The following transcription is from an audio lecture on Gnostic Meditation, a course originally delivered live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago.
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.
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from The Secret Teachings of Opera, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
It's convenient that we finish this lecture series on Turandot after the Jewish holidays, specifically Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which began on Monday of last week and culminated on Wednesday of this week. The last two acts of this opera relate to these two holidays, specifically the Jewish New Year, ראש השנה Rosh Hashanah and Act II culminating with יום כיפור Yom Kippur.
Rosh Hashanah literally means, “Head of the Year," from Hebrew ראש Rosh, “the intellect," the head, and השנה Hashanah meaning, “the year." Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world, and the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, is a day of prayer and fasting, where many Jews observe certain rituals in their synagogues as an atonement for their sins, for their faults before divinity. So, all these religions, or better said, all these dynamics of this holiday relate esoterically to this opera.
Rosh Hashanah reminds us of सुषुम्णा Sushumna in Sanskrit. Sushumna is the channel of our spinal column which unites with the head, Rosh. We have the two serpents, Ida and Pingala, in the Caduceus of Mercury, and Sushumna is the central channel or spinal column through which the Kundalini rises to Rosh, the head. Rosh Hashanah, therefore, symbolically speaking, is how we enter initiation, the beginning of life and a way of being, because every time we raise a serpent of fire from the chakra Muladhara up our Sushumna channel to our head, we are achieving the Major Mysteries, as well as certain developments in the soul related to time, to esoteric age.
If you're familiar with the writings of Samael Aun Weor, he states in The Major Mysteries that to learn of your age in the internal planes is symbolic. We stated previously that there were nine initiations of minor mysteries, in which we walked the probationary path described in Act I of this opera. We also find that the nine degrees of minor mysteries relate to the ages 10 through 90. The first initiation of minor mysteries relates to 10 years. The second initiation of minor mysteries relates to 20, and likewise, up to 90.
So, if you ask your Being or the masters of the White Lodge, "Where am I in my development?" they'll tell you, "You are twenty years old" or "You are ninety years old," referring to either the 2nd or 9th degrees of minor mysteries, respectively. To enter the ages such as one hundred to nine hundred, or above and beyond, relate to the initiations of fire, the Major Mysteries.
The Major Mysteries pertain to the awakening of the sacred fire within Sushumna to your Rosh, your head, when you achieve any initiation of fire, whether it be from Malkuth, Yesod, Hod, Netzach, Tiphereth, Geburah, or Chesed. The seven initiations of fire relate to the seven sephiroth upon the Tree of Life, which pertains to seven hundred years of age. So, when we read in the Bible that Abraham was ninety-nine years old or Noah was five hundred years old, it relates to the minor mysteries and the Major Mysteries.
It's interesting that אברם Abram, our spirit, symbolically speaking, was ninety-nine years old before he was known as אברהם Abraham, when he gave birth to Isaac through the sexual force of שדי אל חי Shaddai El Chai. He was sterile, but we know that this is symbolic, how he and his wife represent us, qualities of our body, of our spirit. Before working in alchemy, we are sterile, infertile, due to fornication. Through scientific chastity, by learning to work with the Hebrew letter ה Hei, our spirit, אברם Abram, becomes אברהם Abraham. Notice that the name אברהם Abraham is spelled when you add ה Hei to אברם Abram, signifying how we give power to our Innermost when we cooperate in sexual alchemy, when we work with the womb, the ה Hei of our Divine Mother Turandot. We need to be fertile so that we can give birth to the soul, Isaac, and in order to enter the Major Mysteries, we must be married.
The first initiation of fire relates to one hundred years old. The second initiation of fire, two hundred years old. Likewise, up the Tree of Life; so every time we complete an initiation, we are becoming new or entering into a new year, a new life. So—Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Sushumna—when the fires illuminate your head.
It's interesting also that the word, "Hashanah," meaning year, also etymologically sounds like the word, שושנה Shoshana, which means "rose" or "lily. " Hashanah, Shoshana, Sushumna are all related to the rose of the spirit, the igneous rose of the divine. The seven chakras or seven flowers of the soul awaken through the sacred fire, when you raise the kundalini up Sushumna, up to your head, and in that way we learn to develop the sacred fire—because if you look at the Hebrew word, שושנה Shoshana, you find that we have the letter ש Shin, represented twice, which means fire, Christ. We also have the ו Vav. שושנה Shoshana literally means "rose," but it refers to the fires in the spine, which we develop gradually within the couple, because there are two ש Shins—the fire of man and the fire of woman that rise up within your spine through the power of נ Nun, which in Aramaic means "fish," but is also representative of the sperm and the ovum, specifically.
We find this beautiful quote from Chapter 2 of the Song of Solomon, Shalomah, the solar man.
"I am the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among thorns so is my love among the daughters." —Song of Songs 2:1-2
Sharon reminds us of השרון Ha-Sharon. ה Hei is an indefinite article in Hebrew meaning "the," but it also means “the breath,” because in order to create something, we use our speech, our language, the Word. And through the breath, through mantras, we work with the fires of our body, to circulate those energies in a dynamic matter. So in that sense, we are working with השרון Ha-Sharon whenever we do runes, prayer, mantras. The ש Shin and the breath, the fire and the wind of Christ, the strength of God which is אוֹן Aun. The word אוֹן "Aun" literally means sexual virility, so שרון Sharon is literally the fiery breath of our sexual power, but also the word שושנה Shoshana, which is where you get names like Susanna, relates to the lily, which is a beautiful flower representing the seven chakras.
"And, as the lily among thorns so is my love among the daughters." ―Song of Songs 2:2
You have the Hebrew term הבנות Habanot, meaning “the daughters," which literally can be translated as “the houses," because the word ב Beth relates to the sort of solar values that we create in a marriage. ב Beth we find in famous terms like בית לחם Bethlehem, the House of Bread.
Prince Calaf created his own solar house in Act II by answering the three riddles of Turandot—Solar Astral, Solar Mental, Solar Causal bodies—and in that way he awoke all his Sushumna, by raising not only the serpents of fire, but the serpents of light on the First Mountain.
And so, on the First Mountain, the Mountain of Initiation, we must dive in the ego to a certain degree, within a matrimony, and by taking the direct path, we can incarnate Christ. This is symbolized when Calaf renounces marriage with Turandot, when she refuses him because he still has desire alive. She won't marry him at that level, as a hasnamuss, as a being with a split personality—one heavenly, one diabolic. He has reached the Fifth Initiation of Major Mysteries and has a choice to make, to remain in Nirvana on the spiral path, or to renounce heaven and incarnate Christ. So, he chooses to fully eliminate his ego, to renounce marriage at the level of a Nirvani Buddha, and to take the straight path of the bodhisattvas, to which the commoners of the palace said, “You are strong!" He renounced that level, choosing to descend into his own infernos, to die radically to his self, so he can ascend higher.
In this way he starts to approach Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Yom Kippur literally means "Day of Atonement." יום Yom in Hebrew is spelled, י Iod, ו Vav, and ם Final Mem, the letter י Iod we saw previously represents Kether, is a point, the seminal energy of sperm and the ovum which we raise up our spine, the letter ו Vav, through the powers of מ Mem, the waters, our sexual energy.
When you achieve initiation, you achieve a day of Genesis. The book of Genesis is not a story of the creation of the physical world, a literal history, but is symbolic of the seven initiations of fire specifically. In the first day, “the earth was formless and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep,” signifying how our psychology is full of darkness. But the Lord said, "Let there be light, and there was light; and God saw that the light was good," and that was the first day, or evening and the day. This relates to the First Initiation of Fire in Malkuth, the physical body. That's the first day of Genesis; the first day of generation.
In the second day, “Let the waters separate from the waters above and below.” השמים Ha-Shamayim, the heavens, with מים mayim, below. And this day, there was no blessing from God, that "It was good," which is very profound—specifically because, when working with the sexual energy, the Sephirah Yesod, there is no guarantee that we'll be successful. This is why the Lord does not say, "It was good." Through the waters we can descend, or better say, fall into Kilpoth. The ninth sephirah on the Tree of Life reminds us of surah nine in the Qur’an, where there is no Bismillah at the beginning. Every surah of the Qur’an has “Bismillah ir-Rahmaan ir-Raheem: In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful,” but in the ninth surah, it doesn't have that reading, which reminds us of this principle. Through Yesod, the ninth sphere, we may succeed, or we may fail, so, there is the danger of falling. This dynamic is beautifully represented within both the book of Genesis and the Qur’an.
In the third day or Third Initiation of Major Mysteries, “Let the dry land appear. Vegetation from the waters, blossoms and fruits. And God said it was good.” In the fourth day, “Let there be light to the expanse of the sky and the firmament of heaven for days and for years.” מְאֹרֹת Meirot, and the word מְאֹרֹת Meirot means “lights.” We have the word אור Aur present. And in the spelling of מְאֹרֹת Meirot there is no ו Vav, indicating that the light must emerge in our spinal column in the mental body. We must create the Solar Mental Body so that we can see the heavens, the stars, of Nut, the Divine Princess Turandot.
In the fifth day, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures and the great sea monsters, the great whales or אֶת־הַתַּנִּינִם הַגְּדֹלִים At-Ha-Taninim Ha-Gedulim, as well as swarms of every kind. And the Lord said, ‘Be fruitful and increase,’ or ‘Be fruitful and רִבּוּ rabbau.’" The word רב rabba reminds us of Rabbi. Be fruitful and master. This verse doesn't mean, “Be fruitful and fornicate.” It means be fruitful and develop those principles in you through a marriage, through alchemy.
On the sixth day, relating to the Sixth Initiation of Fire, “Let the earth bring forth creeping things of the earth, beasts and cattle, and likewise we shall make man into our image, male-female did Jehovah Elohim create them." And this day, of course, was very good. טוב מאוד Tob Meod, which reminds us of the two serpents, Vav and Zayin, or Od and Obd, specifically. טוב מאוד Tob Meod means very good, but also reminds us of Od and Obd, or Ida and Pingala, in Kabbalah. So when those serpents are raised in us and we become a human being with the Solar Astral, Solar Mental, Solar Causal bodies, then we are a man of the Sixth Day of Genesis, which is what Calaf achieved in Act II.
