This is a transcription of an audio lecture from The Sufi Path of Self-knowledge, originally given live at the Chicagoland Gnostic Academy:
"Know the truth and the truth shall set you free," stated Jesus of Nazareth, the Patriarch of the Gnostic Church, the great Master Aberamentho, according to his sacred name.
This is the final lecture in a course we initiated a few weeks past, discussing the nature of Sufism and Gnostic doctrine, how to know ourselves, how to know that which is within us that is divine. We seek to comprehend through practical works the very essence of our divinity within us, within our consciousness, and which we denominate the Being. Many names have been given to that truth, that source, that origin from which the soul emanates. No matter what name we denominate that truth, whether it is Allah, Buddha, Christ, Tao, INRI, etc., that divinity is within us, and which specifically in the Gnostic teachings we call the Being. To be, to know as a conscious quality.
So we've been explaining the gradual steps that lead to that realization of the Being, of the truth. It is by practical works, learning to understand ourselves, our mind, and the obstacles within us that prevent our illumination, that we seek to comprehend how to change. We seek to comprehend the causes of our suffering and the obscurations to that light of that divinity within us.
In the spirit of universality, we've been explaining the teachings according to Islam, which in Arabic is submission to God's will, and the Sufi doctrine, especially the mystics of Islam. Sufis are as much the mystics of Islam as the Kabbalists are the mystics of Judaism. In this lecture, we'll explain many aspects of this path in association with the Tree of Life of Kabbalah, the map of the consciousness. Likewise, we will examine many elements pertaining to the mystical teachings of Islam, the esoteric doctrine.
We state that we seek to know the divinity and the Muslims speak of witnessing the divine as the Shahada, the famous declaration of faith, which states, "La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadun rasul-ul-llah." Meaning, "There is no God but God, and Muhammad is His prophet." The word witnessing is Shahada, to bear testimony, to verify what one has known or experienced. Now, the Muslim teachings of Shahada, which is followed by many millions of people today, is merely the public doctrine; to say that where there is no God but God, and Muhammad is His prophet, is easy to vocalize, to affirm. The word Shahada in Arabic relates to the word Mushahada, which means contemplation, meditation, insight, comprehension of the truth.
It is precisely by learning to meditate, go deep within our mind, our psyche, in which we know the truth for ourselves. We witness the divine through very concrete living experiences, known as gnosis. This word gnosis is Greek, meaning knowledge, signifying conscious experience. It is not associated with theory or belief, or scriptural knowledge, although those are useful in their place. Instead, gnosis, or the Arabic equivalent, marifah, is the direct knowledge of the divine, the truth. It is not by believing in anything that we will know that divinity. Instead, know truth and the truth shall set you free.
The founder of the modern Gnostic tradition, Samael Aun Weor, stated that, "The truth is the unknowable from moment to moment." When Jesus was asked, "What is the truth?" before Pilate, he remained silent. When asking the Buddha, "What is the truth?" he simply walked away.
Many people have spoken about the truth, whether through scripture, books, lectures, etc. In these studies, however, we seek to be practical. We seek to know that truth for ourselves, to know the divine within us moment by moment, the unknowable presence which is within our consciousness, within our psyche. For our purposes, we'll talk about scriptures pertaining to Islam, especially in relation to knowledge of God, knowledge of that truth, that source, which cannot be labeled, but can be verified. There is a famous commentator, Abd al-Karim al-Jili, who commented on a scripture or a writing by a Sufi master by the name of Ibn Arabi: his book Journey to the Lord of Power. He stated that “The journey to God is short; the journey in God is infinite.”
There are levels of being, levels of knowing, levels of cognizance, which we want to access here and now. Previously, we discussed the nature or the doctrine of momentariness, to be aware of our psyche moment by moment, and to be aware of the divine as a presence, as a force, and an intelligence, which we accomplish through observing our psyche, observing our mind, observing our heart, observing our body. That active observation is attention, an act of directed consciousness or directed will, directed attention within us. By learning to develop that alert novelty, alert perception, that awareness of ourselves, instant to instant, moment by moment, we in turn gain access to the truth, that direct knowledge.
Of course there are infinite levels of consciousness. The 14th Dalai Lama stated that really the consciousness has the capacity to expand to an infinite degree. This is very well is illustrated in many religious paintings where you see the heavens or the angels circling the throne of divinity and taking their pilgrimage towards that light, that source. That's the famous meaning of Hajj in Islam, the pilgrimage which we're going to discuss in brief in this lecture.
God is the unknowable, the truth. As it says on the Quran surah 6, verse 91, “God the Most High said, ‘They honor not God with the honor due Him,’” according to the scripture of Al-Risalah, the Sufi teaching by the famous master Qushayri who lived in Persia or Iran. He stated the following: “According to the commentary, this means they do not know God as He deserves to be known.” Likewise, Surah Ta Ha, verse 110, "He knows that which is before them and that which is behind them, and they encompass Him not in knowledge," which is similar to Surah 2. This is Al-Baqarah, the Surah, The Cow, verse 285: "He knows that which is before them and that which is behind them, and they encompass nothing of His knowledge except what He wills."
The truth can only come to us when the divine expresses of His will, of Her will within us, and we must learn to access that state by cooperating as a psyche, as a soul, as a consciousness. In order to attain that state, we must learn to be humble psychologically. Previously, we discussed in our lecture on the code of ethics, spiritual discipline, the need to train the mind, to not behave in negative ways, to not indulge in negative habits, and to destroy and comprehend those psychological causes within us that create conflict. Because, as the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition, Samael Aun Weor, stated, "Be humble in order to attain enlightenment. Thus after attaining it, be more humble still."
Humility is not an attitude. It is a psychological way of being in which we comprehend how our own sense of self, we can say egotism, egos, qualities, defects, vices, errors, whatever name we want to give them—these in themselves are obscuring the full manifestation of our divine potential, and we want to remove those shadows within our psyche, those causes of suffering such as anger, pride, fear, et cetera. By removing those conditions, those cages of the mind, we liberate soul. We liberate consciousness and then we can truly ascend to the heights of the divine. As the Book of Isaiah states, "Every valley shall be exalted, every mountain and the hill made low. The crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain." Meaning, it is a psychological work. Our own sense of egotism, our own negative sense of self must be conquered in order for the divine self, the Being, the truth to manifest.
Now, there is some interesting commentary just to elaborate on this point about asceticism or spiritual poverty given by, again this writer, Ibn Arabi, from his Futuhat Makkiyyah, which is The Meccan Revelations, a very extensive scripture. He commented that the first caliph, Abu Bakr, was reported to have said, "The inability to comprehend God is comprehension itself." Then, this point is that if we feel that we have a certain level of knowledge, we must understand there's always something higher, something beyond that which we must access.
As the Sufis state, the greatest position to follow is poverty, not physical poverty or austerities, but, psychologically speaking, we fast to our habits. We cease to feed our negative elements, our desires. Instead, we develop conscious qualities. We seek to overcome the conditions of our mind. There was one Sufi, I believe, who stated that a third of the stomach should be filled with food, while the other two thirds be filled with fasting and the Qur’an. While some people may take the symbolic language of the Sufis literally, symbolically-speaking, we must be in remembrance of divinity through meditation, scriptural study, profound comprehension…
There's a very famous teaching given in the Surah Ta Ha, verse 114, where Prophet Muhammad was taught by his inner Being, his divinity. He said, "Be not in haste with the Qur’an before its revelation is completed for thee, but say, ‘My Lord, increase me in knowledge!’" We must increase that knowledge, seek to understand what in us prevents us for accessing that, and to thereby deny our own selves, conditions, desires, through the art or path of consciousness, self-awareness, mindfulness.
The Three Levels of Religion
In next graphic, we have the three levels of religion. We find the three levels of religion in any doctrine, any teaching, since religious instruction or esoteric instruction is always given in three tiers. We have what is known as the introductory level, the intermediate level, and the esoteric level. All religions have a gradation of instruction, of teaching, and of discipline, in which we train ourselves to be more open and receptive to the influence of the divine.
In Islam, they call the first introductory level Shariah, which of course has a lot of negative connotation today. In esoteric studies, Shariah does not refer to the punitive or harsh laws of Muslim countries. Shariah is really in its heart is the practical conduct we engaged with to train ourselves—to not be angry people, to not have fear, to not have pride, to not have desire or lust, to not commit adultery, to not steal, to not take intoxicants, to not cause harm, to not lie. These are basic laws given in Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and whatever religion we study, since each has this code according to the idiosyncrasy of the culture it was delivered.
Beyond that, after we've established ourselves with mind training, we can enter into the mesoteric level, the intermediate steps, which is Tariqah. The last lecture we gave was on divine love, which is the path of Tariqah. It is the path of selfless service in which our spirituality is not based on ourselves, but for others. Meaning: we work on our own sense of egotism so that we can develop compassion for those who suffer and those who are ignorant. In this selfless path, we overcome the conditioning of the mind. We train ourselves so that we do not cause harm to others with our speech, our thoughts, our words, etc. Instead, we want to overcome the conditioning of our psyche so that our divinity can really help us to create religion, which is in Latin, religare, in one sense to reunite such as in a congregation or group, to unite people through divine law.
In Islam, the word “religion” is often called din in Arabic. Din more specifically refers to “judgment,” which is etymologically related with “custom, way, or affair.” Din refers to our conduct, our behavior, in how we curtail negative psychological states and eliminate them through inner judgment and comprehension in meditation. Din also has a strong relationship to the word dayn, which means “debt.” Truly, all of us are in debt before the divine law and must learn to pay our debts through conscious works, good deeds.
Lastly, we have Marifah and Haqiqah which is knowledge and truth. This is the highest teachings of any religion and is the topic of today's lecture. Now, with Marifah (knowledge) and Haqiqah (truth), these have been associated with the highest teachings of any tradition—the secret doctrine, whether in theosophy or the Fourth Way schools, and in Gnosticism. The secret of the divine path, Marifah and Haqiqah, knowledge and truth, pertains to the practices of what is known in Arabic as Allah-kimiya', alchemy.
Alchemy was associated traditionally with the transformation or transmutations of metals, a base substance into a pure substance, which many people in Europe were foolishly seeking to literally perform, to transform physical lead into gold, but that is not the meaning. The meaning is transforming the lead or the personality into the gold of the spirit, into the spirit of the divine, the truth. Alchemy is known as Tantra in the East, but the word alchemy also, Al-Kimiya, signifies chemistry (we have the similar origins or the root word). Kimiya also means to fuse or cast to metal. With the practices of a perfect matrimony or the perfect matrimony, the exercises of tantrism, man and woman in a marriage can unite to create spiritually and therefor fuse with the divine through the chemistry of God.
I will talk about the specifics of this, but something important to remember with these three stages is that, according to Ibn Arabi, the law of Shariah can be summarized with the following maxim: "What is yours is yours and what is mine is mine." There's a sense of separation. Meaning, we work individually as practitioners for ourselves, for our benefit, to serve God within us. In a path of Tariqah, "What is yours is mine and what is mine is yours," referring to selfless love, a state of compassion. In the level of Marifah, “Nothing belongs to you or me,” according to Ibn Arabi. Then with the knowledge of Haqiqah, the truth, "There is no you or me. There is only Him, the divine."
These are stages of discipline we train ourselves in and, of course, in the beginning we work with Shariah. In Buddhism, this is known as Shravakayana, the Shravaka path. Shravaka in Sanskrit means “to listen, to hear,” and Yana means “the way or path.” Anyone who learns for the first time how to change is a Shravaka, is a listener, to hear the truth and to practice it, and we will give more examples of this in relation to the intricate science of certainty according to the Quran.
With the middle path, the mesoteric path, we find in Tariqah, its equivalent is Mahayana, the greater vehicle: Maha, meaning great, in which our work is for others. We are not concerned with our own personal well-being, but we work to help others develop spiritually, and we overcome our own egos, our own senses of self, which create conflict.
In the highest path, Marifah and Haqiqah, is known as Tantrayana in Buddhism, especially Tibetan Buddhism. In this Tibetan Buddhist teaching, Tantra is the vehicle of a matrimony where a man and woman, in the pure sentiment and inspiration of the divine, can cultivate their marriage as a means of experiencing the truth and working with the most potent forces we carry within our physiology, and also our psychology, as we will elaborate upon.
Now, an important thing to remember is that with these steps, these are not something separate. Neither are they something that will go from one step up, a plateau, so to speak. Really Shariah, Tariqah, Marifah, Haqiqah unite; they are integral, meaning: one cannot know the truth without fulfilling the basic conduct of spirituality, meaning: to be good person, to be decent, to be humble and to help others. Likewise, we cannot know divine love if we are selfish, egotistically, psychologically speaking. All of us who begin any type of spiritual studies have to work on or become aware of what particular issues we have and change them so that we can really develop compassion for humanity and for its suffering.
Now, there has been a teaching, and there have been some people who have wanted to associate with higher stages of teaching, such as people who proclaim to have spiritual knowledge or to know the truth, but they fail to fulfill the basic conduct of being a decent human being. There is a very famous teaching and I believe it's given by Ibn Arabi as well. In his scripture Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom, he explains that there were people who saw a man flying in the air, and they were overcome by this phenomenon. They were very fascinated, obviously. Ibn Arabi asked, "Does that man follow the Qur’an?" Meaning, does he follow the scripture? Does he know how to be a decent person, to be kind, to not be lustful, to not be angry, to not have fear, because if he does not fulfill those laws, then ignore him. Because there are people who can have powers and abilities, but through desire, egotism, which is a different path than we teach. Here, we seek to give all of our aspirations to God who has power, who has capability and we as the human vehicle can be of service to that, not for our own will.
Dhikr, Remembrance of the Divine Self
So, what is the path we need to follow? Really, it is mindfulness, it is awareness and it cannot be emphasized enough. You need to be perceptive psychologically. In the doctrine of Islam, they refer to remembrance of God as dhikr. We talk about in these studies in relation to self-knowledge, the studies or the practice of Self-remembering, self-observation. What is the self we seek to remember? It is the divine Self. In Hinduism, they refer to it as Atman, the inner divinity, but we also want to become aware of our own egotistical self through the act of observing our mind, our heart and our body, our impulses, our desires, our instincts. Truly, to know the truth, we have to begin at this level and to be aware of our body, aware of our mind, aware of our sentiments.
For as Dhul-Nun al-Misri, the Egyptian, very famous Sufi master stated the following, "The key to success and worship lies in meditative reflection (fikrat). Whoever persists in such reflection in the heart will behold the invisible realm and the spirit. Whoever contemplates God for keeping watch over the thoughts which pass through his heart will be exalted by God in all of his outward deeds."
Again, we can refer to the three stages of religion even in this very brief quote which compacts a lot, meaning that whosoever contemplates God, who practices mushahida, witnesses God, understanding and knowing that God keeps watch over the thoughts that pass through his heart. This is the exercises of Shariah, to discipline our mind, to be aware of ourselves, to not act in inappropriate way according to the moment. Likewise, by doing so, one will be exalted by God, which is Haqq, the truth, Haqiqah. One of the sacred names of Allah in Islam is Al-Haqq, the Truth, which is where we get Haqiqah. It is in controlling our mind in which we will be exalted by the truth in all of our outward deeds, according to the path of Tariqah, one's actions.
What does it meant to worship God? All religions have their own idiosyncrasies. We have our own methods and practices in this teaching as well, but one thing that's pertinent to all traditions is the deep connection of the heart to the divine, in which we seek to really only worship that which is true within us and not that which is false. It says in Surah Ta Ha, verses 98-99, “Your only God is God besides whom there is no other God. He encompasses all things and knowledge. Thus do we narrate unto thee some of the accounts of those who have come before (such as Moses and the other prophets) and we have given thee a reminder from our presence.” “The Reminder” is another name for the Qur’an, the Recitation, the teaching.
So, there is no God but God. The Muslims make a very strict observance of worshipping only the divine, and they call worship of idols shirk, or to worship God as something multiple. This has a very interesting psychological application to us, because in a given moment, if we are mindful, we will perceive elements that seek to grab our energy, our attention. In a moment of anger, we want to speak harm, and if we give in to that element, if we give in to those words and we express that negative emotion, we are worshiping an idol. We are worshiping a psychological quality that is other than God. That condition of anger is a shell that has trapped the light of God within us and we need to learn to extirpate that from our psyche, to liberate the free consciousness, the free essence, the soul. Anytime we give into fear, other egos, other qualities, conditions of mind, and we identify ourselves with those elements, we are practicing shirk. That is a form of worship, because our love of being is how we worship God or how we turn away from him.
The unity of God is very famous in Islam, the doctrine is called Tawhid, the unity of the Truth, because that light is universal, it is cosmic, whatever name we give to that. Within us, we have sadly, unfortunately, due to mistaken habits and will, wrong action, we have taken the light of the divine within us and caged it in what we call our pride, our fear, our anger, vanity, etc. These are conditions that we created that trap that light, and by breaking those shells, we free the genie from Aladdin's lamp as we were discussing previously. Truly, we need to remember the presence of the divine. That presence in Arabic is hudur which is where we get the word muhadara which means awareness of God. So self-observation, self-awareness, remembrance of God is the act of controlling our mind and remembering the qualities of the divine which is virtue, compassion, peace, etc.
This psychological quality is beyond the intellect. Knowledge of the truth is beyond conceptualization, rationalization, etc. While we can gain knowledge or we can study this teaching and study any religion in an intellectual sense, it does not equate with the actual experience of that divinity. For as the Sufi Lāhījī stated, "One cannot behold God by the eye of ratiocination derived from reason for only through the eye of the heart which is known as the faculty of inner vision can one behold God."
Likewise, he emphasizes the path of Shariah, the discipline, the conduct we need to know the truth.
“As long as you do not focus this eye (meaning this perception, this self-awareness, self-observation) so as to sharpen its vision with the collyrium of asceticism, spiritual conduct, purgation of the soul, purification of the heart, illumination of the spirit, you will be unable to witness the Friend's beauty and contemplation.”
People associate that term ‘asceticism’ with monks in sackcloth whipping themselves in a form of self-flagellation and very morbid behavior, and that is not something we encourage. Instead, we teach to discipline our mind. Asceticism can be practiced in an esoteric sense, not physical austerities, but mental psychological training in our daily life and our daily occupation. It does not mean we have to go to a monastery or Sufi lodge to learn to meditate. Instead, we learn to meditate in whatever circumstance we find ourselves in and that is our discipline, our conduct.
“The Friend” is the divine. The Sufis used this term for God, for the Being and contemplation again is mushahida, to witness God, whether through meditative experience or in the dream state, when one awakens in dreams to know that which is the truth, directly, with cognizance.
The Perfect Human Being
“All the masters of the Path are in accordance that this reality can be realized only through the guidance of a perfect man who knows and contemplates God.” There have been many perfect men and women, many great masters and prophets and really, when we study ourselves and study esotericism, we should always rely on the prophets, beings like Jesus, like Buddha, like Muhammad, Krishna, those beings who fully exemplify the light of the divine and whose conduct has been tested and verified as true. We should not rely on theories or uncertain sources but our own experience and the scripture or the scriptures.
So what is an example of a perfect man? We find Muhammad, who of course, sadly, today is terribly denigrated and misunderstood. It is the effort of these lectures to help elucidate the spiritual roots and esoteric meaning behind his teaching, his doctrine. So we are going to talk about what he symbolizes for us, what he represents, because the perfect men and women, the prophets who came previously, in their very daily acts of kindness and expression and their discipline, came to symbolize a path we need to follow.
There are many interesting things we can learn from the life of Prophet Muhammad which are symbolic for us and which he purposely played out, taking on a role to teach us something profound about ourselves. The Sufis emphasize that really, he is a great master, a very radical teacher and of course, all radical masters are very controversial, but if we look at the Hadith and examine the scriptures of the Quran from our own experience, we can verify the beauty of that teaching.
“The outer law, Shariah, is my word,” he said. “The spiritual path, Tariqah, my actions, and the inner reality, Haqiqah, my inner states.”
Whether in Islam or Buddhism, any master exemplifies and manifest those three paths simultaneously, in every action. The Buddha manifested Shravakayana, Mahayana, Tantrayana. Moses fulfilled the body, soul and spirit of his doctrine. Moses wrote the Torah but other scriptures associated with the higher teaching such as the Talmud related to the middle path, and then the Zohar is the esoteric doctrine of Israel. The Freemasons followed the paths of the Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master. So again, these levels of religion are levels of being but also levels of instruction as we mentioned. Certain scriptures pertain to each degree.
As we discuss previously, these three paths have a correlation to our three centers of activity. We have mind, we have emotion, we have movement. We can say we have three focal points, we call them “brains,” and a brain in esoteric psychology does not refer to the physical matter in the cerebrum. Instead, it pertains to a center of activity, physiological and psychological, which manages energies. Thought is a form of energy. Emotion is a form of energy, and will, desire, instinct, impulse, movement is another form. We must learn to comprehend these levels in ourselves, our own psychology, as a whole. Really, our heart relates to our words. How we feel, we express through our language. Likewise, our actions refer to the center of movement, and our inner reality is experienced when our mind is enlightened, when our consciousness is illuminated by harnessing those energies of Tantra which we will discuss.
The Sufis really emphasize the integral nature of this master and something we should follow in our own practice. The following was given by the book Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri. “If someone requires of himself the conduct prescribed by the divine command (Shariah), God will illuminate his heart with the light of realization (Haqiqah). There is no station nobler than the station of following the beloved (or in Arabic it is al-Mustafa, the beloved of God who is Prophet Muhammad) in the orders he gave (Shariah), the actions he took (Tariqah), and the character he possessed (Haqiqah).”
Let us examine what he represents for us because his life is something symbolic and any figure in the Bible or the Quran who physically lived came to demonstrate something psychological for us, which is evident by looking at some of the etymology of Arabic and Hebrew.
Kabbalah and Sufi Mysticism
This is an image of the Kabbalah, the famous mystical Tree of Life, symbol of the highest levels of consciousness, which descend through different levels of dimensionality down to the physical plane and into more dense regions of matter, energy and perception. In discussing psychology, we use this glyph. It is a map of consciousness. It is also map of the universe and the different dimensions we can experience in a meditation or in the dream state. In Islam, heaven is known Jannat or Jannah, and Buddhism talks about Nirvana. Likewise, we have different terms for heaven in different cultures and that is really referring to this Tree of Life. These are higher levels of being that we can access if we learn to meditate.
A very important sphere in this glyph is at the very center; we have included the title, Tiphereth, with the Hebrew letters included. Tiphereth means beauty. It is the very center of this Tree of Life, and to explain Tiphereth, we will elaborate on this glyph in its entirety. Notice that there are three trinities included here. The top trinity is referring to the highest forces in nature which the Gnostics called Christ, Chrestos, the anointed one. These three spheres refer to Father, Son, Holy Spirit in Christianity. Kether, Chokmah, Binah in Kabbalah, or Crown, Wisdom, Understanding. These are forces; these are not people. This is why in Islam, they strictly reject the trinity, because the Christians at that time were literally worshipping the trinity as three people, and that is wrong. The truth is that these are energies. It is one force, one light, one intelligence which can manifest in diverse ways. We call it Christ or the First, Second and Third Logos in Gnostic terms, in Greek terms.
Below that, we have on the right, the Spirit, known as Chesed in Hebrew meaning Mercy. In the Qur’an, when it says, Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim, “In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful,” it is referring to that spiritual quality known as Chesed, which is Mercy. The word Rahman relates to Hebrew Ruach, which means wind, breath, spirit, which is within us. To the left of that we have Geburah which is the Divine Soul, divine consciousness, which is not stained with impurity, and does not enter conditionality.
Now, below that is Tiphereth, human will, Human Soul, that is really where we originate from. Our soul, our essence, our consciousness emanates from this middle sphere and really, when the soul is fully developed, it is beauty. It is pure and Tiphereth can also mean splendor, radiance, light.
When we work with self-observation, we are working with this willpower to be controlling the lower aspects of our psychology. This unconditioned will, Tiphereth must conquer and control the lower spheres. You see here Netzach, which is the mind, intellect, thought. To the left of that, we have Hod, emotions, the heart. Below that, we have the Yesod, which is energy, vitality, sexual power which is used in tantric practice in a marriage in order to illuminate the other spheres ascending upward. Below that, we have Malkuth which is the physical body. It means “Kingdom.”
Our willpower has to control mind, feeling, body, movement. That is the nature of Tiphereth and in us, it is undeveloped, but when we learn to observe ourselves and break the conditioning of the mind, we liberate more willpower. We free it. What is interesting about Tiphereth is that if you take this image and put it on a human being, the Kether at the top trinity relates to the head, the middle trinity relates to the heart and the lower trinity or quaternary including Malkuth related to the sexual organs and feet. Now, Tiphereth of course is associated with the heart especially in Islamic mysticism.
As we find in the Hadith, the Muslim oral tradition, a very famous saying by Prophet Muhammad which emphasizes this point, the importance of developing Tiphereth. We will highlight for you the examples of how he is associated with that sphere of being, that he represents, Tiphereth. “There is an organ in the body that if it is righteous ensures that the whole system will be righteous and if it is corrupt, the whole body will become corrupt. This organ is the heart. There is a polish for everything that takes away rust, and the polish for the heart is the Dhikr, the remembrance of Allah.”
