This is a transcription of an audio lecture from The Sufi Path of Self-knowledge, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
"Know the truth and the truth shall set you free," stated Jesus of Nazareth, the Patriarch of the Gnostic Church, the great Master Aberamentho, according to his sacred name.
This is the final lecture in a course we initiated a few weeks past, discussing the nature of Sufism and Gnostic doctrine, how to know ourselves, how to know that which is within us that is divine. We seek to comprehend through practical works the very essence of our divinity within us, within our consciousness, and which we denominate the Being. Many names have been given to that truth, that source, that origin from which the soul emanates. No matter what name we denominate that truth, whether it is Allah, Buddha, Christ, Tao, INRI, etc., that divinity is within us, and which specifically in the Gnostic teachings we call the Being. To be, to know as a conscious quality.
So we've been explaining the gradual steps that lead to that realization of the Being, of the truth. It is by practical works, learning to understand ourselves, our mind, and the obstacles within us that prevent our illumination, that we seek to comprehend how to change. We seek to comprehend the causes of our suffering and the obscurations to that light of that divinity within us.
In the spirit of universality, we've been explaining the teachings according to Islam, which in Arabic is submission to God's will, and the Sufi doctrine, especially the mystics of Islam. Sufis are as much the mystics of Islam as the Kabbalists are the mystics of Judaism. In this lecture, we'll explain many aspects of this path in association with the Tree of Life of Kabbalah, the map of the consciousness. Likewise, we will examine many elements pertaining to the mystical teachings of Islam, the esoteric doctrine.
We state that we seek to know the divinity and the Muslims speak of witnessing the divine as the Shahada, the famous declaration of faith, which states, "La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadun rasul-ul-llah." Meaning, "There is no God but God, and Muhammad is His prophet." The word witnessing is Shahada, to bear testimony, to verify what one has known or experienced. Now, the Muslim teachings of Shahada, which is followed by many millions of people today, is merely the public doctrine; to say that where there is no God but God, and Muhammad is His prophet, is easy to vocalize, to affirm. The word Shahada in Arabic relates to the word Mushahada, which means contemplation, meditation, insight, comprehension of the truth.
It is precisely by learning to meditate, go deep within our mind, our psyche, in which we know the truth for ourselves. We witness the divine through very concrete living experiences, known as gnosis. This word gnosis is Greek, meaning knowledge, signifying conscious experience. It is not associated with theory or belief, or scriptural knowledge, although those are useful in their place. Instead, gnosis, or the Arabic equivalent, marifah, is the direct knowledge of the divine, the truth. It is not by believing in anything that we will know that divinity. Instead, know truth and the truth shall set you free.
The founder of the modern Gnostic tradition, Samael Aun Weor, stated that, "The truth is the unknowable from moment to moment." When Jesus was asked, "What is the truth?" before Pilate, he remained silent. When asking the Buddha, "What is the truth?" he simply walked away.
Many people have spoken about the truth, whether through scripture, books, lectures, etc. In these studies, however, we seek to be practical. We seek to know that truth for ourselves, to know the divine within us moment by moment, the unknowable presence which is within our consciousness, within our psyche. For our purposes, we'll talk about scriptures pertaining to Islam, especially in relation to knowledge of God, knowledge of that truth, that source, which cannot be labeled, but can be verified. There is a famous commentator, Abd al-Karim al-Jili, who commented on a scripture or a writing by a Sufi master by the name of Ibn Arabi: his book Journey to the Lord of Power. He stated that “The journey to God is short; the journey in God is infinite.”
There are levels of being, levels of knowing, levels of cognizance, which we want to access here and now. Previously, we discussed the nature or the doctrine of momentariness, to be aware of our psyche moment by moment, and to be aware of the divine as a presence, as a force, and an intelligence, which we accomplish through observing our psyche, observing our mind, observing our heart, observing our body. That active observation is attention, an act of directed consciousness or directed will, directed attention within us. By learning to develop that alert novelty, alert perception, that awareness of ourselves, instant to instant, moment by moment, we in turn gain access to the truth, that direct knowledge.
Of course there are infinite levels of consciousness. The 14th Dalai Lama stated that really the consciousness has the capacity to expand to an infinite degree. This is very well is illustrated in many religious paintings where you see the heavens or the angels circling the throne of divinity and taking their pilgrimage towards that light, that source. That's the famous meaning of Hajj in Islam, the pilgrimage which we're going to discuss in brief in this lecture.
God is the unknowable, the truth. As it says on the Quran surah 6, verse 91, “God the Most High said, ‘They honor not God with the honor due Him,’” according to the scripture of Al-Risalah, the Sufi teaching by the famous master Qushayri who lived in Persia or Iran. He stated the following: “According to the commentary, this means they do not know God as He deserves to be known.” Likewise, Surah Ta Ha, verse 110, "He knows that which is before them and that which is behind them, and they encompass Him not in knowledge," which is similar to Surah 2. This is Al-Baqarah, the Surah, The Cow, verse 285: "He knows that which is before them and that which is behind them, and they encompass nothing of His knowledge except what He wills."
The truth can only come to us when the divine expresses of His will, of Her will within us, and we must learn to access that state by cooperating as a psyche, as a soul, as a consciousness. In order to attain that state, we must learn to be humble psychologically. Previously, we discussed in our lecture on the code of ethics, spiritual discipline, the need to train the mind, to not behave in negative ways, to not indulge in negative habits, and to destroy and comprehend those psychological causes within us that create conflict. Because, as the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition, Samael Aun Weor, stated, "Be humble in order to attain enlightenment. Thus after attaining it, be more humble still."
Humility is not an attitude. It is a psychological way of being in which we comprehend how our own sense of self, we can say egotism, egos, qualities, defects, vices, errors, whatever name we want to give them—these in themselves are obscuring the full manifestation of our divine potential, and we want to remove those shadows within our psyche, those causes of suffering such as anger, pride, fear, et cetera. By removing those conditions, those cages of the mind, we liberate soul. We liberate consciousness and then we can truly ascend to the heights of the divine. As the Book of Isaiah states, "Every valley shall be exalted, every mountain and the hill made low. The crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain." Meaning, it is a psychological work. Our own sense of egotism, our own negative sense of self must be conquered in order for the divine self, the Being, the truth to manifest.
Now, there is some interesting commentary just to elaborate on this point about asceticism or spiritual poverty given by, again this writer, Ibn Arabi, from his Futuhat Makkiyyah, which is The Meccan Revelations, a very extensive scripture. He commented that the first caliph, Abu Bakr, was reported to have said, "The inability to comprehend God is comprehension itself." Then, this point is that if we feel that we have a certain level of knowledge, we must understand there's always something higher, something beyond that which we must access.
As the Sufis state, the greatest position to follow is poverty, not physical poverty or austerities, but, psychologically speaking, we fast to our habits. We cease to feed our negative elements, our desires. Instead, we develop conscious qualities. We seek to overcome the conditions of our mind. There was one Sufi, I believe, who stated that a third of the stomach should be filled with food, while the other two thirds be filled with fasting and the Qur’an. While some people may take the symbolic language of the Sufis literally, symbolically-speaking, we must be in remembrance of divinity through meditation, scriptural study, profound comprehension…
There's a very famous teaching given in the Surah Ta Ha, verse 114, where Prophet Muhammad was taught by his inner Being, his divinity. He said, "Be not in haste with the Qur’an before its revelation is completed for thee, but say, ‘My Lord, increase me in knowledge!’" We must increase that knowledge, seek to understand what in us prevents us for accessing that, and to thereby deny our own selves, conditions, desires, through the art or path of consciousness, self-awareness, mindfulness.
The Three Levels of Religion
In next graphic, we have the three levels of religion. We find the three levels of religion in any doctrine, any teaching, since religious instruction or esoteric instruction is always given in three tiers. We have what is known as the introductory level, the intermediate level, and the esoteric level. All religions have a gradation of instruction, of teaching, and of discipline, in which we train ourselves to be more open and receptive to the influence of the divine.
In Islam, they call the first introductory level Shariah, which of course has a lot of negative connotation today. In esoteric studies, Shariah does not refer to the punitive or harsh laws of Muslim countries. Shariah is really in its heart is the practical conduct we engaged with to train ourselves—to not be angry people, to not have fear, to not have pride, to not have desire or lust, to not commit adultery, to not steal, to not take intoxicants, to not cause harm, to not lie. These are basic laws given in Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and whatever religion we study, since each has this code according to the idiosyncrasy of the culture it was delivered.