He united with his soul, his divine soul, at that level, but in order to become a man of the Seventh Day, he did something very drastic, very profound. The Seventh Day reminds us of the Sabbath, Saturn-day, Saturday, Shabbat. Yom Kippur is referred to as the Sabbath of the Sabbaths, representing how when the ego is fully eliminated through atonement on the Second Mountain, then the soul can resurrect within the Being, within the Divine Mother. The spirit is absorbed—Chesed within Binah—all the qualities of the soul, the bodies themselves, etc., are absorbed within the Holy Spirit, Binah, but the ego must be fully eliminated. Calaf reached that level of true human being in Act II, and then he takes the direct path and raises the serpents of light.
But he now faces a very great problem, as represented in this final act of this drama. In order to reach the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, it’s very logical that one must pass through the night—Lilith and Nahemah, which opens our discussion of Act III.
Night has fallen on Peking, and no man shall sleep by decree of the divine Princess Turandot. The name of the unknown prince Calaf, which we don't learn of until the very end, must be discovered before dawn, or else her subjects shall be executed. Therefore, the royal guards proclaim her dread command throughout the city in the night, which is followed by the fear and mournful subjection of the people. As I said, Prince Calaf raised the serpents of fire and light on the First Mountain, but while one can achieve mastery at that level, it's a very different thing to achieve perfection in mastery, to fully die to the ego. Only after the ego is fully annihilated can the soul then can unite with Binah, and Binah with the lower seven sephiroth, specifically.
The Second Mountain is the path of descent into the infernal planes within each inverted sephirah: the Lunar hells, the Mercurial hells, the Venusian hells, the Solar hells, the Martian hells, the Jupiterian hells, the Saturnian hells, the Uranian hells and Neptunian hells. Nine inverted sephiroth all relate to the nine heavens on the Tree of Life. You first must descend into hell and face all your evilness, to die radically, in each sephirah below, in order to ascend, to resurrect within a respective heaven. By annihilating the egos relating to the Lunar hell, you rise up to the Lunar heaven, the Mercurial hell to the Mercurial heaven, and likewise until reaching the very end, Kether. That is the level of Chaioth Ha-Kadosh, a holy living creature with no ego.
So, in the prayer to Solomon, the Invocation of Solomon, we state, "Chaioth Ha-Kadosh! Cry! Speak! Roar! Bellow! Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh!" This means, "Holy Creatures! Holy, Holy, Holy!" A Chaioth Ha-Kadosh is an initiate who has no ego, who has the four elements radically purified, and who is now preparing to enter Binah to a higher degree, to resurrect. This was the case of Samael Aun Weor near the end of his life, in which he fully eliminated the ego and was preparing to physically die, because in order to resurrect in the Being, the physical corpse, the flesh of fornication, must leave, to die through a sickness, through karma. The initiate pays all their karma at the end completely, which usually occurs in the form of some type of disease, some type of illness which is incurable and produces a lot of suffering.
So, Calaf is preparing for that precise moment in the opera, where he has to face all the people of Peking who want to know his name, who want to know his secret—who he is—because the riddle that he gave to Turandot was, "If you don't want to marry me, you have to find out my name." It's a very beautiful symbol, because the name in Hebrew is השם Hashem. The Jews always state ברוך השם אדני Baruch Hashem Adonai, or "Blessed be the Name of the Lord. " השם Hashem is the Name, a sacred appellation for יהוה Iod-Chavah, Jehovah, Christ. So, he tells her, "Guess my name, and before dawn, if you find it out, I will gladly die in the morning hours."
Of course, there's two ways to die: either in heaven or in hell. Through resurrection or through failure in the second death. On the night of the Second Mountain, we have to face all of our evilness within the ego and the three brains: intellectual brain, emotional brain, motor-instinctive-sexual brain, which are represented by the elements of the cross as we can see in this image. We have the twenty-two Hebrew letters, the twenty-two archetypes, laws of the Torah, the Tarot, the law, surrounding the שושנה Shoshannah, the rose of spirituality, blossoming. א Aleph, ש Shin, מ Mem reminds us of the figure eight, which again are repeated in this act and all throughout the opera, but in greater hierarchies, greater octaves. א Aleph relates to the intellectual brain. ש Shin relates to the emotional brain and מ Mem relates to the motor-instinctual-sexual brain. It is through these three centers that we are tempted in the physical plane, and in the internal planes by the demons of the black lodge. More importantly, we are tempted by our own ego that doesn't want us to enter the work, or finish the work, if we reach that point.
The very terrible ordeals one must face, which you've seen in this act, specifically and only applies by rising up through the ten sephiroth, the ten days of Yom Kippur. Only by atoning for all our egos through meditation and death do we have the right to resurrect, to achieve the Day of Atonement—once the sun rises—symbolizing the resurrection of Christ in us.
The Tree of Life, the ten sephiroth, represent the different characters of this drama. We've spoken extensively about Timur, Liu, Calaf, as well as the Emperor Altoum, the latter representing Kether, the Solar Logos. The Divine Mother Turandot is Binah, the Holy Spirit. Iod-Chavah, Jehovah, relates to Chokmah, Christ, יהוה Iod-Hei-Vav-Hei. We say, "Hashem," out of respect for Jehovah, but really the name is יהוה Iod-Chavah. י Iod, the head, הוה Chavah, sex. That is the mystery of Calaf's name.
They constantly ask him, "What is your name? Give us your secret." His secret is: he raises the power of הוה Havah to י Iod. This is the secret of chastity. But the opposite path, that of fornication, is followed by a demon named Chavajoth. He's a backwards being whose הוה Chavah, sex, is governing his י Iod, his head, through lust. The name יהוה Iod-Chavah represents how you raise the powers of sex to the brain as an angel, as a master. So all the servants of Kali, the inverted serpent, represented by the negative or severe side of Turandot’s character, seek to find out the secret of the initiate on the Second Mountain. This includes all the people of Peking, and also the main counselors, Ping, Pang and Pong, the forces of diablo, the devil, who seek to pull us from the path, or pull those masters at that level into the abyss.
Samson, Delilah, and the Three Mother Letters of Kabbalah
This drama has been beautifully depicted in the story of שמשון Samson. Samson allowed himself to be put asleep by דלילה Delilah. לילה Lilah means "night" in Hebrew and ד Daleth is the doorway into the infernal worlds, the night. Samson gave away his secret, his chastity, by unveiling how, by cutting his hair, he could be conquered. He loses his strength by admitting his secret, whereby, in his weakness, he was seized by the Philistines, all his egos. When they cut his hair, the Philistines blinded him, meaning that if we fail to maintain chastity at that level, but give into the ego and fornication, then one is spiritually blinded. You must remember that Samson was a giant, a great warrior, a master of Tiphereth, but who fell, who chose to fornicate after reaching that point. שמשון Samson reminds us of שמש Shemesh, which in Hebrew means sun, S-U-N, and אוֹן Aun, sexual strength. So, the power of the sun was castrated in him, a symbol of how any initiate who does not know how to keep his secret, his purity, ends up being swallowed by the moon, לילה Lilah, the night.
Likewise, the Princess Turandot represents both the solar and the lunar serpents, or in other words, the serpent is represented dualistically. Her servants are trying to find out Calaf’s name, so that they can kill him. This is precisely the great drama of this act. Will he in the end marry Turandot, or will he enter devolution? So, as we discussed in Act I and II of this opera, the three mother letters of kabbalah run thematically throughout this work. א Aleph, ש Shin, מ Mem are hinted at, even represented by the name שמשון Shamshon, Samson. ש Shin and מ Mem, but also אוֹן Aun, with a silent א Aleph, are hidden in this name. The occult significance of this biblical character shows that if we don't use the three brains correctly: א Aleph in the head, ש Shin in the heart, מ Mem in the sex, we're going to fail.
So, it takes great equilibrium and balance at that degree, especially to not be tempted by the forces of darkness, since they fight very diligently to pull the initiate. You see this not only in this opera, but also in stories like The Pistis Sophia, in which Sophia seeks to return to the source of pleroma, but is constantly afflicted. She wants to return to the light, but can't. She is denied every step of her path, but of course, it is that path of denial, in overcoming those temptations, that one succeeds. In the story of Samson, we find that many initiates fail, but in this opera we have a very different story.
The Two Pillars of Kabbalah and the Secret of Calaf’s Name in the Zohar
We're going to look at the name Calaf in relation to the Zohar, a very profound esoteric book that is the spirit of the doctrine, and explains categorically, distinctly, all the elements of the books of Genesis in detail, through commentary. So, the name Calaf, literally is spelled in Hebrew, כלף Kaf-Lamed-Final Peh, and we find a reference to the name כל Kol, Kaf-Lamed, in the Zohar, which partially constitutes the name of the prince which everyone seeks to know.
‘Let there be light,’ namely, אל גדול El Gadol, great God… (Gedulah is the spirit in Hebrew, Chesed, Mercy). The mystery emerging from the primordial aura. ויהי Vayhi, ‘And there was’―mystery of darkness called אלוהים Elohim. ‘Light’—left merging in right. Then from the mystery of אל El came to be אלוהים Elohim, right merging left, left and right. —Zohar
In order to understand this better, we're going to refer to the Tree of Life, specifically the left and right pillars we've been discussing extensively.
In the left pillar, we have all the forces of Binah that descend into the infernal planes. That is why Turandot is dualistic. In heaven she is Kundalini, but when she's channeled through our ego, she becomes Kundabuffer, the tail of demons, the Lucifers, the black magicians. The right pillar on the Tree of Life relates to mercy, the left is severity. The force of Chokmah, Christ, descends from the right pillar down to Yesod, and that is why the Christic energies are linked to our sexual force, our sexual drive, or why the secret of השם Hashem is founded within Yesod. So, on the left pillar of the Tree of Life, we have three sephiroth that relate to certain names in Hebrew in the world of Atziluth, the world of archetypes, because every sephirah on the Tree of Life relates to a sacred name. The name for Binah in Kabbalah is יהוה אלוהים Jehovah Elohim. The name for Geburah in Kabbalah is אלוהים גיבור Elohim Gibur, the strength of God, or the strength of the Gods and Goddesses. And then, Hod relates to אלוהים צבאות Elohim Sabaoth. So, we find Elohim represented in the left pillar.