Arabic Kabbalah, the Abjad System, and the Sacred Kaaba
The word for heart in Arabic is Qalb, and what is interesting about Arabic and Hebrew is that each letter represents a number. Kabbalah is the science of numbers, mathematics, which are divine. The universe is governed by math, and God is a mathematician. He works with the laws of nature and manifests them and operates them. Each Arabic letter, each Hebrew letter, has a symbol associated with a certain psychological and spiritual archetype, a blueprint for a soul that we need to develop. In the abjad system which is the Arabic Kabbalah, how you add numbers together produces very interesting associations. The same with Hebrew.
The word قلب Qalb is made up of ق Qaf, ل Lam, ب Ba, respectively, with numerical values of 100, 30 and 2, respectively. In Hebrew, this is ק Quf, ל Lamed, ב Beth. When you add those numbers together, you get 132. If you take number the 1, add it to 32, 32 + 1, you get 33, a very interesting number in relation to the science of masonry in Europe. Also, likewise, you look at the name Muhammad, you break it down, م Mim, ح Ha, م Mim, م Mim, د Dal, respectively is 40 + 8 + 40 + 40 + 4 which is 132. Again, add 1 + 32 is 33. Masonry speaks often of the symbol of the 33 degrees of a master, which symbolizes the 33 degrees or vertebrae of our spine, our spinal column. Our spinal column is where the light of the divine can manifest.
We talked previously about how, through the exercises of Tantra, a couple can raise the creative energies of sex up the spine to the brain in order to illuminate it, so the images of the prophets having halos is a symbol of having raised the creative energies of God from sex to the brain, up the spine. Someone who has successfully raised that Kundalini serpent force to the mind and is filled with fire in their intellect is a master of the 33rd degree, having fulfilled each step of that terrain, that path up the spinal medulla.
Now, Muhammad represents this as we will examine in the story of his ascension and we will talk about that next. But what is interesting is that the word תִפאֶרֶת Tiphereth hides and implies a lot, and a very interesting symbolism. Each letter as we said is a representation of a quality. The letter ת Tav, the final letter of the Hebraic alphabet, this 22nd letter, can mean “seal, truth, cross, path, covenant.” Notice that the word תִפאֶרֶת Tiphereth begins and ends with ת Tav.
Muhammad is often cited as the Seal of the Prophets, the Seal of the Truth, as given in the Quran, Surah 33, verse 40, Al-Ahzab. “Muhammad is not the father of any of your men but he is the messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets and Allah has full knowledge of all things.” Seal of the Prophets is khatim an-nabiyyin, and most Muslims associate this as meaning that he is the last of the major prophets to come teach humanity. But really, in a strict esoteric sense, seal of the truth, seal of the prophets is Tiphereth, because it begins with ת Tav and ends with ת Tav, “truth, seal.” If you are familiar with Tibetan Buddhism, we have Dzogchen, which is the great perfection or Mahamudra, the “Great Seal.” It is the same meaning. Buddhism is implicit within that name תִפאֶרֶת Tiphereth.
Notice also in the middle of this word if going from right to left because Hebrew's right to left: ת Tav, פ Peh, א Aleph, ר Resh and ת Tav. ת Tav begins and ends this word, and at the center of this phrase is the word אר Or: א Aleph, ר Resh. Or if you add the letter ו Vav in the center, it is אוֹר Aur, א Aleph, ו Vav, ר Resh, signifying light as the book of Genesis states, “Let there be light and there was light,” Yehi va aur vayehi aur. אוֹר Aur means light, and it is at the center of this word. If you add the letter ו Vav, the sixth letter of Hebrew alphabet, it spells “light” in the center.
ו Vav is direct representation of the spine. You take the letter ו Vav as a straight line; it represents the spinal column. That is how the light emerges from our creative forces to the brain and illuminates us and gives us genuine beauty, spiritually speaking. תִפאֶרֶת Tiphereth is beautiful, meaning splendor, light, radiance. If you add ו Vav in the center, you can see that it has light within it, and then the heart is enlivened, is saturated with those cosmic forces when a couple practices alchemy. Now, again, תִפאֶרֶת Tiphereth is truth seal, seal of truth, the heart, قلب Qalb, or the heart in Arabic. Many interesting parallels that really point with great emphasis that Muhammad is Tiphereth and represents for us, our willpower, the beauty of the soul we need to cultivate.
In Islam, in relation to this topic, Muslims pray to the east, towards Mecca, the sacred stone Kaaba. To discuss Marifah, the highest knowledge of esotericism, the Muslims symbolize the secret teachings of alchemy, of a marriage, within the stone. The Kaaba in Mecca relates to the Kabbalah, if you relate to the Hebrew. Kaaba in Spanish is La Kaaba, take La and put it at the end, and you spell Kabbalah. Likewise, you spell “the cow” in Spanish, la vaca, which is the same root word for the word Baqarah, the longest Surah of the Quran, “The Cow,” emphasizing that there is really a great profound mystery there.
So Muslims pray to the east towards the Kaaba, the sacred stone that was established originally by Adam and Eve in Islamic myth, and became impure or blackened as a result of the impurity of the psyche. All of this deserves analysis, since the wisdom of the middle east bears profound symbolism. The stone, this energy, this foundation of our temple, our Kaaba, spiritually speaking, has become impure and refers to our energies. It is the forces upon which we exist physically, but also spiritually. These energies have been corrupted by desire, by lust.
The Kaaba is prayed towards five times a day. Muslims pray toward the Kaaba daily and the direction in which one prays is called قِـبْـلَـة Qibla. Again, you hear the word قلب Qalb, heart, implied there, and also, قِـبْـلَـة Qibla, Kabbalah. Kabbalah in Hebrew simply means “to receive.” It is knowledge that we receive consciously from God. It is not limited to what we read, but something we verify for ourselves. The Kaaba, the stone, is a symbol of the energies we carry in our body, which if we use for spirituality, can elevate us to the divine, to enliven our heart and awaken our consciousness.
In Arabic Kabbalah, ق Qaf can signify the powers of the head, ل Lam the powers of speech, and ب Ba the House of God, Bayṫ Allāh, the Kaaba or stone of Yesod, whereby divine forces coagulate. Through controlling our mind, our ق Qaf, through mantras, sacred sounds through the power of ل Lam, the tongue, we invoke divinity into our house of God, our heart, ب Ba. Even the Arabic letter ب Ba appears, in its calligraphy, like a cup, chalice, or receptacle that receives the solar, divine forces. All of this signifies how divinity descends through prayer and recitation into the temple of the spirit, our heart.
This is why the Sufi master Bayazid Bistami stated the following, “When you are separate from the Kaaba, it is all right to turn toward it, but those who are in it can turn toward any direction they wish.” This is a very radical statement from a Muslim, considering that this is very important to perform the canonical prayer Salat. The meaning of that is that if you know the symbolic meaning of the Kaaba and if you work with your stone, the creative sexual energy, the creative power, it does not matter what direction you pray. Instead, you learn to direct those forces from the base of the spine to the brain and into the heart. That is how you receive knowledge, Kabbalah within your emotional center, within قلب Qalb, the heart in Arabic. Likewise, as I mentioned, it does not matter what direction you pray but when you know the قِـبْـلَـة Qibla, you know how to redirect those forces within you, you are praying to the east symbolically, since in the Tree of Life, the east is Tiphereth, astrologically related to the sun when it rises. Your قِـبْـلَـة Qibla, your direction to which you pray is within you. Through alchemy, you raise the powers of Yesod to the east, up to the mind and then to the heart. This is very well-explained in Kabbalah.
We mentioned in the previous lecture on divine love how the symbol of Islam, the crescent moon and the star, is a symbol of how we transform the moon of our psyche into the sun of the Spirit. The star Venus, the star of love, Venus-Aphrodite, is “beauty” in Greek, and she is the divine feminine within us, the serpentine power called Kundalini, which is asleep in us in the base of our spine, according to Hinduism, Hindu anatomy, Hindu occult anatomy.
The sexual stone hides within it the energy of Kundalini in the base of the spine, and the stone is called the Yesod in Kabbalah, the foundation of our temple, because how we use our energy determines our spiritual life. If we waste our energy, we cannot function, but if we conserve our forces and become hermetically sealed, psychologically speaking, we do not identify with life so much and do not waste our mental, physical or emotional energy, we will become much happier and elevated.
How we use this energy of the creative power in us, the sexual power is that serpentine force that can raise us spiritually. Another interesting thing about this stone of Kaaba, is reported in pre-Islamic myth that there was a serpent sleeping at the base of this temple, of the stone, within the Kaaba itself in the earth. It is representing for us that creative power of the Divine Mother is in that stone. Many people are familiar with tantric yoga, raising the Kundalini force through sexual union up the spine to the brain. The stone is a very symbolic thing which we are going to elaborate with the myth or the teachings of Muhammad's ascension.
The Ascension of the Prophet
The very famous teaching of Muhammad is that he was meditating at Mecca, meaning, he was asleep and reflecting on his inner divinity while near the Kaaba itself. He became drowsy (emphasizing for us that in meditation, we become sleepy physically but consciously, we are alert, we are aware, we are vigilant). At that point, he encountered a mystical creature called Al-Buraq. It is an animal with the body of a mule, the tail of a peacock and the face of a woman, which he rode upon towards Jerusalem in a few moments and afterward, he ascended the seven heavens mentioned in Islam. The Tree of Life of Kabbalah represents nine heavens but you can also say seven dimensions, so the Muslims and the mystics of Israel are in agreement.
But how did he ascend towards those higher levels of being up those different steps of the Tree of Life? Precisely through working with the stone in Mecca.
If you look at the Arabic root of the name البراق Al-Buraq, it means “the lightning,” lightning bolt, and if you translate that into Sanskrit, it is Vajra. Vajra is a lightning bolt that the gods or the Buddhas wield, or Zeus wields to destroy the impure. That lightning is the creative Kundalini force of the spine that can help you to ascend up the heavens, the seven heavens or seven chakras of the spinal medulla up to the crown in order to connect you with the divine.
The name البراق Al-Buraq contains the word Ur, the Arabic نور Nur, or “light” of chastity. Remove Ur from Buraq, and you are left with Baq, the root of the term Baqarah, the sacred Heifer or Cow within the Qur’an, a symbol of the Divine Mother.
You find the name Buraq of course of our current president, but it also is a Muslim name and it relates to the Hebrew Barak in the book of Judges chapter 5, verse 12, which explains the exploits of the prophetess Debora or Deborah who was a judge of Israel fighting against the Philistines. Again, she represents something psychological, how our own consciousness needs to wage war against the infidels, which are not outside of us, but in us, our own fear, pride, worries, anxieties, hate, lust. These are infidels. These are something we need to be strict and to fight against consciously. It does not mean to go to war against someone else for their religion.
Now, it says in the book of Judges, “Awake, awake, Deborah, awake, awake. Utter a song. Arise Barak and lead thy captivity captive, the son of Abinoam.” They were persecuted by Sisera and his armies, the Philistine armies, in which Deborah led a great war in the Bible against her enemies and the enemies of Israel.
Again, Israel is not, in the Bible, representing the people of the Middle East, neither the Philistines. These are just symbolic representations. The names hide a lot of meaning. Israel is from Isis, the Egyptian goddess, the Divine Mother, Ra, Osiris-Ra and El in Hebrew which means God. The people of Israel are all the parts of our soul that are trapped in all the discursive psychological elements we carry within, which produces our suffering, and that which we call ego, negativity, self, infidels, defects which we have to fight against, those qualities that trap the divine light. Deborah is the judge of Israel, meaning she judges herself in meditation, that quality in us that helps to judge ourselves in which we combat those enemies to God, those unbelievers, so to speak.
It says, “Arise Barak.” Barak, Buraq, “the lightning, arise from the base of my spine to my brain and then to my heart up that mountain range to illuminate my psyche,” in which Barak is that sword, that fire that emerges when we work with sacred sound, with mantras. The word Deborah in Hebrew comes from Dabar, which means “word, to speak, to pronounce.” The letter ה Hei which is the H sound at the end. You put it to the front of her name, it is Ha-dabar, the Word. “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was of God and the Word was God.” When a couple unite sexually, they can pronounce sacred mantras and awaken that fire that we will send up the spinal column to the brain and is that sword that will help us fight against the evil ones within us. Again, the word sword is the letter S, the vowel S (we say it is a vowel in an esoteric studies). The letter S, if you pronounce it as a mantra, ssssssssssssssss, is the power to awaken that creative power. It is a fire, it is the sound of a serpent, serpentine fire of Kundalini that rises within the spine. That is the sword, S + Word, which we can awaken within us.
It says, “Awake, awake Deborah, awake. Utter a song,” meaning: pronounce mantras when you are with your wife or your husband in order to awaken that fire and to fight against the enemies of God which are within us.
So, Prophet Muhammad represents that, the qualities of the heart that help to raise those forces and to wage difficult wars against the lower selves, the nafs, egos.
One thing I will mention about again is the people of the Philistines. Literal people, of course, associate the scriptures as a history book, which is not the case. It is a symbolic text. You look at the word Philistine and it has many interesting relationships to the Greek language. You can say that the term Philistine sounds like Phila, Philadelphia, which is a Greek work meaning from Philos, “to love,” or Phileo, “to love,” and Adelphos, which means “brother.” Likewise, Philistine, if you break it down into Greek can mean Phile-Hestia, which means “tribe of the hearth” or “lover of the hearth,” someone who loves the fireplace.
This is an interesting symbol. It really refers to those egos, demonic qualities within the psyche which love evil, love to do harmful things, who love the fires of lust, to use our creative energies in the negative way. Yesod is the stone where the fire of life emerges physically and spiritually. Those who love the hearth, the Philistines, signifies any person who loves that energy but in the wrong way. They like to abuse that power through lust, through fornication specifically, or adultery. They like to get burned by that energy, to not conserve it and use it for God. So, these are the Philistines, those who love those egos, those devil qualities within the psyche, the conditioning of the mind. Likewise, the people of Israel must really liberate all the parts of God, all the qualities and particles of the soul that are trapped in suffering.
What we will mention is that to raise those energies, we must specifically work with meditation, which is allegorized in the Ascension of the Prophet. Muhammad's ascension represents at once how work with that power but also how to meditate, because he was contemplating God at the stone of Mecca. Then, in a sleepy state, he accessed that Samadhi, ecstasy, Satori, whatever word you want to give to it: a profound mystical state devoid of any subjectivity or limitation.
Sufis explained what we need to do to acquire that in Al-Qushayri’s Principles of Sufism. He states the following: “In general, it is to the measure of one’s alienation from one’s own ego that one attains direct knowledge of one’s Lord… I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, ‘One of the tokens of the gnosis of God is the achievement of deep awe and reverence for God. If someone’s realization increases, his awe increases.’ And I heard him say, ‘Gnosis requires stillness of heart, just as learning requires outward quiet. If someone’s gnosis increases, his tranquility increases.’”
We emphasize meditation as the science in which we learn to understand the root causes of our suffering by using those energies for our spirituality.
Selflessness and the Unity of God
In this graphic, we also include the Tree of Life. I want to emphasize the need to change. This Tree of Life is God, we could say, in His totality, the Being in all the levels of consciousness, from the highest to the lowest. We, of course, are in Malkuth, the bottom, this physical sphere, but we are still part of God, that needs to obey and to submit in Islam or to bow to the will of divinity. We do so by comprehending and striving against our own defects.
To understand mystical experience, the truth, we must overcome our conditioned mind, because, it is that sense of self which blocks us from accessing that mystical experience. As Abu Sa'id stated the following, “Wherever the delusion of your selfhood appears—there’s hell. Wherever ‘you’ aren't—that's heaven.” Sense of self, selfhood, is ego. That's really our hell, our suffering. That is the opposite of the bliss, selflessness, virtue, and ecstasy of God.
Bayazid Bistami also stated the following, in relation to this quote: “I came out of Bayazid-ness as a snake from its skin. Then I looked. I saw that lover, Beloved, and love are one, because in that state of unification all can be one.”
This Tree of Life, we represent as different modalities of consciousness, of being, but they are one tree. Just as we look at a physical tree, it has many branches. It is really one integral living being. Likewise, this Tree of Life and its many parts is really one whole. There's no demarcation between this teaching and the doctrine of Tawhid in Islam, because within God, all is one, but He manifests in different ways so that we can access him and gain knowledge. Of course, when Bayazid says, “I came out of my skin like a snake,” he is talking about the shell of our terrestrial personality to express that creative divine potential, the kundalini serpent, shedding the impurities of the mind in order to elevate those forces within us.
What do we need to do? We need to seek. As the book of Matthew, chapter 7, verses 7-8 states, “Ask and it shall be given to you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh, recieveth, and he that seeketh, findeth, and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.”
Sufis have a very similar parallel about this quest for self-knowledge, of knowing the divine. This quote goes towards the explanation of the three levels of religion that we discussed. “Search for what you are asked about in the sanctuary of knowledge, Shariah,” meaning, the books and audio lectures or whatever scripture you have an affinity toward to study, let that be your sanctuary where you study divine wisdom. It is also the conduct we need to develop in order to experience the divine.
“If you do not find it there, then in the battlefield of wisdom,” is the path of Tariqah which, again, in Arabic, is the path of Mujahida, which is striving, or the path of jihad, path of war against the enemies of Israel, the ego, our negative sense of self. “If you still do not find it, weigh it with the unity,” Haqiqah, the truth, which you find when the body is in silence, in which the soul escapes from its material conditioning, its material shell, and ascends that Tree of Life that we are viewing. If it is not to be found in any of these places; if you're searching for the knowledge of the truth in yourself and if you don't find it in the books; if you don't find it in your daily life and your actions; if you don't find it in the highest levels of spirituality, in the unity, it says, “If you haven't found it in any of these places, strike Satan in the face with it.”
This has to do with verification of teaching. We may read about a doctrine, study it, be very devout Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, etc., but it doesn't mean that we've experienced God, the truth. We need to learn how to experiment, to test our knowledge of ourselves with scripture, and if we don't find it there, within our daily actions, then we must reject our methods. Then, seek the knowledge in the truth and the experience of the divine. If we are very attached to, maybe, a certain quality of ours or a belief, if we don't find that verified in anything we have read, experienced, whether in our daily life or in meditation, then strike Satan in the face with it. Meaning, you got to be very strict with your analysis. Meaning, do not believe or disbelieve anything, but experiment, verify.
Buddha said, "Do not take my word or face value or because you have respect for me. Instead, test my words like gold." Scratch it. Burn it. Do what you will with it in order to verify that it is what it is. Likewise, anything we seek to verify, we should test it in accordance with these three levels of religion: Shariah or conduct, religious scripture; Tariqah, our actions, our daily life; and Haqiqah, the Samadhi experience, where we are united with the truth. We don't need to really conceptualize so much. We simply know, have the experience. If it is not found in any of those places, well, discard it. It is not true. That which is true is what you have verified, not what you believe, since it never leaves your heart. It is eternal. Now, to experience that, again, we emphasize mindfulness.
Self-Remembrance, Spiritual Practice, and the Present Moment
In this image, we have a man performing adhan, the call to prayer in Islam, in which they pray five times a day, which is a beautiful discipline, if done consciously, with awareness, representing the need to be vigilant psychologically, moment by moment. In Gnosis, we seek to pray more than five times a day. We seek to pray every moment. For this, Sufis also teach the same thing. "The greatest form of prayer is watchfulness of the moments," is what one of the Sufis we quoted, stated. We need to awaken consciousness to be aware of ourselves, to remember the presence of the divine, hudur.
There are steps and grades to how we contemplate the divine. Probably, one of the most important quotes from this Scripture we've been citing, Al-Risalah, is the following, "Al-Jurayri said that, whoever does not establish awe of duty and vigilance in his relationship to God will not arrive at disclosure of the unseen or contemplation, mushahida, of the divine."
Awe of duty means, to have reverence for one's practices, one's discipline. To meditate 10 minutes a day, 20 minutes, an hour, to mantralize, to pronounce sacred sounds or mantras, etc. daily. Whatever discipline we engage with, we must feel that awe in reverence of the divine in that act and make it consistent. Because if we don't practice one day, we practice every other day, we are not establishing awe of duty, which is a responsibility of the soul to work for God, for the Being. In that way, if one does not establish that, one cannot arrive at disclosure, meaning, the tearing of the veil, the experience, to perceive God directly, to witness the divine. That is in essence of contemplation, mushahida.
Again, when we have experienced that, when we have tasted that, we in turn can orient ourselves in our daily life and guide ourselves to know how to live appropriately. Whatever problems we face, whatever difficulties or challenges we experience, the Being can solve that, will arrange the means for us to comprehend what in us produces our suffering and how can we eliminate that, and also, how we can resolve difficulties in life. It is by accessing this witnessing of God or practicing the shahida or mushahida, contemplation and meditation, in which we truly realize that there is no “I,” there is no me, there is no self, there is only Him.
Ibn Karbala'i stated the following:
“When the seeker realizes the station of contemplation (mushāhida), which is witnessing God’s Essence comprehending and encompassing all phenomena,” meaning, this whole Tree of Life. He is really in all aspects of this graphic, whether from the highest or the lowest. We are part of him but we are in the densest sphere. We have to learn how to ascend, to go up.
“Does not your Lord suffice, since He is witness over all things?” (41:53) When someone fulfills this precept, meaning, remembering God in our mind, our heart, our body, we then witness Him and He through us.
“He continually witnesses lights from the mundus invisibilis.” This is a reference to how in meditation, people who are remembering God may experience lights, clairvoyant images, experiences, whether in the dream state or when the physical body is at rest, when we are concentrating on God.
“From such a mystic’s perspective, this world and the hereafter are one and the same. This can only be realized by a vision that is all heart and spirit, not a view bound by mere mud and mire.” What is this mud and mire? These are our own afflictions which we need to conquer.
The vision of the heart and spirit is the work of Tiphereth, the Human Soul, that unconditioned will that can free the rest of the consciousness. It is the symbol of the knight saving the maiden from the dragon, which is in us. That maiden is our divine consciousness, Geburah. The Human Soul is the warrior, the spiritual fighter, the human soul that must work to be married with his Guinevere, so Lancelot with Guinevere, the marriage of the two souls. Arthur of course, is the king, the Spirit whom we have to work with.
The Science of Certainty in Meditation
Now, we discuss in the Qur’an, the nature of developing certainty of the truth and knowing the truth. Many asked Prophet Muhammad and complained to him that they cannot experience the divine, that they do not know the divine. They do not know the unknowable. This is emphasized in Al-Baqarah, surah 2, verse 118: “Those who have no knowledge (Marifah),” or you could say ilm in Arabic as well. “‘Why does not Allah speak to us or come to us a sign?’ So said those who are before them, [words] similar to what they say? Alike are their hearts. We have certainly made the signs clear for people who have certainty.”
What does it mean to be certain? To verify. To know. That is the essence of Gnosis, of Marifah, spiritual knowledge.
You could say that there are three degrees of knowledge as well, or three degrees of certainty in Arabic. You have ilm al-yaqin. Yaqin means “certainty.” Ilm al-yaqin means, the “certainty of knowledge.” You have ayn al-yaqin, the “perception of knowledge.” You have haqq al-yaqin, the “truth of knowledge.” Now, with the knowledge of certainty or certainty of knowledge, you could say, one receives that by studying scripture, by receiving a lecture, from hearing a talk or reading a book. We gain a certain level of certainty, intellectually speaking, where we feel, “This sounds right. I can verify this. I feel confident with this.”
The next step is ayn al-yaqin. Ayn in Arabic or in Hebrew means eyes to perceive. It is what we consciously verify, what we consciously experience. Meaning, our soul is free of conditioning; we perceive beyond the mind, the intellect, and whether through an astral projection, out of body experience, or meditative experience, we come to verify something spiritual.
Then, haqq al-yaqin is the truth of knowledge, or truth of certainty. That is when the soul fully unites with God and is one with the truth in which there is no “I,” there is only Him. The famous Sufi, Mansur Al-Hallaj, was executed by the Orthodox Muslims for saying, “Ana al-Haqq, I am the Truth,” which of course is blasphemous to them, considering that he was saying, "I am God." A way to remember it, it was not Mansur who was saying that. It was God in him. Of course, the orthodoxy had him executed, tortured.
Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I Am.” Meaning, Christ, through him, was speaking. God, through him, was speaking. When we have that level of certainty, it is because the soul is fully one with God. One perceives as God, temporarily liberated from the conditions of the mind. Of course, one thing is to temporarily experience that, another thing is to make that permanent. In order to permanently be in that state, we have to remove all conditions, and that is a long process, a path we have to follow.
These three levels of certainty are emphasized in the Quran, Surah 102, “The Rivalry.” “Rivalry in vainglory distracted you until you visited the even graves. No indeed! Soon you will know! Again, no indeed! Soon you will know. No indeed! Were you to have knowledge of certainty, you would surely see hell.” Again, hell is, we mentioned, not just a place. It is a psychological quality. It is not a place of brimstone and fire. Those are symbols of how, in a moment of anger, we are consumed by hate, by fear, by pride. These qualities make us vibrate at a very low level of being, and make us suffer, make others suffer. That is what it means to be consumed by hellfire, the ego, you could say, our negative psyche.
