This is a transcription of an audio lecture from The Sufi Path of Self-knowledge, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
When we discuss religion, mysticism, occultism, the study of what is hidden from our perception, beneath the surface of the senses, really what we are speaking about is a particular form of experience or realization of what is inside. And we explain in the Gnostic doctrine precisely what the obstacles are within our psychology that prevent us from perceiving what is real, from knowing what divinity is, which we in these studies denominate “the Being.” As the founder of our tradition Samael Aun Weor stated, “The Being is the Being and the reason for the Being to be is to be the Being Himself.” This Being is a form of cognizance, perception, or energy which is beyond the mind, beyond will, beyond the heart and the body. In Buddhism this is the root cognizance of our inner Buddha, and our inner Being is the Buddha, the awakened one, which in Christianity we call Christ. This light or presence, this force known as divinity inside, this Being we seek to discover through spiritual practice, is precisely what we want to know, and what any genuine seeker of religion has come to precisely encounter within him or herself.
Any person who is entering any religion or spiritual teaching seeks to know God directly, not through theory, not through intellect, not through belief, but through direct perception of what is genuinely real. So we differentiate this type of spiritual understanding as being, cognizance, comprehension, whereas we differentiate this from intellectual knowledge, scholasticism, debate, theory, something that is intellectually fascinating or something that is to be argued for or against. We are not interested in that type of dynamic. We seek to know God directly.
Of course, in this teaching, we study many books, many scriptures to help us understand what is this root perception in ourselves, known as the consciousness, that is part of our inner God, our inner Buddha, our inner flame. But of course, we always balance the study with practice. In this teaching, we highly emphasize the need for practice and the need for effective methods to transform our mind and to experience divinity.
In this lecture, we are precisely going to discuss this point: what divinity is, and what is the type of knowledge that we need to know divinity directly. In this first graphic, we have a famous Tibetan Buddhist saint named Milarepa who was quite a remarkable figure because he actually was a criminal. He was someone who committed many crimes and had in fact incurred many debts as a result of his criminal behavior. But he realized precisely his position, his culpability, and took responsibility for his actions, and he actually became one of the greatest Tibetan Buddhist saints, which Mahayana Buddhism venerates and which we proudly study.
Milarepa gave a very beautiful teaching about this demarcation between knowledge and divinity, the Being:
“Just as fog is dispelled by the strength of the sun, and is dispelled no other way, preconception (or intellectual knowledge) is cleared by the strength of realization. There is no other way of clearing preconceptions. Experience them as baseless dreams. Experience them as ephemeral bubble. Experience them as insubstantial rainbows. Experience them as indivisible space.” ―Drinking the Mountain Stream: Songs from Tibet’s Beloved Saint
So if we genuinely want to know what God is inside, to experience what divinity is, we need to abandon a lot of our own preconceptions about who we are as an individual. Of course, this is a very challenging and difficult step to ask oneself and confront oneself, by asking this question: “Who are we really? Who is God inside of myself? What is divinity? How do I experience my own inner divinity inside?” When we ask this question, it comes to my mind a very famous Sufi teaching, which is from the mysticism of Islam: “He who knows himself knows his Lord.” Also, the Greek maxim on the Temple of Delphi taught, “Man, know thyself, and you will know the universe and the gods.” Homo nosce te ipsum, in Latin.
So we have to really confront this question in ourselves: if we do not know God inside, who is our inner divinity, our inner Being, the question is, do we really know ourselves in depth? This is precisely the maxim or ultimatum that any college of initiation or school of mysteries has taught, to ask this question: who are we, and do we know divinity? If we are honest and really examine the abundance of spiritual literature, genuine literature from different religions—whether from Hinduism as the Bhagavad-Gita, Buddhism as different sutras and tantras, teachings of Kabbalah such as the Zohar, the Talmud or the Torah, or the Tarot, the Egyptian mystical teachings; likewise, in the Middle East as the Quran and many different scriptures that have all taught an integral science by which we can unite with divinity—the thing is to ask ourselves what we know, genuinely, because if we do not know who is our inner Being, our divinity inside, as religions have pointed out, it means we do not fully know ourselves. This is the brave step we need to take when seeking genuine spirituality, genuine realization of divinity, to ask ourselves what is it we really know and to find what is valid and what is invalid.
We find here Milarepa. We chose this image because he is listening, actively. He, being a great saint, is demonstrating his humility by the fact that he is learning. He learns from all human beings, all sentient beings, without distinction. Even though he attained great realization, still he had an understanding that upon great heights of spiritual knowledge one has to be humble and to learn from all beings. So we should imitate his example. We should attempt to approach religion from the honest perspective and understanding that we do not know and that we seek to know, and that, as the gospels teach us, “Ask, and it shall be opened unto you. Knock on the door, and it will be opened. Seek and ye shall find.”
We want to understand precisely what prevents us from knowing divinity, whether given the name of Christ, Allah, Buddha, Ahura Mazda amongst the Zoroastrians—many names for divinity. We need to understand precisely what in us is preventing our perception of that divinity.
So we talk a lot about in these studies the difference between concept and reality, the difference between knowledge and being. Reality is the being, is that divine force inside us that we can actualize in this instant, if we learn to pay attention as the psyche. Concepts are our beliefs, our habits, our ideas about what religion teaches or what we experience, more importantly.
In this image, we have Rene Descartes, a French philosopher who is famous for stating, “I think, therefore I am.” And we politely disagree with Descartes by explaining that to think is not to be. The way to understand that difference is to understand that thinking is a type of process in our psyche that we typically identify with as being our identity, but if we learn to observe ourselves in our totality, understanding that our thoughts change, by observing our emotions change, by looking at our body, we find that sensations come and go. These things fluctuate. These are not permanent. So where is the inherent, intrinsic nature of this perception that we have? This is a very famous Buddhist teaching which we study: impermanence of the self. We find that these things are impermanent, therefore where is our genuine identity in this very moment?
So thinking is a process that really is mechanical, you can say. The mind can store information, concepts, have theories about the nature of language, philosophy, the nature of reality, but thought or thinking, concepts, are not the reality itself. It is merely a projection from the mind that tends to label information.
So we experience phenomena, but then we think and label those phenomena. This is the big question we need to ask: what is the reality that we are experiencing in the moment? In these studies, we talk about mindfulness and self-observation, to observe one’s body, one’s mind, one’s heart, to be aware and have the understanding that intrinsically we are not our thoughts. We are not sensations of the body. We are not the emotions. We are a type of quality of consciousness beyond that. And this consciousness can experience a dynamic of emotions and sentiment which is superior, divine, which we seek to access through practice.
Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am.” So what does it mean to be, to say, “I am?” Jesus of Nazareth who is the head of the Gnostic Church, the Christ force through him explained that “I am the way, the truth, and the light.” In Hebrew, in Kabbalah, Ehyeh asher ehyeh, “I Am that I Am,” which is what Moses heard from the burning bush, the Tree of Life, on Mount Sinai. When Jesus said, “I Am,” really divinity in him said, “I Am.” It was not the physical personality of Jesus whom people worship, but instead it is divinity inside that says, “I Am,” the Being, the presence that is eternal. Our thoughts may change, our appetites or habits, our beliefs, our theories, our experience of life may change, but God does not change. And that force is inside and eternal, that we can experience, and that says, “I Am,” Ehyeh, in Hebrew. Descartes says, "I think, therefore I am," and the thing is God does not think. God knows. God is not some anthropomorphic figure in the clouds, but is a force, an intelligence, a divine presence in our heart, in our very core of our consciousness, which we can experience if we learn the method. God does not need to think. He is.
There is the very famous saying of Jesus of Nazareth when he was persecuted by the Pharisees in his time, the people who believe that they know about spirituality but don't. They asked him, "Are you the Christ?" He said, "Before Abraham was, I am." Abraham, if you're not familiar with Judaism, was the founder of that tradition, and the people who were persecuting Jesus of Nazareth were very attached to their tradition and did not want to see what is revolutionary or new. Therefore, he was crucified.
People have concepts about the nature of divinity, about being, but the reality is something we have to experience, since it is beyond thought. Therefore, to think is not to be. To be is to be aware of thought, how it flows and changes and fluctuates, be aware of our emotional states, and the experience of life as sensation, as they fluctuate.
I'd like to quote from you one author, in this tradition, the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition; his name is Samael Aun Weor. He states in his book The Great Rebellion precisely this dynamic between concept and reality.
“Who or what can guarantee that concept and reality are exactly the same thing? Concept is one thing, and reality is another. There is a tendency to overestimate our own concepts. It is almost impossible for reality to equal a concept. Nevertheless, the mind hypnotized by its very own concepts always presumes that concept and reality are the same. Any psychological process that is correctly structured using precise logic is opposed by a different one, strongly developed with similar or superior logic. Then what?" —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
If any of you have ever studied philosophy, particularly the teachings of Immanuel Kant, he talked in his doctrine about the nature of knowledge and concept, known as the antinomies of reason, basically that you can have two arguments of equally plausible evidence and dissertation, different thoughts, beliefs that are equally plausible but contradictory, such as, "I believe in God," or, "I don't believe in God." One could provide evidence either way. It can be convincing, depending on the articulation of thought. These are contradictions or paradoxes, because both can be true or false at the same time, depending on your argument.
The point that Immanuel Kant was emphasizing in his contribution to Western philosophy was that the intellect cannot know the truth. Reading cannot show us truth. We can have ideas. We can learn methods. We need to educate our mind. This is necessary, but the actual experience or cognizance of what the divine is comes about as a result of spiritual practice. We can have an idea in our mind about why one religion is better than another, and someone of another religion could have the same belief about their tradition. There's conflict; this is why the world is such a mess, is in the state that it's in, due to people precisely deifying the intellect, people stating that the intellect can know the truth, and that we are the possessors of the truth, and that everyone else in the world doesn't know.
This is really sad, because we teach in Gnosis that all religions are universal, that they teach the same science with different language and different symbols, in accordance with the culture and the time in which Gnosis is disseminated.
Samael Aun Weor emphasizes this point:
"Two severely disciplined minds confined by ironclad intellectual structures argue with one another. They debate and dispute over this or that fact of reality. Each believes its own concept to be exact and the other to be false. Which is right? Who can honestly guarantee either case? Which one shows that concept and reality are the same? Unquestionably, each mind is a world of its own. In each and every one of us lies a kind of pretentious, dictatorial dogmatism that wants to make us believe in the absolute equality of concept and reality." —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
We all have this tendency to want to affirm our ideas about work or sports or politics, beliefs, economics. Every aspect of our life, we have certain attitudes that we project, and that we want to affirm to other people. When other people don't affirm that in us, we feel conflict; we feel pain; we feel struggle. But we have to understand that struggle comes from inside, psychologically, and that if we resolve the conflict in our mind, the need to affirm our beliefs, and simply to be receptive to the flow of life in the instant, we learn to understand people better. That in turn creates better harmony in our relationships with others.
The Level of Being
In our relationships to others, we talk about what is known as the level of being. We have a very concrete image we use to teach the nature and the relationship between knowledge and being. We're talking about concepts, ideas, intellectual knowledge, which we store in our intellect, our mind. Likewise, we talk about the being, perception, cognizance, consciousness, understanding of what is real, the perception of our mind, our heart, our body in this instant. We find that two lines intersect in a given point, and that point is this moment.
In Sufism, we talk about the Arabic word waqt, which means the moment. The Sufis talk very extensively about this, and so do the Buddhists. In kabbalah, we find the same teaching, called mindfulness, to be aware of our understanding of divinity here and now, in our presence. That in turn develops and changes our relationships with others.
Our habits and our ideas and our attitudes shape our life. Our mind shapes our life. What we are inside attracts the different and various circumstances of life outside. So, if we change the way we think, the way we feel, and the way we act in relationship to others, obviously the external world will change. The problem is, people want to hold on to their concepts about reality, and they push it onto reality, expecting others will conform to their beliefs. We find this in different countries throughout the world, such as the Middle East where they believe everyone should be Muslim. In America, we have more so-called freedoms, and people are free to agree to disagree, but there are tendencies in us and all human beings to want to affirm our beliefs, and to have others conform to that.
If we change the way we think and we are understanding of the idiosyncrasies of others, to be aware of the mind of others, likewise we change our attitudes about ourselves, to generate compassion towards others. We then attract different circumstances of life.
We talk about the level of being. The quality of our mind determines the quality of our life. Acquiring things, materialism, goods, can satisfy us for a moment, but the genuine happiness of the spirit inside, the divinity inside, comes about by being present, and being aware that we have divinity within us. Therefore, we have no need to fear economic problems, or as Jesus taught, "See the lilies of the field? They toil not, nor spin. See likewise the birds and fowl of the air. They have need for raiment, and yet the Lord sustains them. How much more so you being made into this present image. Shall you not receive the benefit of your Lord?"
That comes about as we learn to reconnect with our divinity. We change our level of being. So, what is the level of being? It is our way of life, our thinking. Samael Aun Weor in his book Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology explains this:
“Nobody can deny the fact that there are different social levels. There are churchgoing people, people in brothels, farmers, businessmen, etc. In a like manner, there are different levels of being. Whatever we are internally, munificent or mean, generous or miserly, violent or peaceful, chaste or lustful, attracts the various circumstances of life." —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
In this image, we have two lines. The horizontal line is the line of life. On the left, we have our birth, our childhood, progressing to the right towards school, education, work, family, career, friends, marriage, old age, sickness, death—progressing towards the end. This is a mechanical process in which we go through life experiencing our economic issues, our daily issues, from birth to death.
This is a path that is not necessarily integral with the vertical line as we find in this image. This vertical line is known as the line of being. This refers to the quality of our perception, the quality of our consciousness. There are superior levels of being and there are inferior levels of being. A person who is a drug addict or a prostitute, someone who dwells in bars or is a criminal, like in the case of Milarepa, has a very low level of being, meaning: these people, in many people's eyes, are usually inferior in society. They have a lot of suffering in their life. Their level of being is inferior, because they are engaged in habits which are destructive.
Above that, we have superior levels of being. This is not to talk about social class specifically, but qualities of our mind, whether we have a generous heart, compassion, understanding, peace, love towards humanity. Likewise, this refers to the virtues of the Being inside, which we develop as a result of working on the obstacles in our mind that prevent us from accessing that light. The Being and life intersect in this moment, and the way that we ascend to a superior level of being is precisely by learning to direct our attention.
What are our thoughts? What are our feelings? What is our mood? To observe that is fundamental, to have a sense of separation, not as a zombie-like state, like the state in which we are dull people, but to really live life intensely, with profound awareness, insight, cognizance—this is the line of being which we discriminate between what in us is real and what is false, because all religions teach us that we don't know the truth. We don't know divinity, and that we have created many obstacles inside, like our anger, and pride, laziness, lust, defects, habits that are destructive, whether to a minor or severe degree.
Obviously in the case of Milarepa, when he was a criminal, it was very severe. He was believed to have been practicing certain arts in esotericism which are very negative. He was known as a witch or a sorcerer, somebody who knows how to use the mind to harm others. He realized his mistake. He realized that he was harming others and himself as a result, and then he renounced his habits, decided that he wanted to follow a path of virtue. Then he started to ascend the vertical path of being.
This indicates for us, really, how all the great saints of religion were people who were just like us, or perhaps even worse, people who committed a lot of wrong, and then as a result, changed. They recognized that they were suffering, and that they made others suffer. It's precisely when we recognize how we make others happy or how we make others suffer in our daily life, in the moment, that makes us reflect inside: what is our level of being and where do we want to ascend? Moment by moment, we learn to ascend to a higher level of being as we develop our cognizance and awareness.
Buddhism teaches this fact very beautifully in the Dhammapada. It's a famous Pali scripture of Sutrayana Buddhism, the foundational level of the religion, which emphasizes my points, and which the Buddha taught 2,500 years ago:
“Preceded by mind are phenomena, led by mind, formed by mind. If with mind polluted one speaks or acts, then pain follows, as a wheel follows the draft ox's foot. Preceded by mind are phenomena, led by mind, formed by mind. If with mind one pure one speaks or acts, then ease follows as an ever-present shadow." —Buddha, Dhammapada
If we perform good action, generating from our mind, we produce happiness in our relations. If we have anger or pride, that affects others, and makes others suffer.
The foundational teaching of Hinduism, and really any religion, is ahimsa, meaning: nonviolence. People think this just pertains to abstention from physical violence, such as Mahatma Gandhi's political movement against the British. That's the basic level, but Gandhi, who knew this teaching very well, was practicing ahimsa inside, psychologically, to not think harmful thoughts, to not feel negative emotions, to not let his mind harm others. This is nonviolence. This is really the definition of kindness, generosity.
This type of insight begins to develop in us genuine understanding about the nature of our problems on a very deep psychological level. This is what is known as comprehension. Comprehension is not the intellectual ascertainment or understanding of a concept. Comprehension is something very profound, in which we understand in a moment of epiphany, really—and all of us have had this experience—where we know that a certain type of action or belief is wrong, and that we shouldn't engage in that habit or belief or idea or emotion. We know that something is really harmful for us, and so we stop, and then our life improves as a result. At a basic level, we could say that a person who is an alcoholic, who really realizes the damage of alcohol, comprehends how it's destructive, will never taste a drop of it again, knowing that that element will disorganize his or her psyche.
The difference between comprehension and knowledge is that even though we intellectually have knowledge about something, it doesn't mean that we will act on it. In the instance of an alcoholic, he may intellectually know that alcohol is harmful, destructive. So is drugs, marijuana, barbiturates, different types of toxins that destroy the mind. We can know intellectually that it's wrong. We've been taught and told it's wrong, but still we might do it. The difference in a person who really comprehends why some behaviors are harmful is that they will never act on that again. When we really know in our heart that something is right or wrong, we will always follow that path, and we will not digress.
Samael Aun Weor states:
“Knowledge and comprehension are different. Knowledge is of the mind. Comprehension is the heart."
Intellectually, we may have a lot of ideas about certain habits: we should stop eating too much junk food, or we should exercise more. We may know it's right, but we don't necessarily act on it. These examples operate on a very superficial level. The type of level that I'm seeking to address is something very psychological, very deep, about the way we perceive life, habits that we are not even aware of psychologically, which influence us. This is known as the subconsciousness or unconsciousness in Freudian psychology.
When we comprehend what internal, unconscious or subsconscious elements obstruct our experience of reality, then we know in our heart what to do. Therefore, we don't act on the whims of our desires or negativities, but instead we comprehend how to work inside of ourselves to integrate with divinity.
So, this is the teachings of religion. Religion comes from the Latin religare, which means to reunite. The Sanskrit yug, for the word yoga, means to reunite. It's the same meaning. So, we seek to comprehend how to unite with divinity, and to overcome false concepts that we may have, to confront that dynamic inside.
Now, when we talk about this type of knowledge, it needs to be explained that we have certain knowledge in our mind, concepts about and beliefs about who we are psychologically, which may not be grounded in the facts. This is not to totally throw away the use of knowledge. As you see here, we have many books, in which we teach many aspects of this science, which are good to read. We emphasize the need for study to know what religion genuinely teaches, how to practice, how to meditate, how to transform one's mind. We need education to know how to do these things, but the type of knowledge we seek to abandon is false knowledge, beliefs that aren't grounded in fact—theories, ideas about who we are as individuals which obstruct us from going deeper inside.
Practical and Impractical Knowledge
Part of the teachings that I'm going to explain throughout the rest of this lecture come from Sufism. Sufism, if you don't know, is the mystical tradition of Islam, which in its esoteric part was a very beautiful tradition which taught this science, before it deviated, before it digressed or degenerated, as with any religion. This is a teaching from a Sufi master by the name of Al-Hujwiri, in his book called Revelation of the Mystery, Kashf al-Mahjub. He explains something very important that I find very useful and perhaps you might too:
"Knowledge is obligatory only insofar as it is requisite for acting rightly."
The type of knowledge we need is the knowledge that's going to help us to change. That's really the most important knowledge, and having a vocational knowledge to help us to live in this society, we need. But as it continues:
"God condemns those who learn useless knowledge," from the Qur’an, surah 2, verse 96. The Prophet Mohammed said, "I take refuge with thee from knowledge that profiteth not." —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
What is the type of knowledge that could be useful? We can think of many examples, and we only need to think about our own experience to think about what are certain things that we've read or studied that haven't necessarily been applicable to life, such as going to university. We learn many things that are useful and interesting, but do we use all of it? Honestly, in most cases, we won't. As it says in the scripture:
“Much may be done by means of a little knowledge, and knowledge should not be separated from action." —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
What is the knowledge that we need? The knowledge to know how to act rightly, to know how to act from the presence of our divinity inside, who knows right from wrong, good from evil. It's a type of comprehension in our heart that tells us what to do, like a hunch. We know what is right and wrong in a given instant.
This is the meaning of Jiminy Cricket in the story of Pinocchio. It's an initiatic story. Pinocchio is a wooden boy who wants to become a real man, a human being. Like us, we want to be made into the image of God, a human being that reflects divinity completely. That's a genuine human being. We want to aspire to that. Jiminy Cricket is the voice of his conscience on his shoulder that says, "Don't do that. That's wrong." Of course, in the story (it wasn't depicted in the Disney film, but in the novel by Carlo Collodi), Pinocchio took a hammer and killed the cricket.
That explains in us how, when we have a sense of what is right or wrong, we suppress it. We justify with our intellect. "I should drink more coffee, because I need to stay awake," even though we know it's wrong or could be a bat habit—a simple example. We suppress that hunch and justify with our intellect why we should do something when we know it's wrong. This is the difference between knowledge and comprehension.
In relation to this quote, we need knowledge that's going to teach us how to listen to that voice of Jiminy Cricket. That's why we study the Bhagavad Gita, the scriptures, the Torah, the Zohar, to learn how to act rightly, to learn from masters, genuine spiritual teachers who have fully manifested divinity inside. The Prophet said (and then Hujwiri explains here the nature of individuals who study intellectually without having comprehension):
"'The devotee without divinity is like a donkey turning a mill,' because the donkey goes round and round over its own tracks and never makes any advance." —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
A donkey is a very interesting symbol. If you didn't know Pinocchio, Pinocchio was turned into a donkey. He was instructed by the blue fairy, symbol of his inner divinity, the feminine aspect of divinity as the Virgin Mary, the divine goddess Durga in Hinduism, who tells him, "You need to go to school," meaning: go to esoteric school to learn how to change, learn useful knowledge to transform your mind, how to become a real human being.
But Pinocchio is confronted by his friends. His friends come. "We should go to the land of play," meaning: we don't have to study and work, but we just play all day. Of course the blue fairy had warned Pinocchio before, "Those who play all day and never work end up turning into donkeys." A donkey is really a symbol of an intellectual, someone who has a lot of ideas in the mind but is still an animal inside, with a lot of anger, pride, vanity, lust, laziness, greed, defects. The truth is, all religions teach that we are really like that donkey that needs to be tamed and rode upon, like Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem. Meaning Christ inside us, our inner divinity, needs to ride our mind. The donkey is the mind. It's a stubborn animal, which can memorize information but doesn't necessarily know the truth.
A Sufi Master once specifically stated that, "An intellectual is like a donkey with a load of holy books." The donkey has a lot of knowledge of scripture, but doesn't have the actual experience of what scripture teaches. We're not saying that this type of knowledge is useless, but it has to be in balance with our practice. We need to study the scriptures, but we need to comprehend them, more importantly.
Balancing Knowledge and Being
This combination of genuine comprehension of traditions or religion with our study produces comprehension. We talk about the line of life, our horizontal line of life and the vertical line of being. We need to combine our intellectual study with the science of meditation to really comprehend scripture, how it applies to our life, otherwise it's useless. We can know the scriptures and the gospels by heart, the Qur’an by heart, the Bhagavad-Gita by heart, but if we continue to act in harmful ways, or having anger inside even at a subtle level, it means that this knowledge is not practical. We have to use what's practical in our life to change so that we can know divinity.
As Samael Aun Weor states in The Great Rebellion:
"Being and knowing must be balanced to establish a sudden blaze of comprehension within our psyche. When knowing is greater than being, it causes all kinds of intellectual confusion. If being is greater than knowing, it can produce cases as serious as that of a stupid saint."
If we have a lot of intellectual knowledge but no comprehension, no genuine realization of what the teachings present in religion, we can get confused. This is what happens all over the world with people. They study religion for a long time, have a lot of conviction and belief in the tradition, but then they see contradictions in it, and then feel dissatisfied. Then they get confused about their tradition, about their culture, and they decide to leave to another religion. They hop like a butterfly to another tradition, another flower, and repeat the same habit, trying to find genuine insight. but without understanding that the problem is not in the religion; it's in our mind, how we approach the religion, because the different traditions teach us how to unite with divinity. So, knowing without being can create confusion intellectually.
Also, to have a lot of practice and spiritual discipline but without study of what the different religions teach us can create a case as serious as a stupid saint. We find many practitioners of yoga, and I specifically am not necessarily referring to the yoga studios in the West, but yogis who practice in the Far East, who are very dirty, despite having the choice to live a life of some comfort; they decide to live sleeping on a bed of nails, things which don't necessarily produce a lot of comprehension—just domination over the body, thinking that this is going to take them to God. They may have certain practices or certain understandings about religion, but they don't study the tradition which they are in. They don't study other religions. They don't have a profound culture or comprehension of the different faiths and how they relate.
What comes to my mind in the case of the stupid saint is a very famous Russian existentialist author. His name was Fyodor Dostoevsky. He wrote a book called The Idiot specifically, which is the case of a stupid saint. Although being famous in Western literature, Dostoevsky is not recognized as an esotericist; people don't know that he knew this science and was warning certain practitioners or initiates, people with development, to not be like the case of this prince in the story, Prince Myshkin, who is very saintly and very holy. People in the novel are genuinely attracted to his virtues, but Myshkin doesn't understand the 19th-century Russian culture which he lives in, and he's easily manipulated. He knows he's manipulated, but he allows it. So, if he had a little bit of intellectual study and knowledge about the way cultures work and society works, he wouldn't allow himself to be pulled in that direction, but he is really the fool. If you know about Egyptian mysticism, the Tarot of the Egyptians, the Arcanum 21–the card of the Fool—is precisely the case of the stupid saint. We need to balance knowledge with being to avoid this fate.
To continue on this point, we find again the continuation of the scripture by Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery, specifying that the knowledge we study has to be practical, has to apply to our life, otherwise it won't have depth.
“Some regard knowledge as superior to action, while others put action first, but both parties are wrong.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
Again, what Samael Aun Weor stated was stated by the Sufis nine centuries ago.
“Unless action is combined with knowledge, it is not deserving of recompense. Prayer, for instance, is not really prayer unless performed with knowledge of the principles of purification and those which concern the Qibla.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
The Qibla in Muslim tradition is the direction of a niche in the wall, or the direction pointing to Mecca, where the Muslims would pray.
For those who are not Muslim, really this pertains to how in us in the West, we have to know what direction we are concentrating on in our practice, to know what is the object of our meditation or discipline, and to not waver. The symbol of the Muslims praying to the stone of the Kaaba has many kabbalistic symbols, which we're not going to go into detail, but the fact that they pray to the east towards the rising of the sun really leads to the worship of the divinity, known as Allah, which is Christ, the solar Logos in Greek, the Son. The Qibla points to the holy city of Mecca, which is where they dedicate their prayers. Likewise, we have our own Qibla. When we sit to practice, we have an object of concentration to help us develop a focused mind.
“It is not really prayer unless performed with knowledge of the principles of purification, and those which concern the Qibla, and with knowledge of the nature of intention.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
Basically, what I said about concentration: we have to know what we're intending. Every practice that we have in this tradition, whether certain forms of yoga or mantra recitation, has a specific purpose, so we have to know what intention we are working with within a certain exercise.
“Learning committed to memory are acts for which a man is rewarded in the next world. If he gained knowledge without action and acquisition on his part, he will get no reward.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
We may read a lot, but if we're not aware of the real depth of what we're reading and its application to our life, such knowledge is easily forgotten and is therefore useless.
“Hence, two classes of men fall into error. Firstly, those who claim knowledge for the sake of public reputation but are unable to practice it…” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
…such as the Pharisees in Jesus's time, who really knew a lot about Judaism but didn't practice. Therefore, when they saw Jesus as an example of the highest divinity, when he fully manifested that in himself, he produced a lot of hatred and envy among his enemies.
“Secondly, those who pretend that practice suffices and that knowledge is unnecessary.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
So in addition to people who believe that we have to study a lot, read a lot, and don't need to practice, there are those who think that in religion one has to do a lot of practices, but not study. These are both wrong beings.
For instance, what comes to my mind is the 14th Dalai Lama. We respect him as a great master in this tradition. He's a very powerful being, really, a great master, a Bodhisattva, who really exemplifies the beauty of Tibetan Buddhism. He not only has a very profound scholarly knowledge, but his level of being is very high, as evidenced by the way he interacts with others. Generally people see him as a very funny man, and he really connects with them from his Being, from his inner Buddha. He emphasizes that one needs to study and practice. Traditional schools or colleges of initiation which used to admit people in the past would have students practice six hours a day and then study six hours a day, and so dedicate their entire time in the monastery or mosque or ashram to fully develop intellectual knowledge and comprehension of that knowledge is unison.
This image is Buddhist. This is a famous deity known as Manjushri, who in Buddhism represents the balance of knowledge and being. In his right hand, he carries a sword, his left hand, a book.
The sword traditionally represents being surrounded by fire, the penetrative insight of the consciousness and of our Being that cuts and severs all ties to illusion, the direct perception of what is real inside. The book represents scriptural knowledge, or the more accurate Buddhist terms we use are wisdom and method. Wisdom, if you break down the word etymologically, comes from the word vision, vis-dom, the power to see. This is not physical sight. It's spiritual sight, which is very deep. The sword is surrounded by flames, represents how the fire or energies of divinity, which is known as Christ in Gnosticism, strengthens our awareness to cut through illusion inside. The book is our need to practice the methods, the teaching, to study the scriptures. Knowledge and being together is synthesized in Manjushri, a great deity venerated by the Buddhists.
Divine and Human Knowledge
Likewise, we have to emphasize that knowledge is necessary, but not for the sake of memory. Also, when we talk about knowledge, there are really two forms. I'm going to explain this in relation to the Sufi scripture we've been commenting on, Revelation of the Mystery:
“Knowledge is of two kinds, divine and human. The latter is worthless in comparison with the former, because God's knowledge is an attribute of himself subsisting in him, whose attributes are infinite, whereas our knowledge is an attribute of ourselves subsisting in us, whose attributes are finite.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
This is very profound, because in Sufism, or really the mystical traditions of Islam, they say that when we know God directly, one acquires those attributes inside. Allah or the being, our inner divinity, manifests in our psyche in order for us to know him directly, and that knowledge of him is a quality of being. It's self-knowledge, genuine spiritual knowledge. In Hinduism, we call it Atma Vidya, Knowledge of Atman, the Divine Self.
People when they hear this think, "Self-realization? That means the common self that I have." It doesn't mean that. To experience the superior self of divinity, we have to really transcend all the type of knowledge we have of ourselves on an intellectual level, because the knowledge of ourselves that we have, of our job, our culture, our language, our customs, our habits, our beliefs, our family, these things are terrestrial. They are finite. They have a limit, a beginning and an end on the line of life. Our language is acquired at birth or in childhood, and we lose our language, and our customs, and our culture when we enter the grave. Those of you who are familiar with reincarnation, or the doctrine of the transmigration of souls into different bodies, can experience this; we teach it as science. We have methods to be aware of our past lives, to study where we come from.
For me personally, this is not something I believe. It's something I know, because I remember. I've had experiences about my own past lives by doing certain practices in this tradition that helped me to have insight, to explain why I'm in the certain situation that I'm in. With reincarnation, or better said, reincorporation, one understands that perhaps one was not in America but in the Middle East as a Sufi, or in Asia as a Buddhist. I've personally had the experience where in certain past lives, I was Muslim, but I'm totally not from that tradition now. I learned Arabic, and I knew that tradition and culture within a very ancient time, but where has it gone? I memorized, and I studied, and I learned this, but it didn't keep with me, because it wasn't part of my being. I didn't really awaken my consciousness at that point. Being aware of it now makes me think that the things that we study in this life, if they're not comprehended and experienced, we forget them when we go to the grave. That's all part of the line of life. Real, genuine spiritual knowledge is the line of being, Atma Vidya, self-knowledge, knowledge of Christ, of Allah, of Buddha, inside.
“Knowledge has been defined as comprehension and investigation of the object known. But the best definition of it is this. A quality whereby the ignorant are made wise.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
This is talking about the genuine meaning of spiritual knowledge. It isn't intellectual, but spiritual, from insight. It's a quality whereby the ignorant are made wise. To be ignorant doesn't mean to not have book knowledge. We think of people in the country, people who are not part of the city or universities, as being ignorant. They don't study or read books. They're not cultured. That's not the meaning of ignorance. To be ignorant is to lack gnosis. Ignorance, i-gnosis. The prefix “I,” before ignorance, negates gnosis, signifying “without.” Gnosis means knowledge from experience, therefore ignorance means to have no understanding of who God is, because God is the true identity.
So all of us are ignorant to a degree. We all have ignorance and darkness in our mind since we haven't really experienced divinity, what God is, so we are ignorant. We are ignorant because we have the ego, the “I,” inside, the mind, the intellect divorced from the Being. We may be cultured and intellectual, but we may still be ignorant due to lack understanding of the genuine nature of reality. We lack genuine understanding of reality because of the “me,” “myself,” the “I,” the false self, egotistical states of suffering, which prevents us from knowing divinity. We have the “I” inside that negates true knowledge, I-gnorance.
“God's knowledge is that by which he knows all things existent and nonexistent. He does not share it with man. It is not capable of division nor separable from Himself.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
Therefore, if we want to know what genuine spiritual knowledge is, we have to unite with our divinity; that is the meaning here, because real knowledge is not in books, but it's in our experience of divinity. That's a part of Him and Her, masculine and feminine.
“The proof of it lies in the disposition of His actions, since action demands knowledge in the agent as an indispensable condition.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
This is very interesting if we know the Christian scriptures, especially since the book of James says, "Faith without works is dead." We may believe in a tradition or faith, but if we don't have practice or action, it's a dead faith. It's a dead religion. Therefore, action demands knowledge as the agent, is indispensable. Action and knowledge, being and knowledge, have to be combined.
“The divine knowledge penetrates what is hidden and comprehends what is manifest. It behooves the seeker to contemplate God in every act, knowing that God sees him and all that he does.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
Self-observation and Awakened Consciousness
In this teaching, we talk about observation, exercising spiritual perception, like a muscle. We show this image again to emphasize that it is precisely in this moment in which we learn to observe ourselves, to have the perspective like we are seeing ourselves for the first time. In this teaching, we talk about a saying by the founder of this tradition who says, "The truth is the unknown from moment to moment." There's always something that we need to be seeing new inside of ourselves and also outside, through alert novelty, clarity, where we sense and understand life in a new way.
We've all had this when we were younger, in a moment perhaps with family, where we were present in the instant, and we felt the joy of being alive. In a moment like that, there is clarity, and we see life as if it is completely new. We didn't have our education or our ideas to project and to create problems and worry us. Instead, we were living life in the present. Children have access to that more than adults, because they haven't developed what is known as personality yet, their custom, or habits. Also, this is why Jesus taught that one must become like a little child to enter the kingdom of heaven, to have an innocent mind, a mind that sees life in a new way in each instant.
Usually we go through our home or our job mechanically. We don't really think about what we do. We just do it. It means that we're not really cognizant of what we're doing.
It's precisely from moment to moment that in this instant we learn to perceive life. We say that awakened perception of life is like watching a film. We try to see life in a new way, each instant, without identifying ourselves with exterior circumstances or negative internal states. When thoughts emerge, really we have to learn how to separate psychologically from thought, from feeling, from sensation. We call this self-observation, meaning: we are observing from the perspective of the consciousness. This consciousness is called soul in some religions. It's called buddhata in Buddhism, essence of the Buddha. This is really our genuine spiritual nature, which can resolve all of our issues when we develop it.
Likewise, this superior state of being is not something necessarily devoid of thought, feeling, or sensation, but it means that we comprehend what we are experiencing in this moment—not identifying with it but instead identifying with God, the joy of God, who is Being, who is presence, who is genuine faith, love, and compassion that is limitless. These are qualities of divinity that we learn to develop as we separate from what is negative in us and learn how to comprehend how part of our soul is conditioned by these elements, such as anger, or pride, or vanity as we were discussing.
