation the incarnated soul (macrocosmic or microcosmic), the ego, the Christ, and causes the “radiant Augoeides” to be seen on earth.
  4. It is the Word which is the releaser of consciousness and when correctly understood and used, releases the soul from the limitations of form in the three worlds.
  5. The AUM is the synthesizer of the three aspects and therefore is primarily the Word of the human kingdom in which the three lines of divine life meet – spirit, soul and body.
  6. It is also the Word of the fifth, the Aryan race, in a special sense. The work of that race is to reveal in a newer and fuller way the nature of the inner Identity, of the soul within the form, the son of mind, the solar angel, the fifth principle.
  7. The significance of the Word only becomes apparent after the “light within” is realized. By its use the “spark” becomes a radiant light, the light becomes a flame, and the flame eventually becomes a sun. By its use the “sun of righteousness arises” in the life of every man.
  8. Each of the three letters has relation to the three aspects, and each can be applied to any of the known triplicities.
  9. The Master, the God within, is indeed the Word, the AUM, and of this Master (found at the heart of all beings) it is true that “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God (thus duality) and the Word was God.” Through its use man arrives at a realization of:
    • His own essential divinity,
    • The purpose of the form-taking process,
    • The constitution and nature of those forms,
    • The reality of consciousness, or the relation of the divine self or spirit to the form, its polar opposite.

This relation, in its evolutionary working out, we call consciousness and the essential characteristic of this consciousness is love.

  1. The Guru or Master who leads a pupil up to the door of initiation and who watches over him in all the initial and subsequent tests and processes likewise represents the Word, and through the scientific use of this great sound He produces a certain stimulation and vitalization in the centers of the disciple, thus rendering certain developments possible.

More about the Sacred Word is not advisable to add here. Enough has been given to indicate to the aspirant its purpose and potency. There will have to be communicated in other ways and at other times further information as the student – through study and self initiated effort – arrives at just conclusions. It might be added, that this great Word, when meditated upon, gives the clue to the true esoteric meaning of the words in the Secret Doctrine by H. P. Blavatsky:

“Life we look upon as the One Form of Existence, manifesting in what we call Matter; or what, incorrectly separating them, we name Spirit, Soul and Matter in man. Matter is the vehicle for the manifestation of Soul on this plane of existence, and Soul is the vehicle on a higher plane for the manifestation of Spirit, and these three are a Trinity synthesized by Life, which pervades them all.”

28. Through the sounding of the Word and through reflection upon its meaning, the Way is found.

This is a very general paraphrase but conveys nevertheless the correct significance of the terms used in the Sanskrit. Only Vivekananda, among the many translators, gives this interpretation, putting it as follows:

“The repetition of the OM and meditating upon its meaning (is the Way).”

The other translators omit the final three words, though the inference is clear.

The expression “the sounding of the Word” must not be too literally interpreted; the esoteric “sounding forth” is based upon a study of the Law of Vibration, and the gradual tuning of the lower vibrations of the sheaths or vestures of consciousness so that they synchronize with the note or sound of the conscious indweller. Speaking correctly, the Word is to be sounded by the soul or the ego on its own plane, and the vibration will subsequently affect the various bodies or vehicles which house that soul. The process is therefore a mental one and can only really be done by those who – through meditation and discipline, coupled with service – have made a conscious at-one-ment with the soul. Aspirants to this condition have to utilize the potent factors of the imagination, visualization and perseverance in meditation to reach this initial stage. It should be noted that this stage has to be reached, even if only in a relatively small degree, before the aspirant can become an accepted disciple.

The process of sounding the Word is dual, as is emphasized here.

There is, first of all, the act of the ego, solar angel, higher self or soul, as he sounds out the Word from his own place, on the abstract levels of the mental plane. He directs that sound, via the sutratma and the vestures of consciousness to the physical brain of the man in incarnation, the shadow or reflection. This “sounding forth” has to be constantly repeated. The Sutratma is that magnetic link, spoken of in the Christian Bible as the “silver cord,” that thread of living light which connects the Monad, the Spirit in man, with the physical brain.

