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Sacred Texts: The Voice of the Silence

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    The Voice of the Silence

    Fragment 1

    Translation: Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

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Sacred Texts: The Voice of the Silence

  • ModeratorTN


    These instructions are for those ignorant of the dangers of the lower IDDHI.1


    He who would hear the voice of Nāda,2 “the Soundless Sound,” and comprehend it, he has to learn the nature of Dhāraṇā.3

    Having become indifferent to objects of perception, the pupil must seek out the rājā of

    the senses, the Thought-Producer, he who awakes illusion.

    The Mind is the great Slayer of the Real.

    Let the Disciple slay the Slayer. {2}


    When to himself his form appears unreal, as do on waking all the forms he sees in dreams;

    When he has ceased to hear the many, he may discern the ONE—the inner sound which kills the outer.

    Then only, not till then, shall he forsake the region of Asat, the false, to come unto the realm of Sat, the true.

    Before the Soul can see, the Harmony within must be attained, and fleshly eyes be rendered blind to all illusion.

    Before the Soul can hear, the image (man) has to become as deaf to roarings as to whispers, to cries of bellowing elephants as to the silvery buzzing of the golden fire-fly.

    • Mark Casady
      Mark Casady

      Here’s the text of the first footnote:
      (1). The Pali word Iddhi, is the synonym of the Sanskrit Siddhis, or psychic faculties, the abnormal powers in man. There are two kinds of Siddhis. One group which embraces the lower, coarse, psychic and mental energies; the other is one which exacts the highest training of Spiritual powers. Says Krishna in Śrîmad Bhâgavatam: —
      “He who is engaged in the performance of yoga, who has subdued his senses and who has concentrated his mind in me (Krishna), such yogis all the Siddhis stand ready to serve.”

  • ModeratorTN

    And say:—

    If thy Soul smiles while bathing in the Sunlight of thy Life; if thy soul sings within her chrysalis of flesh and matter; if thy soul weeps inside her castle of illusion; if thy soul struggles to break the silver thread that binds her to the MASTER;4 know, O Disciple, thy Soul is of the earth.

    When to the World’s turmoil thy budding

    soul lends ear; when to the roaring voice of the Great Illusion thy Soul responds; when frightened at the sight of the hot tears of pain, when deafened by the cries of distress, thy Soul withdraws like the shy turtle within the carapace of SELFHOOD, learn, O Disciple, of her Silent “God,” thy Soul is an unworthy shrine.

  • ModeratorTN

    When waxing stronger, thy Soul glides forth from her secure retreat; and breaking loose from the protecting shrine, extends her silver thread and rushes onward; when beholding her image on the waves of Space she whispers, “This is I,”—declare, O Disciple, that thy Soul is caught in the webs of delusion.7

    This Earth, Disciple, is the Hall of Sorrow, wherein are set along the Path of dire probations, traps to ensnare thy EGO by the delusion called “Great Heresy”.8

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    From the Voice of the Silence Glossary:
    the Siddhis can refer to the six Abhijnā according to the following classical list:
    1) iddhi (comprising all kinds of marvelous powers, but being characteristic of a lower type of magic);
    2) “divine hearing” (= “deva-hearing”), clairaudience, hearing human and divine voices from a distance (and understanding their meaning);
    3) perception of the thoughts of others;
    4) remembering past lives;
    5) “divine sight or eye” (= the deva-sight), clairvoyance, which knows the cycles of rebirth of all beings according to the rules of Karma;
    6) realizing the state of liberation by means of the extinction of the vagaries caused by desire and ignorance.

    The Voice of the Silence – Glossary – S

    The first Abhijna comprises the following (Iddhipada-vibhanga Sutta, SN 51.20) [5]
    1. Having been one he becomes many; having been many he becomes one.
    2. He appears. He vanishes.
    3. He goes unimpeded through walls, ramparts, & mountains as if through space.
    4. He dives in and out of the earth as if it were water.
    5. He walks on water without sinking as if it were dry land.
    6. Sitting crosslegged he flies through the air like a winged bird.
    7. With his hand he touches & strokes even the sun & moon, so mighty & powerful.
    8. He exercises influence with his body even as far as the Brahma worlds.

    All of the above can be found in Buddhaghosa’s Visuddhimagga (XII, XIII).

    Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras contains another listing of Siddhis:
    III.16, Knowledge of the past, present, and the future; III.17. Knowledge of the meaning of sounds produced by all beings; III.18. Knowledge of previous births and arising of future births; III.21. Disappearance of the body from view; III.22. Foreknowledge of birth, harm, or death; III.23. Loving- kindness in all; III.24. Extraordinary strength; III.25. Knowledge at a distance; III.26. Knowledge of the outer universe; III.27–28. Knowledge of the inner universe; III.29. Knowledge of the composition and coordination of bodily energies; III.30. Liberation from hunger and thirst; III.31. Exceptional stability, balance, or health; III.32–36. Vision of higher beings, knowledge of everything that is knowable, knowing of the origins of all things, knowledge of the true self; III.38. Influencing others; III.39, III.40. Blazing radiance; III.41. Clairaudience; III.42. Levitation, III.43. Freedom from bodily awareness and temporal attachments; III.44–45. Mastery over the elements; III.46. Perfection of the body.

    Additionally, Vaishnavism lists 8 primary Siddhis, Saivism has 5 primary and 10 secondary Siddhis (Bhagavata Purana), Samkhya has 8 Siddhis (Samkhyakarika and Tattvasamasa,), and Sikhism has 8 Siddhis (the Mul Mantar in the Guru Granth Sahib).

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 2 weeks ago by  Mark Casady.

    • Peter

      Hi Mark, Thanks. And we could also add to your helpful list the following six primary powers (saktis) that HPB refers to in the Secret Doctrine when quoting from Subba Row’s article ‘The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac.’:

      …there are six primary forces in Nature (synthesized by the Seventh) . . . These Sakti stand as follows :—

      (1.) Parasakti. Literally the great or Supreme Force or power. It means and includes the powers of light and heat.

      (2.) Jnanasakti. . . . The power of intellect, of real Wisdom or Knowledge. It has two aspects:
      The following are some of its manifestations when placed under the influence or control of material conditions. (a) The power of the mind in interpreting our sensations. (b) Its power in recalling past ideas (memory) and raising future expectation. (c) Its power as exhibited in what are called by modern psychologists “ the laws of association,” which enables it to form persisting connections between various groups of sensations and possibilities of sensations, and thus generate the notion or idea of an external object. (d) Its power in connecting our ideas together by the mysterious link of memory, and thus generating the notion of self or individuality ; some of its manifestations when liberated from the bonds of matter are — (a) Clairvoyance, (b) Psychometry.

      (3.) Itchasakti — the power of the Will. Its most ordinary manifestation is the generation of certain nerve currents which set in motion such muscles as are required for the accomplishment of the desired object.

      (4.) Kriyasakti. The mysterious power of thought which enables it to produce external, perceptible, phenomenal results by its own inherent energy. The ancients held that any idea will manifest itself externally if one’s attention is deeply concentrated upon it. Similarly an intense volition will be followed by the desired result.
      A Yogi generally performs his wonders by means of Itchasakti and Kriyasakti.

      (5.) Kundalini Sakti. The power or Force which moves in a curved path. It is the Universal life-Principle manifesting everywhere in nature. This force includes the two great forces of attraction and repulsion. Electricity and magnetism are but manifestations of it. This is the power which brings about that “ continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations ” which is the essence of life according to Herbert Spencer, and that “ continuous adjustment of external relations to internal relations ” which is the basis of transmigration of souls, punar janman (re-birth) in the doctrines of the ancient Hindu philosophers. A Yogi must thoroughly subjugate this power before he can attain Moksham. . . .

      (6.) Mantrika-sakti. The force or power of letters, speech or music. The Mantra Shastra has for its subject-matter this force in all its manifestations. . . . . The influence of melody is one of its ordinary manifestations. The power of the ineffable name is the crown of this Sakti.
      Modern Science has but partly investigated the first, second and fifth of the forces above named, but is altogether in the dark as regards the remaining powers. The six forces are in their unity represented by the “ Daiviprakriti ” (the Seventh, the light of the Logos).

      The above is quoted to show the real Hindu ideas on the same. It is all esoteric, though not covering the tenth part of what might be said.

      (Secret Doctrine vol I 292-293)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    My pleasure Peter, and thanks for responding to the trumpet call. Quite an esoteric text, and since this first part is probably the most esoteric/tantric of the three, I think it can be useful for many aspects of the this section. For a basic comparison from the Hindu esoteric works, I guess one could refer to the six Shaktis in the Shaiva Siddhanta, a work favored by Kashmiri Shaivism /Southern India.

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by  Mark Casady.
    • This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by  Mark Casady.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    The quote from the first footnote is from the Baghavata Purana (11,15). The translation seems taken from a text that originally appeared as a series of three articles beginning with the very first issue of the Theosophist (October 1879), entitled Yoga-Vidya and was later reprinted in the first two Theosophical editions of Patajanli, The Yoga Philosophy: Being the Text of Patanjali, Tookaram Tatya(1885)

    An interesting texts on many accounts, notably the first presentation of the distinctive theosophical esoteric notions of Kama Rupa, Mayavi Rupa and Linga Sarira. Below is the relevant passage:

    The student of Yoga will observe a great difference in Siddhis (‘Superhuman faculties,’ this is rendered; but not correctly, unless we agree that ‘ human’ shall only mean that which pertains to physical man. ‘Psychic faculties’ would convey the idea much better : man can do nothing superhuman) that are said to be attainable by Yoga. There is one group which exacts a high training, of the spiritual powers ; and another group which concerns the lower and coarser psychic and mental energies. In the Shrimad Baghavata, Krishna says : ” He who is engaged in the performance of Yoga, who has subdued his senses, and who has concentrated his mind in me (Krishna)such Yogis [all] the Siddhis stand ready to serve.’’

    Then Uddhava asks : ” Oh, Achyuta (Infallible One) since’ thou art the bestower of [all] the Siddhis on the Yogis, pray tell me by what dharana* and how, is a Siddhi attained and how many Siddhis there are. Bhaghavan replies : “Those who have transcended the dharana and yog» say that there are eighteen Siddhis, eight of which contemplate me as the chief object of attainment (or are attainable through me), and the [remaining] ten are derivable from the gunas;” — the commentator explains — from the preponderance of satva guna. These eight superior Siddhis are : Anima, Mahima, Laghima [of the body], Prapti (attainment by the senses), Prakashya, Ishita, Vashita and an eighth which enables one to attain bliss every wish. *’ These,” said Krishna, ” are my Siddhis.”

    The Siddhis of Krishna may be thus defined:
    1. Anima — the power to atomize ” the body;’’to make it become smallest of the smallest.

    2. Mahima, — the power to magnify one’s body to any dimensions,.

    3. Laghima — the power to become lightest of the lightest.

    These three, the commentator says, relate to ‘’the body ;” but he does not enlighten, us as to whether the outer or inner — the physical or astral — body is meant.

    *Dharana – The intense and perfect concentration of the mind upon one interior object; – accompanied by complete abstraction from things of the external world.

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by  Mark Casady.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    2-He who would hear the voice of Nâda (2), “the Soundless Sound,” and comprehend it, he has to learn the nature of Dhâranâ (3).

    (2). The “Soundless Voice,” or the “Voice of the Silence.” Literally perhaps this would read “Voice in the Spiritual Sound,” as Nâda is the equivalent word in Sanskrit, for the Sen-sar term.
    (3). Dhâranâ, is the intense and perfect concentration of the mind upon some one interior object, accompanied by complete abstraction from everything pertaining to the external Universe, or the world of the senses.

    From the Theosophical Glossary we have:
    Dhârana (Sk). That state in Yoga practice when the mind has to be fixed unflinchingly on some object of meditation.

    Notice that footnote 3 is also similar to the Yoga Vidya text. I think that a perusal of the Nadabindu Upanishad would be useful for this section. From the VotS Glossary:
    Nāda (Sk.) H
    From the root nad: to resound, to thunder, to roar. A sound (Sk.: Śabda) with a mighty resonance. As a mystical sound, the Nāda-bindu (Sk.) refers to the great original vibration, the primordial sound having unfolded the universe: Nādabrahman (Brahman, expressed as Nāda) refers to the “divine resonance” of the sound of AUṀ which can be heard by the mystic. See: The Theosophist I, p.131-2, on Nādabrahman and Nādaśriṣṭi (“the whole resonant system supposed to be innermostly pervading the universe”).

    Dhāraṇā (Sk.) H. (I 3, 36, 41]
    The fixation of the mind on a chosen subject of meditation. Cf. the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali where Dhāraṇā (the sixth degree of Yoga) leads, together with Dhyāna and Samādhi, to Saṁyama, the state of perfect meditation. In The Voice of the Silence, Dhāraṇā is equal to a complete abstraction of the influences of the senses and to the silenced play of the memory, which makes it thus possible to concentrate the perceptive powers of the consciousness upon one single spiritual object only.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    Related to the Subba Row list – from another article useful for the study of the VotS:
    “There are four (out of the many other) names of the various kinds of Esoteric Knowledge or Sciences given, even in the esoteric Purânas. There is
    (1) Yajna-Vidya,1 knowledge of the occult powers awakened in Nature by the performance of certain religious ceremonies
    (2) Maha-vidya, the “great knowledge,” the magic of the Kabalists and of the Tantrika worship, often Sorcery of the worst description.
    (3) Guhya-Vidya, knowledge of the mystic powers residing in Sound (Ether), hence in the Mantras (chanted prayers or incantations) and depending on the rhythm and melody used; in other words a magical performance based on Knowledge of the Forces of Nature and their correlation; and
    (4) ATMA-VIDYA, a term which is translated simply “knowledge of the Soul,” true Wisdom by the Orientalists, but which means far more.
    This last is the only kind of Occultism that any theosophist who admires Light on the Path, and who would be wise and unselfish, ought to strive after.”(Occultism versus the Occult Arts, Lucifer, May, 1888)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    3 -Having become indifferent to objects of perception, the pupil must seek out the rājā of the senses, the Thought-Producer, he who awakes illusion.

    There is a term in Plotinus that reminds me of the term ‘rājā’ (king) of the senses’: ‘’Sense Perception is our messenger, but the mind is our king’’(Plotinus V.3.3,45).

  • ModeratorTN

    Before the Soul can comprehend and may remember, she must unto the Silent Speaker be united, just as the form to which the clay is modeled, is first united with the potter’s mind.

    For then the soul will hear, and will remember.

    And then to the inner ear will speak—

    And say:—

    If thy Soul smiles while bathing in the Sunlight of thy Life; if thy soul sings within her chrysalis of flesh and matter; if thy soul weeps inside her castle of illusion; if thy soul struggles to break the silver thread that binds her to the MASTER;4 know, O Disciple, thy Soul is of the earth.

    When to the World’s turmoil thy budding

    soul lends ear; when to the roaring voice of the Great Illusion thy Soul responds; when frightened at the sight of the hot tears of pain, when deafened by the cries of distress, thy Soul withdraws like the shy turtle within the carapace of SELFHOOD, learn, O Disciple, of her Silent “God,” thy Soul is an unworthy shrine.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    thanks Mod, that was a little experimental warmup run – I’d like to try to continue all the way through the whole text – I just need to catch up a bit on some basic texts and I should be a little more fluid in a week or two…

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    There is nothing here that has not been said before, nor do I have any skill in composition. Due to the insufficiency of my abilities I do not think that this commentary is conducive to the benefit of others and I have composed this solely to season my own mind. Owing to this, the power of my faith increases to cultivate virtue. Moreover, if someone else with a disposition like my own examines this, it may be meaningful.

    4-The Mind is the great Slayer of the Real.
    5-Let the Disciple slay the Slayer.
    40. Being indifferent towards all objects, the Yogin having controlled his passions, should by continual practice concentrate his attention upon the sound which destroys the mind.

    The mind as the slayer of the real, relating to the previous line, as a thought-producer which creates maya. Slaying the mind in eastern texts tends to mean pacifying the mind, stabilizing the mind. Yoga is the cessation of the modifications of the mind:

    ”Being indifferent towards all objects, the Yogin having controlled his passions, should by continual practice concentrate his attention upon the sound which destroys the mind.” (Nadabindu Upanishad, 40)

    ”Wonderful, indeed, it is to subdue the mind, so difficult to subdue, ever swift, and seizing whatever it desires. A tamed mind brings happiness.” (Dhammapada 3, 35)

    • This reply was modified 8 months ago by  Mark Casady.

    • Kirk Marzulo
      Kirk Marzulo

      Is it the sound which “slays” or subdues the mind, or it an altruistic motive focused upon hearing (see ladder of the mystic sounds, p. 11 VOS) the true nature of the sound in combination with a calm, one-pointed concentration upon the meaning of the sound (its cosmic or universal significance, its meaning for all of humanity, for example) which eventually quiets, stills and subdues the lower machinations of the thinking principle…while also eventually wakening the higher mind and heart?

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    I’d say both. Summarizing the text so far: ‘Disciples can pacify their mind by concentrating on their inner sound.’ I think a good meditation practice should have both stabilizing and analytical meditation (samatha / vipassana). Concentrating on the sound for stabilizing and contemplating on the meaning for analytical.

    ”It (the mind) becoming insensible to the external impressions, becomes one with the sound as milk with water and then becomes rapidly absorbed in Chidakasa (the Akasa where Chit prevails).” (Nadabindu Upanishad, 39)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    (6) For: —
    When to himself his form appears unreal, as do on waking all the forms he sees in dreams;

    Even after Atma-Jnana (knowledge of Atman or Self) has awakened (in one), Prarabdha does not leave (him); but he does not feel Prarabdha after the dawning of Tattva-Jnana (knowledge of Tattva or truth) because the body and other things are Asat (unreal), like the things seen in a dream to one on awaking from it. (Nada Bindu Upanishad, 22-23(a))

    We live, while we see the sun,
    Where life and dreams are as one;
    And living has taught me this,
    Man dreams the life that is his,
    Until his living is done.
    The king dreams he is king, and he lives
    In the deceit of a king,
    Commanding and governing;
    And all the praise he receives
    Is written in wind, and leaves
    A little dust on the way
    When death ends all with a breath.
    Where then is the gain of a throne,
    That shall perish and not be known
    In the other dream that is death?
    Dreams the rich man of riches and fears,
    The fears that his riches breed;
    The poor man dreams of his need,
    And all his sorrows and tears;
    Dreams he that prospers with years,
    Dreams he that feigns and foregoes,
    Dreams he that rails on his foes;
    And in all the world, I see,
    Man dreams whatever he be,
    And his own dream no man knows.
    And I too dream and behold,
    I dream I am bound with chains,
    And I dreamed that these present pains
    Were fortunate ways of old.
    What is life? a tale that is told;
    What is life? a frenzy extreme,
    A shadow of things that seem;
    And the greatest good is but small,
    That all life is a dream to all,
    And that dreams themselves are a dream.
    (Pedro Calderon de la Barca – 1635)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    (7) When he has ceased to hear the many, he may discern the ONE — the inner sound which kills the outer.
    ”It (the mind) becoming insensible to the external impressions, becomes one with the sound as milk with water and then becomes rapidly absorbed in Chidakasa (the Akasa where Chit prevails).” (Nadabindu Upanishad, 39)

    The movement from multiplicity to unity is a basic concept in Neoplatonic mysticism.

    (8) Then only, not till then, shall he forsake the region of Asat, the false, to come unto the realm of Sat, the true.
    Concerning the real and the unreal, you will see that the unreal is illusory while the real is eternal. (Jnaneshwari, 2, 133)

    (9) Before the soul can see, the Harmony within must be attained, and fleshly eyes be rendered blind to all illusion.
    Just as the bee drinking the honey (alone) does not care for the odour, so the Chitta which is always absorbed in sound, does not long for sensual objects, as it is bound by the sweet smell of Nada and has abandoned its flitting nature. (Nadabindu Upanishad 42-43(a))

    (10) Before the Soul can hear, the image (man) has to become as deaf to roarings as to whispers, to cries of bellowing elephants as to the silvery buzzing of the golden fire-fly.
    The sound serves the purpose of a sharp goad to control the maddened elephant – Chitta which roves in the pleasure-garden of the sensual objects. (Nadabindu Upanishad 44(b)-45(a))

    The sound which he thus practises makes him deaf to all external sounds. (Nadabindu Upanishad 32)

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by  Mark Casady.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    (11) Before the soul can comprehend and may remember, she must unto the Silent Speaker be united just as the form to which the clay is modelled, is first united with the potter’s mind.

    As the clay is the material cause of the pot so one learns from Vedanta that Ajnana is the material cause of the universe and when Ajnana ceases to exist, where then is the cosmos ?(Nadabindu Upanishad

    (12) For then the soul will hear, and will remember.

    This reminds of the Platonic notion of recollection. Having a amassed experienced and knowledge in previous existences, we need to recover the memory of this storehouse of knowledge that we possess. See The Meno or the Phaedo.

    (13) And then to the inner ear will speak —

    There is the theosophical notion of the inner man, therefore we have inner faculties, subtle bodies, one could say astral senses.


    The sound exists till there is the Akasic conception (Akasa-Sankalpa). Beyond this, is the (Asabda) soundless Para-Brahman which is Paramatman. (Nadabindu Upanishad 47(b)-48(a))

    but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. 13 So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. (1 Kings 19:11-13)

    No one can serve his body and the higher Soul, and do his family duty and his universal duty, without depriving either one or the other of its rights; for he will either lend his ear to the “still small voice” and fail to hear the cries of his little ones, or, he will listen but to the wants of the latter and remain deaf to the voice of Humanity. (Blavatsky, Occultism versus the Occult Arts, CW 9, 249)

    With perseverance and devotion
    I mastered the vina’s errant chords;
    but then practicing the unborn, unstruck sound
    I, Vinapa, lost my self.
    (Mahasiddha Vinapa (The Musician), Masters of Mahamudra: Songs and Histories of the Eighty-four Buddhist Siddhas” by Keith Dowman, Publisher: State University of New York Press p.91)

    You could say that this first set of stanzas comprises a section.

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by  Mark Casady.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    The notion of the Nada, the Voice of the Silence, is part of what you could call the mysticism of sound (see Guy L. Beck Sonic Theology: Hinduism and Sacred Sound which is related to theosophical doctrine of the Logos (i.e. Word of God, Sabda Brahman). Esoteric notions of sound, speech, words, letters, and music are inter-connected. Related Eastern terms include Vach, Om, Pranava, Mantra and Blavatsky mentions Anâhata-śabda and this opens up a vast domain of mystical texts. Below is a basic explanation of this concept in Tantra cosmology:

    As Śruti says: “He saw” (Sa aiksata, aham bahu syām prajāyeya). He thought to Himself “May I be many.” “Sa aiksata” was itself a manifestation of Śakti, the Paramāpūrva-nirvāna-śakti of Brahman as Śakti.3 From the Brahman, with Śakti (Parahaktimaya) issued Nāda (Śiva-Śakti as the “Word” or “Sound”), and from Nāda, Bindu appeared. Kālicharana in his commentary on the Sat cakra-nirūpana4 says that Śiva and Nirvāna-Śakti bound by a māyik bond and covering, should be thought of as existing in the form of Param Bindu.
    3 Sat-cakra-nirupan a. Commentary on verse 49, “The Serpent Power.”
    4 Ibid., verse 37.

    The Sāradā1 says: Saccidānanda-vibhavāt sakalāt parameśvarāt āsicchaktistato nādo, nadad bindusamudbhavah. (“From Parameśvara vested with the wealth of Saccidananda and with Prakrti (sakala) issued Śakti; from Śakti came Nāda and from Nāda was born Bindu”). The state of subtle body which is known as Kāma-kalā is the mūla of mantra. The term mūlamantrātmikā, when applied to the Devī, refers to this subtle body of Hers known as the Kāma-kalā.2 The Tantra also speaks of three Bindus, namely, Śiva-maya, Śakti-maya, and Śiva-Śakti maya.3

    The param-bindu is represented as a circle, the centre of which is the brahma-pada, or place of Brahman, wherein are Prakrti-Purusa, the circumference of which is encircling māyā.4 It is on the crescent of nirvāna-kalā the seventeenth, which is again in that of Amā-kalā, the sixteenth digit (referred to in the text) of the moon-circle (Candra-mandala), which circle is situate above the Sun-Circle (Sūrya-mandala), the Guru and the Hamsah, which are in the pericarp of the thousand-petalled lotus (saharārapadrna). Next to the Bindu is the fiery Bodhinī, or Nibodhikā (v. post).
    1 Śārada-tilaka (chap. i).
    2 See Bhāskararāya’s Commentary on the Lalitāsahasranāma, verse 36.
    3 Prāna-tosini (p. 8).
    4 Māyābandhanacchaditaprakr tipurusa-param binduh. Commentary to verse 49 of the Satcakra-nirupana.
    (Introduction to Tantra Sastra, Sir John Woodroffe, 1952, pp.5-6)

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by  Mark Casady.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    Below is a brief study of the logos concept from a comparative perspective (Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Platonism, Christianity):
    The burnt offering was accompanied, as we have already said, by prayer, a hymn interpretive of the symbols, a hymn of praise (stouti), adding a spiritual to the material offering. This had been taught by Vach (the latin Vox), the sacred ‘’speech,’’ the ‘’Word,’’ the ‘’first of speaking beings,’’ the ‘’treasure of prayer,’’ whom one of the hymns of the fourth mandala of the Rig Veda celebrates in these magnificent words:-‘’I am queen and mistress of riches, I am wise… He who is born, who breathes, who hears, feeds with me on this sacred food. He who knows me not is lost. Listen then to me, for I speak words worthy of belief. I speak good things for the gods, and for the children of manu (men). Whom I love I make terrible, pious, wise, bright. … I traverse heaven and earth. I exist in all worlds, and extend towards the heavens. Like the wind, I breathe in all worlds. My greatness extends beyond this world, and reaches even beyond heaven itself.’’(…)

    Vach, or Saravasti, the Goddess of Speech, the Sakti, or female form of Brahma, to whom frequent hymns are addressed in the Rig Veda, seems to have been worshipped as an audible manifestation of the Deity, corresponding to the Avalokitesvara, or Kwan Yin, the Sakti of Amitabha, of the later Buddhists-‘’the manifested voice (of the Deity).’’ (See the translation of The Confessional Services of the Great Compassionate Kwan Yin, by Rec. S. Beal. Journ. R.A.S. Vol. ii., part ii. (New Series))

    The Honover of the Zend Avesta seems to have had much the same character as Vach, but to have been considered the ‘’Word,’’ or command, of the Deity employed in calling creation into existence, and was therefore the ‘’Creating Word,’’ or the ‘’Word Creator.’’

    The Wisdom (Chochmah) of Solomon, as the idea is first presented in the 8th and 9th chapters of the Book of Proverbs, and afterwards more completely developed in the book called ‘’The Wisdom of Solomon,’’ appears to be an attempt to define an intermediate, or mediating power between God and man- a divine teacher and instructor to lead man to God, or an attempt to personify the action of the Deity in the moral world.

    The Memra, or Word, of the Jews-an expression first employed in the Targum of Onkelos-is one of the phrases so commonly substituted by the Jews for the name of God in all that related to the relations of the Deity with man.

    The Logos of the Greek and later Hebrew philosophy was used in a double sense: one as Reason, ‘’the immanent word,’’ logos endiatheros; the other, ‘’the enunciative word’’-the Word, properly so called, logos prophorikos. The one prepared men’s minds for the revelation of the Holy Spirit, the other for the manifestation of the Son of God.(…)

    ‘’GLORY BE TO THE MANFIFESTED WORD’’ may be read over the doors of nearly all the Buddhist temples in China and Japan. This Buddhist ascription of praise to Kwan-yin is Nmamo Kwan-shai-yin Pusah,i.e., ‘’Glory of the Bodhisatwa Kwan-shai-yin.’’ Now shai-yin is the phrase which the first translators of the Gospel of St. John into Chinese designed to employ as equivalent to the Logos of the Evangelist; and the word kwan, although commonly rendered in the active voice as ‘’he or she who beholds,’’ is really the equivalent of the Sansrit Avalokita, that is, ‘’the manifested.’’ The whole phrase, therefore, (…) is, ‘’Glory be to the manifested Word or voice, Bodhisatwa,’’ where Bodhisatwa implies a Supreme Being in a human form.

    The connection of the Wisdom (Chochman) of Solomon with this worship of Vach and Honover is remarkable and interesting, especially when it is remembered that Solomon’s fleets were in direct communication with the East, and when a comparison is made of the hymn in the text with the 8th and 9th chapters of Proverbs; though, as might be expected, the doctrine in the latter is purer, and bears evidences of the acquaintance of the writer with divine revelation. In these passages Wisdom is anterior to Creation, and witnesses, but takes no part in the act. Her ‘’delights were with the sons of men’’; her office to guide and direct mankind to choose the better path.

    The Memra of the Targum does not seem to have had any connection with this Wisdom; but the adoption of the phrase certainly contributed to the spread of the Alexandrine doctrine of the Logos, which, at any rate in Palestine, appears to have embodied the idea of an outward mediator between God and man-of the Angel of the Covenant. (A Manual of the Ancient History of the East, Volume 2, François Lenormant, Elisabeth Chevallier, 1871)

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by  Mark Casady.

    • Mark Casady
      Mark Casady

      For an excellent theosophical explanation of the concept of sacred sound see Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled II, pp.409-410.

      The Name, which is no name, but a Sound or rather Motion. The mystery of the Logos, Verbum and Vâch has ever been concealed in the mystery of Names. These Names, in whatever tongue, or among whatever people, all represent permutations of the “Ineffable Name.”In this connection, the following passage from the Pistis-Sophia (page 378, 379) is of great interest. Jesus, in explaining the Mystery of the Light of his Father, the Baptisms of Smoke and of the Spirit of the Holy Light, and the Spiritual Anointing, to his Disciples, continues:

      “Nothing, then, is more excellent than these Mysteries, into which ye inquire, unless it be the Mystery of the Seven Voices, and their Nine-and-forty Powers and Numberings (ps‘phôn), nor is any name more excellent than all of them, the Name, in which are all Names, and all Lights and all Powers. He therefore, who shall depart out of the Body of Hyle (Note: not necessarily at death only, but during Samâdhi, or mystic trance) knowing that Name, no Smoke (Note: i.e. no theological delusion) nor Authority, nor Ruler of the Sphere of Fate, nor Angel, nor Archangel, nor Power, shall be able to prevent that Soul; nay, if on quitting the World, a man shall speak that Name to the Fire, it shall be extinguished, and the Mist shall withdraw. And if he shall speak it to the Daemons and the Receivers of the Outer Mist (Darkness), and to its Rulers, Authorities, and Powers, all shall perish, so that their Flame is consumed, and they cry out, ‘Thou art hallowed, the sanctified one, thou blessed one, of all them who are holy.’ And if they shall speak that Name to the Receivers of Evil Condemnation, and their Authorities and all their powers, and also to Barbelo and the Invisible Deity, and the Three Triple-Powers, forthwith all will collapse in those regions, so that they shall be compelled to dissolve and perish, and cry out: ‘O Light of every Light, which is in the infinite Light, remember us also, and cleanse us’.”