In the right pillar, we're referring to אל El because the right is masculine while the feminine left pillar relates to all the forces of the divine life that specifically descends in us, but also to hell. When the serpentine sexual energy descends, it becomes the tail of demons. Ida is the fallen serpent in us that we must raise, and it is through a marriage, in which that left serpent unites with the right serpent, back up the head. Because in most people, clairvoyantly, they have that Kundabuffer tail very strong, but in the body of an alchemist that energy is ascending to the head through Ida and Pingala.
Therefore, let there be light means how our own spirit works within the darkness of our psyche. In the Kabbalah, רוח אלוהים Ruach Elohim, the spirit of God, Chesed, works with the waters of genesis in order to conquer the left pillar. By combining the two pillars, male, female, by working in a marriage, אל El becomes אלוהים Elohim because אלוה Eloah means goddess. אל El is God, masculine. Unite them in a marriage, you have אלוהים Elohim. So ים Iod-Mem is masculine plural. And here אלוהים Elohim literally means ‘gods and goddesses,’ because when a husband and wife are united sexually, they have the power to create life. They are a god and a goddess at that moment. But the problem is temptation, the serpent of Eden, the fallen serpent pushes the couple to engage in the forbidden fruit, the orgasm. That is how they lose everything. Light, left emerging right, and then from the mystery of El came to be Elohim. Right merging in left, left and right.
There's also a quote, I believe, in the Song of Songs, as we stated previously, in which Solomon describes this dynamic. From chapter 2 verses 3-6
"As the apple tree among the trees of the wood so is my beloved among the songs. I sat down under his shadow with great light and his fruit was sweet to my taste." ―Song of Songs 2:3
If you read Igneous Rose, we know that the apple tree represents the Glorian, Christ, which is related to the Ain Soph, the Absolute.
"He brought me to the banqueting house and his banner over me was love..." —Song of Songs 2:4
Meaning, chastity. The banquet of the Lamb.
"Stay me with flagons. Cover me with apples for I am sick of love (or sick from love)." —Song of Songs 2:5
This indicates the alchemist is so in love with divinity that one is even considered ill by this society, just as everyone condemned Prince Calaf for wanting to enter the funereal trials of Devi Kundalini in Act I. "Stay me with flagons" means to stay with the wine of transmutation no matter what, to be faithful to and enjoy the delights of sexual alchemy. And then…
"His left hand is under my head and his right hand doth embrace me." —Song of Songs 2:6
The left pillar is what sustains the initiates. They must control the left foot, psychologically speaking, because the Master Samael Aun Weor mentions in The Pistis Sophia that the bodhisattva must learn to walk on two feet, symbolically. On the right are the gnostics, the sheep. On the left are the demons, the goats. Sheep and goats. Right and left, but a bodhisattva is neither a saint nor a demon; he or she goes beyond good and evil, to return to the Absolute as a master of the Day.
That term is used by Blavatsky in The Voice of the Silence, but also by Samael Aun Weor. The term day, in Hebrew, is יום Yom, those who attain יום כיפור Yom Kippur, perfection in initiation and mastery. So, the left pillar sustains, which is why Liù, Geburah, the Divine Soul in the beginning of Act I, is the one who says to the multitudes, "How my master is fallen! Will someone raise him for me?" Which is why Calaf jumps in and sings, "Padre mio padre," "My father… my father… I found you again!"
The power of Geburah, Justice, is how we raise ourselves up through the Martian strength of Christ, back to the source. The right hand is what caresses, because the right pillar is mercy, while the left hand or left pillar supports the master. This dynamic of mercy and justice reaches equilibrium within Tiphereth, within the soul, Calaf. As we state in the Invocation of Solomon the Wise, "Mercy and justice, be ye the equilibrium and splendor of my life!" One of the many translations or meanings of the word Tiphereth is splendor.
"God saw that the light was good (Genesis Chapter 1, verse 4)—the central pillar. Good illumining above and below and all directions, through the mystery of Jehovah, the name embracing all sides." ―Zohar
So why is it that the center pillar is the light of radiance that sustains the whole tree of life? It's because the word תִפאֶרֶת Tiphereth literally sounds like Tiph-Aur-reth. אור Aur is the light in the central pillar and the very middle of this diagram, where we find the Prince Calaf, the human soul, our Christified will. That is the very one who is responsible for balancing all the forces of the Tree of Life. The light of Christ, Jehovah, or Chokmah, and the powers of Chesed, reach balance in Tiphereth, Tiph-Aur-Reth. Likewise, Aima and Abba Elohim, the Divine Mother or the Holy Spirit in Binah, find their equilibrium or center of gravity here within the heart. The secret name of Tiphereth in Hebrew is אלוה ודעת יהוה Eloah Va Daath Iod-Hei-Vau-Hei. We find אלוה ודעת Eloah Va Daath, Goddess of Knowledge, the Divine Mother and השם Hashem, the appellation of יהוה Iod-Chavah.
Christ and the Divine Mother are balanced in Tiphereth. The Prince Calaf represents this because in the very opening of Act III, he says, "No one shall ever know my name. My secret. השם Hashem. My light." And, he seeks to fully eradicate desire so that he can return through דעת Daath, sexual alchemy, through marriage with Binah. Therefore, Puccini is showing us how the central pillar of the Tree of Life orients everything. This whole opera is fixated on the Prince Calaf because he is Christ-will. Christ-will is how we achieve resurrection through death of the ego.
God separated the light from the darkness, dissipating discord, so that all would be perfect. —Zohar
This is a symbol how in the inferno, we extract the light from each ego, in order to be fully, radically dead.
God called the light day. What does ‘called’ mean? He called forth and summoned this perfect light, standing in the center, to emit a radiance—foundation of the world, upon which worlds are established. From that perfect light, the central pillar, extended יְסוֹדא Yesoda, Foundation. Vitality of the Worlds. ‘Day,’ from the right side. ―Zohar
As I said, Yesod receives all the forces from Chokmah, Chesed, Netzach, down the Tree of Life. That light must be extracted from the darkness within our own inner infernos, within our own Lunar, Mercurial, Venusian, Solar, etc., infernos. Likewise, all the way down until the Neptunian house—the inverted sephiroth, called the Tree of Death or Tree of Zaqqum in the Qur’an.
And the darkness He called night. He called forth something that generated from the side of darkness a female, the moon ruling by night, called Night, mystery of אדני Adonai, אדון Adon, Lord of all the earth (Joshua 3:11). —Zohar
The word for Malkuth in Kabbalah, the sacred name of Malkuth in the world of Atziluth is אדני הארץ Adonai Ha’aretz. Adonai reminds us of the Lord. When you say ברוך השם אדני Baruch Hashem Adonai, you're saying ‘Blessed is the Name of the Lord.’ Adonai should better be read as Adonia, meaning ‘Lady,’ or the beautiful Greek child Adonis. Adonia is the Kundalini in Malkuth, since the earth or physical vehicle receives all the forces from above, so that through the Lord of the Earth, by conquering this body and fornication, we can achieve resurrection.
Adonai also relates to the Lunar forces, which influence Malkuth, since Yesod is the second to the bottom Sephirah on the Tree of Life. It is also already well documented how our physical moon influences many aspects of life on earth, such as tides, menstruation in women, vegetation, animal life, etc. In the Conjuration of the Seven, we pray, “In the name of Gabriel (the regent of the moon or lunar ray), may Adonai command thee and drive thee hence Bael!” Adonai and Bael both mean “Lord,” the former is heavenly, the other is demonic. Or, Kundalini above, Kundabuffer below. Adonai is the mystery of the moon ruling by night, since by working with the lunar forces of Yesod, we become a Lord of the Night, in the positive sense. We conquer the night in ourselves by annihilating the ego on the Second Mountain, the darkness of Act III.
You notice that in the opera, Prince Calaf is singing to the stars. He is in Malkuth preparing to go into his own infernos, because all the temptations of this society, in this world, in Malkuth or within the inverted sephiroth of hell, is where we face great battles, great ordeals. The opposite of אדני הארץ Adonai Ha’aretz, the Kundalini, is the Kundabuffer, which is why the Prince Calaf worships the Lord or Adonia, his Divine Mother, in this great aria Nessun Dorma, which we're going to be examining. Adonia is precisely the name of the Kundalini, the goddess of the earth, who can take Calaf out of hell and into paradise.
The right entered that perfect pillar in the center, embracing the mystery of the left, and ascended to the primordial point, grasping there, the power of three points: חולם cholem, שורק shuruq, חירק chireq, seed of holiness, for without this mystery no seed is sown. —Zohar
We just spoke about how the power of Yesod is the foundation of our temple. It is the motor-instinct-sexual brain, the Temple of Peter, the Gnostic Church, which the enemies of God try to prevent us from entering. There are three diacritical marks in Hebrew known as חולם cholem, שורק shuruq, and חירק chireq. These are points that you put on the original Hebrew in order to pronounce vowels. You have three vowels, literally "Eh" with חירק chireq, "Uu" with שורק shuruq and "Oh" with חולם cholem. These vowels are below, middle and above, respectively. This reminds us of the three brains through which our cosmic alphabet is developed. The Hebrew letters represent forces, principles that we can work with, so when we grasp the power of the three points: intellectual brain, emotional brain, motor-instinctive-sexual brain, we work with the seed of holiness, the power of Yesod. For without this mystery, no seed is sown.
And, we find in this opera three temptations, ordeals, that the prince must face in Act III.
All is united in the central pillar, generating the foundation of the world, who is therefore called Kol כל (Kaf-Lamed, which translates as All, or we could also say totality…) for He embraces all in the radiance of desire. —Zohar
What is this radiance of desire? The Ark. The name of Calaf resides in דַעַת Da’ath, the center of the Tree of Life, in Tiphereth, balanced by Yesod, the foundation, which is the secret, his chastity. He had the letter "F" or פ Peh in Hebrew. It refers to speech, the mouth. When you're working with a matrimony and you're pronouncing sacred mantras in the sexual act, you're working with the power of ‘All’ through the word, through דַעַת Da’ath...
And why is it that Kol, כל Kaf-Lamed, reminds us of All, totality? As Samael Aun Weor stated in his books, the act of sexual magic is the key to all empires, the key to all kingdoms. Every universe is formed through moving with the sexual energy, the power of Lucifer. When we work with פ Peh, כל Kol becomes כלף Calaf, since the energies of sex are sublimated to the heart through mantras. That divine energy also only rises in accordance with the merits of the heart, as Samael Aun Weor stated in The Perfect Matrimony. You cannot work with the serpent Kundalini and raise it up the spine without earning it in your emotional center through ordeals, through the development of virtues.
