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17 вересня 2013 р.

Spinal Column and the Kundalini


Original transcript by W. Bret Iddings:
Some minor corrections by Cyril:

    In this particular discussion we are going to try to make several additions to our original text [Manly P. Hall. The Occult Anatomy of Man], which we think will convey some new dimensions of meaning to our basic problem.

    In the first place, as we all realize, ancient philosophy and science derived a great deal of symbolical knowledge and insight from the study of the human body. In the function of the body itself, man was presented as an immediate and intimate mystery. And, for the most part, this mystery has not been solved, even with our increasing scientific knowledge. We are able to examine the body in greater detail than ever before. We are able to understand its functions more accurately than was ever possible to ancient man. Yet the essential mysteries of the body remain, and we are still searching for those major keys by which perhaps not only can we solve bodily mysteries, but by the knowledge thus gained extend ourselves into universal mysteries. For it was long held that if we could ever understand man, we would have a key to all things that exist, and as much as man is bound to all other things, he's derived from all other things. And in the course and extent of his existence he moves through all states and conditions and finds available within himself all instruments necessary for his continuing existence, growth and unfoldment through all the states of nature, both physical and metaphysical. Realizing to some measure, therefore, the thoughtfulness that man dedicated to this mystery of the body, we can also be aware of the natural and inevitable functioning of the human mind. Man, searching for answers, uses a kind of symbolic methodology. Having discovered some small law operating somewhere, he seeks to extend it as a greater law operating elsewhere or everywhere. Thus our concepts of cosmogony, our studies of things not visible to our sensory perceptions - these involve a process of analogy by which we apply things seen to things unseen, principles recognized to principles sought for in the unfoldment of universal life.

The Grand Man of Zohar, one of the greatest books of Qabbala

    The Qabbalists conceived of man, therefore, as the little universe and the Universe as the Grand Man, attempting to indicate that the processes operating in the human body operate in a larger scale in space and that all space can be traced in the mysteries of man himself. This concept not only dominated the thinking of early Western mysticism, but is part of our spiritual heritage from Asia, for the same contemplations have everywhere existed, and all our religions, philosophies and sciences were originally influenced by these concepts of analogy. But in many instances these older analogies were correct - we now know. Other discoveries of antiquity remain uncertain to us. They may be right, they may not be right. In some few things, we believe that we have corrected the errors of the past, that certain mistakes were made, that we are not too sure that our corrections are correct and we may still have to go further, and the tendency of this further consideration has been to bring us back to the most original and ancient findings.

    Thus there seems to be in man a faculty of truth perception, a truth realization and that which man can actually reason out, prove to be reasonable. Later generations will probably prove to be factual. For reason is an instrument of fact finding, just as surely as any technical instrument or mechanical device of the modern laboratory. It is natural that the spine - which is a soft [off?] column supporting the entire structure of the human body - that the spine should be early considered, that a great deal of symbolism should arise in connection with it, and that ancient man studying the human body should recognize that in this spinal column was a very vital and important element of man's corporeal nature. That in a mysterious way, this spinal column was a kind of magic wand, a rod, a staff, upon which the body was required or naturally inclined to lean. It was also that by means of which man's upright posture was assured. And it was interesting to recognize that this tall column of bones should support upon its upper end the mystery of the skull - that part of man which seemed to be like a heavenly globe standing up on the height of a column in a strange wilderness of physical tissue and structure.

    Therefore, the spine as the supporting instrument, uniting the various sections of the body seem to bring into some common pattern the three principle parts of the human torso. So that the body itself, with the exception of its extremities, are, so to say, held together or brought into a pattern of harmony by means of this monumental structure of bones - flexible, magnificent in its formation, serpent-like in its flexibility, and yet with all firm and enduring support capable of sustaining the various processes of the body with wonderful exactness, precision and reasonable comfort. It was interesting to these ancient people that this final mystery seemed to bring into harmony the three principle parts of the human torso: mainly the cranial, or the contents of the skull, the thoracic, or the contents of the chest, and the abdominal, or the concept or the contents of the abdominal cavity. 

Robert Fludd

    These three cavities, so to say, filled with their vital organs and absolutely necessary to the function and consistent development of man, were anciently associated with cosmogony. And Dr. Robert Fludd, the famous Rosicrucian mystic of the early 17th century believed that he found in the structure of the body and its internal organization the source of Dante's mysterious worlds as set forth in "The Divine Comedy". We know definitely that this analogy can be extended to many of the Hindu sacred writings, in which the worlds are beautifully arranged and organized in a pattern very close to that of this division of man's principle parts of his body.


    Thus we have the abdominal cavity with the long, mysterious and involved structure of the intestinal part, and in this we see the symbol of the underworld, the mysterious sphere of Hades of the ancient Greeks and Latins, a mysterious dark universe, in which processes are constantly taking place, which are essential to man but [which are the] processes that have been very carefully and cunningly concealed by nature. We also recognize in the thoracic cavity what might be called "the middle region". And in this middle region the heart seems to reign supreme over the mystery of life.

    And far above supported upon the slender column of the neck we find the skull with its contents, the wonders of the brain. And of this mysterious upper world we find in the Hindu philosophy that the spinal cord seems to be essentially the Ganges River which arises in the head of Shiva, arising in the brain, arising in the midst of all those convolutions which are called the caves of Gangha[?] where the rishi, or the holy men, sit in eternal meditation, being symbolical of the brain processes and functions. And this river then flows downward, like a river of life, and this river becomes a distributor of nerve impulse and nerve instinct to all parts of the body, keeping it alive, so that this spine with its brain above seems to resemble an inverted plant, a kind of bulb with its growth descending from the brain and extending throughout the body. And this extension through the body, through an infinite diversity of nerve structure, seems to resemble a beautiful inverted fern-like plant, with its root in heaven and its growth descending downward into Earth and even into the underworld.

Jacob's Ladder,
from "Figures de la Bible" (1728)

    The ancients furthermore recognized in this spinal column with its content a kind of ladder; the kind of ladder upon which Jacob saw the angels ascending and descending. The number of its original segments, counting those that are now more or less brought together and ossified together, would be 33 - which is indeed the number of years that David ruled in Jerusalem, the years of the life of Christ and the number that has been sacred for a long time among the secret societies of Europe and America. This number "33" is a fabulous number in symbolism and there seems to be no reason to doubt that its original significance was related to the study of the spine. For that, in some way, the spine became a symbolic equivalent of this number, and the principles and energies associated with the number likewise cannot be denied. In Egypt, under the name of the Tep[?] column, or the mysterious symbol of the pole or axis of things, the spine was also highly venerated. It was held that is was like a column, the roots of which were in the underworld and the upper part extending higher to carry upon its upper end - its celestial globe, the globe of the brain. And to more or less carry on this symbol, we know that early anatomists have made constant use of the old symbolism in naming various parts of the body and also, to a degree, various parts of the brain and spinal system. We know that they have called, for instance, the upper vertebra of the spine "the atlas", and it is this atlas, the Giant of Greek mythology who carries the heavens upon his shoulders, this heaven world being in truth representative of the cranial sphere.

