This is the second lecture in the course that we have initiated on meditation—discussing the requisites, as well as the necessary steps we need in order to really understand how to meditate, how to acquire information about any given phenomena.
We previously discussed the nature of the Eightfold Path of Yoga as taught by Patanjali, namely: Yama-Niyama, which is ethical discipline, restraint, "to do or not to do," literally speaking.
We also spoke about asana, which is posture. We talked about pranayama, the work with sexual energy, transmutation, moral purity. We also talked about pratyahara, which is the suspension of the senses: to withdraw the mind from the external sensorial perceptions, to have silence of mind.
We also spoke about dharana (concentration): to focus the mind on only one thing. And, we spoke about dhyana, which is actual meditation: to receive information about an object, to perceive the new, and to comprehend any given object of our meditation. And then, samadhi, which is ecstasy, comprehension: it is to perceive without the filters of the ego.
In this lecture, we are speaking about Yama and Niyama. We are speaking about the necessity to curtail negative habits of body, speech, and mind. We're going to talk about the foundations of meditation, precisely in how we cultivate genuine ethics and discipline, so that we can make our practices effective.
On this subject of ethics, we always speak about karma, because karma comes from the Sanskrit, karman, which means cause and effect. It pertains to the fact that whatever actions we produce will necessarily produce certain results.
Likewise, interdependence, which is a Buddhist concept, but that we find in all traditions. It is how all phenomena are inextricably linked. Internal states, external events, constitute two dynamics of one thing: our relationship to each other, to humanity, to ourselves.
The importance of ethics cannot be underestimated. It is ethical discipline, following what is called the ten commandments of Moshe [Moses], the ten meritorious actions of Buddhism, is how we purify our mind, in which we have the stability of consciousness in order to genuinely enter the higher stages. For instance, we have yama and niyama, which precede asana. It is impossible to sit down with one’s posture to meditate if, throughout the day, we committed fornication or adultery, or we stole... people who have bad habits, who lack moral discipline, if such people try to approach the science of meditation, it is impossible for them to sit still. We cannot sit still if we have had an argument or have been angry in some way.
If we want to be able to have a stable, firm and relaxed asana (posture), we first need to, throughout the day, be very disciplined in how we act. As the Buddha Gautama Shakyamuni taught us, in the Dhammapada:
"Mind precedes phenomena; we become what we think."
If what we think is evil, then our actions will be evil. But, if what we think is pure, then good results will follow, as the Buddha taught.
In this lecture, in talking about ethics, we are going to discuss a lot of the Muslim and Sufi teachings, specifically from Al-Risalah, by Al Qushayri. We are going to talk a lot about Hinduism and Buddhism regarding the law of karma and interdependence as well.
Here, we have a quote from Rumi which really emphasizes the necessity for the curtailing of wrong habits, wrong views.
"Let’s ask God to help us to self-control:
"for one who lacks it, lacks His Grace.
"The undisciplined person doesn’t wrong himself alone– but sets fire to the whole world.
"Discipline enabled Heaven to be filled with light; discipline enabled the angels to be immaculate and holy.
"The peacock’s plumage is his enemy." ―Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi
When we awaken in the internal planes, the peacock can symbolize pride, vanity, one’s appearance, how we make ourselves visible to others. The tail, with its colors, is, really, our enemy: this illusion of self that we typically carry within, which we need to curtail through ethics.
"The world is the mountain, and each action, the shout that echoes back." ―Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi
This is karma. If we speak wrong words, if we are vulgar, if we are rude to another person, that will produce its corresponding consequence.
This is such a basic concept, but it really is essential, especially as we relate to other people. What we are internally affects what experience externally. If we carry any type of negativity in our internal states, that affects others, even though it may not be visible to us on the surface.
"This discipline and rough treatment are a furnace to extract the silver from the dross." ―Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi
This is an alchemical statement. "This discipline and rough treatment are a furnace," in which our psychological elements can be burned. Particularly, if we are married and working in alchemy, this is our furnace. The silver is a metallic element representing the sexual energy: the lunar forces. The dross is our psychological, egotistical impurities, the shells that are discarded as we extract consciousness from each ego. In order to do that, we first need ethics, discipline, and we need "rough treatment," meaning, we need to be treated badly. This is the difficult thing that we don't want to encounter; we don't want people to insult us, or to say harmful things, or be negative. But, when people do that for us, they are doing us a favor, if we are wise...
When people are condemnatory, prejudiced, this is how our egos emerge. If we act on that defect or ego, then as a result, we make the other human being suffer, and it becomes the law of the talion: "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth." The law of retribution. But, there is a superior law we need to develop within, which is the law of mercy.
So, this is our furnace, the psychological gymnasium that Master Samael Aun Weor speaks about so frequently, which relates to three social spheres: how strangers may be rude to us so that we might perceive our egos, that are not necessarily the subtlest and deeply rooted in our psyche. We also have friends and family, which is typically more stressful. And, lastly, the most difficult ordeal is our own partner: our wife or husband, for those who are married. It is precisely from this psychological pressure which exerts itself on our psyche, to stimulate and boil the waters at 100 degrees Celsius, so that those elements that need to be destroyed will emerge and can be worked on. We need difficulty.
It is important that we must face these challenges. As Friedrich Nietzsche, author of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, taught: "Is not the greatest thing, the most difficult thing that the spirit of the renunciate seeks to develop, is to take on challenges in order to exalt in its own strength?" Oftentimes, we look at ordeals and problems and we don't want them. But, we really need them. We need to be challenged, so that we can really flex our spiritual muscles and grow.
Those elements are boiling in those waters, in either temptation or conflict, so that we can see them for what they are, to observe them. This is key. This is how one becomes an angel: through difficulty.
This image is of an Elohim, or angel, crowning a woman. That woman is our soul. If we want to be crowned, to receive the crown of life, we must be faithful unto death, as the book of Revelation teaches us: be thou faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life. The crown is precisely Kether, Chokmah and Binah, Father-Son-Holy Spirit, the three energies of the Lord in one, the Tri-unity. This is represented by the angel, it is our Inner God, who crowns us if we are faithful unto death, meaning: every day we work on our pride, our anger, our lust, meditating on those defects that were boiling when someone said something insulting to us. We must remember that, in order to really work on that ego, on those defects, we cannot act on those defects. If in the moment we react to the external impressions of our insulter, then, we in turn strengthen our ego, our defects. But, if we restrain our mind, we respond with kindness, we're developing virtue.
Swami Sivananda teaches that every time an ego of anger emerges, when someone insults us, if we curtail and restrain our mind from reacting and behaving in a negative way, we strengthen our virtue. In turn, we give more force to our soul. But, every time we identify, even mentally with our chatter—psychologically in the intellectual center, our negative feelings in our emotional center—then we strengthen our habits, terribly. In order to really work effectively on the ego, we must catch that defect, as soon as it arises.
Observation is restraint. As we observe ourselves, we are learning how to not act on our desires. It is that restraint that is really the essence of discipline. If we do not restrain our mind, it is like feeding the lion.