And so, this where כל Kol, All, embraces all in the radiance of desire. And the word desire typically refers to the ego, but in this case, in a poetic way, we could say desire refers to divine longing. Tiphereth embraces all the sephiroth of the Tree of Life because it is through our human will, our spiritual inquietudes, in which we learn to find integration of the soul with the Being.
The left blazed potently, inhaling, inhaling fragrance of all those rungs. Out of that blazing flame, he generated the female, the moon. That blaze was dark, deriving from darkness. These two sides generated these two rungs: one male and one female. —Zohar
In the sexual act, the left pillar becomes the flame. The power of darkness becomes active, and it is by conquering the ego in a marriage, in those precise moments of temptation, in which we learn to inhale the fragrance of aroma of the Tree of Knowledge, but without eating its fruit. This is symbolic of renouncing and eliminating the orgasm. Out of that blazing flame of the sexual furnace the moon is generated, because as Samael Aun Weor mentions, the moon represents the ego. When you're inflamed in a marriage, in the sexual act, we must face the moon, our own darkness, our own mind.
Foundation was linked to the central pillar by the increase of light within it, for as the central pillar was consummated, pacifying all sides, its radiance was increased from above, from all sides in all-encompassing joy. Out of that increased joy, emerged the foundations of the world called Increase. –Zohar
The word increase in Hebrew is מוסף Musaf, which reminds us of Josef, Joseph, Yesod. Joseph represents the power of Yesod, primarily because he was thrown into well by his brothers, the well of Yesod, the sexual energies, the waters, and he had to escape and face imprisonment in Egypt and certain sexual temptations in order to be rewarded by God, his Being.
The term Egypt is never used in the Bible, since the original Hebrew word is מצרים Mitzrahim, literally translating as “the place between the waters.” This is a symbol not only of the whole planet earth, but our physicality, which enslaves the soul through lust, desire, fornication. Ordeals usually take place in the physical plane, whereby we must define ourselves through how we use our sexual waters, our energies.
From here emerges all forces below and holy spirits and souls from the mystery of יהוה צבאות Iod-Chavah Sabaoth, Lord of Hosts. אל אלהי הרוחות El Elohei Ha-Ruchot, God, God of spirits. —Zohar
Leviathan: The Lost Word
The name Calaf in Sufi terms is the lost word. The lost word is mentioned by Samael Aun Weor in certain books such as Igneous Rose. It is the Christ energy that has been lost in humanity and lost to our soul, because we failed to perform the work.
The lost word reminds us also of the fifth day of Genesis. The term לוויתן Levitanim is translated as the great whales or the great sea monsters, which bears profound esoteric significance. These are the serpents of fire, which we raise in the perfect matrimony. תַּנִּין Tannyn is a word that refers to whales, specifically. If you add the word לוי Levi in front of it, you make לוויתן Levi-Tannyn. You spell leviathan. A Leviathan is a great master of the fifth initiation of Major Mysteries, one who has been purified in the tribe of Levi, the path of the apostles and initiates. When you incarnate Christ, you receive the lost word, but to reach that point you must be swallowed by the serpent up to at least Tiphereth, the human soul. And so, the lost word is found in any master who incarnates Chokmah, which we saw in Act II.
In the words of Samael Aun Weor in Igneous Rose,
"God created everything in the lost word. The masters that live in Asia have this word very well guarded. A great philosopher once said, 'Search for it in China and maybe you'll find it in the great Tartar.' The lost word is like a gigantic fish (לוויתן Leviathan); half blue, half green emerging from the depth of the ocean." —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
So, what does that mean to be a gigantic fish? It is to be a master of Tiphereth, the Middle East. "Whosoever knows the Word gives power to. No one has uttered it. No one will utter it, except the one who has it incarnated," the Word, the Christ. This is the saying from Master Huiracocha, who was the teacher of Samael Aun Weor.
The word Asia, you can say, is the word Assiah in Kabbalah. The great masters of the Middle East have this word very well guarded. The term Asia is used, but really Asia should be Assiah, since the world of Assiah is Malkuth, the world of matter and action. We can say that Yetzirah, the world of formation relates to the lower trinity of the Tree of Life. The world of Briah relates to the middle trinity of the Tree of Life and Atziluth relates to the top trinity, the three primary forces. Assiah, the world of matter and action is where we must face temptation, in which we must guard our secret, our chastity.
The Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled also mentions that one must incarnate the mysteries of the light, to follow the mysteries of our inner name, our inner God. Every one of us has our own inner spirit and our spirit has his own divine name, spiritual name. And, personally I know the name of my Being, but I won't tell anyone, because it's no one's business. I seek to be humble, because in all of us, the Being is great, is holy, divine—but we are not.
It is ironic that certain people in this movement commonly and frequently proclaim themselves to be the master so and so. "I am the master X. Follow me!" And, many people get caught up in politics within groups, identifying with certain people who say they are the master so-and-so. It may be true that the Being is a master, but this does not mean that the human soul is.
Even if you reach Tiphereth, the Fifth Initiation of Fire, one is a master at that level, but… spiritually, the Being is the master, not us! So, it's ironic that people get caught up in pronouncing eloquent names and spiritual names of God, giving away their secret to humanity. Calaf, or better said, Puccini, and many others knew that the way to resurrect is by not talking so much about one's development—but keeping that a secret. Many so-called Gnostics get caught up in this. Many people follow such individuals who say they are the master so-and-so and then get stuck in groups, politics, debates. But the real way to enter initiation is to keep this secret, the lost word, guarded in Assiah, the physical plane. And, in The Pistis Sophia we must face all the temptations in Assiah and the repentance of Sophia in Klipoth.
In Kabbalah, God creates through Briah; the forces of the top trinity of the Tree of Life create through alchemy, through Da’ath, in order to create the spirit, the divine soul, and the human soul. And, the human soul must give form to a solar mind, solar astral body, solar vital body, and transform the physical body into a solar being, a Christic Being. It is by entering the Second Mountain in which we ascend these nine sephiroth, the heavens, and prepare for resurrection.
The Lost Word of the Sufis
We have a beautiful teaching of the Sufis, which explain this very cryptic teaching of the Middle East: how one must find the lost word. ‘Search for it in China and maybe you'll find it even in the great Tartar.’ Idries Shah explains some very beautiful things about the mysteries of the lost word that we're going to elaborate upon and explain in relation to the opera we are studying:
“Seek knowledge, even as far as China,” the phrase which is on all Sufi lips, has more than a literal or even a figurative sense. This meaning is unlocked by analyzing the use of the word “China,” interpreted through the secret language… —Idries Shah, The Sufis: “The Coalmen.”
…which we say is Kabbalah. In Arabic it is the Abjad system. It's the same as the Hebraic Kabbalah. The numbers of certain letters representing different principles.
Prince Calaf is in China and everyone is trying to find out his name, the lost word. “Seek for knowledge even in China and maybe you'll find it in the great Tartar.” Remember that Calaf is the exiled prince of Tartary.
“China” is a code word for mind concentration, one of the Sufi practices, an essential prerequisite to Sufic development. The phrase is important partly because it provides an example of the coincidence in interpretation possible in either the Arabic or Persian languages. Neither has any real connection with the other. The fact that the word for “China” in both, though spelled and pronounced differently, decodes to substantially the same concept, invests this phrase with a special significance for the Sufi.
CHINA. In Arabic SYN (letters Saad, Ya, Nun). Equivalent numbers: 90, 10, 50. Totaled, these letters yield the number 150. Splitting by hundreds, tens, and units: 100 + 50 (no units remain). Retranslated into numbers: 100=Q, plus 50=N. Q and N recombined form a word: QN. The word QN (in the form of QaNN) represents, in Arabic, the concept of “scrutinizing, observing,” and is therefore taken as a symbol of concentration, focus. The injunction now reads: “Seek knowledge, even as far as concentration (of the mind).” —Idries Shah, The Sufis: “The Coalmen.”
Prince Caliph is in China. He is in his own infernos, his own Tartarus, his hells, in which he must discriminate amongst all the people of Peking, all of his defects, to catch them in action, to understand them, so that by comprehending, he may eliminate through the Divine Mother. In order to achieve knowledge, one must work in Da’ath, in alchemy. One must work diligently in the full death of desire.
CHINA. In Persian CHYN (letters Che, Ya, Nun). Equivalent numbers: 3, 10, 50. Before translating into numbers, the Persian letter Che (CH) is first exchanged for its nearest equivalent in the Abjad scheme, which is J. The three sums totaled: 3 + 10 + 50 = 63. Separated into tens and units: 60 + 3. These numbers retranslated into letters: 60 = SIN; 3 = JIM. The word we now have to determine is a combination of S and J. SJ (pronounced SaJJ) means “to plaster or coat, as with clay.” Reverse the order of the letters (a permissible change, one of very few allowed by the rules) and we have the word JS. The word is pronounced JaSS. This means “to inquire after a thing; to scrutinize (hidden things); to ascertain (news).” This is the root of the word for “espionage,” and hence the Sufi is called the Spy of the Heart. To the Sufi the scrutinization for the purpose of ascertaining hidden things is an equivalent, poetically speaking, with the motive for concentrating the mind. —Idries Shah, The Sufis: “The Coalmen.”
You see in this opera how Prince Calaf is scrutinizing his foes, who all want to find out his name, his secret. He is literally in China, Syn, which reminds us of Sijjeen, the lowest hell in the Qur’an, specifically referenced in Surah 83, Al-Mutaffifin, ‘The Defrauding.’ We find a profound teaching about the word "Sijjeen," wherein resides the book of the lost ones. The opposite is the realm of Illiyun, the highest heaven, wherein resides the book of the pious.