“Again, you will surely see it with the eye of certainty. Then that day you will surely be questioned concerning the blessing.” Then, the truth of certainty is represented in Haqaa, “The Inevitable.” Again, Haqaa, that which is “inevitable,” is Haqiqa, the Truth. This etymology signifies that we will inevitably have to come to speak to our inner Being and make account of our actions.
“Indeed, it is a reminder for the God-weary. Indeed, we know that there are some among you who deny it, and indeed, it will be a matter of regret for the faithless.” It does not mean people who just believe in a doctrine, but people who do not want to change, psychologically speaking, who do not know the divine. “It is indeed certain truth, so celebrate the name of your Lord, All Supreme.”
The Sufis emphasized this doctrine of certainty with the following quote:
“Knowledge does not come about except by the prior fulfillment of its conditions. That is, one must examine things in a pertinent and relevant way.” Meaning, to meditate, to experiment and verify, to test it, to not either believe it or disbelieve it, but to be neutral and to work with these exercises and to see the results and to know for ourselves what is true, what is not.
“Then, when hints of the divine become continuous and clear, demonstrative evidence has been obtained, the perceiver, through the succession of lights and his deep reflection upon them, becomes seemingly independent of the consideration of proof.”
Again, these lights are experiences we can have in meditation, or when the body is at rest, the soul enters the dream world. In that state, we can awaken our consciousness and speak face-to-face with the heavenly beings. In that way, there is no intercessor, we simply know, from that state on that Tree of Life, those heavens; we verify the nature of heaven, those qualities, those levels of being.
“It becomes seemingly independent of the consideration of proof.” Meaning, the more we verify, the less we need to read. Then, we simply know that the truth of the matter and from our conscious experience, or conscious work. Of course, we are Shravakas. We have to study and learn the teachings and the techniques so that we can ascend up those levels of path.
What is a real Gnostic, an arif in Arabic? It is somebody who fully manifests God. People in these studies, we could say, are aspirants. We aspire to know the truth and to fulfill it. The Sufis emphasized these qualities in relation to the constitution of someone who really knows God, someone who has fulfilled Ma'rifah and has manifested Haqiqah, the truth.
“The Gnostic is purified of base characteristics and the disasters of his nature. He stands patiently at the door of God and remains secluded in his heart.” –Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
To stand at the door, as we see in this image, is the definition of a dervish, so the Sufi, the whirling dervishes, darvish, are those who stand at the door. In Arabic, it starts with the letter د Dal, or you could say ד Daleth in Hebrew: those who stand at the doorway of knowledge. The mystics of Judaism refer to Ma'rifah as Da'ath, the mystical creative knowledge of Tantra.
“He enjoys the good graces of God and corroborates him in all of his states. He has cut off the whims of his own self. He does not permit a thought in his heart that would summon to other than God. He becomes a stranger to the creation and is liberated from the catastrophes of his ego. He is cleansed of attachments and distractions and, in his secret being, is always conversing with God Most High. His every glance returns to God Most High.” –Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
This reminds me of a Sufi poem by Mansur Al-Hallaj. He says, “O, my eyes, O, my blinks, my stares,” referring to God, that God sees through him and guides him in his actions. Which is why, I believe it is in the Hadith, the Muslim oral tradition, where prophet Muhammad stated that, “The one who loves Him,” or his God speaking through him, “For the one who loves me, I become his eyes, his ears, his sight, his taste,” and the soul is immersed within that being, beingness.
“Therefore, the truth inspires him with the intuition of his secrets, the secrets of the course of His omnipotence. This is why such a person is called Arif, a Gnostic, and his state is called Ma'rifah, direct knowledge.” –Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufis
Conclusion and Practice
We always conclude these lectures with a practice you can engage with to help you to experiment and to verify what we are teaching, and to test it, to know it. In this exercise, continue to practice mindfulness, self-observation. Be aware of your mind, your heart, your body, your three brains: thought, feeling and movement, impulse, instinct, desire. At the end of each day, simply take a comfortable posture. You can sit in the full lotus or half-lotus or in a chair, Western-style, whatever is comfortable to relax the body and to silence the mind. Therefore, go into your consciousness and observe yourself. Do not identify with thought, feeling, impulse, desire, etc.
There is a mantra you can utilize from the Chinese tradition, Chinese Buddhist, or Chan tradition (the Japanese equivalent is Zen), a mantra that is called simply W-U, Wu. Amongst the Chan Buddhists or even the Zen Buddhists, they refer to this mantra as a negation of self. It literally means “no.” When you are examining your mind, you could do this mantra, the mantra Wu. It pronounced like a long exhalation of a breath: wwuuuuuuu. The master Samuel Aun Weor explains, it is a hurricane, a breath. Again, it reminds us of the Ruach, the spirit, the wind. You pronounce that mantra. Relax your body. You can do this for 30 minutes, an hour. Let your body relax. Then, eventually, let your body fall asleep. You can pronounce the mantra silently and then mentally.
When you examine your mind, look at the different qualities that emerge, memories, preoccupations, fears, etc., and simply negate them. Meaning, “Well, this is not my God. This is not my Being. This is not my true Self. Therefore, I am going to tranquilly ignore it.” Let it pass with the mind of intellect. Observe it. Let it go. Continue in the mantra: wwuuuuu.
In the writings of Samuel Aun Weor, he talks about this mantra in more detail, but a very simple way that you can silence the mind. When the mind is completely in silence and serenity, the soul escapes from the bottle and you temporarily experience the Truth, Haqq, your Being. Then, He can give you the guidance that you need for whatever issues or struggles you have.
Questions and Answers
Question: You were saying that we always need to be pretty much aware of what we are aware of.
Question: Meditation is a big step in that focus?
Instructor: We say that meditation is the daily bread of the Gnostic. “Give us this day, our daily bread.” That bread of knowledge is what we receive in meditation. That knowledge that we receive from the divinity within us is Kabel, Kabbalah. We will receive it within our qalb, our heart.
This practice of this mantra, Wu, is a preliminary step. We do mantras and sacred sounds to work with positive energy, to accumulate those forces in our interior in order to develop serenity. When the mind is perfectly in serenity, we forget our body, forget our mind, forget our sentiment. Then, the soul can reflect the divine qualities from above, in much the same way that a lake, when it is undisturbed, can reflect the stars of heaven, far away from any city.
Meditation is how we cultivate that knowledge. It begins first, observing ourselves. In daily life, we observe our mind, our heart, et cetera. Then, in that way, as the Sufis mentioned and we have mentioned in this lecture, "It is by developing awareness that God can exalt us in our daily life, in our daily deeds." Of course, meditation deepens that awareness.
Question: I always think of praying is we are talking to God, and meditation is we are listening.
Instructor: Meditation is listening. Also, when we pray, too, we do not need any formula. We can use many formulas such as the Ave Maria or Pater Noster, the Fatihah, the Opening of the Qur’an, which are very excellent for lifting our mood. I recommend that when you begin any meditation session, pray. You do not need to follow any specific formula. Just as a child approaches his mother, “Mother of mine, father of mine, help me.” God will respond if your mind is silent. Pray in the beginning and then silence your mind and then receive that knowledge. To pray is to strive, to conquer ourselves.
Question: It is just talking to God. It is just talking, right?
Instructor: When the mind is perfectly silent, then we can talk to God even in a deeper level. When the physical body is asleep, the soul escapes its shell and we can enter into the higher dimensions. Then, we can talk face-to-face. Then, we can conversate just as we are conversating here. Very vivid and real experience, God will make a form or image to teach us something.
Question: What is the context you used ‘hermetically sealed’?
Instructor: From the hermetic tradition.
Question: I only know the everyday meaning of that.
Instructor: Well, the science of hermeticism is the science of Hermes, which relates to the God Mercury. Hermes is associated with how we use our energy. We say Mercury to refer to, not just the physical element, but to our creative energy. The power of Yesod, the moon, that sexual force is Mercury. How we use it is how we illuminate our mind. Mercury relates to the mind as well. When we work with that power, we can illuminate our mind.
Hermetically sealed means we do not lose any energy. We discussed previously, in Tantrism, the couple should not reach the orgasm, specifically, that it is forbidden for those students to have any emission. The Dalai Lama states that the creative energy must never be let out. Likewise, with our heart. Likewise, with our mind. It is the renunciation of that habit, in which we conserve energy and transmute it, transform it. Where, we continually are filled with that water of life, which is the seminal matter, specifically. Hermetically sealed means, do not waste your sexual energy, but also, do not waste your emotional energy and your mental energy. Your quality of the mind is determined by how we use that creative power.
You look at people in the world today in relation to pornography or sexual addiction; that is all they think about, because, they are driven by that energy. We need to learn how to sublimate it, to direct it to more creative and spiritual purposes, which again, elevates our level of being, as we are discussing.
Question: Is there any Quranic interpretation that you would trust? I tried three of them years ago. You do not know which one to trust, because you cannot read Arabic, and you are reading somebody else's thought form. Do you know of any that are good?
Instructor: I know some English translations which are commended. Saudi Arabia commends the Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation. There is also a newer one, from more Western academia, which I believe is called “The Study Quran.” It is an English translation of course, but the good thing is that they explain some of the original Arabic, transliterated. That is very useful for people who only speak English and do not read Arabic to interpret certain words, such as some of the words we were using, refer to some of those resources. Very useful.
Question: Getting back to as you think, feel, and act, what is, as far as being in unison with all of it, does that have anything to do with it? I mean, how do you help others with that, with people? It seems there seems to be, what I have researched, is the cremation of care which is, no one really cares, hence skull and bones.
Another Speaker / Comment: Think of it like when you put two pianos together. You play a note on one piano that's side-by-side, the other one will pick up that note, will respond.
Question: It is like the 99 monkey syndrome, or the hundred monkey syndrome?
Instructor: I'm not sure.
Question: That just by being yourself, you just rub that off on others.
Instructor: If you have a higher level of being, it can help another person to rise to a higher level of being. Because, if you are vibrating with negative qualities, such as anger, you speak angry words, you are going to provoke anger in that person. Someone who has no training, they are just going to react.
Question: Isn't anger part of our dynamic though, the sadness, happiness, anger?
Instructor: Wrath or anger is an ego, a defect.
Question: No. No. Are we supposed to get, with all the atrocities and slavery, war, etc.?
Another Speaker / Comment: Yeah. Well, there is indignation. Yeah. That is the soul that says, "This is terrible." That is a justified sentiment. Remember in the book of Judges, judgment, in which God judges humanity, not out of hate but out of realization that people are corrupt.
Question: Jesus was angry at the bankers.
Instructor: He was very radical. People think of him as this very emasculated, sexless figure with no will. He is the whip of willpower to drive out those moneychangers, which is the symbol of all the egos we have who have taken the temple of God in us and prostituted it. He comes in with the whip. Christ, our inner Christ, rejects them. Just as Muhammad said, “Kill the unbelievers.” Kill your ego, but it does not mean kill anyone outside your religion. The thing is, when Muhammad came to Mecca, after taking over the city, he went inside the Kaaba and took all the idols that were there and knocked them over and destroyed them, as a symbol. He is representing how in our own physiology, our energies, our mind, our psyche, we have to take all of those egotistical elements and remove them.
Question: From the Gnostic teachings, are you familiar with John Lash?
Question: Okay. He says that Jesus was a demigod.
Instructor: Well, in Gnostic and Buddhist terms, a demigod is a Bodhisattva, a master who is the essence of Bodhi. Sattva means essence or incarnation. Bodhi means wisdom or light. Wisdom in Hebraic Kabbalah is Christ. He was the incarnation of the Lord. Just as Muhammad was an incarnation of the truth, the Lord. Moses, Buddha, they all incarnated that light which the Christians called Christ.
The human person, Jesus of Nazareth was a Bodhisattva, a great master. He is very diligent and he is helping humanity today, although, anonymously, because, you see what they did to him. But he is very active. Any Bodhisattva is someone who works selflessly. He is a being with divinity fully illuminated within him, like Mansur Al-Hallaj. He said, “Ana al-haqq. I am the Truth.”
Those beings are very hard to comprehend at our level. If you awaken in the internal planes, in the dream world, the heavens, you can talk to him face-to-face. Personally, I know Jesus. I talk with him. I invoked him in the astral plane, and he has given me certain teachings that have helped me. He is a being that is very hard to comprehend. We say he is the head of the Gnostic Church. He governs countless trillions of souls. He has omnipotence, omniscience. He can help many people in many places at once without any confusion. That is the symbol in Buddhist doctrine of Avalokitesvara, the god with the thousand hands: that is Christ. All that light is everywhere and nowhere, or you could say, is not limited to any place. A Bodhisattva is a being that incarnated that. He is a demigod, part God, because he has incarnated the God but still, he is human soul. He is Tiphereth, the physical person.
Question: Personally, how are you gauging what is going on right now in this third dimensional reality that we're living in? In terms of what is going on in the world.
Instructor: Well, humanity has precipitated itself on the path of destruction. It is very bleak. We are giving these lectures and teachings to help save the hat from the drowning man. Because, as the Qur’an teaches, humanity is going to be judged, has already been judged in 1950, I believe. Samael Aun Weor says that the Elohim, the gods, judged humanity and said humanity is worthless. It is really devoid of value. Therefore, since people no longer want to change individually, then the rest of humanity has to get cleansed. There is a big cleansing that is going to happen. When religion talks about hell, it is really just taking those souls that do not want to change, and nature does that for them, purifies them in the center of the earth, in the internal dimensions. When they physically die, the soul goes to those regions to be purified of those ailments, those shells. That is like a recycling plant. They will be cleaned at the end, but it is a very painful process. I do not recommend it.
Question: What about the Elohim, the lowercase gods?
Instructor: Well, we say Elohim, are masters, or any being that has fully perfected him or herself, is an angel. That is an Elohim.
Question: Really? Even Lucifer?
Instructor: Lucifer is a symbol of a quality or an aspect of our divinity, a very controversial one too. Luci Ferros, the bearer of light. Again, that light is Bodhi, Christ, but it is the shadow. It is that element of Christ that enters into imperfection in order to tempt us. He is the tempter. He gives us ordeals in life for us to conquer them, not to fail, but to conquer them. Therefore, he gives us hardships so that we can psychologically train ourselves. Of course, since the writing of Paradise Lost by John Milton, people took this term, Lucifer, and totally misconstrued it.
Question: Well, there is Lucifer and there is darkness, just like light in Catholicism.
Instructor: Well, yeah. We say that, that energy, when it is impure is the blackened Kaaba: impure soul, impure energy. When it is purified, that Lucifer shines as light. He is a ladder to ascend or descend. He is that creative energy itself, the sexual power. He is the power of the Holy Ghost, you could say, the sexual energy we have been discussing, Kundalini. That energy can either liberate you or, if it is channeled through the ego, destroy you. People who use that energy in a negative way, obviously, create harm. You see humanity today, people are perpetuating their suffering because they are addicted to negative habits.
Question: Getting back to the negative habits, whether it is the sexual thing or drinking or whatever your past karma is, what is the best way to get rid of that karma?
Instructor: We have three steps in terms of psychological work: discovery, judgment, execution. The book Revolutionary Psychology explains that very well. You can also read The Great Rebellion. It builds off of that.
First, we have to discover our defects. Then, we have the judge them in the meditation after.
Question: All 2,000 of them?
Instructor: Well, there are a lot of egos obviously. You look at the Bible, how Saul destroyed his thousand, and then David killed his 10,000. Levels of a master that, first, in the beginning, kill a thousand egos, this is a symbol of a lot of egos, not a literal number. Obviously, if you have annihilated that many, you would be pretty pure. To be at a higher level, of course, eliminate 10,000. Ten refers to those 10 spheres of the Tree of Life. Meaning, you are purified in all those levels.
Of course, we have to start where we are at. Of course, the thing is not to get discouraged, because the reason why we have this teaching or any esoteric scripture is that there is a lot of hope. For those who want to change will change. For those who do not, they will not. You look at how the Qur’an talks about how people, when they are presented with the truth and the knowledge, they just rejected it, like Jesus, Buddha, etc. Christ was assassinated. Buddha was supposedly poisoned. Socrates was given hemlock. He did not want to be exiled from Athens. Many masters were persecuted. It does not surprise me that people do not like this knowledge. Obviously, we do not have many crowds. Those who want to change will change and will be benefited by the divine. God really helps those who help themselves.
First, work on your ego. Eliminate fear, anger, pride, all those conditioning of mind. You will see, little by little; you will have experiences in the internal planes, where they are guiding you and they talk to you face-to-face about your work. They can help you. I have had that for a long time.
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from The Sufi Path of Self-knowledge, originally given live at the Chicagoland Gnostic Academy:
It is good, for the purpose of our studies, to discuss the nature of divine love and its practicality, its need, its importance. Simply look at the world today, at the news, and you find acts of destruction that are unprecedented, crimes that are beyond comprehension. The world is in a state of calamity that precedes a much greater state of global crisis, of which the prophets of all religions have warned against.
It is through the recognition of suffering that the student of genuine religion seeks to understand how to change oneself. If we do not change our negative interior psychological states, we cannot hope to produce the changes that we seek among other sentient beings. It is precisely through overcoming the afflictions of our own mind, its conditioning, that we can learn to transmit the light of the divine, which is within us.
The thing to remember and comprehend is the nature of the self. The real self, the Being, does not pertain to any individual, any person. The Being, the self, is not our fears, our anxieties that cause so much distress and confusion; neither is the Being our self-esteem, our pride and vanities that fluctuate and change like the wind. Our education, titles, diplomas, which we wield as intellectual arsenal to substantiate and defend our pride, does not constitute our true self either; our book knowledge really accounts for nothing when confronting the fundamental problem of psychological and spiritual transformation.
The Being is universal, cosmic. There is no individuality there, in the sense of “me,” “myself,” “I.” Within the Being is the supraconscious understanding of all things in the eternal present, beyond the projections of our worries, fears, preoccupations, ambitions, and terrestrial baggage. By learning to access the divine potential and presence of divinity, known in Arabic as hudur, we awaken to our genuine self-awareness, muhadarah. By learning to pay attention, here and now, we discover the very obstacles to our own development. Through recognizing the conditions and faults of our mind, we learn to become truly transformative in a very practical sense.
In this awareness, we do not simply wish for a better state of humanity, but actualize it, here and now, for the betterment of others. This is something we can practically manage, and see its results. Therefore, this work is not something ambiguous, not vague; it is not suppositional. It is concrete, factual. For as Samael Aun Weor wrote, “Gnosis is lived upon facts, withers away in abstractions, and is difficult to find even in the noblest of thoughts.”
Through this work, we can see the clear effect of our actions upon others within our daily life, either to our benefit or detriment. There is no need to believe in spirituality, some vain utopia that someday things will get better. Instead, we learn to produce positive results for the happiness of others, serving divinity in every thought, word, and deed.
As we are going to explain in this lecture on divine love, faith is conscious knowledge. It is experience born from energy and action. It is what we know. To believe in something is really useless. To not believe in something is also useless. To invest our mental or emotional energy into a concept does not change the daily reality of our suffering; it does not help us to acquire cognizance of the purpose of life.
We may really believe in Jesus, Buddha, or Muhammad with our hearts, yet we continue to feed anger, resentment, and all the degenerate qualities of the psyche that cause harm. We use the very energy that can give birth to the soul for our defects. To believe or not believe in a tradition, guru, or sheikh, is mistaken, because it does not address how to consciously control the energies that can awaken our perception, so that we do not need to believe, but can seriously know.
We must learn not to wash our hands in justification, as Pilate allowed Jesus to be crucified, whereby he stated, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.” All of us have Pilate inside, washing our hands clean of culpability, while in truth we allow our most destructive habits to crucify divinity within our hearts.
It is also not in believing in some prophet or deity that we will be saved. As the Apostle James taught, “Faith without works is dead.” Believing in Prophet Muhammad, with our intellect or heart, as a concept or emotional quality, will not redeem the soul, the consciousness. To have genuine faith in a tradition is to know from experience the principles it contains. So, if we have consciousness of what Muhammad taught, what the prophets taught, and if we practice their teachings, we will develop the consciousness thoroughly. But belief is another thing; to think something is true or not is irrelevant.
Attending a church, mosque, or synagogue does not make one spiritual. Having direct experience of divinity does. Being part of a physical group is insufficient for objective self-knowledge. We need practical and transformative knowledge applied to daily living. But not only that, we need to apply what we learn. Therefore, the tradition we study here is filled with innumerable practices geared to awaken the consciousness. But if we just read the knowledge and don’t apply it, we won’t have real faith. We will be stuck in belief.
The Definition of Divine Love
Many people toss the term “divine love” around in so-called spiritual circles, and have many concepts about it. All of this is very sentimental, like hallmark cards. Many people have a lot of ideas about what love is, and can write very beautifully and convincingly about it. Yet if we go very deep within meditation and awaken our consciousness within the superior worlds of nature, which we access when we dream, we will find that people write about love in accordance with their psychological conditioning, self-esteem, fears, and insecurities.
Genuine love is selfless. There is no ego, no “I” present. Love only gives of itself for others, without any concern for how one appears, one’s self-image. This is essential in our study of self-knowledge, as especially presented within Sufism, because it is the universal sense of Being, wujud, that connects us with all beings. This is most important within the perfect matrimony, the sexual union of two beings, one who loves more and the other who loves better; sexuality is the full manifestation, inspiration, and expression of Allah, divinity. Sexual union is the science of Alchemy: Allah-Khemia, the chemistry of God.
In love, there is no concept or reasoning. Love simply is. A true marriage, before divinity, therefore, is between husband and wife, when man and woman sexually unite. Paperwork means nothing. In most cases marriage papers constitute legalized prostitution and have nothing to do with love. Marriage exists when a man unites with a woman in sex; this is a literal, psychic, and spiritual communion of souls.
The Sufis poets have always utilized sexual and erotic language to describe the soul’s unification with the divine. Yet few people realize that this language is also literal; that when husband and wife connect sexually, they become a terrifically divine being, capable of creating life. If the couple knows how to conserve that sexual energy and not expel it, they remain in Eden, a Hebrew word for bliss. Their love remains intact, pure, and chaste. If the couple is sensual, carnal, and animalistic, they will be kicked out of paradise.
As Christ spoke through the mouth of Jesus, “Before Abraham was, I Am.” Only divinity can say this word, “I Am.” But when a married couple unites out of selflessness, compassion, and true remembrance of divinity, then the Being, Allah, is fully manifested there.
Mansur Al-Hallaj, the great Sufi master, once stated, “An al-Haqq!” or “I am the truth!” in Arabic. This got him in trouble with the orthodox authorities, who were scandalized that a terrestrial person would refer to himself with one of the sacred names of Allah. It is the equivalent of saying, “I am God!” Jesus said the same thing and was thereafter crucified. What occurred in both cases was that divinity, whether named Jehovah, Christ or Allah, manifested within those initiates. Both Jesus and Al-Hallaj became vehicles of divine love and being, and had reached the heights of mastery through working in the perfect matrimony, in the science of Alchemy. Through sexual union, Jesus and Mansur could develop their complete divine potential.
Sadly, Mansur was tortured and executed. However, like Jesus, he was completely free of ego and conditioning before his physical death, which is why his poetry and light were intense during his final hours.
Only the Being can say, “I Am.” The Being is divine love, the intelligence of all creation, of all the cosmos. But we can become vehicles of Allah when working in Alchemy, the chemistry of God, which is the perfect matrimony. This is how we can fortify compassion and eliminate many defects from our nature, so that our consciousness irradiates with selflessness and abundance.
The Sufi-Christian mystic poet known as Kahlil Gibran spoke beautifully about the sexual nature of divine love in his book The Prophet. Even the name of this poet deserves reflection, since Hillel in Hebrew means “Praised or Glorified One,” a reference to the star of dawn, Lucifer, the sexual potency. Gibran reminds us of the Rune Gibur, the swastika or cross in motion, emblem of sexual alchemy, whereby the energies of sex inflame and illuminate the chakras of the body, causing them to spin as the swastika in movement. The cross is also a sexual symbol representing the vertical phallus and the horizontal uterus. This forms Gibur, the strength and chastity of God, known as Aun in Hebrew: Gibur-Aun, Gibran.
The following quotation is from the chapter “On Love.” I will provide some comments in between the lines to provide understanding, since this poet is a great Kabbalist and psychologist of the Sufi tradition.
Then said Almitra, "Speak to us of (Conscious) Love."
And he (Almustafa, the Chosen and Beloved of الله Allah) raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said:
When love (גדולה Gedulah, the Spirit, the Innermost) beckons to you follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep (through the path of the spinal column, the reed or staff of initiation).
And when his (solar) wings (that open upon the Caduceus of Mercury) enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword (of Kundalini) hidden among his pinions may wound you (your ego).
