Self-Emancipation

by Raghavan Iyer @ Theosophy Trust


SELF-EMANCIPATION


BUDDHI YOGA

Every form on earth, and every speck (atom) in Space strives in its efforts towards self-formulation to follow the model placed for it in the "HEAVENLY MAN."

The Secret Doctrine, i 183

 Monadic evolution aims initially at establishing individuated centres of human self-consciousness. Once millions upon millions of these have emerged under natural law, the distinctive purpose of human evolution thereafter is to arouse and activate universal self-consciousness through a series of progressive awakenings. The Monad "in its absolute totality and awakened condition" as "the culmination of the divine incarnations on earth" represents a critical state which will be fully perfected at the end of the Seventh Round by the whole of humanity, under the common cosmic laws of growth and retardation. In this long process there are many casualties and tragedies, but there are also shining examples of truly heroic, Promethean self-emancipation by moral geniuses. Having sunk into the depths of matter, such exemplars have pulled themselves up by self-effort and emerged through creative suffering into exalted states of enlightened consciousness, through which they could keep pace with the Avataric Saviours and Teachers of the entire human race. At all times the spiritual vanguard at the forefront of human evolution points towards the noetic possibilities of human life and architectonic perfection in spiritual consciousness. Every creative advance in monadic evolution depends upon the critical range and potent fullness of self-consciousness. Through its depth of perception in reference to the world, it impels a natural movement towards the Heavenly Man, the Divine Prototype, the Daimon of the immortal Self in every human being. By withdrawal from the selfish clutches of the grosser vestures and the demoniac tendencies, the human Monad reascends through Buddhi Yoga to the state of transcendental union with its parent Self, the universal Ishwara, the Logos in the cosmos and the God in man.

 The degrees of differentiation in the Monadic Host below the human kingdom, as well as the distinctive marks of the human Monad, are conveyed by H.P.Blavatsky in a critical series of propositions which commences with a reference to the earliest period in the ethereal formation of the earth chain:

 The Monadic Host may be roughly divided into three great classes: –
 1. The most developed Monads (the Lunar Gods or "Spirits," called, in India, the Pitris), whose function it is to pass in the first Round through the whole triple cycle of the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms in their most ethereal, filmy, and rudimentary forms, in order to clothe themselves in, and assimilate, the nature of the newly formed chain.

The Secret Doctrine, i 174

 These Monads come over progressively from the previous lunar chain in a series of stages in order to animate all the nascent forms in the coalescing matrix of the earth chain. These lunar forms, extremely subtle and refined in the First Round, incipiently belong from the first to the seven different kingdoms. Then come "those Monads that are the first to reach the human stage during the three and a half Rounds". This great descent of the Monadic Host does not take place all at once, but over immense cycles of manvantaric time, and according to the innate characteristics of these Monads, reflecting an inherent sevenfold division. Owing to the degrees of development that have already taken place, all human Monads roughly fall into seven classes connected with the seven cosmic hierarchies, the seven planets and other sets of seven in nature. They come therefore in a certain order, and those Monads that are the first to reach the human stage during the three and a half Rounds become Men, or attain to self-consciousness, by the middle of the Fourth Round. These constitute most of Humanity.

 The key to the internal continuity of this entire process, linking together these various stages and phases on diverse planes and globes, is given in the ideational power of the Monad, manifesting as self-conscious intelligence:

 The MONAD emerges from its state of spiritual and intellectual unconsciousness; and, skipping the first two planes – too near the ABSOLUTE to permit of any correlation with anything on a lower plane – it gets direct into the plane of Mentality. But there is no plane in the whole universe with a wider margin, or a wider field of action m its almost endless gradations of perceptive and apperceptive qualities, than this plane.

