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Kalahansa and Kalachakra


Saith the Great Law:
In order to become the
KNOWER of ALL SELF, thou hast first ofSELF
to be the knower.
To reach the knowledge of that
SELF, thou hast to give up Self
to Non-Self,
Being to Non-Being and then thou canst repose between the wings
of the
Aye, sweet is rest between the wings of that which is not born, nor dies,
but is the
AUM throughout eternal ages.

Bestride the Bird of Life if thou wouldst know.

Give up thy life, if thou wouldst live.

The Voice of the Silence

The pregenetic logic of the cosmos which initiates the dawn of differentiation in each manvantara is inseparable from the omnipresence of daiviprakriti, the Light of the Logos at every single point in space. This must first be grasped through the metaphysical imagination, and then through mystical meditation upon Kalahansa, the Dark Swan of Everlasting Duration which manifests as the White Swan of Eternity in Time. The Great Bird of Life is the primordial and sacred bridge between kala and khandakala, the unconditionally Timeless and conditioned Time. The Ineffable Light hidden in Divine Darkness in boundless space becomes, in the dawn of differentiation, the rainbow bridge which displays the colourless light of the Spiritual Sun in its beatific dance with seven veils, suggesting the seven primordial Rays in splendid unison as the fons et origo of the dazzling and incalculable multiplicity of manifestation. In this way, the unknowable Deity assumes the pristine, illusive appearance of Ishvara, the manifested Logos of the cosmos, which is the origin of the mahamaya that makes all evolution and involution possible over immense periods of cyclic recurrence.

To say that Deity is unthinkable and unspeakable is an act of honest supplication whereby we acknowledge, as well as seek to transcend, the limits of thought, individual volition, feeling, and all conceptions of being which are conditioned by finite time and bounded space. This truly requires us to lift our sights and calculations beyond the horizon of everything perceptible or imaginable in the ever changing world of subjects and objects, acts and events, arenas and epochs, states of mind and planes of matter. We must learn to look beyond the panoramic flux of perpetually succeeding as well as simultaneously present appearances, behind and beyond all permutations of substance-matter, which are mental projections of seemingly separate minds, participating in a common field of unitary consciousness. Even the enticing notions of myriad beings and myriad objects, as well as the entire gamut of conditioned and variegated consciousness, must be transcended. In sum, any and every notion of Deity is wholly inadequate to the infinite transcendence, immanent omnipresence and inexhaustible plenitude of THAT (OM TAT SAT) which far surpasses and supersedes everything that exists, and all possible worlds, all conceivable sumtotals of actualities and actualizations. Hence the awe inspiring agnosticism in the magnificent and incomparable Rig Vedic hymn about divine creation.

The greatest sages and the most eloquent seers can merely convey through mantras and analogies, metaphors and chants, the inscrutable and unfathomable nature of Deity. Even the most ardent mystics can merely intimate the ineffable and incomplete nature of their numinous experience of the divine. It is beyond everything that is manifested, manifesting and evenpotentially capable of manifestation. The divine eludes all possible human conceptions of cosmic plenitude and potential invoked by such metaphors as the limitless sky or endless space, the boundless ocean or ceaseless motion. Beyond a point, all metaphors fail and break down, and even the mathematics of the transfinite is dependent upon limiting assumptions or unprovable axioms. There is no expanse of land or sea, desert or empyrean, that can give a sufficient taste or adequate sense of boundless space, eternal duration or perpetual motion, let alone the absolute silence and supreme stillness, the maunam, commended by Rishi Sanatsujatiya as comparable to the AUM, the paramatman, conscious immortality, supreme gnosis and ceaseless meditation.