"The record of the wicked is indeed in Sijjeen." Sin, Sina. China. "And, what can make you know what is in Sijjeen? it is a written record. Woe to the deniers on that day who deny the Day of Retribution." Or better said, the Day of Atonement, Resurrection. "And none denies it, except for every sinful transgressor." —Al-Mutaffifin, ‘The Defrauding’ 83:7-12
"And the record of the pious is indeed in Illiyyun. And, what can make you know what is in Illiyyun? It is a written record witnessed by those brought near to Allah. Indeed, the pious shall be amid bliss, observing as they recline on couches." —Al-Mutaffifin, ‘The Defrauding’ 83:18-23
Illiyyun can refer to a mountain top, the heights of the Empyrean, the Tree of Life. Sijjeen refers to the lowest hells, so "Seek knowledge even in China, Sijjeen, and maybe you'll find it in the great Tartarus…" because by learning to go through your own hells, with discrimination, is how you develop the spirit, how you will resurrect. The only way to climb the Mountain of Resurrection is by precisely facing all our defects. Every ascent is preceded by a terrible a frightful descent, humiliation.
Even the word ‘sin’ in English comes from this etymology. Sin is an archery term in which, when you're firing towards a center target, you veer off to the left. To sin, Kabbalistically, is to fall through the left pillar, to go down the Tree of Life into Klipoth. That's how you enter devolution, what it means to sin. In this work, we must learn to descend into China, Sijjeen, hell, but without sinning, without sin, to not identify with those realms.
A descent is much different than a fall. To descend is to face all our own evilness with responsibility, to comprehend and annihilate the ego. To fall is to fornicate, to abuse the energies of the left pillar of the Tree of Life, and therefore remain in Klipoth without light.
We said that China is the heavenly kingdom, but in us our heaven is trapped in hell, as indicated in the Arabic Kabbalah. All our parts of our soul are trapped in the ego, and if we wish to achieve the Resurrection mentioned in the Qur’an, we need to atone for our defects through the Second Mountain, Purgatory, the ten days of Yom Kippur.
Therefore, John Milton stated in Paradise Lost, "The mind is its own place. It can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven." So, "The inferno is the womb of heaven," says Samael Aun Weor extensively, because it is only by descending into our own darkness, like Calaf does in Act III, by which he develops heaven in himself, by guarding the lost word, his secret.
Search for it in China, with discrimination, and maybe you'll find the truth, the lost word, in the great Tartarus, the inferno, which is what Calaf is doing. He's facing all the temptations of his mind and is rejecting Klipoth. When in hell, we must discriminate what we see with meditation; to not be confused by our own mind or the black magicians. Therefore Tiphereth, Prince Calaf, gets confronted by Ping, Pang, and Pong, IAO, the force of diablo, the devil.
We mentioned that Tiphereth, Prince Calaf, already achieved mastery. In terms of Freemasonry, he was an Adeptus Minor, but now he is preparing for perfection in mastery, to perform the Biblical Exodus, שמות Shemoth in Hebrew. In order to perform the Exodus, which is the return of all the parts of Israel, the soul, with the divine, we must reach Tiphereth first. Only by working with השם Hashem, א Aleph, ש Shin, מ Mem, by creating the solar bodies, especially the solar causal body, our own Inner Moses, can we incarnate Christ, the lost word, השם Hashem. Remember that the three mother letters of Kabbalah represent השם Hashem, and that השם Hashem spelled backwards is משה Moshe, Moses. Only by entering the direct path, by descending into Klipoth, can we truly incarnate Christ. That is the work of Moses, of the Exodus. We must return to Israel, the Absolute, because we are in exile, but now the Prince Calaf will enter the Exodus through the revolution of the consciousness, by freeing all the parts of his soul from hell.
It’s very interesting that the Book of Exodus is really שמות Shemot, the Book of Names, since the word Shem means ‘Name’ in Hebrew. ו Vav ת Tav is feminine plural. The way that we return to the Promised Land and marry the Divine Princess Turandot, Shekinah, is by guarding our name in the abyss, by freeing the Israelites or parts of the soul that are trapped in sin, Sijjeen, China.
Nessun Dorma: "No Man Shall Sleep"
In the story of Samson and Delilah, Prince Calaf must renounce all the offerings of the darkness, which is why Eliphas Levi has stated, "Woe to the Sampson of the Kabbalah if he allows himself to be put to sleep by the sinful Delilah." Therefore, in the opera, Prince Calaf says, "No man shall sleep." He will not enter the doorway of the night.
When Calaf sings this most famous aria to the stars, we are reminded of the Qur'an and the teachings of the Middle Eastern Sufis. Calaf sings, "No man shall sleep." He's singing to the stars of Urania, the Divine Mother Nut, the cosmic space. As stated in Al-Anam, "The Cattle," Surah 69:7:
"It is he who place for you the stars that you may be guided by them through the darkness of the land and sea. We have detailed the signs for people who know." ―Al-Anam, "The Cattle" 69:7
The following verses from Surah 37 verses 4-6:
"Indeed, your God is One, Lord of the heavens and the earth and that between them and Lord of the sunrises. Indeed, we have adorned the nearest heaven with an adornment of stars." —Qur’an 37:4-6
In this recitation, this Qur’an, Prince Calaf is praying to the sky, the heavens during the hour of temptation: Lucifer-Venus, which is occurs between 3 and 4 in the morning. This is when the forces of the black lodge are active in the astral atmosphere, which is why, if you wake up in the astral dimension at those hours and are very weak with lust, it gets very dangerous, because the demons will come after you. If we're diligent and working in chastity, being very strong in our practice, we can’t be harmed.
As you have seen in this opera, Prince Calaf is in ecstasy. He's performing a recitation, the Qur’an, in Arabic terms. He performs night vigil to speak, to pray, to communicate, to ask of his inner God for help during the hour of Lucifer-Venus. Therefore the Qur’an, Surat Al-Isra, ‘The Night Journey,’ verses 78-79, states:
"Establish prayer at the decline of the sun from its meridian until the darkness of the night and also the Qur’an of dawn. Indeed, the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed. And from part of the night pray with it as additional worship for you. It is expected that the Lord will resurrect you to a praised station." —Surat Al-Isra, ‘The Night Journey,’ verses 78-79
It's good to get into the habit of waking up very early, around 3 or 4 in the morning. If you get up naturally, that's even better, to do mantras, perform prayers. Then, go back to sleep, awaken in the astral plane; you can experience very strong samadhis, because you're channeling and conquering the energies of Lucifer—you're controlling your energies and the temptations of your mind. You can awaken a lot of consciousness that way. In that state you can have certain blissful ecstasies in which you communicate with your inner Divine Mother. This is the occult significance of Prophet Muhammad’s teaching on the night vigil, to be resurrected to a praised station.
The following is from Al-Buraj, the Constellations, Surah 85, verses 1-9:
"By the sky containing great stars and by the Promised Day," or the Day of Resurrection, marriage with Devi Kundalini, Turandot, "and by the witness and what is witnessed, cursed were the companions of the trench, containing a fire full of fuel, When they [the fornicating people of Peking] were sitting near it and they, to what they were doing against the believers [like Prince Calaf], were witnesses. And they resented them not except they believed in Allah, Exalted in Might, the Praiseworthy, to whom belongs the dominions of the heavens and the earth, and Allah over all things, is Witness." —Al-Buraj, 85:1-9
If you see stars in the astral plane, the mental plane, it means ascension—where the Divine Mother is showing you that your mind is clear and you're reflecting God inside. You see that firmament. As the Qur’an teaches, "We give signs for those who have certainty" in the astral plane, where you see certain astrological features, like the moon, which means suffering, ego, pain, ordeals. A cloudy sky means too much ego interfering with the intellect, too much rationalization, a cloudy mind, but a clear sky of stars is essential, in which we're radically raising our level being.
Prince Calaf is in samadhi, singing to his Divine Mother in preparation for the Second Mountain. We find such ecstasy reflected in the practice of the mantras, "O AO KAKOF NA KHONSA,” with which we began this meeting today. Let me remind you of the prayer we performed so we can connect it to this beautiful aria Nessun Dorma:
"Be thou, oh, Hadit, my secret, the Gnostic mystery of my Being, the central point of my connection, my heart itself, and bloom (like Shoshanna, the rose or igneous flower of our spirituality) on my fertile lips made Word!
"Up above, in the infinite heavens, in the profound height of the unknowable, the incessant glow of light is the naked beauty of Nut. She reclines, she bends in delectable ecstasy, to receive the kiss and secret fervor of Hadit…
(Hadit is a representation of Binah, the Holy Spirit, the husband of the Divine Mother. We seek to unite with Devi Kundalini, to be so pure that we become one with the Holy Spirit. This can only occur through death the ego, when we, as Tiphereth, become united in Binah through resurrection. Binah is both masculine and feminine: Aima Elohim, the Divine Mother, and Abba Elohim, the Divine Father).
"The winged sphere and the blue of the sky are mine!
"O AO KAKOF NA KHONSA!" —Egyptian Gnostic Prayer
It's on the night of the Second Mountain where the Prince Calaf’s heart is rich, inebriated with the hope of victory, when he says the following holy, ineffable words:
"None shall sleep. None shall sleep… (For I have awakened to one of the mysteries of Daath). Even you, oh princess Kundalini, in your chaste bedroom, (referring to the purified soul and the marriage room of alchemy, the bedroom), watch the stars (the firmament of Kether), that tremble with love and with hope…
"But my secret is hidden within me. No one will know my name, (the secret of initiation or his name, אלוה ודעת יהוה Eloah Va Daath Iod-Hei-Vau-Hei, the name of Tiphereth in the world of Aztiluth, which can be translated as אלוה ודעת השם Eloah Va Daath Iod-Hei-Vau-Hei or Eloah Va Da’ath Hashem, the Name, the lost word). No, no! On your mouth I will say it… (The mouth refers to Daath, mantralization, alchemy). I will say it when the light shines (when the word becomes flesh in me.)"
We spoke essentially about the meeting of השם Hashem, previously. Hashem contains breath, א Aleph, ש Shin, מ Mem: air, fire, water respectively. And, when we work with the three brains, the three forces in us, we're working with Hashem: I.A.O., Christ, Ignis, Agua, Origo: Fire. Water. Spirit.
So, he's praying to the night, his Divine Mother, to prepare him for the death of the ego and resurrection. Of course, this aria is very well recited today, but people don't know the meaning of what it represents. Little do people see how Puccini beautifully synthesized Kabbalah, alchemy, Sufism, and the Hebrew letters. So, as you can see, in order to understand this doctrine or this opera, we must know kabbalah very well, very deeply.