      With regard to this passage, it is remarked in The Secret Doctrine, II, 570: “It is easy to see who this Light and Name are: the light of Initiation and the name of the ‘Fire Self,’ which is no name, no action, but a Spiritual, ever-living Power, higher even than the ‘Invisible God, as this Power is ITSELF. (Blavatsky, Collected Writings, vol. 13, pp. 42)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    There are two brahmans to be named, sound and the soundless. The soundless is revealed through sound. The sound is OM. By it one goes out upward and finds cessation in the soundless. This is the bourn, this is immortality, this is union and also ultimate bliss. Just as a spider goes up outwards by its thread and finds space, so one meditates on OM and by it goes up outwards and finds independence. (Maitri Upanishad, 6, 22)

    I propose to end this lengthy, but not entirely unnecessary excursis on sacred sound or sonic theology with reflections on divine resonance, the Om, and the Nada Brahma by W.Q. Judge:
    We may picture to ourselves the immensity of universal space as traversed by a simple and homogeneous vibration of sound which acts with an awakening and vivifying energy, and rouses into motion every molecule of ether. This is represented in every language by the vowel a, which takes precedence over all the others. This is the word, the verbum, the logos of the Christian’s St. John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. (St. John, chap, i., v.I.) It is Creation, for without this resonance, without this movement amongst the quiescent molecules, there would have been no visible universe. That is to say, on this sound, or as the Aryans call it, this Nada Brahma (divine resonance) depends the evolution of the visible from the invisible.

    Meditating on the tone, as expressed in the Sanscrit syllable, Om leads us to the knowledge of the secret doctrine. In the human voice we find the seven divisions of the Divine essence for the microcosm, being a copy of the macrocosm; our halting measures contain collectively that of the whole, in the seven notes of the scale. This brings us to the seven colours, and so on, step by step, from stage to stage, until we reach the divine radiation itself, or Aum. For this divine resonance of which we have spoken is not actually the same as Divine light in its perfection. Resonance is but the expression of the complete sound Aum, which continues for, according to what the Hindous term, the duration of a day, and night of Brahma, and which they give as 1,000 ages. It not only acts as the force which excites and animates the molecules of the universe, but also as an incitement to the evolution and dissolution of man, and of the animal and mineral kingdoms and solar systems. In the planetary system, the Aryans represented this force by Mercury, which has always been held to represent the ruler of the intellectual faculties and stimulator of universal life.

    The Divine Resonance, or the sound au, the universal energy which remains constant in quality during the continuation of each day of Brahma, and which, when the great night falls, is reabsorbed in the All. Appearing and disappearing continually, it transforms itself incessantly, covered at intervals by the veil of matter, which we call its invisible manifestation, and which is never lost, but is always changing one aspect for another.

    We may now comprehend both the beauty and the utility shown in the construction of Sanscrit words. Nada Brahma is the divine resonance; if, after having pronounced the word Nada, with the word Brahm, we should naturally conclude that the final m symbolised the Pralaya, and this would contradict our hypothesis that the divine resonance is everlasting, for if it stops it is lost. For this reason an a is added to the end of the word Brahm in order to indicate that under the title of Brahma the second will continue to exist. But space is wanting in which to examine this question as we should like to. and these few allusions have no other aim than to indicate the real and practical meaning of Aum.

    For us, Om is a real and living fact. It represents the continuous courant of that silent meditation which man should follow, even while occupying himself with the duties and necessities of life. There is one constant effort common to all finite beings towards a given end, and this we do not even confine to them alone, but include the whole animal kingdom; for these inferior beings only await their turn to evolve to a superior condition, and unconsciously, perhaps, but none the less effectively, do they assimilate the same nourishment. (AUM!, The Path, April, 1886)

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by  Mark Casady.
    • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by  Mark Casady.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    Just as, without fuel, a fire
    Dies down in its own birthplace
    On the ceasing of its movements, the mind
    Dies down in its own birthplace.

    For the mind which, desiring truth,
    Has died down in its own birthplace
    And is not deluded, the sense objects,
    In the power of desire, are false.
    (Maitri Upanishad, 6.4)

    Summing up so far, this first section, which provides the namesake for the title of the whole work (a less attractive, but more descriptive title would be ‘’Three Fragments from the Book of the Golden Precepts’’,as noted in the sub-title) stanzas 1-13 presents a kind of overview of the path of silent liberation, ending in hearing the voice of the nada, the soundless sound and the requirements thereof- very much the standard practices of Advaita Vedanta – it requires the practice of concentration, controlling the senses through detachment, pacifying the mind, overcoming the delusion caused by identifying with the material world, achieving inner harmony, complete equanimity, intimate identification with the higher self, thus attaining to deep wellsprings of soul memory and use of the inner, spiritual senses. As Blavatsky states in the preface, these types of teachings are common to many eastern texts, such as the Katha Upanishads, the Sutta Nippata and that Rajah of mystic texts, the Baghavad Gita.

    Regarding the dangers of the lower iddhis, HPB has some choice words in a key text:
    ”Let him aspire to no higher than he feels able to accomplish. Let him not take a burden upon himself too heavy for him to carry. Without ever becoming a “Mahatma,” a Buddha or a Great Saint, let him study the philosophy and the “Science of Soul,” and he can become one of the modest benefactors of humanity, without any superhuman powers. Siddhis (or the Arhat powers) are only for those who are able to “lead the life,” to comply with the terrible sacrifices required for such a training, and to comply with them to the very letter”(Occultism Versus the Occult Arts, C.W. IX, p. 249).

    She also gives some pertinent information on another aspect of sacred sound:
    “The Yajna,” say the Brahmans, “exists from eternity, for it proceeded forth from the Supreme One. . . in whom it lay dormant from ‘no beginning.’ It is the key to TRAIVIDYA, the thrice sacred science contained in the Rig verses, which teaches the Yagus or sacrificial mysteries. ‘The Yajna’ exists as an invisible thing at all times; it is like the latent power of electricity in an electrifying machine, requiring only the operation of a suitable apparatus in order to be elicited. It is supposed to extend from the Ahavaniya or sacrificial fire to the heavens, forming a bridge or ladder by means of which the sacrificer can communicate with the world of gods and spirits, and even ascend when alive to their abodes.”–Martin Hauge’s Aitreya Brahmana.”
    “This Yajna is again one of the forms of the Akasa; and the mystic word calling it into existence and pronounced mentally by the initiated Priest is the Lost Word receiving impulse through WILL-POWER.” Isis Unveiled, Vol. I, Intr. See Aitareya Brahmana, Hauge.

    I propose to section the next part as stanzas 14-21, making for a short section beginning with the image of the shy turtle and ending with the image of the great bird of life (or goose, see David Reigle’s recent article Kalamasa: The Soft-Spoken Goose); giving certain admonitions and warnings regarding selflessness.

    Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by  Mark Casady.

  • ModeratorTN

    When waxing stronger, thy Soul glides forth from her secure retreat; and breaking loose from the protecting shrine, extends her silver thread and rushes onward; when beholding her image on the waves of Space she whispers, “This is I,”—declare, O Disciple, that thy Soul is caught in the webs of delusion.7

    This Earth, Disciple, is the Hall of Sorrow, wherein are set along the Path of dire probations, traps to ensnare thy EGO by the delusion called “Great Heresy”.8

    This earth, O ignorant Disciple, is but the dismal entrance leading to the twilight that precedes the valley of true light—that light which no wind can extinguish, that light which burns without a wick or fuel. {5}

    • Gerry Kiffe
      Gerry Kiffe

      Would anyone care to elaborate the meaning of this beguiling passage?:

      This earth, O ignorant Disciple, is but the dismal entrance leading to the twilight that precedes the valley of true light—that light which no wind can extinguish, that light which burns without a wick or fuel.

      What correlation might we draw to the interior principles in man in relation to the light mentioned here?

      • Peter

        Hi Gerry,
        One of the key characteristics of twilight is that we experience the light of the sun in the world while the sun itself is below (or ‘beyond’) our horizon. We sense it’s light while the source of that light is yet beyond our sight. It’s the period of time in the morning from first light until the sun rises over the horizon. And its the period of time in the evening from when the sun dips below the horizon, still lighting up the sky, until darkness itself arrives and night begins.

        Perhaps one way to look at that passage from ‘The Voice’ is that we have the potential in our earthly life to feel, sense, be aware of an illumination that ever comes from ‘within’ while, as yet, not knowing directly the source of that illumination. If we consider enlightenment to be an awakening then the analogy of first light and then eventually the sun rising over the horizon in the morning is quite fitting.
        Of course, we know, or we should know only too well that it is not the sun that rises over the horizon but the earth which turns towards the sun. No doubt this is what we must learn to do in our daily lives (‘the dismal entrance’) as we become of aware of those first faint glimpses of illumination. We must discover how to turn towards the source of that light:

        ‘that light which no wind can extinguish, that light which burns without a wick or fuel.’

        Might we say this period of first light up until final illumination or awakening is analogous to the path we have to travel, the bridge of illumination between the world of shadows and the realm of light, the bridge that we ourselves have to forge and which HPB calls the ‘antahkarana’ – the bridge between the lower and higher manas (Mind)? This would suggest that we are ourselves the path we have to travel and that paradoxically the source of that illumination is also an intrinsic part of what we truly are. The final passage in this section of ‘The Voice’ appears to suggest this is the case:

        ‘Thou art THYSELF the object of thy search’


        • barbara

          Thank you, Peter, for the beautiful illustration.

        • Gerry Kiffe
          Gerry Kiffe

          Amazingly helpful. Thank you. It brought to mind this additional passage of the Voice

          ” Silence thy thoughts and fix thy whole attention on thy Master whom yet thou dost not see, but whom thou feelest.” Like twilight.


  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    14 – And say: —
    If thy soul smiles while bathing in the Sunlight of thy Life; if thy soul sings within her chrysalis of flesh and matter; if thy soul weeps inside her castle of illusion; if thy soul struggles to break the silver thread that binds her to the MASTER (4); know, O Disciple, thy Soul is of the earth.
    (4). The “great Master” is the term used by lanoos or chelas to indicate one’s “Higher Self.” It is the equivalent of Avalokitesvara, and the same as Âdi-Budha with the Buddhist Occultists, Âtman the “Self” (the Higher Self) with the Brahmins, and Christos with the ancient Gnostics.

    Higher Self
    Higher Self. The Supreme Divine Spirit overshadowing man. The crown of the upper spiritual Triad in man—Atmân. (Theosophical Glossary)
    Atma, the “Higher Self,” is neither your Spirit nor mine, but like sunlight shines on all. It is the universally diffused “divine principle,” and is inseparable from its one and absolute Meta-Spirit, as the sunbeam is inseparable from sunlight. (The Key to Theosophy, 134)
    THE HIGHER SELF is Atma the inseparable ray of the Universal and ONE SELF. It is the God above, more than within, us. Happy the man who succeeds in saturating his inner Ego with it! (The Key to Theosophy, p. 175)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    Avalokiteswara (Sk.) “The on-looking Lord” In the exoteric interpretation, he is Padmapâni (the lotus bearer and the lotus-born) in Tibet, the first divine ancestor of the Tibetans, the complete incarnation or Avatar of Avalokiteswara; but in esoteric philosophy Avaloki, the “on-looker”, is the Higher Self, while Padmapâni is the Higher Ego or Manas. The mystic formula “Om mani padme hum” is specially used to invoke their joint help. While popular fancy claims for Avalokiteswara many incarnations on earth, and sees in him, not very wrongly, the spiritual guide of every believer, the esoteric interpretation sees in him the Logos, both celestial and human. Therefore, when the Yogâchârya School has declared Avalokiteswara as Padmâpani “to be the Dhyâni Bodhisattva of Amitâbha Buddha”, it is indeed, because the former is the spiritual reflex in the world of forms of the latter, both being one—one in heaven, the other on earth. (Theosophical Glossary)

    It is, when correctly interpreted, in one sense “the divine Self perceived or seen by Self,” the Atman or 7th principle ridded of its mayavic distinction from its Universal Source — which becomes the object of perception for, and by the individuality centred in Buddhi, the 6th principle, — something that happens only in the highest state of Samadhi. This is applying it to the microcosm. In the other sense Avalokitesvara implies the 7th Universal Principle, as the object perceived by the Universal Buddhi or “Mind” or Intelligence which is the synthetic aggregation of all the Dhyan Chohans, as of all other intelligences whether great or small, that ever were, are, or will be.

    “Speech or Vach was regarded as the Son or the manifestation of the Eternal Self, and was adored under the name of Avalokitesvara, the manifested God.” This shows as clearly as can be — that Avalokitesvara is both the unmanifested Father & the manifested Son, the latter proceeding from, and identical with, the other; — namely, the Parabrahm and Jivatman, the Universal and the individualized 7th Principle, — the Passive and the Active, the latter the Word, Logos, the Verb. (Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnet, 111/59

    Âdi-Budha – Âdi-Buddha(?)
    Âdi-Buddha (Sk.). The First and Supreme Buddha—not recognised in the Southern Church. The Eternal Light. (Theosophical Glossary)
    “Parabrahman or Adi-Buddha is eternally manifesting itself as Jivatma (7th principle) or Avalokiteswara.” (Blavatsky, CW 6,p. 179)
    (Ādi-Buddha) The first or supreme Buddha. A term used in Northern Buddhism to denote the One unknown, without beginning or end. Helena P. BLAVATSKY writes that it is identical with PARABRAHMAN or AIN SOPH. It is to be distinguished from Adi-Budha, which means “first or primeval wisdom” (SD I:55). “The universal decrees of Karma and Adi-Budh” are carried out only by Narada in Hindu esotericism (SD II:48). A related term is Adi-Buddhi, which is “absolute consciousness.”

    Atmâ (or Atman) (Sk.). The Universal Spirit, the divine Monad, the 7th Principle, so-called, in the septenary constitution of man. The Supreme Soul. (Theosophical Glossary)

    Christos, or the ” Christ-condition,” was ever the synonym of the ” Mahatmic-condition,” i.e., the union of the man with the divine principle in him. (Blavatsky, CW 8, 190 [Lucifer, Vol. I, No. 3, November, 1887, pp. 173-180] THE ESOTERIC CHARACTER OF THE GOSPELS)
    Christos (Greek), the Higher Self, Isvara.—Working Glossary (WQJ)
    “the real Christ of every Christian is the Vach, the “mystical Voice,” while the man Jeshu was but a mortal like any of us, an adept more by his inherent purity and ignorance of real Evil, than by what he had learned with his initiated Rabbis and the already (at that period) fast degenerating Egyptian Hierophants and priests.” (Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnet, 111/59)
    The Material Mind (Kâma-Manas) was to be purified and so become one with the Spiritual Mind (Buddhi-Manas). In the nomenclature of the Gnosis, this was expressed by the Redemption of Sophia by the Christos, who delivered her from her ignorance (agnoia) and sufferings. It is not then surprising that we should find Sophia, whether regarded as a unity, or as a duality, or again as cosmic mind, possessed of many names. (Blavatsky, Collected Writings, vol. 13, pp. 40-41)

    Silver Thread

    It is the Sûtrâtmâ, the silver “thread” which “incarnates” from the beginning of Manvantara to the end, stringing upon itself the pearls of human existence, in other words, the spiritual aroma of every personality it follows through the pilgrimage of life….It is also the material from which the Adept forms his Astral Bodies, from the Augoeides and the Mâyâvi Rûpa downwards. (Secret Doctrine 3, p. 446)
    The ancient works refer to it as Karana Sarira on the plane of Sutratma, which is the golden thread on which, like beads, the various personalities of this higher Ego are strung. (Secret Doctrine 2, p. 79)

    “How sweetly mysterious is the Transcendental Sound of Avalokiteshvara! It is the pure Brahman Sound. It is the subdued murmur of the seatide setting inward. Its mysterious Sound brings liberation and peace to all sentient beings who in their distress are calling for aid; it brings a sense of permanency to those who are truly seeking the attainment of Nirvana’s Peace . . .”
    “All the Brothers in this Great Assembly, and you too, Ananda, should reverse your outward perception of hearing and listen inwardly for the perfectly unified and intrinsic sound of your own Mind-Essence, for as soon as you have attained perfect accommodation, you will have attained to Supreme Enlightenment.” (The Śūraṅgama Sūtra, in Buddhist Bible, Goddard, p.257))

    There are several similar terms in Theosophy, Adi- Budha, Adi-Buddha, Adi-Budhi, Adi-Buddhi, Adi-Buddhic – the Philalethian edition of the Voice corrects the term to Adi-Buddha, and that seems OK – it corresponds well to the term in the Kalachakra Tantra:
    “He, that does not know the chief first Buddha (Adi-Buddha), knows not the circle of time (Kalachakra). He, that does not know the circle of time, knows not the exact enumeration of the divine attributes. He that does not know the exact enumeration of the divine attributes, knows not the supreme intelligence. He, that does not know the supreme intelligence, knows not the tantric principles. He, that does not know the tantric principles, and all such, are wanderers in the orb transmigratos, and are out of the way of the supreme triumphator. Therefore Adi-Buddha must be taught by every true lama, and every true disciple who aspires to liberation must hear them” (quoted by Körös, 1984, pp. 21, 22). No other tantra has made the idea of the ADI BUDDHA so central to its teaching as the Kalachakra Tantra.

    At the end of his initiation, in one tantric text he proudly cries out: “I make the universe manifest within myself in the Sky of Consciousness. I, who am the universe, am its creator. [….] The universe dissolves within me. I who am the flame of the great eternal fire of Consciousness.” (quoted by Dyczkowski, 1987, p. 189). Of course, these sentences are not addressed to an individual “ego”, but rather the “superego” of a divine universal being.


    You can find this concept of the Chistos in the Pistis Sophia and also in the Ophite story of Sophia in Hyppolytus:
    As the mother of all living, Sophia is the medium between the intellectual and material worlds. In consequence of this, when Bythos and Ennoia, charmed with her beauty, furnished her with the divine Light, Sophia produced two new Emanations–the one perfect, Christos, the other imperfect, Sophia-Achamoth. (This scheme resembles the Buddhistic; Bythos answering to the First Buddha; Sige, Sophia, Christos, Achamoth, Ildabaoth, to the successive other Five.)
    Of these emanations Christos was designed for the guide of all who proceed from God; Achamoth, for the guide of all proceeding out of matter; nevertheless, the Perfect One was intended to assist and lead upwards his imperfect sister. (King, Gnostics and their Remains, P. 96)

    Silver Thread
    I assume here, from the context, that Silver Thread signifies Sutratma. The term Thread-Soul is common, but the term Silver Thread for Sutratma has only come up once in my search and also once as Golden Thread.

    The term is seems derived from Ecclesiastes 12:6-7 in the Jewish Bible or Christian Old Testament. As translated from the original Hebrew in The Complete Tanakh:[6] “Before the silver cord snaps, and the golden fountain is shattered, and the pitcher breaks at the fountain, and the wheel falls shattered into the pit. And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God, Who gave it.”

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by  Mark Casady.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    15 When to the World’s turmoil thy budding soul (5) lends ear; when to the roaring voice of the great illusion thy Soul responds (6); when frightened at the sight of the hot tears of pain, when deafened by the cries of distress, thy soul withdraws like the shy turtle within the carapace of SELFHOOD, learn, O Disciple, of her Silent “God,” thy Soul is an unworthy shrine.
    (5). Soul is used here for the Human Ego or Manas, that which is referred to in our Occult Septenary division as the “Human Soul” (Vide the Secret Doctrine) in contradistinction to the Spiritual and Animal Souls.

    Manas (Sk.). Lit., “the mind”, the mental faculty which makes of man an intelligent and moral being, and distinguishes him from the mere animal; a synonym of Mahat. Esoterically, however, it means, when unqualified, the Higher EGO, or the sentient reincarnating Principle in man. When qualified it is called by Theosophists Buddhi-Manas or the Spiritual Soul in contradistinction to its human reflection—Kâma-Manas. (Theosophical Glossary)

    See the SD Vol. 2, p. 596

    (6). Mahâ Mâyâ “Great Illusion,” the objective Universe.

    Mahâ Mâyâ (Sk.). The great illusion of manifestation. This universe, and all in it in their mutual relation, is called the great Illusion or Mahâmâyâ It is also the usual title given to Gautama the Buddha’s Immaculate Mother—Mayâdêvi, or the “Great Mystery”, as she is called by the Mystics.

    Eastern texts use a similar turtle imagery, but with a different meaning:
    He who, having withdrawn the organs within, like a turtle its limbs (within its shell), is with the actions of the organs and the mind annihilated, without desires, without possessing any object as his own, without dualities, without prostrations, without the oblations to pity devatās (they being with desires), without mine or I, without awaiting anything, without the desire to be happy, and living in places where men do not live—he alone is emancipated.
    (Narada Parivrajaka Upanishad 3,7)

    16 When waxing stronger, thy Soul glides forth from her secure retreat: and breaking loose from the protecting shrine, extends her silver thread and rushes onward; when beholding her image on the waves of Space she whispers, “This is I,” — declare, O Disciple, that thy soul is caught in the webs of delusion (7).
    (7) Sakkâyaditthi “delusion” of personality.

    Sakkayaditthi. Delusion of personality; the erroneous idea that “I am I ”, a man or a woman with a special name, instead of being an inseparable part of the whole. (Theosophical Glossary)

    This passage seems to refer to astral travel. In which case the term silver thread might not be the same as the previous reference (14). It might mean the silver cord of the astral body, but Blavatsky doesn’t usually use that term, she calls it the umbilical cord of the linga sharira.

    17 This Earth, Disciple, is the Hall of Sorrow, wherein are set along the Path of dire probations, traps to ensnare thy EGO by the delusion called “Great Heresy” (8).
    (8).Attavâda, the heresy of the belief in Soul or rather in the separateness of Soul or Self from the One Universal, infinite Self.

    Attavada (Pali). The sin of personality. (Theosophical Glossary)

    Two more unnamed skandhas are the ones responsible for the illusion of Sakkayaditthi, “the ‘heresy or delusion of individuality’ and of Attavada [Sk. Atma-vada] ‘the doctrine of Self,’ both of which (in the case of the fifth principle, the soul) lead to the maya of heresy and belief in the efficacy of vain rites and ceremonies, in prayers and intercession” ((Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnet, 68/16).

    The Pali canon’s Sutta Pitaka identifies ten “fetters of becoming”:
    1 -belief in a self (Pali: sakkāya-diṭṭhi)

    18 This earth, O ignorant Disciple, is but the dismal entrance leading to the twilight that precedes the valley of true light — that light which no wind can extinguish, that light which burns without a wick or fuel.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    19 Saith the Great Law: — “In order to become the knower of ALL SELF (9) thou hast first of self to be the knower.” To reach the knowledge of that self, thou hast to give up Self to Non-Self, Being to Non-Being, and then thou canst repose between the wings of the GREAT BIRD. Aye, sweet is rest between the wings of that which is not born, nor dies, but is the AUM (10) throughout eternal ages (11).
    (9). The Tattvajñânin is the “knower” or discriminator of the principles in nature and in man; and Âtmajñânin is the knower of Âtman or the Universal, One Self.

    22-23(a). Even after Atma-Jnana (knowledge of Atman or Self) has awakened (in one), Prarabdha does not leave (him); but he does not feel Prarabdha after the dawning of Tattva-Jnana (knowledge of Tattva or truth) because the body and other things are Asat (unreal), like the things seen in a dream to one on awaking from it.
    23(b)-24. That (portion of the) Karma which is done in former births and called Prarabdha does not at all affect the person (Tattva-Jnani), as there is no rebirth to him. As the body that exists in the dreaming state is untrue, so is this body. (Nadabindu Upanishad)

    THE first necessity for obtaining self-knowledge is to become profoundly conscious of ignorance ; to feel with every fibre of the heart that one is ceaselessly self-deceived.
    The second requisite is the still deeper conviction that such knowledge-such intuitive and certain knowledge-can be obtained by effort.
    The third and most important is an indomitable determination to obtain and face that knowledge.
    Self-knowledge of this kind is unattainable by what men usually call ” self-analysis.” It is not reached by reasoning or any brain process ; for it is the awakening to consciousness of the Divine nature of man.
    To obtain this knowledge is a greater achievement than to command the elements or to know the future.
    (Lucifer Vol. 1, p. 89, 1887)

    (10). Kala Hamsa, the “Bird” or Swan (Vide No. 11). Says the Nâda-Bindu Upanishad (Rig Veda) translated by the Kumbakonam Theos. Society — “The syllable a is considered to be its (the bird Hamsa’s) right wing, u, its left, m, its tail, and the Ardha-mâtra (half metre) is said to be its head.”
    (See The Theosophist VOL. X. No. 116.—MAY 1889, 478-82)

    Kalahansa or Hamsa (Sk). A mystic title given to Brahma (or Parabrahman); means “the swan in and out of time”. Brahmâ (male) is called Hansa-Vahan, the vehicle of the “Swan” (Theosophical Glossary)

    Hamsa or Hansa (Sk.) “Swan or goose”, according to the Orientalists ; a mystical bird in Occultism analogous to the Rosicrucian Pelican. The sacred mystic name which, when preceded by that of KALA (infinite time), i.e. Kalahansa, is name of Parabrahm ; meaning the “ Bird out of space and time”. Hence Brahmâ (male)is called Hansa Vahana “the Vehicle of Hansa” (the Bird). We find the same idea in the Zohar, where Ain Suph (the endless and infinite) is said to descend into the universe, for purposes of manifestation, using Adam Kadmon (Humanity) as a chariot or vehicle. (Theosophical Glossary)

    (11). Eternity with the Orientals has quite another signification than it has with us. It stands generally for the 100 years or “age” of Brahmâ, the duration of a Kalpa or a period of 4,320,000,000 years.

    Brahmâ’s Day. A period of 2,160,000,000 years during which Brahmâ having emerged out of his golden egg (Hiranyagarbha), creates and fashions the material world (being simply the fertilizing and creative force in Nature). After this period, the worlds being destroyed in turn, by fire and water, he vanishes with objective nature, and then comes Brahmâ’s Night. (Theosophical Glossary)

    Brahmâ’s Night. A period of equal duration, during which Brahmâ. is said to be asleep. Upon awakening he recommences the process, and this goes on for an AGE of Brahmâ composed of alternate “Days”, and “Nights”, and lasting 100 years (of 2,160,000,000 years each). It requires fifteen figures to express the duration of such an age; after the expiration of which the Mahapralaya or the Great Dissolution sets in, and lasts in its turn for the same space of fifteen figures. (Theosophical Glossary)

    Kalpa (Sk.). The period of a mundane revolution, generally a cycle of time, but usually, it represents a “day” and “night” of Brahmâ, a period of 4,320,000,000 years. (Theosophical Glossary)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    20 Bestride the Bird of Life, if thou would’st know (12).
    (12). Says the same Nâda-Bindu, “A Yogi who bestrides the Hamsa (thus contemplates on Aum) is not affected by Karmic influences or crores of sins.”

    The passage below (a kind of Macrocosmic-Microcosmic correspondence) is perhaps similar to the image of Adam Kadmon’s body and the correspondences with the Sefirot, thus adding to the correspondence mentioned in the Hamsa TG entry:
    1. The syllable ‘A’ is considered to be its (the bird Om’s) right wing, ‘Upanishad’, its left; ‘M’, its tail; and the Ardha-Matra (half-metre) is said to be its head.
    2. The (Rajasic and Tamasic) qualities, its feet upwards (to the loins); Sattva, its (main) body; Dharma is considered to be its right eye, and Adharma, its left.
    3. The Bhur-Loka is situated in its feet; the Bhuvar-Loka, in its knees; the Suvar-Loka, in its loins; and the Mahar-Loka, in its navel.
    4. In its heart is situate the Janoloka; Tapoloka in its throat and the Satya-Loka in the centre of the forehead between the eyebrows.
    5(a). Then the Matra (or Mantra) beyond the Sahasrara (thousand-rayed) is explained (viz.,) should be explained.
    5(b)-6(a). An adept in Yoga who bestrides the Hamsa (bird) thus (viz., contemplates on Om) is not affected by Karmic influences or by tens of Crores of sins. (Nadabindu Upanishad)

    See nice essay on the Kalahamsa in theosophical doctrine

    21 Give up thy life, if thou would’st live (13).
    (13). Give up the life of physical personality if you would live in spirit.

    Those who try to gain their own life will lose it; but those who lose their life for my sake will gain it. (Matthew 10:39)
    For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake, you will find it. (Matthew 16:25) For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for me and for the gospel, you will save it. (Mark 8:35) For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it, but if you lose your life for my sake, you will save it. (Luke 9:24) Those who love their own life will lose it; those who hate their own life in this world will keep it for life eternal. (John 12:25)

    The voice of the Masters is always in the world; but only those hear it whose ears are no longer receptive of the sounds which affect the personal life. Laughter no longer lightens the heart, anger may no longer enrage it, tender words bring it no balm. For that within, to which the ears are as an outer gateway, is an unshaken place of peace in itself which no person can disturb. (Light on the Path, Comment 2)

    Some might say, to his own destruction. And why? Because from the hour when he first tastes the splendid reality of living he forgets more and more his individual self. No longer does he fight for it, or pit its strength against the strength of others. No longer does he care to defend or to feed it. Yet when he is thus indifferent to its welfare, the individual self grows more stalwart and robust, like the prairie grasses and the trees of untrodden forests. It is a matter of indifference to him whether this is so or not. Only, if it is so, he has a fine instrument ready to his hand; and in due proportion to the completeness of his indifference to it is the strength and beauty of his personal self. (Through the Gates of Gold, 5, 2)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    How is everybody doing? I cannot begin to say how much I’ve learned since embarking on this study. I’ve come to notice this text fits rather well within a certain framework of other texts such as the Nadabindu Upanishad, Light on the Path, Baghavad Gita/Janeshwari and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, so there is a harmony there that gives a wider background. I think we are beginning to make some headway now. This marks the completion of the second section (stanzas 14-21). This section, quite diverse, had some reflections regarding the astral plane, the importance of selflessness:
    He who truly arrives there
    Cuts free from himself.
    — JOHN of the CROSS

    From an absolutely impersonal point of view, otherwise your sight is colored. Therefore impersonality must first be understood.
    Intelligence is impartial: no man is your enemy: no man is your friend. All alike are your teachers. Your enemy becomes a mystery that must be solved, even though it take ages: for man must be understood. Your friend becomes a part of yourself, an extension of yourself, a riddle hard to read. Only one thing is more difficult to know — your own heart. Not until the bonds of personality are loosed, can that profound mystery of self begin to be seen. Not till you stand aside from it will it in any way reveal itself to your understanding. Then, and not till then, can you grasp and guide it. Then, and not till then, can you use all its powers, and devote them to a worthy service. (Light on the Path, Note, Section 2, 10)

    and a mystical imperative regarding the Kalahamsa.
    For some information of Tantric concepts of the Kalamsa, the Nada and the Bindu see the following two articles.
    The Hindu Theory of Vibration as the Producer of Sounds, Forms and Colors,” The Theosophist, Vol. XII, October and November, 1893, written by C. Kotyya, F.T.S.