The greater the level of gnosis, the profounder the agnostic reverence for the Unknowable, the Unfathomable, the Inexhaustible and the Inexpressible. This has been appreciated by the profoundest thinkers in pure mathematics, theoretical astronomy, quantum physics and microbiology. In 1927 Sir Arthur Eddington spoke for the wisest scientists of our time when he said:

It has become doubtful whether it will ever be possible to construct a physical world out of the knowable -- the guiding principle in our macroscopic theories. If it is possible, it involves a great upheaval of the present foundations. It seems more likely that we must be content to admit a mixture of the knowable and the unknowable. This means a denial of determinism, because the data required for a prediction of the future will include the unknowable elements of the past. I think it was Heisenberg who said, "The question whether from a complete knowledge of the past we can predict the future, does not arise because a complete knowledge of the past involves a self-contradiction.". . .
A quantum action may be the means of revealing to us some fact about Nature, but simultaneously a fresh unknown is implanted in the womb of Time. An addition to knowledge is won at the expense of an addition to ignorance. It is hard to empty the well of Truth with a leaky bucket.

This metaphor is reminiscent of the tale told in Plato"s Gorgias about the leaky jars of souls that are not only lacking in the powers of assimilation and retentiveness, but also in the dialectical ability and philosophical persistence to pursue learning beyond the boundaries of the known and the knowable. Even the best minds with the greatest capacity for lifelong learning, with the highest powers of concentration, absorption and abstraction, are marked by their wise recognition of the limits of thought and language, cognition and comprehension. Rising beyond the regions of becoming to the realms of Being, the true philosopher or lover of wisdom goes beyond the completest models and broadest hypostases to the calm contemplation of the supreme, ineffable Agathon.

Whether we think in terms of boundless space, endless duration or ceaseless motion, we have an intrinsic incapacity to capture, to confine, even to mirror -- much less give a local habitation and name -- to the formless and nameless, omnipresent and omnipotent Deity. At the same time, the transcendence of Deity, which cannot logically have any relation whatsoever with the world of time and change, must be discernible, however dimly, in the world of becoming. This raises a profound philosophical challenge, one which was directly confronted by classical thinkers, especially in Vedic India and preSocratic Greece. They recognized that the One without a second cannot, if it is unconditioned, relationless and attributeless, originate the world of the many -- the world of form, colour and limitation, together with what Buddha called the "chain of dependent origination". Instead of postulating an extra-cosmic, anthropomorphic creator, and at the risk of remaining agnostic or appearing atheistic, they spoke of pre-cosmic ideation and pre-cosmic substance as interrelated aspects of a single ever-existent Reality, or a primordial and homogeneous substance-principle. Phrases like satchitananda, chidakasha and chinmatra, or svabhavat and shunyata, refer to a state of BE-NESS rather than Being, as we know it. In it lies latent the all-comprehensive set inclusive of all sets and sumtotals, the entire range of conceivable possibilities of all awareness, all matter and all energy, or force in its most primordial, pregenetic sense.

In the Divine Darkness of the night of non-manifestation, there is limitless subjectivity, omnipresent objectivity and inexhaustible energy, all existing in potentia and yet inseparable from each other. They are three aspects or hypostases of a primordial Pythagorean monas or Kosmic Monad, which is latent like a divine germ in the Divine Ground, the one indivisible substance-principle, the one supreme Reality which is the omnipresent substratum of all noumenal and phenomenal existence. Within that Divine Ground, which is often called TAT, there is an allpotent stirring or swelling, pulsation or gestation, which makes possible a pristine reflection of Deity in the "waters of Space". This initiates the world of time and space, of kala, kalakhanda and mahamaya, though at an extremely subtle, ineffable and macrocosmic level, on a plane which is so homogeneous and impartite that it is the realm of non-manifestation, which can never be manifested in any region wherein there is a progressive differentiation into subjects and objects.