So, in this aria, Calaf continues:
"And, my kiss will dissolve the silence that makes you mine."
(Or his kiss upon the lips of the Divine Mother Death, because through Da’ath, the lips, is how one dies to ego, through comprehending in meditation and then asking for annihilation, or in the sexual act through mantra, through prayer, through devotion).
The chorus sings afterward, "No one will know his name. None shall discover the secret of his strength. And we," referring to the psychological aggregates we have inside, "will have to die… to die."
Calaf says, "Vanish, oh, night!" Night of Lilith and Nahemah, "Set stars! Set stars! At dawn (resurrection), I will win! I will win! I will win!"
People want to know Calaf's name. The word Calaf reminds us of caliph, a master of Middle East, Tiphereth, since this Sephirah is the east, but also the middle of the Tree of Life. The sun rises in Tiphereth, astrologically speaking, since it relates kabbalistically to the sun. It also relates to Venus as well, the science of love, the Venustic Initiations we spoke about previously.
So the prince is a master of the Middle East, and people want to know his secret. He is facing a similar situation to that of Odysseus in The Odyssey, when the Greek hero is questioned by Polyphemus, the cyclops, in a barren island cave, "What is your name?" Odysseus says, "I am nobody." One must not identify with the ego; one must cease to be what one is so as to become what one is not—to become the Being—dying moment by moment through meditation, self-remembering, comprehension, prayer, and vigilance.
When Polyphemus is blinded by Odysseus, the Greek hero escapes with his life and his crew, but he makes the mistake of taunting the giant, the animal ego. The cyclops was a very clairvoyant ego, with one giant eye, the third eye—a very big demon with powers in hell. Odysseus was taunting him, saying, "I am Odysseus." But, of course, whenever he would speak, Polyphemus would throw a giant rock and nearly crush his ship, since the giant could still hear. So the danger of the initiate at that level is hubris, mystical pride, vanity, the assumption or futile belief that "I'm a master at that level. I am the master so-and-so, follow me!"
This becomes very dangerous for advanced practitioners, to be very arrogant in a spiritual way, to be proud of one’s height. Samael Aun Weor mentioned how, in Igneous Rose, initiates must not get hypnotized by the vertigo of the heights, to assume that one is a great initiate, because only divinity is great. In the beginning, Odysseus blinds the giant and escapes, whereby Polyphemus screams, "Nobody has blinded me!" The funny part is that the other giants on the island say, "Okay… So, what? Nobody blinded you!" It's a pun on words, but at the same it's a psychological truth. Cease to be what you are; be content with having no other identity but that of the Being; if you reach that point, that level. If you become fascinated by your own pride, you will tumble into the abyss and risk getting killed… since the cyclops, while blinded, can still hear you…
The Temptations of the Second Mountain
The servants of Kali, the darkness, the Divine Mother Death of the inferno are led by Ping, Pang, and Pong: I-A-O. Literally the vowels of their names are the vowels of diablo, the devil.
First thing they tell him is, "Divert your gaze from the stars and look down here." This is very interesting. We find in Surah 6 of the Qur’an, verses 3-4:
"And He is Allah, the only deity in the heavens and the earth. He knows your secret and what you make public and He knows that which you earn." So, your actions, your virtues, your defects. "And no sign comes to them from the signs of the Lord, except they turn away therefrom." ―Al-Anam 3-4
Meaning: they turn away from the Divine Mother, the sacred cow of Kabbalah. “La Vaca” in Spanish, the cow, spells kabbalah backwards, the Mother of the Tarot, the second arcanum.
There's also another verse relating to this dynamic, where they tell him look down from the sky. They want Calaf to turn away from the signs of God and look down at what's going on in Klipoth, through temptation. The Qur’an, in Surat Al-Hajj, verse 66, states:
"And, He is the one who gave you life and causes you to die and then will again give you life. Indeed, mankind is ever ungrateful." —Al-Hajj 22:66
This verse deserves kabbalistic analysis, since many people interpret things literally. The Being gives life through the Mountain of Initiation, through Rosh Hashanah or the serpents of fire and light, and then He causes you to die on the Second Mountain through Yom Kippur. Then He will again raise you through Resurrection. But… mankind is always ungrateful, because even masters of that level still have defects to work upon.
This verse reminds me of an experience I had many years ago, so if I'm relating this to you about the stars, it’s because I've had many experiences where my Divine Mother was showing me my own heavens, heavenly being, or ascension. I remember one occasion, waking up at 4 AM to meditate, and then falling asleep again, I saw the stars in the sky—beautiful glittering stars… very divine, but then my ego was pulling me from the superior astral plane down to the inferior astral plane. I entered Limbo, Klipoth, the lunar sphere, when my ego invoked a big demon, whose name I will not relate here.
This monster, this giant demon, was like Polyphemus, a cyclopean beast. He was trying to convert me, but I fought my way out of his grasp as he was trying to tempt me, to drag me further down into the hell realms. Fortunately, I received divine aid and was able to escape.
So, I remember that phrase from the Qur’an, very much, with a lot of pain. "Surely we give signs unto you as a sign of certainty, but many are they who are ungrateful." I realize that my ego makes me very ungrateful. We must work hard on our ego so that we don't enter temptation, so that we cannot be misled in the internal worlds.
I-A-O, diablo. Ping, Pang, Pong, present before the initiate three more ordeals—three temptations relating once again to our three brains. In preparation for our resurrection, Lucifer provides the most intense and difficult ordeals. To understand this part of the opera, you have to remember the Book of Job: how Jehovah spoke to Satan and said, "Truly, my servant Job is the most humble, the best, the greatest." And of course, Satan says, "Yeah. Yeah. He praises you, but if you give me the opportunity to make him suffer, he will curse You to Your face." And Jehovah said, "So be it. Tempt him, but do not let him die."
And of course, the book of Job is very short, but very beautifully depicts the end of the path, through the process of resurrection, in which the initiate must face criticism and doubt, pain and sickness and disease and suffering and pay all his or her karma at the very end—to the point that even Job's wife and family were against him, telling him, "Why don't you curse God?" And he says, "Naked I was born, and naked do I return into the womb of the earth." God is just, and the initiate pays all his karma successfully if done with acceptance and humility.
There are eight years of trial and tribulation after Job annihilates the ego. Afterward, one must face certain ordeals, certain sicknesses and illnesses that result in death, physically speaking.
Of course, the initiate also faces other ordeals relating to the three brains. We find that riches, money, materialism, and jewels are presented to the initiate Calaf, which relate to Mammon, the mind. They use these jewels and say, "Take all this treasure and go on a journey anywhere you want. Do whatever you want. Take these fragments of stars." They say, "And the jewels." Of course, it's a very profound symbol in the Qur’an, because stars are from above, but in hell those energies channeled become fragments, broken. So they're telling him, "Don't look up there at Christ. Come down with us in Klipoth."
In the experience I had where I got sucked down into the infernal planes, I had to fight very hard to get out, but I did, because at that moment I was praying a lot and I felt a lot of remorse. There was a certain demon, whose name I won't mention, who took me and awoke me in hell, because I have that ego inside, very strong. But I prayed to my Divine Mother, my Divine Father, "Help me get out!" I woke up in my body and I felt terrible. I remember falling asleep again and being in my bedroom in the astral plane reading the Qur’an, but instead of seeing literal verses, I saw symbols, images. And my physical father, my Divine Father in the form of my physical father, came up to me in the astral plane, just smiled, and walked away, because I was studying with a lot of love and devotion.
I also remember seeing the images of that demon who pulled me down to Klipoth. He was a giant Gollum, bigger than this ceiling, like fifteen feet tall, a big rock giant, and in the Qur’an, I saw that symbol of the infidels, الكافرين al-Kafirin in Arabic. Remember we said early in our previous lecture on the Tarot, כ Kaf is the intellect, the cave in which the demons dwell, down in the hell realms. There is even a surah in the Qur'an called الكهف Al-Kahf, 'The Cave,' which indicates how the Hebrew כ Kaf or Arabic ک / ك Kahf have the same kabbalistic meaning.
It's funny, because my physical father has a complete aversion to Islam, very fearful of that religion, but in my dream, my Divine Father was showing me in the form of my physical father: read the Qur’an when you are tempted.
The Prince Calaf opposes the golden calf, money, materialism, hell. The golden calf literally sounds like Calaf. That's the opposite of the prince, so they offer him gold and money, but he refuses. They offer him women, travels, eroticism, lust, sexual perversity and passion related to the motor-instinctive-sexual brain.
The first ordeal related to money is the intellect, because the mind is always wanting money to sustain itself, but the temptations of the body are related to the motor-instinctive-sexual brain. Women of fascinating fatal beauty, hidden beneath their veils, tempt the initiate in the physical and internal worlds. The counselors say ‘take their veils off,’ but of course these are the veils of hell, Klipoth, in which one only finds more and more suffering until one is disintegrated in that region. This is opposite to the veil of Isis, in which one tears it through resurrection to go to the source, the Absolute.
So Calaf denies them too. Ping, Pang, Pong beg the prince that Turandot is sleepless and unrelenting. This shows us how the black lodge accuses us of being cruel, of being evil, because they think that prince should die and not them. And of course, this reminds us of the story of from The Pistis Sophia in which Hitler met a superman. Hitler was an awakened sorcerer, a black magician at that point, and he declared that he was filled with terror before a superman filled with a lot of light. The demons think that masters of the straight path are very evil, because they don't follow the devolving forces. However, neither are the saints followers of the straight path, and therefore the saints don't understand them either. They follow the path of the right. One must follow the path of the middle to achieve self-realization of Turandot. But of course, when we follow the revolutionary path, we are accused of being cruel, demonic, by both the sheep and the goats.
Lucifer is always providing those temptations: mentally, emotionally, physically. And Samael Aun Weor wrote that the worst ordeals are not just brain against sex, sex against brain. Fighting against your lust in the sexual act is hard, but the worst ordeals involve heart against heart, the emotional brain, the emotional center. There are certain traumas or betrayals which are very painful, very difficult, which is why at this point in the opera, Turandot's guards bring out his father, Timur and the servant Liu, threatening their lives if they don't provide Calaf’s name. So, Calaf says he doesn't know them—which, as a simple plot point, makes sense. He's trying to protect his father and the servant, but at a deeper esoteric level, he's saying "I don't know them." He's saying, "I don't know my Being completely yet." As Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Perfect Matrimony, he knew a resurrected friend of his who said that only those who have swallowed soil, achieved resurrection, know anything. Before that, one is only a fool.
