Unit IX. Candra-Mandala
5. Soul and Feeling
Materials needed: Journal
Essence of the Heart Sutra
The Science of Yoga by Taimni
Dzogchen: The Self-perfected State
The Heart Sutra
The Light Body
Transformation of the Emotional Body
The Hymn of the Pearl
The Dzogchen Path
Within it (Sahasrara) is the full moon, without the mark of the hare, resplendent
as in a clear sky. It sheds its rays in profusion, and is moist
and cool like nectar.
Inside it (Candra-mandala), constantly shining like lightning is the Triangle
inside this, again, shines the Great Void which is served in secret by all
(verse 41, Sat-Cakra-Nirupana and Paduka-Pancaka) (Woodroffe, 1973, p.428)
It is the depth of winter here in Massachusettes as I write this. The
other night I was standing at the kitchen sink preparing dinner and watching
the full moon rise over a snowy landscape. First it was golden, then
as it made its way further up into the sky, it gradually became silvery with
the luster of fine silverware. I could see the man in the moon clearly.
That is the “mark of the hare” referred to above. And I thought of
all the other times in my life when the moon’s significance was important
The moon’s symbolism is legendary. It is clear, white light; and, as
such, represents purity and clarity in body, mind and spirit. Its coolness
and moistness indicate a lack of emotional heat and speaks to vairagya (detachment
and renunciation). Since the moon’s phases change over time, it is
symbolic of rhythmic changes in life. The moon pulls the tides as well as
governs the menstrual cycles in women. So it is no wonder that it is
seen as feminine with all the yin characteristics that entails including
water and the citrini and ida nadiis. It reflects light, so it can
be seen as an analogy for the mind/mirror idea. Although it is not
associated with emotions, it is connected to the finer feelings such as love,
compassion, awe, and kindred ethereal energies. Also, it is representative
of akasha in its shimmering beauty.
On a different plane, the moon may also suggest Truth, Awareness, Presence,
Non-dual knowing, Pure Consciousness, Soul and the Primordial State.
So we have the Candra-mandala.
Candra means “moon” and mandala means “region,” “sphere,” or “plane.” So here we have the candra-loka
or world of the moon. It is pristine except for the 12 petals that
stand for the guru mantras: So’Ham or Ham’Sah,
the two syllables of which are taken six times to equal 12. Sometimes
this is called the Soma Chakra. However, that is usually located
lower down in the head near the 6th chakra, whereas this Fig.7-14.
Candra- mandala is in the Brahmarandhra near the fontenelle Candra-mandala
of the brain, at the end of the sankhini nadi, and the Visnu-Vakta.
Sometimes this plane is called Baindava to distinguish it from the moon at the 6th chakra.
The Candra-mandala is symbolic of the Great Void, Sunya, or the Mahabindu.
It gives off a profusion of rays and is responsible for the nectar that drips
from the Amakala. Its Supreme Light is formless and the Bindu is imperishable,
worshipped in secret by spiritual seekers. Here we are beyond mind,
life and maya in the primordial causal body, the psychic essence represented
by Parama-Shiva who is the final Guru or Absolute Reality. One kalā
remains here always and is Cit or Cosmic Consciousness itself. Remember
that kalā means a part or a ray like a phase of the moon. Think of this as
pure awareness without an object because there is nothing there except the
One Being. So there is nothing of which to be aware.
Kalās of the Moon
The kalās, or rays, of the moon vary according to its phases. But one
kalā remains. This is Nirvana-kalā, the 17th kalā who is the crescent moon
representing deep, meditative samadhi without attachment, and who grants
liberation. The stainless kalā is united with Cidananda (consciousness
+ bliss). Cit is formless and bliss takes the form of light.
Cidananda is called the bindu-rupa or body of Parama-Shiva who is the unmanifested,
primordial element. This bindu is a point of consciousness,
the “I” (illuminating aspect) identified with the total “This” becoming a
point of consciousness with it. Note that this Mahabindu is not the
same bindu as the Supreme Bindu which has the two components (a void surrounded
by a circumference) clearly distinguishable. The Mahabindu is the Great
Void before that first division into two parts. We have a circumference in
the picture merely to indicate a space. It is not, in itself, significant.
Visualize it as an unbounded and endless space. Thus we have a distinction
between the Great Void and Unmani/Supreme Bindu. This one is sometimes
called the Maha Praylaya Bindu, and it is at the top of the Brahma nadi. It is the Oneness experience, no-mind, Turiyatita.
We believe that the consciousness referred to here is intelligent though
formless. It is more like intuition than the rational mind because
it is non-dual.
The silvery beams of the moon refer to the destruction of darkness and delusion;
its nectar to mercy, sweetness and the bliss (Ananda) of the union of Consciousness
(Cit) and Being (Sat). The Candra-loka is said to be the world of nectar.
So here we have SatCitAnanda as a single entity whose parts are not separately
I am using Awareness to refer to Cosmic Consciousness as different from ordinary
consciousness which usually has an object. Here we are talking about
Cit: formless, unconditioned Consciousness. This is a self-aware force
of existence. It may also be called Turiyatita or Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
It is the Consciousness of the Supreme Being, the Absolute Reality.
There is no object to perceive because the Being is merely awake, but nothing
is happening of which to become aware. This is before the first division
into two entities the other of which shall become the creator.
When this level of consciousness occurs in a human being, it is neither self-conscious
nor self-reflective because it is in a state of complete inertia. The
mind that is connected to the senses and able to perceive things in the outside
world is temporarily shut down, so there is no channel open to external occurrences.
This mind is capable of activity but it must be entirely in the Now moment.
It lacks all the veils, screens, and coverings that normally obscure the
Great Light of full Awareness. In its perfected form, it holds within
it the potential for the creation of both mind and life.
Mind as Intelligence (Cit)
However, you must be aware that there are multiple levels of the functioning
mind. And we have examined most of them including intuition.
Now we come to consider the nature of the Highest level of Mind that might
be associated with the Absolute Being. This is called Cit. Lower
levels are referred to as Citti or Chitti. Since the One has created
the entire universe, we must assume that It is intelligent and able to visualize
a completed project.