The Kalevala

    Thus the ancients divided man as they divided nature: into Heaven, Earth and Hell, into three great parts. A superior universe above represented by the brain, an inferior universe below represented by the abdominal cavity, and between these two - the world of mortals, or the human world, in the midst of which upon the mighty mountain of the diaphragm was the temple of the heart. All of these symbols we find in the eddas and sagas of Scandinavia, in the Kalevala (Finland), in the Buddhist mysticism of China and Japan. We find it in the Greek and the Egyptian, we find it in the Brahmanic and Hindu mysteries of the world mountain. All of these different elements of symbolism seem to derive very closely from the study of the human body. Now, also in this study and in the development of it, the problem of the relationship of the nervous system to the great economy of life, took on the greatest meaning to ancient man. The nervous system to the primitive people of the world seemed to be a kind of middle ground between the two great lifegiving systems - the arterial and the venous blood systems.  

    The arterial system was therefore regarded as supreme and held to be the first and greatest power of things, for by this system life itself was distributed into the body. The nervous system became a kind of symbol, therefore, of the intellectual, or psychic, life of man and the venous system became symbol of the mortal, or physical, life of man. Thus spirit, soul and body were represented by these systems. Above these systems the soul, or psychic body, was given the area of the brain because, as Buddhism later so well clarified, the entire mental life of man originates in a kind of intellectual complex, and the machinery for this complex called "the machine of the six senses" is localized, or centered, in the brain. It is therefore in the brain that the individual achieves self-consciousness. It is in the heart that he participates in universal consciousness. And it is through the venous system and its various functions of the body that he attains a certain body consciousness, which is comparatively rudimentary, but is nevertheless present in the equations of life.

    In the same way, psychologically speaking, man derives an authority from these areas of his own consciousness. From the heart center he gains the concept, or the authority, of life. It is by virtue of this heart power that man is aware of the mystery of what he calls life and he has associated life with this from the beginning. The brain he has associated with thought, or the mental activity. And the venous system of the body he has associated with function, or bodily structure. Man, therefore, consisting of spirit, soul and body (or spirit, mind and body) assigns these in a symbolic way to these three great areas of his own physical structure, which are united into one mysterious and wonderful pattern by the sovereignty of the cerebral spinal nervous system.

    This led, in turn, to a whole series of philosophical inductions and deductions, some of which are of value to us in our present thinking. Buddhism helps us in one respect because it gives us, to a large degree, the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system. In India it is assumed or was believed that Buddha was associated with the planet Mercury. And it is this, in turn, which primitive Western man always associated with the nervous system. The nervous system involves not only the physical sensitivity to nerve action and reaction, but it involves the entire sensory existence of man.

    This sensory existence of man brings into focus another interesting belief of the ancients which we have mentioned in the book by which I would like to enlarge upon a little more: mainly that the entire nervous system of the body is an extension of the nervous structure of the brain itself. Therefore, that there is a mental, or nervous, image of the whole body in the brain. And the brain process is first of all achieved within a brain body, and this in turn is extended into the physical body itself. In other words, there is an archetypal man in the brain.

    There is an archetypal mental being in the mind itself and man's mental life is lived in the mind, not in the body. It is only by an extension a series of reflexes, a process of induction that the mental life of the individual is communicated to the body itself. The instruments by means of which this communication may be achieved are the two branches of the nervous system: the cerebral spinal and autonomic. These become the instruments for the extension of man's mental life in the body. But man's mental life is essentially lived in the mind; and it is in this mental life, lived in the mind, that we have the root of practically all of the individuality factors which we consider to make up manus - the man, the thinker.

    The ancients therefore explained that there was a microcosm of the whole physical body in the brain, that the brain was itself androgynous. That generation occurs in the process of thought just as it occurs in the process of the reproduction of [...]. That the entire process of the brain function is, therefore, a primary motion, or movement, of cell life and of structure by the presence of mental energy, or mental archetypal pattern.

    Now let's try to see if we can make this just a little simpler, so that we know more about what we are working with at this stage of our problem.

    Let us assume, for example, that consciousness per se is located in the heart. Consciousness of itself is not manifested. Consciousness is the lifeness in a thing. Consciousness as its primary manifestation merely produces the state of existence. This state of existence is perhaps less purely appreciated in man than in other creatures that exist. The consciousness is in its true sense an essence, or a nature, of being itself - a nature not self-knowing, not self-understanding as we term these things, but conscious because of a factor which we say is the factor of immediate action. In other words, there is no delay, or no drag, in the process of the function of consciousness. Consciousness is unconditioned, it is unlimited and unrestricted. Therefore, it does not have to manifest in a conditioned way. And an unconditioned manifestation of consciousness is pure life, a life in which all of the elements of conditioned existence exist - but are not present. In a life condition exists in its own root, or essential substance, or seed - but not in a conditioned state.

    A creature, therefore, with a hard life may be said to have a conditioning consciousness similar to what Buddha describes as nirvana. It is the extinction of all particular or all attribute functioning, it is merely the state of being; a being which does not define its own nature, a being which does not affirm or deny anything, a being which merely exists, and by its existence - bestows life, for life is the existence of this being which is itself immortal.

    In the development of life, life develops into a condition of life knowing. That which exists of its own nature cannot be known by itself. It becomes known, therefore, through aspects, or extensions, of itself. It becomes known, appreciated or sensed because it causes to emerge from itself certain conditions of life, or states of life. And in man, the primary condition by means of which life becomes capable of the knowledge of itself is man's mental focus.

    So the mind becomes that part of being or that part of the development of a creature in which that creature becomes aware of its own life. Primarily, therefore, it is life awareness, and this life awareness is called "the first reflex of being". It is called the process by means of which being becomes a being, being becomes self-knowing and through extension becomes capable of knowing that which is not its immediate, or primary, self. So consciousness in the sense of egoism, consciousness in the sense of self-consciousness, arises in the mental structure. And this mental structure achieves to the state of self-consciousness by a series of experiences which are referred to in Eastern philosophy as graspings, or orientations. As a person dizzy reaches out for support for something that is strong and stable, so it's confusion in mind [that] reaches out for supports. It attains these supports by extending itself by means of the nervous system through the sensory perceptions. And it gains certain consolation or conviction material, from the testimony of these perceptions, this testimony being brought back into the mind coordinated by the mental coordinator, and thereby assembled into various types of knowledge, all these types of knowledge having as their end and purpose the discovery, or experience, of the nature of a selfness, or a self-hood.

    Thus in philosophy we discover that it is by means of the mental process that man becomes capable of the consciousness of isolation. He becomes capable of thinking of himself as himself, and as a result of that he can no longer think of himself as anything else but himself. And out of this conditioning comes the gradual separation of the personal from the universal, and the personal appears upon the surface of the universal, and the personal becomes a condition of the universal, and by means of the personal the individual again turns his attention upon the universal, gaining this mysterious ambition to understand all mysteries, to solve all problems.