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice (the Voice of the Silence) may shatter your (egotistical) dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love (גדולה Gedulah, the Spirit, the Innermost) crowns you (with a crown of life, כתר Kether, the Father; Revelation 2:10) so shall he crucify you (through initiation). Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning (of your inner tyrant, your egos; Isaiah 25:5).
Even as he ascends to your height (of the Tree of Life) and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun (the Solar Logos: כתר Kether, חכמה Chokmah, בינה Binah in Kabbalah),
So shall he descend to your roots (at the tree of زقوم Zaqqum, the tree of death in Islam, the Klipoth of Kabbalah, the inferior worlds) and shake them in their clinging to the earth (מלכות Malkuth).
Like sheaves of corn (plants which assimilate the Solar Christic Force) he gathers you unto himself (He strives to unite all the diverse parts of the Being, to achieve tawhid, unity of God).
He threshes you (provides you ordeals) to make you naked (innocent, like Adam and Eve before the fall).
He sifts you to free you from your husks (egos, Klipoth, shells).
He grinds you to whiteness (through the wheel of Karma).
He kneads you until you are pliant (in contemplation and meditation);
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire (the Kundalini awakened through the perfect matrimony), that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast (the sacred initiations within the temples of the Superior Worlds).
All these things shall love (גדולה Gedulah, the Spirit, the Innermost) do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart (the Universal, Abstract Absolute Space, the Spirit of Life Free in its Movement).
But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness (your shame born from fornication, as Adam and Eve were after the fall) and pass out of love's threshing-floor (the ordeals of a matrimony and of initiation),
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love (גדולה Gedulah, the Spirit, the Innermost) gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love (גדולה, the Innermost) possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love (for "my God is God," אליאל). When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, I am in the heart of God (the Absolute Abstract Space, الله Allah)."
And think not you can direct the course of love (the straight path of the Bodhisattvas), for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love (גדולה Gedulah, the Spirit, the Innermost) has no other desire but to fulfil itself.
But if you love (consciously) and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night (the Divine Mother Space).
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully (to die to the animal ego with happiness and contentment).
To wake at dawn (for runes, meditation, and esoteric exercises) with a winged heart (or the longing to know divinity) and give thanks for another day of loving (through a perfect matrimony);
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved (الله Allah, the divine) in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips. —Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
To obtain the supreme heights of initiation, we must work in a matrimony, which is the path of sacrifice, the cross. This is how our inner spirit, Gedulah, the Innermost, receives powers, and riches, and glories, through the work of His human soul or bodhisattva.
A true matrimony is one born of selflessness. There is no desire that says, “I want,” “I crave,” “I need.” Love does not demand ultimatums of the other. Conscious love only knows how to provide for the beloved, and is willing to provide even the last drop of his or her blood for one’s partner. This is the type of consciousness between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, Rama and Krishna, Muhammad and A’isha, and other sacred matrimonies.
So if we’re married, we aspire to those heights of spirituality, because most of us are selfish. Yet through training this can change. It is easily obtainable when there is some degree of love and comprehension between the couple, since love grows the more it is nourished and fed, and the more our animal ego, desires, and conditions are annihilated.
The Trainings of Sufism
So, we previously discussed the demarcations of instruction as given within religious traditions, specifically within Sufism. Religion can be divided into three classes or categories of instruction and practice, whether introductory, intermediate, or advanced, otherwise classified as exoteric, mesoteric, and esoteric.
The Sufis denominate the first level of teaching as Shariah, which in spiritual studies does not pertain to the punitive or repressive laws of Muslim countries, but pertains to our conscious psychological discipline that we engage with to curtail negative thinking, negative feeling, and negative action.
Likewise we talked about Tariqah, the intermediate or mesoteric aspect of religion. Tariqah simply means “path.” It is the way that follow and practice, a path that winds from oasis to oasis within the desert of our life, the wasteland of initiation. It is our practical work that we fulfill day by day, moment by moment, for the benefit of others.
Marifah means knowledge, and is the Arabic word for gnosis. We also have Haqiqah, which is the truth. Marifah and Haqiqah can be described as two aspects of the same dynamic, since for the truth to be realized, we must have knowledge, expedient methods for transforming the psyche, and to have knowledge, we must comprehend and realize.
Buddhism divides these three categories as the Shravakayana, Mahayana, and Tantrayana, the introductory, greater, and supreme vehicles. Shravakas are those who listen to the spiritual teachings for the first time. Such persons practice spirituality for their own well-being. But with the Mahayana, or greater vehicle, one works less for oneself and more for others. In Tantrayana, one works solely for all sentient beings.
The same in the Sufi model. In Shariah, the practitioners work to stop their own suffering and to cease causing harm because such actions produce harm within them. In the path of Tariqah, that of divine love, we work on ourselves for the benefit of others. We can then say that the last two degrees or trainings of Sufism, Marifah (knowledge) and Haqiqah (Truth) are combined as one and constitute the highest aspect of any teaching, the most expedient methods of transformation, and also the highest levels of understanding and knowledge.
So these trainings entail their own forms of discipline, in varying degrees. Shariah is ethical discipline, mind training, whereby we comprehend and eliminate defects so that we don’t harm ourselves. We are taught to not lie, to not steal, to not commit fornication and adultery, to not ingest intoxicants or drugs, alcohol, etc. We avoid taking in elements that are contrary to our spiritual work. We clean the temple of our body, heart, and mind so that the Being can officiate. We learn not to kill, not only physically, but with speech.
When we speak sarcastically and humiliate our neighbor, we make blood rush to his face. This is a form of bloodshed and killing, whereby we are killing a person’s self-image. This is wrong. All religions teach us against negative behaviors of this type. As Prophet Muhammad taught, “The strongest among you is he who controls his anger.”
Each religion has its own set of commandments that it gives. Again, these laws are not punitive: “Do this or be punished!” That is something very superficial and does not produce real development in the soul. Following external laws is one thing, but being a law unto oneself is another.
This does not indicate that we can do whatever we want, but that we follow the internal law of divinity, which is harmony, peace, and health. We simply depend on no one to do this work, only the Being.
This training is known as ethics. Ethics is different from morality. What is moral in one country is immoral in another. Simply look at the differences between North America and the Middle East. Ethics is knowing how to act appropriately for the benefit of others in any circumstance. Compassion is within all religions, all ethical disciplines, especially Islam. The punishments for adulterers and fornicators in Surah Al-Nur, “Surah of the Light” within the Qur’an, for example, is a symbol of how to work against the ego. Flagellation and the removal of thieves’ hands is a representation of what we must do to our ego, for as Jesus taught, “If your left eye offend you, pluck it out, lest your whole body be dragged into hell.” By denying our ego, by waging a holy war against our desires, defects, vices, etc., we generate light.
Scripture is written in symbolic language for the consciousness. If people take these punishments literally and physically harm others, this is something else and different.
The Qur’an has many allegorical verses which we need Kabbalah, alchemy, and intuition to understand, as indicated in the following Surah al-Imran, verse 7:
It is He who has sent down to you, [O Muhammad], the Book; in it are verses [that are] literal - they are the foundation of the Book - and others allegorical. As for those in whose hearts is deviation [from truth], they will follow that of it which is literal, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation [suitable to them]. And no one knows its [true] interpretation except Allah. But those firm in knowledge (Marifah, alchemy and Kabbalah) say, "We believe in it. All [of it] is from our Lord." And no one will be reminded except those of understanding (Binah, Intelligence in Kabbalah). —Qur'an
The other two degrees of these trainings are based on Shariah, the law, and mutually support each other. If one has no ethical discipline, one cannot follow the path, Tariqah, and achieve understanding and knowledge (Marifah) of the truth (Haqiqah). All three trainings integrate and constitute three aspects of one whole. However, the path is presented in these degrees due to the capabilities, dispositions, and needs of their practitioners.
Marifah is sexual knowledge, alchemy, known as Tantra in the east, the principle of Tantrayana. A matrimony is not only the basis of physical life, but spiritual life as well. When we work in a marriage we can harness the most potent energies of the universe for the development and awakening of the consciousness.
The Sufis use erotic language to describe union with God, whereby the soul is lost in the ocean of love. When a couple is sexually united, husband and wife lose their identities and become lost within the ocean of the creative sexual energy. There is no “me,” “myself,” within two practitioners of sexual magic who deny their egos, who learn to annihilate egotistical desire (through fana in Arabic) to be, to subsist (through baqa in Arabic) within the creator (Al-Khaaliq).
Who is it that creates in us? The sexual energy, the power of divinity. But how we create depends upon whether we follow divine love and will or our own egotism and desires.
While the Sufis used clear, erotic language to describe the path of alchemy, many people do not realize that this love is also physical, literal. Divine love is manifested through husband and wife in sexual cooperation, in sexual magic or Alchemy.
This is the power of Baqarah, the sacred cow, a symbol of the Divine Mother in Hinduism. She is the serpentine power of Kundalini that the tantric practitioners work with. Therefore, with great respect and veneration, Muhammad became the vehicle for transmitting the second surah of the Qur’an, “The Cow,” or “Heifer,” the longest Surah of the Qur’an. The Qur’an means “The Recitation,” the mantralization of the sacred verb. The power of speech esoterically refers to the power of the bull or cow. When couples pronounce mantras in sexual union, they are learning to unite with divinity completely, to remove the conditioning of the psyche and the mind to liberate soul from conditioning, through the power of love.
To understand the trainings of Sufism, we can refer to the Sufi master Ibn ‘Arabi. He explained that in the path of Shariah, “Yours is yours and mine is mine.” That which belongs to you is yours. That which belongs to me is mine. There is a sense of separation whereby we are working individually for our own spiritual benefit and goals.
In the path of Tariqah, “Mine is yours and yours is mine.” There is a shift of perspective, whereby we focus on the spiritual community and the benefit of others. There is a degree of selflessness and compassion present whereby we can help one another in a genuine sense, without major interferences from our egos, nafs, or defects.
Regarding Marifah, knowledge, Ibn ‘Arabi states that “Nothing belongs to you or me.” In truth, we don’t own anything. All abundance belongs to divinity.
Regarding Haqiqah, the truth, Ibn ‘Arabi stated, “There is no you or me.” Meaning: there is only God, divinity, the Being, Allah.
Remember when we said earlier that “Wherever your sense of self is, that is hell. Wherever you aren’t, that is heaven.” There is no egotism, self, or sense of “I” within the Being, as we presently know in ourselves. The Being is as different and incompatible to the mind as oil is to water.
Divinity, the real Being, is the Absolute Abstract Space, the emptiness of enlightened cognizance, the pure light of Adi-Buddha, Ain Soph Aur in Kabbalah, which to our present sight is darkness, but for the self-realized masters is the uncreated light of the unknowable divine.
This divinity is selfless, but constitutes the true universal individuality, or better said, supra-individuality of any master who learns to incarnate and develop that force in themselves, so that there is no self, only the truth, al-Haqq, as proclaimed through Mansur Al-Hallaj. Divinity is one and absolute, as proclaimed through the Muslim Shahidah or testimony of faith: “There is no god but God.”
Anyone who wants to comprehend divinity must fulfill the three trainings. Again, these are not something rigid and dogmatic. These are practical steps. We must begin where we are at, with Shariah, ethical discipline, since we have a lot of selfishness and desires that keep us from knowing divinity. As we develop light, we can then provide that light of compassion for others in the path of Tariqah. By serving others completely, we follow Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Moses, Muhammad, on the path of Marifah and Haqiqah, knowledge and truth.
In Shariah, we serve divinity in ourselves. In Tariqah, we serve divinity in others. In Marifah and Haqiqah, there is only divinity everywhere and within ourselves. There is no “I,” but only the awakened state of consciousness free of conditions.
The Three Brains
In the path of self-knowledge, we deeply study what in gnosticism is called the three brains. These are three centers of psychological, energetic, spiritual, and physiological activity. The term brain in gnostic studies does not simply pertain to the physical matter within our skull. But a brain, esoterically speaking, is a machine that process certain psychological states, or qualities. It’s a type of mechanism.
We have an intellectual brain, which is where we process thought, mind, concepts, reasoning, ideas, theses and antitheses, and hopefully synthesis.
With the emotional brain we process sentiment, like, dislike, feeling, hope, longing, fear, etc. It pertains not only to just those psychological states, but to our heart and its nervous systems. The heart is a very sensitive organ and has intuitive capacities that are unlocked through the science of alchemy.
We have a third brain all throughout our spinal column, the brain of action, and which is divided into three principles, dynamics, or qualities. We have the center of movement at the top of the spine, whereby we process all our movements in our body. We have the instinctual center relating to the base of the spine, relating to our impulses, will, actions, desires. The most potent center pertaining to the spinal column is sexual, the sexual center or sexual organs. The sexual energy is the most potent force we carry within our body. The third brain can be therefore synthesized as the motor-instinctive-sexual brain.
Why discuss the three brains in relation to Sufism and divine love? Because to love the divine, we must become fully conscious of all these aspects of ourselves, and to give everything to God through renouncing negative habits and psychological states, whether through thought, feeling, or impulse. We can only learn to transform our psyche when we become conscious of our three brains. We become conscious of divinity likewise through the management of these parts of our body and psyche.
The three brains are a machine, a car that we must learn to handle and drive, if we want to safely arrive at our spiritual destination. Dreams of driving a car can symbolize how we use the mind, heart, and body appropriately or inappropriately. See how you drive in your dreams to know how you are doing!
Jesus taught us about the three brains in the gospels when a Jewish Pharisee tried to discredit the master before the public:
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
Jesus said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. —Luke 10:25-27
The heart is the emotional brain. The soul is willpower, the human consciousness beyond thought, feeling, and bodily sensation. This will must dominate our thinking, feeling, and action. Our human consciousness or willpower is mostly conditioned by nafs, egos. But there remains a free portion of this consciousness, which we call the Essence, that must liberate the conditioned consciousness, as we explained previously.
We also must love God with all our strength, meaning: all our vitality or sexual energy. When we wake in the morning, we are rejuvenated by our vital energies, renewed through the process of physical sleep. This depends upon how we use the sexual force, because if we squander this energy, we will become weak, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
Sexual energy gives us life. This is easy to see physically. The physical birth of a child is contingent upon the union of man and woman. By using the virile force, the sexual energy, husband and wife can create a human being. Likewise, the spiritual human being can be created in us through that same energy. We would not be here if it weren’t for the creative force, the power of the Holy Spirit as denominated by the Christians.
It’s interesting that the root word for virility is virya, warrior, someone who is spiritually and physically strong. Likewise, virtue is born from virility. How we use our sexual, emotional, mental, volitional, and conscious energy can grant us union with divinity, if we know how. Therefore the gospel states, “Love thy God with all thy strength.”
By conquering the sexual force, we become virya, warriors, mujahidin, strivers in spiritual warfare as taught within the Muslim tradition. This is a war against the ego and desire, against our nafs, defects. Through transforming the sexual energy within us and giving it to divinity, we acquire divine virtues and develop self-knowledge.
Faith and the Solar Force
By working with the sexual energy, we develop genuine faith, since this energy awakens consciousness and gives us direct knowledge of the mysteries of life and death. This is the science of transmutation, from the prefix trans, “to carry over, transport,” and mutation, mutate, “to change dense material forms into energy,” into spiritual force. Transmutation is the alchemical science of transforming our conditioned psyche into liberated consciousness, by transmuting the seminal matter or waters into cognizance and light.
We’ve included in this image the famous symbol of Islam, which is the crescent moon and the star of Venus, the star of love. We have juxtaposed with this image the Assumption of Mary, who is standing on a moon with her head crowned with twelve stars.
The power of the warrior, the virya, born from one’s virility, is in itself symbolized by the crescent moon. In Kabbalah, the moon relates to the sphere of Yesod, the second sphere from the bottom of the Tree of Life. Yesod means “Foundation” and is constituted by our sexual energy. It is the foundation of spiritual life. The Tree of Life is literally our spine, and Yesod is the sexual organs, since without our spine we would be invalids, incapable of functioning in life in a complete sense and not without special assistance.
We can likewise transpose the image of the Tree of Life on a human being, where the first trinity relates to the head, the second trinity to the heart, and the lower trinity to the sexual organs and thighs of the human being. This diagram relates to the three brains in many interesting ways.
With the moon, we think of lunar cycles, mechanicity, and forces in nature, as well as repetition. The moon is also a symbol of the mechanicity of the mind, the ego, the nafs. Our psyche is a moon, meaning: our habits are very ingrained. Whether we like to smoke or drink, to engage with specific types of conversations or discussions, we are habituated and fixed on certain behaviors due to the sleep of our consciousness. These habits and ways of being, some harmful, some not, constitute the conditioning of our psyche. They are mechanical and lunar, not belonging to the physical moon, but to our egotistical psychology. The mind is a moon; it only knows how to engage with its own conditions and desires.
But of course, in this image we have something very beautiful. The star of Venus above the crescent moon relates to love. Venus is the goddess Freia amongst the Nordics, which is where we get the word “Friday,” the holiest day of the week for Muslims. Likewise. sundown for Jews who celebrate the Sabbath, or Saturn-Day, Saturday.
This Freia, this Venus-Aphrodite, this goddess of love is the Hindu goddess Kundalini. She is the Divine Mother, the feminine aspect of our inner divinity. As we mentioned the Hebrew word Elohim, El is masculine, God; Eloah is feminine, Goddess; and Elohim, with Iod and Mem added to the end of Eloah, is Gods and Goddesses: Jehovah, or Jah-Chavah. Jah is the Divine Father. Chavah is the Divine Mother.
The Divine Mother is essential for our spiritual work, whom we must comprehend and experience very deeply to achieve self-knowledge. She is the power that can help free us from our defects. She destroys our defects after we have comprehended them completely in meditation. She liberates the soul from conditioning through wielding the powers of the moon, the sexual energy. She is the sacred heifer, the Cow, Al-Baqarah, immortalized through the longest Surah of the Qur’an. Surah Al-Baqarah relates how the leg of the heifer has the power of resuscitating the dead to bring them to life. This is highly symbolic, of course.
She also transforms the moon of our mind into the sun of understanding. She is Mary, Miriam in Hebrew, which literally means “to raise.” She raises us from spiritual death into the heights of spirituality. She is the energies that rise from the moon of our body, the sexual organs of Yesod, up the spine to the brain to produce the halo of the saints.
In sacred art, we often see the prophets and saints with halos like the sun, because they’ve transformed the lunar energies of sex into the solar energies of the Christ force, to saturate their minds completely with that power. This is the Kundalini of Hindustan.
The illumination of the mind relates to the mysteries of Halloween, Hallowed Evening. For this holiday, we take the pumpkin gourd mentioned in the Book of Jonah, clean out the muck, the guts and filthiness of the gourd itself. This represents how we must purify the filthiness of the mind. This is to place a candle, the light of understanding, inside that mind to illuminate it. This is how our evening, our darkness, is hallowed and enlightened.
But first you must go through all the visitors at the doorstep, dressed as ghouls and goblins, our own defects or nafs, who ask us, “Trick or treat?” In reality, you don’t want to be tricked by your own mind, but to treat yourself to the divine mysteries.
Miriam is the one who cleans our mind, our gourd. She is the one who gives us faith, and faith is a solar force. This solar force is born from our seminal waters, the waters of sex, the sexual matter, from which the energies rise within the spine to our mind. The Hebrew word for water is מַיִם Mayim, relating to מרים Miriam, since if you add the letter R, ר Rosh in Hebrew, to Mayim, you spell Miriam.
The word believer in Islam is al-mumin. The plural form is al-muminin. The resemblance of this term to מַיִם mayim, water, is striking, since a true believer works with the power of Yesod, the seminal waters. This is how we generate faith.
Faith is a force that guides us when we work with Miriam, our Divine Mother, to transform the moon into a sun. To be a true Muslim or believer is to be through the power of love, to be through lieve, love, the libido. You see this hidden in the symbol on top of every mosque. Very cryptic, but clear when you know alchemy and kabbalah.
We must be through the power of love, to be conscious to transform all our mechanicity into love, into consciousness. All conditionality must be transmuted into liberated consciousness; everything must be performed and given to divinity. This is how we awaken and know divinity for ourselves, developing conscious knowledge, real faith.
The term belief, as it is used now, has no meaning or purpose in esoterism. To think or feel something is true does not signify consciousness of that given thing. Therefore, we like to use the term faith in this tradition to be clear about our meaning, which is energy and will applied to action.
Here we think a note upon faith should be of interest. Initiates say that its meaning has been misunderstood. Faith, as the world uses it, possesses no spiritual nature; though in the secondary system [the work with sexual energy] it means power and energy applied to action. All success in Yoga [religion] 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 the misconception of this quality than man realises. —M. The Dayspring of Youth
People just sit on their couch and think that by believing in divinity, everything will be fine. One must learn to be conscious through the libido, the creative power of Yesod, and to apply it consciously. This is how we submit to God (perform Islam, submission).
Jesus provided the parable of the mustard seed, which is small, but has the potential to become a great tree. All that is possible for the fruition or development of a giant tree, a tree of life, is within the seed. Also, we are in a potential state within our sexual seed, the sperm or ovum, to become complete spiritual beings who are not influenced by the moon, by mechanicity. That seed can only develop when masculine and feminine matter are united, when the virile force of man and woman are combined; this will help to generate consciousness and solar faith. The moon can therefore become a sun, a solar entity.
When Jesus used this word in the sentence, “If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed,” He meant that one could work miracles if one possessed the atomic energy contained within a mustard seed. But in this world of illusion this is reversed, and the weak man sits still and believes that all will be applied to him if he has faith. It is not a force that should only be applied to religious belief. It is the power of the Innermost [the divine, Allah] working through the densities of our bodies, and the more we respond to it the greater will be our powers. —M. The Dayspring of Youth
All our psychological, emotional, psychic, spiritual, and physical action is generated by the seed, the seminal matter. If we learn to take that force and transform the seed into Christic energy, we can give birth to the purified soul. Sex is the power of religion and divine life. Therefore Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Perfect Matrimony:
It so happens that people think that by belonging to this or that faith, to such and such religion, or to one or another sect, that they are already saved. Naturally, this is false. A seed never germinates because of what a person believes or stops believing. An insect is never born because of what a human being thinks or stops thinking. A man is never born from the parchment of theory. This subject matter is sexual and in this, the Angel is no exception. —Samael Aun Weor
This is the meaning of the second birth, to be born again as Jesus taught to Nicodemus. We must be born again of water and spirit. People think that one simply gets baptized by physical water and then believes in Jesus and then one is done. He said that “That which is born of flesh,” through the common sexual act, “is flesh.” A physical child is born from the animal orgasm, the sexual act culminating with seminal emission. “But that which is born of spirit,” through the sexual act with seminal retention of the waters, “is spirit.” If the couple knows how to conserve that water, that energy and redirect it, they can give birth to awakened consciousness and eliminate defects. This is how the moon is transformed into a sun.
This is the path of the cross, the vertical phallus joined to the horizontal uterus. It is upon this cross or within this crucible that we can die to our defects, that we can be cleansed by the fire of Christ, the fire of sex, ignited through divine love. When the couple unites, the fire ignites, inflames the mind, the heart, the psyche, and provides the capacity to unite with divinity, to create spiritual life.
The Muslims of course use different symbols for their religion, the crescent moon and star of Venus, but the same alchemical meaning is there. Ritual cleansing with water (wudu) is a common preparatory act before performing salaat, (daily prayer). This signifies that the initiate is transmuting their sexual energies to awaken the capacities of the heart.
The Symbolism of Water
Water is a prominent symbol in many world cosmogonies, particularly the Book of Genesis, the Bible, and the Qur’an. The creation of the earth and its emergence from the seas of creation, as told in Genesis, is allegorical. It represents the birth of the soul, new vehicles that the soul can inhabit as it rises upon the Tree of Life. Each Sephirah represents a new land that we must conquer, that we must create within ourselves, through alchemy.
The waters symbolize the power to generate, to create. Within us, our capacity to create physical and spiritual life resides in our waters. It is the source of pleasure, redemption, and the elevation of the soul to paradise. As the Qur’an teaches us in Surah al-Waqiah, the Inevitable, about the fate of those who transmute their waters:
In the Gardens of Pleasure,
A [large] company of the former peoples
And a few of the later peoples,
On thrones woven [with ornament, the solar bodies or garments of reverance],
Reclining on them, facing each other.
There will circulate among them young boys made eternal
With vessels, pitchers and a cup [of wine of transmuted sexual energy, Kundalini] from a flowing spring (of Yesod) -
No headache (suffering) will they have therefrom, nor will they be intoxicated (with fornication and adultery)-
And fruit of what they select (from the Tree of Life)
And the meat of fowl, from whatever they desire.
And [for them are] fair women (Nirvani woman) with large, [beautiful] eyes,
The likenesses of pearls well-protected,
As reward for what they used to do (for being chaste).
They will not hear therein ill (fornicating) speech or commission of sin (lustful desire)-
Only a saying: "Peace, peace."
The companions of the right - what are the companions of the right?
[They will be] among lote trees with thorns removed
And [banana] trees layered [with fruit]
And shade extended
And water (of transmuted sexual energy) poured out
And fruit, abundant [and varied],
Neither limited [to season] nor forbidden (as the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge were forbidden),
And [upon] beds raised high (wherein the sexual act is treated with respect).