Secondly, there is the earnest reflection of the man in his physical brain upon that sound as he recognizes it. The two poles of being are hinted at here: the soul and the man in incarnation, and between these two is found the thread, along which the Pranava (or word) vibrates. Students of the esoteric science have to recognize the technique of the processes outlined. In the case of the sounding forth of the Word we have the following factors:

  1. The soul who sends, or breathes it forth,
  2. The sutratma or thread along which the sound vibrates, is carried or transmitted,
  3. The vestures of consciousness, mental, emotional and etheric which vibrate in response to the vibration or breath and are stimulated thereby,
  4. The brain which can be trained to recognize that sound and vibrate in unison with the breath,
  5. The subsequent act of the man in meditation. He hears the sound (called sometimes the “still small Voice,” or the “Voice of the Silence”), he recognizes it for what it is and in deep reflection he assimilates the results of his soul’s activity.

Later when the aspirant has passed on into the mysteries and has learnt how to unify the soul and the lower man so that they function as a coordinated unit on earth, the man learns to sound the Word on the physical plane with the object of awakening the forces which are latent within him and thereby arouse the centers. Thus he participates increasingly in the creative, magical and psychical work of manifestation, with the object ever in view of benefiting his fellow men and thus furthering the plans of the planetary hierarchy.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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(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

Nāga – नाग

Excerpted from Wikipedia:

The Nāga (IAST: nāga; Devanāgarī: नाग) or Nagi (f. of nāga; IAST: nāgī; Devanāgarī: नागी) are divine, semi-divine deities, or a semi-divine race of half-human half-serpent beings that reside in the netherworld (Patala) and can occasionally take human form. Rituals devoted to these supernatural beings have been taking place throughout south Asia for at least two thousand years. They are principally depicted in three forms: wholly human with snakes on the heads and necks, common serpents, or as half-human half-snake beings in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. A female naga is a “Nagi”, “Nagin”, or “Nagini”. Nagaraja is seen as the king of nāgas and nāginis. They are common and hold cultural significance in the mythological traditions of many South Asian and Southeast Asian cultures. They are the children of Rishi Kashyapa and Kadru.

Etymology

In Sanskrit, a nāgá (नाग) is a cobra, the Indian cobra (Naja naja). A synonym for nāgá is phaṇin (फणिन्). There are several words for “snake” in general, and one of the very commonly used ones is sarpá (सर्प). Sometimes the word nāgá is also used generically to mean “snake”. The word is cognate with English ‘snake’, Germanic: *snēk-a-, Proto-IE: *(s)nēg-o- (with s-mobile).

Hinduism

The mythological serpent race that took form as cobras can often be found in Hindu iconography. The nāgas are described as the powerful, splendid, wonderful and proud semidivine race that can assume their physical form either as human, partial human-serpent or the whole serpent. Their domain is in the enchanted underworld, the underground realm filled with gems, gold and other earthly treasures called Naga-loka or Patala-loka. They are also often associated with bodies of waters — including rivers, lakes, seas, and wells — and are guardians of treasure. Their power and venom made them potentially dangerous to humans. However, they often took beneficial protagonist role in Hindu mythology; in Samudra manthan folklore, Vasuki, a nāgarāja who abides on Shiva’s neck, became the churning rope for churning of the Ocean of Milk. Their eternal mortal enemies are the Garudas, the legendary semidivine birdlike-deities.

Vishnu is originally portrayed in the form sheltered by Śeṣanāga or reclining on Śeṣa, but the iconography has been extended to other deities as well. The serpent is a common feature in Ganesha iconography and appears in many forms: around the neck, use as a sacred thread (Sanskrit: yajñyopavīta) wrapped around the stomach as a belt, held in a hand, coiled at the ankles, or as a throne. Shiva is often shown garlanded with a snake. Maehle (2006: p. 297) states that “Patanjali is thought to be a manifestation of the serpent of eternity”.

Buddhism

As in Hinduism, the Buddhist nāga generally has sometimes portrayed as a human being with a snake or dragon extending over his head. One nāga, in human form, attempted to become a monk; and when telling it that such ordination was impossible, the Buddha told it how to ensure that it would be reborn a human, and so able to become a monk.