    Now, the answer to all mysteries lies in the heart. The power to search for this answer is given by the mind, whereas it's the mind that discovers the mystery of the heart. It is the mind by means of which all particular things must be explored, known or estimated.

    Now, out of this situation there thus arose at a primitive time a process by means of which the mental nature began to assert itself over the arterial system. Life was conveyed to all parts of the body by the arteries. But this life was a sleeping life, a life which contained all energy, all that was necessary to enliven - but this sleeping life did not know itself or any other thing. And over this mysterious area it had become full of life; the mental nature began to exercise control, domination or leadership by permeating this life with a series, or a mass, of minute extensions which gradually became nerves. But these nerves are nothing more or less than the gradual crystallization of the seeking power of the mind, the mind seeking not only to know things, but to gradually coordinate the body. That the mind could control the body meant self-control. And in taking over the control of the body, the mind then affirmed a leadership over this structure, and this leadership ultimately caused the individual to become a mental being rather than a living thing solely. This mental being then assumed the control, or leadership, of all the processes of the body causing these processes to unfold, causing the evolutionary concept to take over, because it was mind controlling matter that equaled growth. Growth in this sense merely not the extension of body, not the continual healthy life of the cell, not even the healthy process of cell fission and the multiplication of cells, by means of which the world might sometime become completely latent with tissue alone. But now the gradual imposing of mental purpose, the imposing of mental energy upon physical processes and upon the life itself by which these processes were animated, thus the mind became the transformer; it transformed body into a purpose instrument of selfness. And gradually, this self in the body attained greater and greater dominion of body until it established a complete tyranny over body.

    By the time this had been achieved, man had become a thinking creature. But now we are at this interesting crossroad in the world's thought that we have now achieved the condition in which by evolutionary processes in nature and by psychological processes in man, the neural power of the nerve distribution has become the administrator of life. It is, therefore, in the nervous system now that we must seek the solution to most of life's mysteries. It is in the nervous system also [that] we must find the cause of most of life's misfortunes. It is in the nervous system also that we must search for life's meanings, life's goals, life's purposes. We must also seek in the processes of the laws governing the development of neural energy and its distribution to discover the rules by means of which mind does administer matter, either correctly or incorrectly.

    We thus find man today, as the ancients rather assumed him to be, a creature largely composed of mind and the mind physical symbolism - the nervous system. We find that the nervous system has permeated practically all parts of human structure. That as a result of this, this structure is becoming increasingly sensitive and immediately responsive. And by this process, whether we realize it or not, the entire body is being changed into mind. Mind is gradually becoming the substance of man. And the so-called arterial, or physical, system of man is becoming more and more an energizer of mind. And the vital substances of the body are being channeled ever more continuously through the use of the mental agent.

    Now, this sounds as though we were progressing in some direction or another, but the [rub in?] this situation seems to be that no one seems to be able to vouch completely and adequately for the integrity of this mind instrument that has taken over. Just exactly what is this mind? What is its real nature? What is its substance? Is the mind essentially good? Modern psychology and modern science would be inclined to doubt that the mind is good. They will not go much further than to simply say, "Here it is! (Laugh) We got it, we have used it, we've abused it and here we are in the midst of the consequence of something".

    Also, we suddenly discover that practically all human beings are trusting their destinies to an instrument called the mind without knowing where it came from, what it is trying to do, whether it is selfish or unselfish, right or wrong; whether it is capable of factuality or not, whether we can depend upon its advice or cannot depend upon it, whether it is an arbitrary despot or an instrument of universal destiny - we do not know. We take certain comfort and consolation, however, in the assumption that mind must be meaningful, because it is a product of a meaningful universe engaged in a meaningful project. Therefore, mind must have its place in the universal purpose - or it could not appear in the human structure.

    For all intents and purposes, however, man has discovered that the mind by its very nature derives a large part of its knowledge, or a large part of its basic reasoning materials, as a result of the testimonies of the nerve sensory perceptions. Therefore, that the mind very largely is building its entire structure from environment. and that the great and essential purpose of mind was to extend itself by means of nerves, so that by means of these nerve links, it could bind itself to the mystery of the outer world. Without a nervous system, man could not be aware of the world around him. Therefore, the nervous system has given him the tremendous instrument of contact: contact with phenomena, contact with all the innumerable diversities of activities with which we have gradually become familiar. For all classifications, all orders, all systems, which have now been brought together to constitute basic texts for education - all of these structures, or findings, are the direct result of nerve testimony. By means of nerves certain impressions, certain reflections have been brought into the nature.

    Thus out of this entire structure of nerves, man is building a series of adjustments between the self - which is the nerve focus - and the world in which the complete organism exists. In this particular pattern of things, the heart has been reduced to one simple problem: mainly that it supplies the fuel. The human heart becomes simply the energy by means of which this entire procedure is carried on. If the heart stops, the entire nervous system fails with it. If anything happens to the essential life principle in man, all the vast super structure of nervous reflex is destroyed. Therefore, the nervous system and the egoism in man is dependent upon the heart. This dependency, however, has not been generally recognized. And the individual, except for a few who have made certain careful studies, in general affirms that the mind being his link with his world is his most valued possession and that also its testimonies - right or wrong, good or bad - are inevitable. And that we should only pause long enough to be thankful for the fact that we have a mind and should not be much concerned with what we do about it. Now, this prevailing thankfulness is also generally absent and, as a result, we are rather thoughtless people, so far as major problems are concerned.


    About the 2nd century of the Christian Era in Asia, there rose a sect in Buddhism which was centered around what was called "the Lotus Gospel". The Lotus Gospel, possibly the result of the work of the great Buddhist arhat Nagarjuna - certainly one of the greatest saints and reformers of primitive Buddhism - centered around what was called "the Heart Doctrine": the thought that the truth of things must be obtained by restoring the sovereignty of life to the heart. Now, the Bible gives us much the same thing: "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he". That the real person, the real nature of things reside in the heart. That the heart is, therefore, the silent one: that power which is generally ignored but which alone contains the fountain of things. Nagarjuna took the attitude that by means of the heart we are bound to the world of cause. By means of the nerves, or the mind, we are bound to the world of effects. And at the moment, in some way, the truth in us is concealed by the conflict between these two systems and by the fact that largely the control of the body has come to be vested in the intellectual, or neural, system.