This is, nonetheless, the transcendent origin of all noumenal manifestation, but since this first point originates proemally in the realm of the unmanifest, it is sometimes called the unmanifest Logos. The unmanifest Logos radiates, emanates and issues forth -- these are all inadequate terms for a mysterious transcendental process -- the manifested Logos, parameshvara, the all-pervasive sovereign intelligence, divine will and supreme life force in a vast system of worlds that subsists for an immense period of manifestation, or mahamanvantara By analogy and correspondence, this can also be applied to the commencement of manvantaras and kalpas, the lesser epochs of manifestation of the solar system, the planets with their respective seven globes, and the earth chain.

When one goes back in the deepest meditations beyond all beginnings and all endings, and does this daily with the whole of one"s being – emptying out all categories, conceptions and feelings of selfhood, name and form (namarupa), not only in relation to the body and its seeming identity, but also in relation to the subtler vestures and all possible notions of objectivity, and even in terms of all conceivable notions of subjectivity – then one comes closer to the Ever-Existent SELF. Yet, owing to the "emergence" of the unmanifested Logos – in a manner which led metaphysicians like Shankaracharya to speak of the world as constituted of Ishvara and maya – it is as if there are myriads of beings in myriads of worlds interacting with myriads of objects and expressing their subjectivity, thereby gathering and dispersing myriads of energies and forces. These are all permutations and combinations on successive planes of differentiation of a single Force, with seven primary manifestations.

At every point of space in every single form – in every leaf, flower or fruit -- there is the fullness of Deity. That is why the ancient sacred texts often use the potent metaphor of the lotus to refer both to the cosmos and man, to the vast macrocosm and the crystalline microcosm. The lotus is a consecrated aid to contemplation because of its suggestive botanical characteristics, especially the fact that it contains a complete replica of itself in miniature within its seed. This theurgic and organic metaphor reveals upon reflection that everything is sacred and nothing isprofane to the enlightened seer or yogin. At every point of space there is the ever-present possibility of arousing, activating, sensing and breathing Deity itself. From the most transcendental intimations of Deity, such as in the Vedic hymns, the esoteric Upanishads, the Chaldean or Hermetic fragments or the incantatory Kabbalistic chant of Solomon ben Gabirol, one may derive the most omnipresent and immanent view of God.

If one meditates, commencing with a metaphysical or mathematical centre and inscribing a circle around it, and then imagines a series of concentric circles expanding in every direction, that circle becomes a swelling sphere until it ultimately dissolves into the boundless empyrean encompassing and receding beyond the entire cosmos. At the same time, it will still have its stable centre in human consciousness, at greater and greater cycles of abstraction. Such is the extraordinary power of metaphysical imagination, or truly deep meditation, which can be made the assured basis of altruistic, noetic magic. Though one may try to apprehend this and seek to abstract one"s mind by using this evocative language, and even though one may also attempt sanyama, the instantaneous fusion of dharana or concentration, dhyana or deep meditation, and samadhi or total, ecstatic absorption, there are obstacles one repeatedly encounters.

For a start, many people most of the time cannot readily sustain this rarefied level of abstraction, any more than we can easily breathe the rarefied air high up in the mountain ranges. On the physical plane one cannot breathe at great elevations without assiduous practice and progressive acclimatization. When it comes to acclimatizing the mind to that awesome degree of abstraction required by sanyama, the systematic spiritual training involved is difficult indeed. No wonder Nicholas of Cusa remarked that unless a person has really grasped the mathematics of the infinite, he cannot make any meaningful pronouncement upon God. This was a wise and compassionate corrective to check all those who were dogmatizing and unduly verbalizing in terms of concrete images, limiting conceptions and empty words about the Godhead.