At that level, you know, the master has a lot of light and is developing more and more wisdom. However, they basically still don't know the Being yet, until resurrection, so a lot of trial, temptation and pain is involved. But he says, "I don't know them." And, while on one level, this is showing that he's protecting his family and his father and his servant, it also shows us the virtue that we need at this point in the path… which is silence. Silence doesn't just refer to just how we relate to people in the external plane. It’s not about not talking to people. It means that psychologically, we're silent. No mind. No disturbance. With serenity and insight, we cut through illusion, like Manjushri's sword into the depths of hell, in order to conquer all that evilness, because if we identify with ourselves and with our mind, we enter Klipoth. So, patience and tenacity are the two virtues needed on the Second Mountain according to Samael Aun Weor. The magician must know how to be silent, know how to abstain, know how to suffer, and know how to die to the ego.
It's at this point and time when the servant Liu, Geburah, provides a profound sacrifice, which is personally one of my favorite parts of this whole opera. Liu, the divine soul, tells the audience, "I know his name, but I will not tell it to you. I will keep his secret with me." Of course, this is a symbol of how the divine soul interferes and descends into the initiate on the Second Mountain in order to help. The divine soul, Geburah, relates to Mars and the Sun, since the divine soul is like into the solar logos. She teaches the audience, through her sacrifice, the path of mystical death. She says, "His secret is with me,” because the Sun, the solar logos, the mysteries of השם Hashem, יהוה Iod-Chavah, is within her. The divine soul, according to Samael Aun Weor, absorbs all the principles of Christ in her, through the great work.
She absorbs all those forces through the work, the human soul. All the virtues of our Being are within her, which is why the Qur’an says that she is like a "glass of alabaster" in which the light of Al-Nur shines.
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.
The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp,
The lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly white star,
Lit from the oil of a blessed olive tree,
Neither of the east nor of the west,
Whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire.
Light upon light.
Allah guides to His light whom He wills.
And Allah presents examples for the people,
and Allah is Knowing of all things.
—Surat Al-Nur, 24:35
Allah, the Innermost, is the light. In this verse, He sets forth a parable for his servants, a lamp with a light like a glittering star, contained within a vase of alabaster or glass. Geburah, Liu, is the glass and the light of Allah is Timur, the spirit. So, she is the means of reflecting that divinity in us. She's the divine consciousness who never mixes with the ego, until that initiate has died completely. In the meantime, he can manifest some aspects of the divine soul during the process of the Second Mountain, so that she can help him fight. She does that by sacrificing herself and teaching, through her own death, how to achieve resurrection.
This light is lit through transmutation, the mysteries of alchemy, through the olive tree of knowledge. This tree is neither of the east, Tiphereth, nor of the west, Malkuth, since the light emanates from Da’ath, or Marifah in Arabic. The oil of this tree is the semen, from the Hebrew word for oil, שמן Shemen. It’s interesting that we find even the term שם Shem, Name, in the semen, or sperm and ovum, נ Nun. This is because the power of the initiate’s name is in the brute mercury, the seminal matter. And this is why Calaf guards the secret of his name so much, his sexual purity or scientific chastity. It is the key to all empires.
There's a very similar teaching in the Wagnerian Ring cycle regarding the descent and sacrifice of Geburah within the initiate, in the opera Die Walküre. I think we'll watch it eventually, where Brunhilda, in the German myth, the German opera, represents Geburah, who descends to help the initiate Sigmund, and then Siegfried later on.
A very similar principle is present in the operatic works of the great masters, which we don't have the time to go into depth here, but it's important to remember that the divine soul absorbs Christ and descends to help Tiphereth fight a spiritual war.
Liu, Geburah, is also Martian, the power of Mars, which confuses a lot of people in occultism, because people think of the Martian force as something masculine. The truth is, it’s feminine. You notice that Liu is very sweet? Very serene, very kind, very compassionate, but she's stronger than any of the men in the opera. Primarily because she's responsible for all the pains of the initiate. With her force, her Martian strength, she sacrifices herself. She says, "I know I'll never be able to be with the prince." She loves him, but he loves Turandot. This serves as a simple plot point, a fascinating love triangle, but there’s something very profound here. Puccini is basically showing that, obviously, Tiphereth is in love with Shekinah, Calaf with Turandot. While Calaf doesn’t seem to reciprocate Liu’s romantic love for him, symbolically speaking, the divine soul can only unite with the human soul through death, as we talked about in the play Romeo and Juliet, and one of our lectures on the Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah.
In order to unite the divine soul with the human soul, the ego must be completely dead. In that way, the human soul unites with the divine soul and the spirit, and then within Binah, the Holy Spirit, through resurrection. But, of course, this drama must happen first, where Geburah descends into hell to help the initiate, to help him ascend. Liu teaches him that with death, one conquers death, so that one can achieve a perfect marriage with Binah. Therefore, Nietzsche wrote in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, "Spirit is the life that itself cuts into life. With its own agony it increases its own knowledge… Did you know that?"
Geburah is Mars, killing, bloodshed. That's her sacrifice, but not against anyone, not a literal killing, but a psychological one. She teaches us how to kill the ego. She teaches the initiate how to die to desire. Liu is showing us that if we want to marry Turandot and unite all the parts of the being, we must die psychologically. We must keep our secret of chastity. We must fulfill the path of Bushido amongst the Samurai, the way of the warrior. Of course, this was a beautiful teaching that degenerated in Japan, but has Zen, Buddhist roots, in which one must die radically to desire. This is the way of the warrior, valkyria, virya, where we get words like virility and virtue.
She is Mars, strength through suffering, which, while sweet and feminine, is the power of the warrior. She's the strongest character in the whole opera. Calaf is very convincing and very powerful, but he couldn't do it without Liu, without the divine servant. She commits seppuku, which originally symbolized the death of the ego. Of course, people think it's literally a physical story about a servant who sacrifices herself, so that a prince can marry a very murderous princess, but of course those literal meanings are, while entertaining, very superficial and absurd. They don’t really withstand an occult, literary analysis.
Liu says that Turandot is girdled with ice, meaning her chastity, severity, which can only be melted by the fire of Calaf’s love. She says, "You will love eventually the Prince Calaf as I love him." Meaning: when the ego is fully dead and the ice of the lunar sphere has melted through chastity, Binah will absorb Tiphereth, and all the lower seven sephiroth through resurrection. So, before the break of day, Liu says, "I shall close my tired eyes never to see him anymore…" except through resurrection. They only see each other through mystical death.
This is when Timur, the spirit who is blind in us, is told about his daughter's death. So he grieves. It's a very painful process for the Being, in which Geburah descends into the initiate. That's because the divine soul and the spirit are one within a master, but in order to help Calaf work in himself, she must descend into him and mix with all the impurities to help him fight. But of course, Timur is blind, grieving. He's the exalted Tartarian king, exiled king of the north, the spirit, and Timur, symbolically speaking, is blind in us. The eyes of Ra, the spirit, are no longer active because we fell, but this doesn't mean that the Being is blind. It just means that in us, that potential is not active, because the Being is always omniscient, even when we are not. The spirit sees. As the Qur’an repeatedly teaches, "Allah is the witness over the heavens and the earth. He sees all things."
"It is dawn my little Liu," Timur says to her. Meaning: Chokmah, the Sun or solar logos, is in Geburah. He also pronounces with great grief that God should be outraged. This is true. The gods, the buddhas would be angered if her death, which is so noble, is not justified with marriage with Turandot… because to reach that point is very high and difficult, but to not make it to the end is very, very painful. One can fall at that point, very easily. It's a very dangerous path, very straight and narrow, which is why the Qur’an says,
"Guide us to the straight path,
"The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray." —Al-Fatihah, the Opening 1:6-7
Every one of us, without exception, has killed our inner God, our inner Being. We assassinated the God Mercury through fornication. We've sinned against the goddess moon and therefore we must pay the price. This is when the multitudes of people say, "Unhappy shade, shameful shade, forgive us!"
And as I said earlier, in the previous lectures, the chorus is dual. It can be heavenly or diabolic, depending upon how the verb is used. So, in heaven it's divine, but in hell it's demonic.
Timur says he will follow to rest beside Geburah, Liu, in the night that knows no dawn. It might seem that the Being is doubting at this point. It's very difficult to escape the darkness in order to turn to the light. He will descend into Klipoth looking for His lost soul if the ego is not fully eliminated, if one fails and enters devolution. So, Ping, Pang and Pong at this point say that this is the first time they look upon death without sneering. IAO, diablo, Lucifer, doesn't mock the descent of Geburah into the initiate. It's very serious.
They say, "Liu, gentle spirit. Rest in peace." Timur and the crowd then exit, which is actually the point, I believe, at which Puccini didn't finish his opera. The rest of the opera was developed by another composer, Franco Alfano, from Puccini’s notes. He made sure that the esoteric message got through for this final work, which is important.
It is at this point and time Tiphereth, Prince Calaf or caliph, the master of the middle east, says to Turandot, "You are princess of death," which is true. In heaven, she is Divine Mother Death, Binah, Saturn, the Sabbath, but down in hell she is Kali who swallows the infidels, al-Kafirin, within the ninth sphere of the inferno. He tells her to come down from her tragic heaven to tear her veil. Only by tearing the veil of Isis through the death of the ego can we achieve resurrection. The veil of Isis, he says, is like ice and water. Again, very symbolic. The ice and water of Yesod must be melted and transmuted in a marriage.
All of this, of course, is very symbolic, which is funny when people see this opera. Obviously, audiences are very fascinated with these dramas, but which are interpreted in a very juvenile sense. Why would this prince want to marry this woman who killed his servant and threatened to kill him? Of course, very literally, it's extremely silly, but symbolically he becomes more aroused by her, in love with her. This is a beautiful symbol of how love and death are one. Divine Mother death is love, the terror of love and law as mentioned innumerable times by Samael Aun Weor.