The Secret Doctrine, i 175

 The term "mentality" is used here to indicate Manas or self-consciousness, and has little or nothing to do with what is normally called mind or brain-power. Manasic beings function on a plane of consciousness saturated with inexhaustible possibilities for mental creation acting through ideal projections, pictures and images. Through this power, or rather through its truncated specialization on the plane of incarnation, all human beings, most of the time unconsciously and ignorantly, are constantly creating affinities with different classes of living centres of energy. Since there is no intrinsic difference between Spirit and Matter, but only an extrinsic difference of degree, the two are inseparable, and one can neither find ideation without substance nor energy without form. This continual coalescence or interaction of energy and form, of ideation and substance, is a pervasive principle in this dynamic universe of ceaseless change and has an intimate bearing upon the whole course of human evolution. Not only do human beings experience alterations of state in the brain-mind and modifications of the vestures at every moment, but correlative changes are also experienced at the level of cohesion in the mineral kingdom, and at the level of instinct in the animal kingdom. In the human kingdom these interrelated changes encompass emotion and feeling in the realm of "affect", the sense of comparison and contrast, identification and differentiation, in the realm of intellectual awareness, as well as the power of noetic discrimination in recognizing subtle nuances of meaning and in the continual interplay of light and darkness.

 These evolutionary processes on the plane of mentality produce the human sense-organs, which are perfected through imaginative precision. Indeed, they must be contemplated calmly and carefully, as without proper mental attention they will remain under-utilized. Most persons are barely able to tap all that is possible even within the entire range of the seven sense-powers. Most people barely hear, barely see, barely touch, barely taste and barely smell, much less activate higher sense-powers. As an obvious example, anyone who develops a refined ability to differentiate the most subtle fragrances will regard the ordinary sense of smell as extremely crude. This would be true not only in regard to herbs or perfumes, but especially in regard to the familiar experience of cooking. It is quite possible to develop and refine the capacity to recognize the invisible essences underlying what seems to be physical food, and to be directly aware of the myriad effects of different combinations of spiritual essences upon the sevenfold human constitution, with its latent forty-nine fires. Such sensory refinement has to do with wise magnetic attunement, and vitally affects the vestures in both their constitution and composition. The alchemical process of distilling the combinations and correlations of essences in each of the invisible vestures proceeds through etherealization which must necessarily work through the Spiritual Will.

 The Spiritual Will alone is constantly able to alchemize, renovate and refine the life-atoms of the vestures, increasing their lightness and porosity to Divine Light. When the vestures are suffused by that Light, it becomes possible to think, feel, act, breathe, smell, taste, touch, see and hear benevolently. One is enabled to employ Divine Wisdom as a science governing every relationship to the atoms that one touches and blesses. The process of refinement involves the full and vast range of Monads that have passed collectively through the various kingdoms at different levels, coming down from the most ethereal in the early Rounds to the existing fourth stage with its kaleidoscopic variety of alternative opportunities for apperceptive and perceptive consciousness. Passing this mid-point, the cycle of monadic evolution moves upwards again to that plane which was in the beginning a state of spiritual, and intellectual unconsciousness for the Monads, but which must become the plane of universal self-consciousness for perfected Monads by the end of the Seventh Round.

 Behind and beyond all these changes of state and form there remains, unchanging and intact, one and the same Monad. It is an inward centre of light which does not participate in all the many alterations that affect the vestures. To put it differently, there must be beyond all the material vestures the perpetual motion of the Atman, which is the indwelling noumenal and invisible core of every Monad. Those who regularly meditate derive much benefit from the instruction of the Catechism of the Gupta Vidya, which teaches one to draw inwards in consciousness to an inmost noumenal centre or point, which then immediately becomes a point in a line, a point in a cross, and finally the central point in relation to all possible forms. By entering into the Divine Darkness of pure abstraction, by becoming a Point without extension and receding behind all the planes of differentiation, one removes all awareness of forms and all evidence that there are many Monads. In the absence of manifest light, one experiences a deeper sense of the unity of all Monads and fundamentally destroys the all-pervasive illusion that there are many different beings separate from each other, sitting or moving in their separate bodies. Krishna teaches that the Eye of Wisdom has the intrinsic capacity to distinguish Spirit itself from a world of diverse objects and ultimately destroys the persisting illusion of manifold objects. When noetic consciousness has majestically risen above separations of objects and forms, it now experiences the world differently, omnidimensionally and in depth, entering the noumenal realm of what is unmanifest on the illusory plane of contrasts, beyond which there is the homogeneous plane of radiant matter, which lends luminosity to the subtlest vestures of the immortal Soul. This elevation of consciousness to a laya point is an experiment through which one can visualize at a preliminary level the plenitude of the field of noetic ideation, but it may be taken even further and simultaneously applied to all classes of human beings throughout the earth. This requires the progressive deepening of one's perception through intense meditation, so that over a period of time one may gain a greater sense of the noumenal depths of life-energy, and the magical properties of the Alkahest, the universal solvent.