Nonetheless, infinity is actually mirrored in the infinitesimal. One can get a sense of depth not merely by expansion or by elevation of consciousness, but also by intense concentration upon what is near at hand. Hence in yogic practices, such as those taught in theBhagavad Gita, emphasis is given to concentration upon the point between the eyes as a starting point for meditation. In the thirteenth chapter, Shri Krishna points out that Deity, which seems so far away, is also closer than anything else. This sense of the closeness of Deity is something one can experience in human life when one is privileged to be present either at the birth of a baby or at the deathbed of a human soul who is leaving the body. At such moments and at other times in life – at solemn ceremonies, joyous festivals, and sometimes in fleeting moments in human relationships – one can experience a depth of feeling, of self-transcendence and self- forgetfulness, of pure joy and serenity, which is healing, calming and soothing to the soul. The influence of these intimations of immanent immortality is so real that in such moments one can feel the touch of the divine.

All of this is expressed in the great metaphor of Kalahansa, sometimes translated as "the Swan in and out of time". Kalahansa is black, representing Divine Darkness, the plenum of all potentiality. Imagine a mighty cosmic bird with black wings, which correspond to infinity and eternity. Although at rest, that same bird emanates or emerges as a white bird in space and time. Kalahansa in eternity is behind Kalahansa in time. This powerful metaphor represents the descent of Dhyanis from Divine Darkness – from what seems to be motionless absolute stillness – into the world of becoming, where there is rhythmic motion amidst burgeoning life, growth, decay and death, but also endless regeneration. Kalahansa stands for all the endless cycles (Kalachakra): the cycles of the seasons, the cycles of the year, the cycles represented by the revolutions of the planets, but also the cycles of day and night and the cycles that human beings experience – in sleeping and waking, in living and dying, in birth and death and rebirth.

In all the vast cycles of time and manifestation, there is a representation of a certain rhythm which itself is a reflection of the inbreathing and the outbreathing of the Great Bird. Even when still and motionless, it is breathing in and breathing out. This means that there is an analogue to physical breathing in mental breathing, in the breathing of the organs and centres of the subtle vestures, and even a kind of spiritual breathing. There is also a diastolic and systolic movement in the spiritual heart that is only dimly reflected in the diastole and systole of the physical heart, beautiful and wondrous as it is. Therefore, in the very act of being alive there is a gratitude for life itself. There is in life itself an ultimate form of worship, piety and prayer, of celebration and reverence for the divine. This is the basis of all folk cultures as well as all the festive gatherings of human beings over thousands upon thousands of years, where the birth or death of one being is greeted as relevant to all. There is a recognition, but also a transcendence, an insertion and immersion, of what is deeply significant and sacred in the lives of individuals into the great stream of collective life, and ultimately into the unending stream of the universal pilgrimage of humanity.

Nature is full of reminders and representations of the reality of the collective life process pointing to the significance of the great collective breathing in and breathing out of the Great Bird. The metaphor of Kalahansa also gives beautiful emphasis to soaring and sinking in the air, reminding one of Gandhi"s trenchant statement, "Human nature is such that it must either soar or sink." There is no middle, lukewarm, Lockean position, no resting place in life. Every moment a human being is either soaring – and for Gandhi one of the yardsticks was becoming more nonviolent – or becoming more violent, more self- destructive, more deceitful. If human nature is constantly either soaring or sinking, then one can see why, as in Plato"s Symposium, the growing of wings is taken as an archetypal image of growth.

In the Symposium this growth is movement upon the ladder of love. Diotima, the great prophetess of whom Socrates speaks, characterizes love as the mediating term between mortality and immortality. Love is neither human nor divine, but mediates between them. It is beyond all growth and behind all discontent. It is behind all longings and frustrations, but above all, it is behind every effort to look up and begin all over again in a new direction. Most people start with little loves and may come to find in them mere projections of self-love. Through illusory expectations, they have concretized and over romanticized their conception of love, trying to reduce what cannot be captured into space and time, into bonds and ties, thereby ensuring the inevitability of pain and disillusionment. Nonetheless, by persisting, human beings can come to recognize that there are many different instances and levels of beauty. They can also recognize that to apprehend beauty itself they need the impersonal intellect. They need the power of meditation, abstract visualization and creative imagination. There is a beauty to effort and not only to achievement. There is a beauty even in failure. There is a beauty in the struggle of the human soul through pain and torment. There is also a beauty in rules and laws, even though they are imperfect representations of the ineffable beauty that is much more archetypally mirrored in the celestial patterns and the great laws pertaining to the movements of heavenly bodies. In other words, one can extend and deepen one"s conception of beauty through love of truth and the truth of love.