    HAMSA RAHASYA: The Secret of Hamsa. – David Frawley, Veda Net

    With the next part (Stanzas 22-38), we explore the three halls: the Hall of Ignorance, the Hall of Learning, and the Hall of Wisdom – stay tuned, lanoo…

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    Read carefully, Lanoo, light your lamp with care, the following terms must be studied well before passing on to the next stage…

    Iddhi/ Siddhi
    rājā of the senses
    Slayer of the Real
    Silent Speaker
    inner ear
    Voice of the Silence
    Great Master
    Higher Self
    Silver Thread
    shy turtle
    Mahâ Mâyâ
    Human Ego
    Bird of Life
    Age of Brahmâ

    Since Sarasvati Devi is also a rider of the Hamsa, it behooves me to signal the useful Glossary entry on Vak:
    Vâch (Sk.) To call Vâch “speech” simply, is deficient in clearness. Vâch is the mystic personification of speech, and the female Logos, being one with Brahmâ, who created her out of one-half of his body, which he divided into two portions; she is also one with Virâj (called the “female” Virâj) who was created in her by Brahmâ. In one sense Vâch is “speech” by which knowledge was taught to man; in another she is the “mystic, secret speech” which descends upon and enters into the primeval Rishis, as the “tongues of fire” are said to have “sat upon” the apostles. For, she is called “the female creator ”, the “mother of the Vedas ”, etc., etc. Esoterically, she is the subjective Creative Force which, emanating from the Creative Deity (the subjective Universe, its “privation ”, or ideation) becomes the manifested “world of speech ”, i.e., the concrete expression of ideation, hence the “Word” or Logos. Vâch is “the male and female” Adam of the first chapter of Genesis, and thus called “Vâch-Virâj” by the sages. (See Atharva Veda.) She is also “the celestial Saraswatî produced from the heavens ”, a “voice derived from speechless Brahmâ” (Mahâbhârata); the goddess of wisdom and eloquence. She is called Sata-rûpa, the goddess of a hundred forms. (Theosophical Glossary)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    21 – Three Halls, O weary pilgrim, lead to the end of toils. Three Halls, O conqueror of Mâra, will bring thee through three states (14) into the fourth (15) and thence into the seven worlds (16), the worlds of Rest Eternal.
    (14). The three states of consciousness, which are Jâgrat, the waking; Svapna, the dreaming; and Sushupti, the deep sleeping state. These three Yogi conditions, lead to the fourth, or —

    Jagrata (Sk.). The waking state of consciousness. When mentioned in Yoga philosophy, Jagrata-avastha is the waking condition, one of the four states of Pranava in ascetic practices, as used by the Yogis. (Theosophical Glossary)
    Svapna (Sk). A trance or dreamy condition. Clairvoyance. (Theosophical Glossary)
    Svapna Avasthâ (Sk.). A dreaming state; one of the four aspects of Prânava; a Yoga practice. (Theosophical Glossary)
    Sushupti Avasthâ (Sk.). Deep sleep; one of the four aspects of Prânava. (Theosophical Glossary)

    (15). The Turîya, that beyond the dreamless state, the one above all, a state of high spiritual consciousness.

    Turîya (Sk.). A state of the deepest trance—the fourth state of the Târaka Râja Yoga, one that corresponds with Âtmâ, and on this earth with dreamless sleep—a causal condition. (Theosophical Glossary)
    Turîya Avasthâ (Sk.). Almost a Nirvânic state in Samâdhi, which is itself a beatific state of the contemplative Yoga beyond this plane. A condition of the higher Triad, quite distinct (though still inseparable) from the conditions of Jagrat (waking), Svapna (dreaming), and Sushupti (sleeping). (Theosophical Glossary)
    The Manduka Upanishad partitions the symbol Aum in three different morae and adds a fourth mora-less part instructing that the mora-less part alone is ultimately real and not the other three representing “wakefulness”, “dream” and the “sleep” states of consciousness. The mora-less part of Aum has correspondence with the fourth dimension of metaphysics, the Atman.[3] Ramachandra Dattatrya Ranade. A Constructive Survey of Upanishadic Philosophy. Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. p. 246.

    (16). Some Sanskrit mystics locate seven planes of being, the seven spiritual lokas or worlds within the body of Kala Hamsa, the Swan out of Time and Space, convertible into the Swan in Time, when it becomes Brahmâ instead of Brahma (neuter).
    The opening of the Nadabindu Upanishad, see references for stanza 20.

    Mâra (Sk.). The god of Temptation, the Seducer who tried to turn away Buddha from his PATH. He is called the “Destroyer” and “Death” (of the Soul). One of the names of Kâma, God of love. (Theosophical Glossary)

    22 – If thou would’st learn their names, then hearken, and remember.

    23 – The name of the first Hall is IGNORANCE — Avidyâ.

    Avidyâ (Sk.). Opposed to Vidyâ, Knowledge. Ignorance which proceeds from, and is produced by the illusion of the Senses or Viparyaya. (Theosophical Glossary)

    24- It is the Hall in which thou saw’st the light, in which thou livest and shalt die (17).
    (17). The phenomenal World of Senses and of terrestrial consciousness — only.

    In stanza 17, it is called the Hall of Sorrow.

    25- The name of Hall the second is the Hall of Learning.* In it thy Soul will find the blossoms of life, but under every flower a serpent coiled (18).
    [*The Hall of Probationary Learning.]
    (18). The astral region, the Psychic World of super-sensuous perceptions and of deceptive sights — the world of Mediums. It is the great “Astral Serpent” of Éliphas Lévi. No blossom plucked in those regions has ever yet been brought down on earth without its serpent coiled around the stem. It is the world of the Great Illusion.

    For Levi’s astral serpent, see The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 2., pg. 511-512.

    See rules, Part I of Light on the Path ‘’ These written above are the first of the rules which are written on the walls of the Hall of Learning. Those that ask shall have. Those that desire to read shall read. Those who desire to learn shall learn.’’

    See also the rules, part 2 : ‘’OUT of the silence that is peace a resonant voice shall arise. And this voice will say, It is not well; thou hast reaped, now thou must sow. And knowing this voice to be the silence itself thou wilt obey.
    Thou who art now a disciple, able to stand, able to hear, able to see, able to speak, who hast conquered desire and attained to self-knowledge, who hast seen thy soul in its bloom and recognized it, and heard the voice of the silence, go thou to the Hall of Learning and read what is written there for thee.’’

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    “Lucifer, the Astral Light . . . . is an intermediate force existing in all creation, it serves to create and to destroy, and the Fall of Adam was an erotic intoxication which has rendered his generation a slave to this fatal light . . . every sexual passion that overpowers our senses is a whirlwind of that light which seeks to drag us towards the abyss of death, Folly. Hallucinations, visions, ecstasies are all forms of a very dangerous excitation due to this interior phosphorus (?). Thus light, finally, is of the nature of fire, the intelligent use of which warms and vivifies, and the excess of which, on the contrary, dissolves and annihilates. Thus man is called upon to assume a sovereign empire over that (astral) light and conquer thereby his immortality, and is threatened at the same time with being intoxicated, absorbed, and eternally destroyed by it. This light, therefore, inasmuch as it is devouring, revengeful, and fatal, would thus really be hell-fire, the serpent of the legend; the tormented errors of which it is full, the tears and the gnashing of teeth of the abortive beings it devours, the phantom of life that escapes them, and seems to mock and insult their agony, all this would be the devil or Satan indeed.” (Histoire de la Magie, p. 197).

    There is no wrong statement in all this; nothing save a superabundance of ill-applied metaphors, as in the application of Adam — a myth — to the illustration of the astral effects. Akasa — the astral light* — can be defined in a few words; it is the universal Soul, the Matrix of the Universe, the “Mysterium Magnum” from which all that exists is born by separation or differentiation. It is the cause of existence; it fills all the infinite Space; is Space itself, in one sense, or both its Sixth and Seventh principles.* But as the finite in the Infinite, as regards manifestation, this light must have its shadowy side — as already remarked. And as the infinite can never be manifested, hence the finite world has to be satisfied with the shadow alone, which its actions draw upon humanity and which men attract and force to activity.

    Hence, while it is the universal Cause in its unmanifested unity and infinity, the Astral light becomes, with regard to Mankind, simply the effects of the causes produced by men in their sinful lives. It is not its bright denizens — whether they are called Spirits of Light or Darkness — that produce Good or Evil, but mankind itself that determines the unavoidable action and reaction in the great magic agent. It is mankind which has become the “Serpent of Genesis,” and thus causes daily and hourly the Fall and sin of the “Celestial Virgin” — which thus becomes the Mother of gods and devils at one and the same time; for she is the ever-loving, beneficent deity to all those who stir her Soul and heart, instead of attracting to themselves her shadowy manifested essence, called by Eliphas Levi — “the fatal light” which kills and destroys. Humanity, in its units, can overpower and master its effects; but only by the holiness of their lives and by producing good causes.

    It has power only on the manifested lower principles — the shadow of the Unknown and Incognizable Deity in Space. But in antiquity and reality, Lucifer, or Luciferus, is the name of the angelic Entity presiding over the light of truth as over the light of the day. In the great Valentinian gospel Pistis Sophia (§ 361) it is taught that of the three Powers emanating from the Holy names of the Three [[Tridunameis]], that of Sophia (the Holy Ghost according to these gnostics — the most cultured of all), resides in the planet Venus or Lucifer.” (The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 2., pg. 511-512)

    26 – The name of the third Hall is Wisdom, beyond which stretch the shoreless waters of AKSHARA, the indestructible Fount of Omniscience (19).
    (19). The region of the full Spiritual Consciousness beyond which there is no longer danger for him who has reached it.
    Akshara (Sk.). Supreme Deity; lit., “indestructible”, ever perfect. (Theosophical Glossary)

    Presumably, the Gates of Gold bar the entrance to this third Hall.
    From Wikipedia: Aksara is a Sanskrit term translating to “imperishable, indestructible, fixed, immutable” (i.e. from अ, a- “not” and, kṣar- “melt away, perish”). It has two main fields of application, in Sanskrit grammatical tradition (śikṣā) and in Vedanta philosophy. The uniting aspect of these uses is the mystical view of language, or shabda, in Hindu tradition, and especially the notion of the syllable as a kind of immutable (or “atomic”) substance of both language and truth, most prominently, the mystical syllable Aum, which is given the name of ekākṣara (i.e. eka-akṣara), which can be translated as both “the sole imperishable thing” and as “a single syllable”. In the explicitly monotheistic tradition of Bhakti yoga, both akṣara and aum become seen as a symbol or name of God.

    Madhavananda in his commentary on the Brahmopanishad belonging to the Atharvaveda, explains that vide Mundaka Upanishad I.7 and II.1-2 the term Aksara signifies Brahman in Its aspect of the manifesting principle who Pippalada says is the thread (Sutram) to be worn instead of the sacrificial thread on the body which should be discarded.[4]
    And, because it is the term applied to Aum it is called the Aksara, the symbol of God who is the lord of all created things. It is a descriptive synonym of Brahman (Bhagavad Gita VIII.3) who is said to have arisen from Aksara (Bhagavad Gita III.15).[5]

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    Table of the Cosmic Bird correspondences

    ‘A—————————– right wing
    ‘Upanishad’——————– left
    ‘M’—————————- tail
    Ardha-Matra (half-metre)——- head
    (Rajasic and Tamasic)———- feet upwards (to the loins)
    Sattva————————–(main) body
    Dharma————————–right eye
    Adharma————————-Left eye

    Correspondences with the 7 lokas
    Satya-Loka——–centre of the forehead

    Subba Row has an interesting list of correspondences with the four avasthas (Twelve Signs of the Zodiac)
    4 Avasthâs—– 4 states Brahmâ—–Gods–4 asp. Parabrahmam–4 forms of Vach—4 stages 0f Sacred Word
    Jâgrat (waking)—–Vaishwânar—–Brahmâ——–Sthûla——Parâ—————Nâda
    Swapna (dream)——Taîjasa —— Vishnu——–Sûkshma—–Pasyantî———–Bindu
    Sushupti (deep sleep)Prajña——- Mahêshwara—-Bîja——–Madhyamâ———–Shakti
    Turîya—————— Ìshwara——–Sadâshiva———-Sâkshi——Vykhâri————Kala

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by  Mark Casady.
    • This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by  Mark Casady.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    27- If thou would’st cross the first Hall safely, let not thy mind mistake the fires of lust that burn therein for the Sunlight of life.

    28- If thou would’st cross the second safely, stop not the fragrance of its stupefying blossoms to inhale. If freed thou would’st be from the Karmic chains, seek not for thy Guru in those Mâyâvic regions.

    But the disciple is expected to deal with the snake, his lower self, unaided; to suppress his human passions and emotions by the force of his own will. He can only demand assistance of a master when this is accomplished, or at all events, partially so. Otherwise the gates and windows of his soul are blurred, and blinded, and darkened, and no knowledge can come to him. (Light on the Path, Comments, 3)

    29- The WISE ONES tarry not in pleasure-grounds of senses.

    30- The WISE ONES heed not the sweet-tongued voices of illusion.

    31- Seek for him who is to give thee birth (20), in the Hall of Wisdom, the Hall which lies beyond, wherein all shadows are unknown, and where the light of truth shines with unfading glory.
    (20). The Initiate who leads the disciple through the Knowledge given to him to his spiritual, or second, birth is called the Father guru or Master.

    to hear the voice of the silence is to understand that from within comes the only true guidance; to go to the Hall of Learning is to enter the state in which learning becomes possible. Then will many words be written there for thee, and written in fiery letters for thee easily to read. For when the disciple is ready the Master is ready also. (Light on the Path, Note on section 2)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    32- That which is uncreate abides in thee, Disciple, as it abides in that Hall. If thou would’st reach it and blend the two, thou must divest thyself of thy dark garments of illusion. Stifle the voice of flesh, allow no image of the senses to get between its light and thine that thus the twain may blend in one. And having learnt thine own Ajñâna (21), flee from the Hall of Learning. This Hall is dangerous in its perfidious beauty, is needed but for thy probation. Beware, Lanoo, lest dazzled by illusive radiance thy Soul should linger and be caught in its deceptive light.
    (21). Ajñâna is ignorance or non-wisdom the opposite of “Knowledge,” jñâna.

    Ajnâna (Sk.)
    or Agyana (Bengali). Non-knowledge; absence of knowledge rather than “ignorance” as generally translated. An Ajnâni means a “profane”. (Theosophical Glossary)

    There is reference to a kind of mystical union here upon reaching the Hall of Wisdom (which perhaps can be call the divine astral plane). One needs to blend the microcosm of one’s inner being to the macrocosm of the divine plane.

    ‘’Of course every occultist knows by reading Eliphas Levi and other authors that the “astral” plane is a plane of unequalized forces, and that a state of confusion necessarily prevails. But this does not apply to the “divine astral” plane, which is a plane where wisdom, and therefore order, prevails’’ (Light on the Path, Commentary 4).

    33- This light shines from the jewel of the Great Ensnarer, (Mâra) (22). The senses it bewitches, blinds the mind, and leaves the unwary an abandoned wreck.
    (22). Mâra is in exoteric religions a demon, an Asura, but in esoteric philosophy it is personified temptation through men’s vices, and translated literally means “that which kills” the Soul. It is represented as a King (of the Mâras) with a crown in which shines a jewel of such lustre that it blinds those who look at it, this lustre referring of course to the fascination exercised by vice upon certain natures.

    34- The moth attracted to the dazzling flame of thy night-lamp is doomed to perish in the viscid oil. The unwary Soul that fails to grapple with the mocking demon of illusion, will return to earth the slave of Mâra.

    35- Behold the Hosts of Souls. Watch how they hover o’er the stormy sea of human life, and how exhausted, bleeding, broken-winged, they drop one after other on the swelling waves. Tossed by the fierce winds, chased by the gale, they drift into the eddies and disappear within the first great vortex.

    This reminds of Scylla and Charybdis from Homer’s Odyssey (book 12).

    Those only sentimentally desirous of liberation and only apparently free from passion, seeking to cross the ocean of conditioned existence, are seized by the shark of desire, being caught by the neck, forcibly dragged into the middle and drowned. (81)

    He only who slays the shark of desire with the sword of supreme dispassion, reaches without obstacles the other side of the ocean of conditioned existence. (Vivekachudamani 82)

    36- If through the Hall of Wisdom, thou would’st reach the Vale of Bliss, Disciple, close fast thy senses against the great dire heresy of separateness that weans thee from the rest.

    5. Kill out all sense of separateness.
    Note on Rule 5. — Do not fancy you can stand aside from the bad man or the foolish man. They are yourself, though in a less degree than your friend or your master. But if you allow the idea of separateness from any evil thing or person to grow up within you, by so doing you create Karma, which will bind you to that thing or person till your soul recognizes that it cannot be isolated. Remember that the sin and shame of the world are your sin and shame; for you are a part of it; your Karma is inextricably interwoven with the great Karma. And before you can attain knowledge you must have passed through all places, foul and clean alike. Therefore, remember that the soiled garment you shrink from touching may have been yours yesterday, may be yours tomorrow. And if you turn with horror from it, when it is flung upon your shoulders, it will cling the more closely to you. The self-righteous man makes for himself a bed of mire. Abstain because it is right to abstain — not that yourself shall be kept clean. (Light on the Path, Note 5).

    Verily all this universe, known through mind and speech, is the spirit; verily nothing is except the spirit which lies on the other side of \prakriti. Are the various kinds of earthen vessels different from the earth? The embodied ego, deluded by the wine of \maayaa, speaks of “I” and “you”. (Vivekachudamani 392)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    37- Let not thy “Heaven-born,” merged in the sea of Mâyâ, break from the Universal Parent (SOUL), but let the fiery power retire into the inmost chamber, the chamber of the Heart (23) and the abode of the World’s Mother (24).
    (23). The inner chamber of the Heart, called in Sanskrit Brahmapura. The “fiery power” is Kundalinî.
    (24). The “Power” and the “World-mother” are names given to Kundalinî — one of the mystic “Yogi powers.” It is Buddhi considered as an active instead of a passive principle (which it is generally, when regarded only as the vehicle, or casket of the Supreme Spirit Âtma). It is an electro-spiritual force, a creative power which when aroused into action can as easily kill as it can create.

    Kundalini Sakti (Sk.). The power of life; one of the Forces of Nature; that power that generates a certain light in those who sit for spiritual and clairvoyant development. It is a power known only to those who practise concentration and Yoga. (Theosophical Glossary)

    KUNDALINI-SAKTI, the serpentine force, the astral fire, an aspect of buddhi, the basic force of all manifested nature. (kundalini, annular, spiral, winding; sakti, force.) (WQJ – Working Glossary)

    Brahmapura literally means ‘city of Brahman’.
    This word has been used in the Upaniṣads in several senses. Just as a city (pura = city) full of people and various goods supplies the needs of the king, this body of several limbs and sense-organs supplies the needs of Brahman who resides in it in the form of the jīva or the individual soul. Hence it is called ‘brahmapura’ or ‘the city of Brahman’.[1]
    Sometimes the word is also applied to the ‘lotus of the heart’ (hṛdayapuṇḍarīka—the psychic heart, where meditation is practiced) since it ‘houses’ Brahman; i.e., Brahman is realized there by the meditating on it.[2]
    1- Chāndogya Upaniṣad 8.1.1
    2- Mundaka Upaniṣad 2.2.7
    (The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore)

    The six Chakrams are located in the Sthula-sarira, but they are not visible when a body is dissected, because the leaves and petals described in the books have no objective existence, but represent so many powers or energies.

    For instance, Sahasraram is considered to have eight main petals, and the meaning of this is that the brain has eight poles. Similarly the letters, characters, symbols, goddesses, etc, said in the books to exist in these Chakrams, all symbolize different power.

    The reason of the differences between the Chakrams is that in the seven centres seven powers are located, and it is said that as the Kundalini breaks through each Chakram it causes the man to subdue that Chakram.

    As Kundalini goes on breaking through the Chakrams one by one, it gains control over so many forces connected with the elements, the astral counterparts of which are located in the respective Chakrams. The location of the mind is said to be between the eyebrows by the Hata Yogis.

    The Chakra Sammalanam mentioned in the books means that when Kundalini passes through one Chakram, it takes Its essence or energy, and so on with the rest, and finally joins all into a sort of united current.

    The seven Chakrams are connected with the seven planets in the following order, beginning with Muladharam : Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury, Moon, Sun. The moon is connected with the mind of man, because it is so changeable and vacillating.

    The mind of man never penetrates (as sometimes asserted) into the Chakrams but the Kundalini does so penetrate, and the mind itself will finally combine with Kundalini when the latter gets near the Agna Chakram, and then the man becomes clairvoyant.

    Kundalini is a power or energy in the Muladharam sometimes called the astral serpent. It has its head in the region of the navel; it can be roused by increasing the fire in the Muladharam. It is said to be like a serpent, because it moves in carves, it appears to move round and round in a circle, Ida and Pingala alternate on account of its motion.

    Kundalini is said in the books to have three and a half circles to show that it pervades the three and half matras of Pranava. In some cases it is represented as light, because its energy runs through Ashtaprakriti. Sometimes it is represented as four.

    Some say that, in order to attain Raja Yoga, one should investigate Mahavakyam ; others that the mind must be concentrated on a point and the Yogi must contemplate Parabrahm; some say one’s own Guru is the true subject of contemplation, and it is enough to lead a good life; some say the repetition of the Pranava is in itself Raj Yog, and others say you must cultivate will-power : which of these ways is the true one ? All these are necessary and much more—read “Light on the Path.” The end of Raj Yog is the attainment of immortality.
    (T. Subba Row – Notes on Hatha Yoga – Theosophist 1886 v8 December p.138-139 /
    A Collection of Esoteric Writings (1910), pp. 253-55)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    In stanza 37, There is mention of the ‘’death of the soul’’ doctrine (see stanza 14, breaking the silver thread)
    This passage also has some echoes from a Tantric Kundalini practice description from the Jnaneshvari (Verses 192 -318). The Jnaneshvari is a commentary on the Gita, this passage is from Chapter 6, The Yoga of Meditation.
    See also THE THEOSOPHIST, Jan. 1880, pp. 86-87 YOGA PHILOSOPHY. (By Truth-seeker.)
    [See ]

    And The Dream of Ravan, which has the Janeshvari passage and some comments (See Introduction to the Dream of Ravan on Universal Theosophy):

    ‘When this path is beheld, then hunger and thirst are forgotten, night and day are undistinguished in this path.
    * * * * * * *
    ‘Whether one would set out to the bloom of the east or come to the chambers of the west, without moving, oh holder of the bow, is the travelling in this road. In this path, to whatever place one would go, that place one’s own self becomes! How shall I easily describe this? Thou thyself shalt experience it.
    * * * * * * *
    ‘The ways of the tubular vessel (nerves) are broken, the nine-fold property of wind (nervous either) departs, on which account the functions of the body no longer exist.
    * * * * * * *
    ‘Then the moon and the sun, or that supposition which is so imagined, appears but like the wind upon a lamp, in such a manner as not to be laid hold of. The bud of understanding is dissolved, the sense of smell no longer remains in the nostrils, but, together with the Power,* retires into the middle chamber. Then with a discharge from above, the reservoir of moon fluid of immortality (contained in the brain) leaning over on one side, communicates into the mouth of the Power. Thereby the tubes (nerves) are filled with the fluid, it penetrates into all the members; and in every direction the vital breath dissolves thereinto.
    * Note from’Dublin U.M.’: — This extraordiary power who is termed elsewhere the World Mother — the casket of Supreme Spirit, is technically called Kundalini, serpentine or annular. Some things related of it would make one imagine it to be electricity personified.

    A probable reference to Kundalini in the Secret Doctrine: ‘’This “fire” is spoken of in all the Hindu Books, as also in the Kabalistic works. The Zohar explains it as the “white hidden fire, in the Resha trivrah” (the White Head), whose Will causes the fiery fluid to flow in 370 currents in every direction of the universe. It is identical with the “Serpent that runs with 370 leaps” of the Siphrah Dzenioota, which, when the “Perfect Man,” the Metatron, is raised, i.e., when the divine man indwells in the animal man, it, the Serpent, becomes three spirits, that is to say, is Atma-Buddhi-Manas, in our theosophical phraseology’’ (SD I 339).

    I think it’s safe to assume that what the Christian mystics called the fire of love corresponds to Kundalini. This is from Evelyn Underhill’s introduction to Richard Rolle’s Fire of Love:

    The “first state” of burning love to which Rolle attained when his purification was at an end, does seem to have produced in him such a psycho-physical hallucination. He makes it plain in the prologue of the Incendium that he felt, in a physical sense, the spiritual fire, truly, not imaginingly; as St. Teresa–to take a well-known historical example–felt the transverberation of the seraph’s spear which pierced her heart. This form of automatism, though not perhaps very common, is well known in the history of religious experience; and many ascetic writers discuss it.

    Thus in that classic of spiritual common sense, “The Cloud of Unknowing,” we find amongst the many delusions which may beset “young presumptuous contemplatives,” “Many quaint heats and burnings in their bodily breasts”–which may sometimes indeed be the work of good angels (i.e., the physical reflection of true spiritual ardour) yet should ever be had suspect, as possible devices of the devil.

    Again, Walter Hilton includes in his list of mystical automatisms, and views with the same suspicion, “sensible heat, as it were fire, glowing and warming the breast.” In the seventeenth century Augustine Baker, in his authoritative work on the prayer of contemplation mentions “warmth about the heart” as one of the “sensible graces,” or physical sensations of religious origin, known to those who aspire to union with God.

    In our own day, the Carmelite nun Soeur Therese de l’Enfant-Jesus describes an experience in which she “felt herself suddenly pierced by a dart of fire.” “I cannot,” she says, “explain this transport, nor can any comparison express the intensity of this flame. It seemed to me that an invisible force immersed me completely in fire.” Allowing for the strong probability that the form of Soeur Therese’s transport was influenced by her knowledge of the life of her great namesake, we have no grounds for doubting the honesty of her report; the fact that she felt in a literal sense, though in a way hard for less ardent temperaments to understand, the burning of the divine fire. Her simple account–glossing, as it were, the declarations of the historian and the psychologist–surely gives us a hint as to the way in which we ought to read the statements of other mystics, concerning their knowledge of the “fire of love.”

    • Peter

      Is the ‘death of the soul’ something that concerns/affects the only the individual? Might it be something that could take place in a group, an organisation, a religion, a nation, or even a Race? Are there wider implications for this doctrine that we don’t normally consider?


      • Mark Casady
        Mark Casady

        On breaking the silver thread:
        “From the First-Born ( primitive, or the first man) the Thread between the Silent Watcher and his Shadow becomes more strong and radiant with every change (re-incarnation) (a)”. …. the “Watcher” and his “Shadows”-the latter numbering as many as there are re-incarnations for the monad-are one. The Watcher, or the divine prototype, is at the upper rung of the ladder of being; the shadow, at the lower. Withal, the Monad of every living being, unless his moral turpitude breaks the connection and runs loose and “astray into the lunar path” – to use the Occult expression – is an individual Dhyan Chohan, distinct from others, a kind of spiritual individuality of its own, during one special Manvantara”. The Secret Doctrine, Vol I, Stanza VII, sloka 6, p. 264.

        For a more specific hint to a possible answer, one can consult Isis Unveiled I, Ch. 9, pp. 318-319

        I’m also reminded of this passage from the Key, p.202:
        Do you not perceive that the aggregate of individual Karma becomes that of the nation to which those individuals belong, and further, that the sum total of National Karma is that of the World? The evils that you speak of are not peculiar to the individual or even to the Nation, they are more or less universal; and it is upon this broad line of Human interdependence that the law of Karma finds its legitimate and equable issue.

        ENQUIRER. Do I, then, understand that the law of Karma is not necessarily an individual law?

        THEOSOPHIST. That is just what I mean. It is impossible that Karma could readjust the balance of power in the world’s life and progress, unless it had a broad and general line of action. It is held as a truth among Theosophists that the interdependence of Humanity is the cause of what is called Distributive Karma, and it is this law which affords the solution to the great question of collective suffering and its relief. It is an occult law, moreover, that no man can rise superior to his individual failings, without lifting, be it ever so little, the whole body of which he is an integral part. In the same way, no one can sin, nor suffer the effects of sin, alone. In reality, there is no such thing as “Separateness”; and the nearest approach to that selfish state, which the laws of life permit, is in the intent or motive.

      • Gerry Kiffe
        Gerry Kiffe

        That makes sense to me. Everything that comes into the world (manifestation) must run its cycle. Knowing that everything naturally has a beginning, middle and end and then a new beginning suggests the need for detachment from form of any kind.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    ‘’but the Raj Yogi, without using either of these methods, has a way of rousing the Kundalini, The means the Raj Yogi employs belong to the mysteries of initiation’’ (T. Subba Row – Notes on Hatha Yoga – Theosophist 1886 v8 December p.138).

    Perhaps what Subba Row was referring to can be glimpsed in the following by Bhavani Shankar:

    The Doctrine of the Bhagavad Gita” – Chapter 3
    The light of Ishwara which his Gurudeva had transmitted to him at the time of the first initiation has now by his profound devotion and renunciation been transmuted into electro-spiritual force which is called the higher Kundalini and rises upwards.

    It now rises from the heart into the head and there brings into full functioning all the spiritual centres in the brain which upto now it was vivifying, and it passes on to what Shri Shankaracharya calls the Dhi-guha, the cave of the intellect, the space between the brows, and there electrifies Buddhi into a dynamic power resulting in spiritual clairvoyance. It then merges in the great Goddess seated in the centre of the full-blown Sahasrara (thousand-petalled lotus).

    And through these higher spiritual centres the initiate subdues and controls the lower Chakras.
    According to Hindu books of Yoga, there is in the brain the Sahasrara Chakram. “It is an unopened bud in the ordinary mortal and just as the lotus opens its petals and expands in all its bloom and beauty when the sun rises above the horizon and sheds his rays on the flower, so does the Sahasraram of the neophyte open and expand when Ishwara begins to pour His life into its centre. When fully expanded, it becomes the glorious seat of the Devi (Daivi-prakriti), and sitting on this flower the great Goddess pours out the waters of life and grace for the gratification and regeneration of the human soul.”

    H.P.B. refers to this spiritual process in the following passage in the Voice of the Silence and in her notes thereon. “Let not thy ‘Heaven-Born,’ merged in the sea of Maya, break from the Universal Parent (Soul), but let the fiery power retire into the inmost chamber, the chamber of the Heart and the abode of the World’s Mother. Then from the heart that Power shall rise into the sixth, the middle region, the place between thine eyes, when it becomes the breath of the ONE SOUL, the voice which filleth all, thy Master’s Voice.”

    In her note on the words “power” and the “world mother” in the above passage she says, “these are names given to Kundalini – one of the mystic ‘Yogi powers’. It is Buddhi considered as an active instead of a passive principle. …” Thus the electro-spiritual force called Kundalini is the result of the spiritual development of man and has nothing to do with physical and mechanical processes.

    But there is the lower Kundalini also, seated in the Muladhara Chakra, at the base of the spine, which Hata-yogis try to awaken by Pranayama (restraint of breath). It is a dangerous process and has nothing to do with spirituality. There is another set of teachers who, by external stimuli such as crystal gazing, and focussing the attention and gaze on the Chakra between the eye-brows, advocate the development of clairvoyance, psychic vision, which is quite distinct from spiritual clairvoyance. The tiny serpent seen in this Chakram by the psychic is not the real spiritual power called Kundalini.

    The psychic sees different objects in a finer world just as we see here the physical objects, but there is in him the sense of separateness as deep, if not deeper, as in the ordinary man and he accentuates this separateness by setting his false and petty self against the surroundings, and striving for domination over them.

    This is a process, the reverse of spiritual, a projection of the lower and false into the higher and the real. Saints and sages have time and oft taught, distinguishing real spirituality from these artificial methods, which are prompted by thirst for power and Siddhis. Thus the great sage Jnaneshwara in his “Dwadashakshari (the well-known twelve syllabled mantra) Abhanga” says: “Awakening the serpent by the control of the nine gates and passing it through Sushumna, which is one of the three Nadis, such is not, say the Munis, the path. The fount of liberation is in ceaseless contemplation of Nara-Hari.”

    Similarly does Machhendra teach his disciple Gorakh while telling him the real qualifications of a Chela: “Arousing the Kundalini and forcing it up to the Brahmarandhra (the crown of the head) and thus acquiring the power of walking on water and of prophecy, do not constitute a spiritual man – such is not fit to be a Chela.”

    Real spiritual clairvoyance develops in the initiate as naturally as a bud at its proper time blooms into a flower. It is vision and feeling blended into one wherein the separateness of the seer, the seeing and the seen, is altogether absent. It is this spiritual clairvoyance that Shri Shankaracharya refers to in the following sloka in the Aparokshanubhooti. “Vision is to be concentrated there where the triad – the seer, the seeing and the seen, – vanishes, and not on the base of the nose (Agneya-chakra).”

