This is a transcription of an audio lecture from The Secret Teachings of Opera, originally given live at the Chicagoland Gnostic Academy:
This opera is about the path of the Self-realization of the Being. Puccini unveiled, in his work, the intimate process and development of the soul, how to unify the consciousness with Christ and the Divine Mother. Self-realization is the complete integration of the soul with the Being, to manifest the complete potential of our Tree of Life. We seek to realize the Self, the Divine Mother, and all the parts of our Being, while our divinity, our Being, seeks to realize us.
As stated by Samael Aun Weor in Tarot and Kabbalah:
Our own particular Monad (Self, Being) needs us and we need it. Once, while speaking with my Monad, my Monad told me, “I am self-realizing Thee; what I am doing, I am doing for Thee.”
Otherwise, why are we living? The Monad wants to realize the Self and that is why we are here. This is our objective.
The Divine Mother Kundalini, the divine feminine, the Heavenly Princess Turandot, will only marry a man of noble blood. To possess noble blood is to be an initiate, to successfully complete the necessary trials, ordeals, and rites of purification. This is to be worthy to achieve the goal: Self-realization, the Resurrection of the Being within the soul.
The Minor and Major Mysteries
Act I demonstrated the Minor Mysteries, the probationary path. The Minor Mysteries exist to test the disciple, to see whether one will qualify for entering the Major Mysteries. Any disciple must be tested to see if he or she is serious about the path of initiation. According to Samael Aun Weor, there are nine degrees or initiations of Minor Mysteries that the student must pass before qualifying for the Major Mysteries or Initiations of Fire: the awakening and development of the Kundalini.
The Minor Mysteries involve ordeals and mystical experiences. The disciple, in the astral world, witnesses him or herself entering the interior of the earth. Symbolically, we must face our own psychological impurities, our own filthiness and degeneration. This is not so that we can become morbid people, filled with self-flagellation and shame. The sole intention of introspection, of meditation, is to acquire change. We must make an inner account of ourselves: what defects do we possess in abundance, and what virtues do we lack? If we do not confront ourselves, if we are unwilling to take responsibility and ownership of our mistakes, then we will not enter the Major Mysteries. People who fail in the probationary path eventually leave Gnosis, simply because they see no benefit from the practices. They cannot confront the reality of their mind and the psychological causes of their suffering.
The student must be tested and prepared for awakening and raising the Kundalini in a marriage. The serpentine fire rises within the spinal canals of the lower five bodies of the Tree of Life: Malkuth, the physical body; Yesod, the vital body; Hod, the astral body; Netzach, the mental body; and Tiphereth, the causal body. Raising and developing the Kundalini within the spine of each body constitutes one initiation of Major Mysteries. The Major Mysteries, or five Initiations of Fire, are accomplished through the Perfect Matrimony: the union of two pure souls, one who loves more, and the other who loves better.
Single and married people can advance through the Minor Mysteries, but only married couples can awaken the sacred fire of Kundalini and enter the Major Mysteries or Mysteries of the Fire.
Calaf, the exiled Prince of Tartary, conquered certain trials and temptations in Act I. He was tested in his resolve and pursuit of initiation. Every student who enters Gnosis is on probation. All must walk the probationary path, to complete the Minor Mysteries. Before the law of divinity and karma, we are given the opportunity to prove ourselves in the Minor Mysteries, since all of us, without exception, are delinquents, demons, criminals before God. Anyone who has the ego alive is an infidel, an unbeliever, a stranger to the kingdom of heaven. It doesn't matter what we believe, because if we possess anger, lust, desire, it means we are not perfect, but are demonic beings.
The purpose of these studies is to know the heavens of the Tree of Life, to no longer be an outsider, an inhabitant of the Abyss. This can only occur when we remove the garbage of the psyche, our psychological defects. For as Jesus taught us:
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." —Matthew 5:48
Calaf undergoes the Minor Mysteries in his confrontations with three enigmatic figures: Ping, Pang, and Pong. As I stated, the mystery of their significance is found in the vowels of their names: I, A, O. Ping, Pang, and Pong represent Diablo, the devil, the ego. These three individuals help Turandot to govern the lunar multitudes. Who are the lunar multitudes? The people of Peking who worship the moon, mechanicity and the Second Death. Similarly, the commoners also clamored and confronted the Prince, seeking to dissuade him from ringing the fatal gong three times to awaken the Divine Princess Turandot.
Ringing the gong three times symbolizes the work in a matrimony. Remember that the Kundalini is coiled three and a half times, asleep, within the Chakra Muladhara, until the couple awakens the serpent of fire through sexual magic. The number three also reminds us of the three primary forces: Holy Affirmation (man), Holy Negation (woman), and Holy Conciliation (sexual union). Once that serpent is awakened, it begins its journey up the thirty-three vertebrate of the spinal column, the thirty-three canyons or degrees of Freemasonry. The work of raising the Kundalini up each vertebra is the path of the Major Mysteries, which are symbolized by Turandot's three riddles.
These three riddles synthesize and contain within themselves the mysteries of the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Kabbalah and Alchemy, which we will explain in detail today.
The Mysteries of Diablo, IAO, Lucifer
The counselors of the palace—Ping, Pang, and Pong—announce the call of the city’s fatal gong. The palace and the streets are stirred, in uproar, because a new disciple has awakened the serpentine fire Kundalini, the Divine Princess Turandot, within his spinal column. The Prince Calaf has entered the Major Mysteries... a rare and dangerous occurrence! Many are those who challenge love (Binah, the Holy Spirit) but fail to eliminate the ego. The trials of the thirteenth arcanum—the work against the disintegration of the animal "I"—is tremendously difficult, precisely due to the nature of the mind and temptation.
In relation to this topic, Ping, Pang, and Pong represent Diablo, IAO, the power of Lucifer. This name scandalizes the religious fanatics who do not understand esoterism, who have been educated poorly. Yet when we comprehend some etymology and have direct experiences from meditation, the beauty of Lucifer’s role in the cosmic drama becomes clear.
Lucifer is not just some person outside of us, but something internal and personal for each one of us. Each one of us has his own Lucifer, who is part of our Being. Lucifer comes from the Latin term lucis: “light”; and fer, fero: “to bear, carry, support, lift, hold, take up”; these terms literally join to form “bearer of light.”
But what is that light? The Christic energy.
Lucifer in heaven is divine, is Christ. Lucifer is the power that gives sexual impulse or longing, which is natural, divine. Without sexual power, without the creative fire, we cannot experience divine love, the beauty of the soul, or the perfect matrimony. The energies of Lucifer are beyond good and evil, but are channeled and conditioned based on our level of being. The problem is not the light, but when it is channeled through the ego. When the light becomes corrupted due to our own desires, defects, and impurities, that light constitutes Diablo, the devil.
Lucifer is our own light that we have polluted within our psyche due to our mistaken actions. Because we created the ego, we transformed Lucifer into a devil, into diablo. Lucifer is properly named Christus-Lucifer, the light of Christ, because this light is part of our Being, but who is mixed with desire, with egotism, due to our own mistakes.
Lucifer is the part of our Being who provides tests and temptations in this physical world and in dreams. But why? Why would part of our Being do this? His purpose in the path of Self-realization is to provide us with necessary training and experiences. Without temptation, we could not develop wisdom.
Does an inexperienced soldier, who trains inconsistently, equal a seasoned warrior who trains his hardest every day? The same principle applies to meditation and the development of the soul. People who never face great adversities, painful tragedies, can never really know their true character and develop qualities like heroism, veracity, and strength.
Temptation is fire. Triumph over temptation is light. Lucifer gives us the fires and pressure of adversity so that we can perceive our own defects. Without terrible ordeals, we cannot see our most secret faults. Without temptation, we cannot confront ourselves and change.
Therefore, Lucifer, portrayed through Ping, Pang, and Pong, Diablo, IAO, plays an essential function in this opera. At the beginning of Act II, Ping, Pang and Pong are organizing preparations for either a wedding or a funeral. This indicates to us that Lucifer is very active in the probationary path, as well as the trials of the thirteenth arcanum, the Major Mysteries. They are preparing for the outcome of the funereal trials, the three riddles that Calaf must answer before Turandot and the palace. Everyone is agitated because no one knows what the result will be: will Calaf become a Master of Major Mysteries, or will he fail and enter devolution within the abyss?
Such a struggle is beautifully depicted in Friedrich Nietzsche’s book, Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The following excerpt comes from “On the Tree of the Mountainside,” or the Tree of Life that stands upon the mountain of initiation. Zarathustra here gives some advice to a young boy who longs for the heights, who wants to enter the Major Mysteries.
“You are not yet free, you still search for freedom. You are worn from your search and overawake. You aspire to the free heights, your soul thirsts for the stars (for Urania, the Divine Mother Nut, the cosmic space in the Egyptian mysteries). But your wicked instincts, too, thirst for freedom. Your wild dogs want freedom; they bark with joy in their cellar when your spirit plans to open all prisons.” —Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
This indicates that when you’re raising the Kundalini up the mountain of your spine, within your individual tree of life, the forces of good and evil enter conflict, battle. This is demonstrated by the writings of Samael Aun Weor. He indicates that we must wage very terrible battles against the ego as we raise the Kundalini in each of the thirty-three vertebrae of the spine. The following is from Igneous Rose:
Within the sexual matrass of our organic laboratory, the explosions of passionate fire combine certain ethereal, astral, mental, volitive, conscious, and divine arcana. This occurs to elaborate certain igneous elements, whose substantial principles belong to the Innermost, with the ardent fire of the erotic thirst.
The woman accumulates a very large quantity of elemental fire from nature while in the state of sexual excitement, and when her fire is combined with the erotic magnetism of her husband, then it engenders certain cosmic powers whose tremendous explosions open the spinal chambers.
The boiling passionate fires of man and woman, when mutually and erotically combined, create truly ardent tempests that disturb the atmosphere and cause the tenebrous ones, who are the escorts of each chamber, to go mad.
These submerged entities attack the intrepid ones by defending the fires, whose synthetic and scientific principles are enclosed in the thirty-three internal chambers of our spinal column.
These tenebrous ones defend their rights, and for this reason they qualify us as thieves of powers.
This is the mystery of Baphomet (Lucifer, Diablo). The rose (of virtue, conscious principles) elaborates its perfume with the clay of the earth. The slithering worm does not like the gardener who removes its clay. Our disciples will now comprehend on what basis do the tenebrous ones qualify the sexual alchemists as thieves. —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose, “The Woman”
The mysteries of Lucifer, Arcanum 15: Passion, is the work of eliminating the ego within the sexual act. By removing the impurities of the mind, we whiten the darkness of the devil and create light. Temptation is fire. Triumph over temptation is light!
It’s interesting that 1 + 5 = 6. Arcanum 6: Indecision, the Lovers. The same kabbalistic addition exists with the 33 vertebrae of the spine: 3 + 3 = 6. In Arcanum 6, the disciple finds himself caught between the Virgin on his right: the Divine Mother Turandot, and the Whore on his left: Santa Maria, the Queen of fornication and the abyss. This struggle exists within the spinal column of any initiate practicing sexual alchemy.
The path of the right is a wedding. The path of the left is a funeral. The disciple will either ascend the Tree of Life victoriously, or will shamefully enter the submerged devolution of the infernal worlds. If we fail to eliminate the ego, then hell will do it for us.
If the Prince Calaf succeeds in the ordeals, he will die in the ego and be born as a soul, which is why Samael Aun Weor indicated in The Perfect Matrimony, “The path of life is formed by the hoof prints of the horse of death.”
Pang prepares for a wedding with red lanterns. Pong prepares for a funeral with white lanterns. This is interesting because colors have a very profound significance within esoterism. The three primary colors: blue, yellow, and red, refer to the three primary forces: Kether, the Father; Chokmah, the Son; and Binah, the Holy Spirit. Holy Affirmation (the Father, blue), Holy Negation (the Son, yellow), and Holy Conciliation (the Holy Spirit, red).
The colors red, white, and black were typically associated with coral incense used by the Aztecs in their offerings to the Holy Spirit, Tlaloc: the God of Rain. The waters relate to Binah, the Divine Princess Shekinah, which is why the Genesiatic waters of transmutation are deeply related to the dramas of this opera.
Likewise, the colors red, white, and black depict the purity of the creative, sexual waters within the disciple. We become purified and developed as a consciousness based on the purity of our sexual energy. In the beginning, our sexual energies are black, filthy, darkened to clairvoyant sight. Through the spiritual work and the death of the ego, those energies become white, cleansed, pure, chaste. Afterward, through the awakening of the sacred fire, the energies become red with the serpent Kundalini. These gradations of development occur in relation to the Initiations of Fire upon the Tree of Life.
Therefore, Ping, Pang, and Pong prepare for a wedding and a funeral, because the forces of life and death are two aspects of the same thing. Binah amongst the Hindus is Shiva-Shakti, the giver and taker of life: Creator-Destroyer. Shiva-Shakti, the sexual power of the Holy Spirit, can create or take life. When the seminal energy is conserved and transformed, it gives birth to the soul. But when the sexual energy is expelled, we experience spiritual death, the loss of the soul.
Binah can give birth to the soul and provide death to the ego. This is the solar path. Or—Binah can give birth to the ego and produce the death of the soul within hell. Such is the devolving, lunar path of the black magicians. These two ways are described in detail in our lecture on Arcanum Eight.
Initiation, Princes, and Fallen Bodhisattvas
Ping laments and proclaims the state of China since the terrible reign of Turandot: her kingdom is saturated with the blood of princes. This is interesting because people think of Lucifer as some evil figure. Puccini, however, portrays Lucifer with a lot of wisdom and understanding. The truth is that Lucifer provides ordeals with the express purpose of helping us develop light. Lucifer, therefore, does not work with Turandot so that we can fail, but so that we can succeed. This is evidenced by the great displeasure Ping, Pang, and Pong feel regarding the countless executions in Turandot’s kingdom.
But what is a prince or Meleck in esoterism? A master or warrior of Tiphereth, someone who created the solar bodies in the perfect matrimony. Such a person possesses the Solar Astral, Solar Mental, and Solar Causal Bodies. Such beings are called true human beings, because a true human being possesses these three vehicles and has the fire of Kundalini present within each one of them.
Such princes, in the past, once raised the Kundalini within the lower five Sephiroth of the Tree of Life and became what are known as Twice Born. To be born again is a matter of sexual alchemy, of using the creative energies to give birth to the solar bodies. There exist five initiations of fire or Major Mysteries. Through the First Initiation of Fire, such initiates raised the Kundalini within the spine of the physical body. Through the Second Initiation of Fire, they raised the Kundalini within the spine of the vital body. Through the Third Initiation of Fire, they raised the Kundalini within their lunar astral phantom and created the Solar Astral Body. Through the Fourth Initiation of Fire, they raised the Kundalini within the spine of their lunar mental specter and created a Solar Mental Body. And through the Fifth Initiation of Fire, they raised the Kundalini within the spine of the Essence and gave birth to the Solar Causal Body.
Many princes or masters were trying to answer Turandot’s three riddles, a symbol of working in the Initiations of Fire. To successfully answer the three riddles indicates that one creates the three solar bodies of gnosticism: Christ Astral, Christ Mind, and Christ Will.
It’s interesting, therefore, that Ping announces how many princes, or Malachim, were trying to marry Turandot by answering the three riddles. Why would a prince, who has solar bodies, try to enter the Major Mysteries again? This indicates that such Malachim were fallen, fallen initiates, or fallen Bodhisattvas.
How does one fall? Through sex, through being tempted by the sexual energy—Lucifer—by engaging in fornication after having achieved initiation. This is very serious—very grave—because these initiates betrayed the light.
What is a Bodhisattva? A master of Tiphereth who incarnates Christ. Bodhi literally means “wisdom, light,” and sattva signifies, “essence or incarnation of.” A Bodhisattva is an incarnation of wisdom, Chokmah in Kabbalah, Christ.