Beyond that, after we've established ourselves with mind training, we can enter into the mesoteric level, the intermediate steps, which is Tariqah. The last lecture we gave was on divine love, which is the path of Tariqah. It is the path of selfless service in which our spirituality is not based on ourselves, but for others. Meaning: we work on our own sense of egotism so that we can develop compassion for those who suffer and those who are ignorant. In this selfless path, we overcome the conditioning of the mind. We train ourselves so that we do not cause harm to others with our speech, our thoughts, our words, etc. Instead, we want to overcome the conditioning of our psyche so that our divinity can really help us to create religion, which is in Latin, religare, in one sense to reunite such as in a congregation or group, to unite people through divine law.
In Islam, the word “religion” is often called din in Arabic. Din more specifically refers to “judgment,” which is etymologically related with “custom, way, or affair.” Din refers to our conduct, our behavior, in how we curtail negative psychological states and eliminate them through inner judgment and comprehension in meditation. Din also has a strong relationship to the word dayn, which means “debt.” Truly, all of us are in debt before the divine law and must learn to pay our debts through conscious works, good deeds.
Lastly, we have Marifah and Haqiqah which is knowledge and truth. This is the highest teachings of any religion and is the topic of today's lecture. Now, with Marifah (knowledge) and Haqiqah (truth), these have been associated with the highest teachings of any tradition—the secret doctrine, whether in theosophy or the Fourth Way schools, and in Gnosticism. The secret of the divine path, Marifah and Haqiqah, knowledge and truth, pertains to the practices of what is known in Arabic as Allah-kimiya', alchemy.
Alchemy was associated traditionally with the transformation or transmutations of metals, a base substance into a pure substance, which many people in Europe were foolishly seeking to literally perform, to transform physical lead into gold, but that is not the meaning. The meaning is transforming the lead or the personality into the gold of the spirit, into the spirit of the divine, the truth. Alchemy is known as Tantra in the East, but the word alchemy also, Al-Kimiya, signifies chemistry (we have the similar origins or the root word). Kimiya also means to fuse or cast to metal. With the practices of a perfect matrimony or the perfect matrimony, the exercises of tantrism, man and woman in a marriage can unite to create spiritually and therefor fuse with the divine through the chemistry of God.
I will talk about the specifics of this, but something important to remember with these three stages is that, according to Ibn Arabi, the law of Shariah can be summarized with the following maxim: "What is yours is yours and what is mine is mine." There's a sense of separation. Meaning, we work individually as practitioners for ourselves, for our benefit, to serve God within us. In a path of Tariqah, "What is yours is mine and what is mine is yours," referring to selfless love, a state of compassion. In the level of Marifah, “Nothing belongs to you or me,” according to Ibn Arabi. Then with the knowledge of Haqiqah, the truth, "There is no you or me. There is only Him, the divine."
These are stages of discipline we train ourselves in and, of course, in the beginning we work with Shariah. In Buddhism, this is known as Shravakayana, the Shravaka path. Shravaka in Sanskrit means “to listen, to hear,” and Yana means “the way or path.” Anyone who learns for the first time how to change is a Shravaka, is a listener, to hear the truth and to practice it, and we will give more examples of this in relation to the intricate science of certainty according to the Quran.
With the middle path, the mesoteric path, we find in Tariqah, its equivalent is Mahayana, the greater vehicle: Maha, meaning great, in which our work is for others. We are not concerned with our own personal well-being, but we work to help others develop spiritually, and we overcome our own egos, our own senses of self, which create conflict.
In the highest path, Marifah and Haqiqah, is known as Tantrayana in Buddhism, especially Tibetan Buddhism. In this Tibetan Buddhist teaching, Tantra is the vehicle of a matrimony where a man and woman, in the pure sentiment and inspiration of the divine, can cultivate their marriage as a means of experiencing the truth and working with the most potent forces we carry within our physiology, and also our psychology, as we will elaborate upon.
Now, an important thing to remember is that with these steps, these are not something separate. Neither are they something that will go from one step up, a plateau, so to speak. Really Shariah, Tariqah, Marifah, Haqiqah unite; they are integral, meaning: one cannot know the truth without fulfilling the basic conduct of spirituality, meaning: to be good person, to be decent, to be humble and to help others. Likewise, we cannot know divine love if we are selfish, egotistically, psychologically speaking. All of us who begin any type of spiritual studies have to work on or become aware of what particular issues we have and change them so that we can really develop compassion for humanity and for its suffering.
Now, there has been a teaching, and there have been some people who have wanted to associate with higher stages of teaching, such as people who proclaim to have spiritual knowledge or to know the truth, but they fail to fulfill the basic conduct of being a decent human being. There is a very famous teaching and I believe it's given by Ibn Arabi as well. In his scripture Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom, he explains that there were people who saw a man flying in the air, and they were overcome by this phenomenon. They were very fascinated, obviously. Ibn Arabi asked, "Does that man follow the Qur’an?" Meaning, does he follow the scripture? Does he know how to be a decent person, to be kind, to not be lustful, to not be angry, to not have fear, because if he does not fulfill those laws, then ignore him. Because there are people who can have powers and abilities, but through desire, egotism, which is a different path than we teach. Here, we seek to give all of our aspirations to God who has power, who has capability and we as the human vehicle can be of service to that, not for our own will.
Dhikr, Remembrance of the Divine Self
So, what is the path we need to follow? Really, it is mindfulness, it is awareness and it cannot be emphasized enough. You need to be perceptive psychologically. In the doctrine of Islam, they refer to remembrance of God as dhikr. We talk about in these studies in relation to self-knowledge, the studies or the practice of Self-remembering, self-observation. What is the self we seek to remember? It is the divine Self. In Hinduism, they refer to it as Atman, the inner divinity, but we also want to become aware of our own egotistical self through the act of observing our mind, our heart and our body, our impulses, our desires, our instincts. Truly, to know the truth, we have to begin at this level and to be aware of our body, aware of our mind, aware of our sentiments.
For as Dhul-Nun al-Misri, the Egyptian, very famous Sufi master stated the following, "The key to success and worship lies in meditative reflection (fikrat). Whoever persists in such reflection in the heart will behold the invisible realm and the spirit. Whoever contemplates God for keeping watch over the thoughts which pass through his heart will be exalted by God in all of his outward deeds."
Again, we can refer to the three stages of religion even in this very brief quote which compacts a lot, meaning that whosoever contemplates God, who practices mushahida, witnesses God, understanding and knowing that God keeps watch over the thoughts that pass through his heart. This is the exercises of Shariah, to discipline our mind, to be aware of ourselves, to not act in inappropriate way according to the moment. Likewise, by doing so, one will be exalted by God, which is Haqq, the truth, Haqiqah. One of the sacred names of Allah in Islam is Al-Haqq, the Truth, which is where we get Haqiqah. It is in controlling our mind in which we will be exalted by the truth in all of our outward deeds, according to the path of Tariqah, one's actions.
What does it meant to worship God? All religions have their own idiosyncrasies. We have our own methods and practices in this teaching as well, but one thing that's pertinent to all traditions is the deep connection of the heart to the divine, in which we seek to really only worship that which is true within us and not that which is false. It says in Surah Ta Ha, verses 98-99, “Your only God is God besides whom there is no other God. He encompasses all things and knowledge. Thus do we narrate unto thee some of the accounts of those who have come before (such as Moses and the other prophets) and we have given thee a reminder from our presence.” “The Reminder” is another name for the Qur’an, the Recitation, the teaching.
So, there is no God but God. The Muslims make a very strict observance of worshipping only the divine, and they call worship of idols shirk, or to worship God as something multiple. This has a very interesting psychological application to us, because in a given moment, if we are mindful, we will perceive elements that seek to grab our energy, our attention. In a moment of anger, we want to speak harm, and if we give in to that element, if we give in to those words and we express that negative emotion, we are worshiping an idol. We are worshiping a psychological quality that is other than God. That condition of anger is a shell that has trapped the light of God within us and we need to learn to extirpate that from our psyche, to liberate the free consciousness, the free essence, the soul. Anytime we give into fear, other egos, other qualities, conditions of mind, and we identify ourselves with those elements, we are practicing shirk. That is a form of worship, because our love of being is how we worship God or how we turn away from him.
