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Non-Duality and the Soul - Part 2

   ”The ”I” differentiated itself out of the infinite ocean if Mind into a distinct individuality after a long development through the diverse kingdoms of Nature. Having thus arrived at consciousness of what it is, having travelled the spiral of growth from germ to man, the result of all this effort is certainly not to be gained only to be thrown away...If the evoving entity arrived only at its starting point for all its pains, then the whole plan would be a senseless one...It would be a stupendous adventure but also a stupid one. There is something more than that in his movement. Except in the speculations of certain theorists, it simpy does not happen.”

   “The self-consciousness thus developed will not be dissolved, extinguished, or re-absorbed into the Whole again, leaving not a trace behind. Rather it will begin a new spiral of evolution towards higher altitudes of consciousness and diviner levels of being, in which it will co-operate as harmoniously with the universal existence as formerly it collided against it. It will not separate its own good from the general good...Evolution does not return us to the starting point as we were. The ascent is not a circle but a spiral.”

   Soul in the world and the world in the Soul

   PB says that the sage "works for the World-Idea", meaning that his basic identity as an ‘individual’ presence has been universalized, while he also knows his Soul and 'where it comes from'. The higher principle of the Soul is the Nous or World-Mind, which projects the World-Idea, which takes many forms as it comes down into sensibility (unmanifest in Nirvikalpa, formless in the archtypal realms, and sensible as our world). This World-Idea, of which the ego is a part, is projected through each Soul, while paradoxically, the Soul simultaneously projects an emanant of itself into that same World-idea which is within it in order to have a world in which to experience and know itself in a new way, purportedly to come to self-recognition and to serve universal evolution. This teaching has in fact parallels in many traditions. Thus, the world is in the Soul and the Soul is in the world, and both are inseparable from the One Mind; this is a real, living nonduality; the World-Idea itself produces the sensible world-appearances which are itself evolving or unfolding; the Idea of Man is a subset of that Idea:

   "The idea of man which exists in and is eternally known by the World-Mind is a master-idea...From the moment this specific unit of life separated from the cosmic Life, through all the different experiences whereby it developed, and through all the different kingdoms of Nature, its spiritual identity as Man was predetermined...A man's body may die and disintegrate, but the creative idea of him will still remain in the World-Mind as his Soul. It will not die. It's his real Self, his perfect Self. It is the true Idea of him which is forever calling to be realized. It is the unmanifest image of God in which man is made and which he has yet to bring into manifestation in his everyday consciousness."

   Speaking further about the universe, he says:

   "Its divine origin and sustenance are revealed in the fact that all things and all beings in it strive for perfection even if they never attain it. For in seeking to return to their source, they are compelled to seek its perfection too."

   This idea of an individuality being preserved in one’s highest realization as the One Self is discussed in detail in Part Two of this series. We believe it holds a key to PB’s thinking and also sheds a clarifying influence on apparent emanationistic paths such as theosophy and Sant Mat.

   Sri Nisargadatta also enigmatically said:

   "In the Absolute every I AM is preserved and glorified."

   [One might well ask, in vedantic fashion, how does he know that? What does he mean by “Absolute” and “I AM” ? The proper use of words and the topic of semantic analysis wil be discussed in a future article, “Columbo Yoga” on this website]. So, need it be said that any man-made definitions and words are far too inadequate to do justice to this matter? Why would the Buddha speak of countless Bodhisattvas in myriad Buddha-fields, or Anthony Damiani say that ‘eighty enlightened men’ came out of Hui-neng’s monastery - that is, how can you number them - if there is only the One? Maybe it is more accurate to say “there are many-in-the-One who know there is only the One" (!) and that one needs to go through the Soul or Overself to understand and know/be that in truth and not just to be ‘talking school’ advaitists. Our feeling is not that both traditional and contemporary doctrines of non-duality are ‘wrong’, but ironically, that they may not be non-dual enough! [discussed further in article Three].We suggest a look at ‘enlightened duality’ as an alternative moniker, although even that is, of course, just more words.

   Before we close we will offer the reader the consideration we promised at the outset, that is, something so little known it may appear to be a new teaching. Yet, whether it be true or not - and there is much confirming evidence that it is true, if not incomprehensible from our limited vantage point - it will not fail to expand our little minds to infinity with the need to use ‘transcendental logic’ in order to even intellectually understand it. First, three more quotes (the first is a repeat) from PB on the inadequacy for human language to portray the high states described so far in this paper:

   "What further happens to the entity  formed when  ego unites with Overself must remain an unspoken mystery."

   “From the time that this great shift of consciousness has taken place, the event as well as its tremendous effects ought to be wrapped in secrecy and revealed only under authentic higher guidance.”

   “It is just as hard to put into proper words what the resultant is when ego vanishes, when the No-thing reigns in the consciousness. To assert that there is non-existence would be as misleading as to assert that there is existence, even if it were of a higher kind. For if the ego is gone, what is it that activates the body in its dealings with the world, or even with itself? Because the topic is incomprehensible, the answer to this question must itself be either incomprehensible or wholly phrased in negative terms. But to say what IT is not, does not make very lucid what it is.”

   We have already alluded to the fact that the World-Mind is in every Soul, as every Soul is within the World-Mind. The body is in the Soul as the Soul is also in the body. The world is within the Soul and inseparable from it, with both rooted in the World-Mind, the active aspect of the incomprehensible One Mind. PB also made the remark that when it is time for a sage to reincarnate, he actually has to will it. On the other hand, he said that ‘surely at this time the event is taken out of our hands’. We are then ‘with Gods as higher beings’, he adds. Thus, whether to return or not once liberated is a paradoxical affair of yielding to a higher will as well as it being an individual act. One is far beyond ego and ‘separate self’ as commonly envisioned and argued about, but the displacing element of the ego is a mysterious one. There is both distinction and distinctionlessness to it, individuatedness and undividuatedness. Thus, it is a mystery known to God and taking place within God, yet the great adept also is not exactly ignorant of it either. ‘He knows as he is known’. The sage united with his divine Soul is in a nondual condition, inseparable from the sensible world which is, in a real sense, his own idea, and inseparable from the World-Mind, the Infinite Divine Intelligence and ultimate source of that World-Idea that is projected through each Soul and manifested by that Soul. This entire schema, decidedly nondual, is so much richer than traditional Advaita that it boggles the mind. And remember, PB said that while sahaja was nondual, the highest state available to man, it was not necessarily the highest state possible. The possibility must be keft open that an advanced master may have evolved beyond the confines of the earthly, human soul and thus exist in an even higher condition within the divine infinitude.

   Multiple Emanations/Simultaneous Incarnations

   And here is the nugget that we promised. One must use his imagination a bit here. If anything it may give the imagination a bit more sense of the mystery what it is to awaken to the Soul, whether considered as individual or universal, and how it may function in one who has actualized his primordial nature. What we will discuss is not an ordinary occurrence even among siddhas, who generally allow the forces of Nature to provide vehicles for their incarnations. Yet it is spoken of often enough in numerous sources, as well as personal accounts by various teachers, although still it will seem impossible and unbelievable nevertheless. I do not propose to understand it. It has given me a headache even to intellectually give it some room. But consider just a little the words of Shakespeare, “there are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio.” This topic is to be discussed, God willing, in more depth in part four of this series, entitled "A Tale of Two Siddhis - Beyond Patanjali."

   So, imagine the liberated sage dwelling in a non-state of fully actualized, completed, nondualism. He intuits Reality constantly and dwells in sahaja samadhi, his ego completely overshadowed by his Overself, while when in contemplation he either ‘exists with God as a higher creature’, as PB wrote, not ‘in the heaven of a perpetuated ego but an ethereal world rapt in mystery’, or in deep absorption into the Void-Mind. This nondual completion would be considered a ‘fifth stage of initiation’ in various planetary schemas of such things, such as the Buddha’s (where that of the Arhat was the fourth: free from birth and earth, but not yet fully, nondually liberated). Yet there are said in some systems to be four more stages or 'initiations', the domain of usually-but-not-always non-incarnate masters, such as Shankara and Buddha, who are said to have moved past the earth-domain in their spiritual evolution. For those who believe there is just 'one soup' admittedly this may be hard to take [And this aspect will be discussed in more detail in the second article in this series, “Theosophy, PB, and Non-Duality: A Fresh Look”].

   Certain evolved beings, then - Buddhas essentially - are said to have the ability, power, or destiny (destiny inasmuch as they might be said to act only as the Nous, World-Mind, or Divine Infinite Intelligence bids them to - although paradoxically they have some say in it as well), to project multiple emanations of themselves at the same or at different times in the same life. This includes such soul-emanations becoming real people and not robots - we are not referring to just an episode of the more common yogic siddhi of bilocation. Thus, there have been episodes in recent history in fact where a certain Tibetan master was conversing with a student, then looking off into space, and returning his gaze and saying, “I’ve just reincarnated in India.” This sort of thing is mentioned in Hinduism, the Bodhisattva tradition in Buddhism, and the Tulku traditions of Tibet. Padmasambhava and many great adepts who were said to be manifestations of the Buddha have done so. Namkhai Norbu and many others in his Dzogchen lineage have spoken of it. Yet it seems impossible, doesn’t it?! One Soul (or perhaps, lower aspect of Soul that oversees the incarnations, which PB refers to as the 'demi-divine' aspect of the Soul) can only have one emanation of itself passing into the manifested realms, can’t it? An emanation that works its way to enlightenment and the awakening of self-cognition of that Soul or Void-Mind, in whatever way this process is looked at? Well, apparently not. In human logic and intelligence it may be impossible, but not in transcendental logic and intelligence. The Infinite Intelligence of God and those in communication or attunement with that are privy to mysteries beyond our wildest imagination, and can as God wills do such things. The Cypriote mystic Daskalos said that even Beethoven was such an emanation of a great master, who had several more emanations in incarnation including one violinist he was in contact with. Such multiple emanations, it has been said, can even talk among one another, evolve, get enlightened, and help work off karma in each other!! And, while some inconceivable dimension of transcendental individuality is involved, this iappears to be beyond the realization of non-separation and nondualism - and certainly far beyond ‘getting rid of psychological suffering’ - put forth by some teachers as the goal of spiritual practice today. What we are suggesting is, as PB lamented, that there may be relatively second-tier teachers contemporarily available whose awakenings may be real but lack the depth and completeness compared to some of the greats of the past - who yet still exist today, working behind the scenes and in higher spheres. This is just a taste of the glory and immensity of the path: beyond, beyond, beyond (gate, gate, param gate bodhi svaha), the mere contemplation of which can reduce one’s ego to ash in the process, and of course is in a sense the necessary price of admission. Please bear with this drama. Awakening may be simple, but the Mystery and Mysteries are endless.

   Tulku Thondup, in his books, Incarnation, and Masters of Meditation and Miracles, the latter being a series of biographies of many tulkus in the Longchen Nyingthig lineage of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, including Garab Dorge, Vimalamitra, Padmasambhava, Longchen Rabjam, Khyentse Wangpo, and many others, argues that great Buddhas that have 'dissolved' into the Dharmakaya, whether or not they take the 'Rainbow Body' or not [i.e., dying by reabsorbing all of their bodies into their subtle essence, not via 'ordinary' siddhi but Dzogchen-like through the fruition of nondual realization], never re-appear in the mundane world after their mahaparanirvana, but can manifest infinite incarnations for the benefit of sentient beings. He says that, one step down, so to speak, highly accomplished adepts or Siddhas may manifest several such tulkus, but not infinitely like the Buddhas. Khyentse Wangpo (1820-1892), for instance, was the incarnation of many past adepts and manifested six famous Tulkus simultaneously, including the well-known contemporary master, Dilgo Khyentse (1910-1991). Jigme Lingpa (1730-1798) had three primary concurrent incarnations: Yeshe Dorje (1800-1866), Patrul Rinpoche (1808-1887), and Khyentse Wangpo. Lesser in the hierarchy, high lamas or Saints may simply take incarnation as a tulku, both with and without karma. Without karma would mean that such an adept was liberated and would incarnate, by 'will', in whatever form was called for by the needs of those he is to serve, and yet, his apparent personality might still suffer the need to grow and develop, even seek liberation again, while at the same time his higher self would remain unbound by karma, forever dwelling as the Dharmakaya and Sambhogakaya, never leaving the nirvanic condition. This is hard to understand, and, in fact, one has to be a master to understand it! Alternately, one could say he willingly took on the karma and elements of his environment to form his bodies and particular role. And in this case the forces of Nature, rather than the adept's personal impress, hold the major responsibility for providing vehicles for the incarnation (i.e., the 'Archangels of the Elements', the 'Lords of Karma', etc.).