She resists him. She first says, "Don't touch me. It's a sacrilege." Meaning, to touch the Divine Mother, to approach the Divine Mother with lust, is demonic, blasphemous, but to really be united with her is to be completely dead, chaste. The kiss of the Divine Mother Death requires absolute death of the ego, to become Hadit, the Divine Father, which is Binah, the masculine aspect of the Holy Spirit.
But then he takes her in his arms and kisses her. Very dramatic music thunders, representing the fatality and the supreme negation of the self. He has died to the ego completely. He then calls her the flower of the dawn, referring to Venus, the rose, Shoshannah. Rosh Hashanah, the perfected chastity of the initiate.
She says, "How did you conquer?" And then he says, "Do you weep?" She weeps her first tears. Meaning, the eyes of Binah has melted in the fire of alchemy. He answers her with a question. "Do you weep?" Referring to the eyes, since the eyes of Horus which are now open.
Eyes in Hebrew is עיניים Ayni'im, which contains the letter ע ayin. ע Ayin is found in the middle of דעת Daath. ד Daleth is the doorway through which we see, ע Ayin, the truth, ת Tav. It is through the fires of alchemy that we melt the ice of Yesod, and when Turandot weeps, her vision within the initiate is cleansed, is clear. The Truth is visible to both princess and prince, since Calaf is now completely dead to the ego.
Turandot relates how she despised all the people who tried to marry her before, the initiates who said they loved her, but failed. Yet she feared Calaf, because he was like a Mozart, a Beethoven, a Wagner. Some initiates can conquer the moonlight sonata, the darkness of the soul, and come out in the end with the sun. Many end up like Samson. She says the light springs from him, that she felt the fear of conquering and being conquered. Devi Kundalini fears our failure. She also fears the soul being victorious because the inverted serpent is active there, fighting all the time. So, she still tests Calaf even when he has no ego. She tells him to leave while he has the chance.
Even when you're fully dead to an ego, you must achieve resurrection. So, don't think that as soon as you annihilate the ego, (Snaps fingers), you resurrect. It's a long process in which the initiate must be tested, and of course it's a very dangerous work. He must qualify from his initiations. One achieves initiation, but then one must qualify. This refers to how we must pay all our karma with gladness, and not to pronounce anything against God.
The kiss to the Divine Mother symbolizes his submission to her and the summation of mystical death at this point. She's swooning because he's now preparing for the end of the path, the height of the Second Mountain, so at this point she unveils her love for him.
He then says, "My name is Calaf, son of Timur." At that moment, she says, "I know your name!" And there's that excitement in the audience. They're saying, "Okay. She's probably going to have him killed now, since he gave away his secret!"
It seems like she wants to kill him at that point, but the fact that she says, "I know your name" and that "I’ve achieved victory" is dualistic. She has achieved victory in the soul, because he has perfected his submission to God, his Islam, you could say. He said, "My victory is in your embrace, my life is in your kiss!" It is at this point that he says "It is now the hour of trial!" This is the dilemma of “to be or not to be” in which the soul is to be swallowed by Saturn, Kronos, the Holy Spirit. This is the famous Day of Judgment within the Qur’an, whereby the soul is brought before the divine tribunals of the superior worlds to be evaluated by Devi Kundalini-Turandot. The trial and advent of resurrection is the ultimate, defining moment for the initiate, for Calaf.
You don't know until the very end what will happen, until when they are presented in the palace, Turandot says, "Father, I know the name of this stranger. His name is love!" In Hebrew, Love is גדולה Gedulah, Chesed, the spirit. Because now, when the ego is fully dead, the soul integrates with Geburah, all the lower bodies. The spirit is absorbed in Binah, the Holy Ghost, through resurrection.
And so, at the end, she says it is love. Chesed, the spirit, is united with all the parts of the Being. All the audience hears this beautiful chorus sing of the divine marriage of resurrection.
“Oh sun, life, eternity, light of this world and love. We rejoice and celebrate this song and this sunshine. Our great happiness, glory to thee!"
Therefore we conclude with this following quotation from the book of Revelation, Chapter 2, Verse 10:
“Be thou faithful unto [Divine Mother] death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” —Revelation 2:10
The power of sex that guards the prince in his journey is the Rune Laf, the rune of Life. This is the mystery of scientific chastity, of alchemy. The Rune Laf, in the gnostic tradition, is performed on the 27th of each month. 2 + 7=9: the mysteries of Yesod.
Face east in the morning and walk towards the sun with your hands above your genitalia, walking slowly while praying to the Solar Logos to descend into your hands, into your genitalia, and to grant you any particular blessings you need. Remember that the Rune Laf is the rune of sexuality, the rune of life, which can grant us any petition we need when we are sincere and working in transmutation.
When you raise the Rune Laf [לפ Lamed-Fei in Hebrew] to your head, by raising your hands and sexual energy up above your כ Kaf, your crown, you form כלפ Calaf. When the hands are above your head, you are forming the Rune Man. Stretch your arms in a completely vertical fashion above your head, and you form the Rune Is. Isis. Turandot, the Divine Mother.
Through the rune of life, through transmutation, we achieve the secret of alchemy and transform ourselves into true men and women, through the power of Isis-Turandot.
The mantra for the Rune of Isis is "Iiiiiiiiiiisssssssss Iiiiiiiiiiisssssssss." So Calaf is formed in you when you raise Rune Laf to your head, your Kaf or crown. That's the secret of the Calaf, the master of the middle east.
Questions and Answers
Lecturer: Any questions?
Student: China represents the east and the West. Is that Klipoth or what?
Lecturer: Yes. The west is Klipoth because the sun sets in Malkuth and descends into the infernal planes. In the drama of Geburah, Liu, descends into the initiate. It's a symbol of how the sun must descend into the west in order to go into Klipoth, to help us fight all that evilness inside of us, so that you can return to the east with the sun, through resurrection.
Student: So in the book of revelations, is that battle between the east and the west that battle between our brain, our mind and our sexual brain? Or is that the left and the right brain?
Lecturer: Well, it could relate to the battle between brain and sex. The sun must rise into your head through transmutation, not the other way around, where the soul-energies go out and follow the moon.
Student: What precisely are the stars that Calaf praises in Act III?
Lecturer: The Absolute. In the Kabbalah, if you look back at the Tree of Life, you have three regions that are above the Tree of Life. You have Ain, Ain Soph, Ain Soph Aur. Ain is the Nothingness, cosmic space; the Cosmic Common Eternal Father. Ain Soph is the light of our Being. As a star, the Absolute shines with omniscience and power. Calaf was praising the stars when singing Nessun Dorma, while looking at his Ain Soph, his inner Glorian, his Christ. He prays that his light aid him in himself, which is the Ain Soph Aur, the limitless light. The light is still unitary in the Unmanifested, but when that light enters the universe, it becomes the trinity: Kether, Chokmah, Binah, the three primary forces that emanate outward and then reconvene as three in order to create.
So, the Ain Soph is precisely our true Being, the star of Bethlehem. You can also look at the lecture we gave on Arcanum 2: The High Priestess, where we explained some details about the Ain Soph, Beth-le-hem, the house of bread, that shines with the Nativity of the Being, which we saw in Act II with the three magi, reading the scrolls of the initiate, his answers, and praising the birth of Christ in him when he takes the direct path.
Student: Well, does one choose to take the direct path to become an initiate, as opposed to the Nirvanic, spiral path? Does this happen in the astral plane?
Lecturer: Those initiations occur internally. There have been rituals done in the past, physically to commemorate and commence the initiate on the path of the bodhisattva. This doesn’t happen frequently because it's a very rare path. Not a lot of people take it, but the nirvanic path is pretty common. Those initiations occur internally through experiences. Your Being will show you if He wants, since his initiations and path belong to Him.
Student: Are there people on this earth working and achieving initiations?
Lecturer: I know people. I know many. Many of the people in the Gnostic movement are returning to Turandot, the Divine Princess Shekinah. There are many fallen bodhisattvas in this movement that are trying to rise again, like the prince in the beginning of Act I or the beginning of Act II. We hear the stories of Ping, Pang and Pong, who talk about how many princes tried to marry Turandot and how many of them failed. They reached initiation at some degree in the past but fell, and then they try to regain what they lost. It is a very difficult path, especially if such fallen masters are not diligent about working on the ego. Remember that they originally fell because of the mind.
Student: Are there any couples having a child through immaculate conception?
Lecturer: There are people, but usually those people don't talk about it with other Gnostics. Apparently, because there's a lot of gossiping and back biting in the Gnostic movement. Specifically, it's a big game of who can be more spiritual. It's the same ego adopted for other things, more spiritual things.
Student: That's kind of what happens in institutional religion. I grew up Roman Catholic. Very quiet about it, but then something just happened, a deep desire. It was all very natural. Can this happen very naturally? Can you become an initiate without even realizing what's happening on a conscious level?
Lecturer: So, good question. Samael Aun Weor mentions that there are many people who are in the minor mysteries, especially in the very beginning of the path, because they're practicing the three factors: sacrifice, birth of the soul through transmutation, and death of the ego. They may not be very awakened, but they have some degree of light, little by little, and some people may not even know that they passed through the minor mysteries yet. Except by having some experiences later on that show them, but there are people too who have been through the Major Mysteries that don't remember certain internal initiations because their Being doesn't want them to see it. This occurs mostly to protect that initiate from being proud, but in another sense, the work of the path itself is very conscious and very specific. To really know where we're at, we must be very awake.
So, of course there's levels. We do it by degrees. It takes a lot of effort on our part, to know where we are at, and the work requires a lot of patience too, because sometimes the Being, while He is very powerful, has a lot of light, doesn't give it to you until later, when He wants. We must learn how to obey, and not resent not having light, because that's our fault. If we have no light, it's because the Being doesn't want us to have light, and that's why Calaf in Act III suffers so much, because he wants light. He says, "I wish this night would end and I wish the dawn were here!" Every initiate suffers a lot in the inferno and must go through a lot of pain, but he has to be very humble and to accept his fate. Let the light enter him when the light needs it; when the light doesn't want certain things to be done, He withdraws. God divided the light from the night. You can relate this principle to the First Initiation of Fire, in which you start to generate that light, but God says, "Let Me divide the night from the day, let Me take that light from you, so that you don't make any mistakes," so we don’t harm ourselves. Because, while we may have light, we may act poorly. This work takes a lot of restraint on our part.
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