The unity of God is very famous in Islam, the doctrine is called Tawhid, the unity of the Truth, because that light is universal, it is cosmic, whatever name we give to that. Within us, we have sadly, unfortunately, due to mistaken habits and will, wrong action, we have taken the light of the divine within us and caged it in what we call our pride, our fear, our anger, vanity, etc. These are conditions that we created that trap that light, and by breaking those shells, we free the genie from Aladdin's lamp as we were discussing previously. Truly, we need to remember the presence of the divine. That presence in Arabic is hudur which is where we get the word muhadara which means awareness of God. So self-observation, self-awareness, remembrance of God is the act of controlling our mind and remembering the qualities of the divine which is virtue, compassion, peace, etc.
This psychological quality is beyond the intellect. Knowledge of the truth is beyond conceptualization, rationalization, etc. While we can gain knowledge or we can study this teaching and study any religion in an intellectual sense, it does not equate with the actual experience of that divinity. For as the Sufi Lāhījī stated, "One cannot behold God by the eye of ratiocination derived from reason for only through the eye of the heart which is known as the faculty of inner vision can one behold God."
Likewise, he emphasizes the path of Shariah, the discipline, the conduct we need to know the truth.
“As long as you do not focus this eye (meaning this perception, this self-awareness, self-observation) so as to sharpen its vision with the collyrium of asceticism, spiritual conduct, purgation of the soul, purification of the heart, illumination of the spirit, you will be unable to witness the Friend's beauty and contemplation.”
People associate that term ‘asceticism’ with monks in sackcloth whipping themselves in a form of self-flagellation and very morbid behavior, and that is not something we encourage. Instead, we teach to discipline our mind. Asceticism can be practiced in an esoteric sense, not physical austerities, but mental psychological training in our daily life and our daily occupation. It does not mean we have to go to a monastery or Sufi lodge to learn to meditate. Instead, we learn to meditate in whatever circumstance we find ourselves in and that is our discipline, our conduct.
“The Friend” is the divine. The Sufis used this term for God, for the Being and contemplation again is mushahida, to witness God, whether through meditative experience or in the dream state, when one awakens in dreams to know that which is the truth, directly, with cognizance.
The Perfect Human Being
“All the masters of the Path are in accordance that this reality can be realized only through the guidance of a perfect man who knows and contemplates God.” There have been many perfect men and women, many great masters and prophets and really, when we study ourselves and study esotericism, we should always rely on the prophets, beings like Jesus, like Buddha, like Muhammad, Krishna, those beings who fully exemplify the light of the divine and whose conduct has been tested and verified as true. We should not rely on theories or uncertain sources but our own experience and the scripture or the scriptures.
So what is an example of a perfect man? We find Muhammad, who of course, sadly, today is terribly denigrated and misunderstood. It is the effort of these lectures to help elucidate the spiritual roots and esoteric meaning behind his teaching, his doctrine. So we are going to talk about what he symbolizes for us, what he represents, because the perfect men and women, the prophets who came previously, in their very daily acts of kindness and expression and their discipline, came to symbolize a path we need to follow.
There are many interesting things we can learn from the life of Prophet Muhammad which are symbolic for us and which he purposely played out, taking on a role to teach us something profound about ourselves. The Sufis emphasize that really, he is a great master, a very radical teacher and of course, all radical masters are very controversial, but if we look at the Hadith and examine the scriptures of the Quran from our own experience, we can verify the beauty of that teaching.
“The outer law, Shariah, is my word,” he said. “The spiritual path, Tariqah, my actions, and the inner reality, Haqiqah, my inner states.”
Whether in Islam or Buddhism, any master exemplifies and manifest those three paths simultaneously, in every action. The Buddha manifested Shravakayana, Mahayana, Tantrayana. Moses fulfilled the body, soul and spirit of his doctrine. Moses wrote the Torah but other scriptures associated with the higher teaching such as the Talmud related to the middle path, and then the Zohar is the esoteric doctrine of Israel. The Freemasons followed the paths of the Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master. So again, these levels of religion are levels of being but also levels of instruction as we mentioned. Certain scriptures pertain to each degree.
As we discuss previously, these three paths have a correlation to our three centers of activity. We have mind, we have emotion, we have movement. We can say we have three focal points, we call them “brains,” and a brain in esoteric psychology does not refer to the physical matter in the cerebrum. Instead, it pertains to a center of activity, physiological and psychological, which manages energies. Thought is a form of energy. Emotion is a form of energy, and will, desire, instinct, impulse, movement is another form. We must learn to comprehend these levels in ourselves, our own psychology, as a whole. Really, our heart relates to our words. How we feel, we express through our language. Likewise, our actions refer to the center of movement, and our inner reality is experienced when our mind is enlightened, when our consciousness is illuminated by harnessing those energies of Tantra which we will discuss.
The Sufis really emphasize the integral nature of this master and something we should follow in our own practice. The following was given by the book Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri. “If someone requires of himself the conduct prescribed by the divine command (Shariah), God will illuminate his heart with the light of realization (Haqiqah). There is no station nobler than the station of following the beloved (or in Arabic it is al-Mustafa, the beloved of God who is Prophet Muhammad) in the orders he gave (Shariah), the actions he took (Tariqah), and the character he possessed (Haqiqah).”
Let us examine what he represents for us because his life is something symbolic and any figure in the Bible or the Quran who physically lived came to demonstrate something psychological for us, which is evident by looking at some of the etymology of Arabic and Hebrew.
Kabbalah and Sufi Mysticism
This is an image of the Kabbalah, the famous mystical Tree of Life, symbol of the highest levels of consciousness, which descend through different levels of dimensionality down to the physical plane and into more dense regions of matter, energy and perception. In discussing psychology, we use this glyph. It is a map of consciousness. It is also map of the universe and the different dimensions we can experience in a meditation or in the dream state. In Islam, heaven is known Jannat or Jannah, and Buddhism talks about Nirvana. Likewise, we have different terms for heaven in different cultures and that is really referring to this Tree of Life. These are higher levels of being that we can access if we learn to meditate.
A very important sphere in this glyph is at the very center; we have included the title, Tiphereth, with the Hebrew letters included. Tiphereth means beauty. It is the very center of this Tree of Life, and to explain Tiphereth, we will elaborate on this glyph in its entirety. Notice that there are three trinities included here. The top trinity is referring to the highest forces in nature which the Gnostics called Christ, Chrestos, the anointed one. These three spheres refer to Father, Son, Holy Spirit in Christianity. Kether, Chokmah, Binah in Kabbalah, or Crown, Wisdom, Understanding. These are forces; these are not people. This is why in Islam, they strictly reject the trinity, because the Christians at that time were literally worshipping the trinity as three people, and that is wrong. The truth is that these are energies. It is one force, one light, one intelligence which can manifest in diverse ways. We call it Christ or the First, Second and Third Logos in Gnostic terms, in Greek terms.
Below that, we have on the right, the Spirit, known as Chesed in Hebrew meaning Mercy. In the Qur’an, when it says, Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim, “In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful,” it is referring to that spiritual quality known as Chesed, which is Mercy. The word Rahman relates to Hebrew Ruach, which means wind, breath, spirit, which is within us. To the left of that we have Geburah which is the Divine Soul, divine consciousness, which is not stained with impurity, and does not enter conditionality.
Now, below that is Tiphereth, human will, Human Soul, that is really where we originate from. Our soul, our essence, our consciousness emanates from this middle sphere and really, when the soul is fully developed, it is beauty. It is pure and Tiphereth can also mean splendor, radiance, light.
When we work with self-observation, we are working with this willpower to be controlling the lower aspects of our psychology. This unconditioned will, Tiphereth must conquer and control the lower spheres. You see here Netzach, which is the mind, intellect, thought. To the left of that, we have Hod, emotions, the heart. Below that, we have the Yesod, which is energy, vitality, sexual power which is used in tantric practice in a marriage in order to illuminate the other spheres ascending upward. Below that, we have Malkuth which is the physical body. It means “Kingdom.”
Our willpower has to control mind, feeling, body, movement. That is the nature of Tiphereth and in us, it is undeveloped, but when we learn to observe ourselves and break the conditioning of the mind, we liberate more willpower. We free it. What is interesting about Tiphereth is that if you take this image and put it on a human being, the Kether at the top trinity relates to the head, the middle trinity relates to the heart and the lower trinity or quaternary including Malkuth related to the sexual organs and feet. Now, Tiphereth of course is associated with the heart especially in Islamic mysticism.
As we find in the Hadith, the Muslim oral tradition, a very famous saying by Prophet Muhammad which emphasizes this point, the importance of developing Tiphereth. We will highlight for you the examples of how he is associated with that sphere of being, that he represents, Tiphereth. “There is an organ in the body that if it is righteous ensures that the whole system will be righteous and if it is corrupt, the whole body will become corrupt. This organ is the heart. There is a polish for everything that takes away rust, and the polish for the heart is the Dhikr, the remembrance of Allah.”