 The Monad, which is essentially ever the same, participates through the various vestures in succeeding cycles of partial or total obscuration of Spirit or of Matter. Everything occurring in daily life could be seen entirely in terms of the continuous ascent or descent from the One, or in terms of obscuration and illumination, but these could pertain either to Matter or to Spirit. Once one has grasped this philosophical and metaphysical basis for comprehending the complex scheme of monadic life and transformation, one can reckon with the fact that there are seven kingdoms of Monads:

 The first group comprises three degrees of elementals, or nascent centres of forces – from the first stage of differentiation of (from) Mulaprakriti (or rather Pradhana, primordial homogeneous matter) to its third degree – i.e., from full unconsciousness to semi-perception; the second or higher group embraces the kingdoms from vegetable to man; the mineral kingdom thus forming the central or turning point in the degrees of the "Monadic Essence," considered as an evoluting energy. Three stages (sub-physical) on the elemental side; the mineral kingdom; three stages on the objective physical side – these are the (first or preliminary) seven links of the evolutionary chain.

The Secret Doctrine, i 176

Between the three elemental kingdoms on the subjective side and the vegetable, animal and human kingdoms on the objective side, lies the mineral kingdom. Poised in the fourth, or balance position, the Mineral Monad becomes crucially important. Indeed, one cannot understand either Evolution or Magic without apprehending the process of immetalization through which the abstract Monas reaches a maximum of condensation in the mineral kingdom. After this stage there comes a rapid dispersion, a continuous loosening up, which then produces the three kingdoms on the ascending arc. Viewed in one way, there is "a descent of spirit into matter equivalent to an ascent in physical evolution".

 The more Spirit descends into Matter, the more there is conscious evolution on the physical plane. This is part of the cosmic sacrifice, because the bringing down of Spirit into Matter enables the latter at a greater level of density to evolve further and thus be quickened by noetic intelligence. If, for example, one handles with natural reverence and spiritual wakefulness any so-called object, which may seem to be a book, a piece of jade or a wristwatch, but which is actually an aggregate of elementals and life-atoms, then one can wisely instruct and initiate. Those who are truly awake spiritually can take anything, and with selfless love they can quicken latent intelligence, vivifying active awareness and higher self-consciousness. It is not as if there is not much to do in this visible universe. At any given moment one can touch and elevate every sentient point of energy. Looked at in this way, all life becomes extraordinarily meaningful, holding innumerable opportunities to aid monadic life in a re-ascent from the deepest depths of materiality (the mineral) towards its status quo ante".

 Since reascent implies a corresponding dissipation of the concrete organism, it is frightening to most people as it means the renunciation of identification with the sense of being in a body. Hence it is a disadvantage for them to have clocks and calendars. By thinking in terms of the distance or closeness in years to birth or death, and the waste of time since the birth of the body, little indeed is done for the care or tendance of the immortal soul. Seeing this makes many people nervous, but this is to lose the proper perspective. One must see all life in the context of the invisible whole. One cannot reascend consciously without a progressive series of dissipations and a continual breaking up of skandhas accumulated throughout a lifetime. For instance, an emotional person needs to reduce the liabilities of the lower vestures to certain basic patterns of consolidation and break up these unhelpful clusters at their very core. Whence the need to belong? What is this concern to appropriate? Whence the desire for material or psychological security? One must burst the consolidating sources of emotion in order to keep pace with forward Manasic evolution. Humanity is in the Fifth Race of the Fourth Round, the long epoch of Manas, and to be emotional is only to go racially backwards. To catch up with the forward impulse of humanity in the Fifth Race means becoming a self-sufficient being of creative thought and deep meditation, freed from the evanescent impulses of mere emotional reaction.