This is a kind of sprouting of wings, because it cannot be done without releasing a divine enthusiasm and divine afflatus, without becoming more capable of being creative in new ways. It is not as if one goes through these things without their acting upon the will and desire. Indeed,they do. But above all, they act upon one"s fundamental sense of life, transmuting one"s image of the world in which one lives, and one"s image of all humanity. Such growth may be called the sprouting of wings, and these wings help one to ascend to a higher plane of consciousness. After a point – to take the ideal case of the Adept, the perfected man who has mastered the capacity to move between planes, who has freed himself from the illusions making up the lunar body and the lunar mind, and who has totally transmuted the energy of desire – the perfected individual is not only able to move consciously between planes. On any one plane, he is able to arouse and activate a sense of the multidimensional nature of the universe in other human beings. Everything he does is unique and inimitable. Each act is an original. Yet in every act and gesture there is a capacity to turn human beings back upon themselves, arousing in them latent potentialities and forgotten soul memories and melodies of long, long ago.

In the Adept, wisdom, compassion and sacrifice come alive as living links between Deity, Nature and Man. Adeptship is the fulfillment of the path of striving and woe, but it is essentially the spiritual efflorescence of an age, not of any isolated being. It has redemptive meaning for all human beings and the whole of Nature. Understood in this light, every human being who reflects deeply upon the quest for wisdom will see that wisdom is beyond the limits of manifestation and all limits of human knowledge. At its highest level, wisdom is beyond the capacity of utterance or formulation, beyond all signs and symbols, beyond all tokens and icons. Therefore, it is transcendental and divine. At the same time, one can also see that wisdom must include the intelligence suffused throughout Nature, which works through the intricate impulses in every cell, atom and molecule. Because there is intelligence in every single speck of space, Nature itself is intelligible in principle, and Deity represents this principle of intelligibility in Nature. Thus the gift of God to man is the power of making intelligible that which is intelligible in Nature. The ancients saw reason as the quintessential human mode of participation in the divine. It is one of the great wings with which the human being can ascend, going beyond all discursive thought couched in terms of comparison and contrast. In its original meaning, rationality had to do with ratio – cognition of the mathematics of the cosmos through ratios and proportions of numbers and rates of movement.

The fourth principle, completing and dynamizing the triad of wisdom, compassion and sacrifice, is the principle of metaphysical continuity between the highest and the lowest. "The highest sees through the eyes of the lowest" is an ancient Hermetic axiom. Therefore, God sees through an ant. The Divine Mind is related to the mind of an ant. There is a continuity not only across the entire spectrum and total gamut of all human existence, intellection and ideation, but also a continuity that embraces all the seven kingdoms of Nature, encompassing everything in the three elemental domains, the mineral, vegetable, animal and human kingdoms. This profound, all ramifying principle of continuity can be understood with the help of language only up to a certain point. Beyond this, one has to experience it. If Nature is intelligible to the human mind, in principle, then man is intended to enquire into the inscrutable.

Man is most human when he questions, but must begin by questioning himself. From this self-questioning there must arise a whole state of mind where everything is questioned and nothing is taken for granted. Because one cannot do this all the time, either through noisy speech or through favoured times of dialogue, one mostly has to do it in silence. Every baby does so openly, asking more "Why?" questions than its mother, father or teachers can either answer or have the patience for. If a child is to learn to persist within itself, it has also to learn something more – that everything cannot be told and everything cannot be talked about. Though public schools may follow the "show and tell" method, for inward growth one must also learn the "donot show and do not tell" method. Modern society has lost this art of quiet self-questioning, and therefore its members are mediumistically prone and sporadically subject to all the limited views of human nature and the world that make up the ephemera of bourgeois pseudo-culture. This does not merely happen accidentally; it is part of the suggestibility of the psyche to mass hypnosis in the twentieth century.