Arabic Kabbalah, the Abjad System, and the Sacred Kaaba
The word for heart in Arabic is Qalb, and what is interesting about Arabic and Hebrew is that each letter represents a number. Kabbalah is the science of numbers, mathematics, which are divine. The universe is governed by math, and God is a mathematician. He works with the laws of nature and manifests them and operates them. Each Arabic letter, each Hebrew letter, has a symbol associated with a certain psychological and spiritual archetype, a blueprint for a soul that we need to develop. In the abjad system which is the Arabic Kabbalah, how you add numbers together produces very interesting associations. The same with Hebrew.
The word قلب Qalb is made up of ق Qaf, ل Lam, ب Ba, respectively, with numerical values of 100, 30 and 2, respectively. In Hebrew, this is ק Quf, ל Lamed, ב Beth. When you add those numbers together, you get 132. If you take number the 1, add it to 32, 32 + 1, you get 33, a very interesting number in relation to the science of masonry in Europe. Also, likewise, you look at the name Muhammad, you break it down, م Mim, ح Ha, م Mim, م Mim, د Dal, respectively is 40 + 8 + 40 + 40 + 4 which is 132. Again, add 1 + 32 is 33. Masonry speaks often of the symbol of the 33 degrees of a master, which symbolizes the 33 degrees or vertebrae of our spine, our spinal column. Our spinal column is where the light of the divine can manifest.
We talked previously about how, through the exercises of Tantra, a couple can raise the creative energies of sex up the spine to the brain in order to illuminate it, so the images of the prophets having halos is a symbol of having raised the creative energies of God from sex to the brain, up the spine. Someone who has successfully raised that Kundalini serpent force to the mind and is filled with fire in their intellect is a master of the 33rd degree, having fulfilled each step of that terrain, that path up the spinal medulla.
Now, Muhammad represents this as we will examine in the story of his ascension and we will talk about that next. But what is interesting is that the word תִפאֶרֶת Tiphereth hides and implies a lot, and a very interesting symbolism. Each letter as we said is a representation of a quality. The letter ת Tav, the final letter of the Hebraic alphabet, this 22nd letter, can mean “seal, truth, cross, path, covenant.” Notice that the word תִפאֶרֶת Tiphereth begins and ends with ת Tav.
Muhammad is often cited as the Seal of the Prophets, the Seal of the Truth, as given in the Quran, Surah 33, verse 40, Al-Ahzab. “Muhammad is not the father of any of your men but he is the messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets and Allah has full knowledge of all things.” Seal of the Prophets is khatim an-nabiyyin, and most Muslims associate this as meaning that he is the last of the major prophets to come teach humanity. But really, in a strict esoteric sense, seal of the truth, seal of the prophets is Tiphereth, because it begins with ת Tav and ends with ת Tav, “truth, seal.” If you are familiar with Tibetan Buddhism, we have Dzogchen, which is the great perfection or Mahamudra, the “Great Seal.” It is the same meaning. Buddhism is implicit within that name תִפאֶרֶת Tiphereth.
Notice also in the middle of this word if going from right to left because Hebrew's right to left: ת Tav, פ Peh, א Aleph, ר Resh and ת Tav. ת Tav begins and ends this word, and at the center of this phrase is the word אר Or: א Aleph, ר Resh. Or if you add the letter ו Vav in the center, it is אוֹר Aur, א Aleph, ו Vav, ר Resh, signifying light as the book of Genesis states, “Let there be light and there was light,” Yehi va aur vayehi aur. אוֹר Aur means light, and it is at the center of this word. If you add the letter ו Vav, the sixth letter of Hebrew alphabet, it spells “light” in the center.
ו Vav is direct representation of the spine. You take the letter ו Vav as a straight line; it represents the spinal column. That is how the light emerges from our creative forces to the brain and illuminates us and gives us genuine beauty, spiritually speaking. תִפאֶרֶת Tiphereth is beautiful, meaning splendor, light, radiance. If you add ו Vav in the center, you can see that it has light within it, and then the heart is enlivened, is saturated with those cosmic forces when a couple practices alchemy. Now, again, תִפאֶרֶת Tiphereth is truth seal, seal of truth, the heart, قلب Qalb, or the heart in Arabic. Many interesting parallels that really point with great emphasis that Muhammad is Tiphereth and represents for us, our willpower, the beauty of the soul we need to cultivate.
In Islam, in relation to this topic, Muslims pray to the east, towards Mecca, the sacred stone Kaaba. To discuss Marifah, the highest knowledge of esotericism, the Muslims symbolize the secret teachings of alchemy, of a marriage, within the stone. The Kaaba in Mecca relates to the Kabbalah, if you relate to the Hebrew. Kaaba in Spanish is La Kaaba, take La and put it at the end, and you spell Kabbalah. Likewise, you spell “the cow” in Spanish, la vaca, which is the same root word for the word Baqarah, the longest Surah of the Quran, “The Cow,” emphasizing that there is really a great profound mystery there.
So Muslims pray to the east towards the Kaaba, the sacred stone that was established originally by Adam and Eve in Islamic myth, and became impure or blackened as a result of the impurity of the psyche. All of this deserves analysis, since the wisdom of the middle east bears profound symbolism. The stone, this energy, this foundation of our temple, our Kaaba, spiritually speaking, has become impure and refers to our energies. It is the forces upon which we exist physically, but also spiritually. These energies have been corrupted by desire, by lust.
The Kaaba is prayed towards five times a day. Muslims pray toward the Kaaba daily and the direction in which one prays is called قِـبْـلَـة Qibla. Again, you hear the word قلب Qalb, heart, implied there, and also, قِـبْـلَـة Qibla, Kabbalah. Kabbalah in Hebrew simply means “to receive.” It is knowledge that we receive consciously from God. It is not limited to what we read, but something we verify for ourselves. The Kaaba, the stone, is a symbol of the energies we carry in our body, which if we use for spirituality, can elevate us to the divine, to enliven our heart and awaken our consciousness.
In Arabic Kabbalah, ق Qaf can signify the powers of the head, ل Lam the powers of speech, and ب Ba the House of God, Bayṫ Allāh, the Kaaba or stone of Yesod, whereby divine forces coagulate. Through controlling our mind, our ق Qaf, through mantras, sacred sounds through the power of ل Lam, the tongue, we invoke divinity into our house of God, our heart, ب Ba. Even the Arabic letter ب Ba appears, in its calligraphy, like a cup, chalice, or receptacle that receives the solar, divine forces. All of this signifies how divinity descends through prayer and recitation into the temple of the spirit, our heart.
This is why the Sufi master Bayazid Bistami stated the following, “When you are separate from the Kaaba, it is all right to turn toward it, but those who are in it can turn toward any direction they wish.” This is a very radical statement from a Muslim, considering that this is very important to perform the canonical prayer Salat. The meaning of that is that if you know the symbolic meaning of the Kaaba and if you work with your stone, the creative sexual energy, the creative power, it does not matter what direction you pray. Instead, you learn to direct those forces from the base of the spine to the brain and into the heart. That is how you receive knowledge, Kabbalah within your emotional center, within قلب Qalb, the heart in Arabic. Likewise, as I mentioned, it does not matter what direction you pray but when you know the قِـبْـلَـة Qibla, you know how to redirect those forces within you, you are praying to the east symbolically, since in the Tree of Life, the east is Tiphereth, astrologically related to the sun when it rises. Your قِـبْـلَـة Qibla, your direction to which you pray is within you. Through alchemy, you raise the powers of Yesod to the east, up to the mind and then to the heart. This is very well-explained in Kabbalah.
We mentioned in the previous lecture on divine love how the symbol of Islam, the crescent moon and the star, is a symbol of how we transform the moon of our psyche into the sun of the Spirit. The star Venus, the star of love, Venus-Aphrodite, is “beauty” in Greek, and she is the divine feminine within us, the serpentine power called Kundalini, which is asleep in us in the base of our spine, according to Hinduism, Hindu anatomy, Hindu occult anatomy.
The sexual stone hides within it the energy of Kundalini in the base of the spine, and the stone is called the Yesod in Kabbalah, the foundation of our temple, because how we use our energy determines our spiritual life. If we waste our energy, we cannot function, but if we conserve our forces and become hermetically sealed, psychologically speaking, we do not identify with life so much and do not waste our mental, physical or emotional energy, we will become much happier and elevated.
