In this course of meditation, we have been exploring what it means to communicate with divinity, with the divine, which as we have been emphasizing is not some anthropomorphic figure of an old man or a dignified lady in the clouds. Those are symbols, and religions teach us something psychological. Something conscious. And we in the science of meditation seek to communicate directly with the presence; the intelligence that has been represented within those traditions, within statues, or forms.
So we began this practice by invoking the energy of what is known as the Divine Mother, the divine feminine, who is the feminine aspect of our inner divinity, our Inner Being. So when we say that God is Being, we don't wish to point towards anthropomorphism, but instead to principles, energies, forces we find in nature and within our own body, which we seek to actualize, to activate, to stimulate.
In our process of giving these lectures we have been talking a lot about working with the divine feminine, being able to communicate directly with that intelligence in a very concrete and specific manner. When the different traditions of Judaism, Buddhism, or Islam speak about communicating face to face with the buddhas, with the angels, with the gods, those are symbols of how we can speak face to face in our meditations with that divine presence—but also in the science of dream yoga, in which our physical body goes to sleep and we as a consciousness enter the superior dimensions of nature, the dreamworld.
By working in meditation, we awaken from dreams, so that as a consciousness we can communicate with the divine and those dimensions, which people typically theorize and believe is just a projection of the brain, but really, when someone awakens consciousness profoundly and ceases to dream in that state, one really gets to understand that there is a whole other world available to us, which meditation teaches us how to access. Because we as a consciousness, as a soul, must learn to receive that guidance, that wisdom from our inner divinity.
Most people who approach religion, meditation, yoga, and when I say yoga, I mean real yoga, not just physical postures, but yug which in Sanskrit means “to unite” as a consciousness with the truth; when people approach religion, they typically want to have some type of experience, to know divinity directly for oneself—not based on any belief or theory, but on practice.
We all have issues and problems that we suffer with, that we struggle with, and we look for some type of guidance in our politicians, our media, our religious figures, our temple, our church, our synagogue, our mosque, and yet we find that people cannot really show us or give us answers to the real profound root of our sufferings in a fundamental way, because we may believe in one doctrine or not, and yet what we think doesn't matter, because how we behave, how we act consciously, determines our mind stream, our life.
So neither by believing in some religion is how one is going to find the solutions to one's deepest sufferings, but though meditation.
So to pray, according to the founder of the Gnostic tradition, Samael Aun Weor, is to speak with divinity. To have that connection. To interact as we are interacting here and now. Prayer for most people tends to be a very blind thing, where we repeat a certain prayer in a mechanical way; some Hail Mary, or Our Father, thinking that by repeating mechanically, repetitiously, that somehow we are going to receive some insight. But the truth is that that type of prayer doesn't work. It is superficial.
If we want to really talk with divinity, we have to be very specific in our methods, in how we concentrate our mind as we've been discussing in this course. To focus on one thing: a mantra, a secret sound, an image, a sculpture; visualizing it's details in our mind. Focusing on that one specific thing without letting the mind wander and get distracted, because if we sit to practice, we typically find that the mind wanders constantly. It thinks about other things.
We daydream about what we are going to do later, where we have been, who we talked with. And yet we may return into our practice thirty minutes later realizing, "I am supposed to be meditating. I'am supposed to be present." So that state of distraction shows us what we are psychologically moment by moment. Not when we just sit to close our eyes for half an hour or so, but in our daily life, we are constantly thinking and being distracted by what we are going to do, where we have been, and where we are going.
That distraction of the consciousness indicates that we are, as a psyche, asleep. We are not present. We are not mindful. We are not aware of what we are doing, what we are saying, what we are thinking, because if we are driving our car and thinking of our friends, our fiancé, our spouse; if we are at a lecture and if we are thinking of other things, we are not really listening to what's going on. We are not really seeing where we are at. It means that we as a consciousness are asleep. The mind wanders.
As we said in our previous lecture on the path of Conscious Judgment, the mind is a labyrinth, a maze, which the great hero Theseus goes into, in order to find the beast known as the minotaur, a symbol of our own egotism, which by learning to concentrate ourselves in meditation, we go into the mind. We cease being distracted and we learn to get to the core root of our suffering, which is psychological. It is a conditioning, as we have been explaining.
So the process of meditation is about, again, going into the mind, focusing the mind, being specific with our practice, being aware of what we are doing at all times, and when we learn to discipline our intellect, concentrate ourselves to be focused, moment by moment, day by day in every circumstance of life, we find that the practice of meditation opens up spontaneously. So if you find that you are distracted, you may have a certain longing to know God, the Being, the divine, and we go through certain prayers or rituals or practices. But if we are not mindful of what we are doing, it means that we are not going to have the results we want.
Because, to receive that insight from the divine means the mind has to be calm. We have to be concentrated on what we are doing. So the very beginning of meditative practice, the path of prayer, of communicating with the divine, occurs when the mind is in silence. When it is focused. When we command our attention to do one thing at the exclusion of everything else. That we don't let our mind wander. We don't waver. We don't begin a prayer in our practice and then forget what we are doing, and then realize "I should have been reciting this prayer with this practice," and then we remember.
So that is the beginning of any person who starts in meditation, because we see that the mind needs to be controlled, it needs to be harnessed. But, when we find that when the mind is calm and serene, we can start to receive knowledge, insight and this usually comes in the form of some type of spiritual experience.
As I said, you can awaken in dreams by learning to meditate in which you, as a consciousness, with a mind that is calm, can say and invoke your Inner God, your Inner Goddess, and say "My God, help me, teach me!" Because prayer, when it is focused with intention, and then we wait, that is when we receive insight. That is when the communication happens, because most people think that by reciting a hundred Hail Mary's, or Hari Krishna’s, or whatever a thousand times, that you are going to get some kind of result. The truth is that you can't if your mind is mechanical, if we just repeat things; we think things, we feel things, without any real knowledge or observance. No attention.
And so this lecture we called “Conscious Prayer” because in order to have that communication with your Being, you have to be conscious of what you are doing. And as I said earlier the path of meditation begins when we learn to concentrate.
So in this exercise, we were invoking the energy of the Divine Mother with a mantra Ram-IO. We learn to focus on that mantra to pronounce it. To immerse ourselves in the vibrations of that sound so that this energy saturates the consciousness, awakens it, develops our hidden potential. In that way, when you have energy, as we have been talking in this course and the Light of Consciousness lecture, when you have energy applied to action, then you can get results.
When the mind is not calm, if the lake of the intellect is churning with negativity, with anguish, with preoccupations about our job, not really focusing on what we need to focus on in our practice, it means that the images of the heavens cannot reflect in that lake. Your mind is a lake, but we typically tend to throw things into it. Stones, garbage, or whatever metaphor we want to use. Negativity. And that mind that is agitated, churning, can't help us to focus. We sit to practice, we look into the mind and we see that we are filled with a lot of memories, and anguish, and suffering.
When people realize this at the beginning of meditation, they typically tend to run away because they realize how monstrous the mind is. It's so chaotic and you realize, or think, “this practice is harming me.” The truth is we are just becoming aware of what is going on moment by moment and day by day. We are just not conscious of it.
And to help us with this process of learning to become conscious of our daily life, we learn to pray. It means to be focused and to be sincere. To be concentrated. If we, again, pronounce Hari Krishna multiple times, but we are not really invested with our heart, our longing to know the divine, and our concentration, there won't be any results. We can speak all we want but the answer won't come directly. So calm the mind is the beginning. The mind needs to be stable. We need to be concentrated and in that way the truth emerges spontaneously within our consciousness.
Durga, the Divine Mother, and Astral Forms
So we pictured here the Hindu representation of the Divine Mother known as Durga. There are many other forms of the divine feminine, such as Kali and, as we mentioned earlier, this divine feminine has been represented by Athena, amongst the Greeks, Miriam and Mary amongst the Hebrews and the Christians. It is interesting that you look at the word מִרְיָם Miriam in Hebrew, which means “to raise, to elevate” because the Divine Mother, your Inner Goddess is the one who can elevate you from psychological conditions and sufferings into the heights of the divine, the spiritual. And personally, if I am teaching you this, it is because this is something I have been working with for many years, where I have had experiences in the dream world, where I have been receiving insight from my Inner Goddess, who has been helping me so that I can be of help to others.