    Thus we have built a mental nature built up upon phenomena; phenomena that have been digested, organized and rationalized; it is as though we had a kind of a bureau of vital statistics in the skull. And into this bureau we have gathered all known and knowable facts. We have then turned these facts over to coordinators who have in a mysterious and wonderful way, by aid of a machine, which is more exact than any of the mechanical brains we have ever been able to manufacture - that by means of this internal machine, which transforms facts into relationships, upon which dynamic must depend; by means of this, we have come to certain dynamic attitudes about things. These dynamic attitudes form in themselves a little bouquet, or cluster, of dynamic factors, and these in turn by their chemistries and interminglings have produced what we call the ego, which is, in a sense, the summary of our dynamics. The ego is therefore the thing that says "I want, I will, I must". Or, in more convenient terms, not having any particular desire for exercise, it says "I am", which is the affirmation of the fact of self, being from one primary means alone: mainly that the thinker distinguishes a difference between its own nature and that which it thinks about - phenomenon, therefore, or the message of outside things moving in upon the individual. This procedure gradually affirms the existence of the thinker in relationship to its own thoughts. And by the fact that we see, we taste, we touch, we feel - the gradual and inevitable conclusion is that we exist. And this positive concept of existence within the mind gradually becomes justified by the fact that we can extend our own consciousness into other things. Therefore, we must have a separate consciousness which can be so extended, and subconsciously we have invested this with the dimensions and proportions of a psychic self, or an entity.

    Now, in this procedure also the nervous system has come into positive operation. And the nervous system extending itself throughout the body has formed its own kind of body. It is not merely that the nervous system is little threads making other physical organs function. The nervous system, in order to cause function, to exist in matter, or in structure, must function from its own archetype. Therefore, the organization of the physical body as we see it now depends very largely upon the impression upon this body of the neural archetype: a seal, design, or pattern. The reason why cell generation does not go on to an infinite mass of tissue is because mind and neural energy, functioning as the agent of mind, imposes boundaries, imposes limitations, distinguishes processes and gradually begins the process of transforming, or molding, the body into a physical equivalent of its own neural nature.

The spinal chakras

    And here's where we get into perhaps one of the most interesting but complicated doctrines of antiquity - and that is this doctrine of the Kundalini Shakti and the spinal chakras. Let us then try to understand this a little better, because actually there isn't too much available on this particular problem. We would assume that the various schools of Asiatic philosophy, particularly the Yoga and the Tantra, which were closely associated with this doctrine, would be in common accord about it - but they are not. There are many branches, and schools, and systems, and subdivisions of thought relating to the entire Kundalini mystery even in Asia. And we cannot, therefore, simply affirm that the East was in common accord about this. The East was, however, in common accord, for the most part, on one subject: mainly, that, in some way, the heart must be brought back into dominion over the neural system. But how this was to be accomplished is not too clearly set forth even in the most valid texts relating to the subject.

    Now, most of you have read something concerning the Yogic ideas about the spinal chakras, this role of lotus petals - wheels of light, representing presumably important ganglia or plexi along the spinal cord. That through these, there moves a mysterious power which is called "the serpent power". And that this power rising from the base of the spine, ascending through the various small nervous threads of the autonomic system results in the activation of these chakras. And that by the activation of these chakras, certain internal areas of consciousness are opened or are intensified, carrying with them degrees of extra, or supersensory, perception and power.

    Now, this is a very big thing and it is also a very intriguing one, but let us try to work with the subject just a little more carefully and with some considerably more specialization than we are able to do in our book to see if we can find out more of what is intended. In almost all works, in fact - all works, dealing with the chakras these are represented, in one way or another, by symbolic figures. These figures are, for the most part, lotus form, distinguished by the number of petals; and each of these lotus forms carries within it certain other images and symbols. And on each of the lotus petals are various letters of the ancient Sanskrit: letters representing ideas, forms, energies, values of one kind or another, with which these chakras are specifically identified. There is no reasonable doubt in the world that these seven chakras generally listed (although this number is arbitrary: there are some schools that maintain five and some six). But that the number 7 should be associated with them probably has to do with ancient astronomy or a parallel, thereto, in as much as the entire concept parallels very closely the monochord of Pythagoras - the single stringed musical instrument with the upper end of the string attached to the empyrean, or the sphere of the fixed stars, and the lower end of the string attached to the Earth. Frets, or stops, were placed along the string to correspond to the orbits of the planets. And the so-called three inferior planets of the ancients - the Moon, Mercury and Venus - were considered to be the lower part of this instrument. In the center, or the exact middle, of the string was placed a fret of the sun, by means of which the octave was achieved. Above these fret marking the sun's position were those of the three superior planets: Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

Image of Robert Fludd's "celestial monochord" from 1618,
as painted by Maugdo Vasquez

    Thus this vertical thread placed as Pythagoras placed it, between Heaven and Earth, and divided by seven frets into intervals, became very similar in its general concept with that of the chakra system; for the heart chakra of the color chakra system corresponds to the sun, being the forth from above and the forth from below, both in the Pythagorean astronomy and in the Tantric Yoga. Thus the heart chakra corresponds to the sun in the solar system, and above it are three superior planets, so-called, and below it - the three inferior ones. In both systems also the distribution of the planets in relationship to meaning and in the significance of the chakras, this distribution is sufficiently parallel and close, for there are no glaring inconsistencies between the astrological theory and the Yogic theory.

The Seven Seals of Revelation

    The next point, perhaps, that we will want to mention or think about is the relationship between these chakras and the seals of the Book of Revelation. The Seven Seals of Revelation certainly bear a striking symbolic content, for in each case, whereas the seal is opened, a vision or apocalyptical experience is unfolded. It is also quite possible that we have in this the key to the ancient concept of the octave as Pythagoras developed it in music, for we remember that he was initiated in India [at?] Elephanta and Ellora and was therefore acquainted with the concept of the Brahmins and other Hindu sects of his time. For these regarded the spinal cord as the string upon the Vina Shiva, or the musical instrument of the world. And that, therefore, the mysterious harmony of the spheres of life and of death was played out upon this mysterious musical instrument - and the Vina is still shaped very much like the skull and the spinal cord together.

    Also, we have the seven churches in Asia described in the Epistles of Paul. And we have a series of septenaries: the seven days of creation, the seven primary elements of the alchemical transmutation, the seven metals and the seven priceless gems. We have many different septenaries of deities and we also realize that in the Yogic chakra system, the deities are imposed upon these chakras to create a vast complex of interrelated symbols. Let us bear one thing in mind, however, and that is that no one has ever seen any of these chakras physically. No one has ever been able to demonstrate conclusively that the symbolic forms in which they are presented to us have actually an equivalent in any extrasensory level of our substance, or nature. This does not mean that the chakras do not necessarily have a superphysical existence - but that they do not resemble the diagrammatic form with which we associate them. In other words, it is not possible for us to see these lotus flowers as lotus flowers. It is not possible for us to count their petals and find the letter of the Sanskrit alphabet on each one of them. Nor is it possible for us to look inside one of them and find the six pointed star. Nor look inside another and find an elephant with a ride hobo on its back. These things we do not find when we look, we cannot find these forms. We do know, however, that these forms were created for a purpose and that this purpose was undoubtedly and inevitably, that each one of these so-called chakra forms is a mandala. That is, it is a meditation wheel. The purpose of the shape of the chakra is therefore to cause it to become a symbol of meditation, and it is meditation upon the symbol, and the meaning of that symbol, and the gradual internal experience of that symbol which is believed and held to be responsible for the opening of that particular chakra.