Just because a person incarnates Christ and completes the work, doesn’t mean that one is safe from falling, from making mistakes. Many Bodhisattvas, many Malachim or masters, fell because they engaged in the sexual act when it was forbidden to them, and since they could not control Lucifer, the sexual impulse. This is what happened with Count Zanoni…
When Bodhisattvas fall, they lose the light. Christ withdraws from them. According to Samael Aun Weor, such beings are truly worse than demons. But why? They had great responsibility and betrayed their commitment to Christ. Demons are at least consistent, but a fallen Bodhisattva betrayed the Lord. Therefore, who can trust them?
It’s important to note that we should not make the effort to find such people in the Gnostic Movement. Many students become fascinated with this subject and want to find and follow fallen Bodhisattvas. This is very mistaken, because, as we said, fallen Bodhisattvas are worse than demons. Why should we take advice from someone who betrayed Christ? We should only be concerned with the teachings and with our own practice—that is all!
It’s true that there are many fallen initiates within the Gnostic Movement who are trying to rise again. This is commendable. However, such people, when discovering their past, should not divulge their history to the public. It’s quite horrendous and ironic to admit that one is a fallen prince, a fallen Meleck. There’s nothing glorious about it, nothing to be proud about. To be proud for having fallen is to be proud of having murdered one's God. As you can see, it's quite atrocious, monstrous, to feel proud of such a fact...
We have a very special Sanskrit term to describe such not-so-special beings. We call fallen Bodhisattvas and initiates by the term hasnamussen.
A hasnamuss (singular for hasnamussen) signifies a being who may have solar bodies and development in heaven, but also has development in the ego. Such a being has a double center of gravity: one that is divine, within the spirit, but another that is diabolic, within the ego. Hasnamussen are beings with a split personality. Therefore, they are very dangerous, because in any moment, their diabolic center of gravity may manifest.
If we look at some etymology of the original Sanskrit, we can unpack many interesting levels of meaning:
A mouse is a symbol of the ego; this can also refer to a thief, because the ego steals the energies of God, uses it for corruption; to voraciously and passionately consume, indulge in, or spend the sexual energy for lustful purposes, produces pain.
Therefore, it happens in this opera that many princes, men of noble blood, fallen human beings, hasnamussen, wanted to return to Turandot, the Divine Mother, again. They seek to recapitulate initiation, to raise the sacred fire of Kundalini once again within their solar bodies. Through fornication, those sexual fires were extinguished, and must be rekindled once again.
Therefore, Ping announces that many fallen princes, hasnamussen, have been killed during the terrible reign of Turandot. In other words, the Divine Mother has slain many initiates through the Second Death. Why do people fail in these studies? People do not comprehend and eliminate their own ego. Or, even worse, disciples decide not to rise once finding the path of initiation again. Therefore, as evidenced by the executed princes in this opera, they failed the ordeals of the thirteenth arcanum and entered devolution.
The Four Cardinal Points and the Tree of Life
We also spoke about the four directions. The North is Chesed, the right pillar of the Tree of Life. The south relates to the left pillar of the Tree of Life. The West is Malkuth, where the sun sets and vanishes into the darkness of Klipoth, the hell realms. The sun rises in Tiphereth, the Middle East, because Tiphereth is the middle of the Tree of Life and is astrologically associated with the Solar Logos, with Christ. It’s easy to see that Tiphereth is the center of the pillar of equilibrium and receives the forces of the top trinity, the Logoic Triangle above, the latter allegorizing the Far East: the heavenly city of China.
The sun rises in Tiphereth and sets in Malkuth. The forces of Christ, the top Trinity, enter Tiphereth, the heart, and descend into hell, with the purpose of illuminating the abyss of the subconsciousness, the unconsciousness, and the infraconsciousness. When the ego, the abyss, has been purified, when the disciple fulfills the Buddhist Annihilation, the soul can rise again with the Christic force. This is the dawn of Resurrection, perfection, within the Far East.
The four directions bear profound Kabbalistic principles. In the North, we have colder regions, which represent for us how the forces of the spirit relate to the mountains of initiation, to the cold, a symbol of chastity. Therefore, Friedrich Nietzsche often spoke about the mountains, snow, and purity of the spirit in relation to the North. The North is Tartary, the northern tract of central Asia, which is mentioned often in this opera.
Then we have the South relating to the left pillar of the Tree of Life, which is significant, because the southern regions of our globe are hotter, obviously. We go south of the equator, we find more tropical regions. The southern region therefore relates to heat, to fire, which is profound. The left pillar originates passion, sexual power, creative impulse, sexual craving. It’s also the reason why the left pillar can take one to Binah, Turandot, the Divine Mother, or into the infernal worlds. The left pillar is the left serpent, Ida, awakened in us through sexual heat, through a matrimony.
The equator relates to the middle pillar of the Tree of Life. Just as the equator is the center of balance for the planet, likewise the pillar of equilibrium balances Mercy and Justice, the pillar of the right and the pillar of the left, in the Kabbalah. Tiphereth, the Prince Calaf, has the duty of balancing all the forces of the Tree of Life within himself, because he is the center of the pillar of equilibrium. Human willpower or human soul is responsible for balancing everything in the spiritual work. We find in this opera that the Prince makes the entire city of Peking revolve around him, or as Friedrich Nietzsche stated in Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “Can you compel the very stars to revolve around you?” Through our willpower, we learn to raise the forces of the sun, s-u-n, as well as the Son, s-o-n, the Christ, up our spine, to reach the Far East.
The Tarot and the Tree of Life
According to Ping, China once slept with the peace of 70,000 centuries. But again, what is China and the Far East according to Kabbalah?
The City of Peace is known as Jerusalem, Jeru-Shalom in Hebrew, Daru-Salaam in Arabic. That heavenly city is the top trinity of the Tree of Life: Kether, Chokmah, Binah; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. China, the heavenly city, the Far East, the Logoic Triangle, was once at peace for 70,000 centuries, which is not a literal number, but a symbol.
To interpret these mysteries, we must refer to the Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah, since numbers play a symbolic function within opera.
Turandot is otherwise known as Shekinah, the feminine aspect of Binah, the Holy Spirit. She is the Mother of our Innermost Spirit. She is the Mother of the Tarot, the Mother of the Book cited in the Qur’an (as we mentioned in Arcanum 2). It’s also interesting that the name Turandot sounds like Tarot, the Torah, the law. Samael Aun Weor even mentions that the Divine Mother is "the terror of love and law."
Therefore, to comprehend the mysteries of the spirit, we must utilize the sacred arcana.
Arcanum 7 is the seventh card of the tarot: Triumph. The conquering spirit, Chesed, drives the chariot of war: the solar bodies, in this card. He is our Innermost God who conquers the lower seven sephiroth of the Tree of Life. Arcanum Seven indicates how the spirit achieves wars and victories in His battles against the ego, so that peace may reign within the heavenly kingdom.
He accomplishes this war through his human soul: Tiphereth. The kabbalists often refer to the Sephirah Tiphereth as Israel, which is an acrostic: Isis-Ra-El. Isis is the Divine Mother, Ra is the Solar Logos, the Christ, and El is the Spirit, Chesed. Israel is the esoteric name related to the fifth Sephirah from the bottom to the middle of the Tree of Life. Tiphereth is the Prince Calaf. Remember that in Kabbalah, Israel is in love with Shekinah, the Holy Spirit. Prince Calaf wants to marry Turandot. The same meaning is here. This opera symbolizes how the human soul wants to die to the ego and achieve Self-realization.
By raising the sacred fire up the lower seven bodies or Sephiroth of the Tree of Life, the initiate achieves Triumph, Arcanum 7. Once the ego is annihilated, the human soul can prepare for the process of Resurrection, to be married to or absorbed within the eighth Sephirah of the Tree of Life: Binah. This process is beautifully depicted in Act III of this opera.
It’s interesting that Ping, Pang, and Pong announce that six men were slain in the Year of the Mouse, eight in the Year of the Dog, and thirteen in the terrible Year of the Tiger, according to Chinese astrology. All of this deserves a profound kabbalistic analysis.
Arcanum 6 is Indecision, the work of the human soul to fight against the Whore of the mind. The whore is egotistical desire within the intellect, heart, and sex of the disciple. When you place the number 6 within each of the three brains, you form the diabolic number 666: the ego. 6 + 6 + 6 = 18, Arcanum 18: Twilight. Twilight is the card associated with the terrible struggle between the forces of light and darkness, which especially occurs before the dawn of Resurrection in Act III. With Arcanum 6, the disciple must observe, meditate, and comprehend desire within the intellectual, emotional, and motor-instinctive-sexual brains.
Remember that six princes died in the Year of the Mouse. The word hasnamuss contains the word muss, or mouse, in Sanskrit. Muss can also mean “thief.” So six initiates died in the Year of the Thief, since the ego is a thief; it squanders and abuses the energies of God. While the ego is a thief, we likewise must become thieves of the spirit: stealing the energies of sex for the purposes of divinity. Such is the mystery of Baphomet, Arcanum 15: Passion. Kabbalistically, 1 + 5 = 6, again, since we steal fire from the devil through the Arcanum of the Lovers.
Also of note is the fact that the king of Tartary was also slain; he had a bow six cubits long, another reference to Arcanum 6. He was tempted in the Arcanum of the Lovers. This reminds us of how Timur, the former king of Tartary, Prince Calaf’s father, has lost everything due to the downfall of the human soul, Tiphereth, the Sixth Sephirah from the top to the middle of the Tree of Life.
Remember that Timur, in the opera, is blind. The powers of the spirit are blind in us, the eyes of Ra are incapacitated. Our spiritual sight is lost through breaking the sixth commandment: chastity. Samson also lost his sight by giving away his secret, his hair, chastity, to דְלִילָה Delilah, to ד Daleth: the doorway into Lilith. Lilith is the whore of Arcanum Six: the night of the infernal worlds, the Abyss.
It’s not a coincidence that the number six even sounds like “sex,” a reference to the rites of chastity. Through breaking the sixth commandment, the law of sex, we become demons.
When the powers of the Spirit, Chesed, the North, are in command of our spinal column, then we become kings of Tartary, the Emperor of the Tarot. But when we allow the forces of the Spirit to crumble, to fall, through lust and the left pillar of the Tree of Life, we become kings of hell, the Tartarus. We are spiritually blind, ignorant, lost within hell, Peking.
However, by working against the ego, we achieve Arcanum 8: Justice. This card relates to the Caduceus of Mercury, as we explained earlier, or how we balance the scale of the infinite within our spinal medulla. This is accomplished through psychological equilibrium within our mind, heart, and body.
In Arcanum Eight, we see a woman kneeling in prayer upon three steps, symbolic of the three elements of alchemy: salt, sulfur, and mercury. In her left hand is a sword and above her right hand, a scale levitates. She is the Divine Mother, or any female initiate who is achieving equilibrium in her psyche. When we work with the left serpent of the Tree of Life, the force of Ida, we are working with the left pillar of the Tree of Life. This also signifies the work with ז Zayin, the Kundalini within the spine.
The left pillar of the Tree of life is governed by Binah: Intelligence, but also Geburah: Justice. Remember that the kabbalists teach how the soul and spirit are elevated through the work of the left pillar, by controlling the lunar energies of the left serpent: Ida. The lunar serpent can either raise one towards redemption or lead the soul into damnation, depending on how it is used.
Also remember that Liu, the servant of Timur, proclaims at the beginning of Act I, “How my master is fallen! Will someone raise him for me?” Geburah, the Divine Soul, Liu, asks for help to raise the spirit. This is when Prince Calaf emerges. Through our human willpower, Tiphereth, is how we can raise our spiritual forces. We achieve liberation with the help of Geburah and the left pillar of the Tree of Life.
When the left, lunar serpent, Ida, obeys the commands the spirit, the right, solar serpentine energies of Pingala, we achieve Justice, equilibrium within the soul.
So eight men were slain in the Year of the Dog. The dog is a symbol of sexual instinct, sexual desire, Lucifer. In the Greek myths, Cerberus is the dog who guards the entrance into the infernal worlds. Heracles, the Cosmic Christ, had to rescue him and take him out of the Abyss in one of the twelve labors. This dog is pleasant towards those who enter the hell realms, but is vicious and violent towards those who want to leave. This symbolizes how hell is easy to enter and difficult to escape: fornication is tempting and easy, but chastity and initiation is difficult. The lusts of the mind, our desires, fight against us when we try to steal the sexual fire from the devil.
Since eight princes died in the Year of the Dog, we can conclude that the disciple will enter devolution when failing to work with the left and right pillars of the Tree of Life, with chastity.
Thirteen princes were slain in the terrible Year of the Tiger. The tiger is a beautiful symbol of the sexual energy as well, Christ. We remember the Tiger Knights, the Jaguar Knights from the Aztec pantheon, who, according to Samael Aun Weor, were masters of the thirteenth arcanum: mystical death. They worked in the full elimination of their desires, their ego. Therefore, they are great warriors, great masters. They achieved perfection.
But in the case of Peking, we find that thirteen initiates were slain in the Year of the Tiger. This means that these initiates were slain in hell, through the Second Death, because they failed to rise in the solar path. The dualism of Arcanum 13 is allegorized in the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche. He writes the following in his chapter “On Chastity,” or “Abstinence”:
I love the forest. It is bad to live in cities: there, too many are in heat (because most people take the heat and sexual fire of the left pillar of the Tree of Life and use it for fornication, for desire).
Is it not better to fall into the hands of a murderer (Divine Mother Death, Turandot, through the solar path of initiation) than into the (lunar) dreams of a woman in heat (Lilith and Nahemah, through devolution within the infernal worlds)?
And just look at these men: their eye says it—they know nothing better on earth than to lie with a woman.
Mud is at the bottom of their souls; and woe! if their mud also has spirit!
So what is mud? It is ego. What does it mean to have mud and spirit mixed? It means to be a fallen Bodhisattva, a hasnamuss with a double center of gravity. There is nothing worse than being a hasnamuss with a double polarity. A fallen Bodhisattva has a lot of power in hell, through enmeshing his or her spirit within the filthiness of the ego.
Friedrich Nietzsche continues:
Would that ye were perfect—at least as animals! But to animals belongs innocence.
Do I counsel you to slay your instincts? I counsel you to innocence in your instincts.
Why are animals innocent, even though they fornicate? They don’t have the intellect yet. They are still evolving within the mechanical forces of nature. They simply obey their instincts, without question or rationalization. They don’t have the capacity to discern good from evil, purity from impurity. They are innocent elementals. Once those souls enter the humanoid kingdom, they receive the intellect and become intellectual animals.
Those souls are then given the commandments to not engage in sexuality as animals, to enter a higher kingdom, the sexuality of true human beings. The sexuality of Malachim, of angels, is chaste. Since we have the intellect and can rationalize, we are more accountable for our actions: we are no longer innocent. It is at this point in our evolution whereby we can become true human beings: princes or Malachim with solar bodies. Animals cannot achieve that until becoming intellectual humanoids, because an animal does not have the intellect yet, cannot reason, or discern good from evil.
Also, we don’t need to reject sex as something filthy, but comprehend and use it in a pure way. Chastity or alchemy is purity of sex, not rejection of it. This is why Nietzsche counsels you “to innocence in your instincts.”
In the East, the Tiger refers to Christ. It also refers to the creative energies one must conquer in oneself. The Western equivalent, within the Judeo-Christian-Muslim tradition, is the Lion of Judah.
Going further with numerology, the sum of all deaths under Turandot is: 6 + 8 + 13 = 27 = 2 + 7 = 9: The Hermit.
27 is a very interesting number in gnostic esoterism because the 27th is the most Christic day of the month. The forces of the Solar Logos are most active at this time. We even have special holidays related to the 27th of each month, which we celebrate within our Gnostic Churches. We also have the Advent of Samael on October 27th, 1954. We always celebrate certain Gnostic rituals on the 27th of the month in remembrance of divinity, and on October 27th we celebrate the incarnation of the Martian Christ within His Bodhisattva Samael Aun Weor.