How we use this energy of the creative power in us, the sexual power is that serpentine force that can raise us spiritually. Another interesting thing about this stone of Kaaba, is reported in pre-Islamic myth that there was a serpent sleeping at the base of this temple, of the stone, within the Kaaba itself in the earth. It is representing for us that creative power of the Divine Mother is in that stone. Many people are familiar with tantric yoga, raising the Kundalini force through sexual union up the spine to the brain. The stone is a very symbolic thing which we are going to elaborate with the myth or the teachings of Muhammad's ascension.
The Ascension of the Prophet
The very famous teaching of Muhammad is that he was meditating at Mecca, meaning, he was asleep and reflecting on his inner divinity while near the Kaaba itself. He became drowsy (emphasizing for us that in meditation, we become sleepy physically but consciously, we are alert, we are aware, we are vigilant). At that point, he encountered a mystical creature called Al-Buraq. It is an animal with the body of a mule, the tail of a peacock and the face of a woman, which he rode upon towards Jerusalem in a few moments and afterward, he ascended the seven heavens mentioned in Islam. The Tree of Life of Kabbalah represents nine heavens but you can also say seven dimensions, so the Muslims and the mystics of Israel are in agreement.
But how did he ascend towards those higher levels of being up those different steps of the Tree of Life? Precisely through working with the stone in Mecca.
If you look at the Arabic root of the name البراق Al-Buraq, it means “the lightning,” lightning bolt, and if you translate that into Sanskrit, it is Vajra. Vajra is a lightning bolt that the gods or the Buddhas wield, or Zeus wields to destroy the impure. That lightning is the creative Kundalini force of the spine that can help you to ascend up the heavens, the seven heavens or seven chakras of the spinal medulla up to the crown in order to connect you with the divine.
The name البراق Al-Buraq contains the word Ur, the Arabic نور Nur, or “light” of chastity. Remove Ur from Buraq, and you are left with Baq, the root of the term Baqarah, the sacred Heifer or Cow within the Qur’an, a symbol of the Divine Mother.
You find the name Buraq of course of our current president, but it also is a Muslim name and it relates to the Hebrew Barak in the book of Judges chapter 5, verse 12, which explains the exploits of the prophetess Debora or Deborah who was a judge of Israel fighting against the Philistines. Again, she represents something psychological, how our own consciousness needs to wage war against the infidels, which are not outside of us, but in us, our own fear, pride, worries, anxieties, hate, lust. These are infidels. These are something we need to be strict and to fight against consciously. It does not mean to go to war against someone else for their religion.
Now, it says in the book of Judges, “Awake, awake, Deborah, awake, awake. Utter a song. Arise Barak and lead thy captivity captive, the son of Abinoam.” They were persecuted by Sisera and his armies, the Philistine armies, in which Deborah led a great war in the Bible against her enemies and the enemies of Israel.
Again, Israel is not, in the Bible, representing the people of the Middle East, neither the Philistines. These are just symbolic representations. The names hide a lot of meaning. Israel is from Isis, the Egyptian goddess, the Divine Mother, Ra, Osiris-Ra and El in Hebrew which means God. The people of Israel are all the parts of our soul that are trapped in all the discursive psychological elements we carry within, which produces our suffering, and that which we call ego, negativity, self, infidels, defects which we have to fight against, those qualities that trap the divine light. Deborah is the judge of Israel, meaning she judges herself in meditation, that quality in us that helps to judge ourselves in which we combat those enemies to God, those unbelievers, so to speak.
It says, “Arise Barak.” Barak, Buraq, “the lightning, arise from the base of my spine to my brain and then to my heart up that mountain range to illuminate my psyche,” in which Barak is that sword, that fire that emerges when we work with sacred sound, with mantras. The word Deborah in Hebrew comes from Dabar, which means “word, to speak, to pronounce.” The letter ה Hei which is the H sound at the end. You put it to the front of her name, it is Ha-dabar, the Word. “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was of God and the Word was God.” When a couple unite sexually, they can pronounce sacred mantras and awaken that fire that we will send up the spinal column to the brain and is that sword that will help us fight against the evil ones within us. Again, the word sword is the letter S, the vowel S (we say it is a vowel in an esoteric studies). The letter S, if you pronounce it as a mantra, ssssssssssssssss, is the power to awaken that creative power. It is a fire, it is the sound of a serpent, serpentine fire of Kundalini that rises within the spine. That is the sword, S + Word, which we can awaken within us.
It says, “Awake, awake Deborah, awake. Utter a song,” meaning: pronounce mantras when you are with your wife or your husband in order to awaken that fire and to fight against the enemies of God which are within us.
So, Prophet Muhammad represents that, the qualities of the heart that help to raise those forces and to wage difficult wars against the lower selves, the nafs, egos.
One thing I will mention about again is the people of the Philistines. Literal people, of course, associate the scriptures as a history book, which is not the case. It is a symbolic text. You look at the word Philistine and it has many interesting relationships to the Greek language. You can say that the term Philistine sounds like Phila, Philadelphia, which is a Greek work meaning from Philos, “to love,” or Phileo, “to love,” and Adelphos, which means “brother.” Likewise, Philistine, if you break it down into Greek can mean Phile-Hestia, which means “tribe of the hearth” or “lover of the hearth,” someone who loves the fireplace.
This is an interesting symbol. It really refers to those egos, demonic qualities within the psyche which love evil, love to do harmful things, who love the fires of lust, to use our creative energies in the negative way. Yesod is the stone where the fire of life emerges physically and spiritually. Those who love the hearth, the Philistines, signifies any person who loves that energy but in the wrong way. They like to abuse that power through lust, through fornication specifically, or adultery. They like to get burned by that energy, to not conserve it and use it for God. So, these are the Philistines, those who love those egos, those devil qualities within the psyche, the conditioning of the mind. Likewise, the people of Israel must really liberate all the parts of God, all the qualities and particles of the soul that are trapped in suffering.
What we will mention is that to raise those energies, we must specifically work with meditation, which is allegorized in the Ascension of the Prophet. Muhammad's ascension represents at once how work with that power but also how to meditate, because he was contemplating God at the stone of Mecca. Then, in a sleepy state, he accessed that Samadhi, ecstasy, Satori, whatever word you want to give to it: a profound mystical state devoid of any subjectivity or limitation.
Sufis explained what we need to do to acquire that in Al-Qushayri’s Principles of Sufism. He states the following: “In general, it is to the measure of one’s alienation from one’s own ego that one attains direct knowledge of one’s Lord… I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, ‘One of the tokens of the gnosis of God is the achievement of deep awe and reverence for God. If someone’s realization increases, his awe increases.’ And I heard him say, ‘Gnosis requires stillness of heart, just as learning requires outward quiet. If someone’s gnosis increases, his tranquility increases.’”
We emphasize meditation as the science in which we learn to understand the root causes of our suffering by using those energies for our spirituality.
Selflessness and the Unity of God
In this graphic, we also include the Tree of Life. I want to emphasize the need to change. This Tree of Life is God, we could say, in His totality, the Being in all the levels of consciousness, from the highest to the lowest. We, of course, are in Malkuth, the bottom, this physical sphere, but we are still part of God, that needs to obey and to submit in Islam or to bow to the will of divinity. We do so by comprehending and striving against our own defects.
To understand mystical experience, the truth, we must overcome our conditioned mind, because, it is that sense of self which blocks us from accessing that mystical experience. As Abu Sa'id stated the following, “Wherever the delusion of your selfhood appears—there’s hell. Wherever ‘you’ aren't—that's heaven.” Sense of self, selfhood, is ego. That's really our hell, our suffering. That is the opposite of the bliss, selflessness, virtue, and ecstasy of God.
Bayazid Bistami also stated the following, in relation to this quote: “I came out of Bayazid-ness as a snake from its skin. Then I looked. I saw that lover, Beloved, and love are one, because in that state of unification all can be one.”
This Tree of Life, we represent as different modalities of consciousness, of being, but they are one tree. Just as we look at a physical tree, it has many branches. It is really one integral living being. Likewise, this Tree of Life and its many parts is really one whole. There's no demarcation between this teaching and the doctrine of Tawhid in Islam, because within God, all is one, but He manifests in different ways so that we can access him and gain knowledge. Of course, when Bayazid says, “I came out of my skin like a snake,” he is talking about the shell of our terrestrial personality to express that creative divine potential, the kundalini serpent, shedding the impurities of the mind in order to elevate those forces within us.
What do we need to do? We need to seek. As the book of Matthew, chapter 7, verses 7-8 states, “Ask and it shall be given to you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh, recieveth, and he that seeketh, findeth, and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.”