    Thus the key to the opening of the chakras consists of a series of meditations, these meditations being fixed by the ancient systems of Raja Yoga. Also it was held that if any method was used in the effort to unfold these chakras contrary to their rules or that inadequate or incorrect techniques were used, a very serious detriment would result: that the individual would come into a very desperate situation. Now, actually, I think this particular phase of the subject has been a little exaggerated; most of those that are fully aware of Tantra are in agreement with this point, for the simple and single reason that the accidental, or inadequate, or incorrect development of these chakras is virtually impossible. In other words, it is almost inconceivable that a person unacquainted with the entire doctrine could cause these chakras to be agitated or affected in any appreciable way.

    Now, this takes the next point into consideration; where are the chakras? The chakras were held to be in juxtaposition to a series of important centers of the human spine. That these chakras are therefore related intimately with certain gangliated areas, and that the contemplation of them was intended to be directed toward the areas in which they existed. The higher school of Tantra, however, makes a very interesting statement which we made in the book years ago but did not greatly extend: mainly that the chakras are actually, all of them, in the brain and that what we call the spinal chakras are the reflexes of the brain chakras in the mirror of mind. That the neural system carries the reflexes into various parts of the body, but that the chakras themselves are in the seven primary caves of the brain.

    Where do the tantrists say this? Why? For a very simple reason: namely that the entire chakra concept is mental. The entire procedure is mind influencing mind. The entire engendering of the theory and the working out of the theory is a phenomena within the field of mental energy. In order, therefore we will say, to meditate upon the chakra, it must be conceived of mentally. It cannot be regarded as an organ which can be examined by persons of all beliefs. While it's a little inconvenient perhaps to examine your liver just as a casual procedure, still it is perfectly possible for us to know the approximate shape and size of livers by autopsy and dissection or by the very excellent models now made in Germany and I believe soon to be released from Japan, bearing upon this phase in the subject.

    In other words, any physical structure can be explored, can be examined, its size, shape, substance and materials estimated with reasonable accuracy. Such is not true of the chakras. The chakras can be explored only by mind, can be visualized only by mental concentration, can be known and experienced only by mental reflex. Therefore, in the chakras, you have a very rarefied group of mental organs arising within the substance of man's mental existence, and as a result of that, being subject to all conditioning that is possible to a mental structure, or form, in nature.

    Now, here's one of the problems that immediately presents itself on this basis: the mind, being used for the visualization of these spinal mandala, which is what they actually are, engenders in consciousness the symbolic shape. This shape is fixed by tradition. The shape of this chakra and its content, the numerous tantric symbols included in it, symbols which are derived from the various levels of the Hindu religion and have been specialized in the Yoga Tantric system - these symbols are internally visualized as existing. Perhaps the beginner, or the novice, works from a physical chart which shows these forms, with which he becomes mentally and psychologically familiar. The purpose that he is attempting to achieve is, therefore, to release the energy symbolically represented by this form. By releasing the energy, what he is actually trying to do, whether he realizes it or not, is to reverse the process of mental control and restore what might be termed "the pure energy" which has been blocked by mental phenomena. Therefore, these Seven Seals represent the symbols of seven blockages, seven transitory conditions set up by the sensory reflexes of man, resulting in seven basic mistakes. These seven basic mistakes stand between the individual and, we will say, the intimate immediate realization of the life power of the heart. To overcome these, therefore, he must overcome the instruments of phenomenon or phenomena which he has set up. He is therefore actually attempting to lead the life energy out of the subterranean region in which it has become involved, carry it back again to its own true and proper nature by dissolving one by one the fixations of mind, by which this energy is held imprisoned or is held in a highly specialized process. To do this, of course, the Tantra process must achieve the victory of right use over wrong use; that is its primary function. Therefore, the processes of the seven so-called steps must be redeemed from false use; true use must be established, true use must come through realization; and here, within the structure of mind, we find a contrary system established, by means of which mind gradually overcomes itself. It is all part of the same process in as much as your Yogic system must end in Samadhi, it must end in the Buddhist nirvana, it must end in the total release of true consciousness from the ego fixation. This is represented in the Eastern system by the final victory of Atman: the Universal, the One which alone is real and man's ability to achieve union, which is the true meaning of the word "yoga": union with the infinite, union with that which is unconditioned. Therefore, it is not right to assume that the chakras can be anything more or less than the seven steps for attaining victory over illusion.

    Now, the seven steps for attaining victory: man attains the victory by attaining victory over the symbolism of the chakra itself. He gains his victory by mastering these wheels. Now, the word "chakra" actually means "a whirling wheel". Now, the whirling wheel, which is sometimes shown balanced or poised upon the finger point of the god Vishnu, this wheel is a reminder of the Tantra: that these centers are in constant motion. All of these chakras should be represented as spinning violently, and the direction in which they spin is of the greatest importance because, in each case, victory consists in the reversing of the direction. This is very significant as we proceed.

    But why do these chakras always appear or seem to be spinning? The answer is that in the condition of man all of the so-called aspects of mental energy are in constant motion. There is no stability in the mental energy; it is continually in movement, it is continually in conflict, it is continually contradicting itself. And these chakras represent conditions which are constantly in alternation within their own structure, like "the wheel of fortune" that goes round and round, and where it stops - nobody knows. It is the same as the ancient wheel of fortune represented in Egypt and in Greece and in medieval mythology, which later appeared also upon the Tarocchi cards, or the Tarot deck: the wheel in which four figures are fastened to the rim, and as one figure falls, another rises, and when that figure in turn falls, the one that was low rises again. It is this endless turning of the wheel, the turning of the Buddhist prayer wheel; the turning constantly of the alternation of the nidanas, or the conditions of existence, constantly spinning. All conditions, therefore, spin upon the axis of illusion, and there can be no permanent reality or fixedness in them. The purpose of the concept seems to lie in the fact that in the seven states of mental existence represented by the chakras, there can be no fixedness; there can be nothing that is truly so, nothing that is inevitably not so, nothing that is finally good, nothing that is ultimately bad. These are only sequences of conditions, and the conditions themselves are what are called dependencies. Each condition is dependent upon the previous for its own existence and that which is subsequent is dependent upon that which proceeds it. Thus, the wheel goes continuously, and in all of the chakra areas, the motion of the wheel is the ancient symbol of instability: that everything is movable in the universe except the axis. The mysterious, invisible center, upon which the wheel turns, alone is immovable. And in the color chakra system, the axis of the wheel is actually the heart. The heart therefore becomes the axis of a wheel and around it moves the six conditions represented by the six other heavenly bodies: the three inferior and the superior conditions. The three superior conditions are the three states of the elevation of mental phenomena. The three inferior conditions are the three unfortunate, or misery causing, states of mental phenomena, and the wheel continues to turn - for a little success, a little sorrow; for a little of gain, a little of loss; for greatness of hope and moderation of despair - all things moving continuously upon instability. And in the midst of this - the law of instability, the mind itself.