The nāgas are believed to both live on Nagaloka, among the other minor deities, and in various parts of the human-inhabited earth. Some of them are water-dwellers, living in streams or the ocean; others are earth-dwellers, living in caverns.

The nāgas are the followers of Virūpākṣa (Pāli: Virūpakkha), one of the Four Heavenly Kings who guards the western direction. They act as a guard upon Mount Sumeru, protecting the dēvas of Trāyastriṃśa from attack by the asuras.

Among the notable nāgas of Buddhist tradition is Mucalinda, Nāgarāja and protector of the Buddha. In the Vinaya Sutra (I, 3), shortly after his enlightenment, the Buddha is meditating in a forest when a great storm arises, but graciously, King Mucalinda gives shelter to the Buddha from the storm by covering the Buddha’s head with his seven snake heads. Then the king takes the form of a young Brahmin and renders the Buddha homage.

In the Vajrayāna and Mahāsiddha traditions, nāgas in their half-human form are depicted holding a nāgas-jewel, kumbhas of amrita, or a terma that had been elementally encoded by adepts.

The two chief disciples of the Buddha, Sariputta and Moggallāna are both referred to as Mahānāga or “Great nāga”. Some of the most important figures in Buddhist history symbolize nāgas in their names such as Dignāga, Nāgāsēna, and, although other etymons are assigned to his name, Nāgārjuna.

Literature

The Nāga Saṃyutta of the Pali Canon consists of suttas specifically devoted to explaining nature of the nāgas.

In the “Devadatta” chapter of the Lotus Sutra, the daughter of the dragon king, an eight year old longnü (龍女, nāgakanyā), after listening to Mañjuśrī preach the Lotus Sutra, transforms into a male Bodhisattva and immediately reaches full enlightenment. Some say this tale appears to reinforce the viewpoint prevalent in Mahayana scriptures that a male body is required for Buddhahood, even if a being is so advanced in realization that they can magically transform their body at will and demonstrate the emptiness of the physical form itself. However many schools of Buddhism and classical, seminal Chinese exegeses interpret the story to repudiate this viewpoint, stating the story demonstrates that women can attain Buddhahood in their current form.

According to tradition, the Prajñapāramita sutras had been given by the Buddha to a great nāga who guarded them in the sea, and were conferred upon Nāgārjuna later.

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I have often pondered on the similarity of nāga with nagal and nagual, East meets West.

Gateway to the Nagual’s world similar to Nagaloka?

Quetzalcoatl

Yoga Sutras of Patañjali- Integration, Illumination and Freedom

Excerpted from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul

And “A Sanskrit English Translation” By Chip Hartranft

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 3 – Union achieved and its Results.

1. Concentration is the fixing of the chitta (mind stuff) upon a particular object. This is dharana.

We have now reached the part of the Yoga Sutras which deals specifically with mind control and with the effect of that control. The first fifteen sutras are given to the control of the mind and how it is to be attained and the remaining forty sutras concern the results which take place after this control has been gained. Twenty-four results are enumerated, and these are all along the line of expansions of consciousness and the demonstration of psychic faculties, both lower and higher.

The first step towards this unfoldment is concentration, or the ability to hold the mind steadily and unwaveringly upon that which the aspirant chooses. This first step is one of the most difficult stages in the meditation process and involves constant unremitting ability to keep bringing the mind back to that “object” upon which the aspirant has chosen to concentrate. The stages in concentration are themselves well marked and can be stated as follows:

  1. The choice of some “object” upon which to concentrate,
  2. The withdrawing of the mind-consciousness from the periphery of the body, so that the avenues of outer perception and contact (the five senses) are stilled, and the consciousness is no longer outgoing,
  3. The centering of the consciousness and its steadying within the head at a point midway between the eyebrows,
  4. The application of the mind, or the paying of close attention to the object chosen for concentration,
  5. The visualization of that object, imaginative perception of it and logical reasoning about it,
  6. The extension of the mental concepts which have been formed from the specific and particular to the general and the universal or cosmic,
  7. An attempt to arrive at that which lies back of the form considered, or to reach the idea which is responsible for the form.