In dreams, this divine feminine can take form. So I said that the divine is formless, but is an energy, is a principle, is a force. That energy can materialize in the dream world in any symbol, any form, in order to teach you something psychologically about yourself. And then that way, when you are presented with this symbol, when you are asking your Inner Goddess, "My God or my Being, help me, teach me what I need to know"—you are meditating, you are focusing on that one question, you fall asleep. You wait. And then spontaneously, your consciousness can awaken in that state in which you ask that question again, “My God, help me, show me what I need to know about myself. About this problem that I am going through. What I need to do. What I need to change!”
And then the answer will come in a symbol. It will come in a some type of living drama, because the world of dreams, the astral plane, is a symbolic language. A symbolic world. Your Divine Mother will come to you in any form that is going to be concrete and conducive for teaching you something.
I remember one instance, I invoked my Divine Mother in the world of dreams and I asked her the question, "Please help me to understand what I need to work on. What I need to do!” She appeared. I was outside my house in the dream world, because in the astral plane, in that dimension, we see everything that we see physically, but with differences. It is a different dimension. A different type of materiality that is not physical. She came to me in a figure of a bear and in spiritual studies, we know that the bear is a symbol of egotism, of animalism, of desire, of defects, and of the secret psychological enemies we carry within that are fighting against this type of work—as we have been talking about with the many other myths in this course.
So she came to me with a radar in her hands that was showing a laser beam, or that beam that goes in a circle, so that you can find some kind of blip or dot of some type of aircraft that is present, and it was blank. And she said to me, “I can't find you!” And I woke up.
I was really filled with a lot of remorse because she was showing me, "I am trying to awaken your consciousness and you keep forgetting me. You keep forgetting My presence." Because your Divine Mother is with you, here and now. You don't need to have some type of samadhi or mystical experience out of the body, to really actualize the presence of your Inner Goddess within you. So she came to me, fortunately in a dream to show me: "I'm looking on my radar and I don't see you." Meaning, you are not paying attention. You are not awake. You are not concentrated in me in your daily life.
So in my daily life, I had been getting too distracted. Forgetting my own consciousness. Getting caught up in daydreaming, and worries, and thoughts, and not being focused about where I am at. So that is an example of conscious prayer, where by silencing the mind, you meditate, you go out of the body in the dream state, and then you ask the question, "Show me what I need to know." And often times through discipline, your Divine Mother will come to you in a way that is unexpected, where you may not even be able to get the question out of your mouth and suddenly the answer will show up and come to you. That is why Dante in his Divine Comedy stated that the Divine Mother or Virgin Mary, often provides the answer before we even ask it, because she is the power of love, of compassion within the depths of our psyche.
The Four Yogas
And so we in these studies learn to actualize that presence in different ways, specifically through what we call four types of yoga. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit yug, “to reunite.” So when you learn to communicate with your inner God, your inner Goddess, face-to-face, you are performing union, because you receiving the direct Insight you longed for.
But, let us remember that the term yoga as is used today really has no meaning. People think that yoga is contorting the body, twisting it, or making it thin, so that one can attract the lust of other people. Instead real yoga is fourfold.
We have Karma Yoga relating to action, to service. We have Bhakti Yoga, related to devotion, the heart. We have Raja Yoga relating to powers, abilities, psychic capacities. We have Jnana Yoga, relating to knowledge.
So this lecture we will talk specifically about bhakti, devotion and what it really means. But you can't explain Bhakti Yoga without talking about the other constituents of spiritual practice.
Karma yoga relates to how you use your body, in a more superficial sense. How do we act with our physical body in daily life? Do we do so working at our job to benefit others, or do we use our body in ways that is selfish, where we are concerned more about our own welfare? How do we act? How do we behave? How do we think? How do we feel? And how do we express what is internal?
As we've been talking about in these lectures, we talked that psychologically, we carry many egotistical elements we call ego, "I,” me, myself, anger, pride, fear, vanity, lust—a whole conglomeration of defects, which are shells, conditions, which trap our full potential, which trap the consciousness and which in religions, they have been represented as demons—because these senses of self, these desires, are really demonic. They don't want to help others.
Anger does not want to help others. It wants to destroy. Likewise with fear. It debilitates. Many elements that drag us down into states of suffering. Those have been represented by monsters and figures in different religions, different traditions, different myths.
And so we have to examine our mind, our mind stream. What do we carry within? What is going on psychologically that makes us act in daily life? How do we behave towards others in life? Are we thinking about ourselves or do we really think about the benefit of others?
Now it is important that one learns to understand one's psychological state, because our psychological states shape our life. Where we are psychologically determines how we act, what we say; what we think determines how we behave and energetically when we learn to awaken our consciousness, we see that even our thoughts influence others, because it is a form of energy. It is a form of matter and it influences people. There is an interaction that is psychological, that is psychic, that relates to Raja Yoga. But Raja Yoga is actually much more profound than just psychic powers. It involves many things that we are going to talk about.
So karma, how do we act? In these studies if we really want to learn how to meditate, we have to learn what shapes and conditions us. What makes us suffer? But more importantly, how do we make others suffer with our egotism, our sense of self? When you learn to understand how anger is a destructive element, is an animal that needs to stop being fed, then you begin to experience what all the Greek myths have taught about the great heroes fighting against the monster, the medusa, the minotaur, the Kraken. Symbols of our own defects.
But when you learn to restrain the mind in a moment of anger, we learn to comprehend in ourselves and we look inside and we see that a certain element is a rising in us that wants to act negatively, but we don't feed that element. We restrain ourselves, because we know that this element will harm the other person if we speak what that element wants to speak, that ego, that sense of self.
When you restrain the mind, you empower your consciousness, and in those moments of great anger, you can invoke your Divine Mother. You simply pray, "My Goddess, help me to understand this anger that is boiling in me." And sometimes it could require us stepping away from the person. Other times, we may have transformation, where we realize and comprehend that we are not that anger, and then we can learn to respond with love. Instead of responding with anger, we serve the other person. We serve divinity in the other person, because all people have God within. Therefore we shouldn't disrespect anyone psychologically, mentally, physically.
When you learn to restrain the mind and act in positive ways, you are performing a form of bhakti, of religion. Because religion come from the Latin religare, which means “to reunite,” to bring people together and also to unite the soul with God, the Being. When you speak words of compassion towards your aggressor, towards someone who dislikes you, who treats you with disrespect, instead of reacting with anger, we see that element arise and we don't act on it. We choose conscious action. We serve the other person, and Samael Aun Weor, the founder of this tradition, states that one must learn to kiss the whip of the executioner, to kindly receive the unpleasant manifestations of our fellow men and women.
We understand that those people who are angry are suffering. We should not treat them with disrespect or anger, but with patience. In that way we are performing Karma Yoga. We are also showing devotion, because we are showing that we don't want to harm the other person, even in our thoughts. We show bhakti. We are showing that we want to perform religion, reunite people, not separate. Bhakti Yoga is how we devote ourselves in every action of our life with consciousness, with awareness.
Jnana Yoga relates to knowledge of the intellect. To study. To studying and having a certain knowledge of scripture, religion, teachings, psychology, whatever lectures we receive, in order to help Inspire us and also to train the mind to know the path and the steps, the principles of how to change, of how to practice meditation.
Bhakti relates to devotion, to the heart, your emotional qualities, your psychological states.
Notice we have in the lower three frames of yoga: Karma Yoga relating to your body, Bhakti Yoga relating to your heart, Jnana Yoga relating to your intellect.
In gnostic psychology, we call this the three brains. You have a center for intellect, the thought, the mind where thoughts emerge. Where thoughts originated and which is not a physical brain, but a psychological center, which the physical brain channels thought, because the soul is inhabiting the body like a car, like someone is driving it. The mind is a form of a vehicle, a brain, a machine; it processes certain energies which exists physically but also psychologically.
We have an emotional brain relating to sentiment, hate, love, passion, desire, which relates to the physical heart and it's nervous systems, but also to the energies of emotion, which is different from the intellect. That is something we learn to distinguish through meditation.