I have a very intense memory of a time when I was about eight years old.
It was my habit to roam the woods and hills around our house in complete
freedom. We lived on the edge of town and there were few houses in
the neighborhood. We had a clean, gurgling creek along the edge of
our property full of minnows, tadpoles, crawfish and skaters. There
were woods full of all kinds of wildlife, a swamp, a small lake and an abandoned
quarry where we were forbidden to play. Ahem. To give you a feeling
for my state of mind, I liked to pull out all the dead leaves that choked
up the rills and waterfalls in the creek each spring. In doing so,
I was an integral part of the whole picture and full of boundless joy.
I saw, heard and felt everything, so my senses were in prime condition.
However, my mind was also concentrated on whatever activity I was engaged
in. So I was fully awake and aware, but I was not aware of myself as
a separate being.
Now, you can imagine my surprise and shock when, one day, my mother
told me I could no longer go into the woods alone. I remember vehemently
putting my foot down and insisting that I had to do so, but was unable
to give her a reason why. . . I just had to. She finally relented,
to my great relief. Now I know why it was so important to me.
On some level, I knew or felt that it was my connection to the Source of
everything that mattered, and my only one. Subsequently I was able
to maintain it until I reached puberty. At that time, I was aware of
losing it, but could not fail to enter adolescence with its demands for conformity.
If you can, think of a mind that is not doing anything. It is completely
silent perceiving no dualities as in the example given above. Roberts
(1978) says it is doing instead of thinking. It is rather like the
way you experience deep concentration on a task. Or it can be the state
of mind in deep meditation/samadhi. There is no duality or separation
anywhere. This mind is the abode of the Great Void. Here
general knowledge, as we think of it, is a limitation because it shuts off
intuition. Intuition leads to the truth and the truth is alive (Ruiz
in Nelson, 1997). Roberts (1978) says, “. . only when every single,
subtle, experience and idea – conscious and unconscious – has come to an
end, a complete end, ..[is] it . . possible for the Truth to reveal itself”
(p. 75). This is Mind in its role as pure ethereal energy.
Silent Knowledge. Think of the vast quantity of energy that
is held in the space around the strings, particles and waves of the Zero
Point Field (McTaggart, 2002) as ethereal energy. The ether referred
to in ancient texts as well as the akashic records would likely be a part
of this field of energy that pervades and contains the universe. Because
it is so active, it is possible for it to transmit and store knowledge and
information. Light is a special case of this quantum energy, and its
rays carry information and knowledge as well according to Ruiz (Nelson, 1997).
We have seen how this process might operate through the triads from the kamakalā
on down throughout involution. Consciousness is able to move
with and through light to manifest as intuition and information which is
called silent knowledge. [Consciousness -> Ethereal energy -> Silent Knowledge]
Silent knowledge arises from the soul’s longing, Ruiz says, and is led by
intuition to connect us to Beingness. It is possible to learn how to
attract and direct this energy through a process called stalking. A
stalker is someone who is guided by intuition and who deliberately becomes
an aware, detached observer like the Witness Self. Stalking evaluates
and aligns ethereal energy. So we see that the path to silent knowledge
is through cultivating an awareness that is acquired through attention and
Exercise: Ethereal Energy
1. Read Chapters 1-3 in Beyond Fear (Nelson, 1997) for more details on Ruiz’s theories. Take notes on the basic points for use later on.
2. Then do the breathing exercise on pages 70-1 and recapitulate
your life’s dream. Take notes on this process so you can return to it on
Life/Vibration as True Life
Mind is one of the potentials of the Great Void, Life is the other as we have already seen.
When circumstances are right, life explodes into being. We know this
from our own experience with the seasons. Even now, in January, seed
catalogs are coming in with promises of new life just around the corner.
Seeds carry life through negative circumstances insuring survival.
And seeds consist of genes (cf., Mind) and matter (cf., Life).
We have seen how the creation of life is an objectification, projective process.
But True Life is the original prototype that is below conscious awareness.
Life as a Dream. Most of the spiritual literature, at some
point or another, says that life is not real. It is a dream.
Perhaps the Divine One is having an human experience as we might have a night
dream. This is a concept that is very hard to wrap our rational minds
around. But, if you meditate, you soon find out that the world as we are
able to perceive it does, indeed, disappear when the mind is quiet.
Of course, it reappears as our minds come back into focus, but that does
not negate the experience of worldlessness.
Or consider your night dreams. Is that another life or just encrustations
of a mind that won’t entirely let go? Some of us prefer our night dreams
to our daylight experiences. Others fear nightmares. But have
you not visited the same place in repeated dreams that is not a place that
exists in the real world? How do you know that is not a reality with
its own dimensions of consciousness?
Ruiz (Nelson, 1997) says that not only is life a dream, but we can learn
to master it through the process he calls stalking. Why don’t
you try it?
1. Read chapters 4-7 in Beyond Fear by Don Miguel Ruiz (Nelson, 1997).
2. In chapter 6, do the Inventory beginning with the breathing exercises
and then evaluate how well you are doing on the four agreements before
3. Do the fire-breathing exercise on page 95. Then work out a
plan for your own personal stalking program. Then journal your experiences.
It might be useful to write a self-reflective paper in an attempt to tie
all this together in your personal understanding.
Reality (The One) uses Ethereal Energy (Mind) to Manifest in the universe (as Life).
Ultimate vs Relative Reality
Remember the distinction between Ultimate and Relative Reality? The
Ultimate Reality is something like the Void, or the Zero Point Field as described
by Lynn McTaggart (2002). Her book, The Field, is documented
with impeccable experimentation by quantum physicists and others that shows
there is nothing but energy in the universe. Even at the coldest possible
temperatures and in a vacuum, there is still energy moving, huge amounts
of energy! Space is full of life! And, furthermore, everything
in it is connected to everything else. This goes beyond particles and
waves to sheer energetic power. Dynamic Ground? Perhaps. If anything,
we can think of this space as the element of the Sahasrara Padma.
Ether (or space) is the medium for the transmission of information, and communication
in the universe is instantaneous: that means faster than the speed of light.