27 also relates to the heart beat of any planet. Every planet has a specific term or lifespan, which is measured by the palpitations of the planet’s vitality or heart. Just as we all have a set number of heart beats for our own life, likewise every planet has its own heartbeat, or cosmic rhythms. These energetic palpitations fluctuate in accordance with the harmony of the worlds. Each heart beat in any planet spans 27,000 years. There also exist 2,700,000,000 heartbeats or palpitations within a planet’s life before it must become a cadaver, a corpse, a moon.
2 + 7 = 9, the Ninth Arcanum: the Hermit. The ninth sephirah of the Tree of Life, from the top to the bottom, is Yesod: the Foundation Stone. This is the Great Arcanum, the mysteries of sexual alchemy. Prince Calaf is precisely the Hermit who walks the path of initiation. Symbolically, he carries the staff of the patriarchs, the spinal column, and the lamp of Hermes, the wisdom of the mercurial science, the secret of chastity.
The Role of Lucifer in the Divine Trials
Given our understanding of what Ping, Pang, and Pong represent, it’s interesting that they lament the state of disorder in which Peking resides. Ping, Pang, and Pong feel great aversion for what they are doing. They despise sending men to death. When people think of Diablo, the devil, Lucifer, they think of some being that is external and entirely evil. They don’t understand that Lucifer is inside of us; in our internal heavens he was divine, but when mixed with ego, desire, he is Diablo.
Contrary to popular belief, Lucifer, the light of the Being, our psychological trainer, does not like when the soul fails. The reason why Lucifer gives ordeals is so that we can conquer them. He wants us to obtain Self-realization. He tempts us so that we can become victorious. However, in the vast majority of cases, many disciples are failing in the work of the elimination of the ego.
Lucifer’s regal obligation is to assist Turandot, signified by the all the funerals Ping, Pang, and Pong prepare. And so they are greatly dissatisfied. You notice that they are not happy with so many dead princes. All they want is to return to the peace of their ancestral homes. Ping wants to go back to his house in Honan, Pang with the forests of Tsiang, and Pong with a garden new Kiu. This is why Nietzsche stated, “I love the forest. In the cities, too many are in heat.”
The counselors’ ancestral homes bear profound significance. They represent the original, pristine quality of the soul before the fall into degeneration. The house of Honan, the forests of Tsiang, and the Garden of Kiu, all represent the Garden of Eden, Yesod. We must return to Eden through the secret gate: Lucifer, the sexual instinct. The peace of one's ancestral home represents the happiness of the soul, since Eden in Hebrew means “bliss, voluptuousness.” Such bliss and peace are experienced in the perfect matrimony, between man and woman.
The light of Christus-Lucifer was pure before it became degenerated through fornication. Lucifer was heavenly above, but fell from grace when we indulged in desire. The only way to return home is through the door we exited—Eden, sexuality.
Lucifer suffers within the ego. He provides us with fire and temptation so that we can transform the devil into an angel. The myth of Prometheus teaches us this doctrine. Remember that Prometheus was punished by the Gods, because he gave fire to man. This is a symbol for how, as intellectual animals, we squandered the fire of the sexual energy and imprisoned Lucifer to the rock of suffering, to Yesod. In the myth, Prometheus was tortured daily by a vulture, a symbol of our ego. The ego eats the liver of Lucifer everyday, leaves at night as his wound heals, and returns to repeat the same situation. This represents how we continuously waste our energy through desire, the vulture, and make Lucifer, the Christic light, suffer.
Our sexual behaviors determine if we have light or not. If we are impure, IAO suffers in the soul as Diablo. But if you annihilate the ego, IAO is liberated.
Recall the Wizard of Oz, whether the film or the book. The flying monkeys, known as the Winkies, were servants of the Wicked Witch of the West. Those flying monkeys are the powers of IAO, but trapped in hell, devolution, degeneration. In the story, the Winkies chant, “O IO, IAO.” That is because the power of Lucifer, IAO, is channeled through the ego.
This changes when Dorothy, the Essence, throws water on the Wicked Witch of the West. It's quite a memorable moment in the film when the witch melts, representative of how through transmutation and alchemy, the waters of sexual magic, we can disintegrate the ego.
Afterward, the Winkies are freed from the witch’s influence and thank Dorothy, because now the powers of Lucifer are freed from the Abyss.
The four cardinal points of the compass relate to the four elements, as we discussed in Arcanum 4. Each direction of the compass has its mantra and element, as signified by:
This is why the author of the second part of The Flight of the Feathered Serpent taught:
“Look for the knowledge, which arrived again from the East (Tiphereth)!
“Look for the knowledge, which is written in the North (Chesed)!
“And you will neither have West nor South if you are diligent (in alchemy, by never losing even a single drop of the sacred wine of transmutation).”
Ever hear of the slang, when "things go South?" Hence you can see that if one fornicates, things really “go South," the soul enters degeneration. To fall into the West, into Klipoth, is certainly not pleasant either.
So why would a figure like Lucifer be evil if Ping, Pang, and Pong are not pleased with the failure of many souls? Why does the tempter not want the soul to go South and West, but rather than North and East, kabbalistically speaking? What Lucifer wants most of all is to return home to the Absolute.
When we eliminate the ego, unifying the soul with the purified Lucifer, we become terribly divine Archangels, knowing the Tree of Life. We become Wizards of Oz, Otz Ha Da’ath Tob Vey Ra עץ הדעת טוב ורע, Wizards of the Tree of Knowledge, knowing good and evil completely. But if we have ego, we cannot go anywhere.
Lucifer wants Resurrection. Ping, Pang, and Pong want a Prince to achieve the divine marriage with Turandot, the Holy Spirit. Binah, the Holy Spirit, must absorb the lower seven sephiroth of the Tree of Life through the process of Resurrection. Yet this can only happen with the radical death of desire.
Lucifer cares for Self-realization, evidenced by Ping, Pang, and Pong singing of the death of princes while the chorus shouts, “Gira la cote… grind the wheel, sharpen the executioners ax… blood and death!”—the song of the abyss. The counselors sing, “Addio, amore! Addio, razza! Addio, stirpe divina! E finisce la Cina!” This translates as, “Farewell to love! Farewell to our race! Farewell, divine lineage! And China comes to an end!”
An esoteric translation could include, “Farewell to the solar initiates! Farewell to the Aryan Root Race! Farewell to the solar dynasties, the masters of initiation, the heavenly kingdom of China, Jerusalem!” The race of the gods has ended; the reign of China, the top, Logoic triangle, is no more, since we are in the Kali Yuga, the Age of Darkness, an era populated by demons, hasnamussen, black magicians.
The Aztecs also stated in their codices that in the era of the Fifth Sun, the gods would die. There will be no solar men in our Aryan Root Race. Therefore, Friedrich Nietzsche famously postulated, “God is dead.” But in the future era of the Sixth Sun, the Koradi Root Race, “the gods will be reborn.”
Ping, Pang, and Pong also sing how, if Calaf succeeds in the riddles, they will lead him to the bridal chamber with a lantern. Remember that Lucifer is the sexual impulse, the mysteries of the bridal chamber, of Da’ath: alchemical knowledge. The lantern reminds us of hermetic wisdom, the lamp of Hermes within the Ninth Arcanum: the Hermit. That lamp, that energy, guides the initiate in meditation and daily life. When you have light, you know how to walk the spiritual path.
Ping, Pang, and Pong also proclaim that they will sing of love till daybreak. Through marriage with Binah, through Resurrection, one is permanently established within the dawn of the Solar Logos, the Christ.
The counselors also sing, ecstatically, of “the unclad body initiated into the mystery.” Through the perfect matrimony, husband and wife work in sexual cooperation, transmuting the sexual energy and annihilating desire. The couple uses the left pillar of the Tree of Life, raising ז Zayin, the Kundalini sword of the Divine Mother, to achieve liberation. But for that, the couple must conquer temptation, Lucifer, the serpent of Eden.
Our inner Klipoth must be cleaned, completely. The nine infernal spheres of the Tree of Zaqqum, the tree of hell, must be purified. Yet for that to happen, the Prince Calaf, Tiphereth, must first answer the three riddles of Turandot. These three riddles synthesize the three mother letters of Kabbalah, the four elements, the four cardinal points, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
The Palace of Peking
When we begin the path, the solar dynasties, the angels, the Buddhas, welcome us with internal experiences. A palace in esoterism bears profound significance, since in the internal planes, seeing or entering a palace indicates ascension and entrance into the mysteries. Entering a temple or palace signifies divine favor and acceptance of the gods.
Any palace dedicated to the solar dynasties is made of gold, symbolic of the solar principles of the Christ. The Temple of Solomon, Sholomah, the Solar-Man, was made of gold. Samael Aun Weor mentions how the Church of Laodicea, in the internal planes, is made completely of gold, a representation of how this Church, the Chakra Sahasrara, the Lotus of a Thousand Petals, connects us with the heights of divinity.
The funereal trials take place in the palace, showing us that they are not meant to punish the soul. People often think of ordeals as something blind, given from a mistaken and blind sense of divine retribution. The truth is that ordeals are given to the Essence, the consciousness, from divinity, represented by the fact that Prince Calaf must stand before the nobles of China, the aristocracy, the divine beings, to answer Turandot’s riddles.
The reason why the buddhas, the Elohim, the divine beings, provide the initiate tests, is to see them qualify. The divine beings want us to enter the superior worlds with victory, with consciousness, with development. They don’t want the initiates to fail, but to conquer, but the only way for them to enter heaven is to be purified, for as stated in the book of Matthew, Chapter 11, verse 12:
“The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”
We must be violent to our own ego by working with our Divine Mother Death. We must learn to fall into the arms of Devi Kundalini, according to Nietzsche. To do so is to face great adversity. As shown in the opera, we must overcome such challenges with sincerity, serenity, patience, and zeal. While divinity provides the ordeals to help the initiates, they do not ignore that such ordeals are very dangerous. How we respond to these tests will determine our fate.
The Negative Confessions and the Egyptian Book of the Dead
In this next image, we see the Temple of Maat, Goddess of Truth and Justice. Puccini was well aware of the Egyptian Book of the Dead of Ani, which is the basis for his opera. Just as Prince Calaf must prove his psychological worth before the nobles of China and the Princess Turandot, likewise Ani and his wife Tutu must present themselves in the Temple of Maat to have Ani’s heart weighed.
Anubis is the supreme lord of Karma in our solar system, who weighs the hearts of the Egyptian initiates to register the purity of their soul. The heart is balanced with a feather, symbolizing how the mind must be balanced with the heart. The feather represents the air, the qualities of the intellectual brain, while the heart symbolizes the fires of the emotional brain. Notice also that a monkey sits on top of the scale, representing desire in the motor-instinctive-sexual brain.
Ani must balance his three brains through the elimination of the ego, meaning: he must achieve psychological equilibrium and balance. To receive divine favor and join the solar dynasties, he must be pure. If he fails, the monster Ammut, with the face of a crocodile, will devour him, a symbol of the forces of devolution that will swallow the initiate.
Arcanum 21: Transmutation, is the Fool of the Tarot. Those who fail to transmute and eliminate desire end up as fools, bohemians, imbeciles. The crocodile of the card threatens to swallow the initiate standing over it and the waters of sexuality. If the disciple fails to defeat his own lust, then the abyss and the Second Death, represented by the crocodile or the monster Ammut, will devour him.
It’s also important to understand that the Goddess Maat is the Divine Mother Death, since מוות Mutt in Hebrew means “death.” It is only through death of the ego that one can obtain truth, justice, and the entrance into the temples of the divine mysteries. Maat also, in Egyptian mythology, did not exist until Ra, the Solar Logos, rose from the ocean of נ Nun, the sexual energy. נ Nun signifies the sperm or ovum, since נ Nun in Aramaic signifies a “fish.” The sperm or ovum are “fish” that swim in our creative waters, מים Mayim in Hebrew. From the sperm and ovum emerge all life. Similarly, we generate the Divine Mother Kundalini in our spine enter the kingdom of truth and justice when we transmute our sperm and ovum into energy. Remember also that the Hebrew name מרים Miriam, Mary, signifies, “to raise, to elevate,” since we are spiritually raised by working with the sexual waters of מ Mem.
On the right, the god Thoth prepares to document and inscribe the fate of the initiate. There is no middle ground. There will either be victory on the solar path, or failure: entrance into the lunar submerged spheres, the Klipoth. As the Qur’an teaches us in Surah 22, verse 70:
Do you not know that Allah knows whatever there is in the sky (the nine heavens or sephiroth of the Tree of Life) and the earth (with its nine submerged spheres)? That is indeed in a Book. That is indeed easy for Allah. —Al-Ḥajj, The Pilgrimage 70
On top of the image of the Temple of Maat are judges, including Hu, Sia, Hathor, Horus (or Aur-us, Oros, the gold or light of the divine spirit), Isis (the Divine Mother), Nepthys, Nut, Geb, and others.
There exist 42 Judges of Karma who evaluate the souls of the dead. These judges determine where the defunct will be placed in the cosmos based on their psychological qualities and actions. This is represented in the opera by the aristocrats and nobles who watch along with the commoners in the palace.
Accompanying this image of the Temple of Maat is a ritual prayer from the Egyptian Book of the Dead: the “Negative Confessions.” In it, the soul proclaims before the Tribunals of Justice that it has never sinned, because it has achieved radical death of the ego. Puccini knew this teaching well and allegorizes how Prince Calaf must overcome such funereal trials within the hall of justice and truth, the Temple of Maat, the heavenly palace of China, the Celestial Jerusalem.
Samael Aun Weor speaks extensively about these “Negative Confessions” in his book Cosmic Teachings of a Lama:
(From the Papyrus of Nu)
Let us now utter from the profound depth of all ages. Listen to me, humans and Gods!
The negative confession from the Papyrus of Nu is for those human beings who have achieved radical and absolute death.
After the definitive annihilation of the ego and of the three traitors of Hiram Abiff, we can certainly give unto ourselves the luxury of penetrating into the double hall of the Truth and Justice, dressed with the glorious bodies of Kam-ur.
To intend to victoriously enter the double hall of Maat without previously having passed through the supreme death would be useless… (We are not referring to the death of the physical body).
Only the authentic defuncts have the right to the negative confession. Indeed, only they can submit themselves to the terrible confession from the Papyrus of Nu of the Egyptian mysteries.
Let it be understood that the authentic defuncts are those who have died in themselves within the forty-nine regions of their subconsciousness.
Therefore, any true defunct can present himself, dressed with his Solar Bodies, in the double hall of Maat, in order to perform his Negative Confession.
Homage to thee, Oh great God, thou Lord of Truth and Justice, I have come to thee, Oh powerful Lord.
I have brought myself hither that I may behold thy radiant beauty! I know thee and I know thy magic name and I know the names of the two and forty divinities who surround thee in this vast hall of Truth and Justice, who live as warders of sinners and who feed upon their blood on the day when the sins of men are taken into account in the presence of Osiris.
The two Goddesses, twin sisters with two eyes, Lord of the Order of the universe is thy name.
Behold, that I have brought in my heart Truth and Justice to thee, since I have destroyed all wickedness from it, for thee.
I have not done evil to mankind. I have not oppressed the members of my family.
I have not brought injustice in the place of Justice. I have had no knowledge of worthless men. I have not wrought evil.
I have not made to be the first consideration of each day that excessive labor should be performed for me. I have not brought forward my name for exaltation to honours. I have not ill-treated servants. I have not thought scorn of Gods.
I have not defrauded the oppressed one of his property.
I have not done that which is an abomination unto the Gods. I have not caused harm to be done to the servant by his chief.
I have not caused pain. I have made no man to suffer hunger. I have made no one of my neighbors to weep.
I have done no murder. I have not given the order for murder to be done for me. I have not inflicted sicknesses upon mankind.
I have not defrauded the temples of their oblations. I have not purloined the cakes of the Gods.
I have not carried off the cakes offered to the sanctified spirits. I have not polluted myself by committing shameful actions within the sacrosanct precinct of the temples.