The body, represented by the entire spine, is the motor-instinctive-sexual brain, where we process movement, instincts, and our sexual impulses.
Karma Yoga relates to the body. Bhakti Yoga relate to the heart. Jnana Yoga relates to the mind.
Raja yoga is the balancing of all three. Raja means “royal yoga.” It is regal yoga, meaning, by learning to silence the mind, calm the heart, control the body, calm the body, we activate certain powers of the consciousness that make one into a king or a queen of oneself.
So Karma Yoga, we typically see is associated with performing good action, to benefit others so that in some way we benefit ourselves. As the Dalai Lama stated "if one can't really be selfless, at least be wisely selfish," meaning, at least don't harm the other person, but at the same time, you are doing that so that the person doesn't yell back at you, because that perpetuates suffering. It makes us suffer. In a more profound level, we learn to be selfless in our actions when we learn to comprehend our defects and to make conscious choices. To not act upon fear or resentment, or pride. In that way, we radiate naturally spontaneous joy peace, and that benefits humanity.
That is a form of service, sacrifice. We sacrifice our desires so that we can benefit others. This is the symbol of Jesus on the cross, where he was crucifying his own animal ego, his mind, and of course that is a very painful process, because we are very attached to our body, our emotions, our intellect. But he showed a profound will and love in those moments of being nailed to the cross. He said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," because he was speaking from the consciousness.
So Raja Yoga is when you learn to silence the mind, calm the heart, calm the body, so that when you sit to meditate, the heart opens naturally and then we can begin to concentrate on a specific question we have, a practice we want to fulfill so that we can get insight.
The Elements of Bhakti Yoga
This is Swami Sivananda. A great yogi. A great master. He wrote some easy steps to yoga, some explanations about what devotion really is. It's importance. People who typically read these type of writings, they become inspired, but some people also look at it very superficially and don't really understand that bhakti, devotion, doesn't just occur when we go to Puja, perform japa, mantra recitation, perform certain rituals; but we show bhakti devotion with every interaction of life.
As the Dalai Lama stated or was asked the question, "What inspires you most?" He said, "Every person I come into contact with." Because, other people show him or show us ourselves. Sivananda explains that:
“Bhakti is the basis of religious life. Bhakti destroys Vasanas and egoism.” —Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
Vasanas are latent animalistic tendencies in the mind.
So how does bhakti destroy vasanas? As I said, you are at your job, your boss criticizes you, or you have a conflict with a difficult client and they are provoking your anger, and then in that moment, you realize how destructive that element is. Those thoughts of revenge, of resentment, of pain, that its actions will cause harm and perpetuate suffering for us and for others. We restrain from the mind and we learn to speak with love. Not forced. Not veiled. But spontaneously.
That is something that comes to us with training and intuitively when the mind is silent, when you are relaxed, when you are paying attention to where you are at. You learn to say the right thing, do the right thing, think the right thing, at the right time. That is inner judgment, as we have been talking about previously.
So that is how you destroy egoism. You stop feeding the ego. You perform bhakti, devotion. Worshipping the God of that other person who is criticizing you. Saying, mentally, "I respect the divine within all beings, even within an ant or criminal." All beings have God within. The reason why the criminal acts as he or she does is because they are ignorant. Therefore “they don't deserve my anger; they deserve my compassion.”
You don't have to formulate this in your mind when you are having a conflict, instead the insight emerges and you realize the person is suffering. So why feel anger? And then you transform your own mind, and by acting with kindness, we transform the situation.
“A life without Bhakti, faith, love and devotion is a dreary waste.” —Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
So what is faith? In our gnostic studies, we state that faith is conscious knowledge, not belief. To believe that something is true or false is irrelevant. To think that something is true or not doesn't mean anything. Instead faith is when you know something from experience, personally. Like having a conversation with your inner Divine Mother in the astral plane. So real bhakti is faith. Your heart becomes inflamed when you are communicating with your inner God and “to not have that is to be a dreary waste.” People who never discover that is a tragedy.
“Bhakti softens the heart and removes jealousy, hatred, lust, anger, egoism, pride and arrogance. It infuses joy, Divine ecstasy, Bliss, Peace and Knowledge.” —Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
So what is ecstasy? Coming from the Latin exstatuo: “to stand outside oneself.” People often think that ecstasy is a spiritual experience, which means to be in some type of out-of-body experience. But you experience moments of standing outside of yourself when you learn to comprehend that you are not fear, that you are not those negative elements that make us suffer. But instead, you are something divine, consciously speaking. You step outside of yourself and you have a moment of perspective in which you see your subjective self and your objective self. And how you choose between the two determines your religious life, your spiritual life.
“All cares, worries, anxieties, fears, mental torments and tribulations entirely vanish. The devotee is freed from the Samsaric wheel of births and deaths.” —Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
In Buddhism and Hinduism, samsara means cyclical existence, which people typically interpret to the multi-dimensionality of nature and its different levels and forms, which we discussed in relation to Kabbalah. But samsara literally means “cycling, repeating, habits.” So we learn to identify our negative habits and change them. We perform cessation of those causes of repetitive behaviors that produce suffering. Cessation in Sanskrit is Nirvana. So it isn't just a place, but a psychological way of being, in which you cease repeating behaviors that are detrimental for oneself.
And through bhakti, “He attains the Immortal Abode of everlasting Peace, Bliss and Knowledge.” —Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
That everlasting abode, that immortal abode is not some other world in which some utopian existence is experienced. It's not by going to the astral plane or the mental plane or Nirvana or the different dimensions that we talked about in the Tree of Life, that one is going to find absolute peace, because all those dimensions are here and now with us. Our center of gravity tends to be in this physical body, but psychologically we have mind, emotion, energy, which are different levels of matter and experience.
Watchfulness is Prayer
All those aspects of the consciousness integrate within us in the here and now. That abode is not something foreign to you, but it's within your Being who is with you.
So how do we experience and know that immortal abode? It is through remembrance of the divine. It Is by being watchful. By learning to pay attention. We have an image of a Sufi in meditation and prayer who has in his right hand what some would call a rosary in the Christian tradition, which traditionally, such as in Hinduism, you would perform japa with the beads. You count the beads while reciting a mantra for each bead in order to train the mind.
So as we mentioned in the practice at the beginning of this lecture, we repeat a mantra in order to protect the mind, to train it, to cease being negative. Mantra means “mind protection.” Japa is when you are reciting a prayer in your mind, but not mechanically, instead consciously, with force, with devotion. And we have many mantras in our tradition, but also in many other religions. Amongst the Sufis it is Allah Hu Allah. Amongst the Hindus we have Hari Krishna and many other prayers, which are really effective, but if you repeat them mechanically, they are useless.
You have to be conscious of what you are doing. And sometimes in ancient traditions, they would train themselves reciting those prayers by counting beads. Repeating again and again a mantra to remember the presence of divinity within. To invoke energy in the mind, the heart, the body.
But the best act of worship, of prayer, is watchfulness. Watchfulness of the moment. It isn't by going to some spiritual place going to Tibet, going to a church or a mosque in which one is going to find communion with the divine. You find divinity by being watchful. The physical place doesn't matter so much. The best act of worship is when you are paying attention, self-observing.
We discussed in our previous lectures about the path of self-observation in which you as a consciousness are observing your three brains: your thoughts, your feelings, your body. Observing the impulses of the mind, the instincts, our sexual drives, our thoughts, our emotions. We become mindful. We observe ourselves like we are watching an actor in a film as if we are the director.