To my mind, it seems like the universe is a gigantic net, and the whole thing
twitches when one part of it is tweaked.
[Note: There was a television program not long ago about string theory.
If you can find a DVD of it, it is worth watching to bring you up to date
on physics research. Try PBS.]
The Dalai Lama (Gyatso, 2005) has gifted us with a new translation and commentary
on the “Heart Sutra” which is the essence of the Prajnaparamita. A
section in this work deals with the Emptiness/Form dichotomy. Basically,
I think, the Heart Sutra is pointing out the difference between Ultimate
Reality and Relative Reality. On the level of Ultimate Reality,
nothing concrete exists. And we see that this is true in our physics
research. There is only Consciousness and the potential for Mind and
Life, but even those are not yet manifested, so neither they nor the universe
has any real, tangible nature. At the core, everything is empty of
On the other hand, we have the whole manifested universe of forms that is
perceivable through our senses. Are we to deny its existence?
Of course not. But we need to remember that, given the right conditions,
it does all disappear seeming to depend for its actuality upon whether the
mind is awake and focused in the correct way. Therefore, the nature
of Relative Reality is said to be dependent on an interplay of specific
causes and conditions. It has no intrinsic reality except what we project
upon it. Furthermore, forms are subject to change, so they do not maintain
their exact identities over time.
Hence, there is a kind of cycle here that kind of depends upon the perspective
from which you are viewing something. The theory does not deny that
things exist in concrete reality. What it is saying is that things
exist but not as we think they do. It is the concepts and perceptions
that are in error. So we have to learn how to live in two worlds at
once. If it is possible to enjoy both perceptions at once, I have not
yet reached that stage. But I know it is possible to move back and
forth between them. Meditation is the tool to do that.
Furthermore, the Dalai Lama says that nothing can destroy Consciousness.
The Continuum of Mind is endless. So here we are talking about omniscient
Mind, what the Buddhists call Buddha Nature: fundamental, uncontaminated,
original Mind (Gyatso, 2005, p. 82).
Exercise: The Heart Sutra
Read chapters 9-11 in Essence of the Heart Sutra: The Dalai Lama’s Heart of Wisdom Teachings
(Gyatso, 2005). Then see if you can write your own clear summary of
the difference between emptiness and form. Describe their essential
interaction, give some examples and indicate why an understanding of these
two ideas is important to you. [Note: Writing objectifies thoughts, so you can see what they are really doing. It also makes a record.]
Ruiz (Nelson, 1997) says that mind is ethereal energy. [Sometimes he calls
this “emotions.”] He means that this is God energy. When the
separation between mind and body dissolves, we have a change in reality from
the Relative to the Universal plane. For instance, we might be able
to perceive directly that the earth is alive. To control ethereal energy,
we have to transfer consciousness from reason to Spiritual Will.
This is part of the stalking process. It focuses attention on the will
or intention. Attention is the power to choose one perception from
many possible stimuli. The first choice creates the dream and the second
changes it through the Inventory.
You reach mastery the moment that you gain awareness that everything you
do and everything
you say is an act of power. As a corollary of this awareness,
you then accept
responsibility for everything you do and for everything you say.
You will consciously
direct that power to create the new dream of heaven on
earth (Ruiz in Nelson, 1997, p. 106).
So, there is no mind as we commonly use the term, only Consciousness as Intelligence
remains as the Universal Reality. Our cognitive systems remain also
on the Relative Reality level, but they function differently after liberation.
We can identify with all that is or Beingness Itself. This means pure
subjectivity beyond all ordinary consciousness and even beyond no-self. Unity
consciousness is the union of interior and exterior in an expanded Consciousness.
It probably also means a total surrender of soul. We will address that
later. It seems to me that Consciousness pervades all creation which
is embedded in it. We are in the heart of God. That means I live
in God’s Consciousness, and my mind is Its Mind. There is no organ
of Consciousness because it is not organic, nor is it physical energy.
I am created by Divine Light.
I am sustained by Divine Light.
I am protected by Divine Light.
I am surrounded by Divine Light.
One of the moon’s characteristics is Light. So let us see what Light might mean at the level of Ultimate Reality.
You will recall seeing this passage before. It is part of the Divine
Light Invocation brought to us by Swami Radha. It was given to her
by the eternal Babaji soon after her initiation by Swami Sivananda in Rishikesh.
But what does it mean? It promises the protection that all of us crave
and reassures us that someone or something cares about us. But Light?
How can light protect us?
Well, we can look at this in several ways: 1) the Light stands for God or
some Divine entity who can act like a parent, or 2) the Light itself is capable
of doing this, or 3) the Light represents Consciousness, or 4) the Light
stands for truth.
Light as God
Usually the first interpretation is what draws people probably because it
has overtones of personal relationship which is familiar from our experiences
of being protected by our parents as little children. And this has
its points. There is no way to escape the recognition that whoever
or whatever created the universe had to be intelligent and capable of at
least imagining all that was the outcome. Buddhism is the only religious
tradition that has no god, and even in Buddhism you can find suggestions
of a higher being or presence. Nearly all of the traditions cast this
figure into a trinity which resonates with the triads we have been exploring.
And usually this Being has human characteristics projected upon It.
Also it is nearly always male unless you go back in history some 6000 years.
Shakti is one exception, and even she is held dependent upon a male source
of energy. Her working triad is composed of all male deities, for instance.
Light as Ethereal Energy
The second idea that Light itself can create and protect us is elaborated
in the work of Ruiz who calls it ethereal energy. He says information
is stored in light because energy has memory. Furthermore, “. . light
is a living biological being with intelligence, and [it is] the source of
our own intelligence” (Nelson, 1997, p. 42). He goes on to talk about
the “river of light” that connects all of us. It is composed of rays
of light, one for each person. A light ray is life which is embodied
in angels. And these rays are associated with consciousness.
This resonates with what we have learned about the kamakalā whose light rays
are intimately involved in creation. According to Ruiz, the earth emits
ethereal light which means it is alive. The sun gives the energy
and information (silent knowledge) to the earth in order for it to
bring forth life.
