by Peter Holleran
"Know, 0 beloved, that man was not created in jest or at random, but marvelously made and for some great end.”
- Al Ghazzali
"God did not wait for us to become something before he would love us. No, before the worlds came into being, and even before we had our very existence, he was thinking about us. And his desire for us was only to do us good. What he once meditated on in eternity, he has carried out in time."
"God is literally in me. His "I" makes my "I" possible. My own sense of being is immersed in God's archetypal thought."
(1) - Paul Brunton (PB)
The concept of a ‘Primal Adam’, a ‘Heavenly Man’, and an 'archtype of Man' is extant in the middle eastern spiritual traditions, and also found scattered amidst the traditions of the Far East. What this means will be the subject of this essay, drawing heavily from the teaching of Daskalos
(Stylianos Ateshlis) (1912-1995), the famous Greek Christian mystic from Cyprus, as well as other traditions, such as Sufism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism.
While talking about Man, we will of necessity speak in depth about animals, and archangels and angels as well, all in all a quite fascinating study. This essay is long, and not likely capable of being comfortably digested in one sitting. Therefore, topic heading are included for the ease of the reader in picking up where he left off. [On re-reading this in May of 2021 it is evident to me that (1) this essay is much longer than I remembered, and (2) there in fact thus needs to be many more such headings so as not to overtax the reader’s brain with each attempt to get through this. Hopefully this problem will be rectified soon!]
Daskalos said he was a master in the 'esoteric White Brotherhood', which he says began truly when the first man looked up and said 'Who am I?', but for practical purposes started around the time of Christ. He preferred, however, to call his particular school the 'Circle for the Research of Truth,’ to avoid any confusion created from negative associations with theosophy. He was an ordinary man, with extraordinary abilities. At one time he had ten thousand students from all walks of life. Known primarily as a spiritual healer by avocation (he never accepted any money for his services), with perhaps the most extensive exploration and mastery of the subtle realms of any modern master, his other primary focus was on the spiritual development of his inner circles, which consisted in serving humanity while attuning with the Christ Logos within, and re-uniting the outer personality with what he called the ‘Permanent Personality, then with the ‘Self-conscious Soul’, then the Pneuma or Spirit-Ego, our most truest self which is never born or dies, and which is rayed from a ‘Holy Monad’, which eternally resides within the Father, which he called the ‘Absolute Beingness’. Above that is Absolute Be-Ness, or God in Its unknowable, un-manifested state. Absolute Beingness is the first appearance of God in what the Christians call the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit), and what the Hindus call the Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu & Shiva), or one might perhaps simply say Nirguna/Saguna Brahman. Thus, Daskalos' teaching was a combination of an emanationist nondualism within a theistic framework. All of these terms and their relevance will all be explained as we proceed. However, the reader will perhaps have an easier time of it if he holds them somewhat lightly and not place them under a microscope. This isn't scripture, but the words of a practical spiritual man. Here is a useful glossary
for reference. A short biography is also provided at the end of this article. (1a)
: In our view the 'mayaic/samsaric, nothing is gained or lost' vision of many Eastern teachings, i.e., the 'nothing ever happened' view of Papaji, and the ajatavada
('no-creation') view of advaita vedanta or Ramana Maharshi, can be integrated completely harmoniously with the 'purposeful emanation, something is gained' vision of teachings such as Daskalos' - but perhaps not without modifying and enhancing both perspectives. That is to say, ajatavada
and 'Absolute Beingness emanating Holy Monads through Divine Ideas, Archangelic and Human', can both be true - but further, reality is probably even much more complex than that. But for now, we will concentrate on the latter view].
First, to clarify, those who have only read the books by Kyriacos Markides, including the well-known “The Magus of Strovolos”, may be somewhat confused, thinking that Daskalos changed his terminology and teaching through the years. The information I will draw from is a book Daskalos himself wrote years before called “The Esoteric Teachings: A Christian Approach to Truth,” and more advanced books called “Esoteric Practices” and ‘”Gates to the Light,” as well as insights from two friends who spent time with him. The reason it may seem Daskalos’ terminology changed when one reads Markides books, is that Markides was an observer to Daskalos’ teachings, but not a member of the inner-most circle. So Markides did not fully understand the deeper teachings of Daskalos’ Inner, In-more and Inner-most circles. His writings, while full of many fascinating anecdotes and teaching excerpts, were not an official dissertation on Daskalos’ works. As Daskalos said: “The stories Markides wrote about me were true, but Markides’ interpretations and opinions were his own.” I am told by his immediate family that neither his teachings or terminology fundamentally changed in the many decades of his teaching work. Now we begin. Be forewarned, it is a long and complex essay, but revealing a rich and colorful cosmology and ontology, which, if anything, will produce a feeling of awe at the Divine mercy and immensity.
“The idea of man which exists in and is eternally known by the World-Mind is a master-idea...The living, intelligent human entity preexists elsewhere, and takes up its physical residence on earth only when it is ready for it. For 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 unmanifest image of God in which man is made and which he has yet to bring into manifestation in his everyday consciousness...The man who, according to the Bible, is made in the image of God is not the earthly man, visible to all and speaking a voice that sounds in physical ears. He is to be found in the deep centre of consciousness, where there is only a Void, and he speaks in silence to the attentive mind, not to other persons...Man’s need is two-fold: recollection of his divine nature and redemption from his earthly nature.”
[Click here for a complete look at PB's writing in his Notebooks on the Idea of Man
Traditions differ as to whether the soul of man actually traversed through all of the kingdoms of nature, or whether it was always physically incarnated as man. Daskalos, a Christian, held to the view that the human soul was always human, and did not go through plant and animal stages, although nothing I have read has ruled out the possibility suggested in theosophy that the human form itself may have evolved through time before the human soul incarnated into it from above. But that was not part of Daskalos teachings. This issue will be discussed in depth later. Let us then dive right in, for this body of doctrine is rich and invigorates an ancient tradition which is distinct in its own right: Christianity, which we cannot dismiss too quickly for advaita or any other school of thought, without discarding a significant part of our spirtual hertitage and world spiritual dharma.
Basic philosophy and ontology
Daskalos taught what I would call a ‘modified Sam ‘khya’ metaphysics (3). Where the most ancient Sam‘khya posits two eternal principles, Purusha and Prakriti, or, loosely, spirit and matter, yet emanating from "THAT" (the constant ultimate in ancient Indian philosophy, yet omitted by historical founder Kapila because it was simply understood as a given, yet becoming a source of later criticism by Advaitists and Buddhists of Samkhaya as a 'dualistic system where it really wasn't one), Daskalos, as mentioned above, held to an Absolute One (Be-Ness) and a Holy Trinity, or Absolute Beingness, which he termed the Absolute (Father), the Holy Spirit, and the Christ-Logos. The Absolute Be-ness is eternally self-contained and self-sufficent, needing nothing, not even creation, whether for sport or to know itself, as some teachings have maintained:
"That aspect of God which lies beyond the reach of human and Archangelic comprehension. The ultimate Source, the fathomless and inarticulate depths of the Divine that are beyond expression, for 'no man hath seen God at any time' (1 John 4:12)."
In a lecture from 7 February 1974 he adds:
"In previous lessons we have talked about the Absolute Be-ness - the source of everything - life, reality and truth. The universes are the extension of the Absolute Be-ness within Itself, the extension of Its qualities - Total Wisdom, Total Power and Total Love and Goodness. The Absolute Be-ness is the cause of everything and beyond the cause, it is the eternal reality in Its divine self-sufficiency. So we have to see the Absolute Be-ness beyond Its expressions. Its expression within Itself is Its nature and not a need. Pay attention to this point. The Absolute Be-ness extended in Itself is the Absolute Beingness, Christ Logos and - dynamically - the Holy Spirit. But don’t think that there is any space where the Absolute Be-ness is not, or any space where the Absolute Beingness is, but not simultaneously also the Absolute Beingness as Christ Logos or Holy Spirit."
The very nature of Absolute Beingness, its Self-Will or Self-Desire, so to speak, is to express itself, which it does through its two aspects of the Holy Spirit and the Christ-Logos. This 'secondary' Absolute through ‘Divine Meditation’ - not 'maya or dreaming' - Daskalos didn't believe in maya - emanates a ‘supersubstance’ he calls Mind, which is not a Being, but is eternally used by the Holy Spirit to create and the Christ-Logos to 'govern' all worlds and bodies. Mind is an all-intelligent ‘supersubstance’ without Beingness, an expression of Divine Power, Wisdom and Love. It is obviously not used by Daskalos the way the Vedantins or Buddhists use the word Mind. It may be equated with mulaprakriti
, or 'undifferentiated, invisible cosmic root-matter‘ or energetic source of gross matter in Hinduism. [Thus, Samkhaya would have "THAT" or Brahman emanating both units of consciousness and the source of matter, or Prakriti]. Paramahansa Yogananda similarly held that the Holy Ghost was 'maha-prakriti' that produced the 'Aum' vibration that, with the indwelling and inseparable intelligence of the Christ Logos or 'Christ-Consciousness, was responsible for creation [Yogananda was more traditional than Daskalos, in that he positted a supreme, unnameable, ineffable One or Spirit, which itself produced Maya, through which a Trinity of Father (Isvara)-Christ Consciousness (Son)-and Holy Ghost (Aum) was generated. 'Create’ is in quotes, because these parts of the Trinity are eternally nondual and one with Spirit, yet creation of the realms of manifestation is actually (within relativity) a product of both the Aum vibration and an infinite number of entities, as we shall see]. Mind for Daskalos is primal fire, the light that never sets, the etheric ocean in which everything is formed and lives. All is Mind, as many teachers say, but Mind is not the Absolute. Many mystics confuse this, says Daskalos, because they are afraid to go beyond the light to Being, which is not nothingness but Be-ness or everythingness. That is why one should not worship
the creation, as in ‘Gaia’, but rather the Absolute Father, the ‘Causeless Creator’.
“Anyone who loves Your making is full of Glory. Anyone who loves what You have made is not a true believer.”
It might be said that in saying, "Causeless Creator,' he is essentially saying that the Absolute is not
a Creator, as is often considered and dismissed in other traditions like Vedanta, but something more complete and nondual than that, more like a Ground or Substrate. However, the word he mostly uses is 'Autarchy', composed of a Multiplicity within Unity of the Absolute Spirit, 'Holy Monads', and Divine archtypes. The Absolute is both self-sufficient unto itself as an Autarchy but also has the wish to express itself, which it does by creating the supersubstance Mind which is used by the two aspects of the Absolute, the Holy Spirit and the Christ Logos, acting through the Holy Monads. Here again Daskalos is partly like Sam’ khaya in that he posits a multiplicity of Monads (or Purushas), almost raised as a Union of units to the status of a principle itself, directly responsible for creation through their interaction with Prakriti. Yet unlike Sam' khaya he assigns an Isvara-like status to the Holy Spirit and Christ-Logos. Thus he bridges the traditions of East and West.
This is so far for the most part consistent with Christian doctrine, except where the priesthood considers Jesus Christ to be God the Creator Itself. For Daskalos Jesus Christ was the one-time avataric incarnation of the Christ-Logos for our world, but let it be noted that spiritual sensitives in communication with Daskalos after his death have confirmed that from the perspective of his higher self he no longer believes that and accepts that there will be other avatars to come. All are incarnations of the Christ-Logos, however, on this and countless plantary systems. Paramahansa Yogananda said privately to a student that the Christ was the guru for our world, but that he dared not say that openly in order to not offend the Hindus.
The Holy Spirit is impersonal superconsciousness
that is the “breath” of God, responsible, through Mind used by an innumerable number of Archangels, for the creation of everything manifest, both form and formless, including the forms of all beings and the consciousness in the plant and animal kingdoms. The Christ-Logos, in the original Greek, had two meanings. Daskalos chose the meaning, “Authority,” or “Overlordship”. It is “the light that lighteth every man who came into the world.”
Thus, it is responsible for self-consciousness and self-knowing, in man. It is not the creator, but has ‘Authority’ and ‘Dominion’ over creation. It is what Daskalos terms super-self-consciousness
The transcendental Absolute is not exactly or perhaps merely a monolithic ‘mass of consiousness’ as Nisargadatta might say, but a Multiplicity, Plurality, and Self-Sufficiency, what Daskalos calls a Divine 'Autarchy.' There are eternally present within the Absolute myriads of ‘Holy Monads’, which cannot be distinguished from each other
, but which themselves express or radiate myriads of Spirit-Beings, or Pneuma
. Sometimes Daskalos uses the term 'Spirit-Ego', but by this he doesn't mean what is commonly understood as ego, as it is beyond bodies and forms our essential self, unborn and undying. It is distinct but in no way separate from other Pneuma. Confirmed advaitists may have a hard time with his teachings, but if they sweat through it they might find it worthwhile.
It is the 'Divine Meditation' which produces Mind, the substance of creation, as well as determines which Monads are destined for expression as Man in the realms of space-time. Thus, the Divine Meditation determines which Monadic rays become Archangels or Human Souls. When a Holy Monad sends forth a Pneuma or Spirit-Being, it passes through the Divine Idea or Archangelic Archtype. The Monadic ray destined to be an Archangel remains as Archangel and has responsibilities of creation, while those Spirit-Egos or Pneuma destined to become human then pass through the Idea of Man, becoming ‘Self-conscious Souls’. The soul is thus divine, 'constructed', as it were, prior to time and space, and also eternal
, while destined to explore the worlds of space-time and eventually return to identification with the Pneuma in full self-consciousness in what Daskalos called Ontopeisis
"When a ray of a Holy Monad passes through the Idea of Heavenly Man, a Soul is. The Soul is not created; it is the precious 'pearl' of Spirit (Matt. 13:45, 46). The incorruptible Soul, which St. Paul called the 'Spiritual Body'(1 Cor. 15:44), is in a formless state as Spirit, yet retains the human Idea. When returning to the Godhead, the Soul marries the Spirit-Ego-Being in a state of Super Self-consciousness, as the bride marries the bridegroom, cf. Matt. 25:1-13."
All of this happens within the eternal Now, it must be kept in mind, and "never was there a time when all human beings and all things did not exist;" therefore there is an element of nondualism in Daskalos' teachings, although perhaps not as radical or simplistic as in advaita.
For Daskalos, a ray of a Holy Monad passing through
the archetypal Idea of Man produces a self-conscious soul, ever thereafter destined for existence as a human being. A similar idea is found in Paul Brunton, as suggested above, as well as the sage Plotinus. A student of both of these philosophers, Anthony Damiani writes:  :
“We speak about this Soul
[~ Holy Monad] as projecting from itself a unit of life or a stream of life which we call the unit of life
[~ Pneuma]. Now this is what reaches all the way down to the Earth and starts out as an amoeba and goes through all the kingdoms of nature, rising up to the level of man…When you say “unit of life,” you’re not speaking about man, you’re speaking about soul. The term is anonymous. A unit of life could be any sort of life. It could be the idea of an angel. It doesn’t have to be the idea of man. But once the unit of life marries itself, or weds itself to the Idea of Man, then that soul becomes man. Then you have to go down that road.”
, p. 339)
Here, for Plotinus, as for Daskalos, what determines which “unit of life,” or which Pneuma or Spirit-Entity, passes through or weds itself to the self-radiant archetypal Idea of Man? It can be nothing other than the Absolute, the One, the Divine Mind itself - in which the Ideas and unit-souls eternally reside and pre-reside. There is a lot of mystery here, we can be sure.
[Other possibilities exist for the unit-soul or unit of life. For Plotinus classes of unit souls are cosmic souls, star souls, as well as human souls. Indeed, when the human soul has fulfilled its archetypal purpose, i.e., self-realization or enlightenment, according to Brunton it may have a choice after death along these evolutionary lines. This is a vast subject].
The Soul is eternal, and a ‘Double-Knower’ as Plotinus would say, in contact with the Pneuma and Holy Monad of which it is a ray, thus partaking of a non-dual consciousness, while also downwardly emanating a projection or a reflection of itself as what Daskalos calls ‘the Permanent Personality’. PB spoke of seeing the 'Overself' this way:
"The mysterious character of the Overself inevitably puzzles the intellect. We may appreciate it better if we accept the paradoxical fact that it unites a duality and that therefore there are two ways of thinking of it, both correct. There is the divine being which is entirely above all temporal concerns, absolute and universal, and there is also the demi-divine being which is in historical relation with the human ego.”
This Permanent Personality aspect of the Soul has a semi-formless 'body' composed, we can guess, of the vijnanamaya and anandamaya koshas, a formless, luminous ‘intuitive body’, intermediate between the lower planes and bodies and the higher, spiritual realms, created by, as all bodies are, by the Holy Spirit through the Archangels. It is in direct contact with the downward projecting aspect of the soul, and as such Daskalos considers it almost to be a part of the soul itself, as in the theosophical 'upper triad' of atma-buddhi-higher manas, or atma-anandamaya-vijnanamaya for Daskalos. This 'body' survives throughout the incarnations and is not discarded until jivanmukti, if one so desires. Through this body the Permanent personality participates in the lower planes. The Permanent Personality helps guide the incarnations and becomes the repository of the essence of all experiences had in the lower worlds through a permanent seed-atom that resides in the heart of all bodies with each new birth:
"The [Permanent Personality is the] active and expressive part of the Soul, both within and beyond the worlds of separation. It filters knowledge to and from the present-day personalities and distills wisdom."
The 'Fall' of Man
The Soul/Permanent Personality with its 'body' sends forth a reflection of itself, passing through ’the dome of many-colored glass that stains the white radiance of eternity,’
and gets cloaked or veiled in three bodies, physical or material, psychic or astral, and noetic or mental (higher and lower), thus beginning its incarnational cycle as a ‘present or temporary personality’, or what might simply be called, the personality. This happens in stages, beginning in the psycho-noetic planes. At a certain stage in our planet's development, the so-called 'Fall' from the Garden of Eden spoken of in scripture occured, which, strictly speaking, was no fall, but the continuation of the Soul's innate desire to experience the material world and full separation, all as part of its spiritual growth. There are many versions of this creation story/mythos, similar but with variations. One such story is found in Milton's Paradise Lost, in which the archangel Lucifer is thinking about his closeness to God, and that 'one step higher will make me highest', and just at that moment God decided to emanate a divine son to create the universe of matter. In some stories Lucifer out of anger and greed decided to become lord of those lower worlds, in others (Sant Mat) he is offered the job, and in either version a certain portion of souls decided to follow him down. At heart of these stories, however, lies the mysteries of matter and incarnation. This more or less Abrahamic yet Christian version includes a fall and a redemption, a divine incarnation and an at-the-end-of-time parousia
(2Pe.3:12). This is essentially planet-based religion, with the Sun considered the central source, the one God. To make it relevant for our time we might expand our perspective to include billions of star-systems, solar systems and galaxies. And, hold all of this - lightly - within a vision of eternity, without a beginning or end, if such were possible. What we can say with fair certainty is that the true meaning of Lucifer was distorted by later Hebrews to equate it with Satan (fallen angels, etc), and that the distortion was picked up by Christianity. But the original meaning of Lucifer related to Venus (the Morning Star), and meant the bringer of light. Hence the term Lucifer was part of an ancient tradition of honoring the birth of individual identity in Humans not as a fall, but as a spiritual gift (Prometheus), giving self-awareness which would become a boon for spiritual progress, which the Archangels did not have. One can see how this might confuse some people, as it can be misunderstood to mean that Lucifer encourages egoism, which as 'Kal' it does appear to do so in some of the Sant Mat teachings. Rather, fundamentally Lucifer is the underlying intelligence behind the Human Idea, which is a Divine Archetype, and a 'Bringer of Light'. But trying to liberate the term Lucifer from over 2000 years of distortion was too big a step for some modern teachers, so theosphist Alice Bailey tried to 'back off' by changing the name for her publishing house from the Lucifer Trust to the Lucis Trust, while Madame Blavatsky never did, and that contributed to why she was hated by many Christians.
There are thus different stories created in different traditions to account for both the apparent creation and man’s predicament within it. The traditional biblical version posits an initial manifestation of the upper heavens, including an empyrean or heaven above the heavens, followed by a war in heaven in which Lucifer, the “fairest of the archangels,” “a brilliant intelligence,” “the bearer of the light,” was driven out of heaven by the archangel Michael. His ‘crime’ was desiring to rule over a world of his own, and not be ruled by God. Thus, he became the god of this world, and many souls followed him down. Thus, pride on the part of Lucifer, and “audacious self-will” (according to Plotinus - whose Neoplatonic philosophy was a potent influence on early Christianity) on the part of the souls, were the reasons for the fall of man.
In the teachings of Sant Mat (the Path of the Masters), a similar story is given but with a few twists. The Anurag Sagar of Kabir tells us that Kal, “created from the finest hair of the Sat Purush,” (the True Lord, the first expression of the One absolute, and resident in the Empyrean, Sach Khand, the true home of the soul), had a desire to rule a world of his own. Perhaps the Sat Purush gave him this desire, because on one version of this story he was given the role of Demiurge, or the creator of the lower worlds; while on another version he was punished and made to do it. In either case there now existed a positive and negative power and corresponding positive and negative pole of creation. Kal wished to keep souls trapped below, while the Sants worked to free them to return to their home above.
In one version of the story, the souls in Sach Khand were given a glimpse Kal’s creation, and 1/10 of them decided to go down to experience it, while the other 9/10s chose to remain. The 1/10 of the souls who chose to leave their primal home to go down would become the prodigal sons upon their eventual return. In another variant of this story the souls were not given a choice but were forced to come down by the will of the Sat Purush. In neither version of this story, therefore was their a moral failure behind the descent and of the souls, or of Kal, the negative power. This was because no karma was possible prior to experience in the lower worlds. Thus this story is somewhat more positive and more in line with evolutionary theories of the soul than the biblical accounts.
It needs to be remembered that “kal”means “time,” and thus metaphysically one can see how the fall relates to the bifurcation of consciousness from unity to duality and separation, from eternity into time and space. Thus the stories of an event that happened long ago are necessarily allegory concealing deep esoteric truths. “In the beginning” is an illegitimate expression as it presupposes time which hadn’t existed yet. So all so-called creation stories need to be held very lightly, using the feeling and imaginative faculties more than the intellect to relate to them. In response to a questioner who asked at what stage would me would find the answer to this mystery - Sach Khand? - Sant Kirpal Singh replied: “Sach Khand, no. Better go to Him and ask.” Which appeared to mean that there the questioner is no more, and the question disappears also.
Incidentally, occult doctrines sometimes holds there to be a role by beings of the Pleiades star group in the individuation of man in our earth cycle, with an infusion of Monads incarnating manas
or the faculty of self-conscious mind, and 'Venusian' spirits playing a direct role in the final creation of the physical man body itself. This is, of course, from a relative point of view. We must hold all this multiplicity within the vision of One Mind.