Sufis have a very similar parallel about this quest for self-knowledge, of knowing the divine. This quote goes towards the explanation of the three levels of religion that we discussed. “Search for what you are asked about in the sanctuary of knowledge, Shariah,” meaning, the books and audio lectures or whatever scripture you have an affinity toward to study, let that be your sanctuary where you study divine wisdom. It is also the conduct we need to develop in order to experience the divine.
“If you do not find it there, then in the battlefield of wisdom,” is the path of Tariqah which, again, in Arabic, is the path of Mujahida, which is striving, or the path of jihad, path of war against the enemies of Israel, the ego, our negative sense of self. “If you still do not find it, weigh it with the unity,” Haqiqah, the truth, which you find when the body is in silence, in which the soul escapes from its material conditioning, its material shell, and ascends that Tree of Life that we are viewing. If it is not to be found in any of these places; if you're searching for the knowledge of the truth in yourself and if you don't find it in the books; if you don't find it in your daily life and your actions; if you don't find it in the highest levels of spirituality, in the unity, it says, “If you haven't found it in any of these places, strike Satan in the face with it.”
This has to do with verification of teaching. We may read about a doctrine, study it, be very devout Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, etc., but it doesn't mean that we've experienced God, the truth. We need to learn how to experiment, to test our knowledge of ourselves with scripture, and if we don't find it there, within our daily actions, then we must reject our methods. Then, seek the knowledge in the truth and the experience of the divine. If we are very attached to, maybe, a certain quality of ours or a belief, if we don't find that verified in anything we have read, experienced, whether in our daily life or in meditation, then strike Satan in the face with it. Meaning, you got to be very strict with your analysis. Meaning, do not believe or disbelieve anything, but experiment, verify.
Buddha said, "Do not take my word or face value or because you have respect for me. Instead, test my words like gold." Scratch it. Burn it. Do what you will with it in order to verify that it is what it is. Likewise, anything we seek to verify, we should test it in accordance with these three levels of religion: Shariah or conduct, religious scripture; Tariqah, our actions, our daily life; and Haqiqah, the Samadhi experience, where we are united with the truth. We don't need to really conceptualize so much. We simply know, have the experience. If it is not found in any of those places, well, discard it. It is not true. That which is true is what you have verified, not what you believe, since it never leaves your heart. It is eternal. Now, to experience that, again, we emphasize mindfulness.
Self-Remembrance, Spiritual Practice, and the Present Moment
In this image, we have a man performing adhan, the call to prayer in Islam, in which they pray five times a day, which is a beautiful discipline, if done consciously, with awareness, representing the need to be vigilant psychologically, moment by moment. In Gnosis, we seek to pray more than five times a day. We seek to pray every moment. For this, Sufis also teach the same thing. "The greatest form of prayer is watchfulness of the moments," is what one of the Sufis we quoted, stated. We need to awaken consciousness to be aware of ourselves, to remember the presence of the divine, hudur.
There are steps and grades to how we contemplate the divine. Probably, one of the most important quotes from this Scripture we've been citing, Al-Risalah, is the following, "Al-Jurayri said that, whoever does not establish awe of duty and vigilance in his relationship to God will not arrive at disclosure of the unseen or contemplation, mushahida, of the divine."
Awe of duty means, to have reverence for one's practices, one's discipline. To meditate 10 minutes a day, 20 minutes, an hour, to mantralize, to pronounce sacred sounds or mantras, etc. daily. Whatever discipline we engage with, we must feel that awe in reverence of the divine in that act and make it consistent. Because if we don't practice one day, we practice every other day, we are not establishing awe of duty, which is a responsibility of the soul to work for God, for the Being. In that way, if one does not establish that, one cannot arrive at disclosure, meaning, the tearing of the veil, the experience, to perceive God directly, to witness the divine. That is in essence of contemplation, mushahida.
Again, when we have experienced that, when we have tasted that, we in turn can orient ourselves in our daily life and guide ourselves to know how to live appropriately. Whatever problems we face, whatever difficulties or challenges we experience, the Being can solve that, will arrange the means for us to comprehend what in us produces our suffering and how can we eliminate that, and also, how we can resolve difficulties in life. It is by accessing this witnessing of God or practicing the shahida or mushahida, contemplation and meditation, in which we truly realize that there is no “I,” there is no me, there is no self, there is only Him.
Ibn Karbala'i stated the following:
“When the seeker realizes the station of contemplation (mushāhida), which is witnessing God’s Essence comprehending and encompassing all phenomena,” meaning, this whole Tree of Life. He is really in all aspects of this graphic, whether from the highest or the lowest. We are part of him but we are in the densest sphere. We have to learn how to ascend, to go up.
“Does not your Lord suffice, since He is witness over all things?” (41:53) When someone fulfills this precept, meaning, remembering God in our mind, our heart, our body, we then witness Him and He through us.
“He continually witnesses lights from the mundus invisibilis.” This is a reference to how in meditation, people who are remembering God may experience lights, clairvoyant images, experiences, whether in the dream state or when the physical body is at rest, when we are concentrating on God.
“From such a mystic’s perspective, this world and the hereafter are one and the same. This can only be realized by a vision that is all heart and spirit, not a view bound by mere mud and mire.” What is this mud and mire? These are our own afflictions which we need to conquer.
The vision of the heart and spirit is the work of Tiphereth, the Human Soul, that unconditioned will that can free the rest of the consciousness. It is the symbol of the knight saving the maiden from the dragon, which is in us. That maiden is our divine consciousness, Geburah. The Human Soul is the warrior, the spiritual fighter, the human soul that must work to be married with his Guinevere, so Lancelot with Guinevere, the marriage of the two souls. Arthur of course, is the king, the Spirit whom we have to work with.
The Science of Certainty in Meditation
Now, we discuss in the Qur’an, the nature of developing certainty of the truth and knowing the truth. Many asked Prophet Muhammad and complained to him that they cannot experience the divine, that they do not know the divine. They do not know the unknowable. This is emphasized in Al-Baqarah, surah 2, verse 118: “Those who have no knowledge (Marifah),” or you could say ilm in Arabic as well. “‘Why does not Allah speak to us or come to us a sign?’ So said those who are before them, [words] similar to what they say? Alike are their hearts. We have certainly made the signs clear for people who have certainty.”
What does it mean to be certain? To verify. To know. That is the essence of Gnosis, of Marifah, spiritual knowledge.
You could say that there are three degrees of knowledge as well, or three degrees of certainty in Arabic. You have ilm al-yaqin. Yaqin means “certainty.” Ilm al-yaqin means, the “certainty of knowledge.” You have ayn al-yaqin, the “perception of knowledge.” You have haqq al-yaqin, the “truth of knowledge.” Now, with the knowledge of certainty or certainty of knowledge, you could say, one receives that by studying scripture, by receiving a lecture, from hearing a talk or reading a book. We gain a certain level of certainty, intellectually speaking, where we feel, “This sounds right. I can verify this. I feel confident with this.”
The next step is ayn al-yaqin. Ayn in Arabic or in Hebrew means eyes to perceive. It is what we consciously verify, what we consciously experience. Meaning, our soul is free of conditioning; we perceive beyond the mind, the intellect, and whether through an astral projection, out of body experience, or meditative experience, we come to verify something spiritual.
Then, haqq al-yaqin is the truth of knowledge, or truth of certainty. That is when the soul fully unites with God and is one with the truth in which there is no “I,” there is only Him. The famous Sufi, Mansur Al-Hallaj, was executed by the Orthodox Muslims for saying, “Ana al-Haqq, I am the Truth,” which of course is blasphemous to them, considering that he was saying, "I am God." A way to remember it, it was not Mansur who was saying that. It was God in him. Of course, the orthodoxy had him executed, tortured.
Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I Am.” Meaning, Christ, through him, was speaking. God, through him, was speaking. When we have that level of certainty, it is because the soul is fully one with God. One perceives as God, temporarily liberated from the conditions of the mind. Of course, one thing is to temporarily experience that, another thing is to make that permanent. In order to permanently be in that state, we have to remove all conditions, and that is a long process, a path we have to follow.
These three levels of certainty are emphasized in the Quran, Surah 102, “The Rivalry.” “Rivalry in vainglory distracted you until you visited the even graves. No indeed! Soon you will know! Again, no indeed! Soon you will know. No indeed! Were you to have knowledge of certainty, you would surely see hell.” Again, hell is, we mentioned, not just a place. It is a psychological quality. It is not a place of brimstone and fire. Those are symbols of how, in a moment of anger, we are consumed by hate, by fear, by pride. These qualities make us vibrate at a very low level of being, and make us suffer, make others suffer. That is what it means to be consumed by hellfire, the ego, you could say, our negative psyche.