Light as Consciousness
Light is a universal symbol for Cosmic Consciousness. In this
case, it is supreme, formless light and the “container” of everything there
is, the Great Light in which the universe is absorbed. This may or
may not be white light. There is something to be said for the idea
that there are frequencies of light so high that we cannot perceive them.
These are referred to as Dark Light, Dark Radiance, Blinding Darkness.
Black Light is said to be Love, pure essence. Dark Light is a characteristic
of the Great Void. We know that space is black except for the bodies
of light that inhabit it, so we can assume that the Zero Point Field is also
Dark Light. Since the Field is full of energy, it makes sense to call
it Dark Radiance. If this is correct, then Consciousness is the
ethereal energy that holds the universe together and causes us to be one
being. “Everything is light” (Ruiz in Nelson, 1997, p. 59).
Light as Truth
The more I work with this material the less I feel I know about Truth.
Truth is another thing that Light symbolizes. It is obviously more
that just not telling a lie. It is closer to meaning “That which Is”
or “Ultimate Reality,” but those words do not give us a real grip on what
is under discussion. It could be the correct knowledge of “What Is”
which would make it kin to Wisdom. However, given its association with
the Light, I think we have to assume that it refers to the Absolute or Source
of all that is. And use of the word “Truth” suggests that it extends that
meaning to the fact that the Absolute is absolutely real. Roberts (1985) speaks of Love as Truth (Black Light) which further defines the character of the Absolute.
Body of Light
When someone reaches a high enough level of spiritual development that
most of the layers or veils that mask the light of Consciousness are removed,
even the ordinary person can see that one as a body of light. There is abundant
evidence that we are composed of light. In fact, it is relatively easy
to see it for yourself if you have someone stand in front of a white or black
surface and let your eyes go out of focus. However, the light really
breaks through when someone is enlightened. It is called “transfiguration.”
A liberated person’s face will literally shine with the radiance. We
are most familiar with the idea from the transfiguration of Jesus after his
resurrection. He was seen by others as a blinding, light body.
It is one of the gifts of transformation and is the result of clarification
of presence and identification with the divine One. Buddhists refer
to it as Sambhogakaya and say that it can be attained through transmission
from a guru. You can find more information about this in Norbu’s (1996)
book. He refers to it as “natural light.”
Exercise: The Light Body
Read chapter 4 in Dzogchen: The Self-perfected State by Norbu (1996).
There is more than one way to perceive the Light based, as you might expect,
on the sensory modality you prefer. On occasion, I feel deprived because
I do not experience brilliant, flashing lights in my meditation. But
then I am comforted by the realization that there is a good reason for that.
Vivekananda once said that he did not experience lights and visions, and
that it was probably for the best since he would not have been able to stay
in a body if he had. However, there is a more down-to-earth reason
Each of us has a preferred sensory modality usually sight, sound or touch
though taste and smell are also possible. Visually-oriented people
prefer to see things, so you would expect them to prefer letters and email
for communication. Aurally-oriented folks prefer to hear about things.
They prefer the telephone or conversation. Touch or kinesthetically-oriented
people prefer touch or feelings, so would gain most information through that
channel. You can see them in stores handling the merchandise or having
trouble in museums not touching the statues.
Now, we have to take this a step further. The inner realm of experience
uses a different modality than physical senses detecting the external world.
So a person who prefers audio communication with the world might be visually-oriented
internally. This being the case, Muktananda would most likely be sound-
or kinesthetically-oriented in his daily life since his inner life was full
of visual displays of light and form. My experience is different.
I am externally visual and internally kinesthetic. So my most highly
developed external sense is sight, and my inner realm is governed by feelings.
In all my years of spiritual practice I have never been able to develop a
mantra practice, and I remember almost nothing of what I hear because that
modality is deficient in both of my worlds.
What this all means is that we are unique in our experiences of the Light.
It may come in the form of brilliant, white light or visual images;
mantra, music and gorgeous tones such as flutes; or deep feelings of
loving light and benevolent darkness. All of these are forms the ethereal
energy may take in reaching us. Depending upon how the organism is
tuned, you may sense one or the other of these forms. So please do
not make self-critical judgments if you do not experience some of the phenomena
described in the spiritual literature.
Soul and Feelings
You will recall that feeling (Iccha) is one of the three rays of the kamakalā
or powers of mind. That is in the sense of desire and willing.
In this section, I will be using “feeling” in that sense rather than to mean
emotions. Another way of looking at it is that feelings come from the
heart center whereas emotions come from the third chakra. So, when
in doubt, ask where in the body you are experiencing it.
Feelings are the language of the soul. We could say that the soul feels,
the mind knows and the body acts. Or, on another dimension, the body
is in the mind and the mind is in the soul. This idea runs counter
to conventional knowledge which says that the soul in inside us probably
in the heart center. Since the Absolute manifests as the individual
soul, I think it is unlikely that It would be constrained to so small a location.
Furthermore, if the Absolute is all that is, it could hardly be contained
within a small part of a person’s body. Instead, we might visualize
the soul as the whole electromagnetic field of the heart which can extend
out to 30 feet. It is more likely that we are contained in the Absolute.
So it would make sense to assume that the soul is larger than either the
mind or the body and contains both. It is pure essence and partakes
of the characteristics of the Divine One.
Ruiz (Nelson, 1997) says that the will encircles the soul egg: “. . the soul.
. .is in the nucleus of the will, in the bubble of perception. . . What we
are is God. Our will encircles our human egg and it lasts until our death”
(p. 103). If this is true and will is associated with feeling, then
the soul is an instrument of feeling and will. My own experience tells
me that my soul is what feels and can be wounded. Remember the soul
loss that occurs during childhood social conditioning?
Ruiz (Nelson, 1997, ch 12) adds to our knowledge about this in a section
on the inner child, pure emotion, feeling and sense without intellect.