So this watchfulness, when you are paying attention, is precisely that greatest prayer we can enact, because if you are not aware as a consciousness, you cannot know divinity. You cannot perceive divinity here and now. Like I said in that experience, my Divine Mother said, "You are lost. Where are you?" And I felt panic, because She was showing me that “you are not worshipping Me. You are not remembering Me.” How do you remember divinity? When you are provoked with anger or negative elements, and then you realize what to do. How to act. How to behave. Not only just physically, but mentally you make choices. You have insight. Instead of responding with resentment or revenge, you transform the situation with love. This is the meaning of the following statement:
“The best act of worship is watchfulness of the moments. That is, that the servant not look beyond his limit, not contemplate anything other than his Lord, and not associate with anything other than his present moment.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So what does it mean that the servant not look beyond his limit? So when we prefer perform Bhakti Yoga, we are serving divinity. We are also performing Karma Yoga, positive action. When we don't look beyond our limit, it means don't think about other things. Don't worry about other things. Be fully concentrated in what we are doing, because to be distracted in a moment of crisis can produce a tragedy. As Samael Aun Weor stated in Revolutionary Psychology, people who don't know how to transform negative internal psychological states, become victims of circumstances, and even a simple mistake or moment can bring one disgrace."
So don't look behind your limit. Don't think about other things. Don't associate with anything other than the present moment. Don't think about anything other than your Being. Be aware of your Inner God. That is a quality that you learn to become a familiar with practice.
So in the beginning we feel we are blind. We lack insight. We want to know divinity. We want to have some type of experience. We feel some longing, some inspiration. People say, “I can't meditate; I can't have an out-of-body experience; I haven't seen these things for myself…” and many people get filled with despair. They write to us. And one thing I always mention to them, is that “Well, what are your longings? What do you feel?” And they say, "I feel in my heart that this knowledge is very true and I have experienced certain things." “Okay, that is the next next step. Follow your longing, that intuition, that judgment, that inner hunch in your heart. The more you feed that, that spark will grow into a flame as you train yourself in meditation.” That is mindfulness.
I remember, personally, many years ago, before I found this knowledge, I was looking and looking and looking and not being satisfied with what I was finding. Then I realized what I was looking for was already within me. So mindfulness is the key. That is the greatest form of worship, because your body is a temple of God. The mind, the heart, can become a temple of the Being if we purify it. So in those moments of great crisis, moral and emotional suffering, when we learn not to look beyond our limit, meaning: don't wish for the situation to change, but actually change it.
Or if you can't change it, at least be conscious, because some situations we can't change. People are going to be what they are going to be. Sometimes you can't make those changes in them, so instead what you have to do is not harm them, and that of course becomes very difficult.
Like Odysseus, in the symbol of The Odyssey, he was tied to a ship mast when he was sailing next to the sirens. It is a symbol that relates to this teaching. Where the sirens were calling him and he was driven mad with passion, with frenzy, or even anger, wanting to jump overboard or sail the ship into the reefs and become shipwrecked. It is a symbol of how in those great moments of suffering and crisis, we have to tie ourselves to our mast. Control our mind. Use our will. Even though we are tempted by those different defects, or egos, or wills, as we have been discussing in this course, we learn to be firm, to be mindful.
That is a form of worship. Be mindful of what you are doing. Be awake. Don't daydream. When you learn to be in the present moment, you become conscious of the path itself.
The Lines of Life and Being
We use this glyph to talk about the intersection of the line of life with the line of being.
The line of life is simply our existence from our birth in the past, to our childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, old age, sickness, death, towards the future. The line of life is mechanical. Everybody experiences this. People go through life typically identified with their name, their language, their culture, their customs, their beliefs, their religion, their concepts, their philosophy, their politics; and yet, when those people go to the grave, those things don't go with them.
So that type of mentality that only believes that materialism is the only tangible, experiential thing are really mistaken, because we do have something intersecting with that line of life, which has to do with the line of being. Our level of consciousness.
Above we have superior levels of consciousness, which is represented by Jacob's Ladder in the Bible, in which the angels were ascending and descending in this vision that Jacob had in the Book of Genesis.
As above there are heavenly states of consciousness inhabited by beings like angels and prophets, you also have inferior states of consciousness, relating to negative ways of being, known as the hell realms, which again are symbols of something psychological. They are places too, but, what's important is to realize our psychological state, because what we are psychologically determines where in nature we gravitate.
If we are filled with envy, and lust, and pride, we naturally gravitate towards inferior states of being the hell realms, which is experienced in nightmares and dreams. But there are also heavenly states of being, heavenly states of consciousness.
People typically go through life totally not paying attention of where they are at, where they are going, what they are thinking. Most people only relate to external things, which is the mechanical line of life. But someone who learns to awaken consciousness in meditation ascends the vertical path moment by moment, instant by instant. That is the path of remembrance of divinity. When instead of responding with conditions of mind, we react or better said respond with cognizance, with light.
Knowledge belongs to the line of life, because intellectual knowledge, knowing how to have a job, a career, a business, is necessary, but it's not everything. Comprehension is something much more profound and is what concerns any person who studies meditation.
“Knowledge and comprehension are different. Knowledge is of the mind. Comprehension is of the heart.” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
So what is comprehension? We know in a very basic level when you put your hand on a hot stove, you get burned and then you realize not to repeat that action. It is a very superficial form of comprehension, but real comprehension is when you understand the conditioning of the psyche and then you don't act on those elements. You comprehend how lust, how fear, how hatred, is negative and when you really comprehend how those elements are destructive, you resolve not to go back to them and not to perpetuate your suffering and making other people suffer too.
So comprehension is real prayer, because when you comprehend your situation, whatever circumstances of life present itself and how the mind is the source of suffering, we then dedicate ourselves to changing fundamentally. It is a profound form of prayer.
Question: Does the intersection of the line of life and line of being relate to the Christian cross and the cross of the four elements?
Instructor: It does relate to the cross, which is the crossing of the four elements, but also the cross of the present moment, because when Christ was crucified, He came to physically represent or symbolize something psychological too. The death of the animal mind, of egotism, is in the present moment, here and now, and also the rebirth, or resurrection, or experience of the divine happens on the cross in the present moment. But also there is more deeper significance as you know.
The Eightfold Steps of Yoga in the Song of the Lord
We'll talk about a few excerpts from the Bhagavad-Gita [“The Song of the Lord”], which teaches something profound about the nature of Bhakti Yoga, of conscious prayer.
So in the myth or in the scripture the Lord Krishna comes to Arjuna, who is a representation of the Christic energy. Christ is not a person, but a force, symbolized by the Greek Khrestos, meaning fire. That fire manifests within many prophets or masters who come to teach humanity something profound. Krishna was the embodiment of that light and represents that divine energy.
Arjuna is, in our fundamental depth, willpower, human soul, human consciousness, and if you remember in the Mahabharata from which the Bhagavad-Gita is taken, Arjuna is in despair, because he is told by Krishna that he has to go to war against his family, his family members, his relatives. This is the same symbol that we talked about in the Book of Judges previously, in the lecture Conscious Judgment, where the people of Israel, symbolizing the forces of the soul, have to go against the ego, the armies of Sisera.
So there's a great battle that emerges in the soul when we begin this path, because our animalistic egotistical elements don't want to die, and so they fight for their life.
When Arjuna sees the vast armies of his former companions, his relatives who are against them, he feels despair. Who are those relatives? Fear, laziness, lust, pride, everything we are familiar with that we typically associate with ourselves. Then when we go against that, we realize there is a big battle about to happen and, of course, Arjuna feels despair. He's despondent. But that is when Krishna comes and teaches him what he needs to do in order to overcome his own mind.
He explains the path of Bhakti Yoga very beautifully in this chapter on the Yoga of Devotion, where he teaches him how to consciously pray, to receive help.
1. Arjuna said: “Those devotees who, ever steadfast, thus worship Thee and those also who worship the Imperishable and the Unmanifested which of them are better versed in Yoga?” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
Again, meaning union of the soul with the divine.
2. The Blessed Lord said: “Those who, fixing their minds on Me, worship Me, ever steadfast and endowed with supreme faith, these are the best in Yoga in My opinion.” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
So what does it mean to fix one's mind on the divine? It means to concentrate. To not think about other things. That is how you worship the divine. You receive insight. To be steadfast means to be consistent, meaning to adopt meditation and to practice it daily for it to have real effect.