“Again, you will surely see it with the eye of certainty. Then that day you will surely be questioned concerning the blessing.” Then, the truth of certainty is represented in Haqaa, “The Inevitable.” Again, Haqaa, that which is “inevitable,” is Haqiqa, the Truth. This etymology signifies that we will inevitably have to come to speak to our inner Being and make account of our actions.
“Indeed, it is a reminder for the God-weary. Indeed, we know that there are some among you who deny it, and indeed, it will be a matter of regret for the faithless.” It does not mean people who just believe in a doctrine, but people who do not want to change, psychologically speaking, who do not know the divine. “It is indeed certain truth, so celebrate the name of your Lord, All Supreme.”
The Sufis emphasized this doctrine of certainty with the following quote:
“Knowledge does not come about except by the prior fulfillment of its conditions. That is, one must examine things in a pertinent and relevant way.” Meaning, to meditate, to experiment and verify, to test it, to not either believe it or disbelieve it, but to be neutral and to work with these exercises and to see the results and to know for ourselves what is true, what is not.
“Then, when hints of the divine become continuous and clear, demonstrative evidence has been obtained, the perceiver, through the succession of lights and his deep reflection upon them, becomes seemingly independent of the consideration of proof.”
Again, these lights are experiences we can have in meditation, or when the body is at rest, the soul enters the dream world. In that state, we can awaken our consciousness and speak face-to-face with the heavenly beings. In that way, there is no intercessor, we simply know, from that state on that Tree of Life, those heavens; we verify the nature of heaven, those qualities, those levels of being.
“It becomes seemingly independent of the consideration of proof.” Meaning, the more we verify, the less we need to read. Then, we simply know that the truth of the matter and from our conscious experience, or conscious work. Of course, we are Shravakas. We have to study and learn the teachings and the techniques so that we can ascend up those levels of path.
What is a real Gnostic, an arif in Arabic? It is somebody who fully manifests God. People in these studies, we could say, are aspirants. We aspire to know the truth and to fulfill it. The Sufis emphasized these qualities in relation to the constitution of someone who really knows God, someone who has fulfilled Ma'rifah and has manifested Haqiqah, the truth.
“The Gnostic is purified of base characteristics and the disasters of his nature. He stands patiently at the door of God and remains secluded in his heart.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
To stand at the door, as we see in this image, is the definition of a dervish, so the Sufi, the whirling dervishes, darvish, are those who stand at the door. In Arabic, it starts with the letter د Dal, or you could say ד Daleth in Hebrew: those who stand at the doorway of knowledge. The mystics of Judaism refer to Ma'rifah as Da'ath, the mystical creative knowledge of Tantra.
“He enjoys the good graces of God and corroborates him in all of his states. He has cut off the whims of his own self. He does not permit a thought in his heart that would summon to other than God. He becomes a stranger to the creation and is liberated from the catastrophes of his ego. He is cleansed of attachments and distractions and, in his secret being, is always conversing with God Most High. His every glance returns to God Most High.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
This reminds me of a Sufi poem by Mansur Al-Hallaj. He says, “O, my eyes, O, my blinks, my stares,” referring to God, that God sees through him and guides him in his actions. Which is why, I believe it is in the Hadith, the Muslim oral tradition, where prophet Muhammad stated that, “The one who loves Him,” or his God speaking through him, “For the one who loves me, I become his eyes, his ears, his sight, his taste,” and the soul is immersed within that being, beingness.
“Therefore, the truth inspires him with the intuition of his secrets, the secrets of the course of His omnipotence. This is why such a person is called Arif, a Gnostic, and his state is called Ma'rifah, direct knowledge.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufis
Conclusion and Practice
We always conclude these lectures with a practice you can engage with to help you to experiment and to verify what we are teaching, and to test it, to know it. In this exercise, continue to practice mindfulness, self-observation. Be aware of your mind, your heart, your body, your three brains: thought, feeling and movement, impulse, instinct, desire. At the end of each day, simply take a comfortable posture. You can sit in the full lotus or half-lotus or in a chair, Western-style, whatever is comfortable to relax the body and to silence the mind. Therefore, go into your consciousness and observe yourself. Do not identify with thought, feeling, impulse, desire, etc.
There is a mantra you can utilize from the Chinese tradition, Chinese Buddhist, or Chan tradition (the Japanese equivalent is Zen), a mantra that is called simply W-U, Wu. Amongst the Chan Buddhists or even the Zen Buddhists, they refer to this mantra as a negation of self. It literally means “no.” When you are examining your mind, you could do this mantra, the mantra Wu. It pronounced like a long exhalation of a breath: wwuuuuuuu. The master Samuel Aun Weor explains, it is a hurricane, a breath. Again, it reminds us of the Ruach, the spirit, the wind. You pronounce that mantra. Relax your body. You can do this for 30 minutes, an hour. Let your body relax. Then, eventually, let your body fall asleep. You can pronounce the mantra silently and then mentally.
When you examine your mind, look at the different qualities that emerge, memories, preoccupations, fears, etc., and simply negate them. Meaning, “Well, this is not my God. This is not my Being. This is not my true Self. Therefore, I am going to tranquilly ignore it.” Let it pass with the mind of intellect. Observe it. Let it go. Continue in the mantra: wwuuuuu.
In the writings of Samuel Aun Weor, he talks about this mantra in more detail, but a very simple way that you can silence the mind. When the mind is completely in silence and serenity, the soul escapes from the bottle and you temporarily experience the Truth, Haqq, your Being. Then, He can give you the guidance that you need for whatever issues or struggles you have.
Questions and Answers
Question: You were saying that we always need to be pretty much aware of what we are aware of.
Question: Meditation is a big step in that focus?
Instructor: We say that meditation is the daily bread of the Gnostic. “Give us this day, our daily bread.” That bread of knowledge is what we receive in meditation. That knowledge that we receive from the divinity within us is Kabel, Kabbalah. We will receive it within our qalb, our heart.
This practice of this mantra, Wu, is a preliminary step. We do mantras and sacred sounds to work with positive energy, to accumulate those forces in our interior in order to develop serenity. When the mind is perfectly in serenity, we forget our body, forget our mind, forget our sentiment. Then, the soul can reflect the divine qualities from above, in much the same way that a lake, when it is undisturbed, can reflect the stars of heaven, far away from any city.
Meditation is how we cultivate that knowledge. It begins first, observing ourselves. In daily life, we observe our mind, our heart, et cetera. Then, in that way, as the Sufis mentioned and we have mentioned in this lecture, "It is by developing awareness that God can exalt us in our daily life, in our daily deeds." Of course, meditation deepens that awareness.
Question: I always think of praying is we are talking to God, and meditation is we are listening.
Instructor: Meditation is listening. Also, when we pray, too, we do not need any formula. We can use many formulas such as the Ave Maria or Pater Noster, the Fatihah, the Opening of the Qur’an, which are very excellent for lifting our mood. I recommend that when you begin any meditation session, pray. You do not need to follow any specific formula. Just as a child approaches his mother, “Mother of mine, father of mine, help me.” God will respond if your mind is silent. Pray in the beginning and then silence your mind and then receive that knowledge. To pray is to strive, to conquer ourselves.
Question: It is just talking to God. It is just talking, right?
Instructor: When the mind is perfectly silent, then we can talk to God even in a deeper level. When the physical body is asleep, the soul escapes its shell and we can enter into the higher dimensions. Then, we can talk face-to-face. Then, we can conversate just as we are conversating here. Very vivid and real experience, God will make a form or image to teach us something.
Question: What is the context you used ‘hermetically sealed’?
Instructor: From the hermetic tradition.
Question: I only know the everyday meaning of that.
Instructor: Well, the science of hermeticism is the science of Hermes, which relates to the God Mercury. Hermes is associated with how we use our energy. We say Mercury to refer to, not just the physical element, but to our creative energy. The power of Yesod, the moon, that sexual force is Mercury. How we use it is how we illuminate our mind. Mercury relates to the mind as well. When we work with that power, we can illuminate our mind.