Indeed, We have produced the women of Paradise in a [new] creation
And made them virgins (Venus-Uranias or Urania-Venuses, female initiates),
Devoted [to their husbands] and of equal age,
For the companions of the right [who are]
A company of the former peoples
And a company of the later peoples. —Qur'an
Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi was a famous Sufi poet and mystic, a profound kabbalist and alchemist, who taught in his writings the path of yoking the waters through tantra, or Marifah. An example of his initiatic work is the following cryptic postulation:
From the heart of the lovers, blood flows like a vast river. Our body is the windmill, and love, the water. Without water the mill cannot turn. —Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, Hidden Music
Marifah or tantrism teaches that when a couple is engaged in sexual union, the different energies or seminal waters of the divine are active in the body. The sexual force then circulates throughout the physicality and psyche as well. There is a profound movement of forces through the chakras or energetic centers of the spinal medulla. The chakras rotate positively like the swastika when the couple is chaste and pure, avoiding animality in the sexual act.
The body has seven main mills, seven main chakras, which are well documented in Hinduism and within Sufism as al-Laṭaʾif as-Sitta, the seven vortexes or centers of spiritual and psychic power. These are the seven churches of the Book of Revelation.
These centers of power spin as the couple controls their breathing, their ruh, so that the sexual energy rises within the spine. When breathing is erratic and impassioned during the sexual act, the sexual energy flows outward and results in the orgasm. Remember that if there is no water, the mill cannot turn. If you ejaculate the waters, those chakras or mills cannot spin, but will remain still. Those chakras grant powers and spiritual abilities, such as clairvoyance, clairaudience, telepathy, omniscience, etc., so if they are inactive, then the consciousness lacks force and energy to be awakened.
But when the breath is harnessed through sacred mantras and vocal remembrance of Allah in sexual magic, that energy rises inward and upward to the brain and then to the heart.
Again, we emphasize that the chakras can only spin when there is water, transmuted sexual energy, within them, to circulate and provide energetic movement. Hence the importance of sexual purity within every religion, especially Sufism.
Al-Qushayri also provides an interesting explanation of the esoteric symbolism of water in the path of love in his Risalah: Principles of Sufism:
Some say that hub, love, is a name for purity of affection, because the bedouins when speaking of the pure whiteness and regularity of someone’s teeth use the expression habab al-asnan. —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Why the purity of teeth? In Kabbalah the mouth signifies Da’ath, Marifah, sexual knowledge. To be pure in speech is to handle the sexual energy wisely, since sex and the throat connect through the spine. Everyone knows that adolescent boys acquire deep voices due to puberty, and likewise adolescent girls develop their voice further due to the maturation of the sexual organs and the development of hormones.
Al-Qushayri continues to explain the nature of divine eroticism and water:
Others say that since hubab is a word for the excess water that results from a heavy rain, mahabbah came to mean the heart’s boiling and stirring with the thirst and excitement of meeting the Beloved. Still others say the word is derived from habab al-ma, the greater part of a body of water, because love is the object of most of the heart’s concerns. —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Who is the Beloved? It is the Being. Yet a husband finds the Being present in his wife, and vice versa. In Christian terms, every man views his wife as the Divine Mother, Miriam, while every woman views her husband as the Divine Father, Joseph.
Here the waters overflow and saturate the heart when the couple knows how to conserve those forces, raising them from sex to the brain and then to the heart.
You can see that the Sufis use a sexual and erotic language for describing union with God, precisely because union with God occurs in the sexual act. Sadly, many people ignore this fact and come up with many superficial interpretations of the Sufi writings that ignore the necessity of sexual magic.
And sadly, people only see sexuality as something filthy and disgusting, to be indulged in or repressed, even though sexual magic serves a much more profound function than animal pleasure. As Rumi explained to his disciples regarding alchemy:
“If in thirst you drink water from a cup, you see Allah in it. Those who are not in love with Allah will see only their own faces in it.” —Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī
The cup is the holy grail, the feminine sexual organs, within which is filled the waters or manna of the desert, the creative energies that will arouse and satisfy our spiritual thirst.
In relation to this topic, Iranian mythology speaks of the cup of Jamshid, a holy grail filled with a divine elixir that grants the soul the capacity to perceive the seven heavens (the superior dimensions of the Tree of Life, as well as the seven chakras of the spinal medulla). The word Jamshid is an interesting acrostic: Jam signifies a gathering together, which is sexual. For husband and wife to be close to each other signifies intimacy, closeness, a gathering together. The cup or yoni is also the sacred emblem of Christianity in which the solar initiates gather around.
In the past, solar initiates would gather within the temples or mosques to celebrate the path of the Lord through prayer and ritual, which is the general etymological significance of the word "gathering." The word "church" in Greek, Εκκλησία Ekklisía, refers to a gathering place that belongs to divinity, kyriakos, the Lord. A church in esoterism is where the creative energies congregate within the spine, as with the seven churches or fully-developed chakras of the Book of Revelations.
There are alchemical meanings hidden within the Arabic language. Shid, pronounced “Sheed” reminds us of Shahid, “witness.” Therefore, Jamshid is the cup of gathering and witnessing, since none can witness or experience divinity without the sacred yoni, without working with the creative waters of life to awaken the powers of the spine and the mind.
As Al-Qushayri explains:
The expression ‘jam and tafriqah [or farq] is often used by the Sufis. Abu Ali al-Daqqaq used to say, “Separation (farq) is what you are given a share in. Gathering (jam) is what is removed from your power.” —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
All of us are separated from our Being because of the original sin: lust. All of us fornicated and expelled ourselves from Eden, bliss. This occurred precisely because in the past, we did not respect sexuality or transmutation. Due to our own will, we separated ourselves from divinity.
Gathering is a term used to signify how one approaches divinity through the will of divinity. The disparate parts of the soul, once fractured and conditioned by ego, nafs, become unified and integrated by divine decree. Through comprehending, judging, and annihilating the shells or defects that condition consciousness, the Being achieves tawhid, unity within our psyche. And what higher way exists to reach divinity, according to the Sufis, than the sacrament of sexuality, a marriage, whereby the Being descends and helps us to tame the fires of love? Through the fires of love the egos are annihilated completely.
Al-Qushayri explains the alchemical meanings given by his teacher, Al-Daqqaq:
His meaning was that whatever pertains to servanthood [submission to divinity in sexual magic] and is attributed to the servant [the alchemist], whatever is linked to the conditions of being human [as a fornicator], is a form of farq, the separation between worshiper and Worshipped [because through the orgasm, we separate ourselves from the Worshipped, the divine]. Whatever proceeds from the Truth [al-Haqq, Haqiqah, the realizations born from Marifah, transmutation]—the generation of spiritual meaning and experience [since every true spiritual experience is born of the Genesiatic waters], the gifts of grace—is a form of gathering [jam], the coming together of worshiper and Worshipped. —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Therefore, people who are filled with a lot of sexual passion and animal desire will obviously look at the sexual act, the waters, as something carnal, bestial, as Rumi indicated. They see their own faces in it; they separate themselves more and more from divinity through fornication. Yet if the couple works to eliminate desire, egotism, nafs, from the psyche, to deny, comprehend, and annihilate lust, then the sexual act becomes something pure and holy, through which the Being, the divine, is present. Through scientific chastity, Marifah, the Being gathers us in worship of his presence, hudur, within the flames of love. This is the meaning of the Sufi technical terms awe and intimacy. We will speak about awe now but come back to intimacy in a short while.
The true nature of awe is absence [ghaybah], absence, being carried beyond oneself. [In sexual magic, one is no longer an separate individual, but united in the Being, for man and woman form one terrifically divine Elohim]. Everyone in awe is lost to himself [his animal ego, lusts, and desires]. —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Remember the teachings of Proverbs, chapter 1 verse 7:
The fear [awe, Pechad] of Iod-Chavah is the beginning of knowledge [Da’ath, Marifah], but fools [fornicators] despise wisdom and instruction. —Proverbs 1:7
Awe and fear have the same meaning, to respect the creative sexual energy and never waste it, because to fornicate is to be a fool, to waste the sacred oil of the temple.
There is treasure to be desired and oil [שֶׁמֶן shemen, semen] in the dwelling [body or temple] of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up. —Proverbs 20 :21
What is more, Sufis in a state of awe differ in degree according to their detachment from or attachment to ordinary [egotistical] awareness [during sexual transmutation in a matrimony]. Some of them are greatly detached [from lust] and some of them are less so [because they are beginners in alchemy]. —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
All of this is represented by the lance of Longinus and the holy grail in Christianity. The lance is a symbol of the phallus, the masculine force that pierces our egos and annihilates them in the sexual act after we have achieved profound comprehension of such defects in meditation. Here we see the path of redemption for the soul: the union of husband and wife in the perfect matrimony.
Jesus taught alchemy very clearly in other verses, especially in his teaching the Samaritan woman at the well (a symbol of Yesod: the waters in our earth, Malkuth):
Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this (physical) water shall thirst again:
But whosoever drinketh of the (sublimated sexual) water (turned into energy) that I shall give him (in sexual magic, alchemy, tantra, Marifah) shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.
Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. –John 4:13-16
The waters become a wellspring of eternal life when we conserve them. The water regenerates and provides life continually and therefore helps us to remain young, virile, and strong.
Many people think Jesus was dismissing the woman to go get her husband, as if he was ignoring her, but the answer to her question is clear: call thy husband if you want to learn how to use the waters that will give you eternal spiritual life.
Beautiful, no? But cryptic.
The Sufis, along with the gospels, explain the bliss of a marriage, although in a Middle Eastern way, through a heightened alchemical, kabbalistic sexual language.
Ali ibn Ubayd said, “Yahya ibn Muadh wrote to Abu Yazid, ‘I am intoxicated with how much I have drunk from the cup of love.’ Abu Yazid wrote back to him, ‘Someone else has drunk the oceans of the heavens and the earth and his thirst is not yet quenched. His tongue is hanging out and he is asking, “Is there any more?”’ —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
It is one thing to have an insatiable sexual desire or lust, animal passion, carnal attachments, it is a completely different thing to develop the genuine bliss and ecstasy of the soul during the same sexual act. Remember that in Hebrew, Eden means “pleasure” or “bliss.” It was the bliss humanity, symbolized by Adam and Eve, once enjoyed. Sex was once practiced in observance and remembrance of Allah, the Being, but when humanity indulged in the orgasm, in sexual desire, they expelled themselves from Eden, that blissful state.
Those who practice alchemy transform the seminal matter, the sexual waters, into conscious love, chastity, purity, light. When practicing alchemy once per day, no more, the couple rejuvenates the body, heart, and mind. In this sense, the soul’s thirst for divinity is not quenched no matter how much one transmutes from the cup of alchemy, the feminine yoni in sexual magic, because these waters constantly generate within our sexual organs. Because we receive the sexual energy anew every day, it is necessary to sublimate it daily.
Christ’s first miracle was the transmutation of water into wine. This again is symbolic, of how the couple transforms the seminal energies into the wine of the spirit. Such a wine inebriates the soul, as described within Sufism and Christianity.
And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there (again referring back to Miriam, the Divine Mother, who is going to be present at this miracle): And both Jesus (the Inner, Intimate Christ) was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come (the Lord has not fully manifested within the spinal medullae of the married couple yet, since they are learning to transmute for the first time). His mother [Miriam] saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him. –John 2:1-11
Even though it is forbidden in Islam to drink alcohol, the Sufis use the language of intoxication and drinking to talk about experiences with God in alchemy. It signifies being drunk on God, being intoxicated with love. These initiates always treated sex with respect, as something sacred, unlike our humanity today. The Sufis treated sex with balance, neither something to repress or indulge in as something filthy, but through a comprehensive, middle way, by utilizing sex in its true purpose and function: to generate the soul.
Many of these Sufi masters were, of course, married, since every man needs a wife, and every wife needs a husband. These masters did not make alchemy public, but practiced Marifah in secrecy, since this teaching was not explained openly until recently, in the 1950’s with the publication of The Perfect Matrimony by Samael Aun Weor.
Intoxication and Sobriety
In gnosis, we seek to become drunk on the love of the divine. We previously spoke about gnostic and Sufi psychology, how the consciousness must become inebriated by divine energy, so as to awaken from its slumber. Now we are delving into the physiological and alchemical aspects of this knowledge, the secret path of Marifah, some practical components for sexual magic.
In Revelation of the Mystery by Al-Hujwiri, a Persian Sufi master, he explains that there are two kinds of intoxication. His teaching is in relation to Persian and Arabic kabbalah, the symbolic mystical language of the consciousness within Middle Eastern discourse.
There are two kinds of intoxication: (1) with the wine of affection (mawaddat) and (2) with the cup of love (muhabbat). The former is “caused” (ma’lul), since it arises from regarding the benefit (ni’mat); but the latter has no cause, since it arises from regarding the benefactor (mun’im). –Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
The “wine of affection” is caused, brought about by the couple’s individual desires, lust, animality, nafs or egos. They provoke the sexual act because they are filled with lust or passion. They do not unite out of dhikr, remembrance of divinity, to remember the presence, hudur, of divinity, as they sexually connect. These types of people do not comprehend what the cup of love signifies, because they are fornicators.
To drink from the cup of love is to practice chastity. Chastity does not signify abstention from sex, but purity in sex—to not reach the animal spasm or orgasm; to not fornicate, to not be burned by the fornix, furnace of the body through the emission of the sexual energy.
It also signifies restraining lustful thoughts, feelings, and impulses in the three brains. This is difficult for beginners, but something gnostic matrimonies learn through practice and discipline.
The cup of love, sexual magic, is not caused by one’s own will, but by the will of the Innermost Beings within husband and wife. This signifies consciousness of divinity within the sexual act, the Benefactor, mun'im, which etymologically relates to the Arabic word for believer, al-mumin, a term for an alchemist.
He who regards the benefit sees through himself and therefore sees himself (meaning his desires, egotism, lust), but he who regards the benefactor sees through Him (the Being) and therefore does not see himself (as ego), so that, although he is intoxicated (drunk on that pleasure of sexual union), his intoxication is sobriety (there is control and transmutation of the sexual energy; one is sober-headed and rational because the couple are not slaves of desire). –Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
To be sober in Sufi terms is to be in control of one’s energies in the sexual act. One dominates sex with the consciousness, redirecting the animal impulse of desire and transmuting it up the spine. Those people who let themselves be carried away by the pleasures of sex culminate in the orgasm. Thereafter their sexuality governs their mind and they fall downward into the abyss, forming the inverted pentagram.
We are five-pointed stars, with two hands, two legs, and one head. When we control sex, we stand upright, made into the psychological image of the divine. If sex governs our head, we precipitate downwards towards the atomic infernos, the hell realms of Islam, so as to eat the bitter leaves of the Tree of Zaqqum as mentioned in the Qur’an, a symbol of spiritual death and suffering of the consciousness. This is the left-hand path of sorcery and black magic, the path of demons.
The right-hand path is the path of the initiates, the solar way. Therefore, we must transform the moon into a sun!
In the image of this slide, the Goddess Luna is extending her hands towards the moon or lunar power of Yesod, the sexual energy. The sexual energy is a lunar, creative force that we must transform into a sun through alchemy. It is by working with this energy that we learn to comprehend the enigmatic language of the Sufis, since this energy opens the door to comprehension for us.
Remember that psyche was asleep and later awakened through Eros, Cupid, the god of love, the erotic energy. When that power is utilized by a couple, then they begin to understand the mystical meaning of sobriety and intoxication.
Sobriety also is classified in two ways, according to al-Hujwiri.
Sobriety is also of two kinds: sobriety in heedlessness (ghaflat) and sobriety in love (mahabbat). The former is the greatest of veils, but the latter is the clearest of revelations. —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
What does it mean to be sober in heedlessness? To be heedless is to act as an animal, to not follow the sixth commandment of divinity: “Thou shalt not fornicate.” It signifies a lack of practice or spiritual discipline, to not work against the ego, but to fortify it through mistaken habits and the sleep of our consciousness. It means to feed pride, anger, lust, greed, vanity, etc. To not work with the spirit, ruh, is to be reckless, careless in genuine spiritual terms. If we have no consciousness of divinity, if we do not meditate, then we are heedless. Therefore, all of us fall in this category until we learn this science and apply it.
Those who are sober in divine love practice alchemy and know how to conserve the seminal energy and never lose one drop of it. This energy therefore produces the clearest of revelations, since as Samael Aun Weor explains, many initiates know how to enter into the ecstasy of the spirit, to manifest God within, through mastering the sexual act.
The sobriety that is connected with heedlessness is really intoxication, while that which is linked with love, although it be intoxication, is really sobriety. —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
Obviously, the language is tricky. The Sufis were always playing with donkey-headed intellectuals who have no intuition. But their wisdom is clear to other initiates. They wrote in this manner to evade persecution and scandals.
Anyone who gives into fear, pride, envy, hate, lust, desire, is heedless. To give into those negative psychological qualities is to be drunk in a very bad sense. Many people are drunk off their ideas, theories, beliefs, and more importantly their sense of self, their ego, the “me,” “myself,” and “I.” This is the state of identification, fascination, and sleep of the consciousness. The heedless hear about esoterism and rationalize, ignoring instruction. They are heedless and drunk off the opium of theories, which Samael Aun Weor stated is worse than death.
But that alchemical experience that is linked with love, although it be intoxication through the sexual energy, is really sobriety, sensible. To use that power for spiritual life is really the most sensible thing. This is what it means to be sober-headed, to not be carried away by passion. But lunatics, idiots, fornicators, enjoy expelling the energy of Eden from themselves:
The fear of the LORD (respect for the sexual energy) is the beginning of knowledge (Marifah), but fools despise wisdom and instruction. —Proverbs 1:7
When the principle (asl) is firmly established, sobriety and intoxication resemble one another, but when the principle is wanting, both are baseless. —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
So what is this principle (asl)? Sexual alchemy, scientific chastity, to connect sexually with one’s partner, as husband and wife, and to never lose one drop of semen, that precious energy, but to transmute it, elevate it. Through transmutation, one is continually intoxicated by that light generated through the sexual cooperation of the couple.
As the couple practices sexual magic, husband and wife never lose their attraction for one another, because the energy of attraction and magnetism is never expelled, but sublimated. The couple then charges one another with divine power. Through this principle of sexual alchemy, husband and wife remain intoxicated by love for one another, and also remain sober-headed. They comprehend that the ego is the source of disorder and divorce. So, couples who practice sexual alchemy are better off for preserving their union, because fornication leads to suffering and expulsion from sexual bliss. This is how marriages can succeed, rather than end in divorce, which is very common nowadays.
A matrimony can be one’s heaven or one’s hell. Here we are teaching how couples can continually magnetize and charge each other, so that they remain in happiness.
When the principle of alchemy is not present within a couple, sobriety and intoxication are baseless, meaning: they have no foundation in the science of Yesod: the Foundation of Kabbalah. Marriages founded on fornication, the orgasm, are pointless, baseless in a spiritual sense. When people know nothing of transmutation, the terms sobriety and intoxication take on different meanings. The sobriety of fornicators consists of all the degenerated theories in this day and age that adamantly defend the orgasm. Humanity does everything it can to explain why fornication is healthy and necessary. People also speak a lot about feeding one's desires at all costs, being intoxicated not only by alcohol and drugs, but by anger, lust, pride, and greed. This is what it means to have no foundation, to "build one's house upon the sand of theories," which, after the first provocation of a storm or consequences of karma, will tumble and fall into the abyss.
We must become true believers and followers of divinity through learning how to be through the libido. Chastity is essential and constitutes our foundation. As the Qur’an teaches us in Surah Al-Nur, the “Surah of the Light”, verses 30 and 31:
Tell the believing men to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what they do.
And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, their brothers' sons, their sisters' sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed. -Qur'an
In synthesis, the Light Surah indicates that you cannot have spiritual light if you are not chaste.
Many students who begin our gnostic studies complain about lust. Whenever they walk across the street in the cities, their eyes are bewildered by the sight of attractive men and women. The work of transforming lustful impressions is always most difficult for new initiates, which is why women in Islam, initially, wore their hijab or headcovers to prevent the lustful eye. Whether this tradition is really being practiced well after the time of the Prophet is another thing…
But let us continue elaborating on the language of the Sufis:
In short, where true mystics tread, sobriety and intoxication are the effect of difference (ikhtilaf)… —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
The word mystic comes from the Greek root word myein, to close the eyes. This signifies a person who meditates. In this case, the meditators, husband and wife, have been initiated into the sexual mysteries. For true mystics, sobriety signifies sexual purity, chastity, not in the form of abstention or celibacy, but by being pure in the sexual act.
For beginners on the mystic path, intoxication refers to fornication, since people get drunk on the orgasm. When people think of sex, that is all they think about, ignoring that sex can be founded on purity and spiritual love. Sobriety for the mystic therefore is the opposite, to be rational, controlling the sexual energy.
…and when the Sultan of Truth (the Being, Allah, the divine) displays his beauty, both sobriety and intoxication appear to be intruders (tufayli), because the boundaries of both are joined, and the end of the one is the beginning of the other, and the beginning and end are terms that imply separation, which has only a relative existence. In union all separations are negated, as the poet says— “When the morning star of wine rises, The drunken and the sober are as one.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
When the Being expresses Himself within the couple, the beauty and love that husband and wife feel during the sexual act is the truest consubstantiation and fulfillment of divine love. As Fyodor Dostoevsky once stated, “Human love is a reflection of divine love.” For the couple that unifies in compassion and selflessness, out of virtue and purity, of genuine conscious love and understanding, the terms “intoxication” and “sobriety” become concepts and intellectual terms that miss the meaning: since the couple is so lost in the ecstasy and compassion of the Being. The intellect becomes an obstacle. The consciousness, usually hypnotized by the duality and relativity of the mind, becomes absorbed within divinity, the perfect unity, thereby transcending creation.
In sexual union, all separation is negated, because husband and wife become one angelic being with the capacity to create divine life. There is no difference between them, since the egos, the intruders or infidels, are not present, the nafs are absent during the ecstasy.
…as the poet says— “When the morning star of wine rises, The drunken and the sober are as one.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
This is a beautiful teaching by Hujwiri. Who is the drunken one? The soul that is drunk on God, being united with divinity through one’s wife, as a husband, and one’s husband, as a wife.
Who is the sober one? The Being, the Real, the Truth, al-Haqq.
The morning star is Venus, the Divine Mother, wherein the waters of sex are sublimated into spiritual wine, the Kundalini up the spinal medulla. When the sexual fires rise from the base of the spine and illuminate the brain, then the two aspects of Jehovah, Jah-Chavah, are united, Kundalini Shakti—Chavah, the intoxicated from below—marrying Her divine husband, the masculine aspect of the Holy Spirit, Jah, the sober one, the real, in the brain. Together they signify Jehovah.
This is the esoteric Sufi meaning of intimacy. For as Al-Qushayri explains:
The true nature of intimacy [sexual magic and union with God] is rightly sobriety [sahw]. In truth, the condition of balance after mystical experience [samadhi with one’s wife or husband in tantrism, Marifah]. Everyone who becomes intimate with God becomes sober and clear. Such people vary according to the strength of their experience [in chastity, being able to restrain animal desire to a specific degree]. About this the Sufis say, “The lowest stage of intimacy with God is that if one were thrown into a blazing fire [when the fires of sexuality are active between husband and wife, which they must dominate and control], one’s intimacy [concentration and chastity, sexual purity] would not be disturbed.” —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Therefore, if you are lustful, you will only see lust in sex. But the great alchemists know how to see divinity and the seven heavens within the cup of gathering and witnessing, Jamshid.
Sufi Dance and Intimacy with God
Many Sufi dances signify the path of intimacy with God. In the film Meetings with Remarkable Men (a biographical drama about Master Gurdjieff), there is one dance in particular that depicts these alchemical concepts. At the end of the film, Gurdjieff finds a Sufi school of initiation wherein he witnesses a group of turbaned initiates dance and perform the runic alphabet, which are a series of yogic postures used with mantras in order to accumulate energy. Eight men dance in the same spot as they position their body in the form of runic letters, so as to attract the powers of divinity and perform sexual transmutation. Two other men meditate on the sides with their arms crossed in the Egyptian style, with the right arm over the left. The most notable of the dancers is in the center, the ninth man moving in a clockwise circle, demonstrating the positive rotation of the chakras. His arms are crossed since he is not performing the runes, and his centrality and firmness in the dance illustrates his universal role as the Being.
The ninth figure among the dancers, the center initiate, also refers to the strength, solidarity, and power of Yesod, the ninth sephirah of the Tree of Life, which is the creative power of divinity. This is the power that can dominate the ego.
The tenth figure dances in a drunken stupor around the man in the center. The drunken, intoxicated man is the soul, nafs, or ego that must be dominated by willpower. The intoxicated man is silently guided by the somewhat stationary, central figure, the Being or sober one.
The man in the center has his arms crossed in the Muslim style, with the right arm over the left, demonstrating how the right-hand solar path dominates the left-hand lunar path. He does not show any acquiescence to the drunken man, but is firm, in control, leading the drunken initiate towards submission (Islam) to Him. The Being, the real or sober one, accomplishes this feat through the path of meditation and transmutation.