   Some great adepts as suggested above are said to have even manifested 'future' tulkus before their own deaths!

   Ramakrishna once remarked that the ten Sikh gurus were all incarnations of Raja Janaka (the famous King who was enlightened by the sage Ashtavakra). Since these gurus directly succeeded each other, and therefore two or more were alive at the same time, this means - if true - that Janaka like the Tibetans had simultaneous emanations or 'tulkus' of himself! And what is even more amazing to contemplate is that most of these gurus independently went through a process of seeking before becoming guru: it was not just handed down to them. Guru Amardas, for instance, sought for seventy long years until he found his guru.

   How is all this done? And, if in fact it is done, what then is the nature of the Soul, or Self? Can it be explained by the teaching of advaita as we know it? And isn't it odd, that great Tibetan masters who teach the oneness and nonduality of the Great Perfection, the Dharmakaya, 'no-self', the Primordial Ground, also speak of 'individual enlightened beings', not only reincarnating, helping others, but also emanating multiple incarnations of themselves? We can only offer the wholely inadequate and awkward explanation that somehow these great beings have 'enough presence' to go around. That somehow the individual Soul fully 'dissolved' in the Whole functions differently than it did 'before'.

   What then is the Soul? How hard to fathom! Perhaps a brief note on the three bodies or kayas of the Buddha may help. In short, the Dharmakaya is described as the ultimate 'body', or primordial state of clarity and emptiness; the Sambhogaya, or 'body of enjoyment', is the spontaneous manifestation, or self-appearing without any modification of its own nature, of the Dharmakaya, consisting of 'pure forms' beyond all duality of subject and object, yet visible to liberated beings; finally, the Nirmanakaya is the enlightened body of a Buddha that is apparent to ordinary beings. Of course we all are all three of these in potentiality. What is particularly interesting is how Tulku Thondup describes the Dharmakaya: besides being the "ultimate purity, clarity, emptiness, suchness", and so on, he also calls it the "all-pervading lord of samsara and nirvana, the continuum of being, and the very essence of the Buddha nature, as well as an oceanlike assembly of primordial wisdoms." Sounds more ecclesiastical than monistic. Maybe this phrasing holds a key to the issue of multiple incarnations and simultaneous manifestations? Can we understand it - probably not! But it puts a feeling in the heart.

   It is realized that we bear the risk of being charged with making, not only conceptual distinctions throughout this paper (Soul, God, Self, etc.), but going completely over the edge in what has just been suggested. But if it be true, how can the philosophy of advaita, with a priori assumptions of ‘self’ and ‘consciousness’, possibly account for such mysteries? To just go around saying, we are "no-self", or "the soul is a separate self, just a form of ego", or "all there is is consciousness", the "screen" on which everything appears [everything, that is, that appears out of the same screen or mirror that reflects and mirrors its own manifestations in its own mirrorness - essentially the Dzogchen model - which kind of truly backs us into nonduality, while also making it harder to just say what anything "is", consciousness per se becoming another provisional concept], does not seem to do full justice to the richness of the historical traditions and what many have experienced in actual life and practice. To be sure, one ought not to have wild ambitions of becoming such an exotic adept; the possibilities offered here are only those of those who have already been humbled unto dust, and realized the emptiness of their personal selves and their utter dependency and inseparability from the Infinite Intelligence and Mystery, in the deepest possible degree or way. What we are discussing is only available for the most part to someone who has already attained what is commonly considered to be enlightenment - that is, perpetual insight onto the Real, or the uttermost depths of the Soul or Void-Mind. To have already forgotten dreams of glory and become nothing, and are at peace and content within that. These are then transcendental mysteries unavailable to anything less than the enlightened Soul. Therefore, they are not something to be concerned with, rather something to be in awe and wonder about, while honing ones theoretical knowledge until it more accurately approximates a form that has room for such conceptions of Reality.

   The intuition has come to mind that the schema of Plotinus and PB may offer a feel for how this multiple emanation 'divine' siddhi ('divine' in as much as it seems to go far beyond the eight common yogic siddhis outlined by Patanjali) may in fact be possible. A brief review of the philosophy of Plotinus is necessary. For Plotinus, there are three Primal Hypostases - three eternal existents: the One, the Intellectual Principle or Nous, and Soul. All three of these can be considered as 'emptiness' from the side of manifestation. That is, they are transcendental to dualistic conception. The One is undefinable, like Nirguna, the source, cause, power, and ground of all. It is never diminished in any way by granting two atemporal successive emanations from itself. It can't even be called consciousness or awareness, as these are far too dualistic in nature to serve as their source and ground. Anthony Damiani states:

   "Even if we view the three primal Hypostases - the One, the Intellectual Principle and Soul - as forming an integral whole (which is often referred to as the Absolute when considered from the side of manifestation), the distinctions cannot be dissolved in such a way that the Nous and Soul, so carefully defined [by Plotinus], become illusory principles. In our understanding of the metaphysical Infinite, we retain the view of the One as the pure and only perfect reality, as well as the view of real and distinct emanations from it. We do not violate the One's sovereignty by granting to each of the other levels of reality their proper status; they do not become null and void in the face of the One which they eternally contemplate." (6)

   Of the Soul, which is defined as "formless and infinite consciousness," he says:

   "When Plotinus considers Soul as inseparable from the One and the Intellectual Principle, he does so in order to emphasize its transcendance and inconceivability - a mysterious Void. But looked at as a distinct essence, Soul is living intelligence, the outgoing activity of the Supreme, and our inner divinity." (6a)

   The second of these three primals, the Intellectual Principle or Nous, is sometimes referred to as the Absolute Soul in the Intellectual Principle when speaking of its life aspect. Absolute Soul would be considered to be the 'principle of Soul or Overself, or Soul/Overself undivided. Yet Soul has two aspects: unindividuated and individuated, as it is a "One-and-Many." This Absolute Soul in the Intellectual Principle of Plotinus might be equated with the World-Mind of PB. Inseparable from the One, it emanates individual Overselves, each of which in turn sends an emanant, i.e., a contraction, 'part', or projection of itself into creation, that is, into the World-Idea, or divine ideation of the World-Mind which is concurrently manifested through the Soul to produce a sensible world (or Nature - which includes bodies) in stages, for the ultimate purpose of the Soul's coming to self-cognition. Damiani's vision of Plotinus' system is as follows:

   "Soul incarnates or participates in the idea of the planetary mind by perceiving the world and experiencing through a body what the gods think. Thus Earth - footstool of the Gods - nurses our soul to heavenly maturity and humanity. What is becoming explicit in this exegesis is a theory of the endless evolution of the content of an individual soul's awareness. through reasoning on the content of the World-Idea which it is manifesting, the soul evolves its understanding until intellection becomes predominant, and this is brought to bear on its own self-nature. if the inquiry is pursued, this process will result in intrinsic self awareness." (6b)

   The realized Soul has self-cognition, and also cognition of its source or origin. As PB says, as man looks up to his Overself, the Overself in turn looks up to a higher entity (the World-Mind or intellectual Principal or Nous), with which it is inseparably linked. Now, it seems reasonable that a fully liberated sage who has achieved identity with this higher aspect of his Soul or Overself, that is, its inherence in the Absolute Soul in the Intellectual Principle - which itself emanates individual Souls or Overselves - might himself be capable of doing the same. In essence, he has God-like capabilities to an extent. Hence, multiple emanations is a impossibility, even if unbelievable. Anthony in fact once said, to wit, "you're not going to believe this, but I'll tell you anyway, that each and every Soul is in a sense a World-Mind." And other school say there are depths to this thing, and variations in the capabilities of the realized being.

   As with multiple incarnations, so it is for the notion of "pure lands" in Buddhism. A pure land is not just a higher subtle plane, free of negative emotional and physical obscurations, but is defined as a "Nirmanakaya manifestation of the spontaneous qualities of a liberated Buddha's realization," a region (such as Padmasambhava's Copper Mountain, or Amitabha's Sukhavati) visible to those still limited to dualistic vision, but who, with faith and merit, may go there after death without any possibility of falling back into samsara, experiencing only joy and peace, and destined to reach Nirvana, or the absolute Pure Land of the Dharmakaya and Sambhogakaya, from there. This then, if true, is another inconceivable "God" power of the fully liberated being.

   Okay, back to Earth for our concluding remarks on these themes. The One, then, appears to be a dynamic One, not static or monistic, and even this conceptual formula comes up far too short...We venture out on a limb in suggesting, then, that just as there is an individual who is ignorant (from a relative point of view), so only 'individuals' can be enlightened. Ignorance and enlightenment both happen to individuals. And therefore the Soul, as described by PB as individual but impersonal, a 'divine reflection of Mind-Alone', is not ego or separate or an 'obstacle', but rather an intrinsic element of enlightenment itself, a necessary locus for any real actualization of the Absolute, in contrast to what many teachers, past or present, sometimes assert.

   So when a great sage - such as Padmasambhava - is quoted as saying: "If the seeker, when sought, cannot be found, thereupon is attained the goal of seeking, the end of the quest itself; then there is no need to search for anything and there is nothing to be practised," we must not necessarily interpret that as implying the final stage of actualization of the great truth, except for rare individuals, but rather the end, or the beginning of the end, of the dualistic search. If it were not so then why did Padmasambhava first undergo a great initiation by a dakini uniting and integrating body, mind, spirit, and the absolute - the three kayas or bodies of Buddhism: the Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Nirmanakaya, into one, the Vajrakaya, thus passing through archtypal or primordial stages of the mind, instead of just assuming understanding of the great paradoxes of Zen, Dzogchen, or Advaita beforehand? Real practice is required to avoid falling into the trap of mental gymnastics as an ‘ultimate’ sadhana.

   Perhaps the greatest eternally unanswered question is whether the higher initiation is that of the 'drop merging with the Ocean', or, as Kabir says, the 'Ocean merging with the drop' ?! While still a metaphor, the edge goes to the Buddhists and Plotinus who would side with the ocean merging into the drop, or the universal life expressing itself through the individual. (6c) Yet, paradoxically, there are ‘many’ Bodhisattvas who have sacrificed themselves for countless lifetimes even over whole ‘world cycles’ (according to tradition) for the sake of the liberation of ‘others’. We have the primary example in Lord Sakyamuni, who denied himself a short-cut to liberation in the times of the Buddha Dipankara in order to pass through the purifying fires of suffering for innumerable rebirths in order to develop himself as a bodhisattva. For only in the Nirmanakaya can the Dharmakaya be fully expressed. This, the complete purification, integration, and transfiguration of body and mind, is the work of many enlightened lives. At least, we are led to believe something like this is feasible.