I have not diminished from the bushel. I have neither added to nor filched away land. I have not encroached upon the fields of others.
I have not added to the weights of the scales to cheat the seller. I have not mis-read the pointer of the scales to cheat the buyer. I have not carried away the milk from the mouth of children. I have not driven away the cattle which were upon their pastures.
I have not snared the feathered fowls of the preserves of the Gods. I have not caught fish with bait made of fish of their kind.
I have not turned back the water at the time when it should flow.
I have not cut a cutting in a canal of running water. I have not extinguished a fire or light when it should burn.
I have not violated the rules of the offerings, the chosen meat-offerings. I have not driven off the cattle from the property of the temples of the Gods.
I have not repulsed a God in his manifestation. I am pure! I am pure! I am pure!
My purity is the purity of that great Phoenix which is in the city of Heracleopolis.
For, behold, I am the Lord of the respiration who maketh all the Initiates to live on the solemn day when the Eye of Horus in the presence of the Divine Lord of this earth which is Heliopolis at the end.
For behold, I have seen the Eye of Horus in Heliopolis at the end, therefore, Oh Gods! let not evil befall me in this land, and in your Hall of Truth and Justice, because I, even I, know the names of these gods who are therein and who are about Maat, the great Divinity of Truth and Justice. —"The Negative Confessions,” quoted by Samael Aun Weor in Cosmic Teachings of a Lama
Calaf’s Entrance to the Palace
The Divine Emperor greets Prince Calaf. The Emperor’s name is never given in the opera, but it explains the meaning of this character very profoundly. Altoum is Kether, the Father, whom the crowds of nobles and aristocrats, as well as the multitudes of commoners, greet with such reverence, inspiration, and grandiosity. The palace of Peking sings in ecstasy before the throne of Kether, Emperor Altoum, because He is the Father of all lights, the height of heights, the Mercy of Mercies.
It’s significant that the mantra Tum is found in His name, Al-Tum. We explained the meaning of the mantra Tum in Arcanum Nine, which refers to the three primary forces. The consonant T relates to Kether, since the name כֶּתֶר Kether even possesses the same consonant, the Hebrew letter ת Tav, symbol of the seal of truth, divinity. The vowel U represents Chokmah, Christ, wisdom. The mantra M relates to Binah, the Holy Spirit, because מ Mem represents the waters.
With the mantra Tum, we invoke the three primary forces within our three brains: Kether, the Father, in the intellectual brain; Chokmah, the Son, in the emotional brain; and Binah, the Holy Spirit, within the motor-instinctive-sexual brain. Samael Aun Weor explains in Tarot and Kabbalah:
The Self-realized Monad is powerful. It has power over the fire, air, water, and earth (which can also signify the four cardinal points of the Tree of Life). That is why in the Egyptian Book of the Dead the devotee directs himself towards Horus and says, “I fortify your legs and your arms.” Likewise, the devotee asks Horus to fortify his three brains (intellectual, emotional and motor). This is because Horus needs the devotee to have his three brains strong. —Arcanum 7: Triumph
The mantra Tum is exceptional and is inferenced in this opera, since Prince Calaf is tested in his three brains, through three riddles, to evaluate his worthiness before the divine hierarchies of Altoum, El-Tum, the three primary forces of Tum in conjunction with the Hebrew spirit, אל El, Chesed.
As the ruler of the palace, the Emperor has seen the death of many initiates. Therefore, he questions the stranger, the Prince Calaf, to see whether he is determined and sincere in his efforts. He questions the prince not because he doesn’t want to see Calaf succeed, but because he is conscious of the dangers and the results of those who don’t qualify.
The Emperor states, in synthesis, “Please leave, so that I do not have to be responsible for or see your death! I have too much blood on my hands!” Even in the Metropolitan Opera performance we watched—staring Placido Domingo as Calaf—portrays the Emperor wringing his hands with grief.
Three times does Prince Calaf state, “Son of Heaven (Kether), I beg you to let me try my fortune!” This indicates how we must be determined to perform the work in each of our three brains, to learn how to fortify Horus within our mind, emotions, and sex; Netzach, the mental body; Hod, the astral body; and Yesod, the vital body.
The Emperor finally states, “Stranger in love with death (Binah, the Divine Mother Turandot). So be it!” Every initiate, when completing any spiritual works, always proclaim, “So be it!” This is very well known amongst members of the Gnostic Church.
At this point in the opera, the executioner of the law of karma returns to remind Calaf of his solemn duty before the solar hierarchies, to conquer himself through answering the three riddles, or to fail and enter the infernal worlds after being judged unworthy.
After the executioner leaves, a chorus of children enter, singing praises to the Divine Princess Turandot. It’s interesting that the children, symbolizing the youthful, vital principles of the moon, follow after the deadly proclamation of fatality and death, Saturn. The moon, astrologically, relates to the forces of Saturn. Through death of the ego, the rites of Saturn, Saturday, the Sabbath or sexual alchemy, is how we are born again as innocent children in the kingdom of heaven.
The children proclaim, “Do you not hear the thousand voices calling from the desert to the sea?” These are the virginal sparks or elemental souls of nature evolving from the mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms. The elementals seek the bounty and blessings of Turandot, reminding the Prince Calaf of the glories of Self-realization that await him through the path of mystical death.
Turandot then emerges. She relates how thousands of years ago, Princess Lou-Ling "ruled in silence (of the spirit) and pure (chaste) joy, defying the abhorred tyranny of (fornicating) man with constancy (chastity) and firmness." Thousands of years is symbolic of esoteric ages, Logoic ages, development from initiation, as Samael Aun Weor describes in The Major Mysteries. This indicates how the soul once knew the Logos and the Divine Mother, the Princess Lou-Ling.
In the past, the Divine Mother was pure, untainted, within the soul. Through fornication, the soul fell and lost its perfection, and the energies of the Divine Mother were defiled. Turandot is lamenting that loss, the violation of Lou-Ling's purity. Her chastity was broken through the failure and degeneration of the soul.
People who watch this opera think that Turandot is just a woman who is very vengeful towards men, because the King of Tartary raped her ancestress. The symbology of this drama, however, teaches us to not interpret things so literally. Through fornication, we sin against the Holy Ghost and become strangers from the kingdom of heaven. We took the forces of the spirit, of Tartary, of the North, and threw them into hell, the Tartarus, the West. Therefore, due to our lust, Turandot is enraged with us because we fell. In synthesis, all of us have sinned against the Goddess Moon.
She rejects Calaf because he is impure, with ego. She even proclaims, “No man shall possess me!” or better said, “No fornicator shall have me!” It is only through the complete death of the ego that we can Self-realize, marry, or resurrect within Binah, the Divine Mother.
The commoners, the crowds in the palace, relate how Lou-Ling was raped when the King of Tartary unfurled his seven standards. Seven once again reminds us of the Seventh Arcanum: battles, struggles, wars and pain. This is very interesting given that Calaf and Timur once ruled the Kingdom of Tartary: now Calaf, having been expelled from his kingdom, seeks to regain the divine through his marriage with Turandot. He, as the Bodhisattva, seeks to reconcile the conflicting forces of the Tartars (the soul trapped in the abominable ego) with the heavenly China (the Celestial Jerusalem, the Far East). Tartary refers to the spiritual forces of the north that are now channeled in hell, the Tartarus, and must be redeemed. Prince Calaf is therefore a hasnamuss, since he is trapped in Klipoth, and yet he wants to recapitulate his past initiations through the trials.
Turandot also relates how Lou-Ling was dragged away by a stranger like Calaf. She emphasizes this detail very much, “You are a stranger. You are a foreigner. You do not belong here!” But what does her insistence on his "strangeness" mean?
When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;
Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:
To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;
Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;
Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;
Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:
To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words;
Which forsaketh the guide of her youth (the positive forces of vitality, youth, the moon), and forgetteth the covenant of her God (the Sabbath, the rites of Saturn, the Holy Spirit).
Any fornicator is a stranger to God, for the ways of fornication are strange and unnatural to the divine. Therefore, it is appropriate that at the beginning of this path, we are referred to as a “straniero, strangers.” In Jewish terms, we are gentiles, goyim, non-Jews. In strict esoteric language, a Jew is a master who has incarnated Yew, IAO, Christ. If we do not have Christ developed inside, then we are goyim, people with ego, since even the term goyim, backwards, can sound like “ego.”
However, divinity does not withhold favor from the fallen soul, because the Emperor and others show concern for Calaf and want him to be victorious in the trials. Or as stated in Deuteronomy 10:19: “Love the ger, stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Egypt, in the Bible, represents Malkuth, the physical body. We are strangers in Malkuth, this physical world, because we long, as the Essence, to return to the heavens, the stars, the Far East.
Turandot reprimands Calaf, that he is too unclean to marry Her. This doesn’t mean that she doesn’t want him to succeed. It only indicates that the Divine Mother is the terror of love and law. She is very demanding towards the soul. Absolute perfection is needed for resurrection. Therefore, she challenges him: "No (fornicating) man shall possess me." And: "The riddles are three, death one!"
To which Calaf replies: "The riddles are three, life is one!" Both repeat their proclamations together in this beautiful aria. Truly, as we mentioned earlier, life and death are one. Love and death share same roots. As stated in Beethoven’s ninth symphony, or the poem by Schiller upon which the ninth symphony was based: “Both sinners and saints follow Her path of roses.”
Through Shakti, the Divine Feminine, we are destroyed and reborn, or as it is taught by the Christian mantra INRI: "In Necis Renascor Integer" ("In death I am reborn intact and pure").
The Three Riddles and the Three Mother Letters of Kabbalah
To help explain the significance of the three ordeals, it is necessary to refer to the three mother letters of Hebraic Kabbalah. These letters are:
These three ordeals symbolize the work with water (Ens Seminis), Fire (Kundalini) and Air (Prana) of sexual alchemy. They also represent the brute semen (מ Mem, water), the metallic soul of the sperm (Mercury, Air, א Aleph), and the sulfur fecundating the sexual energy (the Kundalini Fire, ש Shin).
Samael Aun Weor explains the synthesis of these three alchemical elements in The Aquarian Message:
The philosophical fire must be searched for within the ens seminis. In the beginning, this fire is nothing more than a dry and terrestrial exhalation incorporated into seminal steam.
This dry and terrestrial exhalation is transmuted into the marvelous lightning of Kundalini when the priest learns how to withdraw from the altar without wasting even a single drop of the sacred wine.
We receive the flaming sword when reaching these heights. When the ens seminis is fecundated by the fire, it becomes the master and the regenerator of the human being.
The fire nourishes itself with the vital air, with the prana or universal life.
Really, the sexual fire, which is constantly inhaled and exhaled during the supreme ecstasy of love, becomes transformed into that terrific lightning that upon rising through the medullar canal opens the seven churches. —Samael Aun Weor, The Aquarian Message
Samael Aun Weor also explains the following in The Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled:
Three Witnesses in heaven exist: the Father, the Logos, and the Holy Spirit. Three Witnesses on Earth exist: the Breath (א Aleph), the Blood (ש Shin), and the Water (מ Mem). —Samael Aun Weor
Kether, Chokmah, and Binah are those Logoic energies that produce the awakening of the consciousness. They animate our three brains or psychological centers: Kether, the Father, in the intellectual brain; Chokmah, the Logos, in the emotional brain; and Binah, the Holy Spirit, within the motor-instinctive-sexual brain.
The three witnesses on earth represent psycho-spiritual and physiological elements, forces that, when utilized and transformed in sexual alchemy, produce the creation of the soul, the solar bodies. These three witnesses on earth also represent the three mother letters of Kabbalah. They also relate to the three brains, א Aleph, the air, in the intellectual brain; ש Shin, the fire, in the emotional brain; and מ Mem, the waters, in the motor-instinctive-sexual brain.
The true human being is formed by the creation of three solar bodies: the Christ Astral (symbolized by blood, the wine of the Lord in the solar eucharist), the Christ Mind (the Breath of God); and Christ Will (the waters of the spirit).
There is some interesting Hebrew etymology related to the assimilation of oxygen into the bloodstream. When א Aleph, the breath, the prana, is inhaled through our lungs and assimilated into our bloodstream in a conscious way, we begin to initiate spiritual forces. The Hebrew word דם Dam means “blood,” so Aleph-Dam forms אדם Adam, the perfect human being. Contained within Adam are the three witnesses: the blood, the breath, and the waters of the spirit, the seminal matter that is transmuted into fire and light.
The Three Principles of Alchemy within the Zohar
The three riddles also correspond to teachings given within the Zohar. Puccini, as a master of Freemasonry, Kabbalah, and Alchemy, incorporated Jewish mysticism into his dramas, specifically with the three questions Turandot poses to Calaf. These riddles synthesize the work with creating solar bodies in the perfect matrimony. The Zohar can also elucidate how Puccini depicts three dynamics of the same thing: the principles of alchemy.
Rabbi Shim’on resolved the conflict [between the left and right pillars of the Tree of Life, as we discussed in Arcanum 8: Justice], opening with a verse: “It is written, Next to the enclosure are the rings to be, as housings for the poles (Exodus 25:27). Who is that enclosure? A closed site, opened only by a single narrow path, intimated secretly. —Zohar
What does a ring symbolize in the internal worlds? Marriage, Yesod, alchemy. To see seven rings in the internal worlds indicates the perfect matrimony, the union of two souls within all seven planes of cosmic consciousness, the lower seven Sephiroth of the Tree of Life and beyond.
A ring also represents woman, the uterus, while the poles are phallic in nature, the masculine sexual organ. But what is the enclosure? A symbol of woman as well, the feminine sexual organs, or “single narrow path, intimated secretly." The woman is the intimate, secret gate to Eden, which has only been allegorized in the scriptures and never taught explicitly until the 1950's.
Thereby it is filled, and traces gates to kindle lamps. Because it is a site hidden and concealed, it is called enclosure; this is the world that is coming (Binah). —Zohar
Why would the sexual act, the perfect matrimony, alchemy, be the way or gate to “kindle lamps”? Arcanum Nine shows us the Hermit of the tarot, who carries in his left hand the lamp of Hermes, Mercury, alchemical wisdom. We generate light through working with sexual transmutation, so that we can perceive where we are in our work. We also have seven lamps related to our spinal medulla, the seven chakras that must be awakened and enlivened through fire.
The sexual act is the world that will emerge, manifest, because Binah, the Holy Spirit, is the generator and supreme regenerator of the perfect human being.
“Are the rings [of the perfect matrimony] to be—supernal rings linked to one another [since the supernal triangle, the top trinity of the Tree of Life, also relates to the three mother letters of Kabalah], (מ Mem) water from air (א Aleph), air from fire (ש Shin), fire from water (מ Mem), all linked to each other, emerging from one another, like rings. They all gaze at that enclosure, into which merges the supernal river [of Da’ath, the Akashic fiery waters of השמים Ha-Shamayim, the heavens that Elohim created in the opening of Genesis] to water them, and they merge in it. —Zohar
The rings of the perfect matrimony symbolize the solar bodies: Christ Astral, Christ Mind, and Christ Will, which merge with and are created by the fiery waters of Da’ath, השמים Ha-Shamayim. As stated in Genesis 1:1:
בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ
Barasheeth Bara Elohim At Ha'Shamayim Ve'At Ha'aretz.
“In the wisdom, Elohim created the heavens (Ha-Shamayim) and the earth (Ha’aretz).”
ש Shin is fire, and מים Mayim is water, for when we work in a marriage, the waters of Yesod become inflamed with the fires, the ש Shin, of Christ, to create the heavens within us, the Christified soul: the solar bodies. This is Genesis, generation, which Prince Calaf must achieve if he wishes to enter the congregation of Israel, the kingdom of China, the Far East. Those without wedding garments, solar bodies, who fail to create them through the three ordeals of the Divine Princess Shekinah, will be cast out to outer darkness, where only the weeping and gnashing of teeth will be heard.