    Yet man has nothing else with which to conquer mind but mind. He has no way of achieving mastery. The heart cannot give him particulars, the heart cannot instruct him in this or in that. The heart, therefore, cannot wage war with mind, because it has none of the objective instruments by means of which mind has created not only its wonderful neural structure, but the ancient symbol of this - the spider in its web. For the nervous system is the great web with which the spider has spun its existence.

    In this system of symbolism, therefore, we have these chakra points, which represent therefore the central patterns, the archetypes of seven conditions, by means of which, the unconditioned, or that which is true, is obscured. The mind has seven patterns upon which it operates. These, we might say, are like the notes of a musical scale. The mind ascends through seven steps, or stages, moving from the infinitely personal to the infinitely impersonal. And the victory of mind over mind is in a mysterious way the only victory which man can achieve, in as much as the mind is his militant instrument. The mind is the mysterious power by means of which the error of the mind itself can be discovered. Thus, as the mind has been shown to produce logic to destroy that which is illogical, mind has produced reason to overcome that which is unreasonable, always remembering that the mind also generated the illogical (which it later had to correct) and also was the source of the unreasonable (over which it ultimately had to gain a victory) and always remembering that the reasonable of today will probably be the unreasonable of tomorrow, and that no degree of mental attainment which man can achieve can be other than the victory of a new mind over an old one, or the victory of today's thinking over yesterday's thinking.

    The mind can, therefore, battle only itself, it can have a victory only over itself, it can make a fool of nothing but itself, and actually, it is the only power that we have, by means of which man can lead himself out of the maze of mind. And the old mystics, being well aware of this fact, then created a rather stable pattern to lure the mind away from its own negations, to conquer step-by-step the primary fallacies of the mind, to achieve ultimately the overcoming of the ultimate fallacy of the mind, which is the fallacy of selfness. This in itself must lead them to that which is beyond self - that is the Atman - or the reconstruction of man's relationships to the concept of self, so that self is no longer the personal being, but the universal being, and that allegiance is transferred from the will of the individual to the silent will of space itself.

    As we know, the end of yoga is union through liberation. We can only safely assume that the steps of yoga are steps toward liberation by the mind overcoming its own previous fixations, these fixations being due largely to the symbolic testimony of the senses. Therefore, one of the sensory perceptions is associated with each of the chakras, and the victory over that testimony of the senses achieves ultimately the victory over the error or the false premise which this has set up in the mental equipment of the individual. On this basis, therefore, it can be quite definitely pointed out that the true chakras are in the mind, and the mind - because it occupies an area in juxtaposition with the brain, we may say, for general purposes, that the true chakras are in the seven important nerve centers of the brain - that the brain, therefore, extends these down through the bodily system itself.

    Now, one of the points that's very interesting about mental phenomena, which I think we have all have begun to realize, is that this phenomena is substantial in its own realm of energy. We can see this mysterious fur-like nervous emanation which comes around the body of man, so that also inwardly when seen from the level of neural vitality, the whole body is a glowing network of nerves. These nerves have their own light and light color in themselves, and they have very much the color which we most commonly associate with nervous energy, and that is a yellow or luminous golden color. Seen therefore from the level of nervous energy itself by extrasensory perception, the entire body is a glowing mass of this yellow light.

    Now, the sensory perceptions arose from the structure of organs. The arterial structure of organs became in turn the archetype for the neural structure of sensory perceptions. Therefore, the vital organs of the body are also associated with our nervous organs which are the chakra centers, which correspond to the physical organs of the body. Thus, as the nervous complex develops, as the individual becomes more and more involved in the development of this highly structured nervous system, we perceive a structural development within the nervous nature itself. And we find emerging in the nerve field of the human body, when seen as luminosity, that there are these so-called seven fountains of constantly pulsing nerve energy and that these seven fountains represent the principle divisions into which nerve energy can be divided. These again result in a psychological situation because the nerve energy being septenary, the upper three parts of these septenary, constituting the higher nerve energy, we generally term today as mental energy. The lower three parts we then also consider to be nervous emotional energy, and the middle point corresponding to the sun, the fourth from each end in this septenary, the sun itself represents the pure energy of the nervous system.

    Thus the nervous system is polarized, and the problem that psychology works with in its effort to understand the situation is that there is a mental nervous energy and an emotional nervous energy. These are both out of equilibrium, and the only thing that is in true equilibrium is pure nervous energy itself which corresponds to the heart as being the center, or balance, of the neural field.

    Nervous energy, as we function with it in the body, has to have a kind of link with matter; a link which corresponds very closely in relation to the arterial venous system with the lymphatic system, and we have to have the equivalent of the nerve lymphatic. This nerve lymphatic has to function in two ways: one, it has to unite the two principal nervous systems which correspond to the two principle systems of blood. It has to link the cerebral spinal and the autonomic processes, which are merely two directions of nerve energy. Also, both parts of the nervous field, the total nervous field, must be linked with the physical body by a series of binders, for the nerve energy cannot affect matter, or material physical structure, unless there is a link by means of which these two are related together.

    Now, the link that is known to antiquity, the classical link between these two, is a kind of magnetic field which partakes somewhat of the nature of nerve energy and somewhat of the nature of matter. We have to have a structure which corresponds with the mysterious aether, or akasha, of the ancients. This is the fluid mist, the airy water, the subtle matter, the agent which carries within itself the power to link the two opposites. It must therefore lie between them.

    And in this we have what the old alchemists and the medieval Rosicrucians referred to as the etheric binder. This etheric binder was sufficiently subtle to take into itself nerve energy and sufficiently gross to be able to communicate this nerve energy to matter. It formed the bridge, a kind of antaskarana between these two fields of existence.

    So wherever nerve functions in body, nerve force moving through nerve structure into body, there has to be these links. The nerve energy itself is one thing, the nerve tube through which it passes is another. The nervous energy is one substance, the tube is another. Thus, the channel belongs to the body and the energy does not, and the energy must be channeled in this tube by means of the so-called etheric binder. The interesting thing that we now come to in connection with this situation is that the so-called etheric binder was one of the agents which a long time ago came very closely and completely under the control of the mind. Thus the ether binder, or this mysterious magnetic field, comes under the dominion of thought, and it is because of this that by means of the mind a series of physical phenomena can be produced. As for example, if you have the skill and the understanding, you can cause patches of color to appear on any part of the body by sending mental energy there by direct effort. You can also stop circulation in various parts of the body or stimulate it in the same way. And if you are gifted as a magnetic healer, you may be able to send sufficient of your own magnetic energy into another body to break up congestion or to stimulate function. These processes are carried by mental intensity, and always this energy moves according to volition, according to the activating guiding power of the agent, which in this case is man.