According to Daskalos, then, the 'fall' was symbolic for the descent of the soul through the psycho-noetic worlds into full incarnation. Adam and Eve were 'cloaked in animal skins to cover their nakedness', simply means they’re assuming human physical bodies. This implies that the so-called Garden of Eden from which man was cast out was not a physical place, but existed on an inner plane. Sant Kirpal Singh affirmed to one student that it was on the third inner plane or heaven, from which man descended and thus acquiring three bodies: mental, astral, and finally physical. But, according to Daskalos. we were not so much forced out of this Garden of Eden, as paintings of Archangel Gabriel with his flaming sword portray, but it was rather the further progression of a process that started when we went through the Idea of Man. Thus it was, truly speaking, no 'fall', but only the lila (divine play) or process of evolution. PB also said that at no time is any man here against his will. The decision is made at the Soul level. 'At first' (to use of necessity dualistic language for what is a perpetual process within relativity, and in essence atemporal) there was no physical karma, but as each incarnation unfolded it becomes accumulated within the Permanent Personality as our character.
For Daskalos, further, the 'fall' was not a one-time event, for the 'creation' of souls is an eternal and continuous process. In addition, the allegorical 'serpent' in the Garden was/is not a Luciferian force, in the Satanic sense, but rather a univeral symbol for the intelligence and essence of life. Christ himself said that we should be as 'innocent as doves but as wise as serpents'. This process also occurs on other globes, some say, our world is not the only one. In our solar system the earth is considered the least evolved planet, and beings live on other planets who have evolved beyond the need for a physical incarnation as such and exist on the respective etheric and psycho-noetic planes of those worlds; hence, although scientists can at this time see no evidence of life on those planets, there is. On other solar systems, there are humans both behind us in the scale of evolution and far advanced of us as well. They may incarnate here, or we there; it is a complicated and mysterious process. Further, many beings (Archangels, 'lords of karma', etc.) co-operate in the formation of our incarnational bodies.
It must be mentioned here that, again, Paramahansa Yogananda held a different view than Daskalos regarding the 'fall'. He agrees with many occultists that the creation of man was a special one, which utilized the advanced animal forms, but that an anatomically unique inner body of seven chakras (seven 'candles' in the Book of Revelation) was created by God or the Holy Spirit, in order to allow man as a unique creation to grow spiritually. He also believed that 'in the beginning' of this process man was capable of begetting offspring by thought power and only later fell into attachment to dualistic materialism. He corroborates this position with references to both the Bible and the Purana, Srimad-Bhagavata
, as taught to him by his guru, Sri Yukteswar:
"God created the human species by materializing the bodies of man and woman through the force of His will; He endowed the new species with the power to create children in a similar 'immaculate' or divine manner. Because His manifestation in the individualized soul had hitherto been limited to animals, instinct-bound and lacking the potentialities of full reason, God made the first human bodies, symbolically called Adam and Eve, To these, for advantageous upward evolution, He transferred the souls or divine essence of two animals...The human body was therefore not solely a result of evolution from beasts, but was produced through an act of special creation by God
[whether by Lord God Isvara directly or through His agents the Archangels and other powers makes little difference to the essential argument]. The animal forms were too crude to express full divinity; man was uniquely given the potentially omniscient 'thousand-petaled lotus' in the brain, as well as acutely awakened occult centers in the spine."
Sant Kirpal Singh, in one reference, said that man, pre-existing, 'fell' from Dev Lok, a mental heavenly realm, which more or less corresponds with Daskalos' view (6). If this is true then the 'fall' occurred in stages. PB also wrote along these lines:
"Just as the path of return from body-ruled intellect to divine intuition is necessarily a slow one, so the descent into matter of man's originally pure mind was also a slow process. The "Fall" was no sudden event, it was a gradual entanglement that increased through the ages...At first man possessed only a subtle body for a long period; but later, as his intellect continued more outward bent than before, the material body accreted to him."
There is much dualistic language here, and I myself don't necessarily agree with the above assessment of Yogananda that the spinal centers as such are necessary for 'spiritual growth' towards enlightenment, in the same way that I don't necessarily agree with the Tibetan position that one needs to go out through the top of the head for an auspicious death. Ramana Maharshi felt that these centers, and the subtle energies that course through them, were secondary to the Being-Consciousness transmission of the Heart, which essentially comes not from within or without, but is our deepest nature and link with the Divine. But the subtle psyche or ego-soul and its psycho-anatomy exists and is a part of man viewed as a continuum - although maybe not the more senior part - and it plays a role. It does explain certain scriptural passages in the bible as well as Kaballah, and so forth. In certain systems. such as the tantric schools of Vajrayana Buddhism and Taoism, the awakening of the microcosmic channels and their interpenetration and integration with the macrocosmic ones in Nature are allowed as part of both a natural exploration, an increase in capacity for service in both physical and subtle dimensions, and a greater actualization of non-dual realization, Siva-Shakti, and Identity-Relatedness.In this tradition powers accrued along the way are permitted and not denied but and used for the sake of service to others. And, if we believe in evolution, such a development as Yogananda describes would have been one that helped free man from his relative imbeddedness in the field of nature on our earth, even if such a freedom would need to be transcended by a higher, more inclusive spiritual realization later. Therefore, the the spinal axis of chakras and subtle bodies exist, as much as the physical ones do, and there is no need to deny them, or their use. However, within the story we are constructing these bodily structures are definitely more important than they are in the more direct Heart-based non-dual teachings of recent years. In any case, though, for Daskalos liberation is not of
the soul but the soul reuniting as the Pneuma or Spirit-Being, and not only remembering and being what it was already but also possessing a self-conscious individuality which was not there before.
The 'fall', then, was not - at least not entirely or exclusively - a fall in the sense of any wrong-doing for which to feel shame or guilt, even from Daskalos' point of view, but part of a natural, evolutionary process (again, within relativity
Bodies, Planes, and the Purpose of Incarnation
There is an additional concept that must be introduced here, but it may strain the reader's intellect. It sure did mine. It is most unusual, which is not to say that it isn't true. According to Kostas, Daskalos' successor, we have, as mentioned, and created by the Holy Spirit, ‘glorious’ psychonoetic bodies on their respective planes that are shaped according to the archtype of Man and which primarily exist as the mold for and support and maintainance of the physical form. Every particle of the physical body has a psychic and noetic counterpart, upon which it is built and without which it could not exist. Take away the physical and you still have the psychonoetic bodies, but take these away and the physical disintegrates. The three bodies are created anew by the Archangels with each incarnation. These make up the 'Present Personality', or simply, the personality. After death, they disintegrate over time in stages, with the seed atom of all of our experiences leaving the heart and being retained in the Permanent Personality. We are also given, however, at the beginning of the incarnational cycle an ‘amorphus psycho-noetic body’ (spelled with a hyphen to distinguish it from the permanent psychonoetic body created by the archangels) that is shaped ‘like a sack of potatoes’ and is centered around the heart region. However, a trained sensitive can see the state of one's evolution as mirrored by the shape of this body. Due to lack of development of this 'body', many people's so-called out-of-body experiences are subconscious fantasies and not clear pictures of the subtle realms, although the intervention of grace is always possible to give a glimpse, not only of our true nature but of these worlds. Our task, if we chose to accept it, through maturation of our character, over lifetimes, is to develop and shape that amorphous body through right living and thinking (that is, by creating positive elementals, psychic and noetic, or sentiments and thought forms, the sum total created since the time of the first incarnation which make up the Present Personality
and are stored in the subconscious and the permanent atom) until eventually it resembles the form of Man, at which time it fuses with the archtypal or supportive psychonoetic form (made possible, says Kostas, because both forms share the same etheric body) and the permanent personality, which is considered relative 'perfection, as it coincides with one's being free of identification with all bodies, and one will be able to live and function in those inner realms clearly, as well as and more importantly progress beyond forms and bodies, as we consciously reach back to the level of soul and Spirit-Being or Pneuma from which we began. Once achieved and our true nature fully recognized, we, our soul, through the divinely informed psycho-noetic body developed throughout the incarnations, will be enabled to be of greater service than otherwise in the lower realms, if we so wish or dedicate ourselves to doing. It should be noted that for most people no special technique is needed to 'shape' this amorphous psycho-noetic body, it will develop naturally through the course of one's spiritual practice. We might say, then, that the fusion of the psycho-noetic body with the archtypal psychonoetic body is the 'completion' of the Idea of man, the perfection of which would be reunion with the Pneuma. Daskalos notes that the existence of this amorphous psycho-noetic body is not recognized in most esoteric schools.
The subconscious, for Daskalos, is the essence of the Present Personality. At every moment the subconscious is becoming conscious and the conscious is becoming subconscious. For him, practically speaking, the subconscious is real because it exists, and whatever exists is real. It is real because all of our experiences get stored in it and reside in the permanent atom and create our future lifetimes or karma. For him, what most people call the conscious is the 'reverie of the subconscious'. On the other hand, all is a dream at all levels until the higher noetic dimensions; however, he would still call the dream 'real', as opposed to neither real nor unreal like the Vedantists do. It is just his preferred manner of speaking.
One could say that a respect for the law of karma and its relationship with the role of the elementals is a distinguishing factor of Daskalos teachings, the latter which is missing in many esoteric traditions. Thus, positive visualization and neutralization of negative elementals was both an important part of Daskalos' healing work as well as formal teaching among students in his circle. This is important because many nondual teachings imply that insight into reality, whether a short or a long glimpse, eliminates karma, wherein that is not so. The elementals created in life are passed upwards to the permanent personality and form part of the next incarnation. For Daskalos, to simply call them "obsessive or chronic thought patterns" is not to do full justice to the reality of things. Elementals, whether of sentiment or thought, are a condensation of the supersubstance Mind, much like matter. This is a complicated issue. Even the Buddha talked of a four stage system of 'stream enterer', 'once returner', 'non-returner', and 'Arhant'. Simpy having a kensho, satori, or nondual insight doesn't necessarily prevent one from harvesting a life of heavy karma next time around, composed of old elementals returning for processing. There is no way of predicting such a thing. This may be why Kabir said, "Pride has fooled many sages. You may transcend the mind, but who can part with the seed-mind within?" This topic is dealt with in more detail in "Not A One-Shot" on this website.
To repeat this in order to offer more clarification, first, we each have a physical body. But in order to have a physical body, including its etheric counterpart, we must have a psychic and noetic body that is an exact duplicate, down to every particle, because that is the foundation of the physical. The Permanent Personality is part of the Soul. It is the part that participates in the more dualistic/bodily/space-time experiences of the present personality with its three bodies. It has its home on the higher noetic plane. Then there is a semi-formless body that is the relatively permanent vehicle of the Soul/Permanent Personality. Through this body the Permanent Personality participates in the lower planes. Within the 'body' of the Permanent Personality is the permanent atom. This is kind of seed-atom that serves two functions. One is that it contains that which, coming from the Human Idea, is like a genetic code around which the bodies are formed. It is located in the etheric heart of each body. In each new life the Permanent Personality, with the help of the Archangels projects the permanent atoms to be used as the nucleus for the formation of the bodies. But also, the permanent atoms also record the experiences of the present personality while in incarnation. So, three duplicate bodies are formed for each incarnation. But the permanent atoms on the psychonoetic levels also are the center of the gradual formation of the character of the individual, which on the planes of the present personality are the subtotal of the elementals (thought-forms) that are formed by the person over all their lives. This is the amorphous psychonoetic body. When we die, the permanent atom is withdrawn from the heart, and the animating principle and consciousness withdraw. The physical body disintegrates, but the memories of our physical life remains, both in terms of the elementals we have formed about what we think happened in our lives (!), and also the Permanent Personality's impartial record inscribed in the permanent atom. At the 'second death', all the psychic elementals that make up our character in our amorphous psychic body are withdrawn into the psychic permanent atom, and go into a state of quiescence, as the life force has been inverted and withdrawn from them. The same thing happens with the noetic body. So the 'perfect' psychic and noetic bodies are dispersed at the end of each life, while the amorphous one is retained in abstracted form in the permanent atom.
Now, this is complex, but it must be kept in mind that every plane or body has an etheric counterpart connected with it, giving it life. In one sense, then although the perfect and amorphous psychonoetic bodies share the same etheric body, the perfect one is in some ways more etheric in nature, and the amorphous more dense. Why? If we look at the larger system of planes, the concrete elements are the lower three planes, and the formless or universal elements are the higher three, and the fourth plane is a bridge that is semi-formless, or formless forms. Each of the planes mirrors this structure, so we have the etheric subplanes mirroring the formless planes of universals. We could call the etheric planes the more universal aspects of each lower plane. The perfect psychonoetic body is formed more as a kind of reflection of the higher universal planes of pure Ideas and Ideals, whereas the amorphous is more connected, in a sense, with the lower subplanes of each plane in which our temporary personality is most expressing its identification with bodies/dense elements and forming ego-based elementals that gradually evolve in nature.
As we form elementals that come more and more to reflect the formless universal laws and principles and virtues archetypally expressed in the higher planes (through discrimination, purification of the subconscious, study of philosophy, etc.), we are giving personal expression to this wisdom in the lower planes, making the amorphous merge with the archetypal or perfect psychonoetic body, which, while perfect, is not individualized, until merged with the amorphous. When the two are fused, they are not permanent, although one is now moving into the realm where it becomes possible, if one chooses, to maintain a body for much more extended periods of time. But, more importantly, two interrelated things have happened. One thing is that, since the amorphous is now more developed, it allows the realization and will of the higher Being to reflect in, and control, the lower bodies [PB: "the Overself will completely overshadow him; it will make a mystical union with his own body."] Conversely, the integration of the lower into the higher advances the process of Ontopoesis whereby the higher nature is becoming infused with qualities, intelligence and power latent in the lower planes/bodies, not only individualizing the Permanent Personality/Soul, but also giving the power to have greater mastery of the lower planes, even to the point of having absorbed enough Holy Spiritual intelligence and power into itself that it can project bodies into the lower planes at will, which it used to have to rely on the Holy Spirit to provide. This is a very advanced capability of some 'Siddhas', such as materialization-dematerialization, the light body, or the rainbow body in Dzogchen. So it is as if, in essence, the temporary personality has become immortalized by being so fully awakened within the Permanent Personality/Soul that its knowledge and mastery of the lower planes is complete enough that they are within it, and can be projected any time. It is still easier to use bodies from the Holy Spirit to reincarnate, however, because then the Holy Spirit sustains them for us, rather than our own will power. Undoubtedly, this is not a concern for most of us at this time! Enough to awaken! The brain must be quite heated by this point, but we are simply trying to be as complete as possible and cover all the bases in our rendering of this teaching.
The concept of two separate psychonoetic bodies is surely confusing, and Daskalos’ successor Kostas says that very few esoteric schools are aware of their existence. However, the idea of ‘building a soul,’ meaning a subtle body, in order to conscously function in esoteric dimensions, was mentioned by George Gurdjieff and others. It should be noted that whether or not there exist one or two of these bodies, their development comes naturally as one's consciousness expands, along with character, intelligence, and insight, and there is no special means needed for 'shaping' them to conform to the divine archtype of Man, though one can if one wants to accelerate that aspect of development. Whether pursuing a direct or gradual path at any one point in time, however, it has already, in fact, been happening as a matter of course over many lifetimes. A.E. Powell writes:
"The causal body of an Adept or Master has enormously increased in size, and shines with a sun-like splendour far beyond all lmagination in its glorious loveliness ... the causal body is sometimes 'called the "auric egg"...(it) is known also as the Augoeides, the glorified man; it is not an image of any one of his past vehicles, but contains within itself the essence of all that was best in each of them. It thus indicates, more or less perfectly, as through experience it grows, what the Deity means that man shall be. For, as we have seen, by observation of the causal vehicle it is possible to see the stage of evolution which the man has reached." (7)
Dear reader, know that I am fully aware that all of this kind of talk will made the skin of some direct path nondualists, as well as mainstream Christians, crawl, but it can't be helped. The only advice I can give is to hang on for the ride! We are in deep waters within relativity. Perhaps the process described can be directly bypassed, or perhaps not. My feeling is that that is an individual matter, at least.
Before our passage through the Idea of Man, according to these teachings, we were in an archangelic state, all-conscious but without self-consciousness or a distinct individuality as such. The purpose of our incarnations is to develop this conscious self-consciousness and return to God-consciousness, or 'Theosis', coupled with Ontopoesis, or individuality, dwelling in the Absolute 'Autarchy' of Monads, Pneuma, and Divine Archtypes. (7a) Daskalos terms Ontopoesis the realization of the 'I AM I'. Thus we are not to know only a God-like 'I Am' but to become an 'I Am I', retaining the individuality within the All gained by hard labor in the lower incarnational worlds. This is, he says, what Christ meant by the Prodigal Son parable. The most advance masters, says Daskalos, such as the planetary Logos he was in touch with, live within the Absolute Divine Autarchy Itself, and are no longer subject to the reincarnational cycle, although they can incarnate.
The aim of incarnation, then, is to develop uniqueness within the One Absolute. Take it as fact, take it as a good story, but that is what this school of esoteric Christianity teaches. Daskalos disliked the Hindu term maya, because it failed to explain many things to him, such as the retention of experience in the subconscious and permanent personality, the phenomenon of the conscious creation of elementals or abiding thought-forms by Humans and Archangels, and its portrayal of the Divine as 'dreaming' instead of 'Meditating,' a term he preferred as being closer to the truth. The concept of maya was also foreign to the teachings of Christ, he says, who placed great emphasis on the law of cause and effect. [Of course, the Indian philosophers will see no conflict between maya and the law of karma]. For Daskalos' the "I AM" is the Soul/Permanent Personality, for Plotinus' the Soul as Double-Knower, or in PB's terminology, the Divine aspect of the Overself and the demi-Divine aspect that overlooks our incarnations. 'I AM I', then, is Daskalos' term for our God-Self within, the immortal Spirit-Ego or Pneuma, our most true Self-conscious individuality, which is never born and never dies, and the goal of spiritual life is not to abolish it, but to consciously realize it, or rather, for it to gain a form of self-conscious individuality it did not have before. He says:
"As eternal entities we do not become something which we are not already. However, my permanent personality, which is the sum total of all the incarnations that I go through, develops around my eternal beingness my distinct individuality. Beingness and individuality are not identical. I exist even before I pass through the Idea of Man. Once I do pass through and acquire the experiences of gross matter, I am in a position to realize that I exist. Therefore, what we gain is individuality within beingness. Had this not been the ultimate goal, descent into gross matter, followed by the incarnational cycles, would be pointless. In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, Christ cryptically revealed to mankind the purpose of our existence."
PB concurs on this point:
"We are already as eternal, as immortal, as divine as we ever shall be. But if we want to become aware of it, why then we must climb down to the lowest standpoint and pursue the quest in travail and limitation...If man is inwardly already godlike, pure Spirit, only the development and evolution which are gained from experience - that is, time - can bring him to conscious realization of the fact."
The end-result being:
"He has extended his consciousness to the Overself, displaced the ego from its age-old tyranny, and become the full human being he intended to be."
"Christ narrates how one of his two sons decided to leave the palace of his father. He asked for his share of the wealth so that he might go and experience the world. Had it not been part of the Divine Plan, the all-wise father could have refused. But the plan was to let him go, suffer hardships, acquire knowledge and then return. The son was given what he asked, in reality reason, sentimentality, and a material body, that is, his present personality. He took a share and went off. Some may call the departure from the palace and descent into matter a fall or sin. I choose to call it experience."
"The older brother who never left the palace lives in the eternal present. He is not aware of eternity...I am asking you now, who is in a better position? The archangel who never stepped outside of the palace, who is good but knows nothing else? or the prodigal Son who returned and has whatever the other brother has plus self-awareness? Consider it as an axiom that in Theosis (return to the palace), the condition of man is much superior to all the archangelic systems. Therefore, in the final analysis there is no eternal punishment. there is only the accumulation of experience within matter that develops for us our self-consciousness."
As the story goes, the young man 'squandered' his inheritance, became a 'swineherd', living among the 'pigs' (his created negative elementals, becoming lost in dense ignorance), until one day, he decided to find his way back to the palace of his father.
Not only by the term 'Spirit-Ego' does Daskalos mean something far superior to a perpetuated form of 'spiritualized' separate self, but by simple self-consciousness, which distinguishes humans from animals, he does not mean the sense of ego as 'me'. He says that most humans live in an impoverished form of subconsciousness. Self-consciousness is when the spark is lit and one begins to inquires into who one is. It is attention attentive to itself. In a higher form I believe he would agree that it is the state of presence. That is my opinion. He is basically saying by 'self-consciousness that it is the nature of humans to develop self-awareness, and that at the point of individualizing through the Human Idea, the Soul/Permanent Personality becomes self-conscious, but that the temporary personality is, in the average person, still in a stage of semi-self-consciousness, as they still run mostly on instinct and unconscious motivations, rather than on conscious intentionality. This is parallel to his idea that their are two main types of elementals - desire/thoughts, which are created unconsciously and instinctual/emotionally, and thought/desire, where the predominant principle is conscious intentionality. In his book The Tree of Life
, he says that we progress through the following stages of consciousness. He applies various terms in his own unique way:
"The modes of consciousness in life are:
The instinctive sensibility (in human Be-ings, in plants and in animals)
The awakened consciousness
The self-consciousness (the 'self' of the personality)
The Soul-Self-superconsciousness (i.e. the wisdom achieved by 'attunement to' the higher)
The Spirit-Soul-Ego-Self-superconsciousness (living in 'At-one-ment' with the One-ness)
A human Be-ing can enjoy all these modes of consciousness in both the worlds of Existence and in states of Be-ingness."
Using his model, he would say that most humans inhabit the first three stages, with more and more coming to the fourth, but not a majority yet. The fourth includes those who are beginning to live more rationally and intentionally, even if that is still merely to serve ego motivations, but also those who are in the first stage of the path. Soul-Self-consciousness is being on the path proper, where our self-consciousness is expressing the values of the Soul more than the personality.
Daskalos sometmes has used the terms ‘higher and lower noetic, or, alternately, noetical and noetic, or sometimes ‘noetic’ and ‘Mental’ to distinguish between concrete and abstract mind. The higher noetic or Mental is the realm of ideas and unexpressed forms, that is, a ‘formless’ realm of ideas, but not the expression of ideas themselves: archtypal ideas, meanings, laws of creation and such, but different from the previously mentioned ‘Divine’ Archtypes or Ideas that determine the ‘direction’ each ray of the Holy Monads will take. Daskalos in his main work termed the realms of soul or atman and higher as ‘Causal’ planes or realms, such as Causal #1, #2, and #3. He appears to use the term ‘Causal’ differently than many yogic schools use that term. His definition is:
“Above the noetic state, the causal states are non-dual conditions of pure Love, Causes, Ideas and Principles, cared for by the higher echelons of the Archangelic Orders. They are also known as the fifth heaven and above.”
Many spiritual schools have systems that indicate three levels within the nondual atmic or divine realm, such as Alak, Agam, and Anami of the Sat Lok of the Sants. It might be said that it is difficult for even an accomplished mystic or great master to discern much of what is in there, as we are in rarified atmosphere of the most subtlety. In Sant Mat, the archtypes are formless realities below Sach Khand. But in other systems they are looked at slightly differently. Archetypes or divine Ideas are arranged in a hierarchy according to how universal they are, and so many exist in the intermediate planes, but some also in the higher planes as well. These are harder to discriminate as they are more universal (like the archetype of Two-ness or Polarity). One way to imagine the possibility that this is so is to consider that all planes are states of consciousness, and that it would seem that any state would have some type of consciousness, which would not be possible unless there was some type of Ideas or perspective, however sublime, universal, formless and spiritually pure they are. But coming into these planes is a lot like going outside at night. Until our eyes adjust to the change of light, we can not discriminate the stars. So too in these higher planes, arriving there from lower planes, the spirit is overwhelmed by the difference; the stillness, oneness and universality of these levels overwhelms the person so that the subtle but profound realities also inherent there cannot easily be recognized, especially if the tradition that we are training in does not teach about them.