In this image, we have Sufis dancing at Sama, which is a spiritual concert. We find this quote from Al-Qushayri, a Sufi Master and scholar, who wrote a book called Principles of Sufism. He explains the following:
"It is related that Ibn al-Mubarak said, ‘We have greater need of a little bit of refinement than a lot of knowledge.’" ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
It is good to read books, to study this doctrine intellectually, but we have a greater need of even a little bit of psychological purity, than having mere intellectual knowledge. This is not to downgrade the necessity for studying books and lectures, receiving help and clarification that way... what is more important is applying the teachings. That is the only time that is becomes real, when we apply them practically. For, as we say, this teaching is really a dead letter, that only the spirit can vivify. Meaning, the letter kills, if we just leave it at the level of the intellect, the soul is dead. But, when we fully enact it, then, any scripture or book becomes living: it becomes part of our soul.
So, we need more refinement in our habits than we do for reading books. That is the important thing; study is important, but practice is essential.
"I heard Muhammad bin al-Husayn say… that bin al-Mubarak said, ‘We sought for right conduct once the teachers of right conduct had left us.’" ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
This is explaining a common habit in spiritual groups, where individuals often may be taught by a master... and when I say master, I am talking about a master of the Major Mysteries, who has reached the Fifth Initiation of Fire, raising the Kundalini up the physical, vital, emotional, mental and causal bodies. Someone who has reached Tiphereth in the center of the Tree of Life, and has incarnated Christ, as a Bodhisattva. Many times, Bodhisattvas come to teach humanity, but, people do not really get the message, because people tend to intellectualize, read too much, and not practice.
So, once these teachers leave, such as in the case of Samael Aun Weor, he taught right conduct and he disincarnated and is working with initiates in the internal planes. Then, people start looking for their teacher... well, we have his books, but now we seek the right path after we have received the teachings. This emphasizes a dynamic or quality within disciples.
We need to really take advantage of the practice, of this discipline.
"It is said that if one has three traits, one is never a stranger. They are avoiding doubters, behaving well, and restraining oneself from causing harm." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
What does it meant to be a stranger? We find in the Old Testament, oftentimes in Judaism, the stranger is associated with the gentiles—those who are not Jews. This does not literally mean those who are not of the Jewish race or culture; it refers to initiates, those who are not initiated and who have not received the crown of life, because Yew, or Yehudah, Iod-Chavah, Judah and Jehovah, and Yehu, all have the same letters associated with each other.
To be a stranger is to be unconscious and asleep; it is to not be an initiate. It is to not have development with the creative energies of God, and through discipline. We need to avoid doubters, meaning, it is not good to necessarily associate with people who are very skeptical, and who are negative. Negative emotions are more infectious than any disease. If someone is angry, and they give a speech to a group of people, they infect other people with that anger. This is not ethics at all. Many religious teachers, preachers, of different denominations and traditions—whether in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, even in Buddhism—who are filled with skepticism and cynicism, infect students. This is a crime, because that creates doubt. Once people are filled with fear and dependency on a group, or doubt about a teaching, about how to change, that is a terrible karma. There are terrible consequences for misleading people in that way. Doubters are really people who try to pull us away from our practice. We need to be very disciplined. If we must associate with certain people, then we have to multiply our diligence and our ethical state of mind.
Behaving well is necessary. When we talk about behaving well, we are talking about, as in Buddhism, the trainings of body, speech and mind. In other words, our three brains, in the Gnostic doctrine. Body is the motor-instinctual-sexual brain; speech is usually related to our emotions, because as Jesus taught:
"Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
"But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
"For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
"These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man." ―Matthew 15: 17-20
It doesn't really matter what you consume, but really what comes out of your mouth, is what he said. Speech relates to the heart, because what is in our emotional center expresses through our speech. If we are negative and evil, if we cultivate that in our mental states, our emotional states, we will speak degeneration, and that affects others. Usually, when people are very negative, we should avoid them and not open our doors to receiving impressions which we know will infect our heart. Part of our ethics is to be wise in our relationships, and to curtail our mind, for again, as Nietzsche said in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, "For some people you may not give your hand, only your paw, and I desire that your paw should also have claws." So, we must learn to establish boundaries with people. Being compassionate does not mean being a doormat, for people to walk all over and abuse us. Compassion is knowing how to establish boundaries for the benefit of oneself and others.
This relates to speech, because how we speak determines to how we relate to other human beings. When we work with our emotional brain, we are really dominating our tongue; these two things are intimately related.
Finally, we have mind, which is our intellectual center.
In Buddhism, we talk about avoiding the sins of body, which is fornication, using intoxicants or drugs, alcohol, etc. Likewise, for the abuse of the heart, we talk about restraining anger, pride, resentment, calumny, envy. And, with the intellect, we seek to avoid wrong views, specifically talking in regard to the Buddhist doctrine.
This is really the center of our problem, with how we negotiate our internal realities with the external world. We typically have mistaken views about who we are as a psyche. And, the only way to rectify that is to observe. Every ego, every defect has its own viewpoint—its own thoughts, its own ideologies, its own sentiments, its own way of acting. But, in order to behave well, we need to understand what in us is mistaken in our perceptions. The only way to do that is to separate your psyche from the ego, and to observe it, and then restraining oneself from causing harm—even if you feel consumed with passion or lust or anger, to restrain yourself and to not engage in that habit, because the more we give into it, the less energy we have for our work. The more we restrain our mind, the greater strength we have.
The Role of Ethics in Concentration and Meditation
This is an image of Swami Sivananda, who is a great resurrected Master, meditating on a leopard, I believe. I am not sure when in his life this was taken, but he was an adept, who had no ego; he fully eliminated his defects, which is symbolized by him meditating with this beautiful smile on his face, over this dead skin of an animal. The animal is our ego. With ethical discipline one controls, one annihilates those defects, and then like Shiva, can meditate and show that he or she has conquered their animality.
Swami Sivananda gave very practical and essential points in his books, which we study. He says in the book, Concentration and Meditation, regarding the need for ethics:
"Some foolish impatient students take to concentration practice—this is preliminary concentration, not real meditation yet—without in any manner undergoing any preliminary training in ethics." —Swami Sivananda, Concentration and Meditation
So, let us step back and emphasize this. Concentration is to focus on one object, such as a mantra, or a visualization, an object, without thinking about other things. Meditation is when we are extracting information about what we are concentrating on. So, they are different things. But, in order to have real concentration, we need to really be ethical: meaning, don't fornicate, don't drink, don't steal, don't commit adultery, don't indulge in anger, lust, pride, etc.
"This is a serious blunder." —Swami Sivananda, Concentration and Meditation
Meaning, those who do not develop ethics, before entering concentration, will achieve nothing.
"Ethical perfection is a matter of paramount importance. Concentration without purity of mind is of no avail. There are some occultists who have concentration, but they do not have good character. That is the reason why they do not make any progress in the spiritual line." ―Swami Sivananda, Concentration and Meditation
We are going to talk a little bit about Islam, and how, basically, there is a Sufi Master that was approached by a student, who told him, "So-and-so can fly. So-and-so can walk on water, in the air." And, then the Sufi Master said, "Well, does he follow the Qur'an?" And the answer, of course, was obviously no. So, he said, "Shun that man. Don't have anything to do with him."