3. “Those who worship the imperishable, the indefinable, the unmanifested, the omnipresent, the unthinkable, the eternal and the immovable, 4. Having restrained all the senses, even minded everywhere, intent on the welfare of all beings, verily they also come unto Me.” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
We mentioned previously in our lectures in this course about the Eightfold Path of Yoga taught by Patanjali, known as Ashtanga, meaning eight-limbed form of yoga. We have discussed these steps in depth. The first is Yama, meaning “restraint of mind,” and as we have been discussing in this lecture, one learns to restrain negative habits, egotism, desires, that is the first step of yoga. People who give in to their egotism, their desires, their anger, can never meditate, because the mind becomes a chaos and when you invest your energy into the ego, you feed the ego and make it fat. So the first step of yoga is restraint. Restrain the mind.
By restraining the mind we learn to follow Niyama, meaning “precepts.” Precepts have to do with codes of conduct, virtues, whichever religion stipulates in their own way. Don't kill, don't steal, don't lie, don't fornicate, don't commit adultery. These are not rules to repress people, but the teach us psychologically how to save energy, how to awaken consciousness.
The next step is Asana, your posture. As we said in our opening practice, your asana, your posture should be firm but relaxed. The body can't relax if the mind and the heart are in chaos, or agitated. If one wants to learn how to calm the body, the mind has to be calm, meaning: don't feed desire. You feed desire, you feed the ego, which is synonymous. The mind can't settle, because in a moment of anger, we lose energy. Or a moment of lust, we lose energy and that energy, which can be used for conscious development, is lost.
When the body is calm, you can begin practices of Pranayama, or work with mantra, energy. Pranayama means to “yoke the prana,” the energies of the body, and the mind, and the heart, and our sexuality. When you control your breathing with mantras or with certain interchangeable nostril breathing exercises, you learn to circulate energy so that the mind settles. So the practice we did at the beginning of this lecture, the mantra RAM-IO, helps to channel energy and focus it in the mind and the heart. Then when those energies are present, we learn to restrain our senses.
The senses become calm. This is known as Pratyahara. Pratyahara is when you restrain the senses and where you are focused fully within yourself. You begin to settle, you become calm. Pratyahara is like a lever that can produce the other steps of meditation, that are fundamental.
So these are things that we can't skip. They are not rules like something dogmatic to follow, but they are principles to apply consciously. With restraining the senses you don't get distracted by what is going on outside in the neighbor's house, the sounds that one hears. The mind becomes calm. That is when one becomes even-minded, concentrated. As stated in the fourth verse of the scripture, "To be even minded is to be concentrated." To be serene, meaning: whatever you are doing, do it with full attention. Don't think about other things. Don't get distracted.
With concentration we learn to focus on one object of focus for our practice in order to experience Dhyana, meaning meditation. Dharana is concentration. Dhyana is actual meditation. We state that meditation is not a practice. It is a state of being in which you receive knowledge.
So that experience I mentioned to you where I was talking to my Divine Mother, that was a form of meditation, but in the astral plane where I was receiving knowledge from my Inner Goddess, in that moment I understood, comprehended something profound about my dilemma. That is Samadhi, the next step. The eighth and final step which is comprehension, understanding. Samadhi is when you comprehend something profoundly without the influence of the mind, of the intellect, of the ego.
So notice that the Bhagavad-Gita teaches these steps of yoga in its verses.
If you wish to know and worship the Divine through prayer, one must be steadfast and with discipline, fix one's mind on that presence, which is not a physical entity, but force, a state of consciousness, a way of being. And, by learning to meditate or being concentrated all day, when you sit to practice, your mind is easily focused on one thing. You don't get distracted. You don't think about other things. You don't get lost in daydreams or worries. Because people who sit to practice for ten minutes and who are distracted all day, they don't get anywhere. But if you are concentrated on what you are doing at all moments of life, your life becomes your religion, your discipline, your practice.
So notice that we have the two armies presented before Krishna and Arjuna. It is obviously a very difficult thing to know in oneself to confront; that we have many egos and defects that need to be comprehended and eliminated. So in the path of conscious judgment, we talked extensively about comprehension. How to comprehend the mind, how to comprehend the ego.
Prayer and Self-Remembrance
The next step is learning to pray. To receive help from a superior force, from our Inner Goddess to aid us in those moments of great crisis and battle, when moment by moment, we are learning to face certain challenges and ordeals—certain situations that provoke elements that we never even suspected that we had, and by learning to be observant, we catch them.
We catch those defects in action. That is discovery, and when we learn to meditate on out faults, we learn to judge them. By comprehending them, we pray to our Divine Mother to eliminate.
We will be talking about this process towards the end of this lecture, but of course this produces a great struggle in oneself. Trying to comprehend the mind produces great suffering, because we recognize morally that we are responsible for all of our sufferings and faults, which are very overwhelming to face in the beginning especially. Which is why the Bhagavad-Gita states,
5. “Greater is their trouble whose minds are set on the Unmanifested; for the goal—the Unmanifested (the divine)—is very difficult for the embodied to reach. 6. But to those who worship Me (who are mindful, who are awake moment by moment), renouncing all actions in Me, regarding Me as the supreme goal, meditating on me with single-minded yoga (concentration), 7. To those whose minds are set on Me O Arjuna, verily I become ere long the savior out of the ocean of the mortal Samsara!” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
So what does it mean to renounce all actions “in Me,” in the divine? This is known as self-remembrance in our tradition—to remember the presence of your Inner God in those moments, particularly in which one is being challenged, confronted, criticized, lied about, gossiped, even attacked. You renounce all actions in the divine when you don't act egotistically, but remember the light of your presence, your Inner God, who comes to you like a light, an insight, an understanding in your mind and your heart. You learn to act on that impulse when it arrives spontaneously, intuitively.
"Fix thy mind on Me only, thy intellect in Me…” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
The word intellect in Sanskrit is Buddhi, which is a representation of the consciousness. When we think of intellect, we typically think of thought, so this is a bad translation. The original is Buddhi, which we are going to talk about in the next slide. Buddhi is the Divine Consciousness, Geburah (Deborah), judgment.
8. “Fix thy mind on Me only, thy intellect in Me, (then) thou shalt no doubt live in Me alone hereafter. 9. If thou art unable to fix thy mind steadily on Me, then by the Yoga of constant practice do thou seek to reach Me, O Arjuna!” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
Meaning: if your mind is still wandering and you are not able to concentrate, train yourself daily with simple practices. Take a candle or take an object to focus, like on a lit flame, and observe it. And as you are observing, observe your mind. Observe what you are observing, but also be aware of how you are seeing or perceiving. If your mind starts thinking about other things, just gently bring your attention back to the candle, and that will train you how to cease being distracted moment by moment. That can help empower your consciousness. That is part of some preliminary exercises one engages with when one prepares for meditation itself.
So by the yoga of constant practice, one can reach the divine, because consistency is key.
The Stages of Meditation and Prayer in the Tree of Life
We were talking about the Kabbalistic tree of life in our previous lectures. This image known in the Book of Genesis as the Tree of Life, is a symbol, a map of consciousness. These are different levels of perception, of matter and energy, and we have been talking extensively about these different degrees or sephiroth, modalities of being, in order to understand how to meditate.
In our practice we talked about the body known as Malkuth in Hebrew, represented as the “kingdom.” This is where we are. But, of course, above that are higher levels or modalities of energy and perception, which are not vertically situated in space, but instead, represent levels of being, ways of consciousness, ways of perceiving.
We have Yesod, relating to our vital energies, our creative energies, our sexual energy itself, which can give life to spiritual life, or even to a physical child, depending on how we use that energy, which is very well known in Buddhism as Tantra, and Hinduism as well.
We have the emotional sphere relating to Hod, meaning “splendor.” This is the emotions or astral body, the world of dreams. Yesod means “Foundation”—the foundation of our spiritual temple, because how we use our creative energy determines our spiritual life—energy that we activate through exercises like pranayama and mantra, which helps to settle the heart as well, Hod, the emotions.
To the right we have Netzach, meaning “victory,” the mind. When you conquer the mind, you become a Buddha, a victorious one, a master.
Above that though we have a more rarefied form of energy and perception known as Tiphereth, which means “beauty.” This is willpower. Willpower is simply the ability to act, but for most of us this will is conditioned to thought (Netzach), to emotions (Hod), to energy or sensations in the body, related with Yesod and Malkuth. Our will, which is at the very center of this glyph, is the very focal point of all action in our very being, so this is an image of who we are psychologically.