The deeper reality of the Cosmic Presence that conceived the Human Idea exists beyond all these planes, and both seeded the Human Idea on the higher levels of these planes, and then also emanated spirit/rays from beyond into these worlds. Otherwise, when one entered formless Anami [the highest region in Sant Mat], for instance, who would be left to come back? Something must still be individualized in Anami, even though some spirits, upon entering that level, would be inclined to experience it like nirvikalpa or nirodha, because they had transcended the limit of their ability to discriminate anything any longer, especially individuality. Similarly, for Daskalos one can become Theosized, merged in the ocean of Absolute Being, but still come out of it as an individualized Pneuma or Spirit-Ego, the true 'I', beyond the soul.
Daskalos, while cultivating an inner Circle of disciples, also was a re-known healer and spent a great deal of time exploring and working in the subtle realms. He taught that when one first leaves the physical body behind, in the psychic plane his personality is basically the same as it was. For a trained 'Researcher into Truth', however (the term he used for an initiate), one can travel vast distances very quickly. He still perceives objects as other than himself, just as in the physical plane. In the noetic worlds, however, one can instantly be wherever he thinks himself to be. Time and space in the usual sense as we know it on earth are thus transcended, space on the psychic plane and time on the noetic plane. One still has the same personality, although in finer and finer forms. In the highest noetic worlds, ones relationship with phenomena changes dramatically. One does not see things as objectively existing apart from oneself, but he sees them as within himself. Thus, one's sense of self expands. Higher still he becomes one with everything, and knows all directly. This, of course, is for the most advanced of souls. He no longer loves, but becomes love. Beyond this, one passes through an abyss to experience beingness. He gets in touch with his permament personality and soul and beyond. All mysteries become revealed.
it is important to keep in mind that for Daskalos, while one may progress spiritually, and have insight into reality, to attain such advanced mastery over the elements and to be able to help beings on those planes (and even this world, from this planes), takes many lifetimes. This may be something like the bhumi system in Buddhism, where the boddhisattva after enlightenment continues to perfect himself for the sake of service.
Also important to point out is that the planes are not stacked upon one another in a hierarchical way, they, in fact, all occupy the same 'space'. However, the level of vibration is different, and different rules apply for the beings inhabiting them. Above the three lower worlds the landscape, so to speak, is vastly different from human conception. Further, says Daskalos, the purpose of it all is not just to ascend to the higher, for the higher needs the lower almost as much as the lower needs the higher, inasmuch as experience gained in the lower enriches the higher. And, finally, all is simultaneously happening within the Absolute Be-ness itself. Yet, within the relative worlds there are rules that one must respect.
Now, the perceptive student of 'Direct Paths' of consciousness such as taught by a sage like Sri Atmananda Krishna Menon will understand that one needn't 'go' to a higher plane to be free of time and space, for time and space are not 'things' objectively out there waiting for our experience, but rather they are mental constructs, as Eastern philosophers as well as Kant in the West have taught us. And, in truth, Daskalos would likely agree, insofar as he speaks of how an advanced master does not have to leave his body to experience other dimensions, and they are, in fact, known from within oneself and as oneself at a certain stage. For him, there are simply different ways to help other beings, sometimes in the body, sometimes without.
By the way, the reason one can, with training, leave one's physical body before death and return is because the so-called biblical 'silver-cord' attached to the umbilical region is still connecting the etheric and psycho-noetic bodies with the physical. At he time of death, the silver cord is severed - cut, as it were, according to Daskalos, by the Archangel Raphael.
The process after death is different for each person [and explained in more detail in the articles "In the Bosom of the Lord,” and "Dying in the Master's Company" on this website, as well as the on-line-books supplied at the end of the latter article], but essentially, for most people, one passes out of his present physical form and resides on one of the psychonoetic planes, of which there are seven, with seven subplanes in each, and maybe even more! The interesting point, however, which is why hits a unique view, is that Daskalos says that for the 'researcher', active learning can take place in these planes. The primary purpose is spiritual, but one can actually learn a skill, such as playing a piano, if that had been an unfulfilled desire on earth, and this learning will be evident upon reincarnation. This is in apparent contrary to the New Testament teaching of Christ who purportedly said, "work while it is day, and not at night, when no man can work." But then Daskalos is talking about an advanced “researcher,” and not the usual man.
Eventually, the karma at this level runs out, and one undergoes what Christ referred to as the 'second death,' when the psychic body disperses. Daskalos says that while this is something feared by many, it is actually a gradual lifting of a veil and immersion in worlds of more light, and therefore something beautiful and not to be feared. More unconscious people will simply swoon away after their time in the psychic realm and bypass this experience. For others they pass upwards into the more pure noetic realms for a time, depending on the individual. There is no set forty-nine day after life bardo
experience as Tibetan tradition suggests. For all, however, at some point, the essence of their earthly experiences gets passed further up to the permanent personality and stored therein, and one undergoes a 'third death', falling into a sleep before being born once more, into three bodies prepared for one by the Archangels of the elements. This is all, of course, assuming one is not a liberated soul. Then a number of options present themselves.
The process that Daskalos outlines can be seen as much more rich, for instance, than some of the more ancient Taoist schemas (before they had assimilated Ch'an Buddhism), where they not only didn't believe in reincarnation, but felt that unless one had cultivated the 'golden elixer' and given birth to a 'spirit-body or 'spiritual child before death, capable of merging as chen
or pure spirit into the great Void and attaining immortality, one's hun
souls (equivalent to the higher and lower psychic bodies) would linger after death until they eventually disintegrated and one faced total dissolution forever, a rather dismal vision. [Most great Taoist masters, fortunately, haven't been proponents of such an extreme view, nor do they even believe that yogic cultivation is the only way to liberation, having been historically strongly influenced by Ch'an Buddhism, but that it is an aid for those who are not capable of pure contemplation].
While Archangels are the likeness of the Lord, only man is the image of the Lord, and capable of becoming the Prodigal Son, with all the 'rejoicing' in Heaven that entails. Of course, this is poetic language. Daskalos says that even the Archangels cannot tell man what they do, and that they would not even understand such a question, being as they are, All-conscious and in tune with the Father, but not self-conscious as man is. For this reason, and because the Archangels have not passed through the Idea of Man, but remained in the infinite Be-ness of the Father, they cannot become the ‘Prodigal Sons’ that Jesus often spoke of in relationship to man. Only man can become a self-conscious Spirit-Being, that is, a Spirit-Being at one with the Absolute gifted with individuality-within-Unity, garnered from its experience in separation, comparison, and duality. Archangels can, however, infrequently take an incarnation, and are then called ‘Sons of Man’. Jesus referred to himself as such, and as an avataric incarnation of the Christ-Logos passed through the Archangelic Archtypal Idea (and not only descended on our earth at a critical evolutionary stage, but eternally in every solar system where there reside Spirit-Beings who have passed through the Idea of Man). Archangels can incarnate, but they do not enter the incarnational cycle as humans do, nor do they retain their experience when they go back to their Domain.
Furthermore, once a Spirit-Being or Pneuma passes through the archtype of Man, its destiny as a man is fixed. No human being has come up out of the animal kingdoms, says Daskalos, nor can he go back to it, as some Eastern Hindu teachings and even Socrates have suggested.
The word ‘nondual’ when used earlier is a relative one, because the truly nondual is beyond all planes and states, which may be why Daskalos changed his term for Absolute Beingness to ‘Absolute Be-ness.’ When he says that the planes beyond the fourth are 'nondual states', he may not have exactly been using the term in the most common sense. But, the levels of identity of people that exist in those planes may very likely be in a deeper state of actualizing nondual realization, so there is no problem calling them that, as long as we do not forget that that is not where the 'nondual' as such resides. (10) In any case, it is paradoxical: there is a pure, radical nondual truth, but, within relativity, various ‘nondual-like’ planes and states, and there is nothing one can do to change that; that is to say, it is our workable reality. Further, Daskalos asks us to imagine three circles, each with the same center. First, is the personality, with its center in the heart. Then there is the Permanent Personality, then Self-conscious Soul. The task is, through experience garnered from many incarnations, the essence of which is stored as wisdom in the Permanent Personality, to widen each circle until one unites personality with Permanent Personality and that with Self-conscious Soul, whose circle has no circumference. Then the free Soul can take the “flight of the alone to the alone,” or ascent as Spirit-Being within pure divinity to the Absolute Autarchy. Further, from the point of view of the Absolute, this has already been accomplished! Maybe time now for a coffee break?!
Explaining further, and in a more practical sense, in the system that Daskalos taught, the first task is for the Permanent Personality to teach, guide and transform the temporary personality, gradually integrating it with the Permanent Personality. This is done largely through developing virtue and wisdom, and the upgrading of the content of the personality, which are elementals (concrete thought forms), which must be upgraded and improved until the personality is filled with spiritual understanding, motivations, feelings and behaviors. This culminates in what Daskalos called Self-Knowledge, which for him meant knowing oneself as a spiritual being or virtue and wisdom beyond identification with one's three form bodies.
It should be noted again that the period between incarnations is not just 'dead space', in which the essence of the previous incarnation is stored in the Permanent Personality, but one in which active learning can take place. Although, for most people, their own 'subjective shell' prevents them from fully seeing the 'objective' or 'real' psychic plane around them, in all its beauty, for those on the path with the lifting of the veil of the physical body they can quickly can see what is what, and make further advances spiritually, which will carry over into the next incarnation. As Kostas, a master in Daskalos' inner circle, said:
"In the event that the present personality becomes adapted within a reality of those other dimensions, it will be offered the opportunity to acquire more knowledge for advancement on the spiritual path. The subconscious of every human being will be given the opportunity to be enriched there as well...If you manage to construct a solid foundation on this plane of existence..then your progress within the psychonoetic dimensions could gallop in a geometric progression...The further you are advanced in this world on the path for the research for Truth the easier and faster will be your advance within the psychonoetic worlds."
[According to Paramahansa Yogananda and others, for many souls it is more often the case that it is from the subtle realms where one gains his final liberation, that another incarnation is not always being necessary. PB appeared to argue otherwise, writing that full non-dual realization could only occur in the fully projected waking state, here or elsewhere, and that Nature Itself would eventually 'force' the advanced mystic to return to gain the ultimate knowledge. Sant Kirpal Singh said affirmatively, however, that an initiate graced by a fully realized Master may not need to return again. However, he no doubt will, in this or another world or realm, although not because he has to, but because his liberation is not meant to simply take him out of commission: for who else is better suited to serve others?]
The next stage for Daskalos is when the Permanent Personality, now at one with the temporary personality, completes the process of realizing its oneness with the Soul-Self-Awareness, and then attains what he called Theosis, or consciousness of the Pneuma or Spirit-Being or Spirit-Ego. Since the Soul never forgot its oneness with Monad/Absolute Beingness, to gain union with the Soul was to also attain access to God-Consciousness or Theosis, though this could be deepened infinitely. In Homage to the Sun
, when referring to what happens relating it to the stages of initiation in his school, he says:
"When you reach the higher stages of the third series of initiations, you are at the doorstep of Theosis." Markides asked "What is beyond the third series of initiations', and Daskalos says "Enlightened ascent towards infinity".
From there one would continue to 'integrate' into deeper levels within the Absolute. Daskalos is not specific about on what plane the Idea of Man is, though from his teachings it would appear to have to be above the fifth plane (Atman), although truly, it would seem that the Pneuma or Spirit-Being actually emanates from Beyond even that, where it passes through the Human Idea and individualizes, forming its own microcosmic trinity on the planes below as atma-buddhi-manas (higher manas or noetic). This trinity is then reflected again in the form planes as lower manas, emotional, physical.
My co-writer on this essay, who knew Daskalos, writes:
"All the planes are a spectrum of the Supersubstance Mind. At the densest levels, these Mind states appear to us in dualistic perception to be material states, but this is maya. The astral plane, too, does not seem to be a Mind condition as much as, say, the mental planes does. But it is, as we can see from the fact, for instance, that all emotions have interpretation in them. Jealousy, anger, happiness, sadness - all have concepts and interpretations of stories in them. All the planes can be said to be different Mind states or vibrations. At the level of concrete mind, we now have mind becoming more overt, but it is actually still a form of Mind strongly conditioned by maya/dualism, because it is a 'material' or matter-bound form of mind - concrete mind - mind with form. So the form of Mind that most people are familiar with is actually a level of Mind that is still somewhat more materialistic - not the increasingly more rarified forms of Mind to be found on higher and higher planes. As Mind is the Supersubstance of which forms and states are 'made', then the lower forms that seem more separate and material, even elementals, are very dense forms of Mind, comparatively. Yogananda called astral matter 'life-trons,' but even these are forms of Mind. On the higher planes we find Mind as formless Ideas, Archetypes, Principles, Qualities and so on. The more universal they are, the higher the plane. It is my intuition that the Human Idea is such a Mind Matrix, conceived in transcendental dimensions, formless and universal, and probably has more than one version. This is because, just as on lower levels of Mind we can combine ideas that are more concrete, say - lets combine the idea of a car with the idea of a boat, so we get an amphibious vehicle. So we can combine the Human Idea with other ideas as well. This may also influence exactly what plane the idea is being focused on. But generally I would say that it is in the highest planes of our known set of worlds. I further believe that the Divine Ideas extend all the way to all seven planes, whereas it is hard to say what is in anami or what may be beyond that. Some systems say there is a higher octave there as well, inconceivable for sure."
[Kirpal Singh in his book Wheel of Life/Mystery of Death
quoted Guru Nanak saying to go "beyond Sat Lok"].
"The universe is vast horizontally, maybe also vertically. Since nondual awakening does not seem to require climbing through planes, it may be that we do not need to set a limit somewhere vertically to explain the 'location' of the nondual as accessible to us, because it is accessible by virtue of being the underlying nature of all planes. So some form of basic access to it can be develop at any plane. So that leaves the upper limit of planes wide open. The Alice Bailey model is that the seven planes that we know of are the bottom seven of forty-nine, so that all that we know of are the seven subplanes of the cosmic physical plane. In this view, the three lower planes are the dense physical body of a great Being, and the higher four planes are the formless cosmic pranic or etheric planes of Its physical body. But its deeper nature is centered in the cosmic astral and mental planes, and the great flows of Shakti and Realization in the higher worlds, and when they descend into the lower as Souls and Masters and Archangels and Avatars there is the flow of cosmic prana throughout the cosmic physical world. I have asked my inner teachers if they have access to realms beyond the seven planes and anami and such, and the higher ones say yes. When I have asked them where does it end, they say 'it is not known'. The Mystery. That is why I am fond of saying 'lucky we do not have to master all that to have sahaja'!"
Need one say that the implications of all of this is mind-blowing?!
What is an "Idea"? An Idea is something which the Christ-Logos/HolySpirit is expressing in the Eternal Now. That is why even the smallest thing, action, intention, or understanding points one towards the nondual vision. What is of most importance at every step of the way is not the development of psycho-noetic capability - although that has its significance and is part of overall mastery - but rather development of insight and character, which consists of maturation of the mind and heart.
To recap, the Holy Spirit and the Christ-logos working through the Archangels employs the supersubstance Mind to create all of the worlds, while the Christ-Logos is responsible for self-conscious knowingness (perhaps similar to Plotinus’ notion that ‘the Nous is the source of the Soul’s self-knowing’), and the projection of the rays of the Monads through the Divine Ideas, becoming Archangels, ‘Heavenly Man’, and/or then Human Souls. It also has ‘Authority and Dominion’.
Generally, Daskalos says that the Christ-Logos is not
the creator as it is in some gnostic systems. It has responsibility for maintaining order and is the light of cognition in man. The Holy Spirit, as stated, is responsible for creation, using 'Mind', through the Archangels. In fact, Daskalo taught that the Archangels ‘emit sound’ that is the cause of the creation of the worlds:
"The language of the Archangels covers a broad spectrum of colours and sounds. The sounds uttered by the Archangels bring about the creation of the universes. They use the super-substance of Mind in a perfect way and produce creative vibrations, which shape and put matter into place and order according to the Law. When a human being develops to the point at which he learns of these vibrations, which require no material tongue for their production, but only that the heart be attuned to them, then he can produce the same sounds and become a master of materialization and dematerialization among other abilities."
This seems to be implying that even Shabda-Brahman or the "music of the spheres", the Word or Logos in the Bible, is not Saguna Brahman or the Creator-aspect-of-God per se, as it most definitely is considered to be in the Sant Mat and general Hindu tradition. To say that the Shabda-Brahman itself is a production of the Archangels would be, in my opinion, to stretch its traditional meaning beyond recognition. Leaving Archangels aside, however, one maverick point of view is that Shabda-Brahman as such is a 'universal liberating presence within relativity’, but it is not the creator of relativity itself
- which is not strictly created - but is due to maya, a paradoxical aspect of Reality. That might satisfy the advaitins, but this, too, is not what the Sants teach; they say that the Shabd comes from a higher principle than maya. It is the 'Word' of God, the God-into-Expression Power, which proceeds from the Nameless Absolute which itself is
the material and efficient 'Causeless-Cause' of all causes in all the realms below. The philosophical question one might raise then is whether a 'Causeless Cause' - or, for that matter, a 'Groundless-Ground' - is really a 'Cause', or a 'Ground'? For strict advaitic non-duality does not admit causation, holding to the ajata
doctrine. Fortunately, non-causation is a concept as much as causation, the truth being above both. And advaita does not prove
non-causation or non-creation, per se, it just holds that there is no proof
for the opposite. Perhaps this is all of little practical importance for the average soul, but it seems worth raising for the purposes of understanding. And if this proves too difficult or muddled, the reader is kindly invited to just forget it all! He will surely do just find without it.
Daskalos’ vision, in any case, gives a more ‘ecclesiastical’ view of the Godhead than many other teachings. There is a Trinity, also a Multiplicity-within-Unity, and an infinity of Beings that co-create and manage all of the worlds.
Incidentally, Daskalos was very open about being a student, so there was a spirit of discovery and learning in his own teachings where he would change his mind about things. At heart, he was more of a doer than a philosopher, and his metaphysics may not be air-tight, partly due to his Greek orthodox background, partly due to a lack of profound immersion in Eastern teachings, so we should not pick it apart too much. He called himself a 'researcher into truth', and would alter concepts to better reflect his experience, but was more interested in healing and loving people than creating a perfect doctrine, so his use of terms must be given a little bit of slack. More importantly,a friend of mine who met with him for some days said that the feeling of love around him was palpable, and that he could feel that Daskalos literally became the person he was healing, in much the same way that the Hindu woman saint Ammachi radiates when she hugs people. [Yogananda was somewhat this way also, being more of a bhakti and yogi than a jnani, and his own system was much more simplifed than that of his master, Sri Yukteswar, in terms of a detailed explanation of planes and bodies and their interelationships. Whereas Yukteswar used the traditional yogic five-fold bodies and seven planes, Yogananda preferred to condense it down into three: physical, astral, and causal. For Yogananda 'astral body' means more than it conventionally means; it includes pranas, manas, ego, and intellect; causal is purely ideational, intuitional, as well as the first individualized consciousness of the Spirit-Soul]. Continuing, so one will find, for instance, a passage in one of the books where Daskalos said he was being 'stretched' by an inner being, who is trying to get him to go to the next level. It is a funny and revealing passage. He said that this seemed like an Archangel, yet had ‘Logoic' characteristics. Someone says 'I thought you said Archangels were Holy Spiritual' and not ‘Logoic’
, and Daskalos says 'yeah, I guess I will have to re-think that'!"
The most basic version of his view, however, is that we have the Logos as Self-consciousness, and the Holy Spirit as the creative arm of Absolute Beingness, and then Absolute Beingness, which stands beyond and contains both. He later introduced the word Absolute Beness, which is more nondual, whereas Absolute Beingness is more like a Creator Deity, kind of like Saguna Brahman with two aspects within relativity: Shiva (consciousness, selfhood) and Shakti (expression, energy, creativity). In the most elaborated version of his teaching, he says that a human being has all three elements, and that is how we are said to be created in the image of God. As Monads, we are one with Absolute Beingness; as pure Soul-Self-Awareness, we are Logoic; as Breaths emanated for manifestation, we are human beings with the three lower bodies, provided for us by he Holy Spirit working through the Archangels. Animals, says Daskalos, do have a presence on the psycho-noetic planes, but not organized psychic and noetic bodies, and are overseen by angels created by the Archangels [as humans we have a 'Guardian Archangel']. Thus, as even PB mentioned, after death a beloved pet will experience being petted and cared for my its master, but it does not have the capacity that humans and Archangels have of creating elementals, which for man means consciously using thought to work his way out of samsara. However, there are exceptions to this which we shall see. They also for the most part appear to lack the self-conscious ego, without which there can be no intentional spiritual path, growth, and realization. For a developed ego is a characteristic of the permanent personality, acquired through numerous incarnations as a personality, with many positive capacities such as self-reflection, will, desire for truth and self-understanding. This is a chief feature of what it is to be human. Teacher anadi writes:
“Being human is to feel deeply the paradox of being alive. We cannot just live spontaneously like plants and animals. We are too conscious of the contradictions of life! Our understanding and sensitivity are constantly being challenged by the “resistance” of the outer reality. Our greatest challenge is that we are not just given - we have to create ourselves. We are becoming. A human being is not an entity, but a flow of intelligence, a process of self-creation. Apart from living in the practical, objective world, we live in a theoretical, conceptual reality. We not only live in the world - we also think about the world. Our theoretical reality is constantly confronting and being confronted by the reality of our direct experience...This psychologically difficult situation in which we are deprived of feeling united with life, however, gives us the potential to go beyond not only conscious separation, but also unconscious oneness. We left the animal kingdom, which is unconscious ignorance, to evolve through our present conscious ignorance, into conscious awakening.”
“Ego is the self-conscious movement of intelligence without which there is no spiritual search or enlightenment...Unless we see that the ego in itself is something absolutely positive and, as such, the only tool for arriving at higher levels of awareness, we have no way to understand the process of awakening.”
“Many seekers are confused and not able to comprehend the apparent paradox of transcending the ego without actually annihilating it. In Buddhist psychology, there is a concept that the ego is not real, for it is only a play of so called five skandhas. This concept is missing the elemental understanding that our body-mind operates as an alive and coherent organism of intelligence in a purposeful and meaningful way. The ego cannot be found as such, for the one looking for it - is the ego. It is too close to be found, but certainly it is always there.”
[that's what Anthony Damiani said, “just because I can’t find it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.”].
“The ego-personality not only participates and promotes the shift of our being into the deeper dimensions of reality, from the state of Presence to resting in the Absolute, but it also allows us to comprehend our post-Enlightenment situation. Enlightenment is not the end of our growth. The understanding of the Enlightened state and its relation to the ego as well as the manifested reality is constantly evolving...
[A] goal and purpose of Enlightenment is not to eliminate the ego, but to enlighten it. How could we possibly enlighten it if we deny its very existence? To enlighten ego is to create within the personal intelligence a clear understanding that our personality, with all its limitations, and our timeless Essence, is an indivisible, dynamic Whole..The Absolute dimension and human perspective are truly one.”