“Housings for the poles—these supernal rings are housings designated for the poles, the chariots below, for one derives from the side of fire, one from the side of water, one from the side of air, and so with them all, constituting a chariot for the ark. —Zohar
What is a chariot? A solar body. Remember that the spirit in Arcanum 7 drives the chariot of war. Chesed, our inner God, must conquer the lower sephiroth of the Tree of Life to obtain Triumph.
One solar body corresponds to the side of fire (Hod, the Solar Astral Body), one from the side of air (Netzach, the Solar Mental Body), and another from the side of water (Tiphereth, the Solar Causal Body). All of these constitute a chariot for the ark, the Great Arcanum, the Ark of the Covenant of Sexual Alchemy between God and man.
So whoever approaches should approach these poles, not what lies within. As we say to the Nazarite, ‘Go around, around! Do not come near the vineyard!’ Except for those worthy of serving within, privileged to enter and draw near. Of this is written: An outsider who comes near shall be put to death (Numbers 1:51). —Zohar
Who are the Nazarenes? H.P. Blavatsky stated that they are:
“The same as the St. John Christians; called the Mendaeans or Sabeans. They designate Christ ‘a false Messiah’ and only recognize John the Baptist, whom they call the ‘great Nazar.’”
A Nazarene, in this case, refers to any person who studies esoterism but does not accept Christ, Iod-Chavah, Chokmah, wisdom. They are told to not draw near to the vineyard, the Garden of a marriage, because only those who were worthy and prepared would receive instructions regarding the Great Arcanum.
Why must outsiders not draw near? Because they are fornicators. Therefore, notice how Turandot ostracizes Calaf by calling him a stranger, an outsider. To approach Turandot, one must be perfectly chaste in thought, word, and deed. One must respond consciously to the three ordeals through meditating on and annihilating the ego.
The first ordeal states: "In the dark night flies a many-hued phantom. It soars and spreads its wings above the gloomy human crowd. The whole world calls to it, the whole world implores it. At dawn the phantom vanishes, to be reborn in every heart. And every night 'tis born anew, and every day it dies."
Calaf provides the correct answer: "Hope!" (א Aleph). Hope, as an aerial quality or characteristic of the psyche, refers to the Spirit, Ruach Elohim or wind of God. א Aleph is Prana, the force of life that animates every atom of our physical and spiritual being.
When conquering this ordeal, the negative aspect of the serpent criticizes Calaf, when Turandot says, “Hope that leaves one disillusioned,” meaning, “you will fall no matter what.”
Why would Turandot say this? It’s because, as we mentioned in our first lecture, the serpent is dual: in heaven she is Kundalini. In hell she is Kundabuffer. Both aspects are represented in the trials.
Turandot continues: "It kindles like a flame, but it is not flame. At times it is a frenzy; it is fever, force, passion! Inertia makes it flag. If you lose heart or die it grows cold, but dream of conquest and it flares up. Its voice you heed in trepidation; it glows like the setting sun!"
Calaf panics, as any initiate does before the terrifying ordeals of the Thirteenth Arcanum. All of us need to radically die to the ego. Therefore, divinity helps us by showing us a sunset in the internal planes, which indicates how the Solar Logos needs us to die to desire.
Liù, who is watching with Timur in the crowd, pronounces: "It is for love!" The heart. Thereafter, Calaf provides the correct answer again: "Blood!" (ש Shin). This shows us how the Divine Soul, Buddhi, Geburah, Liù, always aids Tiphereth, the human soul, in battle against the ego, against the Second Death.
Blood, as a quality of passion, is the flame or fire of Christ. ש Shin is the fire that Moshe (Moses) saw on Mount Horeb, the immaculate Lord who appeared as the burning bush. It is interesting that Christ is love, and in the ordeal relating to ש Shin, Liù proclaims that Calaf is fighting for love.
There are also many interesting astrological correspondences in this scene. Chokmah, the Solar Christ, manifests in Geburah because Geburah is not only governed by Mars, but the Sun. Mars relates to blood and bloodshed, while the Sun relates to splendor, radiance, Christ. Both planets relate to Geburah, since blood “glows like the setting sun” when “in trepidation.” The solar logos, the Christ, ש Shin, must inflame our blood through alchemy.
When conquering this ordeal, the Chorus replies, “Hold on, persist, you answerer of riddles!” Turandot has them hit by the guards, representing how, during the ordeals, the negative serpent fights for dominance within the initiates. As we discussed in Arcanum 9, the serpent of Moses fights the serpents of the Egyptians (the black magicians of Malkuth and Klipoth).
The third and final ordeal sums up the mystery of Initiation: "Ice which gives you fire, and which your fire freezes still more! Lily-white and dark, if it allows you your freedom it makes you a slave. If it accepts you as a slave it makes you a King!"
After doubt, consternation and fear, Calaf triumphs in the ordeals and answers: "Victory is mine! My fire will melt your ice: Turandot!"
Turandot, as ice that burns and fire that freezes, refers to the waters of sexuality, the Mayim (מים) of Yesod. Mayim relates to Miriam, the Virgin Mary, Stella Maris, the Virgin of the Sea. Let us remember the Ninth Sphere of Dante's Inferno, where the lost souls, embedded in the ice of Cocytus, burn with the cold until their complete disintegration through the Second Death. Such is the path of death through the waters in hell. מ Mem, however, as the final ordeal, also contains the mystery of Initiation, for it is through the sexual waters that one dies and is reborn on the solar path, through initiation.
The sexual energies are “lily white” through chastity, as any clairvoyant can see the light of a person’s kidneys, wherein is registered within the internal bodies the level of chastity or lust of an individual. Darkness or animal passion is the blackness of the ego, which darkens the astral and mental bodies of demons, the Lucifers.
Also, if you freely give into fornication, Kali makes you a slave of hell. Become a slave of chastity and the Divine Mother, and you will become free, a Meleck, a twice born, a king of Tiphereth.
Let us also remember that מ Mem is the thirteenth letter of Hebraic Kabbalah and refers to the Thirteenth Arcanum, which contains the very essence this opera.
Notice that the three riddles got progressively harder, from air: the mind, to fire: the heart, to water: our sexuality.
This indicates how the aerial nature of our thoughts, א Aleph, is easiest to control. Thoughts are the slowest aspect of our three-brained machine.
The fires of the emotional brain, ש Shin, are much more difficult, dangerous, because the emotional center is much faster than the intellect. Emotions are very difficult to control, especially when they are strong. However, self-restraint is needed in ordeals and initiation, which is our own life intensely lived with rectitude and love.
The greatest ordeal involves facing our own lust in the motor-instinctive-sexual brain, מ Mem, the most volatile, dangerous, and consequential of the three centers, as portrayed by Calaf’s near defeat and silence during the final riddle. Since the brain of action is quickest, it is the most difficult to control.
In synthesis, these three mother letters of Kabbalah contain the entire work we must perform. These letters also relate once again to IAO:
Of important note are the three wise men at the funereal trials. These are the three magi of Christ’s Nativity. They witness the ordeals and await the moment when Christ will be born within the heart of the initiate, within the Prince Calaf. They represent the black, white, and gold kings: the gradations of mastery amongst the Bodhisattvas. Black kings possess ego, yet they have Christ inside, which makes them solar kings at the beginning level. White kings possess no ego, while gold kings have achieved resurrection within the Sephirah Binah.
The three magi unveil the scrolls, the answers to Turandot’s riddles after Calaf has answered them, because they represent the three magi who approach the birth of Christ within the soul. This occurs at towards the end of this Act.
Moshe, Moses, and Hashem: the Name of God
After answering the three riddles successfully, Calaf has become a twice born, a master of Tiphereth, whereby the crowd congratulates him ecstatically. He has formed the solar bodies in himself and has achieved the Second Birth. Anyone who reaches the Fifth Initiation of Fire is a twice born with the Christ Astral, Christ Mind, and Christ Will.
While Calaf’s victory is rather quick in the opera, the ordeals in actual life take many years of patient work and sufferings. It is said Madame Blavatsky created her solar bodies in ten years with Colonel Olcott, since she worked hard at first as an individual yogini. People with less training beforehand take even longer.
After conquering the ordeals, Turandot is upset. She cries that despite her defeat, she will not marry any man. But why? This indicates to us that Calaf, while becoming victorious in his ordeals to a certain degree, still has ego, and cannot yet attain complete union with the divine.
While Calaf succeeds, Turandot refuses to marry him because he is still impure; he still has ego. People often think that Turandot is stubborn, sexually prudent to deny Calaf, but Kabbalists understand how the Princess Shekinah won’t resurrect within a soul that still has ego.
In terms of Masonry, he is an Adeptus Minor in Tiphereth, not Adeptus Major in Geburah or Adeptus Exemptus in Chesed. To rise higher on the Tree of Life, one needs perfection in mastery on the Second Mountain, the complete death of desire so as to achieve the goal: resurrection.
The Emperor Altoum says that Turandot’s vow to marry is sacred. She still refuses. Her marriage vow is the pact of alchemy, which the Nirvani Buddhas follow at their level. The problem at this point in the opera is that Turandot, Binah, still wants further development, but a choice must be made by the human soul. Calaf, Tiphereth, either will remain in Nirvana and force Turandot to suffer because he is a hasnamuss with the ego very alive, or he will renounce Nirvana and win the love of Turandot by seeking absolute perfection through the complete death of the ego.
Calaf is presented with a choice after completing the riddles. He says he will not force Turandot into his arms unwillingly but sings that he will have her afire with love, once his own impurities are completely dead.
Remember that Venus is love, which astrologically relates to Tiphereth. When Prince Calaf renounces heaven, marriage, he obtains the Venustic Initiation, which is the incarnation of Christ, the Solar Logos, within Tiphereth, since this Sephirah is also governed by the sun.
Only masters who renounce Nirvana to return to Malkuth to help suffering humanity, those who have Bodhichitta: the compassionate mind of unsurpassed enlightenment, who strive to eliminate the ego in its entirety, can become Bodhisattvas, incarnations of Chokmah, wisdom, Christ. This is what Samael Aun Weor referred to as the Direct Path, the path of the Bodhisattvas who eliminate the ego in one life, rather than over the span of countless aeons on the Spiral, Nirvanic Path.
Bodhisattvas work to completely destroy the ego in one life and to achieve resurrection, marriage with Binah: the Holy Spirit, once all impurities are removed from the soul.
Calaf, therefore, renounces Nirvana, marriage with Turandot at his level, and accepts that Turandot denies him now because his ego is still very alive. However, he says he will have her love him and will not force her to do what she does not want.
This is why the crowd says, “You are strong!" because he is taking the Direct Path. Only the strong take this path, which involves tremendous sufferings and hardship, since to fully annihilate the ego is a work of perfection in mastery. Most initiates, once reaching Nirvana, end up taking the easier, Spiral Path, and since such Nirvanis do not eliminate the ego immediately, nor sacrifice themselves out of love for others who suffer in Malkuth, they do not incarnate Christ.
When the crowd says, “You are strong,” they are indicating that Calaf is now Thrice-honored, blessed by the three primary forces that have descended to help him. The three rays of the Sun in Arcanum Nine have descended to aid the Prince, the Hermit of the great mysteries, specifically the incarnation of Chokmah within his heart.
These mysteries are well described in Kabbalah through the symbolism of Moses. Moses in the Bible is a symbol for a psychological principle we must develop, and which is portrayed in this opera. Only a Moshe, a Moses, can take the Direct Path. Moses or משה Moshe literally means “born of water and fire.” He represents our Christic willpower that has the solar bodies created through initiation.
The letter א Aleph can relate to ה Hei, the breath or womb through which one is born, the “hhhhh…” sound. א Aleph or ה Hei is the Solar Mental Body, ש Shin the Solar Astral Body, and מ Mem the Solar Causal Body created in alchemy, which Calaf achieved by answering the riddles.
Combine ה Hei, ש Shin, and מ Mem, and you spell השם Hashem: the Name. This is the sacred appellation of God, יהוה Iod-Chavah, Jehovah, Christ, within Judaism.
The Jews pray to Jehovah as follows: “Baruch Hashem Adonai!” or “Blessed be the Name of the Lord!” Instead of pronouncing the Unutterable Name, Jehovah, they use השם Hashem to reference יהוה Iod-Chavah, Jehovah, which is the sacred name of God in the Sephirah Chokmah: Christ.
Spell השם Hashem backwards, and you make משה Moshe, Moses. Only by forming Moses in ourselves, the solar bodies, can we incarnate Hashem: Christ.
See how everything is beautifully hidden in Kabbalah?
This is well described in Chapter 3 of the Book of John, whereby Jesus describes this process of the Second Birth.
3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born (through the womb of the Divine Mother ה Hei) of water (מ Mem) and the Spirit (ש Shin), he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh (through fornication) is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit (through scientific chastity) is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind (א Aleph) blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit (pneuma, the wind, א Aleph).”
9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”
10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness (through the Major Mysteries), even so must the Son of Man be lifted up (through raising the serpents of light, the Venustic Initiations), 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (through Resurrection). 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (since at the end of Act III, the city of Peking is restored to peace, victory, and harmony). —John 3:3-17
The crowd becomes silent after Calaf’s determination and decision to take the Straight Path of the Bodhisattvas. Surprisingly, this is the moment when the Prince presents Turandot with one riddle that she must answer. If she fails to answer it, she must marry him at dawn. But if she discovers the answer, he will gladly die in the morning hours.
He asks her if she can guess his name. How do you say “the Name” in Hebrew? השם Hashem.
Calaf asks Turandot to guess his name, or the Name: השם Hashem, indicating that he has Christ within him, the Solar Logos. He tells her to guess his secret, his mystery, which is the alchemical genesis of the Son of Man. For just as Calaf raised the serpent of Moses up his spine within the wilderness, he has incarnated Christ in himself, and now the Son of Man, Christ, the Serpents of Light, must be lifted up in his spine through the second half of the First Mountain.
According to Samael Aun Weor, Christ is the Lost Word, lost to humanity, but found and realized by the solar initiates upon the path of alchemy. Calaf is now in possession of the Lost Word, Chokmah, Christ, in his heart. If Turandot, in this case, the negative serpent or Kundabuffer organ, can tempt him, find out his name, his secret, make him fall through fornication, he will die at dawn.
Dawn is a symbol of resurrection, for anyone who incarnates Christ now raises the Serpents of Light and afterward enters the Second Mountain: the work of the complete annihilation of the ego before the dawn of Resurrection.
Prince Calaf was in exile from his kingdom. He was lost, lost the sacred word, his kingdom, his prince hood. But he gains it again when he answers the three riddles in court, he incarnates Christ and becomes the Son of Man. He then asks Turandot to guess his name, the Lost Word, because he is in possession of it.
Before, Prince Calaf told his father Timur not to say his name, because they were in danger. Now that the Prince incarnated the Lost Word, he continues to challenge love (Binah) through possessing Hashem, Iod-Chavah, the Name.
The sacred name of Tiphereth in the world of Atziluth is "Eloha va Daath Iod Hei Vau Hei." This translates as "Goddess of Knowledge," stressing the great relationship between the Human Soul and Binah and Chokmah (Iod-Chavah). The significance of Calaf's name (in Da'ath, the mysteries of Alchemy) will be treated upon in the final Act.
Emperor Altoum, El-Tum, the Being, is Osiris, Jupiter, Father of the Gods, Emperor of the heavenly kingdom of China, Lord of Mount Olympus, the mountain of initiation. With adulation for Calaf, Altoum states, "I hope that with the dawn, I will be able to call you my son." What Son? The Christ, the Son of Man who will rise from the dead and conquer death.
As the Prince and Turandot disperse, the chorus sings of the Emperor's divine glories. The fact that we end this Act with a chorus emphasizes the Verb, the Logos, the Word. Christ has not only entered within Calaf, but the Lord is going to raise the serpents of light within lower seven Sephiroth, represented by the multitudes of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who sing with the sacred Verb to celebrate the divine Emperor.