   Some considerations about Buddhism

   While dealing with the compatibility of ancient conceptions of the Soul and advaita it is appropriate to add some discussion on the differences in the Buddhist view of creation and consciousness with the doctrines of ‘Intelligent Design’, so to speak, as given in PB’s teachings of a World Mind and World-Idea. Are the two really incompatible, or rather complementary? For in most Buddhist traditional Buddhist teachings the cause of all manifestation or, if you will, creation, is nothing but karma ripening when ‘appropriate conditions’ make themselves available. Beings incarnate when conditions are appropriate, and a common world between them is solely due to this commonality of karma, which, incidentally, stretches back to time immemorial. We are hard pressed to find an intelligence in Buddhism to account for manifestation other than the law of karma. As is written in the Abhidharmakosa:

   “All diversity in the world is produced by karma.”

   And the Mahakarunapundarika Sutra:

   “The world is created by karma; living beings are the result of and originate from it as a source; they are divided into types and states by it.”

   And finally, from the Karmasataka Sutra:

   “Actions are of various kinds and through them the various modes of existence have been created.” (7)

   Or, as summarized by John Reynolds, the ‘Biblical’ account of Genesis or a creation from a Buddhist perspective is as follows:

   “According to the Buddhist teachings found in both the Sutras and the Tantras, one universe is the aggregate result of the actions in their past lives of all the sentient beings who inhabit our niverse. When the world appears in the same way as a group of sentient beings, such as the human race, for example, it is because all the members of that group share a common karmic vision (las anang), that is to say, a particular way of perceiving things determined by a karmic cause. To the first question formed in the catechism, “Who made the world?,” the Buddhist teachings unhesitatingly reply, “It is karma that has made the world.” (8)

   [Even so, to complicate matters, some Buddhist teachings distinguish between 'accidents' and 'karma'].

   In the general Buddhist world-view, there is generally considered to be an endless cycling through six realms of existence. There is no logos, or logoi, nor is there is an inevitable evolution towards liberation (as some writers have mistakenly portrayed the theosophical position); there must be a conscious effort to get out of samsara. This is, however, exactly the theosophical view and the view of PB, except that, there is an evolutionary pressure from the World Idea, for PB, and the conscious co-operation of higher beings in response to the divine ideation, according to theosophy. There is a spiral upwards in accord to a plan in the very nature of the One (“Fredo, that’s how Pop wanted it,” to borrow a line from the Godfather), not just an endless recycling with no guiding intelligence(s); a paradoxical combined unity of an infinite hierarchy of intelligences that ‘guide and build’, according to the divine ideation inherent in the One, as well as an impersonal law of karma also inherent in that One which account for individual and cosmic involution and evolution, and not one or the other as the various religious and spiritual philosophies hold in their divisive separateness...But we are getting ahead of ourselves, this is to be discussed amptly in article Two.

   We see, however, no strict irreconciliability between karma and divine guidance; only a split mind requires one or the other to be the truth. Further, not all Buddhists maintain such a Self-less, or ‘substratumless, view of manifestation. If one sees karma as another name for God or the World-Idea, there is no conflict. But I doubt most Buddhists or Vedantists would agree with PB that there is an evolutionary component to the World-Idea, as well as an aspect of Grace that supercedes without invalidating the law of karma, or that there is also an ensouled cosmos and not just One Mind with only a phenomenal display of diversity held together by karma - the origin of which is unknowable. The doctrines of the Holy Spirit, Logos, or Word of Christianity and Sant Mat are also seemingly inexplainable on this Buddhist view - although not on later Buddhist views as given in the Surangama Sutra and some others. But if we take a good look at Lama Govinda’s description of the dimension encompased by numerous infinite Bodhisattvas, interpenetrating simultaneously, without intermingling as such, with the same going for the planes of the cosmos, it is reasonable to assume that there is a complex and unified, intelligent Universe with an intelligent Source. He quotes, from In the Mahayana-Sraddhatpada Sutra:

   “The particular sights which Mind-Essence manifests are in their essential nature devoid of any limitations or points of definition. If conditions are suitable appearances may be manifested in any part of the universes (9) being solely dependent upon the mind for their appearing. Thus there are vast Bodhisattvas, vast Nirmanakayas, vast embellishments, all of which are different from one another and yet are devoid of any spheres of limitation or points of definition, for Tathagatas are able to manifest themselves in bodily forms anywhere and at the same moment that other tathagatas are able to manifest themselves without any conflict or hinderance. This marvelous interpenetration is inconceivable by any consciousness dependent on sense-mind, but is a commonplace of the inconceivable, spontaneous activities of the Mind-Essence.” (10)

   Tulku Thondup, however, speaking perhaps on a practical level, offers a possible opening on this issue of karma versus a Logoic intelligence or World-Mind behind manifestation:

   "Material objects that we perceive are not necessarily created by our individual karma. But it is due to our karma that these objects become the source of effects in our lives, such as happiness or suffering...No one is saying that the mind created the mountain. It is the concept of the mountain that the mind created. If there is no mind, then - whether the mountain is there or not - the idea, name, or thought of the mountain's existence or nonexistence would not even come up. So the idea and designation of "mountain" is a fabrication of the mind." (10a)

   However, the overall Buddhist view is that everything is the cause of everything else (Interdependent Origination), and, if this is the case, according to Vedanta, then there can be no effects, only causes, which results in the logical conundrum that there are then no causes either, as one cannot exist without the other, and the whole causal scheme self-destructs. Everything is an empty, spontaneous display. Thus, an exclusive version of advaita also results, i.e., non-causality between Brahman and manifestation, ajata vada, with no ‘Logos’ or Isvara guiding anything, only nondual Brahman exists. [Discussed later on and in note 16]. This can be interpreted in different ways, however. Ramakrishna preferred to consider Brahman and the Power of Brahman/Isvara to be the same and inseparable. Likewise, Plotinus considered the One, Intellectual Principle, and Soul as inseparable, and PB Mind, World-Mind, and Overself as inseparable. Thus there can be room for both karma and a guiding intelligence in our reality. It need not be either/or. [This is looked at further in the article, "Karma and Grace" on this website]. We might also consider the milieu of traditional Tibet. It was a primitive place for millenia and is so even today: not much changed from year to year! Therefore the idea of endless cycling in six realms of samsara is understandably different from an evolutionary progression through seven hierarchical planes as taught in Yoga and Vedanta, or in the dispensation of some more recent teachings - or even that of some of the ancient Greeks.

   While PB wrote that he was’ in agreement with the advaitins on the nonduality of the Real’, he nevertheless felt constrained to hold to a more ‘inclusive’ view of Brahman, in which the earth, the universe and it’s inhabitants were included, not excluded as pure illusion, and had a meaning and purpose and value of their own - within the One.

   He also, as we have seen, sometimes seemed to differ from traditional or conventional advaita in rejecting the possibility of jivanmukti, or ‘liberation-in-life, conceived of as conscious oneness with Mind or Brahman itself. He felt - and this is more esoterically explained in theosophy - that with man as he is and the earth as it is, one can only have glimpses of Mind as it is while presently incarnated here:

   “Nevertheless, the World-Mind, through its deputy the Overself, is still for humans the highest possible goal...All human beings on this planet are imperfect. Perfection is not fully attainable here. But when a man has striven for it and advanced near to it, he will attain it automatically as soon as he is freed from the body.” (11)

   This is another example of a possible double meaning by PB. He certainly has many passages where he argues clearly that one can attain union with his divine Overself during life. He also says, like the Bardo Thodol or Tibetan Book of the Dead, that for the unrealized individual there may be one last chance at the time of death to accomplish this:

   “The aspirant whose efforts to attain inner freedom and union with the Overself while living seem to have been thwarted by fate or circumstances, may yet find them rewarded with success while dying. Then, at the very moment when consciousness is passing from the body, it will pass into the Overself.” (Vol. 6, Part 1. 1.86)

   The question is, does the previous quote point to a greater realization? Of course, this depends on what one means by realization. Again this is reflected in PB’s enigmatic contention that sahaj samadhi was not the highest state possible, but only the highest possible for man - as he currently is. Theosophy might say that is so for man of the fifth Root race on the Fourth Round or Earth incarnation in the Fourth Cosmic Chain of this karmic cycle! The explanation, for better or worse, has to do partly with the nature of the ‘elements’ presently active in our earth-plane, and the ability to fully ‘actualize’ nondual realization herein. Again, this is touched upon in article Two.

   A related criticism pertains to PB’s very view of the need for a World-Mind to account for us having a relative world-in-common. Whereas the stricter forms of Vedanta such as that of V.S. Iyer refer us to the study of the dream state as an example of the creative capacity of the mind producing a world without our deliberately thinking of it, and as proof that the mind is equally capable of creating a world for us in the waking state, without calling in the internediary of God or a divine Mind, PB felt otherwise. Let us examine this a little. Ramana Maharshi taught similarly, either preferring to give out what is known as vivartavada or drishti-shristi-vada (12), or ‘the world exists as a manifestation because I see it’, or, more specifically, that the world only arises after or simultaneously with the primal ‘I’-thought. Careful examination reveals times, however, when the world arises without the ‘I’-thought, such as in the brief moment upon awakening from sleep, or occasionally at many other times before the ego or ‘I’-thought rushes in. To call this manifestation at that moment one of ‘our own’ mind stretches the meaning of the term. In this case, it can only be the mind-in-common that accounts for our world, which is the product of this master-image as interpreted through our individual sensory-brain mechanisms. PB calls this mind the World-Mind, whose World-Idea is projected through the Overself and manifested as our world. It is true that relativity theory has proven that everyone experiences a sliightly different view of the things, but there must be a way for us to be able to communicate with each (apparent or not) other. Saying it is an intricate and fantastic perfect collective karma that arranges everything, as some Buddhist theories assert, or that it is simultaneous manifestations of a similar world by different individual minds, are both unsatisfactory. Others take a more expanded view of the ‘I’-thought, arguing that it is there, but largely subconscious, that it can and does create a world without our thinking of it, and that it must be isolated by sadhana and then eradicated. This is also a large topic which we can not discuss further in this article. [Note: what is the ‘subconscious mind? What are its dimensions? How big is it? Where are its boundaries? How is it connected with the universal mind or mind-in-common? See how difficult this queston is?]. Either way, it appears that PB’s World-Mind view has ample justification, despite its theologic overtones for some advaitic purists. The question of whether there is one or more individual minds or sous is another and larger issue. The reader is again directed to the Commentaries of V.S. Iyer for deeper understanding of both where PB got many of his more mature ideas and also where and also where and why he differed from his most primary teacher. This is dense and challenging material, and also not without a few apparent inconsistencies of its own. But the avid researcher will amply profit from exploring it in depth.

   To repeat this argument about creation, in a similar manner as Iyer, Ramana Maharshi also held that all is the Self or its spontaneous, inseparable manifestation, but if you were not capable of understanding that, he held out that the world and the I arise simultaneously; this was proposed as ‘simultaneous creation’ for those who could not understand ajata, and some of his followers interpret that to mean the “I” creates the world, but this is an error. That is closer to dristhi-shristi vada. The reasons for error are, first, the world often appears without the appearance of the “I”, such as when one suddenly awakens to the Witness position after being asleep. There are apparent objects, but no personal subject. Second, even the ”I” is to be recognized as Brahman as well, and is no impediment to such realization. Third, there is no proof of any creation as such, all is idea including the “I” and the idea of “creation”, therefore all is a spontaneous manifestation of Mind. So the “I” is not a bugbear ultimately and is not the ‘cause’ of creation. It is to be transcended, but is not destroyed. Ramana said, ”The I transcends “I” yet remains “I”; the wise do not see any contradiction to it.” For these reasons, and this level of difficulty in understanding, PB maintained that the Soul is not equal to God or World-Mind, although it shares its essence with it. It is a unity, an inseparability, but not a strict identity.