We learn to observe this all in ourselves, to have the perspective that we are seeing ourselves as if we'd never seen ourselves before. Again, this refers to the beginning of our lecture, the need to see life in a new way, to understand that the type of knowledge we seek is inside, and that we need to learn how to reevaluate what is it we know. This watchfulness is known in different traditions by many names. In Buddhism, it's called mindfulness. In this tradition, it's called self-observation. In Sufism, it's called muraqaba, vigilance, to be in vigil.
If we learn to start observing ourselves, we find that we get distracted. We suddenly realize, "Wait, what happened a minute ago?" If we examine our day, we find that there are moments or periods in which we don't remember what happened. We should really remember everything we do, even the thoughts or our feelings or emotions we have in a given instant. When we find that there are gaps in our memory about what happened or what we said to a certain person, it means that we're not cognizant. It means that there are gaps in our memory. To be in vigil, in different traditions, they sometimes do practices all night. They don't sleep physically. I'm not speaking about that specifically. To be in vigil is to be awake as a psyche, because in the myth of Psyche in Greek teachings, mythology, Psyche is asleep. She needs to be awakened by Eros, the force of love, the Being.
To remember divinity in this instant is to be in vigil. It's also to be in prayer. To pray is to speak with divinity inside, to connect with divinity, with whatever words are natural to us. A teaching from a Sufi scripture, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism, states the following. This quote is from a Sufi master by the name of Al-Wasiti:
“The best act of worship is watchfulness of the moments, that is, that the servant not look beyond his limit, not contemplate anything other than his lord, and not associate with anything other than this present moment…”
…meaning, we have to stop thinking about where we're going to go, or our daydreams, or job. If we're driving our car, let's drive our car. Let's not think about our family or spouse or other things, but be present when we're driving, because really the reason why there's so many accidents is because people are asleep psychologically. They don't pay attention. They're not aware of what's going on inside or outside. We do this all the time. We're not aware of ourselves. The best prayer to divinity is to be aware and awake, and to not contemplate anything other than the presence of our divinity. That's something we learn to develop and cultivate through spiritual practices that we have in this tradition, that help us generate energy to strengthen our soul.
In this image, speaking precisely about the need to become a child, we have an image of the Virgin Mary holding the Christ child. We need the mind of a child. It doesn't mean that we're stupid, weak, or vulnerable. It means that we have the qualities that are naturally spontaneous and generative in a child, which is love and fascination, and a profound awareness of things. You see a child, they look at everything with amazement, and we've lost that, but that's something that we can regain inside as a spiritual quality. It doesn't mean we become like infants physically, but really the meaning is psychological. We have a profound love for life in this instant.
We emphasize the following from our teacher in this tradition, Samael Aun Weor, in his book Tarot and Kabbalah, about the need to become like a child:
"One has to change the processing of reasoning for the quality of discernment. Discernment is the direct perception of the truth without the process of reasoning. Discernment is comprehension without the need of reasoning. We must change the process of reasoning for the beauty of comprehension. The mind must be completely transformed into an infant. It must be converted into a child full of beauty."
What is discernment? It means to know something without having to think about it. We have a hunch, we know something is right or wrong, and then the intellect debates. "I should do this because," and then we have many excuses and reasons in the mind, but first that hunch comes like a lightning bolt, sparks in our heart, and then the thunder of the mind comes after and says, "We should do this instead... I have this reason. I need to do this or that."
We need to learn how to discern what is objective in us. What is that lightning that we experience, and what is reasoning? By this we're not referring to the need to get rid of the intellect altogether. We need the intellect, but we have to understand its place. It's useful in its place when it serves our Being. Knowledge that's in the service of our inner God is useful, but knowledge, a mind that knows how to reason without the virtues of divinity, is harmful, like a scientist who can create atomic bombs and more creative ways to kill other human beings. People use their reasoning for evil things. We see this all over the world. Instead, we want to learn how to use our mind to develop the virtues of divinity.
The Tree of Life
Synthesizing everything we've stated, we have the following teaching by another Sufi master. People talk about heaven and hell in religion in different traditions. The type of self-knowledge we're talking about requires the abandonment of our previous conceptions of self and to enter into a new experience of who we are as a divinity, and who is divinity inside of us.
In this image, we have what is known as Kabbalah, the tree of life. This is simply a map of being. It's a structure that shows us the nature of divinity and its different aspects. It's not our intention to explain each aspect, but just to emphasize this tree of life is precisely the burning bush that Moses saw as a symbol of divinity, the tree of being. This tree of life is inside. It's a map of our consciousness, and really represents for us heaven, superior ways of being, superior states.
Hell for us is not a place, but a mental state. When we are gripped by anger, we suffer, we are in hell. When we are afraid, we're uncertain about our life, where we're going, what we're going to do economically to pay our rent, we suffer. That's hell. John Milton, the author of Paradise Lost, he stated the following: "The mind is its own place. It can create a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven."
Likewise our mind determines our life. We have this quote from a Sufi master who very beautifully and succinctly states:
“Wherever the delusion of your selfhood appears, there is hell. Wherever you aren't, that's heaven." –Abū Sa’īd in Ibn Munawwar: Asrār at-tawḥīd, ed. Shafī‘ī-Kadkanī, 299
It doesn't mean that it's a type of nihilism, but it's a negation of our inferior ways of being and their replacement for a superior way of being. To experience joy, we have to get rid of anger. We have to comprehend our psychological elements that make us suffer and to remove them in order to free the consciousness that is trapped inside, like the genie in Aladdin's lamp. We need to remove our false conceptions of self, because that's hell. The suffering that we have, terrestrial suffering in daily experience, is a type of hell for us. Heaven is where we see that we are not necessarily a part of that as a soul, and that we can escape that if we learn to pay attention.
Following the theme of this lecture, we've been explaining a lot from Sufi doctrine. In this image, we have a very famous image of Prophet Mohammed, who in this symbol is riding a mystical animal whose name is Al-Buraq. We understand from Gnosis that all religions are really precious pearls. They all express a divine teaching. This is not a representation of the religions as they are today, but in their original root; these teachers came to found and explain the root signs of how to liberate consciousness, how to free ourselves from suffering. Likewise, we explain also in many lectures how even a misunderstood and misrepresented tradition like Islam has a place in this tradition, particularly the symbol of Mohammed riding an animal to heaven, Al-Buraq.
The mythological creature is represented as the size of a mule with the face of a woman, the tail of a peacock. I know there are people who literally believe this happened, but this is a symbol. We can explain it through teachings like kabbalah, that this is really something applicable inside. Al-Buraq means “lightning.” That lightning is the energy of divinity we call Christ, which can take us up from here, in this physical world, up the tree of life, as you saw in the Hebrew image.
In his teaching, he explained how one can ascend from suffering to a superior level of being. The Sufis really explain this very beautifully:
“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…” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
…meaning heaven is where we are not, our defects. Heaven is when the soul, the mind, is in peace and silence, and can reflect the beauty of divinity inside psychologically.
“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." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Again like a child, we look at life and we see that we have awe, that spontaneous feeling of joy such as when we see a rainfall outside, and the expression of a sense of peace about the beauty of what we're experiencing. Without having to think about it or saying, "This is beautiful," we just simply relax and reflect on the nature of the sight that we're experiencing. The type of awe that we experience, on a superficial level we could say, and at a deeper level, we begin to experience what divinity is, we feel that awe of that tremendous power that is inside of us that can give us genuine happiness.
If someone's realization increases, his awe increases, meaning: if someone's knowledge of divinity, genuine knowledge of what divinity is, increases, his awe increases.
“Gnosis requires stillness of heart, just as learning requires outward quiet. If someone's gnosis increases, his tranquility increases.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
We teach the science of meditation as the core practice, how to achieve mental silence, peace so that we can know divinity directly. As our knowledge of divinity increases, we have more peace in life, more joy, because we begin to remove what in us obstructs us from the goal.
This type of state requires that we abandon false knowledge about ourselves. Of course, this is a very challenging thing to confront, but all religions teach the need to really confront the obstacles that are inside that prevent us from reaching divinity. All that is impure in us psychologically needs to die, as Jesus taught with his passion, meaning he represented how any person on this spiritual path needs to remove the impurities. That's precisely through his crucifixion. It was a very painful process, but one that transformed him radically. This is something that he represented with his life. That's something that we need to do inside. It's not something to be believed in outside, but from practice.
Annihilation and Subsistence in the Being
In this image, we have again some Sufis in prayer. To emphasize what is the nature of being, I'm going to continue elaborating with two more quotes from Principles of Sufism, which is a Gnostic text.
“There is no finding the truth save after the extinction of the ordinary human condition, because when the power of reality manifests, (or the power of Being), the perception of material things cannot endure." This is the meaning of the saying of Abul Hussein Al-Nuri: "For 20 years, I had been finding and losing. When I have found my lord, I have lost my heart. When I have found my heart, I have lost my lord." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
What does that mean? If we identify with our self-will, we forget God, but if we remember God as a universal presence inside, one forgets one's usual sense of individuality. This is something that is fearful and frightening to the mind, because the mind does not know what is beyond itself, but this is a type of cognizance which is liberating, which we can develop through practice. As we become associated and affiliated with what are the states of divinity inside, there is a sense of freedom and genuine happiness, because that energy known as Allah or Christ or Buddha inside is eternal. It never changes or dies.
It is also the meaning of the saying of Junayd: “The knowledge of unity is contrary to its existence, and its existence is contrary to the knowledge of it.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
What is this knowledge of unity? We talk about how God is one. In Judaism, we say, Shema yisrael yod-chavah eloheinu yod-chavah echad." Coming from a Jewish family, this is something I'm familiar with. Basically in a synagogue, when you pronounce this, it's basically the declaration of faith of Judaism. You cover your eyes. You say, “Shema yisrael yod-chavah eloheinu yod-chavah echad,” meaning, "Jehovah the lord, Jehovah is one." The Muslims say, “La ilaha illallah muhammadur rasulullah.” There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet."
This unity is a type of integration with divinity; it’s an intelligence that is not dispersed. God we say is one, is a singular force, which is one with the cosmos. We want to seek to become one with that cosmic consciousness. The knowledge of unity is contrary to its existence, meaning in the beginning, we study. We have intellectual ideas about what this type of state of being is, and then later we come to experience it. First we study, then we practice, and then we experience. This is really the gradual practice that we develop, and its existence is contrary to the knowledge of it. Again, if we have the knowledge about these teachings but don't experience them, we need to learn to experience them, which is why we have different books that give different practices for that.
The final quote here. We have an image of Arabic calligraphy. In Arabic, this represents Al-Nur, meaning the light. This is a famous surah from the Qur’an, which says, "Light upon light." That light is our inner perception, our inner lord inside. We all have that light of divinity within us, which we can actualize if we learn to practice it, exercise it.
The final quote we have here, from Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri, summarizes our points about the nature of being.
"The man of being possesses both sober balance and obliteration of self," meaning egotistical self. Sober means, really, the teaching of being balanced psychologically and not being drunk on egotism. It’s not something physical. It's not a reference to just abstaining from drinking alcohol. In Islam, Muslims don't drink alcohol at all, but the psychological meaning of it is that we're not intoxicated by false conceptions of self, but instead, we are obliterated. That negative sense of self we have is obliterated, and there's only the presence and joy of divinity inside.
“His state of sobriety is his continued existence in the real. His state of obliteration is his annihilation in the real.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Heaven is where we aren't, but hell is where our mistaken sense of self is.
“These two states always come upon him in succession. When sobriety in the real overcomes him, he acts and speaks in truth…” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
…which is why certain masters who really united with divinity very fully, like Jesus, could say, "I am the Christ," because Christ was manifest in him, or certain Muslim prophets like Mansur Al-Hallaj, a famous Sufi poet, said, "Ana 'l-Ḥaqq," meaning, "I am the truth," meaning God spoke through him. The Muslims of the time had him tortured and mutilated, because they were offended, because that's the name of God. He says, “I am God," like Jesus said, "I am the Christ." People don't understand that it's divinity inside that manifested within the terrestrial person, the Being manifested in that individual.
“The prophet reported from God Most Hugh relating a non-Koranic divine utterance or Hadith Qudsi, Muslim oral tradition. "With me, he hears, and with me, he sees." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
That profound state in which there is no individual sense of self but there's only God inside is really the goal.
To conclude, we emphasize that we need to balance our study with practice. We need to study the nature of being inside. What is our being? Who is our being? Who is our divinity? These are things that we've begun to understand as we reflect and observe our daily life.
Questions and Answers
Question: What daily practice do you have to run that internal connection with divinity?
Instructor: The primary practice we use is meditation. We have many exercises also, such as mantras, which are sacred sounds. By learning to work with the energies of our body, and our mind, and heart, we learn to activate spiritual perception. By working with sacred sounds, those sounds help to vibrate the different glands of our body, to activate what is known as chakras, the spiritual forces or circulation of energies which can awaken our consciousness. We have many exercises with mantras, such as exercises called runes, a type of Tibetan yoga postures, meditation specifically, and exercises called transmutation, where we transform the energies of our body to consciousness.
All the books that we sell have many practices to use. These are very practical books for how to awaken that perception. You can find more information on our website as well for different individual practices. Comments or questions?
Question: I've been studying higher thinking for probably longer than all of you have been alive. Not until I heard the word Being did it trigger something very authentic, very accurate, or whatever. It basically really helped. I had not heard that before. I'm placing high value on the language that I hear.
Instructor: We say in this teaching, particularly in The Revolution of the Dialectic, it's a book from our founder of this tradition. He states that, "Socrates demanded precision of his terminology." We use many terms that are very specific and scientific. Being is one of them. In Arabic, we call it wujud, or we simply say being, but in nature it refers to our divinity inside. We have to understand that the Being is here and now, and that we can only access it if we learn to direct attention from a new perspective.
Question: Do you have these books here? If you're sort of a novice and trying to learn more, what do you recommend to read?
Instructor: I'd recommend Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology. This book explains the foundation for working with consciousness and how we learn to direct attention. The teachings of self-observation or mindfulness that we've discussed in brief are fully explained in that text. It's a very strong and powerful teaching. I haven't found any other author who has been more explicit. We study in this tradition many scriptures, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and in terms of practical application, these texts that we have available have been helpful, because they're very clear and very powerful, and practical. Personally, I would advise learning about self-observation, learning awareness about oneself, one should study Revolutionary Psychology, the book that you have in your hand. As an introductory text, it's very practical. It explains how to understand self, what is self, what is being, and what is divinity.
If there's something you want to look at more in-depth, you can look online. If there are more questions, we'll conclude.
Question: I think I understand what you're saying and I understand why we want to study this, but if I really understand it, why do I sometimes feel the resistance to practice?
Instructor: That resistance is, in psychological terms, we call ego. Ego is Latin for I, and we say that we don't have one I but many ‘I’s. Pride is an I, anger is an I, lust is an I. It's a different defect, a different type of self. As we begin to study this type of teaching and practice, we get resistance, because the mind does not want to experience or does not want to change, fundamentally.
This is precisely the great drama that any saint goes through, such as you see the temptation of St. Anthony, in which he's surrounded in his images and artwork by many demons. The demons are inside him. Those are different defects that are fighting against him to destroy his spiritual work. This is the meaning of the word Satan. It isn't a guy in a red suit with a pitchfork and horns. It refers to Hebrew Shatan, which means adversary. God wants to develop something inside of us, but our own defects don't want to change. They want to hold onto their habits, so there's a big battle that we have to face. The fact that you have resistance is normal. The next step is to develop understanding of what is that resistance so that you can overcome it.
Question: How do I develop that so that I can overcome?
Instructor: Comprehension. You need to observe. Like it says in Revolutionary Psychology, when you have a problem, when you have a conflict or resistance in your mind, observe that in yourself. Observe what is inside. That's the key. If you don't see it, you can't change it. If you see it, you can transform it.
Question: I see it, so how do I kill it?
Instructor: Basically, we have meditation. I am really happy for that question, because people are afraid of what we call mystical death. They hear about the Buddhist annihilation, the death of the ego, and they get scared. What will I be after I die as a mind? Meaning, the Being will be there. Study the book Revolution of the Dialectic. It explains that, and we'll talk more in depth, but thank you for coming.
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from The Sufi Path of Self-knowledge, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
It is good, for the purpose of our studies, to discuss the nature of divine love and its practicality, its need, its importance. Simply look at the world today, at the news, and you find acts of destruction that are unprecedented, crimes that are beyond comprehension. The world is in a state of calamity that precedes a much greater state of global crisis, of which the prophets of all religions have warned against.
It is through the recognition of suffering that the student of genuine religion seeks to understand how to change oneself. If we do not change our negative interior psychological states, we cannot hope to produce the changes that we seek among other sentient beings. It is precisely through overcoming the afflictions of our own mind, its conditioning, that we can learn to transmit the light of the divine, which is within us.
The thing to remember and comprehend is the nature of the self. The real self, the Being, does not pertain to any individual, any person. The Being, the self, is not our fears, our anxieties that cause so much distress and confusion; neither is the Being our self-esteem, our pride and vanities that fluctuate and change like the wind. Our education, titles, diplomas, which we wield as intellectual arsenal to substantiate and defend our pride, does not constitute our true self either; our book knowledge really accounts for nothing when confronting the fundamental problem of psychological and spiritual transformation.
The Being is universal, cosmic. There is no individuality there, in the sense of “me,” “myself,” “I.” Within the Being is the supraconscious understanding of all things in the eternal present, beyond the projections of our worries, fears, preoccupations, ambitions, and terrestrial baggage. By learning to access the divine potential and presence of divinity, known in Arabic as hudur, we awaken to our genuine self-awareness, muhadarah. By learning to pay attention, here and now, we discover the very obstacles to our own development. Through recognizing the conditions and faults of our mind, we learn to become truly transformative in a very practical sense.
In this awareness, we do not simply wish for a better state of humanity, but actualize it, here and now, for the betterment of others. This is something we can practically manage, and see its results. Therefore, this work is not something ambiguous, not vague; it is not suppositional. It is concrete, factual. For as Samael Aun Weor wrote, “Gnosis is lived upon facts, withers away in abstractions, and is difficult to find even in the noblest of thoughts.”
Through this work, we can see the clear effect of our actions upon others within our daily life, either to our benefit or detriment. There is no need to believe in spirituality, some vain utopia that someday things will get better. Instead, we learn to produce positive results for the happiness of others, serving divinity in every thought, word, and deed.
As we are going to explain in this lecture on divine love, faith is conscious knowledge. It is experience born from energy and action. It is what we know. To believe in something is really useless. To not believe in something is also useless. To invest our mental or emotional energy into a concept does not change the daily reality of our suffering; it does not help us to acquire cognizance of the purpose of life.
We may really believe in Jesus, Buddha, or Muhammad with our hearts, yet we continue to feed anger, resentment, and all the degenerate qualities of the psyche that cause harm. We use the very energy that can give birth to the soul for our defects. To believe or not believe in a tradition, guru, or sheikh, is mistaken, because it does not address how to consciously control the energies that can awaken our perception, so that we do not need to believe, but can seriously know.
We must learn not to wash our hands in justification, as Pilate allowed Jesus to be crucified, whereby he stated, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.” All of us have Pilate inside, washing our hands clean of culpability, while in truth we allow our most destructive habits to crucify divinity within our hearts.
It is also not in believing in some prophet or deity that we will be saved. As the Apostle James taught, “Faith without works is dead.” Believing in Prophet Muhammad, with our intellect or heart, as a concept or emotional quality, will not redeem the soul, the consciousness. To have genuine faith in a tradition is to know from experience the principles it contains. So, if we have consciousness of what Muhammad taught, what the prophets taught, and if we practice their teachings, we will develop the consciousness thoroughly. But belief is another thing; to think something is true or not is irrelevant.
Attending a church, mosque, or synagogue does not make one spiritual. Having direct experience of divinity does. Being part of a physical group is insufficient for objective self-knowledge. We need practical and transformative knowledge applied to daily living. But not only that, we need to apply what we learn. Therefore, the tradition we study here is filled with innumerable practices geared to awaken the consciousness. But if we just read the knowledge and don’t apply it, we won’t have real faith. We will be stuck in belief.
The Definition of Divine Love
Many people toss the term “divine love” around in so-called spiritual circles, and have many concepts about it. All of this is very sentimental, like hallmark cards. Many people have a lot of ideas about what love is, and can write very beautifully and convincingly about it. Yet if we go very deep within meditation and awaken our consciousness within the superior worlds of nature, which we access when we dream, we will find that people write about love in accordance with their psychological conditioning, self-esteem, fears, and insecurities.
Genuine love is selfless. There is no ego, no “I” present. Love only gives of itself for others, without any concern for how one appears, one’s self-image. This is essential in our study of self-knowledge, as especially presented within Sufism, because it is the universal sense of Being, wujud, that connects us with all beings. This is most important within the perfect matrimony, the sexual union of two beings, one who loves more and the other who loves better; sexuality is the full manifestation, inspiration, and expression of Allah, divinity. Sexual union is the science of Alchemy: Allah-Khemia, the chemistry of God.
In love, there is no concept or reasoning. Love simply is. A true marriage, before divinity, therefore, is between husband and wife, when man and woman sexually unite. Paperwork means nothing. In most cases marriage papers constitute legalized prostitution and have nothing to do with love. Marriage exists when a man unites with a woman in sex; this is a literal, psychic, and spiritual communion of souls.
The Sufis poets have always utilized sexual and erotic language to describe the soul’s unification with the divine. Yet few people realize that this language is also literal; that when husband and wife connect sexually, they become a terrifically divine being, capable of creating life. If the couple knows how to conserve that sexual energy and not expel it, they remain in Eden, a Hebrew word for bliss. Their love remains intact, pure, and chaste. If the couple is sensual, carnal, and animalistic, they will be kicked out of paradise.
As Christ spoke through the mouth of Jesus, “Before Abraham was, I Am.” Only divinity can say this word, “I Am.” But when a married couple unites out of selflessness, compassion, and true remembrance of divinity, then the Being, Allah, is fully manifested there.
Mansur Al-Hallaj, the great Sufi master, once stated, “An al-Haqq!” or “I am the truth!” in Arabic. This got him in trouble with the orthodox authorities, who were scandalized that a terrestrial person would refer to himself with one of the sacred names of Allah. It is the equivalent of saying, “I am God!” Jesus said the same thing and was thereafter crucified. What occurred in both cases was that divinity, whether named Jehovah, Christ or Allah, manifested within those initiates. Both Jesus and Al-Hallaj became vehicles of divine love and being, and had reached the heights of mastery through working in the perfect matrimony, in the science of Alchemy. Through sexual union, Jesus and Mansur could develop their complete divine potential.
Sadly, Mansur was tortured and executed. However, like Jesus, he was completely free of ego and conditioning before his physical death, which is why his poetry and light were intense during his final hours.
Only the Being can say, “I Am.” The Being is divine love, the intelligence of all creation, of all the cosmos. But we can become vehicles of Allah when working in Alchemy, the chemistry of God, which is the perfect matrimony. This is how we can fortify compassion and eliminate many defects from our nature, so that our consciousness irradiates with selflessness and abundance.
The Sufi-Christian mystic poet known as Kahlil Gibran spoke beautifully about the sexual nature of divine love in his book The Prophet. Even the name of this poet deserves reflection, since Hillel in Hebrew means “Praised or Glorified One,” a reference to the star of dawn, Lucifer, the sexual potency. Gibran reminds us of the Rune Gibur, the swastika or cross in motion, emblem of sexual alchemy, whereby the energies of sex inflame and illuminate the chakras of the body, causing them to spin as the swastika in movement. The cross is also a sexual symbol representing the vertical phallus and the horizontal uterus. This forms Gibur, the strength and chastity of God, known as Aun in Hebrew: Gibur-Aun, Gibran.
The following quotation is from the chapter “On Love.” I will provide some comments in between the lines to provide understanding, since this poet is a great Kabbalist and psychologist of the Sufi tradition.
Then said Almitra, "Speak to us of (Conscious) Love."
And he (Almustafa, the Chosen and Beloved of الله Allah) raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said:
When love (גדולה Gedulah, the Spirit, the Innermost) beckons to you follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep (through the path of the spinal column, the reed or staff of initiation).
And when his (solar) wings (that open upon the Caduceus of Mercury) enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword (of Kundalini) hidden among his pinions may wound you (your ego).
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice (the Voice of the Silence) may shatter your (egotistical) dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love (גדולה Gedulah, the Spirit, the Innermost) crowns you (with a crown of life, כתר Kether, the Father; Revelation 2:10) so shall he crucify you (through initiation). Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning (of your inner tyrant, your egos; Isaiah 25:5).
Even as he ascends to your height (of the Tree of Life) and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun (the Solar Logos: כתר Kether, חכמה Chokmah, בינה Binah in Kabbalah),
So shall he descend to your roots (at the tree of زقوم Zaqqum, the tree of death in Islam, the Klipoth of Kabbalah, the inferior worlds) and shake them in their clinging to the earth (מלכות Malkuth).
Like sheaves of corn (plants which assimilate the Solar Christic Force) he gathers you unto himself (He strives to unite all the diverse parts of the Being, to achieve tawhid, unity of God).
He threshes you (provides you ordeals) to make you naked (innocent, like Adam and Eve before the fall).
He sifts you to free you from your husks (egos, Klipoth, shells).
He grinds you to whiteness (through the wheel of Karma).
He kneads you until you are pliant (in contemplation and meditation);
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire (the Kundalini awakened through the perfect matrimony), that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast (the sacred initiations within the temples of the Superior Worlds).
All these things shall love (גדולה Gedulah, the Spirit, the Innermost) do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart (the Universal, Abstract Absolute Space, the Spirit of Life Free in its Movement).
But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness (your shame born from fornication, as Adam and Eve were after the fall) and pass out of love's threshing-floor (the ordeals of a matrimony and of initiation),
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love (גדולה Gedulah, the Spirit, the Innermost) gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love (גדולה, the Innermost) possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love (for "my God is God," אליאל). When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, I am in the heart of God (the Absolute Abstract Space, الله Allah)."
And think not you can direct the course of love (the straight path of the Bodhisattvas), for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love (גדולה Gedulah, the Spirit, the Innermost) has no other desire but to fulfil itself.
But if you love (consciously) and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night (the Divine Mother Space).
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully (to die to the animal ego with happiness and contentment).
To wake at dawn (for runes, meditation, and esoteric exercises) with a winged heart (or the longing to know divinity) and give thanks for another day of loving (through a perfect matrimony);
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved (الله Allah, the divine) in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips. —Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
To obtain the supreme heights of initiation, we must work in a matrimony, which is the path of sacrifice, the cross. This is how our inner spirit, Gedulah, the Innermost, receives powers, and riches, and glories, through the work of His human soul or bodhisattva.
A true matrimony is one born of selflessness. There is no desire that says, “I want,” “I crave,” “I need.” Love does not demand ultimatums of the other. Conscious love only knows how to provide for the beloved, and is willing to provide even the last drop of his or her blood for one’s partner. This is the type of consciousness between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, Rama and Krishna, Muhammad and A’isha, and other sacred matrimonies.
So if we’re married, we aspire to those heights of spirituality, because most of us are selfish. Yet through training this can change. It is easily obtainable when there is some degree of love and comprehension between the couple, since love grows the more it is nourished and fed, and the more our animal ego, desires, and conditions are annihilated.
The Trainings of Sufism
So, we previously discussed the demarcations of instruction as given within religious traditions, specifically within Sufism. Religion can be divided into three classes or categories of instruction and practice, whether introductory, intermediate, or advanced, otherwise classified as exoteric, mesoteric, and esoteric.
The Sufis denominate the first level of teaching as Shariah, which in spiritual studies does not pertain to the punitive or repressive laws of Muslim countries, but pertains to our conscious psychological discipline that we engage with to curtail negative thinking, negative feeling, and negative action.
Likewise we talked about Tariqah, the intermediate or mesoteric aspect of religion. Tariqah simply means “path.” It is the way that follow and practice, a path that winds from oasis to oasis within the desert of our life, the wasteland of initiation. It is our practical work that we fulfill day by day, moment by moment, for the benefit of others.
Marifah means knowledge, and is the Arabic word for gnosis. We also have Haqiqah, which is the truth. Marifah and Haqiqah can be described as two aspects of the same dynamic, since for the truth to be realized, we must have knowledge, expedient methods for transforming the psyche, and to have knowledge, we must comprehend and realize.
Buddhism divides these three categories as the Shravakayana, Mahayana, and Tantrayana, the introductory, greater, and supreme vehicles. Shravakas are those who listen to the spiritual teachings for the first time. Such persons practice spirituality for their own well-being. But with the Mahayana, or greater vehicle, one works less for oneself and more for others. In Tantrayana, one works solely for all sentient beings.
The same in the Sufi model. In Shariah, the practitioners work to stop their own suffering and to cease causing harm because such actions produce harm within them. In the path of Tariqah, that of divine love, we work on ourselves for the benefit of others. We can then say that the last two degrees or trainings of Sufism, Marifah (knowledge) and Haqiqah (Truth) are combined as one and constitute the highest aspect of any teaching, the most expedient methods of transformation, and also the highest levels of understanding and knowledge.
So these trainings entail their own forms of discipline, in varying degrees. Shariah is ethical discipline, mind training, whereby we comprehend and eliminate defects so that we don’t harm ourselves. We are taught to not lie, to not steal, to not commit fornication and adultery, to not ingest intoxicants or drugs, alcohol, etc. We avoid taking in elements that are contrary to our spiritual work. We clean the temple of our body, heart, and mind so that the Being can officiate. We learn not to kill, not only physically, but with speech.
When we speak sarcastically and humiliate our neighbor, we make blood rush to his face. This is a form of bloodshed and killing, whereby we are killing a person’s self-image. This is wrong. All religions teach us against negative behaviors of this type. As Prophet Muhammad taught, “The strongest among you is he who controls his anger.”
Each religion has its own set of commandments that it gives. Again, these laws are not punitive: “Do this or be punished!” That is something very superficial and does not produce real development in the soul. Following external laws is one thing, but being a law unto oneself is another.
This does not indicate that we can do whatever we want, but that we follow the internal law of divinity, which is harmony, peace, and health. We simply depend on no one to do this work, only the Being.
This training is known as ethics. Ethics is different from morality. What is moral in one country is immoral in another. Simply look at the differences between North America and the Middle East. Ethics is knowing how to act appropriately for the benefit of others in any circumstance. Compassion is within all religions, all ethical disciplines, especially Islam. The punishments for adulterers and fornicators in Surah Al-Nur, “Surah of the Light” within the Qur’an, for example, is a symbol of how to work against the ego. Flagellation and the removal of thieves’ hands is a representation of what we must do to our ego, for as Jesus taught, “If your left eye offend you, pluck it out, lest your whole body be dragged into hell.” By denying our ego, by waging a holy war against our desires, defects, vices, etc., we generate light.
Scripture is written in symbolic language for the consciousness. If people take these punishments literally and physically harm others, this is something else and different.
The Qur’an has many allegorical verses which we need Kabbalah, alchemy, and intuition to understand, as indicated in the following Surah al-Imran, verse 7:
"It is He who has sent down to you, [O Muhammad], the Book; in it are verses [that are] literal―they are the foundation of the Book―and others allegorical. As for those in whose hearts is deviation [from truth], they will follow that of it which is literal, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation [suitable to them]. And no one knows its [true] interpretation except Allah. But those firm in knowledge (Marifah, alchemy and Kabbalah) say, "We believe in it. All [of it] is from our Lord." And no one will be reminded except those of understanding (Binah, Intelligence in Kabbalah)." —Qur'an
The other two degrees of these trainings are based on Shariah, the law, and mutually support each other. If one has no ethical discipline, one cannot follow the path, Tariqah, and achieve understanding and knowledge (Marifah) of the truth (Haqiqah). All three trainings integrate and constitute three aspects of one whole. However, the path is presented in these degrees due to the capabilities, dispositions, and needs of their practitioners.
Marifah is sexual knowledge, alchemy, known as Tantra in the east, the principle of Tantrayana. A matrimony is not only the basis of physical life, but spiritual life as well. When we work in a marriage we can harness the most potent energies of the universe for the development and awakening of the consciousness.
The Sufis use erotic language to describe union with God, whereby the soul is lost in the ocean of love. When a couple is sexually united, husband and wife lose their identities and become lost within the ocean of the creative sexual energy. There is no “me,” “myself,” within two practitioners of sexual magic who deny their egos, who learn to annihilate egotistical desire (through fana in Arabic) to be, to subsist (through baqa in Arabic) within the creator (Al-Khaaliq).
Who is it that creates in us? The sexual energy, the power of divinity. But how we create depends upon whether we follow divine love and will or our own egotism and desires.
While the Sufis used clear, erotic language to describe the path of alchemy, many people do not realize that this love is also physical, literal. Divine love is manifested through husband and wife in sexual cooperation, in sexual magic or Alchemy.
This is the power of Baqarah, the sacred cow, a symbol of the Divine Mother in Hinduism. She is the serpentine power of Kundalini that the tantric practitioners work with. Therefore, with great respect and veneration, Muhammad became the vehicle for transmitting the second surah of the Qur’an, “The Cow,” or “Heifer,” the longest Surah of the Qur’an. The Qur’an means “The Recitation,” the mantralization of the sacred verb. The power of speech esoterically refers to the power of the bull or cow. When couples pronounce mantras in sexual union, they are learning to unite with divinity completely, to remove the conditioning of the psyche and the mind to liberate soul from conditioning, through the power of love.
To understand the trainings of Sufism, we can refer to the Sufi master Ibn ‘Arabi. He explained that in the path of Shariah, “Yours is yours and mine is mine.” That which belongs to you is yours. That which belongs to me is mine. There is a sense of separation whereby we are working individually for our own spiritual benefit and goals.
In the path of Tariqah, “Mine is yours and yours is mine.” There is a shift of perspective, whereby we focus on the spiritual community and the benefit of others. There is a degree of selflessness and compassion present whereby we can help one another in a genuine sense, without major interferences from our egos, nafs, or defects.
Regarding Marifah, knowledge, Ibn ‘Arabi states that “Nothing belongs to you or me.” In truth, we don’t own anything. All abundance belongs to divinity.
Regarding Haqiqah, the truth, Ibn ‘Arabi stated, “There is no you or me.” Meaning: there is only God, divinity, the Being, Allah.
Remember when we said earlier that “Wherever your sense of self is, that is hell. Wherever you aren’t, that is heaven.” There is no egotism, self, or sense of “I” within the Being, as we presently know in ourselves. The Being is as different and incompatible to the mind as oil is to water.
Divinity, the real Being, is the Absolute Abstract Space, the emptiness of enlightened cognizance, the pure light of Adi-Buddha, Ain Soph Aur in Kabbalah, which to our present sight is darkness, but for the self-realized masters is the uncreated light of the unknowable divine.
This divinity is selfless, but constitutes the true universal individuality, or better said, supra-individuality of any master who learns to incarnate and develop that force in themselves, so that there is no self, only the truth, al-Haqq, as proclaimed through Mansur Al-Hallaj. Divinity is one and absolute, as proclaimed through the Muslim Shahidah or testimony of faith: “There is no god but God.”
Anyone who wants to comprehend divinity must fulfill the three trainings. Again, these are not something rigid and dogmatic. These are practical steps. We must begin where we are at, with Shariah, ethical discipline, since we have a lot of selfishness and desires that keep us from knowing divinity. As we develop light, we can then provide that light of compassion for others in the path of Tariqah. By serving others completely, we follow Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Moses, Muhammad, on the path of Marifah and Haqiqah, knowledge and truth.
In Shariah, we serve divinity in ourselves. In Tariqah, we serve divinity in others. In Marifah and Haqiqah, there is only divinity everywhere and within ourselves. There is no “I,” but only the awakened state of consciousness free of conditions.
The Three Brains
In the path of self-knowledge, we deeply study what in gnosticism is called the three brains. These are three centers of psychological, energetic, spiritual, and physiological activity. The term brain in gnostic studies does not simply pertain to the physical matter within our skull. But a brain, esoterically speaking, is a machine that process certain psychological states, or qualities. It’s a type of mechanism.
We have an intellectual brain, which is where we process thought, mind, concepts, reasoning, ideas, theses and antitheses, and hopefully synthesis.