He goes on to say that it is the interaction between soul and body that creates
mind. Furthermore, karma creates holes in the soul. To heal them
we must fully experience the feelings that got blocked by judgments, i.e.,
we must allow ourselves to feel our feelings. This is the same process
used in psychotherapy to undo repression and symptom-formation. It
can also be seen in the results of bodywork such as massage, Hakomi and other
such therapies. Trauma is often stored in the body, and it can be released
through appropriate psychosomatic bodywork.
is that we are THAT. We are spirit, which is no thing, it has no form.
that which we can never know. We can only know life in reflection,
is MIND, the moon.
It is not the light itself. The true nature of reflection is
separation and duality.
The mind, the
reflection, is always looking for itself. If we function and process
life from the point
of view of the mind only, we can therefore never find our true
self because it
is ony the reflection of the light. It is caught in the duality of
All that we see in reality is mind. The truth of its nature is illusion.
(Ruiz in Nelson, 1997, p. 181-2)
He then goes on to say that we are all angels working in this dimension to
evolve a human being, and we need to surrender to the fact that everything
is divinely perfect.
Exercise: Transformation of the Emotional Body
Read chapter 12 in Beyond Fear (Nelson, 1997). What is the existential
betrayal? Do you agree? Do you have memories that would support this
idea? Make a list of them and see what they all have in common.How
does resistance perpetuate this betrayal? What is the antidote?
What is the role of your angel(s)? How do they relate to the chakras?
What choice do you have? Are you ready to take it? How does love enter
into all this?
Muktananda (1978) also says that the Absolute is the individual soul according
to Vedanta. It is represented by the “A” in “AUM.” There are
four bodies of the soul and you will recognize them: gross, subtle, causal
and supracausal. This translates into physical, mental, consciousness
and Cosmic Consciousness bodies. This whole guidebook has been
about the causal body, whereas this unit is about the Supracausal body, to
give you some perspective. In his meditations, Muktananda (1978) saw
each of these levels as varying forms and intensities of colored light.
The gross was red, the subtle was white, the causal was black and the supracausal
was blue. So he felt that the color of light you experienced in meditation
was an indication of which body you were in at the time. Muktananda
called the supracausal body the “blue pearl.” And, he said, it contains
the Supracausal body along with the trinity of heaven, hell and human worlds.
The individual soul is enclosed within the nested soul bodies.
We are reminded of Almaas’(1990) book, The Pearl Beyond Price.
He says the pearl is the Personal Essence which is the true person as opposed
to ego. And this self is one who is “in the world, but not of it.”
Rather, one lives in the world as a person but is of the nature of Being,
i.e., both human and divine. This is what Jesus also taught.
The Christian mystics approach enlightenment entirely from the perspective
of soul which suffers enormously in the transition into life but is eventually
united with God. However, if I understand this correctly, they are
referring to the union that is characteristic of the Supreme Bindu, not the
Mahabindu. Roberts (1985) is the one exception that I know of.
Robert’s (1985) work suggests that soul might not survive the transformation
to the Mahabindu level because it is tied into the affective network which
is lost at liberation. She says that will disappears because
it is the nucleus of self. However, one’s essential uniqueness remains
even when the self is gone. Beyond form is another more unique, moving,
dynamic life. It is difficult to say whether Roberts is talking about
soul or not since she does not actually use that word. However, she
does say the stillpoint is also lost, and that may refer to the soul.
My interpretation of this issue is that the Mahabindu is a step beyond union
into identity with the Absolute. And, if this is correct, we do not
lose the soul but only enlarge our understanding of what it is. However
difficult it is to apprehend our divine identity, that is what it is – Divine.
We are the Divine One collectively and separately.
Exercise: The Hymn of the Pearl
Secure a copy of The Hymn of the Pearl. You will most likely
find it in a collection of the gnostic texts and associated with the Acts
of Thomas. I have two copies of it: 1) in The Other Bible edited by W. Barnstone (1984, 308-313) or 2) in The Gospel According to Thomas
edited by R. Iyer (1983, 119-125). This is a parable of the soul’s
journey in which it forgets who it is and finally returns Home.
Notice how, in all these different sources, the soul is depicted as a pearl
of great price, very valuable. Consider, then, what a huge mistake
is made when we conceal our divine identity. Do we want to continue
making it for the sake of modern day society? Maybe it is time to cut
the placenta that attaches us to the mother of modern marvels in the marketplace.
What would that cost us? And would it be worth it? What would
it take to convince us that we are, in fact, God? And, if we accepted
that, how would our lives change? Could we take responsibility for
that new identity?
Sometimes, I feel like I don’t know how to love God. Do you?
Recently I attended a Sufi Retreat; and, in my work session, I addressed
this issue. I know how to love people, but I don’t know how to
love something that is not in a body. My teacher eventually said, “You
are in love with love.” Since I identify love with God, that resonated
with me, and I felt a surge of loving light that seemed to underscore this
interpretation. It persisted for several days after the retreat, but
eventually faded leaving me still in doubt. At one point, I recognized
that my longing for this love was, in fact, love itself. But since
it does not feel like love for another human being, it is easy to go astray.
In the Pearl Beyond Price, Almaas (1990) describes the mergence feeling
in more detail, if it interests you.
Bhakti Yoga is the practice of devotion. Usually it entails chanting
mantras and saying prayers along with other forms of worship. In Yoga,
statues of various deities are often used to help the mind concentrate until
it can transcend them. This is my weakest link in Yoga training, partly
because of the mantra connection and partly because of the dyadic implication
of prayers. However, Worship is believed to be one of the most direct
routes to enlightenment. And, often, this worship is of the guru.
I doubt if there is a more controversial figure than the guru. Who
is s/he? And why do seekers make such a big deal over her/him?
[As an incidental note, there is a trend nowadays toward female leadership
over lineages.] Well, let us investigate.
“Gu” means darkness, and “ru” means removal. So a guru is one
who removes the darkness and helps us to create light. This is usually
a spiritual teacher of varying degrees of achievement on the path.
It is said that we can find useful guidance from anyone who is ahead of us
on the path. However, I think that the person’s authenticity is the
most important issue. To what extent does s/he manifest divine light?
Guru and Disciple (Satchidananda, 1979) is a little book that tells
us how to select a guru. If you are in need of one, this would be a
good reference source.
One of the things that is often criticized is the idea of guru worship.