This process gradually steps up the consciousness and enables the aspirant to arrive at the life side of manifestation instead of the form side. He begins however with the form or “object.” Objects upon which to concentrate are of four kinds:

  1. External objects, such as images of the deity, pictures or forms in nature,
  2. Internal objects, such as the centers in the etheric body,
  3. Qualities, such as the various virtues, with the intent to awaken desire for these virtues and thus to build them into the content of the personal life,
  4. Mental concepts or those ideas which embody the ideals lying back of all animated forms. These may take the form of symbols or of words.

In one of the Puranas the idea embodied in concentration is expressed most beautifully. The aspirant is told, after he has made use of the first five means of yoga (dealt with in Book II), that he “should make a localization of the mind stuff upon some auspicious support” and this localization is illustrated by a description of the fixing of the attention upon a form of God.

    “The incarnated form of the Exalted One leaves one without desire for any other support. This should be understood to be fixed, attention, when the mind stuff is fixed upon this form. And what is this incarnate form of Hari on which one should ponder, let that be heard by thee, 0 Ruler of Men. Fixed attention is not possible without something on which to fix it.” (Vishnu Purana V 1. 7. 75-85.)

Then follows a description of the incarnated form of the Exalted One, concluding with these words:

    “…upon Him let the yogin ponder; and lost in Him, concentrate his own mind until, 0, King, the fixed attention becomes firmly fixed upon Him only. While performing this or while doing, as he wills, some other action wherein his mind does not wander, he should then deem this fixed attention to be perfected.” (Naradiya Purana LXVII. 54-62.)

It is the realization of the necessity for “objects” in concentration that originated the demand for images, sacred sculptures and pictures. All these objects entail the use of the lower concrete mind and this is the necessary preliminary stage. Their use brings the mind into a controlled condition so that the aspirant can make it adjust what he chooses. The four types of objects mentioned above carry the aspirant gradually inwards and enable him to transfer his consciousness from the physical plane into the etheric realm, from thence into the world of desire or of the emotions, and so into the world of mental ideas and concepts. This process, which is carried on within the brain, brings the entire lower man into a state of one-pointed coherent attention, all parts of his nature being directed to the attainment of fixed attention or a concentration of all the mental faculties. The mind then is no longer scattering, unsteady and outgoing, but is fully “fixed in attention.” Vivekananda translates “dharana” as “holding the mind to one thought for twelve seconds.” This clear, one-pointed, still perception of an object, without any other object or thought entering into one’s consciousness is most difficult of achievement, and when it can be done for the space of twelve seconds, true concentration is being achieved.


55. When the objective forms and the soul have reached a condition of equal purity, then is At-one-ment achieved and liberation results.

That which veils the light of the soul has been rendered pure, and thus the light of God streams forth. That which proved a hindrance and an obstacle to the full expression of divinity in manifestation has been so dealt with that now it serves as an adequate expression and means of service. The soul can now function freely and intelligently in the three worlds because complete unity has been reached between the lower and the higher man.

The soul and its vehicles form a unit and are at one; complete alignment of the bodies has been achieved and the Son of God can function freely on earth. Thus has the great objective been reached and through a following of the eight means of yoga the soul can manifest through the lower threefold man, and in its turn form a medium of expression for the spirit. Matter has been brought into a state where its vibration can synchronize with that of the soul, and the result is that – for the first time – spirit can make its presence felt, for “matter is the vehicle for the manifestation of soul on this plane of experience and the soul is the vehicle for the manifestation of spirit on a higher turn of the spiral. These three are a trinity synthesized by life which pervades them all.” To the man who has achieved this there is no rebirth. He is free and liberated, and can say with full conscious realization of the significance of the words:

    My life (the lower physical life) is hid with Christ (the soul life) in God (the spirit.) (Col., III, 3)

——————-

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 4 – Illumination

1. The higher and lower siddhis (or powers) are gained by incarnation, or by drugs, words of power, intense desire or by meditation.

We have now come to the fourth book in which the powers and the results gained by the practice of Raja Yoga are carried forward into group realization and it is seen that they produce universal consciousness and not simply self-consciousness. It seems the part of wisdom to protest here against the use of the words “cosmic consciousness” as untrue and misleading, for even the highest adept (note this term with care) is only gifted with solar consciousness and has no contact with that which is outside our solar system. The planetary Logoi (the seven Spirits before the Throne), and the Lords of Karma (the “four wheels” of Ezekiel) have a realization beyond that of our solar system. Lesser existences may sense it as a possibility but it is not yet part of their experience.