With the emotional brain we process sentiment, like, dislike, feeling, hope, longing, fear, etc. It pertains not only to just those psychological states, but to our heart and its nervous systems. The heart is a very sensitive organ and has intuitive capacities that are unlocked through the science of alchemy.
We have a third brain all throughout our spinal column, the brain of action, and which is divided into three principles, dynamics, or qualities. We have the center of movement at the top of the spine, whereby we process all our movements in our body. We have the instinctual center relating to the base of the spine, relating to our impulses, will, actions, desires. The most potent center pertaining to the spinal column is sexual, the sexual center or sexual organs. The sexual energy is the most potent force we carry within our body. The third brain can be therefore synthesized as the motor-instinctive-sexual brain.
Why discuss the three brains in relation to Sufism and divine love? Because to love the divine, we must become fully conscious of all these aspects of ourselves, and to give everything to God through renouncing negative habits and psychological states, whether through thought, feeling, or impulse. We can only learn to transform our psyche when we become conscious of our three brains. We become conscious of divinity likewise through the management of these parts of our body and psyche.
The three brains are a machine, a car that we must learn to handle and drive, if we want to safely arrive at our spiritual destination. Dreams of driving a car can symbolize how we use the mind, heart, and body appropriately or inappropriately. See how you drive in your dreams to know how you are doing!
Jesus taught us about the three brains in the gospels when a Jewish Pharisee tried to discredit the master before the public:
"And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
"He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
"Jesus said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself." —Luke 10:25-27
The heart is the emotional brain. The soul is willpower, the human consciousness beyond thought, feeling, and bodily sensation. This will must dominate our thinking, feeling, and action. Our human consciousness or willpower is mostly conditioned by nafs, egos. But there remains a free portion of this consciousness, which we call the Essence, that must liberate the conditioned consciousness, as we explained previously.
We also must love God with all our strength, meaning: all our vitality or sexual energy. When we wake in the morning, we are rejuvenated by our vital energies, renewed through the process of physical sleep. This depends upon how we use the sexual force, because if we squander this energy, we will become weak, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
Sexual energy gives us life. This is easy to see physically. The physical birth of a child is contingent upon the union of man and woman. By using the virile force, the sexual energy, husband and wife can create a human being. Likewise, the spiritual human being can be created in us through that same energy. We would not be here if it weren’t for the creative force, the power of the Holy Spirit as denominated by the Christians.
It’s interesting that the root word for virility is virya, warrior, someone who is spiritually and physically strong. Likewise, virtue is born from virility. How we use our sexual, emotional, mental, volitional, and conscious energy can grant us union with divinity, if we know how. Therefore the gospel states, “Love thy God with all thy strength.”
By conquering the sexual force, we become virya, warriors, mujahidin, strivers in spiritual warfare as taught within the Muslim tradition. This is a war against the ego and desire, against our nafs, defects. Through transforming the sexual energy within us and giving it to divinity, we acquire divine virtues and develop self-knowledge.
Faith and the Solar Force
By working with the sexual energy, we develop genuine faith, since this energy awakens consciousness and gives us direct knowledge of the mysteries of life and death. This is the science of transmutation, from the prefix trans, “to carry over, transport,” and mutation, mutate, “to change dense material forms into energy,” into spiritual force. Transmutation is the alchemical science of transforming our conditioned psyche into liberated consciousness, by transmuting the seminal matter or waters into cognizance and light.
We’ve included in this image the famous symbol of Islam, which is the crescent moon and the star of Venus, the star of love. We have juxtaposed with this image the Assumption of Mary, who is standing on a moon with her head crowned with twelve stars.
The power of the warrior, the virya, born from one’s virility, is in itself symbolized by the crescent moon. In Kabbalah, the moon relates to the sphere of Yesod, the second sphere from the bottom of the Tree of Life. Yesod means “Foundation” and is constituted by our sexual energy. It is the foundation of spiritual life. The Tree of Life is literally our spine, and Yesod is the sexual organs, since without our spine we would be invalids, incapable of functioning in life in a complete sense and not without special assistance.
We can likewise transpose the image of the Tree of Life on a human being, where the first trinity relates to the head, the second trinity to the heart, and the lower trinity to the sexual organs and thighs of the human being. This diagram relates to the three brains in many interesting ways.
With the moon, we think of lunar cycles, mechanicity, and forces in nature, as well as repetition. The moon is also a symbol of the mechanicity of the mind, the ego, the nafs. Our psyche is a moon, meaning: our habits are very ingrained. Whether we like to smoke or drink, to engage with specific types of conversations or discussions, we are habituated and fixed on certain behaviors due to the sleep of our consciousness. These habits and ways of being, some harmful, some not, constitute the conditioning of our psyche. They are mechanical and lunar, not belonging to the physical moon, but to our egotistical psychology. The mind is a moon; it only knows how to engage with its own conditions and desires.
But of course, in this image we have something very beautiful. The star of Venus above the crescent moon relates to love. Venus is the goddess Freia amongst the Nordics, which is where we get the word “Friday,” the holiest day of the week for Muslims. Likewise. sundown for Jews who celebrate the Sabbath, or Saturn-Day, Saturday.
This Freia, this Venus-Aphrodite, this goddess of love is the Hindu goddess Kundalini. She is the Divine Mother, the feminine aspect of our inner divinity. As we mentioned the Hebrew word Elohim, El is masculine, God; Eloah is feminine, Goddess; and Elohim, with Iod and Mem added to the end of Eloah, is Gods and Goddesses: Jehovah, or Jah-Chavah. Jah is the Divine Father. Chavah is the Divine Mother.
The Divine Mother is essential for our spiritual work, whom we must comprehend and experience very deeply to achieve self-knowledge. She is the power that can help free us from our defects. She destroys our defects after we have comprehended them completely in meditation. She liberates the soul from conditioning through wielding the powers of the moon, the sexual energy. She is the sacred heifer, the Cow, Al-Baqarah, immortalized through the longest Surah of the Qur’an. Surah Al-Baqarah relates how the leg of the heifer has the power of resuscitating the dead to bring them to life. This is highly symbolic, of course.
She also transforms the moon of our mind into the sun of understanding. She is Mary, Miriam in Hebrew, which literally means “to raise.” She raises us from spiritual death into the heights of spirituality. She is the energies that rise from the moon of our body, the sexual organs of Yesod, up the spine to the brain to produce the halo of the saints.
In sacred art, we often see the prophets and saints with halos like the sun, because they’ve transformed the lunar energies of sex into the solar energies of the Christ force, to saturate their minds completely with that power. This is the Kundalini of Hindustan.
The illumination of the mind relates to the mysteries of Halloween, Hallowed Evening. For this holiday, we take the pumpkin gourd mentioned in the Book of Jonah, clean out the muck, the guts and filthiness of the gourd itself. This represents how we must purify the filthiness of the mind. This is to place a candle, the light of understanding, inside that mind to illuminate it. This is how our evening, our darkness, is hallowed and enlightened.
But first you must go through all the visitors at the doorstep, dressed as ghouls and goblins, our own defects or nafs, who ask us, “Trick or treat?” In reality, you don’t want to be tricked by your own mind, but to treat yourself to the divine mysteries.
Miriam is the one who cleans our mind, our gourd. She is the one who gives us faith, and faith is a solar force. This solar force is born from our seminal waters, the waters of sex, the sexual matter, from which the energies rise within the spine to our mind. The Hebrew word for water is מַיִם Mayim, relating to מרים Miriam, since if you add the letter R, ר Rosh in Hebrew, to Mayim, you spell Miriam.
The word believer in Islam is al-mumin. The plural form is al-muminin. The resemblance of this term to מַיִם mayim, water, is striking, since a true believer works with the power of Yesod, the seminal waters. This is how we generate faith.
Faith is a force that guides us when we work with Miriam, our Divine Mother, to transform the moon into a sun. To be a true Muslim or believer is to be through the power of love, to be through lieve, love, the libido. You see this hidden in the symbol on top of every mosque. Very cryptic, but clear when you know alchemy and kabbalah.
We must be through the power of love, to be conscious to transform all our mechanicity into love, into consciousness. All conditionality must be transmuted into liberated consciousness; everything must be performed and given to divinity. This is how we awaken and know divinity for ourselves, developing conscious knowledge, real faith.
The term belief, as it is used now, has no meaning or purpose in esoterism. To think or feel something is true does not signify consciousness of that given thing. Therefore, we like to use the term faith in this tradition to be clear about our meaning, which is energy and will applied to action.
"Here we think a note upon faith should be of interest. Initiates say that its meaning has been misunderstood. Faith, as the world uses it, possesses no spiritual nature; though in the secondary system [the work with sexual energy] it means power and energy applied to action. All success in Yoga [religion] comes from this application; for the true quality of faith is a Solar force that illumines the mind and attracts to it atoms of power and energy. More human wrecks have resulted from the misconception of this quality than man realizes." —M. The Dayspring of Youth
People just sit on their couch and think that by believing in divinity, everything will be fine. One must learn to be conscious through the libido, the creative power of Yesod, and to apply it consciously. This is how we submit to God (perform Islam, submission).
Jesus provided the parable of the mustard seed, which is small, but has the potential to become a great tree. All that is possible for the fruition or development of a giant tree, a tree of life, is within the seed. Also, we are in a potential state within our sexual seed, the sperm or ovum, to become complete spiritual beings who are not influenced by the moon, by mechanicity. That seed can only develop when masculine and feminine matter are united, when the virile force of man and woman are combined; this will help to generate consciousness and solar faith. The moon can therefore become a sun, a solar entity.
"When Jesus used this word in the sentence, 'If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed,' He meant that one could work miracles if one possessed the atomic energy contained within a mustard seed. But in this world of illusion this is reversed, and the weak man sits still and believes that all will be applied to him if he has faith. It is not a force that should only be applied to religious belief. It is the power of the Innermost [the divine, Allah] working through the densities of our bodies, and the more we respond to it the greater will be our powers." ―M. The Dayspring of Youth
All our psychological, emotional, psychic, spiritual, and physical action is generated by the seed, the seminal matter. If we learn to take that force and transform the seed into Christic energy, we can give birth to the purified soul. Sex is the power of religion and divine life. Therefore Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Perfect Matrimony:
"It so happens that people think that by belonging to this or that faith, to such and such religion, or to one or another sect, that they are already saved. Naturally, this is false. A seed never germinates because of what a person believes or stops believing. An insect is never born because of what a human being thinks or stops thinking. A man is never born from the parchment of theory. This subject matter is sexual and in this, the Angel is no exception." ―Samael Aun Weor
This is the meaning of the second birth, to be born again as Jesus taught to Nicodemus. We must be born again of water and spirit. People think that one simply gets baptized by physical water and then believes in Jesus and then one is done. He said that “That which is born of flesh,” through the common sexual act, “is flesh.” A physical child is born from the animal orgasm, the sexual act culminating with seminal emission. “But that which is born of spirit,” through the sexual act with seminal retention of the waters, “is spirit.” If the couple knows how to conserve that water, that energy and redirect it, they can give birth to awakened consciousness and eliminate defects. This is how the moon is transformed into a sun.
This is the path of the cross, the vertical phallus joined to the horizontal uterus. It is upon this cross or within this crucible that we can die to our defects, that we can be cleansed by the fire of Christ, the fire of sex, ignited through divine love. When the couple unites, the fire ignites, inflames the mind, the heart, the psyche, and provides the capacity to unite with divinity, to create spiritual life.
The Muslims of course use different symbols for their religion, the crescent moon and star of Venus, but the same alchemical meaning is there. Ritual cleansing with water (wudu) is a common preparatory act before performing salaat, (daily prayer). This signifies that the initiate is transmuting their sexual energies to awaken the capacities of the heart.
The Symbolism of Water
Water is a prominent symbol in many world cosmogonies, particularly the Book of Genesis, the Bible, and the Qur’an. The creation of the earth and its emergence from the seas of creation, as told in Genesis, is allegorical. It represents the birth of the soul, new vehicles that the soul can inhabit as it rises upon the Tree of Life. Each Sephirah represents a new land that we must conquer, that we must create within ourselves, through alchemy.
The waters symbolize the power to generate, to create. Within us, our capacity to create physical and spiritual life resides in our waters. It is the source of pleasure, redemption, and the elevation of the soul to paradise. As the Qur’an teaches us in Surah al-Waqiah, the Inevitable, about the fate of those who transmute their waters:
In the Gardens of Pleasure,
A [large] company of the former peoples
And a few of the later peoples,
On thrones woven [with ornament, the solar bodies or garments of reverance],
Reclining on them, facing each other.
There will circulate among them young boys made eternal
With vessels, pitchers and a cup [of wine of transmuted sexual energy, Kundalini] from a flowing spring (of Yesod)―
No headache (suffering) will they have therefrom, nor will they be intoxicated (with fornication and adultery)―
And fruit of what they select (from the Tree of Life)
And the meat of fowl, from whatever they desire.
And [for them are] fair women (Nirvani woman) with large, [beautiful] eyes,
The likenesses of pearls well-protected,
As reward for what they used to do (for being chaste).
They will not hear therein ill (fornicating) speech or commission of sin (lustful desire)-
Only a saying: "Peace, peace."
The companions of the right - what are the companions of the right?
[They will be] among lote trees with thorns removed
And [banana] trees layered [with fruit]
And shade extended
And water (of transmuted sexual energy) poured out
And fruit, abundant [and varied],
Neither limited [to season] nor forbidden (as the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge were forbidden),
And [upon] beds raised high (wherein the sexual act is treated with respect).
Indeed, We have produced the women of Paradise in a [new] creation
And made them virgins (Venus-Uranias or Urania-Venuses, female initiates),
Devoted [to their husbands] and of equal age,
For the companions of the right [who are]
A company of the former peoples
And a company of the later peoples. —Qur'an
Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi was a famous Sufi poet and mystic, a profound kabbalist and alchemist, who taught in his writings the path of yoking the waters through tantra, or Marifah. An example of his initiatic work is the following cryptic postulation:
"From the heart of the lovers, blood flows like a vast river. Our body is the windmill, and love, the water. Without water the mill cannot turn." ―Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, Hidden Music
Marifah or tantrism teaches that when a couple is engaged in sexual union, the different energies or seminal waters of the divine are active in the body. The sexual force then circulates throughout the physicality and psyche as well. There is a profound movement of forces through the chakras or energetic centers of the spinal medulla. The chakras rotate positively like the swastika when the couple is chaste and pure, avoiding animality in the sexual act.
The body has seven main mills, seven main chakras, which are well documented in Hinduism and within Sufism as al-Laṭaʾif as-Sitta, the seven vortexes or centers of spiritual and psychic power. These are the seven churches of the Book of Revelation.
These centers of power spin as the couple controls their breathing, their ruh, so that the sexual energy rises within the spine. When breathing is erratic and impassioned during the sexual act, the sexual energy flows outward and results in the orgasm. Remember that if there is no water, the mill cannot turn. If you ejaculate the waters, those chakras or mills cannot spin, but will remain still. Those chakras grant powers and spiritual abilities, such as clairvoyance, clairaudience, telepathy, omniscience, etc., so if they are inactive, then the consciousness lacks force and energy to be awakened.
But when the breath is harnessed through sacred mantras and vocal remembrance of Allah in sexual magic, that energy rises inward and upward to the brain and then to the heart.
Again, we emphasize that the chakras can only spin when there is water, transmuted sexual energy, within them, to circulate and provide energetic movement. Hence the importance of sexual purity within every religion, especially Sufism.
Al-Qushayri also provides an interesting explanation of the esoteric symbolism of water in the path of love in his Risalah: Principles of Sufism:
"Some say that hub, love, is a name for purity of affection, because the bedouins when speaking of the pure whiteness and regularity of someone’s teeth use the expression habab al-asnan." —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Why the purity of teeth? In Kabbalah the mouth signifies Da’ath, Marifah, sexual knowledge. To be pure in speech is to handle the sexual energy wisely, since sex and the throat connect through the spine. Everyone knows that adolescent boys acquire deep voices due to puberty, and likewise adolescent girls develop their voice further due to the maturation of the sexual organs and the development of hormones.
Al-Qushayri continues to explain the nature of divine eroticism and water:
"Others say that since hubab is a word for the excess water that results from a heavy rain, mahabbah came to mean the heart’s boiling and stirring with the thirst and excitement of meeting the Beloved. Still others say the word is derived from habab al-ma, the greater part of a body of water, because love is the object of most of the heart’s concerns." —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Who is the Beloved? It is the Being. Yet a husband finds the Being present in his wife, and vice versa. In Christian terms, every man views his wife as the Divine Mother, Miriam, while every woman views her husband as the Divine Father, Joseph.
Here the waters overflow and saturate the heart when the couple knows how to conserve those forces, raising them from sex to the brain and then to the heart.
You can see that the Sufis use a sexual and erotic language for describing union with God, precisely because union with God occurs in the sexual act. Sadly, many people ignore this fact and come up with many superficial interpretations of the Sufi writings that ignore the necessity of sexual magic.
And sadly, people only see sexuality as something filthy and disgusting, to be indulged in or repressed, even though sexual magic serves a much more profound function than animal pleasure. As Rumi explained to his disciples regarding alchemy:
“If in thirst you drink water from a cup, you see Allah in it. Those who are not in love with Allah will see only their own faces in it.” ―Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī
The cup is the holy grail, the feminine sexual organs, within which is filled the waters or manna of the desert, the creative energies that will arouse and satisfy our spiritual thirst.
In relation to this topic, Iranian mythology speaks of the cup of Jamshid, a holy grail filled with a divine elixir that grants the soul the capacity to perceive the seven heavens (the superior dimensions of the Tree of Life, as well as the seven chakras of the spinal medulla). The word Jamshid is an interesting acrostic: Jam signifies a gathering together, which is sexual. For husband and wife to be close to each other signifies intimacy, closeness, a gathering together. The cup or yoni is also the sacred emblem of Christianity in which the solar initiates gather around.
In the past, solar initiates would gather within the temples or mosques to celebrate the path of the Lord through prayer and ritual, which is the general etymological significance of the word "gathering." The word "church" in Greek, Εκκλησία Ekklisía, refers to a gathering place that belongs to divinity, kyriakos, the Lord. A church in esoterism is where the creative energies congregate within the spine, as with the seven churches or fully-developed chakras of the Book of Revelations.
There are alchemical meanings hidden within the Arabic language. Shid, pronounced “Sheed” reminds us of Shahid, “witness.” Therefore, Jamshid is the cup of gathering and witnessing, since none can witness or experience divinity without the sacred yoni, without working with the creative waters of life to awaken the powers of the spine and the mind.
As Al-Qushayri explains:
"The expression ‘jam and tafriqah [or farq] is often used by the Sufis. Abu Ali al-Daqqaq used to say, 'Separation (farq) is what you are given a share in. Gathering (jam) is what is removed from your power.'” —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
All of us are separated from our Being because of the original sin: lust. All of us fornicated and expelled ourselves from Eden, bliss. This occurred precisely because in the past, we did not respect sexuality or transmutation. Due to our own will, we separated ourselves from divinity.
Gathering is a term used to signify how one approaches divinity through the will of divinity. The disparate parts of the soul, once fractured and conditioned by ego, nafs, become unified and integrated by divine decree. Through comprehending, judging, and annihilating the shells or defects that condition consciousness, the Being achieves tawhid, unity within our psyche. And what higher way exists to reach divinity, according to the Sufis, than the sacrament of sexuality, a marriage, whereby the Being descends and helps us to tame the fires of love? Through the fires of love the egos are annihilated completely.
Al-Qushayri explains the alchemical meanings given by his teacher, Al-Daqqaq:
"His meaning was that whatever pertains to servanthood [submission to divinity in sexual magic] and is attributed to the servant [the alchemist], whatever is linked to the conditions of being human [as a fornicator], is a form of farq, the separation between worshiper and Worshipped [because through the orgasm, we separate ourselves from the Worshipped, the divine]. Whatever proceeds from the Truth [al-Haqq, Haqiqah, the realizations born from Marifah, transmutation]—the generation of spiritual meaning and experience [since every true spiritual experience is born of the Genesiatic waters], the gifts of grace—is a form of gathering [jam], the coming together of worshiper and Worshipped." —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Therefore, people who are filled with a lot of sexual passion and animal desire will obviously look at the sexual act, the waters, as something carnal, bestial, as Rumi indicated. They see their own faces in it; they separate themselves more and more from divinity through fornication. Yet if the couple works to eliminate desire, egotism, nafs, from the psyche, to deny, comprehend, and annihilate lust, then the sexual act becomes something pure and holy, through which the Being, the divine, is present. Through scientific chastity, Marifah, the Being gathers us in worship of his presence, hudur, within the flames of love. This is the meaning of the Sufi technical terms awe and intimacy. We will speak about awe now but come back to intimacy in a short while.
"The true nature of awe is absence [ghaybah], absence, being carried beyond oneself. [In sexual magic, one is no longer an separate individual, but united in the Being, for man and woman form one terrifically divine Elohim]. Everyone in awe is lost to himself [his animal ego, lusts, and desires]." —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Remember the teachings of Proverbs, chapter 1 verse 7:
"The fear [awe, Pechad] of Iod-Chavah is the beginning of knowledge [Da’ath, Marifah], but fools [fornicators] despise wisdom and instruction." —Proverbs 1:7
Awe and fear have the same meaning, to respect the creative sexual energy and never waste it, because to fornicate is to be a fool, to waste the sacred oil of the temple.
"There is treasure to be desired and oil [שֶׁמֶן shemen, semen] in the dwelling [body or temple] of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up." —Proverbs 20 :21
"What is more, Sufis in a state of awe differ in degree according to their detachment from or attachment to ordinary [egotistical] awareness [during sexual transmutation in a matrimony]. Some of them are greatly detached [from lust] and some of them are less so [because they are beginners in alchemy]." —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
All of this is represented by the lance of Longinus and the holy grail in Christianity. The lance is a symbol of the phallus, the masculine force that pierces our egos and annihilates them in the sexual act after we have achieved profound comprehension of such defects in meditation. Here we see the path of redemption for the soul: the union of husband and wife in the perfect matrimony.
Jesus taught alchemy very clearly in other verses, especially in his teaching the Samaritan woman at the well (a symbol of Yesod: the waters in our earth, Malkuth):
"Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this (physical) water shall thirst again:
"But whosoever drinketh of the (sublimated sexual) water (turned into energy) that I shall give him (in sexual magic, alchemy, tantra, Marifah) shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
"The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.
"Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither." ―John 4:13-16
The waters become a wellspring of eternal life when we conserve them. The water regenerates and provides life continually and therefore helps us to remain young, virile, and strong.
Many people think Jesus was dismissing the woman to go get her husband, as if he was ignoring her, but the answer to her question is clear: call thy husband if you want to learn how to use the waters that will give you eternal spiritual life.
Beautiful, no? But cryptic.
The Sufis, along with the gospels, explain the bliss of a marriage, although in a Middle Eastern way, through a heightened alchemical, kabbalistic sexual language.
"Ali ibn Ubayd said, 'Yahya ibn Muadh wrote to Abu Yazid, ‘I am intoxicated with how much I have drunk from the cup of love.’ Abu Yazid wrote back to him, ‘Someone else has drunk the oceans of the heavens and the earth and his thirst is not yet quenched. His tongue is hanging out and he is asking, “Is there any more?”’ —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
It is one thing to have an insatiable sexual desire or lust, animal passion, carnal attachments, it is a completely different thing to develop the genuine bliss and ecstasy of the soul during the same sexual act. Remember that in Hebrew, Eden means “pleasure” or “bliss.” It was the bliss humanity, symbolized by Adam and Eve, once enjoyed. Sex was once practiced in observance and remembrance of Allah, the Being, but when humanity indulged in the orgasm, in sexual desire, they expelled themselves from Eden, that blissful state.
Those who practice alchemy transform the seminal matter, the sexual waters, into conscious love, chastity, purity, light. When practicing alchemy once per day, no more, the couple rejuvenates the body, heart, and mind. In this sense, the soul’s thirst for divinity is not quenched no matter how much one transmutes from the cup of alchemy, the feminine yoni in sexual magic, because these waters constantly generate within our sexual organs. Because we receive the sexual energy anew every day, it is necessary to sublimate it daily.
Christ’s first miracle was the transmutation of water into wine. This again is symbolic, of how the couple transforms the seminal energies into the wine of the spirit. Such a wine inebriates the soul, as described within Sufism and Christianity.
"And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there (again referring back to Miriam, the Divine Mother, who is going to be present at this miracle): And both Jesus (the Inner, Intimate Christ) was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come (the Lord has not fully manifested within the spinal medullae of the married couple yet, since they are learning to transmute for the first time). His mother [Miriam] saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him." ―John 2:1-11
Even though it is forbidden in Islam to drink alcohol, the Sufis use the language of intoxication and drinking to talk about experiences with God in alchemy. It signifies being drunk on God, being intoxicated with love. These initiates always treated sex with respect, as something sacred, unlike our humanity today. The Sufis treated sex with balance, neither something to repress or indulge in as something filthy, but through a comprehensive, middle way, by utilizing sex in its true purpose and function: to generate the soul.
Many of these Sufi masters were, of course, married, since every man needs a wife, and every wife needs a husband. These masters did not make alchemy public, but practiced Marifah in secrecy, since this teaching was not explained openly until recently, in the 1950’s with the publication of The Perfect Matrimony by Samael Aun Weor.
Intoxication and Sobriety
In gnosis, we seek to become drunk on the love of the divine. We previously spoke about gnostic and Sufi psychology, how the consciousness must become inebriated by divine energy, so as to awaken from its slumber. Now we are delving into the physiological and alchemical aspects of this knowledge, the secret path of Marifah, some practical components for sexual magic.
In Revelation of the Mystery by Al-Hujwiri, a Persian Sufi master, he explains that there are two kinds of intoxication. His teaching is in relation to Persian and Arabic kabbalah, the symbolic mystical language of the consciousness within Middle Eastern discourse.
"There are two kinds of intoxication: (1) with the wine of affection (mawaddat) and (2) with the cup of love (muhabbat). The former is “caused” (ma’lul), since it arises from regarding the benefit (ni’mat); but the latter has no cause, since it arises from regarding the benefactor (mun’im)." ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
The “wine of affection” is caused, brought about by the couple’s individual desires, lust, animality, nafs or egos. They provoke the sexual act because they are filled with lust or passion. They do not unite out of dhikr, remembrance of divinity, to remember the presence, hudur, of divinity, as they sexually connect. These types of people do not comprehend what the cup of love signifies, because they are fornicators.
To drink from the cup of love is to practice chastity. Chastity does not signify abstention from sex, but purity in sex—to not reach the animal spasm or orgasm; to not fornicate, to not be burned by the fornix, furnace of the body through the emission of the sexual energy.
It also signifies restraining lustful thoughts, feelings, and impulses in the three brains. This is difficult for beginners, but something gnostic matrimonies learn through practice and discipline.
The cup of love, sexual magic, is not caused by one’s own will, but by the will of the Innermost Beings within husband and wife. This signifies consciousness of divinity within the sexual act, the Benefactor, mun'im, which etymologically relates to the Arabic word for believer, al-mumin, a term for an alchemist.
"He who regards the benefit sees through himself and therefore sees himself (meaning his desires, egotism, lust), but he who regards the benefactor sees through Him (the Being) and therefore does not see himself (as ego), so that, although he is intoxicated (drunk on that pleasure of sexual union), his intoxication is sobriety (there is control and transmutation of the sexual energy; one is sober-headed and rational because the couple are not slaves of desire)." ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
To be sober in Sufi terms is to be in control of one’s energies in the sexual act. One dominates sex with the consciousness, redirecting the animal impulse of desire and transmuting it up the spine. Those people who let themselves be carried away by the pleasures of sex culminate in the orgasm. Thereafter their sexuality governs their mind and they fall downward into the abyss, forming the inverted pentagram.
We are five-pointed stars, with two hands, two legs, and one head. When we control sex, we stand upright, made into the psychological image of the divine. If sex governs our head, we precipitate downwards towards the atomic infernos, the hell realms of Islam, so as to eat the bitter leaves of the Tree of Zaqqum as mentioned in the Qur’an, a symbol of spiritual death and suffering of the consciousness. This is the left-hand path of sorcery and black magic, the path of demons.
The right-hand path is the path of the initiates, the solar way. Therefore, we must transform the moon into a sun!
In the image of this slide, the Goddess Luna is extending her hands towards the moon or lunar power of Yesod, the sexual energy. The sexual energy is a lunar, creative force that we must transform into a sun through alchemy. It is by working with this energy that we learn to comprehend the enigmatic language of the Sufis, since this energy opens the door to comprehension for us.
Remember that psyche was asleep and later awakened through Eros, Cupid, the god of love, the erotic energy. When that power is utilized by a couple, then they begin to understand the mystical meaning of sobriety and intoxication.
Sobriety also is classified in two ways, according to al-Hujwiri.
"Sobriety is also of two kinds: sobriety in heedlessness (ghaflat) and sobriety in love (mahabbat). The former is the greatest of veils, but the latter is the clearest of revelations." ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
What does it mean to be sober in heedlessness? To be heedless is to act as an animal, to not follow the sixth commandment of divinity: “Thou shalt not fornicate.” It signifies a lack of practice or spiritual discipline, to not work against the ego, but to fortify it through mistaken habits and the sleep of our consciousness. It means to feed pride, anger, lust, greed, vanity, etc. To not work with the spirit, ruh, is to be reckless, careless in genuine spiritual terms. If we have no consciousness of divinity, if we do not meditate, then we are heedless. Therefore, all of us fall in this category until we learn this science and apply it.
Those who are sober in divine love practice alchemy and know how to conserve the seminal energy and never lose one drop of it. This energy therefore produces the clearest of revelations, since as Samael Aun Weor explains, many initiates know how to enter into the ecstasy of the spirit, to manifest God within, through mastering the sexual act.
"The sobriety that is connected with heedlessness is really intoxication, while that which is linked with love, although it be intoxication, is really sobriety." ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
Obviously, the language is tricky. The Sufis were always playing with donkey-headed intellectuals who have no intuition. But their wisdom is clear to other initiates. They wrote in this manner to evade persecution and scandals.
Anyone who gives into fear, pride, envy, hate, lust, desire, is heedless. To give into those negative psychological qualities is to be drunk in a very bad sense. Many people are drunk off their ideas, theories, beliefs, and more importantly their sense of self, their ego, the “me,” “myself,” and “I.” This is the state of identification, fascination, and sleep of the consciousness. The heedless hear about esoterism and rationalize, ignoring instruction. They are heedless and drunk off the opium of theories, which Samael Aun Weor stated is worse than death.
But that alchemical experience that is linked with love, although it be intoxication through the sexual energy, is really sobriety, sensible. To use that power for spiritual life is really the most sensible thing. This is what it means to be sober-headed, to not be carried away by passion. But lunatics, idiots, fornicators, enjoy expelling the energy of Eden from themselves:
"The fear of the LORD (respect for the sexual energy) is the beginning of knowledge (Marifah), but fools despise wisdom and instruction." —Proverbs 1:7
"When the principle (asl) is firmly established, sobriety and intoxication resemble one another, but when the principle is wanting, both are baseless." ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
So what is this principle (asl)? Sexual alchemy, scientific chastity, to connect sexually with one’s partner, as husband and wife, and to never lose one drop of semen, that precious energy, but to transmute it, elevate it. Through transmutation, one is continually intoxicated by that light generated through the sexual cooperation of the couple.
As the couple practices sexual magic, husband and wife never lose their attraction for one another, because the energy of attraction and magnetism is never expelled, but sublimated. The couple then charges one another with divine power. Through this principle of sexual alchemy, husband and wife remain intoxicated by love for one another, and also remain sober-headed. They comprehend that the ego is the source of disorder and divorce. So, couples who practice sexual alchemy are better off for preserving their union, because fornication leads to suffering and expulsion from sexual bliss. This is how marriages can succeed, rather than end in divorce, which is very common nowadays.
A matrimony can be one’s heaven or one’s hell. Here we are teaching how couples can continually magnetize and charge each other, so that they remain in happiness.
When the principle of alchemy is not present within a couple, sobriety and intoxication are baseless, meaning: they have no foundation in the science of Yesod: the Foundation of Kabbalah. Marriages founded on fornication, the orgasm, are pointless, baseless in a spiritual sense. When people know nothing of transmutation, the terms sobriety and intoxication take on different meanings. The sobriety of fornicators consists of all the degenerated theories in this day and age that adamantly defend the orgasm. Humanity does everything it can to explain why fornication is healthy and necessary. People also speak a lot about feeding one's desires at all costs, being intoxicated not only by alcohol and drugs, but by anger, lust, pride, and greed. This is what it means to have no foundation, to "build one's house upon the sand of theories," which, after the first provocation of a storm or consequences of karma, will tumble and fall into the abyss.
We must become true believers and followers of divinity through learning how to be through the libido. Chastity is essential and constitutes our foundation. As the Qur’an teaches us in Surah Al-Nur, the “Surah of the Light”, verses 30 and 31:
"Tell the believing men to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what they do.
"And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, their brothers' sons, their sisters' sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed." —Qur'an
In synthesis, the Light Surah indicates that you cannot have spiritual light if you are not chaste.
Many students who begin our gnostic studies complain about lust. Whenever they walk across the street in the cities, their eyes are bewildered by the sight of attractive men and women. The work of transforming lustful impressions is always most difficult for new initiates, which is why women in Islam, initially, wore their hijab or headcovers to prevent the lustful eye. Whether this tradition is really being practiced well after the time of the Prophet is another thing…
But let us continue elaborating on the language of the Sufis:
"In short, where true mystics tread, sobriety and intoxication are the effect of difference (ikhtilaf)…" —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
The word mystic comes from the Greek root word myein, to close the eyes. This signifies a person who meditates. In this case, the meditators, husband and wife, have been initiated into the sexual mysteries. For true mystics, sobriety signifies sexual purity, chastity, not in the form of abstention or celibacy, but by being pure in the sexual act.
For beginners on the mystic path, intoxication refers to fornication, since people get drunk on the orgasm. When people think of sex, that is all they think about, ignoring that sex can be founded on purity and spiritual love. Sobriety for the mystic therefore is the opposite, to be rational, controlling the sexual energy.
"…and when the Sultan of Truth (the Being, Allah, the divine) displays his beauty, both sobriety and intoxication appear to be intruders (tufayli), because the boundaries of both are joined, and the end of the one is the beginning of the other, and the beginning and end are terms that imply separation, which has only a relative existence. In union all separations are negated, as the poet says— 'When the morning star of wine rises, The drunken and the sober are as one.'” ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
When the Being expresses Himself within the couple, the beauty and love that husband and wife feel during the sexual act is the truest consubstantiation and fulfillment of divine love. As Fyodor Dostoevsky once stated, “Human love is a reflection of divine love.” For the couple that unifies in compassion and selflessness, out of virtue and purity, of genuine conscious love and understanding, the terms “intoxication” and “sobriety” become concepts and intellectual terms that miss the meaning: since the couple is so lost in the ecstasy and compassion of the Being. The intellect becomes an obstacle. The consciousness, usually hypnotized by the duality and relativity of the mind, becomes absorbed within divinity, the perfect unity, thereby transcending creation.
In sexual union, all separation is negated, because husband and wife become one angelic being with the capacity to create divine life. There is no difference between them, since the egos, the intruders or infidels, are not present, the nafs are absent during the ecstasy.
"…as the poet says— 'When the morning star of wine rises, The drunken and the sober are as one.'” ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
This is a beautiful teaching by Hujwiri. Who is the drunken one? The soul that is drunk on God, being united with divinity through one’s wife, as a husband, and one’s husband, as a wife.
Who is the sober one? The Being, the Real, the Truth, al-Haqq.
The morning star is Venus, the Divine Mother, wherein the waters of sex are sublimated into spiritual wine, the Kundalini up the spinal medulla. When the sexual fires rise from the base of the spine and illuminate the brain, then the two aspects of Jehovah, Jah-Chavah, are united, Kundalini Shakti—Chavah, the intoxicated from below—marrying Her divine husband, the masculine aspect of the Holy Spirit, Jah, the sober one, the real, in the brain. Together they signify Jehovah.