    As a result of his harmonising his astral centre with the Adhidaiva centre, the basis of all devatas, through the higher Kundalini, he sees the hierarchies of cosmic intelligences, the Devas, and realises that they and himself are essentially one being – expressions of the one Divine life which, expressing Itself in all these and in himself, transcends all and remains itself.

    He has now all the great higher Siddhis which are not so much control acquired over something outside, but knowledge realised of the inwardness of cosmic processes – the expansion of his Buddhi into the cosmic Buddhi. With the possession of all these Siddhis the outstanding characteristic of the initiate now is his utter humility. His Abhimana, thirst for individual power and glory, has vanished. He is therefore called a Kuteechaka, one who resides in a humble hut of leaves. He has now that power which enables him to appear as nothing in the eyes of men. “Be humble, if thou wouldst attain to Wisdom. Be humbler still when Wisdom thou hast mastered.” (The Voice of the Silence)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    38- Then from the heart that Power shall rise into the sixth, the middle region, the place between thine eyes, when it becomes the breath of the ONE-SOUL, the voice which filleth all, thy Master’s voice.

    A very mystical sloka – referring apparently to the the sixth chakra, the Ajna or to the third eye or eye of Shiva, called the eye of Dangma in the stanza of Dzyan, also related to the Pineal Gland:
    His “opened eye” is the inner spiritual eye of the seer, and the faculty which manifests through it is not clairvoyance as ordinarily understood, i.e., the power of seeing at a distance, but rather the faculty of spiritual intuition, through which direct and certain knowledge is obtainable. This faculty is intimately connected with the “third eye,” which mythological tradition ascribes to certain races of men. SD I ,16

    39- ‘Tis only then thou canst become a “Walker of the Sky” (25) who treads the winds above the waves, whose step touches not the waters.

    (25). Khechara or “sky-walker” or “goer.” As explained in the 6th Adhyâya of that king of mystic works the Jñâneśvari — the body of the Yogi becomes as one formed of the wind; as “a cloud from which limbs have sprouted out,” after which — “he (the Yogi) beholds the things beyond the seas and stars; he hears the language of the Devas and comprehends it, and perceives what is passing in the mind of the ant.”

    Keshara (Sk.). “Sky Walker”, i.e., a Yogi who can travel in his astral form. (Theosophical Glossary)

    Slokas 37-39 are quite mystical, the text below may give some additional information:
    Occult Physiology, Narrain Aswamy Iyer, “The Theosophist”, March 1891

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    And so we come to the end of another stanza (Slokas 22-40), which saw us enter the three halls, the hall of ignorance (physical plane), the hall of learning (astral plane), and the hall of wisdom (spiritual plane) and their relation to the four avasthas , the seven lokas and the Vale of Bliss. We learn that: ‘’The WISE ONES tarry not in pleasure-grounds of senses. The WISE ONES heed not the sweet-tongued voices of illusion’’. The hall of learning is full of delusional dangers, so one should seek one’s teacher in the hall of wisdom. The temptations of Mara are great and one needs to guard against the illusion of separateness. Finally, a type of Kundalini Yoga practice is presented, leading to the possibility of astral projection.

    Some terms to remember:
    Three Halls,Akshara,Four states,Jâgrat, Svapna, Asura, Sushupti,Turîya, Ajñâna, heresy of separateness, Heaven-born, Seven spiritual lokas,all of Ignorance, Hall of Learning, Hall of Wisdom, Vale of Bliss, Astral Serpent,Universal Parent, Mâra,fiery power, Avidyâ, chamber of the Heart, middle region, Master’s voice, Walker of the Sky

    The next stanza, slokas 41-49, is concerned with the seven mystic sounds, linked to the Nadabindu Upanishad and also the Hamsa Upanishad.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 4 weeks ago by  Mark Casady.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    41-Before thou set’st thy foot upon the ladder’s upper rung, the ladder of the mystic sounds, thou hast to hear the voice of thy inner GOD* in seven manners.
    [*The Higher SELF.]
    42-The first is like the nightingale’s sweet voice chanting a song of parting to its mate.
    43-The second comes as the sound of a silver cymbal of the Dhyânis, awakening the twinkling stars.
    44-The next is as the plaint melodious of the ocean-sprite imprisoned in its shell.
    45-And this is followed by the chant of Vînâ (26).

    (26). Vînâ is an Indian stringed instrument like a lute.
    46-The fifth like sound of bamboo-flute shrills in thine ear.
    47-It changes next into a trumpet-blast.
    48-The last vibrates like the dull rumbling of a thunder-cloud.
    49-The seventh swallows all the other sounds. They die, and then are heard no more.

    Although there is a similar passage in the Nadabindu Upanishad (and other texts), the above seems influenced by the quote from the Oupanekhat in YOGA PHILOSOPHY. (By Truth-seeker.) ] THE THEOSOPHIST, Jan. 1880, pp. 86-87

    The “Oupanekhat” was put together by Sultan Mohammed Dara Shikhoh in 1656, consisting of a Persian translation of 50 Upanishads and who prefaced it as the best book on religion. The text from the Oupanekhat is known as Hensnad (i.e. Hamsa-nada). The original Sanskrit text is known as the Hamsa Upanishad related to the Nrisimhatapaniya and the Ramatapaniya Upanishads

    The text was made available in the West in 1805 in a Latin translation by Anquetil du Perron. The original Sanskrit translation into English only appeared in The Theosophist in 1891. So it seems here that the passage is influenced by an English translation from a Latin translation of a Persian translation. It seems to me that this points to an importance of what can be called Hamsa Vidya, a form of mysticism based on the symbolism if the Hamsa, of which there are some suggestive passages in the Secret Doctrine. (See Parallel Columns: What Does This Mean? Daniel H. Caldwell )

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by  Mark Casady.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    Below are some similar passages from some Yoga Upanishads:
    It (Nada, sound) is (begun to be heard as) of ten kinds. The first is Chini (like the sound of that word); the second is Chini-Chini; the third is the sound of bell; the fourth is that of conch; the fifth is that of Tantiri (lute); the sixth is that sound of Tala (cymbals); the seventh is that of flute; the eighth is that of Bheri (drum); the ninth is that of Mridanga (double drum); and the tenth is that of clouds (viz., thunder). He may experience the tenth without the first nine sounds (through the initiation of a Guru). (Hamsa-Upanishad, 10)

    When air (prana) enters the Brahmarandhra, nada (sound) is also produced there. resembling at first the sound of a conchblast (sankha-dhvani) and like the thunder-clap (megha-dhvani) in the middle; and when the air has reached the middle of the head, like the roaring of a mountain cataract (giri-prasravana) Thereafter, 0 great wise one! the Atman, mightily pleased, will actually appear in front of thee. Then there will be the ripeness of the knowledge of Atman(Divine) from Yoga and the disowning by the Yogi of worldly existence. (Darsana-Upanishad (6.36.-38))

    The first sound is like the hum of the honey-intoxicated bee, next that of a flute, then a harp; after this, by gradual practice of Yoga, the destroyer of the darkness of the world, he hears the sounds of ringing bells; then sounds like roar of thunder. When one fixes his full attention on this sound, being free from fear, he gets absorption, O my beloved! (The Siva Samhita – Chapter V, 27)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    50- When the six (27) are slain and at the Master’s feet are laid, then is the pupil merged into the ONE (28), becomes that ONE and lives therein.
    (27). The six principles; meaning when the lower personality is destroyed and the inner individuality is merged into and lost in the Seventh or Spirit.
    (28). The disciple is one with Brahmâ or the Âtman.

    From the Hamsa Upanishad
    In the first stage, his body becomes Chini-Chini;
    in the second, there is the (Bhanjana) breaking (or affecting) in the body;
    in the third, there is the (Bhedana) piercing;
    in the fourth, the head shakes;
    in the fifth, the palate produces saliva;
    in the sixth, nectar is attained;
    in the seventh, the knowledge of the hidden (things in the world) arises;
    in the eighth, Para-Vak is heard;
    in the ninth, the body becomes invisible and the pure divine eye is developed;
    in the tenth, he attains Para-Brahman in the presence of (or with) Atman which is Brahman.
    After that, when Manas destroyed, when it which is the source of Sankalpa and Vikalpa disappears, owing to the destruction of these two, and when virtues and sins are burnt away, then he shines as Sadashiva of the nature of Sakti pervading everywhere, being effulgence in its very essence, the immaculate, the eternal, the stainless and the most quiescent Om.

    In this fourth section, stanzas 41-50, we were introduced to the 7-step ladder of mystics sounds of the inner God: 1- Nightingale song; 2-Cymbal; 3- Sea Shell; 4- Vina (lute); 5- Flute; 6-Trumpet blast/thunder; 7- Silence

    Based on the other yoga texts and stanza 50, I think it is plausible to assume that the 7 mystical sounds are related to the Chakras and Kundalini and 7 states of consciousness (and the 7 principles) accompanied by related Siddhis. Some texts equate the sound of thunder with the Om.

    The next section (stanzas 51-65) deals with the self and the Self.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    We’ve made it through the first half of Fragment I. Hosannah! I think it’s been an interesting trajectory thus far, with many texts giving insight into this work coming to light. We began almost three months ago, so perhaps we can quicken the pace a bit, I will try to aim at posting 10 stanzas a week, although if the discussion should lead to limiting this pace, I would not want to prevent interesting insights and information to emerge.

    51-Before that path is entered, thou must destroy thy lunar body (29), cleanse thy mind-body (30) and make clean thy heart.
    (29). The astral form produced by the Kâmic principle, the Kâma rûpa or body of desire.
    (30). Mânasa rûpa. The first refers to the astral or personal Self; the second to the individuality or the reincarnating Ego whose consciousness on our plane or the lower Manas — has to be paralyzed.

    Kamarupa (Sk.). Metaphysically, and in our esoteric philosophy, it is the subjective form created through the mental and physical desires and thoughts in connection with things of matter, by all sentient beings, a form which survives the death of their bodies. (Theosophical Glossary)
    Manas, Kâma (Sk.). Lit., “the mind of desire.” With the Buddhists it is the sixth of the Chadâyatana (q.v.), or the six organs of knowledge, hence the highest of these, synthesized by the seventh called Klichta, the spiritual perception of that which defiles this (lower) Manas, or the “Human-animal Soul”, as the Occultists term it. While the Higher Manas or the Ego is directly related to Vijnâna (the 10th of the 12 Nidânas)—which is the perfect knowledge of all forms of knowledge, whether relating to object or subject in the nidânic concatenation of causes and effects; the lower, the Kâma Manas is but one of the Indriya or organs (roots) of Sense. Very little can be said of the dual Manas here, as the doctrine that treats of it, is correctly stated only in esoteric works. Its mention can thus be only very superficial. (Theosophical Glossary)
    Astral Body, or Astral “Double”. The ethereal counterpart or shadow of man or animal. The Linga Sharira, the “Doppelgäinger”. The reader must not confuse it with the ASTRAL SOUL, another name for the lower Manas, or Kama-Manas so-called, the reflection of the HIGHER EGO. (Theosophical Glossary)
    Manas (Sk.). Lit., “the mind”, the mental faculty which makes of man an intelligent and moral being, and distinguishes him from the mere animal; a synonym of Mahat. Esoterically, however, it means, when unqualified, the Higher EGO, or the sentient reincarnating Principle in man. When qualified it is called by Theosophists Buddhi-Manas or the Spiritual Soul in contradistinction to its human reflection—Kâma-Manas. (Theosophical Glossary)

    52-Eternal life’s pure waters, clear and crystal, with the monsoon tempest’s muddy torrents cannot mingle.
    53-Heaven’s dew-drop glittering in the morn’s first sun-beam within the bosom of the lotus, when dropped on earth becomes a piece of clay; behold, the pearl is now a speck of mire.

    The image of the mind as a tranquil or stormy/muddy body of water is a prevalent image in eastern texts (see Anguttara Nikaya 5.193), the quote below also alludes to this notion:

    It is upon the serene and placid surface of the unruffled mind that the visions gathered from the invisible find a representation in the visible world. Otherwise you would vainly seek those visions, those flashes of sudden light which have already helped to solve so many of the minor problems and which alone can bring the truth before the eye of the soul. It is with jealous care that we have to guard our mind-plane from all the adverse influences which daily arise in our passage through earth-life. (Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, 11)

    Those who dedicate their actions to God, abandoning all attachment, remain untouched by sin, just as a lotus leaf is untouched by water. (B.G. 5.10)

    The river must be calm in order to reflect the full moon ~ Thich Nhat Hanh.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Mark Casady.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    “From the remotest antiquity mankind as a whole have always been convinced of the existence of a personal spiritual entity within the personal physical man. This inner entity was more or less divine, according to its proximity to the crown. The closer the union the more serene man’s destiny, the less dangerous the external conditions. This belief is neither bigotry nor superstition, only an ever-present, instinctive feeling of the proximity of another spiritual and invisible world, which, though it be subjective to the senses of the outward man, is perfectly objective to the inner ego. Furthermore, they believed that there are external and internal conditions which affect the determination of our will upon our actions. They rejected fatalism, for fatalism implies a blind course of some still blinder power.
    But they believed in destiny or Karma, which from birth to death every man is weaving thread by thread around himself, as a spider does his cobweb; and this destiny is guided by that presence termed by some the guardian angel, or our more intimate astral inner man, who is but too often the evil genius of the man of flesh or the personality. Both these lead on MAN, but one of them must prevail; and from the very beginning of the invisible affray the stern and implacable law of compensation and retribution steps in and takes its course, following faithfully the fluctuating of the conflict. When the last strand is woven, and man is seemingly enwrapped in the net-work of his own doing, then he finds himself completely under the empire of this self-made destiny. It then either fixes him like the inert shell against the immovable rock, or like a feather carries him away in a whirlwind raised by his own actions.” ISIS UNVEILED (Vol. II. 593)

    54-Strive with thy thoughts unclean before they overpower thee. Use them as they will thee, for if thou sparest them and they take root and grow, know well, these thoughts will overpower and kill thee. Beware, Disciple, suffer not, e’en though it be their shadow, to approach. For it will grow, increase in size and power, and then this thing of darkness will absorb thy being before thou hast well realized the black foul monster’s presence.

    … every thought of man upon being evolved passes into the inner world and becomes an active entity by associating itself – coalescing, we might term it – with an elemental; that is to say with one of the semi-intelligent forces of the kingdoms. It survives as an active intelligence, a creature of the mind’s begetting, for a longer or shorter period proportionate with the original intensity of the cerebral action which generated it. Thus, a good thought is perpetuated as an active beneficent power; an evil one as a maleficent demon. And so man is continually peopling his current in space with impulses, and passions, a current which reacts upon any sensitive or and nervous organization which comes in contact with it in proportion to its dynamic intensity. The Buddhists call this his “Skandha,” the Hindu gives it the name of “Karma”; the Adept evolves these shapes consciously, other men throw them off unconsciously. (Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, 32-33)

    About such men as Appolonius, Iamblichus, Plotinus and Porphyry, there gathered this heavenly nimbus. It was evolved by the power of their own souls in close unison with their spirits; by the superhuman morality and sanctity of their lives, and aided by frequent interior ecstatic contemplation. Such holy men pure spiritual influences could approach. Radiating around an atmosphere of divine beneficence, they caused evil spirits to flee before them. Not only is it not possible for such to exist in their aura, but they cannot even remain in that of obsessed persons, if the thraumaturgist exercises his will, or even approaches them. This is MEDIATORSHIP, not mediumship. Such persons are temples in which dwells the spirit of the living God; but if the temple is defiled by the admission of an evil passion, thought or desire, the mediator falls into the sphere of sorcery. The door is opened; the pure spirits retire and the evil ones rush in. This is still mediatorship, evil as it is; the sorcerer, like the pure magician, forms his own aura and subjects to his will congenial inferior spirits. (Isis 1, p. 487)
    This seems similar to the concept of the Dweller on the Threshold

    55-Before the “mystic Power” (31)* can make of thee a god, Lanoo, thou must have gained the faculty to slay thy lunar form at will.
    [*Kundalinî, the “Serpent Power” or mystic fire.]
    (31). Kundalinî is called the “Serpentine” or the annular power on account of its spiral-like working or progress in the body of the ascetic developing the power in himself. It is an electric fiery occult or Fohatic power, the great pristine force, which underlies all organic and inorganic matter.
    See stanza 51, More on Kundalini:
    Yoga and Enlightenment, David Pratt

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    T. Subba Row described the image of the Dweller as being similar to that of the battle described in the Bhagavad Gita. He wrote:
    Philosophically it is the great battle in which the human Spirit has to fight against the lower passions in the physical body. Many of our readers have probably heard about the so-called ‘Dweller on the Threshold,’ so vividly described in Lytton’s novel, Zanoni. According to this author’s description, the Dweller on the Threshold seems to be some elemental, or other monster of mysterious form, appearing before the neophyte just as he is about to enter the mysterious land, and attempting to shake his resolution with menaces of unknown dangers if he is not fully prepared.

    There is no such monster in reality. The description must be taken in a figurative sense. But nevertheless there is a Dweller on the Threshold, whose influence on the mental plane is far more trying than any physical terror can be. The real Dweller on the Threshold is formed of the despair and despondency of the neophyte, who is called upon to give up all his old affections for kindred, parents and children, as well as his aspirations for objects of worldly ambition, which have perhaps been his associates for many incarnations. When called upon to give up these things, the neophyte feels a kind of blank, before he realizes his higher possibilities. After having given up all his associations, his life itself seems to vanish into thin air. He seems to have lost all hope, and to have no object to live and work for. He sees no signs of his own future progress. All before him seems darkness; and a sort of pressure comes upon the soul, under which it begins to droop, and in most cases he begins to fall back and gives up further progress. But in the case of a man who really struggles, he will battle against that despair, and be able to proceed on the Path. . .

    We are each of us called upon to kill out all our passions and desires, not that they are all necessarily evil in themselves, but that their influence must be annihilated before we can establish ourselves on the higher planes. The position of Arjuna is intended to typify that of a chela, who is called upon to face the Dweller on the Threshold.[4]
    T. Subba Rao, “On the Bhagavad Gita” Adyar Pamphlet No. 17, (Adyar, Madras:The Theosophist Office, 1912).

    The Mahatma Letters refers to the actual case of Stainton MOSES, the famous medium, who was tormented by Dwellers. In September 1875, Moses asked Madame Blavatsky whether Bulwer Lytton had eaten underdone pork chops and dreaming when he wrote about the Dweller. Blavatsky replied: “Make yourself ready,” she answered, “in about twelve months more you will have to face and fight with them.” In October 1876, they predicted event happened. Moses wrote: “I am fighting” a hand to hand battle with all the legions of the Fiend for the past three weeks. My nights are made hideous with their torments, temptations and foul suggestions. I see them all around, glaring at me, gabbling, howling, grinning! Every form of filthy suggestion, of bewildering doubt, of mad and shuddering fear is upon me . . . I can understand Zanoni’s Dweller now . . . I have not wavered yet . . . and their temptations are fainter, the presence less near, the horror less . . .” (ML, p. 61).

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    I went into a bit of a digression on the Dweller on the Threshold, however I do not foresee introducing any lengthy texts for the remainder of this 5th section.

    56-The Self of matter and the SELF of Spirit can never meet. One of the twain must disappear; there is no place for both.

    That (higher being) which is to all creatures a night, is to the selfmastering sage his waking (his luminous day of true being, knowledge and power); the life of the dualities which is to them their waking (their day, their consciousness, their bright condition of activity) is a night (a troubled sleep and darkness of the soul) to the sage who sees. (BG. 2.69.)

    Elevate yourself through the power of your mind, and not degrade yourself, for the mind can be the friend and also the enemy of the self. (BG 6.5)

    By your great enemy, I mean yourself. If you have the power to face your own soul in the darkness and silence, you will have conquered the physical or animal self which dwells in sensation only. (Light on the Path, Comment 2)

    See William Q. Judge “The Self is the Friend of Self and also its Enemy”

    57-Ere thy Soul’s mind can understand, the bud of personality must be crushed out, the worm of sense destroyed past resurrection.

    Therefore, when these sense-pleasures are totally removed from the mind, anger and hate are automatically destroyed. (Jnaneshwari 2:321-332).

    Until a man has become, in heart and spirit, a disciple, he has no existence for those who are teachers of disciples. And he becomes this by one method only — the surrender of his personal humanity. (Light on the Path, Comm. 4)

    58-Thou canst not travel on the Path before thou hast become that Path itself (32).

    (32). This “Path” is mentioned in all the Mystic Works. As Krishna says in the Jñâneśvari: “When this Path is beheld . . . whether one sets out to the bloom of the east or to the chambers of the west, without moving, O holder of the bow, is the travelling in this road. In this path, to whatever place one would go, that place one’s own self becomes.” “Thou art the Path” is said to the adept guru and by the latter to the disciple, after initiation. “I am the way and the Path” says another Master.

    See Jnaneshwari 156-160/ b-g 6.10:
    (Adhyaya 6:

    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’’ (John 14, 6).

    Turn round, and instead of standing against the forces, join them; become one with Nature, and go easily upon her path. Do not resist or resent the circumstances of life any more than the plants resent the rain and the wind. Then suddenly, to your own amazement, you find you have time and strength to spare, to use in the great battle which it is inevitable every man must fight, — that in himself, that which leads to his own conquest. (Through the Gates of Gold 5,2)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    59-Let thy Soul lend its ear to every cry of pain like as the lotus bares its heart to drink the morning sun.
    60-Let not the fierce Sun dry one tear of pain before thyself hast wiped it from the sufferer’s eye.
    61-But let each burning human tear drop on thy heart and there remain, nor ever brush it off, until the pain that caused it is removed.

    OUT of kindliness springs compassion, which is a fellow-feeling with all men; for none can share the griefs of all, save him who is kind. Compassion is an inward movement of the heart, stirred by pity for the bodily and ghostly griefs of all men. Such a man will also regard with pity the bodily needs of his neighbours, and the manifold sufferings of human nature; seeing men hungry, thirsty, cold, naked, sick, poor, and abject; the manifold oppressions of the poor, the grief caused by loss of kinsmen, friends, goods, honour, peace; all the countless sorrows which befall the nature of man. These things move the just to compassion, so that they share the sorrows of all. This work of compassion and of common neighbourly love overcomes and casts out the third mortal sin, that is hatred or Envy. For compassion is a wound in the heart, whence flows a common love to all mankind and which cannot be healed so long as any suffering lives in man; for God has ordained grief and sorrow of heart before all the virtues. (John of Ruysbroeck, The Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage (C.A. Wynschenk Dom, transl., Bk. I, Ch. 28)

    62-These tears, O thou of heart most merciful, these are the streams that irrigate the fields of charity immortal. ‘Tis on such soil that grows the midnight blossom of Buddha (33) more difficult to find, more rare to view than is the flower of the Vogay tree. It is the seed of freedom from rebirth. It isolates the Arhat both from strife and lust, it leads him through the fields of Being unto the peace and bliss known only in the land of Silence and Non-Being.
    (33). Adeptship — the “blossom of Bodhisattva.”
    Arhans and Sages of the boundless Vision (30) are rare as is the blossom of the Udumbara tree. Arhans are born at midnight hour, together with the sacred plant of nine and seven stalks (31), the holy flower that opes and blooms in darkness, out of the pure dew and on the frozen bed of snow-capped heights, heights that are trodden by no sinful foot. (Voice of the Silence, 172)

    (22). The Shangna robe, from Shangnavasu of Râjagriha the third great Arhat or “Patriarch” as the Orientalists call the hierarchy of the 33 Arhats who spread Buddhism. “Shangna robe” means metaphorically, the acquirement of Wisdom with which the Nirvâna of destruction (of personality) is entered. Literally, the “initiation robe” of the Neophytes. Edkins states that this “grass cloth” was brought to China from Tibet in the Tong Dynasty. “When an Arhan is born this plant is found growing in a clean spot” says the Chinese as also the Tibetan legend.

    There was never a time yet, nor ever will be, while this human race lasts, when anything more than a small minority would devote themselves to the mighty task of self-conquest and spiritual evolution. The adept is as rare as the flower of the Vogay tree, which, the Tamil proverb says, is most difficult to see. (Blavatsky, Questions About Esoteric Theosophy Answered Theosophist, August, 1882)

    Like seeing the flower of a fig tree. (rare) (A Classical Collection of Tamil Proverbs, Herman Jensen, #1423)

    Udumbara (Sk.)
    A lotus of gigantic size, sacred to Buddha: the Nila Udumbara or “blue lotus”, regarded as a supernatural omen when ever it blossoms, for it flowers but once every three thousand years. One such, it is said, burst forth before the birth of Gautama, another, near a lake at the foot of the Himalayas, in the fourteenth century, just before the birth of Tsong-kha-pa, etc., etc. The same is said of the Udumbara tree (ficus glomerata) because it flowers at intervals of long centuries, as does also a kind of cactus, which blossoms only at extra ordinary altitudes and opens at midnight. (Theosophical Glossary)

    All Buddhas come into the world
    But rarely, and are hard to meet;
    And when they appear in the world,
    It’s hard for them to speak the Dharma.
    Throughout countless ages, too,
    It’s difficult to hear this Dharma.
    And those who can hear this Dharma—
    Such people too, are rare,
    Like the udumbara flower,
    In which all take delight,
    Which the gods and humans prize,
    For it blooms but once in a long, long time.[16]
    (“Chapter Two: Expedient Devices”. Lotus Sutra. Buddhist Text Translation Society)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    63-Kill out desire; but if thou killest it take heed lest from the dead it should again arise.

    Kill out desire of life. (Light on the Path 1, 2)

    In fact, to have lost the power to wound, implies that the snake is not only scotched, but killed. When it is merely stupefied or lulled to sleep it awakes again and the disciple uses his knowledge and his power for his own ends, and is a pupil of the many masters of the black art, for the road to destruction is very broad and easy, and the way can be found blindfold. (Light on the Path Comm. 4)

    A slightest trace of desires remaining in the mind destroys discretion. (2:320). Mere memory of these sense-pleasures creates desire for them in the mind of even a detached person. Passions then arise in the mind and where there is passion there is also anger. Anger leads to thoughtlessness. Thoughtlessness leads to loss of memory and then the intellect is engulfed by the darkness of ignorance. The intellect then suffers and loses direction. Thus, the loss of memory leads to confused intellect and this in turn destroys all knowledge. In this way, even occasional memory of the sense-pleasures can lead to such downfall. Therefore, when these sense-pleasures are totally removed from the mind, anger and hate are automatically destroyed. When anger and hate are destroyed then even if the organs become engaged in the sense-pleasures they do no harm. (Jnaneshwari 2:321-332).

    64-Kill love of life, but if thou slayest tanhâ (34), let this not be for thirst of life eternal, but to replace the fleeting by the everlasting.
    (34). Tanhâ — “the will to live,” the fear of death and love for life, that force or energy which causes the rebirths.

    Tanha (Pali). The thirst for life. Desire to live and clinging to life on this earth. This clinging is that which causes rebirth or reincarnation. (Theosophical Glossary)

    Taṇhā is a Pāli word, which originates from the Vedic Sanskrit word tṛ́ṣṇā, which means “thirst, desire, wish”, from Proto-Indo-Iranian *tŕ̥šnas. It is an important concept in Buddhism, referring to “thirst, desire, longing, greed”, either physical or mental.[1][2] It is typically translated as craving,[3] and is of three types: kāma-taṇhā (craving for sensual pleasures), bhava-taṇhā (craving for existence), and vibhava-taṇhā (craving for non-existence).[4][5] Taṇhā appears in the Four Noble Truths, wherein taṇhā is the cause of dukkha (suffering, pain, unsatisfactoriness) and the cycle of repeated birth, becoming and death (Saṃsāra).[1][2][4]
    The third noble truth teaches that the cessation of taṇhā is possible. For example, the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta states:[17] Ajahn Sucitto (2010), Kindle Locations 1341-1343
    Bhikkhus, there is a noble truth about the cessation of suffering. It is the complete fading away and cessation of this craving [tanha]; its abandonment and relinquishment; getting free from and being independent of it.
    According to the four noble truths, cessation of taṇhā can be obtained by following the Noble Eightfold Path. Within this path, contemplating the impermanent nature of all things is regarded as a specific antidote to taṇhā.

    65-Desire nothing. Chafe not at Karma, nor at Nature’s changeless laws. But struggle only with the personal, the transitory, the evanescent and the perishable.

    Who abandons all desires and lives and acts free from longing, who has no “I” or “mine” (who has extinguished his individual ego in the One and lives in that unity), he attains to the great peace. (B-G. 2 71)

    Finally: if you ask me how we understand Theosophical duty practically and in view of Karma, I may answer you that our duty is to drink without a murmur to the last drop, whatever contents the cup of life may have in store for us, to pluck the roses of life only for the fragrance they may shed on others, and to be ourselves content but with the thorns, if that fragrance cannot be enjoyed without depriving some one else of it. (Blavatsky, Key to Theosophy Sect. 12, 1)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    We’ve finished the 5th section (Stanzas 56-65) which essentially deals with the heady business of the Higher Self conquering the lower self, which in Christian mysticism is called the path of purification.
    Ere thy Soul’s mind can understand, the bud of personality must be crushed out, the worm of sense destroyed past resurrection. (57)

    There was also a brief but eloquent call to compassion.
    But let each burning human tear drop on thy heart and there remain, nor ever brush it off, until the pain that caused it is removed. (61)

    The next section (stanzas 66-78) deals with gates and ladders, a kind of prelude to a description of the seven stages, which seems similar to the eightfold yoga path. Before beginning, I thought it would be good to have a look at the seven qualities of the sage from book 2 of the Bhagavad Gita, since there are many similarities with this first fragment.

    (1) Satisfaction in the Self.
    55. The Blessed Lord said: When a man expels, O Partha, all desires from the mind, and is satisfied in the self by the self, then is he called stable in intelligence.

    (2) Equanimity in pleasure and pain.
    56. He whose mind is undisturbed in the midst of sorrows and amid pleasures is free from desire, from whom liking and fear and wrath have passed away, is the sage of settled understanding.

    (3) Absence of attachment, delight and aversion.
    57. Who in all things is without affection though visited by this good or that evil and neither hates nor rejoices, his intelligence sits firmly founded in wisdom.

    (4) Complete withdrawal of senses from objects.
    58. Who draws away the senses from the objects of sense, as the tortoise draws in his limbs into the shell, his intelligence sits firmly founded in wisdom.

    (5) Devotion to the Lord.
    61. Having brought all the senses under control, he must sit firm in Yoga, wholly given up to Me; for whose senses are mastered, of him the intelligence is firmly established (in its proper seat).

    (6) The Universe, a mere dream to the Sage.
    69. That (higher being) which is to all creatures a night, is to the selfmastering sage his waking (his luminous day of true being, knowledge and power); the life of the dualities which is to them their waking (their day, their consciousness, their bright condition of activity) is a night (a troubled sleep and darkness of the soul) to the sage who sees.

    (7) Subjugation of desire and personal self.
    71. Who abandons all desires and lives and acts free from longing, who has no “I” or “mine” (who has extinguished his individual ego in the One and lives in that unity), he attains to the great peace.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    Section 6 – Gates and Ladders (Stanzas 66-78)

    66-Help Nature and work on with her; and Nature will regard thee as one of her creators and make obeisance.

    Cultivate, I say, and neglect nothing. Only remember, all the while you tend and water, that you are impudently usurping the tasks of Nature herself. Having usurped her work, you must carry it through until you have reached a point when she has no power to punish you, when you are not afraid of her, but can with a bold front return her her own. (Gates of Gold 5, 2)

    They have to prove both destructive and constructive — destructive in the pernicious errors of the past, in the old creeds and superstitions which suffocate in their poisonous embrace like the Mexican weed nigh all mankind; but constructive of new institutions of a genuine, practical Brotherhood of Humanity where all will become co-workers of nature, will work for the good of mankind with and through the higher planetary Spirits — the only “Spirits” we believe in. (Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnet, 6)

    67-And she will open wide before thee the portals of her secret chambers, lay bare before thy gaze the treasures hidden in the very depths of her pure virgin bosom. Unsullied by the hand of matter she shows her treasures only to the eye of Spirit — the eye which never closes, the eye for which there is no veil in all her kingdoms.