This is because, those who have powers and abilities, and concentration, can do things through the ego. The difference is, in terms of our ethical discipline, we seek to curtail the habits of our defects, of our mind, but, a black magician takes those egos, such as anger, and concentrates that force through that anger. And so, they have a lot of concentration as well, but, within that anger; it is conditioned concentration. The type of ethics we seek to cultivate is by extricating our free consciousness, so that there is no filter, no conditioning; it is liberated. That is really the meaning of ethics, but many people develop powers in their ego, because they keep strengthening the shell, the conditioning, which has them act and perceiving in that subjective way.
Here we find an image of a Sufi meditating. In order to explain the necessity for ethics, in terms of how we practice, as well as the importance of having experience in developing cognizance, we are going to discuss a teaching associated with the Muslim doctrine.
In Islam, we talk about Shariah, Shariah Law, which in the Middle East is associated, typically, as the culture and customs of Muslims. But, that is not the Shariah that we are talking about. In this case, we are talking about ethical discipline: don't fornicate, don't lie, don't indulge in anger... etc. We call this the Divine Law, or as we say in Hebrew, the Torah, or in Sanskrit, Dharma. It is the instruction that teaches us how to really die in our errors, and to be reborn in our Being.
Shariah Law became, literally, a cultural thing, rather than a conscious teaching. Shariah is really the foundation of how we practice, using the Arabic terms. But, if we were to use the Hebrew terms, we would call it Torah, the Law.
So, in Sufism, we have four stages. We have Shariah, which is the basic law or instruction, how to be disciplined in meditation. Tariqah, which is the path—literally translating as a "path in the desert"—is how we walk the path, how we practice. Then we have Haqiqah. A Sufi Master by the name of Ibn Husayn Mansur Al-Hallaj said, "Ana al-Haqq (I am the truth)." Haqq means truth: this is God. Anyone who has no ego can manifest the truth within themselves, like Sivananda or Al-Hallaj. Haqiqah is the truth, the way of knowledge. Marifah (knowledge), really, is the same thing; these are two aspects of the same higher teaching. Marifah is Gnosis, in Greek terms: direct perception of divinity.
"The divine Law commands one to the duty of servanthood. The Way, the inner reality is the contemplation of divine lordship." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
This excerpt emphasizes how, if we want to have internal experiences, we need to follow the law. I do not mean terrestrial laws, but the laws pertaining to the development of the consciousness, the laws of initiation. The path, the way to the inner reality is contemplation of divine lordship. Contemplation, a term that we will revisit, is in Arabic called, "Mushahida." This is the word from which we get the Muslim declaration of faith, the Shahadah, which we will elaborate on.
Contemplation is meditation. So, the way to the inner reality is when we are meditating and speaking with our God, face to face.
"Outward religious practice not confirmed by inner reality is not acceptable. Inner reality not anchored by outward religious practice is not acceptable." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
There are many Muslims that follow the outward religious practice of their tradition, or Jews, or Christians, yet, they do not have any experience. This is useless. Neither should we rely on inner experiences, if we are not cultivating, in our daily physical life, ethics. So, like the example of the individual who is flying through the air and walking on water, but not following the Qur'an, really emphasizes this point. If someone has powers but is not practicing chastity, moral purity, restraint, then, they are obviously a demon, a black magician. So, our inner reality should always be anchored by our ethics, our religious discipline.
"Divine Law brings obligation upon the creation, while the Way is founded upon the free action of the Real." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
When we talk about how the divine law brings obligation upon the creation, really, when the Qur'an talks about "the creation," it is referring to the Tree of Life, the ten Sephiroth of Kabbalah. The Divine Law brings obligation upon us; we are the bottom of the Tree of Life. But, the Law requires of us that, if we want to enter into the superior dimensions, we need to follow the laws that pertain to those higher worlds. It is our obligation to do so. Or, as Gurdjieff taught, "Being-Partkdolg-Duty" meaning the necessity for God to know himself, to acquire cognizance, by developing the Tree of Life, descending as energy down through different modalities of matter, consciousness, energy, until reaching our physicality. It is our spiritual duty to follow those laws, and return inward, and upward, to the source, with knowledge, so that God can know himself, through us. The soul is like a mirror which can reflect the image of God, inside.
Often in these studies, we talk about the Absolute, which is Allah, in Arabic, the Christ, the source of divinity within us. The goal of these studies is to return to the Absolute, the emptiness, the Ain Soph. We often talk about the Absolute as the great reality of life, free in its movement. There is always movement involved in returning to that pristine, abstract joy of consciousness, which is pure liberation, without vehicles of any kind.
So, the way is that we really comprehend the Absolute, is that we follow the Torah, the Shariah, the Qur'an, the Law.
"The divine Law is that you serve Him. The Way is that you see Him." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
In the beginning, we do not see God, typically. But, we seek to serve him, through transforming our daily life into something pure. But, "the Way is that you see Him." In the beginning we feel longing, intuition and a hunch about the need to practice, and to change certain habits that are in our daily life, so we are serving God in that way. Whenever we restrain our mind from doing harmful things, trying to create peace and harmony with others, this is how we serve God, Karma Yoga.
But, to take that a step further, we need to perceive God, directly. "The way" is that we are actually communicating with our Inner Being, so that He will direct us further. In the beginning we serve, and we are blind, we do not see anything, but we sense a presence in our heart that we follow and that we want to develop. But, to really enter the path, we need to perceive God directly. In the beginning we serve Him, but, through the way, by entering this path of the Bodhisattva, we have to see God.
"The divine Law is doing what you have been ordered to do. Haqiqah is bearing witness to what He has determined and ordained, hidden and revealed." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
The Muslims have a saying, "La ilaha illallah Muhammadur Rasulullah," "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His Prophet." If you look at the word for "bearing witness," which is Shahadah in Arabic, you can also call it Mushahada, which means contemplation, to see. So, to "bear witness" as a Muslim, is to have spoken with God, face to face, like Prophet Muhammad did. Then, when we have that experience, then we can say, "Yes, Allah is Allah, God is God, El is El (in Hebrew), and Muhammad is His Prophet, Buddha is His Prophet, Krishna, Zarathustra, Samael Aun Weor, etc., is His Prophet." To know God is to know the prophets, from experience. To witness is to see, out of the body or in the internal planes, even physically too.
We have two terms in Islam, Al-Zahir and Al-Batin. Al-Batin is the inner, esoteric teachings, and Al-Zahir is the outer, exoteric teaching. These are both names of Allah, the inner and outer, because God is inside, but also outside. We know in Islam that Allah has 99 names, which relates to Kabbalah. But "the hidden and the revealed" pertains to internal states and external events. So, we must understand the relationship between the two, the written law and the divine way.