The truth of these passages hinges on the unique definition of 'ego' given herein: "the self-conscious movement of intelligence," and on that basis ego would include reasoning, comparing, checking, observing, etc.. As such it is highly important and separates us from animals - and even the Archangels. These quotes are presented as an example of the uniqueness of the human dimension and condition, with the ego a self-refering reflection of a spark of conscious-intelligence.
So, as much as we love them and they love us, animals, with remarkable exceptions, lack these evolutionary refinements. There is much more to be said on this subject.
Animals and such
The Archangels, for example, create out of Mind innumerable animated ‘elementals' called ‘nature spirits’, devas
, etc., to work with plants, and, in the case of animals, ‘angels’. Angels, says Daskalos, are not immortal beings, nor are endowed with the Logoic essence, but are Archangelic creations that help the Archangels supervise the manifestation and maintainance of the creations, from the atom to the solar systems. There are infinite Archangels in charge of all of these things, and all eternally one within the Absolute Autarchy. According to Daskalos, when one is communicating with a plant, he is also communicating with the nature spirit or deva associated with that plant. When the plant dies, the angel which has been keeping it alive transfers the experience of the plant to the Archangel, and in this manner information passes from one generation of the species to the next. This was the experience of workers at Findhorn, for example. Similarly,when one is communicating with an animal he is communicating not only with the animal but also with the angel associated with it. One can tame an angry beast, for instance, by creating a positive ‘elemental’ to calm that creature. This means being able to emanate powerful thoughts of kindness. Daskalos said that is how he could enter the lion cage and put his head inside of a lion’s mouth, or play with the lions as he did in a circus as a young child. Of course, one could also be an 'animal whisperer,' or one who could talk to the animals, in wordless language, as many sensitives and saints have been known to do. One can also be a saint or sage and calm an unruly animal (or person!) by the strength of one's vibrations of love and peace. Daskalos could do likewise and had great reverence for all forms of life.
The view that animals are primarily ‘Holy Spiritual’, a term of Daskalos to mean products ‘breathed to life” by the Holy Spirit, and not Logoic, or self-conscious like man, does make some sense in that they are more instinctual, and so forth, than humans, but does not preclude the possibility that individualized beings such as humans, liberated souls, and individualized Archangels may not, for various reasons, incarnate as animals. Also, those animal forms that allow for greater intelligence (dolphins, elephants, primates and so on) may be primarily Holy Spiritual, but may, for whatever reason (such as their evolution sharing a planet with humans, especially through domestication) have growing Logoic qualities. It seems simplistic to polarize them in black and white terms as Daskalos does. But do they have an explicit ‘I’-thought around which they can consciously build an identity, question it, and make self-conscious choices for which they are karmically responsible? That is not likely a widely developed quality in the animal kingdom, and may mostly take place only when other types of intelligences choose or need to incarnate therein.
Saying this in another way, in Daskalos's view, animals are purely Holy Spiritual, which means that they are created by Hierarchies of Archangels who provide the Spirit and form, so that in this view, Monads are not involved directly in animal forms, except in a general way in that Archangels are Monadic emanations just as humans are, so this Spirit energy comes to animals through the Archangels that create them. This is kind of like saying that the nature kingdoms (minerals, elements, vegetable, animals) are a mix of creatures, also associated with complex elementals created by Archangels, who do not have individualized Monads incarnate in them, but get this consciousness/energy (not self-consciousness) indirectly from the Archangels.This is kind of like saying that the nature kingdoms (minerals, elements, vegetable, animals) are a mix of creatures, also associated with complex elementals created by Archangels, who do not have individualized Monads incarnate in them, but get this consciousness/energy (not self-consciousness) indirectly from the Archangels, just as the elementals we create by our thoughts, feelings, and actions get their vitality and intelligence from us, but are not capable themselves of creating elementals. Only Humans and Archangels can create elementals.
This point needs some additional elaboration
. 'Consciousness-only' philosophies would say that there is nothing but awareness or consciousness, that everything within relativity are different expressions of consciousness. There are more subtle ways of expressing this concept
, but it may be good enough for the present in order to make the following point. When a person like Daskalos makes a distinction between the Holy Spirit and the Christ Logos as principles, we must remember that this is not a black and white thing, but rather a leaning. The Holy Spirit may lean towards expressing creative power, but that does not mean it lacks intelligence and consciousness. Similarly the Christ Logos may lean towards Wisdom and Self-Awareness, but that does not mean it lacks creative power. In their leanings there is a specialization. Both work with Mind. The Holy Spirit emphasizes working with that aspect of Mind that is more concrete - forms. The Logos emphasizes working with the formless - consciousness, wisdom, self-awareness. Both have both and work with both. But, honoring a certain amount of dualism in most people's experience, we can say that they appear different and have different leanings. From a certain perspective, it is all forms of consciousness. Matter/form is densified consciousness, but still consciousness. There is nothing that is not conscious in some way. All is intelligence at different levels of expression. All is love at different levels of expression. The weak and strong forces holding atoms together is love. Trees constantly reorienting their leaves to the Sun's rays is devotion. Devotion, love, intelligence, consciousness, are everywhere to be found.
So when we create elementals, we are creating conscious forms. Elementals have intelligence, love and power in them, reflective of the level of consciousness of their creator, as well as the creator's intention. A sophisticated elemental can be very intelligent and skillful. Human personalities are basically a complex pattern of elementals. We have the three primary bodies, which are elementals formed by the Holy Spirit for our use in incarnation. And then there are the countless elementals that make up our character through which we express ourselves in the form dimensions. The greater the wisdom and character of the inner being that creates the elementals, the more the personality reflects and expresses the light of higher consciousness. And since there is ultimately no separation, from a deeper perspective, between the creative consciousness and the forms it expresses, then the forms, the personality in the form dimensions, is the way the soul expresses in these realms.
Similarly, when the Holy Spirit creates the creatures of nature, it gives them intelligence, which is inherent in the form. One level of this intelligence that is inherent in both human and animal bodies is all the instinctual intelligence that expresses bodily functioning. There is inherent intelligence in the body that knows what foods to assimilate and which to reject (to a considerable extent), how to break the food down, to metabolize and assimilate, to repair tissues, etc. Then there is sensory and motor intelligence built into the body - the complex intelligence that beats the heart, moves the lungs, or how a horse can stand up and walk shortly after being born. All this intelligence comes from the Holy Spirit. We do not need to consciously and intelligently tell our hearts to beat, or tell our organs how to assimilate nutrients. It is given to us, inherent in the form and the web of intelligence that supports the form.
One of the things that happens by being in incarnation in these forms is that, gradually, we absorb, both through a kind of intuitive osmosis, and, potentially, by a more mindful intuition, the intelligence that is operating in our bodies. We assimilate Holy Spiritual intelligence and capacity into ourselves, our souls. This is why someone like Daskalos can co-operate with the Holy Spirit in performing healings. He had assimilated this intelligence and capacity, in part simply by being in a human form, life after life, and absorbing the wisdom and power of Nature inherent in the human form into his soul/permanent personality.
Leaving aside more complex animals for now, when we consider a life form like a tree or a crab, there are clearly many of these forms of intelligence in expression. There is the intelligence that grew the form, gave it shape and function, gives rise to some activities and not others (is discriminating), metabolizes, and so forth. Does the intelligence that grows our bodies come from ourselves as reincarnating souls? Do we each, in our nature, know how to create a human form? Or does it come from the Holy Spirit? Not only does the Holy Spirit give us and the other forms of nature bodies with their instinctual intelligence that grows and maintains the body, but also basic programming like the instincts for self-preservation and reproduction. All of this is infused with types of intelligence as well. Further, the 'stories' surrounding the having of these instincts, and the attempts to fulfill them, and the outcome of those attempts, is filled with intelligence and generates emotions and new desires that branch off from these. So, in this view, both humans and other natural forms receive intelligence and desire programming from the Holy Spirit. And when we create an elemental, we do the same thing. We have created a form in nature that has shape, desire or intention, intelligence and capacity. If we are not as evolved in various ways as the Archangels, our elemental forms are not as sophisticated as many nature forms, but they can be, eventually, since we, too, passed through the Archangelic Idea.
So the consciousness of animals, for instance, is shaped by various factors, the main two being their basic inheritance from the Holy Spirit, and also how that takes unique form given the uniqueness of their genes, the context of their lives, and their life experiences, which give rise to emotions, habits, and affections. Where does all that go when the animal dies? If the animal is not individualized in the same sense as human beings, then someone like Daskalos would say that the simpler aspects of form/intelligence dissolves back into the Holy Spiritual Intelligences that provided the elements out of which the foundation of the bodies were formed, and the richer aspects of the consciousness of the animal will be absorbed into the Archangel of that species. Is this the case with all animals? That is an unanswered question for this Researcher, but there is some doubt about it. A common notion that feels true is that many animals, by being around humans
, may be individualized by us. Just as sages can transmit trans-egoic realization to humans, humans can transmit individualization to animals. Many people believe that domesticated animals are often individualizing, whether or not the theory is true that their souls evolved up through the animal kingdom. Another theory is that people individualize their animals by projecting elementals onto them of human traits that become attached to them and elaborate their consciousness. This could also explain why some clairvoyants claim to see deceased animals on the astral plane.
The bottom line is that any of the various theories or feelings one may have about how all this might work involve deep mysteries like the Intelligence of the Holy Spirit, which is transcendental and beautiful, as well as mysteries of creation and expression, all of which are deep and rich and mysterious. Any one view of exactly how this works is not necessarily better than another, because it seems that understood deeply enough, various views have the potential to do justice to the mystery and beauty of Nature's expressions.
This topic of animals is one such example. The classic Buddhist idea is that 'souls' take births in any of six 'realms' of existence, in any order, cycling around according to how their karma develops. One can go from being a 'god' (deva), to being a human, back to a deva, to an animal, to the hell realms, to a hungry ghost, back to human, and so on, until one lucks out and gets a human body and strives for liberation or Nirvana. It is not so much an evolutionary idea like theosophy, Sri Yukteswar, or Sri Aurobindo, or a Divine Emanation Idea like Daskalos, but more a 'soul wandering about in samsara idea'. It may be more complex than any of these theories, which probably is why we are still at the blind-folks-feeling-the-elephant stage, where no one seems to have the total perspective. It may also reflect the rather primitive origins of the shamanic and Bon traditions which Buddhism collided with when it migrated to Tibet. PB hypothesizes that the somewhat monotonous life of the wild and primitive peoples of that region may have been reflected in their idea of the endless repetition of cycles of existence, as reflected in the doctrine of Eternal Recurrence from realm to realm, rather than a more modern evolutionary conception. There are likely truths in various ideas that need to be integrated into a larger framework, which probably also has elements that no one has even thought of yet! The Buddhist view is also confusing, because, unless the concept of realms is interpreted only psychologically, as far as I can see animals and humans inhabit the same 'realm'! In the following excerpt, vipassana master Anagarika Munindra makes an interesting comment. It puts a warm feeling in the heart, but also illustrates this complexity. The author of his biography writes:
"Unlike human beings, animals cannot meditate, but they can perform acts of compassion, good karma. Barry Lapping remembers on occasion when Munindra and S.N. Goenka were walking along the main road in Bodh Gaya and they saw a male dog taking care of abandoned puppies. He heard Munindra say, "That is the kind of act that would help bring this animal out of the lower realms."
So, one may ask, did Munindra here speak simply from his Buddhist background, or did he mean the animal might become a deva
or other form of spirit, but not a human because it had not gone through the archtype of man, or is it in fact true, that animals can become human or higher? This is something I think that no one really knows. In the Christian esoteric tradition as portrayed by Daskalos, the animal kingdom certainly seems to have its own parallel or independent destiny, with its own form of spiritual guidance and help. Yet in the major exoteric traditions man has been portrayed as a most unique and specially important being, whose human body even the gods desire to get so they can become fully enlightened and return to their Source, and who, according to some, while on earth is also a spiritual intermediary between the Supreme Source and the created world. The late spiritual teacher Edward Salim Michael (author of The Law of Attention: Nada Yoga and the Way of Inner Vigilance
) held that, in fact, human beings are not only important for the redemption of this world, by bringing the light of the higher realms down into the lower plane (much like in the teaching of Sri Aurobindo and new-age luminary David Spangler), but also necessary for the upward evolution of all life forms, especially higher animals, who 'depend on us for their salvation'. The reader will have to decide for him or her self whether this is a form of unjustified anthropomorphism or not:
"Without the descent of this sublime light into these somber regions of oneself and life, there can be no transformation - either for the human being himself or for the other sentient creatures and things around him that are dependent on him for that. The accomplishment of this holy aim can take place only through the conscious efforts of a seeker to transform himself first - which calls for a great uphill struggle from him, with a certain self-sacrifice in the service of the Divine. Failing this, the flame of Divine Consciousness will continue, a always, to shine forth its radiance in the higher realms of being, while the lower planes of existence will remain cut off from it, enclosed in a mist and deep obscurity, ignorant of this effulgent light. Thus, one can perhaps begin to understand better the role the human being is destined to fulfill in the Universe, what is required of him, and his importance as a link between the Supreme Cosmic Mind and Creation in all its diverse manifestations."
"The human being is unique among all of the different creatures that inhabit this globe. For he has succeeded in liberating himself psychically to a still higher extent than any other sentient being. He stands erect, looking straight ahead, his hands free to do the various creative works his intelligence dictates to him. And because of his special status in the scale of Creation, he has a very particular responsibility toward all living creatures that are below him and are, directly or indirectly, in one way or another, dependent on him as the essential means through which their evolution can be accelerated. Everything in life that is on a certain level, whether it be a slug, an animal, or even a stone, secretly relies in its own way, in acute and sorrowful hope, on that which is already on a higher plane than itself to help draw it upward."
it is assumed that this position was somewhat based on his own experience, but that does not mean that it was not filtered through some philosophical bias he may have had. Many advanced practitioners explore these things at a very intuitive level, and yet come up often with different views. Culture, traditions and personal views still influence them. Daskalos was, it seems reasonable to say, for all his maturity, powers, and discernment, biased by his attachment to a Theistic cosmology that saw some kind of ultimate 'good purpose' behind the origin of the universe. The Buddha, Shankara and others like them did not agree. Getting rid of bias is nearly impossible at the human level. Luckily liberation is an internal thing and does not depend on perfecting the human personality!
According to Buddhist teachings, everything in manifestation is subject to dukkha
, or inevitable suffering, and therefore may be subject to longing for its Source, in its own way. Personally, however, I have looked into the eyes of a dog or cat and seen a being perfectly content with who they are, and yet at other times I have had the impression of a creature imploringly asking for a way our of their predicament! There are so many views on this topic, it is truly endless. Theosophist H.P. Blavatsky said that the door to the animal kingdom was shut four-five million years ago, in either direction, but Hindu teachers, such as Paramhansa Yogananda, occasionally say a bad person may be sent back to animal form - but only for one incarnation. And Ramana Maharshi said that the cow Lakshmi became liberated! Just how do they know any of this, especially when they all seem to disagree so much? Therefore, it must all certainly be more mysterious than we may imagine. The plants and animals may very well be being taken care of by presences other than man, although, it is a given, that everything and everyone influences the whole in some way. That is one reason why it is good to be exposed to all of these views, but hold them lightly nevertheless. They may or may not ultimately be contradictory. We will have much more to say in this in the proceding material.
However, the general consensus is that man is a special creature: part animal, part human, and part ‘angel’. As such the perfect symbol of man is the Sphinx. That is, he shares an animal body, a unique, upright one, whereby he can free himself from bondage to a life in the senses, manas
or mind as reasoning power, and intuition which he can follow to know his higher self. Manas
or mind is part and parcel of what it is to be an individuated human, and not, as some overly simplistic teachers say, only a source of bondage for man. Man is in the make, to be sure, and still in the process of evolving beyond his animal body and self-calculating mind into a more impersonal point of view. Yet those who say this is negative only and the cause of wars as well as dualistic bondage which we would be better off without fail to understand the major evolutionary advance represented by the thinking power in moving man out of the un-self conscious herd mentality that animals are bound to. PB writes:
“We are not just higher animals and nothing more but are possessed by something that the other animals do not possess - a self-consciousness which can be developed until it matures into a thinking power as well as a totally superior kind of awareness - that of the Overself.”
“If man walks upright, and most of the animals do not, it is because this upright posture is symblic of his gradual progression into ruling his animal body and animal nature.”
“Man, by contrast with the animal, is an individualized creature. He is more aware of his own separate identity and special personality. The animal is not individually responsible for his actions, being entirely responsible to its surroundings and herd instinct. If man feels the same responsiveness, he modifies it by his own particular characteristics.”
“Whereas the animal and even the plant are moved solely by instinct - unless they have lived closely with man - the human being adds a new urge, that of conscious development through intelligence.”
“Mind - that is, character and consciousness - is the real essence of man.”
And what is the undying
essence of man?
“The cosmos may be anniilated or disintegrate completely but the creative idea of it will still live on in the World-Mind. More, in the same way 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.”
Finally, however, lest we get carried away with our relative importance as a species, he states:
“The notion that God created this world spectacle for the benefit of man alone is an absurd and unwarranted anthropolatry, but the notion that life first attains individual self-consciousness in man is justified in philosophy and by experience. What is it of which he alone is conscious? It is of being himself, his ego. In all earlier forms of evolution consciousness is entirely veiled in its forms and never becomes self-aware. Only in the human state does individual consciousness of being first dawn. There may exist on other planets creatures infinitely more intelligent and more amiable than human beings. We may not be the only pebbles on the beach of life...Humans have made too big a fuss about themselves, their own importance in the cosmic scale. Why should there not be other forms oflife superior to them, conscious intelligent beings higher in mentality, character, and spiritual knowledge, better equipped with powers and techniques...There are existences for beings on levels and in times and spaces different than ours. The level we know and the humans we see only partially manifest the World-Idea.”
So, man is a special Idea in the Divine Mind, a special creature with a noble purpose - and likely existing in many galaxies - but not the sole purpose of manifestation in its entirety as certain fundamentalists may assert. That much we are not entitled to assume. The knowledge, moreover, that the Infinite World-Mind is capable of producing simultaneously an infinite number of universes, should also give us due pause.
Did man evolve from the animals?
Theosophy, in brief (see The Secret Doctrine on this website), holds with Daskalos that while there was an evolution of animal bodies, the entity man did not so evolve, but entered the evolved body appropriate for his incarnation. The Idea of Man preceded this evolution. We find this notion in Sufism as well. Bhai Sahib, Irena Tweedie's guru, said:
"Those who believe in evolution think humans were animals once, but it is nonsense. Animal is animal, man is man. Animals can never become man. They have no Atma."
When asked about the famous lines of Rumi, "I died as mineral and became a plant, I died as plant and rose to animal, I died as animal and I was Man, Why should I fear? When was I less by dying? Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar With angels blest; but even from angelhood I must pass on: all except God doth perish. When I have sacrificed my angel-soul, I shall become what no mind e'er conceived. O let me not exist! For Non-existence Proclaims in organ tones 'To Him we shall return,'" he enigmatically replied:
"This is something quite different; the meaning of it is not what you think."
(Daughter of Fire
, p. 379)
Returning to the previous line of discussion, the topic of angels is also explained at first glance in quite a different way by Paramahansa Yogananda than does Daskalos; however, if we substitute the word, 'Archangel' for 'angel' in the following quote, there may not be so much of a difference:
"Angels are God-ordained heavenly beings who serve God's purposes throughout creation. They are either personified powers or qualities of God, or fully liberated souls in whose beings the perfect spirit of God is encased. The latter, having overcome both material and heavenly desires and attachments, have merged in Spirit and then reemerged in bodies of pure energy - omnipotent, omniscient forces of the Divine Will."
"God's angels and exalted saints in the immanent-transcendent sphere of omnipresent Christ-Consciousness can move freely in any realm of infinity. They can ascend to the region of the Father; there the Self is dissolved in the unfathomable Blissful Spirit. Yet the impression of their individuality remains and can be reclaimed at will or at God's command. In the Christ Consciousness sphere they have individuality, but are in an ecstatic state. They dissolve their astral bodies there
. When they descend into the vibratory region, they can be seen with their astral bodies, which look just like a physical body, except made of a glow of light. That body has substance as a manifested form, but not gross solidity - just as dream images seem so solid, and yet are composed of the subtlety of astral light. By changing the vibrations of superelectric forms, angels can make themselves large or small, visible or invisible at will, not only in the astral but also in the physical ether - as when angels appeared to laud the birth of Jesus. At other times, also, angels and divine beings in their astral forms, seen or unseen, intersperse the blessings of their presence into the happenings on earth, as when in response to devotional supplication or good karma a person or condition merits divine intervention."
This all makes some sense, but, one might ask, is this another way of saying that consciousness, as Daskalos would have it, is a fifth - or sixth - 'skhanda', and not the primordial state of, say, Dzogchen, or other consciousness-only schools, such that archangels can 'make' consciousness as an elemental? Or do the archangels participate as consciousness in the elementals they create?
One way of looking at this - and this may already be more than anyone wants to go with it - is that in the most basic forms of spiritual development people work with a quality, principle or idea that is close to their heart, and they grow in their intuitive experience of that quality. So if we take a principle like awareness, we can deepen our experience that awareness has ordinary forms like awareness of a sensation or awareness of thought. But we can also look at our dog and expand our sense of awareness and sense that, although the forms of awareness a dog has are not exactly always the same as ours, the basic principle is the same. Not a big stretch. But does a plant have awareness? How does a plant know to turn its leaves to the Sun? Through some type of awareness. If we go deeper into the essence of what awareness is, we will find that it is more ubiquitous than we first thought. Does a mountain have awareness? The wind? [The article, The Greater Kingdom
on this website suggests this, and is an expanded look at animal and plant intelligence]. Maybe we have to really become intuitive and transcend our anthropocentric experience and understanding of awareness, and if we do, we go deeper into both the essence of awareness, and can also see it manifesting more universally. If we go deep enough into awareness, we find that the 'ground' of awareness, its 'true nature', its 'primordial state', is ultimately nondual. It merges into the Mystery. It is inseparable from anything else. At this level of appreciating awareness, we can either abandon calling it awareness and say the Tao or Brahman or something. Or we can continue to use the word awareness and say something like 'pure awareness', 'consciousness-at-rest', or 'naked awareness'. But technically, this is not a good name for the nondual, because it will still be tainted with the relative connotations of the word or concept [i.e., consciousness-unconsciousness, consciousness-beyond conscious, etc.]. But it can have a relative value to do that, as long as we remember that the nondual transcends categories like awareness.
This process of universalizing a principle or quality can and is done with love, self, intelligence, power, creativity, play, vibration, sound (nada), light, consciousness, beingness, and many other ideas and principles and qualities. This shows us a person's bias, their path, their leaning. What are they inclined to be tracing deeper and deeper to its nondual foundation or essence?