    The outer man, the adoring, the acting, the living personification, goes its own way hand in hand with Nature, and shows all the superb strength of the savage growth of the earth, lit by that instinct which contains knowledge. For in the inmost sanctuary, in the actual temple, the man has found the subtile essence of Nature herself. (Gates of Gold 5, 3)

    68-Then will she show thee the means and way, the first gate and the second, the third, up to the very seventh. And then, the goal — beyond which lie, bathed in the sunlight of the Spirit, glories untold, unseen by any save the eye of Soul.

    In your explanatory note on this passage you quote the book of Khiu-ti, which says that “to force oneself upon the current of immortality, or rather to secure for oneself an endless series of rebirths as conscious individualities, one must become a co-worker with nature, either for good or for bad, in her work of creation and reproduction, or in that of destruction. ( [The Theosophist, Vol. IV, No. 2, November, 1882, pp. 28-20], CW IV, 250)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    69-There is but one road to the Path; at its very end alone the “Voice of the Silence” can be heard. The ladder by which the candidate ascends is formed of rungs of suffering and pain; these can be silenced only by the voice of virtue. Woe, then, to thee, Disciple, if there is one single vice thou hast not left behind. For then the ladder will give way and overthrow thee; its foot rests in the deep mire of thy sins and failings, and ere thou canst attempt to cross this wide abyss of matter thou hast to lave thy feet in Waters of Renunciation.

    The voice of the silence remains within him, and though he leave the path utterly, yet one day it will resound and rend him asunder and separate his passions from his divine possibilities. Then with pain and desperate cries from the deserted lower self he will return. (Light on the Path, Note 21)

    That man attains peace, who, abandoning all desires, moves about without attachment, without selfishness, without vanity. That man of renunciation, who, entirely abandoning all desires, goes through life content with the bare necessities of life, who has no attachment even for those bare necessities of life, who regards not as his even those things which are needed for the mere bodily existence, who is not vain of his knowledge,—such a man of steady knowledge, • that man who knows Brahman, attains peace, the end of all the misery of samsara (mundane existence). In short, he becomes the very Brahman. (Sankara, Commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, 2,71)

    Beware lest thou should’st set a foot still soiled upon the ladder’s lowest rung. Woe unto him who dares pollute one rung with miry feet. The foul and viscous mud will dry, become tenacious, then glue his feet unto the spot, and like a bird caught in the wily fowler’s lime, he will be stayed from further progress. His vices will take shape and drag him down. His sins will raise their voices like as the jackal’s laugh and sob after the sun goes down; his thoughts become an army, and bear him off a captive slave.

    See stanza 54 and comments on the Dweller on the Threshold.

    You were told, however, that the path to Occult Sciences has to be trodden laboriously and crossed at the danger of life; that every new step in it leading to the final goal, is surrounded by pit-falls and cruel thorns; that the pilgrim who ventures upon it is made first to confront and conquer the thousand and one furies who keep watch over its adamantine gates and entrance — furies called Doubt, Skepticism, Scorn, Ridicule, Envy and finally Temptation — especially the latter; and that he, who would see beyond had to first destroy this living wall; that he must be possessed of a heart and soul clad in steel, and of an iron, never failing determination and yet be meek and gentle, humble and have shut out from his heart every human passion, that leads to evil. (Mahatma Letter No. 62 )

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    70-Kill thy desires, Lanoo, make thy vices impotent, ere the first step is taken on the solemn journey.

    For he has conquered once for all that shifting serpent in himself which turns from side to side in its constant desire of contact, in its perpetual search after pleasure and pain. (Gates of Gold 5, 2)

    15. Dispassion is the having overcome one’s desires.
    That is — the attainment of a state of being in which the consciousness is unaffected by passions, desires, and ambitions, which aid in causing modifications of the mind. (Patanjali Yoga Sutras)

    71-Strangle thy sins, and make them dumb for ever, before thou dost lift one foot to mount the ladder.
    72-Silence thy thoughts and fix thy whole attention on thy Master whom yet thou dost not see, but whom thou feelest.

    “From the very day when the first mystic found the means of communication between this world and the worlds of the invisible host, between the sphere of matter and that of pure spirit, he concluded that to abandon this mysterious science to the profanation of the rabble was to lose it. An abuse of it might lead mankind to speedy destruction; it was like surrounding a group of children with explosive batteries, and furnishing them with matches. The first self-made adept initiated but a select few, and kept silence with the multitudes. He recognized his God and felt the great Being within himself. The “Atman,” the Self,** the mighty Lord and Protector, once that man knew him as the “I am,” the “Ego Sum,” the “Ahmi,” showed his full power to him who could recognize the “still small voice.” From the days of the primitive man described by the first Vedic poet, down to our modern age, there has not been a philosopher worthy of that name, who did not carry in the silent sanctuary of his heart the grand and mysterious truth. If initiated, he learnt it as a sacred science; if otherwise, then, like Socrates repeating to himself, as well as to his fellow-men, the noble injunction, “O man, know thyself,” he succeeded in recognizing his God within himself. “Ye are gods,” the king-psalmist tells us, and we find Jesus reminding the scribes that the expression, “Ye are gods,” was addressed to other mortal men, claiming for himself the same privilege without any blasphemy.* And, as a faithful echo, Paul, while asserting that we are all “the temple of the living God,”** cautiously adds, that after all these things are only for the “wise,” and it is “unlawful” to speak of them.” (Isis Unveiled II, pp.317-18)

    The closer the approach to one’s Prototype, “in Heaven,” the better for the mortal whose personality was chosen, by his own personal deity (the seventh principle), as its terrestrial abode. For, with every effort of will toward purification and unity with that “Self-god,” one of the lower rays breaks and the spiritual entity of man is drawn higher and ever higher to the ray that supersedes the first, until, from ray to ray, the inner man is drawn into the one and highest beam of the Parent-SUN. (SDI, 638)

    “I never gave myself out for a full-blown occultist, but only for a student of Occultism for the last thirty-five or forty years. Yet I am enough of an occultist to know that before we find the Master within our own hearts and seventh principle – we need an outside Master. As the Chinese Alchemist says, speaking of the necessity of a living teacher: “Every one seeks long life (spiritual), but the secret is not easy to find. If you covet the precious things of Heaven you must reject the treasures of the earth. You must kindle the fire that springs from the water and evolve the Om contained within the Tong: One word from a wise Master and you possess a draught of the golden water.”(HPB letter to Hartmann, 5)

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 4 weeks ago by  Mark Casady.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    This is actually two posts merged into one; since I tend to add complementary texts, hence less stanzas, so I figured it would be good to maintain a pace of at least one stanza a day (although we made the 10 stanza quota this – I plan on posting roughly six stanzas per week, because I realized that I have too much material to fit in 10 stanzas per week). Have a great weekend.

    73-Merge into one sense thy senses, if thou would’st be secure against the foe. ‘Tis by that sense alone which lies concealed within the hollow of thy brain, that the steep path which leadeth to thy Master may be disclosed before thy Soul’s dim eyes.

    Now, this ethereal body has its own organs which are the essence or real basis of the senses described by men. The outer eye is only the instrument by which the real power of sight experiences that which relates to sight; the ear has its inner master — the power of hearing, and so on with every organ. These real powers within flow from the spirit to which we referred at the beginning of this paper. That spirit approaches the objects of sense by presiding over the different organs of sense. And whenever it withdraws itself the organs cannot be used. As when a sleep-walker moves about with open eyes which do not see anything, although objects are there and the different parts of the eye are perfectly normal and uninjured. CULTURE OF CONCENTRATION — William Q. Judge Path, July, 1888

    For which cause Aristotle affirmeth in his Metaphysics that there is properly but one sense, and but one sensory ;he, by this one sensory, meaning the spirit, or subtile airy body, in which the sensitive power doth all of it, though the whole, immediately apprehend all variety of sensibles. (Philopponus in Mead, Orpheus, 279)

    74-Long and weary is the way before thee, O Disciple. One single thought about the past that thou hast left behind, will drag thee down and thou wilt have to start the climb anew.
    75-Kill in thyself all memory of past experiences. Look not behind or thou art lost.
    76-Do not believe that lust can ever be killed out if gratified or satiated, for this is an abomination inspired by Mara.

    It is by feeding vice that it expands and waxes strong, like to the worm that fattens on the blossom’s heart.
    There is a road, steep and thorny, beset with perils of every kind,
    but yet a road, and it leads to the very heart of the Universe:
    I can tell you how to find those who will show you
    the secret gateway that opens inward only,
    and closes fast behind the neophyte for evermore.
    There is no danger that dauntless courage cannot conquer;
    there is no trial that spotless purity cannot pass through;
    there is no difficulty that strong intellect cannot surmount.
    For those who win onwards there is a reward past all telling
    the power to bless and save humanity;
    for those who fail, there are other lives in which success may come.
    Blavatsky CW,XIII, p. 219 (The Theosophist, Vol. IV, No. 10, July, 1883, pp. 10-11)

    77-The rose must re-become the bud born of its parent stem, before the parasite has eaten through its heart and drunk its life-sap.

    21. Look for the flower to bloom in the silence that follows the storm: not till then.
    It shall grow, it will shoot up, it will make branches and leaves and form buds, while the storm continues, while the battle lasts. But not till the whole personality of the man is dissolved and melted — not until it is held by the divine fragment which has created it, as a mere subject for grave experiment and experience — not until the whole nature has yielded and become subject unto its higher self, can the bloom open. Then will come a calm such as comes in a tropical country after the heavy rain, when Nature works so swiftly that one may see her action. Such a calm will come to the harassed spirit. And in the deep silence the mysterious event will occur which will prove that the way has been found. Call it by what name you will, it is a voice that speaks where there is none to speak — it is a messenger that comes, a messenger without form or substance; or it is the flower of the soul that has opened. It cannot be described by any metaphor. But it can be felt after, looked for, and desired, even amid the raging of the storm. The silence may last a moment of time or it may last a thousand years. But it will end. Yet you will carry its strength with you. Again and again the battle must be fought and won. It is only for an interval that Nature can be still. (Light on the Path 1, 21)

    78-The golden tree puts forth its jewel-buds before its trunk is withered by the storm.

    The soul must be unfettered, the desires free. But until they are fixed only on that state wherein there is neither reward nor punishment, good nor evil, it is in vain that he endeavors. He may seem to make great progress, but some day he will come face to face with his own soul, and will recognize that when he came to the tree of knowledge he chose the bitter fruit and not the sweet; and then the veil will fall utterly, and he will give up his freedom and become a slave of desire. Therefore be warned, you who are but turning toward the life of occultism. Learn now that there is no cure for desire, no cure for the love of reward, no cure for the misery of longing, save in the fixing of the sight and hearing upon that which is invisible and soundless. Begin even now to practice it, and so a thousand serpents will be kept from your path. Live in the eternal. (Light on the Path, Karma)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    The next section, the seventh (stanzas 79-92) is quite difficult, the text skips and jumps somewhat and there are technical descriptions that resemble Ashtanga Yoga, but are rather cryptic. And since this fragment is more on the Hinduistic side, it could be useful to present a passage from an early esoteric discussion of Sankara’s Four Qualifications from Man, Fragments of a Forgotten History, Laura Holloway & Mohini Chatterji (1885) from a chapter full of interest in regards to the esoteric path.

    1- Discrimination between the eternal and non-eternal (Viveka)
    2- Detachment from the enjoyment of the fruits of action (Vairaga)
    3- The virtues (Samadi Guna)
    a- Peace Tranquility(Sama)
    b- Self-Control (Dama)
    c- Self-Withdrawal (Uparatti)
    d- Forebearance (Titiksha)
    e- Faith (Sraddha)
    f- One-pointedness (Samadhana)
    4- Intense Longing for Liberation (Mumuksutva)

    The second “accomplishment” marks the next step on the path, and is the permanent effect produced on the mind by the theoretical knowledge which forms the preceding accomplishment. When the neophyte has once grasped the illusive character of the objects around him, he ceases to crave for them; and is thus prepared to acquire the second accomplishment, which is a perfect indifference to the enjoyment of the fruit of one’s actions, both here and hereafter.
    Exoteric students fall into a grievous error by their failure to catch the true spirit of the injunction against acting under the impulse of desire. They erroneously suppose that the best preparation for spiritual life is to forcibly repress all outward expression of desire, entirely losing sight of the fact that even the most rigid abstinence from physical acts does not produce inactivity on the higher planes of spiritual or mental existence. Sankaracharya, in his commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita — one of the most authoritative of the Brahmanical sacred writings — says that such a conclusion is simply delusive. A hasty supposition might here be made that these considerations will have the effect of sanctioning persistence in evil; but when the desire for improvement is constantly present in the mind, and the character of the evil thoroughly realized, each failure to harmonise the inward with the outward nature will, by the revulsion of feeling thus produced, strengthen the determination to such an extent that the evil desire will be speedily crushed. This is why Eliphas Levi so vehemently denounces the institution of forced celibacy among the Romish priests. The personality of a man at any one moment is the result of all his previous acts, thoughts, and emotions, the energy of which constantly inclines the mind to act in a particular way. All attempts, therefore, to cure this mental bias by repressing its expression on the outer plane is as hurtful as to throw back into the circulation unhealthy blood seeking a natural outlet. The internal desire is always forging fresh links in the chain of material existence, even though denied outward manifestation. The only way to free oneself from the bonds of Karma, producing birth and death, is to let the store-up energy exhaust itself merely as a portion of the great cosmic energy, and not to colour it with personality by referring it to self. The Bhagavad Gita itself speaks on this subject with no uncertain sound. The great Teacher Krishna reproves his pupil Arjuna for having expressed a disinclination to perform the duties pertaining to his sphere of life. The reason is perfectly plain: in reference to the great reality everything of this world is unreal; therefore, to renounce the duties entailed upon us by our birth for something equally unreal, only accentuates the ignorance which makes the unreal appear as the real. The wisest course, suggested by Krishna, is that Arjuna should perform all his duties, unselfishly. “Thy right is only to the act”, says the Teacher; “it ends with the performance of the act, and never extends to the result.” We must perform our duty for its own sake, and never allow the mind to dwell on the fruit of our actions, either with pleasure or with pain. Purified from the taint of selfishness, the act passes by, like water over the lotus-leaf, without wetting it. But if the act is done as a means to the attainment of a personal end, the mind acquires a tendency to repeat the act, and thus necessitates further incarnations to exhaust that tendency.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    79- The pupil must regain the child-state he has lost ‘ere the first sound can fall upon his ear.

    2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2-4 New King James Version (NKJV))

    80- The light from the ONE Master, the one unfading golden light of Spirit, shoots its effulgent beams on the disciple from the very first. Its rays thread through the thick dark clouds of matter.

    THE HIGHER SELF is Atma the inseparable ray of the Universal and ONE SELF. It is the God above, more than within, us. Happy the man who succeeds in saturating his inner Ego with it! (Key to Theosophy 176)

    81- Now here, now there, these rays illumine it, like sun-sparks light the earth through the thick foliage of the jungle growth. But, O Disciple, unless the flesh is passive, head cool, the soul as firm and pure as flaming diamond, the radiance will not reach the chamber (23), its sunlight will not warm the heart, nor will the mystic sounds of the Âkâśic heights (35) reach the ear, however eager, at the initial stage.
    (35). These mystic sounds or the melody heard by the ascetic at the beginning of his cycle of meditation called Anâhata-śabda by the Yogis.

    Akâsa (Sk.). The subtle, supersensuous spiritual essence which pervades all space; the primordial substance erroneously identified with Ether. But it is to Ether what Spirit is to Matter, or Âtmâ to Kâma-rûpa. It is, in fact, the Universal Space in which lies inherent the eternal Ideation of the Universe in its ever-changing aspects on the planes of matter and objectivity, and from which radiates the First Logos, or expressed thought. This is why it is stated in the Purânas that Âkâsa has but one attribute, namely sound, for sound is but the translated symbol of Logos—“Speech” in its mystic sense. In the same sacrifice (the Jyotishtoma Agnishtoma) it is called the “God Âkâsa”. In these sacrificial mysteries Âkâsa is the all-directing ‘and omnipotent Deva who plays the part of Sadasya, the superintendent over the magical effects of the religious performance, and it had its own appointed Hotri (priest) in days of old, who took its name. The Âkâsa is the indispensable agent of every Krityâ (magical performance) religious or profane. The expression “to stir up the Brahmâ”, means to stir up the power which lies latent at the bottom of every magical operation, Vedic sacrifices being in fact nothing if not ceremonial magic. This power is the Âkâsa—in another aspect, Kundalini—occult electricity, the alkahest of the alchemists in one sense, or the universal solvent, the same anima mundi on the higher plane as the astral light is on the lower. “At the moment of the sacrifice the priest becomes imbued with the spirit of Brahmâ, is, for the time being, Brahmâ himself”. (Isis Unveiled). (Theosophical Glossary)

    Anahata sounds (or the melody) are the mystic sounds heard by the Yogi at the beginning of his cycle of meditation. This subject is termed Nada-Anusandhana or an enquiry into the mystic sounds. This is a sign of purification of the Nadis or astral currents, due to Pranayama. The sounds can also be heard after the uttering of the Ajapa Gayatri Mantra, “Hamsah Soham,” a lakh of times. The sounds are heard through the right ear with or without closing the ears. The sounds are distinct when heard through closed ears. The ears can be closed by introducing the two thumbs into the ears through the process of Yoni Mudra. Sit in Padma or Siddha Asana, close the ears with right and left thumbs, and hear the sounds very attentively. Occasionally, you can hear the sounds through the left ear also. Practise to hear from the right ear only. Why do you hear through the right ear only or hear distinctly through the right ear? Because of the solar Nadi (Pingala) which is on the right side of the nose. The Anahata sound is also called Omkara Dhvani. It is due to the vibration of Prana in the heart.

    It is, the God Sabda Bramham called also Kala Bramham Gouri— one of the mystic names for Akasa, which gives rise to occult sound— the initiates say. And the ancient Greek mystics, equally with the Western occultists and the adept Bramhans, agreed all in teaching that sound emanated from the Astral Light, or Akasa ,in its purest essence. The Hindu occultist, or devotee, while practising Raja Yoga, hears the occult sounds as emanating from his own Moola Adharam— the first of the series of six centres of force in the human body (fed at the inexhaustible source of the seventh or the Unity, as the sum total of all) and knows that it emanates from there, and from nowhere else. But, before our correspondent can realise fully our meaning, he will have to learn the important difference between A tral Fire and Astral Light. (Blavatsky (note) ‘’Tharana’’ or Mesmerism, N. Chidambaram Iyer, The Theosophist,v.3, n.35, Aug. 1882, 269)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras list the Ashtanga or eight-branch system of Yoga, which is progressive:
    · Yama – the five restraints or the “don’ts”
    o Ahimsa – Non-violence
    o Satya – Truthfulness
    o Brahmacharya – Control of the senses and celibacy
    o Asteya – Non-stealing
    o Aparigraha – Non-covetousness and non-acceptance of gifts
    · Niyama – the five observances or the “do’s”
    o Saucha – Purity, cleanliness
    o Santosha – Contentment
    o Tapas – Austerity
    o Swadhyaya – Self-study, study of scriptures
    o Ishwara Pranidhana – Surrender to God’s will
    · Asana – Steady posture
    · Pranayama – Control of prana or life force
    · Pratyahara – Withdrawal of the senses
    · Dharana – Concentration
    · Dhyana – Meditation
    · Samadhi – Super-conscious state

    Râja-Yoga (Sk.). The true system of developing psychic and spiritual powers and union with one’s Higher Self—or the Supreme Spirit, as the profane express it. The exercise, regulation and concentration of thought. Râja-Yoga is opposed to Hatha-Yoga, the physical or psycho physiological training in asceticism.

    These stanzas seem to refer to a kind of Pratyahara. Yama and Niyama were perhaps contained in earlier sections. Since Hatha Yoga is not encouraged, probably Asana and Pranayama are not included. See Pranayama and Raja Yoga:
    Pranayama and Raja Yoga

    82- Unless thou hearest, thou canst not see.
    83- Unless thou seest thou canst not hear. To hear and see this is the second stage.

    This could be a reference to synesthesia – where sounds have colors, and colors have sounds.

    5. Listen to the song of life
    Note on Rule 5. — Look for it and listen to it first in your own heart. At first you may say it is not there; when I search I find only discord. Look deeper. If again you are disappointed, pause and look deeper again. There is a natural melody, an obscure fount in every human heart. It may be hidden over and utterly concealed and silenced — but it is there. At the very base of your nature you will find faith, hope, and love. He that chooses evil refuses to look within himself, shuts his ears to the melody of his heart, as he blinds his eyes to the light of his soul. He does this because he finds it easier to live in desires. But underneath all life is the strong current that cannot be checked; the great waters are there in reality. Find them, and you will perceive that none, not the most wretched of creatures, but is a part of it, however he blind himself to the fact and build up for himself a phantasmal outer form of horror. In that sense it is that I say to you — All those beings among whom you struggle on are fragments of the Divine. And so deceptive is the illusion in which you live, that it is hard to guess where you will first detect the sweet voice in the hearts of others. But know that it is certainly within yourself. Look for it there, and once having heard it, you will more readily recognize it around you. (Light on the Path, 2,5, note)

    As the eyes are the windows of the soul, so are the ears its gateways or doors. Through them comes knowledge of the confusion of the world. The great ones who have conquered life, who have become more than disciples, stand at peace and undisturbed amid the vibration and kaleidoscopic movement of humanity. (Light on the Path, Comment 2)

    To have acquired the astral senses of sight and hearing; or in other words to have attained perception and opened the doors of the soul, are gigantic tasks and may take the sacrifice of many successive incarnations. And yet, when the will has reached its strength, the whole miracle may be worked in a second of time. Then is the disciple the servant of Time no longer.
    These two first steps are negative; that is to say they imply retreat from a present condition of things rather than advance towards another. The two next are active, implying the advance into another state of being. (Light on the Path, Comment 2)
    . . . . . . . . .
    I take this dotted line to indicate that text for the third stage has been omitted. I suspect there are other gaps in various spots.

    84- When the disciple sees and hears, and when he smells and tastes, eyes closed, ears shut, with mouth and nostrils stopped; when the four senses blend and ready are to pass into the fifth, that of the inner touch — then into stage the fourth he hath passed on.
    See stanza 73

    Having obtained the use of the inner senses, having conquered the desires of the outer senses, having conquered the desires of the individual soul, and having obtained knowledge, prepare now, O disciple, to enter upon the way in reality. The path is found: make yourself ready to tread it. (Light on the Path, 2,14)

    80. Contemplation on [the space between] the eyebrows, in my view, leads to the attainment of the Unmani Avastha in a short time. Even for people of a modest intellect, this is a suitable means for attaining the state of Raja Yoga. The state of absorption arising from Nada gives immediate experience.
    81. In the hearts of great Yogins who remain in a state of Samadhi through concentration on Nada, there is a plenitude of Bliss, unequaled, surpassing all description, and which the blessed Teacher (Shri Gurunatha) alone knows.
    82. The contemplative man (Muni), having closed his ears with the [thumbs of the] hands, should focus his mind on the [mystical] sound [that is heard within] until he attains the immutable (Turya) (Hatha Yoga Pradipika 4, 80-82)

  • ModeratorTN

    Saith the Great Law:—“In order to become the knower of ALL SELF,9 thou hast first of self to be the knower.” To reach the knowledge of that self, thou hast to give up Self to Non-Self, Being to Non-Being, and then thou canst repose between the wings of the GREAT BIRD. Aye, sweet is rest between the wings of that which is not born, nor dies, but is the AUM10 throughout eternal ages.

    Book 1 The Voice of the Silence

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    85- And in the fifth, O slayer of thy thoughts, all these again have to be killed beyond reanimation (36).
    (36). This means that in the sixth stage of development which, in the occult system is Dhâranâ, every sense as an individual faculty has to be “killed” (or paralyzed) on this plane, passing into and merging with the Seventh sense, the most spiritual.

    86- Withhold thy mind from all external objects, all external sights. Withhold internal images, lest on thy Soul-light a dark shadow they should cast.

    It is by ranging over the objects with the senses, but with senses subject to the self, freed from liking and disliking, that one gets into a large and sweet clearness of soul and temperament in which passion and grief find no place; the intelligence of such a man is rapidly established (in its proper seat). (Bhagavad Gita, 2, 64-65.)

    People get trapped by the sense organs (Note: The five sense organs are: Eyes, ears, tongue, nose and skin) and when they experience the feelings like hot and cold etc., they get subjected to the feelings of pleasure and pain. Nature of the sense organs is such that it makes them feel there is nothing better than sensual pleasures of the body and mind. And these sense objects are impermanent like a mirage. Therefore you should not keep their company.
    Pleasure and pain do not touch a person who is not influenced by these sense objects, nor has he to go through rebirth. Keep in mind that he who is not trapped by the sense objects is totally indestructible. (Jnaneshvari, 2:119-124).

    87- Thou art now in DHÂRANÂ (37), the sixth stage.

    (37). See stanza 2.

    Patajali’s Yoga Sutras BOOK 3 (W. Q. Judge Commentary)
    1. Fixing the mind on a place, object, or subject is attention.
    This is called Dharana.
    2. The continuance of this attention is contemplation.
    This is called Dhyana.
    3. This contemplation, when it is practised only in respect to a material subject or object of sense, is meditation.
    This is called Samadhi.
    4. When this fixedness of attention, contemplation, and meditation are practised with respect to one object, they together constitute what is called Sanyama.
    We have no word in English corresponding to Sanyama. The translators have used the word restraint, but this is inadequate and misleading, although it is a correct translation. When a Hindu says that an ascetic is practising restraint according to this system in respect to any object, he means that he is performing Sanyama, while in English it may indicate that he is restraining himself from some particular thing or act, and this is not the meaning of Sanyama. We have used the language of the text, but the idea may perhaps be better conveyed by “perfect concentration.”
    5. By rendering Sanyama — or the operation of fixed attention, contemplation, and meditation — natural and easy, an accurate discerning power is developed.
    This “discerning power” is a distinct faculty which this practice alone develops, and is not possessed by ordinary persons who have not pursued concentration.
    6. Sanyama is to be used in proceeding step by step in overcoming all modifications of the mind, from the more apparent to those the most subtle.
    [See note to Aphorism 2, Book I.] The student is to know that after he has overcome the afflictions and obstructions described in the preceding books, there are other modifications of a recondite character suffered by the mind, which are to be got rid of by means of Sanyama. When he has reached that stage the difficulties will reveal themselves to him.
    7. The three practices — attention, contemplation, and meditation — are more efficacious for the attainment of that kind of meditation called, “that in which there is distinct cognition,” than the first five means heretofore described as “not killing, veracity, not stealing, continence, and not coveting.”
    See Aphorism 17, Book I.
    8. Attention, contemplation, and meditation are anterior to and not immediately productive of that kind of meditation in which the distinct cognition of the object is lost, which is called meditation without a seed.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    88- When thou hast passed into the seventh, O happy one, thou shalt perceive no more the sacred three (38), for thou shalt have become that three thyself. Thyself and mind, like twins upon a line, the star which is thy goal, burns overhead (39). The three that dwell in glory and in bliss ineffable, now in the world of Mâyâ have lost their names. They have become one star, the fire that burns but scorches not, that fire which is the Upâdhi (40) of the Flame.
    (38). Every stage of development in Râja Yoga is symbolised by a geometrical figure. This one is the sacred Triangle and precedes Dhâranâ. The [triangle] is the sign of the high chelas, while another kind of triangle is that of high Initiates. It is the symbol “I” discoursed upon by Buddha and used by him as a symbol of the embodied form of Tathâgata when released from the three methods of the Prajñâ. Once the preliminary and lower stages passed, the disciple sees no more the [triangle] but the — the abbreviation of the —, the full Septenary. Its true form is not given here, as it is almost sure to be pounced upon by some charlatans and — desecrated in its use for fraudulent purposes.
    (39). The star that burns overhead is the “the star of initiation.” The caste-mark of Śaivas, or devotees of the sect of Śiva, the great patron of all Yogins, is a black round spot, the symbol of the Sun now, perhaps, but that of the star of initiation, in Occultism, in days of old.
    (40). The basis (upâdhi) of the ever unreachable “flame,” so long as the ascetic is still in this life.

    I’m not quite sure what the star of initiation is exactly, but below are some possibilities:
    “The star under which a human Entity is born, says the Occult teaching, will remain forever its star, throughout the whole cycle of its incarnations in one Manvantara. But this is not his astrological star. The latter is concerned and connected with the personality, the former with the INDIVIDUALITY. The ‘Angel’ of the Star, or the Dhyani-Buddha, will be either the guiding or simply the presiding ‘Angel’, so to say, in every new rebirth of the monad, which is part of his own essence, though his vehicle, man, may remain forever ignorant of this fact. The Adepts have each their Dhyani-Buddha, their elder ‘twin-Soul’, [6] and they know it, calling it ‘Father-Soul’ and ‘Father-Fire’. It is only at the last and supreme initiation, however, that they learn it when placed face to face with the bright ‘Image’. How much has Bulwer-Lytton known of this mystic fact when describing, in one of his highest inspirational moods, Zanoni face to face with his Augoeides?” (SD I, 572)

    “And this ‘true and perfect Serpent’ is the seven-lettered God who is now credited with being Jehovah, and Jesus One with him. To this Seven-vowelled god the candidate for initiation is sent by Christos, in the Pistis Sophia, a work earlier than St. John’s Revelation, and evidently of the same school. … … These seven vowels are represented by the Swastika signs on the crowns of the seven heads of the Serpent of Eternity, in India, among esoteric Buddhists, in Egypt, in Chaldea, etc., etc., and among the Initiates of every other country. … The seven-headed serpent has more than one signification in the Arcane teachings. It is the seven-headed Draco, each of whose heads is a star of the Lesser Bear; but it was also, and pre-eminently, the Serpent of Darkness (i.e., inconceivable and incomprehensible) whose seven heads were the seven Logoi, the reflections of the one and first manifested Light – the universal Logos.”[37] (SD I, 410-411)

    Sirius (Gr.). In Egyptian, Sothis. The dog-star: the star worshipped in Egypt and reverenced by the Occultists; by the former because its heliacal rising with the Sun was a sign of the beneficent inundation of the Nile, and by the latter because it is mysteriously associated with Thoth-Hermes, god of wisdom, and Mercury, in another form. Thus Sothis-Sirius had, and still has, a mystic and direct influence over the whole living heaven, and is connected with almost every god and goddess. It was “Isis in the heaven ” and called Isis-Sothis, for Isis was “in the constellation of the dog ”, as is declared on her monuments. “The soul of Osiris was believed to reside in a personage who walks with great steps in front of Sothis, sceptre in hand and a whip upon his shoulder.” Sirius is also Anuhis, and is directly connected with the ring“Pass me not” ; it is, moreover, identical with Mithra, the Persian Mystery god, and with Horus and even Hathor, called sometimes the goddess Sothis. Being connected with the Pyramid, Sirius was, therefore, connected with the initiations which took place in it. A temple to Sirius-Sothis once existed within the great temple of Denderah. To sum up, all religions are not, as Dufeu, the French Egyptologist, sought to prove, derived from Sirius, the dog-star, but Sirius-Sothis is certainly found in connection with every religion of antiquity. (Theosophical Glossary)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    89- And this, O Yogi of success, is what men call Dhyâna (41), the right precursor of Samâdhi (42).
    (41). Dhyâna is the last stage before the final on this Earth unless one becomes a full mahatma. As said already in this state the Râja Yogi is yet spiritually conscious of Self, and the working of his higher principles. One step more, and he will be on the plane beyond the Seventh (or fourth according to some schools). These, after the practice of Pratyâhâra — a preliminary training, in order to control one’s mind and thoughts — count Dhâranâ, Dhyâna and Samâdhi and embraces the three under the generic name of Samyama.
    (42). Samâdhi is the state in which the ascetic loses the consciousness of every individuality including his own. He becomes — the All.