The ten men dancing in the center are the ten sephiroth of the Tree of Life. The drunken man is Malkuth, the physical person filled with vices, while the man in the center is Chesed, the spirit. The two men at the sides represent the two pillars of Kabbalah, Jakin and Boaz, which support the entirety of our psychological and spiritual temple.
There are other dances depicted in this film, but we don't have time to comment on all of them.
All of this dance is accomplished through the power of sex, symbolized by the movement of creative energy through the runes. No matter how drunk or egotistical the soul is, God is immovable, commanding, as we see in the example of the central dancer. Through exercises like runes (used to develop willpower and control), the consciousness becomes trained for sexual magic. With years of discipline, the fires of intimacy (in sexual alchemy) do not disturb the initiates' concentration, but remain in check, as the wild egotistical mind bows humbly in submission before divinity in this dance.
The Sacred Name of God in Islam
The Arabic name of divinity also hides this mystery. الله Allah signifies “the God.” Illaha signifies goddess. ا Alif, the breath, is the Hebrew א Aleph, prana, wind, spirit, ruh, since both Arabic and Hebrew are Semitic languages bearing the same roots in Kabbalah, the language of the consciousness and of God.
الله Allah begins with ا Alif, which is a separate, elongated straight line, a masculine and phallic letter. This is the sacred fire of Kundalini that rises within the spine. الله Allah ends in ه Ha, a feminine letter in esotericism that references the feminine yoni, the vagina. The yoni is a circle and the phallus is a line, which are easy to see in ا Alif and ه Ha.
The two ل lams of the sacred Arabic name of God each represent a person, man and woman, in esoterism. The Hebrew equivalent is ל Lamed, which references the tongue or speech. When man and wife unite in the sexual act to transmute, pronounce mantras, to recite the sacred verb, they are working with الله Allah, Elohim, the divine.
This is equivalent to the Hebrew אל “El,” the spirit, Chesed in Kabbalah, ruh in Arabic “Elah,” or “Eloah” also means Goddess. El is masculine. Eloah or Elah is feminine.
As we've been stating, divinity expresses through the sexual energy. One of the sacred names of divinity in Arabic is Al Wadud (الودود), "the Loving, the Kind One." Likewise we find Al Khaaliq (الخالق), "the Creator." Where else within a human being do we find the possibilities for creation through love? It is in sexual union.
Alchemical knowledge is included in the sacred name Al Wadud, which contains two ו vavs or و waws. ו Vav or و waw can be pronounced as a vowel, such as an a, o, or u sound. و Waw or ו Vav is a spinal column and brain, represented by the straight line and top point of ו vav, and the circle and curved line of و waw. Ibn 'Arabi states that و waw connects the human being with the angels, the divine. Al Wadud has two و waws, one for man and one for woman, wherein the Kundalini rises and unites the couple with الله Allah. Divine unification is also represented by the two د dals or ד Daleths of Al Wadud, indicating two dervishes or initiates, one man and one woman, entering the doorway of alchemical knowledge: the science of the perfect matrimony, Da'ath or marifah in Arabic.
The sexual power of divinity is well reflected within the Qur'an by the following verses:
Then We made the sperm-drop into a clinging clot, and We made the clot into a lump [of flesh], and We made [from] the lump, bones, and We covered the bones with flesh; then We developed him into another creation. So blessed is Allah, the best of creators. —Surah al-Mu'minun, "The Believers," verse 14
After these explanations, it's logical to see, from this verse, that the power of divinity is in sex.
While the creative energy can create a physical child, this verse from the Qu'ran teaches about the creation of the solar bodies, the vehicles of the soul, a type of psychic matter or flesh that does not belong to fornication, but to chastity. These vehicles include: the body of liberation (Yesod, the superior aspect of Malkuth), the solar astral (Hod), solar mental (Netzach), and solar causal (Tiphereth); in total, these are the lower five sephiroth of the Tree of Life, the Kabbalah.
Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio
To sum up these Sufi and Gnostic teachings, we have the following excerpt from Mozart’s Opera, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, The Abduction from the Seraglio. Mozart was a Freemason and a master of Major Mysteries who knew Sufism in depth, along with Beethoven and other initiates. These masters knew the mysteries of the occult stone, the Kaaba of Yesod.
In this opera, Belmonte, a Spanish nobleman, tries to rescue his betrothed, Konstanze, with his servant Pedrillo. She was captured by pirates at sea and sent to a harem, an Arabic den of prostitution, to be the slave of Bassa Selim, the Pasha or ruler of Seraglio. Konstanze is under watch and supervision from Osmin, a Muslim guard, whom Pedrillo tricks into drinking wine to intoxicate him and lead him to sleep. Once Osmin is asleep, Pedrillo and Belmonte make their escape attempt with Konstanze.
All of this is symbolic and invites us to reflect…
Konstanze is constancy, chastity, our divine soul trapped within whoredom, within the prostitution of animal ego, lust, desire, nafs. Belmonte is her future husband, whose Spanish name signifies “beautiful mountain,” “Bel-Monte.” He is Tiphereth in Kabbalah, the human soul or warrior who must fight to liberate the trapped consciousness. When he conquers the ego, then he can marry his divine soul. Tiphereth is our will or capacity to climb the beautiful mountain of initiation, which he accomplishes through Pedrillo, his servant.
Pedrillo is “little Peter,” or little Pedro, signifying a “stone.” Peter is also slang for a phallus. He is the little power of Yesod, the little stone that David, Tiphereth, used to conquer Goliath, the ego, who is represented in this opera as Osmin, a giant bass whose voice inspires fear.
Pedrillo gives Osmin wine to drink, which the guard, being Muslim, first denies. And yet Osmin is tempted by the wine and drinks, ending up drunk and incapacitated, so that Pedrillo, Belmonte, and Konstanze can make their escape.
The symbolism of wine we’ve already explained: it is the energy of sex that inebriates the soul and slackens the ego, putting it to sleep, to make it inactive.
Osmin, the ego, gets drunk off the wine and falls asleep. That energy, harnessed in meditation, has the power to put our defects to sleep so that the consciousness can escape from its shells and conditioning to experience samadhi, represented by Pedrillo’s tenor singing, the elevation of the soul.
Both Pedrillo and Osmin sing about women when praising Bacchus, god of wine, the sexual potency. One can either praise women with chastity or praise women with lust and desire. Both polarities are expressed here in Mozart’s aria, “Vivat Bacchus,” “long live Bacchus!” Osmin praises fornication, but Pedrillo, little Peter, knows how to be chaste. Here we clearly see how sex is the power of liberation or damnation of the soul!
Osmin also reminds us of the Rune Os, Othilla, Thelema, the rune of willpower, whereby single practitioners can learn to transmute their creative energies. Min or Minah in Kabbalistic language is sex. Interesting, no? Why would Mozart name Osmin, the ego, after the Rune Os, and the sexual mysteries of sex, Mina, the Menorah?
Light is generated through conquering fire, through not giving into temptation in the sexual act, to not eat the forbidden fruit and to not culminate in the orgasm. We must instead conserve that light inside. Temptation is fire. Triumph over temptation is light, virtues, comprehension, cognizance. We must steal the fire from the devil!
The sexual energy, the power of Bacchus-Dionysus, is precisely a drink for the Gods, Elohim. This aria is not just about a man getting a Muslim guard drunk, but symbolizes two paths for using the wine of light. When husband and wife are sexually united, they are a truly divine being. When the couple truly practices chastity, the ego, Osmin, is put to sleep, so husband and wife can enjoy sex with purity, to breathe the aromas of the tree of knowledge without eating its fruit…
Remember that the word Seraglio, the harem or den of prostitution, carries the three vowels I.A.O., Ser-Ah-gl-IO. This is because the power of IAO, Jehovah, is polarized negatively through lust within our mind, which is represented by the harem.
Mozart was a great master of Kabbalah, as you can see, which he taught in a synthetic, symbolic and comprehensive way.
Alchemy and the Garden of Gethsemane
Here we see Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane with the chalice of redemption, whereby an angel presents him his cross, symbol of the perfect matrimony, before Christ performs his Passion. Here Jesus was praying before his crucifixion, a symbol of the death of desire, the ego, upon the cross of alchemy. Remember also that the chalice is a symbol of the feminine sexual organs, through which the husband extracts the elixir or manna of spiritual life.
The Garden of Gethsemane precisely represents the garden of Eden, bliss, a matrimony. Gethsemane is the garden of Yesod whereby the Lord is betrayed, since Judas, sexual desire, submits him to the Jewish authorities, the different egos, to be tested, contested, and condemned.
Jesus represents the human soul, Tiphereth, united with Chokmah, Christ, an alchemical amalgamation known as the Son of Man. Here the master prays before the work of completely annihilating his ego. He states, “Father, if it be possible, pass this cup (representing sexual magic) of bitterness from me. But not my will, but Thine be done.”
This path of sexual magic is one of sacrifice of desire. To renounce lust and the orgasm is painful for the ego, but constitutes the intoxication of the soul. It’s obvious then why many people begin but few reach the end. But those who persevere in daily transmutation, death of the ego, and selfless service for others, become constantly inebriated by the divine. They never forget their work because they never forget their Being.
Many people cringe when discovering the necessity of compassion, selflessness, and love for humanity. We recommend that students reflect upon the life of Jesus, who when being nailed to the cross, when he was humiliated beyond comprehension, the only thing he said was “Father, forgive them: they know not what they do.”
This is a type of compassion we strive and struggle to develop, especially within a marriage, when cultivating the powers of our “garden,” our physicality. This is difficult precisely due to our conditioning, which obscures and prevents us from really accessing this state. But if we learn to see the other person’s point of view, we develop the will and perception of Christ, one who does not react to life, but responds. It is one thing to react egotistically to situations, but another thing to respond with cognizance, compassion, and love, with selflessness, thinking and acting only for the benefit of the other person. In this way, we can still establish boundaries and be firm with others who need it, but not with anger—instead, one uses kindness. This is a more potent force than any ego, any defect.
The way that you really develop divine love, the hardest and best way is in a marriage. Despite a couple’s love and affinity, the worst conflicts the disciple faces is upon the cross, during sexual union. Husband and wife must learn to sacrifice their defects to truly love one another. Crucifixion symbolizes the pain one goes through in the alchemical work, in the disintegration of the ego. One can only transcend such pain through comprehension and annihilation of one’s defects in meditation, or, after having comprehended an ego, asking for its annihilation upon the cross, within the sexual act, as explained in The Mystery of the Golden Blossom and The Perfect Matrimony by Samael Aun Weor.
They recited: I’m amazed at someone who says, “I’ve remembered my darling.” Have I ever forgotten (my Being), that I should have to remember? I die (to my ego) remembering You (my Being), then come back to (spiritual) life. Were it not for my good thought of You, I would not have revived. Desire’s object lives (my Being continues) when I die to (egotistical) desire. How many times have I lived for you, how many times died (through the comprehension and disintegration of each of my defects)? I drink love (transmuted water, muhabbah), glass after glass (day after day in alchemy; only once per day in observance of the creative magnetic pause mentioned in The Mystery of the Golden Blossom by Samael Aun Weor). The (alchemical) glass (my sexual organs) is not empty (because the seminal matter is always being generated, but transmuted by the alchemists). My (spiritual) thirst is not sated (I will not cease my transmutations, but strive forward). —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
1. Continue to develop your self-observation from moment to moment. At the end of each day, reflect on conscious you were of your three brains (mind, heart, and body).
2. Every day, sit in a comfortable meditation posture (sitting upright either on a meditation bench / cushion, or Western-style: in a chair). Relax your mind, heart, and body.
3. Vocalize the mantras OM MASI PADME HUM to develop divine compassion and to transform the energies of your body into spiritual fire and spiritual light. Pronounce this mantra for thirty minutes or more.
This mantra translates as “Oh my internal God!”
The seven chakras are awakened by this mantra:
The following transcription is from an audio lecture on Gnostic Meditation, a course originally delivered live at the Chicagoland Gnostic Academy.
One can hardly attain to this degree [of vigilance and comprehension of divinity] until one has emptied oneself through muhasabah, self-observation and inner accounting. The person who has taken account of what he has done in the past and improved his state in the present has attached himself to the path of the Truth. In this relationship with God Most High, he has learned how to keep a heedful heart. He has guarded his breaths for God [through pranayama] and turned his attention to God in all his states. So he knows that God is watchful over him—close to his heart, knowing his states, seeing his acts, hearing his words. Whoever is neglectful of all this is far from the beginning of contact—how far, then, from the realities of nearness to Him? —Al Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
We’re continuing our course on the science of meditation, specifically outlined within the eightfold steps of yoga as described by Patanjali.
So far we have discussed Yama and Niyama, restraint and observances, as well as asana, posture. Yama, known as restraint or ethics, signifies “to yoke, harness, or control” the mind. Niyama means precepts, ethical discipline, trainings or observances by which the consciousness controls the mind and develops serenity. Stability of mind is achieved when we learn to stop performing harmful actions, which produce disturbances in the mind with all its negative consequences.
To have a body that is suitable for meditation, we must cease agitating the body, and to have a body that is receptive and pliant, suitable for our meditative discipline, we must cease agitating the mind. Our physicality manifests the conditions and influences of the mind, the psyche. If our mind is filled with desire, with egotism, with negativity, it will be impossible to learn meditation, since the body will be tense along with our intellectual and emotional centers.
To engage in fruitless activities, to commit theft, murder, acts of violence and anger within our consciousness, disturbs the mind and body. Hence the need for restraint of mind, to stop harmful mental, emotional, and physical actions.
Many people do not believe that they kill, but it is very true that when one is consumed by anger, by malice, one is killing one’s neighbor through the emotional center. Likewise, people may not steal physical things, but energy, attention, to feed one’s vanity. While many devotees believe that the different commandments of religions focus on outward behavior, such instructions more importantly relate to the consciousness, to psychological states of being, which we must work upon to achieve true change. Hence the need for precepts, codes of spiritual conduct that help to develop the virtues and positive qualities of the consciousness.
Ethics is developed by comprehending and working with the law of karma: cause and effect. Negative actions from the ego produce suffering, while positive actions from the consciousness produce equanimity.
It is impossible to meditate with a chaotic mind, and it is impossible to develop serenity if you are feeding your egos every moment of the day through identification. What does it mean to identify? It means that you, as a free consciousness, give your energy to whatever defect takes over the five centers of your human machine: intellect, emotions, movement, instincts, and sex. When anger emerges, you as a consciousness think and feel that you are that anger. You invest it with energy and power. You fortify and empower it by thinking and saying whatever that sense of “I” wants in a given moment, until another ego emerges in reaction to fluctuating external circumstances.
Feeding the ego produces pain, since the “I,” desire, is a condition, a conglomeration of shells, a state of suffering that traps our full conscious potential.
To restrain our mind from doing what it wants every second of the day is the work with ethics. It is knowing how to consciously work with the law of cause and effect. As we explained in the previous lecture on “Ethics, Karma, and Interdependence,” how you behave in body, speech, and mind determines the quality of your life. Disciplining the lower self, the ego, desires, or nafs within Sufism, is the definition of the spiritual path:
“The lower soul (nafs, which etymologically signifies ‘breath’) is always engaged in inspiring your imagination to pursue evil acts or thoughts, every moment striving to cast you down into the abyss of pride, hypocrisy, and egotism. Each moment thus demands that you overcome and repulse such evil thoughts and false conceptions, constantly regaining your faith afresh and reaffirming your belief, and never imagining yourself safe from the lower soul’s deceit even for a second.” —Lāhījī, Mafātīḥ
Nafs in Arabic means “breath, vitality, vigor, or soul.” The egos, nafs, or desires within us have trapped or conditioned our essence, our consciousness. Every ego, defect, or desire, traps the energy of the consciousness within states of suffering. Every naf, like anger, pride, fear, laziness, gluttony, etc., squanders the energies of the psyche in atomic explosions of hatred, lust, and desire.
Meditation begins when we learn how to stop wasting energy: mental, emotional, volitional, sexual. You enact the initial stages of ethical discipline when you, as a consciousness, are observing your mind, heart, and body, your egos, seeing them as something inferior and separate from your consciousness. The deeper part comes through transformation, when you consciously choose not to give your ego what it wants. It is essential to develop the sense of self-observation in a very clear and strong manner, to be able to separate from the “I” in all its tenebrous multiplicity, to see and watch our defects in action, and to not act upon their impulses no matter how strong.
Each ego is a false identity, a false sense of self, which has nothing to do with our spiritual nature. The “I” has nothing to do with the Being, as well as the unconditioned, free consciousness. Each ego or false sense of self has trapped our consciousness, and now it is our work to extract the consciousness trapped in those errors by comprehending our defects and eliminating them.
The nafs, lower selves, or different “I’s” within us are the infidels mentioned throughout the Qur’an, Islam, and Sufism.
"There are two types of warfare (jihad): outward and inward. The outer battle is against the infidel (kāfar, or black magicians in the astral and mental planes) while the inner war is waged aggressively against the lower soul (nafs). Warriors of the sword are threefold: the slayer who is rewarded, the battle-weary vouchsafed forgiveness of sins, and the martyr who is slain. Likewise, the warriors of the soul are threefold: one who exerts himself who belongs to the just and the pious (abrār), one who excels in struggle who sustains the spiritual hierarchy (awtād), and one who is victorious, who is numbered amongst the apostolic saints (abdāl). One who wages war against the unbelievers (fornicating black magicians, the infidels) obtains wealth, but one who wages war against the soul is enriched with the wealth of the heart… The Prophet called the war against the lower soul (nafs) the “greater war” because, while one may avoid conflict with an external foe, none is exempt from the struggle against, and combat with, the lower soul. Peace can be secured from all enemies through negotiation or conciliation, but if one attempts to negotiate and reconcile the [lower] soul, one is doomed to perdition." —Maybudī, Kashf al-asrār, IV 60
Samael Aun Weor wrote that we must be compassionate to all beings, even towards the sorcerers and demons of the black lodge, but merciless to our ego. If you ever give what your ego wants, you deepen your suffering. When you do not give your ego what it wants, you experience happiness. This is karma in action.
When you don’t give your anger what it wants by identifying yourself with its thoughts, desires, and impulses, you save energy; you become hermetically sealed. Remember that in any moment, a sense of self, a false identity emerges within your mind, heart, and body that wants to push you to think, feel and act a certain way. If you as a free consciousness are vigilant, watchful, you perceive these false, multifarious identities within you. The more you, as a consciousness, restrain the mind from acting in harmful ways, by learning to see the egos in action, the more psychic energy you save. Likewise, the less you identify with any ego or defect, the more energy you save, and the more serene your mind becomes.
Energy is essential for spiritual life. If you are wasting your energy through negative behaviors, thinking, and sentiments, you will never learn to meditate. But when you restrain the mind and follow the precepts of meditative discipline, you enter the doorway into genuine self-knowledge, because you have energy available to empower the consciousness and relax the body and mind.
Our asana, meditative posture, is based on how we fulfill Yama and Niyama, restraint of mind or ego, and observances. Swami Sivananda wrote that our asana should be like a mountain, immovable, firm. If your mind is restless and agitated from desire, your body will not be able to sit still. If you are constantly moving during your practice, then you are not practicing at all, because any physical movement agitates the mind and its energies, preventing you from going deep into the consciousness to receive the imagery of the internal worlds. And if you have no energy with which to meditate, you will fall asleep in your posture if you are too comfortable.
Your posture should help you relax, but to the point that you maintain conscious remembrance of what you are doing at all times. If your posture is too comfortable but your consciousness not alert enough, then laziness kicks in and you fall asleep, such as when you lie down to practice. This is not meditation, and this is why we recommend that students in the beginning practice sitting up, either in the Western style, in a chair, or on a meditation cushion in a half-lotus or full lotus, if your body is flexible enough. The point is that your posture should be relaxed and firm to the point that you are perfectly at ease and can remember what you are doing consciously, that you maintain your ability to focus and remain attentive. Your asana needs to be comfortable to the point that you can forget the body and work with the subtle energies of the mind and heart.
By fulfilling the restraints and observances of meditative discipline, and to aid in the relaxation of body and mind, we work with pranayama. By conserving our energies and transforming them, we harness the power of the soul with our breath, since the Arabic word nafs means “soul” as well as “breath,” and is modified into different types of expression in accordance with Kabbalah.
Inspiration, nafas—literally “breath,” also “breathing space” or ample room—is the refreshment of hearts by the subtleties from the Unseen. A person who receives inspiration [from learning to aspire, or inspire, to inhale the vital breath through pranayama] is finer and clearer than a person who is open to mystical states [who is intuitive to a degree, but who does not practice this technique]. The person of the momentary inner experience is the beginning [meaning: the one who practices mindfulness, self-observation, and self-remembering], the inspired person is at the conclusion, and the person of [internal, psychological and spiritual states born from practice] is between the two. The states are means and inspirations are the end of progressive development. Moments belong to those who have hearts, states belong to those who possess spirit (ruh) [or Ruach], and inspirations belong to the people of inner being (sirr) [the Innermost Self / Atman]. The Sufis have said, “The best act of worship is the count the breaths along with God Glorified and Exalted.” —Al Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
This lecture will explain the purpose of pranayama, how to practice it, and how it is taught within the teachings of Sufism, the writings of Swami Sivananda, the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, and the doctrine of Samael Aun Weor.
Prana, Transmutation, and Brahmacharya
To control the mind, we work with its energies, which constitute different modifications of prana. Prana, in Sanskrit and hatha yoga, relates to the breath, to breathing, the air. Pranayama etymologically signifies, “to harness the wind” or “yoke” the life forces of the body.
Prana is much more profound than just breath. It is the force of “life, spirit, energy, and vitality” within air and our physical body. Prana is the life-force of divinity that we assimilate through our breathing, and which we find condensed and modified within the different elements of the cosmos and of nature.
Prana is the sum total of all energy that is manifest in the universe. It is the sum total of all the forces in nature. It is the sum total of all latent forces and powers which are hidden in men [and women] and which lie everywhere around us. Heat, light, electricity, magnetism are the manifestations of prana. […] Whatever moves or works or has life is but an expression of manifestation of prana. The prana is related to mind [Hod / Netzach] and through mind to will [Tiphereth], and through will to the individual soul [Tiphereth / Geburah], and through this to the Supreme Being [Chesed / Atman in Kabbalah]. If you know how to control the little waves of prana working thorough your mind, then the secret of subjugating universal prana will be known to you. –Swami Sivananda
Pranayama also is described within the gnostic tradition by the term transmutation, which is “The action of changing or the state of being changed into another form.”
Within our body is the most potent force of the universe, the sexual energy, the capacity to create life, which is found in a germinal state within the physical semen. This physical matter or semen can be used to create a physical child, but in spiritual sadhana, spiritual practice, we conserve the semen and transform this matter into energy, precisely through the exercise of controlling our breath, being fully concentrated, prayerful, and attentive, with the mind restrained.
As described in the book of Genesis, the spirit or breath of God hovered over the face of the waters. What spirit? The Ruach Elohim in Hebrew or ruh in Arabic, otherwise known as prana in Sanskrit, the divine forces that generate life. The prana, the energies of divinity, can be directed to yoke the sexual waters in our body, to transform that water into light. For as Genesis teaches us, “God said, ‘Let there be light!’ And there was light.” That light is consciousness and comprehension in meditation.
The word trans is a prefix used with the meanings such as “across,” “beyond,” “through,” and “changing thoroughly.” Mutation comes from mutate, “to change or cause to change in form or nature.” Transmutation is the science of changing the sexual water into light, carrying it up within our spine to the brain, mutating that semen into energy. This is accomplished through yoking the vital winds, the energies of our breath, mind, body, heart, and semen.
Prana is not only in the air, but in all the elements of nature and our body, within the aerial nature of our thoughts, the fires of our emotions, and solidity of our physical earth or body, and most importantly within the waters of our sexual organs. Prana condenses into multiple forms of matter and energy, most importantly sexual, which we transmute from the physical, brute semen, to feed our consciousness with light.
It’s important to remember that it is impossible to develop the consciousness without energy, and that the most important form of energy is sexual. Sexual energy is prana, the “vitality, power, vigour, and life” that can awaken our full potential.
The word prana bears similar etymological meaning as the Arabic word for soul, nafs, which can be lower [egotistical] or higher [conscious] depending on our work. How we harness energy is determined by the quality of practicing pranayama.
It’s interesting that the term prana can signify the sexual organs, which demonstrates that to work with pranayama is to control the creative energy and use it for our spiritual development. This is why chastity is emphasized by Patanjali, the yogis, and all genuine practitioners of every spiritual tradition. Chasity means restraint and transmutation of the sexual energy, the prana. This science has been known by the term Brahmacharya in the East, which is a Sanskrit word composed from:
Everyone in these times want to know how to meditate, but when instructed to restrain and control the sexual energy, to restrain the lower selves, egos, nafs, or desires, they run away. This is sad, because without harnessing the vital winds, the sexual energy, without going against the grain of one’s habits, one cannot learn meditation. To feed desire, our egos, lust, through identification, produces suffering. By expelling the very energies that can give life, we hinder our spiritual life. Meditation is impossible for individuals who have no prana, no energy, in their body that can empower the consciousness.