At one level Daskalos appears to have used the word consciousness to apply to a fairly universal principle, but not usually to the Absolute, as is common for folks like Ramana or sometimes in Dzogchen. It partially depends on particular individuals, because some Dzogchen writers I have read do not define the primordial state as consciousness
. [Nor does anadi, and sometimes Adyashanti]. But most teachers will use varying imagery, sometimes being more philosophically subtle, sometimes falling back on easy though less precise or subtle terms. Namkhai Norbu, for instance, defined rigpa (or the 'base') as having three aspects in one: (a) essence (emptiness) (b) nature (awareness or consciousness), and (c) energy, the second two being like Shiva and Shakti, and the first the conciliatory principle. The true nature of the awareness and energy are the essence, while appearing as awareness and energy. We can see from this view that, while the dimension of conscious or awareness is acknowledged, it is considered inseparably related to energy/phenomena, as the two are also non-separable from the emptiness/nondual.
So there is (1) a type of consciousness 'in' an elemental, and (2) a greater consciousness within an Archangel that has projected the elemental and continues to 'ensoul' it while also transcending the elemental in that its greater consciousness is not fully expressed in and as the elemental alone. And also (3) there is a more nondual ground of consciousness in which the aspect of consciousness that is within the elemental and that which is within the Archangel are the same, essential consciousness.
This is all very subtle, and the deeper issue is not proper intellectual classifications of things, but the challenge of having the richness of intuition to both identify these various things and at the same time comprehend the interrelatedness and underlying spiritual patterns within.
The more that nondual realization integrates with relativity, all the polarities and distinctions collapse. If we totally collapse them, then we enter another state (nirvikalpa or nirodha) in which we are no longer able to manifest and express within relativity. But if we allow nondual realization to infinitely reveal polarities and illuminate more and more refined ways of seeing their interrelationship without fully collapsing them, then we actualize more and more nondual realization within relativity, and reveal more and more hidden polarities that we did not realize we were still, unconsciously, distinguishing between and polarizing. One of the most basic practices of nondual realization, on a philosophical level for one, but also on the most practical level, is to gradually reveal all the dualisms we use, and intuitively cultivate the realization that they are not separate but deeply interdependent, without radically extinguishing them
. Spirit and matter, Consciousness and Form, Holy Spirit and Logos, male and female, active and passive, inner and outer, inversion and incarnation, ascending and descending, individual effort and grace, love and wisdom, Absolute and relative (!) - all of these and many more are not separate but also not the same. Deeper and deeper, therefore, our intuition and insight must carry us. Because even though part of us can enter nondual sahaja, for most of us our relative nature most likely will not entirely do so unless or until we either abandon it for nirvikalpa, or take the rainbow body! This is not to deny the possibility for jivanmukti, but rather to say that we are probably still participating in some subtle form of dualism, for the highest actualization would, it seems, perhaps continue to actualize within relativity the implications of nondual realization until the entire universe is disentangled into transcendence!
Animal consciousness and the creation of man
One might say that Daskalos seemingly contradicts himself in the book, Homage to the Sun
when he says:
“The Christ Logos is that force that at a certain stage of the evolutionary process awakened within the animal its self-consciousness. It is that which, transformed the beast into a self-aware logoic being.”
This should, however, be interpreted in the light of the more general theosophical teaching where it was the work of the Christ-Logos at one time to awaken within the animal form (on this planet that would refer to ‘proto-human primates’) to self-consciousness, making them human beings, thereby provided the man body for pre-existing Man on higher planes to incarnate in. This seems to conflict with the theory of PB quoted earlier, in which the emanated ray that is to become man was said to pass through all of the kingdoms of nature, with, however, its destiny as man predetermined by the Idea of Man, the ‘master idea’. (16) However, this is neither the Judeo-Christian-Islamic view, nor that of Daskalos', which latter view is that the Logoic spark provided the appropriate vehicle for the Spirit-Being that had become Man and was already enveloped by the two psychonoetic bodies to take on physical incarnation from its pre-existence in the heavenly 'Garden of Eden'.
Daskalos asserts that animals, unlike humans, do not have psychic and noetic bodies (17), opening the door to the possibility that they may develop rudimentary self-consciousness, through the help of their angels and Archangels, but perhaps not superconsciousness or non-dual consciousness like man is capable of. This may be a general statement, with acceptions allowed for advanced animal forms. We know that Ramana Maharshi declared that Lakshmi the cow had become liberated.
One can, however, comfortably rest knowing in either case that the experiences of every creature and every species is ‘returned’ to the Archangel and stored within it, similar to how the experiences of each human incarnation are stored within the permanent personality. Nothing is lost, nor is creation robotic in the sense one might assume. It is difficult to understand, and we cannot know, in our present condition, the nature of life in other kingdoms of Nature. Daskalos does say that there was a time when man and the animals were in harmony, a ‘peaceable kingdom,’ somewhere, sometime. But it is part of the inscrutable Divine Plan that man experienced separation and its accompanying apparent negativity in order to gather wisdom, and which accounts for some of the present discord among species.
Let us speak a bit more on this concept of animal 'liberation' and its relationship with the Holy Spirit and the Christ-Logos.
Daskalos'' theory was that animals got their sentiency from the Holy Spirit. He does not say that the Holy Spirit lacks consciousness or sentiency - he says that it is not the source of self-consciousness
(the kind of consciousness that one day looked up at the sky and asked, "Who am I?" Why am I here?"), which in his system comes from the Christ-Logos. A fly has sentiency, but it is unlikely that it has self-awareness and can exercise self-control and overide its instincts.
Humans, saints and sages have always have said, have a unique opportunity. Not that other life forms cannot get liberated. Humans, however, work hard at sadhana because we have the capacity for self-conscious or intentional will, and that takes effort because we must overcome the momentum of a great deal of ignorance to gain an accelerated liberation. If we did not use will, and followed the path of instinct, it would take vastly longer. That is a key. Understanding the difference between self-awareness and intentionality on the one hand, and instinctual sentiency on the other, i.e., Logoic expressions versus Holy Spiritual expressions.
One needn't bring up the concept, as some occultists do, that for animals there is a 'group soul'. An animal is a creation of the intelligences of nature, and, like all sentient beings, is subject to suffering and dualism, and so can be liberated. But since most animals appear to lack self-awareness and therefore intentional will (at least for those animals with minimal nervous systems - insects, most sea creatures - perhaps all but very unusual ones), then they cannot do conscious spiritual practice like humans can. That does not mean they cannot develop attraction to sages
, but that is very likely still instinctual, not an intentional practice based on an intelligent concept of a spiritual ideal, and the ability to discipline oneself towards that ideal, overiding other tendencies, instinctual or otherwise. Humans, of course, need grace, too, and their attraction to sages may also be, in a sense, instinctual, or subconscious, and for some that may be all that they need to have (witness a man who simply fanned Ramana Maharshi for forty years!), but it may be that for most animals, that is all
they have. They cannot do self-conscious sadhana they way humans can. This is why, within the human idea, the Idea of Man, there is such a special emphasis placed on self-awareness. Because it is this self-awareness that allows us, as the previous quotes from anadi explained, to become reflective, to step back from habitual and instinctual patterns and assess the situation, try to have a longer perspective on where we really want to be going, and then apply will-power (even if it is of a more bhakti nature). We accelerate progress to the goal by telling our instincts that they are mistaken, that what they seek will not bring deep and lasting happiness, and that only awakening will. Then we focus our attention on this deeper goal, in spite of the fact that much of us is not interested in that yet, and still vainly seeks happiness where it is not to be found. This capacity is what distinguishes us from animals. To use Daskalos's terminology, it is what the logoic aspect gives us. Part of the function of grace is to show our will what direction to point in. The other is to do part of the work for us, some more, some less, perhaps for a lucky few all of it! It is not a matter of only muscling one's way to realization; that is not all of what is meant by the use of will, thank God.
By suggesting that animals are primarily Holy Spiritual, or derivative of the Holy Spirit, Daskalos does not mean that they are not sentient beings, with passions, intelligence, emotions, memories, etc. They are rich life forms, for sure, with also a kind of elementals/archangelic soul pattern behind or within them, which need not diminish our sense of them at all. Yet it does seem likely that most animals and plants have a different kind of life than ours, such as not having the kind or degree of individualized self awareness that gives humans greater freedom (for good and bad), as well as enhanced creativity and possibly the power of accelerated spiritual growth and awakening that comes through a more conscious process. If this view is true, then, it does not mean that animals are not capable of 'liberation'. But it may mean that they must rely on grace
This is definitely a mysterious and perhaps unfathomable subject, which raises many questions. If an animal is not logoic in origin, without psychonoetic bodies, would a 'liberated' animal be able to reincarnate as a Bodhisattva? Maybe it could, but only in association with an archangelic presence. But who knows?
My personal view is that the plant and animal kingdoms are full of mysterious, living, complex, sophisticated, and real beings that simply have a different form of consciousness than do humans and Archangels. There is a very expansive literature about these beings in various traditions, especially from that of indigenous cultures. When I look into the imploring eyes of my cat, I personally prefer to view animals as partners with us in the spiritual adventure of living and, as Kirpal Singh used to say, that “they are our younger brothers and sisters in the family of God.”
The concept of animal as being 'Holy Spiritual', or products of the Holy Spirit, is a centerpiece of indigenous culture. Tuning into its unspoken language is the secret behind the kinship and harmony between Native Americans and plant and animal kingdoms. As J. Allen Boone writes:
"Could you look deep into the thinking and motives of the Indian, you would discover the simple secret of it all, for you would find that he was moving as best he knew how in conscious rhythm with what he reverently called The Big Holy, and the great primary Principle of all life, which creates and animates all things and speaks wisdom through each one of them all the time."
"While the physical part of the chief walked the earth, the mental and spiritual part of him moved in boundless space, embracing all creation in a comprehensive kinship in which all things were important and all things needed in the divine Plan and Purpose. Ever helping him to understand and move in rhythm with all creation was his companion, counselor, guide and helper - The Big Holy...Whenever one has the "right-see" and the "all-good heart," then wherever he happens to be, he can find The Big Holy breathing life into all things, making all things of one essence, and speaking wisdom through all things."
Rattlesnakes are known to attack the white man, but not the Native American. With reference to a specific incident, Boone explains:
"Because of this universally operating Law, the Indian was in silent and friendly communication with the big rattler not as "a snake" that had to be feared and destroyed, but as a much-admired and much-loved "younger brother" who was entitled to as much life, liberty, happiness, respect and consideration as he hoped to enjoy himself. His "younger brother" had reacted accordingly."
Having said all of that, as Bette Davis quipped, ”fasten your seat-belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!”
There is a way of explaining the earlier mentioned question, of whether the Spirit-Being passing through the Idea of Man needs to evolve through all of the kingdoms of nature or whether it simply assumes human form all at once. But I warn the reader, it is rather complex. This may or may not be ‘the truth.’ It is certainly only relative truth, not absolute. Therefore we have no quarrel with anyone simply accepting the fact that God does everything. It is no less legitimate a vision, and definitely simpler. Yet in this relative universe we inhabit, there are laws, principles, and causes, both great and small that we seek to understand. Daskalos also, for all his deep understanding of this infinite complexity, also taught that one could see the face of God everywhere, and be innocent of the conceit of knowledge, while still retaining a deep love for and open investigation of Truth, in all of its aspects. So, for the curious, we will present a case, although we must resort to some theosophical teachings to do so. This is from my co-writer:
"I am not going to say that I feel like I am an expert on this area. There are many spiritual themes that I have studies extensively, both intellectually and intuitively/experientially, and this is not one of them! Going back to the university metaphor, I do not have enough time (none of us do in any given life) to take all the courses. I believe this area is not one of the simple ones - evolution, human Idea, individualization, other kingdoms, and so on. I feel that the spiritual science behind such things is no less complex than the physical sciences, maybe more so, as ultimately they must include and enlarge on the physical sciences. If there is any truth in sources like the Secret Doctrine, for instance, concerning this issue, then it is more complex than anyone wants to know, and extends into profound depths of cosmic mystery. It may be that we are 15th century early scientists asking questions about things like what is a star, and what is at the center of the milky way, where without some knowledge of relativity theory and quantum mechanics, we can't even conceive of nuclear reactions and giant black holes. So all our attempts will be poetic and foggy and veiled. That is probably where we are at with trying to understand all this with the current level of spiritual understanding on our planet, and why there is not more agreement about these things."
"But, I do have my hunches and impressions, so here it is: What seems most likely to me is that the human being is a composite entity. We are made up of various parts, contributed by various sources. The Secret Doctrine calls these our spiritual 'ancestors' or 'progenitors'. Ultimately according to that source, these are seven, which may be related to the seven Archangelic orders of the elements that Daskalos refers to, the Shamaels, Gabriels, Michaels, Rafaels, Uriels, Cherubim and Seraphim. These are not just forms of matter or energy, but types of intelligences, elementals and Archangelic. They have a history of experience and contribute a living consciousness to the total reality of a human being. These streams of progenitors can be grouped into two classes, what have been called the 'lunar lords' or angels, the barishads, and the agnishvattas or 'fire lords' or solar angels. The first group are lunar or shadow ancestors, work with form, and provide the form bodies, physical and subtle. The agnishvattas or solar angels (archangels) provide the soul aspect, giving the spirit intelligence and self-awareness. This probably correlates with Daskalos's Holy Spirit (providing the bodies) and the Christ Logos (providing the self-awareness)."
"In the Secret Doctrine, the lunar ancestors or pitris, progenitors, worked for millions of years through nature evolving forms in the 'lower' kingdoms, until eventually suitable forms were evolved for use by spirits (Monads) to use to incarnate into. The Monad also needed a bridge, which is/was provided by the solar angels who gave to humanity the higher triad (higher intelligence, reason and self-awareness), which individualized the Monads as the passed through the 'Heavenly Man' or the Human Ideas, and so could now incarnate in the animals forms that Nature had prepared. This leads to both individualizing the Monad, but also gave self-awareness to the bodies, which, without the indwelling souls, would lack higher intelligence and self-awareness. A difference, though, in what kinds of bodies/identity the two lineages provide is that the animal/humanized form(s) on the lower planes are temporary, and still do not have self-awareness intrinsic to the forms themselves, but rather are evolved to be suitable vehicles for self-aware human souls. Whereas the higher triad is semi-permanent (permanent personality, intuition, atman/soul), which provide a permanent vehicle for the soul to evolve self-awareness, wisdom, and virtue through many experiences in the form dimensions and bodies. So we have the Monad, which is not originally self-conscious, the higher triad or soul (atma-buddhi-manas) and the lower triad (lower mental, astral, physical) along with a bridging body (the Egoic Lotus on the higher mental or noetic plane). This is like the Star of David with a point in the middle, the upward triangle is the higher triad, the downward pointing triangle is the lower triad (incarnating in matter) and the point in the middle is the 'jewel in the lotus', the lotus being the causal body (theosophical version) on the higher mental plane, and the jewel is the Monad."
"One version of this view is that the Monad is the 'real' person, and, not having evolved up through the nature kingdoms, but descending through the Human Idea, did not evolve as a presence in nature, eventually becoming a primate or whatever and then being individualized into a human being. That seems to be Daskalos's [and PB's] view. Another view is that all that is true, except that the Monad also, via group souls, evolved through the nature kingdoms as well, and gradually had body after body built (Sri Yukteswar and Theosophy seem to take this view) and that individualization is not the first moment of descent for the Monad, but rather the moment when the solar angels (agnishvattas) provide the supersubstance-formless form or the higher bodies, allowing the Monad to experience individualization, so that now it will begin reincarnating primarily in the human kingdom. Which is true, or some other theory? The part of this theory about the seven ancestors, grouped into solar and lunar, providing soul and personality aspects, all resonates strongly with me. As far as the other aspect, I don't know. It may be that both are true, that for some it works one way, and for some the other. One perspective that has occurred to me is that the Monads of some people may have passed through the nature and human stages before on another world, and so when they re-emerge from some nirvanic pralaya or rest, they choose or are drawn to engage in a new cycle of evolution, but having been through an evolutionary cycle before, they can simply begin by re-individualizing in a new world, a new context, that will provide a new type of experience, and enrich their individuality in new ways, even as they also contribute enlightenment to the new environment. This is what I mean - I am tempted to believe that we have some of the pieces here, but it is rather complex, and that without more pieces, there will be unclarity, disagreements, and apparently contradictory experiences. We shall see!"
"Daskalos says in various places, and I strongly resonate with this view, that all forms that exist physically must have a corresponding psychic and noetic counterparts. But, what I suspect he was really talking about is that plants and animals do not have something he called the 'amorphous psychonoetic body'. This is a personal aspect of the astral/psychic and noetic/mental bodies that humans have that is formed and made up of all the elementals one has created. It is our human character. Now this capacity to form elementals is something that Daskalos believed is a capacity that not all beings have. To him, only humans and Archangels are capable of forming elementals. Animals and plants are motivated/animated by forces programmed HolySpiritually into them (instinctual) by the Archangels, and they do not have elementals forming and reforming constantly the way humans do. So they would not have the personalized aspect of the psychonoetical body (see two books of Daskalos', Fire in the Heart and Esoteric Teachings for material on this body). That does not mean they don't have the pure forms of their bodies on these planes which are the molds for the material body."
Christ-Logos and Archangels
In sum, this is an intelligent and many faceted cosmos, within which man and the man-body are special, as all traditions proclaim in different ways. And we are not alone. anadi states:
“We should not forget that there are beings, energies and archtypes in this creation, who always respond to our expansion, and doubtlessly answer our longings and prayers. Grace is not something unusual - we are surrounded by Grace.”
Daskalos also taught that there are infinite number of intelligences throughout the cosmos, many different beings, and planetary guardians or logos overseeing the functioning of the universes. This would be the ‘Authority and Dominion’ aspects of the primary Christ-Logos that he speaks of. In our solar system, as mentioned, he says that earth is the least
evolved planet, and that on other planets there are more advanced beings, who have also passed through the Idea of Man yet have no need anymore for physical bodies, but live on the etheric, psychic or noetic realm of their own planet, with shapes similar to ours, but are therefore invisible to all but the advanced psychic reseacher or adept master. For instance, he says the beings on Mars are ‘theosized beings who live an archangelic life of their own.’ On the other hand, he concurs with PB that there is a psychic band around our earth he calls 'the Scream' filled with much violence and discord, that is watched over by angels and invisible helpers but is mostly affected by what we do on earth, and also says, for instance, that our Moon, so lovely to look at, is actually a 'prison' planet for evil entities who are kept there until their karma runs out and they can move on. The beings on most other planets are able to ‘travel’ in their noetic bodies and even higher, and through a step-down process manifest to us as UFO’s and in some cases even physical presences. Daskalos said that it took him an hour to get to Mars, but only fifteen minutes to get back, because of the pull of his physical body. Traveling in only the psychic body has a limit, due to the silver cord, which, says Daskalos, can only reach the equivalent of the distance of seven times around our earth. But in the noetic or thought-body one can reach much further. So the psycho-noetic bodies are still in the realm of time, but not time as we know it. However, more advanced beings at the causal level and beyond, who see all bodies and worlds within
their own self, can instantly ‘be’ wherever they wish, in other star systems or whatever. We are talking of very advanced beings. This capacity, moreover, is not the same as the omnipresence of consciousness itself, which is transcendental to all of this. But remember that even here we are talking in relative terms. It is simply the best we can do. And none of these abilities are necessary to know one’s true identity, but they are inherent capacities within every man. Some will develop them in the natural course as they evolve, others will not. It is a matter of what is required for every soul’s ‘completion’. [By the way, Jack Kornfield said that even among the Theravadin
masters he studied with in Southeast Asia, nearly all of them had the full complement of siddhis, while of course giving the usual advise that they should not be pursued for their own sake thus diverting one from the primary goal of spiritual awakening].
For Daskalos and the esoteric Christian brotherhood he was a part of, Jesus was the Christ Logos or God incarnate in the flesh, while the Buddha was a man who had experienced many incarnations. A version of this view was held by Anthony Damiani also, and others, who considered the Christ a higher Being who came to earth for a special purpose. [Yogananda did not hold this view, but felt that Christ was a high bodhisattva, already realized as Elisha (disciple of John the Baptists in his
former incarnation as Elijah), who came back to earth with a specific mission]. Nor is this is not to say that the Christ-Logos was only for this earth. It has incarnated similarly in innumerable planetary systems, past, present, and future, always within the eternal now, when the evolutionary need was there. Nor did Christ come to overturn the existing teachings or Ways to truth. Daskalos offered what he
considered the most complete way, but recognized that there are many Ways. Christ came not to change everything came to ‘fill in some missing links and shed more light’ to uplift humanity. The Christ-Logos can manifest in every heart in the form they are familiar with, whether that be Jesus, Buddha, or Muhammed, it doesn’t matter. Thus, a true Buddhist may be more of a true Christian than a dogmatic believer. God is not known or seen through thought but with the heart.
As the term is used in Theosophy, Logos often means essentially a self-conscious spiritual presence. It is applied to each person's soul, which is like a microcosmic Logos; a master or guru, who is like a larger, group Logos; to the leading spiritual teacher of a planet, the jagatguru or world teacher or Logos; the Solar Logos; and up and up to Galactic Logoi, etc.. The Buddha or Lao Tse would be like the Logoi of specific religions. This brings up the issue - is the Christ Logos that Daskalos refers to The
Logos, or rather a great Logos like the Solar Logos or another level or two higher, so large that a mere master on our planet would not be able easily to discriminate its cosmic 'limits'? It may be that just as nondual awareness is available from any plane, at a certain stage of evolution, a universal sense of the Logos also becomes available. It is as if all Logoi have a dual aspect. In one aspect each Logoi is individualized as a specific Logos within a particular sphere or expression, and in another aspect, all Logoi participate in the universal nature of Logos, so that in that aspect all specific Logoi are facets of a universal Logos [This bears some resemblance to PB's conceptualizing of individual Overselves and the Universal principle of Overself]. So in Theosophy, they speak to both aspects. Daskalos does too, but seems to emphasize the universal aspect, and speaks less about the vast hierarchy of logoic expressions.
Daskalos basically agreed with Rudolph Steiner who held that the Christ-Logos incarnated on this earth midway in man’s evolution from a primitive state to that of Theosization. He felt that the Buddha had prophesied five hundred years earlier of such a descent of the Logos. (Buddhism does contain a prophecy that a greater Buddha than he would come to five hundred years, but the notion of the descent of the or a Logos is not implied.) Such a prophecy, says Kostas, was not the usual kind, where specific events that are determined are foreseen, but knowledge of structural changes within the evolution of the planet that are the same for all planets inhabited by human forms. Kostas said:
"The Christ Logos is born and crucified eternally within the static condition of the Absolute. And this static condition expresses itself within time and space according to the level of consciousness reached by entities that passed through the Human Idea....What the Buddha said was not a prophecy in the sense of just foreseeing events that were about to happen within time and space. He foresaw a structural turning point in the evolution of humanity...An advanced master can predict with mathematical accuracy the stages of human evolution all the way to Theosis but cannot predict the historical details that will unfold from one stage to the next. This is the space within which human freedom can unfold."
“Christ lived before Jesus,” said Sant Kirpal Singh.
Daskalos may have been right that Jesus was an incarnation of the Christ-Logos, and, in contrast with the teaching system of traditional or exoteric Christianity, that there have and will continue to be other such beings, i.e., that Jesus was not for all times the only one. And moreover that also just because his was an already completed descent from above does not also mean his incarnate individuality was not also a reincarnating human being
(The traditional distinction in occultism between Christ and Buddha). It has been mentioned as a possibility that some jivanmuktas or bodhisattvas are given larger roles that are empowered by a co-incarnational process where a larger Being is also inspiring or empowering or even co-incarnating in the same body. In this type of 'avatar' (the other kind being direct single incarnations of greater Logoi) the level of realization is not necessarily more advanced than other bodhisattvas who simply reincarnate to serve. So, for instance, we cannot necessarily say that Jesus, or Christ-Jesus, descending from a higher plane and, as theosophy maintains, also from.a more evolved planet
, was therefore necessarily greater in absolute realization of truth than the Buddha. (21) But his function and spiritual evolution were different.