"I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say that God's saying [in the Opening Chapter, Al-Fatihah] iyyaka nabudu—"You we worship"—preserves the outward practice, the divine Law. Iyyaka nastain—"to You we turn for help"—establishes the inner reality, the Way." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
In one of the seven lines in the opening of the Qur'an, it says, "You do we worship, to you we turn for help." The first part, "You do we worship," refers to our ethical discipline, working with the Divine Law; efforts that we make to worship God. So, to worship our divinity means that we do not act on any egotistical impulse within us. That is the requisite, we must do that first, if we want to receive grace, which is, "To You we turn for help." In accordance with our ethics, we worship the Lord, but then, "To You we turn for help," meaning, we want You [the Being] to help give us an experience, in the astral plane, in the mental plane, in the causal world, in Nirvana, in the world of Chokmah, the Christ, the Absolute even... There are two things there. First, we must practice. Then, we must be patient, in order to receive those experiences. Divine Law, Shariah, is practice, the ethics; Haqiqah is the experience we get by following our discipline.
"Know that religious obligation is a spiritual reality in that it was made necessary by His command. And spiritual reality, as well, is a religious obligation, in that the realizations of Him were also made necessary by His command." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
I know many people in this tradition, in different groups that I have been associated with, who do a lot of practices, but, for some reason, because they don't really work with their consciousness, they don't have experiences. But, at the same time, I know many others who developed their practice, with comprehension and cognizance, and they have many experiences.
So, it is an obligation to develop practice, and also to have experiences: they are inter-connected. But, in order to have spiritual reality, we must have religious obligation, meaning, we have to really cultivate purity. The only way to do that, is to observe oneself, here and now.
In order to really have experience, every time we sit to practice, we must do it with our consciousness, not with a cloudy mind. In the beginning, the mind is obscured, but, with transmutation and with disciplining ourselves, little by little, we learn to practice better each time. In this way, we will attain to realization.
This is an image of the Prophet Muhammad, ascending up the seven heavens, on the creature Al-Buraq, which has the face of a woman, the body of mule, and the tail of a peacock. Here, you see Muhammad is veiled, and in Muslim tradition you find that the veil, depicted on the prophet, shows for us that God is veiled, that, to know divinity, we need to tear the veil of Isis, which is the illusions of this world. But, in order to look directly on divinity, which is expressing through Prophet Muhammad, is that fire around him. So, we need to tear the veil of our false perception, so that we can bear witness of Allah, Shahadah. A real Muslim, a real Gnostic, a real practitioner, is somebody who has experienced God, and is cultivating that every day, and knows divinity very well, directly.
This scripture, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism, really teaches us the importance of developing ethics.
"God Almighty and Glorious has said, ‘The sight (of the Prophet of the time of his Ascension, from Mecca to Jerusalem, and from Jerusalem up the Tree of Life, the seven heavens), did not deviate nor overstep the bounds’ (53:17). This is said to mean, “He maintained the conduct proper to the Divine Presence.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
When we talk about ethics, it is important to realize that, if we self-realize, if we come to know God, our ethical discipline does not end there. Ethics is restraining the mind from producing, causing harm. Even if we have a solar mind—which we often talk about, in these studies, how we need to create a solar mental body, a Christic-mind—even though we might have that vehicle of God, it is a material vehicle which can make mistakes, if we identify with it, and not choose to reflect the inner image of our Being. So, even resurrected masters need ethics: they have no ego, but they are like Prophet Muhammad, knowing God, but even their mind can take them away from the path, which is why we say that even angels can fall. The reason why there are fallen masters is because they lacked ethics. Don't think that by eliminating your ego that you are done with ethics; faithfulness to God is something eternal, to not back away from that. But, that is for resurrected masters.
"The Most High also said, “Save yourselves and your families from the fire” (66:6)." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
It is interesting that we find in the sixty-sixth verse of Surah 6 how one has to save oneself from the fire—we find the number 666. The Arcanum 6 of the Tarot relates to the three brains, indecision, being tempted between good and evil, the virgin and the whore, which represents the ego.
"According to the commentary of Ibn Abbas, this means, ‘Teach them the stipulations of the divine law and refined behavior.’
"Ali bin Ahmad al-Ahwazi informed us… from Ayisha that the Prophet said, ‘The child owes it to his parent to make good his name, his upbringing, and his education in conduct.’ It is related that Said bin al-Musayyib said, ‘Whoever does not know what rights God Almighty and Glorious has over him and has not been educated in His command and prohibition is cut off from right behavior.’" ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Right behavior is understanding our relationship to our Innermost, our Being. We can read about ethics, but, really, this is about our connection, what we learn from God. We cannot learn ethics from any book, but the book of our life, fundamentally. Study is important, so that we are inspired and so that we learn things that we should, but, the actual doing is knowing what rights God Almighty has over us, Allah, our Being, the Christ.
"It is reported that the Prophet said, ‘God Almighty and Glorious had educated me in refined behavior and made good my education.’”
"The essence of adab, the most beautiful and fitting, refined behavior, is the gathering together of all good traits (virtues, every time our Divine Mother annihilates an ego, we develop a virtue in its stead). The adib, the refined person, is he in whom are gathered all these good characteristics. From this is taken the word maduba, banquet, a name for the coming together (of such people)." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
In these studies, we often talk about receiving ordeals in the physical, but also the internal planes. If, for instance, you conquer an ordeal of the four elements—the ordeals of fire, earth, water and air—which are given to us by the angels, if we conquer those ordeals, then we receive feasts, banquets, celebrations in the astral plane, with the Cherubim, the angels who appear like children.
The ordeals of fire relate to criticism, if we are slandered and provoked; the ordeals of water are working with difficult circumstances, swimming against the current, of challenges; earth, which is financial troubles or difficulties, like a mountain is closing in on oneself; then, air relates to the mind. So, fire with the heart, water with sex, air with the mind and the earth related to the body. Ordeals relate to these elements, manifest as these elements. But, when you conquer ordeals, then you have a banquet, internally, a maduba, with a group of refined people, which are angels, like Rumi taught, "right conduct created the angels."
"I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, ‘Through his obedience the servant attains to paradise. Through refined conduct in obedience he attains to God.’ I also heard him say, ‘I saw someone who, during the prescribed prayer before God, wanted to stretch his hand to his nose to remove something that was in it. His hand was seized!’” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
When we practice, we should not move our body, our asana, our posture, is what this is teaching. We should not obstruct our practice with bad habits, such as that mentioned. But, really, it pertains to how we concentrate. When we sit to meditate and practice, we should not move our body, we should not do other things, we should not think of other things.
Ethics in the Doctrine of Unity
Now, again, emphasizing the nature of the divine law, the ethical discipline, we talk about the doctrine of unity, which in Islam is tawḥīd. Again, this is the saying that, "Allah is Allah, God is one." Or, as the Jews say in their Shema, when they pray in the synagogues, they close their eyes, "Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Echad," which means, "Hear, O Israel: the LORD is our God, the LORD is One." But, they place the word Adonai in the stead of Iod-Chavah, which they believe is too sacred to pronounce.