And the very center we have willpower, because it is through will is how we can access the higher levels of being or we can condition ourselves further. So when you learn to concentrate, you are using your will. To control thought, feeling, impulse, and the body. Notice that when we practice meditation or when we prepare ourselves, we relax the body. We also relax out energies. We have to relax our heart, relax our mind, and then we concentrate on one thing. So we have the five lower sephiroth represented in our discipline.
If we want to access the higher levels of being, we have to use our willpower, and willpower is concentration. Are you able to focus on one thing without thinking, or feeling, or being distracted by the body? Because when your mind is still, your emotions are calm, your energies are balanced—willpower becomes empowered. It allows you to experience the higher sephiroth known as Geburah, “Justice,” of which we spoke extensively in our previous lecture. This is Buddhi in Sanskrit, the divine consciousness.
To the right we have Chesed, meaning “Mercy,” our Inner God, our spirit, which in Hebrew is אל El, the Being.
Above that we have the trinity of Christianity: Kether, Chokmah, Binah (Crown, Wisdom, Intelligence), which is the highest form of energy in the cosmos, represented by the trinity among the Christians, as Osiris, Isis, and Horus among the Egyptians. Wotan, Baldor, Thor among the Nordics. You have Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Nirmanakaya in Buddhism.
Our Divine Mother is the feminine aspect of Binah, intelligence. She is Shakti, the wife of Shiva, the Holy Spirit, which is a force, not a person.
That energy is within our body. We have the energies of the Father in the brain, Kether. We have the energies of Christ, the son, Horus, in the heart. We have the power of the Holy Spirit in sex, the sexual organs. So that power which can give life to a child, if it's used well and harnessed, can give birth to the soul.
Those are very rarefied levels of consciousness, which we can access in meditation if we are concentrated, because if our will is not empowered, is not guided by the spirit and by our consciousness, if we are distracted by our thoughts, and our feelings, and our sensations, we can pray all we want, but we are not going to get the answers we want, because the mind has to be calm, the body has to be calm. The lower sephiroth have to be in control, to be still.
We have a quote from Hamlet, in which Claudius is confessing his crime to himself for having murdered his brother, which is a symbol of masonry and many other traditions of the death of the divine potential within us. Claudius is a representation of the ego, and he said something very profound in relation to this lecture that's relevant to state.
"My word fly up to heaven, my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never to Heaven go." ―Hamlet, 3.3.100-103)
So Shakespeare was an esotericist, a meditator. Your words can fly up to heaven. You can be asking and asking for insight, but if your concentration is down in your body, if you are moving your body, being irritated, if you are identified with thought or feeling, it means that those words will never reach the divine. Words without thoughts, without concentration, never reach the destination. Or better said, we never get the insights we want, because the mind is in chaos.
This is why Prophet Muhammad stated that “An hour of contemplation is better than a year of prayer.” Meaning, an hour of meditation, of experiencing your Inner God is better than going to mosque for a year and praying salat five times a day mechanically.
So people can do that if they like, but if it's mechanical, it doesn't serve any purpose, which brings into mind a saying by a Sufi master by the name of Bayazid Bastami, who talked about the real esoteric meaning of prayer. Muslims, when they pray, they pray towards the east, towards the Kaaba, which in alchemical or Kabbalistic teachings relate to the stone of the Freemasons. That stone, the Kaaba, is a symbol of the energies of Yesod, the foundations of our spiritual temple.
Notice that this sphere is at the very base of the whole Tree of Life and is at the very bottom. It is the foundation. How we use this energy, the creative energies of our body, determines our spiritual life.
People in the Muslim tradition have lost the meaning of this significance. They pray towards the stone in the Middle East but ignore that they have the stone in their own body. They don't use their energies consciously. You can pray all you want to the the East, towards Mecca, but the Sufi Master by Bayazid Bastami pointed out something very beautiful. He said:
“When you are separate from the Kaaba (Yesod), it is all right to turn toward it. But those who are in it can turn towards any direction that they wish." —Bayazid Bastami
Meaning, if you are actively using your energies wisely, you can access the whole Tree of Life. You go to any direction, because notice that there are ten spheres, ten sephiroth. These are the ten directions of Buddhism mentioned by the tantric scriptures. Ten modalities of energy. So if you learn to use that energy in yourself, you don't need to pray towards a stone. You can if it brings you reverence, but if you pray, be conscious of what you do, because those who don't learn to work with that energy can access the higher aspects of the Tree of Life, the consciousness.
The Path of Balance
So one must be even balanced in order to perform Raja Yoga, as well as Bhakti Yoga. As we have been stating, one must learn to calm the mind and to learn to be compassionate in all circumstances.
13. He who hates no creature, who is friendly and compassionate to all, who is free from attachment and egoism, balanced in pleasure and pain, and forgiving, 14. Ever content, steady in meditation, possessed of firm conviction (from having internal experiences), self controlled, with mind and intellect (Buddhi) dedicated to Me, he, My devotee, is dear to Me. 15. He by whom the world is not agitated and who cannot be agitated by the world, and who is freed from joy, envy, (or better said, egotistical joy, evil pleasures), fear and anxiety—He is dear to me. —Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
So to not be agitated by the world, neither to agitate the world. Like the Christian saying, “Be in the world, but not of it.” Interact with others like as the Buddhist teach: a butterfly going from flower to flower, extracting the pollen, the knowledge, the insight one needs, transforming those situations, and leaving without harming the flower itself, the petals.
16. “He who is free from wants (who is not constantly occupied with one's bills or trying to sustain oneself in this life), pure, expert, unconcerned, and untroubled (meaning: an expert in meditation unconcerned as is stated in the Gospels)…” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
See the lilies of the field and the birds of the sky, how they toil not nor spin. Why worry about what raiment you shall have for yourself? What money, what sustenance, because your inner dvinity knows you need these things, so therefore have faith in your Inner God to give you what you need so long as we do our part.
16. “He who is free from wants, pure, expert (in meditation), unconcerned, and untroubled, renouncing all undertakings or commencements (meaning: to not act egotistically in any circumstance), he who is (thus) devoted to Me, is dear to Me.” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
And this has to do with the path of balance, not being identified, even with those qualities we think are good, psychologically speaking. We have many bad egos as we have been talking about. There are also many good egos, senses of self that know how to do good, like to give money, or to the be a member of some Church or Mosque or Masjid, or whatnot. But even the ego, the sense of self that thinks it does good, is subjective. Consciousness is something much more transcendental or profound.
17. “He who neither rejoices, nor hates, nor grieves, nor desires, renouncing good and evil (as philosophical concepts, but learning to act in the present moment consciously), and who is full of devotion, is dear to me. 18. He who is the same to foe and friend, and in honor and dishonor, who is the same as in cold and heat, and in pleasure and pain, who is free from attachment (identification, desire), 19. He to whom censure and praise are equal, who is silent (in the mind), content with anything, (even) homeless (meaning: not identified with having a house or a home but being not attached to the world even if one has a house or not), of a steady mind and full of devotion, that man is dear to Me (that meditator is dear to Me). 20. They verily who follow this immortal Dharma, (this doctrine or law), as described above, endowed with faith (conscious experience), regarding Me as their supreme goal, they, the devotees, are exceedingly dear to Me.” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
The Three Factors for Spiritual Revolution
Let us talk about the teachings of the Divine Mother we have been discussing. We have what is called three factors in order to achieve success in meditation and the spiritual path itself.
We have the path of birth. The path of death. The path of sacrifice.
Birth relates to chastity, which does not mean sexual abstention, but by learning to harness the energies of sexuality, the body, Yesod, the vital forces, one learns to take that energy and to empower one's meditation, because that energy which can create a child, if we conserve that force and transform it, it can awaken the soul in its full capacity.
We also have what is called the death of desire, sanctity, which is what we have been discussing in the path of judgment. To comprehend the sources of the ego, our defects, and to eliminate them, to annihilate them—so that by breaking those shells, we free consciousness like the genie from Aladdin's lamp—so that the soul can perform miracles, experiences, knowledge, powers in ourselves.