    (Sk.). In Buddhism one of the six Paramitas or perfections, a state of abstraction which carries the ascetic practising it far above this plane of sensuous perception and out of the world of matter.
    Lit., “contemplation”. The six stages of Dhyan differ only in the degrees of abstraction of the personal Ego from sensuous life.

    (Sk.). A state of ecstatic and complete trance. The term comes from the words Sam-âdha, “self-possession ”. He who possesses this power is able to exercise an absolute control over all his faculties, physical or mental; it is the highest state of Yoga.

    Samâdhindriya (Sk.). Lit., “the root of concentration”; the fourth of the five roots called Pancha Indriyâni, which are said in esoteric philosophy to be the agents in producing a highly moral life, leading to sanctity and liberation ; when these are reached, the two spiritual roots lying latent in the body (Atmâ and Buddhi) will send out shoots and blossom. Samâdhindriya is the organ of ecstatic meditation in Râj-yoga practices.

    Indriya or Deha Sanyama
    (Sk.). The control of the senses in Yoga practice. These are the ten external agents; the five senses which are used for perception are called Jnana-indriya, and the five used for action—Karma-indriya. Pancha-indryani means literally and in its occult sense “the live roots producing life”(eternal). With the Buddhists, it is the five positive agents producing five supernal qualities. (Theosophical Glossary)

    Blavatsky commented much on an interesting western study of yoga, since she alludes to a trance state in regards to Samadhi, below are some extracts on trance states, which Blavatsky approves.
    Commentary on A Treatise on the Yoga Philosophy, Dr. N. C. Paul, G.B., M.C., 1850. (Theosophist, September, 1880)

    Comment.—This is more like the real Raja-Yoga, and is the true scientific one.—Ed. Theos.

    Both these faqirs were Hatha Yogis. They practised the Khechari Mudra, successfully, and thereby acquired the power of abstinence from air, water, and food, for a long time.
    2. — Bhuchari Mudra. — This consists in directing the sight to the point of the nose, while seated in the posture called Padmasana. Both the Khechari and Bhuchari mudras produce self-trance in a short time.
    3, — Cachari Mudra. To practise this mudra the sight is fixed on a point three inches in front of the eyes. In this mudra the sight should be direct, and fixed for a long time. When the Yogi is fatigued, he turns his eyes to the point of the nose, and then to the part between the eyebrows, until self-trance is effected.
    4. — Agochari Mudra. — This is the method of producing self-trance through the function of hearing. A Yogi who practises this mudra, plugs the ears with balls of waxed cotton, and listens to the sounds of the left ear with the right ear, bending the head a little laterally, towards the right shoulder, until self-trance is effected.
    5 — Unamani Mudra. — This is the method of suspending the breath, by shutting all the outlets of the body, after a deep inspiration. A Yogi who practises this mudra, successfully, is said to be able to recall the soul, to awaken it, and enjoy heavenly felicity. He needs not prayers nor hymns. He becomes self-tranced.

    Commentary on A Treatise on the Yoga Philosophy

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    90- And now thy Self is lost in SELF, thyself unto THYSELF, merged in THAT SELF from which thou first didst radiate.

    ‘The “Master” in the Sanctuary of our souls is “the Higher Self” – the divine spirit whose consciousness is based upon and derived solely (at any rate during the mortal life of the man in whom it is captive) from the Mind, which we have agreed to call the Human Soul (the “Spiritual Soul” being the vehicle of the Spirit). In its turn the former (the personal or human soul) is a compound in its highest form, of spiritual aspirations, volitions, and divine love; and in its lower aspect, of animal desires and terrestrial passions imparted to it by its associations with its vehicle, the seat of all these. It thus stands as a link and a medium between the animal nature of man which its higher reason seeks to subdue, and his divine spiritual nature to which it gravitates, whenever it has the upper hand in its struggle with the inner animal … It is only when the power of the passions is dead altogether, and when they have been crushed and annihilated in the retort of an unflinching will; when not only all the lusts and longings of the flesh are dead, but also the recognition of the personal Self is killed out and the “astral” has been reduced in consequence to a cipher, that the Union with the “Higher Self” can take place. Then when the “Astral” reflects only the conquered man, the still living but no more the longing, selfish personality, then the brilliant Augoeides, the divine SELF, can vibrate in conscious harmony with both the poles of the human Entity – the man of matter purified, and the ever pure Spiritual Soul – and stand in the presence of the MASTER SELF, the Christos of the mystic Gnostic, blended, merged into, and one with IT for ever’. (Blavatsky ; Practical Occultism, CW 9 255-7)

    91- Where is thy individuality, Lanoo, where the Lanoo himself? It is the spark lost in the fire, the drop within the ocean, the ever-present Ray become the all and the eternal radiance.

    That is to say, that from the point of view of a disciple the divine principle Âtma-Buddhi is later in respect of time, for union therewith is not attained till the end of the Path is reached. Yet this spark of the divine Fire was before the personality of the neophyte, for it is eternal and in all men, though not manifested. (SD I 490)

    9. This Light is the One Reality which illuminates every man that cometh into the world.
    That is to say, we all have a spark of the Divine Essence within us. (Cw 11 488 Commentary on Gospel of John)

    That is that “Spark” which “hangs from the flame?” It is JIVA, the MONAD in conjunction with MANAS, or rather its aroma — that which remains from each personality, when worthy, and hangs from Atma-Buddhi, the Flame, by the thread of life. In whatever way interpreted, and into whatever number of principles the human being is divided, it may easily be shown that this doctrine is supported by all the ancientreligions, from the Vedic to the Egyptian, from the Zoroastrian to the Jewish. In the case of the last-mentioned, the Kabalistic works offer abundant proof of this statement. The entire system of the Kabalistic numerals is based on the divine septenary hanging from the Triad (thus forming the Decade) and its permutations 7, 5, 4, and 3, which, finally, all merge into the ONE itself: an endless and boundless Circle. Sd 1 238-39

    6. The root of life was in every drop of the ocean of immortality (Amrita)* and the ocean was radiant light, which was fire and heat and motion. (STANZA III. — Sd 1 69)

    We all regard ourselves as Units, although essentially we are one indivisible Unit, drops in the ocean of Being, not to be distinguished from other drops. (Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge) (cw 10 326-327)

    Man needs four flames and three fires to become one on Earth, and he requires the essence of the forty-nine fires § to be perfect. (§ The “Three Fires,” Pavaka, Pavamâna, and Suchi, who had forty-five sons, who, with their three fathers and their Father Agni, constitute the 49 fires. Pavamâna (fire produced by friction) is the parent of the fire of the Asuras; Suchi (Solar fire) is the parent of the fire of the gods; and Pavaka (electric fire) is the father of the fire of the Pitris (See Vâyu Purâna.) But this is an explanation on the material and the terrestrial plane. The flames are evanescent and only periodical; the fires—eternal in their triple unity. They correspond to the four lower, and the three higher human principles. (SD2, 57)

    92- And now, Lanoo, thou art the doer and the witness, the radiator and the radiation, Light in the Sound, and the Sound in the Light.

    The seven prismatic colors are direct emanations from the Seven Hierarchies of Being, each of which has a direct bearing upon and relation to one of the human principles, since each of these Hierarchies is, in fact, the creator and source of the corresponding human principle. Each prismatic color is called in Occultism the “Father of the Sound” which corresponds to it; sound being the Word, or the Logos, of its Father-Thought. This is the reason why sensitives connect every color with a definite sound, a fact well recognized in modern science (e.g., Francis Galton’s Nature and Nurture*). But black and white are entirely negative colors, and have no representatives in the world of subjective being. (Cw 12 549)

    . . . “And no name is more excellent than all these (seven) vowels. A name wherein be contained all names, all Lights, and all (the forty-nine) powers, knowing it, if a man quits this body of matter† no smoke (i.e., no theological delusion),‡ no darkness, nor Ruler of the Sphere (no personal genius or planetary spirit called God), or of Fate (karma) shall be able to hold back the soul that knoweth that name. . . If he shall utter that (Name) unto the fire, the darkness shall flee away. . . And if he shall utter that name unto. . . . all their Powers, nay, even unto Barbelo,* the Invisible God, and the triple-powered Gods, so soon as he shall have uttered that name in those places, they shall all be shaken and thrown one upon the other, so that they shall be ready to melt, perish and disappear, and shall cry aloud, ‘O, Light of all Lights that art in the Boundless Light, remember us also and purify us!’ ”
    It is easy to see who this Light and Name are: the light of Initiation and the name of the “Fire-Self,” which is no name, no action, but a Spiritual, ever-living Power, higher even than the “Invisible God,” as this Power is Itself. ( SD2, 2, XXIII. The Upanishads in Gnostic Literature 569-570)

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by  Mark Casady.

    • Mark Casady
      Mark Casady

      The seventh section (stanzas 82-92) is completed. A kind of sevenfold Raja Yoga system is outlined, similar to the Eightfold yoga system, beginning with the Pratyahara stage, where a process of merging the five inner senses is explained. The next three stages correspond to the to three Sanyama practices. Upon achieving accomplishment in Samadhi, one becomes ‘’the doer and the witness, the radiator and the radiation, Light in the Sound, and the Sound in the Light’’. Below is a chart outline:
      1- Hearing (Pratyahara – 1-5)
      2- Seeing
      3- Smelling
      4- Tasting
      5- Touching
      6- Dharana
      7- Dhyana

      The emphasis on the last four stages of the eightfold Yoga path is consistent with the priority of Raja Yoga practices over Hatha Yoga practices.

      Sankara’s Aparokshanubhuti has many good notions of an esoteric Raja Yoga. Note that he allows Hatha Yoga for those not ready for the more abstract level:
      119-120. The negation of the phenomenal world is known as rechaka [breathing out], the thought, “I am verily Reality”, is called puraka [breathing in], and the steadiness of that thought thereafter is called kumbhaka [restraining the breath]. This is the real course of pranayama for the enlightened, whereas the ignorant only torture the nose.
      143. Thus has been described Raja Yoga consisting of these steps mentioned above. With this is to be combined Hatha Yoga for the benefit of those whose worldly desires are partially attenuated.
      It would be useful to also have some knowledge of the Pancha Indriyas (from Charaka Samhita Sutrastahan, Ch. 8) :

      Chakshu – Seeing – Agni/Tejas (Fire)
      Shotra – Hearing – Akasha (Space)
      Graahna – Smelling – Prithivi (Earth)
      Rasana – Tasting – Jala/Apas (Water)
      Sparshana – Touching – Vayu – (Air)

      The eighth section (stanzas 93-100), the final one, deals with the Four Noble Truths and the Five Hindrances.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    We are rapidly approaching the end of the first fragment. This eighth and final section (stanzas 93-100) deals with the Four Noble Truths and the Five Hindrances.

    93-Thou art acquainted with the five impediments, O blessed one. Thou art their conqueror, the Master of the sixth, deliverer of the four modes of Truth (43). The light that falls upon them shines from thyself, O thou who wast disciple but art Teacher now.
    (43). The “four modes of truth” are, in Northern Buddhism, Ku “suffering or misery”; Tu the assembling of temptations; Mu “their destructions” and Tao, the “path.” The “five impediments” are the knowledge of misery, truth about human frailty, oppressive restraints, and the absolute necessity of separation from all the ties of passion and even of desires. The “Path of Salvation” — is the last one.

    Not sure what Master of the sixth means – the sixth hindrance? Or the sixth stage, Dharana? I haven’t really gone over the corrected Boris de Zirkoff text or others, but here some corrections need to be noted. This is the Four Noble Truths with the Chinese terms, Boris de Zirkoff corrects to K’u, Chi, Mieh, Tao. Peking edition has Ku, Tsi, Mi-eh, Tao. Below is another version: see David Reigle :

    The Truth of Suffering [Chin.: kǔ 苦 | Sansk.: Dukkha satya]
    The Truth of the Cause of Suffering [Chin.: jí 集 | Sansk.: Samudaya satya]
    The Truth of the Cessation of Suffering [Chin.: miè滅 | Sansk.: Nirodha satya]
    The Truth of the Path leading to the Cessation of Suffering [Chin.: dào道 | Sansk.: Magga satya

    Hard to say what happened, but the definition of the five impediments is actually from the same definition of the Four Noble Truths from Rev. Joseph Edkins’ 1880 book, Chinese Buddhism, p. 23, fn.:

    These are, Ku, “misery,” Tsi, “assembling,” Mie, “destruction,” and Tau, “the path,” consisting in knowledge of misery, truth, oppressive restraints, the need of separation from the ties of passion, the possibility of destroying the desires, and the path of salvation as and regards the practical Buddhist life.

    The five hindrances are:
    1. Sensory desire (kāmacchanda): the particular type of wanting that seeks for happiness through the five senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and physical feeling.
    2. Ill-will (vyāpāda; also spelled byāpāda): all kinds of thought related to wanting to reject; feelings of hostility, resentment, hatred and bitterness.
    3. Sloth-and-torpor (thīna-middha): heaviness of body and dullness of mind which drag one down into disabling inertia and thick depression.
    4. Restlessness-and-worry (uddhacca-kukkucca): the inability to calm the mind.
    5. Doubt (vicikicchā): lack of conviction or trust.

    In terms of gaining insight into and overcoming the Five Hindrances, according to the Satipatthana Sutta, the Buddha proclaimed:
    How, monks, does a monk live contemplating mental objects in the mental objects of the five hindrances?
    Herein, monks, when sense-desire is present, a monk knows, “There is sense-desire in me,” or when sense-desire is not present, he knows, “There is no sense-desire in me.” He knows how the arising of the non-arisen sense-desire comes to be; he knows how the abandoning of the arisen sense-desire comes to be; and he knows how the non-arising in the future of the abandoned sense-desire comes to be.[7]

    The Buddha gives the following analogies in the Samaññaphala Sutta (DN 2, “The Fruits of the Contemplative Life”):
    “… [W]hen these five hindrances are not abandoned in himself, the monk regards it as a debt, a sickness, a prison, slavery, a road through desolate country. But when these five hindrances are abandoned in himself, he regards it as unindebtedness, good health, release from prison, freedom, a place of security.”[8][d]

    Similarly, in the Saṅgārava Sutta (SN 46.55), the Buddha compares sensual desire with looking for a clear reflection in water mixed with lac, turmeric and dyes; ill will with boiling water; sloth-and-torpor with water covered with plants and algae; restlessness-and-worry with wind-churned water; and, doubt with water that is “turbid, unsettled, muddy, placed in the dark.”[9]

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    94-And of these modes of Truth: —
    Hast thou not passed through knowledge of all misery — Truth the first?

    The Chinese term for the Four Noble Truths is sìshèngdì. The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, “Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion”:
    Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering.

    Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the origin of suffering: it is this craving [taṇhā, “thirst”] which leads to re-becoming, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there; that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for becoming, craving for disbecoming.

    Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering: it is the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it, non-reliance on it.

    Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering: it is this noble eightfold path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.[web 9] Bikkhu Bodhi (translator), Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta. Samyutta Nikaya LVI, 11. “Setting in Motion the Wheel of the Dhamma”.

    95-Hast thou not conquered the Mâras’ King at Tsi, the portal of assembling — truth the second? (44).

    (44). At the portal of the “assembling” the King of the Mâras the Mahâ Mâra stands trying to blind the candidate by the radiance of his “Jewel.”

    (See Stanza 22) Mara has also been associated with the Hindu deity Kama, a god linked with sensuous desire and love. This identification does not appear in the earliest Buddhist writings, but appears to be a later development. The implication is clear: Kama’s domain is essentially the same as Mara’s, seen through the lens of Buddhist thought. According to the second Noble Truth of Buddhism desire is a cause of suffering; in other words, the realm of Kama leads to the realm of Mara (ie., death). new world encyclopedia/entry/Mara

    See Thai painting of Mara with crown holding jewel:

    He went to sit under a banyan tree (Pippala), or tree of Bodhi. The god Indra brought him a straw seat. He sat here, resolved not to move till the transformation he was about to undergo should be completed.

    The king of the Maras, perceiving that the walls and foundations of his palace were shaking, thought in himself, ” Gautama is now attaining perfect knowledge. Before he has reached the height of wisdom, I will go and trouble him.” He went with bow and arrows, and attendant demons, to the tree where the object of his attack was sitting. He then addressed him—” Bodhisattwa ! give up the monastic principle {c’hu-kia fa), and become a ‘wheel king.’ If you rise not, I will shoot my darts at you.” The Bodhisattwa was unmoved. The darts, as they fell, became lotus flowers. The king of the Maras then offered him his three daughters to attend on him. Shakyamuni said, “You attained, by a small act of virtue, the body of a Deva. You think not on the perishing, but seek to tempt me. You may leave me; I need you not.” The king of the Maras again said, “I will resign to you my throne as a Deva, with the instruments of all the five pleasures.” “No,” replied the Bodhisattwa, “you attained the rank of Ishwara by some charitable deed. But this happiness has an end. I wish it not.” An army of spirits now issued from the ground and rebuked the tempter, who, as his last device, summoned a host of demons to assault the unconquerable youth. The air was filled with grim faces, gnashing teeth, and bristling spears. The Bodhisattwa looked on this scene as if it were child’s play. A spirit in the air was now suddenly heard to say, ” The Bodhisattwa attains this day, under the Bodhi tree, the perfection of knowledge. Here stands the diamond throne of many past Buddhas. It is not for you to disturb him. Cease your hostility, and wait upon him with respect.” The king of the Maras then returned to his palace. (Edkins, Rev. Joseph Chinese Buddhism, 1880, p. 23)

    96-Hast thou not sin at the third gate destroyed and truth the third attained?
    97-Hast not thou entered Tao, “the Path” that leads to knowledge — the fourth truth? (45).

    (45). This is the fourth “Path” out of the five paths of rebirth which lead and toss all human beings into perpetual states of sorrow and joy. These “paths” are but subdivisions of the One, the Path followed by Karma.

    It is added, that he comes to the complete knowledge of the unreality of all he once knew as good and evil acting, long and short life, and the five paths of the metempsychosis, leading all living beings into a perpetual interchange of sorrow and joy. (Edkins, Rev. Joseph Chinese Buddhism, 1880, p. 23)

    In traditional Buddhist cosmology the rebirth, also called reincarnation or metempsychosis, can be in any of six realms. These are called the Gati in cycles of re-becoming, Bhavachakra.[4] The six realms of rebirth include three good realms – Deva (heavenly, god), Asura (demigod), Manusya (human); and three evil realms – Tiryak (animals), Preta (ghosts), and Naraka (hellish).[4] The realm of rebirth is conditioned by the karma (deeds, intent) of current and previous lives;[44] good karmas will yield a happier rebirth into good realm, bad karmas is believed to produce rebirth which is more unhappy and evil .[4] (Robert E. Buswell Jr.; Donald S. Lopez Jr. (2013). The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton University Press. pp. 708–709.)

    Buddhist cosmology typically identifies six realms of rebirth and existence: gods, demi-gods, humans, animals, hungry ghosts and hells.[39] Earlier Buddhist texts refer to five realms rather than six realms; when described as five realms, the god realm and demi-god realm constitute a single realm.[6] (Buswell 2004, p. 711-712)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    98-And now, rest ‘neath the Bodhi tree, which is perfection of all knowledge, for, know, thou art the Master of SAMÂDHI — the state of faultless vision.

    He went to sit under a banyan tree (Pippala), or tree of Bodhi. The god Indra brought him a straw seat. He sat here, resolved not to move till the transformation he was about to undergo should be completed. (Edkins, Rev. Joseph Chinese Buddhism, 1880, p. 23)

    54. The Yogin’s Chitta having given up fame or disgrace is in Samadhi above the three states.
    55. Being freed from the waking and the sleeping states, he attains to his true state.
    56. When the (spiritual) sight becomes fixed without any object to be seen, when the Vayu (Prana) becomes still without any effort, and when the Chitta becomes firm without any support, he becomes of the form of the internal sound of Brahma-Pranava. (Nadabindu Upanishad)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    99-Behold! thou hast become the light, thou hast become the Sound, thou art thy Master and thy God. Thou art THYSELF the object of thy search: the VOICE unbroken, that resounds throughout eternities, exempt from change, from sin exempt, the seven sounds in one, the

    46(b)-47(a). The sound proceeding from Pranava which is Brahman is of the nature of effulgence; the mind becomes absorbed in it; that is the supreme seat of Vishnu.
    47(b)-48(a). The sound exists till there is the Akasic conception (Akasa-Sankalpa). Beyond this, is the (Asabda) soundless Para-Brahman which is Paramatman.
    48(b). The mind exists so long as there is sound, but with its (sound’s cessation) there is the state called Unmani of Manas (viz., the state of being above the mind).
    49(a). This sound is absorbed in the Akshara (indestructible) and the soundless state is the supreme seat.
    49(b)-50(a). The mind which along with Prana (Vayu) has (its) Karmic affinities destroyed by the constant concentration upon Nada is absorbed in the unstained One. There is no doubt of it.
    50(b)-51(a). Many myriads of Nadas and many more of Bindus – (all) become absorbed in the Brahma-Pranava sound.
    51(b)-52(a). Being freed from all states and all thoughts whatever, the Yogin remains like one dead. He is a Mukta. There is no doubt about this. (Nadabindu Upanishad)

    … he attains Parabrahman in the presence of (or with) Āṭmā which is Brahman. After that, when manas is destroyed, when it which is the source of saṅkalpa and vikalpa disappears, owing to the destruction of these two, and when virtues and sins are burnt away, then he shines as Saḍāśiva of the nature of Śakṭi pervading everywhere, being effulgence in its very essence, the immaculate, the eternal, the stainless and the most quiescent Om. Thus is the teaching of the Veḍas; and thus is the Upanishaḍ.” (Hamsa Upanishad 214,6)
    See stanzas 90-92.

    The question now mooted in Science, whether a sound is capable of calling forth impressions of light and colour in addition to its natural sound impressions, has been answered by Occult Science ages ago. Every impulse or vibration of a physical object producing a certain vibration of the air, that is, causing the collision of physical particles, the sound of which is capable of affecting the ear produces at the same time a corresponding flash of light, which will assume some particular colour. For, in the realm of hidden Forces, an audible sound is but a subjective colour; and a perceptible colour, but an inaudible sound; both proceed from the same potential substance, which Physicists used to call ether, and now refer to under various other names; but which we call plastic, through invisible SPACE. This may appear a paradoxical hypothesis, but facts are there to prove it. Complete deafness, for instance, does not preclude the possibility of discerning sounds; medical science has several cases on record which prove that these sounds are received by, and conveyed to, the patient’s organ of sight, through the mind, under the form of chromatic impressions. The very fact that the intermediate tones of the chromatic musical scale were formerly written in colours shows an unconscious reminiscence of the ancient Occult teaching that colour and sound are two out of the seven correlative aspects, on our plane, of one and the same thing, viz., Nature’s first differentiated Substance. (SD3 508)

    The Spiritual Man corresponds directly with the higher “colored circles,” the Divine Prism which emanates from the One Infinite White Circle; while physical man emanates from the Sephîrôth, which are the Voices or Sounds of Eastern Philosophy. And these “Voices” are lower than the “Colors,” for they are the seven lower Sephîrôth, or the objective Sounds, seen, not heard, as the Zohar (ii, 81, 6) shows, and even the Old Testament also. For, when properly translated, verse 18 of chapter xx, Exodus, would read: “And the people saw the Voices” (or Sounds, not the “thunderings”, as now translated); and these Voices or Sounds are the Sephîrôth.(Blavatsky, CW 12, 545)

    There are three things, Bhikshus, that are everlastingly the same, upon which no vicissitude, no modification can ever act: these are the Law, Nirvana, and Space, [ Akasha. It is next to impossible to render the mystic word “Tho-og” by any other term than”Space,” and yet, unless coined on purpose, no new appellation can render it so well to the mind of the Occultist. The term “Aditi” is also translated “Space,” and there is a world of meaning in it.] and those three are One, since the first two are within the last, and that last one a Maya, so long as man keeps within the whirlpool of sensuous existences. One need not have his mortal body die to avoid the clutches of concupiscence and other passions. The Arhat who observes the seven hidden precepts of Bas-pa may become Dang-ma and Lha. [Dang-ma, a purified soul, and Lha, a freed spirit within a living body: an Adept or Arhat. In the popular opinion in Tibet, a Lha is a disembodied spirit, something similar to the Burmese Nat—only higher.] He may hear the “holy voice” of . . . [Kwan-yin], [Kwan-yin is a synonym, for in the original another term is used, but the meaning is identical. It is the divine voice of Self, or the “Spirit-voice” in man, and the same as Vachishvara (the “Voice-deity”) of the Brahmans. In China, the Buddhist ritualists have degraded its meaning by anthropomorphizing it into a Goddess of the same name, with one thousand hands and eyes, and they call it Kwan-shai-yin-Bodhisat. It is the Buddhist “daimon”-voice of Socrates.] and find himself within the quiet precincts of his Sangharama [Sanharama is the sanctum sanctorum of an ascetic, a cave or any place he chooses for his meditation.] transferred into Amitabha Buddha. [ Amitabha Buddha is in this connection the “boundless light” by which things of the subjective world are perceived.] Becoming one with Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi, [ Esoterically, “the unsurpassingly merciful and enlightened heart,” said of the “Perfect Ones,” the Jivan-muktas, collectively.] he may pass through all the six worlds of Being (Rupaloka) and get into the first three worlds of Arupa. [These six worlds—seven with us—are the worlds of Nats or Spirits, with the Burmese Buddhists, and the seven higher worlds of the Vedantins.] . . . He who listens to my secret law, preached to my select Arhats, will arrive with its help at the knowledge of Self, and thence at perfection. (From an Unpublished Discourse by the Buddha, Sd3 394)

  • ModeratorTN

    Next section:

    Bestride the Bird of Life, if thou would’st know

    Give up thy life, if thou would’st live.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    100-Om Tat Sat

    Om Tat Sat is a mantra in Sanskrit found in verse 17.23 of the Bhagavad Gita. It means “Om, that is Truth”, “Om, it is Reality”, “Om it is good”. It is the threefold designation of the Hindu metaphysical concept called Brahman.

    It is more perfectly illustrated by considering life as a grand musical movement that is brought to a close by using at once all the tones sounded throughout the whole preceding portion. The result will be a combined sound, expressing neither the highest nor lowest notes, or the sweetest or less sweet, but the resultant of all. And this last sound is the fixed vibration that governs the entity, sounding all through him, and throwing him into the state to which it corresponds or of which it is the key. Thus it is easily seen that in each thought lie the possibilities of a harmony or a discord for life’s conclusion. (Judge, W. Q., Notes on the Bhagavad Gita, 2)

    4. Samadhi (concentration)
    Concentration (samadhi) has been described by Venerable Buddhaghosa in the Path of Purification (visuddhi magga) as “the state, in virtue of which, consciousness and it’s concomitants remain evenly and rightly on a single object un-distracted and unscattered”. It can also be described as calming the mind or wholesome one-pointedness of the mind free from unwholesome states of greed (lobha), aversion (dosa) and delusion (moha). Concentration can be either mundane or supramundane. When concentration is developed in relation to the three worlds of existence namely, sensual world (kama loka), fine material world (rupa loka) and the formless immaterial world (arupa loka) it is mundane concentration. When it is developed in relation to the supramundane path of liberation from suffering and all existence it is supramundane concentration (4).
    Concentration is mentioned at least four times within the thirty seven requisites of enlightenment:

    Concentration as one of the five spiritual faculties (pancha indriya)
    Concentration as one of the five spiritual powers (pancha bala)
    Concentration as the sixth of the seven factors of enlightenment (samadhi sambojjhanga)
    Right concentration (samma samadhi) as the eighth factor of the Noble Eightfold path

    In concentration meditation the aim is to develop and maintain a state of deep concentration or one-pointedness of mind by focussing one’s attention on a single meditation object. This state will be maintained as long as the attention of the meditator is completely absorbed into that particular object. As the concentration of the mind becomes deeper and deeper, the five mental hindrances of sensual desire (kamacchanda), ill-will (vyapada), sloth and topor (thina middha), restlessness and remorse (uddacca kukkucca) and sceptical doubt (vicikicca) become gradually suppressed. With the establishment of deep concentration and suppression of the five mental hindrances, five qualities or attributes called Jhanic factors develop and become strong. The mind could then remain in deep concentration continuously and the meditator can experience tranquillity, calmness and bliss. The five Jhanic factors are;

    Initial application (vitakka)
    Sustained application (vicara)
    Rapture or joy (piti)
    Mental bliss or happiness (sukha)
    One-pointedness with equanimity (ekaggata with upekkha)

    During meditation, as the concentration on a meditation object deepens from preliminary concentration through access concentration and fixed concentration, deep absorption states (jhana) arise in the mind during the periods of strong and deep concentration. In the Indriya Vibhanga sutta of the Samyutta nikaya, the Buddha has described the faculty of concentration as the attainment of the first, second, third and the fourth state of deep absorption (jhana) in concentration meditation (5).

    The main differences among the four Jhana states are the depth of concentration and the number of Jhanic factors involved. As the Jhana state progresses, the number of Jhanic factors involved become less and less while the concentration becomes calmer and finer compared to the preceding Jhana state. In addition to attaining the states of deep mental absorptions and tranquillity, the deep state of concentration and the removal of the mental hindrances could provide the necessary foundation for the development of insight or wisdom into the real nature of physical and mental phenomena.
    Five Spiritual Faculties (pancha indriya) in Theravada Buddhism

    • Mark Casady
      Mark Casady

      We have reached the end of the first fragment of the The Voice of the Silence. Thank you fellow lanoos, for participating in this ambitious undertaking. It was certainly a big learning experience for me. I was genuinely surprised to discover the rich supply of amazing texts related to these teachings. I will be taking a short break before adding some concluding comments and pondering whether to soldier on with the next fragment. The first one was probably the most difficult, with twice the amount of footnotes as the other two, and a lot of Sanskrit terms, so perhaps it’ll be easier going should we continue. Stay tuned, lanoos…

      Section 1 – (stanzas 1-13).
      presents a kind of overview of the path of silent liberation, ending in hearing the voice of the nada, the soundless sound and the requirements thereof- very much the standard practices of Advaita Vedanta – it requires the practice of concentration, controlling the senses through detachment, pacifying the mind, overcoming the delusion caused by identifying with the material world, achieving inner harmony, complete equanimity, intimate identification with the higher self, thus attaining to deep wellsprings of soul memory and use of the inner, spiritual senses.
      Section 2 (stanzas 14-21). This section, quite diverse, had some reflections regarding the astral plane, the importance of selflessness: and a mystical imperative regarding the Kalahamsa.
      Section 3 (Stanzas 22-40). The three halls, the hall of ignorance (physical plane), the hall of learning (astral plane), and the hall of wisdom (spiritual plane) and their relation to the four avasthas and the seven lokas. We learn that: ‘’The WISE ONES tarry not in pleasure-grounds of senses. The WISE ONES heed not the sweet-tongued voices of illusion’’. The hall of learning is full of delusional dangers, so one should seek one’s teacher in the hall of wisdom. The temptations of Mara are great and one needs to guard against the illusion of separateness. Finally, a type of Kundalini Yoga practice is presented, leading to the possibility of astral projection.
      Section 4 (Stanzas 41-50) is concerned with the seven mystic sounds, linked to the Nadabindu Upanishad and also the Hamsa Upanishad. The 7-step ladder of mystics sounds of the inner God: 1- Nightingale song; 2-Cymbal; 3- Sea Shell; 4- Vina (lute); 5- Flute; 6-Trumpet blast/thunder; 7- Silence
      Based on the other yoga texts and stanza 50, I think it is plausible to assume that the 7 mystical sounds are related to the Chakras and Kundalini and 7 states of consciousness (and the 7 principles) accompanied by related Siddhis.
      Section 5 (stanzas 51-65) deals with the heady business of the Higher Self conquering the lower self, which in Christian mysticism is called the path of purification. Ere thy Soul’s mind can understand, the bud of personality must be crushed out, the worm of sense destroyed past resurrection. (57) There was also a brief but eloquent call to compassion. But let each burning human tear drop on thy heart and there remain, nor ever brush it off, until the pain that caused it is removed. (61)
      Section 6 (stanzas 66-78) deals with gates and ladders, a kind of prelude to a description of the seven stages, which seems similar to the eightfold yoga path. It warns of the serious difficulties of this path and the importance of overcoming all of one’s vices before attempting to enter it.
      Section 7 (stanzas 79-92) A kind of sevenfold Raja Yoga system is outlined, similar to the Eightfold yoga system, beginning with the Pratyahara stage, where a process of merging the five inner senses is explained. The next three stages correspond to the to three Sanyama practices. Upon achieving accomplishment in Samadhi, one becomes ‘’the doer and the witness, the radiator and the radiation, Light in the Sound, and the Sound in the Light’’.
      Section 8 (stanzas 93-100) deals with the Four Noble Truths and the Five Hindrances as the conquerer of Mara sits victoriously in Samadhi under the Bodhi tree.