Brahmacharya literally means Achara or conduct that leads to the realization of Brahman or one’s own Self. It means the control of semen [the sexual matter within both men and women], the study of the Vedas (scriptures, as well as the sexual teachings of any religion) and contemplation on God. The technical meaning of Brahmacharya is self-restraint, particularly mastery of perfect control over the sexual organ or freedom from lust in thought, word and deed. —Swami Sivananda
The beginning of the path of meditation is to restrain the sexual energy, to not expel it in any form whatsoever. This energy must be conserved and transformed to give us spiritual life. Lustful people who ejaculate the sexual energy have no energy with which to calm the mind and learn meditation.
The scripture Siva Samhita describes seminal retention and transmutation as the basis of all meditative realization:
Ejaculation of semen [orgasm] brings death, preserving it within brings life. Therefore, one should make sure to retain the semen within. One is born and dies through semen; in this there is no doubt. Knowing this, the Yogi must always preserve his semen. When the precious jewel of semen is mastered, anything on earth can be mastered. Through the grace of its preservation, one becomes as great as me [Shiva]. The use of semen determines the happiness or pain of all beings living in the world, who are deluded [by desire] and are subject to death and decay." —Siva Samhita
Feeding desire, lust, only agitates the mind and psyche, for as Padmasambhava explained to Lady Tsogyal:
Lustful people do not enter the path of liberation.
This is of course the difficult thing, but fundamental to any progress.
Junayd was asked: "What is union with God [religion, religare, Yoga]?" He replied: "To renounce passion [fornication: the animal orgasm]," for of all of the acts of devotion by which God's favor is sought none has greater value than resistance to passion, because it is easier for a man to destroy a mountain with his nails than to resist passion [fornication]. —Al-Hujwiri, Kashf al-Mahjub, Revelation of the Mystery
The next steps include controlling lust in the heart and mind, which is of course more difficult. Students must fight against adulterous and lustful tendencies, the desire to look at the opposite sex with desire. As Jesus taught:
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. —Matthew 5:27-28
The most manifest attribute of the lower soul is lust (shahwat). Lust is a thing that is dispersed in different parts of the human body, and is served by the senses. Man is bound to guard all his members from it [particularly the sexual organs, to train the body not to fornicate], and he shall be questioned concerning the acts of each. The lust of the eye is sight, that of the ear is hearing, that of the nose is smell, that of the tongue is speech, that of the palate is taste, that of the body (jasad) is touch, and that of the mind is thought (andíshídan). It behoves the seeker of God to spend his whole life day and night, in ridding himself of these incitements to passion which show themselves through the senses [by correctly transforming impressions in meditation], and to pray God to make him such that this desire will be removed from his inward nature [through contemplation and comprehension in meditation], since whoever is afflicted with lust is veiled from all spiritual things. —Al-Hujwiri, Kashf al-Mahjub, Revelation of the Mystery
First we conserve the sexual energy, learn to transform it in our body. With further discipline we no longer entertain lustful thoughts and desires in the heart. Pranayama is especially important for controlling lust, because if the consciousness has no energy, it has no strength by which to work against the monsters of desire. Pranayama will help you to acquire energy by which you can comprehend and annihilate the ego. As described by the ancient teachings of Manu:
Let the defects be burnt up by Pranayama. –Manu
Students are therefore taught, within ethical discipline, not to fornicate, and why Buddha taught his disciples that one is no longer a disciple if they do not fulfill the observances and restraints of chastity. Pranayama and sexual purity, therefore are essential in the eightfold steps of meditation and yoga, since the subsequent principles of meditation are founded on this. Attempting to perform pranayama without fuel, without sexual energy present, is like trying to pump fuel from a gas station when there is none. No water, no fuel, no light. Yet by practicing sexual purity, one can enter very rapidly into the science of meditation.
“With the practice of Pranayama, the mind of the student is prepared for Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi.” —Samael Aun Weor
Energy and the Kabbalistic Tree of Life
The nature of prana must be analyzed, by gnostic students, through the Kabbalah, the Tree of Life. This Tree of Life maps out for us the varying modalities and condensations of matter, consciousness, energy or prana, the Christic force, which is manifest throughout the entire cosmos, as Swami Sivananda and Samael Aun Weor have explained very well.
This map has ten spheres or Sephiroth, translated from Hebrew as “emanations,” which are organized into three trinities with a single sephirah or sphere at the bottom, named Malkuth, the physical body or kingdom.
Our body is a kingdom with many elements, forces and principles, that we must harness if we want to ascend this graphic, to perceive more refined and profound levels of consciousness, indicated by the higher spheres of this tree.
Don’t think about this glyph as something outside of you, but within. This image maps out states of perception, in more refined or gross levels, from the most subtle above to the most dense below. This has nothing to do with vertical space, in the true application of this graphic.
The Tree of Life emerges from the Abstract Absolute Space, the Unknowable Seity or Ain. From within the Ain, the Nothingness of cosmic, abstract space, is our own particular supra-divine star, the Ain Soph, the Limitless. And from the Ain Soph emerges the Ain Soph Aur, the Limitless Light, the Cosmic Khrestos or Christ.
This light manifests into the universe as the top trinity of this graphic. This undifferentiated light of the Ain Soph Aur is the Prana in its most rarified state, which, in order to be developed, needs to enter into the universe to create its diverse regions and forms, unfolding into more material states of matter, energy, and experience.
The top trinity is known as the Logoic triangle, the Christic forces of Kether, Chokmah, and Binah, or Father, Son and Holy Spirit in Christian terms. These three spheres are not people, but energies. This trinity is the power of creation, genesis, which are three aspects of one light or force; prana, in other words. Because this power is in a refined state, it is elevated, superior, rarified, yet for that power to develop, it must materialize, condense, descend to the lower regions of this tree, to be worked upon consciously.
Prana condenses into other forms of matter, energy and perception, represented by the Sephiroth below. To work with prana above, we must work with that energy below, within the lower aspects of our being. We can analyze the nature and modifications of prana in different ways, especially in accordance with the septenary constitution of the human being, which is:
7. Atman: the Innermost Being, our Inner Buddha or God [Chesed]
6. Buddhi: the consciousness, the Divine Soul [Geburah]
5. Superior Manas: the Human Soul, Willpower, Causal body [Tiphereth]
4. Inferior Manas: the mind, Mental body [Netzach]
3. Kama Rupa: the body of desires, the Astral body [Hod]
2. Linga-sarira: the Vital (Ethereal) body [Yesod]
1. Sthula-sarira: the physical body [Malkuth]
—Samael Aun Weor, Kundalini Yoga: The Mysteries of the Fire
Atman, Buddhi, and Superior Manas constitute the middle trinity, the Ethical triangle of the Tree of Life, relating to our genuine humanity and the spiritual principles of our inner divinity that guide us in the work. This trinity is the real Being or inner spirit [Chesed], divine soul [Geburah], and human soul [Tiphereth], the latter sometimes referred to superior manas, superior mind in Sanskrit.
Our consciousness is a fraction of the human soul, known as Tiphereth in Kabbalah. This middle sephirah in the very center of the Tree of Life is known by the term superior manas in Theosophy.
This term mind can be very vague in esoteric and spiritual circles. Superior manas, Tiphereth, is abstract, not concrete. It is our willpower. We know it’s there, but it is not materialized, visible. We can say that a person has tremendous will, because they have internal drive and a means of working, making a living, being disciplined in a specific type of endeavor, etc. Willpower is very real for us, but hard to pinpoint or concretize. It relates to a type of abstraction of the psyche, one relating to volition or will.
Our consciousness emanated from Atman-Buddhi-Manas, Chesed-Geburah-Tiphereth, and has entered the lower sephiroth: mind, heart, vitality, and physicality. This is in order to acquire knowledge and experience.
Our inner Being, spirit, Buddha, Atman, gives the consciousness intuitions and hunches, as well as inspiration to practice spirituality through learning to control the lower aspects of ourselves, the lower trinity in this glyph. Tiphereth, superior manas or willpower, must control the lower aspects of the psyche.
This is essential in pranayama, because to harness the prana, we must control our thoughts, feelings, and impulses, which are the vehicles of our ego.
The Inferior Manas is our mind [Netzach], which is more concrete. People have an easier time acknowledging thoughts than they do with comprehending will.
The Kama Rupa or desire / astral body [Hod] is the seat of emotions, which everybody acknowledges to a degree.
The Linga-sarira, or vital body [Yesod], is our vital energies that give life to our physicality. This vital body is the body of prana. It is the storehouse of all the prana that descends from the top trinity, descending through the Sephiroth and finally coalescing in our vital body, which exists in the fourth dimension. This vehicle sustains the chemical, biological, catabolic, metabolic, etheric, and vital processes of our physical body: the Sthula-sarira, Malkuth. Without the vital body and its circulation of prana throughout the physical body, we would not be alive.
These three lower spheres: Inferior Manas, Kama Rupa, and Linga-sarira, or Netzach, Hod, and Yesod, constitute the triangle of Priesthood. This triangle is the work with magic, from the Indo-European root word mag, meaning “priest” or “magician.”
Magic is not pulling rabbits out of hats, or impressing people with clever tricks. Magic is knowing how to consciously manipulate matter and energy, prana, within our tree of life, through willpower and visualization.
Pranayama is a form of magic, whereby we manipulate creative forces within our mind, heart, and body. To control the mind, with its racing, uncontrolled thoughts, the heart, with its surging emotions, and the impulses and instincts of the body, constitute the beginning of our meditative discipline. When you experience a calm mind through pranayama, you come to realize how magical this science really is, since it produces the serenity and clarity of the soul.
The prerequisites of meditation involve stilling the body, the vital energies, the heart, the mind, and our willpower, the lower five Sephiroth of the Kabbalah. Let us be very clear: stilling the mind is not meditation; it is the beginning. Genuine meditation is about receiving internal information about ourselves and the cosmos, the science of comprehension and understanding. This is an important distinction to make, because pranayama aids the practitioner in calming the psyche so that the waters of the mind can reflect internal principles.
See here the lower five spheres of the Tree of Life? These are all different aspects of our psyche, which need to be controlled and calmed through yoking prana. Mind is a form of prana. Emotions are a form of prana. And the sexual energy is condensed prana that serves as the foundation for meditation, since prana, the Linga-sarira or vital body, is the foundation of this graphic.
The mind or body of desires are controlled using vital energy, the vital body or Linga-sarira. Notice how this vital body, Linga-sarira or sphere of Yesod is the very center of the Tree of Life, as well as at its base or foundation. Yesod literally means “foundation.” Yesod is the basis of spiritual and physical life.
The word Lingam refers to the sexual organs, specifically the phallus, hence the strong correlation between prana or Linga-sarira and the sexual glands. The yoni in Hinduism symbolizes the uterus, and its union with the lingam represents the highest consubstantiation of divine love. Prana literally means “vital organs,” and refers to semen, since in certain rituals like the puja, the Hindus pour milk over the symbol of the Lingam-Yoni as an offering to divinity. That milk is semen, transmuted sexual energy, prana, which are found within the union of the lingam-yoni.
Our physical semen is condensed prana. It is vital energy in a material state. Through the science of pranayama, we yoke, transmute, and elevate the energies of sex, so that the body, mind, heart, and will become balanced and prepared for actual meditation.
While prana means “life,” yama means “restraint” or “death.” Yama is the deity of death in esoteric Buddhism. This is very interesting linguistically.
Samael Aun Weor wrote that if the seed does not die, the plant cannot be born. If you want to experience the entirety of the Tree of Life in meditation, you must give birth to that tree through the sexual seed. When the seed dies and is transmuted, it becomes a Tree of Life. This is well known by initiates in the science of alchemy or Da’ath.
Pranayama, therefore, helps to transform the seed, by destroying the matter, to convert it into energy. By this we do not mean that one can give birth to the entirety of the soul through pranayama. The solar bodies can only be created in a marriage. Instead, pranayama aids single practitioners in circulating the energies of sexuality, to a certain degree, to stabilize one’s concentration and mind in preparation for dhyana, meditation.
The mind must be united with its Divine Triad, together with the psychic extractions of the astral, vital and physical vehicles.
The inferior Manas together with the Kamas, Prana and Linga, reinforce the Divine Triad by means of fire. –Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
We reinforce the powers of the Being by working with prana. The inferior manas or mind, the emotions or body of desires, and the prana or Linga-sarira, reinforce the middle Triad through the work with sexual fire. Mind, emotions, and sexuality help to support the principles above through pranayama. Atman-Buddhi-Manas are strengthened through yoking the fires of sexuality below, which are contained within the waters of genesis, the sexual matter.
People who do not work with the creative energies have a weak connection with their inner Being. People who fornicate lose their connection with divinity. However, this connection can be re-established the more we work with transmutation. This becomes evident through internal experiences in meditation.
While pranayama works with sparks of fire, the sexual fire must be harnessed or yoked in a matrimony to fully develop the creative energies.
All this work of transmutation is performed with willpower, our human soul, the superior manas or Tiphereth. Our will must exert itself to control the sexual energy through spiritual inspiration, emanating from Atman-Buddhi. Prana then produces a profound calming effect on the mind, heart, and body below.
Pranayama, interchanging nostril breathing, requires a form of effort or will to perform. It also involves imagining the circulation of forces in your body and mind. This is the superior manas or willpower in action, in combination with our capacities for perception and imagination, known as Geburah in Kabbalah, the sphere of Buddhi, the divine consciousness.
We must perceive what we are doing in every practice, especially Pranayama and sexual transmutation. As we are going to elaborate upon in our discussion of “Spiritual Insight,” the capacity to perceive is imagination, to see internal, psychic things, the movement of energies. Pranayama involves willpower to control the energies, through our breath, serenity, and composure. We also need perception of those forces inside. These are abilities that the practitioner develops gradually through consistent discipline.
Energy, Nadis, and the Nervous Systems
We have an image here of the nervous systems of the body, which become charged with vitality when we learn how to circulate those forces with our willpower and imagination. Hinduism refers to energetic channels in the vital depth, the etheric body of Yesod, as nadis. There exist millions of nadis in our vital body, which are intimately related with the chakras of our ultra-biology, the latter composed of the internal chemistry of forces and energies that interdependently flow through our physicality and internal vehicles.
A nadi is a line or current of vital energy, and when two nadis intersect, you form a vortex, a wheel of energy, a chakra. People believe there are only seven chakras, which is wrong, because wherever two nadis join, you form a vortex or wheel of forces. While there are seven main chakras connected with the spinal medulla, we really possess hundreds of thousands of chakras throughout our body, each with their own purpose, role, and influence.
The cerebrospinal, grand sympathetic, and other nervous systems are physical conduits for etheric energies. Therefore, the nadis of the internal bodies, the vital depth, correspond to the physical, vital, and fluidic matter that circulates in our body. The nervous systems function because of the gelatinous and delicate fluids of the nerves, and it is well known in physical science that most of our body is composed of water. When we learn to conserve the vital waters of our body, the seminal matter and its concomitant energies, we can transmute those waters into another substance, into cognizance, conscious energy, and light.
Remember that we stated that our sexual waters, our semen, is a gelatinous substance or condensed prana. Prana, in its unmodified form, is light. That light descends the Tree of Life and enters Yesod, materializing to form the entity of semen. Now the work we need to do is to transform or transmute the sexual substance into cognizance, fire, and light with the sacred breath. This light saturates the brain and nervous systems, flowing within and upward to the brain up the different energetic channels.
Because the brain and spine are surrounded by nerves, it follows logically that the nadis condense and unite in innumerable spaces throughout the vital body, which penetrates within the material brain, spine, and nervous systems. Do not make the mistake of thinking that the vital body is separate from your physical body, because the vital depth gives life to your physicality, and is a biological vehicle that penetrates and co-penetrates every atom of the physical body, like a mirror image. It is made of etheric matter in the fourth dimension, matter which is pliable, elastic, and fluidic, relating intimately with the health of your brain and nervous systems. Without the vital body, we would not be able to physically exist, since it is the fourth-dimensional aspect of your material, physical, third-dimensional body, since every atom of your etheric body penetrates every atom of your physical body, giving you life. The day your vital depth disconnects from the physical body is the day you die physically, since without ether, prana, we would not have life.
Prana and the etheric body have been well documented by the Kirlian camera, a device developed by a Russian scientist that photographs the vital aura of people, plants, and even minerals. All living things have prana, even supposedly inorganic matter like metals and earth. This type of science demonstrates how the vital body of any living thing is inseparable from its material, physical form.
The Tree of Life in our physical body is our spine, so while there is a macrocosmic implication to studying the universe, our spine is how we have physical and spiritual life, especially when we learn how to circulate prana in our secondary or sexual system, as described by Master Morya in his Dayspring of Youth.
The two main energetic channels we focus on with pranayama are Ida and Pingala, or the lunar and solar currents. By the term “lunar,” what we mean are feminine, negative, or receptive forces in the body, whether we are male or female, and by “solar,” we mean the masculine, positive, or projective forces of the body, whether we are male or female. These forces originate within our gonads, the testicles or ovaries. In the same manner that an electrical current has a positive, negative, and neutral current, our sexual system likewise has masculine, feminine, and neutral forces and nadis. Through controlling and directing prana, we circulate vital force through the nadis Ida and Pingala up the spine in the form of an eight, the caduceus of mercury with its two entwining serpents, a representation of the solar and lunar energetic currents. While Ida is feminine and Pingala is masculine, the spinal column is the neutral, grounding current by which masculine and feminine cohabit, unify, and reconcile. The energetic nadi of the spine is known as Sushumna nadi.
When we learn to harness the energies contained within our waters with our breathing, with pranayama, we can raise and circulate such vital forces from the gonads up the spine, through Ida and Pingala, to awaken sparks of a third force in the base of the spine through the Sushumna nadi. This third force is known in the East as Kundalini and the West as the fire of Pentecost.
As Samael Aun Weor indicated in his writings:
The yogi/yogini works with the Great Breath or Cosmic Chrestos that is deposited within the Christonic semen when they are practicing Pranayama. Pranayama (a practice that consists of making profound inhalations of air, and retaining the inhaled air as much as possible, and afterwards exhaling the air until emptying the lungs), also teaches about the poles of the energy: one masculine pole located in the brain (cerebrospinal nervous system) and the feminine pole in the heart (grand sympathetic nervous system). Thus, as when we form two poles in the space through a magneto, we create new energies and these forcedly are giving birth to a third pole; likewise, we affirm that the third pole is Devi Kundalini, which, from the union of the solar and lunar atoms, is born within the Triveni, situated in the coccyx. These two polarities, masculine and feminine—from the Great Breath—prove the sexuality of Prana and Kundalini. Kundalini is absolutely sexual. —Samael Aun Weor, Kundalini Yoga: The Mysteries of the Fire
Kundalini and Pranayama
Pranayama is absolutely sexual, in the same manner that Kundalini is the sexual potency. By working with pranayama, single persons yoke their creative energies to a certain, limited degree, while prana is fully activated throughout the spine and nervous systems through sexual magic between man and woman, husband and wife, who are simultaneously working to eliminate their defects through profound comprehension in meditation.
The Kundalini is the sacred sexual fire of the Holy Spirit. Individuals can awaken sparks of Kundalini within the base of the coccyx up the spine through the exercise of pranayama. To fully awaken Kundalini, one needs to be working in a matrimony.
Let us be clear about the nature of the Kundalini. Kundalini is the power of the Divine Mother, the enlightenment of God. Many people believe that the Divine Mother, the Kundalini, is a mechanical force, one that can awaken randomly and cause numerous psychological and spiritual problems, such as rising in the wrong way, causing delusions or mental imbalances, etc. People who attribute these phenomena with Kundalini awakening ignore their own destructive habits, ignore the law of karma, cause and effect, because Devi Kundalini harms no one. What is sad is that such people ignore that the Divine Mother is the wisdom of the universe, the cosmos, which is structured and maintained by divine intelligence.
The Divine Mother does not harm Her child. People hurt themselves, not because of the Divine Mother Kundalini. Our inner goddess only rewards virtues, chastity, purity, and ethical discipline. People develop imbalances and psychological problems due to fornication, which the Divine Mother does not reward. She can only awaken within a couple that is meditating and comprehending the ego daily, working on their defects and praying for their elimination; She emerges within people who develop virtue. She awakens within a couple that not only conserves and transmutes the sexual energy, but who are following the precepts (Niyama) and ethical restraints (Yama) of religion. The Kundalini is very demanding, since She only rises within the spine of the couple in accordance with the merits and qualities of the heart. As Paul of Tarsus stated in Corinthians:
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. —1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Observe your mind. Are you not filled with desire, with fornication, the lustful eye that craves sexual satisfaction with many women, with many men? Are you truly free from the adulterous eye that wants to copulate with others constantly, even if it is just in your imagination or fantasies? Are you sure that your mind is pure and filled with virtues, rather than vices? Do you abstain from alcohol, thievery of stealing of other people’s ideas, energy, belongings, money? Are you sure that you do not extort others to do what you want, even under the guise of sanctity, kindness, and generosity? Are you positive that you have never betrayed anyone, including your inner divinity?
Be sure that if you are filled with these qualities, and even when you practice sexual magic, the Divine Mother will not reward you. She only rises within the spine of the couple who are meditating every day on the ego, those who are working to eliminate the “I” first through discovery of defects in self-observation, then their judgment in meditation, followed by their execution through prayer. This is the fundamental law of action and consequence.
People have a lot of theories about the Kundalini, but none of it is factual or based on evidence, observed facts in one’s daily life. We mention this because in relation to the teachings of pranayama, ethical discipline is the same: if you want to transmute your energies through pranayama, you must be ethical, practicing restraint (Yama) and following specific observances (Niyama). While many religions have a lot of explanations about virtues and vices, the best of it all is synthesized in one simple principle: do not give the ego what it wants. Deny thyself, bear up your alchemical cross of sacrifice, and follow the example of your Intimate Christ, your real Being within you.
You learn to control prana by controlling your mind, by not feeding your egos from moment to moment. By controlling prana in its diverse modifications, we control the mind and the vital flow of energies in our etheric body.
Kundalini is intimately related with the Prana that circulates throughout the 72,000 nadis or Astral conduits that nourish the chakras. The chakras are connected with the mind. Yogi and yogini have to christify their mind. Prana is life, and it circulates throughout all of our organs. Prana circulates throughout all of our nadis and vital canals. All the 72,000 nadis of our organism have their fundamental base in the nadi Kanda. The nadi Kanda is situated between the sexual organs and the anus. The Kanda collects all of the sexual energy that circulates throughout the 72,000 canals of our organism. The sexual energy is Prana, life. […] …The nadis Ida and Pingala are found side to side of the spinal medulla. These nadis entwine around the spinal medulla in similar shape to the number eight. The heavenly path is inside the nadi Sushumna. The Kundalini ascends throughout the Brahmanadi. The Brahmanadi is found situated inside another very subtle canal that runs throughout the length of the spinal medulla and is known with the name of Chitra. The seven chakras known with the names of Muladhara, Svadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishudda, Ajna, and Sahasrara are over this nadi Chitra. —Samael Aun Weor, Kundalini Yoga: The Mysteries of the Fire
When the Kundalini awakens, it rises within the Sushumna canal within the spinal column and awakens the main chakras of the spine. Likewise, the 72,000 nadis or circuits of the astral body, as well as the vital body, circulate. 72,000 is a symbolic number, because there exist many more nadis. 72 reminds us of the 72 sacred names of God in Kabbalah. Likewise, making the kabbalistic addition of 7+2 makes 9, the number of Yesod of Kabbalah. The ninth sephirah from the top to the bottom of the Tree of Life relates to the vital / etheric body, the linga-sarira.
Given the sexual nature of prana, it is logical that single disciples possess limited capacities for elevating the creative energies, prana, or fires of sex. A single person can awaken sparks of Kundalini through pranayama, producing certain mystical experiences, whereas married couples can awaken their full potential.
It’s important to reflect on these things and to clarify some misconceptions regarding this subject. Swami Sivananda once wrote:
“No Samadhi is possible unless Kundalini is awakened.” —Swami Sivananda, The Science of Pranayama
Samadhi is conscious experience, in meditation, devoid of the “me,” “myself,” the ego. Many students have misinterpreted this statement of Sivananda to indicate that one cannot have any spiritual experiences without working in the perfect matrimony, which is not true. What Sivananda explained is that whether single or married, the fire of Kundalini produces ecstasy in different degrees.
Many practitioners of yoga have also mistakenly attributed their work with pranayama to the full awakening of the Kundalini, because such disciples have many intense, spiritual, conscious experiences resulting from their practice, which they do not know how to explain except that their Kundalini has fully awakened.
Having such experiences is valuable and necessary, but it is not the end goal, nor is it an indicator that one is finished in the work.
Single persons can awaken sparks of that fire, but the full manifestation of the Divine Mother is only developed amongst couples working in chastity, meditation, and selfless service for humanity.