They close their eyes, meaning, like the veil of Muhammad, they do not look directly at God, showing subservience and obedience: "Hear, O Israel: Iod-Chavah is our God, Iod-Chavah is One." In Kabbalah, we talk about how God is a tri-unity: Father-Son-Holy Spirit, which is one light, which is Allah, emanating from the Ain Soph, through different levels of manifestation of that one light.
This is a very important scripture, this teaching from Al-Risalah:
"I heard Abu Hatim al-Sijistani say… that al-Jalajili al-Basri said, ‘For the testimony of unity (tawhid) to be in force, faith is prerequisite, for whoever has no faith cannot testify to the unity.’" ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
What do we mean by faith? Faith is not believing in something, intellectually, emotionally, or having instinctual habit in the body. Faith is our direct cognizance of God, in our three brains, and out of the body in experiences.
If we do not have that experience of God, then, we cannot testify to the unity of our God, to know that divine presence as, really, a profound state of being.
"For faith to be in force the divine law is prerequisite, for whoever does not hold to the divine law has no faith and cannot testify to the unity." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Someone who has no ethical discipline cannot know God. This is sad to see, in spiritual groups, where people are infected with pride and anger and resentment; they gossip, they lie, they speak badly about others. As the Apostle James said, it is really the tongue which produces all the suffering in the world. It is like a little rudder in a ship, which steers such great, giant vessels, such a little thing as the tongue... but, really, it directly influences all things, our relationships. But, those who do not follow the path of ethics cannot have faith. Meaning, those who fornicate cannot have faith; those who steal, who lie, who commit adultery, even if not physically, but in the mind, it means that we do not have faith. But, the more we work on those defects, then we will come to know God.
"For the divine law to be in force refined conduct is prerequisite, for whoever has not refined his conduct cannot hold to the divine law, has no faith, and cannot testify to the unity…
"Ibn Ata said, ‘Adab, refined behavior, is to hold fast to the commendable things.’ When asked, ‘What is the meaning of this?’ he replied, ‘It means you behave properly toward God both in secret and in public (again, both Al-Batin and Al-Zahir, in Arabic). If you are like that, you are a man of refined culture even if you are a foreigner.’ Then he recited:
"When she conversed, her speech was all graciousness, And when she kept silent, her silence was all fair." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Samael Aun Weor says in The Revolution of the Dialectic, "It is as much a crime to speak when one must be silent as it is to be silent when one must speak." This is the same teaching.
Refined behavior is knowing, when we are with others, when to be silent, but also knowing when to speak, when it is necessary; we know this through intuition, following our heart, and being mindful of the commandments that were given to us, for refining our behavior.
This is probably one of the most important quotes that we find in this scripture, Al-Risalah:
"[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 (mushahada) of the divine." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
What does it mean to have "awe of duty"? It is to feel that reverence when we sit to meditate, that we have a sense of fear, not egotistical fear, but a sense of longing and yearning for God, that inspires us to practice, every day.
To have awe of duty is to really establish a regiment of practice, and to have reverence for that and to maintain it.
Vigilance is self-observation, to not sleep as a psyche, but to observe our relationship to ourselves, to others and to our Being. For, whoever does not do this, will not arrive at "disclosure of the unseen," meaning, to tear the veil that Prophet Muhammad wears, that Isis wears. "Nor will we have contemplation (mushahada) of the divine," meaning, to bear witness of the Shahadah.
This is one of the pillars of Islam—there are five pillars in Islam, one of which is the declaration of faith, called the Shahadah. Muslims, traditionally, say, "Allah is Allah and Muhammad is His Prophet," and supposedly they enter into Islam, and become part of the tradition. But, this is not the real esoteric meaning here; the meaning is to know God in meditation, in a samadhi, without any filters to our perception—free consciousness, no ego present. That is mushahada, contemplation, to bear witness.
Another important quote regarding what refinement really means:
"I heard Abu Hatim al-Sijistani say that Abu-l-Nasr al-Tusi al-Sarraj said, ‘People have three levels of refinement. For the people of this world, refinement largely consists of eloquent speech and rhetoric, among with the memorization of sciences, of the names of kings, and of the poetry of the Arabs. For the people of the next world, refinement largely consists of training the ego and disciplining the body, preserving the limits of the law and abandoning desires.’" ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Having culture, intellectually... anybody can do that. But, such people do not work on their ego. But, a person of the next world, someone who is having astral experiences, do so because they are training their mind in ethics; disciplining the body to sit in one posture, in order to meditate, and observing the commandments of the ethical discipline we follow, and abandoning desires. This is essential. Renunciation of our desires is the key. Ethics is when, every moment, we do not act on a bad habit; we are abandoning those desires, we stop feeding them. That is really when we are cultivating this sense of self-observation and refinement.
"For the elite, refinement largely consists of cleansing the heart of vices (annihilating the ego, with the help of the Divine Mother), guarding inner secrets…" ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Meaning, if we have experiences in the astral plane, etc., we do not necessarily share with the whole world, but rather, typically, keep it to ourselves. Sometimes it is good to talk and discuss things, if we have questions. But, really, the most sacred experiences, we should not talk about.
"…being faithful to one’s promises…" ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
We find that, to be "faithful to our promises," refers to having a continuity of purpose. If you have read Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology, you find that the Master Samael talks about the need for continuity of purpose. We have thousands of egos which all have different wills, ideas, which take us in different directions. But, in order to become a unity, tawhid, to express the unity of our God, we need to take that multiplicity and destroy those vices. That means to be faithful to our promises. We promise to our God to serve Him and Her, but, those who are not faithful to their promises, are identified with their defects. We call this, in Arabic, that which is split between God above and our demons below, a Hasnamuss; this is an esoteric term for a being with a split personality, which is all of us. We have God above, in ourselves, but, here we are in the physical plane as a demon... we are split. We need to have faith in our Being so that we can eliminate our imperfections and unite with God. Then, one is not split anymore, between heaven and hell. That is what it means to be faithful to our promise, to our Being, to the mission that our God has, to change.
"…protecting the present…" ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
To be vigilant, here and now, and to never abandon self-observation.
"…not turning aside in thought along with refined behavior in the stations of the search…" ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Meaning, we don't let our thoughts distract us from being aware of God, because our God is with us, here and now, and we need to be aware of that. The "stations" refer to levels of development, initiation. As we are searching for God, we continue to develop more and more.
"…in the moments of presence with God, and in the stages of closeness to God.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Even if one is united with the Lord—like I said, even angels can fall. If they are at that level, they still must be ethical, and to not identify with their own mind, but to become one with the abstract Seity, the universal mind or consciousness, which we can only verify and really understand through experience.
The Principles of Karma
In terms of Karma, we talk about four principles. All this talk about ethics pertains to karma. If we produce certain causes, we will get certain effects. Tsong Khapa, who Samael Aun Weor said was the reincarnation of Buddha, came to teach in one of his three books called the Lamrim Chenmo, which is The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment. He talks, in the first book, about four principles of karma, which are important to know.
To again emphasize, the word karma comes from the Sanskrit karman, "to act."
1. Actions produce related consequences.
This is something that seems simple, but if we analyze ourselves, we find that we typically do not really understand how our actions produce certain results.