This is the esoteric Sufi meaning of intimacy. For as Al-Qushayri explains:
"The true nature of intimacy [sexual magic and union with God] is rightly sobriety [sahw]. In truth, the condition of balance after mystical experience [samadhi with one’s wife or husband in tantrism, Marifah]. Everyone who becomes intimate with God becomes sober and clear. Such people vary according to the strength of their experience [in chastity, being able to restrain animal desire to a specific degree]. About this the Sufis say, 'The lowest stage of intimacy with God is that if one were thrown into a blazing fire [when the fires of sexuality are active between husband and wife, which they must dominate and control], one’s intimacy [concentration and chastity, sexual purity] would not be disturbed.'” —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Therefore, if you are lustful, you will only see lust in sex. But the great alchemists know how to see divinity and the seven heavens within the cup of gathering and witnessing, Jamshid.
Sufi Dance and Intimacy with God
Many Sufi dances signify the path of intimacy with God. In the film Meetings with Remarkable Men (a biographical drama about Master Gurdjieff), there is one dance in particular that depicts these alchemical concepts. At the end of the film, Gurdjieff finds a Sufi school of initiation wherein he witnesses a group of turbaned initiates dance and perform the runic alphabet, which are a series of yogic postures used with mantras in order to accumulate energy. Eight men dance in the same spot as they position their body in the form of runic letters, so as to attract the powers of divinity and perform sexual transmutation. Two other men meditate on the sides with their arms crossed in the Egyptian style, with the right arm over the left. The most notable of the dancers is in the center, the ninth man moving in a clockwise circle, demonstrating the positive rotation of the chakras. His arms are crossed since he is not performing the runes, and his centrality and firmness in the dance illustrates his universal role as the Being.
The ninth figure among the dancers, the center initiate, also refers to the strength, solidarity, and power of Yesod, the ninth sephirah of the Tree of Life, which is the creative power of divinity. This is the power that can dominate the ego.
The tenth figure dances in a drunken stupor around the man in the center. The drunken, intoxicated man is the soul, nafs, or ego that must be dominated by willpower. The intoxicated man is silently guided by the somewhat stationary, central figure, the Being or sober one.
The man in the center has his arms crossed in the Muslim style, with the right arm over the left, demonstrating how the right-hand solar path dominates the left-hand lunar path. He does not show any acquiescence to the drunken man, but is firm, in control, leading the drunken initiate towards submission (Islam) to Him. The Being, the real or sober one, accomplishes this feat through the path of meditation and transmutation.
The ten men dancing in the center are the ten sephiroth of the Tree of Life. The drunken man is Malkuth, the physical person filled with vices, while the man in the center is Chesed, the spirit. The two men at the sides represent the two pillars of Kabbalah, Jakin and Boaz, which support the entirety of our psychological and spiritual temple.
There are other dances depicted in this film, but we don't have time to comment on all of them.
All of this dance is accomplished through the power of sex, symbolized by the movement of creative energy through the runes. No matter how drunk or egotistical the soul is, God is immovable, commanding, as we see in the example of the central dancer. Through exercises like runes (used to develop willpower and control), the consciousness becomes trained for sexual magic. With years of discipline, the fires of intimacy (in sexual alchemy) do not disturb the initiates' concentration, but remain in check, as the wild egotistical mind bows humbly in submission before divinity in this dance.
The Sacred Name of God in Islam
The Arabic name of divinity also hides this mystery. الله Allah signifies “the God.” Illaha signifies goddess. ا Alif, the breath, is the Hebrew א Aleph, prana, wind, spirit, ruh, since both Arabic and Hebrew are Semitic languages bearing the same roots in Kabbalah, the language of the consciousness and of God.
الله Allah begins with ا Alif, which is a separate, elongated straight line, a masculine and phallic letter. This is the sacred fire of Kundalini that rises within the spine. الله Allah ends in ه Ha, a feminine letter in esotericism that references the feminine yoni, the vagina. The yoni is a circle and the phallus is a line, which are easy to see in ا Alif and ه Ha.
The two ل lams of the sacred Arabic name of God each represent a person, man and woman, in esoterism. The Hebrew equivalent is ל Lamed, which references the tongue or speech. When man and wife unite in the sexual act to transmute, pronounce mantras, to recite the sacred verb, they are working with الله Allah, Elohim, the divine.
This is equivalent to the Hebrew אל “El,” the spirit, Chesed in Kabbalah, ruh in Arabic “Elah,” or “Eloah” also means Goddess. El is masculine. Eloah or Elah is feminine.
As we've been stating, divinity expresses through the sexual energy. One of the sacred names of divinity in Arabic is Al Wadud (الودود), "the Loving, the Kind One." Likewise we find Al Khaaliq (الخالق), "the Creator." Where else within a human being do we find the possibilities for creation through love? It is in sexual union.
Alchemical knowledge is included in the sacred name Al Wadud, which contains two ו vavs or و waws. ו Vav or و waw can be pronounced as a vowel, such as an a, o, or u sound. و Waw or ו Vav is a spinal column and brain, represented by the straight line and top point of ו vav, and the circle and curved line of و waw. Ibn 'Arabi states that و waw connects the human being with the angels, the divine. Al Wadud has two و waws, one for man and one for woman, wherein the Kundalini rises and unites the couple with الله Allah. Divine unification is also represented by the two د dals or ד Daleths of Al Wadud, indicating two dervishes or initiates, one man and one woman, entering the doorway of alchemical knowledge: the science of the perfect matrimony, Da'ath or marifah in Arabic.
The sexual power of divinity is well reflected within the Qur'an by the following verses:
"Then We made the sperm-drop into a clinging clot, and We made the clot into a lump [of flesh], and We made [from] the lump, bones, and We covered the bones with flesh; then We developed him into another creation. So blessed is Allah, the best of creators." —Surah al-Mu'minun, "The Believers," verse 14
After these explanations, it's logical to see, from this verse, that the power of divinity is in sex.
While the creative energy can create a physical child, this verse from the Qu'ran teaches about the creation of the solar bodies, the vehicles of the soul, a type of psychic matter or flesh that does not belong to fornication, but to chastity. These vehicles include: the body of liberation (Yesod, the superior aspect of Malkuth), the solar astral (Hod), solar mental (Netzach), and solar causal (Tiphereth); in total, these are the lower five sephiroth of the Tree of Life, the Kabbalah.
Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio
To sum up these Sufi and Gnostic teachings, we have the following excerpt from Mozart’s Opera, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, The Abduction from the Seraglio. Mozart was a Freemason and a master of Major Mysteries who knew Sufism in depth, along with Beethoven and other initiates. These masters knew the mysteries of the occult stone, the Kaaba of Yesod.
In this opera, Belmonte, a Spanish nobleman, tries to rescue his betrothed, Konstanze, with his servant Pedrillo. She was captured by pirates at sea and sent to a harem, an Arabic den of prostitution, to be the slave of Bassa Selim, the Pasha or ruler of Seraglio. Konstanze is under watch and supervision from Osmin, a Muslim guard, whom Pedrillo tricks into drinking wine to intoxicate him and lead him to sleep. Once Osmin is asleep, Pedrillo and Belmonte make their escape attempt with Konstanze.
All of this is symbolic and invites us to reflect…
Konstanze is constancy, chastity, our divine soul trapped within whoredom, within the prostitution of animal ego, lust, desire, nafs. Belmonte is her future husband, whose Spanish name signifies “beautiful mountain,” “Bel-Monte.” He is Tiphereth in Kabbalah, the human soul or warrior who must fight to liberate the trapped consciousness. When he conquers the ego, then he can marry his divine soul. Tiphereth is our will or capacity to climb the beautiful mountain of initiation, which he accomplishes through Pedrillo, his servant.
Pedrillo is “little Peter,” or little Pedro, signifying a “stone.” Peter is also slang for a phallus. He is the little power of Yesod, the little stone that David, Tiphereth, used to conquer Goliath, the ego, who is represented in this opera as Osmin, a giant bass whose voice inspires fear.
Pedrillo gives Osmin wine to drink, which the guard, being Muslim, first denies. And yet Osmin is tempted by the wine and drinks, ending up drunk and incapacitated, so that Pedrillo, Belmonte, and Konstanze can make their escape.
The symbolism of wine we’ve already explained: it is the energy of sex that inebriates the soul and slackens the ego, putting it to sleep, to make it inactive.
Osmin, the ego, gets drunk off the wine and falls asleep. That energy, harnessed in meditation, has the power to put our defects to sleep so that the consciousness can escape from its shells and conditioning to experience samadhi, represented by Pedrillo’s tenor singing, the elevation of the soul.
Both Pedrillo and Osmin sing about women when praising Bacchus, god of wine, the sexual potency. One can either praise women with chastity or praise women with lust and desire. Both polarities are expressed here in Mozart’s aria, “Vivat Bacchus,” “long live Bacchus!” Osmin praises fornication, but Pedrillo, little Peter, knows how to be chaste. Here we clearly see how sex is the power of liberation or damnation of the soul!
Osmin also reminds us of the Rune Os, Othilla, Thelema, the rune of willpower, whereby single practitioners can learn to transmute their creative energies. Min or Minah in Kabbalistic language is sex. Interesting, no? Why would Mozart name Osmin, the ego, after the Rune Os, and the sexual mysteries of sex, Mina, the Menorah?
Light is generated through conquering fire, through not giving into temptation in the sexual act, to not eat the forbidden fruit and to not culminate in the orgasm. We must instead conserve that light inside. Temptation is fire. Triumph over temptation is light, virtues, comprehension, cognizance. We must steal the fire from the devil!
The sexual energy, the power of Bacchus-Dionysus, is precisely a drink for the Gods, Elohim. This aria is not just about a man getting a Muslim guard drunk, but symbolizes two paths for using the wine of light. When husband and wife are sexually united, they are a truly divine being. When the couple truly practices chastity, the ego, Osmin, is put to sleep, so husband and wife can enjoy sex with purity, to breathe the aromas of the tree of knowledge without eating its fruit…
Remember that the word Seraglio, the harem or den of prostitution, carries the three vowels I.A.O., Ser-Ah-gl-IO. This is because the power of IAO, Jehovah, is polarized negatively through lust within our mind, which is represented by the harem.
Mozart was a great master of Kabbalah, as you can see, which he taught in a synthetic, symbolic and comprehensive way.
Alchemy and the Garden of Gethsemane
Here we see Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane with the chalice of redemption, whereby an angel presents him his cross, symbol of the perfect matrimony, before Christ performs his Passion. Here Jesus was praying before his crucifixion, a symbol of the death of desire, the ego, upon the cross of alchemy. Remember also that the chalice is a symbol of the feminine sexual organs, through which the husband extracts the elixir or manna of spiritual life.
The Garden of Gethsemane precisely represents the garden of Eden, bliss, a matrimony. Gethsemane is the garden of Yesod whereby the Lord is betrayed, since Judas, sexual desire, submits him to the Jewish authorities, the different egos, to be tested, contested, and condemned.
Jesus represents the human soul, Tiphereth, united with Chokmah, Christ, an alchemical amalgamation known as the Son of Man. Here the master prays before the work of completely annihilating his ego. He states, “Father, if it be possible, pass this cup (representing sexual magic) of bitterness from me. But not my will, but Thine be done.”
This path of sexual magic is one of sacrifice of desire. To renounce lust and the orgasm is painful for the ego, but constitutes the intoxication of the soul. It’s obvious then why many people begin but few reach the end. But those who persevere in daily transmutation, death of the ego, and selfless service for others, become constantly inebriated by the divine. They never forget their work because they never forget their Being.
Many people cringe when discovering the necessity of compassion, selflessness, and love for humanity. We recommend that students reflect upon the life of Jesus, who when being nailed to the cross, when he was humiliated beyond comprehension, the only thing he said was “Father, forgive them: they know not what they do.”
This is a type of compassion we strive and struggle to develop, especially within a marriage, when cultivating the powers of our “garden,” our physicality. This is difficult precisely due to our conditioning, which obscures and prevents us from really accessing this state. But if we learn to see the other person’s point of view, we develop the will and perception of Christ, one who does not react to life, but responds. It is one thing to react egotistically to situations, but another thing to respond with cognizance, compassion, and love, with selflessness, thinking and acting only for the benefit of the other person. In this way, we can still establish boundaries and be firm with others who need it, but not with anger—instead, one uses kindness. This is a more potent force than any ego, any defect.
The way that you really develop divine love, the hardest and best way is in a marriage. Despite a couple’s love and affinity, the worst conflicts the disciple faces is upon the cross, during sexual union. Husband and wife must learn to sacrifice their defects to truly love one another. Crucifixion symbolizes the pain one goes through in the alchemical work, in the disintegration of the ego. One can only transcend such pain through comprehension and annihilation of one’s defects in meditation, or, after having comprehended an ego, asking for its annihilation upon the cross, within the sexual act, as explained in The Mystery of the Golden Flower and The Perfect Matrimony by Samael Aun Weor.
"They recited: I’m amazed at someone who says, “I’ve remembered my darling.” Have I ever forgotten (my Being), that I should have to remember? I die (to my ego) remembering You (my Being), then come back to (spiritual) life. Were it not for my good thought of You, I would not have revived. Desire’s object lives (my Being continues) when I die to (egotistical) desire. How many times have I lived for you, how many times died (through the comprehension and disintegration of each of my defects)? I drink love (transmuted water, muhabbah), glass after glass (day after day in alchemy; only once per day in observance of the creative magnetic pause mentioned in The Mystery of the Golden Flower by Samael Aun Weor). The (alchemical) glass (my sexual organs) is not empty (because the seminal matter is always being generated, but transmuted by the alchemists). My (spiritual) thirst is not sated (I will not cease my transmutations, but strive forward)." —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
1. Continue to develop your self-observation from moment to moment. At the end of each day, reflect on conscious you were of your three brains (mind, heart, and body).
2. Every day, sit in a comfortable meditation posture (sitting upright either on a meditation bench / cushion, or Western-style: in a chair). Relax your mind, heart, and body.
3. Vocalize the mantras OM MASI PADME HUM to develop divine compassion and to transform the energies of your body into spiritual fire and spiritual light. Pronounce this mantra for thirty minutes or more.
This mantra translates as “Oh my internal God!”
The seven chakras are awakened by this mantra:
Remember that by conserving the waters of love and by pronouncing the sacred word, the mills or chakras awaken. This is even more powerful within a perfect matrimony.
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from The Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago.
Let us remember that the tarot were originally inscribed in stone. This is a symbolic as well as a literal statement given by Samael Aun Weor.
In the metaphorical level, we know that the stone refers specifically to Yesod, which is the creative sexual energy, the foundation of the Tree of Life in the Kabbalah. To provide a little more background on the nature of the tarot, I’d like to explain to you some little known reference within the Qur’an to the sacred arcana, the immortal laws of the eternal tarot, especially as it applies to the Divine Mother, the High Priestess, the second arcanum, the subject of our discussion today.
We mentioned previously that the tarot are within all religions, including Islam. The Qur’an speaks about the tarot in a veiled fashion. The tarot are expressed in the Qur’an in an implicit manner, but after our explanations, this knowledge will be explicit.
The Qur’an states in Surah 85, verses 13 to 22:
"Truly it is He Who originates and brings back. And He is the Forgiving, the Loving, Possessor of the Throne, the Glorious, Doer of whatsoever He will. Hast thou heard tell of the hosts—Pharaoh and Thamud? Yet those who disbelieve are in denial. And God is behind them, All-Encompassing. Nay, it is a Glorious Qur'an, upon a Preserved Tablet." ―Al-Buraj: The Constellations
The preserved tablet is precisely the tarot, since this knowledge was written upon stone and is preserved by the solar initiates in the superior worlds.
The Sufi commentators explain how the preserved tablet is the origin of all scripture, the origin of all teaching, whether Judeo-Christian, Muslim, etc. This preserved tablet is precisely the stone of Yesod upon which the tarot are inscribed.
We mentioned previously that the twenty-two arcana of the sacred tarot are precisely the twenty-two Hebrew letters of the Torah in Kabbalah. As the third book of Enoch states:
“Receive [Kabbel, the root word for Kabbalah] the twenty-two [Hebrew] letters of the oath [of Sexual Magic].”
The word kabbel means to receive knowledge from divinity directly, through awakening consciousness. Likewise, Muhammad received al-Qur’an upon Mount Hira, or Jabal Nur, the “mountain of Light.” So he received, kabbel, the scripture, the law, the Qur’an, the Recitation, which signifies “to speak,” “to pronounce,” “to convey.”
Precisely the Qur’an, the Bible, the Bhagavad-Gita, the world scriptures, whether from east or west, originate from this preserved tablet, which certain Sufis stated is called the Mother of the Book, or the High Priestess, the Divine Mother of the tarot. Al-Qushayri explains that this Surah 85, verses 13 to 22, the reference to the Preserved Tablet, is explained with Surah 29 verse 49:
"Nay, it is but clear signs in the breasts of those who have been given knowledge (Marifah in Arabic, gnosis in Greek, Da'ath in Hebrew) and none reject Our signs, save the wrongdoers."
So what is this preserved tablet upon which the teachings of all traditions are founded? The tarot are principles, archetypes, forces, laws of nature, which need to be inscribed in our own stone, our body, wherein we find the cubic stone of Yesod, the sexual energy. It is precisely Yesod that provides genesis, which generates every scripture, which gives birth to every prophet. This is why Gabriel, the angel and power of the moon, Yesod, announces the birth of every great initiate, since it is through the lunar creative sexual force that one accomplishes the genesis of the soul.
We mentioned that the tarot can be presented in a deck, like the one we have available through Glorian Publishing. The tarot, however, are not limited to a deck, through a set of cards, because these laws are archetypes, experiences, blueprints for the creation of the soul, qualities of being, which are symbolized by the images of the cards. We do not find the real tarot within a physical deck, but in the higher dimensions, within the internal planes.
In the internal worlds, divinity uses this symbolic language, Kabbalah, to convey profound truths about our spiritual development, the dangers, the warnings, the inspirations. Therefore, we study Kabbalah to be well versed in communication with the inner Being, face to face, just as Moses received the twenty-two arcana or commandments of God upon Mount Sinai.
Some people say he received ten, but the truth is that he received twenty-two, in relation to the major arcana.
Similarly, Jesus received the Verb within the Jordan when baptized by John. Likewise, Muhammad the Qur’an, the Recitation, the pronunciation, the Word, from Gabriel, Jibril. The word Gabriel is alchemical and kabbalistic: Geburah-El. Gibur means “strength,” “severity,” or “justice,” relating to the sphere of Geburah on the Tree of Life. Ra is the solar divinity of Egypt, and El in Hebrew means God, spirit.
So what is this Gibur? The swastika, the cross in motion, the alchemical union of man and woman. From this cross of alchemy, the junction of the vertical phallus and the horizontal uterus, those energies, when conserved and never expelled, generate life; those forces enter into action, into movement, through breath, through spirit, through the Hebrew letter א Aleph or Arabic ا Alif. That spinning cross is precisely the Hebrew letter א Aleph that we spoke about previously.
When the wind, the prana, the breath, the creative energies of God, are in movement, they initiate and begin a new life. A prophet who proclaims the scriptures, who speaks, is using א Aleph, because he is initiating others into the teaching.
So when Muhammad received the Qur’an through distinct revelations, he precisely embodied its principles, its arcana, through the descent of those forces and their subsequent return up the spine through the path of initiation, symbolized by the Arabic ا Alif. ا Alif is a straight line, symbolizing the spine through which the prana, the creative energy, ascends. Every master, like Muhammad, works with the creative energy in the spine. The same with all prophets, since they are all children of the stone of Yesod, the preserved tablet, the Mother of the Book.
These arcana are inscribed upon a preserved tablet, which the esoteric Muslims or Sufis explain is a scripture that the angels, the masters, recite and study before the highest divinity, الله Allah. Every scripture in the world is based on a detailed understanding of the twenty-two arcana, which is a knowledge preserved and understood within the internal worlds.
The knowledge is internal; the tarot are internal. They are symbols of forces. For today’s lecture we are exploring the Mother of the Book, the second arcanum of the tarot: the High Priestess, the mother of the tarot, who is inside of us. Her law and laws must be inscribed within the temple of our body, heart, mind, and soul.
"I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy תֹורָתְ law [is] within my heart." ―Psalms 40:8
The Two Forms of Kabbalah
Remember that Kabbalah is dual in nature and that there are two forms of kabbalists. There are the intellectual kabbalists, and there are the intuitive kabbalists.
The intellectual kabbalists are sorcerers, black magicians, fornicators, those who do not conserve the sacred waters of God within the sexual act, who perform Black Sexual Magic or tantrism.
The intellectual kabbalists store a lot of scripture, knowledge, and teachings given by Moses, other Rabbis, etc., and yet they are exclusively limited to the intellect. That is all they know. They have a lot of book knowledge, lectures, teachings, etc., in the mind, but what distinguishes them is their lack of direct experience of what they have read. They have not verified the truths of divinity in those teachings.
Those intellectual kabbalists who fill the mind with that information know nothing of God, since they have not received, kabbel, kabbalah, the wisdom of divinity directly within the higher dimensions. Those who receive conscious knowledge, Da’ath, Marifah, gnosis, are intuitive kabbalists. They know what they have read about through meditation and astral travel.
So the Qur’an teaches us this principle very beautifully in relation to arcanum two:
"He it is Who has sent down the Book upon thee; therein are signs [verses] determined; they are the Mother of the Book [the Tarot, the High Priestess], and others symbolic. As for those whose hearts are given to swerving, they follow that of it which is symbolic, seeking temptation and seeking its interpretation. And none know its interpretation save God and those firmly rooted in knowledge (marifah in Arabic, gnosis in Greek, Da'ath in Hebrew, the hidden sephirah on the Tree of Life, hidden within the throat whereby the verb is gestated, the power of the Tree of Knowledge). They say, "We believe in it: all is from our Lord." And none remember save those possessors of intellect." ―Al-Imran 7
The last phrase, “possessors of intellect,” is an inadequate translation. The original Arabic is ulu'l-al-bab, “possessors of kernels” or “seeds.” An intuitive kabbalist can see into the core of things, into their seed, their root nature. This is the nature of intuition, to perceive and interpret the experiences of divinity directly without the interference of the mind. We do so precisely working with the sexual seed, the seed of life. Intuitive kabbalists also see into and interpret the heart or core of any doctrine, any knowledge, any dimension, precisely since they develop the power of prophecy, founded upon Yesod.
But those kabbalists who only study the exterior aspect of things, the shells or appearances of phenomena, are exclusively intellectual. These people are superficial; they don’t see the insides of their teachings, whether of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Gnosis, etc. We must learn to be profound, to learn to dive into the depths of any knowledge to extract its seed, its essence, through transmutation, meditation and direct experience.
Those who possess the shells, and not the seeds, are the black magicians, the intellectual kabbalists who dwell in the Klipoth, the world of shells. Klipoth in Hebrew means “shells.” A shell without a seed is empty of nourishment, of spiritual sustenance, of any genuine reality. The hell realms are empty of spiritual being.
In the infernal worlds, one can have knowledge, but only of the inferior aspect of things, through the shells of the ego. Every ego is a shell that traps consciousness in perdition, in the infradimensions, that we must learn to comprehend and transcend through the psychological work.
The Divine Mother, the High Priestess of the tarot, helps us to eliminate the shells of the ego so we can extract the seeds, the consciousness, the intuitive principles or arcana of the soul, to know the Tree of Life directly from experience. This is how we are liberated from suffering. Through this work of joyful perseverance, of comprehension and elimination of our defects, we create the music of the soul. Now you can comprehend the basis of Tchaikovsky’s famous “Nutcracker” Suite. You must crack the shells of the ego to develop the beauty and symphony of the consciousness.
In this manner you awaken consciousness in order to receive the knowledge of the superior worlds, synthesized through the twenty-two major arcana of the tarot. For as the Third Book of Enoch states:
“Receive [kabbel, kabbalah] the  letters of the oath.”
With the first Arcanum, we learn to descend in order to re-ascend. We must enter Klipoth and comprehend all the shells that condition our understanding. With arcanum two we learn to work with the Divine Mother, the occult science that liberates:
"Have you considered the [sexual] Fire that you kindle? Is it you who brought into being the Tree [of life] thereof, or is it We Who bring it into being? We made it a reminder and an enjoyment for the desert dwellers [anyone who traverses the wilderness of initiation, be’midbar, through working with debar, the word]. So glorify the Name of thy Lord, the Magnificent! I swear by the places where the stars descend [the Magician orders the soul to descend then to return / ascend with glory]. And truly it is a magnificent path, if you but knew. Truly it is a Noble Qur’an, in a Book concealed [the tarot, which have not been unveiled until recently]. None touch it, save those made pure [through chastity], a revelation from the Lord of the worlds." ―Al-Waqi’ah, the Event [56:71-80].
The Book Concealed is another name for the Preserved Tablet, the twenty-two major arcana that serve as the basis for every major religion, without exception. This knowledge of the tarot, the Book Concealed, hidden within the scriptures and the higher dimensions, was not made public until recent decades, through the writings of Samael Aun Weor. Remember that it was forbidden to teach alchemy in public during the era of Pisces. But now we are in the era of Aquarius, the water carrier, whereby the tarot is now being explained for the first time.
The Mother of the Book is the occult science, the Divine Mother Kundalini represented by the Second Arcanum, known as the sacred Cow or Heifer within the second Surah of the Qur’an, of which we will be discussing in detail today.
The Tree of Life and the Absolute
The number two is precisely the feminine, receptive or negative force that unfolds from the masculine, projective or positive force within the higher dimensions. This difference in forces from the higher planes manifests also within our physicality through the division of sexes.
The Father could not create life if it were not for the Mother. Man and wife cannot be priest and priestess of creation without each other. As above, so below.
We see here in this image the Tree of Life and a representation of man and woman with the image of the infinite, the holy eight, transposed over their bodies. Before speaking about the microcosmos, the human being, let us first discuss the macrocosmos, the universe at large.
The universe emerges because of the Divine Father and Divine Mother, who are unified and described in the kabbalah through the unmanifested, the אין סוף Ain Soph, which in Hebrew translates as the “Limitless.” In Kabbalah, our Ain Soph is our supra-atomic star, a primordial and eternal point of supra-divine, uncreated light that shines within the Absolute Abstract Space. Ain Soph is the essential root of our Being, the root of our existence, which is profound, unconditioned and limitless supra-divine happiness.
Ain Soph is referenced as the Star of בית לחם Bethlehem that guided the three magi towards the birthplace of Christ. ב Beth, as we are going to elaborate upon today, is the second Hebrew letter of Kabbalah, signifying a house, as well as wisdom. Bethlehem literally means “house of bread,” indicating that the light of Christ, the sphere of Chokmah, wisdom, is the solar energy manifested within the eucharist, the bread of wisdom that gives life to the soul. The house of wisdom is precisely the esoteric knowledge of the Second Arcanum, since through the power of the Divine Mother is how Christ is born in us. Our body is a manger or house in which the solar light of Christ can be born if we know how to practice this wisdom.
Let us discuss how לחם Lechem, this bread of wisdom first emerges into the universe. Christ, the light of divinity, first emerges from the Ain Soph as the Ain Soph Aur, the Limitless Light. This undifferentiated, uncreated light, to create the universe, first manifests as Kether, a י iod or point of light, the tenth Hebrew letter and tenth sephirah from the bottom to the top of the Tree of Life.
Remember that in the Magician card, Kether shows one side or aspect of his face. Kether is known in kabbalah as Arik Anpin, the Vast Countenance. This indicates that one part of him is knowable in this universe, through the Tree of Life. The other side of his face is obscured, hidden within the Absolute as the Unmanifested, the Ain Soph. Kether is the first manifestation of the uncreated light into the universe.
This light, manifested as Kether, unfolds into Chokmah, His Son. From Chokmah emerges Binah. Behold Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to use Christian terms for the primordial forces of creation.
The main trinity represented in this graphic is composed of Kether, Chokmah, Binah, or Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, within the world of archetypes or splendors, Atziluth. This world in Kabbalah is a potential world, whereby the principles of divinity have not yet entered manifestation or creation. These forces constitute a unity in the world of archetypes, Atziluth, before these forces manifest as three in order to create life. Remember that within Kether is Chokmah and Binah. Within Chokmah is Kether and Binah. And within Binah is Kether and Chokmah. This unity is indivisible, but manifests in three ways. For the unity to create, it expresses itself as three, the number associated with genesis and creation.
Binah, the Holy Spirit, has a masculine and feminine aspect, known as Abba and Aima Elohim, Father and Mother, synthesized in the sacred name of this sephirah: Jehovah Elohim, which means gods and goddesses.
From the masculine aspect of Binah emerges the feminine aspect of divinity, the Divine Mother, and through their union in Da’ath, Briah, the world of creation, produce their Son, Chesed, the spirit.
For that light to create the Tree of Life in its totality, such a light must manifest through the power of Father-Mother in the world of Briah or Da’ath, the mysterious, alchemical tree of knowledge of good and evil, to create all things.
Before the logos can create, Father must unfold into Mother within Binah. Behold a second form of the holy trinity: father, mother, and son, which has its center of gravity in Binah and which is empowered through the mystical sphere of Da’ath. Da’ath is the kabbalistic world of Briah, the world of creation, wherein the sephiroth, the worlds of formation or Yetzirah, emerge.
When Binah unfolds himself into the divine feminine, they create through the science of Da’ath, to engender the spirit, Chesed. The world of Da’ath is the world of creation, Briah, in Kabbalah, whereby Osiris, the Father, and Isis, the Mother, join to create the Son, Horus.
In synthesis, all of this is contained and implied within the arcana. The Magician, unfolding into the High Priestess, forms the second arcanum of the tarot.
Be careful not to mix up the trinities: one tri-unity in the world of Atziluth, splendorous archetypes, and another in the world of Briah, creation. This is a deep teaching that requires intuition to comprehend fully and deeply.
Father, Mother, and Son create the Tree of Life, the lower sephiroth or world of Yetzirah, formation, and this light enters more dense forms of materiality, energy, and experience, down the Sephiroth or emanations of this diagram, until reaching the physical plane, Malkuth. Malkuth represents the world of matter and action, the fourth and final world of kabbalah: Assiah.
The light emerges from the Absolute, and forms the Tree of Life, so that our supra-atomic star, our Ain Soph, can acquire knowledge and understanding of its own divine happiness by returning that light (from below) back to Itself.
The Ain Soph of most people does not yet have comprehension, cognizance of its own happiness. Self-realization exists within the Ain Soph when the soul has performed the Great Work. An Ain Soph with cognizance of Itself is known as Ain Soph Paranishpanna. The word Paranishpanna signifies absolute cognizance of absolute happiness. But for this to occur, the disciple must return that light that is in Malkuth, their physical house, inward and up the Tree of Life, the different Sephiroth, through the work of the Divine Mother that we are explaining.
To return up the Tree of Life, back to our Ain Soph, we must become מלכים Malachim or מלכות Melachot, “kings” or “queens,” priests or priestesses, practical magicians who harness the forces of the physical body, Malkuth, our house, or Beth. This is to acquire wisdom and enlightenment of each Sephirah, each level of creation, until returning to our source, which is our origin.
Our Ain Soph is also a house, but empty, uninhabited, without realization. The Being is absolute happiness, yet lacks cognizance of this absolute happiness. It is an empty house. Our Ain Soph needs us to return, to reflect its own happiness through us so as to know Itself. It is uninhabited by the soul, the consciousness that can serve as a mirror for one’s supra-atomic star to perceive itself completely.
The Sufis refer to the Ain Soph with the separated Arabic letter ا Alif in the sacred name of God, الله Allah. This ا Alif is the nothingness, the sacred breath, the cosmic space, as well as the Ain Soph, which is why in Islam, no statues or images can be made of الله Allah, because no one can anthropomorphize space and the uncreated light. This Limitless space or uncreated light is precisely the kabbalistic Ain Soph.
The rest of the sacred name of God is Islam refers to the manifested expression of the light, the Tree of Life, signified by ل Lam, ل Lam, and ه Ha. The Arabic ل Lam or Hebrew ל Lamed refers to the tongue, to speech, to the manifested, creative Verb. The Arabic ه Ha or Hebrew ה Hei can also refer to the breath, but this specifically is in relation to the materialization of the cosmic breath into matter.
Therefore, recitation within Islam is so prominent, because it refers to the manifested expression of divine light from the unknowable cosmic space, the power of the creative verb. This cosmic space is called Mulaprakriti in Hinduism. It is the universal space of the Divine Mother, within whom is the bosom of the Universal Cosmic Common Eternal Father.
The Qur’an speaks of Prophet Muhammad’s night journey up the seven heavens or seven dimensions of the Tree of Life, towards the sacred house, the Ain Soph. We too must learn to perform Hajj, or pilgrimage to the sacred house, the Ain Soph, represented by the sacred Kaba, the stone of Mecca, which is obligatory for every Muslim or solar initiate to visit. This duty, hajj, represents the achievement of Self-realization or Ain Soph Paranishpanna.
The Prophet’s night journey, al-Miraj, is described in Surah 53: al-Najm, the Star:
By the star when it descends,
Your companion [Muhammad] has not strayed, nor has he erred,
Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination.
It is not but a revelation revealed,
Taught to him by one intense in strength –
One of soundness. And he rose to [his] true form
While he was in the higher [part of the] horizon.
Then he approached and descended
And was at a distance of two bow lengths or nearer (since the second letter of Arabic is ب ba, equivalent to the Hebrew ב Beth, signifying the sacred house and wisdom).
And he revealed to His Servant what he revealed.
The heart did not lie [about] what it saw.
So will you dispute with him over what he saw?
And he certainly saw him in another descent
At the Lote Tree of the Utmost Boundary [Ain Soph]
Near it is the Garden of Refuge [the Unmanifested Ain]–
When there covered the Lote Tree that which covered [it].
The sight [of the Prophet] did not swerve, nor did it transgress [its limit].
He certainly saw of the greatest signs of his Lord. —The Star, verses 1-18.
There is a limit how far the prophets and angels can go towards the heights, represented by the Lote Tree of the furthermost boundary, the Pass Not Ring cited by Blavatsky in her writings. Many initiates reach the Ain Soph, but further sacrifice is needed to enter the Ain, the Unmanifested Absolute.
To enter the bosom of the Cosmic Common Eternal Father, the Sacred Space, the Unmanifested Absolute or Ain, is very hard to achieve. However, before we can worry about that, we must unite with our own particular Ain Soph.
Regarding the path of self-realization, Ibn Arabi, a great Sufi Master, explained that only الله Allah, Ain Soph, our supra-atomic star, can comprehend Himself through the perfected soul.
From the Treatise on The One Alone, Kitab al-Ahadiyyah:
"When one looks into a mirror one sees oneself. Whatever appears on you appears on the image in the mirror. When you look upon your image in the mirror, your image is looking upon you. Naturally the eye that looks at you from the mirror is your eye. Then, when the image in the mirror looks at you, is it not true that you are looking at yourself with your own eyes? If the name of the one who is looking in the mirror is Ahmad, and if the image in the mirror could speak and say, “I am Ahmad,” it would be telling the truth. Yet, as the image is reflecting, so would be the words. It would not be the image that calls itself Ahmad, but the one who is looking into the mirror.
"So if someone says, “I am the Truth,” do not hear it from any other than the Truth Himself, for it is not a man who says it; it is the word of Allah. That man who utters these words is nothing but an image reflected upon an empty mirror, one of the infinite attributes of Allah. The reflection is the same as that which is being reflected, and the words of the image are the reflected words of the Real One.
"The void [emptiness of the consciousness] is a mirror; the creation is the image in it. Man is as the eye of the image reflected in the mirror; the One who is reflected in the image is hidden in the pupil of that eye; thus He sees Himself. Then:
"'He is the One who sees: He is the eye. He is the One who is seen.' ―Shaikh Mahmud Shabustari, Gulsheni-Raz
"Only the one who has the eyes of his heart open will understand these words." ―Ibn 'Arabi
If you want to understand what it means to reflect the light of the Ain Soph, you must develop your heart, Tiphereth, the beauty of the perfected soul.
The Qur’an also speaks about the Ain Soph as the house inhabited, meaning: an Ain Soph with realization, Ain Soph Paranishpanna:
"In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful,
"By the Mount [of Initiation], and by a Book inscribed [the Preserved Tablet or tarot inscribed in stone], on parchment outspread; by the house inhabited [Ain Soph Paranishpanna] by the canopy [of the sky] raised [the skies in the internal plane represent your level of being, the qualities of your mind], and by the sea swelling over, truly thy Lord's Punishment shall come to pass." —Al-Tur, the Mount 1-7
By climbing the mountain of initiation, we ascend the Tree of Life, towards higher and higher levels of Being, until finally uniting with the longed-for goal, the Ain Soph. Once we return to our Ain Soph, we have inhabited our house once again, our true home.
As Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz exclaimed, "There’s no place like home!" She of course represents our soul that has traveled the straight and narrow path, the yellow brick road of wisdom, gnosis, until reaching her true origin. She accomplishes this through the silver slippers, which are red in the film. The one who guides her in secret is Glinda, a reference to the science of the Divine Mother, who is the Good Witch of the North. The sacred mantra relating to the North is IAO, the sacred name of God in Latin, or Jehovah in Hebrew. Within the Divine Mother, signified by the mantra RAM-IO is the Divine Father, who is in secret.
Slippers represent the mysteries of Yesod in kabbalah, since this is how we genuinely walk the path of initiation. Silver relates to the science of Mercury, Hermes, his winged boots that allow him to ascend and descend throughout the entire Tree of Life at will. Once we work with the science of mercury and the Divine Mother, we acquire the capacity to leave our egotistical dreams behind and return to our spiritual house, Beth, the Ain Soph.
Duality, Genesis, and the Second Arcanum
Let us discuss the nature of the number two in relation to duality and the High Priestess of the Tarot. The sign of the infinite is the magical symbol of tantrism, sexual alchemy. The sign of the infinite unites all three of our psychological and physiological centers, what in gnostic psychology we call the three brains: the intellect, the emotions, and the sexual organs. These centers relate to Netzach, the mental body or mind, Hod, the emotional body or heart, and Yesod, the vital body intimately related with the energies of the sexual organs.
These three vehicles relate to what we call our three brains within our physicality. Let us remember that the Tree of Life is this map of divinity and ourselves. To talk about the Divine Mother, the feminine aspect of God, we must remember that this Tree of Life manifests, emerges, because of the first card of the tarot. The Magician initiates, creates, begins, but to do so, he unfolds into his divine spouse, Devi Kundalini.
Man and woman, with their three brains united through the sexual act, can work to return inward and upward back to their own atomic star.
If you take the two signs of the holy eight from both man and woman and cross them, one horizontal and the other vertical, you form a famous symbol of Buddhism, the dorje, a tantric representation of sexual union, the vertical phallus with the horizontal uterus. The bell in Tibetan Buddhism represents the feminine sexual organs, the yoni. Both bell and dorje form the foundation of all spiritual realization, or Ain Soph Paranishpanna.
The science of the Second Arcanum is the path of sexuality, the Divine Mother Kundalini, who sleeps in the chakra Muladhara coiled three and a half times within this center, awaiting the moment of its awakening through sexual alchemy, white tantrism between husband and wife. Just as man and woman can create a physical child through sex, likewise we create the perfected soul through sexual union with the conservation and sublimation of the seminal matter into divine, Christic energy.
If we want to return to our own particular unity, the Ain Soph, we must work with the duality, man and woman. Ain Soph is a perfect unity, whose light unfolds into a duality and also a trinity to produce the creation of the universe. If we want to return to our origin, we must work in the perfect matrimony, because to create spiritually, we need our sexual compliment, through a member of the opposite sex. Both masculine and feminine polarities are required for creation, both of a physical child as well as the soul.
Description and Explanation of the Second Card of the Tarot
The most notable feature of this glyph, besides the feminine figure seated in contemplation, are the two columns of the temple, which in Masonry remind us of Jakin and Boaz, the white and black pillars. Jakin is masculine, Boaz is feminine. The pillars are reversed in this image in order to demonstrate that the Popess of the Tarot, the High Priestess, is looking out from within the temple, and that we, as disciples, are viewing her from the inside of the temple looking out. This is because Jakin, the white pillar of mercy, is the right hand pillar of the Tree of Life, consisting of Chokmah, Chesed, and Netzach, whereas Boaz, the black pillar of severity, is the left hand pillar of the Tree of Life, consisting of Binah, Geburah, and Hod. Notice also that the pillars Jakin and Boaz are in the waters, the bottom third of the card.
The Divine Mother is the force that reconciliates, who sits within the middle of the temple, emphasizing to us the spinal medulla in our body, wherein She rises through the alchemical science. She manifests in the middle pillar through our works, the middle pillar consisting of Kether, Da’ath, Tiphereth, Yesod, and Malkuth.
What do these two columns symbolize for us? Jakin represents the man, mercy. Boaz represents the woman, severity. These two columns support the temple of every mystery. Notice that with the image of this temple’s pillars there are four sections each, representing for us the four lower bodies of the human being, the lower four vehicles of the consciousness. Those four lower bodies are described in the Tree of Life as Malkuth, the physical body, Yesod, the vital body, Hod, the astral or emotional body, and Netzach, the mind or mental body.
These two pillars must have space between them, as Samael Aun Weor emphasizes in his books, as well as the poet Kahlil Gibran, who explains the nature of these two pillars very beautifully in a work known as The Prophet. I’d like to relate to you a poem from this text, to emphasize how man and woman balance each other in their relationship. They must not be too close with sentimentalism and attachment, nor too far apart with distance, self-importance, coldness, etc. They must find balance within each other and themselves. The masculine, projective force finds his equilibrium and harmony through the receptive force, and vice versa.
Here is the poem with some minor exegeses, commentary or explanation between the lines, since Kahlil Gibran teaches kabbalah and alchemy in a veiled form.
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God (when submerged in the Ain Soph during the Cosmic Night, the Great Pralaya).
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds (the Aleph, the Prana) of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, (for as Paul of Tarsus indicates, those who are single should live as if they are married to their Divine Mother, and the married as single, chaste persons)
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of (The Absolute Universal Spirit of) Life (the Unmanifested Ain) can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.
Husband and wife must find their equilibrium in their matrimony on a physical, sexual, emotional, mental, and volitional level [volition relating to will] or there will be imbalance and unhappiness.
In the Magician card, the Priest was standing. But with the High Priestess, she is sitting. Her posture signifies the feminine aspect of divinity, which is receptive, passive, nurturing.
She holds an open book, the Preserved Tablet, which is the kabbalah, the mystical science at the heart of all religions. Here we literally see the Mother of the Book, the Divine Mother or feminine aspect of divinity, who is eluded to in the Qur’an.
She has an Tao cross, of Venus, upon Her breast, indicating that She carries the milk of wisdom, spiritual sustenance, the nourishment for the soul. She is the kabbalistic Shekinah, the exiled power of Israel that can liberate and reconcile the true Jews, the intuitive kabbalists, with heaven, the divine. From Her breast is the milk of real knowledge, which is experiential. It’s what we verify. It’s what we know from facts. That sustenance that She gives to Her son or daughter emerges within us as a result of meditation, when we are face to face with our Divine Mother, speaking to Her, receiving the insights and symbols of dreams from Her directly. That’s how we nourish our soul.
Milk, as wisdom, is a substance that resembles semen within man or woman, the seminal matter. The milk also represents the divine virtues we create through learning to transmute our sexual energies, transforming the base material or semen into the light of enlightened consciousness. This is accomplished through Venus, the goddess of love.
Venus-Aphrodite is the beauty of our Divine Mother manifest in our hearts, Tiphereth. She provides beauty to the soul itself when we learn to work with Her intimately, cognizantly. Tiphereth, our human soul, or human consciousness or willpower, astrologically relates to both Venus and the Sun. The secret mantra of Tiphereth in kabbalah is Eloah va Da’ath Iod Hei Vau Hei, "Goddess of knowledge, Jehovah."
Who is this goddess of knowledge that resides in our heart temple? Our Divine Mother, the Popess or High Priestess of the Tarot. She enters and manifests in our heart through sexual magic, white tantrism, the science of alchemy with its sacred mantras.
Upon Her head is a serpent, indicating how She has raised that power of the serpent within us, to the mind, and that this feminine figure is a master.
She has a veil over Her face, referring to the veil of Isis. This means that the genuine mysteries of God can only be known through meditation, that we must tear the veil through alchemy, meditation, and the death of our desires, our defects, our ego.
Beethoven had an image of the Divine Mother, the divine feminine, above his desk where he would compose. Upon this painting was inscribed, in his own hand, the hermetic axiom of the Goddess Neith, the Egyptian Divine Mother, from the temple of this female divinity from ancient times: “I am all that was, is, and shall be, and no mortal hath lifted My veil.” So Beethoven was a Freemason, who knew this knowledge very well and depicted the tarot in his music, in accordance with his nine completed symphonies and the nine heavens or Sephiroth above Malkuth, whereby he slowly unveiled the mysteries of Isis in his compositions, for those who hath an ear to ear what the spirit saith unto the churches, the chakras of Revelation.
The veil of Isis can only be lifted through purification of our psyche. Sanctification and purity are the two essential requirements for knowing and experiencing the mysteries of the High Priestess of the Tarot. Sanctification signifies the death of the ego, through daily meditation. To purify means to be chaste, to not waste the sexual energy, to not expel it. To expel that energy is to be expelled from the temple of the Divine Mother, because the power of the Divine Mother is chastity, sexual purity.
Upon Her head are the horns of the bull Apis, which relates to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, Jehovah Elohim in kabbalah, is masculine and feminine, signified by the masculine-feminine suffix of the word Elohim. El is masculine. Eloah is feminine. Iod Mem, im, is the masculine plural ending of the word Elohim, which means “gods and goddesses.”
The Divine Mother Kundalini Shakti is the feminine aspect of the Holy Spirit, the spouse of Shiva. The masculine aspect of the Holy Spirit, Shiva, is also known as Abba Elohim, and the feminine is Aima Elohim. Abba means “father,” as in Christ’s prayer before his Passion, “Abba, father, if it be possible, pass this cup of bitterness from me, but not my will, but Thine be done” (Matthew 26:39). The cup is a symbol of the yoni, the feminine sexual organs, the path of the Divine Mother, which is painful to the mind and ego, because through the alchemical work our desires must die. Aima means “mother,” and is signified by the holy grail, the cup of the mysteries, wherein is contained the milk or manna of wisdom.
The unification of Abba and Aima Elohim, implied through the unity of the first and second arcana of the tarot, produces the third arcanum: the Empress or Christified soul, the perfected consciousness, the topic of our next lecture.
The Divine Mother has always been represented by the feminine cow in many faiths. Milk, as referenced in the second arcanum, is an element abundant in cows, which we find represented in Hinduism by Krishna, the cowherd, a symbol of Christ nourishing himself through the seminal energies. We likewise find reference to the Divine Mother in the longest surah of the Qur’an, al-Baqarah, the Heifer or Cow.
This surah mentions how the powers of the sacred cow, the Divine Mother, can resuscitate the dead. This is a symbol of how the alchemical wisdom can bring those who are spiritually dead, filled with ego, back into spiritual life. In this passage, Moses is speaking before the unbelieving people of Israel and the need to slaughter a cow to achieve redemption. This does not make much sense literally, but if you understand that the cow represents the science of the Divine Mother, the real meaning is clear.
The solar initiates must, of course, slaughter the animal ego, to be reborn spiritually. This is represented by the slaughtering of the cow in al-Baqarah, which is the second surah of the Qur’an, directly referencing the mysteries of Arcanum 2:
"And [recall] when Moses said to his people, 'Indeed, Allah commands you to slaughter a cow.' They said, 'Do you take us in ridicule?' He said, 'I seek refuge in Allah from being among the ignorant.'
"They said, 'Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what it is.'" [Moses] said, '[Allah] says, 'It is a cow which is neither old nor virgin, but median between that,' so do what you are commanded.' [That the cow is neither old nor virgin, but a middle ground, represents us: to begin the alchemical work, we should not be too old, but neither too young, like adolescents who should be virginal, yet in today’s age are not. The proper age to begin sexual magic is 21 for men and 18 for women, since women tend to mature faster biologically].
"They said, 'Call upon your Lord to show us what is her color.' He said, 'He says, 'It is a yellow cow, bright in color―pleasing to the observers.'" [The color yellow, in esoterism, symbolizes objective knowledge, wisdom of the solar mind, the Christic path].
"They said, 'Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what it is. Indeed, [all] cows look alike to us. And indeed we, if Allah wills, will be guided.'
"He said, 'He says, 'It is a cow neither trained to plow the earth nor to irrigate the field, one free from fault with no spot upon her.'" [To be free from fault indicates that the power of the Divine Mother is pure, chaste, without blemish]. They said, 'Now you have come with the truth.' So they slaughtered her [or better said, slaughtered the ego through Her power], but they could hardly do it [because the work against the ego is very difficult].
"And [recall] when you slew a man and disputed over it, but Allah was to bring out that which you were concealing. [All of us are guilty of slaying the image of the internal man, the true human being, through fornication. Afterward we constantly dispute about it, justify our degeneration, with excuses. Meanwhile we conceal our degeneration from others out of shame, when in truth the Being, Allah, knows how filthy our hearts and minds are].
"So, We said, 'Strike the slain man with part of it.' Thus does Allah bring the dead to life, and He shows you His signs that you might reason. [All of us are dead to the spirit because of our ego. Therefore, the power of the Divine Mother can awaken and liberate us. This passage also indicates that when we die to the ego, we resurrect within the Holy Spirit at the end of the Second Mountain. All of this is for people with reason: or better said, solar intelligence, those possessors of intellect or possessors of kernels, seeds].
"Then your hearts became hardened after that, being like stones or even harder [because despite being taught the science of alchemy, the followers of Moses remained fornicators]. For indeed, there are stones from which rivers burst forth, and there are some of them that split open and water comes out, and there are some of them that fall down for fear of Allah. And Allah is not unaware of what you do. [What are the stones from which rivers gush forth? The stones of the testicles or ovaries, the stone of Yesod, from which the seminal waters of transmutation emerge. Remember that “stones” is slang for gonads]." —Al-Baqarah, the Heifer 67-74
"The cow" in Spanish is La Baca. Spell La Baca backwards and you spell kabbalah, the teachings of the cow, the mystical science of Judaism and of Shekinah, the Mother of the Book.
La Baca can also refer to the Kaba, the sacred stone of the Muslims, which represents for us the mysteries of the stone of Yesod, the creative sexual energy.
Baqa literally means "subsistence" in Arabic. To have spiritual substance, to subsist within the Being, to self-realize the Being, we must first work with what the Sufis denominate as fana, which means "annihilation." To be in the Being, you must first die as an ego.
Regarding the horns of the bull, horns have dualistic significance in esotericism. They can refer to our egotism, our own satanic qualities, our animality. Horns in the positive sense can be represented by the horns of light, representing levels of self-realization within the Being. These horns of light were seen radiating from the head of Moses as he descended Mount Sinai, after he received the ten commandments from above. Michelangelo chiseled a statue of Moses to represent the horns of light, of wisdom, obtained by any solar initiate who completes the Mountain of Resurrection.
We too must chisel the stone of Yesod, our sexual energies, with willpower and intelligence, to provide perfect cubic shape, to serve as the foundation of our inner temple, as represented by the Second Arcanum. We must ensure that the power of the two pillars, within the waters of the card, must be perfected. All four levels of each pillar must be perfected, signifying the purification of the physical, vital, astral, and mental bodies, the lower quaternary of kabbalah or the four bodies of sin.
We accomplish this work through the hammer of willpower and the chisel of imagination, of intelligence and wisdom, to give shape to the soul. With the first arcanum of the tarot, we work with the hammer of willpower, concentration, the Magician. We initiate and begin this work. We direct our willpower in the spiritual endeavor. The second arcanum of the tarot is intelligence, imagination, the chisel of understanding by which we focus our willpower so as to give shape to our stone.
The Divine Mother is the force of imagination itself, the capacity to perceive non-physical, psychic, or spiritual imagery within meditation and the higher planes. Imagination simply is the ability to perceive images in the mind’s eye, whether voluntarily or involuntarily.
Imagination can also be dualistic, either conscious, unconditioned, free and clear of subjectivity, or it can be mechanical, negative, conditioned or egotistical.
Fantasy, daydreams, mental projections, are precisely negative imagination, conditioned perception. We typically experience negative imagination, fantasy, on a day to day, moment by moment basis. This is egotistical. We are hypnotized by our minds, imagining what we would have liked to say to that person who cut us off on the street during our drive to work, visualizing what we would have said if we could have pulled up to the side of the person, what revenge we can get, gratifying our anger, etc. We get lost in associative thinking, daydreaming about our family or co-workers and not paying attention to where we are at or what we are doing. This is all mechanical, subjective, negative, and constitutes, for most people, the daily state of affairs.
Conscious imagination is the ability to visualize during meditation any object we have decided to concentrate upon, such as a statue, a candle, a mandala, a stone. We concentrate on the object with our entire attention, never losing our attention focused on the object of our practice, and thereafter imagine it in our mind, our consciousness. We learn to see with our imagination the qualities of the image with perfect clarity, color, and accuracy. This of course develops through daily discipline.
Willpower, the Magician, helps us to concentrate on a specific task. Imagination, the High Priestess, grants us the capacity to perceive what we are doing. Together you achieve comprehension, the third arcanum, the perfected soul.
The serpent biting its tail in the card can represent the moon, the lunar, feminine forces, but also the ouroboros, a middle eastern symbol of eternity and how the Divine Mother Kundalini serpent must swallow the soul. We must be swallowed by the serpent to become purified, so that our conscious imagination can be perfected. This is paralleled by Jonah being swallowed by the whale, since Jonah literally means "dove" in Hebrew, a symbol of chastity and the Holy Spirit.
As described in The Perfect Matrimony, we must raise the serpent of Kundalini up the seven lower bodies of the Tree of Life: Malkuth, Yesod, Hod, Netzach, Tiphereth, Geburah, and Chesed, which are the physical, vital, astral, mental, causal, buddhic, and Atmic bodies. After raising the serpent up each body, we obtain an initiation of Major Mysteries, which are seven in total.
The serpent in this card is also a moon, which has profound significance, because the moon relates to the ego, to defects and desires. This is where we get the word lunatic, someone who is influenced by the moon, by violence, hatred, mechanical forces in nature. The moon is the ego, sorrow, sentimentalism, pain and suffering.
Our habits are one hundred percent lunar, mechanical, habitual, petrified in our psyche and body. We must go against mechanical, lunar behaviors to acquire solar intelligence, the powers of the Being. The moon is mechanical imagination, truly identified as fantasy, whereas the resplendence of the sun is the perfection of conscious imagination.
There is also a positive aspect of the moon, which is the Divine Mother Kundalini, but She has nothing to do with our inverted, negative desires, the inferior aspect of the moon known as Lilith and Nahemah. Devi Kundalini is the power that can liberate us from the inferior influences of the moon, the mind, from the demons or egos of Lilith and Nahemah, which are two lunar aspects of degenerated psychologies.
The serpent that ascends within the spine, to victoriously swallow the soul, is the Divine Mother Kundalini. The negative, devolving, degenerative and fallen serpent, the serpent of temptation that leads one into the infradimensions, into the hell realms, is the Kundabuffer, the tail of demons, which descends from the coccyx through lust and fornication.
The fiery seraphim or serpents bit the Israelites in the desert as a result of their transgression and disobedience to Jehovah. These fiery serpents that punish the soul are inverted sexual fires of the Kundabuffer, the forces of the ego, the fiery elements of lust and sexual desire. But to be healed of their degeneration, their perversity, to redeem their soul from the ego, the Israelites looked upon the serpent of brass of Moshe, Moses.
Brass is an alchemical symbol, the union of the metals tin and copper, representing man and woman. Through the fires of sexuality, of love, those metals fuse and produce the serpent of brass, the Kundalini, that rises within the spines of the initiates, husband and wife.
This is how the moon is gradually transmuted, transformed into a sun.
As described in the Qur’an, Muhammad performed the miracle of cleaving the moon in half, which people, of course, interpret literally. However, when you know kabbalah and alchemy, you see that any couple working in the perfect matrimony can cleave the lunar ego in half, to comprehend and annihilate it completely. This is a symbol of overcoming lunar mechanicity in order to be a solar adept through the power of the Divine Mother.
The sign of Cancer reigns in this card, which astrologically relates to the powers of the moon, Yesod, vitality, conception, and reproduction, which are regulated by the cycles of the physical moon. Menstruation and feminine sexual cycles are deeply related to the lunar phases, alongside the fluctuation and tides of the seas. The second arcanum of the tarot therefore relates to Cancer because it is a water sign, a moon sign. The sexual energies relate to the moon. The white moon is the Divine Mother. The black moon is Lilith, demonism, degeneration.
Those who abuse the waters of sexuality end up developing incurable diseases such as Cancer, which is intimately related with such a sickness.
The sign of Cancer is the sign of the scarab in Egyptian terminology. This insect is said to be immortal because it constantly regenerates itself and creates new bodies, which break away from old shells. This is a symbol of the regenerative faculties of sexual alchemy, for the soul learns to break free from the shells, Klipoth in Hebrew, the ego.
The symbol of Islam is a crescent moon with the star of Venus, indicating that we must work with the powers of Yesod, the lunar influence, through Venus, the star of love, the Divine Mother.
As we mentioned previously, the supreme mantra of sexual magic is the Latin I.A.O., Ignis, Aqua, Origo, or fire, water, and spirit. These principles are represented by the three mother letters of kabbalah: א Aleph [air], ש Shin [fire], and מ Mem [water]. The sound of the air or breath can be represented by an "h," the letter ה Hei. ה Hei, ש Shin and מ Mem spell השם Hashem, signifying "the Name." Spell Hashem backwards and you spell משה Moshe, Moses.
Moses is our willpower, our inner magician, who can raise the serpentine power up our spine through the merits and qualifications of the heart. By learning to control the air [mind], fire [emotions], and sexual organs [water], we give birth through the womb of ה Hei, the Divine Mother, to the solar bodies of esoterism.
You can also use the Hebrew י Iod, ה Hei, ו Vau for I.A.O. The sacred name of God in Judaism is יהוה Jehovah, Iod-Hei-Vau-Hei. י Iod is the man, ה Hei is the woman. ו Vav is the phallus, ה Hei is the uterus.
So you can see that the alchemical science of Hei, the Divine Mother, is absolutely sexual.
The Significance of the Hebrew Letter Beth
Now we are going to talk about the Hebrew letter Beth and the profound meanings thereof.
We’ve included in this slide an image of the Hebrew letter Beth with Krishna, who is the cowherd, alongside the sacred Ka’ba in the Middle East. Beth simply represents a house, and its calligraphy represents the two columns of the temple that we discussed.
Beth is also hidden in the Arabic tongue as Bayt Allah, "House of God," a reference to the Ka’ba or cubic stone of Yesod within Surah 22, verse 26 of the Qur’an:
"And mention, O Muhammad, when We designated for Abraham the site of the House, saying, "Do not associate anything with Me and purify My House for those who perform Tawaf [circumambulations or circling around the Kaaba] and those who stand in prayer and those who bow and prostrate."
What is the house of God? We can say it consists of the solar vehicles that we create through alchemy. We talked previously about creating the soul, vehicles within the higher dimensions wherein we can manifest the light of God, principally through the solar astral / emotional body, solar mental body, and solar causal body or body of willpower. Beth or the solar vehicles are the Merkabah that took Ezekiel up to the heavens.
Notice that the letter ב Beth is composed of three ו Vavs. The letter ו Vav is a straight line, signifying a spinal medulla. Three lines means three spines, signifying the three solar vehicles we must create in alchemy: solar astral, solar mental, and solar causal bodies.
Muslim circumambulate, circle around the sacred Kaaba in Mecca, seven times. This implies the work of raising the sacred fire of Kundalini up the spinal medullas of the seven lower Sephiroth of the Tree of Life, precisely through working with the House of God, the mysteries of alchemy, Allah-khemia, or Yesod.
Al-Baqarah, the second arcanum or surah of the Qur’an, is the longest in that scripture. As we mentioned earlier, the second arcanum relates to the sacred cow, the Divine Mother who grants resurrection and life to the soul that has died to the ego.
Krishna is the Hindu form of Christ, the logos, the divine, represented as a cowherd. There is a profound relationship between Krishna and the cow, Christ and the Divine Mother Cow, Baqarah. These aspects of divinity work together within us, especially in the advanced stages of the path.
There are many other interesting kabbalistic words that begin with the Hebrew letter Beth, all which point towards the significance of generating and developing the soul: Beth-El, “House of God,” Bethesda: "house of mercy,” Bathsheba: "daughter of the seven," or seven bodies of the Tree of Life, Beth Din: tribunal of justice, religion, or karma, which exists in the higher dimensions, and Elisabeth, pronounced El-Isis-A-Beth, El signifying God, Isis the Divine Mother, and Beth the consciousness. Elizabeth was the mother of John, the sacred Verb, or IEOUAMS, the seven vowels hidden in the name Johannes; and Bethlehem, “House of Bread,” we discussed already.
Beth and the Zohar
The heavenly Jerusalem in the Book of Revelations, as we see in this final graphic, represents the perfected soul, a house or city built in a cubic shape, representative of Yesod in Kabbalah. The jewels beneath the heavenly house or city, Beth, are the virtues of the soul that are generated through meditation and alchemy.
Beth in Hebrew and Arabic refers to the house of divinity, the heavenly Jerusalem, the solar bodies. However, Beth can also reference the sexual glands wherein are housed the creative sexual energies of genesis, the creation of the soul or solar vehicles.
This creation of the solar bodies is the mystery of Genesis, generation. The creation of the soul is known as בְּרֵאשִׁית Bereshit in kabbalah. Notice that בְּרֵאשִׁית Bereshit begins with Beth, the letter of wisdom.
Our body is a house with the energies of spiritual realization in a potential state. The mysteries of the second arcanum are hidden in the Hebrew acrostic Bereshit, or: (Bereshit Bara Elohim At Ha-Shamayim Vey-At Ha'aretz): בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָֽרֶץ׃ "In the beginning, Elohim created the heavens and the earth."
The Zohar explains that "In the beginning" should be read as "In wisdom, Elohim created." Beth represents the house of wisdom from which all spiritual creation emerges.
What wisdom does the Zohar reference in relation to the creation of the universe? The wisdom of the Divine Mother, the science of alchemy: to retain the sexual energies of tantrism and to never spill them. All of this is hidden in the Zohar’s teaching about the word בְּרֵאשִׁית Bereshit, which discusses how through raising the creative energy from the sexual glands to our brain within sexual alchemy, we can create the soul. All of this is accomplished through chiseling and perfecting the heavenly house or city of peace, Jerusalem, the cubic stone of the masons:
"זהר Zohar, Radiance! Mystery! בְּרֵאשִׁית Bereshit, In the beginning, first of all. אהיה Ehyeh, I will be (Exodus 3:14), a sacred name engraved in its sides [more specifically, on the sides of the cubic stone]; אלהים (Elohim), God, engraved in the crown." —Zohar
We spoke about the Magician, Kether, whose sacred name of in Kabbalah is אהיה אשר אהיה, Eheyeh Asher Eheyeh, "I will be what I become, " or commonly translated as "I Am Who I Am. "
Eheyeh, I will be, is written on the sides of the cubic stone of Yesod, indicating the two energetic channels Ida and Pingala, since we enact the force of becoming, of transformation, through working with the caduceus of Mercury, as we explained previously in our first lecture in this course.
Elohim is written on the crown of the cubic stone of Yesod, since when the sacred fires rise from sex to the brain, when the Kundalini reaches the pineal gland, the Divine Mother below unites with the Divine Father, the Holy Spirit or Jehovah Elohim, above.
"אשר (Asher), Who—a hidden, treasured palace, beginning mystery of רֵאשִׁית (reshit)." —Zohar
Asher is the Holy Spirit who puts into activity the creative principles of the Divine Mother in sex. This is the mystery of beginning, רֵאשִׁית reshit.
"אשר (Asher)— רֹאש (rosh), head, emerging from רֵאשִׁית (reshit)." —Zohar
Rosh and Asher have the same Hebrew letters, but in different order. This signifies that the power of the Holy Spirit, Asher, Who, must rise from the sexual glands to the brain, to unite in the head, to form רֵאשִׁית "reshit," the beginning of genesis.
"When afterward point and palace were arrayed as one, then בְּרֵאשִׁית Bereshit comprised supernal רֵאשִׁית (reshit) in wisdom." —Zohar
What is the point and the palace? The point is a י Iod, the tenth letter of Kabbalah, referring to Kether and the creative sexual energy within the point, the sperm or ovum.
The palace is the feminine sexual organs of Beth, the house of God. Obviously, by combining the sperm with the ovum one creates a physical child, but in alchemy, the י iod is conserved and the solar house is built within oneself. This is how one creates in the beginning with wisdom, signified by the Hebrew letter Beth. Or as the Zohar more accurately translates the opening of Genesis, "In wisdom, Elohim created."
"Afterward the color of the palace transformed and it was called בַּיִת (bayit), house, while the supernal point (the energy of the semen or ovum transmuted) was called רֹאש (rosh) [since one transmutes the energies of one’s house, one’s Beth or sexual organs, to the brain, the head], merging in one another through the mystery of בְּרֵאשִׁית Bereshit, when all was as one in one entirety, before the house [beth] was inhabited [by the Logos, the Being]." —Zohar
You see that the sexual organs is our house, our Beth, wherein resides the creative energies? The word for house is בַּיִת (bayit). Combine that with רֹאש (rosh), the head, you spell בְּרֵאשִׁית Bereshit.
Through the alchemical science of transmutation, the Divine Mother raises the energies from our sexual glands of our Beth, sexual glands, to our Rosh, our head, to spell "In the beginning."
"Once it was sown, arraying habitation [when the solar bodies are created in alchemy], it was called אלהים (Elohim)—hidden, concealed." —Zohar
אל El is God, masculine. אלה Eloah is Goddess, feminine, ים Iod Mem is masculine plural. Therefore, when man and wife unite sexually, they form a terribly divine god and goddess, אלהים (Elohim). In this way the house of the soul is created, "arraying habitation," to be filled by the incarnation of the Being. But all of this is "hidden, concealed," because one practices alchemy in secret and because the solar bodies remain hidden within oneself except to the sight of the spirit. So behold the mysteries of creating the solar bodies within Genesis and the Zohar!
To receive the bread of wisdom, the Word, the Qur’an, the recitation, the Verb, we must build our solar vehicles; we must create a house in which the Being can manifest and inhabit. Through alchemy, the sexual act, in which the semen is conserved, transmuted, we give birth to the solar vehicles. We raise the Kundalini up the spinal medullae of these lower vehicles of the Tree of Life: the physical, vital, astral, mental, volitional or causal, buddhic /conscious, and atmic / spiritual bodies. These are vehicles of materiality that exist in higher dimensions. We must raise the Kundalini up each of these vehicles, which in us are lunar, so as to create superior bodies that can transmit the light of divinity within us.
Nature gave us vehicles in order to exist in this physical plane and in the world of dreams, what is commonly called manasa rupa, mind-body, and kama rupa, body of desires, the lunar mental and lunar astral bodies. The lunar bodies are the vehicle of the ego and are controlled by the mechanical forces of nature. As we’ve discussed many times throughout our lectures, we must free ourselves from the lunar influence in order to become solar initiates, beings who are not controlled by the demonic forces of the inferior worlds, the lunar worlds, the Klipoth.
Those beings who follow the lunar path of black magic also are swallowed by the serpent, because the Divine Mother in hell, as the Kundabuffer, swallows her own children, with a lot of pain, to help disintegrate the ego in those regions. This is the path of spiritual failures.
But when we raise the kundalini in the perfect matrimony, we are also swallowed by the serpent, but in a positive way, in a revolutionary and Christic way. In the solar path, we acquire knowledge of ourselves. In the lunar path of the devolving serpent, we do not.
If we do not free ourselves from the lunar vehicles by creating the solar vehicles, and thereafter disintegrating the totality of the ego, we will be swallowed by the moon, the lunar serpent, within the infernal worlds.
So to escape that fate, we must create a house for God. We need to build the solar house in which the Being can live, because if the Being were to try to enter within us without solar vehicles, we would be annihilated. That is how powerful the vibration of the Being is.
We cannot incarnate God now precisely because our psychological house is in disorder. We all possess many defects. Each defect is autonomous and in conflict with the others. There is no order within the mind as Gurdjieff and Ouspensky taught in the Fourth Way school. Our house is filled with many people, many minds with their own thoughts, agendas, and preoccupations. As the gospels state:
“My house (the physical body) shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” —Matthew 21: 13
I remember when I was meditating on retreat, I fell asleep with my back to the floor, since I was performing the Viparita Karani Mudra from the sacred rites of rejuvenation. In the experience, in the astral plane, I found myself flying towards a house, holding the hand of my physical mother. I felt excited and urgent, to show my mother the contents of my home. As I peered through the window, I saw crowds of kids and people, listening to very loud music, getting drunk, cursing and screaming a lot of obscenities, pushing into each other so hard that the walls were shaking like they were going to break. It was such riot and disorder that I knew I had to go back. I thought to myself with horror, “I’m not going to bring my mother in here. This is nuts!” Thereafter I woke up, returned to my body.
I realized afterward that the house in the experience was my mind, my Beth, and all those people in the house were my own egos, defects, and desires. I wanted to bring my own Divine Mother into that house, but realized I cannot when it is filled with such disorder. I must clean my house first, psychologically speaking.
This also reminds me of another experience where I invoked the Master Samael Aun Weor near the side of a road in the astral plane. He came down as a lightning bolt, which terrified me tremendously. You know the power of a lightning bolt, when it strikes near you? Well this was more powerful, because the Being, the solar divinities, are overwhelming, terrifying, infinite. He spoke to me one sentence, with a lot of severity, “Your house is a mess!” He was indicating that I need to clean my house up of ego, to comprehend and annihilate the ego. That was it. I returned to my body, very humbled.
So you see, in order for Christ to enter you, you must clean your house first of disorder, since that lightning bolt cannot enter within you without solar vehicles, and to create the solar vehicles, you must practice the perfect matrimony and work hard in the disintegration of your defects. Otherwise when Christ emerges as Samael Aun Weor did in the experience, you will be annihilated.
Christ spoke in parables about the Hebrew letter Beth and the need to construct a solar house, the solar vehicles, through the path of initiation and resurrection:
“We heard him (the Solar Christ) say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.” —Mark 14:58.
"Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." Then the Jews said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of (Beth) the temple of His body. —John 2:19-21
If the ego does not die completely, we cannot obtain absolute perfection and resurrection, when our physical body shall die and we shall resurrect within the Being, to be fully united with divinity.
We must learn to build our house upon the rock of Yesod, to create our solar vehicles through the perfect matrimony, the science of Yesod. Otherwise we will end up as failures.
“Therefore whosoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock [Yesod, the foundation]: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock (the Philosophical Stone of Kabbalah). And every one that hears these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand (of beliefs and theories): And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." —Matthew 7: 24-27
We are going to end this lecture with two practices you can use to comprehend and experience the mysteries of the second arcanum.
When you awake in the morning from sleep and still have time before engaging in your daily responsibilities, and especially when you’ve just come back from a dream, continue to lay in bed, and with your willpower, concentrate to remember your experiences. Perhaps you were in another country in the astral plane, in Egypt, or another planet, and you want to remember and even return to those places immediately.
Imagine what you experience, the specific place or scene that you just left. Imagine it in detail. Imagine that you are actually there. As Samael Aun Weor wrote, don’t imagine that you are imagining, but actually do it. Be concrete and vivid. Actually see yourself hearing, seeing, touching, and walking in the place you were just at in the astral plane.
Then when you fall asleep, with your willpower and imagination in vibrating harmony, you can experience samadhi; you can return to the place you just experienced, particularly if you stay still, relaxed, and unmoving when you first wake, alongside your strong concentration and vivid imagination. I’ve done this many times when I wanted to return to a specific place I just visited in the astral world, or to return to an ordeal the Masters were giving me that got cut prematurely by me returning to my body, and which I wanted to go back to and continue. Therefore, when waking, I lay in bed and concentrated on the experience, imagined it, and fell asleep, in order to relive and return to the experience I just left. Concentration is willpower, the Magician card. Imagination is clairvoyance, the High Priestess. Together you produce Arcanum 3, the Empress, or comprehension, insight.