The opera will now move ahead to the works of Heracles, a symbol of Chokmah, the Solar Logos. As described by Samael Aun Weor in The Three Mountains, Heracles performed twelve labors upon the Mountain of Resurrection , which we will see represented within Act III.
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from The Sufi Path of Self-knowledge, originally given live at the Chicagoland Gnostic Academy:
We are continuing our course on self-knowledge, which we initiated a few weeks ago. We've been discussing in synthesis the nature of spiritual awakening, comprehension, and cognizance of the divine, which is within us, as well as some means and methods for how we can acquire that cognizance, that awakening for ourselves. We were talking about the nature of consciousness, what does it mean to be awakened, what does it mean to be perceptive, and we've explained in synthesis how perception is the root of thought, it is the root of emotion, and it is the root of impulse, instinct, will, desire, etc., and is the very source from which perception springs.
In the spirit of the Gnostic doctrine, which encompasses all religions, we've been explaining this teaching of self-awareness, self-knowledge, how to experience the divine in accordance with the mysticism of the Middle East—to demonstrate that this teaching is more than from the Christian standpoint. We think of gnosis, in terms of scholasticism today as being the study of the Christian gospels that were not canonized. But the Greek word gnosis is knowledge, knowledge that we acquire from experience, and has nothing to do with intellectualism, scholasticism, theorizing, debating. Instead, it's a concrete and factual knowledge of divinity.
We were explaining this teaching in relation to the mysticism of Islam, and Islam in Arabic means submission to God's will. Whether we are Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, etc., we learn to submit to the will of divinity within us by developing that awareness, developing that understanding. Gnosis has been known in different terms in different religions, but amongst the Sufis, the mystics of Islam, they denominate this knowledge Marifah, knowledge, or Haqiqah, which means the truth.
In this lecture, we're going to explain what we need to do in order to develop that awareness further, that knowledge further. It is a spiritual discipline. It is a method. It is based on cause and effect. Spiritual life is based upon the implementation of specific factors, which is why different religions have given different codified rules of conduct, in order to know divinity, whether it's the ten commandments of Judaism, whether it's the ten meritorious or non-meritorious actions of Buddhism, or whether it is the written commandments given in the Qur’an amongst the Muslims and the Sufis, and each tradition has its own specific instructions and conduct of how to discipline the mind.
So in Buddhism, we speak about the need to discipline the mind in order to experience the serenity of no thought, to cease thinking, conceptualizing, preoccupation with the intellect which produces our problems and our sufferings. So the self-knowledge we seek is to train ourselves, to train our minds, train our bodies, our hearts, to know divinity and to understand what within our psyche obscures that divine intelligence, which religions have given different names, whether it is the inner Buddha, (which as we explained, Buddha means awakened one, to be cognizant, to be pristine, to be clear in thought, sentiment in being) or as amongst the Muslims, Allah, which has the Hebrew equivalent El. This is where you get many names of angels, Samael, Michael, Gabriel, etc.
It is that Self we seek to understand. But of course to get there, we need to learn how to implement the appropriate causes to reap the specific effects we seek. As the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition stated (his name is Samael Aun Weor), "Consciousness can only be awakened by upright efforts and conscious works, or conscious works and upright efforts."
We are going explain today specifically the parameters and the difficulties one faces when developing an introspection into the psyche. What are the obstacles we face, and what are some teachings that we can use to train an undisciplined mind to make it a disciplined and peaceful mind? Precisely because our mind, as it currently is, identifies with our daily problems, perhaps having arguments with loved ones, coworkers, conflicts. Any state of suffering indicates and points to causes within our psyche which need to be comprehended. It is by comprehending the source of the conflicts we experience within ourselves, within our interior, that we can obtain the peace of mind and the serenity of a divine and clear mind, one that fully reflects to its fullest potential the heavenly states of being, as we were discussing.
We will reiterate a point we made in our last lecture. We were discussing the nature of consciousness and what it means to be awake, and what it means to be unconscious. Currently as we are, in our preoccupations with our daily struggle, the engagement with work, the many obligations and responsibilities we are subjected to, we state clearly that these in themselves form distractions. How we approach life, how we engage with life is determined by our quality of mind, our state of being. It is impossible to escape from the necessaries of life, but we can change our psychological attitude, how we approach it.
As we were saying, our physical senses may be awake: sight, taste, touch, hearing, feeling, etc. These in themselves indicate a state of physical wakefulness. But in terms of the spiritual potential we have, we state that this potential is asleep. It is not active. It is not fully developed to its potential, which is demonstrated by the Sufi proverb, "He who knows himself knows his Lord." If we were to know ourselves completely, we would know divinity completely, according to the ancient traditions. So, we often speak of the need for awareness, of remembrance of divinity, becoming cognizant of that presence within us.
Specifically, we have the following quote from the scripture we've been quoting extensively in this course, the Risalah, or Principles of Sufism, (or you could say Gnosticism as well, they share the same roots) and this following quote is from a Sufi master by the name of Al-Wasiti. He was asked about the practice of remembrance and said, "It is leaving the enclosed court of unconsciousness for the vast space of contemplation through the power of fearing him and the intensity of loving him."
So again, divinity is not some old man in the clouds, some anthropomorphic figure who distributes lightning bolts upon this anthill of humanity to make us suffer. That god does not exist, which is why Friedrich Nietzsche said, "God is dead," or that Judeo-Christian god is dead, doesn't exist. Instead, the God we're speaking of is a presence, is a force, an intelligence which is within us. As we explained in the story of the allegory of the cave, there is a process by which one escapes from that shackling and conditioning of the mind, of the psyche, of the consciousness in order to experience higher states of unconditionality, of liberation, of freedom from negative psychological states, such as pride, fear, anger, vanity, lust, etc. The seven deadly sins, we could say, according to some traditions.
We are explaining that what we seek to develop is consciousness free from conditions. In a moment of anger, we are conditioned by anger. We see through the object of that desire. We want to fulfill what that desire craves from us. And this, you could say, magnetic pull of forces in ourselves to act in a certain way, in a negative way, demonstrates to us that we don't have full control, that we don't have full knowledge of ourselves, that we are trapped in a given moment by exterior causes and conditions to constantly react to the exterior world in a way that is harmful, that is detrimental for ourselves and for others. When someone criticizes us, perhaps a sentiment of pride emerges, that we feel that we are better than the other person, followed by anger, with the thought, "That person should not have insulted me," followed by another train of thought, "Well, I'll just forget about it. Perhaps that won't affect my job so much."
We constantly go through a chain of associative thinking, of thoughts, feelings, and emotions which pull at us in response to the external world, which in itself demonstrates that we are mechanical, meaning that we are like a machine in which anyone can press any button they wish, say anything they wish, and we will respond according to that wish, according to that impetus. This is why Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet when he was confronted and trying to fool the people of his household who were spying on him, he said, "'Sblood, do you think I'm easier to be played upon than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will. Though you fret me, you cannot play upon me." Meaning, the world is constantly playing its notes upon our psyche. Certain individuals may provoke a response that they seek against our will. We say, "Oh, that person is someone I dislike strongly." The fact that we tend to lack full autonomy in certain situations illustrates that we are mechanical.
If in a moment of anger we can step back from that sentiment, that feeling, and not give into that impulse, that indicates to us that we are controlling and stepping away from that conditioned mind, that negative self, and we are learning to see from a state of objectivity, which in itself creates a serene mind. We want to be serene, peaceful. We want to know God. Anyone who approaches religion wants to know a quality of consciousness that is free from suffering, and the object of these studies is to understand the causes that produce our suffering, and also the suffering of others, and how to change them. We want to free ourselves from this conditioned mind, this tendency to react constantly to life. Instead, we want to learn how to respond in an objective, conscious, peaceable manner, with virtue, with ethical discipline. This brings us to the point of the necessity of training the mind, disciplining that which is conditioned within us.
Discipline of Mind
We have in this image a woman being crowned by an angel and the following poem by the mystic Sufi poet Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi, where he states the importance of this discipline of mind:
“Let's ask God to help us to self-control, for one who lacks it, lacks his grace. The undisciplined person doesn't wrong himself alone, but sets fire to the whole world. Discipline enabled heaven to be filled with light. Discipline enabled the angels to be immaculate and holy. The peacock's plumage is his enemy. The world is the mountain, and each action the shout that echoes back. The discipline and rough treatment are a furnace to extract the silver from the dross.”
What is this peacock's plumage? If we examine our mind, we see that we may entail or contain many elements of pride, a sense of self that feels important, that does not want to be criticized or rejected or ostracized. We are, in spiritual language, that peacock. All of us possess a sense of self-esteem that does not want to be hurt. But it's precisely this subjective egotistical sense of self which is the impetus of our suffering. That plumage, that self-image that we carry in our mind, in our psyche, is our enemy. Instead, we have a different image in the soul that can exist if we know how to develop it, which is the divine, a divine image. But usually we have our own psychological tendencies, such as pride, self-esteem, self-importance, arrogance, etc., that we adorn ourselves with, like the peacock.
And the world is the mountain, and each action the shout that echoes back, meaning cause and effect. There are psychological causes for happiness, and there are also physical causes for happiness and sorrow. Certain actions will produce harmful results. We know this obviously from religion. But psychologically speaking, we have elements that we ignore, sadly, because with the law of cause and effect, our psychological actions, meaning our thoughts, our feelings, our will, have an effect on others, have an effect within ourselves. Usually we tend to think that we exist in this bubble and that we can say what we want, feel what we want, think what we want, and that it won't have any consequence. But all spiritual studies, or better said, all genuine religions teach that we become what we think. Mind precedes phenomena, according to the Buddha in his Dhammapada.
“This discipline and rough treatment are a furnace to extract the silver from the dross.” What is that pure silver that we seek to develop? It is the immaculate nature of the soul that has been removed of all its conditions. The dross is the imperfections that we created, but by implementing a discipline, in putting forth the causes of liberation, we could say, we purify ourselves like a furnace. But for this to happen, we must enter the fires of emotional crises, painful circumstances, so that we confront our own secret ugliness with the express purpose of eliminating our desires, our defects and faults. But of course, I like how Rumi says that it's rough treatment. It's not pleasant to face one's mistakes and to confront them and to want to change them. It takes a strong sense of heroism to want to overcome our causes that produce our suffering.
Levels of Spiritual Instruction and Discipline
So this spiritual discipline has been known in different religions in a certain structure. There are three levels of instruction given throughout Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity, etc. We could say that there are levels of spiritual discipline, levels of work which have been taught in different languages, in different ways, and in this image we have the three levels of instruction, introductory, intermediate, and advanced, in accordance with the Muslim doctrine, but I'm going to give you some other references to show the universality of this.
The introductory teachings have been known as Shariah, the exoteric doctrine of Islam. In Judaism, we call it the body of the doctrine, known as the Torah. Certain scriptures have certain levels of application to our life. And so in Judaism, we say that the Torah is the body of the doctrine, the introduction to the Jewish mysticism. We also have intermediate teaching, which is known as Tariqah in Arabic, meaning the path. This is the mesoteric, or middle way into the heart of religion. And in Judaism, we find this mystical path is known by the Talmud, which is a philosophical discourse on the Torah.
Then likewise, we have an advanced teaching, an advanced discipline, which in Arabic is known as Marifah or Haqiqah, meaning knowledge or truth. This is the esoteric teaching, the hidden teaching—a very high level of discipline we can access if we know how. So, in Judaism, we say that these advance teaching is known as the Zohar, or known by the body of literature in the Kabbalistic tradition by the scripture, Book of Splendors, Zohar.
Buddhism has its own application to this. The introductory level is known as Shravakayana. Shravaka means “listener, he who hears.” Yana means vehicle, or level of instruction or practice. All of us who begin any spiritual studies, we have to hear first. We learn to listen, and then we learn to apply it in our practice and our path, which develops into the intermediate teaching, which is when we're applying this knowledge and making it practical, and where we're getting results, known as Tariqah. In Buddhism, this intermediate path is known as Mahayana, very famous in relation to Tibetan Buddhism. Maha means great. Yana means vehicle. This level of discipline is much more advanced.
In the first level of teaching, introductory discipline, we are seeking to develop our own spirituality for ourselves, meaning: we wish to stop suffering and so we seek to put in place the causes that are going to help to prevent us from suffering further. In this intermediate path, our spirituality and spiritual discipline is based more on helping others. Whereas we benefited our own selves, we developed some equanimity of mind, and then with our spirituality, we seek to help the spirituality of others, or to help others in a positive sense, in any way we are capable. Then with the advanced teaching, it pertains to more expedient methods, known as Tantrayana in Tibetan Buddhism. Tantra is, we could say the diamond vehicle, the superior vehicle, which has practices and methods which are very transcendental, which require a lot of purity of mind to enact.
So there are levels of instruction, levels of discipline we engage with. You could say that in the opening level of Shariah, relates to how we discipline ourselves. How do we curtail negative habits? This word Shariah, of course if we're familiar with the news, has a lot of baggage. In the Middle East, it pertains to punitive laws in relation to Muslim countries. But according to the Sufis, this term, is more internal, specific. It pertains to what are the modes of conduct we engage with to be spiritual. It doesn't mean to follow the certain laws of certain countries. Instead, it means to discipline the mind. That's how the Sufis denominate this teaching.
Then with the intermediate paths, we seek to cultivate our knowledge deeper, in a more profound manner. The thing to remember with these gradations of discipline is we seek to move from a self-centered focus to a focus on others. This doesn't mean the spiritual luminaries of humanity want us to be a teacher or a preacher or to be giving some form of transmission of knowledge in this sense, but instead it could pertain to whatever obligation we are placed with in life, in which divinity places us so that we can better ourselves.
The Divine Law and Reality
Now the Sufis explained these three paths, the introductory, intermediate, and the advanced levels of discipline in the following manner. This is from Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri, where he elaborates on points we made previously.
"The divine law, Shariah, commands one to the duty of servant-hood. The way, Tariqah, or the inner reality, Haqiqah is the contemplation of divine lordship."
And so also in terms of this discipline, with Shariah we are learning to curtail negative habits, followed by the ten commandments or other codes of conduct. Don't lie, don't steal, don't cheat, don't fornicate, don't commit adultery, don't harm others. This is in order to help us to serve divinity in our physical life. But as we explained previously, the inner reality, or that advanced stage of practice is the actual experience of the divine, Haqiqah. Haqq means “truth” in Arabic. And this truth is, we're given the Arabic terms, but this truth is known in different names. It just depends on the tradition you're referring to. And so the Way, reality, Haqiqah, is to contemplate divine lordship, meaning to know and experience the divine. Contemplation, meditation, these are states of consciousness in which one is fully connected with our source in a divine sense.
One thing we will emphasize: the Shariah is the discipline we engage with in our life in order to serve the divine. We could say that this is a form of fear, but not in the egotistical sense. People often talk about fearing God, and of course that phrase has a lot of baggage associated with it, too. We're not talking about fear from some person or to not commit an act because someone told us not to but because we know that the consequences will produce suffering and that we feel that remorse, that sense of conscience that knows that we should not behave in that way. Shariah is to fear God, meaning: to fear the consequences of one's actions, because we are accountable before the divine, and that our actions, depending on how we live, produce happiness or sorrow for others, and we are weighed and evaluated based on that by our own divinity, by our own being, we could say. Going back to the quote from the beginning by Al-Wasiti, the intensity of loving him, the intensity of loving the divine, that is Haqiqah, the path to the truth. That form of discipline in which someone as a master, spiritually speaking, is accessing God all the time and has no forgetfulness. That's a very high level of discipline. In the beginning, we're trying to be mindful, be aware of ourselves, moment by moment, day by day, through self-observation, self-awareness.
When we learn to access those deeper states of concentration, meditation as well as experiencing the divine, we access those higher levels, known as Haqiqah, in which in the beginning we are fearing God, meaning to fear the consequences of our actions, to have a sense of caution, to know that what we do cannot be taken away. Every action has a consequence. But if you wish to overcome the consequences of wrong action, what we do is seek to replace it with a superior action, because a superior law, the divine law above transcends our daily life, and so it can overcome those mistaken actions we engage with. In the beginning, we fear God, and in the end, we love God because we know Him directly.