    In this same field also, we find the area of imagination, for we know that anything which the mind conjures up nervous etheric energy can formulate into patterns or designs, so that we may create visual images. We may create symbols within our own psychic neural structure. We may also therefore develop the power to create various forms and later develop the faculties to see what we have created. Every intensity of human emotion creates mathematical, geometrical, vibratory forms. Some have called these "thought forms". But whatever we may want to say, every emotion and every thought has a number, a color, a form and a sound - and we cannot escape this, no matter how hard we try. So that our thoughts become mental things, and that the mental things with which are thoughts become involved, there are perhaps none more difficult for us to live with than the products of our own negative thinking, because in this process of negative thinking we are working in a wonder world of mental energy. These emotion thought forms which we generate, we obviously generate within the mental nature. Therefore, these forms, whether they be mental or emotional thought forms, actually are generated within the mind itself, but because of our very natural processes of mind, we project them just as the mind projects the chakras, and as a result of that, these forms, these thought entities, can be seen as something separate from ourselves although they have no substance except in ourselves. We can project them. Just as for example, there is a phase of psychology in which we can project an image from within the subconscious, and project it objectively as a visual form, and see this image as distinct and apart from ourselves. This is one type of ghost, the ghost being a reversed perception from within ourselves, projecting itself in such a way that its image is recorded in the brain at the same time that visual image of places or a place is recorded; so that we may be standing in a room which is properly recorded and see also standing in that room a person who is not there, because the person has been imposed within the mind upon the thing actually seen by the sensory perception.

    Now, this, further to our purpose at the moment, simply means that if any person, deeply concerned with problems such as Yoga and Tantra, develops a certain type of mental intensification, they can cause the symbolic diagrammatic forms of these chakras to be created in the mind. These forms can then be visualized in relationship to the body. And it is perfectly conceivable that the individual could see, as a result of the imagination, moving aether, which is a reflecting medium, [and he] can actually see in the body any of the processes which are described in Yoga. The thing you must realize, however, is that he has created them out of his own thinking. This does not mean that the Yoga processes are not true - but it does mean that these processes are not necessarily identical with our expectancy about them. And the thing we see is in terms of our expectancy, because it is created by ourselves.

    Now, the practical side of this - there is always a practical side to these problems - is that an individual can come (and many have come to me) who were in a really terrible state of mind. They had taken a half a dozen lessons in Yoga from an outstanding exponent who disappeared soon after and was not seen again (laugh), and as a result of this procedure, these individuals were beginning to have strange symptoms. And the only thing that they could finally decide was that their interior Yogic chakric system had been badly mistreated by one cause or another and that, therefore, they were in a horrible state and about the only thing they could hope for was better luck in the next incarnation. (Laugh) These people described all of the unhappy symptoms which they theoretically assumed would accompany Yoga. They insisted that at some time when they were least expecting it and really weren't even looking at that moment, this tremendous power of the Kundalini surged upward like a geysering oil well, burst into their brain, went out the top of their head and took their common sense with it. (Big laugh)

    Now, this situation actually happens. People under such conditions are quite naturally frightened to death, and from this situation has arisen the belief that by wrong practices or by incorrect guidance, a great spiritual injury has been performed. Under this kind of terror and under the prevailing mental tyranny which would associate with it, lives have been completely wrecked and individuals have finally landed in hopeless mental breakdown and been confined in institutions. Actually, the chakras were not touched, moved or involved - because nobody could actually create the condition which was described as a result of six lessons or sixty-six lessons. The actual moving of this peculiar psychic agent is so profound and involved a problem that the individual who was in trouble could not even have approached the beginning of it! What they had actually done was create a complete mental chain of chakras and blown this apart with their own fear.

    Now, this type of thing can happen, does happen - and another individual incidentally with a little psychic vision might appear to see what they have seen and then get confirmation, because their own thought form has set up these etheric thought patterns which can be seen by another person - but the fact they can be seen still does not make them so, for in this entire phenomenon of mind, there is nothing that the mind testifies to that is finally true. This is an amazing but important fragment of philosophy. The fact that the mind has decided it is in itself trying to face the evidence that there is something wrong with it. (Laugh) For the only truth is that which the mind cannot conceive. The mind is, at best, an organ of diminishing error, in which by degrees we can overcome its most flagrant mistakes - but we cannot overcome its final mistake which is self-existence until, as the ancients believed, we had achieved the Samadhi, or the final union with Absolute Being.

    So in the chakra problem we are dealing with a series of symbols. The actual process in Tantra, in the highest schools of Tantra, was not the idea that by means of will and mind, the individual was to change the structure of the chakra. The chakra is a condition; conditions are not changed by will and yoga. Conditions are changed essentially by a kind of gradual transformation of value. Thus the meditation significance of the chakra is very simple. The purpose of it is that man shall gradually experience the mystery of the error, by means of which the energy associated with the chakra is locked to a false usage. The purpose, therefore, is not to influence the chakra, not to force it, not to gain a valiant victory over it; the purpose of the meditation is to remove the error related to it. Now, the error related to the chakra is always the error of the use of energy. The chakra represents a pattern which has a true purpose and a false purpose. While it is negatively bound to the network of the nervous body system, the chakra is not fulfilling its essential purpose, for each of the sensory perceptions has as its final purpose the mingling of itself with all others for the attainment of the process or achievement of illumination, or cosmic consciousness. This is not possible because in each chakra, the consciousness factor is locked on the side of phenomena or on the side of physical function. Thus every energy that is falsely bound to a physical process must be liberated, in order that this energy may return to its proper state. And when the energies of the seven sensory factors are all returned to their proper state, the result is illumination. It is the holding of the energy to false usage, or to inadequate usage, or a locking of the power of this energy away from those procedures which are natural to it and essential to its function. This is what the Yoga chakra schools seek to understand and correct.

    So we have the releasing, or the so-called opening, of the centers. This opening never can be associated in itself with danger because good can never be dangerous. Furthermore, by its own various procedures, these chakra energies have to be released in order, in sequence and by degrees. And the energy of even the least of these chakras has to be released in four stages, and in some of the chakras the energy has to be released by sixteen stages, in others - by twelve stages, but none less than two stages, and in the body itself, the number cannot be less than four. The only one that can be less than four is the Ajna chakra in the forehead which is of two pebbles only and represents the one exception to this rule. But each of these is released by the meditation upon the meaning of the letter upon the petals. Now, this has to be done by knowledge, by an actual factual awareness of facts. It is no more possible to go somewhere, sit down and close your eyes tightly and go to work on this problem - then it is to fly to the moon without mechanical help. With mechanical help we may make it, but we still will not be able to solve the mystery of the moon and the chakra, and there is one there.

    The answer to this situation, of course, lies in the relaxation of the uses of these energies as the individual gains equilibrium: freedom from excess, it is said that the petals open. In other words, the petals relax. Opening is relaxation. It is the assertion of the normal over the subnormal or the abnormal. In the case of man, these centers are originally represented as buds, because they represent potentials of consciousness with the consciousness locked in them. By the quietude of consciousness, the Kundali which is the symbol in man of the ascending power of the pure volition of Atman - the Kundali, or Kundalini, is therefore the tracing of the path of true growth, as opposed to all apparent or seeming growth. It is the gradual rising of the pure essence of consciousness through conditions to its final unconditioned release. It is the gradual unfolding of those creative powers in man which must finally have their final victory over the mental complex of idea sensation. So the achievement consists in the same way as the various steps in all the disciplines of religion.