The powers gained fall into two main groups called:

  • Lower psychic powers, the lower siddhis.
  • Spiritual powers or the higher siddhis.

The lower powers are the result of the consciousness of the animal soul in man being en rapport with the anima mundi or the soul of the world, the subjective side of all forms in the three worlds, of all bodies in the four kingdoms of nature. The higher powers are the result of the development of group consciousness, of the second aspect of divinity. They not only include the lesser powers but put a man en rapport with those existences and forms of life which are to be found in the spiritual realms, or, as the occultist would say, on those two planes which are beyond the three worlds, and which cover the entire scale of man’s evolution, human and superhuman.

The goal of the true aspirant is the unfoldment of these higher powers which can be covered by the terms direct knowledge, intuitive perception, spiritual insight, pure vision, the attainment of the wisdom. They are different from the lower powers, for they abrogate them. These latter are accurately described for us in Book III, Sutra 37:

    “These powers are obstacles to the highest spiritual realization, but serve as magical powers in the objective worlds.”

These higher powers are inclusive and are distinguished by their accuracy and infallibility when rightly employed. Their working is as instantaneous as a flash of light. The lower powers are fallible, the time element is present in its sequential sense and they are limited in their working. They form part of the great illusion and to the true aspirant constitute a limitation.

In the sutra we are considering, five means are given whereby the psychic powers are developed and it is interesting to note that we have in these words an instance of the fact that the Yoga Sutras can still be the study and teaching manual of even such advanced aspirants as the Masters of the Wisdom. These five methods are capable of application upon all the five planes of human evolution, which include the two higher planes whereon initiates of the Mysteries function.

 1. Incarnation                   The physical plane method.

2. Drugs                            The release of the astral consciousness.

3. Words of Power           Creation by speech, or the method of the mental plane.

4. Intense desire              The sublimation of aspiration or the method of the buddhic plane, the sphere of spiritual love.

5. Meditation                 The method of the atmic plane, the sphere of spiritual will.

 In this enumeration, it might be noted that just as intense desire of a spiritual kind is a sublimation of astral or emotional desire, so meditation, as practised by the initiates, is the sublimation of all the mental processes. Therefore the two final methods given as resulting in the unfoldment of the siddhis are the only ones that are practised by initiates, being the synthesis and sublimation of the realizations achieved on the astral and mental planes.

It might, therefore, be observed that (for the seeker after truth) incarnation, intense desire and meditation are the three permissible methods, and the only ones to be practised; drugs and words of power or mantric incantations are the tools of black magic and concern the lower powers.

The question might here be asked, is it not true that words of power and the use of incense form part of the ceremonies of initiation and therefore are used by initiates and aspirants. Certainly, but not in the sense understood here, or for the purpose of developing psychic powers. The Masters and their disciples use words of power in order to deal with the non-human existences, to invoke the aid of the angels, and to manipulate the building forces of nature, and they employ herbs and incenses in order to purify conditions, eliminate undesirable entities and so make it possible for those higher upon the ladder of evolution to make their presence felt. This is, however, a very different thing to their use in order to become psychic.

It is interesting to note here that the first cause producing the unfoldment of soul powers, whether higher or lower, is the great wheel of rebirth. This must ever be taken into account. Everyone is not yet at the stage where it is possible for him to unfold the powers of the soul. The soul aspect is still dormant for many because full experience and development of the lower nature has not yet been undergone. The forty years’ wandering in the wilderness with the Tabernacle and the conquest of Canaan, had to precede the rule of the kings and the building of the Temple of Solomon. Lives must be passed before the body, or the Mother aspect, is so perfected that the Christ Child can be formed within the prepared vessel. It should also be remembered that the possession of the lower psychic powers is in many cases a symptom of a low stage of evolution and of the close association of their owner with the animal nature. This has to be outgrown before the higher powers can blossom forth.