The level of development and type of soul chosen seems to relates more to the specific archetype that is being energized in human consciousness. [Rudolph Steiner, for instance, had the novel view that at his baptism by John, Jesus, a high initiate, sacrificed his body for the Christ-Logos to incarnate in. By some accounts from advanced mystics, Jesus himself has now passed a ‘seventh initiation’ and become a planetary Logos himself]. Frankly, I do not think this is an area that even fairly advanced masters seem to have much clarity. There is something that may be called 'lineage ego', or a collective tendency within a lineage to believe various things like: our practices are the highest, our teachings are the highest, our founder is the only or best avatar of the world, or our masters are the best. That is something that has to go. It is really almost a kind of virus or bad gene that is passed down from one generation to the next, a kind of group bias and limitation. And they all seem to have it. So if there is a planetary Logos, we probably will not have consensus about who it is for a long time, in my guess, until lineage ego and strong sectarian biases have been largely transcended. In the context of the idea of the planetary logos, the traditions assume that some seminal figure in their tradition is the jagatguru or world teacher or planetary logos. But who is it: Sanat Kumara, Krishna, Shankara, the current Sant Mat Satguru, the Buddha, Lao Tse, Jesus, or Yohannan? It gets politically dangerous to suggest one of these is the highest! A friend of mine with the capability to access high inner states, said to me, "when I commune inwardly with Sant Mat gurus, for instance, I find them no less enlightened than great masters of other traditions. But some of the stuff they seem to say or buy into on the physical plane frankly still surprises me - avatars being limited to the causal plane, their masters being the only ones who can lead people to Sach Khand. I am sorry, but these just simply aren't tenable ideas to me. And yes, when I connect with them inwardly, I do not find that their inner selves on higher planes hold these views. It is something that they seemed to inherit (in part due to the heavy 'guru is infallible' belief in such lineages) from previous generations, so that it is hard for them to throw it all off. Most masters have baggage like this, especially in big traditions like Tibetan Buddhism or the Sikhs. But it will all gradually be outgrown."
(I am indebted to my co-writer for much of the last few paragraphs).BR>
No Human Soul or Archangel can know all of the majesty of the Divine Ideas or Absolute Beingness (or ‘Be-ness’). This, I dare to say, is spirituality 101.
Archangels are infinite in number, and every Soul that comes into incarnation is assigned a “Guardian Archangel” to help guide it through its many lives until it returns to Spirit-Being-Monadic consciousness. There are twelve Archangelic orders: Holy Monadic Beings, Thrones, Authorities, Dominions, Principalities, Overlords, Seraphim - all part of the Multiplicity of the Absolute. There is also an Archangel for each element: for instance, Michael, 'the Great God', for light and fire; Gabriel, water and the steward of the physical kingdom; Raphael, ruler of the plant kingdom and prana; Uriel, the 'Space-Sun-God' ruling order and harmony; Sham-A-El, ruler of the element earth.
[It must be mentioned that this view is slightly different from traditional Christian usage. If we use Dionysus the Pseudo-Areopagite, a Syrian Christian who brought into Christendom an early cosmology of angels that goes back to Zoroastrianism, angels that watch over a sacred place are called Powers (such as that associated with the presence felt in certain sacredly designed cathedrals (21a)), angels that watch over a person are called Guardian Angels, angels that watch over a nation or people are called Principalities, and so on up to Seraphim and Cherubim. For Daskalos, these are all Archangels, not angels, which, as described, are elementals infused with life by the Archangels that act as 'agents' of the Archangels].
Archangels are the same as the theosophic Seven Dhyani Chohans who come from the Anupadaka plane
. Daskalos said that, horizontally speaking, in our solar system they 'live' on the Sun (obviously, a higher plane of the physical Sun).
By the way, PB remind us of one important fact. While it is useful for our general knowledge to study these teachings, it also should be noted that:
"It does not really matter whether he believes in the four Archangels or not as it is not of importance to anyone unless he has advanced far enough to have made contact with such beings."
Christ called himself the “Son of Man,” says Daskalos, to indicate that he was a special incarnation of the Christ-Logos passing through the Archangelic Idea directly into a man-body. He did not become
God-realized, but was Deity incarnate. (This is very close to the traditional understanding of an avatar). If other Archangels so incarnate, for a divine purpose, it is for one incarnation only, and they do not return enriched by the experience as Human Souls do, because it was not in the Divine Meditation for them to experience repeated incarnations in space-time. They, too, are called, “Sons of Man.”
Daskalos said that the 'Guardian Archangel' assigned to each human when it first passes into the incarnational cycle is in a 'semi-hypnotic' state, and generally did not interfere with our karma. Two questions then arise in the inquisitive reader, what does our Guardian Archangel 'do' if it is in a semi-hypnotic state, and how
could such a one as Daskalos get inside the consciousness of an archangel to know
such a thing? First, the Guardian Archangel assists us as the mirror of conscience throughout our incarnations, and, along with the Archangels of the four elements, and our own higher self, guides us after death in determining the nature of each future incarnation. He says that 'we then feel it as ourself'. His answer to the second question, how does he know all of this?, would be that there are two ways, called them attunement and atonement. Below are the respective definitions from his glossary:
"Adjusting our vibrations to the frequency of any other existence or being, to the extent that we can observe and study its nature. Attunement is preached prior to at-one-ment."
"The Super Self-conscious state in which a being is able to merge itself in complete unity with any other being or existence, and with Absolute Beingness in Theosis, without ever abandoning its Self-conscious Ego."
Atonement is the deeper of the two ways of knowing. Attunement has more dualism in it, yet it is a deep capacity that is based on moving very much into resonance with someone or something in order to know it more completely, more deeply. It has much intuition in it. Atonement, though, is based on a more complete capacity to set aside one's own identity, even one's identification with humanness, not to mention biases, desires, and so forth, and to know through becoming the thing or being we wish to know. Daskalos, one is led to assume, was a master of attunement and atonement, and could 'get inside of an archangel'. Part of their primary function is to act as additional inner guidance, as conscience, to support right decisions. Also they can provide a protective function, but only as is permitted by karma. They are not allowed to intervene and obstruct the working out of karma as it would be an 'obstruction of 'the just workings of the universe'. Apparently, though, the degree of its activity is dependent upon our level of development, and so for many people it is not very active because there is too much karma, but can be activated both by our general spiritual development and also if we, ourselves, or someone else, actively energizes it."
Remember, though, that our own Permanent Personality is a very conscious being which has retained the wisdom garnered from a large number of incarnations, and is integrating that experience in the light of the atman, which is its essence or foundation, and so, although the Permanent Personality of the average person is not in nondual awareness, for those who are on the path, their Permanent Personality is growing in nondual presence, but is particularly a selfhood of pure virtue and relative wisdom. The Permanent Personality is the focus of integration for all the positive qualities and wisdom developed ever since passing through the Human Idea. This is a powerful, very conscious, very loving being (but not an eternal one), a projection of the Soul. And it is focused on the incarnate personality throughout each incarnation, and is the level of identity that we will be re-assimilated back into after each life.
The Guardian Archangel seems to be an extra boon we get from Absolute Be-ness to support us, then, but what it can do is limited by our level of development/karmic situation. It cannot get in the way, and so, as stated, perhaps remains in a limited state of activation for most people due to the extent of their karma. Here is Daskalos' definition:
"At the point of our first incarnation, having passed through the Human Idea, each of us is protected and guided by a Guardian Archangel. Throughout our long sojourn in the worlds of separation, our Archangel helps our Permanent Personality plan and experience each incarnation - all our valuable lessons - though never tampering with our free will. Our most faithful companion, this Archangel (with whom we are egofied), is from the Order of the Thrones."
According to Daskalos, each human being first passed through the Archangelic Idea before Humanizing. This means that we are both Archangels and Humans, which means that upon achieving Theosis, we return to our larger nature with the fruits of individualization. How we are able to fulfill activities that are Archangelic is a mystery: do we choose, or is it really God's Will? At that plane of realization, neither term probably best describes what is happening. But let's call it the Divine Will. Either way, liberated humans can fulfill Archangelic functions, or other functions that only those who have become individualized can do.
Daskalos said he was in Attunement with Yohannan, the chief disciple of Jesus named John the Beloved, who he considered his chief master, and who he said in turn led him to the Christ-Logos. Realization of at-one-ment with the Soul/Permanent Personality and the Spirit-Ego or Pneuma, the ray of the Holy Monad, was what he called being ‘Theosized’, or God-realized. It is not possible to be permanently in that state while in physical form, thus he seemed to be affirming a form of videha-mukti
, or complete liberation after death. PB suggested the same. Thus jivanmukta
appears to have been for Daskalos a realization within several ‘levels’ of divinity.
Yohannan, according to Daskalos, is the Planetary Logos for our time. Now, assuming
there is a Planetary Logos, and let's assume there is, is it, in fact, Yohannan? Maybe - but how could we know, other than being at Daskalos level of proficiency, if even then? Daskalos also referred to Yohannan as an Archangel. Yet Archangels are said to be generally Holy Spiritual, and not Logoic expressions. In a certain way the Planetary Logos can be said to be an Archangelic function, however, but it would be one that would require individualization - passing through the Idea of Man. So Yohannan would be a type of Archangel that has Logoic attributes. Daskalos later in life said that it was making more sense to him that some orders of Archangels were primarily Holy Spiritual ('creating'), but that others did seem to also be Logoic ('governing'). This more complex view has already been discussed.
Yet, more important to me than any of this was Daskalos attitude towards incarnation. Even though he claimed to have reached 'Theosis' several times, he confessed to an intimate that if he had a choice to be 'up there' where we 'find our happiness', or down here where he could 'look into a human face with love', he would choose the latter. "Maybe it is weakness, I don't know," he said, "but that is what I would choose." For Daskalos was a bodhisattva:
"It is not easy to transcend the various dimensional world and fearlessly enter into our beingness. I now speak of my own personal experience Though we feel we are part of the One reality, Life, we enter into a conception of non-existence...In reality it is not nothingness. You still know that you are you..However, unless you are reflected you cannot become a phenomenon of life. Suppose I boldly enter that sense of non-existence, yet beingness within the Absolute Beingness. Can I come out of it any time I wish and re-reflect myself within matter, that is become incarnated? Definitely yes. We are eternal beings...But even in that state you have the desire to return. Yet I cannot really call it desire because the moment I do that I automatically find myself in the psychic dimension. Nor can I call it thought, obligation, because when I say that, it is implied that I am within the noetic world. What is it then, this state of non-existence, yet self-sufficient beingness, which impels me to return? It is perhaps the nature of Beingness to reflect itself by itself. Masters have done it. Christ has done it."
"When entering within myself, which from the human point of view is nothingness, and from the point of view of beingness self-abundance, I know that it is my nature to re-enter the world of matter. I now speak strictly on the basis of my own experience. Suppose you ask me, "Where do you prefer to be, within the self-abundance of non-conceiving being, where we find what we call happiness, or within the trials and tribulations of our phenomenal existence?" Believe me if I have a beloved person near me, to gaze into the eyes of, to smell and caress the loved one's feet, I would say I prefer that. Call it weakness, call it whatever you like, still it is an attribute of our beingness not of our existence. Maybe this is the same urge within the Absolute Beingness itself that brought about the creation of the worlds. To touch and caress with the rays of its Sun even the dullest, the most stagnant waters. Perhaps what I am saying is blasphemous. This is how I feel. The material world with all its torments and imperfections is beautiful! Do you find that I am wrong?"
No, Daskalos, you were not wrong. Similar sentiments were voiced long ago by the poet-saint Tulsidas:
"In one scale of the balance put all the bliss of heaven and the final liberation of the soul from the body, but it will be altogether outweighed by a fraction of the joy that results from communion with the saints."
Brief Summary of Daskalos' Teachings
The main points of interest for me about Daskalos’ transmission of esoteric Christianity are that of a non-monolithic Absolute as a transcendental Multiplicity-within-Unity, or Divine Multiplicity, and the combining of a nondual teaching with an ancient Theo-centric doctrine that has had such a great influence throughout the past two thousand years. the blending of these two approaches is, I feel, a central task for our time. Daskalos seemed to be trying to give his written teaching a more non-dual bent in introducing the term 'Absolute Be-Ness' in place of 'Absolute Beingness' - but, truth be told, I doubt if he cared that much. He had his limits of non-dual understanding, but, for my money, was still ahead of the type of advaitin who believes in the ancient view of the Atman as a disinterested observer of phenomena, such as Swami Rangananathananda and other traditionalists still express. Daskalos was a lover, a bodhisattvic participant
in an greater life, not likely to have much patience - although he had lots of that - with someone who cleverly argued that he had no free will. "You idiot, you can't pick up a fork without using your will!" would probably be his response.
How does one become attuned to and find access to all - or any - of this knowledge, assuming one believes it is desireable? There are several books
of practices and further teachings for this esoteric Christian tradition, but it is of course a living school that is of most importance for the serious student. Daskalos spoke of a series of nine initiations or stations of mastery. We have only given the blueprint of his teaching, but there is much more in the way of practical details. In the end, though, it comes down to three things: esoteric spiritual development (various practices, disciplines, and vows), based or grounded on using one’s divine inheritance (reason or right thinking), and love. Without these latter arms the practices themselves are fruitless. Nor are they necessary, unless one wishes to dedicate himself to the specific form of service that this school emphasizes. Daskalos said, furthermore, that the higher one goes, if ones mind and heart are clear, the more one realizes that there is in reality no higher or lower realm
. And, moreover, the opening of one's psycho-noetic dimensions are not even necessary for spiritual progress, although in his school of service practices are given to do so, always secondary to the development of character, however. Thus, we can safely say that more direct paths are certainly available for the average soul.
Daskalos likened God's attributes to a triangle of Love, Wisdom and Power, and the way back to God is through the same. He taught that in the macrocosm these three are always in balance, but that in the microcosm man need to 'balance the triangle': love and power without wisdom leads to confusion, love and wisdom without power leads to lack of accomplishment, while wisdom and power without love or goodness leads to a satanic condition. The divine center is in the heart. The heart must become clean. And in order for the heart to become aware of itself, its own godliness, one must have the capacity to know and understand; that is, the love of Truth must become predominant. Otherwise we end up with only sentimentality and a double-bind of fighting our tendencies from within relative polarities of positive and negative, absolute and relative, good and evil, intrinsic essence versus ‘binding fetters’, and so on. In short, we cannot get out of our cage if we are too judgemental of ourselves and others. It must also not be forgotten, that the higher one ascends, and the more one knows, the greater the responsibility, as well as the capacity, for helping others.
Daskalos was a lively, compassionate, sensitive, powerful, and humorous man, yet he was quick to confess that he was 'only human', and sometimes made mistakes. He said, most importantly, that it was not possible to understand what he was saying, what to speak of doing what he was doing, until one first stopped being so serious about the present personality! How true! How true!
"Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you."
- C. G. Jung
The gist of the teachings of Daskalos, then, can be summarized as follows: there IS an Absolute, an Ultimate, we are inherently and eternally one with it, at all levels and in all of our parts, yet within relativity there is an ensouled cosmos, with its own evolution and laws. The Absolute expresses as a Trinity (Father, or Absolute Be-Ness, Holy Spirit, or expressive, creative power, and Christ-Logos, or the light of self-conscious cognition and the intelligence within creation). There are many variations on this theme in other traditions (22), but all are to be known within 'One-without-a-second'. Holy Monads are thus one with the Absolute, yet when they send down a ray of Spirit-Being-Ego which passes through the archtype, the Idea of Man, it becomes a Self-conscious eternal Soul, whose destiny is to experience life in the realms of space-time, cloaked in three bodies and involved in an incarnational cycle, from which we, like the Prodigal Son, gradually gain in self-consciousness through time, yet still, within the eternal Now. This latter phrase, 'within the eternal Now,' is all important, forgetting which we may either engage in a dualistic search with all the frustration and heartache and despair that can involve, or opt for a nondual path where we are told our unique 'personal stories' are to be negated in order to find impersonal consciousness as the only truth. Are these ways legitimate solutions for our deepest heart longings? Too often we seek the Absolute as an alternative to our apparently limited personal reality, unaware that both are two aspects of the one true Brahman, Absolute, or Nirvana, which is not an alternative to anything but beyond and embracing all polarities. Already words are creeping into our lexicon, signifying, along with awakening, our making use of the spiritual antidote of saying a big "Yes" to Life, the world and our bodily self, our desires and dreams - as a counterpoint to the traditional dissociative recommendation. Suppressing these things is not the way to reach the 'Ultimate', as the traditions too often imply, and exclusively denying the human ego is no way to realize the Divine Spirit-Ego, Spirit-Being, or Divine Person, or whatever name one chooses to use, but often only a means for our hearts, longings and unique gifts to remain barren and unexpressed.
A few more points about 'angelology', and 'siddhi'
Daskalos had advanced capacity to manipulate the elements as part of his inner bodhisattva work. In other words, he had siddhi
, comparable to what is attained through yogic concentration in the various eastern traditions. Of these siddhis (called himman
in islam) one is that of changing one element into another. This is achieved through deep concentration on a specific element. Patanjali spoke in detail about the various siddhis achievable, always with the caveat that they could be an impediment, if the ego gets in the way, to liberation. Daskalos was aware of this. He said that without purity of motive - and even then, in many cases - we should rather 'respect the Archangels of the elements' in their work. Christ was different, he said, having the more advanced capability of 'fiat', that is, just saying, 'it is' and the thing would be done. In the masters of Sant Mat, it is said that siddhis occur quite naturally in one's development, but one should not spend time with them; however, for a fully developed master all of Nature is 'at one's beck and call.' Thus, at the highest level the question of siddhi is a paradoxical one. Things happen without even the conscious knowing of the master. This is a divine mystery.
Vipassana master Dipa Ma very rapidly developed the ability to perform all of the classic siddhis. She could fly, dematerialize, dive into the earth and come up drenched, and walk through walls! Milarepa did the same. But she quickly abandoned them because of the above injunction that they may be an impediment to Nirvana and in any case are not necessary
for reaching Nirvana. She said, however, that we should always 'keep the precepts' of the dharma because there are angels and other beings ready to assist us when the help was needed. She mentions 'miracles' that occured in her life such as finding a 'manifested house' for shelter from a storm, that wasn't there on her return!
According to Tradition (Christian and Islamic), Archangels are higher than man; however, as we have seen, for Daskalos even man has passed through the archtype, the Idea, of Archangel, and is therefore, in theory, an Archangel himself. However, angels are lower in the hierarchy than man in all traditions. The answer given in Islam is because they embody only one or two of the 'Divine Names' or Attributes (i.e., worship only), whereas man is in principle capable of embodying all of them. In Islam they typically speak of ninety-nine Divine Names, although, in reality, they are limitless. Thus, man is special. To 'return to God' even angels need to take a man-body.
In Islam, according to Ibn 'Arabi, the 'breathe of the Merciful' is an ontological principle of Being or ground of Being extending over the world of material things as well as spiritual beings. He calls it 'Nature':
"From this perspective, the 'breathe' is a Substance (in the Aristotelian sense of Prime Matter)
['immaterial 'substance'; perhaps the mula-prakritti
in Hinduism, or 'Mind' as used by Daskalos] in which all forms of Being, both material and spiritual, are manifested...The Divine 'breathe' pervades the material substance, i.e., the Prime Matter, which is receptive of the physical forms, and it brings into existence the physical bodies in the material world. The 'breathe' pervades, at the same time, the spiritual substances bringing into existence the spirits of the Light-nature, i.e., immaterial things by spreading through the spiritual Nature which is another kind of Prime Matter...Accordingly, the four elements, everything has been generated from the elements, the higher spiritual beings, and the spirits of seven Heavens, all these are found to be 'forms' of Nature."
"Thus the four elements are forms (i.e., specific 'determinations') of Nature. And those beings above the elements, namely, the 'higher spirits' that are ranged in a hierarchical order down to a level just above the seven Heavens - they are forms of nature. And those being born of the elements are also forms of Nature. By 'those that are born of the elements' I mean the spheres of the seven Heavens and the spirits governing their movements; they are of an elemental nature, because they are made of, and born of, the vapor of the elements."
"Each one of the angels born in any of the seven Heavens is likewise of the elements. Thus all the heavenly angels are elemental. Those angels above the heavenly spheres are not elemental, but they nonetheless belong to Nature. And this is the reason why God has described the angels as mutually rivaling. This may be explained by the fact that Nature itself tends by essence to be split into opposed poles. And the essential opposition among the Divine Names, i.e., the Divine Revelations, has been caused only by the 'breathe of the Merciful'. Do you not see how even in the Divine Essence which is in itself completely free from such a property (i.e., polarization) there appears at the level of the Divine Names
[the Divine archtypes] the definite property of essential independence? Thus the world has been produced by the image of its creator which is not the Essence but the 'breathe of the Merciful'...He who wants to know the nature of the Divine breathe must try to know the world, for as the Prophet said 'he who knows himself knows his Lord' who manifests Himself in him."
The Idea of Man in other traditions
(!), it is not necessary to believe in the overwhelming mass of esoteric detail presented so far, or the concept of a special Divine Incarnation, to get a feeling and come to an understanding that there is something unique and important about the Idea of Man, man and the man-body itself, which all spiritual traditions have been proclaiming about for ages on end. Instead, one has only to consider another
overwhelming mass of esoteric detail!
Hebrew tradition talks of 'Heavenly Adam' and 'earthly Adam'. Kaballists believe that earthly Adam (3760-2830 BCE), also known as Adam HaRishon
, was the first man - on earth (for there are other worlds where souls have gone through the Idea of Man) - the image of Primal Man, by God’s design - to question higher, spiritual things, and wrote the first book of the Kaballah which was passed down through the ages and added to as further revelations were made to man. [In some versions the wisdom of the Kaballah was given to Adam in Paradise (the psycho-noetic heaven) by the angels, before the fall].