Remember that a man has one sexual polarity dominant and a woman has the other sexual polarity dominant. If an individual wants to awaken the full potential forces of their respective sex, he or she needs a sexual compliment, the opposite sex, to awaken the reconciliating force. Man and woman, husband and wife, when sexually united and harnessing the creative energy, awaken a third power, the serpent Kundalini, which typically lies dormant in the base of the spine, in the Chakra Muladhara, coiled three and a half times and awaiting the moment of its awakening through the science of love.
This does not undervalue the work of pranayama, but puts it in context. Single disciples can work with pranayama, can maintain their chastity, through these breathing exercises. When disciples are married they can take their practice further, applying the same principles of Yama, Niyama, and Pranayama but with the tremendously added force of sexual union, which is known in the East as tantrism.
Single people can light a candle up their spine, but husband and wife can awaken the power of millions of suns. This is the literal difference. Single disciples must learn to prepare for a matrimony through pranayama, which is why in ancient schools of yoga, many masters would train their disciples in Brahmacharya before giving them the ultimate secret of sexual alchemy, tantrism, marital union. This was obviously done in secret to avoid scandals and the fears of sexually degenerate people.
Once disciples have demonstrated their sincerity, prudence, and dedication to their spiritual exercises, to pranayama, then the master would unveil the higher mysteries.
Breath, Mind, Chakras, and the Circulation of Prana
So why all this explanation about the creative energies in the context of this course of meditation? If you want to still the mind, naturally and without force, you must practice pranayama and transmutation. Your mind or mental states are determined by how you use energy. If you use energy to feed desire, then the mind becomes provoked, stimulated, and distracted. Harnessing prana helps to calm the mind, and prana is intimately related with your virya or virility. Virya simply means sexual potency, which is the root word for virile (to possess sexual potency and strength) and well as virtue, since the virtues of the soul are born through the intentional use and practice of pranayama.
Prana, mind, and virya (sexual energy) are under one sambhanda [connection]. If you can control prana, then mind and virya and controlled by themselves. If you control the virya by remaining as an akhanda bramachari without emission of even a single drop of semen (sexual energy, whether male or female) for twelve years, then mind and prana are controlled by themselves. —Swami Sivananda, The Science of Pranayama
By controlling the breath with willpower, by consciously visualizing the circulation of energies, the prana circulates throughout our nervous systems, stimulating the chakras, in the same manner that electricity flows through a circuit. These energies stabilize the lake of the mind in preparation for meditation. As Swami Sivananda explains in The Science of Pranayama:
Breath is external manifestation of Prana, the vital force. Breath like electricity, is gross Prana. Breath is Sthula, gross. Prana is Sukshma, subtle. By exercising control over this breathing you can control the subtle Prana inside. Control of Prana means control of mind. Mind cannot operate without the help of Prana. The vibrations of Prana only produce thoughts in the mind. It is Prana that moves the mind. It is Prana that sets the mind in motion. It is the Sukshma Prana or Psychic Prana that is intimately connected with the mind. This breath represents the important fly-wheel of an engine. Just as the other wheels stop when the driver stops the fly-wheel, so also other organs cease working, when the Yogi stops the breath. If you can control the fly-wheel, you can easily control the other wheels. Likewise, if you can control the external breath, you can easily control the inner vital force, Prana. The process by which the Prana is controlled by regulation of external breath, is termed Pranayama. Just as a goldsmith removes the impurities of gold by heating it in the hot furnace, by strongly blowing the blow-pipe, so also the Yogic student removes the impurities of the body and the Indriyas by blowing his lungs, i.e., by practising Pranayama. The chief aim of Pranayama is to unite the Prana with the Apana and take the united Pranapana slowly towards the head. The effect or fruit of Pranayama is Udghata or awakening of the sleeping Kundalini. –Swami Sivananda, The Science of Pranayama
The energetic channels or nadis are typically filthy, blocked and closed in us, which is the source of many illnesses and conditions that make us suffer physically, sexually, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. The circuitry of our vital body tends to be clogged with many negative psychic elements and riddled with impurities caused by unhealthy food, negative environmental influences, and most importantly, degenerated habits in the mind, heart, and body. Many students experience problems in controlling the sexual energy because the nadis are blocked and polluted. Such blockages stimulate the creative energies in a way that force them to flow from inside out, from within to outside the body, problems exemplified as nocturnal pollutions and unwilled seminal ejaculation during the sexual act. Many practitioners, when beginning sexual magic, have difficulty controlling the creative force. This is due to the poor circulation of vital energies.
As Swami Sivananda indicated, “Just as a goldsmith removes the impurities of gold by heating it in the hot furnace, by strongly blowing the blow-pipe, so also the Yogic student removes the impurities of the body and the Indriyas [the energetic roots of sensation] by blowing his lungs, i.e., by practising Pranayama.” As we explained, many practitioners in the ancient traditions of yoga would work with Pranayama for many years before working in a matrimony, precisely because to work with sexual magic, the practitioners should be firmly grounded and knowledgeable about how to transmute their energies as bachelors. It would be absurd for people who know nothing of transmuting their energies, practicing daily meditation, and working on the ego to begin sexual magic all at once. It is best if such persons learn pranayama in preparation for the greater mysteries of the fire, because pranayama helps to cleanse the impurities of the body and help the energy circulate properly. When the nadis are clean through the exercise of pranayama, the vital forces flow and rejuvenate the body and mind. In this manner, the sexual act is easier to take advantage of without risk of spilling the semen.
The word for wind in Sanskrit is Vayu. Vayu is a term for the element air in the body. Vayu apana relates to the bodily winds that help with the processes of excretion, urination, and menstruation, associated with the functions of the lower pelvis, the intestines, and the anus. Apana also relates to this part of the body, the energy associated with the abdomen, as well as the elimination of waste products from the body. Sivananda explained that with pranayama, we are uniting the prana from without with the apana within, mixing the vital energies in our breath with the vital energies of our coccyx and lower abdomen to slowly raise it to the mind. This process awakens sparks of the sleeping Kundalini.
We’ve included in this graphic an image of the main chakras of the body. Chakra literally means “wheel,” and the fly-wheels that Swami Sivananda references are the chakras. The chakras are vortexes of forces that flow by the power of prana, the vital breath or seminal energies. Chakras literally spin, like a water mill, when there is energy available, which is why Rumi, the great Sufi poet, stated:
From the heart of the lovers, blood flows like a vast river. Our body is the windmill, and love, the water. Without water the mill cannot turn. —Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, Hidden Music
What waters make it possible for the chakras to spin? The sexual waters, the seminal energy. When yoked through pranayama, the chakras turn like a water mill, but if the seminal waters are ejaculated through lust, then the chakras remain dormant, asleep, incapacitated, without energy to circulate within them.
Prana, Christic energy, modifies into the tattvas, which are different condensations of this energy in the form of the main elements composing physical and spiritual nature. Through alternated breathing of our nostrils, we assimilate these modifications of energy in order to awaken consciousness.
The respiration through the right nasal cavity is called Suria or Pingala. We cause through this respiration the ascension of the solar atoms from our seminal system.
The respiration through the left nasal cavity is called Chandra or Ida. We cause through this respiration the ascension of the lunar atoms from our seminal system.
We reinforce the Three Breaths of pure Akasha [the sacred sound and fires of Christ] with the exercises of Pranayama. These Three Breaths are combined with the solar and lunar atoms of our seminal system to awaken Devi Kundalini.
Prana is the Vital Christ or Great Breath [the Ain Soph Aur]. That Vital Christ is modified into Akasha [the superior waters of Kabbalah and the fires of Da’ath], within which the Son, the First Begotten, the Purusha of every human being, is hidden.
Akasha is modified into Ether, and the Ether is transformed into Tattvas. The Tattvas are the origin of fire, air, water, and earth. —Samael Aun Weor, Kundalini Yoga: The Mysteries of the Fire
These tattvas relate to the seven chakras in the following manner:
The four elements relate to our mind, heart, vitality, and body, or air, fire, water, and earth, respectively. Pranayama aids us in controlling the aerial nature of thought, the igneous powers of the heart, the aqueous nature of our vital energies, and the materiality of our earth, our physicality. While the four elements relate to our three brains and body in this way, the chakras have slightly different correlations as you see in this graphic.
Akasha is the primordial fire hidden within the cosmic space. Akasha is a force in nature that is divine, and can be designated by sound, light, and cognition. The power of the Akasha manifests in the throat, the Verb, through the alchemical knowledge of Da’ath.
Adi means light, relating to the prana, the Christic energy, which condenses and accumulates in the third eye chakra, Ajna, to develop spiritual insight, the subject of a future lecture. Samadhi tattva also relates to prana, since this is the power that grants omniscience and cosmic consciousness at the top of the head.
Conscious breathing, within Sufi schools, is synonymous with light, with illuminating the mind, the creation of the true human being. Regarding the intrinsic relationship of breath with light, Al-Qushayri wrote the following in his Risalah: Principles of Sufism:
Abu-l-Hasan al-Nuri was asked, “What is the origin of spiritual insight in the one who has it?” He answered, “It comes from the saying of the Most High, ‘And I breathed into him (Adam) of My Spirit’ (15:29).
If someone’s share of this light is more perfect, his vision is wiser and his judgment based on his insight is more truer. Do you not see how the breathing of the Spirit into Adam made it necessary for the angels to prostrate before him? For the Most High said, ‘I formed him and I breathed into him of My Spirit, so fall down before him in prostration’ (15:29).”
…In this mention of the breathing of the Spirit [Abu-l Hasan al-Nuri] was aiming to correct those who say that souls are uncreated. The situation is not as it might occur to the hearts of the weak. That to which this breathing (and union and separation) are properly attributed is liable to influence and alteration, which are signs of the transitoriness of created things. Yet God Glorious and Exalted has chosen the believers for perceptions and lights through which they come to possess insight. In essence, these are forms of the knowledge of God. This is the import of the Prophet’s saying, “The believer sees by the light of God”—that is, by a knowledge and inner vision for which God Most High has specially chosen him and by means of which He has distinguished him from others like him. To call these kinds of knowledge and perceptions “lights” is not an innovation, and to describe that process as “breathing” is not reaching far afield. What is intended is one’s created nature. —Al Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
The sexual energy creates insight, spiritual life. We create the soul through the sexual energy, a power that can produce experiences of astral projection, awakening within dreams, feats of jinn science, clarified perception, developed intuition and comprehension of problems, detachment from egotistical desires and worldliness, egotism, hatred, lightness of body and mind, health, vigor, etc. These are the different “lights” implied within Sufi language.
Pranayama and Sexual Magic in the Upanishads
The sacred Hindu scriptures, the Upanishads, also teach all this in synthesis. We are going to provide a commentary for the chapter 2, verses 6 and 8-17 from the Śvetāśvataropaniṣad, to emphasize the points we’ve previously made and to show some of the traditional basis for which this practice is elaborated.
We’ve included an image of Christ’s crucifixion in relation to this topic, because the cross is the sexual union of husband and wife through the vertical, phallic beam and the horizontal, uterine beam. Through union of masculine and feminine forces, the ego dies through the fire of the Kundalini and gives birth to the resurrected soul.
Where the fire is rubbed, where the wind is checked, where the soma flows over, there the mind is born. —Śvetāśvataropaniṣad
When husband and wife sexually unite, their private parts rub and produce erotic fire. When their breathing is in check, controlled, when the prana is harnessed consciously, the seminal energies are transmuted.
The word soma means many things, such as body or plant juice, the latter being traditionally used as Vedic offerings during rituals. Soma is sometimes referred to as the drink or nectar of immortality, an ambrosia or milk of the gods. This is none other than the prana, the seminal energies.
The bodies of the soul are created through the alchemical cross, when the soma is flowing within the nadis or Sushumna canal. Soma literally means body in Greek and can refer to the solar bodies of tantrism.
If a wise man holds his body steady with its three parts (chest, neck, and head) even, turns his senses with the mind inward to enter the heart, he will then in the boat of brahman [om] cross all the fearful torrents. —Śvetāśvataropaniṣad
Rubbing the fire of sexuality applies more so to a matrimony, but can refer to how individual yogis, who practice pranayama, awaken sparks of that fire in their spine through profound concentration and deep, unwavering prayer. In the same manner that a couple controls the breath and transmutes the soma, the prana, a bachelor or bachelorette performs transmutation on their own.
Pranayama must be performed with the chest, neck, and head steady, in a good posture. You cannot circulate the prana appropriately if your body is not firm, stable, and relaxed, with your head even with your torso and your spine straight.
What are the fearful torrents we must cross through pranayama? The assaults of lust, which have polluted our nadis and sexual waters. The boat of brahman is the ark of the covenant, the ark of Noah that carries us above the waters of degeneration in the mind.
Compressing his breathings let him, who has subdued all motions, breathe forth through the nose with gentle breath. Let the wise man successfully restrain his mind, that chariot yoked with vicious horses [senses]. —Śvetāśvataropaniṣad
The Upanishads refer to the mind, emotions, vitality, and physical body as horses which the real Self, Atman, the Inner Buddha or charioteer, must control. He does this through the reins, his divine and human souls, through willpower. The senses also relate to the lower Sephiroth as well as how our sensual, material consciousness apprehends life.
Let him perform his exercises in a place which is level, pure, free from pebbles, fire, and filth, delightful by its sounds, its water, and bowers, not painful to the eye, and is full of shelters and caves. —Śvetāśvataropaniṣad
I have known people who want to begin meditation while living in a filthy and dirty home. This is very difficult. The tidiness of our home reflects what we psychologically carry within. Your home should be your temple where you sit to practice, to devote yourself to God, your Being. Our practices are amplified when we dedicate a special room for our exercises of pranayama and meditation, since the energies we attract help to produce serenity and peace in our home. Pranayama cleans the mind and nadis, so to live in squalor will hinder our spiritual work, because the environment affects our practice, and vice versa.
When yoga is being performed, the forms which come first, producing apparitions in brahman, are those of misty smoke, sun, fire, wind, fire-flies, lightnings, and a crystal moon. —Śvetāśvataropaniṣad
Students go through many experiences when pranayama is consistently practiced, frequently, every day, for prolonged periods of time. Remember the Sufi scripture I just read, that breathing is synonymous with lights? Smoke can refer to the cloudiness of the mind, which students apprehend when they initiate pranayama. They receive experiences from the internal planes that their skies, the mind, is filled with darkness. This is a crucial step to make, because it shows us what work must be done, and that we must persist in our discipline.
Sun, fire, wind, fire-flies, lightnings, and crystal moons represent different forms of light or insights we achieve through working with the creative energy.
When, as earth, water, light, heat, and space arise, the fivefold quality of yoga takes place, then there is no longer illness, old age, or pain for him who has obtained a body, produced by the fire of yoga. —Śvetāśvataropaniṣad
Remember the chakras, the four elements, and the tattvas? These become amplified through pranayama, which produce longevity, health, youth, and life. The fire of yoga can relate to Tummo Yoga or inner heat yoga in Tibetan, representative of the work with the Kundalini.
The first results of yoga they call lightness, healthiness, steadiness, good complexion, an easy pronunciations, sweet odor, and slight excretions. As a metal disc [mirror], tarnished by dust, shines bright again after it has been cleaned, so is the one incarnate person fulfilled and free from grief, after he has seen the real nature of the self [Atman]. —Śvetāśvataropaniṣad
Is your mind dull, torpid, dark, hard to control or perceive? Work with pranayama. The mind and heart are a mirror that need to be polished and cleansed through prana. In the words of Prophet Muhammad:
There is an organ in the body that, if it is righteous, ensures that the whole system will be righteous; and if it is corrupt, the whole body will become corrupt. This organ is the heart.
There is a polish for everything that takes away rust; and the polish for the heart is dhikr, the remembrance of Allah. -Prophet Muhammad, The Hadith
“Guard your breaths against God Most High,” state the Sufis. When the mirror is clean, it reflects the genuine image of Atman, the Self, our Innermost God, so that we are free from pain and sorrow. Pranayama will help you with this.
Practical Applications and Benefits
Learning to control our breath aids in the yoking of the vital forces, but while I mentioned to you that prana is in the air and in our semen, our physical breath is only a vehicle for the forces we seek to manipulate.
Pranayama is not, as many think, concerned solely with the breath; breath indeed has very little to do with it. Breathing is only one of the many exercises through which we get to the real pranayama. –Vivekananda, Raja Yoga
Circulating prana occurs through our willpower and imagination. Breathing is the vehicle through which we obtain the transmutation of our energies. While breath is a powerful and necessary component for our moment to moment existence, even more so are the faculties of perception, concentration, consciousness, attention, and prayer.
If you are performing pranayama but are not mindful of what you are doing, then you will not be successful. Pranayama involves working with each of the three brains of gnostic psychology, directing the energies consciously. “Wherever we direct attention, we expend creative energy” stated Samael Aun Weor. This is essential, since no practice is useful if we are not attentive of what we are doing.
Your mind, heart, and body must be relaxed and in control, which is not a state of rigidity, but calmness, composure, flexibility, and firmness. You must resolve to yourself to not needlessly move your body around during pranayama, nor let the mind wander to other things. You also must resolve to not let your heart distract you, but to devote yourself to profound prayer during your exercise. If you are thinking of other things while you are practicing, then you are not practicing. Likewise, if your heart is not at peace, if you are not praying to divinity to aid you, if your emotional center is filled with wrath, anger, or sentiment, ignoring the presence of divinity, you will find it very difficult to focus and have a good practice. Lastly, if your body can’t sit still, if it is agitated and nervous like an animal, constantly moving about, then you will not obtain stillness and the circulation of prana in your system, because the circulation of forces occurs when the waters of the body, heart, and mind are still.
Notice that when you cease throwing stones in a lake, the water gradually achieves stability and equilibrium; the surface becomes calm, whereby it can reflect the heavens above in a limpid, calm, and tranquil way. The same with pranayama and the mind. Your mind achieves stillness when you cease agitating it, by not feeding your desires. Pranayama also works to calm the mind when there is enough concentration and cognizance of what you are doing.
And they have said, “God created the hearts and made them mines of understanding of Him. After that He created the secret inner awarenesses and made them a place for declaring the Unity [which occurs once the multiplicity of egos are dead and the consciousness is unified in the Beloved, the Innermost]. Every breath that occurs without the guide of knowledge of God and the sign of Unity emerges from blind compulsion, and is a dead thing. The one to whom it belongs is accountable for it.” —Al Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Here is how to perform a simple pranayama. Seated comfortably with your spine straight and neck and head relaxed, close your eyes and pray to your Divine Mother. Pray that she may help you transmute your energies to your mind and heart, to help you visualize and concentrate.
Imagine in your spine the two nadis Ida (Eve) and Pingala (Adam), connecting your gonads, testicles, or ovaries with your nostrils.
These nadis are polarized differently in men and women, as you can see in the following graphic.
• The lunar current, Ida (represented by Eve in the Bible), connects to the left nostril, characterized by lunar or silver atoms.
• The solar current, Pingala (represented by Adam in the Bible), connects to the right nostril, characterized by solar or bright, fiery yellow or golden atoms
In women this is reversed:
• The lunar current, Ida, Eve, connects to the right nostril
• The solar current, Pingala, Adam, connects to the left nostril
These polarities are switched in the different sexes because husband and wife, like positive and negative electrical currents, compliment and compensate for each other.
With your right hand, extend your forefinger and thumb while closing your other fingers into your palm. Close your right nostril with your thumb and inhale air through your left nostril. Take in as much air as you can without forcing your lungs or straining yourself. Breath naturally and relaxed.
Now close your left nostril with your forefinger, still holding the right nostril closed with your thumb. Retain the air as long as possible, again without straining your breath. Imagine the energy or prana of the air ascending to the brain through the respective nadi you are breathing through, which connects your nostril with the coccyx and gonads.
After retaining the air as long as possible, remove your thumb from your right nostril and exhale slowly, imagining the prana descending through the nadis connecting your head to your heart, with one nadi on each side of your face leading down to your chest.
Close your left nostril with your forefinger and inhale through your right nostril. Repeat the process of raising the prana to the brain through your inhalation, raising the energies of that nostril and nadi to the head. Retain the breath as long as possible by closing both nostrils with thumb and forefinger. Finally, lift your forefinger from your left nostril and exhale, imagining the prana descending against to your heart through the two nadis connecting your head to your heart, which descend from the face, down the throat, to your chest.
This process constitutes one pranayama. Perform seven pranayamas total. You can do more in accordance with your needs.
Here is some more practical advice for performing pranayama at home by the Master Sivananda:
Pranayama can also be performed as soon as you get up from bed and just before Japa [mantra recitation] and meditation. It will make your body light and you will enjoy the meditation. You must have a routine according to your convenience and time.
Do not shake the body unnecessarily. By shaking the body often the mind also is disturbed. Do not scratch the body every now and then. The Asana should be steady and as firm as a rock when you do Pranayama, Japa and meditation.
Do not perform the Pranayama till you are fatigued. There must be always joy and exhilaration of spirit during and after the practice. You should come out of the practice fully invigorated and refreshed. Do not bind yourself by too many rules (Niyamas).
Do not take bath immediately after Pranayama is over. Take rest for half an hour. If you get perspiration during the practice, do not wipe it with a towel. Rub it with your hand. Do not expose the body to the chill draughts of air when you perspire.
You should not expect the benefits after doing it for 2 or 3 minutes only for a day or two. At least you must have 15 minutes’ daily practice in the beginning regularly for days together. There will be no use if you jump from one exercise to another every day. –Swami Sivananda, Kundalini Yoga
When you perform pranayama, the important aspect of your breathing is retention. With inhalation, you want your lungs to take in a profound amount of air, in a relaxed and calm way, without forcing the lungs to expand beyond its limits. Your breathing should not be forced and loud, but silent and peaceful. I’ve known many people who make a lot of noise when performing pranayama, as if they were some kind of hydraulic engine. But nowhere in the teachings of yoga do we find any support for this tendency.
Always inhale and exhale very slowly. Do not make any sound. —Swami Sivananda, The Science of Pranayama
“There should be no strain in any stage of Pranayama.” —Swami Sivananda, The Science of Pranayama
Pranayama is meant to relax the mind, heart, and body. Straining oneself is counterproductive and inhibits the free circulation of energy. With exhalation, your breathing should flow through your nostrils without noise. I know some people like to perform pranayama in a loud way, which is wrong. Breathing should be calm and natural, without force. There is more strength in relaxation than there is in bodily and mental exertion. This might seem counterintuitive for people in a culture that believe that one must conquer things with force. The opposite is most true for this practice: if you want to be effective in transmutation, tranquility and control is the key.
After your inhalations, you must retain the air as long as possible, again without forcing your lungs. Retention is the most important part of Pranayama, since this is how we internalize and accumulate energy within our etheric-physical laboratory in combination with willpower and imagination, visualization.
Your life is measured by how you control your breath, and breathing relates to how we modify and use sexual energy, the source of life.
Regulation of breath is the stoppage of inhalation and exhalation. –Patanjali
Kumbhaka is retention of breath. Kumbhaka increases the period of life. It augments the inner spiritual force, vigour and vitality. If you retain the breath for one minute, this one minute is added to your span of life. Yogins by taking the breath to the Brahmarandhra at the top of the head and keeping it there, defeat the Lord of death, Yama, and conquer death. There should be no strain in any stage of Pranayama. Always inhale and exhale very slowly. Do not make any sound. A Yogi measures the span of his life not by the number of years but by the number of his breaths. Pranayama requires deep concentration and attention. Prana, mind, and virya (sexual energy) are under one sambhanda (connection). If you can control prana, then mind and virya and controlled by themselves. If you control the virya by remaining as an akhanda bramachari without emission of even a single drop of semen (sexual energy, whether male or female) for twelve years, then mind and prana are controlled by themselves. No Samadhi is possible unless Kundalini is awakened. The practice of Kumbhaka [breath retention] in Pranayama produces heat and thereby [sparks of] Kundalini [are] awakened and passes upwards along the Sushumna Nadi. The Yogic practitioner experiences various visions. —Swami Sivananda, The Science of Pranayama
To conclude, we will end with comments by Swami Sivananda, who expressed some of the benefits of pranayama. After having explained the technique, which we will practice together today at the end of this lecture, I will conclude with some explanations for why this is beneficial, since many students often write to us asking about some tangible, concrete results for working daily in this exercise.
This body becomes lean, strong and healthy. Too much fat is reduced. There is lustre in the face. Eyes sparkle like diamonds. The practitioner becomes very handsome. Voice becomes sweet and melodious. The inner Anahata sounds are distinctly heard. The student is free from all sorts of diseases. He gets established in Brahmacharya. Semen gets firm and steady. The Jatharagni (gastric fire) is augmented. The student becomes so perfected in Brahmacharya that his mind will not be shaken even if a fairy tries to embrace him. Appetite becomes keen. Nadis are purified. Vikshepa is removed and the mind becomes one-pointed. Rajas and Tamas are destroyed. The mind is prepared for Dharana and Dhyana. The excretions become scanty. Steady practice arouses the inner spiritual force and brings in spiritual light, happiness and peace of mind. It makes him an Oordhvareto-Yogi. All psychic powers are obtained. Advanced students only will get all the benefits. –Swami Sivananda, Kundalini Yoga
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