   Of some importance, Iyer (and apparently PB) felt that for most of us, we could get the ‘’lightning flash’ of Brahman and no ego at times, but in order to attend to our daily work we could not do without the ego, and at such times the most we could do is try to be detached from it. In any case, Iyer argued that the ego or ‘I’ - as everything else - ultimately was Brahman, so it needn’t, in fact, disappear during waking life. Interestingly, the above-noted caveat was the teaching of the sage, Shree Atmananda Krishna Menon, who advised students not to take the Witness position during work as their work might suffer thereby. When great sages like these say something like this, quite contrary to many contemporary teachers, one might pay attention. We are not saying whether this is correct. There are many who would argue it is not. It likely was advice that applies more to beginners than to proficients, for whom the two positions can be held simultaneously.

   PB also held that a higher individuality survived after death and realization, and potentially evolved indefinitely in higher and higher spheres, and that there were in fact a number of different possibilities for the realizater after death: merger or absorption in Mind itself; return to earth as a Boddhisattva until all were enlightened (his apparent preference); or advancement onwards as a Logos of a planet, the Sun, or a galaxy, and so on. This is pure theosophy, which PB did not entirely reject. [Even his use of the initials “PB” was surprisingly close to the practice of Madame Blavatsky, “HPB” !]

   He felt that there was a ‘genuine, archaic Indian wisdom’, which only the combination of Vedanta and Buddhism would re-establish. This, too, is not far from the goal and position of the often misunderstood higher teachings of theosophy as originally espoused by H.P. Blavatsky, as we shall see.

   PB felt that:

   “The teaching favoured by Indian metaphysicians that we came from God and shall return to God is an oversimplification which generally leads to misunderstanding. Then all this long pilgrimage with all its sufferings becomes a senseless waste of time and an idiotic expenditure of energy - if not on our part then on God’s. It is like banging one’s head against a wall in order to enjoy the relief which follows when the action ends. Through lack of a cosmogony the proponents of [Advaita Vedanta] are compelled to explain away the purpose of all this vast universe as non-purpose, using the term maya, one of whose two meanings is mystery.” (13)

   One can see how much this differs from the strict ajatavada of his mentor V.S. Iyer, and other such like Vedantists, who would point out how this view of PB’s was obviously a provisional one for ‘lesser minds’ who were not able to grasp the austere notion of non-causality. However, PB did recognize the ultimate truth of non-causality, and the nonduality of Brahman, yet still taught a parallel truth (which pure Vedantins would argue is no truth at all) of evolution. He taught, as did theosophy, that the essence of all the experiences garnered in relativity were preserved as wisdom in a higher individuality [what theosophy calls the ‘higher triad’, or atma-buddhi-higher manas, prior to realization in association with the causal body], which yet lived on in its own higher principle, and knowing its essence as not-different from that, whether called the Nous or the Monad. We can’t call it Brahman, because Brahman being the All, how can one be in Brahman? This would be the Vedantic argument against PB. Our tentative view lies in that of leaving certain mysteries to be unexplainable.

   PB view on reincarnation is as follows. He admits there are two levels to it: one, no reincarnation for the eternal Overself in itself, but, two, reincarnation of an emanant of that Overself, the purpose of which is, in one sense, inexplicable, but in another sense explained as for the purpose of evolving centers of individual conscousness as part of the divine plan, of which we can be a part but yet can not know the ‘why’:

   “Students who come finally to philosophy from the Indian Advaita Vedanta, bring with them the belief that the divine soul having somehow lost its consciousness is now seeking to become self-conscious again. They suppose that the ego originates and ends on the same level - divinity - and therefore the question is often asked why it should go forth on such a long and unnecessary journey. This question is a misconceived one. it is not the ego itself which ever was consciously divine, but its source, the Overself. The ego’s divine character lies in its essential but hidden being, but it has never known that. [Note: unique and important point of PB's] The purpose of gathering experience (the evolutionary process) is precisely to bring it to such awareness. The ego comes to slow birth in finite consciousness out of utter unconsciousness and, later, to recognition and union with its infinite source. That source, from which it has emanated, remains untouched, unaffected, ever knowing and serenely witnessing. The purpose in this evolution is the ego’s own advancement. When the Quest is reached, the Overself reveals its presence fitfully and brokenly at first but later the hide-and-seek game ends in loving union.”

   He once more speaks of the Overself and its emanation as real, only that the emanatin forgets its source and identifies with the ego:

   “Because this emanated consciousness of the Overself ties itself so completely and so continuously to the thought-series, which after all are its own creations, it identifies itself with the illusory ego produced by their activity and forgets its own larger, less limited origin.” (Vol. 6, Part 1, 2.47)

   To say “its larger, less limited origin” is to still use dualistic language to a point. Notice also how he says “produced by their activity” when referring to the ego. This is a positive affirmation. The entire quote implies that the Overself and its emanation are not illusion, but the terms of human incarnation, with the ego as both a tool as well as a mistaken identification.

   “Man’s individuality survives in the divinest state accessible to him [Note: this is consistent with the teaching of the Sants, and of necessity even the Siddhas]. There it becomes the same in quality but not identical in essence. The most intimate mental and physical experiences of human love cast a little light for our comprehension of this mystery. The misunderstanding which leads to this question arises chiefly because of the rrror which believes that it is the divine soul which goes through all this pilgrimage by reincarnating in a series of earthly forms. The true teaching about reincarnation is not that the divine soul enters into the captivity and ignorance of the flesh again and again but that something emanated from the soul, that is, a unit of life that eventually develops into the personal ego, does so. The Overself contains the reincarnating ego within itself but does not itself reincarnate. It is the parent; the ego is its offspring. The long and tremendous evolution through which the unit oflife passes from its primitive cellular existence to its matured human one is a genuine evolution of its consciousness. Whoever believes that the process plunges a soul down from the heights into a body or forces the Spirit to lose itself in Matter, and then leaves it no alternative but to climb all the way back to the lost summit again, believes wrongly. The Overself never descends or climbs, never loses its own sublime consciousness. What really does this is something that emanates from it and that consequently holds its capacity and power in latency, something which is finited out of the Overself’s infinitude and becomes first, the simple unit of life and later, the complex human ego. It is not the Overself that suffers and struggles during this long unfoldment but its child, the ego. It is not the Overself that slowly expands its intelligence and consciousness, but the ego. It is not the Overself that gets deluded by ignorance and passion, by selfishness and controversy, but the ego.”

   [Note: PB’s conception of the Overself or eternal human soul evolved as his realization and understanding grew itself. Here we can see PB speaking of the Overself in its unindividuated state, nevertheless distinct but inseparable from infinite Mind. Also, a strict ajata or non-causal advaita would ask, “how can something be ‘finited’ out of infinitude, how can infinity ‘emanate’ something from it; this implies it is the cause of the emanation, and there is no proof of such causation. For that matter, how can the infinite Brahman or Mind be the cause of the World-Mind and all its eventual manifestation? No one has ever seen this process happen. PB didn’t seem to feel this as a problem,as 'cause' isn't the issue at this level. Mind and World-Mind are as Nirguna Brahman/Saguna Brahman-Isvara. This topic will be discussed in “Is Ajatavada Non-Dual Enough?!”]

   ”The ”I” differentiated itself out of the infinite ocean if Mind into a distinct individuality after a long development through the diverse kingdoms of Nature. Having thus arrived at consciousness of what it is, having travelled the spiral of growth from germ to man, the result of all this effort is certainly not to be gained only to be thrown away...If the evoving entity arrived only at its starting point for all its pains, then the whole plan would be a senseless one...It would be a stupendous adventure but also a stupid one. There is something more than that in his movement. Except in the speculations of certain theorists, it simpy does not happen.”

   “The self-consciousness thus developed will not be dissolved, extinguished, or re-absorbed into the Whole again, leaving not a trace behind. Rather it will begin a new spiral of evolution towards higher altitudes of consciousness and diviner levels of being, in which it will co-operate as harmoniously with the universal existence as formerly it collided against it. It will not separate its own good from the general good...Evolution does not return us to the starting point as we were. The ascent is not a circle but a spiral.”

   This idea, of course, was rejected by PB’s mentor Iyer, who considered it as merely imaginary and unprovable, and also by most contemporary advaitins and Buddhists. However, this, too, is also according to the purest theosophical teachings, of which we will elaborate in Part Two. The interesting point is that even after awakening ‘from the dream’, or ‘to the dream’, as some contemporary teachers more positively put it, even after realizing turiya, or the nondual ‘fourth state’ - that is not a separate state but the reality, the Atman, behind all states - one still goes on, in an inconceivable and indeterminate and mysterious manner:

   “Man, in his earlier phases of being, was connected with the Overself and aware of it. But his connection then lacked his own control...Our source is in the Overself; our growth is but a return to it, made fully conscious as we were not before.” (14)

   To the perceptive reader it will be apparent that PB, like the higher teachings within theosophy, attempted to bridge a gap between religious/spiritual teachings, and modern science. Thus his emphasis on evolution as a real process. However, like theosophy, but without the latter’s explicit and complex descriptions of the ins and outs of this process in terms of cosmic involution and evolution, with the help of intelligences and beings from other globes and galaxies and previous world systems in the evolution of man as he is, with both physical body and manas, separating him from the animals, PB simply noted that it was different from its materialistic version:

   “Evolution as materialistically defined by philosophy is not quite the same as evolution as materialistically defined by Darwin. With us it is simply the mode of striving, through rhythmic rise and fall, for an ever fuller expansion of the individual unit’s consciousness. However, the ego already possesses all possibiities latently. Consequently, the whole process, although apparently an ascending one, is really an unfolding one.” (15)

   Much needs to be said to do justice to all of the above. Questions arise and are explained differently by advaita, Buddhism, PB and theosophy regarding: what specifically is the reincarnating entity? What is the ego? How does one reconcile evolution with the notion of non-causality and nondual Brahman? What are the ‘genuine archaic teachings’ of India, the basics of Sanatana Dharma? These questions will be dealt wth more fully in - you guessed it - article Two.

   PB and V.S. Iyer: Some Similarities and Differences Summed Up

   To clarify the influence of Iyer on PB we will point out some quotations from Iyer's Commentaries in whic he states some very radical notions that it seems like PB had a hard time with. For a much more detailed look at these see the above referenced work By Annie Cahn Fung. Here we will just offer a few more not mentioned there. We will first mention that for Iyer, the advaitic goal was when the individual soul realizes it identity with the universal soul, In other words, for Iyer, Atman alone (what PB referred to as the Overself alone) was not Brahman. Only when inquired into, which meant inquiring into the nature of the world and seeing the world in oneself gave the realization of vedantic Brahman. For PB, this seems to have been translated as first, realize the Overself, usually in meditation, then realization its oneness with the All-soul, or the self of the universe. Adyashanti said we need both the realization of no-self and oneness. This seems to be the same as what PB said. It is superior to the usual goal of the yogis who felt that Nirvikalpa samadhi was God-realization. For PB, however, this two-fold realization gained, not Brahman, but the nondual, full realization of the Overself, or the divine soul. Iyer eschewed any talk of the soul as being only an expresson of ego or separation. But the higher, in more ancient definitions of soul it was not. Nevertheless, PB felt it more appropriate to use the term Overself because of many of the water-downed modern versions of the term soul, which often meant a glorified astral body or such-like being. PB referred to the Overself as ‘no-thing’, which is the same as ‘no-self’. For him it is consciousness, and for us the noumenon of the ‘I’ and our world. However, it is not God in the sense of Nirguna Brahman, or even the World-Mind. The true displacing element of the ego is the Soul, not God. It is the soul that can truly know God. Thus PB might not agree with Papaji when he said, "You need not make any effort. Simply surrender to the lord seated in your heart. Action will not come from ego, but from that supreme Purusha [enlightened intelligence]. It will be in charge. Whenever you speak, it is speaking. Whatever you see, it is seeing. Your eyes will be changed." (Wake Up and Roar). It is the Overself that is the inner ruler or Deputy, according to PB. Of course, when that, i.e., one's 'self', is fully realized, one knows God, too, so to speak. At every stage, even, according to the teachings of the Sants, one knows himself more, and God more (that is, the soul is known with fewer and fewer covers, and the power of Brahman, the Word, is known more and more fully), until in the ultimate stages there is perfect Non-Duality, and the pen and tongue are silent. But that is the ultimate realization, not merely seeing that the ego is empty!