That there are two different "Adams" was a widespread concept in antiquity. In the religious writings of Kabbalah, Adam Kadmon
is a phrase meaning "Primal Man". The oldest rabbinical source for the term "Adam ha-admoni" is Num. R. x., where Adam is styled, not as usually, "Ha-Rishon" (the first, earthly Adam), but as "Ha-Kadmoni" (the original, "Heavenly Man"). It is said that Adam Kadmon had rays of light projecting from his eyes. In Lurianic Kabbalah, Adam Kadmon acquired an exalted status equivalent to the Purusha in the Upanishads, denoting the Manifest Absolute itself. The Lurianic form of Kaballism became more influential than the early Kaballism of the Zohar. In this variant of mythopoetic cosmogenesis and anthropogenesis, the "Adam Soul" is described as the primeval soul that contained all human souls. Thus, he might be the equivalent to a Holy Monad, which can project many rays. Other Kabballists, however, consider Adam Kadmon as the 'energetic template' for spiritual man. As such it may be similar to the archtypal Idea of Man of Daskalos. Adam Kadmon has also been compared to the Anthropos or Adamas of Gnosticism and Manichaeism. Moreover, Adam Kadmon was also thought of as the one Universal Man out of whom all of creation was formed, based on the idea of reflection whereby the 'Ancient One' looks into space and beholds his image and puts life into that man made in the image and likeness of himself. As such the 'Ancient One' of the old religions was only the deity of the lower worlds (although thought to be the highest), with Adam becoming a cosmic creation out of which all things below were taken out of him as units of life. This is similar to the myth of the Universal Giant slain by the Titans, the universal energies, and out of his body all the other creations were made. This was the Universal Man spoken of by Swedenborg. It was also sometimes considered as the first emanation of the Ain Soph, the Universal Man, the One Adam or the whole material creation, but in this version the Ain Soph was more like the God Jehovah, a lower emanation of and not
the Primal Reality itself. The Grand Man of the Zohar is also the same as the Great Sephirothic Tree of Life of the Kaballah, which also, according to the teachings of the Sants, only extends from the physical realm to the astral heaven. Beyond this are the mental or causal realm, and then the last station of the Kaballah, called the 'Great Abyss', but which, however, is followed, say the Sants, by two great formless regions including a deep and dark void called Maha Sunn, itself the prelude to the truly spiritual regions of Sat Lok - which are also of the nature of nondual voidness, with a Nameless Primal reality 'beyond' it all. According to them, the ancient religions did not go beyond the mental and astral planes, mistaking them for the highest or most primal Reality. Does your head hurt yet? Don't worry, no one gets this stuff! The best we can do is try to get a feel
for it all.
The doctrine of the two Adams was also taught by the Hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo who fused Greek philosophy with Jewish thought. There is a similar concept in Alevi and Sufic philosophy called al-Insn al-Kmil, the Perfect or Complete Man. This is Perfect or Universal Man is a central theme in Sufism as a link between the Divine and the Cosmic. Man is coeval with the Cosmos. For Ibn Al 'Arabi, Reality is that primordial Being beyond both polarity and non-polarity, and beyond the Divine (God) and the Cosmos. Man as the gnostic has an ontological status without which the cosmos would have no reason for being.
"Reality gave existence at first to the whole Cosmos as an undifferentiated thing without anything of the spirit in it, so that it was like an unpolished mirror
[a commonly used metaphor in many traditions]. The Divine Command required by its very nature the reflective characteristic of the mirror of the Cosmos, and Adam was the very principle of reflection for that mirror and the spirit of that form, while the angels were only certain faculties of that form which was the form of the Cosmos, called in the terminology of the Folk, the Great Man
[In Sufism angels, therefore, are not of the same stature as man; however, according to tradition, archangels were above man; this is somewhat different from the view of Daskalos, for both man and archangels have passed through the divine archangelic archtype, whereas only man has passed through the Idea of Man]...The Cosmos [is] preserved as long as the Perfect Man remains in it...Know also that the Reality has described Himself as being the Outer and the Inner [Manifest and Unmanifest]. He brought the Cosmos into being as constituting an unseen realm and a sensory realm, so that we might perceive the Inner through the unseen and the Outer through our sensory aspect...He has expressed this polarity of qualities in the Qur'an as being His Hands devoted to the creation of the Perfect man who integrates in himself all Cosmic realities and their individual manifestations...God unites the polarities of qualities only in Adam, to confer a distinction on him...Man unites in himself the two modes, the originated Cosmos and the originating and original Reality, which are His two hands."
The ontological status of man as the purpose for which the creation exists is a notion peculiar to Islam, which is not universally shared. The Hindu saint, Amma, said, "Nature will continue to exist even without human beings. She knows how to take care of herself. But humans require the support of nature for their existence."
(25) The supposition might be that if man were wiped off the face of this earth he could continue his incarnational cycles elsewhere, as there are countless planets and solar systems. The promise in Sufism, however, is that as long as there is one perfect Man (walih or saint), on earth, the tradition of sainthood
will continue. In the Old Testament God tells man several times that as long as there is one righteous man alive he will not destroy the earth. It is all very interesting.
The actualized as contrasted with the natural Perfect Man is man fully knowing both his Divine Essence and the Divine Theophany. "He who knows himself knows Allah"
(Qur'an). 'Knowing oneself' encompasses knowing oneself in both his absolute and relative natures. Seyyed Hussein Nasr wrotes:
"The Sufi teachings revolve around the two fundamental doctrines of the "Transcendant Unity of Being" (wahdat al-wujud) and the Universal or Perfect Man (al-insan al-kamil). All things are theophanies of the Divine Names and Qualities and derive their existence from the One Being who alone 'is'. And man is the only creature in this world who is centrally and axially located so that he reflects the Divine names and Qualities in a total and conscious manner. To become a saint in islam is to realize all the possibilities of the human state, to become a Universal Man."
Thus, in Islam man is the 'Perfect' being insofar as he is archtypally set to embody all of the Divine Names and Qualities, but he is also perfect-man-in-the-make. To become the Perfect Man in actuality is to become a saint, that is, man knowing his true nature as Soul, the reflection or image of the Nous or Divine Intellect (in Plotinus' terms) - man made in the image of 'God' - Allah - the Divine Consciousness or first manifestation or emanation of the Absolute out of its absoluteness of which no man can know), one stage above Allah, and also to see this highest reflection of the Divine Essence at all levels of Being, thus knowing Truth - al haqq
, both transcendant and
immanent. One doesn't know the Absolute in its absoluteness, but can know himself in the Absolute in its first movement out of its absoluteness. For the Sufi this has two basic terminal stages: annihilation (fana
) and then resurrection or subsistence (baqa
) in God. One knows himself in God and no longer in himself. Still, there remains an unknowable mystery, the absolute-Absolute, beyond Allah, which in Taoism is similarly referred to as the 'Mystery of Mysteries.'
While Sufism is not Vedanta, and its goal is a tall order, it is a rich tradition worth investigating. That the image of perfection is stamped on the soul of man is why man is not considered to be human in Sufism unless he strives to transcend his humanness. To be comfortable in being solely human is, for the Sufi, to regress to less than man. [Yet, at the same time
, Ibn Arabi, while considered by some to be the greatest of Sufis, was somewhat of a radical in that he felt, counter-intuitively, that man must first become even less than
human and know the fullest extent of his animality, prior to the full use of the faculty of Reason, before he could become attuned to the Intellectual or deeper Spirit. That is, man in a sense must descend before he can ascend. This did not mean a moral regress but rather a full embodiment and gnosis at the lowest level in order to eventually achieve completion. This view is finding new life today in a number of teachings]. We may never reach such full perfection - indeed, there may never have been such a man in all of recorded history - but it is the divine archtype behind the Human Idea.
"A man's reach must exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?"
It is why virtue is such a major component of Sufism. Nasr explains:
"Each virtue is a station through which the soul must pass and which it must experience in a permanent way...The gaining of the spiritual virtues and their corresponding states and stations are so many stages in the death of the soul in respect to its base and accidental nature, and its resurrection in divinis. That is why the highest of the virtues is truthfulness, which stands opposed to all the dark tendencies of the soul, and the highest of stations is subsistence in God, which is none other than resurrection in Him. The end of Sufism is, of course, to reach God, the Truth (al-haqq), and not to acquire a particular station. But since man is not just an intelligence that can discern the Truth and know the Absolute but also has a will, the virtues are a necessary concomitant to the total attachment of man to the Truth. For 'Truth, when it appears on the level of the will, becomes virtue, and it is then veracity and sincerity'...If the discussion of spiritual states in Sufism is inseparable from that of the virtues (mahasin or fada'il), it is precisely because in Sufism a virtue is seen not as an act or external attribute but as a manner of being. It has a definite ontological aspect. That is why in the classical enumeration of the states and stations of the soul we meet with the enumeration of the virtues. A state or station, like patience (sabr) or confidence (tawak kul), is a virtue, which means that when the soul reaches such a state not only does it possess the virtue in question as an accident, but its very substance is transformed by it so that during that stage of the Way in a sense it is itself that virtue...Of course the Sufis never tire of emphasizing that the end of Sufism is not to possess such and such a virtue but to reach God beyond all states and virtues. But to reach the Transcendental beyond the virtues
[the Absolute beyond being and non-being], man must first possess the virtues; to reach the station of annihilation and subsistence in God, man must have already passed through the other states and stations."
This is one view, but not all on this matter. The emerging viewpoint is that fundamental awakening to Being comes much sooner than such idealized perfection; in fact, it must
, to permit what is to follow: a further and deeper transformation of both the human and spiritual-soul character, which over time becomes a much freer and co-operative, yet natural, divine process. Of course, one could always say "no," but why would you want to? At this point there is nothing more to do!
The Perfect Man, one can say, is simply the sage who is the embodiment of the Way, whether in Christianity, Islam, Taoism, or Buddhism. Only the leanings and cultural flavors vary. Whereas in Islam, according to Ibn 'Arabi, the Perfect Man is the embodiment of Virtue, it is not essentially because he is has 'muscled himself' to moral perfection, no, but simply because Virtue is a product of the 'holy emanation' or Divine Mercy that grants life to all things. The true Islamist, therefore, is essentially good to those who are good and good to those who are not good, because, all things are good inasmuch as they are products of the Divine Mercy. And, man as a creature is considered 'perfect man' because of all creatures he is capable of embodying all of the Divine Names, which are themselves morally neutral
in the sense that they include Merciful (the most senior of all Names, being of the essence of the Creator), benevolent, just, and so on, but also jealous, wrathful, vengeful, etc.. Man is the only being who can become like the Prodigal Son in Christianity, gaining the depth of experience of the polarities necessary for conscious realization of Being. So he really isn't expected to be humanly perfect, although, simultaneously, that is an ideal in Islam. Nevertheless, the emphasis on personally embodying the Divine Virtues is in general most fundamentally associated with and attained gradually after reaching various permanent spiritual stations, of which fana
(annihilation) and baqa
(subsistence) are the two most important ones. Thereafter the so-called 'journey to God' is replaced by the 'journey in God'. In modern language, once awakened through a death as a separate entity and rebirth in Conscious-Being, a divine force, call it Nature if you like, carries one through an irreversible transformation towards divinization according to the human archtype. It is not the work of the individual at this point. Achieving such a thing as human perfection is not really possible, and even if it were, it would take an interminably long time. But, more directly, first the old must 'die', man must see his nothingness (fana), before his rebirth (baqa) in identity as Being. This is good news and bad news. It is good because there is hope for the average man to now who he is, and 'bad; because, well, it can be a difficult passage.
In the East, the Taoist Perfect Man is he who has become one with the Way. He has acquired the Cosmic Vitality or Chi
, the aspect of the Way (Tao) known as Te
, or Virtue. Not by trying to become a spiritual superman, quite the contrary, but because that is the nature
of the Way, which is described as being 'without kindness' only in the sense that its kindness is ontologically impartially bestowed upon all beings. Lao Tzu and Chuang-Tzu were always poking fun at the Confucianists with their emphasis on cultivating socially correct virtue, instead of becoming through ego-dissolving spiritual intuition Virtue itself. Nevertheless, the flavor is different in the Eastern man. He is Perfect - or one of the ‘immortals’ (Hsien) - because he has perfected wu wei
, i.e., ‘not-doing’, to a fine art, becoming in the process almost invisible. In a sense he has transcended humanness. “He who is called a Spiritual Man is one so holy that none can know his holiness”
(Mencius). And, “The most marvelous quality of holiness is that it cannot be perceived; this is a truth to which ordinary men cannot penetrate.”
(Chuang Tzu). But the differences are in phenomenal quality only; in essence, they are the same. Perhaps, one might say that the Perfect Man would ideally embody the attributes of both East and West. Indeed, in the Complete Reality School of Taoism, known as such for artfully combining the best of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, the great Lu Yen writes:
"It is necessary to seek the guidance of elevated Real People. If you do not meet Real People who can point out the refinements and subtleties, you will not understand the Great Way...Once you are capable of clear understanding, you eventually realize the hidden mystery. Upon realizing the hidden mystery, you know the Great Way. This is called having knowledge and is regarded as attainment. When you attain this ultimate mystery, then nondoing is finally possible...Even if you have attained nondoing, you should still carry out undertakings, fulfilling them and realizing their proper results...If you immediately think of the elevated sages and thereupon grasp the Great Way without establishing great works or fulfilling your undertakings, it is as though you have gained nothing...Observe what people who arrived did to enter the Way. They strive mightily, as if they feared they wouldn't reach it, and looked all over for elevated Real people to teach them the mysterious wonder...Thinking their works were still shallow, they made yet broader commitments, to carry out unlimited undertakings and accomplish unlimited deeds. They vowed that all people through the ages, those with knowledge and those without, would hear of the Great Way and ascend to the ultimate goal...People of true enlightenment perform deeds of true enlightenment."
In Taoism, as it developed, there have been basically three forms: alchemical; yogic ('refining the golden elixer', opening the spiritual eye, raising the three treasures of purified essence, vitality, and energy, up the 'central channel', becoming thus an 'immortal' [which usually is synonymous with being a sage, but can also mean having attained such refinement of energy that one lives a long time, or, with a purified 'spiritual body', for a VERY long time); and, third, a more mind-only or philosophical approach, beginning as early as Lao Tzu but later being strongly influenced by Ch'an Buddhism. Of these three approaches Lu Yen ranks the sages:
"There are three levels of attainment of the Tao. One is the alchemy of nondoing. Another is the alchemy of spiritual power. The third is the alchemy of preserving unity."
"In the alchemy of nondoing, the mind is the crucible...This is the method of unsurpassed true adepts, in which myriad practices are completely fulfilled...You go beyond the heavens, leave being, and enter non-being. Tranquil, open, empty, mystery of mysteries, one joins the ancestor of heaven and earth. Working for the benefit of all people, participating in evolution, one joins the origin of heaven and earth. Even before the achievement is complete, the human heart is universal; even before the virtue is consummate, the mystic wonder is inconceivable. Thus one is an assistant of heaven and earth. This is the highest level."
"In the alchemy of spiritual power, heaven and earth are the crucible...This is the path of spiritual immortals. It is not easy to fulfill...You transcend the realms of desire, form, and formlessness, and become the same as heaven. If the highest level is consummated, three thousand practices are fulfilled and one becomes a spiritual immortal able to liberate beings."
"In the alchemy of preserving unity, truthfulness is the crucible...This is the path of the lower adepts. The method is easy to practice, but hard to perfect...The higher echelons forget themselves for the public welfare and are deputies of heaven."
He then tells us:
"Chuang Tzu said, "Concentrate vitality and spirit, and you will live long; forget vitality and spirit, and you are unborn." Long life is the path of perfecting life by doing. Being unborn is the path of perfecting essence by nondoing...Living and being unborn and mechanisms of creation. Those who know this science start by creating being from nonbeing to live long, then finally return from being to nonbeing to be unborn. Neither being nor nonbeing is final, essence and life are cultivated simultaneously. They clearly understand the mechanisms of the evolution of heaven and earth, and are one with heaven and earth."
All of this is leading up to Lu Yen's pointing to what sounds like the 'Perfect Man', a description that reminds us of the 'trackless' being who has realized both turiya
, the transcendental state, as well as the energetic mysteries of the universe, the very source of 'Chi' in its highest meaning, which, of course, is quintessentially Taoist:
'There is no way to explain the mystery of mysteries in words, for it is beyond thought. It is very subtle, ungraspable, extremely rarified. From heaven up to the infinite heaven there are perfected people, most mysterious, by whom heaven is directed and earth controlled. They understand people and things, the hidden and the obvious, to the furthest possible extent. They operate time without any fixed track, and are invisibly in charge of the accounting of the ages. Sages cannot recognize them as sages, spirits cannot recognize them as spirits...If you penetrate the essence, it is mystery upon mystery."
[For a much more detailed explanation of the comparative spiritual ontology of both Ibn 'Arabi and Chuang Tzu, or Islam and Taoism, to place this information in greater perspective, please see the latter sections of Maya Is 'Maya'
on this website]
The Lankavatara Sutra gives a Buddhist example of the 'Perfect Man':
“In the perfect self-realisation of Noble Wisdom that follows the inconceivable transformation death of the Bodhisattva's individualised will-control, he no longer lives unto himself, but the life that he lives thereafter is the Tathagata's universalised life as manifested in its transformations.”
Indeed, the sage of the Lankavatara belittled all those who sought their solitary individual salvation , thus taking themselves 'out of circulation', by championing the view that true liberation is not possible until one and all are liberated, and that the realized person's life is one of service to humanity and in fact to all beings.
This is also identical with PB’s ”great Uniqueness”, where the sage is merged with the World-Idea, becoming the “Universal Man”.
“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”
- Psalm 8:4
Meister Eckhart, the great Dominican Rhineland mystic of the 13th century wrote this beautiful piece on the ‘man in the soul
“The man in the soul, transcending angelic being and guided by intellect, pierces to the source whence the soul flowed. There, intellect must remain outside, with all named things. There the soul is merged in pure unity. This we call the man in the soul, and you should understand it thus: the man in the soul is he who has accomplished all this, so that he needs no further help. What he did hitherto, God now works in him. God knows him as he knew Him, God loves him as he loved Him. Thus God performs all work, and the man in the soul is bare and empty of all things. You should know what a man is like who has come to this: we can well say he is God and man. Observe, he has gained by grace all that Christ had by nature, and that his body is so fully suffused with the noble essence of the soul, which she has received from God and the divine light, that we may well declare: That is a man divine! Alas, my children, you should pity these people, for they are strangers, unknown to anybody. All who ever hope to come to God may well be mistaken in these folk, for they are hard for strangers to perceive: none can truly recognize them but those in whom the same light shines. This is the light of truth.”
Meister Eckhart said some beautiful things, yet it is not clear from this gnostic-sounding statement whether the man as a ''soul has passed of 'fallen' through the ground of the cosmos to find himself alive as the All-Consciousness simultaneously as a human soul, or whether he has mystically ascended to the 'top' of the cosmos, the highest reach of the reflected light of the Heart in some form of temporary union with that uppermost god-light. For that is the fundamental point in any of these 'perfections' of man, not secondary human or soul perfection or illumination, but whether one has passed through his nothingness and basic 'insanity' as an individual soul-nature to be reborn as the true primary Ground of Conscious-Being, while yet in the flesh, the Atman meant as an individual soul 'spark' essentially resolving into and knowing itself as the ocean of Brahman and
man. This passage has barely been touched upon in this essay, and barely even mentioned in human history prior to Ramana Maharshi and a very few ancient sages, in a still limioted form, but is perhaps more important than anything written so far. There is a hole at the root of the body-mind that must be metaphorically if not literally penetrated when the ego-soul becomes fundamentally and irreversibly disheartened by the false hopelessness of all phenomena. To become the 'True Man', one of the 'Real People', is to transcend oneself in this way, without going 'elsewhere', no matter how glorious it may appear to be to the not-as-yet dead to himself, limited 'ego-soul'. Yet Eckhart hinted about such a condition, only lacking the language and traditional support to make it more explicit:
“Our being here is our eternal being. Many people imagine here to have creaturely being, and divine being to be yonder. It is a popular delusion.”
We now turn briefly to India. In Hindu scriptures, true man is spirit plus mind, or hu-man ('hu'=spirit, manas= mind). Humans ('manush') means 'Man hosh' or man with knowledge of who he really is. Unconscious man is 'behosh' ('beasts in human form', or manusya-rupena mrgascaranti
) and thus not yet truly human.
In the Yajnavalka Samhita we read:
"The light which is shining in the heart of all jivas in the form of consciousness is also shining through the universe in the form of the Heavenly Man and making it a living organism."
Although many Hindus use the term Ishvara to refer to a Creator God or Lord, Patanjali, in his Yoga Sutras, defines Ishvara as “a special Purusha (Soul), untouched by misery, actions, their results, and desires. In Him becomes infinite that all-knowingness which in others is only a germ. The guru even of the very first, the ancient and the former teachers, because in Him there is no delimitation by time."
(34). In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, also, there is a being called the Adi or Primordial Buddha, or Samantabadra, the Primordial or First Buddha, the universal teacher at the foundation of all lineages. This is essentially the equivalent of the Cosmic Christ or Christ Consciousness, a liberating principle, either as a universal presence itself, for instance, as the shabda-brahman (the inner ‘essence’ or ‘in-drawing’ sound of the creative ‘outgoing’ Word), threading itself through all of creation, or as a ‘host of nested spheres’ (holarchy) of awakened beings and intelligences that support collective awakening. Priest and teacher, a principle of awakening and surrender to be invoked as a universal presence, as well as something to be discovered in and as each human heart.
Krishna (whether he be man or myth) is spoken of in likewise fashion:
"Krishna is the Primal Man, who is One without a second. He is the Supreme God. Lucky is Vrindavana, which He has blessed with His childlike activities. Blessed are the ladies who taste the sweet nectar of His lips, the mere memories of which made the young gopis of Vrindavana faint with ecstasy."
The great Shankaracharya says in his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita:
'Those who think that Krishna is not the Supreme God are fools."
Swami Lokeswarananda writes:
"Krishna is Purushottama, the ideal and complete man. During his time on earth, he was a statesman, warrior, and philosopher. In Krishna all yogas - jnana,karma, bhakti and raja - were harmoniously combined. Above all, Krishna was the defender of truth and virtue...a man of detached action...and also the ideal man of contemplation."
Krishna as the Supreme Soul is none other than our own true selves: the 'Perfect Man' of Sufism, the 'Ultimate or Universal Man' of Taoism, or the 'great Uniqueness' or five-pointed star Man of PB. He is essentially and simply synonymous with the sage, alive as the heart of Being. He is not perfect in a conventional sense, as was pointed out in the discussion of the meaning of the Names or Virtues in Islam, for only God is perfect. Let us therefore not be carried away or disheartened at too lofty a concept of holiness, for it only feeds our self-doubt
. As Sri Krishna told Arjuna:
"One should not abandon the work that is suited to one's own nature, though there are imperfections in it. There is no undertaking without imperfection., even as there is no fire without smoke."
And in all traditions the greatness of such a being lies in his fundamental humility, inasmuch as he sees naught but the divine mystery everywhere, including in his own flaws, body, and personhood, and any 'specialness' is veiled or even purposely kept hidden from common view out of a natural or innocent modesty. After all, said Anthony Damiani, "when all is said and done, we have to become human." It may very well be true that after fana
, man gradually, given enough time, will embody divine archtypes on earth more and more. But that is not necessary for a first divine Self-realization itself, which is open and available for more ordinary souls. Then 'Nature' will have its way with what is essentially beyond one's human control.