This is why, in this tradition, we work with many concentration and imagination exercises, so that we can also be skilled in meditation and dream yoga. Concentration and imagination can be developed by taking an object and focusing our attention on it, to thereafter visualize all of its details. This strengthens our capacities for perception and helps us to awaken consciousness, to make it strong, robust, trained for dream yoga discipline.
When those faculties are strong, you will easily return to your prior experiences through this practice.
Another practice you can do is a meditation and prayer for the Divine Mother. These are a series of prayers and mantras we will do together today. The prayer is as follows:
"Be thou, oh Hadit, my secret, the Gnostic mystery of my Being, the central point of my connection, my heart itself, and bloom on my fertile lips, made Verb!
"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 of secret fervor of Hadit. The winged sphere and the blue of the Sky are mine.
O.A.O. KAKOF NA. KHONSA
O.A.O. KAKOF NA. KHONSA
O.A.O. KAKOF NA. KHONSA
"Hadit is the masculine aspect of the Holy Spirit, Abba Elohim, or Shiva. Nut is the Divine Mother, Aima Elohim in Kabbalah, Shakti in Hinduism, who receives the secret kiss and fervor of Hadit, Her Divine Husband. You can perform this prayer and mantras in meditation or in sexual magic.
(Detail of Christ, during the Last Judgment, showing the two paths of awakening, indicated by the flowers of spirituality for the virtuous, and the sword of condemnation and justice for sinners; artist: Memling)
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from The Sufi Path of Self-knowledge, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
Gnosticism pertains to a very special form of self-knowledge or self-analysis, popularized through the famous Greek maxim on the Temple of Delphi: Homo Nosce Te Ipsum, otherwise translated as: “Man, know thyself, and you will know the universe and the Gods!” The Greek word Gnosis is knowledge, but not intellectual knowledge. It is knowledge of that which we acquire from our experience, that which we gain from our perception. It is not based on supposition, theory, belief, skepticism, or argumentation. It is something that we know for a fact, and there is no convincing otherwise. Gnosis is the defined result of our actions and is verified through experimentation in a scientific manner. We look at scientific facts, spiritual facts.
For as the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition, Samael Aun Weor, stated in The Revolution of the Dialectic:
“Gnosis is lived upon facts, withers away in abstractions, and is difficult to find even in the noblest of thoughts.”
Therefore when we approach spirituality, when we seek to understand religion, we must be precise. We must be specific and technical with our terminology, with our approach, our analysis, practice and methodology. We cannot indulge in vain, ambiguous and incipient beliefs, conceptualizing that we are a certain way, that we are “spiritual” because we think a certain way or belong to a specific group, that we are somehow special beings deserving praise. Because the truth is, when we examine the facts, when we look at humanity, when we look at ourselves, when we examine our daily sufferings, we find that this planet is in chaos. Many people amongst so-called “spiritual” circles talk about a new Golden Age, and that we are in it. Yet if we soberly examine the evidence, we find that humanity is not in a Golden Age, but has precipitated itself on the path of destruction.
Everybody suffers. No one on this planet, no sentient being, no person that is met on the streets of the cities, can be said to be happy, specifically since such people suffer incredibly. But why? Why do we suffer? What causes our pain? We can easily blame the government, the political establishment, the Democrats, the Republicans, or our friends, our job, co-workers, our spouse. These things belong to the external world, and sadly this is all people think about. But what are the secret, internal triggers that produce the calamities we are now all too familiar with? What in us truly makes us suffer and why?
All of humanity’s destructive habits, addictions, desires, and wishes run contrary to divine law. Just as the physical universe is governed by laws, so too is spiritual life. There are laws that govern the establishment, development, and perfection of the soul, laws delivered unto humanity through all the world’s great prophets, religions and scriptures. The reason why people live in such disharmony and agony is due to their internal, psychological imbalances, their inability to conform their psyche, consciousness, or mind, towards the commandments, laws and instructions given by the messengers of the divine.
Therefore when beginning these studies, we ask ourselves the following fundamental questions:
“Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? What are we living for? Why are we living?” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Everyone believes that they know themselves, that they are conscious beings, that they know what they do, and yet the facts speak contrary to this. We firmly believe in our customs, our language, and our creed—our job, country, flag, party, name, culture, race, and habits, are qualities born in time and that die in time. And yet the consciousness, the soul, does not belong to these things. Therefore, who are we?
People believe they are awake. People believe that they know themselves. Likewise, in spiritual studies, many people have different conceptions of the term “awakening,” which is the focus of this lecture. Countless so-called “spiritual” groups entertain ideas regarding awakening which are contradictory, inconclusive, vague, ambiguous, obscure, or simply confusing, definitions that are in conflict with the scriptures given by the great masters of spirituality, whether Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, Moses, and the prophets. Awakening is a popular term, but how is it practical? What does it mean to awaken?
Some people use the term awakening to relate to an inspiration, a sudden inclination to study religion or spirituality. This is basic. This is, however, a fundamental first step. Also, the awakening we seek to understand is not physical. It is not only the awakening of our physical senses when arriving from sleep: our sight, taste, touch, hearing, and smell. Neither is awakening related to thought, thinking, concepts, sentimentalizing, believing, theorizing, holding on to ideas about ourselves or conjecturing about a philosophy with the intellect, believing something fully with our heart, yet not really knowing anything.
As I mentioned, awakening has nothing to do with our name, our job, our language, customs, culture, habits, beliefs, and family. These things came with birth and they end with death. But the consciousness, that which we call soul, is beyond these things. The consciousness belongs to the divine, to God. When I refer to God, I am not referring to an anthropomorphic old man sitting on a cloud of tyranny dispensing thunderbolts and lightning upon this poor ant-hill of a humanity. That is not the God we speak of, but God as an intelligence, as Being, as presence, light, cognizance, which we must learn to access within ourselves when we know how.
In strict esoteric or secret Buddhism, only a buddha, a master, knows himself completely and is free from suffering. An awakened one is a buddha, which is a term originating from the Sanskrit root word budh, signifying “awakening,” “consciousness,” “cognizance,” which also relates to the word Bodhi, meaning “wisdom,” or “enlightenment.” This is cognizance of one’s inner divinity, the root of life and our most genuine happiness, which begins as a spark, and transforms into a flame when we know how to cultivate this light.
This profound state of awakening pertains to knowing divinity directly, the pure, pristine, and clear consciousness of nature’s laws and the soul’s conformity to them, devoid of personhood, a universal state of being. This is a result of cause and effect, and produces joy, freedom from defect or flaws. This psychological state transcends all pain, self, and conception, as demonstrated in the story of Gautama Buddha Shakyamuni questioned by a brahman.
A Hindu priest was met by the Buddha. Being astounded by Gautama’s happiness, peace, and presence, he successively asked him, “Are you a deva (a god)?” “Are you a gandhabba (heavenly being)? Are you a yakkha (a nature spirit)?” To which the Buddha replied:
"The fermentations by which I would go
to a deva-state,
or become a gandhabba in the sky,
or go to a yakkha-state and human-state:
Those have been destroyed by me,
ruined, their stems removed.
Like a blue lotus, rising up,
unsmeared by water,
unsmeared am I by the world,
and so, brahman,
I'm awake." —Dona Sutta
People believe that they are awake. Having energy in the morning, getting up from the sleep of the physical body, constitutes a minimal level of perception and consciousness. The type of awakening we speak of in our Gnostic studies relates to spiritual perception, the development of divine faculties, which some refer to as out-of-body experiences, astral travel, lucid dreaming, awakening one’s awareness within the dream state or dream world, to speak face to face with divinity, with angelic beings, directly. This is something very clear and sharp. These are not hypothetical situations. They are not vague, cloudy, obscure, disorganized, nonsensical, chaotic, like the dreams most people relate when they seek interpretations.
The awakening we refer to is the direct result of putting specific scientific procedures into place, a new form of discipline we engage with. Awakening has one purpose: to gain knowledge of divinity by understanding the causes of suffering in ourselves, thereby removing such causes through cognizance, comprehension, and superlative analysis resulting from experience. We seek to change how we perceive life by removing that which filters our perception, in order that we possess pure, objective and divine cognizance. This is why Friedrich Nietzsche wrote in Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame; how could you rise anew if you have not first become ashes!”
As you see in this opening image, we have Sufi disciple, a master of the mystical or esoteric teachings of Islam, in prayer. Islam in Arabic means “submission to God’s will.” We must submit to the divine will and divine laws if what we want is to become a new being, an awakened one, a phoenix bird that rises from out of its own ashes.
We are going to examine the nature of awakening in relation to the Sufi tradition, the mystics of Islam and of the Middle East, due to the simplicity, profundity, and accessibility of such teachings for beginners, as well as to show the universal nature of this wisdom.
He Who Knows Himself Knows His Lord
There are levels and levels of consciousness. Consciousness is light, the capacity to perceive not only physical phenomena, but spiritual noumena, the truth behind things, spiritual principles.
The 14th Dalai Lama explained that we must develop the conviction, based on practical works, that the consciousness has the capacity to expand to an infinite degree. Such a statement parallels the Qur'an's teaching in verse 35 of Surah al-Nur, the Light Surah, which profoundly states: “Light upon light!” And as Prophet Muhammad exclaimed in verse 114 of Surah Ta Ha: “My Lord, increase me in knowledge!”
The path of self-knowledge can be depicted through a marvellous ladder, wherein we ascend through the application of spiritual discipline and works. This is the same Jacob's ladder in the Old Testament, whereby he witnessed the angels ascending and descending.
The Sufis corroborate the teachings of the Greek Temple of Delphi through the following proverb: “He who knows himself knows his Lord.” Likewise, they also explain how to arrive at consciousness of divinity within oneself through the application and understanding of spiritual practice.
Spiritual law, practice or discipline pertains to Sharia in Arabic, which in Sufism does not literally pertain to the exoteric, punitive laws of Muslim countries, but to how we awaken consciousness so as to know divinity in different levels, degree by degree. It is by following good conduct in our daily life that we will come to know divinity, the path, the ladder that ascends to higher states of consciousness, the way of experience, the truth, known as Haqiqah in Sufism. Here is what the Sufi master Al-Qushayri had to say about this topic in his Risalah: Principles of Sufism:
"The divine Law commands one to the duty of servanthood. The Way, the inner reality, is the contemplation of divine lordship. Outward religious practice not confirmed by inner reality is not acceptable. Inner reality not anchored by outward religious practice is not acceptable. Divine Law brings obligation upon the creation, while the Way is founded upon the free action [or experience] of the Real. The divine Law is that you serve Him. The Way is that you see Him.
"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. I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say that God's saying [in the Opening Chapter, Al-Fatihah of Al-Qur'an] 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.
"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 Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
This is the law of cause and effect. If you want to awaken your conscious, spiritual perception, unfiltered, unobstructed by limited notions of self, you must fulfill the requisites of religion: be a good person; do not lie; do not steal; do not fornicate; do not adulterate; do not commit sexual misconduct; do not steal; etc.
Certain behaviors and habits are the result of conditioned consciousness, defects and errors, and constitute actions that produce and perpetuate suffering. Positive, virtuous actions are the result of awakened, unconditioned and free consciousness, of divine remembrance, and help to produce and perpetuate happiness for oneself and others. Positive actions aid us in removing the conditions of our psyche, hence the emphasis within Sufism for purity of mind, heart, and body.
There are some who believe that the etymological meaning of the term Sufi designates the 'pure wool' or 'purity' of soul, Suf, that adorns the great initiates, the great practitioners.
Therefore, if we want to realize our inner divinity, we must cultivate the causes and conditions for the fruition of that realization within us, through psychological purification. When we purify our consciousness, we ascend to higher levels of consciousness, of being. If we give in to desire, our conditioned psyche, habits, and egotism, strengthening our negative qualities, we descend and enter inferior levels of consciousness or being.
Different religions have different ways of explaining good behavior, of how to cultivate virtue. In the Gnostic tradition we have a vast array of practices and teachings about how to discipline ourselves so that we can experience the way, the truth, and the divine life.
Therefore, this scriptural affirmation goes against millions of books being written for a modern, “New Age” public, which affirm that anyone can experience the divine by doing whatever they want, by creating their own mantras (sacred sounds), by creating their own reality, by giving into their egotistical desires. This is all one hundred percent subjective and harmful, because it demonstrates a profound ignorance of cause and effect, a fundamental law of nature. If you feed the conditions that trap your consciousness, you will enter into suffering. If you want to free the consciousness of its conditions, you must break the cages that trap and enslave your true nature, so as to achieve genuine contentment and happiness.
If you want to know yourself and therefore know divinity, you must enact the causes for that result. You cannot change the law. Ignorance of the law does not procure exclusion from its results. Therefore, ignorance is the worst of sins, according to Socrates
Knowledge and Comprehension
Which brings us to our next point. If you wish to know divinity, you must deeply understand the laws that lead to its fruition based on your experience. Intellectual knowledge or memorizing information is not enough. There must be profound comprehension.
"Knowledge and comprehension are different. Knowledge is of the mind. Comprehension is of the heart." —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
There are hundreds of thousands of spiritual teachers in the world today, many who have memorized the Bible, the Qur’an, the Bhagavad-Gita by heart, and yet they do not demonstrate the ethics and virtues propounded by their religion, as illustrated by numerous cases of sodomy, molestation of children by priests, and other horrible crimes committed in the name of “spiritual brotherhood” and “religion.” People may have a lot of knowledge in the mind about religion, and yet fail to fulfill even one precept given by their tradition. This is why Christ taught his disciples to be vigilant, stating: “By their fruits you will know them.”
People know many things about God, astral travel, awakening consciousness in dreams in order to converse with the angels, etc. Yet have they experienced these truths themselves? Likewise, we may have many cherished beliefs and knowledge regarding our terrestrial identity, and yet we fail to comprehend who we are in a deep manner. This ignorance is illustrated in the case of some alcoholics who, knowing their addiction is harmful, continue to engage in bad behaviors, in drinking to excess. This example shows us that while we may have a lot of knowledge of right and wrong, we still may lack comprehension of the consequences.
If we place our hand on a hot stove, we will retract our hand in pain. Therefore, we have gained a superficial form of comprehension, of gnosis, that to put our hand on a hot stove is to get burned. Sadly, with many of our ingrained habits and customs, we continue to indulge in behaviors contrary to divine laws and fail to see the results. We may know it is wrong to be angry and yell at another person, yet we may do it anyways. We may know it is wrong to be sarcastic to someone in a given instant, and yet fail to restrain our negative comments.
If we want to awaken, we must learn to comprehend what behaviors are detrimental to ourselves and others, and not act on them, to see these psychological tendencies for what they are and not allow them to persist and subsist in our minds. This is comprehension; we know in our hearts that something is essentially wrong, and therefore we behave accordingly. This is very different from having a concept in our heads. Instead, this is the voice of conscience, of ethics, of spirituality, speaking to us.
Our minds are tarnished and imperfect as a result of too much negativity, conditioning, and false knowledge, and not enough comprehension. The remedy is to deepen our awareness of divinity, to purify ourselves and to follow the ethical conduct of the great religions. For as Prophet Muhammad taught:
"There is a polish for everything that takes away rust; and the polish for the heart is the remembrance of God.” —Hadith: Sahih Al-Bukhari
Likewise, awakening and comprehension are synonymous. True spirituality or understanding is developed through following the heart, as the Sufi master Ibn ‘Arabi explains:
"May God open the eyes of your heart, shedding His divine light. The angelic realm, which contains the potential of future creation, incorporeal existences, the meaning of all and everything to come, and divine power, is the element from which the visible world is created and, therefore the material world is under the influence and domination of the angelic realm. The movement, the sound, the voice, the ability to speak, to eat and to drink is not from the existences themselves in the visible, material world. They all pass through the invisible world of the angelic realm. We think that we see with our eyes. The information, the influences of perception, are due to our senses—while the real influence, the meaning of things, the power behind what sees and what is seen, can be reached neither by the senses, nor by deduction and analysis, comparison, contrasts, and associations made through intellectual theories. The invisible world can only be penetrated by the eye and the mind of the heart. Indeed, the reality of this visible world also can only be seen by the mind and eye of the heart. What we think we see is but veils which hide the reality of things; things whose truth, whose meaning may not be revealed until these veils are lifted. It is only when the dark veils of imagination [fantasy] and preconception are raised that the divine light will penetrate the heart, enabling the inner eye to see. Then either the sunlight or the light of a candle will become a metaphor for the divine light." —Ibn ‘Arabi: Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom
All of us are hypnotized by our mind, by our projected self-image. We have many fantasies about who we are, and yet we fail to see ourselves in our true reality. This is evidenced by the fact that other people never see us as we see ourselves, which is always a source of tremendous conflict. We have a lot of knowledge in our heads that we identify with, such as our name, language, customs, education, etc., and yet our suffering attests to the fact that we do not comprehend the genuine sources of our suffering, which are constituted by our fears, attachments, aversions, and ignorance.
True awakening occurs when we know how to put knowledge in its proper place, through deep comprehension of the heart.
As you see in this graphic, knowledge belongs to the horizontal line of life: knowledge we gain from birth, life, to death. On the left of this horizontal path is our genesis, followed by childhood, adolescence, adulthood, marriage, children, old age, decrepitude, and death towards the right. This is the path of terrestrial knowledge, which is necessary and fundamental for living in the world in which we are. But comprehension is the vertical path, an ascension to higher levels of being, ways of being, in conjunction with the present moment, found at the precise point where these two beams intersect, in the middle.
We cannot avoid the horizontal line of life, but we can learn to transform it by ascending to a higher way of being, a superior level of consciousness. We must learn to respond to life with a sense of ethical discipline, rectitude, and love, which constitutes the path of the heart above. Learning to behave in a conscious manner helps us to ascend to higher ways of being, levels of being, along the vertical path. Ascending this vertical line, we come to experience heaven or heavenly states as defined by some religions.
Yet if we continue as we are, identifying with psychological states of hatred, anger, pride, fear, sarcasm, lust, desire, etc., these negative qualities will take us down this vertical path towards submerged states of consciousness. The vertical path below signifies states of suffering, chaos, affliction, and pain. This is known as hell or diabolical psychological states within religion. If we do not change our ways of being, we will eventually descend on that path where we will awaken into more suffering and pain than we currently experience.
The Paths of Life and Death
The Judeo-Christian-Muslim traditions, as well as the Eastern mystical doctrines, emphasize that there are two fundamental paths of awakening: one of a higher way of life, and another towards deepening states of suffering.
"And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." —Daniel 12:2
We can awaken and liberate consciousness from its conditions: pride, hate, greed, avarice, and the infernal qualities known in some traditions as sins or defects. Or we can strengthen our cage: our animalistic qualities of gluttony, aggression, and destruction. The choice is ours based on our behavior.
Look at humanity! What path has it chosen? Have you ever reflected on this? With world-wide acts of prostitution, adultery, degeneration; wars emerging here, there, and everywhere, are the signs not clear for us? Human beings are worse off than they have ever been, which is why many artists have depicted this spiritual dilemma of “To be or not to be” by painting the Last Judgment.
As you see in this image, Christ above represents the highest aspect of consciousness or divinity that we can aspire to within ourselves. To his right are those souls who know how to obey divine laws, thereby developing peace, happiness, compassion, conscious love, charity, and faith. They ascend up the steps into the temples of the sacred mysteries.
Those beings who never sought to change, who indulged in desire, who fed and saturated their diabolic conditions of mind, enter into regions of flames, symbolic of states of suffering and a deepening awareness of their psychological limitations and imprisonment.
While heaven and hell are referenced as places in the cosmos and in nature, these more importantly refer to levels of being within us, ways of behaving.
Does our consciousness resonate with compassion, virtue, philanthropy, altruism, and happiness for others? Or do our states of consciousness vibrate with wrath, avarice, doubt, envy, and dissatisfaction with the happiness of others? Examine yourself to see where your consciousness gravitates, and be sincere. Sincerity is the doorway leading to awakening in an unconditioned, positive light.
In the bottom center of this image is the archangel Michael, who is weighing the deeds of souls in accordance with their actions. Just as there is a record in a physical court of law for transgression, likewise do the heavenly masters or heavenly beings, the buddhas or angels, evaluate our actions based on facts, evidence, and full consciousness of our state, in which the Qur’an represents as two books, one for the virtuous and one for the vicious, wherein are inscribed all the deeds we perform.
The record of the vicious is indeed in Sijjīn.
And what will show you what is Sijjīn?
It is a written record.
Woe to the deniers on that day,
who deny the Day of Retribution;
and none denies it except every sinful transgressor. —Qur’an 83:7-12
The record of the pious is indeed in Illīyūn.
And what will show you what is Illīyūn?
It is a written record,
witnessed by those brought near [to God.]
Indeed the pious shall be amid bliss,
observing, [as they recline] on couches. —Qur’an 83:18-23
Sijjīn is typically associated with the lowest hells or states of conditioned perception. Illīyūn can refer, in Islam, to the highest heavens, a mountain peak that overlooks everything. This symbolizes having a consciousness so high and elevated that it perceives all things, all phenomena, without conditioning.
The Qur’an, the mystical book of the Muslims, refers to gardens of paradise and the flames of infernal passion, desire, of thirst insatiable, as representations of mind. We repeat: these are not just places, but ways of being. We gravitate to places in this great nature based on the qualities of our mind. We vibrate with dimensions in the cosmos based on our level of being.
Likewise with our daily life.
"Nobody can deny the fact that there are different social levels. There are churchgoing people, people in brothels, farmers, businessmen, etc.
"In a like manner, there are different Levels of Being. Whatever we are internally, munificent or mean, generous or miserly, violent or peaceful, chaste or lustful, attracts the various circumstances of life.
"The lustful person will always attract scenes, dramas and even lascivious tragedies in which he will become involved.
"A drunkard will always attract drunkards and will always be seen in bars or taverns; this is obvious…
"What will the usurer attract? The selfish one? How many problems? Jail? Misfortunes?" —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Sadly, humanity is addicted to negativity, and is averse towards the divine life, for as John Milton stated in Paradise Lost:
“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”
Simply examine what people worship today. Turn on the television and you will find entertainment and shows on killing, on cruelty, on deception, criminality. People have made a heaven of hell, being addicted to negative behavior. Likewise when someone teaches the masses about the heavenly path, people scorn such a prophet or messenger, and may eventually try to kill him, as we saw with the crucifixion of Jesus, the poisoning of Buddha and Socrates, the persecution of Muhammad, etc.
The Publican and the Pharisee
So we must be profoundly analytical and honest with ourselves. We have to take a self-inventory, known by the Sufis as muhasabah, and observe what qualities we have in abundance and what we lack. We must learn to consider ourselves as strangers by observing our own minds in action, perceiving ourselves from the perspective of the free consciousness, which must in turn awaken and comprehend the other conditioned parts of the psyche.
This work on oneself goes beyond our concepts of good and bad. We must be sincere and comprehend how none of us are completely innocent in life. If we consider that we are “spiritual” people, filled with such-and-such good qualities, virtues, we must be willing to consider how we may be mistaken. Otherwise, why would we change?
"A thing is good when it suits us and bad when it does not. Within the rhythms of poetry, crime is also concealed. There is much virtue in the villain and much evil in the virtuous…
"…Even though it may appear incredible, crime also hides in the very perfume of prayer.
"Crime disguises itself as a saint. It uses the best virtues; it presents itself as a martyr and even officiates in the sacred temples." —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
Simply look at some priests today who are molesting children, and yet who consider themselves to be holy people. Jesus warned about such hypocrites in his parable of the Publican and the Pharisee, whereby a rich priest went to pray in the temple, congratulating himself and boasting of his good qualities, and denigrating a poor man in the corner who was beating his chest in repentance, feeling too guilty to be forgiven for his deeds. Christ said that the poor man’s prayer was granted, since it was sincere, whereas the Pharisee, the so-called spiritual person over-confident with himself, was not. A Pharisee is a person from any religion who thinks and believes they are holy and justified, when in truth they only believe, having no development.
Therefore, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God." ―Matthew 19:24
To be rich is to feel oneself self-sufficient, especially from divinity. The Qur’an as posits a similar parable in Surah 18: The Cave, Verses 32 to 43:
"Draw for them the parable of two men for each of whom We had made two gardens of vines, and We had surrounded them with date palms, and placed crops between them.
"Both gardens yielded their produce without stinting anything of it. And We had set a stream gushing through them.
"He had abundant fruits, so he said to his companion, as he conversed with him: ‘I have more wealth than you, and am stronger with respect to numbers.’
"He entered his garden while he wronged himself. He said, ‘I do not think that this will ever perish, and I do not think that the Hour will ever set in. And even if I am returned to my Lord I will surely find a resort better than this.’
"His companion said to him, as he conversed with him: ‘Do you disbelieve in Him who created you from dust, then from a drop of [seminal] fluid, then fashioned you as a man?
"But I [say], “He is Allah, my Lord,” and I do not ascribe any partner to my Lord.
"Why did you not say, when you entered your garden, “[This is] as Allah has wished! There is no power except by Allah!” If you see that I have lesser wealth than you and children,
"Maybe my Lord will give me [something] better than your garden, and He will unleash upon it bolts from the sky, so that it becomes a bare plain.
"Or its water will sink down, so that you cannot obtain it.’
"And ruin closed in on his produce, and he began to wring his hands for what he had spent on it, as it lay fallen on its trellises. He was saying, ‘I wish I had not ascribed any partner to my Lord.’
"He had no party to help him, besides Allah, nor could he help himself."
So what are we? Are we rich, psychologically, feeling that we possess virtues that we do not? Or are we poor, recognizing that we have nothing, and from this honest foundation ascend towards the Being, acquiring genuine knowledge?
The Sufis state that the greatest quality or foundation for the disciple to have is poverty, to feel oneself as poor, to recognize one's true lack of spirituality, since humility opens the pathway for elevation. Wherever this sense of “me,” “myself,” or “I,” is absent, we experience the plenitude of the Being. Or as Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Aquarian Message: “God seeks the nothingness in order to fill it.”
Genuine Awakening and the Tree of Life
"Wherever the delusion of your selfhood appears – there’s hell. Wherever “you” aren’t – that’s heaven." ―Abū Sa’īd in Ibn Munawwar: Asrār at-tawḥīd, ed. Shafī‘ī-Kadkanī, 299
Our egotistical sense of self obscures us from accessing the heavenly realms of levels of being, represented by this graphic. This is known as the Tree of Life in the Book of Genesis, and is a map of awakening: from the lowest states of matter, energy and consciousness, to the most refined, synthetic, essential, and spiritual at the top. This is known as the Kabbalah, which comes from the Hebrew word: קבל Kabbel / qabal: to receive. This is the spiritual wisdom we gain by awakening and liberating consciousness in these ten spheres of modes of being.
The Tree of Life signifies the multi-dimensionality of nature, which penetrates, co-penetrates, and subsists together and integrally without confusion. These ten spheres or modes of being are with us here and now, but we are typically not aware of them.
We are at Malkuth, which in Hebrew means: Kingdom, the physical body. Above this physicality we have vitality, emotionality, mentality, will, consciousness, spirit, and the highest divinity, known as logos, Kristos, or Christ, the primordial root energy at the basis of every fundamental cosmic unit. These are distinct gradations of consciousness, energy, matter and perception that we will examine with more detail in subsequent lectures.
However, we will state that this map is essential for understanding our inner spiritual experiences, such as through meditation or the study of dreams. This graphic illustrates for us where we are in a given moment, at what level of consciousness we gravitate towards. The spheres above Malkuth are the heavens, whereas the shadow of the Tree constitute the Klipoth or inferior dimensions, negative states of being, the submerged, conditioned and infraconscious aspects of the soul, known in religions as hell.
Remember that these spheres are with us here and now, but we are not awakened to them yet. We may feel that we are active in our physical bodies, but yet may not be aware of our thoughts, feelings, and sensations, or impulses. This lack of awareness of what we are thinking, feeling, and doing in a given moment of the day signifies that we do not know the Tree of Life within us. Simply try to review everything you did in a given day, down to the smallest detail, and see if there are not spaces or gaps in your memory! Awakening means to change all that, to not be unconscious or unaware of any aspect of our daily life.
The important thing to remember is that if we want to ascend up the vertical path of being, of awakening, we must do so by conquering ourselves and dominating our lower passions, so that we no longer remain in “hell,” the inferior qualities of being, but instead rise to a higher way of being, the Tree of Life.
The Present Moment
So how do we awaken? We have presented and explained the need to awaken, but now we are going to elaborate on the methods for doing so.
Many teachings in this day and age speak of mindfulness, awareness, attention, consciousness, and perception. There are also many doctrines about intuition or insight into the present moment in which we find ourselves. These are all basic introductions or kindergarten steps for accessing complete awakening of our divine potential.
Awakening unconditioned perception begins in this present instance in which we find ourselves, at the intersection of the horizontal and vertical beams, the conjunction of the line of life or knowledge and the line of being.
"I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say that the “now”—waqt—is that in which you are. If you are in the world, your “now” is this world. If you are in the next world [the higher dimensions of the Tree of Life], your “now” is the next world. If you are in joy, your “now” is joy. If you are in sorrow, your “now” is sorrow. He means by this that the present moment is that which has dominance over a person." —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Every genuine spiritual endeavor begins by learning to pay attention and to not be distracted by memories, thoughts, daydreams, sentimentality, fears, problems, etc. It means to expand and heighten one’s consciousness of the present moment.
Wherever you are, do not forget what you are doing. Simply be. If you are driving you car, don't think of other things. Pay attention to your mood, your thoughts, your psychological states. Do not let your attention be dominated and distracted by other things, but learn to dominate the moment through vigilance.
The Sufis elaborate on the importance of solely paying exclusive attention to the present moment, without looking forward or backwards in time:
"Waqt [the present moment] may refer specifically to the time in which one is. Some people say that the present moment is between the two times, that is, the past and the future. And they say that the Sufi is the “son of his moment.” This means that he occupies himself immediately with whatever sort of devotion should come first in a given moment. He bases himself upon what is required of him at the time. It is said, “The dervish cares for neither the past nor the future of his moment: he cares for the moment in which he is.” And regarding this, “To be preoccupied with what escaped you in a moment that has passed is to waste a second moment.” –Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Al-Qushayri states that the true disciple bases himself upon what is required of him at the time. All of us have responsibilities in this physical plane, work, employment, familial duties, etc. Therefore, are we certain that we are paying attention to what we are doing as we fulfill our obligations? Remember that Gnosis is precisely the doctrine of momentariness. We have to stop thinking about the past or the future, and simply look and what is going on around and within us. It is by paying attention to the contents of our psyche during social interactions that we learn to discover hidden defects whose existence we never suspected.
Therefore, how do we interact with certain people? Why? What motivates us to speak a certain way? To gossip? To lie? To criticize? Have we ever considered the secret motives of our speech? For why we might feel disdain towards someone we deem less important to us? To those we think are inferior? What qualities surge in our mind around people who provoke us? Whom we dislike? Our sense of pride? Are we sure that we do not possess the same qualities of the person we ostracize and condemn? Have we ever questioned ourselves when interacting with others?
Interactions with people is a full length mirror by which we can comprehend our own faults, because if we are attentive only of the present moment, without invoking the past or the future, we find that our psychological tendencies, desires, and conditioning emerge within the screen of our perception, within our attention when we know how to direct it inward. This is known as muhasabah, inner-accounting, precisely because we must make a psychological account of the qualities we lack and the qualities we have in abundance. We have to self-discover ourselves in action.
We must also learn to be aware of our surroundings and our intimate connection to the divine presence, labeled muhadarah, awareness of the Divine Self, within Sufism. We call this self-remembrance in the gnostic tradition. We learn to gain comprehension of hudur, the presence of God, through muhadarah, awareness. Simultaneously, we must also direct our attention inside, studying our intimate defects through self-observation, inner accounting or muhasabah.
In order to know divinity we first have to look inside to see what is obstructing the light of divinity within our consciousness. By perceiving our faults and comprehending them, we in turn can liberate ourselves from those conditions. Self-observation is how we acquire new information about who we are and why we behave, so that we can work to remove negative elements in the psyche and thereby produce greater cognizance, peace, happiness, and compassion.
Our spiritual life is not exclusive to attending meetings. It is constituted of every interaction we engage with in daily, practical life. Spirituality is not limited to the church or the mosque, but in our homes, with our children, with our co-workers, and especially with people who give us difficulties. Do we respond with kindness towards someone who insults our hurt sense of dignity, our pride? How do we react towards the condemnation or criticism of others at work? Remember that our daily life is our spiritual path, and how we behave in every instance determines whether we will initiate a more spiritual way of being or strengthen a more demonic way of being.
The Moment is a Sword
We define our spiritual life depends on what we do from moment-to-moment. As Buddha taught in the Dhammapada:
"Preceded by mind are phenomena, led by mind, formed by mind. If with mind polluted one speaks or acts, then pain follows, as a wheel follows the draft ox’s foot.
"Preceded by mind are phenomena, led by mind, formed by mind. If with mind pure one speaks or acts, then ease follows, as an ever-present shadow."
What thoughts, feelings, or impulses emerge when we get up in the morning? When we go to work? When we speak with a friend, co-worker, or relative? Do our actions and words produce harmony and friendship, or do our actions create resistance, conflict, and struggle?
If we act virtuously, then we will inspire virtue in others; we will produce happiness for others. This is a fundamental law of nature: cause and effect, known in the East as karma.
Therefore, in accordance with the law of action and consequence:
"One of the sayings of the Sufis is, “The moment is a sword.” That is, in just the way that a sword severs, the present moment shows forth the influence of God’s action, ending things and bringing them to be. It is said, “The touch of the flat of a sword is temperate, but its blade cuts”—the one who treats it gently is safe and the one who treats it rudely is destroyed. Thus with the “now”: Whoever submits himself to its authority is saved and whoever resists it deteriorates and declines." ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
If you are negative towards another person, you will inspire negativity within that person. Therefore, the moment as a blade will cut you. But if you are temperate, peaceful, and kind towards your critics, your actions will produce comfort, ease, and balance.
When confronted with terrible circumstances, a virtuous, cultivated, and trained mind will serve as our greatest protector and aid. If we continue in unconscious, destructive, and resentful behavior, never learning to see another person’s point of view, we will in turn deepen our suffering and the suffering of others. We will fall upon our own sword.
It comes to my mind a story of a Tibetan Buddhist monk who was imprisoned by the Chinese after the expulsion of Tibetans and the desecration of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries by the Chinese army. The 14th Dalai Lama asked him, “What is the greatest danger you faced?” This monk replied, “Losing my compassion for the Chinese.” This is a powerful statement!
Eventually this man was freed, and he continued as a monk, never losing sight of the goal: to generate superior states of being and not to give in to conditioned, negative psychological reactions, to dominate the present moment and submit himself only to what is being experienced here and now.
Whether or not we are in prison, we still suffer. If we react negatively, we will continue to suffer and exacerbate our problems. But if our mind is peaceful, we can easily and patiently withstand wrongs, maintaining serenity, and never losing touch with our inner divinity and the divinity of others. This is how the sword of perception, of vigilance, of insight, will defend us when we need it most.
Likewise, when confronted with difficult people, the greatest advantage we can have is always responding with consciousness, with remembrance of divinity:
“The best weapon that a human being can use in life is a correct psychological state.
“One can disarm beasts and unmask traitors by means of appropriate internal states.
“Wrong internal states convert us into defenseless victims of human perversity.
“You must learn to face the most unpleasant events of practical life with an appropriate internal uprightness...
“You must not become identified with any event. Remember that everything passes away. You must learn to look at life like a movie; thus, you shall receive the benefits...
“You must not forget that if you do not eliminate mistaken internal states from your psyche, then events of no value could bring you disgrace.
“Unquestionably, each external event needs its appropriate fare, that is, its precise psychological state.” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology: Personal Events
So question yourselves from the perspective of conscious attention. What specific types of events provoke or invoke your anger? Fear? Resentment? Why do you act and behave a certain way around certain people? Where are your thoughts coming from when your vanity is hurt, when you are offended? Why are you always offended by certain comments? Are you certain that responding with frustration will aid you at work, with your co-workers, your spouse?
Everything passes away. Nothing in life is static. Therefore, to hold on to a sense of self, such as anger, pride, hatred, desire, lust, as if it is permanent―to believe in and give our energy to these egotistical qualities that are transient and insubstantial, meaningless and unimportant--is absurd, harmful. Such psychological states deepen our suffering, precisely because there is a lack of communion between our internal states and the external event. External events are always changing, therefore, why hold on to them with so much attachment, with a desire for permanence? We always want something that doesn't coincide with the facts, and therefore we suffer tremendously inside.
