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Sacred Texts: The Voice of the Silence

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    ModeratorTN
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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
    Keymaster
    ModeratorTN

    FRAGMENT I.
    ———

    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

    2 THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE
    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}

    For:—

    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
      Participant
      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
    Keymaster
    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
    Keymaster
    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
    Participant
    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 2 weeks, 5 days ago by  Mark Casady.

    • Peter
      Moderator
      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
    Participant
    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 2 weeks, 2 days ago by  Mark Casady.
    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 2 days ago by  Mark Casady.

  • Mark Casady
    Participant
    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 2 weeks, 1 day ago by  Mark Casady.

  • Mark Casady
    Participant
    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
    Participant
    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
    Participant
    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
    Keymaster
    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
    Participant
    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
    Participant
    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)


    • Kirk Marzulo
      Participant
      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
    Participant
    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
    Participant
    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
    Participant
    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 1 day, 5 hours ago by  Mark Casady.

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