To end this section we first must mention that there is much about what it means to be human, on earth, that we have but little knowledge of. Man, by most accounts, is at the cutting edge, as it were, of a stage in conscious evolution. But what is a man? And what is the earth? What is it's purpose and fundamental construction as a dimension, including the subtler dimensions? PB once admitted that the Overself, World-Mind, and Mind (similar to Plotinus’ three Primal Hypostases) were pedagogical terms, and that if you wanted to intellectually try to talk about the One you had to break it into these three principles. Absolute Being is our real Being, assumably, according to non-dual philosophy, but I speculate, on a continuum from personal bodily self, to the deeper psyche, to unindividuated universal soul, to unindividuated Consciousness-Being, that we would be hard-pressed to pick one piece of this pie and call it our 'real self’. Rather, we are more likely all
of it as a totality, and/or to use contemporary speech a holon
[Greek for something that is a whole and a part at the same time] in a holarchy
of other holons! Even if so-called Self-realized, we still exist within a Great Something, a holarchy of Self-realized holons among other Self and not-Self-realized ‘holons’, within a paradoxical set of ‘nested spheres’, simultaneously hierarchical and non-hierarchical at the same time! What, in all this, is the 'Self’? The old language seems more and more inadequate. David Spangler maintains from his own inner researches that we are basically still using a static Newtonian model for what is a vaster 'quantum' cosmos of just such a non-hierarchical and possibly even holographic holarchy of holons that subsumes the more traditional ontological hierarchy of planes and identities. He speaks of the 'I' incarnating
, but not reincarnating
. Moreover, "an 'I' of my identity which is distributed holographically throughout the whole lattice-work of my higher dimensional being", in such a way that it is difficult if not impossible to claim ownership of it, and, needless to say, which is far beyond ordinary worldly conception. Moreover, that we also need to think in terms of co-incarnation
, not merely the singular, and even that of worlds
and solar systems
incarnating, and simply and finally, the ground of being
incarnating. His novel perspective on incarnation and reincarnation, humanity and creation, is so mind-bending that have left it for a future essay
in which to discuss in more detail, but for now we offer this brief quote as an introduction to an aspect of his thought that ties in with this paper's main theme:
"The dimension and force or field that is humanity and the dimension that is earth are complex geometries that involve more than just what we think of as ourselves and our planet. The fields or formative forces these dimensions produce and support could give birth to forms that are different from what we are used to. What we think of as human nature and planetary nature are really only a part of the full topology of these dimensions. We have a lot of growing and expanding yet to do before we can say that we fully understand and inhabit the dimension that is humanity or the dimension that is earth."
PB, in somewhat dualistic language, spoke similarly about the mystery of the higher dimensions of self:
"The goal of self-elimination which is held up before us refers only to the animal and lower human selves. It certainly does not refer to the annihilation of all self-consciousness. The higher individuality always remains. But it is so different from the lower one that it does not make much sense to discuss it in human language. Hence, those who have adequately understood it write or talk little about its higher mysteries. If the end of all existence were only a merger at best or annihilation at worst, it would be a senseless and sorry scheme of things. It would be unworthy of the divine intelligence and discreditable to the divine goodness. The consciousness stripped of thought, which looks less attractive to you than the hazards of life down here, is really a tremendous enlargement of what thought itself tries to do. Spiritual advance is really from a Less to a More. There is nothing to fear in it and nothing to lose by it - except by the standards and values of the ignorant....He will unite with the Divine first by completely disappearing into it, then by discovering his higher individuality in it."
(see note 39)
To keep from going schizophrenic, we can presume that the central co-ordinating locus in all of this is what Ramana referred to as the Heart, or unlimited Consciousness undissociated from the body, and the Sufis by the term 'Sirr
, that nearest and dearest to us. This much we are surely justified in relying on. But to close we offer the following delightful short video piece, which quietly directs our attention to a necessary complementary 'Idea'
: that the 'Perfect' (wali
), 'Heavenly' (hsien
), 'Divine' ( shen-jen
), 'Ultimate' (chih-jen
), 'Sacred' (sheng-jen
) or 'True' Man' (chen-jen
) has in himself gone beyond what one might conceive of as even being 'a man.' Thus, he has both fulfilled
the Idea of Man and transcended
it. Therefore, as PB wrote:
"Others may believe that he stands in the great Light, but he himself has no particular or ponderous self-importance."
Here is another, charming example of this care-free attitude, as recounted by Alan Watts:
“I remember D. T. Suzuki's address to the final meeting of the 1936 World Congress of Faiths at the old Queen's Hall in London. The theme was “The Supreme Spiritual Ideal,” and after several speakers had delivered themselves of volumes of hot air, Suzuki's turn came to take the platform. “When I was first asked,” he said, “to talk about the Supreme Spiritual Ideal, I did not exactly know what to answer. Firstly, I am just a simple-minded countryman from a far away corner of the world suddenly thrust into the midst of this hustling city of London, and I am bewildered and my mind refuses to work in the same way that it does when I am in my own land. Secondly, how can a humble person like myself talk about such a grand thing as the Supreme Spiritual Ideal?...Really I do not know what Spiritual is, what Ideal is, and what Supreme Spiritual Ideal is.” Whereupon he devoted the rest of his speech to a description of his house and garden in Japan, contrasting it with the life of a great city. This from the translator of the Lankavatara Sutra! And the audience gave him a standing ovation.”
PB offers several beautiful quotes on this matter, while still paradoxically holding up for us the eventual archtypal goal:
"The days when he could speak glibly and assuredly on the most recondite phrases of spirituality go. A new humility comes to him."
"See all men and women according to the Holy Ghost that is within them, always remembering that the inner picture is still being worked on."
"It is the poor ego which worries and struggles to come closer to perfection. But how can the imperfect ever transform itself into the perfect? Let is cease its worry and simply surrender to the ever-perfect Overself."
"As for perfection, alas, the sage too is still striving for it."
"The World-Idea is drawing us little by little after the pattern of its own infinite perfection."
"The illuminate is the conscious embodiment of the Overself, whereas the ordinary man is ignorant of that which his heart enshrines. Hence, the Chinese say that the illuminate is the "Complete Man." He is the rare flower of an age."
This complicated essay portrayed a rich and colorful and perhaps fantastic view, one facet of our collective world spiritual inheritance; but, practically speaking, it obviously must also raise endless questions: firstly, is all of this necessary for a genuine, simple self-knowing of the 'God of human hearts'? In my view the answer is, 'No'. If we are doing what we can to cultivate qualities like awareness and acceptance of our human nature and the world around us, then that is most of what we need to be doing to practice the heart of 'incarnational spirituality'. This will blossom in its own time into deeper, non-dual levels of presence. Of course, the company of 'Real People', to borrow the Taoist term, who are alive as such helps immeasurably and indispensably with this process. To grasp this great means one must take some initiative. But everything else are just additional practices to enhance and enrich the awakening, or practices taken on for special forms of service, such as in the case of the work of Daskalos. At the beginning and end of this awakening, however, is the cultivation of equanimous or accepting awareness. Even love, devotion, and surrender to the heart of Being can blossom out of these simple qualities, which will further invoke the grace of the Holy Spirit, either directly or through esoteric helpers such as the saints. (43) And one will naturally be led further, from within and without - and beyond. Certainly, for those for whom the foregoing mass of information has been all too much, there is a choice, at times, in which there is no shame whatsoever, which is to simply have trust like a little child in the Divine Grace, ‘leaving all one’s cares among the lilies’. That is surely a valid option, with anything more sure to come in due course. Great ones have said the same:
“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
- Matthew 18:1-4
“Unless one becomes a six-month old baby, there is no hope for one in the realm of Self-knowledge."
- Ramana Maharshi (Talks
"It is not known by those who think that they know it, but that it is known by those who say that they do not know it."
- Kena Upanishad
1. Paul Brunton, The Notebooks of Paul Brunton
(Burdett, New York: Larson Publications, 1988), Vol. 16, Part 1, 1.3
1a. A brief biography of Daskalos
, and a revealing interview called The Teaching
2. Paul Brunton, The Notebooks of Paul Brunton
(Burdett, New York: Larson Publications, 1988), Vol. 16, Part 2, 4.2, 4.15, 4.63, 4.73, 4.91
3. Sam‘ khaya is the oldest of the schools of Indian philosophy, with parts of it found as far back as 2000 B.C., pre-dating its codification by Kapila in the seventh century B.C.. It is the foundation for all ancient schools of Indian thought. That the teachings of Christ, while undoubtedly his own, could be partly similar to that of Sam’ khya, however, is not surprising in view of legends that tell of his possible journeys and studies in the Far East, and, somewhat more plausibly, among teachers near his homeland. Many Greeks of the third century B.C. (Plotinus, Pythagoras, Apollonius of Tyana, etc.) were aware of such Indian doctrines, and they were also well-known in Alexandria and elsewhere with cross-pollination among wandering teachers from the East at the time of Christ. Swami Vivekananda wrote:
"There is no philosophy in the world that is not indebted to Kapila [the originator of Sam’ khya philosophy]. Pythagoras went to India and studied this philosophy, and that was the beginning of the philosophy of the Greeks. Later, it formed the Alexandrian school and still later the Gnostics. It became divided into two; one part went to Europe and Alexandria, and the other remained in India; and out of this, the system of Vyasa was developed."
His monastic brother, Swami Abhedananda, in The Samkhya Philosophy of Kapila, shared these views:
"Kapila is known as the father of the doctrine of evolution because he is the first who gave the logical arguments for the support of the doctrine. It is believed that Kapila lived long before the Greek philosophers Plato and Pythagoras were born. Some of the Oriental scholars are of opinion that the Greek philosophy drew a great deal from the philosophy of Kapila, and Kapila’s psychology as well as the principle of cosmology are the most ancient ones in the world. Though the idea of evolution existed long before Kapila and also before Plato and Pythagoras, Kapila was the first who taught by observation and experiment how to solve the mysteries of this universe..The fundamental principles of the Buddhist philosophy also depend upon the Sam’ khya theory. In fact, all systems of Indian philosophy believe in the doctrine of evolution."
4. Brunton, op. cit., Vol. 14, 3.386
5. Paramahansa Yogananda, The Second Coming of Christ
, Vol. 1 (Self-Realization Fellowship, 2004), p. 144-145
6. Ibid, p. 46-47
6a. Brunton, op.cit., Vol. 5, Part 2, 5.138
7. A.E. Powell, The Causal Body
(Wheaton, Illinois: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1978), p. 100-101
7a. Brunton must have had something like this in mind when he wrote: "In the end, after many a life on earth, he will find that much of what he looks for in others will have to be found in himself. But it will not be found in the surface self. It lies deeply submerged, in a region where the purest forms exist."
(op. cit., Vol. 14, 3.236)
8. Ibid, Vol. 13, Part 2, 5.10; Part 1, 2.5, 4.169
9. Kyriacos Markides, The Magus of Strovolos
(London, England: ARKANA, 1985), p. 102-103
10. This was also the essential 'base' view of PB, as the following elegant passage describes:
“Without keeping steadily in view this original mentalness of things and hence their original oneness with self and Mind, the mystic must naturally get confused if not deceived by what he takes to be the opposition of Spirit and Matter. The mystic looks within, to self; the materialist looks without, to world. And each misses what the other finds. But to the philosopher neither of these is primary. He looks to that Mind of which both self and world are but manifestations and in which he finds the manifestations also. It is not enough for him to receive, as the mystic receives, fitful and occasional illuminations from periodic meditation. He relates this intellectual understanding to his further discovery got during mystical self-absorption in the Void that the reality of his own self is Mind. Back in the world once more he studies it again under this further light, confirms that the manifold world consists ultimately of mental images, conjoins with his full metaphysical understanding that it is simply Mind in manifestation, and thus comes to comprehend that it is essentially one with the same Mind which he experiences in self-absorption. Thus his insight actualizes, experiences, this Mind-in-itself as and not apart from the sensuous world whereas the mystic divides them. With insight, the sense of oneness does not destroy the sense of difference but both remain strangely present, whereas with the ordinary mystical perception each cancels the other. The myriad forms which make up the picture of this world will not disappear as an essential characteristic of reality nor will his awareness of them or his traffic with them be affected. Hence he possesses a firm and final attainment wherein he will permanently possess the insight into pure Mind even in the midst of physical sensations. He sees everything in this multitudinous world as being but the Mind itself as easily as he can see nothing, the imageless Void, as being but the Mind itself, whenever he cares to turn aside into self-absorption. He sees both the outer faces of all men and the inner depths of his own self as being but the Mind itself. Thus he experiences the unity of all existence; not intermittently but at every moment he knows the Mind as ultimate. This is the philosophic or final realization. It is as permanent as the mystic's is transient. Whatever he does or refrains from doing, whatever he experiences or fails to experience, he gives up all discriminations between reality and appearance, between truth and illusion, and lets his insight function freely as his thoughts select and cling to nothing. He experiences the miracle of undifferentiated being, the wonder of undifferenced unity. The artificial man-made frontiers melt away. He sees his fellow men as inescapably and inherently divine as they are, not merely as the mundane creatures they believe they are, so that any traces of an ascetical holier-than-thou attitude fall completely away from him."
(PB would find himself in good company with Chuang Tzu here; Vol. 16, Part 4, 2.154)
11. Kyriacos Markides, Fire in the Heart
(London, England: ARKANA, 1991), p. 59-60
12. Ibid, p. 169
13. Aziz Kristof (anadi), Enlightenment Beyond Traditions
(Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidas, 1999),p. 71-72, 77-80, 82
13a. Mirka Knaster, Living This Life Fully: Stories of the Life and Teachings of Munindra
(Boston, Shambhala, 2010), p. 156-157
13b. Edward Salim Michael, The Law of Attention
(Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions, 2010), p. 139-140, 309-311
13c. Brunton, op.cit., Vol. 16, Part 1, 4.43, 4.48, 4.51, 4.52, 4.61, 4.63, 4.73, 4.237, 4.238, 4.240
14. Yogananda, op. cit., p. 210
15. Kyriacos Markides, Homage to the Sun
(London, England: ARKANA, i987), p. 121
16. Rumi seemed to think so, in his famous poem, "I Died as a Mineral", as translated by A.J. Arberry:
"I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was Man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
With angels blest; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
I shall become what no mind e'er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones, 'To Him we shall return.'"
For this poem Rumi has been accused of ‘Sufi darwinism’ by Moslem funadmentalists, but it has been argued that it is a mistranslation
, its true import reflecting an Aristotelian influence (with, among other phrases, 'organ tones' substituted for 'Organon') and essentially being about the transformation of consciousness within Man rather than his evolution through the kingdoms of nature, which would be contrary to Islam. Bhai Sahib, Guru of Irena Tweedie, said: “Those who believe in evolution think humans were animals once, but it is nonsense. Animal is animal, man is man. Animal can never become man. They have no Atma. Realized people never believe in such a thing.”
Regarding Rumi’s poem he added, “This is something different. The meaning of it is not what you think.”
(Daughter of Fire
, p. 179).
It is interesting, however, that the astute reader of the Book of Genesis will find two
creation accounts, one in which the animals were created first, and then man, and one in which man was created first, with him subsequently being asked to name the animals. These different views seem to be explained and reconciled in the theosophical teachings; whether correct or not is another matter.
17. Markides, op. cit., reference misplaced
18. J. Allen Boone, Kinship with All Life
(New York, New York: Harper & Row, 1954), p. 93, 104
19. Ibid, p. 93
20. Kristof, op. cit., p. 138
20a. Markides, Fire in the Heart
, op. cit., p. 142-144
21. For instance, Swami Prajnanananda (op. cit., p. xxv) wrote:
"According to Sankara and his followers a Jivanmukta is recognized as no other than the Brahman Itself and he is considered as the living God in this world."
It should be remembered that Sankara was not only a jnani, but a bhakta, yogi, tantric adept, and major lineage-holder: in short, a great spiritual master. However, while remaining respectful, one need not be thrown off course in the face of such historical legends, doubting one's own unique path, abilities, purpose in life and inherent unity with the Divine and all Creation. You
are the path, with all your faults, desires, and dreams. Know thyself. Be thyself. "Be who you are." And
strive to do better. Know you will be frustrated. Do so anyway. Be sad. Be happy. Be human. Cry to know your Creator. Cry for the suffering of the world. Through that everything will come, said Anadamayee Ma. Know you are both unlimited and limited. It is the human condition, and will not disappear. Enlightenment will not change it. Therefore, find yourself within it. Embrace yourself within it. Meet yourself within it. All is good.
21a. The great cathedrals were constructed to bring the higher dimentional energies closer in contact with that of earth, using sacred geometry and knowledge of earth grids, etc., and thus, serve to create the same atmosphere in those who worshipped there, also by attracting the presence an overseeing Archangel. But they are essentially at the heart of the mystery of Christ, which is all about incarnation and redemption. Interestingly, at the Cathedral of Chartres there is no crucifix - it is a temple of Mater
, matter, but not Mater dolorosa
. It is saying, in essence, that the work is finished as matter has already been 'redeemed'.
21aa. Brunton, op. cit., Vol. 8, 6.160
21b. Markides, The Magus of Strovolos
, op. cit., p. 133-134
21c. Swami Lokeswarananda, The Way to God As Taught by Sri Ramakrishna
(Calcutta, India: Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, 1992), p. 170
22. For instance, in the Kriya tradition of Paramahansa Yogananda, (which I consider a 'modified samkhya-yoga' in that there is only one primary reality, Spirit, not two - purusha and
prakriti - from which Spirit (with which unmanifest souls are eternally at one) the Holy Spirit is the downwardly-projecting Aum vibration, or prakriti, an emanant projected through maya, responsible for creation and all its evolutes from mahat-tattva, buddhi, manas, ahamkara, all the way down to the gross elements, and within that Holy Spirit lies the Christ logos, or for Yogananda, the Christ Consciousness - the intelligence and liberating power which one contacts when he becomes one with the Aum vibration and then remerges with Spirit. Of course, when or if this happens, the entire ascending and descending structure can then appear as an eternal drama or manifestation within the absolute Spirit, i.e., a non-dual reality and realization. This conception is similar to that of Sant Mat, wherein the absolute God projects a transcendentally-immanent vibration known as the shabda, or shabda-Brahman in Hinduism, which in turn manifests another lesser trinity responsible for maintaining the lower worlds (i.e., brahma-vishnu-shiva), while within and throughout creation the shabda is also a 'centripetal' or in-drawing force which when communed with is said to act as a liberator of beings.
23. Toshihiko Izutsu, Sufism and Taoism
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983), p. 133-135
24. R.W.J. Austin, trans., Ibn Al' Arabi: The Bezels of Wisdom
(Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1980), p. 50-51, 55-56
25. Comedian George Carlin
seemed to agree!
26. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Sufi Essays
(Chicago, Illinois: KAZI Publications, 1999), p. 35
27. Ibid, p. 69-70
28. Thomas Cleary, trans. and ed., Vitality, Energy, and Spirit: A Taoist Sourcebook
(Boston: Shambhala, 1991), p. 77-79, 103
29. Ibid, p. 105-106, 250-252
30. Ibid, p. 99
32. Dwight Goddard, Buddhist Bible
, "What IS Nirvana?", Chapter XIII
33. reference misplaced
34. Pandit Usharbudh Arya, Yoga-Sutras of Patanjali
, page 305
35. Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.10.16, 21, 26, 28
36. Swami Lokeswarananda, The Way to God
(Calcutta, India: Ramakrishna Mission of Culture, 1992), p. 243
37. Ibid, p. 304
38. David Spangler and William Irwin Thompson, Reimagination of the World
(Santa Fe, New Mexico: Bear & Company, 1991), p. 124-125
39. Brunton, op. cit., Vol. 13, Part 2, 5.5, 5.8
: The above referenced quote is useful in affirming that there remains a paradoxical 'higher' individuality that is not annihilated, yet whose nature is so mysterious that it really can't be even spoken of in terms of individuality as is ordinarily understood
. Even Sri Nisargadatta said that "in the absolute every 'I Am' is preserved and glorified". It might be preferable, however, to speak not so much of 'eliminating the 'lower' self' but rather of merging or integrating it with the 'higher'. Yet it is in particular the end of the quote where it seems to speak of purpose and meaning which must be addressed, as it may be somewhat misleading. People (myself included) have a hard time understanding that 'true' nondual realization is a more completely satisfying, liberating, 'meaningful' realization than any humanly generated attempt to conceive of a purpose or meaning to the universe based on dualistic notions. Cosmological/philosophical stories about 'why' are subtly but definitely tainted with relative imperfections that carry with them, when known deeply for what they are, rather than clung to sentimentally, a limitation on the depth of mystery, peace, and heart that is possible if they are relinquished in the face of the radical Mystery that is the reality of nondualism, which, like an acquired taste, can take some getting used to. In fact, we might say that a lot of the spiritual path is, from a certain point of view, becoming disillusioned with dualism and getting acclimated to nondualism (though for much of the path we do not really know yet that that is where it is leading!). But once we have acclimated, there is no going back. It is fulfilling beyond all expectation. In that context, concerns about the 'meaning' or 'purpose' of manifestation, selfhood, suffering, or creation will seem small and misguided and ill-conceived, now thankfully outgrown! PB in this quote, in my opinion, was trying to ease people into such acceptance. And, according to the Tibetans, when the 'clear light of the mind' - PB's higher self, perhaps - is realized, it is more easy to 'merge' with Emptiness' to birth the non-dual vision.
40. Ibid, Part 3, 4.205
41. Alan Watts, “The 'Mind-less' Scholar”, from Masao Abe, editor,
A Zen Life : D.T. Suzuki Remembered
(New York & Tokyo: Weatherhill, 1986), page 191
42. Brunton, op. cit., Vol. 12, Part 1, 3.58, 3.60, 4.122; Vol. 5, 1.284; Vol. 16, Part 2, 4.173, Part 1, 3.14
43. A note on practice from my co-writer:
"The Dharma encompasses the whole range of human experience. But we can only make use of that part of the teaching that relates to our own individual experience. If a teaching that is part of the larger scope of the dharma does not speak to what we are experiencing, it does not mean that that teaching has no value, but only that it is, for now, of little value to us. We must find those teachings that speak to that which we already have access to in our current experience, and which seek to strengthen and express that only. Any teaching that speaks to something that is beyond our experience, that emphasizes that, has only limited value in pointing to what may come later. But the core of a teaching that has current value must be its ability to speak to what is already part of our experience now. So for the vast majority, endless discussions of exotic experiences can actually be a distraction, a resistance to facing the reality of our current experience and the truth of what teachings and practices are truly in harmony with our situation."
"Our own experience tells us what path we are on by showing us what we can make use of here and now in our own experience. No matter how much we may want to, if we cannot hear the sound current, we cannot do that practice. If we cannot visualize, we cannot do those practices. If we do not have access to nondual states, we cannot practice nondual contemplation. So very often, we are directed to our path by having many other ways closed to us. But if we do not surrender to that truth, and stop comparing ourselves to others, and simply accept the path that is open to us, we will be struggling against our own nature and will not be able to see the path that lies right in front of us. For the majority who have challenging karma at this point in time, the practice of cultivating spiritual qualities in daily life is the heart of the practice. For these qualities are accessible to us all to some extent, although some qualities are harder to access than others. But those such as acceptance, calmness, awareness and patience, we can seek to continuously be mindful of, even if they are hard to sustain. For the vast majority - it is best to forget about fancy terms and states that involve samadhi, satori, nadis, kundalini, chakras, higher worlds, siddhis, ascending, descending, tantra, jivanmukta, etc. As part of a larger context of appreciating and understanding the Dharma, it can be useful to know about these things. And for some, to a greater or lesser extent, these things may have some value. For a small few they are very relevant. But for most, they are largely a distraction and a form of entertainment. And too many that believe that are working with these experiences are not, and do not understand what they are talking about, or worse, are creating problems for themselves and others. We need to stay humble and grounded and surrender to the patient process of unglamorous spiritual development."
On this I am sure Daskalos would agree.