The dangers of this mass hypnosis were pointed out early in the century by the dying Tolstoy to the young Gandhi, and also by Robert Crosbie. Now that humanity is in the thick of this age of mass hypnosis, suggestibility and bombardment through images, it has become much harder and tougher to individuate. It is much more difficult to release a compassion that can bridge Nature and Man, and even mirror something of the Divine. Paradoxically, somewhere in human beings – especially when they are totally down and out, when they are totally friendless and all alone with no one having a single interest in them, when it is extremely difficult for them to generate any faith in themselves for the future – there is in that terrible lonely state some sense of the divine love of Buddha, the compassion of Christ. As in the film The Killing Fields about Cambodia, in the direst conditions, with all the massacres taking place and all the insults to human life, somewhere in a human being there is a memory of the compassion of Buddha that helps one to keep going. The compassion of Buddha and Christ is the secret force in the unrecorded history of man. It is the compassion of the Logos in the cosmos. Hence the meaning of Om Mani Padme Hum, the Jewel in the Lotus, the God in Man.

It is a constant salutation and a continuous affirmation of the ever-existent reality of a wisdom and compassion which are divine, but which can also be seen in human beings at times, and, depending upon their power of penetrating the veil of the visible, in Nature itself. To do so is the perpetual challenge that has faced all mystics and seekers in every era. Today it is an overwhelming challenge because this is an age of unprecedented discontinuity and fragmentation of consciousness. People say things in the morning they do not remember in the evening, and make promises this week they do not remember next week. It is extremely difficult to overcome the bombardment of the sensorium and brain by a mass of disparate, disconnected and useless information. That is why most people talk compulsively. They retell stories. If one has not watched something on television, beware! One will meet three people, each of whom is going to give a blow by blow account of it which will take much longer than the original programme. With this kind of compulsive communication, the bombardment of the sensorium and brain by a mass of inputs is amazing.

It is a tremendous task to maintain continuity of universal, impersonal self-consciousness, continuity in the atman, continuity in the brahman, continuity in the AUM. Since it is so difficult, strong measures have to be taken. Instead of setting oneself impossible targets, one must start with honest, small targets. Can one take a single shloka from a sacred text and keep it in mind during the day, bringing the mind back to it from time to time, and using it to give significance and meaning to different moments in life in different contexts? Can one take a keynote for a week and think about it daily, coming back to the main theme so that one can see a continuous thread of meaning running through the week? These are aids to continuity on a small scale, but if a person truly uses them, they can help to reveal the logic behind the seasons. In time, one can learn to cooperate with the vibrations of the solstices and the equinoxes, the cycles of the sun, moon and planets, and above all, the sacred festivals and observances that mark the descents of the Logos into terrestrial and human life, associated with Rama, Krishna, Buddha or Christ. If one can work with the seasons and the timetables of Nature and the spiritual history of man, one can make the principle of continuity active, joyous and self-sustaining. One should honour whatever one can use in one"s daily reflections upon life, making as many connections as possible with the great stream of history, with the spiritual pilgrimage of all humanity, and with the Promethean current of the present historical moment.