Wherever we direct our attention, we expend creative energy. To give energy to our inner demons is to prolong our pain, to strengthen the cages we have built around ourselves.
To cease suffering, we must cease with desire. If we want to be happy, we must not give in to our desires, but learn to observe them with consciousness, to understand the roots of these thoughts, feelings, and impulses, so that they have less dominance over what we say and do. We must learn to adjust our internal states to meet the needs of each event. In this way we learn to use the sword of perception for our favor, to defend ourselves from negative thinking, feeling, and acting.
When you learn to follow the intuition of your innermost divinity, your Being, than you will learn how to competently negotiate and navigate the seas of your life, not only for your benefit, for the benefit of others.
Our egotism, pride, resentment, etc., is the enemy of God, the enemy of the Being. If we want divine aid, we have to go against ourselves, to go against the grain of our mechanical behaviors, habits, and ways of thinking. The Sufis teach that if we want realization of the divine, we must wage a holy war against the infidels, which are the conditioned elements of our psyche.
Divinity, of course, always aids the soul in this difficult struggle to awaken.
“Remembering God with the heart is called the sword of seekers. With it the seeker slays his enemies [egos, defects, nafs] and drives off [karmic] troubles that are headed for him. Even if difficulty should overshadow the servant, his fleeing to God Most High in his heart immediately turns away from him the thing he hates.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Examine this image of St. Michael, who is often depicted slaying the devil, the dragon. מיכאל Michael in Hebrew comes from מיכ Mica, “Who is like” אֵל El, or “God?” This is a rhetorical question, telling us that no one is like God, the resplendence, light, or consciousness of divinity, the Being. Michael is an angelic being outside of us, but here represents the solar intelligence of our Being, as well as how the soul must wage bloody battles against the afflictions of the mind, the dragon, the monster, our diabolic qualities or egotistical desires. He does so with a sword, representing wisdom, remembrance, and insight. In some religious paintings, St. Michael is depicted carrying a scale, representing how the solar intelligence of our innermost Being is the one that brings balance, harmony, and justice to our psychological universe. This is how he conquers the creator of illusion and suffering.
The same meaning is represented in the next graphic of Manjushri. Here is a buddha, an awakened one, conquering the illusions and hypnotisms of desire through the sword of prajna, wisdom, insight, gnosis, or consciousness. By awakening our consciousness, and by destroying the shackles of our understanding, we can arrive at self-knowledge, represented by the book he also carries in his other hand.
The book represents knowledge, whereas the sword represents being, insight, consciousness. Therefore, knowledge and being must be harmoniously balanced within us in order to establish the flaming powers of comprehension in our psyche.
With superior knowledge, we can learn to redirect the course of our life, and with practical wisdom and insight, cut through to the sources of our greatest problems, thereby liberating our soul, awakening it definitely.
The Sufis state:
They have recited about this:
Like a sword, if you polish it, its touch is soothing
But its edge, if you are harsh to it, is harsh.
If the moment makes someone happy, it is a just moment to him.
If it makes him miserable, it becomes something hateful.
―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Meditation is the path of polishing our perception, of purifying our insight. Your mind precedes all phenomena. We become what we think. Think wrong thoughts, and you will produce wrong results. But achieve serenity of mind, insight, patience, and understanding, by learning to pay attention, you learn to access the essential nature of your consciousness, which is peace, compassion, and love.
Behavior, Gnosis, and Meditation
In synthesis, we seek to change our behaviors and states of mind in a fundamental way. Awakening results from knowing how to transform the psyche into something positive and conscious, free of limitations. It means that we know how to act in every instance of life in an appropriate and defined way.
"Abu Hafs Haddad of Nishapur says, 'Sufism [or gnosticism] consists entirely of behavior; every time, place, and circumstance have their own property; he that observes the properties of each occasion attains to the rank of holy men; and he that neglects the properties is far removed from the thought of nearness (to God) and is excluded from imagining that he is acceptable to God.'” ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
What aids us in this endeavor are spiritual practices, the fulfillment of the divine law, so as to experience the truth, the way or the path. Samael Aun Weor wrote that meditation is the daily bread of the Gnostic. Meditation is the science of acquiring self-knowledge, of understanding the causes of conflict within us in order to remediate them. Meditation is how we overcome our personal and conditioned sense of self, the ego. As the Sufis teach:
"In general, it is to the measure of one’s alienation from one’s own ego [conditioned or negative psychological elements] 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.'" —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
It is in a state of tranquility where we can remove the conditionality of the mind in order to free and awaken the soul, the consciousness, from bondage. By increasing our knowledge of divinity through removing the causes of suffering, we in turn develop true peace of mind.
To aid us in this endeavor, we will be providing a series of exercises in order to aid you in accessing and realizing the principles we have covered in this lecture and in this course. We recommend you study and fulfill these practices each week in a diligent way, so that you procure definite and consistent results. Consistency is key, since without steadfastness in one’s spiritual discipline, one can attain nothing. However, as you continue to practice and see the benefits of such exercises, you will naturally be inspired to continue and deepen your work.
For this week, you can refer to the following exercise:
Mantras or sacred sounds will help elevate the consciousness, providing it with energy so as to awaken it, thereby helping us to vibrate with superior levels of nature. This is a preliminary exercise in order to eventually develop meditation in its genuine sense, but that is something we will cover in the following weeks.
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from The Sufi Path of Self-knowledge, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
The title of this lecture is “Self Knowledge: The Door to Liberation from Suffering.” Now in the Gnostic tradition, we address many religions and faiths in order to arrive at a synthetic teaching. The core knowledge at the heart of every religion provides us understanding of our innate and divine potential, as well as how to overcome the afflictions of our mind, the negative emotions of our heart, and many illnesses of our body. In these studies we are concerned with our personal connection with divinity, and it is our goal to unite with our internal divine Intelligence, which different religions have given different names (whether Allah in Islam, Christ in Christianity, Buddha in Buddhism, Ahura-Mazda amongst the Zoroastrians, etc). We seek to cultivate this knowledge of our Internal Divinity, our Inner Self day to day, moment by moment.
Today, in the spirit of synthetically teaching different religions and traditions, we are going to explain this path of self-knowledge in relation to the Gnostic doctrine, as well as in relation to the Sufi initiates, the mystics or Gnostics of Islam. Even the Muslim doctrine, in its heart, contains a profound esotericism which is valuable to study. We study Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, etc., in synthesis to arrive at the core knowledge that is going to change us. So we are going to explain many teachings that were given by the Middle-Eastern initiates, the Masters of Islam.
The word Islam is Arabic for “submission to God’s will.” This is precisely what we seek to cultivate in this tradition, to submit ourselves to the will of our Inner Divinity, our Inner Being known as Spirit, Innermost, Atman, our flame of Oreb that Moses saw on the mountain. The Sufis denominate our Inner Being or Spirit as Ruh, or simply the word Hu within the sacred name of God: Allahu. Hu reminds us of the Sanksrit Hum, which precisely means spirit.
We have to understand what is this Self that we seek to understand in ourselves and in our psychology, because many people affirm that they know themselves, that they know who they really are in their depth. If we generally examine this concept of self-knowledge, we will arrive at an understanding that it is a very elevated statement to make that one knows one self. We each have our own Inner Divinity who is our True Self. Therefore when someone says, “I know myself—I know who I am” and we ask them, “Well… do you know Christ, your Inner Flame, your Inner Logos? Have you awakened to your inner Buddha-nature, the light of Amitabha? Have you seen Allah and spoken to your Inner God just as we are here receiving a lecture, face to face with the Lord, like Moses on Mount Sinai?”—what will typically happen is that the person will respond, “No. I don’t know anything like that. But I do know myself. This is my language. This is my name. This is the culture to which I was raised; this is my family,” etc.
We genuinely assume that these aspects and qualities of our culture, heritage, name, and language, are who we are, ignoring that God is not isolated to one particular person or place, but is internal in each one of us. God is not our language. God is not our culture, our religion, our beliefs. Our Internal Divinity is beyond terrestrial customs, beliefs, and social mores. What happens is that God has expressed Himself through many prophets from different races, cultures, and languages, in order to give a universal teaching. Bearing this in mind, when someone says, “I know myself,” really that is saying, “I know who God is. I know my Inner God within me. I have gone beyond the public teachings of religion and have experienced my Being, my inner divinity.” Also, it would be saying “I have fully manifested my divinity within my psyche.” Such a statement has been given by many elevated initiates—not by common individuals who know nothing about genuine esoteric, spiritual discipline.
There was a Sufi Master by the name of Mansur Al Hallaj who was put in prison, tortured, and mutilated because he said amongst the orthodox Muslims of his time, “An al-Haqq!” or “I am the Truth!” Haqiqah, the most elevated doctrine within Sufi thought, refers to the Truth and the Truth is one of the names of Allah, a name given to divinity. Now, of course God was expressing through Hallaj who said, “I am the Truth.” It was not Mansur al-Hallaj, the terrestrial personality, who said it. It was his Inner Divinity that spoke it. For before his execution, the Master Al-Hallaj was interrogated:
Abu Bakr asked, “What is mysticism?”
Al Hallaj answered, “Behold, his minor degree before thee.”
Abu Bakr asked again, “And where is his supreme degree?”
Al Hallaj answered, “Thou cannot have access unto it; nonetheless, tomorrow thou shall see what shall come. I testify it in the Divine Mystery within which it exists, albeit it is hidden for thee.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way: "The Passion of Al-Hallaj"
The minor degree or expression of divinity is the terrestrial person or human soul. The supreme degree is God Himself, Allah, the true self that can express within any person who has prepared him or herself to express God.
However, many fanatics of public-level religion and tradition did not understand these things—so they killed Al-Hallaj; they tortured him and mutilated his body because they considered his words blasphemy, even though all the great masters before him have also been tortured, crucified, or poisoned for delivering wisdom…
So this is what we seek to be able to express in ourselves—the Truth—our Inner God. We have to understand that our Being is really the most pure and divine treasure that we possess within our interior that must be actively sought, and not just believed in. As it is stated in the Muslim oral tradition, the Hadith Qudsi:
Allah said, “I was a hidden treasure, and I was wished to be known, so I created creation (mankind), and made myself known to them, and they recognized me.”
There is a very famous Sufi proverb that states, “He who knows himself, knows his Lord.” If we are familiar with the Greek teachings of oracle of Delphi, we find the familiar maxim written on its immortal walls: “Man know thyself, and you shall know the universe and its gods.”
Therefore, if we really know ourselves, it means that we know God, but if we do not know God, it means that we do not know ourselves in depth, because we are just an emanation or spark that emerged from divinity. For the most part, we do not genuinely, in our constitution, know who we are. Who is our Being? There are few who can say that they know their Being, their Spirit, their Inner God. So we have to acknowledge this fact that we generally do not know divinity, if we truly wish to unite with divinity. If we think we know it all already, then what effort will we make to strive to know God?
In this image we have the Prophet Muhammad with his disciples. These are initiates crowned with fire on their heads. There are so many saints in different paintings of sacred and religious art depicted with halos of flames, whether in Buddhism, Judaism, Islam or Christianity, that it is impossible to ignore or deny their ubiquitous nature and meaning. Such halos are in every tradition and signify the energy known as Christ, that fire or intelligence within our body that has been raised up the spinal column to the brain. We call that force kundalini; we call that force the Divine Mother Goddess who is within us. So the path that Jesus took as carrying the cross, by working in a matrimony (since the cross is a symbol of matrimony) he took that energy up the spinal medulla, up the Via Crucis, the path of suffering, to the brain—or you could say Golgotha which means “the place of the skulls.” And so we have in every tradition this teaching: the elevation of our inner flame, our inner fire, our sacred intelligence known as our Divine Mother Kundalini, elevating up the spinal medulla very slowly and laboriously to Golgotha.
This path of initiation, this path of crucifixion, is precisely the path taught by Jesus and many other Masters. Here we see the Sufi initiates illuminated by fire, meaning that they're working with the cross, which is not only a Christian symbol, but Muslim as well. The symbol of Islam is the crescent moon and the star of Venus, which have the same meaning as the cross that we’re explaining here. The crescent moon is the power of Yesod in Kabbalah, the sexual forces that must be dominated by the Divine Mother Kundalini, Venus or Aphrodite. A cross is the sexual communion of man and woman, just as a married couple must together work with the crescent moon under the guidance of the Divine Mother, Venus.
Those Muslims who consider Allah to be merely masculine are wrong, since the Divine Mother is an integral part of divinity and is represented in Hinduism as the sacred cow, Al-Baqara within the second Surah of the Holy Qur'an.
It is also interesting to note is that three of those initiates in this image have the fire, the halo, but one of them does not. It is indicating that there are levels and hierarchies amongst the disciples, or how much self-knowledge these individuals possess. What’s most important is in this image of the Prophet Muhammad, for he’s wearing the veil. In many sacred images of Islam we find that the Prophet is never depicted with a face. We always see a veil because God cannot be seen face to face, and since Prophet Muhammad, was the minor degree of his innermost Being, he became a full expression of his supreme degree, Allah.
If we wish to know divinity, we have to be humble like these initiates that we see in this image. This refers to the veil of Isis in the Egyptian Mysteries and freemasonry. So the veil, the hijab or burka that the Muslim women would wear, was traditionally only worn amongst the wives of the Prophet Muhammad, those that were close to his family. Now that veil really represents, for us, our own ignorance. We do not see God because we are asleep as a soul, as a consciousness, as Psyche in the Greek Myth. We do not know God, because we do not have consciousness of our divinity, meaning we are not in communication with our inner being. We lack genuine self-knowledge. This veil also is a symbol of sexual modesty, that the wives of the Prophet, who represented in their physical life different parts of the Being, must be pure of all lust and defilement within the mind.
We are going to explain how we communicate with our God in synthesis. We have this veil, burka or hijab before our spiritual eyes. When perceiving God directly there is only force and fire. To look at God directly, at that Intelligence, upon one’s Inner God, is to die completely—not just physically—but psychologically—dying to one’s impurities in the mind. So the path that Jesus taught with the cross, the illumination of the fire up the spinal medulla to the brain, represents for us the crucifixion of the mind, the death of one’s psychological impurities and the full purification of the soul in order to return to God. Remember that when Prophet Moses asked the Lord to show Himself in His fully majesty, Jehovah (or Allah), said, "If you look upon Me directly you will die." This was demonstrated with the last words of Jesus, “It is finished” and “God unto thy hands I commend my Spirit.” In order to fully unite with divinity, we must die to all evilness of a psychological type. This relates deeply with the teachings of the Kabbalah, the mystical science of Judaism.
So these initiates are bowing before this Intelligence, the flame that Muhammad is expressing in his body, in his mind and heart. We need to have this type of reverence and respect which is the hallmark of genuine communication and communion with our Inner God. The only way to accomplish this is to purify one’s mind of all defilement. To strive against one’s own impurities is a spiritual war, the path of jihad, followed by any prophet or master who sought to fully comprehend and extirpate their defects.
Sadly the exoteric religion of Islam has degenerated. Just as Christianity and Buddhism has degenerated. Here we’re speaking about the esoteric truths of the Muslim tradition, specifically regarding the teachings of jihad or “striving.” Genuine jihad is about killing one’s own infidels in the mind. To kill an infidel is to kill one’s anger pride, vanity, lust, laziness, etc., for as the Prophet taught, “The strongest among you is he who controls his anger.” He never said to take out one’s anger on another person! Lastly, a group of his Companions were returning from a battle with the Prophet who were defending themselves against a group of Arabs that sought to kill them and destroy their group. Prophet Muhammad explained, “We leave the lesser holy war to go to the greater holy war.” “And what, O Prophet,” is the lesser and greater holy wars?” asked his Companions. He replied, “The lesser holy war is war against others. The great holy war is war against your desires.”
So here were not teaching the public doctrine given to many Muslims, about physically defending one’s faith from oppression. We study the esoteric teachings of Islam, which are very sacred. We have to understand that the all religions are sacred and that Islam has its place within humanity, but sadly as an exotic tradition or faith, it has terribly degenerated, because people don’t study and they only read things literally. Here we are explaining, really the heart, the core, the blood of the teachings of Muhammad, which is very sacred.
Mindfulness, Awareness, and Sufi Psychology
So he states in the oral tradition, within the Hadith Qudsi, verse 19:
“Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him in front of you.”
Or we could say, be mindful of Buddha and he will be with you. Be mindful of Jehovah and he will be with you. Be mindful of Durga, the Divine Goddess, Devi Kundalini, and She will be with you.
“Recognize and acknowledge Allah, in times of ease and prosperity, and He will remember you in times of adversity.”
So what does it mean to be mindful? It is to pay attention. In Arabic we call mindfulness or awareness as muhadarah. Muhadarah comes from the root word Hudur, which means Presence. This refers to being aware of the inner presence of our divinity, inside our psyche, in all moments. In that practice that we performed in the beginning of our meeting, we were examining our mind, understanding that we are not our thoughts, that we are not the emotions that constantly surge within our psyche as pain and pleasure, like and dislike, states which constantly fluctuate in our consciousness. Neither are we sensations in our body, mind, or instincts.
These transient thoughts, feelings and sensations are known as nafs in Sufism, egos, selves, "I's" or defects. These have nothing to do with God. The elements of pride, anger, vanity, lust, greed, laziness, gluttony, etc., are aberrations or conditionings of our psyche. While these elements tend to constitute our daily experience (since we genuinely do not question these thoughts, feelings, and sensations at all in the moment), the truth is that deep down we are something much more distinct. We are the soul, the consciousness, known as Essence in Gnostic psychology, that has the capacity to perceive and separate from the nafs, the conditioned elements of our psyche. Part of our soul, which is not conditioned by nafs, still has the capacity to transcend the suffering of these conditioned elements of mind or soul in order to know divinity, since only the consciousness or soul can know God directly.
A conditioned mind cannot know divinity. Only a liberated, conscious perception free of nafs, egos, can know the Truth. But for this, the consciousness that is not yet conditioned by the mind, egos, or nafs, needs to be exercised through learning to pay attention, to become aware of the presence (hudur) of God, to not identify with the nafs, our ego.
It takes tremendous work to be able to cultivate this state moment to moment, here and now. So to be mindful of God means to remember your Inner Divinity, here and now. Observe yourself. Be present and pay attention. The truth is we do not know how to be mindful. If we knew how to be mindful we would be aware of God within us here and now. But the sad reality is that whenever any thought, feeling, or sensation appears in our experience, we identify and think, "This is who I am!" Yet this sense of self is transitory and depends on external causes and conditions that are not stable, permanent, or eternal. Only God, Allah, the Innermost Being, is eternal. Instead, what we commonly identify with are impermanent, subjective, conditioned elements in our psyche that distort our perception of reality, the nafs or elements of desire denominated as Satan, "the adversary of God," within the traditions of Abraham.
So what does it mean to recognize and acknowledge Allah in times of ease and prosperity and He will remember you in times of adversity? It means that when things are easy, we take our free time and we use it to cultivate the path of self-knowledge. But what self-knowledge are we talking about? We really mean knowledge of our divine self, Atman, the Buddha within, our Spirit or Ruh. We come to know God within by knowing our defects, nafs or egos that obstruct us from connecting with divinity.
Yet to really cultivate genuine self-knowledge, we must use our freedom and our luxury to practice meditation, since meditation is the foundational practice of this tradition and is the only way for us to know our Being.
So if we have free time and we don’t meditate, God will not remember us when we need Him. On the other hand, if we take our free time and we use it for spiritual development, spiritual practices, then even in the most challenging circumstances God will always be with you; Allah (may He be praised and exalted) will always be with you. Your Being will always be with you to provide help, but it requires sacrifice on our part not to indulge in fruitless activities like playing video games, or drinking alcohol to excess. Therefore, it is by knowing ourselves and by developing self-knowledge in meditation that we are going to connect with God.
Knowledge and Comprehension
In this next graphic, we have an image of a mosque, a house of prayer, and we have a quote from the Venerable Master Samael Aun Weor, who is the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition. He states,
“Knowledge and Comprehension are different. Knowledge is of the mind. Comprehension is of the heart.”
When talk about self-knowledge, knowing ourselves, it doesn't mean reading books. It doesn't mean reading scripture. Knowing ourselves does not entail picking up any books, teachings or listening to a lecture. Genuine spiritual knowledge is cognizance of one’s own divine nature of one’s own intelligence, knowing our internal psychological states as distinct entities in ourselves. It is discovering states such as pride, anger, vanity, laziness, etc. These are what we call defects, egos, nafs—it is being able to differentiate here and now between our mind and our consciousness, from desire (nafs) and soul (Essence or consciousness). The mind is the den of desire. Desire is ego, hatred, vanity, craving, etc.
The knowledge we seek is that of our internal states, but according to this teaching, using strict esoteric language, knowledge alone remains within the domain of the intellect, book knowledge, sacred writing, scriptures, etc. However, comprehension is something completely different. Comprehension is something that we seek to develop in this science. We need to comprehend ourselves. The truth is we do not truly comprehend ourselves. For when anger arises, the ego or naf of hatred, we speak hurtful words and do not comprehend the damage that those words will cause. Instead, we usually receive the after effects such as when we have a conflict with a family member or with a friend or a spouse. Problems subsequently emerge—overwhelming frustration, great enmity, poisonous resentment. This shows that we do not comprehend ourselves, for if we comprehended how damaging anger is, how cruel pride is, how sarcastic pride can be, then we would never act in harmful ways—ever. We don’t really comprehend how damaging the effects can be on the mind, on other human beings.
I’ll reiterate a point made by the Prophet Muhammad. He said, “The strongest man is the one who can control his anger.” It’s true. We all have that defect of anger within and even justify its existence by saying “It’s normal. I know I have anger, but in some situations it is OK.” We have knowledge in our mind that we are a certain way, but no comprehension. Comprehension of a defect will aid one not to let it take over our mind and heart, our body, but mere intellectual knowledge doesn’t modify psychological states.
The different between knowledge and comprehension are demonstrated in drug addicts or alcoholics. These persons know that drugs or alcohol are destructive, but many of them continue to indulge in intoxicants, simply because they have not psychologically comprehended the damage of these substances. Comprehension is definitive, whereby when we really comprehend the destructive nature of drugs, alcohol, intoxicants, and anger, we will never allow ourselves to partake in such behaviors.
There are many elements in our psychology that influence us that we are not even remotely aware of. And if we examine ourselves, we do not really comprehend who we are, although we think we know. We have a lot of knowledge about who we are. It’s true. We know our name, our age, our birthplace, our culture, and our family. This is all intellectual, of the mind. Comprehension is what we seek to cultivate in the heart, the soul, the consciousness, the Essence. Comprehension of our True Self, of our Inner Divine Flame, is happiness, insight clarity and direct perception. Prophet Muhammad said in the Hadith, in the oral tradition, “An hour of contemplation is better than a year of prayer.”
We are going to explain what contemplation is, what meditation is, which in Arabic is mushahadah, in the course of this lecture.
Even better than standing and performing salaat (ritual prayer) five times a day, it’s better if we sit down and close our eyes to meditate, to really reflect on our inner psyche. What really causes us suffering? What are the causes of our problems, psychologically speaking? What in us creates such havoc or conflict with other human beings? What in us creates confusion and pain? So we look at Buddhism we find the Four Noble Truths:
1. That in life there is suffering.
2. Suffering has causes
3. The cessation of suffering
4. There is path to the cessation of suffering
This is the path which we are explaining. To comprehend ourselves is to work on our defects, egos or nafs so that we do not create suffering for ourselves and for others. The way that we cultivate this path is by developing being and knowledge.
When we talk about self-knowledge, of cultivating comprehension of our Inner Divinity (who is peace, joy, genuine love, compassion for others, spiritual strength, faith and the elimination of doubt), somehow we think that by annihilating our pride and anger we are going to be soulless people, for sadly, we believe that without egotistical elements we will be nothing. On the contrary, by eliminating our defects in meditation (muraqabah in Arabic, vigilant introspection) we develop soul; we develop consciousness and therefore we develop the genuine qualities of God, which are virtues. This pertains to being, to be here and now, to be present, and to not think about other things, to not compare what we are hearing to other things or to be debating in our mind any phenomena that we come across. It means that we have an open, spontaneous and intuitive perception of life as it is without artifice, without thinking about things, without feeling about other things, without being distracted. This is what it means to be and it is the state of being which unites us to our Divine Being, Allah because our Being is with us here and now in this state, in this room, in our hearts. Allah is a treasure that wishes to be known, to be perceived by our Essence, but the problem is we don’t know Him. We don’t remember Him. We don’t concentrate on Him in our hearts and we typically don’t fight against the distractions in our minds.
Question: How does one self-observe? I try it for some time and get very confused; things are very difficult to see within myself and to understand. How do I know that I am doing this right?
Instructor: That’s a good concern. In the beginning it’s like that, because self-observation, vigilant introspection (muraqabah) or self-awareness (muhadarah) is an entirely new way of perceiving things, to self-observe oneself like we did in the practice. We were observing our heart, our mind, our body as if they were a separate entity. We’re looking at our mind and thoughts as something different from us. We are perceiving the mind, but we are not the mind. We are perceiving the heart, but we are not the heart.
Consciousness, soul or Essence is the ability to perceive things as they are in our psyche, in our internal states. Now in the beginning, it is exceptionally challenging to be able to discern between what is mind, what is heart, what is the body, what are sensations, what are instincts, movements, what are thoughts. The way that we develop the capacity to perceive and to discriminate the internal phenomenon in our psyche is self-observation, to persist in that practice, not to forget or stop what we’re doing because it’s a continuous path, here and now. We must only be aware of this moment (waqt amongst the Sufis). We are constantly initiating the practice of remembering ourselves in our psyche.
We need to be aware of our internal psychology on a moment to moment basis, to always be present and never forget. This is very difficult and constitutes the meaning of jihad. It doesn't fighting against someone who doesn't follow Islam. It means fighting against your anger, pride, and all these defects, all these things that keep us distracted from God.
Thoughts, Intuition, Knowledge and Being
Question: When I try to self-observe I have difficulty know what I am seeing or who is observing. I see thoughts but can't tell where they come from. I find that I am not able to do anything!
Instructor: The thing is self-observation does not mean you’re not able to do things. In the beginning it’s hard because it’s disorienting—it’s an entirely new skill we need to develop here and now. It’s very challenging to learn, but when you ride your bicycle, you learn to balance. In the same way, you learn to fulfill your obligations without forgetting your Being (wujud in Arabic).
We say a thought comes from an ego and an ego manifests in the mind, the heart, and the body. Now there’s thoughts that come from our ego, our own desires, nafs, but there is also thoughts that come from God, like an intuition or concept that emerges from our mind like a spark. We immediately comprehend something because were paying attention; we’re not thinking about other things. The Sufis call that khatir haqq: true thoughts or intuition from God.
Thoughts (khawatir) are declarations that arrive in one’s awareness. This may result from the dictation of an angel or from the dictation of a devil, or from the operations of the ego or may come from the Truth, glory to Him. If thoughts come from an angel, they are called inspired suggestions, ilham. If they are from one’s ego, they are called notions, hawajis. If they are from satan, they are called imaginations and anxieties, waswas. If they are from the Truth, glory to Him, and His dictation to the heart, they are called true thought, khatir haqq. And all of these are a kind of talking. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So there are thoughts that can come from divinity, but typically ninety-seven percent of the thoughts that we have are subjective and clouding our perception of our Inner Being. We have to remember that we are 97% conditioned perception or nafs. Only 3% of our consciousness is not conditioned or trapped within defects.
Now in terms of knowledge, we always balance being (wujud) and knowing (intellectual concepts). It’s not enough just to be. We have to do our job, pay our bills, do our work, take care of our family, etc., and if its hard in the beginning to be aware while living daily life, it gets easier as we practice. Don’t feel discouraged that this something that you can’t do, because anyone can do this. It just takes a certain disciple and faith in your Inner Being.
We say that being and knowledge need to be balanced. Knowledge, language, culture, customs, job skills, etc., constitute things we need to do to survive. We constantly need to balance that with our internal states, our being, remembering our Innermost Spirit (Ruh) as a presence through an alert state and novel perception of our internal psychology.
Samael Aun Weor states in The Great Rebellion the following:
"Being and knowledge must be balanced to establish a sudden blaze of comprehension within our psyche. When knowledge is greater than being it creates all kind of intellectual confusion. If being is greater than knowing it can create cases as serious as that of the stupid saint."
Now if we simply read about spiritually, about astral projection, about jinn states, jinn travel, about alchemy, reading about the ten Sephiroth of the tree of life, the different states of consciousness of the Being, etc., but don’t actually experience these things, then they just remain as knowledge in our mind, in our intellect. However, if we develop our being, but we don’t know how to pay our bills, take care of our rent, study certain skills for our profession, to live in this physical world, one can develop a case as serious as that of the stupid saint.
There’s a Russian initiate by the name of Fyodor Dostoyevsky who wrote many famous novels which people don’t suspect being esoteric. He wrote a book called The Idiot, which talks about precisely this kind of case, the stupid saint, someone who has a lot of being (wujud) and a lot of virtue but doesn't have the skills necessary to navigate the Russian nineteenth century social world in which he lives. He gets in trouble. I recommend, if you’re interested, to look into that. We’re not going to go so much in depth into that book right now, however.
When we begin to self-observe ourselves, to observe our internal states, naturally we are confused; we struggle. It’s not easy to constantly observe ourselves and remember how our mind, how our heart function. It’s like riding a bike. In the internal planes, in the superior worlds, if you ask a master, (such as in the dream state if you awaken in that realm) to show you “Am I remembering myself well?” they may come to you riding a bicycle. They’re symbolically showing you that you're learning to ride your bike. If you see them falling off then it means you still need to learn how to maintain what we denominate psychological equilibrium.
What is psychological equilibrium? It means to have consistency in one's mindfulness, awareness, throughout every day, having consistency in not identifying with thoughts, feelings, or impulses from the ego, from our nafs.
The way that we develop access to that state is by precisely learning in this physical plane self-observation, remembering divinity here and now. In this graphic, we teach this diagram often and its something that we need to analyze. Its the cross. We talk about the cross in these teachings as the representation of the work in a matrimony and we have that teaching available in The Perfect Matrimony and The Mystery of the Golden Blossom by Samael Aun Weor.
In this diagram we have two lines: the horizontal path of life and the vertical path of the being. So knowledge precisely pertains to life; we need certain skills and knowledge to be able to subsist in this jungle of concrete and iron. We need to study, go to college, or go to school to learn certain skills so that we know how to live in this world. It’s essential. Many people, most of humanity, simply develop on the horizontal line. They think that they are going to perfect themselves by going to a university, by getting a masters degree, by studying extensively and developing a profound profession, but they ignore that in this instant, here and now (waqt), we have the vertical path of the being (wujud), which is perception of God. Life and being intersects in this instant.
It is here and now in which we have our Being. It is not in future; it is not in the past. This is something that seems very simple and even like kindergarten, but the truth is, this is something very profound that we typically ignore. To be ignorant does not mean to lack intellectual knowledge, but to lack gnosis or cognizance of our psychology as it is. This is essential to grasp whether for beginning students and for advanced students. We always have to remember where we are. What is going on in our mind? What is going on in our heart? What is going on in our body? These things teach us precisely what is our level of knowledge of ourselves, what is our self-knowledge of God, what is our level of Being.
On the left of the line of life, we have our birth; to the right, through the progression of time, we have family, school, marriage, friends, old age, and death. None of that has anything to do with God because God is here on the vertical path. God does not look to the future or does not concern Himself so much with things that have not yet happened. Although there are such things such as prophecy: to foretell future events, what God is most concerned with is how we connect with Him in this moment.
Who are we in this instant? We need to observe ourselves, not by projecting thoughts into the future or thinking about the past. We have to be aware of who we are here and now. This is the work of self-observation, observing ourselves. Remembering (muhadarah) the presence (hudur) of our Inner Being is precisely the path of striving, the path of war, jihad, against our mind.
So fighting desire is really what jihad is about. However, in the times of the Prophet, life was very different, where the Companions and followers of Islam were in danger. The spreading of esotericism in the middle east was in peril, so they needed to defend themselves from attackers, physically speaking. In these times, especially in the West, we do not need to defend ourselves against oppressors in a life or death situation. Therefore we don't condone the bloodshed waged supposedly in the name of "holy wars." It’s unacceptable, since the real path of jihad is striving against ones desires.
Fighting against our own anger and defects is how we benefit ourselves and humanity. We don't teach violence against others. The lesser holy war is really the expression of teaching the truth by defending against wrongdoing, not killing other individuals in the name of Islam or Christianity or any other holy war. To wage war against others is to teach by being a good example, being a good citizen, a good person. This is the lesser holy war for us, but the greater holy war is precisely the striving that we make moment to moment, here and now, to remember Allah.
As Al-Wasati states in what is probably the greatest Sufi treatise, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism:
"The best act of worship is watchfulness of the moments. That is, the Sufi does not look beyond his limits, nor contemplate anything other than his Lord and not associate anything other than the present moment."
It means that whatever were doing: don’t fantasize, don’t analyze, don’t daydream, don't think other thing than what you're doing. If you're driving a car, drive. If your receiving a lecture, listen. Don’t think. Just observe and listen. When you're cooking food, just cook—don’t think about other things. If we really look at ourselves, we see that this is what we do all day. We drive our car and think about our family. We’re listening to the radio doing all these things at once and not doing anything with attention.
The way that we develop attention is by not thinking about other things. Attention is developed by doing what we're doing, here and now, without concern for the future or the past. Just being mindful of our state here and now. This is what it means not to contemplate anything other than our Lord. The way to remember the presence of the Being is to remember ourselves and cultivate this sense of humility and love to our Inner Divinity.
Self-Remembering and Serene Reflection
So many people ask us, “What is self remembering?” We talk about self-observing, to observe ourselves. but many people don't understand what self-remembering is. We talk about the need of understanding ourselves, analyzing our thoughts, our emotions, our instincts in our body, without deliberating with the intellect. But to remember God is to feel the presence of our Inner Divinity within us. To feel that we are children of our Inner Being, that our Being is with us here and now, to be aware (muhadarah) of the Presence (hudur). No one can teach us that. That is something we have to develop on our own. The way that we develop this remembrance is through working throughout the day, analyzing our internal states without the intellect, observing ourselves and by learning to meditate. We should remember that if we have a lot of ease and prosperity in our life, we should use it to develop the practice of meditation to develop our spirit (ruh) within us.
The Sufi Master Dhu'l-Nun al-Misri stated the following:
"The key to the success in worship lies in meditative reflection (fikrat) whoever persists in such reflection in the heart will behold an invisible realm in the spirit."
So many people want to have out of body experiences, astral travels, jinn experiences. Any individual who wants to experience the truth of life, the higher dimensions, to speak with a master, to be awake in the dream state, in the internal realms, must learn how to meditate and develop meditative reflection.
Now it’s stated in Buddhist terms that we need to develop stability of mind and special insight: Shamata and Vipassana. Shamata, stability of mind, is a state of being which is concentrated, in which we do not get easily distracted by our thoughts, emotions or impulse. There are levels of concentration that we can access by paying attention, moment by moment, throughout the day.
When we develop that concentration and attention we are able to perceive things in a new way. We That’s where Vipassana comes in—special insight, perception of the truth. When the mind is serene and stable, we can receive new insight, such as internal images in meditation or dream experiences. This is what meditative reflection (fikrat) means.
The Sufis synthesized the Buddhist teachings of stability of mind and perception of the truth thorough fikrat. If the waters of your mind are unstable, if they are constantly chaotic, you cannot reflect any image on the surface. But if the lake of the mind is peaceful and calm, then the stars of Urania, the Divine Mother, can reflect within you. That’s what meditative reflection means.
The way that we get there is this:
"Whoever contemplates God by keeping watch over the thoughts that pass through the heart will be exalted by God and all of His outward deeds." ―Dhu'l-Nun al-Misri, Attar Tadhkirat 154-155
If we practice inner-accounting (muhasabah of our psychological inventory: our defects or virtues, taking account of our habits, our customs, things we do constantly, and then analyze this in conjunction with the remembrance of the presence of God, we will become exalted by God in our actions. When we are connected with God then he can bless us, but if we are distracted in our mind, if we choose not to follow the impetus of our Being, then we in turn suffer.
Question: You speak a lot about self-observation. What does it mean to meditate?