   Iyer held fast to the notion that there was but one ‘Overmind’ or ‘Universal Mind’, and One Absolute Self or Brahman, with no individual souls or minds of any kind in reality. But in his notes one can find what appears to be a bit of a discrepency or lack of air-tightness about this. For instance, of the Univeral Mind he wrote:

   “The One Universal Overmind is the source of genius. It is Not Brahman. It is reached by forgetting the perceived ‘I’ , then concentration...Whoever goes to the deepest extent of universal mind can then see all individual minds.”

   This is his explanation for clairvoyance, mind-reading, and, ultimately, all powers and special abilities. However, the obvious questions arise: “Concentration - of what?” Obviously attention, and what is attention? The Sants say it is the outward expression of the soul, or a power of the soul. Further, ‘who’ concentrates and ‘goes into’the universal mind? There were supposed to be no individuals to do that!

   Similar problems arise with Iyer’s critique of the phenomenon of a little French girl who went into trance during an illness and was able to speak a dozen languages she had no training in prevously. This could be extrapolated into people experiencing or remembering past lives, such as in the Buddhist tradition in which they could even locate places and objects known to them before. Iyer would have it that these ‘ideas’ were just existing in the Universal Mind and randomly associated with by these people. But we ask, is there not a more reasonable answer to such a question, namely, that the ‘elementals’ representng those past lives residing inthe universalmind or ether had conscious ‘signatures’ that are a karmic link to that particular soul? This sort of reasoning on Iyer’s part is also illustrated by the following things he said:

   “Vedanta regards the Logos idea of philosophy in the same way as it regards the God-Idea of religion...The yogi teaching that mystic sounds like Aum, Omkara, Soami, etc., are heard interiorly in meditation is nonsensical and unproved.”

   What kind of proof would Iyer accept? The sounds are definitely heard within and later even without for those initiated by competent masters in the science. Were Kabir, Christ, Buddha, the Sants, and many others, all fools? The sounds have been experienced and duplicated in countless mystics. Simply because Iyer could not access them does not refute their existence. They are not the ultimate but lead to the source of the Logos, and further realizations. Later on we will discuss the nature of what can be called the eternal, universal guru, the liberating intermediary presence within relativity, call it Saguna Brahman, World-Mind, Sat Purush, Adi-Buddha, Cosmic Christ, or by any name. This is not a ‘veil of maya’ or a mere concept as Iyer would argue, but non-dual God inseparable from the soul. We believe PB would consider it the same way.

   Here he is dismissing esoteric Christianity, Shabd and Kriya Yoga, certain teachings in Buddhism and even Vedanta. Does he want to go that far? PB copied him on this thought, but it is our opinion that he didn't share the exact view. Anthony Damiani, his student, once said “catch the sound of the big bell and it wil take you up into the mental world.” While that is not ultimate truth, it is a higher state of consciousness and of value. Iyer considered such experiences as only products of deep vasanas from past lives and not real. Ramana Maharshi once made a similar comment, but it is kind of difficult to see the Logos, as a liberating presence within relativity (even if not exactly the creator), in that narrow way. Iyer felt the same way about the yogis vision of gods and goddesses: that they were only a product of ones vasanas, or tendencies from the past. He reduced them to examples of when a person has seen or heard of someone, was devoted and concentrated on their image, which would then appear to them:

   “There must be prior suggestion strongly felt accepted that one is entering the presence of a great man...all the visions, experiences, etc., which afterwards occur are a matter of suggestibility.”

   But of course this is not the only way one can have such a vision. A true satguru can also consciously project or even materialize his form to a person, whether they have seem or heard of him before or not. Moreover, there is a kind of ‘objectivity’ in higher realms that many mature seers can testify to. Karma as such is ‘plane specific’, and one needs to work out his karma on different levels, whether in ascended fashion or in place, which is possible as the various realms all interpenetrate without, however, comingling. All within the One, certainly, but not so simple as it sounds. After death one, if he is evolved, may see what is ‘really’ there, or what he projects from a karmic elemental shell around him. And liberated beings are said to be enabled to see the 'pure (Sambhogakaya) forms, beyond dualistic subject-object distinctions, of the primordial Buddha or Dharmakaya. This topic is vast.

   “The yogis who hear the AUM sounds internally are sufffering from sense hallucinations as much as the insane.”

   Again, the same criticism applies here. Iyer further said:

   “Yogis claim to live hundreds of years. Who is even one. I do not believe it.”

   This will be addressed definitively in Part Two, Iyer did not know what he was talking about here. There have been and are today numerous such individuals.

   ”The gurus world is merged in the mental world in the sense that, when it is analyzed, it is found to exist inseparably in and as mind alone. All ‘spiritual’ planes are really mental: those who regard them as different or higher are deceiving themselves.”

   Again, it is suggested that this shows a lack of sophisticated understanding of relative reality. Such planes do exist and are not merely mental per se (even according to the sapta-jhana or seven staged system of Vedanta), although they do arise within awareness and the Totality. PB seemed to agree when he said:

   “And we shall be wth God as higher creatures.”

   In keeping with the understanding of non-dual realization existing alongside of this experience, and our previous discussion of Tulkus, the Soul, and multiple incarnations, perhaps we can glean a hint of its meaning in Padmasambhava's confession before his death:

   "Kyema, Yeshe Tsogyal, please listen!
   Padmasambhava goes to the land of great bliss.
   I remain in the Dharmakaya, the deathless divinity.
   It has nothing in common with the separation of body and mind
     [at death] of ordinary people."
(Tulku Thondop, op. cit., p. 91)

   'I' remain in the Dharmakaya. 'I' go to the land of the great bliss. Quite an enigma, isn't it?

   PB also disagreed with Iyer when the latter argued that sleep and Nirvikalpa samadhi were the same. While not Brahman, PB did feel that Nirvikalpa was the realization of ‘Atman or Overself alone’, and offered a chance at real advancement, if only because of the great increase of concentration it represented. We hold that the same could be said for the dream state in relation to higher planes of relativity. The latter are super-conscious, while the former is largely subconscious. They may both be made of the same ‘stuff’, but the practical imlications are profound when right understanding is also there. Iyer also held that such regions existing after death was nonsense, but that, too, seems unwarranted. He asks for proof, but rejects the proof of practicing mystics or spiritual scientists who have experience of such things, and can see them in proper perspective. It is also one thing to merely be conscious on one plane, and a far reater thing to be able to function on that plane. This has many ramifications. One example has to do with healing. Iyer felt that all psychic healing was just a matter of suggestion from a more powerful mind into a lower one. Again, how he can hold that there are individual minds is questionable on his theory of only one mind, but even so, it is reductionist and simplistic to assume such is the case of all modes of healing. The Cypriote mystic Daskalos and H.P. Blavatsky herself were able to materialize etheric and even physical hands from a distnce to do healing work, Daskalos would leave his body, ‘travel’in his psychic or astral body (which he said due to the ‘silver cord’ could only go seen and a half times the circumference of the earth, and at relatively slow speeds, while in his mental or noetic body he could ‘travel’to Mars in fifteen minutes! He said that in the causal or buddhic body and above, the whole world was within one and time and space were no barrier. But in his lower bodies he could and did travel to a battlfield and materialize out of the ether a pair of physical hands to help a wounded soldier. That is much more than just suggestion. He would also create ‘elementals to combat cancer and other ailments and even take them onto his own body and dissolve them. He was the first to admit these were not evidence of ultimate realization, but still were far more than what Iyer would admit to. We suspect that PB recognized these phenomena and that was one of the reasons he didn’t throw out meditation or the teaching of emanationism altogether.

   Another area of difference between the two seems to have been surrounding the issue of Isvara and maya. Iyer held a strict advaitic view where there seemed no place for Isvara, except as a concession for weaker minds. We believe that no one system to date speaks for the whole truth, including advaita. For Iyer there was no-causality [Note: technically, no proof of causation, not proof of no-causation] and therefore no-creation, and therefore Isvara as creator-God would have no reality. But PB seemed not ready to let that go completely. He kept his teaching that the World-Mind 'gives us' the World-Idea through our Soul which our individual mind translates and then manifests as a world-image for us - a world more or less in common except for the relative angle at which we perceive it - and in which World-Image that same Soul enters with a part of itself to gather experience. So the world is within the Soul while the Soul is also within that world - and all are still within ultimate Mind. Maybe the concept of universal mind is sublated away in the end, as in advaita, but it is hard to counter the argument that we don't individually create the world, and there is also relative wisdom in Sankara’s argument about Isvara. The notion of sublation for PB here is more than just as an adjustment in understanding, but an adjustment in actual stages of realization. For him the Overself was an actual power, not just a concept. He spoke of it as inner Ruler, Divine Deputy, and that at times of anguish it may be “squeezing the ego”, that it could be prayed to - and for which one should beware what he prayed for, as the elimnation of ego it invoked might not be a painless one. With this mode of looking at things the Overself would be sort of like the notion of Adi Buddha or Cosmic Chrst, a liberating presence within relativity, and also one’s higher self, which can even less be ignored or thought away as can an actual door or wall! [certain advanced siddhas have proven they can in fact ignore walls, but that is a complex topic of its own!]. Sri Ramakrishna taught the same: Isvara (or World-Mind) is inseparable from Brahman, is all-powerful and free from Maya, and can lead the devotee to the attributeless Brahman when propitiated through prayer and yearning. It is not just a 'final veil of maya', but a living presence and liberator. This also makes sense of a hierarchy of spirits that are not just one's mental creations, but mysteries among a Great Mystery to be respected, as even all indigenous cultures believe.

   As an example of this, Tulku Thondup, in Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth, writes of a famous 19th-century realized Tibetan adept who saw the wrathful cosmic visionary form of Padmasambhava while in the bardos, and was overwhelmed with fear and fainted into unconsciousness. Whereupon various female deities as real presences performed purificatory rites on him to eradicate lingering 'taints' of the world so that he could proceed further. The lesson being that one's non-dual realization must go deep to persist through all of the intermediate stages, and there is an order to things in multidimensional reality, with what might be said to be 'quantum' advances between them.

   The standard advaitic answer to this issue of ‘creation’ is that we as ego do not create (or “imagine”) the world, but unindividuated Mind does so; therefore in this sense and level of realization only is Sri Nisargadatta’s statement that we create our own world valid. But this does not really solve our problem. Here is an example from PB’s collection of Iyer’s Commentaries of PB’s tussle with the latter’s thought:

   “The danger of accounting for past epochs of world or distant regions where humans exist, by Ferrer’s doctrine is that it may introduce the God-Mind as their perceiver, thus overlooking that latter is itself a percept, hence an idea, imagined. (PB: Why not if the God is Isvara [World-Mind], not Nirguna? - PB).”

   First, for PB and Sankara, while the 'idea' of Isvara or World-Mind might be - Isvara itself is not - a percept, as no one ever sees it yet it may be known. It is not strictly proven, as per Iyer’s standards, but is a reasonable explanation of things within relativity. Iyer says causality is the most difficult topic in advaita. PB taught ultimate non-causality, but within a more exclusive context of Brahman than Iyer. Thus, for PB non-duality lay in the Soul as a ‘double-knower’, the same as for Plotinus, in which the Soul knew itself as consciousness (‘no-self’) and simultaneously knew the manifold world as a unity within itself. Whereas Iyer appears to have set up a strawman argument when he said:

   “Mysticism encourages you to be lazy, to think the external objects are created by Isvara and internal objects by you [Sankara’s Brahma Sutra argument] . Both Isvara and jiva are your own creations. Don’t waste your time in talk of jiva and isvara, rather inquire into the nature of Brahman.”