2. The consequences are greater than the actions.
I know in Newtonian physics, it says that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. But, the truth is, if you throw a stone in a pool, that one ripple extends outward, and affects the entire lake. So, one positive action can benefit the world; one destructive action can affect everybody. We see this in the news, we hear about school shootings: one person can cause so much chaos. People emotionally distraught and disturbed can affect entire communities.
So, the consequence is always greater than the action. The Dalai Lama emphasized this point, when someone asked him, "How can we change the world if there is so much negativity going around?" And this Master Tenzin Gyatso said, "If you think you cannot change the world, think about when you're trying to sleep and there is a mosquito is bothering you. Such a little thing can make a big difference."
3. You cannot receive the consequence without committing its corresponding action.
Meaning, you cannot receive a certain karmic result if you did not produce the individual action. This is important to understand in alchemy, because I know many gnostics think that when someone is sexually united with their partner, they share karma. Well, the truth is, if one is married, one shares tendencies, psychologically, emotionally, physically, but, you cannot receive a result, if you did not produce the action. If, for instance, a person commits murder, it does not mean that the wife goes to jail, that is the way to think about it. But, if you produce a certain action, you get the consequences, no one else.
4. Once an action is performed, the consequence cannot be erased.
However, there is a superior law, which is grace. In accordance with Gnosticism, as the Master Samael says in Tarot and Kabbalah, a superior law always washes away an inferior law. So, even if we make a mistake, we can rectify it, if we follow our Being, to have upright conduct.
From the Bhagavad Gita, we find this teaching of Krishna, the Christ, with Arjuna. He talks about Karma Yoga, and the yoga of renunciation of action, which summarizes many of the points that we've made.
1. Renunciation of actions, O Krishna, Thou praisest, and again Yoga!
Tell me conclusively which is the better of the two." ―Bhagavad-Gita: Yoga of Renunciation of Action
So, first he talked about banning desires, then, next, yoga, union with God.
"The Blessed Lord (the Cosmic Christ, through Krisnha) said:
2. Renunciation and the Yoga of action both lead to the highest bliss;
but of the two, the Yoga of action is superior to the renunciation of action." ―Bhagavad-Gita: Yoga of Renunciation of Action
So, first, we need to learn to how to renounce our bad habits. But, then we need to learn how to act consciously. One thing is to restrain our defects from acting, but, once we have fully comprehended an ego, our Divine Mother annihilates it, and, in turn, we learn how to act in a superior way. A superior law washes away the inferior law. The law of mercy overcomes the law of the talion.
"3. He should be known as a perpetual Sannyasin who neither hates nor desires;"
A Sannyasin is someone with no ego, a real meditator…
"…for, free from the pairs of opposites, O mighty-armed Arjuna, he is easily set free from bondage!" ―Bhagavad-Gita: Yoga of Renunciation of Action
Meaning, discipline is when we overcome the battle of the opposites in our mind, the battle of the antitheses; thought/anti-thought, concept/anti-concept, thesis/antithesis, when the mind is constantly struggling in duality, and instead we find unity, tawhid.
"4. Children, not the wise, speak of knowledge and the Yoga of action or the performance of action as though they are distinct and different; he who is truly established in one obtains the fruits of both." ―Bhagavad-Gita: Yoga of Renunciation of Action
So, children—people who are ignorant, who have no direct knowledge—talk about yoga and these traditions, without really understanding that they are two aspects of one thing, a conscious principle.
"5. That place which is reached by the Sankhyas or the Jnanis (those who have Jnana, knowledge) is reached by the (Karma) Yogis. He sees who sees knowledge and the performance of action (Karma Yoga) as one." ―Bhagavad-Gita: Yoga of Renunciation of Action
Again, knowledge is what we gain directly from restraining our mind, and performing good action: upright thought, upright feeling, upright action in our three brains.
"6. But renunciation, O mighty-armed Arjuna, is hard to attain without Yoga; the Yoga-harmonised sage proceeds quickly to Brahman!" ―Bhagavad-Gita: Yoga of Renunciation of Action
Brahman is the Absolute, the Christ, another name of Allah.
"7. He who is devoted to the path of action, whose mind is quite pure, who has conquered the self, who has subdued his senses (through pratyahara, attaining silence of mind) and who has realised his Self as the Self in all beings (the Innermost Atman, our Inner God as the God within all there is), though acting, he is not tainted." ―Bhagavad-Gita: Yoga of Renunciation of Action
When we learn how to act, in a conscious way—first restraining the mind, then acting to the virtues we develop—we in turn learn to see God within all beings, and we do not commit sin, we do not acquire negative consequences.
So, like the lotus flower that emerges from the swamp, it is pure, not affected by the muddiness of the waters, it is the same thing with our life. Our soul should blossom like a flower above the filthiness of our mind. Every time we act consciously, we stop acquiring negative consequences.
There is mention of the Blue Race in different traditions, specifically within a book called Gazing at the Mystery by Samael Aun Weor. In this next image, we find three colors: blue, yellow and red. Blue relates to the Father; yellow relates to the Son, the Christ; and, red is the Holy Spirit. So, Krishna is really the three primary forces above, Father-Son-Holy Spirit. But there is a race of blue men mentioned by Samael Aun Weor, it is true. But the deeper meaning is that blue relates to the Father, Kether. So, this is Kether-Chokmah-Binah, with Arjuna on the battlefield of the Mahabharata, the Bhagavad Gita, with Arjuna which is Tiphereth, the human soul, our willpower.
"8. “I do nothing at all”—thus will the harmonised knower of Truth think—seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, going, sleeping, breathing…" ―Bhagavad-Gita: Yoga of Renunciation of Action
We must feel that we are not doing anything from our ego; to not act with desire. But, to let our God act through us. In this case, one’s actions come from the Being. So, in a sense, one does nothing, but the will of the Lord.
"9. Speaking, letting go, seizing, opening and closing the eyes—convinced that the senses move among the sense-objects.
"10. He who performs actions, offering them to Brahman and abandoning attachment, is not tainted by sin as a lotus leaf by water.
"11. Yogis, having abandoned attachment, perform actions only by the body, mind, intellect and also by the senses, for the purification of the self." ―Bhagavad-Gita: Yoga of Renunciation of Action
Here, intellect should really be "Buddhi." They translated it as intellect, which we think of as the intellectual brain, the mind, but, really intellect, in Sanskrit, is a common translation for Buddhi. Buddhi is the Divine Soul, the consciousness, Geburah. Every time we act with purification of the soul, we are controlling our body, mind and soul.
"12. The united one (the well poised or the harmonised), having abandoned the fruit of action, attains to the eternal peace; the non-united only (the unsteady or the unbalanced), impelled by desire and attached to the fruit, is bound." --Bhagavad-Gita: Yoga of Renunciation of Action
So, the non-united, those who are unsteady and unbalanced are identified with ego, desire.
"13. Mentally renouncing all actions and self-controlled, the embodied one rests happily in the nine-gated city, neither acting nor causing others (body and senses) to act." ―Bhagavad-Gita: Yoga of Renunciation of Action
Again, "nine-gated" relates to the nine superior Sephiroth, refers to the human being. We find this in the teachings of Ibn Arabi, as well, the Sufi Master, but also here in the Bhagavad Gita.