And there is tremendous misunderstanding around that fact. Even though the
seeker may not realize it at first, what is being worshipped is the Absolute
in that person, not his or her individual personality nor physical being.
Guru worship is a process that can help a seeker get rid of his or her ego
controls. And I do not know of any guru who requires it. It usually
issues spontaneously from the disciple out of gratitude and awe. There
is a huge amount of humility required to revere another human being without
reservations. And this is magnified because the guru often has a personality
that is not particularly appealing. S/he can be very demanding, angry,
tactless, rejecting, unforgiving, etc. All of these things test the
humility and authenticity of the seeker or disciple. It is usual for
the guru to demand a specific commitment of time, even money, to ensure that
the disciple persists throughout the training period without giving up.
Destruction of ego controls and the disciple’s efforts to preserve separation
and self-consciousness is extremely painful, and many folks do not make it
through the initial trial period. This is probably one reason that
gurus establish ashrams where seekers can live and study without distractions
from the outside world. The two most painful and productive years of
my life were spent in an ashram, and I came out of it as an entirely different
The Divine Guru
The Real Guru, however, is the Divine One. And It has Its own forms
of manifestation. Spirit, for whom this series is named, is one
of those. As near as I can tell, It is the spirit of Love in the universe.
It has no body, gender, nor personality. And It communicates with me
internally through words and meanings that come into my mind. On the
other hand, Michael is an angel, and he has a personality and gender, but
no body except that of Light. His presence is more evident, nearly
embodied but not quite, and his communications are like those of Spirit.
I also “hear” him intuitively in such things as guidance in the real world.
Both of these entities are teachers, and I engage in regular dialogues with
both of them.
Hamsa is another form of the guru that is often represented by a swan which
indicates purity. It is called the luminous energy of Parabindu in
its aspect as Nirvana Shakti. Parama-Shiva shines with it. So
Hamsa is a source of Light in the Divine domain.
Hamsa is formed by the Visarga and Ham of the A-Ka-Tha traingle. The
Visarga, you may recall, is formed by the two bindus in the upper corners
of the triangle. The Ham is the bindu in the lower angle. Hamsa
represents the union of male and female, Purusa and Prakrti. Together
they constitute Parama-Hamsa who is said to be the Antaratma or inner Spirit,
and It manifests as formless consciousness in the Brahmarandhra. Associated
with the sun, Hamsa dispels darkness, nescience and delusion.
The two letter that form the name “Hamsa” are chanted or breathed as a mantra.
“Ham’Sah” means “I am He”, and “So’Ham” (“So” is the articulation of “sah”)
means “I am She.” These are two of the Guru mantras.
Sit for meditation and begin to watch your breathing. As you breathe
in, think, say or whisper “So,” and as you breathe out, think, say or whisper
“Ham.” Continue until you slip into samadhi. Journal the results.
Beyond this, we have the Absolute in all its many variations, most of which
we have already met in other contexts: What Is, SatCitAnanda, Dynamic Ground,
Dharmakaya, Tathagata, Primordial State, Ultimate Reality, Parama-Shiva,
Paramatman, God, The Eye, The Smile, Rig Pa, Beingness, Pure Subjectivity,
Cosmic Consciousness, Antaratma, Sarvatma, I am That, and so on. All
of these are different titles for the same Divine One. Each tradition
has its own way of conceptualizing that fits the needs of its followers.
But we need to go beyond mere titles to the essence of What Is.
The One is formless, radiant, luminous, pure subjective Presence.
It contains within Itself all that is or has been created as well as everything
that has not been created. It is all that is. There is nothing
outside of It. We say It is conscious, but It is not identified with
consciousness. Nor is it Mind though It probably has a Mind or at least
the potential for it. It is not Life though the potential for life
is within It. Because our minds are finite, we cannot imagine what
the Divine One is. But we can speculate that, since nothing exists
outside of It, we must be a part of It. Swami Radha was fond of saying
that “we are cells in the body of God.”
The Sat-Cakra-Nirupana and Paduka-Pancaka (Woodroffe, 1973) places
the Guru above the Candra-mandala seated on the Hamsapitha (place of the
Hamsa) with His feet on the altar. This is a curious bit of symbolism.
Let us try to unravel it. First of all, feet support the body.
So having them on the altar could mean that the things that support my life
are dedicated to the Divine One. Then we find that the two feet of
the Guru are called Tat and Twam (as in Tat Twam Asi). So the fact
that I am That is what supports my life. Furthermore, I must
dedicate that insight to the Divine One and whatever It wants me to do with
my life because that, too, belongs to It. Then we see that disciples
worship their guru’s feet and often will put the guru’s sandals on their
heads when seeking darshan as if their heads were an altar. Note that
the washing of Jesus’ feet in the New Testament means the same thing.
Muktananda’s guru gave him his sandals as a token of his initiation.
This can only mean that the disciple is meant to walk in the guru’s footsteps.
Meditation and Worship
Muktananda (1978) says you receive what you meditate on and also that you
become what you meditate on (Part II, ch 3). Patanjali has outlined
all of the stages of meditation in his Sutras (cf. Taimni, 1975), so I won’t
reiterate them here. However, the final stage of meditation is Dharma Megha Samadhi. It rests upon the attainment of Kaivalya.
This last stage of meditation culminates in identity with the One, who is called Purusa
by Patanjali (Taimni, 1975). Purusa is identified as the eternal, changeless,
Witness Consciousness. Patanjali’s idea is that the One forgets itself
in the process of incarnation, so it is the job of the individual soul (purusa
with a little “p”) to find its way back Home. That is why enlightenment
is called Self-realization. Meditation is the method and its success
rests upon two attainments: Viveka or discrimination, and Vairagya
or detachment. Both of these we have met before in other forms, but
now we are dealing with them at much higher levels because the seeker is
now conscious at the Atmic level and may be enjoying a lot of bliss and/or
siddhis. Transcendence of this plane is going to mean destruction of
the core of separate existence. Whether to allow that is the crisis
of the Visnu Vakta. Beyond Atma (analogous to the Supreme Bindu in
this work) is a higher, subtler kind of individuality, but the traveler must
take that on faith because the only way to find out is to let go of his or
her own personal identity.