Hermetically sealed means we do not lose any energy. We discussed previously, in Tantrism, the couple should not reach the orgasm, specifically, that it is forbidden for those students to have any emission. The Dalai Lama states that the creative energy must never be let out. Likewise, with our heart. Likewise, with our mind. It is the renunciation of that habit, in which we conserve energy and transmute it, transform it. Where, we continually are filled with that water of life, which is the seminal matter, specifically. Hermetically sealed means, do not waste your sexual energy, but also, do not waste your emotional energy and your mental energy. Your quality of the mind is determined by how we use that creative power.
You look at people in the world today in relation to pornography or sexual addiction; that is all they think about, because, they are driven by that energy. We need to learn how to sublimate it, to direct it to more creative and spiritual purposes, which again, elevates our level of being, as we are discussing.
Question: Is there any Quranic interpretation that you would trust? I tried three of them years ago. You do not know which one to trust, because you cannot read Arabic, and you are reading somebody else's thought form. Do you know of any that are good?
Instructor: I know some English translations which are commended. Saudi Arabia commends the Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation. There is also a newer one, from more Western academia, which I believe is called “The Study Quran.” It is an English translation of course, but the good thing is that they explain some of the original Arabic, transliterated. That is very useful for people who only speak English and do not read Arabic to interpret certain words, such as some of the words we were using, refer to some of those resources. Very useful.
Question: Getting back to as you think, feel, and act, what is, as far as being in unison with all of it, does that have anything to do with it? I mean, how do you help others with that, with people? It seems there seems to be, what I have researched, is the cremation of care which is, no one really cares, hence skull and bones.
Another Speaker / Comment: Think of it like when you put two pianos together. You play a note on one piano that's side-by-side, the other one will pick up that note, will respond.
Question: It is like the 99 monkey syndrome, or the hundred monkey syndrome?
Instructor: I'm not sure.
Question: That just by being yourself, you just rub that off on others.
Instructor: If you have a higher level of being, it can help another person to rise to a higher level of being. Because, if you are vibrating with negative qualities, such as anger, you speak angry words, you are going to provoke anger in that person. Someone who has no training, they are just going to react.
Question: Isn't anger part of our dynamic though, the sadness, happiness, anger?
Instructor: Wrath or anger is an ego, a defect.
Question: No. No. Are we supposed to get, with all the atrocities and slavery, war, etc.?
Another Speaker / Comment: Yeah. Well, there is indignation. Yeah. That is the soul that says, "This is terrible." That is a justified sentiment. Remember in the book of Judges, judgment, in which God judges humanity, not out of hate but out of realization that people are corrupt.
Question: Jesus was angry at the bankers.
Instructor: He was very radical. People think of him as this very emasculated, sexless figure with no will. He is the whip of willpower to drive out those moneychangers, which is the symbol of all the egos we have who have taken the temple of God in us and prostituted it. He comes in with the whip. Christ, our inner Christ, rejects them. Just as Muhammad said, “Kill the unbelievers.” Kill your ego, but it does not mean kill anyone outside your religion. The thing is, when Muhammad came to Mecca, after taking over the city, he went inside the Kaaba and took all the idols that were there and knocked them over and destroyed them, as a symbol. He is representing how in our own physiology, our energies, our mind, our psyche, we have to take all of those egotistical elements and remove them.
Question: From the Gnostic teachings, are you familiar with John Lash?
Question: Okay. He says that Jesus was a demigod.
Instructor: Well, in Gnostic and Buddhist terms, a demigod is a Bodhisattva, a master who is the essence of Bodhi. Sattva means essence or incarnation. Bodhi means wisdom or light. Wisdom in Hebraic Kabbalah is Christ. He was the incarnation of the Lord. Just as Muhammad was an incarnation of the truth, the Lord. Moses, Buddha, they all incarnated that light which the Christians called Christ.
The human person, Jesus of Nazareth was a Bodhisattva, a great master. He is very diligent and he is helping humanity today, although, anonymously, because, you see what they did to him. But he is very active. Any Bodhisattva is someone who works selflessly. He is a being with divinity fully illuminated within him, like Mansur Al-Hallaj. He said, “Ana al-haqq. I am the Truth.”
Those beings are very hard to comprehend at our level. If you awaken in the internal planes, in the dream world, the heavens, you can talk to him face-to-face. Personally, I know Jesus. I talk with him. I invoked him in the astral plane, and he has given me certain teachings that have helped me. He is a being that is very hard to comprehend. We say he is the head of the Gnostic Church. He governs countless trillions of souls. He has omnipotence, omniscience. He can help many people in many places at once without any confusion. That is the symbol in Buddhist doctrine of Avalokitesvara, the god with the thousand hands: that is Christ. All that light is everywhere and nowhere, or you could say, is not limited to any place. A Bodhisattva is a being that incarnated that. He is a demigod, part God, because he has incarnated the God but still, he is human soul. He is Tiphereth, the physical person.
Question: Personally, how are you gauging what is going on right now in this third dimensional reality that we're living in? In terms of what is going on in the world.
Instructor: Well, humanity has precipitated itself on the path of destruction. It is very bleak. We are giving these lectures and teachings to help save the hat from the drowning man. Because, as the Qur’an teaches, humanity is going to be judged, has already been judged in 1950, I believe. Samael Aun Weor says that the Elohim, the gods, judged humanity and said humanity is worthless. It is really devoid of value. Therefore, since people no longer want to change individually, then the rest of humanity has to get cleansed. There is a big cleansing that is going to happen. When religion talks about hell, it is really just taking those souls that do not want to change, and nature does that for them, purifies them in the center of the earth, in the internal dimensions. When they physically die, the soul goes to those regions to be purified of those ailments, those shells. That is like a recycling plant. They will be cleaned at the end, but it is a very painful process. I do not recommend it.
Question: What about the Elohim, the lowercase gods?
Instructor: Well, we say Elohim, are masters, or any being that has fully perfected him or herself, is an angel. That is an Elohim.
Question: Really? Even Lucifer?
Instructor: Lucifer is a symbol of a quality or an aspect of our divinity, a very controversial one too. Luci Ferros, the bearer of light. Again, that light is Bodhi, Christ, but it is the shadow. It is that element of Christ that enters into imperfection in order to tempt us. He is the tempter. He gives us ordeals in life for us to conquer them, not to fail, but to conquer them. Therefore, he gives us hardships so that we can psychologically train ourselves. Of course, since the writing of Paradise Lost by John Milton, people took this term, Lucifer, and totally misconstrued it.
Question: Well, there is Lucifer and there is darkness, just like light in Catholicism.
Instructor: Well, yeah. We say that, that energy, when it is impure is the blackened Kaaba: impure soul, impure energy. When it is purified, that Lucifer shines as light. He is a ladder to ascend or descend. He is that creative energy itself, the sexual power. He is the power of the Holy Ghost, you could say, the sexual energy we have been discussing, Kundalini. That energy can either liberate you or, if it is channeled through the ego, destroy you. People who use that energy in a negative way, obviously, create harm. You see humanity today, people are perpetuating their suffering because they are addicted to negative habits.
Question: Getting back to the negative habits, whether it is the sexual thing or drinking or whatever your past karma is, what is the best way to get rid of that karma?
Instructor: We have three steps in terms of psychological work: discovery, judgment, execution. The book Revolutionary Psychology explains that very well. You can also read The Great Rebellion. It builds off of that.
First, we have to discover our defects. Then, we have the judge them in the meditation after.
Question: All 2,000 of them?
Instructor: Well, there are a lot of egos obviously. You look at the Bible, how Saul destroyed his thousand, and then David killed his 10,000. Levels of a master that, first, in the beginning, kill a thousand egos, this is a symbol of a lot of egos, not a literal number. Obviously, if you have annihilated that many, you would be pretty pure. To be at a higher level, of course, eliminate 10,000. Ten refers to those 10 spheres of the Tree of Life. Meaning, you are purified in all those levels.
Of course, we have to start where we are at. Of course, the thing is not to get discouraged, because the reason why we have this teaching or any esoteric scripture is that there is a lot of hope. For those who want to change will change. For those who do not, they will not. You look at how the Qur’an talks about how people, when they are presented with the truth and the knowledge, they just rejected it, like Jesus, Buddha, etc. Christ was assassinated. Buddha was supposedly poisoned. Socrates was given hemlock. He did not want to be exiled from Athens. Many masters were persecuted. It does not surprise me that people do not like this knowledge. Obviously, we do not have many crowds. Those who want to change will change and will be benefited by the divine. God really helps those who help themselves.
First, work on your ego. Eliminate fear, anger, pride, all those conditions of mind. You will see, little by little; you will have experiences in the internal planes, where they are guiding you and they talk to you face-to-face about your work. They can help you. I have had that for a long time.
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