The fruit is the results of past mistakes, which is the abuse of the Garden of Eden. The Tree of Knowledge represents the sexual energy. To "eat the fruit" is to orgasm, to abuse the energy. The fruit of fornication is bitterness, suffering. Likewise, each action should be one born from purity of mind, of chastity.
Willpower and Superior Action
We find the image of the Prophet Muhammad, with the veil covering his head, illuminated with fire; meaning, he has raised the Kundalini up to the brain, from the base of the spine, and is fully illuminated with that sexual power.
So, to emphasize how the yoga of renunciation and the yoga of action are united, I'd like to explain another quote from Al-Qushayri, which emphasizes this duality between Being and soul, and how we need to learn to not do our own will, but the will of our Being; to renounce our own habits and desires, and to let the will of the Being determine our actions.
"Iradah, the will to find God, is the beginning of the path of spiritual travelers, the first title given to those who are determined to reach God Most High (Allah, may he be praised and exalted, as we say in Islam). This attribute is only called iradah because will is the preface to every undertaking. What the servant does not will, he does not carry out." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
We will not produce the necessary consequences, if we do not fulfill the action. Karma is dual; if we behave negatively, we receive negative results, if we act positively, with the consciousness, we receive conscious, positive results.
"Since this is the start of the enterprise of one who travels the path of God Almighty and Glorious, it is called 'will' by analogy to the resolution involved at the beginning of everything else.
"According to etymology, the disciple is 'he who possess will,' just as the knower is 'he who possesses knowledge (marifah, Gnosis)' because the word belongs to the class of derived nouns. But in Sufi usage, the disciple is he who possesses no will at all! Here, one who does not abandon will cannot be called a disciple (meaning, egotistical will; one who does not renounce their desires cannot be a disciple), just as, linguistically, one who does not possess will cannot be called a disciple." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
What willpower are we talking about? This is something that we need to observe. Are we following our egotistical desires? Or, are we following the will of our Being? We need to both abandon desire and to act from the will of God, as Krishna taught Arjuna.
It is this understanding of cause and effect in our daily life, that we understand the law of interdependence in Buddhism, which is called dependent arising, or dependent origination:
No phenomena is separate, independent of others. Even our psychology: our psychological states are determined by their relationship to external events or impressions.
So, we find that, in Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology, we need to develop internal states in relation to external events; to find the relationship between them.
"When this exists, that comes to be; with the arising of this, that arises.
"When this does not exist, that does not come to be; with the cessation of this, that ceases." ―Majjhima Nikāya 79:8
It seems simple, but it is very profound. If we examine ourselves, in our daily life we do not see how our negative habits produce wrong consequences, typically. But, if we are observant of that, and we really understand this principle, fully, we will become an angel. An angel knows good and evil, in balance, in harmony.
To really understand how certain causes produce certain effects, completely, is to be self-realized. Do not think that one day we will simply "get it" and it will be over. Even the gods are balancing those forces, knowing how cause and effect relates; it is an eternal law. So, as I said, ethics pertains even to the gods, but at a very high degree; something that we cannot get at this level, but, if we have experiences, we can get glimpses.
"[The body and mind] cannot come to be by their own strength,
"Nor can they maintain themselves by their own strength;
"Relying for support on other states…
"They come to be with others as condition.
"They are produced by… something other than themselves." ―Buddhaghosa, Vissudhimagga 18:36
Every internal state is a response to external impressions. You cannot separate one from the other. Usually, when we identify with our mind, we feel like everyone is outside of ourselves, and that we are separate. We have to become clairvoyant and understand that our thoughts relate to other people, and that other people’s thoughts affect ourselves.
As Samael Aun Weor said in Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology, the one who learns to appropriately match internal states with external events marches on the path of success. For, as the Buddha said, in the Majjhima Nikāya:
"Now this has been said by the Blessed One: ‘One who sees dependent arising sees the Dhamma (the Dharma, the law, the instruction, the Shariah, the Torah, the commandments); one who sees the Dhamma sees dependent arising.’" ―Majjhima Nikāya
To really know ethics is to understand our psychological relationship to other things, in every instant, and not to identify with our mind. If you want to live happily, we need to learn how to cultivate our internal states and to make them more appropriate for the external events that we perceive. This is dependent arising: an impression emerges and enters my psyche, and I react egotistically… or I respond consciously, it depends. If an impression of a hurtful word enters one's psyche, anger emerges. That is the reaction; that is the egotistical response. If we curtail that, and separate our psyche from that, and observe that defect in action, and respond with love towards the aggressor, that is developing a superior law, the Dharma.
To know the relationship of cause and effect—internal state, external event—is the work of a master. To be a master is to fully understand that law, to a degree, we could say. There are levels amongst the masters. But, to really understand that law, to be self-realized is to understand how our psychological states effect our external events, and how they relate; especially how we relate to people. This relates to clairvoyance and telepathy: understanding other people’s minds and thoughts, or seeing them directly, with our spiritual perception.
In this image, we have Nagarjuna, who talked about the fundamentals of the middle way. In the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, he discusses that it is understanding of cause and effect within oneself that we find the relation of how phenomena are empty, that they are not independently existing of themselves. When we understand how our internal states are related to external events, and we develop conscious states through ethics, we find that we are in turn understanding how egotistical desires are really empty; they are not substantially real. We have them, but, at the same time, we must understand that these phenomena really do not have any absolute existence. Anger emerges whenever a person insults us; so, that ego is dependent on that impression in order to emerge. Eventually, that anger goes away or disappears, so we can see that it is really not eternal: there is no eternal self there. Only God, Atman is eternal. But, even god is dependent upon the Absolute, we could say.
So, we say that all phenomena really do not have intrinsic existence; they are empty. When we understand this emptiness, the pristine, luminous nature of our consciousness, we see our defects and desires really do not have any substantiality.
"That which arises dependently
"We explain as emptiness.
"This [emptiness] is dependent designation.
"Just this is the middle way." ―Nāgārjuna, Mūlamadhyamakakārikā
Cause and effect. Ethics is how we understand emptiness, which is God. God is empty of form; it does not depend on anything; the Christ does not depend on anything, but is luminous light, intelligence, perception, without filter. But, to understand how certain actions produce certain results is the work of dependent origination.
"Because there is no phenomenon
"That is not dependently arisen,
"There is no phenomenon
"That is not empty." ―Nāgārjuna Mūlamadhyamakakārikā 24.18-19
Impressions are impermanent; they come and go, they are not stable. And, it is by understanding how the instability of our internal states relate to external events is how we develop comprehension, which is emptiness, cognizance; not a nihilism, an abstract negation of one’s existence, but a type of comprehension and perception which is free of conditioning of the mind, free of obstruction.
Lastly, Swami Sivananda, explains the following advice, that I want to relate to you.
