THE INMOST SANCTUARY
Restoration of the right relationship between the Master in the inmost sanctuary and the incarnated consciousness is gained only through a sacrificial process of self-purification. Obscuring and polluting tendencies nurtured in the mind through its misuse over many lives must be removed by a self-chosen and self-administered therapy. Like the Pandava brothers exiled from their kingdom through their own folly, or like the master held prisoner in his own house by those who should be his servants in the parable of Jesus, the pristine divine ray of the Logos in man is trapped and stripped of its sovereign place in human life unless consciously sought by the aspirant. This invocation of wisdom through the supplication of the mind to the spirit was seen by the ancient Greeks as the cultivation of sophrosyne – the subordination of the inferior element to the superior. It is shown in The Voice of the Silence as the shila virtue – the attunement of thought, will and feeling to the pulsation of divine harmony, Alaya-Akasha. The mind stands as the critical link between the divine and the animal nature. The recovery and right use of the privilege of human existence depend upon the subordination of the elements of the lower rupa existence to the spiritual ideation of Arupa Manas.
The sacrificial posture and selfless motive required for this self-purification can be readily grasped through a telling analogy. There is not a modern metropolis which does not maintain the equipment needed to neutralize the effluvia of human waste and thereby reduce the danger of infection to its population. Similarly, a large number of devices are available, both to cities and to individuals, for the purpose of removing sediments and impurities from drinking water, through distillation, filtration and osmosis, to make it available in a purer and fresher form. With the human mind the same principles of public health and civic responsibility would require that each individual and every society strive to purify the muddy stream of human passions which pollute those coming into contact with it. Every human being has received the crystalline waters of life in a pure and unsullied condition, and therefore everyone has the karmic responsibility for every failure to return these waters to the ocean of life in a pristine condition. Insofar as this responsibility has been neglected by individuals, under karma in successive lives they are self-condemned to immersion in the waters they themselves have poisoned. Under the laws of karma affecting the processes of reincarnation and the transmigration of life-atoms, individuals owe it to their neighbours and their descendants, as well as to themselves, to purify their mental emanations.
In practice, this implies a continuous cleansing of one"s thoughts, one"s words and one"s actions; these in turn fundamentally depend upon the purification of the will. Unfortunately, purification of the will, which is vital to the spiritual regeneration of humanity, is itself seriously misunderstood as a consequence of the process of pollution of consciousness and magnetism. Mired in the morbid obscuration of higher consciousness, too many people suppose that a bolstering of the lower will is a means to survival. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The higher spiritual will does not itself need to be strengthened, but it may be released through the removal of obscurations and hindrances. So long as the will is activated by the individual only on behalf of passions and the illusion of the persona, that will is not worth having. Hence, many people have discovered that the will cannot be released on behalf of lesser purposes. This predicament is conspicuous in those diseased societies which place an inordinate emphasis upon the personal will. Will itself is a pure colourless principle which cannot be dissociated from the energy of the Atman released through breathing. Thus when human beings breathe benevolently, blessing others with every breath, they can release the beneficent will-energy of the Atman. As soon as the will is released on behalf of the personal ego, however, against other human beings, it is blunted. This inevitable paralysis of the antagonistic lower will is indeed a beneficent and therapeutic aspect of karma.
Viewed from a collective standpoint, many human beings can be seen as having been weakened because they have absorbed life-atoms from others who have misused spiritual knowledge and the potency of the higher will. Throughout the world perhaps one in ten persons has insistently used the will against other human beings in this or previous lives. This may have been for the sake of bolstering the insecure identity of the persona or, worse, through the misuse of spiritual knowledge connected with false meditation, indulgence in drugs and mediumistic practices. Since 1966 contemporary society has witnessed the emergence of a number of centres of pseudo-spiritual activity; now it is witnessing the inevitable psychological breakdown of many who were responsible for this moral pollution. The waves of spiritual influence initiated by the descent of Krishna offer golden opportunities to all souls, including those inverted natures self-blocked from inward growth by their own failures on the Path in previous lives. Amongst these there were some too cowardly to make a new beginning, who sought instead to compensate for their own weakness and delusion by cashing in on the currents of the New Cycle. Having forfeited timely opportunities offered through compassion, they are self-destroyed when Krishna takes a firm stand on behalf of the entire human family because they are unable to generate a genuine concern for others. Never having generated an interest in the welfare of the vast majority of mankind, they are self-condemned. Sadly, they cast a long shadow over a much larger class of weaker souls who are affected by them, no doubt through their own delusions and vulnerabilities.