 In order progressively to dissipate and dissolve the elements by which, through the desire for consolidation, people limit and bind themselves, the persisting root of illusion must be sought in the mind. The mental image of oneself as separate from other human beings, feverishly moving places but periodically depressed if not ascending all the time, is entirely false. Each human being is merely one of myriads of centres of sensation and observation, but while such centres in the lower kingdoms have a certain precision, humans are all too often lazily and inefficiently trying to observe and record on the basis of mayavic conceptions amidst a kind of day-dreamy existence. It is an important and difficult task to cut through this veil of illusion, and this can only be done by coming down from the cosmic to the mundane. First, one must rise upwards to a cosmic perspective and perceive the whole universe from a unitary standpoint. Then one can come down to oneself and one's daily orbit of duties and obligations. Human beings are assuming an impossible task when they attempt the opposite, starting with the lower self and then trying to dispel their root illusions. Only by ascending to the universal and then descending to the particular can one find greater meaning in every atom and every aspect of oneself, as well as every event upon life's journey and the soul's pilgrimage.

 Hermetic wisdom holds that everything in the universe follows analogy, that as it is above, so it is below, and that man is a microcosm of the universe. H.P.Blavatsky expresses this axiom in exact terms which clearly show the critical relevance of the evolution of human mentality to corresponding transformations in the subhuman kingdoms: "That which takes place on the spiritual plane repeats itself on the Cosmic plane. Concretion follows the lines of abstraction; corresponding to the highest must be the lowest; the material to the spiritual." Pointing to the dangers of the anti-intuitive, or below-above approach to the task of liberating consciousness from the bonds of form, she warns: "It would be very misleading to imagine a Monad as a separate Entity trailing its slow way in a distinct path through the lower Kingdoms, and after an incalculable series of transformations flowering into a human being." To think in such a limiting and linear way is to repeat the error of nineteenth century Darwinian speculation, effectually cutting oneself off both from the prospects of emancipation and the possibilities of service to the entire life-stream of evolution – monadic, mental and astral. To think of oneself and a tiny pebble, and to suppose that the pebble or stone is a separate entity which will eventually become an equally separate human being, is essentially false.

 The Monadic Host is a collective host below the human level, working conjointly, by descent of Spirit into Matter, to raise all that which has become differentiated to a higher power of porosity or luminous reflection of intelligence. Until the human stage the indestructible monadic spark of the One Central Fire is only collectively involved in evolution as part of the great Monadic Host. At the human stage it becomes creatively capable by the potent power of self-reflection, Svasamvedana, of being able to consider itself as an object of its own thought and imagination. This is an extraordinary power, denied to the animal, which the human being has, the sacred gift of visualization. Thought is an essentially divine power belonging to human beings, and when exercised properly it can become an irresistibly potent agent of transformation in human nature and Nature in general. The collective Monadic Host in its descent is only a vast collection of creative centres because the atom "is not a particle of something, animated by a psychic something, destined after aeons to blossom as a man. But it is a concrete manifestation of the Universal Energy which itself has not yet become individualized." The human Monad is that same universal energy, not separate in any way, but individuated.

 Many of the problems that arise in trying to understand this process are due to thinking in terms of terrene rather than aquatic analogies. When one thinks of the ocean, it is clear that there is no less differentiation there than on the earth. But the untutored and ungoverned senses are practised liars. Hence there is a profound need for true science. Occultism begins in the recognition that raw sense-perceptions not only tell nothing, but are actually poor reporters of inaccurate information. They falsely convey an impression that there are myriad separate things "out there". This is why people who close their eyes and begin to meditate work hard from early on to destroy this delusion. It is sometimes held that this misconception is strong in human life because of the deception of language and the actual activities of naming and particularization, but these themselves arise merely from a prior consolidation in consciousness of one's image as a separate being. These psychological differentiations exist only as incomplete reflections.

 In essence, there is no differentiation. All drops in the ocean are within one great collective being, and the moment one speaks of "drops", this is only in relation to some water taken out of the ocean and put in a jar. These are ephemeral "drops". What applies to the ocean also applies to the earth and everything else, contrary to what the casual eye reports. To understand this truly at its root requires the return, through the power of abstract meditation, to the noumenal source of consciousness, and then smoothly descending in concentrated thought. One thus takes hold of a single torch in the darkness, lighting it up, and through it one may light up other receptive beings. In a sense this is mayavic because all Monads are exactly the same, whether manifest or not, whether illuminated or in darkness. Yet, to recover a sense of true being independently of what has happened in the external fields of sensory contrast, material disaggregation, seeming cohesion and dispersion, and mayavic manifestation, is to recover a noetic sense of the entire ocean and its invisible, unfathomable depths. Then, as a Manasa, one may readily appreciate the depth of responsibility implied by the statement that "The ocean (of matter) does not divide into its potential and constituent drops until the sweep of the life-impulse reaches the evolutionary stage of man-birth."