Viveka, here, means a constant awareness of (Ultimate) Reality because
a lapse in it results in a return to pratyaya or the contents of consciousness.
Here, I can see why people go to caves or ashrams for contemplation and absorption,
for how could you function in the world in a constant state of Asamprajnata
Samadhi? Viveka is a critical phase of this exercise in discrimination
because consciousness is hovering between two vehicles of awareness: the
ordinary and the transcendental.
Vairagya means a mental renunciation of the high state of illumination
and bliss of the Atmic plane in favor of something better: a return to original
identity. This requires detachment on the highest level of experience.
Nirbija samadhi is a transitional state in which consciousness is trying
to free itself from the last veil of illusion in order to emerge into the
Light of Reality itself.
Dharma Megha Samadhi is the final phase of onepointedness in which
the seeker is disinterested even in omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence.
Dharma, in this context means a characteristic or property of something.
Megha is the cloudy, misty condition of consciousness in the critical state
of asamprajnata samadhi when there is nothing in the field of consciousness.
This condition burns up the seeds of samskaras and opens the gate to the
World of Reality leading to Purusa. This world is presumed to be a
world of Light.
The consequent liberation is called Kaivalya which means aloofness,
aloneness and isolation. It is complete detachment from soul transmigration
because all karma is destroyed. Hence, one is aloof from primal
nature (Prakrti) and all its transformations. In the purity of the
non-karmic individual there is isolation. There is no pain nor any
pleasure since one is now beyond ego and little mind. The seeker is
alone because there is only One of us. It is your choice, of course,
whether to go there. It is possible to remain in the bliss of Atma,
but the seeds of karma that have not been neutralized will then require another
Read, or reread Section IV in The Science of Yoga by Taimni (1975).
This translation of Patanjali’s Sutras is the best, I think, because the
commentary is so clear and relevant to a modern seeker’s journey. In
addition to what is summarized above, this section also deals with the mind
and how it interacts with consciousness. You will find it a good reference
to help you integrate all the data on this plane. Make notes in your
“There is nothing in the world but you” (Muktananda, 1978, p. 203).
We have now come full cycle. Out of the One Being is projected
the whole universe of names and forms, but they are still contained within
the Creator. The spiritual journey is an individual’s mission to recover
conscious awareness of our original identity as the One. When
we recognize that we are the Divine One, Tat Twam Asi, we have achieved a
state of Purnahanta. This is a state of completeness in which we recognize
that we are perfect just as we are because we are part of the divine energy
that makes up all of creation.
Within us, we have a sense of self-existence that persists throughout life.
There is something inside each of us that feels the same from our first memories
to the present. We call that the soul or the Witness Self. It
is our Divine spark, our uniqueness in incarnation. Muktananda says that
you are the soul of the universe; therefore, you are perfect. Norbu
(1996) would agree with the perfection idea. He says there is nothing
to do but accept that knowledge.
Soul is the feeling of the universe, the ability to feel. Roberts (1985)
agrees. She says that identity with God ends the contemplative life
and begins a new life in which we identify with existence or What Is, and
only doing in the present moment is possible because “outside the One, nothing
is” (p. 204). The unknowable nothing is God. There is an otherworldly,
existential feeling about these descriptions mainly because they refer to
experiences that have been suppressed in our awareness since early childhood.
However, when we are able to remove all the encrustations that cover the
Divine Light within us, it shines in all its pristine glory.
My consciousness is God’s Consciousness. Therefore, my consciousness is the God within or within whom I live and love and have my being.
There is a thread of focus that runs throughout all these sources of information
about the soul’s journey to the Light, and that is Intention. Most
of the books you have been reading in this section indicate that working
with intention (or will) is important to changing our lives. To gain
control over the mind and energies that serve the Being in charge, whether
we are talking about the One or just ourselves, we need to learn how to go
beyond the dualities and other obstacles that keep us separate from the experiential
knowledge of who we really are. It is one thing to talk about it; but,
in the end, that is just chatter unless we can actually put it into practice.
This is why the sages tell us that the mind is an obstacle. Constant
thinking and talking about the whole thing can just be a resistance to surrender.
I have that feeling sometimes about these books. But my hope is that,
by understanding how the system works, we may find it easier to let go into
the unknown. Free will or choice is always there. Mastery enables
us to surrender.
A note about Ruiz. You may be wondering why he figures so prominently
in this unit. It is because, in spite of his different cultural context,
his work rings with truth. It speaks to my own experience and addresses
many questions I have had about the journey that were not answered by the
other traditions. He stands on the threshold of both Ultimate Reality
and Relative Reality like the mind/mirror and seems to be equally comfortable
in both. Furthermore, he makes the Ultimate Reality feel accessible
without sparing us the truth about suffering and death.
One of the more interesting outcomes of accepting our divine identity is
called exchange. It is the ability to put oneself literally into the
being of another person. I first experienced it in classes I was giving
at House of Spirit in Colorado. We began classes with the Divine Light
Invocation and a prayer that asked the Divine One to be present and to use
me as a channel for Its teaching. In consequence, I often experienced
a concentration so profound that I could see nothing in my peripheral vision.
I knew every detail of what the student was thinking at the moment.
And, even when I thought I knew nothing to say in response to what was happening,
there would come a voice saying just the right thing. It came out of
my mouth, but often it contained information I did not previously know.
Buddhists say that attainment of Bodhicitta is a requirement for this exchange.
The Dalai Lama (Gatyso, 2005, p. 139) defines Bodhicitta as an altruistic
intention to attain Buddhahood for the sake of all beings. [You might
want to read chapter 12 in his book for more details.] If it is true
that we are all One, then what you do for another, you are doing for yourself
and all the rest of the world. “Do unto others what you would have
them do unto you,” said Jesus. This is our mandate after resurrection
into the Light. Henceforth, everywhere you go there is the Divine One.
As Spirit said to me once, “Everyone in front of you is your work.”
The most appealing thing about Dzogchen Buddhism is the teaching that we
are already perfect and all we have to do is accept our primordial state.