   Even with World-Mind the objects are still not external to the Soul. But the realization of ultimate Mind was reserved for flashes and during deep trance, and most expecially for after death. PB also felt that the divine soul, which he called Overself, was definitely not just a separative ego - indeed, full maturation of and then transcendance of the ego was the prerequisite for reaching union with one’s soul. He, again, looked at the Overself as the ‘Inner Ruler” and “Deputy”, overseeing the incarnations, giving grace, lovingly guiding and ‘squeezing the ego if necessary, ‘finally swallowing it in loving union’; and, while functionally Atman, in this sense, it was still not Brahman, although ultimately 'rooted in it. What for Iyer was Brahman (Atman and world realized together) was for PB the full realization of the Soul or Overself, or the exclusive or inner Overself and the World-Idea realized as one. Not Brahman, but full Soul-realization, then, which was 'empty', infinite and formless consciousness in its own right. He also felt there were three further degrees of deepening of this realization of emptiness or the Void-Mind, with correlate with the three Primal Hypostases of Plotinus. PB at one time also emphasized the nondual realization of the Overself in itself more than did Iyer, who felt it was 'only' Nirvikalpa Samadhi and only good for increasing strength of mind for higher mentalistic inquiry [i.e., realizing that the world is only a thought or idea in mind or consciousness]. Iyer generally felt (but not always) that one should begin by inquiring into the nature of the world, find out it is thought, and trace thought back to the seer, or Drik, PB taught this at a stage in his development, but himself discovered its truth mystically first. To repeat:

   “The aspirant may have already discovered for himself some of the inner benefits of the Quest. Once the Overself has been experienced as a felt, living presence in the heart, it loosens the grip of egoistic desires--together with their emotional changes of mood--on one's consciousness and lifts it to a higher level, where he will soon become aware of a wonderful inner satisfaction which remains calm and unruffled despite outward circumstances to the contrary.”

   “Ultimately, the aspirant has to rise into that pure atmosphere whence he can survey his personal life as a thing apart. Still more difficult is it for one to live on that level while expressing the wisdom and goodness known to him. It is, however, almost beyond human strength to achieve the second part of such a program. Therefore, he has first to establish the connection with the Overself so that its strength and understanding will then rule him effortlessly. The moment this connection is established, the aspirant will become aware of results from the descent of Divine Grace upon his personality. Such a moment is unpredictable, but, for the individual who sticks to the Quest, its arrival is sure.”

   Thus, Iyer felt inquiring “Who am I?” was too self-centered, and should be reserved as an exercise after the “what is the world?” inquiry. Even then he felt it should be structured as “What am I?” instead of “Who am I?”, as the former was more impersonal and scientific. At one point he equated “Who am I?” on a level with asking “Is there God?” He therefore felt Ramana was a yogi and not a sage because of this emphasis, and that he should have taken a more pro-active role in the ashram affairs as being more indicative of a sage’s behavior, rather than letting his brother misguidedlycontrol ashram affairs. As in all things, what works for one person will not work for the next, so the careful student will notice that both Iyer and PB alternatied between these two positions. And in any case the end result of the two-pronged approach is to be the same: nondual vision.

   Iyer also felt:

   “The notion that you will go to some world after death will disappear as nonsense with the disappearance of belief in the reality of the 'I' "

   In Sant Mat, the transcendance of the ego-I is a prerequisite for conscious existence on higher planes after death, not its negation. With the death of the ego at each plane, the soul merges with the “Word” or Logos on an ascending path. After which when it descends it is saturated with the divine life and knows its ego to be unreal or only a manifestation of the Soul and God together. It does not follow that one cannot function as Soul with the disappearance of the belief in the “I” as real, or its complete disappearance along with manas after the third plane (termed 'Brahm' in Sant Mat). PB, with his alleged belief in a higher individuality, must have also felt this to be true. Iyer’s point, then, is too extreme, and testifies to his lack of experience in this domain and scholarly adherence to strict advaita. He also held that the individual mind and the universal mind were ultimately the same, and while PB admitted that, too, he also continued to argue for communion with the World-Mind through the Overself being mankind’s highest goal. Sri Nisargadatta like Iyer and other vedantists also said that “we create our world", but what does that require, and in what sense do we create our world?” are essential questions. Try and make a world, even if your ego is subdued! Iyer felt that the issue of creation or causality was inadmissible when speaking of truth, and that the world appears, no doubt, but we don’t know the why. So remarks like Sri Nisargadatta’s can be misleading. Even without ego, according to PB, we don’t create the world per se, at best we co-create it with the World-Mind, Isvara, or Saguna Brahman. There is ultimately a spontaneous appearance, that is all. No one has ever actually seen the world appearing out of consciousness or Mind. Yet we must allow that for the world to appear as idea, a Mind is necessary for that idea, and finally in truth, the idea is none other than Mind. But it not as simple as all that.

   The above is when speaking of God as Brahman, the substratum of all, 'without attributes, and neither form or formless'. Speaking, however, of God as 'formless with attributes', we have World-Mind or Isvara, which is the controlling Power. Isvara is associated with maya, but not bound by it; Isvara is ever free, with sattva guna predominating, and the spontaneous expression of Brahman. [For much more on the relationship of Isvara and maya, see "Maya Is Maya" on this website]. Hence the way to Brahman, as the Tibetans teach, is in a real sense to go from 'bad to good (sattva) to perfect'. The relative and absolute are related. Similar, PB posits Mind Alone with its inseparable expression of World-Mind, with which man is forever linked noumenally as Soul and phenomenally as the World-Idea, the latter which would be 'God with form and attributes'. All three of these dimensions of God are inseparable yet distinct and necessary to realize for full participation in reality. For our understanding PB affirmed a World-Mind in which our Soul participates, in order to account for our experience of a world-in-common, but the problem for Iyer was “who has ever seen the World-Mind?” He wanted to make of the Logos and Isvara mere maya. The answer is that one in union with his Soul has intrinsic self-cognition which includes cognition of its origin. The World-Mind or Isvara, then, is something ('formless with attributes'), that is the controlling and guiding Power for the universe. It is an 'intermediary presence within relativity' that can be prayed to and that gives grace. For Ramakrishna, Isvara is not only eternally free of its own maya, but not bound by its own universal laws either. This is similar to the Sant Mat concept of the divine will, or 'Mauj'. It is readily seen that this is very much in contrast with Buddhism! Isvara or World-Mind in this sense is not a 'last veil of maya', but active Saguna Brahman itself - of which one important manifestation is the 'sound of the Dharmata', or Shabda-Brahman, the 'Word', consisting of consciousness as vibratory light and sound, or 'Christ consciousness/aum vibration, purusha/prakriti, or siva/shakti, able to link the Soul to that which is beyond form and formlessness, consciousness/content: to wit, the Nameless or Nirguna. This 'Word' is perhaps not the only means, but is a naturally given one; there are said to be other doorways or agencies. [We will not tarry on this point for now, and are truly sorry for causing anyone a headache with this dense philosophizing! But we had to do it, if only for our sake, to assimilate and throw out concepts generating lingering questions. Moreover, desires, including questions, must be fulfillment one way or another. Even if it is in the wearing out of the questione]r.

   Lest this past long statement go by too fast, an important concept must be re-summarized. And that is that, in our tentative view, it is more workable to posit a Trinity of sorts than just 'all is consciousness', even though that has been used for centuries. First of all, consciousness is a word, and defined within a polarity of subject/object, or else it has no meaning. We prefer to start with a Mystery that is Nirguna, without characteristics, undefinable or describable, and which appears to bifurcate into consciousness/content, siva/shakti, or purusha/prakriti - first in an undivided way, then more separately, on down the line. [Of course this is not a temporal process]. Anthony Damiani said even in Nirvikalpa samadhi, which most writers define as 'pure consciousness', there is actually consciousness AND a content (in this case, the unmanifest world-idea). For consciousness always has a content. Anadi also argues that there remains a 'subtle objectivity' within the Soul, necessary for it to be aware of itself. These are essentially confessions that Soul and World-Mind or God are inseparable. Chogyam Trungpa, speaking of this Mystery, remarked, "we can't call it consciousness, we can't call it awareness...we really don't know what it is." Adyashanti recently said also that he was getting tired of talking about nondual consciousness, that there was just this Mystery. Really, who knows what anything is? Sri Ramakrishna said:

   "What shall I say? No one knows what Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute is. That is why He at first became half-male and half-female. Why so? Because He wanted to show that both Purusha and Prakriti were He. Then He came down a step further from there and became the separate Purusha and the separate Prakriti." (16a)

   Try this model on for size and see if it works. It is one way of reconciling Vedanta and Sam 'Khya philosophies. It is also, when fully extrapolated, a way of accounting for apparent creation. For instance, Ramakrishna's first stage of 'unity of Purusha-Prakriti' above might be equated with Sach Khand in Sant Mat, which is a nondual plane 'beyond the three worlds, mind, and ego' - but with real expression. How is this possible? It is not dualistic, but, as an expression of the 'Sat Purush', from which Souls emanate, and which derives Its power from Anami or the Nameless One, is, it is suggested, akin to the spontaneous nondualistic Sambhogakaya manifestations in Buddhism, visible only to liberated Souls. 'Lower down' we get further and further into dualism with apparent separate principles. And even here the underlying essence is One, if realized as such. Of course that is the crux.

   Now, some teachers do use the word "Creation", understanding that it is not dualistically created, but rather, that the "Power of Brahman", inseparable from Brahman, is ultimately responsible for upholding and guiding the universal manifestation. In Sant Mat and Christianity they refer to this as the "Word', or "Shabda-Brahman." It may not actually be a creator per se as usually conceived, which implies a beginning in time, but it is considered as the controlling Power and the source of Life within Divine Mother Maya's manifestation. And this is why to "Sat-Chit-Ananda" must be added "Life" and "Power". Even the Native Americans recognized this. As Flat Iron, of the Lakota, said, "From Wakan Tanka, the great Mystery, comes all power." Without this understanding many things cannot be explained or accounted for, such as a liberated adept's divine spontaneous siddhis, or why we are born or die when we do, why do cells grow and decay, etc., and previously discussed mysteries, such as multiple simultaneous incarnations, if the world is merely our own mind's mental production.

   Finally, one of PB's major practical differences with his teacher V.S. Iyer was that he stressed the necessity of one's ego having matured to the fullest development and balance of the faculties of feeling, thinking, and willing, in order to be capable of the sacrifice of that ego and subsequent enlightenment, whereas for Iyer, while he gave passing oblique reference to such preparation his main stress was on the development of "brains", or the faculty of Reason or as being paramount. PB felt meditation or the feeling aspect was also necessary along with character development to prepare a man for the "influx of the solar force," and also to create the sharpness of mind necessary for advanced inquiry. So, while writing of the highest doctrines of non-causality and Mind-only, he also took a more integrated view of the whole matter of realization. Again, from his notes on Iyer’s Commentaries:

   “Two years ago the H.H. the Maharaja of Mysore was having many disturbances of mind through State and family troubles and felt need of peace. Hence his visit to Ramana Maharshi. (This proves that philosophic study may give understanding but can’t alone give sufficient peace, for which the addition of yoga is necessary - PB).”

   All seem to be in agreement, however, that the world of multiplicity isn’t what it appears to be.

   In the end of his life PB remarked that he felt he had been far too conservative in his estimates of how difficult the path was and how long it would actually take for completion. For him, as mentioned, the overall maturing and ‘fusion’ of the faculties of thinking, feeling, and willing were required to ‘ignite mystic forces’ within a man and produce the superior faculty he called ‘insight’. Not only brains or purified reason (buddhi) was sufficient as it was for Iyer. This was in contrast with the rosy picture he painted with his notes on the Short Path, and his occasional seemingly contradictory comments that “it was really not as difficult as the books say it is.”