 The seemingly unbridgeable gap between the human and the other Monads is no more than the deceptive difference between the drop within the ocean and the drop outside the ocean. The teleological significance of the drop having been taken out of the ocean is that the cosmic power of that Monad, consciously to mirror the whole, is greater when it is locked into a certain vesture, the boundaries of which it must burst by the power of meditation. There is a deep meaning to the Orphic saying, quoted by Plato and Socrates, that the human body is like a tomb. The body is a temple, potentially, but in practice it is a tomb in which there is a confinement of the human Monad. Like a bird that is only freed from its cage at night, the Monad is ordinarily free only during deep sleep. Waking life is a kind of pralayic death to the immortal soul, and deep sleep, which is a temporary state of death or amnesia for the brain-mind, is truly regeneration and the elixir of life for the immortal soul. The soul is locked up and cannot come into its own except in deep sleep because its jailer, the brain-mind or personal ray, has assumed a parasitic false identity. Like a monkey or an automaton, it obscures the light which can only be gestated in silence. The personal ray is addicted to manifestation: the greater its desire to manifest, the longer and intenser the imprisonment of the immortal soul. From this, all the ascetic rules logically follow. The deeper the desire for meditation and calmness, for drawing within, and for self-forgetfulness in a state of active wakefulness to the noumenal realm of universal unity and life, the richer the possibilities for release of the spark of Buddhi-Manas from the Atman (the divine flame), and of establishing the still centre of one's inmost being, thus regaining the sovereign throne which has been usurped by kama manas.

 If kama manas were an entity on its own, it could not ever displace itself. But kama manas is like an unruly child, an uproarious upstart in relation to Manas, a pathetic cheat that has stolen the light of self-consciousness and appropriated it on behalf of name and form. It did not mean to do all of this, but it caught the habit in the company of other people doing the same thing. During what is called "growing up", it became inextricably involved in the extraordinary exaggeration that there are different and competing actors out there. Then, through compulsive consolidation of the personal consciousness, this became a dangerous habit. The child is bewildered when it first goes to school because it is expected increasingly to identify itself with something external. It may have already been given much aid in separativeness at home, especially where there were other children from which to differentiate itself. This banal phenomenon is somewhat unavoidable, but it is a spiritual hindrance to the incarnation of the immortal soul. Hence the importance of being able repeatedly to recollect, in a Platonic sense, one's true awareness of who one is as an "I am I", an invisible centre of divine light-energy, essentially independent of all external impressions, conceptions, perceptions and forms. The mystical ability to release the potency and will of the indwelling Monad in waking life is the defining mark of spiritual wakefulness. When one sees rays of light, not forms, and when one sees oneself only as a ray of light and never as a form, then the human Monad begins to become progressively self-conscious in waking life. A truly self-conscious being in the midst of people who are not self-conscious can, while maintaining total silence, have an alchemical effect upon other people. At a minimum, they will be more apologetic rather than boastful about being bound up with the sensorium. If one maintains inward continuity of spiritual wakefulness, one can be a potent force for lighting up latent self-consciousness and giving spiritual life to all other beings.

 This sacred privilege, exemplified by all the Avatars, is the fruition of the life-giving power of the perfected Monad. "As the Monads are uncompounded things...it is the spiritual essence which vivifies them in their degree of differentiation." There is that golden germ in the immortal Monad which vivifies even while it differentiates. The power to give life is always derived from the higher principles, which is why science will never be able to fabricate a living being through genetic manipulation. The divine power to give life derives entirely from the spiritual essence of the highest principles in the cosmos and in Man,

which properly constitutes the Monad – not the atomic aggregation, which is only the vehicle and the substance through which thrill the lower and the higher degrees of intelligence.
 Leibnitz conceived of the Monads as elementary and indestructible units endowed with the power of giving and receiving with respect to other units, and thus of determining all spiritual and physical phenomena.
 It may be wrong on strictly metaphysical lines to call Atma-Buddhi a MONAD, since in the materialistic view it is dual and therefore compound.