  • ModeratorTN

    Three Halls, O weary pilgrim, lead to the end of toils. Three Halls, O conqueror of Māra, will bring thee through three states14 into the fourth,15 and thence into the seven worlds,16 the worlds of Rest Eternal.

    If thou would’st learn their names, then hearken, and remember. {6}

    The name of the first Hall is IGNORANCE—Avidyā.

    It is the Hall in which thou saw’st the light, in which thou livest and shalt die.17

    The name of Hall the second is the Hall of Learning.A In it thy Soul will find the blossoms
    of life, but under every flower a serpent coiled.

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by  ModeratorTN.

  • ModeratorTN

    The name of the third Hall is Wisdom, beyond which stretch the shoreless waters of AKṢARA, the indestructible Fount of Omniscience.19

    If thou would’st cross the first Hall safely, let not thy mind mistake the fires of lust that burn therein for the Sunlight of life.

    If thou would’st cross the second safely, stop not the fragrance of its stupefying blossoms to inhale. If {7} freed thou would’st be from the Karmic chains, seek not for thy Guru in those Māyāvic regions.

    The WISE ONES tarry not in pleasure-grounds of senses.

    The WISE ONES heed not the sweet-tongued voices of illusion.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    Below is a list of Theosophical texts cited in the commentary of Fragment I:

    Anon. Bestride the Bird of Life, if thou would’st know
    Anon. Self knowledge. Lucifer Vol. 1, 1887, p. 89
    Anon, The Dream of Ravan
    J.Mr./P.S.H., Kuṇḍalinī. Theosophical Encyclopedia
    Barker, A. T., ed.,Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnet,
    Blavatsky, H. P., “Comments on a Treatise on the Yoga Philosophy“, Blavatsky [The Theosophist, Vol. I, No. 12, September, 1880, pp. 312-315] CW 2, 453-473
    Blavatsky, H. P., (Note) ‘’Tharana’’ or Mesmerism, N. Chidambaram Iyer, The Theosophist,v.3, n.35, Aug. 1882, CW 4, 162-166.
    Blavatsky, H. P., Questions About Esoteric Theosophy Answered. Theosophist, August, 1882, CW IV, 170-71
    Blavatsky, H. P., Notes and footnotes to “three unpublished essays, The Theosophist, Vol. V, No. 6 March, 1884, No. 7 April, No. 8 May CW 6, 176-180
    Blavatsky, H. P., The Esoteric Character of the Gospels , Lucifer, Vol. I, No. 3, November, 1887, pp. 173-180, CW 8, 172-217
    Blavatsky, H. P., Letter to Franz Hartmann, 5, CW 8
    Blavatsky, H. P., Occultism Versus the Occult Arts, Lucifer, Vol. II, No. 9, May, 1888, CW 9, 249-261
    Blavatsky, H. P., Practical Occultism, CW 9, 255-7
    Blavatsky, H. P., Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge, CW 10
    Blavatsky, H. P., Commentary on the Gospel of John, CW 11
    Blavatsky, H. P., Esoteric Instructions, CW 12
    Blavatsky, H. P., Pistis Sophia, Commentary and Notes, CW 13
    Blavatsky, H. P., There is a Road, Steep and Thorny,…, The Theosophist, Vol. IV, No. 10, July, 1883, CW13, 219
    Blavatsky, H. P., Isis Unveiled II,
    Blavatsky, H. P., Key to Theosophy
    Blavatsky, H. P., The Theosophical Glossary
    Blavatsky, H. P., The Secret Doctrine, Vols. 1-3
    Caldwell, Daniel H., Parallel Columns: What Does This Mean?
    Caldwell, Daniel, comp., Concentration and Union with the Higher Self
    Chund, Lalla Buttun, Hints to the Student of Yoga Vidya, The Theosophist, November 1879, 46
    Collins, Mabel, Light on the Path
    Collins, Mabel, Through the Gates of Gold
    Holloway Laura & Mohini Chatterji, Man, Fragments of a Forgotten History, (1885)
    Iyer, Narrain Aswamy, Occult Physiology, “The Theosophist”, March 1891
    Judge, William Q., AUM!, The Path, April, 1886
    Judge, William Q., Culture of Concentration, The Path, July, 1888
    Judge, William Q., The Ocean of Theosophy
    Judge, W. Q., Notes on the Bhagavad Gita
    Judge, William Q., “The Self is the Friend of Self and also its Enemy”, Branch Paper No. 5, August, 1890.
    Judge, William Q, Working Glossary
    Kotyya, C. “The Hindu Theory of Vibration as the Producer of Sounds, Forms and Colors,” The Theosophist, Vol. XII, October and November, 1893
    Pratt, David, Yoga and Enlightenment
    Reigle David, Boris de Zirkoff Edition of the Voice of the Silence,
    Reigle,David, Kalahaṃsa: the Soft-spoken Goose,
    Truth-seeker ,Yoga Philosophy. The Theosophist, Jan. 1880, pp. 86-87
    Row, T. Subba, Notes on Hatha Yoga, Theosophist, 1886, v8, December, 138
    Row, T. Subba, Notes on the Bhagavad Gita.
    Row, T. Subba, The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac
    Shankar, Bhavani, The Doctrine of the Bhagavad Gita

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by  Mark Casady.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    Below is a list of Eastern (Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese) texts cited in the commentary of Fragment I:

    Amritananda Upanishad (Aiyar, Narayanasvami (1914). “Thirty minor Upanishads”. Madras)
    Bhagavad Gita. Pondicherry. All India Books. 1986. Aurobindo, transl.
    Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad. The Upanishads. Valerie J. Roebuck, transl. Penguin, 2003.
    Buddhaghosa, Visuddhimagga The Path of Freedom (Vimuttimagga) by the Arahant Upatissa. N.R.M. Ehara (trans.), Soma Thera (trans.) and Kheminda Thera (trans.) (1995). Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society.
    Charaka Samhita Sutrastahan, (Ch. 8)
    Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta. Samyutta Nikaya LVI, 11. “Setting in Motion the Wheel of the Dhamma”. Peter Harvey, translator, 2007
    Dhammapada. Gil Fronsdal, transl. Shambhala, 2006.
    Dnyneshwari, Vishwatmak Jangli Maharaj Ashram Trust, 2006.
    Guru Granth Sahib Mul Mantar. Guru-Granth Sahib Vol.1. Taplinger Publishing Co.
    Hamsa Upanishad (Aiyar, Narayanasvami (1914). “Thirty minor Upanishads”. Madras)
    Hatha Yoga Pradipika, with Commentary by Brahmananada. Srinivasa Iyangar, transl. Adyar Library and Research Center, 1972.
    Lotus Sutra. Buddhist Text Translation Society.
    Mahasiddha Vinapa (The Musician), Masters of Mahamudra: Songs and Histories of the Eighty-four Buddhist Siddhas” , Keith Dowman, tranls., State University of New York Press, 1986.
    Maitri Upanishad. The Upanishads. Valerie J. Roebuck, transl. Penguin, 2003.
    Manduka Upanishad. The Upanishads. Valerie J. Roebuck, transl. Penguin, 2003.
    Nadabindu Upanishad (Aiyar, Narayanasvami (1914). “Thirty minor Upanishads”. Madras) (See also The Theosophist VOL. X. No. 116.—MAY 1889, 478-82)
    Narada Parivrajaka Upanishad. (Aiyar, Narayanasvami (1914). “Thirty minor Upanishads”. Madras.
    Patajanli, The Yoga Philosophy: Being the Text of Patanjali, Tookaram Tatya (1885)
    Samkhyakarika. Classical Samkhya and Yoga – An Indian Metaphysics of Experience, Mike Burley, Routledge, 2012.
    Sankaracharya Sastry, Alladi Mahadeva. Bhagavad Gita with the Commetary of Sri Sankaracharya. Madras. Samata Books. 1897/1979.
    Shiva Samhita. James Mallinson,, New York, 2007.
    Śūraṅgama Sūtra. The Buddhist Bible, Dwight Goddard, editor. Thetford, VT, 1932.
    Tattvasamasa, Gerald James Larson, Ram Shankar Bhattacharyglisha, Karl H. Potter, The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, Volume 4: Samkhya, 1987, p. 443-44.
    Satipatthana Sutta. Soma Thera, transl. Kandy: Buddhist Publication,
    Samaññaphala Sutta (DN 2, “The Fruits of the Contemplative Life”). Thanissaro Bhikkhu, transl. 1997.
    Saṅgārava Sutta (AN 3:61). Thanissaro, Bikkhu, transl.
    Vivekachudamani. The Vivekacudamani of Sankaracarya Bhagavatpada John Grimes, transl,. Motilal Banarsidass, 2004.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    Below is a final list of references, mainly general western sources.
    Additional Sources
    Anon, Mara. New World Encyclopedia, 2008 web
    Attar. Conference of the Birds. Afkham Darbandi and Dick Davis transl. Penguin Classics 1984
    Buswell Jr.; Robert E., Donald S. Lopez Jr. The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton University Press, 2013.
    Ecclesiastes, Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures. The Jewish Publication Society; 1985
    Edkins’ Rev. Joseph, Chinese Buddhism, 1880
    Frawley, David. Hamsa-Rahasya the Secret of Hamsa. American Institute of Vedic Studies, 2019 web
    Garg , Ganga Ram, ed. Akshara Encyclopaedia of the Hindu World:Ak-Aq. Concept Publishing Company, 1992
    Homer. Odyssey. The Odyssey: The Verse Translation by Alexander Pope, CreateSpace , 2013
    Jensen, Herman A Classical Collection of Tamil Proverbs. Routledge, 2014
    John, Luke, Mark, Matthew. Lattimore Richmond A. , transl. The Four Gospels and the Revelation. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015.
    King, C. W. The Gnostics and their Remains. London, 1887
    Lenormant, François & Elisabeth Chevallier A Manual of the Ancient History of the East, Volume 2, , 1871
    Mead, G.R.S. Orpheus. Theosophical Publishing Society, 1896
    Oeynhausen, Nils. The Life of Buddha Siddhartha Gautama, 2018 web
    Paul, Dr. N. C. Commentary on A Treatise on the Yoga Philosophy, G.B., M.C., 1850.
    Plotinus, Enneads, vol. V. A. H. Armstrong, transl., Cambridge, 1984
    Underhill, Evelyn. Introduction, Richard Rolle, Fire of Love. Methuen, 1914
    Ranade, Ramachandra Dattatrya . A Constructive Survey of Upanishadic Philosophy. Oriental Books Agency, 1926
    Ruysbroeck, John of. The Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage. A. Wynschenk Dom, transl., 1951
    Sivananda. Anahata Sounds. The Divine Life Society. 2011 web
    Trimondi Victor & Victoria. The Shadow of the Dalai Lama – Part I – 8. The ADI Buddha: His mystic body and his astral aspects web
    Ubeysekara, Dr. Ari. Five Spiritual Faculties (pancha indriya) in Theravada Buddhism, 2018 web
    Woodroffe, Sir John. Introduction to Tantra Sastra, Madras: Ganesh & co., 1952
    Zhuo, Shi Yan. Four Noble Truths. My Inner Temple, 2019 web

    Suggested Additional Reading
    Anon. Notes on Sri Sankaracharya’s Harimi Dastotram. The Theosophist, vol. 14, March, 1893
    Beck, Guy L. Sonic Theology: Hinduism and Sacred Sound. Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1995
    Iyer, Narrain Aswamy, Occult Physiology, “The Theosophist”, March 1891
    Pandurang, Rao Bahadur Dadoba. The Mystic Syllable Onkara, its meaning, antiquity and Universal Application. The Theosophist, February, 1880, 131-132

    • Gerry Kiffe
      Gerry Kiffe

      Remarkable, Mark!

      • Mark Casady
        Mark Casady

        Thanks Gerry – it was quite an educational odyssey, most def – stay tuned for fragment 2, which I’ll be starting in a week or two – although with the the holiday season just around the corner, it probably won’t really take off until the new year…

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    In my eagerness, I have thoughtlessly undertaken this work. Would a firefly show its light in the presence of the sun? Just as the tithiba bird tries to sound the depth of the ocean with its tiny beak, similarly, with little knowledge I am setting out on this task. Therefore, I ask you to add whatever may be lacking and to reject whatever is superfluous. Om.

    Fragment 2: THE TWO PATHS.

    1-And now, O Teacher of Compassion, point thou the way to other men. Behold, all those who knocking for admission, await in ignorance and darkness, to see the gate of the Sweet Law flung open!

    I think one could divide the first nine stanzas into a section, although the text seems more fluid, not as easy to determine cleavage points. But the first nine stanzas could be said to form an introductory section, explaining the notion of the two paths, the exoteric and the esoteric. There seems to be a continuity from the first fragment. In stanza 93, it is stated: The light that falls upon them shines from thyself, O thou who wast disciple but art Teacher now.

    An aspirational text, with a passage on aspiring to be a teacher:
    Please lead all beings from the swamp of the cycle of existence!
    Now bestow the fruition of the four embodiments of the sugatas!
    May I become a spiritual mentor (teacher) to guide All limitless, parent sentient beings throughout space.
    Please lead all beings from the swamp of the cycle of existence.
    (Liṅpa, Karma. Prayer to the lineage. 2- The Natural Liberation of the Mind-Itself;The Four-Session Yoga of the Spiritual Activity of the Secret Mantra Vajrayāna. Natural liberation: Padmasambhavas teachings on the six bardos. Allan Wallace, transl. Wisdom Publications, Sommerville, Ma, 1998)

    There are many Tibetan texts on the spiritual teacher, for example Chapter 4, Relying on a Spiritual Teacher in Tsong-kha-pa The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (Volume 1) Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee, Transl., Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca, NY, 2000.

    The ten qualifications of the teacher:
    One should follow a spiritual teacher who is disciplined, peaceful, serene,
    Endowed with special qualities, diligent, rich in scriptural learning,
    Highly realized concerning the nature of reality, skilled in speaking,
    The embodiment of love, and indefatigable.
    Maitreya, Ornament of Mahāyāna Sūtras, XVII, 10
    (Maitreya. Universal Vehicle Discourse Literature (Mahayanasutralamkara) (Treasury of the Buddhist Sciences) Lobsang Jamspal, Robert Thurman and the American Institute of Buddhist Studies translation committee. American Institute of Buddhist Studies. New York, 2004.)

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  Mark Casady.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    2-The voice of the Candidates:
    Shalt not thou, Master of thine own Mercy, reveal the Doctrine of the Heart? (1) Shalt thou refuse to lead thy Servants unto the Path of Liberation?

    (1). The two schools of Buddha’s doctrine, the esoteric and the exoteric, are respectively called the “Heart” and the “Eye” Doctrine. Bodhidharma called them in China — from whence the names reached Tibet — the Tsung-men (esoteric) and Kiau-men (exoteric school). It is so named, because it is the teaching which emanated from Gautama Buddha’s heart, whereas the “Eye” Doctrine was the work of his head or brain. The “Heart Doctrine” is also called “the seal of truth” or the “true seal,” a symbol found on the heading of almost all esoteric works.

    See Edkins’ Rev. Joseph, Chinese Buddhism, 1880, p. 158 (referencing a text called San-kiau-yi-su, Supplementary Account of the Three Religions):
    The second native writer, already quoted, thus compares Buddha and Bodhidharma. The former, ” Julai ” {Tathagata), taught great truths and the causes of things. He became the instructor of men and Devas. He saved multitudes, and spoke the contents of more than five hundred works. Hence arose the Kiau-men, or exoteric branch of the system, and it was believed to be the tradition of the wards of Buddha. Bodhidharma brought from the Western heaven ” the seal of truth ” (true seal), and opened the fountain of contemplation in the East. He pointed directly to Buddha’s heart and nature, swept away the parasitic and alien growth of book instruction, and thus established the Tsung-men, or esoteric branch of the system, containing the tradition of the heart of Buddha. Yet, he adds, the two branches, while presenting of necessity a different aspect, form but one whole.

    See also Blavatsky, H. P. The “Doctrine of the Eye” & the “Doctrine of the Heart,” or the “Heart’s Seal”. The Secret Doctrine, Volume 3, London, Theosophical Publishing House, 1897, p. 428 (Collected Writings, Vol. 14, pp. 443-453):
    The common [Chinese] word for the esoteric schools is dan, the Sanskrit Dhyâna. . . . (Edkins)

    For the symbol:
    The “Heart Doctrine,” or the “Heart’s Seal” (the Sin Yin) is the only real one (Blavatsky, 425).

    Sin Yin The symbol of this esoteric principle, communicated orally without books, is man or wan. This, in Chinese, means “10,000,” and implies the possession of 10,000 perfections. It is usually placed on the heart of Buddha in images and pictures of that divinity. It is sometimes called sin-yin, ” heart’s seal.” It contains within it the whole mind of Buddha. In Sanscrit it is called svastika. It was the monogram of Vishnu and Shiva, the battle-axe of Thor in Scandinavian inscriptions, an ornament on the crowns of the Bonpa deities in Thibet, and a favourite symbol with the Peruvians (Edkins, 63).

    Svastika (S.) manji (J.) The svastika is one of the sixty-five marks of Buddhahood found in the imprint of the Buddha’s foot. On some of the images of the Buddha, it is on his breast, and may also be represented on him before the lotus-throne; it is called by the Chinese sin-yin (heart-seal). As a Buddhist symbol it represents the esoteric doctrine of the Buddha, and was adopted by several sects (Getty, Alice. The Gods of Northern Buddhism: Their History and Iconography. New York, Dover, 1928, p. 196)

    Today’ western scholars place the beginning of Esoteric Buddhism in China about two centuries later:
    The Tantric masters Śubhakarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi and Amoghavajra, established the Esoteric Buddhist Zhenyan (Chinese: 真言, “true word”, “mantra”) tradition from 716 to 720 during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong of Tang. It employed mandalas, mantras, mudras, abhiṣekas, and deity yoga.

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    Mark Casady

    3-Quoth the Teacher:
    The Paths are two; the great Perfections three; six are the Virtues that transform the body into the Tree of Knowledge (2).

    (2). The “tree of knowledge” is a title given by the followers of the Bodhidharma (Wisdom religion) to those who have attained the height of mystic knowledge — adepts. Nâgârjuna the founder of the Mâdhyamika School was called the “Dragon Tree,” Dragon standing as a symbol of Wisdom and Knowledge. The tree is honoured because it is under the Bodhi (wisdom) Tree that Buddha received his birth and enlightenment, preached his first sermon and died.

    Nagarjuna (Ryuju, literally “naga [dragon]-tree”): Nagarjuna was born beneath a tree and taken and raised by a naga-king. Later, he became the son of a king in southern India. Hence his name, Nagarjuna. For a tantric interpretation of Dragon Tree/Nagarjuna see Cleary, Thomas. Text Sources. Zen and the Art of Insight. Boston. Shambhala Publications, 1999.

    Trees of Life.
    From the highest antiquity trees were connected with the gods and mystical forces in nature. Every nation had its sacred tree, with its peculiar characteristics and attributes based on natural, and also occasionally on occult properties, as expounded in the esoteric teachings. Thus the peepul or Âshvattha of India, the abode of Pitris (elementals in fact) of a lower order, became the Bo-tree or ficus religiosa of the Buddhists the world over, since Gautama Buddha reached the highest knowledge and Nirvâna under such a tree. (Blavatsky, H. P. The Theosophical Glossary. London, Theosophical Publishing Society, 1892)

    Nâga (Sk.).
    Literally “Serpent”. The name in the Indian Pantheon of the Serpent or Dragon Spirits, and of the inhabitants of Pâtâla, hell. In Esotericism, however, and as already stated, this is a nick-name for the “wise men” or adepts in China and Tibet, the “Dragons.” are regarded as the titulary deities of the world, and of various spots on the earth, and the word is explained as meaning adepts, yogis, and narjols. The term has simply reference to their great knowledge and wisdom. This is also proven in the ancient Sûtras and Buddha’s biographies. In China the “worship” of the Nâgas was widespread, and it has become still more pronounced since Nâgarjuna (the “great Nâga”, the “great adept” literally), the fourteenth Buddhist patriarch, visited China. The “Nâgas” are regarded by the Celestials as “the tutelary Spirits or gods of the five regions or the four points of the compass and the centre, as the guardians of the five lakes and four oceans” (Eitel). This, traced to its origin and translated esoterically, means that the five continents and their five root-races had always been under the guardianship of “terrestrial deities”, i.e., Wise Adepts. The tradition that Nâgas washed Gautama Buddha at his birth, protected him and guarded the relics of his body when dead, points again to the Nâgas being only wise men, Arhats, and no monsters or Dragons. This is also corroborated by the innumerable stories of the conversion of Nâgas to Buddhism. The Nâga of a lake in a forest near Râjagriha and many other “Dragons” were thus converted by Buddha to the good Law. (The Theosophical Glossary.)

    The six virtues are most likely generosity, ethical discipline, tolerance, diligence, meditation, and wisdom. For the three great Perfections, they don’t seem to be specified in the literature. A basic assumption could be the Trikaya (called Three Vestures in the Voice), or else it could refer to the perfections of the Sambhogakaya, of which there are a few cryptic references in Blavatsky’s writings (Boris de Zirkoff refers to the Platform Sutra, but I didn’t notice any reference to perfections):
    * The three bodies are (1) the Nirmânakâya (Tul-pa’i-Ku in Tibetan), in which the Bodhisattva after entering by the six Pâramitâs [generosity, virtue, patience, vigor, meditation & wisdom] the Path to Nirvâna, appears to men in order to teach them; (2) Sambhogakâya (Dzog-pa’i-Ku), the body of bliss impervious to all physical sensations, received by one who has fulfilled the three conditions of moral perfection; and (3) Dharmakâya (in Tibetan, Cho-Ku), the Nirvânic body. [Cf. Voice of the Silence, pp. 95-97; and Hui Neng’s Platform Sutra, ch. 6.] (Blavatsky, H. P. The Mystery of Buddha. The Secret Doctrine, Volume 3, London, Theosophical Publishing House, 1897, p. 379; CW 14, 392n)

    David Reigle has written an interesting article on this question: The three great Perfections in The Voice of the Silence,

    • Mark Casady
      Mark Casady

      In Fragment 3, we have 7 virtues – but wisdom is technically not counted, because it is considered the culmination of the six, so equanimity here would be the sixth.

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    Mark Casady

    4-Who shall approach them?
    5-Who shall first enter them?
    6-Who shall first hear the doctrine of two Paths in one, the truth unveiled about the Secret Heart? (3) The Law which, shunning learning, teaches Wisdom, reveals a tale of woe.

    (3). “Secret Heart” is the esoteric doctrine.

    These teachings were passed down orally to Dolpopa (also written Dolbupa, 1292-1361) who set into writing the shen-tong or “empty of other” teachings in his most famous book, The Mountain Dharma — The Ocean of Definitive Meaning (ri chos nges don rgya mtsho). These teachings are referred to as the “heart doctrine” (snying po’i don), so Dolpopa describes his book as the “Lamp of the Heart Doctrine.” [4]
    Reigle, David. Theosophy in Tibet: The Teachings of the Jonangpa School

    7-Alas, alas, that all men should possess Alaya, be one with the great Soul, and that possessing it, Alaya should so little avail them!

    Alaya (Sk.). The Universal Soul (See Secret Doctrine Vol. I. pp. 47 et seq.). The name belongs to the Tibetan system of the contemplative Mahâyâna School. Identical with Âkâsa in its mystic sense, and with Mulâprâkriti, in its essence, as it is the basis or root of all things. (Theosophical Glossary)
    AnimaMundi (Lat.) The“Soul of the World”, the same as the Alaya of the Northern Buddhists; the divine essence which permeates, animates and informs all, from the smallest atom of matter to man and god. It is in a sense the “seven-skinned mother” of the stanzas in the Secret Doctrine, the essence of seven planes of sentience, consciousness and differentiation, moral and physical. In its highest aspect it is Nirvâna, in its lowest Astral Light. It was feminine with the Gnostics, the early Christians and the Nazarenes; bisexual with other sects, who considered it only in its four lower planes. Of igneous, ethereal nature in theobjective world of form (and then ether), and divine and spiritual in its three higher planes. When it is said that every human soul was born by detaching itself from the Anima Mundi, it means, esoterically, that our higher Egos are of an essence identical with It, which is a radiation of the ever unknown Universal ABSOLUTE. (Theosophical Glossary)

    Basic Buddhist definition:
    Alaya – basis for all (Tibetan: kun-gzhi): A synonym for rigpa (pure awareness), used primarily in treasure texts of the mind division.
    see also

    According to Thomas McEvilley, although Vasubandhu had postulated numerous ālāya-vijñāna-s, a separate one for each individual person in the parakalpita, this multiplicity was later eliminated in the Fa Hsiang and Huayan metaphysics. These schools inculcated instead the doctrine of a single universal and eternal ālaya-vijñāna. This exalted enstatement of the ālāyavijñāna is described in the Fa Hsiang as “primordial unity”. Thomas McEvilley further argues that the presentation of the three natures by Vasubandhu is consistent with the Neo-platonist views of Plotinus and his universal ‘One’, ‘Mind’, and ‘Soul’. (McEvilley, Thomas. The Shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies. 2012, Allworth Press)

    8-Behold how like the moon, reflected in the tranquil waves, Alaya is reflected by the small and by the great, is mirrored in the tiniest atoms, yet fails to reach the heart of all. Alas, that so few men should profit by the gift, the priceless boon of learning truth, the right perception of existing things, the Knowledge of the non-existent!

    Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water.
    The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken.
    Although its light is wide and great,
    The moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide.
    The whole moon and the entire sky
    Are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass.
    Dōgen Zenji (1200-1253) Japanese Buddhist priest, writer, poet, philosopher, and founder of the Sōtō school of Zen in Japan. Okumura, Shohaku. Realizing Genjokoan: The Key to Dogen’s Shobogenzo. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, 2010.

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    Mark Casady

    We have completed the first section, we are off and running – this section presents the notions of the Doctrine of the Eye and the Doctrine of the Heart, the exoteric and esoteric paths. It also presents the notion of Alaya, the World Soul, a fundamental theosophical concept. The second section, stanzas 109-119, discusses ignorance and wisdom.

    109-Saith the pupil:
    O Teacher, what shall I do to reach to Wisdom?
    110-O Wise one, what, to gain perfection?

    The Mahayana began with the Prajnaparamita texts, the Perfection of Wisdom.
    According to Edward Conze, the Prajñāpāramitā Sutras are “a collection of about forty texts … composed somewhere around Indian subcontinent between approximately 100 BC and AD 600.” (Conze, E. Perfect Wisdom: The Short Prajnaparamita Texts, Buddhist Publishing Group, 1993)

    111-Search for the Paths. But, O Lanoo, be of clean heart before thou startest on thy journey. Before thou takest thy first step learn to discern the real from the false, the ever-fleeting from the everlasting. Learn above all to separate Head-learning from Soul-Wisdom, the “Eye” from the “Heart” doctrine.

    There might be an allusion to the doctrine of the two truths, Samvrti and Parmartha. The Buddhist doctrine of the two truths (Wylie: bden pa gnyis) differentiates between two levels of satya (Sanskrit), meaning truth or “really existing” in the discourse of the Buddha: the “conventional” or “provisional” (saṁvṛti) truth, and the “ultimate” (paramārtha) truth.
    The exact meaning varies between the various Buddhist schools and traditions. The best known interpretation is from the Madhyamaka school of Mahāyāna Buddhism, whose founder was Nagarjuna. For Nagarjuna, the two truths are epistemological truths. The phenomenal world is accorded a provisional existence. The character of the phenomenal world is declared to be neither real nor unreal, but logically indeterminable. Ultimately, phenomena are empty (sunyata) of an inherent self or essence, but exist depending on other phenomena (Pratītyasamutpāda). (Matilal, Bimal Krishna. Ganeri, Jonardon (ed.). The Collected Essays of Bimal Krishna Matilal, Volume 1. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 203-208.)

    In Chinese Buddhism, the Madhyamaka position is accepted and the two truths refer to two ontological truths. Reality exists of two levels, a relative level and an absolute level. Based on their understanding of the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, the Chinese supposed that the teaching of the Buddha-nature was, as stated by that sutra, the final Buddhist teaching, and that there is an essential truth above sunyata and the two truths. (Lai, Whalen (1979). “Ch’an Metaphors: waves, water, mirror, lamp”. Philosophy East & West; Vol. 29, no.3, July, 1979, pp.245–253.)

    112-Yea, ignorance is like unto a closed and airless vessel; the soul a bird shut up within. It warbles not, nor can it stir a feather; but the songster mute and torpid sits, and of exhaustion dies.

    The man that hath no music in himself,
    Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
    Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils;
    The motions of his spirit are dull as night
    And his affections dark as Erebus:
    Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.
    (The Merchant of Venice, 5.1.91-7)

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    Mark Casady

    113-But even ignorance is better than Head-learning with no Soul-wisdom to illuminate and guide it.
    Avidyâ (Sk.). Opposed to Vidyâ, Knowledge. Ignorance which proceeds from, and is produced by the illusion of the Senses or Viparyaya. (The Theosophical Glossary)
    One reason perhaps being if you have head-learning, you can do a lot of harm. For example, see how technology is harming the environment at alarming proportions today.
    The Dhyaneswari is full of commentary on ignorance, especially Chs. 13 & 14:
    Except for the spiritual science, all other branches of knowledge are meaningless. Therefore Arjuna, remember that a person with only bookknowledge is a fool who has not realised the Self. His body has grown out of the seed of ignorance and his learning is a creeper of this ignorance. Whatever he speaks is the flower of ignorance and whatever righteous path he practices is the fruit of the ignorance too. Is there any need of telling that one who does not believe in Knowledge of the Self has not understood its meaning?. (13:839-843) (Jnaneshwar. Jnaneshwar’s Gita. A Rendering of the Jnaneshwari. Kripananda, Swami. Albany SUNY Press, 1989)

    14-The seeds of Wisdom cannot sprout and grow in airless space. To live and reap experience the mind needs breadth and depth and points to draw it towards the Diamond Soul (4). Seek not those points in Mâyâ’s realm; but soar beyond illusions, search the eternal and the changeless sat (5), mistrusting fancy’s false suggestions.
    (4). “Diamond Soul” “Vajrasattva,” a title of the supreme Buddha, the “Lord of all Mysteries,” called Vajradhara and Âdi-Buddha.