By strengthening one"s capacity for continuity in these ways, one can bring wisdom, compassion and sacrifice together. The whole of life is a sacrifice. All beings are all the time ceaselessly partakers of the sacrifice of others. There is not a human being who does not owe, at any given time, more to more people than he or she has had time to pay back. How many people really think about this? Over a thousand years each human being has had a million ancestors. Whatever the incredible significance of this ancestry on the lunar and the physical plane, the ultimate spiritual ancestry of humanity is a myriad times more magnificent. It traces back to all the Fathers and Teachers of the human race, the Elder Brothers and the Saviours of humanity. When one thinks in this way, the principle of sacrifice becomes the perfect basis for rooting out the poison of self-concern and personal injustice. Through heartfelt gratitude one can root out the appalling asuric tendency to insult the universe and the Law of Karma merely because they do not coincide with one"s stupid likes and dislikes. Just because one had a spoilt childhood in junior high and never learnt to come to terms with controlling these likes and dislikes, it is terrible to make them the yardstick of life. Like a court of law without any rules or any proper defence counsel, it is an inefficient way to reach decisions.

One really does not want to encourage this raucous voice, the sound of rebellious, discontented lower manas stridently proclaiming its pseudo-independence: "No one can tell me anything. I can look after myself. I am going to be independent." If any of this were true, one would not have to talk about it. One would quietly live it. The moment one feels compelled to say it, one should know that it is false. There is no harm in reminding oneself quietly and seriously of the need for self-reliance and responsibility, but, because people cannot do this, most human conversation becomes a kind of inefficient psychoanalysis, a poor, distorted form of therapy. One is talking to oneself but in the name of talking to others, which is certainly confusing to other people, and this leads to a general failure of communication. In other words, there is a high noise to signal ratio, and hence one cannot really listen to the deepest voice in oneself, the Voice of the Silence. One cannot listen to the music of the spheres.

Occult healing of soul deafness can come through the Great Bird, the AUM throughout eternal ages, which is the synthesis of Deity, Nature and Man as well as that of wisdom, compassion and sacrifice. The most incredible achievement of the human race – never mind how many millions of years ago it happened – is that men and women in the most ancient civilizations of the earth recognized the archetypal nature of the most sacred of sounds. The first sound that the human mouth can utter when it opens is A. The sound which closes the mouth is M. A stands for all beginnings, and M stands for all endings, but these endings are not final, and these beginnings are not unprecedented. To go from A to M one needs a U, and that is the process of becoming. Therefore AUM is the archetypal Sound of sounds. It is the origin of Amen, and it is the sound that every baby makes at the moment of birth. Very few human beings, alas, also make it their last sound at the moment of death.

AUM stands for Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva -- the creative, preservative and destructive- regenerative aspects of Deity, Nature and Man -- and therefore it applies to everything. Yet it also goes beyond anything and everything. It is more than a sound, and points beyond itself to the Soundless Sound. The mysterious ardhamatra, the half metre inscribed as a dot, or bindu, above the crescent in the ideogram of the AUM, has been compared to the head of that sound. It stands for the capacity to bring the threefold AUM into the realm of time, to hold it and tomake it the basis in consciousness of that which can be associated with everything in one"s life -- with breathing, with sounding words and with all one"s activities. Obviously, one cannot often do this loudly without drawing attention and profaning the sound. But one can keep it in one"s mind, and if this is done again and again, one"s whole being becomes attuned to that sound, and one can renew and refresh oneself continuously. Drawing the energy needed for the next task at hand, and at the same time remaining detached, one does not have to get caught in the process or lost in the cacophony of the world. Then one can meditate as if one were at the moment of death, about to leave this tenement and temple, which is also a worn-out instrument, and give the soul an opportunity to take wings in its subtler vestures.

AUM is an ideogram applying to the whole of Nature, for the whole of Nature is a vast elaboration of the AUM. Every human being too is an expression of the AUM. When a human being, by the power of self-consciousness, by deliberation, by detachment, by concentration, by compassion, out of altruism, is able to insert herself or himself into the whole of the human family, and on behalf of all living beings is able to intone the AUM and to keep it reverberating, then they have a sense of the still, sad music of humanity. They have some sense of the invisible depths in the cosmos. They are able to see in this way that Deity is not only being daily crucified, but that Deity is also being daily vindicated. They can see, therefore, that just as Deity is indifferent to its crucifixion, it is at the same time indifferent to its vindication, though it is on the side of every being that breathes. The AUM, the Great Bird, represents that which is beyond all processes of change. It is also the changeless within the realm of change, immorality in the realm of morality, and the ineffable light within the darkness – the darkness of human pain and ignorance, estrangement and loneliness, and also the darkness of human misdeeds, violence, degradation and self-destruction.