The Secret Doctrine, i 179

 One should not imagine rigid Aristotelian rifts between Buddhi and Manas, between Atman and Buddhi, or between Atman and Buddhi-Manas. These are really the three hypostases or aspects of one abstract reality. All the human principles should be seen as specializations of a supreme principle, different kinds of lenses through which one central light can be focussed at varying degrees of differentiation. This fundamental fact is itself the enduring basis of analogy and correspondence in nature, and hence of the myriad opportunities people have, with the help of simple analogies, to recognize how the same light is focussed in different ways in all beings. But all seekers must apply these sacred analogies to themselves through the practice of Buddhi Yoga. "As Matter is Spirit, and vice versa; and since the Universe and the Deity which informs it are unthinkable apart from each other; so in the case of Atma-Buddhi." One cannot think of light in the human constitution apart from the Light of the Logos in the cosmos and the Divine Darkness beyond. And if one thinks of the Light of the Logos, the noumenal light within Mulaprakriti, the Ishwara and the Paramatman, then one will readily salute the inward light in Buddhi-Manas, in every human being. Everything at any given degree of differentiation is simply a specialization of a higher principle manifesting through the matrix of a different lens or focussing medium. To realize this fully is irreversibly to alter one's way of looking at the world and oneself.

 Darkness from the standpoint of the sense-organs is metaphysically closer to Light, and primordial Light is permanently hidden within the Divine Darkness. Upon entering a condition of visual darkness, by analogy and correspondence one may experience resonances of a deeper state of spiritual darkness wherein meditation upon Non-Being results in an ineffable experience of primordial Light. Since all nature can be understood in terms of analogy and correspondence, everything on the physical plane is not only isomorphic, but also isodynamic with something on a higher plane. On the physical plane artificial light generates an illusory kaleidoscopic world, in contrast with which the darkness of abstraction is closer to the noumenal; so with the noetic mind that meditates. But mere exposure to the evocative power of physical darkness will not alter the ephemeral mental conceptions of human beings. This is why most people, though they go daily into deep sleep and come closer to the ideographic language of the immortal Soul, find that it avails them naught the next day. They have little basis for believing during the day that only the previous night they entered into their ancestral kingdom of Divine Light. There are blockages in bringing back the noumenal light of true knowledge gained in deep sleep through the chaos of swapna, the chaos of fascination with form, mostly arising through ignorant fear and wishful thinking.

 So long as there is in human beings a compressed, congested view of the separative self conceived in terms of innate deficiency, such blockages will persist. They derive from millennia of mutilation of the nimbus of human beings and have to do with causal factors connected with the misuse of magic, with creedal religion and exploitative social structures, but also with the persistent if pathetic refusal of many persons to accept fully their own responsibility and consequent karma. There is a stark alienation between human beings and their myriad opportunities for good in each life because as they learnt language, like Caliban in The Tempest, they learnt faster to curse than to bless. The recent story of humanity is a complicated and sometimes sordid tale of base ingratitude arising from fear and guilt, owing to many golden opportunities being misused through the failure to share them with others. Humanity thereby engendered certain ingrained patterns, so that the fresh opportunities given frequently in deep sleep or at certain waking moments will not make a lasting difference unless there is a calm and careful recognition of the diverse modes of karmic bondage.

 Put simply, two distinct requirements must be fulfilled: first, one has to get beyond oneself, going in consciousness to the core of what is common, cosmic and transcendent until one can come down and be wide awake in the world of particularities and contrasts, the arena of illusion, ignorance and delusion; secondly, one must also acknowledge in detail, at least unto oneself, one's persisting delusions, because if one looks for commonality at the expense of fruitful diversity, one evades one's ethical responsibility. If one is unduly caught up in the world, one is running away from the One Light, but if one vainly tries to grab instantly the light of spiritual will, one is running away from past karma. Therefore one has to recognize frankly that every moment is a precious opportunity to learn, that everything which comes in life is really one's guru in disguise. At every moment of each day, the stream of life is rushing in to teach the soul if it is willing to learn. If one takes proper advantage of these golden opportunities, one can clean and polish the lenses of the vestures. By working upon one s different vestures in deep meditation several times a day, and also by going beyond them during deep sleep, a point will come at which one is refining them deftly from both ends rather like a person who is both visualizing a plan for a new arrangement in a room and also cleaning out objects as they are. The one activity need not preclude the other. One can have some time each day to think out a new way of arranging everything, and new ways of thinking. Meanwhile, one can also dust each object as it is, keeping things as neatly as possible within the existing arrangement.