Sacrifice, to have charity. It doesn’t mean to just give money to the poor or what not—it can involve that. But you also sacrifice for others when you learn to perform your job with consciousness, with love, so that we don't harm others. These three factors we will be talking more in depth in future courses, but these three we find are synonymous, different aspects of one thing. If you want to awaken consciousness, we have to learn to use energy, to give birth to the soul. We have to learn to comprehend the sources of the ego, to die in those defects, and learn to serve others.
The Stages of Comprehension
So the stages of comprehension, which are fed by those three factors, involve the following. We discussed in our previous lecture the light of consciousness, the path of discovery, and in the path of conscious judgment, we talked about the second step, judgment. In this lecture. we are talking about execution, prayer.
So we have in this image the Divine Mother slaying a demon. She is the power of the Kundalini that can eliminate our conditions of mind, our defects, our egos, which she does through the creative energies of sexuality, harnessed within a matrimony or between man and woman, who can learn to use those energies as a couple to transform the mind.
So we find many interesting symbols in her hands, and the fact that she has multiple hands represented by Durga riding a lion, represents her ability, her omniscience, to act in all circumstances of life without conditions. To act in multiple ways.
With discovery, we find our defects—we observe ourselves moment by moment. We save energy. We serve others. We comprehend our faults in meditation through judgment and after we have comprehended our defects, we learn to execute them, or better said, the Divine Mother, the divine feminine, executes them through prayer.
We have been discussing how prayer is to speak with divinity, with the divine, face to face. The Divine Mother is the root energy at the base of our spine, but also in our heart. She is the energy that can liberate the soul. So we work with her daily in our gnostic studies in order to remove the obscurations of the mind, to comprehend ourselves, but also to invoke that divine power—to destroy the shells of the ego.
So again, we see Her riding a lion, which is very symbolic. That lion is a symbol of the lion of Judah among the Christians. Judea or י Yod, ה Hei, ו Vav, ד Daleth, ה Hei, which has the four sacred letters of the name of God: י Yod ה Hei ו Vav ה Hei, יהוה Jehovah. As we talked about in our previous lectures, יה Ya or י Yod ה Hei is the Father. ה Hei or הוה Havah is Eve, the divine feminine. Male-female. Man-woman. Because we have a Divine Father above and a Divine Mother above within our consciousness.
So יהוה Yod-Havah, Jehovah, is the power of male-female. And הוה Havah, or Adam-Eve we can say, and יהוה Ya-Havah is precisely the power of the divine feminine. הוה Havah, hidden within Durga, who is the power that can slay any ego, any defect, where we learn to pray to Her consciously.
Samael Aun Weor stated in Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology:
“Prayer in the psychological work is fundamental for the dissolution of the “I” (the ego, the myself). We need a power superior to the mind if indeed we want to disintegrate this or that “I” (whether it be pride, an ego of vanity, of fear, of lust).
“The mind by itself can never disintegrate any “I”; this is indisputable and irrefutable.
“To pray is to talk with God. We must appeal to God the Mother in the depths of our heart if we truly want to disintegrate “I’s” (egos, selves, conditions of mind). The one who does not love his or her Mother, the ungrateful child, will fail in the work upon himself.” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Meaning: those who forget after they have begun working on their mind, to continue working with Her.
So again, that experience comes to my mind where She told me, "Where are you? I can't find you on this radar." So, one must not forget one's Divine Mother when you begin this work. She is the power that can liberate the consciousness from the ego, the self.
She is the Virgin Mary, Miriam. As I said, the word מרים Miriam means “to raise,” and what else is the power that can raise us to the heights of the heavens except the Kundalini in the spine? She is the power of מרים Miriam, or מים Mayim, which in Hebrew means water. You have מ ם Mem repeated twice. The letter מ ם M in Hebrew and the letter ר R. Miriam. You have the word מים Mayim, which means “water” and the letter ראש Rosh means “head.” So those waters of the creative energy are in the base of your spine, in your sexual organs, which if you raise through certain practices up the spine to the mind, you can illuminate the intellect, produce the halo of the saints. She is the power that can raise us from suffering up the line of being.
Practical Advice for Psychological Work
Samael Aun Weor provides some advice about this:
"Make yourselves introversive. Direct your prayer within, seeking within your interior your Divine Lady. Thus with sincere supplications you shall be able to talk to Her. Beg Her to disintegrate the "I" that you have previously observed and judged. Comprehension and the discernment are fundamental." —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Meaning: you have to see your egos in action. See what arose in your mind, in your heart, in your body at a certain instance of the day. Be specific. Be understanding of what defect you saw in action in each moment of your day. To discern is precisely the capacity to see, to discriminate, to understand.
“Nonetheless, something more is necessary if indeed what we want is to disintegrate the “myself” (the ego, the I).
“The mind can give onto itself the luxury of labeling any defect, passing it from one department to the other, exhibiting it, hiding it, etc. However, the mind can never fundamentally alter the defect.
“A special power superior to the mind is necessary, a fiery power that is capable of reducing any defect to ashes.
“Stella Maris, our Divine Mother, has that power. She is able to pulverize any psychological defect.” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Stella Maris is Virgin of the Sea, the waters. Those waters are precisely your energies in your body and those waters, if we learn to control them through breathing exercises, mantras, circulate those forces up the spine, they help to awaken faculties of the consciousness in their full potential.
She is the power that can liberate the soul, and she is also represented in the Tarot. We have been giving a course on the twenty-two arcana of the tarot and in the eleventh arcanum, which will be our next lecture, we find a virgin holding open the jaws of a lion.
It is interesting that in these images of the tarot, we find many symbols that relate to every religion. Notice that Durga rides upon a lion because that lion is the energy of Christ, Jehovah, whom we work with and dominate through the power of the divine feminine. So that lion, instead of attacking her, is pleasant, is tranquil. She opens the jaws of the lion, meaning, She controls those forces completely in us when we learn to meditate.
The transcendental axiom or statement of this arcanum, this law, this teaching, because the word arcanum means “law,” is the following:
“Joyful in hope, suffering and tribulation, be thou constant in thy prayer.”
So, as you are working and self-observation of your defects, learn to pray to your Inner Goddess. Ask for help, for insight. Ask her to help you control the jaws of the lion, which is your energies, because sometimes we have energy that wants to act in ways that we can't control, and we have to appeal to her deeply, to guide us. We won't talk about this arcanum in depth today, because we are giving whole course on this and this will be our next lecture.
Ways to Develop Devotion
Some ways that you can learn to develop Bhakti Yoga in yourself are through the following ways stipulated by Swami Sivananda in his book Easy Steps to Yoga.
We have Sravana, hearing the Lila of God. To hear the Lila of God means you develop devotion by hearing the teachings, by reading scripture and understanding its meaning.
How does it apply to your life practically? You can read any scripture that you have an affinity for and meditate on its meaning. How does it apply to certain circumstances in your life? Otherwise, it's just theory. You may read the Bhagavad-Gita, the Qur’an, the Old Testament; find scriptures that are explained that are meaningful to you. That is a form of devotion. We read scriptures that inspire us, that teach something profound about ourselves.
We have Kirtana, singing His praise. Kirtan is very common in schools of yoga where they have small concerts and they play many traditional Hindu songs, but there are many other forms of singing, of prayer, like amongst the Christians you have Cistercian monks and even classical music, we have choral pieces, which are very divine, very profound, that one can learn to be a part of, that inspires you.
Smarana, remembering His name. This typically has to do with reciting a mantra. So, you can relate to remember your inner divinity by reciting a prayer or mantra, moment-by-moment, mentally. You know RAM-IO, you can pronounce mentally in your mind and in your mind recite japa, prayer. Repeat that mantra, whatever mantra you resonate with, that gives you power in your consciousness.
Padasevana, worshiping his lotus feet. It literally means “service to the feet.” This has many beautiful meanings that are explained in the Judeo-Christian Bible by Jesus anointing the feet of his disciples before his passion. To wash one's feet with ointment, with oil, is a symbol. It is very profound. To have dreams of washing one's feet, which are filled with mud, with pure water, is a symbol of removing the impurities in the mind, because how you walk in your daily life is how you walk spiritually. You can't separate the two.