It is needless to point out that the use of alcohol and of drugs can and does release the astral consciousness, as also the practice of sex magic, but this is astralism pure and simple and with this the true student of Raja Yoga has naught to do. It is part of unfoldment on the left-hand Path. The gaining of the soul powers by intense desire (or fervent aspiration) and by meditation has been covered in the other books and need not be enlarged upon here.

32. The modifications of the mind stuff (or qualities of matter), through the inherent nature of the three gunas come to an end, for they have served their purpose.

33. Time, which is the sequence of the modifications of the mind, likewise terminates, giving place to the Eternal Now.

34. The state of isolated unity becomes possible when the three qualities of matter (the three gunas or potencies of nature) no longer exercise any hold over the Self. The pure spiritual consciousness withdraws into the One.

Ashramic Adjustment to Exoteric Living

October 1949

We now come to another point in our study of this subject: This concerns one of the most difficult problems confronting the Masters at this time; it presents also an unique problem to the Christ. The daily physical life of the Masters, of the Christ, and of those Members of the Hierarchy (initiates and accepted disciples) Who function in physical bodies, has had its orientation upon the subjective levels of life; the majority of Them, and particularly the senior Members of the Hierarchy, do not as a rule intermingle largely with the public or walk the streets of our great cities. They work as I do from my retreat in the Himalayas, and from there I have influenced and helped far more people than I could possibly have reached had I walked daily in the midst of the noise and chaos of human affairs. I lead a normal and, I believe, useful life as the senior executive in a large lamasery, but my main work has lain elsewhere – widespread in the world of men; I reach this vast number of human beings through the medium of the books which I have written, through the groups which I have started and impulsed, such as Men of Goodwill and the Triangles, and through my disciples who talk and spread the truth as I have sought to present it.

So it has been with the work of all the Masters, except two or three Who have undergone special training in order to do some special preparatory work for the externalization of the Hierarchy. The English Master is one of these, and another Master also Who works, relatively unknown, in North America. I have referred to Him before as the Master P – though that is not, in reality, His initial.

This rule of solitariness or of withdrawing applies to all the Masters and to the Christ, for it is in the solitude of the mind, and as far as possible in the solitude of physical location, that the various branches of the great White Lodge have chosen to work ever since Atlantean days. It is not the solitude of a separative spirit, but the solitude that comes from the ability to be non-separative, and from the faculty of identification with the soul of all beings and of all forms. This can best be accomplished in the intense quiet of those “protected” areas where the Masters in the various branches of the Brotherhood have chosen to dwell. This solitude and physical isolation enables Them to work almost entirely from the level of the buddhic or intuitional plane, perfecting the Science of Impression, influencing and working through those minds which are susceptible to Their mental impression. This applies equally to Masters in physical vehicles and to Those Who have “no anchorage” in the three worlds; it applies also to disciples who are in or out of the body, according to their destiny, immediate karma or form of service. St. Paul, for instance, was in the initiate stage of learning rightly to withdraw and to work in what Patanjali calls “isolated unity” when he spoke of himself once as “being caught up into the third heaven” and there learning the untold beauties of the divine life.

The problem, therefore, before the Masters and Their disciples is to work (when the externalization takes place) in the midst of physical plane existence, no longer withdrawn, isolated and protected, but functioning openly in the middle of events and physical realities and all the diversity of contacts which the three worlds present. It is perhaps helpful to remember that when the Christ was in physical presence on earth two thousand years ago, the population of the world was relatively small compared to that today; contact between peoples was practically nil, and where it existed was usually of a strictly military or commercial nature, with a somewhat exclusive interchange of scholastic ideas and personnel between the rare centers of learning. It was easy in those days to withdraw into the desert and to disappear into the unfrequented place and to recharge and revitalize the spirit, to touch again closely the Sources of inspiration on the higher levels of consciousness, and thus reorient the working instrument in the three worlds to the higher field of contact and inspiration. Much of this can be noted in the Gospel story of the life of Christ and of the Master Jesus.