 Applying the analogy to the vestures, one can simultaneously increase slowly the porosity of the grosser vestures to the light while also working through the subtlest vestures to invite the beatific descent of the Divine Light. As the grosser vestures are continually renovated and cleaned, and as the subtlest vestures experience through meditation the infusion of noumenal light, a point comes at which the two processes can be brought together, realigning all the vestures from a fresh standpoint. This process must be renewed and repeated again and again. The search for the spiritual is really hard work, and while it is good that so many people have rebelled against a social structure which was using labour as a means of confinement to a narrow bourgeois conception of the world, the deeper purpose of this widespread and anomie rebellion was not to encourage indolence and indiscipline. Work and discipline can be done in an Aquarian mode, as a form of silent worship and spontaneous sacrifice, flowing forth from a selfless motive to be of true service to humanity and to elevate human and global consciousness, thus furthering the noble impulse of monadic evolution.

Light on the Path teaches "Kill out ambition.... Work as those work who are ambitious." Taken up in isolation, this is indeed difficult, but where it is done on behalf of the whole, without concern for any rewards to one's precarious self-image, it is much easier. This does not mean that there is no longer any ambition whatsoever. The diseases of the soul are still there to be healed, but where individuals work collectively, there is a quantum jump to a point at which they are less concerned with living a banal life of petty personal ambition. Yet, to work as those work who are ambitious is truly difficult for many weak-willed individuals. To work mainly for a loftier purpose, to generate a tremendous energy but out of a cheerful sense of obligation and as a modest contribution to the whole, even though there is no payoff to the personal ray, is hard for the persona. One must replace lunar emanations by solar energies. The sun does not wax and wane, but ceaselessly emanates light, life and energy so that in and around every human being there is a magnetic field of self-sustaining motions of the Spiritual Will, the Spiritual Heart and the Spiritual Mind. All that waxes and wanes, participating feebly in the vicissitudes of change, is secondary and instrumental. It is ephemeral and relatively unreal when seen from the noetic standpoint of the Spiritual Sun, mirrored in Atma-Buddhi-Manas.

Atma-Buddhi is the invisible sun in man, the Atman being like the invisible disc itself, and Buddhi is its centrifugal light. Manas is the centripetal organ for focussing that light, the seat of pure thought and spiritual will. What is below is like the moon which receives reflected light from the sun. Manas would be rather like Venus, the fixed star in highest heaven, Lucifer-Hesperus. This has nothing to do with the personal mind, which is extremely fickle and volatile, ever-changing and in a constant state of self-obscuration. The ordinary mind has developed into a perverse instrument because it is fiercely gripped within the cruel claws and greedy tentacles of the demon of selfish desire. Kama man as is like a motor-power driving the personal man to a pseudo-life sustained by futile fears of death and the obscure past. Inwardly, these fears stem from the loss of the birth vision. People become vulnerable to plausible but absurd eschatologies because in every human soul there is the sad loss of an earlier vision which can only be recaptured by conscious effort. Until it is sufficiently recovered, one is necessarily subject to a creeping fear of the divine judgement which comes at the moment of death. Yet, there is much truth to what Shakespeare says, that life is but a poor shadow that struts upon the stage for a brief hour, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. For the immortal soul there is little benefit, typically, in most of what is called earthly life. Therefore, the immortal soul must indeed make the most of a few moments of time in daily meditation and deep sleep, so that it may become capable of sustaining its own pure visions of the Good. This does not mean that at other times there is no creative activity, on the subtler planes of non-manifestation, but all this has little to do with the reflected ray. Until its periodic pain becomes the basis of a life of search for meaning, and until it is blended through Buddhi Yoga with the vaster suffering of all humanity, one cannot hope to awaken to the real life of the immortal Monad. When one enters what The Voice of the Silence calls the Path of Woe, then one will eventually come to discover the ineffable ananda of the Divine Light streaming forth from the Divine Darkness, the changeless alpha and omega of monadic life beyond all form, stretching until the farthest shore of formless existence.

The Dewdrop slips into the shining sea.

OM MANI PADME HUM

Hermes, November 1980
by Raghavan Iyer