We also explained the following quote previously:
"Outward religious practice not confirmed by inner reality is not acceptable. Inner reality not anchored by outward religious practice is not acceptable. Divine law brings obligation upon the creation, which is us, the soul, while the way is founded upon the free action or experience of the real. The divine law, Shariah, is that you serve him. The way is that you see him." –Al-Qushayri, Risalah: Principles of Sufism
We mentioned that in order to experience God, we need to implement the methods that are going to give us the results we seek, and that it is not enough just to want to have the experience. We have to practice. Hence of course, in this tradition, the Gnostic tradition, we have many exercises, which we give at the end of each lecture, that you can engage with so that you can come to know divinity directly.
“The divine law is doing what you have been ordered to do. Haqiqah, the truth, is bearing witness to what he has determined and ordained hidden and revealed. I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq (who is the Sufi teacher of this writer, Al-Qushayri) say that in God's saying in the opening book of the Qur’an, iyyāka naʿbudu: “You we worship.” This preserves the outward practice, the divine law. Iyyāka nastaʿīnu: “To you we turn for help,” establishes the inner reality, the way.” –Al-Qushayri, Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So with “you do we worship,” we're putting forth causes to practice, spiritually speaking. And it's by implementing those practices that we can receive that grace. You cannot have one without the other. It is a simple law of cause and effect. In order to know God, we have to learn how to meditate, which is something we'll be building up towards progressively in these lectures.
“So know that religious obligation is a spiritual reality and that it was made necessary by his command. Spiritual reality is a religious obligation and that the realizations of him were also made necessary by his command.” –Al-Qushayri, Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Practice and experience, these have to go hand in hand, and we need to cultivate both. How do we do so? Discipline in a spiritual sense does not necessarily refer to some kind of military exercises or a chore, something that is boring or in a negative sense. Instead, this spiritual discipline is based upon the joy of experiencing the results, or by when we engage with a practice, whether it's a mantra, a sacred sound, or in meditation, we naturally see the benefits of our actions, and that we are more inclined to engage with that discipline. But of course this type of work implies a direction of will, or better said, a re-direction of will. So we need to learn how to develop a spiritual will, a conscious will that does not obey the conditioning of the mind. It is will that is free of conditions. It knows how to act, to respond with equanimity, with serenity, with peace of mind to any situation. This is the foundation, or the beginning of entering the path of spirituality.
Spiritual and Egotistical Will
“Iradah, the will to find God, is the beginning of the path of spiritual travelers, the first title given to those who are determined to reach God Most High. This attribute is only called iradah because will is the preface to every undertaking. When the servant does not will, he does not carry out. Since this is the start of the enterprise of one who travels the path of God Almighty and Glorious, it is called ‘will’ by analogy to the resolution involved at the beginning of everything else.” –Al-Qushayri, Risalah: Principles of Sufism
The word Iradah relates, in Arabic relates to riyadat, which means discipline as well, which we're going be talking about in the next few slides.
As I mentioned to you, we seek to develop willpower free from conditions, a will that does not depend on anger, on fear, on resentment. We say that those negative psychological qualities are desires. They're conflicting wills that always push us to act in contradictory ways. The willpower we seek to develop is one that is free of conditioning and belongs to the divine. But the will we have to access, in order to access this, we have to abandon many habits, many forms of conditions.
In this graphic we have the famous Bacchanalias of Rome, the famous orgies and feasts where people abandon themselves to alcohol and sex, indulging in sensual pleasures at the expense of the soul. This is a symbol for us at least in relation to this lecture of how the mind is constantly addicted to sensations and experiences, wanting to engage with certain habits, certain impulses which, when satiated, only come back more hungry with more force. It is the mistake of pop psychology in this day and age that states that by feeding desire you will reach a type of catharsis, meaning that it is nullified, it is annihilated. People commonly believe that by feeding desire, giving into what you want in an egotistical sense, you will satiate that desire and it will go away. The truth is that by feeding desire, you strengthen it. By feeding that negative will, by giving into anger, we feed that anger. We strengthen that cage, as we were speaking of previously. Instead, we have to learn how to restrain that impulse, which is done precisely through the effort of the pure consciousness, which in Gnostic psychology is known as essence, the essence of the divine.
The Sufis emphasize the following in relation to the type of psychology we need to develop and to abandon:
“Many people talked about the meaning of will, each expressing the extent it has manifested to his heart. Most shaykhs, or teachers, say that will means the abandonment of what has become habitual. What is habitual for people in the vast majority of cases is dwelling in the realms of unconsciousness, basing one's life on the pursuit of the passions, and inclining toward whatever one’s desires call for. The spiritual aspirant is someone who has cast off all this.” –Al-Qushayri, Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So as I mentioned to you, the beginning of accessing real spirituality is overcoming desire.
Question: I feel like this is pressing, when you take it all away, are you truly taking it all away? Because there's something that must be left, especially if the desire comes from somewhere.
Instructor: Good question. The desire is a cage, is a shell, what we call an ego, a sense of “I” or of self. Within that conditioning, within that shell is the consciousness, part of our soul that's trapped. If we want to develop our spirituality, we have to break those cages, and then you liberate the soul like the genie from Aladdin's lamp, which can grant you the wishes of any spiritual wish you long for.
Question: What you're saying is that we've taken the desire to find what's really there?
Instructor: Through comprehension of that defect, that desire, we learn to eliminate them and free the energy that's trapped inside, and that builds more consciousness, which develops our willpower further to accomplish greater spiritual works. But, of course, to do that, we have to overcome the Bacchanalia of the mind, meaning the mind's tendency to want to indulge in sensations and negative habits, whether it be through drinking alcohol to excess, or that desire, that craving for sexuality, of indulging with the impulses of the body, but without any sense of spirituality. We talk extensively about how one can learn to use one's physicality, one's body, one's mind, one's heart, and one's sexuality, one's creative energies in the body in order to develop one's spirituality. This is very well known in Tantric Buddhism, known in writings such as The Perfect Matrimony.
But in this topic, we're talking about how to abandon the conditions in the mind of desire, of trying to feed cravings that can never be satiated. Instead, to develop equanimity and pure serene will, one has to break the cage. But when I talk about willpower, I don't refer to something rigid, something dogmatic, something impulsive. It refers to an effortless state of consciousness that knows how to act appropriately in any given circumstance. That type of willpower, we can taste it if we learn to meditate and awaken our perception.
This type of will was illustrated by Jesus of Nazareth in his Passion. We see here in this image, he's praying in the garden of Gethsemane and he physically demonstrated for us the path of spirituality and spiritual will that we need to fulfill in ourselves. Now this path doesn't mean that we have to live like Jesus, meaning physically how he did. Instead, it pertains to how we apply our psyche, our consciousness to adhere to the values he taught. Here he's praying before his passion, knowing that he's going to be crucified, where he stated, “Thy will be done,” meaning “Father, if it is possible, take this cup of bitterness from me, but not my will but Thine be done.” This is a very powerful teaching about how the disciple who enters this teaching or this path finds that there are many forms of bitterness one has to face in relation to confronting one's own impurities, meaning one's defects. Facing certain situations is very challenging, but this is precisely the purging and the furnace in which the silver is extracted from the dross. He says, "Thy will be done, not mine." It is this trust in the divine will, in which our will obeys the will of divinity, in which we can access true peace and overcome our greatest problems. But every one of us will have his own type of Passion; we could say, ordeals, struggles, challenges which we have to face and conquer.
The Sufis teach the following in relation to the relationship between our will and the divine:
“According to etymology, the disciple is ‘he who possesses will,’ just as the knower is ‘he who possesses knowledge,’ because the word belongs to the class of derived nouns. But in Sufi usage, the disciple is he who possesses no will at all! (Meaning no egotistical will, no self-will, me, myself, mine. It is a will that knows how to obey the divine commandments). Here, one who does not abandon will, (or better said egotistical will) cannot be called a disciple just as linguistically one who does not possess will (meaning conscious will, spiritual will) cannot be called a disciple.” –Al-Qushayri, Risalah: Principles of Sufism
There's this duality there. It's written in a very enigmatic way to confuse people who were not initiated to the teaching. Instead, it's speaking in a very objective sense, meaning if you want to develop real spirituality, you have to abandon all desire, all self-will, the sense of me, my, and access the true self, which is beyond conditions. That was demonstrated by the path of the will of Christ. In this process, we learn to strive against our own impurities, our own mind.
It is through the path of confronting our own defects in which we learn to acquire true peace. This is known as the doctrine of mujahadah in Arabic, which is where you get the word jihad. The word jihad has many negative connotations today, especially on the news. Sadly, this teaching has degenerated. It's been misappropriated, because the real meaning of the word jihad is not holy war, it is striving to mortify the self, to confront the impurities of the psyche and to change them.
Now, Prophet Muhammad was asked by his Companions after they were defending themselves from a group of—I believe it was the Meccans who were trying to kill him, and so rightfully so, he needed to defend himself. The Prophet Muhammad stated, "We are now leaving the lesser holy war to the greater holy war," and the Companions asked, "What, oh Muhammad, is the greater holy war and the lesser holy war?" "The lesser war," he said, "is to defend yourself or to fight in battle, but the greater holy war is to fight against your own desires, your own defects, your own wishes, and really to do the divine will." So, in Arabic there are other words for war, but jihad unfortunately through time has been translated to have that meaning. But jihad means striving to fight against one's own afflictions. This is the basis of spirituality. Confronting and overcoming our own lower self, our conditioned self, and learning to liberate the soul that's trapped in it by comprehending those cages and eliminating them.
So we have the following quote from the Risalah of Qushayri: Principles of Sufism, that elaborates on these points:
"Know that the foundation and rationale of struggle or striving (mujahadah) is to wean the ego from what is familiar to it and to induce it to oppose its desires (passions) at all times."
We explained before the ego is this negative self that says, "Me, my, I must have, I must do, I must act." Of course this term ‘ego’ has become popularized in modern culture, especially from the work of Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, but in Gnostic psychology, ego is not just one sense of self. It is a multiplicity. Every sentiment, every thought, every feeling, every memory can be associated to different defects, different selves, different fragments of consciousness, conditions that have trapped our soul. As a result of our wrong actions in the past, we created these different fragmentations of self, and it is by learning to comprehend these individual defects in which we learn to destroy them, to liberate the soul. And so the ego as we say refers to this pluralized sense of self, this multiple sense of selves. We can say ego is one, as in an ego, but also ego is the whole conglomeration of defects that we have, which is represented in the bible by the story of Jesus exorcising a man who was possessed by demons, in which the man said, "Leave us alone, Jesus," and Jesus said, "Who are you?" And the man said, "I am Legion, for we are many." It's a symbol of the nature of our soul and it's not just a little history of someone in the past, but something psychological.
We say the ego, animal soul, is animal-like because it only seeks to fulfill its own desire, its own impetus. “The ego (animal soul) has two traits that prevent it from good, total preoccupation with cravings, (attraction of pleasure), and refusal of obedience (avoidance of pain and harm).” –Al-Qushayri, Risalah: Principles of Sufism
There's this duality of the mind, meaning craving, aversion; to want to feed desire and then want to run away from pain. These are egotistical tendencies.
From Al-Qushayri’s Risalah: Principles of Sufism:
“When the ego is defined in the pursuit of desire, it must be curbed with the reigns of awe of God,” meaning the remembrance of the divine presence in us. This is self-awareness. “When it stubbornly refuses to conform to God's will it must be steered toward opposing its desires, when it rages in anger [at being opposed], its state should be controlled. No process has a better outcome than the breaking of the power of anger by developing good character traits and by extinguishing its fires by gentleness,” which is why Prophet Muhammad said, "The strongest among you is he who controls his anger." And Samael Aun Weor, the founder of this tradition, the modern Gnostic tradition stated that “kindness is a much more crushing force than anger.” We can heal with compassion. We can disarm an enemy with kindness when it is genuine.
“And if the soul finds sweetness in the wine of arrogance, (meaning an intoxicated psychological state, which is a symbol of not just physical drinking but indulging in desire, indulging in psychological tendencies that are harmful, which make one drunk and unaware of one's self) it will become incapable of anything but showing off its great deeds and preening itself before anyone who will look at it and notice it. It is necessary to break it of this habit, dissolving it with the punishment of humiliation by the means of whatever will make the soul remember its paltry worth, its lowly origin, and its despicable acts.” –Al-Qushayri, Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So humiliation does not mean we flagellate ourselves like certain sects, whether in the Middle East or Europe, as monks in the Middle Ages did. The type of humiliation we speak of is humility, to be humble. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Or better said, blessed are the non-resentful, meaning to not harbor negative sentiment toward any other person, but instead to receive criticism from a state of humility.
It is really in different circumstances in which we are confronted with conflicts that we can attain the most spiritual growth. In a moment where someone criticizes us and we restrain our pride in order to not retaliate with our verb, we in turn can develop humility. We recognize that sense of self that is attached to what this person says or doesn't do, is really ludicrous. “It shouldn't have any hold on me,” we should say. “Instead, this defect is something I need to work against, and in fact the person who criticizes me is doing me a favor and is opening the doors for my spirituality. Therefore I should pay more attention and work on my own sense of self, which wants to constantly react.” And that is how we humiliate the negative self. We don't give it what it wants, don't feed it. And of course when you don't feed a desire, it comes back and it fights and it becomes very hungry, which is why this is a spiritual battle, spiritual conflict, and a spiritual training.
Kabbalah and Self-Discipline
In this graphic we have an image we study extensively in this tradition. This is the Hebraic Tree of Life known in the book of Genesis alongside the Tree of Knowledge. It is a symbol of states of consciousness, levels and qualities of being, from the highest regions of perception above to the lowest level of matter, energy, and perception below. Below we have this sphere of Malkuth which in Hebrew means kingdom. This is our physical body. We're going to explain the nature of this spiritual discipline in relation to this graphic because this graphic can help us understand who we are, where we are, what we need to change, what we need to work against, what we need to work with in relation to the following quote, whereby we study the nature of controlling these animalistic tendencies, animalistic desires which we contain within our subconsciousness and our lower psychological depths.
The following is given by a Sufi master by the name of Hujwiri, in his book Revelation of the Mystery, where he explains how this spiritual discipline is a matter of training the animality of the mind, the instinctiveness, the impulsivity of the mind to always want to satisfy its desires:
"Does not training, riyadat," this is the Persian word for riyadat, the Arabic word for training, "alter the animal qualities of a wild horse and substitute human qualities in their stead so that he will pick up a whip from the ground and give it to his master or will roll a ball with his foot. In the same way, a boy without sense in a foreign race is taught by training to speak Arabic and take a new language in exchange for his mother tongue. And a savage beast is trained to go away when leave is given to it and to come back when it is called, preferring captivity to freedom. Therefore Sahl (a Sufi master he's referring to) and his followers argue." –Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
Mortification, meaning striving or mujahadah, mortification referring to humiliation of the ego, to confront the ego, to work against it, to fight against it, and to mortify it. The word mort is the prefix for the word death, and this word refers to the death of those animalistic desires in order to preserve the life of the spirit within us. Through death we gain to spiritual life, as Francis of Assisi taught in his famous prayer: "It is in dying that we live and inherit everlasting life," he said.
So therefore his followers argue:
"Mortification, striving, mujahadah is just as necessary for the attainment of union with God as diction and composition are necessary for the elucidation of ideas. As one is led to knowledge of the creator by assurance that the universe was created by him, so one is led to union with God by knowledge and mortification of the lower soul." –Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
What is it that we need to mortify? We were talking a lot about willpower. In this tree of life we see at the very center of this graphic, the sphere known as Tiphereth in Hebrew, which means beauty. It can also mean resplendence, splendor. This is the beauty of the soul. This is willpower. And it's the center of the tree of life because this is how we access either the heavenly regions above or how we give into desires below.