   PB was asked a student what he thought an enlightened being was like. The answer was, “well, he would love everybody.” PB replied, “I am not that advanced. I don’t love everybody.” This suggests that he felt there were indeed higher stages, even after nondual realization of the Overself or the One Mind itself. His comment about Sahaj Samadhi not being the highest stage possible is indicative of this, and will be a major focus in article Two of this series. He further emphasizes the following:

   "He should not fall into the error of believing that the transition to philosophic study has exempted him from the duty of mystical practice or that the transition to the latter has exempted him from the need for religious devotion. We do not drop what belongs to a lower stage but keep and preserve it in the higher one. Aspiration is a vital need. He should become as a child at the feet of his divine Soul, humbly begging for its grace, guidance, and enlightenment. If his ego is strong, prayer will weaken it. Let him do this every day, not mechanically but sincerely and feelingly until the tears come to his eyes. The quest is an integral one and includes prayer alongside of all the other elements."

   Yet we are reminded:

   "Beware what you pray for. Do not ask for the truth unless you know what it means and all that it implies and nevertheless are still willing to accept it. For if it is granted to you, it will not only purge the evil out of you but later purify the egotism from your mind. Will you be able to endure this loss, which is unlikely to be a painless one?"

   Just a final note. PB went through the equivalent of what he called the Long Path, then the Short Path, and finally reached a stage common among realizers where they say how simple and easy it is and if they only knew that before how much time they would have saved! Ramana said the same thing, as did Zen master Bankei, after thirty years of sadhana passed since his initial profound awakening. This is understandable but often misconstrued by the naive. Bankei qualified his statement saying that while his realization was the same from the beginning, there was “all the difference between heaven and earth.” PB acknowledged in the last years of his life that he had underemphasized how hard the path was and how long it took for its fulfillment. This should be kept in mind in this day of instant everything and short attention spans. On the other hand, PB didn't live long enough to see the explosion of non-dual teachings of relative simplicity, so we do not know what he would have said about it. Many, many people are now having glimpses of their true nature, without lots of background in terms of study and so on. Many things seem to be converging in our world that support it, also. How deep it will go is an individual matter.

   Conclusions on method of approach and the concept of a Divine ‘Intermediary’

   So, in the end we are left with at least two different paradigms: (1) the ancient mystery school wisdom of the true alchemists, who were engaged in transmuting the 'base metals' of human nature into spiritual 'gold', the prerequisite to further development and realization, and (2) "Everything is already Perfection”; Ego doesn't really exist, and there is no need to 'do' anything. Similarly, regarding the supposed 'fall', or mystery of ignorance, there are three views: (1) it is just an 'innocent misunderstanding' (Adyashanti), (2) it was due to 'audacious self-will' (Plotinus), or (3) there was in truth 'no fall', but a real evolutionary process in development and understanding of individualized units of consciousness ‘within the One’ (theosophy, PB, and the mystery schools such as the Eleusinian, Egyptian, Mithric, Qaballa, and Hermetic). As stated by Manly Palmer Hall, “the fall of man signifies spiritual involution as a prerequisite to spiritual evolution.” In brief, the story goes like this:

   “Millions of years ago when the human race was in the making, man was like the angels, who knew neither good nor evil. He fell into the state of the knowledge of good and evil when the gods gave him the seed for the mental nature [manas]. From man’s mental reaction to his environment he distills the product of experience, which then aids him to regain his lost position plus an individualized intelligence.” (17)

   Or perhaps - and you may justifiably want to strangle me for this - all and none of these are correct, but as pointers to truth, each has their proper time and place.

   The Advaitin then says, but 'only nondual Brahman exists, there is no need for or real existence of Isvara, evolution, persons, time, practice, or even ignorance or enlightenment, as there is only the One Consciousness. Moreover, we have only recently come to full understanding about this simple truth, and which is all anyone needs to know’. We suggest, however, that this view needs inspecting. PB seems to side more with the Greeks than the Vedantins, who said in essence that” man does not know the gods by logic or reason, but by realizing the presence of the gods within him.” Thus, Isvara as the ‘God above even the regent of all gods’ is pretty high from the human point of view, and more than just a thought. Ancient doctrines all presumed that an 'intermediary' is needed between the personal self and the infinite Deity, Brahman, or the One, between relativity and the absolute. This has been termed variously: Adi Buddha, Cosmic Christ, or Overself.

   Adi-Buddha is a term used in certain schools of Buddhism to refer to the universal enlightened Presence within the universe. Adi means ‘one’ or ‘first’ and so indicates here the primordial or ‘original’ Buddha, the cosmic archetypal teacher or guru. Like Patanjali’s definition of the term Ishvara as a universal Deity in the ‘Yoga Sutras’, the Adi-Buddha is not a Creator Deity who is responsible for the existence of the relative universe, so much as the archetypal, universal teacher and savior. This term has the same meaning and purpose as the Christ Logos or Universal or Cosmic Christ. This refers to the Universal Presence or personification of Christ Consciousness, which can be thought of as not only a Principle but the total presence of liberated beings in the universe(s). In some cosmologies (such as Daskalos’), the Christ Logos is used a little differently as the universal personification of love and wisdom (similar to Shiva in Tantric philosophy), and complimentary to the Holy Spirit as the personification of love and power (similar to Shakti). The term Christ Logos also can mean the union of Shiva and Shakti, Universal Male and Female.

   The Shabda-Brahman, for instance, is a manifestation of the Universal or Cosmic Christ, but it is not its only manifestation. The “aham sphurana” spoken of by Ramana, or the “current that knows the way” of Robert Adams, might be another. He states:

   “There is a Power and there is a Presence which I like to call The Current That Knows The Way, that takes care of everything. It is allpart of the grand illusion. nd even in this illusion which appears before your eyes, there is a presence and a Power that lifts you up. it will lift you up as high as you allow It to. Until it lifts you up completely out of your body, out of your thoughts, out of the universe, to a completely new dimension.”

   Strange words indeed for a staunch advaitin! He also said:

   “When God is ready for you, God will take you over completely. And you’ll have nothing to say about it whatsoever...To get to the stage where God does not exist for you is a very high transcendental stage.” (18)

   Human nature has several main doorways of perception - the senses, the subtle senses (which is how we not only perceive psychically, but also contact emotions and thoughts), pure intuition (insight and 'feeling' without form - formless holistic understanding), and nondual-illumined modes of perception. The Adi-Buddha or Cosmic Christ can be approached (or approach us) through any of these avenues of 'contact'. The Shabda or Nada is a sensory pathway that, as one progresses along that route, gradually expands into not just being sound, but a spiritual feeling (love, bliss, peace) and a growing realization, including nondual aspects and Cosmic Presence dimensions. Depending on the person, different aspects may come to the fore at different times. Some will emphasize the impersonal aspect, some the personal, etc. It can be approached in internal states and 'worlds' or higher planes, or directly from one's physical state. It can be approach through emphasis on vision, sound, feeling, intuition, awareness, or compassion. It can be realized in a bhakti or jnani context, and interpreted in a great variety of ways.

   The Adi-Buddha/Cosmic Christ is not merely on some 'higher plane', but is profoundly present to every level. As Its very essence is nondual realization, it has no sense of boundary for being aware and present to every level and every being of Relativity. Whether we can perceive it or not - that is another question. But it does not require traveling to another plane. It can be realized 'right here'.

   Another way of expressing this truth is as follows. The “Sat Purush”, such as given in Sant Mat, is the Eternal, Universal Guru. All talk of this reality is limited, metaphorical, and of necessity stepped down. It, in reality, is a vast, mysterious, transcendental reality that the individual Soul will always be in awe of, growing forever in realization of It's nature, and empowered by. Do not go in for glib pseudo-nondual teachings that dismiss it (or similar ideas/terms like Saguna Brahman, Ishvara, Narayana, Adi Buddha, Absolute Beingness, etc.) as a subtle 'maya', the last veil over the 'real truth', and similar superficial condescensions. The true nature of the Sat Purush is an eternal, transcendental Mystery. It's reality is fully compatible with nondual understanding (though many people mistake it for a 'first cause' Deity), and It can, with a certain superficial simplicity, be defined as the sum total of all nondual realization throughout the universe, even transcending time, meaning all nondual realization that ever was or will be. And, of course, it is not 'located' on some plane, but is equi-present to all planes, being the Perfection of Universal Nondual Presence. The individual only seems to first contact it in inversion paths such as Sant Mat in 'higher planes' as that reflects the individual's experience of setting aside enough veils to be able to perceive it. But at deeper stages of realization, its Presence is throughout all planes. And, of course, each Soul is one with the Universal Soul (Sat Purush) .

   Further, phrases like 'It takes you into the Nameless One' are our clumsy human ways of trying to talk about stages of realization that are truly transcendental, and so fully transcend any words or descriptions about them. The Sat Purush is in a state of Nondual realization, so it 'showing us' our nondual Anami Reality is paradoxically really only also bringing us to a deeper realization of It's own Emptiness, which is not beyond the Sat Purush, but our deeper appreciation of that 'aspect' of It's nature and our's. Words so fail here, but those advaitins who argue that Sat Purush is 'just maya , or a concept', are seriously short-changing the path and reality, in our opinion. The Sat Purush is God and all that entails, as far as man is concerned.

      "Satguru is ever-present, never think He is far away." - Sikh hymn

   Let us examine this issue of the Soul, or individuality beyond ego - a stickler for advaitists and traditional Buddhists - a little further. Although while enwrapped in anandamayakosha the Soul is very individualized in its own Self/Soul realization, this is not an 'aloneness' per se, but a state of deep wholeness and interdependence consciousness. It is relatively formless and immersed in virtue, so that one feels great interconnection with others and a feeling of a larger Presence. It is beyond birth and death, a 'semi-eternal state/realm'. But in Sach Khand or Sat Lok [in the Sant Mat system, which may also be explained in an equivalent manner on 'non-inversion' paths] one is reborn into a more deeply trans-virtue state of nondual Being that, while not the highest state, brings forth a much more immediate sense of our nondual nature, as well as our 'integration' with the Sat Purush [from which the Soul emanates and which is rooted inthe Nameless One]. Mystics, in their physical consciousness, will emphasize different aspects of these states depending on their nature and training. Some emphasize 'oneness with God', other nondual awareness, some both. But states beyond these (‘realms of Suchness’ in Buddhism, or those for Arhants, Bodhisattvas, and Buddhas - beyond the six samsaric existences - and even beyond the ‘Pure Abodes’ [i.e., more refined subtle realms] for non-returners, anagami, those free of the five lower fetters who need not return to earth and may attain nibbana (nirvana) from those realms - or Alakh, Agam, Anami, and, in some Sant Mat lineages, Radhasoami or Dayal Desh beyond this, not static but ever-deepening) become increasingly difficult to fully realize in a body, so that aspects will be 'missed', and the nature of these states are typically oversimplified - 'no-self', 'differences transcended', etc.. The whole affair is more subtle than that. Also, the notion that there is no individuality beyond ego or the mind is not so cut and dried (emphasis on 'dry') as it is in advaita and some Buddhist schools.