"Do not imagine that you are a great initiate and that you only have to sit in meditation and enter into Samadhi. You will have a terrible downfall. Even after years of practice, you will find you have not progressed an inch forward because there are deep within you lurking desires and cravings which are far beyond your reach. Be humble. Make a searching analysis of your heart and mind.
"Even if you are really a first-class aspirant, think you are an aspirant of the lowest class and practice the eightfold steps (Yama and Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi). The more time you spend in the first steps, Yama and Niyama, ethics, the less will be the time needed to attain perfection in meditation." —Swami Sivananda
In order to understand Christ, which is empty of form, we need to have ethical discipline, as we have been mentioning.
"It is the preparation that takes very long, but do not wait for perfection in ethics in order to take the higher practices of the path. Try to get established in ethics and at the same time practice the other steps (such as concentration, pranayama, maintaining a relaxed posture, etc.). The two must go hand in hand, then, success will be rapid." ―Swami Sivananda
This is something to think about, in terms of our understanding of our own discipline.
Questions and Answers
Student: This is kind of how I feel. I am not a saint, but I am just working to build up my practice.
Instructor: And, as Michelangelo said, perfection isn’t a trifle. Rumi said, if we can get up early for 40 mornings, to practice, that will contribute to our growing wholeness as a psyche, in development, like an embryo of a child that is giving form. Little by little, we develop the soul: with patience possess ye your souls, as Jesus taught. The way that we develop ourselves is with patient discipline, ethics, restraining our mind, and then meditating; combining those two things. Don't wait for perfection in ethics in order to practice, they go hand in hand, together.
Student: So, if I get this right, from this lecture, the most important thing for us to work on is our ethics?
Instructor: In conjunction with our practice. Ethics is really the foundation for meditation. If we want to meditate, to have a clear mind, we can't be killing, stealing, or doing other negative things. On the one hand is the physical level of application, but, more importantly there is the psychological aspect: how we react internally, in our mind, in curtailing those habits.
First, physically we cannot do those things. Then, psychologically, we need to curtail those habits.
Student: I did have a question about the work, regarding the four principles of karma. The third one, which is that the consequence cannot be received by anyone that is not making the action. Does that mean the return consequence of the karma? Because an action can have consequences that expand beyond the person that committed that action.
Instructor: Yes. For instance, if you are married, if your wife commits murder, you don't go to jail, she does.
Student: Right, but your wife might suffer the pain of you leaving her. Is that a karma that she acquires along the way, or is that just collateral damage?
Instructor: It is part of the consequences of her actions. That shows that everything is related; nothing is separate. But, in terms of receiving an illness, disease or punishment as a result of acting wrong, no one else can receive that, but a person who deserves it, who committed those wrong actions. The law is the law, as we say in these teachings; the law is always fulfilled. In order to receive something, you must perform the action.
Student: So, the consequence and the action are interdependent as well?
Instructor: Yes. Understanding the relationship of right action and wrong action is understanding karma, and, understanding how phenomena are empty, in and of themselves. We must understand the connection between things, especially our internal states and external events.
That is how we act well: we stop behaving in mistaken ways. This is the work of self-observation.
Student: And that is the superior law? Of getting out of the turning of cause and effect? Extracting yourself from that?
Instructor: And, the thing with this is that, it is like when you learn to act in a conscious way, one does not acquire karma; if you do not sin, you will won't be blemished, you won't receive bad actions. But, we will be like the lotus that hovers above the waters, as Krishna said in the Bhagavad Gita.
Student: Because that's past karma...
Instructor: And that is the thing; we must bear that, patiently. We bear it, we're patient, we're disciplined, and we work on those elements that need to be disintegrated, then, we pay our debts and in turn, purify our mind. That is really the purpose of karma; if we receive certain challenges in our life, if we are chaste, it means that we are going to receive that karma in an objective way, in a different way, than someone who is fornicating.
Student: But, even the masters suffer greatly, right?
Instructor: At a higher level.
Student: So, are they suffering because of karma still? Or are they suffering for a different reason?
Instructor: The suffering of a god is different from us. One could reach the Ain Soph, in Kabbalistic terms, return to the Being and to the Absolute, to a certain degree, with knowledge, and it is bliss; but at the same time, even angels have to balance their karmic transactions, at a very high level, in order to gain the right to enter into the Ain, the Absolute. There are levels of development. Masters can suffer as a result of wanting and waiting to be admitted into the Absolute.
Student: So, their bliss is interdependent on their suffering?
Instructor: Their bliss is a result of being united with God to a level. But, suffering, at that degree, is very, very different. It is a difficult thing for me to convey or to explain. It is something that, if you have an experience at that level in a Samadhi, then you may get it. We know that even the gods suffer; but, not like we do. Our suffering is very intense.
Student: I was thinking of someone like Aberamentho, who went through that trial. He gave that up himself, right? That wasn't karma for him? That was him willingly walking into suffering, to be resurrected, right?
Instructor: And to give an example for what we need to do. He fully conquered suffering. He is a being that went beyond the Law and is an inhabitant of the highest divinity. He is absolutely perfect. He is teaching other masters how to reach that degree, known as a Paramarthasattya. Paramartha means absolute cognizance, and Satya is the essence. So, someone who has full knowledge of many infinites. An infinite is a collection of billions of galaxies, so, Aberamentho is really a rare being.
There are degrees among masters and there are degrees among initiates. Some masters suffer because they want more knowledge, even if they are perfect, to a degree. It is a subtle thing, but their suffering is very different from ours, and very difficult to comprehend, unless we really have a Samadhi at that level, and to see what it is like to be at that degree of consciousness.
Student: Is there also a type of suffering that the high masters will go through, for humanity, on our behalf?
Instructor: It is suffering for a master... for instance, we are going to do a course on The Voice of the Silence; at the end of that scripture, it talks about how, when one self-realizes, one becomes another brick in the guardian wall. Each brick is master which composes an army of angels that really work to help humanity. It is a path of suffering, really, but, also bliss, because after many eternities of helping humanity and suffering for their benefit, to help them to self-realize, they will eventually gain the right to enter into the Absolute.
Blavatsky transcribed that scripture from Senzar, an ancient language, and it conveys a lot of suffering on the part of these masters who try to help humanity. Eventually, they'll gain the right, after serving from many cosmic days—if they self-realize, and they keep working and manifesting physically, or internally, to help others attain the state of the angels... but, that is the path of an angel, in order to enter the Absolute. An angel is a self-realized Master, but, they may not have the right to enter into the Ain, which is where a being like Aberamentho (Jesus) entered. He is a Paramarthasattya, he is above an angel. So, there are hierarchies.
Those beings like angels suffer because they are serving and serving, but humanity is ignorant. So, they serve many humanities, for different cosmic eras. But, eventually, if they don't let themselves fall, they'll eventually have the right to enter the Absolute. The problem is, many of them fall, because they are tempted. So, that is why ethics does not finish when you have annihilated your ego; even if you have no ego, you can get tempted to do wrong things. The mind is still there. It is not a lunar mind, but a solar mind; it is a different thing. To learn the difference, we must have that body inside and to really know what it is like, and to meditate and to have experiences.
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