AUM more than embraces the entire gamut of human experience. Transcending the limits of human existence, AUM points to the potentialities and possibilities of universal self- consciousness exemplified by the greatest sages and yogins, Mahatmas and Bodhisattvas. In every human being – however fallible and imperfect, however tortured and tyrannized by the categories of time and desire, however torn by mental confusion and emotional conflict – there is the inaudible sounding of the AUM, even if it is not known. If it stops sounding, which it does sometime before the moment of death, death is imminent, and the wise man can actually recognize the ceasing of that sound in a human being who comes close to the end.

Owing to this ceaseless reverberation of the Soundless Sound within the anahata, the indestructible centre in the spiritual heart, to be human is to be potentially divine. But to be human in this sense is to be insufficiently divine, for one is only divine to the extent that one knows this truth. To know it is to live it, and one can only know and live it if one can simultaneously see it as true for each and every human being. It takes lives of self-training to become able to greet the AUM in every pair of human eyes and in everything that breathes, keeping that as the constant thought in one"s consciousness. Somewhere deep down, every human being already knows this, but to be able to hold it involves a refining, a selection and a sifting on the planes of the lesser principles, the brain-mind, the heart and the emotions, ultimately affecting all the life-atoms. In the light of this, one can begin to understand the archetypal mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum – The Jewel in the Lotus, God in Man – as the great affirmation of the indissoluble bridge between the entire human family and the whole host of Dhyani Buddhas. It is the living bond between every human being and the Dhyani Buddha that overbroods each and every human being. That basis of true hierarchy already exists in the cosmos, and one can no more wish it away than one can wish away the colours of the spectrum,the number series, or the simple fact that there are three hundred and sixty degrees in the circle of the zodiac. Every one of them gives rise to vast numbers of permutations and combinations that ultimately fix with mathematical exactness the degree of what is true for every moment of every human being.

This is much vaster than any hierarchy one can readily recognize through the finite intellect. Yet it is simply a reflection in the human family of the divine logic of the Logos which must work through seven rays, and ultimately these must ramify through myriad subsets and subsystems. One will quickly find, even without knowing too much about mathematics, that it is staggering how much precision there is to this cosmos. Everyone is exactly where he or she is for a very good reason. In other words, if one wants Divine Wisdom, one must mature beyond the pseudo-democratic myth that everybody has a right to ask the universe to convince them that they are there because they are meant to be there. The universe is silent. The universe has no interest in convincing any human being. At this point in evolution, human beings are grown. They have been through all of this in other lives, and therefore all human beings are accountable to themselves. Each must release great self-knowledge by self-questioning. There is no short-cut to this, and only in this way will one discover the lie in the soul, that deep spiritual blockage coming from other lives which makes one so defiant of the logic of the cosmos.

All human souls have at times fallen by the wayside, and some have indeed made bad mistakes in recent lives, but every human soul has exactly the same prerogative to make a difference in the present. But to make a difference, one must first take full responsibility for oneself. Once this is done, one will begin to recognize those who know more than oneself and from whom one can learn, as well as those who may depend on oneself and to whom one may offer help. In this process, one should learn to set one"s sights as high as possible. This means that one must salute the entire hierarchy of perfected beings – Mahatmas, Buddhas, Rishis and Bodhisattvas – because in the act of adoration of that Host of Illuminated and Enlightened Beings, one salutes the whole human race with its resplendent future. At the same time, one also gives the truest hope to oneself in the years and lives to come.

Hermes, July 1989
by Raghavan Iyer

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