    There is almost certainly an analogy also between the idea that man had: that there were originally seven important religions and that these religions are in turn associated with the chakras. These religions probably stemmed from or were responsible for the concept of the seven churches. There is no question that each of these religious systems is keyed primarily to a different key note, although the object of all is always identical. The purpose of the religion is always a state of holiness, but each in its own way has a basic psychological concept as to how this is to be obtained. There are religions of love, religions of service, religions of wisdom, religions of courage, there are religions which teach positive doctrines and others which seem to teach negative doctrines - and the ancients simply held that the great religions of the world were themselves more or less this symbol of the chakra chain, or as it's referred to by Sri Krishna in I believe the [Utara-Gita?], there is this idea of the one thread passing through the seven beads. Now, the seven beads can be the seven chakras, the seven beads can be the seven religions, they can be the seven races, they can be the seven continents, the seven forms of life, the species, the genera of all things. But wherever this septenary occurs, it finally tells us that the creative power itself represented in Tantra by Shiva, that the creative power itself in meditation creates the seven worlds from its own mental chakra centers, and that the creation is the setting in motion of the seven wheels, or chakras, within the structure of Universal Mind. In this, the atmosphere gets rather thin but at the same time, the symbolism is meaningful and I think has basic significance for us. That this septenary which we find in nature therefore always flows back into the sign and symbol of the great mendicant, and that is Shiva seated upon the top of the mountains of Himavat wearing the garment of ashes as the symbol of mendicancy, holding the Tridenta and with the River Ganga, or Ganges, pouring out of his head. But in this meditation symbol, the Deity enters into, in descending order, the consciousness of the seven ganglia of the nervous mental consciousness and from each of these levels causes a creation to flow out. Man is one of these creations. Each form of nature repeats, therefore, a miniature of the procedures of the great mendicant. The same mendicant draws the universe back into itself again and the end of the great period of manifestation by reversing the visualizing process and causing the consciousness to ascend again through the seven conditions to the unconditioned. Thus involution is the emergence of all these worlds, coming forth out of the great chakra wheels of universal mind energy. Evolution is the reversal of the motion of the wheel and the gradual reabsorption of [the] conditioned into the unconditioned, on each level.

    Therefore, if we wish to take one of the chakras, let us for instance take the heart chakra for example, which apparently is the chakra that was of the greatest significance in the Pure Land gospel of Buddha. In this chakra, we have the concept, therefore, of the radiant power represented by the Buddha [Amitaba?], seated in the midst of this great lotus, and these deities are always lotus-throned, and these lotus thrones are the chakra in each case - but seated in the midst of this lotus throne on the victory of the heart, as a victorious fact over the illusion of desire which is its negative fact, the victory of compassion over passion, the victory of love over desire, the victory of release over possessiveness, the victory of love over hate, the victory of all things in their own nature - right, true or good over their extensions, or their misinterpretations, or their confusions as a result of the impact of external phenomena. The victory in each case is the restoration of the simple fact of the thing.

    Therefore, when from the heart chakra, which we have variously used in our functions, someone says, "have a heart", someone else says, "he's kind-hearted", another individual says "his heart is in the right place". These are tremendously dynamic statements, we never could imagine the heart being anywhere else (laugh) - but anyway, it sounds good. Psychologically, we are now referring to the goodness of the heart. When the simple fact of the goodness of the heart achieves victory over the compromises which we make of affection regard friendship in the concourse of daily life; when the heart becomes the seat of goodness, and this goodness gains victory over the illusion of compromise - we may then say that the heart chakra opens. The discipline by which it is achieved may involve the recognition of the chakra, the recognition of the unfolding of it, but the discipline is meaningless unless it is accompanied by a series of transformations of conduct, by which in fact and in action, man's understanding is transformed from selfishness to selflessness, from egoism to non-egoism, from personal to universal. And when the transformations have occurred in the conduct and character of the individual, the ancients decided, or revealed, that this energy which has been locked in issues, now begins to flow out in its natural purpose, and the nature of this energy is therefore represented by the twelve petals of this flower, and with these petals opening, the victory of this consciousness over the twelve nidanas which are the conditions of existence, which can all be solved by true love - the victory, therefore, of the chakra simply means that its energy is now devoted to solution rather than to confusion, and that by an experience of consciousness, we have achieved the opening of this flower upon the mysterious rod which we call the spine. This is the symbol of the blossoming of the rod of Joseph and in the [...] legend, the blossoming of the staff of the penitent who is forgiven because his rod blossoms, and the blossoming upon the staff is, of course, the symbol of repentance, but most of all, it is the symbol of God's witness that this repentance is accepted; which simply means that the divine power is then moving through these blossoms in its own appointed way, and that pure consciousness is beginning to move out through the neural system, and that as a result of that, the nervous energy thus becomes a redeemed energy, and that which was the betrayer becomes the redeemer.

    And in the end, as the Persians say "Ormazd, the spirit of light, and Ahriman, the principle of darkness, are reconciled" - and it is in the nervous field that good and evil, right and wrong, truth and error must make their great struggle and finally be reconciled, because good and evil are brothers. They are both derived from the same energy, they are both supported by the same energy - but enlightenment releases this energy from evil and dedicates it to good. The wheels reverse their motion and the Dharmachakra, or the "wheel of the law" that is forever turning, turns towards redemption rather than toward embodiment and toward the dharma of unfulfilled personal desire.

    This I think perhaps will give us a little different concept of this, perhaps a little nearer to the teachings of the great essential Tantra, before it was disfigured by various adulterations of belief, in other words, before the mind took it over and ruined it. (Laugh) But to redeem it again, it is once more the victory of true consciousness over mental consciousness - and from this, the ultimate victory of silence over all sound because it is in the great heart chakra I think that that Dr. Suzuki got consolation for his idea of a man - a zen monk - slapping his hands together and saying "You hear the sound?", and then the disciple says "yes". Now the master said, "Make a sound by slapping one hand together" (laugh) - and the disciple had a little trouble with that. (Laugh) But in the twelve petal chakra, according to the Tantric scripture, comes from this chakra, the heart chakra, the sound that is not caused by any two objects striking. This is one of the keys of the chakra.

    So in this, we have this concept of pilgrimage, or shrines of the pilgrim, going along the path and stopping to pay tribute to the various shrines of his faith, and in each of these shrines making the offering of his life afresh to the principle represented by the enshrined power, or the enshrined deity. And by this mysterious journey, the individual therefore releases the true energy which he has from bondage to the mind and restores it again to the service of pure consciousness itself.

    Well, that's quite a little to think about, maybe that'll do for the night!

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