Instructor: Meditation is vigilant introspection (muraqabah), when you analyze what happened in the day; we call that retrospection practice. In the moment we simply observe, but when we meditate later we go back through our memory what happened in our day. We have to observe the facts.
Internal Silence and Spiritual Insight
Being forthcoming and honest with ourselves involves a variety of factors. In one sense we need to have stability of concentration in which the mind is settled and serene, so we can observe clearly. If we find that we are not able to perceive clearly what's going on in our psyche, we need to develop the faculty of self-observation deeper, to not identify with the chaos of the intellect, the disturbances of the heart, or the impulses of our body and instincts. We call the faculty of perception or reflection, in these studies, by the term imagination. This is the ability to perceive images, especially of a psychic nature. We’re going to explain this further. The way that we develop our insight, imagination, perception is precisely by developing our serenity of mind, silence of mind.
We have in this image a Sufi initiate praying and meditating.
"It is said silence for the common people is with their tongues, silence for the gnostics is with their hearts, and silence for lovers is with restraining the stray thoughts that come to their innermost beings." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So in the beginning we learn not to speak unnecessarily, not to engage in conversations which are just fruitless gossip. We need to learn to restrain our tongue from engaging in speech that is frivolous and frivolous speech, as a defect or vice in our mind, is one of the ten sins of Buddhism. To speak without thinking about what were saying and what were doing greatly disturbs our mind and prevents us from seeing with our Essence, with clarity, with serenity of mind. Swami Sivananda stated that many disciples suffer the disease of the diarrhea of the tongue in which they constantly speak without understanding what they're saying or what they're doing. They just speak because they want to talk. Khalil Gibran, the Sufi Christian Mystic, author of The Prophet gave a very beautiful teaching on that.
And then a scholar said, "Speak of Talking."
And he answered, saying:
You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts;
And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart (samt) you live in your lips, and sound is a diversion and a pastime.
And in much of your talking, thinking (true thought, Khatir al-Haqq) is half murdered.
For thought (Khatir al-Haqq, true consciousness) is a bird of space (the Divine Mother Space or Absolute Nature, Allah), that in a cage of words many indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.
There are those among you who seek the talkative through fear of being alone.
The silence of aloneness reveals to their (inner) eyes their naked selves (nafs, defects, errors) and they would escape.
And there are those who talk, and without knowledge or forethought reveal a truth which they themselves do not understand.
And there are those who have the truth within them, but they tell it not in words (for the Master speaks in silence of the heart).
In the bosom of such as these the spirit dwells in rhythmic silence (serene reflection, fikrat).
When you meet your friend on the roadside or in the market place, let the spirit in you move your lips and direct your tongue.
Let the voice within your voice speak to the ear of his ear;
For his soul will keep the truth of your heart as the taste of the wine is remembered
When the colour is forgotten and the vessel is no more. ―Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet: On Talking
For as Prophet Muhammad taught about the Being in the Hadith Qudsi:
...so with Me he hears and with Me he sees.
The silence of the gnostics with their hearts indicates a person who is developing serenity of heart, who is not even engaged in negative emotions of the heart. Most of us are not at that degree, but we can experience states here and now if we're working in self-observation from moment to moment.
Silence for the lovers is by restraining the thoughts that come to our mind, our innermost being. Someone who really loves God will not even allow a single thought to enter the mind and let it control them, but that takes tremendous skill. This is the level of a Master, a prophet. The way that we get there is by cultivating serenity and reflection: self-observation.
Self-observation is taught in many different ways within Islam. In this next image we have a Muslim in a minaret making a call to prayer (adhan). Muslims are known to pray five times a day, which can be a profound discipline if it is done correctly. If we really know how to pray five times a day, consciously, with remembrance, then we can receive tremendous benefit. However, Muslims now a days just pray mechanically: “God please give a good car, family, spouse” and they think that’s it. They do it in a mechanical manner, but to be conscious in one's heart while praying to God is something very distinct. The initiates of the Middle East were instructed by Muhammad to pray constantly, to develop the heart.
Basically in terms of self observation, praying five times a day, was means of cultivating self-remembrance, and we know that Muslims pray in the morning, the afternoon, mid-afternoon, early evening, and evening. Five represents the pentagram, the human being made into the image of God. Praying in this manner was in order to cultivate self-remembrance. It wasn’t just to go to a Mosque and pray mechanically without knowledge of what one is saying.
Shakespeare stated through his murderous character Claudius, who tried to repent after killing his brother, the former King of Denmark:
My words fly up to heaven, my thoughts remain below.
Words without thoughts never to heaven go. (Hamlet, 3.3.100-103)
If you're not concentrated in your prayers, you can say as many words as you want: they will not be answered by God. But if you're humble, sincere, and concentrated, that is how you connect with your Being.
The Shahadah: Declaration of Faith and Contemplation in Meditation
Vigilance, to be awake as a consciousness through remembrance of God, is the best form of prayer, as stated in Al-Risalah, one of the most important treatises of Sufism. The following is one of the most important quotes, in my opinion, of this text:
"Al-Juyayri said that, “Whosoever does not establish awe of duty (consistency of spiritual practice and discipline) and vigilance (muraqabah) in his relations to God will not arrive at the disclosure of unseen (mukashafah) or contemplation of the divine (mushahidah)."
What does it mean to establish “awe of duty?" It is to really respect the fact that we need to self-observe constantly, to feel the awe of God in every moment. We can't forget our Being in any instant. We have to remember our Being in this moment, always. To have awe of duty is to really comprehend the necessity of daily spiritual discipline, to not neglect one's practices of meditation. Also, if we don’t know how to control our mind in critical moments, we can end up in great suffering. We can get into a conversation with a friend but end in tremendous conflict, or a fight with our co-workers or spouse. We need to establish awe of duty, to really respect the fact and understand that if we don't observe ourselves, we could fall off the cliff into the abyss of suffering. Even physically, people who don't pay attention driving their car can get killed.
This is even more so in a spiritual sense, a reality that we profoundly ignore. If we don't remember our God but identify with our mind, then we create problems. Samael Aun Weor explained that the one who identifies with the mind falls into the abyss, into the infradimensions, submerged states of conditioned consciousness known as hell in different religions.
Now we to always be aware of that Presence (hudur) so as to arrive at disclosure (mukashafah), meaning the entrance into spiritual experience, to open the doors of our imagination (reflection). This can occur through internal imagery in meditation or a profound insight in the moment of a specific defect, ego, or naf. Disclosure can also be termed "unveiling," since if you remember our reference to the hijab or burka, we are beginning to remove the veils of our illusory perception in order to enter into genuine spiritual insight (firasa), conscious imagination.
Contemplation of the divine (mushahdah) is the ultimate step. The word contemplation relates to the shahadah, the Muslim declaration of faith, which is one of the five pillars of Islam, which textually states the following:
lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muḥammadun rasūlu-llāh
There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.
Millions of Muslims recite this, yet the question is whether they have really experienced Allah in meditation. The sad reality is that most Muslims don't contemplate God in practice. They just say this confession mechanically and believe they are true Muslims, initiates, Masters. A real Muslim, like Prophet Muhammad or Jesus submitted to the Being through conquering animal desires.
Yet do many Muslims today really submit to God? How can we submit to God when our mind stream is polluted with anger, lust, greed and violence? Look at the middle east today. The Muslim community does not uphold submission to God.
Those of us who are studying these things have to comprehend that in order to really give testimony of Allah, we need to meditate. In order to say the shahadah, we need to practice mushahadah, contemplation or meditation. It is only in meditation that we can bear witness of God, to perceive the Being in all His majesty and glory. If we don't know God for ourselves, if we lack spiritual experience of our inner divinity, then we can’t say that God is God and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.
In Kabbalah, Allah is known as Ain Soph, our supra-atomic star within the depths of the Absolute Abstract Space. Our real synthesis or Being is an atom from the cosmic space, a pure eternal light mentioned in Surat Al-Nur:
"Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is a niche wherein is a lamp —the lamp is in a glass, the glass as it were a glittering star— lit from a blessed olive tree, neither eastern nor western, whose oil almost lights up, though fire should not touch it. Light upon light. Allah guides to His Light whomever He wishes. Allah draws parables for mankind, and Allah has knowledge of all things." ―Qur'an 24:35
God, Ain Soph (the Limitless Joy) is light, beyond good and evil, that has always existed and always will exist. God is infinite happiness, pure being (wujud), and yet most of these stars lack cognizance of their own happiness. This is why the Ain Soph emanates Its light into the world, so as to be known.
"Allah (Ain Soph) said, 'I was a hidden treasure, and I was wished to be known, so I created creation (mankind), and made myself known to them, and they recognized me.'” ―Hadith
Therefore, a true Muslim is a consciousness that submits to the will of the Ain Soph and has witnessed the Ain Soph within. God can only comprehend Himself through His soul, if that soul cooperates, so that the soul unites with its supra-atomic star. The soul is a mirror, as explained by Ibn al-Arabi, the great Sufi master, that can reflect divinity, so that divinity (Ain Soph) can know Itself. This is mushahadah (witnessing, contemplation). Only a person who has experienced and united with the Ain Soph can be called someone who has truly witnessed God.
The Four States of Consciousness
We have here in the next graphic an explanation of the different states of consciousness. We’re speaking in synthesis about being objectively perceptive or being hypnotized and identified with our mind. In this teaching we talk about four states of consciousness. Self-remembrance and self-observation relates with the third state of consciousness known as Dianoia.
We use Greek terms to refer to these states of our perception. Eikasia is the first state of consciousness and it pertains to a profound state of psychological sleep. It pertains to being identified with our mind, with anger, with pride, with vanity, with ego, with our defects—having no inclination towards or awareness of God at all.
What’s interesting about the Greek word Eikasia is that it comes from the Greek word eikonon, which means images. Eikasia means imagination. Now we just mentioned that the faculty of self-observation is imagination, but we have to understand that perception is dual. It can be objective, in harmony with God, or it can be subjective, filtered by our own mind, our defects.
Now it's true that we here in this physical body see images, eikonon. On the most basic level, we have a type of imagination as to perceive physically. We have a certain level of perception, but this doesn't mean that we are cognizant, aware, or clear about what we are perceiving. Many times we see things but don't comprehend what we see. This is our fundamental problem. We receive the impressions of life, which enter our mind, and our mind filters impressions and labels them with concepts. For example, we say we know what we are doing in a given day, but if we sit to reflect and remember our internal states within a given moment of our morning, afternoon, or evening, we often will find that there are tremendous gaps in our memory. What did we do? What were we thinking? What did we say to a certain person at a job interview this morning? If we lack cognizance of the details, it means that our consciousness is in a profound state of sleep, even though one can be physically very active. The state of Eikasia is complete unconsciousness. We may see imagery and impressions, but if we do not comprehend what these impressions are in the external world in relation to our inner world, then we lack genuine awareness of ourselves.
The next state of consciousness we call Pistis, which means belief. It translates also as faith, but we state that the latter is an erroneous translation. Beliefs are of the mind, whereas faith is direct cognizance of the truth, to really know something directly. So many people who talk about faith don’t understand that what they really have are a lot of beliefs, ideas or concepts in the mind or heart that do not coincide with reality. They have never verified what those scriptures taught. They never traveled out of the body, experienced a supra-conscious state of samadhi in meditation, or had a mystical or ecstatic experience whereby they witnessed or contemplated God (mushahadah).
Pistis comes from pistieo: "to trust, to have confidence, faithfulness, to be reliable to be sure." Pistis is the second state of consciousness and pertains to beliefs, concepts, or ideas in the intellect. It is anything we have read that we have not verified through experience. Therefore, all of the thousands of philosophical schools, all the people who follow a religion or teaching but have never verified from experience the teachings of that given school or religion possess the second state of consciousness: Pistis.
Humanity constantly fluctuates between Eikasia and Pistis. Eikasia is barbarism, war, bloodshed, violence, anger, sarcasm, and all the degeneration of subconsciousness, infraconsciousness, and unconsciousness within humanity. Pistis refers to all the beliefs and schools that pertain to the different concepts that people have about God, religion, and ourselves.
What concerns us most is the transcendent, third state of consciousness known as Dianoia. Dianoia, we say is the revision of belief. It also directly means "imagination." So notice that we have Eikasia, which means imagination, but then we also have Dianoia that means the same thing. There’s a dual way of perceiving life; we can perceive it with our mind, our ego, our nafs, or we can perceive it objectively with our Being (wujud). Dianoia also means "thought, mind, perception." The word "dia" means "thoroughly from side to side, which intensifies noia, meaning mind or nous." So Dianoia means to change your mind, to revise your mind in its common and current state.
Dianoia is revision of beliefs, cultural spiritual and intellectual synthesis, profound study of scripture with direct experience of what the scriptures entail. It refers to profound meditative analysis, cognizance of the truth, and direct perception of one’s internal states. Notice we've been talking about awareness (muhadarah), self-observation or inner accounting (muhasabah) and vigilant introspection (muraqaba). All of this is perception unfiltered by ego, nafs, defects, and constitutes the revision of our ordinary mind or psyche.
All of us, without exception, possess Pistis: we have certain concepts about who we are, and when we begin to self-observe ourselves we find that we are not who we thought we were. We change our concepts about ourselves; we change our beliefs. We revise them and we develop a new type of concept and understanding, which is awakened perception, Dianioa, cognizance of the truth. However, Dianioa is not the end. We have Nous, which means "mind, intellect, intelligence." Now these Greek terms were used by Plato and you can study The Republic, specifically "The Allegory of the Cave,” which explains in synthesis these four states of consciousness. We have explained in different lectures the meaning of this, but Nous pertains to consciousness that is united with Christ, with Allah, our Inner Divinity. It means that we've escaped the bottle of the mind in mediation and as a consciousness we’ve united with our Being, so as to bear witness of Him (mushahadah).
In this type of perception there is no possibility for delusion, because one has the consciousness of divinity through divinity, for as the Sufis teach: "I know my Lord by my Lord." God then contemplates Himself through the mirror of the soul. There is no misperception within our internal psyche. Nous pertains to having fully united with our Being. This is known as samadhi in the east or ecstasy or exstatuo in Latin. Ecstasy means to stand outside one’s self. Ex means to be outside; stabit or statuo means to stand. It means that we escape the subjective imprisonment of our mind in order to subsist as God, or to unite with God. Of course this is very elevated. To fully develop this is to walk the path completely, but in meditation we can activate those states in a temporary fashion if we are persistent.
In this next graphic, we show the image of the Tree of Life, the Hebraic Kabbalah, which is the mystical science of Judaism. As a graphic, we use it to demonstrate the different states of consciousness, matter, energy, and being. The highest levels are the most elevated states of consciousness, while the lower levels are the most dense. We use this diagram to study any religion: whether Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, or Christianity, because it teaches us the structure of the human being, the soul, as well as the Universe.
There is a saying by the Sufi initiate Abu Sa'id in Ibn Manuwwar: Asrar At-tawid:
Wherever the delusion of your selfhood appears there’s hell. Wherever you aren’t, that’s heaven.
This is very clear. If we are here, if we are identified with our mind, we can not experience the Tree of Life, the complete expression and majesty, the unity of God, because heaven is the Tree of Life, this diagram. If we do not remember God, we cannot escape or stand outside ourselves, our egotistical mentality. Now wherever the ego isn’t, that's heaven: meaning we’re revising our mind through Dianoia, standing outside of ourselves, analyzing who we are and escaping form the limitations of our mind. This is how we can in turn can unite with our Internal Divinity. So that’s heaven. Heaven is where we aren’t. If we say we know ourselves, but we don't know God, it means that we don't really know ourselves, that we ignore a lot. In order to be able to ascend the Tree of Life, we need to know this science of meditation and what we call the “three factors of the revolution of the consciousness."
Here we have an image of Muhammad riding a mystical creature. This is known as the al-Miraj, the ascension of the Prophet Muhammad up the seven heavens. In Islam, they talk about the seven heavens or seven dimensions, synthesized by the Tree of Life, which can also be organized or described as nine heavens in Kabbalah. So they may seem different, but they're really expressing the same thing.
In the Muslim myth (and I use the term myth not in the sense of a made up story, but as an allegorical and scientific teaching), we see that Muhammad was meditating on the mosque of Mecca. Some traditions even state that his head was on the stone of Mecca, like in Jacob's ladder. Now the Ka'aba is the cubic stone of the Freemasons and the Ka'aba is a black stone pertaining to the vital energies of our bodies. It’s where the serpent, the Divine Mother Kundalini sleeps, for as Pre-Muslim Arabian mythology taught, a serpant was said to be guarding a treasure inside the Ka'aba, reminding us that the treasure is Allah that we must conquer through the serpent. We call this serpent the sexual energy, and so this stone that the Master was sleeping by is where he had a profound experience.
He was taken by al-Buraq, which in Arabic translates as "lightning." This creature is said to be the size of a mule with the face of a women, the tale of a peacock, and wings like Pegasus. Al-Buraq, "the lightning," refers to the creative power of the Divine Mother Kundalini, because lightening in Nordic is the Rune Sig and the sacred mantra of the Divine Mother, in the Nordic tradition, is “Sulu Sigi Sig." She is that power of lightning in our body, the serpent sleeping in our stone or sexual energy, which can awaken if we know how to harness and work with Her through alchemy (Allah-Khemia, to fuse oneself with God in sexual magic) and meditation (mushahadah). We can ascend up the seven heavens like Muhammad.
He was taken on this creature from the mosque of Mecca (Masjid al-Haram) to the temple of Jerusalem (Masjid-al-Aqsa) and it was there in which he ascended up the seven heavens and received many sacred teachings pertinent to Islam, but also to Gnosticism. This energy, this creative power of God, is portrayed here; we can see he’s surrounded by flames, the fire of the Divine Mother, the sexual creative power of God. And that has illuminated his psyche. So in conjunction with meditation and self-observation, we cultivate a serene state and work with the energies of our body.
Now in order to ascend up these heavens we have to be completely absent from our common egotistical sense of self. We're saying this in a very Zen way. It doesn't mean that we forget ourselves and do not pay attention. It means that we abandon our common and current psychology by learning to pay attention, to observe the mind. Do not identify with any impressions outside you or inside your mind, in your heart.
"In general it is to the measure of one’s alienation from one’s own ego that one attains direct knowledge of one’s own Lord." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Knowledge again in Greek is Gnosis, and in Arabic is Marifah. The Kabbalists call this Da’ath. I didn’t mention this in the beginning, but these are just different words for the same teachings.
"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.'" ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So the more that we remember God, the more respect, terror and love we have for the Being, for that overwhelming, overpowering force, if we know how to obey the will of our God.
"And I heard him say, 'Gnosis requires stillness of heart just as learning requires outward quiet. If someone’s gnosis increases, his tranquility increases.'" ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
The deeper we understand our Being, the deeper we go into our meditation, the more gnosis we develop in ourselves, the more peace we have, the more serenity we have in our consciousness and in our Being.
This path is the path of peace. So we talked about jihad, striving. The way that we attain to peace is by fighting against our desires and practicing mushahadah, which is contemplation in meditation. There's a saying by Ibn Karbala'i in his Rawdat al-janan:
"When the seeker realizes the station of contemplation (mushahadah), which is witnessing God’s essence comprehending and encompassing all phenomenon…"
This means we are understanding that God is within everything, all impressions, internal and external within this moment, and we’re actually perceiving this fact. We’re not projecting with our mind; we're not distracted by other things, but aware of how God is present with us.
"Does not your Lord suffice, since He is witness over all things" (Surah 41:53)―he continually witnesses lights through the mundis invisibilis, the invisible world." ―Ibn Karbala'i
What are these lights? In meditation it can be imagery; it can be symbols. It can be spiritual experiences. More directly we could say it pertains to insight about our psyche and our intelligence, who we are in this instant. To continuously witness lights is to perceive insight from your Being, which you can only perceive in this moment by learning to pay attention.
"From such a mystic 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 of view bound by mere mud and mire." ―Ibn Karbala'i
So again we’re talking about two types of vision—Dianoia and Nous, which is objective imagination and perception of the truth, cognizance of God. This is in contrast with the subjective nature of Eikasia and Pistis, meaning of the mud and mire of our mind, the filtrations to our perception via our ego. So again, we emphasize that the testimony of faith amongst the Muslims, the shahadah, is only validated through contemplation of divinity (mushahadah). So in order to really give testimony of God, we have to have that experience in our own psyche, in our own consciousness.
We have here the image of the Tree of Life and the human being. So the human being is the Tree of Life. In the previous slide, we have this statement: “From this mystic perspective this world and the hereafter are one in the same." This means that this Tree of Life is not just some abstract concept to argue or debate about. It’s something entirely practical and directly relatable to us here and now. This world is our physical body, which is the image on the right and the hereafter is the Tree of Life. So they are really one in the same.
The Tree of Life is the map of the human psyche, the different levels of the consciousness and Being, or our humanity and our divinity in other words. On the right we have the image of the human being with what we call the five centers of our psychology. On the right we see this image of five centers of five cylinders of the human machine. We say that the body is a machine that transforms matter and energy. Likewise, our psyche is a machine that is typically not controlled and governed by God, simply because we don't remember our Being; we have the make an effort with what free will we have in order to work with God. Usually what controls these different centers in our organism are our defects. The five centers are where our nafs, desires, egos manifest.
In the head we have the intellectual center. We can call it the intellectual brain. A brain we say in Gnosticism pertains to a center of action in which energy and matter can be processed either physically, such as through bio-chemistry, or psychologically through mental energies. We have the emotional center or emotional brain related to the processes of emotion like, dislike; pleasure, pain; love hate; etc. At the top of the spine we have the motor center which is how we process movement. If we're really paying attention, we can see that a lot of our impetus to move comes from the top of the spine. This explains why individuals who are injured in the spine are paralyzed because the motor center cannot function.
There’s a vertebrae that connects the bottom of the medulla oblongata with the rest of the spine near the nape of the neck. It’s a critical juncture, a critical spot. It’s where we have our motor center. It’s a very sensitive spot. We also have our center of instinct which is at the base of the spine, the sacral bone or sacral center. Individuals who are engaged in activities such as boxing overuse this center, where they constantly react. The instinctive center relates with animal reactions, such as when we burn our hand on a stove and immediately retract our hand before we even think of how it hurts or being emotionally upset, because the instinctive center operates faster than the intellect or the heart.
We also have the sexual center related with our sexual organs, which is the fastest operating component of our psyche. Sexual energy is the basis of all physical life as well as all spiritual life, as we explained in other lectures and about the power of divinity, al-Buraq, the lightening of Christ, the Divine Mother Kundalini. This sacred fire is precisely in the sexual center, within the base of our spine too. When we know how to work with that force through mantra, through pranayama, through alchemy, we learn to develop that force within us.
So we observe ourselves precisely through these centers. Every defect, every ego, every naf has its own ways of thinking, its own ways of feelings, its own ways of acting. They all have different types of movement. They may be very instinctual egos, maybe spontaneous and abrupt, such as if you put your hand on a stove and you react. There's an ego involved, but also if we learn to become conscious we won’t put our hand in the fire in the first place. The thing is, the ego uses the different centers all at once. Some egos may have a predominance towards the intellect. Some may be more emotional. Some may be more instinctual; some may be sexual. However, every ego uses each of the three brains in any instant. Yet there tends to be a predominance in the different centers.
We could say that typically we react with ego, but if we become conscious, we can learn to respond to situations. Some people ask, "What will happen if I don't have instinct? Won't I be unable to react to a dangerous situation such as burning my hand?" If we comprehend and destroy our instincts, then we will become conscious citizens of the universe, whereby we won't even allow ourselves to get involved in situations where we might burn our hand! Therefore, we don't need instincts: these are subjective and mechanical, having nothing to do with Allah (may He be praised and exalted). So don’t think that by eliminating instinct that one doesn't have the ability to react; we develop the capacity to respond to any situation without any subjective interference from our mind. So different egos, nafs manifest in different centers with greater predominance of one towards a particular center over the other.
At the top of the Tree of Life we have the three spheres known as Kether, Chokmah, and Binah; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So in Islam, this is Allah, because the Trinity is a single light. Now many Muslims of the orthodox tradition emphasize that there is no Trinity and that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) never taught the Trinity. He did not teach in accordance with the degeneration of the Christian Church or the degeneration of the Christian scriptures. Many people in that time (and even today) think that the Trinity was actually a physical Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—physical individuals, not spiritual principles.
We have to understand that diversity is unity. God expresses in many ways, yet is one light. There is no contradiction between religions, as demonstrated by Kabbalah. When Muslims reject the Trinity, they do so from the perspective that God is a not three anthropormorphic persons. Instead, the initiates knew that God is One, and that Unity has many levels of expression, represented by the Kabbalistic Tree of a Life. Now Allah is Father, Son, Holy Spirit; Kether, Chokmah, and Binah. These are three forces in one. Beneath the supernal triangle on the lower right, we have Chesed, which is our Spirit (ruh), which is God, our own individual Father. Our Spirit is also apart of Allah, the Christ. You see Allah is also Chesed as well. This is why when Sufis pronounce the mantra "Allahu," they are referring to Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as well as Hu, or Hum, the spirit. So Allah can be seen as Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and the Spirit, Chesed, the Innermost, the Inner Buddha. Divinity is one, but expresses as many.
The Being even has His Being too, which is the Ain Soph above the Tree of Life, our supra-atomic star, as we explained previously, the light of Surat al-Nur. In Gnostic terms we say the Inner Child is our Essence, our Soul. We call it the soul that is in development, a baby that can become a true human being as shown in the Tree of Life. Christ (Chokmah) also is a child when manifesting in the initiate for the first time. That child grows and develops in accordance with initiation (see The Perfect Matrimony by Samael Aun Weor). The Inner Child we say pertaining to Gnostic psychology is the Essence but it also refers to the Christ child.
Chesed is the Spirit, which is in Hebrew, El similar to Allah. The same Semitic roots are there. We represent the complete expression of divinity and our humanity as ten spheres, which seem to be distinct, but when fully developed in the human being, become integrated. Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi, the great Sufi master and poet, stated:
If ten lamps are present in one place,
each differs in form from another;
yet you can’t distinguish whose radiance is whose
when you focus on the light.
This is the case with the fully illuminated Masters who have developed the light of Christ within, the light of Buddha within, the light of Allah. This is the esoteric meaning of the Christmas tree: a fully illuminated Tree of Life, a perfected Being that knows Itself completely.
Now to the left we have Geburah, which is the consciousness, the Divine Soul. In the middle we have Tiphereth, which is the Human Soul or willpower, and then beneath that we have what we call the “lower quaternary,” which is a representation of Netzach our mind, Hod our emotions, Yesod our sexuality or vital energy, and Malkuth, our physical body.
In comparison to the human being, the intellectual center relates with Netzach, the mind. We say Hod the astral body relates with heart, the emotional center, our emotion brain. We have Yesod relating to our vital body, our vital energies. We also have the sphere that pertains to our physical body, Malkuth.
In synthesis, the Tree of Life explains to us who we are as a human being, as a consciousness, as a psyche. We also study ourselves in terms of our three brains and analyzing our makeup, how we function. The work now comes into play when we observe the intellectual, emotional, motor, instructive and sexual centers all at once. By understanding these centers and how the ego, nafs operate is how we know ourselves. Then in meditation (mushahadah), we beg our Divine Mother and Inner Father to help us comprehend ourselves in depth. It begins by learning to observe ourselves in this moment, in this instant.
The path of self knowledge is one in which we develop God within. We do that precisely by working on our defects through retrospective meditation and how we comprehend our defects all depends on how we pay attention, here and now, in this instant.
Questions and Answers
Question: Is Rudolph Steiner’s “Much wiser man inside” the same reference as the Inner Being of Samael Aun Weor?
Instructor: Yes, Paul of Tarsus in the Gospel refers to the two inner men: the heavenly man and the terrestrial man. The terrestrial man is precisely Tiphereth, willpower; Netzach, the mind; Hod, the astral body; Yesod, vital energy and our physicality. The heavenly man is God above, which is our consciousness our Spirit, (Ruh) and Christ.
Nous is a type of mind that is united with God, the Christ force. Nous has levels according to the Tree of Life. Dianoia can refer to Malkuth up to Tiphereth. It’s a type of consciousness in which we are beginning to awaken. Fully illuminated spiritual perception relates to the five higher Sephiroth or spheres of the Tree of Life, whereby divinity manifests. Nous pertains to the Divine Soul (Geburah the divine consciousness) which is part of God the Spirit to the right (Chesed), and Kether, Chokmah, Binah: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Now, we have to remember that God does not enter into impurity. God is not impure—only the human soul our willpower can either obey God or fall down and obey our ego. Our ego is what is impure, so we as a consciousness or soul are really apart of Tiphereth within different bodies. You could say these are different spheres of being and of consciousness. Now our will can follow our own self-will, our nafs or we can follow the will of God, which is our Innermost, our Divine Soul and the Lord above. Nous pertains to illuminated perception which is either Geburah or states in Chesed, Christ above or even beyond the Tree of Life, which is the Absolute. Ain Soph pertains to Nous as well. For more information about this topic, study Tarot and Kabbalah by Samael Aun Weor.
Question: Samael Aun Weor and Sivananda talks about mantralizing through out the day. Is this not doing something else besides doing what we are supposed to be doing in the moment?
Instructor: Yes, that's a good question. Performing a mantra in your mind while doing activities is to help us concentrate and perform our activities better. Now typically when we work with mantra (the word mantra in Sanskrit means mind protection) it’s a way to control our mind. If it’s being out of control or if we have a certain event in our life that was catastrophic, we can use a certain mantra in order to calm down, concentrate and remember our Being. So we use mantras to help us stay focused. Now a mantra should help, when done consciously, to stay extremely focused. Typically our problem is that when we work with a mantra, we do it mechanically. You’ll find this to be the case if you genuinely observe yourself. Your ego may be saying the mantra incorrectly. For example: the mantra “Klim Krishnaya Govindaya Gopijana Vallabaya Swaha." If your mind is doing it incorrectly, you need to correct your mind and do it properly, consciously. So there are many mantras that we use in this tradition and we don’t want to use them mechanically, on autopilot. If you do it with concentration and remembrance of God, it will help you focus on states in the present. For as the Sufis teach:
"Remembrance is a powerful support on the path to God (Glorious and Majestic). Indeed, it is the very foundation of this Sufi path. No one reaches God save by continual remembrance of Him. There are two kinds of remembrance: that of the tongue and that of the heart. The servant attains perpetual remembrance of the heart by making vocal remembrance. It is remembrance of the heart, however, that yields true effect. When a person makes remembrance with his tongue and his heart simultaneously, he attains perfection in his wayfaring." ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Question: Does Gnosis teach that we should have one mantra for our entire lives?
Instructor: I like Swami Sivananda's thought about this because when you do a mantra for life, it means that your going to be completely dedicated to the practice. I agree with that and I believe what he is saying is you should stick with a mantra to the point that you are fully emerged and concentrated in it without being distracted by other things. Instead of just doing one mantra one day and another the next day, we should practice for extended periods of time, consistently, with one mantra.
The thing is we have hundreds of mantras in this tradition. We should use the mantra until we receive the benefits, but if you feel that you have another need that is emerging, its good to switch if you need to. Now Sivananda is a Resurrected Master, a fully illuminated Being. He was teaching more in accordance with the Piscean teachings, which is the astrological sign associated with the time of Jesus up to the early 1960’s. Now the Age of Aquarius is very different; we have different needs. This is a different astrological sign that pertains to a different kind of spiritual revolution. I recommend that if you work with a mantra, stick with it to the point where you are getting a lot benefit and a lot of results. But if you feel you have different needs emerge, switch it up if you like. Don't feel like you have to stay with one, but Sivananda is correct that when we do a mantra, we should dedicate everything to it and not get distracted with other things.
Question: In a lot of Samael’s books he mentions that we should vocalize an hour a day. Does this mean we have to use mantras to activate all the chakras?
Instructor: You can. You can work with all of the chakras or you can work with a few. Now different mantras have different benefits and different effects.
For example, if you want to develop your clairvoyance you can work with the mantra “INRI," since the vowel “I” (pronounced "Ee") is related to Christ. Its in the book The Perfect Matrimony. "ENRE" (Eh-n-reh) works for the throat. You have the heart chakra with the mantra ONRO. You have the solar plexus chakra relating to UNRU, and for the lungs, ANRA.
You can also work with many chakras or just one, depending on your needs. For example, if you want to work on the heart, we have Om Masi Padme Hum.
Remember that Hum or Hu in Arabic is the Spirit of God. The mantras are all throughout the literature of Samael Aun Weor .
The thing is if you vocalize for an hour, you can do it with all the chakras or you can do it with just a few. It depends on your needs. You need to intuitively discern what it is your Being wants you to work on at that time.
Question: Should I get into a meditative state and then vocalize?
Instructor: Yes. I would say relax until you are semi-drowsy. You get to the point where you feel like you're going to fall asleep—so when you feel that you're at that point, work with a mantra and that will stimulate a lot of psychic energy in your body and your mind.
Question: I worked with FA RA ON and my body started shaking and it felt like I had a blockage that was stopping me from astral projecting and I could feel my astral body was above and my body was stuck on my bed. And it felt like there was some kind of blockage.
Instructor: I’ve experienced that many times. Usually its a teaching from your Being to tell you that you’re identified with something. You're identified with your body. Personally I've had myself come out of my body, but my head was stuck to my physical body. In my case divinity was telling me that I’m being too intellectual. So I've had to learn to cultivate my heart so I could get out more in the astral plane, the world of Hod or emotions.
Your experience might not necessarily be a blockage. Divinity could just be teaching you that you have attachments that you need to overcome. The greatest obstacle is your own ego, your own nafs, your own mind, so when you overcome your mind by developing meditative reflection (fikrat), as we mentioned, then you will be able to behold the invisible realm of the spirit, as the Sufi masters taught. So control you're mind throughout the day and then astral projection becomes easy.
A mantra helps you to control your mind. It also activates psychic energy, which helps you to defend yourself or help you have spiritual experience. There are many functions for mantras. Typically we say it helps to control your mind. Many mantras are also for protection, such as Fons Alpha. There's many in this tradition. You can conjure by the name of Iod He Vau He, Jehovah, Christ, or Allah.
Question: Why are there so many different versions of the mantras?
Instructor: In the books Samael Aun Weor explains what the different consonants do within the mantras. the different ways of mantralizing, whether CHIS CHAS CHOS or INRI ENRE ONRO, etc. These are different ways of working with sound, vibration and energy so as to fuel our conscious perception. Now you may have an affinity with one mantra or the other.
I would say study the books and they will explain to you the purposes for what the mantras are for. He gave many varieties because humanity has many needs. One person may work well with OM MASI PADME HUM. Another person may work well with I.A.O. Another person may work well with RAM IO. There are different mantras for different purposes and different needs. However, all mantras help supply energies and forces in our to awaken our awareness (muhadarah) and to become aware of the Presence of divinity (hudur).
Question: How does the Tree of Life correspond to the image of the five centers of the human machine in the last graphic?
Instructor: I’ll give you a very simply explanation, but you can relate the spheres in different ways. So Netzach is the mind. It relates to the intellectual center. We have the emotional body, Hod, relating to the emotional center, and then we have Yesod relating to we could say is our motor-instinctual-sexual centers. The latter we could say is one brain or one center with three different aspects. Malkuth is our body, which condenses how we manifest our mind, our emotions, and sexuality.
If you feel overwhelmed by this knowledge, I would suggest that you study the books and take your time. The thing is when we study we have to balance being and knowledge. Read a little, but meditate a lot. So take a book and study it profoundly. I would recommend, in relation to this lecture onf Self-knowledge, to study Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology. It explains these three centers and the path of self-observation in depth.
Now when you read a book, you should study it line by line or even chapter by chapter, meditating and reflecting upon what you read so that you can go deeper into this. I would say take your time with the books. Don't rush, because if you eat too fast, you can get indigestion. As I said in the beginning, too much knowledge creates intellectual confusion. The way we balance our reading is comprehension through meditation. We can read many books and not have any experiences. But if we read the books in moderation, in balance with our practice, then we will begin to have experiences of the things that we are discussing. We will begin to bear witness of the mysteries of divinity (shahadah). It is the unification of knowledge and being that establishes comprehension. Comprehension is genuine faith, when you really know something from your heart. It ceases to be something abstract or vague. It becomes something really concrete and practical.
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