    Vajrasattva (Sk.). The name of the sixth Dhyani-Buddha (of whom there are but five in the popular Northern Buddhism)—in the Yogâchârya school, the latter counting seven Dhyâni-Buddhas and as many Bodhisattvas—the “mind-sons” of the former. Hence, the Orientalists refer to Vajrasattva as “a fictitious Bodhisattva”. (The Theosophical Glossary)
    Having reached the Path of Deliverance [Thar-lam] from transmigration, one cannot perform Tulpa† any longer, for to become a Parinirvânî is to close the circle of the Septenary Ku-Sum.‡ He has merged his borrowed Dorjesempa [Vajrasattva] into the Universal and become one with it.
    Vajradhara, also Vajrasattva (Tibetan: Dorjechang and Dorjedzin, or Dorjesempa), is the regent or President of all the Dhyâni-Chohans or Dhyâni-Buddhas, the highest, the Supreme Buddha; personal, yet never manifested objectively; the “Supreme Conqueror,” the “Lord of all Mysteries,” the “One without Beginning or End”—in short, the Logos of Buddhism. For, as Vajrasattva, He is simply the Tsovo (Chief) of the Dhyâni-Buddhas or Dhyâni-Chohans, and the Supreme Intelligence in the Second World; while as Vajradhara (Dorjechang), He is all that which was enumerated above. “These two are one, and yet two,” and over them is “Chang, the Supreme Unmanifested and Universal Wisdom that has no name.” (Blavatsky, H. P. ‘’Reincarnations’’ of Buddha. The Secret Doctrine, Volume 3, London, Theosophical Publishing House, 1897, p. 387; CW 14, 400)

    In the esoteric, and even exoteric Buddhism of the North, Adi Buddha (Chogi dangpoi sangye), the One unknown, without beginning or end, identical with Parabrahm and Ain-Soph, emits a bright ray from its darkness. This is the Logos (the first), or Vajradhara, the Supreme Buddha (also called Dorjechang). As the Lord of all Mysteries he cannot manifest, but sends into the world of manifestation his heart – the “diamond heart,” Vajrasattva (Dorjesempa). This is the second logos of creation, from whom emanate the seven (in the exoteric blind the five) Dhyani Buddhas, called the Anupadaka, “the parentless”.( Blavatsky, H.P. The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1, p.571)

    Vajrasattva (Sanskrit:, Tibetan: Dorje Sempa)[1] is a bodhisattva in the Mahayana, Mantrayana/Vajrayana Buddhist traditions. In the Japanese Vajrayana school of Buddhism, Shingon, Vajrasattva is the esoteric aspect of the bodhisattva Samantabhadra and is commonly associated with the student practitioner who through the master’s teachings, attains an ever-enriching subtle and rarefied grounding in their esoteric practice. In Tibetan Buddhism Vajrasattva is associated with the sambhogakāya and purification practice.(Vajrasattva rdo rje sems dpa’. Rangjung Yeshe Dictionary Page . )
    Vajrasattva appears principally in two Buddhists texts: the Mahavairocana Sutra and the Vajrasekhara Sutra. In the Diamond Realm Mandala, Vajrasattva sits to the East near Akshobhya Buddha.In some esoteric lineages, Nagarjuna was said to have met Vajrasattva in an iron tower in South India, and was taught tantra, thus transmitting the esoteric teachings to more historical figures.[2]Vajrasattva’s name translates to Diamond Being or Thunderbolt Being. The vajra is an iconic marker for Esoteric Buddhism (Abe, Ryuichi.The Weaving of Mantra: Kukai and the Construction of Esoteric Buddhist Discourse. Columbia University Press, 1999. pp. 131–133, 198, 221, 222)

    (5). Sat, the one eternal and Absolute Reality and Truth, all the rest being illusion.
    Sat (Sk.). The one ever-present Reality in the infinite world; the divine essence which is, but cannot be said to exist, as it is Absoluteness, Be-ness itself (The Theosophical Glossary)

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    Mark Casady

    15-For mind is like a mirror; it gathers dust while it reflects (6). It needs the gentle breezes of Soul-Wisdom to brush away the dust of our illusions. Seek O Beginner, to blend thy Mind and Soul.
    (6). From Shen-hsiu’s Doctrine, who teaches that the human mind is like a mirror which attracts and reflects every atom of dust, and has to be, like that mirror, watched over and dusted every day. Shen-hsiu was the sixth Patriarch of North China who taught the esoteric doctrine of Bodhidharma.

    This is most likely a reference to the Platform Sutra:
    The body is the bodhi tree.
    The mind is like a bright mirror’s stand.
    At all times we must strive to polish it
    and must not let dust collect.
    Platform Sutra, 6 (Yampolski, Philip B. The platform sutra of the sixth patriarch: the text of the Tun-huang manuscript with translation, introduction, and notes, New York, Columbia University Press, 1967, p. 130)

    The dust on the mirror of the mind is cleansed by the intellect, just as stains on cloth are removed by the washerman’s soap (Janeshwari 13.464). (Jnaneshwar. Jnaneshwar’s Gita. A Rendering of the Janeshwari. Kripananda, Swami. Albany SUNY Press, 1989)

    Shen-hsiu [神秀] (d. 706) (PY Shenxiu;  Jinshū): The founder of the Northern school of Zen (Ch’an) in China. As a young man, he studied Buddhism and the Taoist philosophy of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu. In 625 he entered the priesthood at Lo-yang. In 655 he met Hung-jen, the fifth patriarch of Chinese Zen, and practiced seated meditation under his guidance. Thereafter he left his teacher and continued his practice alone for fifteen years. In 700, at the invitation of Empress Wu, he propagated Zen in Ch’ang-an and Lo-yang in the north, teaching the traditional Zen doctrine of the gradual attainment of enlightenment. The lineage of his teaching therefore came to be called the Northern school of Zen. The Northern school rapidly declined after his death, however. The Southern school of Zen, carried on by Hui-neng, who formulated the doctrine of sudden enlightenment, came to predominate in China. (Soka Gakkai Dictionnary of Buddhism, Nichiren Buddhism Library )

    16-Shun ignorance, and likewise shun illusion. Avert thy face from world deceptions; mistrust thy senses, they are false. But within thy body — the shrine of thy sensations — seek in the Impersonal for the “eternal man” (7); and having sought him out, look inward: thou art Buddha (8).

    (7). The reincarnating Ego is called by the Northern Buddhists the “true man,” who becomes in union with his Higher-Self — a Buddha.

    No profane ears having heard the mighty Chau-yan [secret and enlightening precepts] of Wu-Wei-chen-jen [Buddha within Buddha],* of our beloved Lord and Bodhisattva, how can one tell what his thoughts really were?
    *The word is translated by the Orientalists as “true man without a position,” (?) which is very misleading. It simply means the true inner man, or Ego, “Buddha within Buddha” meaning that there was a Gautama inwardly as well as outwardly. See also Blavatsky, H. P. The “Doctrine of the Eye” & the “Doctrine of the Heart,” or the “Heart’s Seal”. The Secret Doctrine, Volume 3, London, Theosophical Publishing House, 1897, p. 430 (Collected Writings, Vol. 14, pp. 443-453)

    Wuwei zhenren: In Chinese, ‘’true man of no rank’’; a CHAN expression attributed to LINJI YIXUAN (d. 867), which is used to refer to the sentience, or ‘’numinous awareness’’ (LINGZHI), of the mind, that constantly moves throught the sense faculties, thus enabling sensory experience; equivalent to the Buddha-nature (FOXING). Linji contrasts this true man of no rank with the ‘’lump of red flesh’’ (CHIROUTUAN), the physical body that is constantly buffeted by sensory experience. The term zhenren is also used within the Daoist tradition to refer to a Daoist ‘’perfected,’’ who has realized perfect freedom both mentally and physically by achieving immortality and transcending all dichotomies (Buswell Jr., Robert E. & Donald S. Lopez Jr. The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton University Press, 2013, p. 1005)

    (8). “Buddha” means “Enlightened.”
    Buddha (Sk.). Lit., “The Enlightened”. The highest degree of knowledge. To become a Buddha one has to break through the bondage of sense and personality; to acquire a complete perception of the REAL SELF and learn not to separate it from all otherselves; to learn by experience the utter unreality of all phenomena of the visible Kosmos foremost of all; to reach a complete detachment from all that is evanescent and finite, and live while yet on Earth in the immortal and the everlasting alone, in a supreme state of holiness (The Theosophical Glossary).

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    Mark Casady

    117-Shun praise, O Devotee. Praise leads to self-delusion. Thy body is not self, thy self is in itself without a body, and either praise or blame affects it not.
    Because he lacks pride a man of knowledge does not like to be equated with anybody and he feels awkward if burdened with greatness and honour. He feels nervous by praise or honour or if one openly applauds his worthiness. He does not let greatness to be showered on him. He feels distressed even by obeisance from others. Lest his greatness increase in public eyes he pretends to be a simpleton, hiding his wisdom. Ignoring his greatness he deliberately goes around as if he is a mad person. (Jnaneshwari 13:185- 192).
    Praise and slander do not disturb his balance. (Jnaneshwari 13:343-347).

    118-Self-gratulation, O disciple, is like unto a lofty tower, up which a haughty fool has climbed. Thereon he sits in prideful solitude and unperceived by any but himself.
    Again there arises the thought “I am a student, a holder of a portion of the mystic lore.” Insidiously there steals in the thought “Behold I am a little more than other men, who have not penetrated so far.” Know then oh man, that you are not as great even as they. He who thinks he is wise is the most ignorant of men, and he who begins to believe he is wise is in greater danger than any other man who lives. (William Q. Judge. Musings on the True Theosophist’s Path I. The Path, August, 1886)

    119-False learning is rejected by the Wise, and scattered to the Winds by the good Law. Its wheel revolves for all, the humble and the proud. The “Doctrine of the Eye” (9) is for the crowd, the “Doctrine of the Heart,” for the elect. The first repeat in pride: “Behold, I know,” the last, they who in humbleness have garnered, low confess, “thus have I heard” (10).
    (9). See No. 1. The exoteric Buddhism of the masses.
    (10). The usual formula that precedes the Buddhist Scriptures, meaning, that that which follows is what has been recorded by direct oral tradition from Buddha and the Arhats.

    120-“Great Sifter” is the name of the “Heart Doctrine,” O disciple.
    121-The wheel of the good Law moves swiftly on. It grinds by night and day. The worthless husks it drives from out the golden grain, the refuse from the flour. The hand of Karma guides the wheel; the revolutions mark the beatings of the Karmic heart.
    122-True knowledge is the flour, false learning is the husk. If thou would’st eat the bread of Wisdom, thy flour thou hast to knead with Amrita’s* clear waters. But if thou kneadest husks with Mâyâ’s dew, thou canst create but food for the black doves of death, the birds of birth, decay and sorrow.


    Amrita (Sk.). The ambrosial drink or food of the gods; the food giving immortality. The elixir of life churned out of the ocean of milk in the Purânic allegory. An old Vedic term applied to the sacred Soma juice in the Temple Mysteries (The Theosophical Glossary).

    The wheel of doctrine revolved thrice. There was first didactic statement, then exhortation, and lastly appeal to evidence and personal experience. The image is that of grinding. The chaff and refuse are forced from the good flour by repeated revolutions of the wheel. The statement of facts, the urgent appeal, and the proof are repeated in the inculcation of each of the ” four truths.” The wheel of Buddhist preaching was thus made to perform twelve revolutions. * Reference: Shi-er-ling-fa-lun. (Edkins’ Rev. Joseph, Chinese Buddhism, 1880, 27-28)

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    Mark Casady

    And the Wheel turns, lanoos – Section two (stanzas 109-122) continued to explain the exoteric and esoteric concepts, while contrasting ignorance and wisdom, as well as humility and pride. Section three deals (stanzas 123-137) with the problems of selfishness, inaction, quietism, and isolationism on the spiritual path.

    123-If thou art told that to become Arhan thou hast to cease to love all beings — tell them they lie.

    The Bodhisattva loves all creatures/From the bottom of his heart;/As one loves an only child,/Ever desiring to seek its good (Ornament of Sutras 10:3Atisa. A Lamp for the Path and Commentary. R. Sherburne, transl. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1983, p.19)

    NOW the man shall go out towards himself and towards all men of good-will, and shall taste and behold how that they are tied and bound together in love; and he shall beseech and pray God that He may let His customary gifts flow forth, that thereby all may be confirmed in His love and His eternal worship. This enlightened man shall faithfully and discreetly teach and instruct, reprove and serve, all men; for he bears in him a love towards all. (Ruysbroeck, John of. The Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage. A. Wynschenk Dom, transl., 1951, Bk. II, Ch. 43)

    124-If thou art told that to gain liberation thou hast to hate thy mother and disregard thy son; to disavow thy father and call him “householder” (11); for man and beast all pity to renounce — tell them their tongue is false.
    (11). Rathapâla the great Arhat thus addresses his father in the legend called Rathapâla Sûtrasanne. But as all such legends are allegorical (e.g. Rathapâla’s father has a mansion with seven doors) hence the reproof, to those who accept them literally.

    And it is in St. Luke’s Gospel that one reads the terrible words, put in the mouth of Jesus: “If` any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, HE CANNOT BE MY DISCIPLE.” (xiv, 26.) In Book IV of Kiu-ti, in the chapter on “the Laws of Upasans” (disciples), the qualifications expected in a “regular chela” are “(1.) Perfect physical health.* (2.) Absolute mental and physical purity. (3.) Unselfishness of purpose; universal charity; pity for all animate beings. (4.) Truthfulness and unswerving faith in the laws of Karma. (5.) A courage undaunted in the support of truth, even in the face of peril to life. (6.) An intuitive perception of one’s being the vehicle of the manifested divine Atman (spirit). (7.) Calm indifference for, but a just appreciation of, everything that constitutes the objective and transitory world. (8.) Blessings of both parents † and their permission to become an Upasana (chela); and (9.) Celibacy, and freedom from any obligatory duty.”
    The two last rules are most strictly enforced. No man convicted of disrespect to his father or mother, or unjust abandonment of his wife, can ever be accepted even as a lay chela. Blavatsky, H.P. ANSWERS TO QUERIES. [Lucifer, Vol. I, No. 4, December, 1887, pp. 325-328] Collected Writings, Volume 8, 293

    125-Thus teach the Tîrthikas, the unbelievers.*
    [*Brahman ascetics.]
    Tîrthakas, or Tîrthika and Tîrthyas (Sk.). “Heretical teachers.” An epithet applied by the Buddhist ascetics to the Brahmans and certain Yogis of India (The Theosophical Glossary).
    The Tîrthya, ou Tîrthika, or also Tîrthakara, literally means ‘’he who does the pilgrimages of the sacred ponds’’. (Burnouf, Emile. Introduction à l’histoire du bouddhisme indien, 1876. 140 n2)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    For the Buddhist legend see the Ratthapala Sutta in the Majjhima Nikaya 82. The Majjhima Nikaya is collection of middle-length discourses, part of the Tripitaka Buddhist canon. Also see the Raṭṭhapālapadāna, tr Mabel Bode, in “The Legend of Raṭṭhapāla in the Pali Apadāna and Buddhaghosa’s Commentary.” In Melanges d’Indianisme: offerts par ses élèves à Sylvain Lévi, Paris, 1911: 183–192. The Apadāna is a collection of biographical stories found in the Khuddaka Nikaya of the Pāli Canon, the scriptures of Theravada Buddhism. A complete translation of the Apadāna into English has now been made by Jonathan S. Walters: Legends of the Buddhist Saints: Apadānapāli [2], Whitman College, 2017.

    1. Ratthapala Thera
    Chief of those who had left the world through faith (saddhapabbajitanam) (A.i.24). He was born at Thullakotthita in the Kuru country as the son of a very wealthy councillor and was called by his family name of Ratthapala. Given to the family because it retrieved the fortunes of a disrupted kingdom, says the Commentary. He lived in great luxury, and, in due course, married a suitable wife. When the Buddha visited Thullakotthita, Ratthapala went to hear him preach and decided to leave the world. His parents would not, however, give their consent till he threatened to starve himself to death. Realizing then that he was in earnest, they agreed to let him go on condition that he would visit them after his ordination. (Ratthapala, aka: Ratthapāla, Raṭṭhapāla; 1 Definition(s). Theravada glossary.

    But Blavatsky is probably referencing Spence Hardy: to induce him to take this important step, may be inferred from the legend of Rathapala, as it appears in the Rathapala-sutra-sanne (Hardy, R. Spence. Eastern Monachism, 1860, p. 38). A “sanne” (or “sannaya”) is a Sinhalese paraphrased translation/commentary or a “interverbal paraphrase/interpretation” of a sutra/sutta. Thus the “Ratthapala Sutra-Sanne” is such a paraphrase/interpretation of the Ratthapala Sutta. From the Sinahalese Dictionary, p. 649: “සන්නය [sannaya], n. translation, paraphrase, exposition, explanation, අර්‍ථකීම.” See Ratthapala Sutra-Sanne in Hettiarachchi, D. E, වෙසතුරු දා සන්නෙ [vesaturu dā sanne], 1950, Introduction, p. 86.

    special assistance from a very knowledgeable mysterious stranger 😉

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    126-If thou art taught that sin is born of action and bliss of absolute inaction, then tell them that they err. Non-permanence of human action; deliverance of mind from thraldom by the cessation of sin and faults, are not for “Deva Egos.”* Thus saith the “Doctrine of the Heart.”
    [*The reincarnating Ego.]

    4. Not by abstention from works does a man enjoy actionlessness, nor by mere renunciation (of works) does he attain to his perfection (to siddhi, the accomplishment of the aims of his self-discipline by Yoga). (Bhagavad Gita 3, 4)
    IMPORTANCE OF ACTIONS Abandoning action is not non-action If without doing the prescribed actions first one says that “I am abandoning actions like a Siddha”, then that will not at all constitute non-action for him. Because it is foolish to think that non-action is the same thing as not doing the duties that have fallen to one’s lot. As long as one is in his body and has desires, actions cannot be abandoned; certain natural duties (like earning livelihood, preparation of food, having progeny etc.) have perforce to be performed. But the actions become non-actions when one is ceaselessly content. Therefore one who wants to achieve non-action should never give up the prescribed actions. (Jnaneshwari 3:45- 50)

    127-The Dharma of the “Eye” is the embodiment of the external, and the non-existing.

    Compare: Samvriti (Sk.). False conception—the origin of illusion.
    Samvritisatya (Sk.). Truth mixed with false conceptions (Samvriti); the reverse of absolute truth—or Paramârthasatya, self-consciousness in absolute truth or reality (The Theosophical Glossary).

    128-The Dharma of the “Heart” is the embodiment of Bodhi,* the Permanent and Everlasting.
    [*True, divine Wisdom.]

    Bodhi or Sambodhi (Sk.). Receptive intelligence, in contradistinction to Buddhi, which is the potentiality of intelligence (The Theosophical Glossary).
    Compare: Paramartha (Sk) Absolute existence (The Theosophical Glossary).

    129-The Lamp burns bright when wick and oil are clean. To make them clean a cleaner is required. The flame feels not the process of the cleaning. “The branches of a tree are shaken by the wind; the trunk remains unmoved.”

    The lamp flame consumes the wick, burns the oil and yet causes soot everywhere. When sprinkled with water it splutters, when fanned it is extinguished and if it touches anything, it causes an all consuming fire. Even while giving a feeble light, it causes heat. A man of non-wisdom is like this flame with few merits and many faults. (Jnaneshwar. Jnaneshwar’s Gita. A Rendering of the Jnaneshwari. Kripananda, Swami. Albany SUNY Press, 1989, Ch. 13)

    • Gerry Kiffe
      Gerry Kiffe

      Why do you suppose the metaphor of the Eye and Heart are used to describe the Esoteric and Exoteric paths?

      • Mark Casady
        Mark Casady

        It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye (Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince, 1943)

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    130-Both action and inaction may find room in thee; thy body agitated, thy mind tranquil, thy Soul as limpid as a mountain lake.
    The moon reflected
    In a mind clear
    As still water:
    Even the waves, breaking,
    Are reflecting its light.
    (Dogen. Steve Heine, transl. The Zen Poetry of Dogen: Verses from the Mountain of Eternal Peace. Tuttle Publishing, 1997)

    131-Would’st thou become a Yogi of “Time’s Circle”? Then, O Lanoo: —

    This could be a reference to the Sanskrit Kalachakra:
    Blavatsky was aware that The Kalachakra Tantra was the first item in the tantra division of the Kagyur, since she mentioned that fact in one of her notes. She explained, however, that the seven secret folios were not actually part of the published Kiu-te, and thus we do not find anything similar to The Stanzas of Dzyan in that collection.
    It is unclear to what extent Blavatsky actually studied the Kalachakra texts directly. The earliest Western material on the topic was an 1833 article entitled “Note on the Origins of the Kalachakra and Adi-Buddha Systems” by the Hungarian pioneer scholar Alexander Csomo de Kцrцs (Kцrцsi Csoma Sandor).
    De Kцrцs compiled the first dictionary and grammar of Tibetan in a Western language, English, in 1834. Jakov Schmidt’s Tibetan-Russian Dictionary and Grammar soon followed in 1839.
    Most of Blavatsky’s familiarity with Kalachakra, however, came from the chapter entitled “The Kalachakra System” in Emil Schlagintweit’s Buddhism in Tibet (1863), as evidenced by her borrowing many passages from that book in her works. Following her translation principle, however, she rendered Shambhala in terms of similar concepts in Hinduism and the Occult (Berzin, Alexander Mistaken Foreign Myths about Shambhala 2003 from BerzinArchives Website).

    132-Believe thou not that sitting in dark forests, in proud seclusion and apart from men; believe thou not that life on roots and plants, that thirst assuaged with snow from the great Range — believe thou not, O Devotee, that this will lead thee to the goal of final liberation.

    You think, oh man, that because you have obtained a portion of occult knowledge, that it entitles you to withdraw from contact with the rest of mankind. It is not so. If you have obtained true knowledge it forces you to meet all men not only half way, but more than that to seek them. It urges you not to retire but, seeking contact, to plunge into the misery and sorrow of the world, and with your cheering word, if you have no more (the Mystic has little else) strive to lighten the burden for some struggling soul. (William Q. Judge. Musings on the True Theosophist’s Path I. The Path, August, 1886, October, 1886, February, 1887)

    133-Think not that breaking bone, that rending flesh and muscle, unites thee to thy “silent Self” (12). Think not, that when the sins of thy gross form are conquered, O Victim of thy Shadows (13), thy duty is accomplished by nature and by man.

    (12). The “Higher Self” the “seventh” principle.
    (13). Our physical bodies are called “Shadows” in the mystic schools.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    134-The blessed ones have scorned to do so. The Lion of the Law, the Lord of Mercy,* perceiving the true cause of human woe, immediately forsook the sweet but selfish rest of quiet wilds. From Âranyaka (14) He became the Teacher of mankind. After Julai (15) had entered the Nirvâna, He preached on mount and plain, and held discourses in the cities, to Devas, men and gods (16).
    (14). A hermit who retires to the jungles and lives in a forest, when becoming a Yogi.
    Âranyaka (Sk.). Holy hermits, sages who dwelt in ancient India in forests. Also a portion of the Vedas containing Upanishads, etc (The Theosophical Glossary)..
    (15). Julai the Chinese name for Tathâgata, a title applied to every Buddha.
    (16). All the Northern and Southern traditions agree in showing Buddha quitting his solitude as soon as he had resolved the problem of life — i.e., received the inner enlightenment — and teaching mankind publicly.

    135-Sow kindly acts and thou shalt reap their fruition. Inaction in a deed of mercy becomes an action in a deadly sin.
    Thus saith the Sage.

    “Not doing wrong action,
    Sincerely doing every kind of good,
    naturally clarifies this mind.
    This is the Teaching of all the Buddhas.”
    This is the universal precept of the Seven Buddhas, our Founding Ancestors, and is truly transmitted by earlier Buddhas to later Buddhas and is received by later Buddhas from earlier Buddhas. It is not only the Teaching of the Seven Buddhas but of all the Buddhas. This principle must be investigated and mastered through practice.
    (Dogen, “Shoaku makusa : Not Doing Wrong Action” Anzan Hoshin roshi, Yasuda Joshu Dainen roshi, transl, 2007)

    Just practice good, do good for others, without thinking of making yourself known so that you may gain reward. Really bring benefit to others, gaining nothing for yourself. This is the primary requisite for breaking free of attachments to the Self. (Dōgen. Shobogenzo Zuimonki [Things Overheard at the Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma], Masunaga, Reiho, transl.Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press; New Ed edition, June 1975, III, 3)

    136-Shalt thou abstain from action? Not so shall gain thy soul her freedom. To reach Nirvâna one must reach Self-Knowledge, and Self-Knowledge is of loving deeds the child.
    In all nature we can find no instance where effort of some kind is not required. We find there is a natural result from such effort. He who would life the life or find wisdom can only do so by continued effort. If one becomes a student, and learns to look partially within the veil, or has found within his own being something that is greater than his outer self, it gives no authority for one to sit down in idleness or fence himself in from contact with the world. Because one sees the gleam of the light ahead he cannot say to his fellow “I am holier than thee” or draw the mantle of seclusion around himself (William Q. Judge. Musings on the True Theosophist’s Path II. The Path, October, 1886).

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    Section 3 (123-136) gave the following advice: love all beings, do not neglect your parents, non-action does not mean inaction, the lamp burns bright when wick and old are clean, one can face physical agitation and still have a tranquil mind, solitary forest asceticism is not the way to final liberation, physical punishment and conquering physical vices are not the final steps, after reaching enlightenment, one has a duty to reach out to others, kind actionsgive merit while failing to do acts of charity is a fault, Self-Knowledge comes through good deeds and actions. Section 4 (Stanzas137-146) deals with the doctrine of the Three Vestures of Trikaya.

    137-Have patience, Candidate, as one who fears no failure, courts no success. Fix thy Soul’s gaze upon the star whose ray thou art (17), the flaming star that shines within the lightless depths of ever-being, the boundless fields of the Unknown.
    (17). Every spiritual Ego is a ray of a “Planetary Spirit” according to esoteric teaching.
    See Fragment I, stanza 88 and commentary.

    138-Have perseverance as one who doth for evermore endure. Thy shadows live and vanish (18); that which in thee shall live for ever, that which in thee knows, for it is knowledge (19), is not of fleeing life: it is the man that was, that is, and will be, for whom the hour shall never strike.
    (18). “Personalities” or physical bodies called “shadows” are evanescent.
    (19). Mind (Manas) the thinking Principle or Ego in man, is referred to “Knowledge” itself, because the human Egos are called Mânasa-putras the sons of (universal) Mind.

    This sword in the form of knowledge of Self will destroy this tree of the universe, as the wind scatters the clouds and the sun destroys darkness and waking destroys a dream. (Jnaneshwar. Jnaneshwar’s Gita. A Rendering of the Jnaneshwari. Kripananda, Swami. Albany SUNY Press, 1989, 15,265)

    139- If thou would’st reap sweet peace and rest, Disciple, sow with the seeds of merit the fields of future harvests. Accept the woes of birth.

    A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:7-10. Lattimore Richmond A. , transl. The Four Gospels and the Revelation. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015).
    Peacemakers who sow in peace reap the fruit of righteousness (James 3:18).

    “According to the seed that’s sown,
    So is the fruit you reap there from,
    Doer of good will gather good,
    Doer of evil, evil reaps,
    Down is the seed and thou shalt taste
    The fruit thereof.”
    SN I, XI, I, 10 (Davids, C. A. F. Rhys & F. L. Woodward tr. The Book of the Kindred Sayings, Bristol: Pali Text Society part 1, 1917, Samyutta Nikaya I, XI, Bk 1-Sagatha-vagga, Ch. XI-Sakka, I, s.10, p. 293)

    Vipāka (Sanskrit and Pāli) is a Buddhist term for the ripening or maturation of karma (Pāli kamma), or intentional actions. The theory of karmic action and result (kamma-vipāka) is a central belief within the Buddhist tradition.

  • Mark Casady
    Mark Casady

    140-Step out from sunlight into shade, to make more room for others. The tears that water the parched soil of pain and sorrow, bring forth the blossoms and the fruits of Karmic retribution. Out of the furnace of man’s life and its black smoke, winged flames arise, flames purified, that soaring onward, ‘neath the Karmic eye, weave in the end the fabric glorified of the three vestures of the Path (20).
    (20). Vide Part III. Glossary, paragraph 34 et seq.
    “He who tries to shine dims his own light. He who defines himself can’t know who he really is.” (Mitchell, Stephen, transl. Tao Te Ching. Frances Lincoln, London, 1999, chapter 24)

    141-These vestures are: Nirmânakâya, Sambhogakâya, and Dharmakâya, robe Sublime. (21).
    (21). Ibid.

    142-The Shangna robe (22), ’tis true, can purchase light eternal. The Shangna robe alone gives the Nirvâna of destruction; it stops rebirth, but, O Lanoo, it also kills — compassion. No longer can the perfect Buddhas, who don the Dharmakâya glory, help man’s salvation. Alas! shall selves be sacrificed to Self; mankind, unto the weal of Units?
    (22). The Shangna robe, from Shangnavasu of Râjagriha the third great Arhat or “Patriarch” as the Orientalists call the hierarchy of the 33 Arhats who spread Buddhism. “Shangna robe” means metaphorically, the acquirement of Wisdom with which the Nirvâna of destruction (of personality) is entered. Literally, the “initiation robe” of the Neophytes. Edkins states that this “grass cloth” was brought to China from Tibet in the Tong Dynasty. “When an Arhan is born this plant is found growing in a clean spot” says the Chinese as also the Tibetan legend.

    Tong should probably be corrected to T’ang:
    The Pratyeka Buddha said, ” This is called the Shangna robe. With it the acquirement of wisdom can be made, and with it the Nirvana of destruction should be entered.” He then took wing, performed the eighteen movements in the air, and entered the Nirvana.
    This cloth was brought to China from Thibet and other western countries in the T’ang dynasty. It was white, fine, thick, and strong. The plant of which it was made had nine stalks. When an Arhan is born this plant is found growing in some clean spot. (Edkins’ Rev. Joseph, Chinese Buddhism, 1880, p. 66)

    Sanakavasa is another name for Shangnavasu:
    Again, there is here the Sanghati robe, in nine pieces 184 of Sanakavasa; the colour is a deep red (rose-red) ; it is made of the bark (peel) of the She-no kia plant. Sanakavasa was the disciple of Ananda. In a former existence he had given the priests garments made of the Sanaka plant (fibre), on the conclusion of the rainy season. By the force of this meritorious action during 500 successive births he wore only this (kind of) garment, and at his last birth he was born with it. As his body increased so his robe grew larger, until the time when .3 converted by Ananda and left his home (i.e., became an ascetic). Then his robe changed into a religious garment; and when he was fully ordained it again changed into a Sanghati, composed of nine pieces. When he was about to arrive at Nirvana he entered into the condition of Samadhi, bordering on complete extinction, and by the force of his vow in attaining wisdom (he arrived at the knowledge) that this kashdya garment would last till the bequeathed law (testament) of Sakya (was established), and after the destruction of this law then his garment also would perish. At the present time it is a little fading, for faith also is small at this time (Beal, Samuel SI-YU-KI: Buddhist Records of the Western World (1884). 53)

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