Rather than tell you what it is about, I will let you read Norbu’s book.
Exercise: The Dzogchen Path
Read the rest of Norbu’s book, Dzogchen: The Self-perfected State.
Then take some time to journal your thoughts about it. After that,
it would be very useful for you to try to write a summary of the main ideas
in this unit and what parts of it you want to remember. Include which
practices were helpful as well.
If I had to summon one ground rule for the journey, it would be Surrender.
This means surrender of control, or attempted control, over your own reality
(which is not really yours except in your Ultimate identification).
It also means surrender of ego, intellect, individual identity, all attachments
to people, things and non-things, ideas, hopes, dreams, opinions, assumptions, expectations
and all else that covers over your Self-knowledge as a Divine Being.
The method is meditation. Some things you might use for a focus
of concentration are egolessness, impermanence, groundlessness, consciousness,
the Void, Love, Light, Life, and the 4th chakra.
Work with mantras. The Guru mantra is Aim. This is the Sanskrit figure in the
center of the Sahasrara padma diagram. The “ai” is pronounced
like the “ai” in aisle, so you will be chanting “I’m.” Appropriate,
is it not? The Guru in this case is the Divine One. So Aim will
remind you of who you are.
Sit for meditation and prepare to chant. If you like, you can use an
instrument to fiddle with the mantra until you discover a sound or melody
that feels right to you. Then chant or hum it until you slip
into samadhi. Remember that frequencies tune the bodymind, so choose
those that move you in the right direction.
Dissolve all things into Cidatma. In The Serpent Power
(Woodroffe, 1973) there is a detailed description of how to begin with the
first chakra and systematically dissolve everything until you reach the “house
without support” which leads to dissolution.
Om Ah Hūm is a mantra that can be found in Tibetan Mysticism (Govinda, 1982). It makes a cycle around the body ending at the heart center.
Hūm Hamsah can be found in The Serpent Power (Woodroffe, 1973, p. 457)
Om Mani Padme Hūm is a Buddhist mantra found in Tibetan Mysticism (Govinda, 1982). It may be sung or chanted (see Unit VI in this book for music).
Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi, svaha is another Buddhist mantra which can be found in Essence of the Heart Sutra (Gyatso, 2005, p 130-1). This means “Go, go, go beyond, go totally beyond, be rooted in the ground of enlightment.”
Gayatri is an ancient mantra from the Rig-Veda (III: 62, 10)
which can be sung. You will find it in songbooks, on tapes and CDs
and textbooks. It is a call for illumination. Text and translation
can be found in Tyborg (1970, p. 24).
Tapes and CDs of other mantras and chants can be found in any bookstore associated
with a spiritual center and on the Internet. Sounds True is a mail
order business that specializes in spiritual music, [www.soundstrue.com].
Finally, probably the most important thing to do if you are approaching this
final transition is to find some support and guidance from a teacher
who knows what it is like. Ashrams and monasteries would be your best
bet. Those with eastern backgrounds, lineages, and traditions will
be most useful. Lineage is important since much of the information you need
is secret and transmitted through oral teachings. Also, lineage gives
you more assurance that the teachings and transmissions are authentic.
Yoga and Buddhism are the two traditions with which I am most familiar, but
there are others. So you should be able to find a compatible one.
You need a place where folks will not get upset if you go into intensive
samadhi and who are prepared to take care of you if necessary. It is
possible to do it alone, of course. And, in any case, your journey
at this level is solitary. Roberts made the trip while she was raising
four children, but I do not recommend that. She had some horrendous
experiences, and you have no way of knowing what trials you will encounter
on the way. Swami Radha repeatedly said that if we do the necessary
purification, there is less chance of trauma. This is exactly why this
series of guidebooks is so extensive. It is meant to take you through
the processes deliberately and safely.
This concludes Unit IX. Candra-mandala. Unit X. Descent
deals with a return to the world after enlightenment which is based on Shakti’s
descent to the heart center after her reunion with Shiva.
Almaas, A. H. (1990). The pearl beyond price: Integration of personality into Being: An object relations approach. Berkeley: Diamond Books.
Barnstone, W. (Ed.) (1984). The other Bible. San Francisco: Harper & Row.
Govinda, L. A. (1982). Foundations of Tibetan mysticism: According to the esoteric teachings of the Great Mantra Om Mani padme Hūm. York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser.
Gyatso, T. (2005). Essence of the Heart Sutra: The Dalai Lama’s heart of wisdom teachings. Boston: Wisdom Publications.
Iyer, R. (Ed.) (1983). The Gospel according to Thomas: With complementary texts. New York: Concord Grove Press.
McTaggart, L. (2002). The Field: The quest for the secret force of the universe. New York: HarperCollins.
McTaggart, L. (2007). The intention experiment: Using your thoughts to change your life and the world. New York: Free Press.
Muktananda, Sw. (1978). Play of consciousness (Chitshakti Vilas). San Francisco: Harper & Row.
Nelson, M. C. (Recorder) (1997). Beyond fear: A Toltec guide to freedom and joy: The teachings of Don Miguel Ruiz. San Francisco: Council Oaks Books.
Norbu, C. N. (1996). Dzogchen: The self-perfected state. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications.
Roberts, B. (1985). The experience of no-self: A contemplative journey. Boston: Shambhala.
Satchidananda, Sri Sw. (1979). Guru and disciple. Pomfret Center, CT: Integral Yoga Publications. [ or try Satchidananda Ashram – Yogaville, Buckingham, VA 804-969-3121]
Taimni, I. K. ( 1975). The science of Yoga: The Yoga-Sutras of Patanjali
in Sanskrit with transliteration in Roman, translation in English and commentary. Wheaton, IL: The Theosophical Publishing House.
Tyberg, J. M. (1970). The language of the gods: Sanskrit keys to India’s wisdom. Los Angeles: East-West Cultural Centre.
Woodroffe, Sir J. (1973). The serpent power: Being the Sat-Cakra-Nirūpana
and Pādukā-Pañcaka: Two works
on Laya-Yoga translated from the Sanskrit with introduction and commentary. Hollywood: Vedanta Press.
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