   Consider this also: it is a given that the planes and bodies all interpenetrate yet without co-mingling, so inversion is not necessary for non-dual realization. However, on an inversion or ascending path, for example, how could one pass 'upwards' into higher states like Sach Khand or Sat Lok and beyond, and be 'led' anywhere, and have this result in growing spiritual attainment, if there was no individual that this is happening to? There is a type of individuality on every plane, but beyond the mental plane it takes forms rather unfamiliar to humans in a physical body. Even the true nature of astral and mental consciousness and experience is a greater form of identity (traveling from one location to another by thought, communication by telepathy, synaesthesia, etc). But the nature of individuality in each higher plane becomes more 'realized' and deeply interdependent with everything. And the levels at Sach Khand and beyond (and their correlates in other systems) include a direct perception of the nondual nature of everything as well. But nondual realization is so nondual that it does not negate or reject anything, including individuality (i.e., hence the saying 'samsara and nirvana are one'). In fact, nondual 'realization' requires individuality as a focus. Only 'individuals' can have nondual realization. Perhaps this is why some teachings, such as the Avadhuta Gita, say 'It' is beyond duality and non-duality, although these are only concepts. The essence of the very nature of individuality at these 'levels' is that they are based in the realization that all relative phenomena and truths perceived are nondual in their nature, but without eclipsing any of them. Individuality, universality, eternity, time, space, love, bliss, Shiva, Shakti, karma, Sat Purush, forms, bodies, planes, elements, realization - all these and more are realized as nondual in essence, and simultaneously illuminated by this realization at a relative level in a way that does not erase them, but instead reveals increasingly profound and subtle insights into the vast interdependence of all these relative realities. As suggested, there is inexpressible Sat-Chit-Ananda, or Being-Awareness-Bliss - but also Life, Light, Love - and Power. It is not dry! Hence the halcyon peace and effulgence, and spontaneous divine siddhis, amongst the highest of realizers, even though, as the son of man, they may claim nothing of themselves. There is no need to negate individuality, or even believe in it either, but only continually deepen our realization of its transcendental and mysterious nature, deeper and deeper.

   Sri Nisargadatta said that identity is always there and not annihilated, that "in the Absolute every I AM is preserved and glorified". This certainly doesn't sound like standard Advaita, but a teaching that recognizes what we consider as Soul [see the Appendix to the article "The Primordial Ground, Part One" for an in-depth analysis of Sri Nisargadatta's teachings along these lines]. PB said that "individuality is there in the highest state attainable by man." The ego is not the 'drop', the drop is the Soul. And the drop is not forever lost when it finds itself through its 'absence' merged in the Ocean. Granted, it is nothing like we imagine it to be, yet it is also none other than the nature of ourself, and said to be not absolutely unfamiliar when realized. At a certain stage of this realization, we suggest, it becomes apparent that the 'presence' of the experience of individuality does not obstruct this endlessly deepening realization, but is basic to the experience of nondual realization within relativity. So we do not get rid of the self or individuality, but rather go deeper into more profound realizations of what it 'really' is, outgrowing lesser, more limited, more superimposed understandings. Many teachings and practitioners that feel they have radically and finally transcended relativity and realized an ‘Absolute’, then, may not have really done so in the manner they assume.

   Part 3


6. Stephen MacKenna, trans., Plotinus, The Enneads (Burdett, New York: Larson Publications, 1992), Appendix, p. 716
6a. Ibid, p. 726
6b. Ibid, p. 737
6c. “The Buddhist does not endeavor to ‘dissolve his being in the infinite’, to fuse his finite consciousness with the consciousness of the all, or to unite his soul with the all-soul; his aim is to become conscious of his ever-existing, indivisible and undivided completeness. To this completeness nothing can be added, and from it nothing can be taken away. It may only be experienced or recognized in a more perfect way. The difference in the development of beings are due to a greater or lesser degree of this knowledge or experience. The perfectly Enlightened Ones are those who ave been awakened to the perfect consciousness of completeness...It would probably come nearer to the Buddhist conception of ultmate realization [to say]: it is not the drop that slips into the sea,but the sea that slips into the drop! The universe becomes conscious in the individual (but not vice verse), and it is in this process that completeness is achieved, in regard to which we neither can speak any more of ‘individual’nor of’universe’...’Selfhood’ and ‘universe’ are only ‘inside’ and ’outside’ of the same illusion. The realization of completeness, however, has all the characteristics of universality, without presuming an external cosmos, and has likewise all the characteristics of individual experience without presuming an ego-identity. The idea of realization of completeness escapes the dualistic concepts of unity and plurality, of ‘I’ and ‘not-I’, or whatever we may call the pairs of opposites, as long as we move on the plane of empirical consciousness. “ (Govinda, op. cit., p. 81)

7. John Myrdhin Reynolds, trans. and commentary, introduction by Namkhai Norbu, Self-Liberation Through Seeing with Naked Awareness (Barrytown, New York: Station Hill Press, 1989), p. 88-89
8. Ibid, p. 88
9. Note: both PB and theosophy held that there was more than one universe! - each composed of countless galaxies and solar systems and worlds and planes of existence, involving and evolving, appearing and disappearing, cyclically and in a spiralling fashion, according to an inherent intelligence(s); As such there may also be more than one World-Mind behind it all, with the One still reigning supreme. This is an important point which we will come back to in part two.
10. Lama Anagarika Govinda, op. cit., p. 224
10a. Tulku Thondup, Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth (Boston: Shabhala, 2005), p. 30,35
11. Paul Brunton, The Notebooks of Paul Brunton (Burdett, New York: Larson Publications, 1988), Vol. 16, Part Four, 1.41; Part 1, 1.110

12. “Sri Ramana adopted three different standpoints when he spoke about the nature of the physical world. He advocated all of them at different times but it is clear from his general comments on the subject that he only considered the first two theories given below to be either true or useful.

   1. Ajata vada (the theory of non-causality). This is an ancient Hindu doctrine which states that the creation of the world never happened at all. It is a complete denial of all causality in the physical world
[V.S. Iyer, PB's vedantic teacher, said that it is not that there is proof of non-causality, only that there is no proof of causality; this means that ajatavada is accepted by either a process of elimination or presumably by direct intuition]. Sri Ramana endorsed this view by saying that it is the jnani’s experience that nothing ever comes into existence or ceases to be because the Self alone exists as the sole unchanging reality. It is a corollary of this theory that time, space, cause and effect, essential components of all creation theories, exist only in the minds of ajnanis and that the experience of the Self reveals their non-existence.

   This theory is not a denial of the reality of the world, only of the creative process which brought it into existence. Speaking from his own experience Sri Ramana said that the jnani is aware that the world is real, not as an assemblage of interacting matter and energy, but as an uncaused appearance in the Self. He enlarged on this by saying that because the real nature or substratum of this appearance is identical with the beingness of the Self, it necessarily partakes of its reality. That is to say, the world is not real to the jnani simply because it appears, but only because the real nature of the appearance is inseparable from the Self.

   The ajnani, on the other hand, is totally unaware of the unitary nature and source of the world and, as a consequence, his mind constructs an illusory world of separate interacting objects by persistently misinterpreting the sense impressions it receives. Sri Ramana pointed out that this view of the world has no more reality than a dream since it superimposes a creation of the mind on the reality of the Self. He summarised the difference between the jnani’s and the ajnani’s standpoint by saying that the world is unreal if it is perceived by the mind as a collection of discrete objects and real when it is directly experienced as an appearance in the Self.

   [Note: this is rather advanced, and not meant to further confuse the reader, but Anthony Damiani argues that the appearance is actually never directly seen as an appearance in the Self:

   “You don’t see that appearance arising out of consciousness. You’re going to have to work that out through hard dialectic and reasonng and understanding. It’s not a perceptible fact, even when you have insight going on [In PB’s term, ‘insight’ - the mature fruition of a complete and balanced philosophical quest - is the faculty of self-recognition that reality has of Itself, an intrinsic self-awareness]. When the faculty of insight is developed or functioning, you recognize that consciousness is the Reality, the substratum. In that act, there isn’t the realization or the perception of the appearance arising out of consciousness. They’re both simultaneous. With the senses and with the intellect you see the apparent world, and with the faculty of insight you see that consciousness is the substratum. But you don’t see it as arising out of that...You have to understand that thoughts arise from the mind; you have to bring the intellect and the intuition to operate on that - that all arises from the mind, comes from the mind. You’re not going to see it...The philosopher has brought to bear all personal understanding and reasoning and intuition on the fact that the world appearance arises from consciousness. It’s a process that you come to, reason out, and understand.” (Anthony Damiani, Living Wisdom (Burdett: New York: Larson Publications, 1996), p. 139-140)]

   2. Drishti-srishti vada. If his questioners found the idea of ajata or non-causality impossible to assimilate, he would teach them that the world comes into existence simultaneously with the appearance of the ‘I’-thought and that it ceases to exist when the ‘I’-thought is absent. This theory is known as drishti-srishti, or simultaneous creation, and it says, in effect, that the world which appears to an ajnani is a product of the mind that perceives it, and that in the absence of that mind it ceases to exist. The theory is true in so far as the mind does create an imaginary world for itself, but from the standpoint of the Self, an imaginary ‘I’ creating an imaginary world is no creation at all, and so the doctrine of ajata is not subverted. [This is similar to contemporary teacher Rupert Spira's assertion that, "an object is not seen because it is there, it is there because you see it." Thus, for Ramana and other ajatavadins, drishti-sristhi vada is only a 'pointer' to break naive realism or objective identification. Nisargadatta also said "we create the world". The question then seems to be, "in what sense do I see it or think about it or create it?" If I am walking along not paying attention and run into a door and get bonked, did that happen because I thought of it? I don't know. Hard to see (no pun intended). True, the door exists in consciousness or is never known outside of consciousness, but aren't we assuming that it exists because 'we' 'thought' of it? PB's mentalism tries to refine this a bit. The door still 'exists' for others, because of the World-Mind in which we all are a part as Souls and share in its imaging power/World-Idea. We are all familiar with that argument. [Ultimately the two minds, the door, we, the logos, etc., are all Mind-stuff - but the devil - and the heaven - is in the details].. Although Sri Ramana sometimes said that drishti-srishti was not the ultimate truth about creation he encouraged his followers to accept it as a working hypothesis. He justified this approach by saying that if one can consistently regard the world as an unreal creation of the mind then it loses its attraction and it becomes easier to maintain an undistracted awareness of the ‘I’- thought.” [this is similar to vivartavada, or apparent manifestation. The ajatavadin (such as Ramana or Iyer) would maintain there is no proof of a mind or anything else ‘causing’ manifestations - no one has actually ever seen it happen - hence this view is still dualistic, albeit higher than the next view].

   3. Srishti-drishti vada (gradual creation). This is the common-sense view which holds that the world is an objective reality governed by laws of cause and effect which can be traced back to a single act of creation. It includes virtually all western ideas on the subject from the ‘big bang’ theory to the biblical account in Genesis. Sri Ramana only invoked theories of this nature when he was talking to questioners who were unwilling to accept the implications of the ajata and drishti-srishti theories. Even then, he would usually point out that such theories should not be taken too seriously as they were only promulgated to satisfy intellectual curiosity.”
[also called Parinamavada, this would include the dualistic Samkhya view also].

   Literally, drishti-srishti means that the world only exists when it is perceived whereas srishti-drishti means that the world existed prior to anyone’s perception of it. Although the former theory sounds perverse, Sri Ramana insisted that serious seekers should be satisfied with it, partly because it is a close approximation to the truth and partly because it is the most beneficial attitude to adopt if one is seriously interested in realising the Self.”
(David Godman, ed., Be As You Are, (Penguin Arkana,1985), pp 181-3

The issue of the doctrine of ajata will be delved into in more detail in article Three of this series, "Is 'Ajatavada' Non-Dual Enough?"

13. Brunton, op. cit., Part 2, 4.258
14. Ibid, 4.257-2.66
15. Ibid, 4.257
16. ibid, Vol. 2, Part One, 5.419
16a. Swami Jagadananda, trans., Swami Saradananda, Ramakrishna The Great Master (Mylapore, Chennai, India: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 2008, 6th ed.), p. 895
17. Manly Palmer Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages (Tarcher/Penguin, 2003; originally published in 1928), p. 154
18. Robert Adams, Silence of the Heart (Santa Barbara: Acropolis Books, 1999), p. 207-208, 177, 169