When the Christ reappears and the Hierarchy externalizes itself on earth, conditions will be totally different; there are today no empty spaces; the population of the world is enormously enlarged and is growing from year to year; no locality is isolated or unattainable; the jungles are open territory to the explorer and to the numerous commercial agents; vast cities cover the planet and oceans are traversed by multitudes of ships; the airways of the world are travelled by millions of passengers annually; the land is divided into minute sections by railroads, highways, speedways and myriads of lesser roads and streets. In fact, every living unit in the world is in touch with thousands of other units and can – through the many means of information – be in touch with millions; the news presses grind out the news from hour to hour and the eyes of millions are ceaselessly glued to the printed page at all hours of the day or night; the ears of other millions are daily and hourly attuned to the voice of the radio. Only the inner perceptive sense remains inactive, for only advanced humanity lives constantly in touch with the world of Spiritual perception and intention.

The conditions, therefore, confronting the Hierarchy constitute a serious and drastic problem. As far as we can, we will attempt to consider these conditions, for some understanding of the problem is necessary if right work is to be done.

Necessarily, the problem is one of a change in the orientation of perception but not necessarily in modes of living or in any definitely physical plane adjustments. Hierarchical orientation has for some centuries been one of a very strict internal consolidation, in order that the magnetic aura of the Hierarchy may unfailingly respond to impression from Shamballa, and also be of so potent a nature that it can form a protective screen around the human family. Forget not the nature of the protective service which the Masters have assumed on behalf of mankind, standing between humanity and the emanations and influences and the magnetic aura of the Black Lodge.

This internal consolidation has been greatly strengthened during the past one hundred years. Because of this, and because of the resultant clarity of impression and of the potent outgoing influence, the Plan for humanity – as a Whole – was imparted with emphasis to disciples in the Ashrams, and by them was formulated clearly and presented to humanity.

H.P.B. (one of the first working disciples to go forth on the externalization impulse and with first ray energy driving him) gave the background of the Plan, under impression from me; the more detailed structure and the sweep of the hierarchical intention have been given by me in the books which A.A.B. has introduced under her own name to the public (in so doing acting under my instructions). For the first time in human history, the purpose of past events – historical and psychological – can be clearly noted as the foundation for all present happenings, thus bringing the mysterious Law of Karma in an easy manner to public attention. The present can also be seen, indicating the way of the future and revealing clearly the Will-to-Good which is animating the entire evolutionary process – a process in which humanity (again for the first time) is intelligently participating and cooperating. It is this cooperative participation, even if unconsciously rendered, which has made it possible for the Hierarchy to grasp the opportunity to bring to an end the long silence which has persisted since Atlantean days; the Masters can now begin to undertake to renew an ancient “sharing of the secrets,” and to prepare humanity for a civilization which will be distinguished by a constant intellectual perception of truth, and which will cooperate with the externalized Ashrams in the various parts of the world.

The internal consolidation is now being somewhat loosened, if I may use such an inadequate expression, and a majority of the Members of the Hierarchy are withdrawing Their close attention from reception of impression from Shamballa and are now orienting Themselves – in an entirely new and directed manner – to the fourth kingdom in nature. At the same time, a very powerful minority of Masters are entering into a much closer association with the Council of Sanat Kumara.


Excerpted from:

The Externalization of the Hierarchy – Section IV – Stages in the Externalization

Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul

Dharma of the Day #9 {mind}

 

absolutely certain mind

is already wrong

but in its arrogance

doesn’t yet know it

 

it is not possible mind

is infertile and sterile

it cannot conceive

it has had a hysterectomy

 

you are not “one of us” mind

demarcates the boundaries

laying barbed wire and mines

in order to abort nascence

 

terrified of the new mind

goes around the race track

many, many, many times

it takes no pit stops, to consider

 

joy of a child mind

is filled with awe and wonder

and is as fluid and mercurial

as can be, in so doing, it soars

 

full of rubbish mind

recycles old thoughts

seemingly endlessly

it makes Sisyphus’ life look easy

 

dogmatic opinion mind

cannot differentiate opinion

from garnered knowledge

it is a tad myopic

 

broad vision mind

swells on ocean tides

and ultimately touches the shores

of every continent

learn to lift your consciousness

out of the dark depths of your own anus

perhaps in so doing

you might see a new cosmos

 

there you might find

utter humility

and magnificent sensations

at the marvel of all creation!!