Below the sphere of Tiphereth we have what's known as Netzach in Hebrew, meaning “Victory” relating to the mind, to thought, to reasoning. To the left we have this sphere of Hod, in Hebrew means “Glory.” This is our sentimentality, our emotionality, our feelings. Below that we have Yesod, meaning “Foundation.” This is our vitality, our energies: that which gives us strength in the morning when we wake up from sleep, that which allows us to physically exist. It can also refer to the energy responsible for our body for producing our biochemistry, our health, our catabolism, our metabolism, our sexual impulses, the energies that give us life physically, etc. Below that, we have Malkuth, which is our physical body.
Above that sphere of Tiphereth, this willpower, we have the divine spheres. Below that we have what we can call the inferior soul: mind, emotion, vitality, and physicality. These are things that we typically use in a negative manner, meaning whether we have negative thoughts, negative feelings, or we produce negative actions with our physicality, our body. Our willpower is part of our soul above, and we see that Tiphereth is human soul. It is the capacity for genuine spiritual beauty, because beautiful action is as contingent upon this fear of action. So remember that these are spheres of being, of consciousness, but also expressions of matter, energy, and perception. This also refers to different dimensions of nature, because our psyche exists in different dimensions and even physically we see that we may be aware of thought, feeling, and sensation. Sensation of course relates to our body, but thoughts and feelings themselves aren't necessarily physical, but we sense them. These are senses that belong to a different level of consciousness or dimensionality that all mix and penetrate and co-penetrate without confusion here within us, here and now.
This tree is not something outside. It's something inside, something psychological. It refers to dimensions we can access when the physical body is asleep, and we access the world of dreams where we can see these different regions of this tree of a life in a more subtle manner. But this pertains more to our psychology.
Above willpower we have the consciousness, which is divine, the Divine Soul. And then we have Spirit, pertaining to our own inner God, our inner Buddha, our true being. Above that we have this famous trinity known as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Hebrew it is Kether, Chokmah, and Binah: “Crown,” “Wisdom,” and “Understanding” or “Intelligence.” These are forces. These are not physical people as the church teaches. Instead, it pertains to qualities of energy and perception that are very high.
So we have to use our will to control these lower spheres, to control our thoughts, control our feelings, and control our body in order to follow the will of divinity above. Thy will be done—the Spirit and the divine spheres above. Thy will be done on earth, this body, as it is in heaven. It refers to this graphic. We will talk more in depth throughout our courses about the intricacies of this image and different levels and depths of this teaching. But here we're just giving it in a very synthetic way to give you some context.
We see that to strive against one's defects is to enter into contemplation. To contemplate the divine, to meditate on the divine is a matter of comprehension. Comprehension is a profound psychological state in which we access divinity here and now. The Sufis emphasize that if you want to know God you have to fight against your own desires. This doesn't mean to flagellate oneself, to become a morbid person, to become negative, to become melancholic or sad or dejected, because if we look in the mind we see there are elements that are very chaotic and that we don't want, but this is no justification for repression or for a self-flagellating type of attitude, like “I am a bad person and therefore I deserve to suffer.” That is totally not what we're speaking about. That is a negative attitude born from ignorance. On the one hand, there is the craving and aversion. There are two extremes: wanting something and wanting to reject something. These are qualities of mind that we typically swing back and forth between in our daily life which is the pendulum that keeps us hypnotized, keeps us unaware.
On the other hand, consciousness and this striving against oneself is born from a state of peace, of equanimity, of self-awareness that is not impelled or conditioned or manipulated by those different forces. Instead, it's a state of peaceful mind in which we can see clearly, “Oh, this sense of anger is arising in me. I see it and I'm separate from it and therefore I can develop this opposite which is compassion.” Likewise with fear: “Oh, I understand this element of fear is rising in me therefore I'm going to remember my God who is the life of the galaxy, of the cosmos, of the universe. Therefore why should I feel insecure when my own divinity is responsible for the universe? Therefore there's no need for fear.” Then fear is nullified. We comprehend it. We understand the virtues associated or trapped within that vice, you could say. For every vice we have, every defect, there is a virtue we can develop when we extract the soul from that cage.
“Those who strive to the upmost for our sake,” says the Qur’an, “we will guide them into our ways.” (Sura 29, verse 69) Meaning, whoever mortifies himself or strives against his defects will attain to contemplation. “Furthermore, he contends that in as much as the books revealed to the prophets and the sacred law (Shariah, the introductory level instruction), and all the religious ordinances imposed on mankind involve mortification (striving against oneself). They must all be false and vain if mortification was not the cause of contemplation.” –Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
This means if your mind is chaotic, if you sit to relax and observe your mind, to meditate, you find that there are many distractions that emerge, whether they are memories, daydreams, preoccupations, thoughts of what to do later in the day, what happened in the past, any resentments, fears, worries; these are all surging elements that are chaotic. Of course, in the beginning when we observe that fact, many times we become horrified that this state of being is harming us. The truth is we're just becoming aware now for the first time of our daily mindset. One has to be brave and courageous to continue further, meaning to not be dismayed but to have courage and strength in order to face the chaotic mind and in order to confront it, to change it, to achieve equanimity.
It is with a mind that is free of desire, of thinking, of subjective sentimentalism, feeling, etc., in which the lake of the mind can be clear, pure and pristine in order to reflect the starry images and heavens above. Any time we act upon a desire in our mind, or physically, that is like a rock that lands into the lake and causes a ripple. It is like a ripple that disturbs the lake of the mind and becomes agitated. And likewise we need to learn to transform the impressions we receive in life with equanimity and peace of mind, so that that lake does not become agitated. When it's pure and peaceful, calm, serene, then we can reflect heaven above within our psychological interior.
“Again, both in this world and the next, everything is connected with principles and causes. If it is maintained that principles have no causes then there is an end to all law and order. Neither can religious obligations be justified, nor will food be the cause of repletion and clothes the cause of warmth.” –Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
There are two levels of individuals, human beings: those of spiritual discipline and those who have attained those heights of contemplation, which is why the following Sufi master, Abu 'l-Sari Mansur Ibn. 'Ammar said the following:
"All mankind may be reduced to two types. The man who knows himself and whose business is self-mortification, striving, and discipline, and the man who knows his Lord, whose business is to serve and worship and please him. Accordingly, the worship of the former is discipline, riyadat," which of course depends on Iradah, willpower, spiritual will, "while the worship of the latter is sovereignty, riyasat. The former practice is devotion in order that he may attain a higher degree," the former devotion constituting the introductory level. We practice so that we can eventually experience that truth for ourselves, Haqiqah above. "But the latter practices devotion having already attained all. What a vast difference between the two!" –Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
One is the discipline of the mind, and the other is the discipline of sovereignty. A sovereign is a king or a queen of nature: a being that has fully mastered him or herself. And so we have to ask ourselves, are we kings and queens of nature, meaning are we fully masters of our thoughts, feelings, actions, impulses, or are we impelled by them? That's a question we have to ask ourselves in order to develop our spirituality.
Faith, Belief, and Will
We emphasize throughout these teachings that there's a difference between faith and belief. We see that belief in itself is a concept of the mind, is a sentiment of the heart—feeling and thinking that something is true simply based on that feeling and that thinking without having the experience of that truth. Now we have to emphasize in this teaching that the willpower we seek to enact is what develops genuine faith. Faith is not belief. To believe that something is true is a concept of the mind or of the heart, a sentiment of the heart, whereas we say that genuine faith is knowing from experience. You put certain causes and effect and you will reap the result.
Now based on this definition, we have the following quote from The Dayspring of Youth by the Master Morya. He said the following:
"Here we think a note upon faith should be of interest. Initiates (or spiritual masters) say that its meaning has been misunderstood. Faith as the world uses it possesses no spiritual nature. Though in the secondary system it means power and energy applied to action. All success in yoga," yoga meaning from the Sanskrit yug, to unite with the divine, or the Latin, religare, religion, to reunite, it is the same meaning. "All success in yoga comes from this application. For the true quality of faith is a solar force that illumines the mind and attracts to it atoms of power and energy. More human wrecks have resulted from their misconception of this quality than man realizes." –M. The Dayspring of Youth
This means it is not enough just to think that something is true or to feel something is true. Those are subjective qualities of the ego. Instead, faith is conscious experience. We know something is true from fact, what we have verified, what gnosis we have gained. And likewise, it is by applying our will to spiritual practice in which we can strengthen that willpower and attain the genuine heights of spirituality, which is why the apostle James stated the following in chapter 2 of his book, verses 14 to 17:
"What doth it profit, my brethren, if someone sayeth he hath faith, but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother and sister is naked and destitute of daily food and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace and be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself if it does not have works is dead."
Now to conclude this lecture, we'll end with a certain practice you can use to develop spiritual will and develop genuine faith. This is known as the Runic yoga in the Gnostic tradition. The Nordic alphabet is an ancient letter system that implies a very deep yogic practice. Positioning the body in certain postures in order to sing prayer and mantras in order to invoke spiritual energies or in this case in this exercise we have for today, this is known as the Rune Dorn, in order to develop spiritual willpower, or we could say Christ's will. Christ is not just Jesus, but the energy he incarnated, the higher three spheres on the Tree of Life we talked about, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, that tri-unity, that tri-force, which can enter into us when we are prepared.
With this exercise we learn to inoculate our psyche, our body with those high forces, those energies. What you do is you stand with your feet together facing the east when the sun rises. So as soon as you get up from bed, face the east, put your left hand on your left side, your right hand on your right hip, and you pronounce the following mantras: Ta, Te, Ti, To, Tu. Each vowel is prolonged. The sacred sounds when you prolong them and make them vibrate in your body, they activate the glands. They invoke spiritual energies which will invigorate your will and help you to fight against that conditionality and negativity of the psyche.
Simply, this image refers to and looks like a hammer. It is the hammer of Dorn, the God Dorn in Nordic mythology, the God Thor, unfortunately mimicked in Marvel Comics now, but this is a symbol of superior willpower. When you pronounce those mantras prolonged, taaaaaaaaaaa, teeeeeeeeeeee, tiiiiiiiiiii, tooooooo, tuuuuuuuuuu, prolonging each vowel with your full breath inhale, pronounce one of those vowels completely until your lungs are exhausted and then likewise with the next vowel, with ta, te, ti, to, tu.
That activates certain energetic centers in the body, in the psyche known as chakras in Hinduism to activate spiritual faculties. That is how we can strengthen our willpower and give you energy to apply to your spiritual life. If you find that you're sluggish mentally, emotionally, physically, even if you get enough sleep, this is a very powerful practice that invokes those forces, especially if you get up very early in the morning, like five or six, whenever the sun rises, and praying to the divine, you can place your hands on your heart. We do this in the Sufi style or the Egyptian style, right hand over your left over your heart, and whatever words you have naturally, pray to the divine. Say, "My Lord, please grant me spiritual strength in my work in order to fill my heart and soul with peace and with energy." Then do the mantras, like this, the vowels. This is the Runic language or the Runic yoga, which we'll be giving courses about in the future.
Question: So we say each of those with one breath?
Instructor: It is “Ta,” one breath, and then the next, “Te,” another breath, and so on with the rest of the vowels. And focus when you mantralize. When you pronounce those sounds, feel the vibration of the vowel in your own mantralization, and focus on the energies that it provokes, and you'll find that it really will, especially if you practice in the morning, when it is good to get up very early and the energies are very conducive to meditate and to pray. This is why the Qur’an teaches the recitation at dawn, how beautiful is that to get up in the morning to pray and to seek remembrance of the divine. It's very powerful. And simply you can do this for ten minutes, you could do it for 30. For however long you feel.
Question: It should be done in the morning?
Instructor: It can be done in the morning. It's good, better in the morning, but you can do it in the evening too as well, at night. But it is best in morning hours, which are always more conducive for spiritual practice. This develops Christ's will, the will of Christ, the will of the divine in us as it is in heaven.
Question: You were discussing how we need to break our mechanical reactivity to life, for example, "If in a moment of anger we can step back from that sentiment, that feeling, and not give into that impulse, that indicates to us that we are controlling and stepping away from that conditioned mind, that negative self, and we are learning to see from a state of objectivity, which in itself creates a serene mind." Similarly, Gurdjieff often writes about the necessity for a man to engage in an internal struggle against his mechanicity; without struggle, there is no possibility to develop autonomy.
In my own practice, I get a bit tripped up over this point. Firstly, still being very much asleep, it is difficult to discern if the internal struggle is positive or egotistical. I have a personal tendency toward repression/depression, so while I appear to have considerable restraint at times, I find in meditation that this is often motivated by fear of doing something wrong more than spiritual discipline. I can avoid performing a harmful behavior yet blind myself to the desire provoking it.
It seems like at the beginning of our spiritual work, before we have cultivated sufficient psychological equilibrium, we just have to make effort to restrain any will because it is likely selfish desire. However, if this leads to repression, we won't see the unconscious desires that are causing our suffering. Do we need such a strong force of renunciation just to push ourselves to start on the path? How can we aim for the right balance at the beginning?
Instructor: Samael Aun Weor explained the following that can help elucidate this topic for you:
"To experience the Truth is fundamental. It is not by means of exertion that we can experience the Truth. The Truth is not the result; the Truth is not the product of exertion. The Truth comes to us by means of profound comprehension. We need to exert ourselves in order to work in the Great Work and to transmute our creative energies. We need to exert ourselves to live, to struggle and to tread the path of Integral Revolution, but we do not need to exert ourselves in order to comprehend the Truth." -Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
Comprehension takes no effort. It happens when we are observing our psychological states and do not expect anything. We simply see the psychological processes of the mind for what they are, without exertion (justification or morbidity / repression).
When the Sufis speak of striving, they refer to the meditative path of serenity as taught within Buddhism, the nine stages of shamatha. It takes great effort in the beginning to restrain the mind from harmful impulses and to concentrate oneself, yet this effort becomes effortless as we become acclimated to and familiar with such states the further one develops serenity.
You can measure how well you are striving against the mind in relation to how much you comprehend in yourself. Are you understanding the causes of suffering more? Are your psychological states more profound and serene? Do you learn to respond to the unpleasant manifestations of your fellow men and women with equanimity and compassion? Or are you stuck in the battle of the antitheses, reacting to life without comprehension or intuition?
The ego of shame can be a difficult obstacle to overcome, whereby we see our faults and make the error of reacting egotistically to what we perceive. The solution is to comprehend what shame is, which is inverted pride, the self that takes pride in, “I am a bad person!” It sounds funny, but when you observe this ego, this is how it functions. It thinks it knows what is bad, but it’s just reactionary. It’s a “Gnostic” ego that thinks it is doing the work and which everyone mistakenly creates when on this path.
The solution is to develop remorse, which is a conscious quality that recognizes the insignificance of our individual person before the majesty of divinity. Remorse is also the voice of conscience, the beauty and dignity of the human soul: Tiphereth. This occurs by seeing, by observing the process of thought and emotion involved in such a negative state such as shame, without labeling, hiding, or pushing it away.
When we comprehend shame, we feel great surprise, a shock of inspiration, since this is the dynamic expression, conscious shock, or intimate realization of our soul that perceives what we are and why we were suffering. We also perceive the beauty of our own soul by recognizing our errors, a recognition which should produce happiness, since “A discovered defect is a dead defect.” While it’s painful to see the reality of our mind, when self-observation and comprehension is profound, we develop joyful perseverance and beautiful action, because with comprehension of any ego in meditation, we also perceive and can understand the virtues trapped in it.
Renunciation is developed the more we comprehend the causes of suffering and no longer go back on behaviors that we know are negative. This always strengthens the consciousness the more we face and overcome trials and temptations.
We find balance through consistency of practice, by meditating daily on what we perceive in ourselves. We learn from joyfully receiving the unpleasant impressions of our fellow man and learning to act from compassion and awareness in the precise moments when we are on fire, tested and burned by circumstances. We learn through failing many times and struggling, reflecting on our behaviors, and making better choices when ordeals repeat, so that with time and experience, we perceive that we no longer suffer or make others suffer, but respond to difficult conditions with serenity and insight.
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