Most people think that life in the mosque and life at work are separate. They don't see the connection. But the truth is that your work is your religion. How you behave psychologically is your is your mysticism, your path. To wash the feet in waters of purity is a very beautiful Christian symbol related to baptism and transmutation, as we have been explaining in our courses, which you can find available explanations on our website. By worshiping His lotus feet is to purify the mind because when you purify your mind and your body by working with energy, you develop devotion. The heart becomes inflamed, inspired.
Archana is offerings. This is very well traditionally-understood as providing flowers or some kind of holy relics upon an altar, but a real offering is when you as a consciousness decide to restrain from certain habits, which are negative. Certain defects that you observed. You make an offering to the your Divine Being and say "I will renounce this ego that I have in me and offer my self with sacrifice." To receive those benefits. Then of course divinity always responds because when you work on the ego, you develop light. You illuminate the darkness; you develop light.
Vandana, prostration, can mean many forms of prayer, not only in Hinduism but also Buddhism and Islam. To prostrate is to surrender oneself, psychologically-speaking. In so many traditions, they involve prayers and prostrations, which we do too in this tradition, as well certain prayers we do on our knees or certain exercises we do on our knees as a form of reverence for the divine.
Dasya is service, as we have explained in great detail today, related to Karma Yoga. What are ways that you can help other human beings to benefit? It doesn't mean by having to give this type of knowledge, but instead refers to how we possess certain skills that can benefit other people. We have qualities that are intrinsic to our dispositions and which we have to offer. So, we have to find what it is that we are good at and that we can really give to others to be of benefit. When we do it with love, we are performing service, yoga, union, karma, Karma Yoga; therefore, we receive certain benefits, blessings from divinity, because in order to receive help, we have to give help according to our level.
Sakya is friendship, and has to do with associating with people who are like-minded. Meaning, people who are more elevated or spiritual, because obviously, sometimes we may be associated with certain people who are drunkards, drug addicts, and like attracts like, so to speak. If you want to be around better vibrations, you make friends with or associate with people who help inspire your spirituality. It is always good. That way when you are very confident about your level of being, you can help those who are less fortunate.
Lastly Atmanivedana, complete self-surrender, which has to do with when you recognize your ego and you don't give it what it wants. You surrender your consciousness to your Inner God. It is a psychological state of being to surrender one's mind, one's heart, one's body for one's divinity.
We are going to conclude this lecture with the following quote where Swami Sivananda states:
“Study the Gita, Ramayana, and Bhagavata. Have Satsanga. Visit holy places (Teertha-Yatra). Do Japa. Meditate. Sing His Name. You can develop Bhakti and have his Darsana (yogic discipline, such as Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, by following these steps).” —Swami Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
Questions and Answers
Question: Is there any technique that can help with negative emotions?
Instructor: With negative emotions, especially, you could step aside for a minute or five minutes to have a break. Sit, relax, breathe. Inhale for six seconds, hold your breath for six seconds, exhale for six seconds. Then when your mind is calm, if you have even more time, do pranayama. Do transmutation of your energies by working with the breath and circulating that force, because that energy will help calm you, especially when you get overwhelmed by certain egos or defects and you feel like you are going to lose control. Like if you are very upset with someone or someone challenges you or does something very negative, it can be very difficult for transform that, so instead in order to avoid exacerbating the situation, step back for five minutes. Take a break, real quick if you can, somewhere isolated. Just breathe. Focus on your breath.
Question: It's something I never really noticed before until I started retrospecting.
Instructor: And most people, they had no idea because people who don't self-observe are not going to discover that. But now that you are seeing it, now you seeing, “This is my daily state” as we talked about in the lecture on the “Light of Consciousness.” You must look within to develop light. But of course, when you develop that light, the darkness wants to swallow that light. So it becomes a very painful circumstance.
Ways that you can deal with it is to transmute more when you get home. Work with your energies, and pranayama is an is an exercise in which you take the energies of your body and circulate them, such as breathing exercises or mantras. You transform the substance of your bodily energies into energy or force and that will help calm you.
Personally if I am at work and I am dealing with, you know, as I mentioned previously, had some very difficult clients that I work with. So, what I do is if I have been overwhelmed at times, at my break, I'll do a mantra in my mind, not aloud. I will be doing other things in my office or my room and I would be doing a mantra, such as: Klim Krishnaya Govindaya Gobijana Vallabhaya Swaha.
That mantra we have on the website gnosticteachings.org. You can look under the videos of how to pronounce that. It is a mantra in order to invoke Christ, to remove and reject negativity. Not only just from outside, but from within. So, I found that if I am getting angry, if I was getting angry at certain people, I had to step back and during my break, do this mantra. Totally changes everything.
Question: Where is it located?
Instructor: It is in The Perfect Matrimony and the chapter about the Gnostic Pentagram. It's very powerful. You are invoking Klim, Christ. Krishnaya, the Lord Krishna. Govindaya which Govinda relates to “cowherd,” I believe. The shepherd, or the one who leads the souls of the cows to light. Symbol of certain disciples, like sheep in the Bible, where they are led to light. That light enters into you and you can form the pentagram, which is a five-pointed star. When it is upright, it rejects negative forces. And not only just to reject people outside of you who are negative, but more importantly mentally, your internal states.
Question: What is the meaning behind Ham-Sah?
Instructor: Ham-Sah is a mantra for transmutation. Another exercise of working with the sexual energy, which when you conserve it, you sit in a comfortable place, you imagine your spinal column. We have the famous caduceus of mercury amongst the symbol of medicine, which represents how certain channels of energy rise from the testicles for men or the ovaries for women, up the spine in the form of two snakes, until reaching the head. In the middle you find two wings that open up. It's a symbol of how by working with energy and circulating it, you develop the wings of spirituality and with Ham Sah, you first close your eyes and pray to your Divine Mother. "My Goddess, help me to work with this energy in me because you are that energy. Help me to awaken you within my spine and to calm my mind. Circulate these forces in me!" And then you breathe and inhale through your nostrils, imagine the energy is rising like light up those two energetic channels at the spine, which are called in Hinduism by the name of Ida and Pingala. Masculine and feminine energy. Or in Taoism: Yin and Yang. Or in Hebrew Od and Obd. Adam and Eve. Male and female. A symbol of those forces.
When you are inhaling, you imagine these energies rising up the spine to your brain. you pronounce mentally the mantra. "Haaaaaaaaammmmmmm…" You don't verbalize it. You make it mental, and you prolong the inhalation, Ham, [pronounced as with an “Ah” sound] in order to send the energies from your sexual organs to your brain.
That Ham saturates the mind and fills the chalice of the brain and then as you are about to exhale, imagine that energy descending to the third eye through nadis or energetic channels in the face, down into the heart. Then you pronounce externally the mantra "Ssssaah!"
“Ham” is prolonged. We say it is solar, creative. That energy rises, is retained, prolonged because you want to force the energies to circulate up to the mind, or send it in that direction. So, you prolong Ham more profoundly. Samael Aun Weor states you send that energy to the heart with a very relaxed way, “Ssssaah!”
There's nothing to prolong there. I have heard some people pronounce “Sah” very prolonged, but personally, I don't see that in the instructions. Instead “Sah” should be very short and relaxed. “Ham” should be more prolonged because you are teaching your body to circulate those energies inward and upward to the spine, rather than expelling them outward as you know—because for most people that energy is not controlled. It goes out. People don't know how to conserve that energy.
But remember that She is Miriam. She is the waters of your sexuality, which when you conserve, she rises up your spine to your head. ראש Rosh. מרים Miriam. מ Mem means water in Hebrew. מ Mem is the waters in your brain and also ם (Final) Mem is the waters of your sexual organs [since there are two forms of Mem in Hebrew, opening מ Mem and ם Mem Sophit, or final Mem]. You connect the two by working with mantra.
Ham-Sah is one way you can do that. To work with Her. That is a very profound form of prayer, when you work with that energy daily, because that way She will really give you a lot of strength and insight. Because without energy we have no light. Without fire there is no light.
The Gnostic Academy of Chicago
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