Persons are sometimes drawn into dangerous orbits of misused knowledge through loose talk about such sacred subjects as kundalini, kriyashakti and the activation of the higher spiritual centres in man. Ordinary people who enjoy a normal measure of spiritual health wisely avoid those places where they are likely to hear profane chatter. Through a natural sense of spiritual good taste they simply shun those places where self-deluded con men congregate to make a living off the gullible. Today, because the moral and spiritual requirements for participation in the humanity of the future have become more evident to many people, the market for such deceptive opportunism has begun to diminish. The America of P.T. Barnum, where it was said that a sucker is born every moment, has been replaced to a large extent by the America of Abraham Lincoln, where, as is well known, one cannot fool all the people all the time. Although many souls have to travel a great distance along the path of self-integration, they have learnt enough not to be duped by pseudo-spiritual blandishments. Just as they have learnt not to believe everything conveyed by the mass media and not to leap at every free offer or supermarket discount, they have also learnt to pass up invitations for instant development of kundalini and every facile promise of spiritual development that dispenses with the judicious control of the emotions and passions.
Even in the difficult area of sexuality the idea of strength through celibacy1 has gained some currency amongst many people, young and old, who find the burden of ego-games and unequal experimentation intolerable. There is nothing wrong with the sacred act of communion and procreation, and as the ancient Jews believed, God is pleased when a man and a woman come together in true unison. Nor need this issue be obscured by pseudo-arguments concerning the Malthusian spectre of over-population. As the economist E.F. Schumacher pointed out, even if the entire population of the globe were concentrated in America, this would result in a population density no greater than that of Great Britain, a nation long noted for the spaciousness and greenery of its countryside. North America itself, over its ancient and almost entirely unwritten history, has supported many varied civilizations, some of which displayed a much greater spiritual maturity than is evidenced in its recent history. Broadly, one cannot understand the physical facts of life on earth, much less the spiritual facts of life, through a language of conflicting claims and counter-claims, rationalizations and compensatory illusions, or pseudo-sophisticated statistical arguments based upon a selfish and shallow view of the nature of the human psyche.
The purification and release of the will must be comprehended in terms of human individuality, and therefore must be considered in the light of the mystery of every human soul. Since this mystery encompasses an entire series of reincarnations extending over eighteen million years, it can only begin to be appreciated through careful consideration of the motley evidence offered by one s participation in varied states of consciousness in the present life. Any individual concerned to recover the spontaneity and benevolence of the spiritual will must be willing to examine courageously the manner and extent to which he or she has become the servant not of the divine Ego, but rather of the lower astral form and its attendant incubi and succubi.
Plato explains, in a myth in the Timaeus, that when the Demiurge was fashioning the form of man, he endowed the human body with a stomach. This was done, according to the myth, out of compassion because otherwise man, unlike the animal, would be in danger of eating continually. Not only would this be disastrous for human health, but it would needlessly preoccupy consciousness with the intake and elimination of physical food. If human consciousness is to mature fully, it cannot be preoccupied with the persona, with the stomach and the libido, with physical space, time and motion. Consciousness must be freed to contemplate eternal motion, boundless space and infinite duration. This liberation from the bonds of the persona cannot be accomplished all at once but must be attempted again and again, through persistent efforts over a lifetime of meditation.
The radical reorientation of consciousness, away from the persona and towards the Divine, requires ceaseless striving and unremitting patience. Such continuity cannot be sustained over a lifetime unless it can be sustained for a year or even a week. In this arena, where clean beginnings and steadiness of application are crucial, one may gain great help from the example of the good gardener, who comes again and again to tend seedlings and plants, and yet allows nature time to work its magic. In fact, people who actually do some planting can gain considerable benefit through the restoration of their contact with the earth and by gaining an organic sense of growth. They can learn that all life is sacred, including the human body, and that every form of life can and should be treated with due respect. To recover this lost sense of the inviolable integrity of nature, however, one must be able to insert oneself into the whole, gaining intimations of what it is like to be a single blade of grass in a field or a single tree in a vast forest. As a modest experiment one might go to a nursery and purchase a seed, a pot and some soil. If one asks properly, the clerk will give whatever instructions are necessary and then one can take these materials home, carefully and with respect. Then after planting the seed in the soil with humility and love, treating it not as a symbol but as life, one can set the pot firmly upright in a place prepared for it. Each day one can give to the growing plant what it requires by way of water and nourishment, but it is important to do this with an assurance and confidence that comes with humility before nature. Forgetting oneself and without anxiety, one can observe the process of organic growth. In doing this properly, one will also be sowing in oneself the seeds of a new confidence rooted not in fear, not in deceit, but rather in fearlessness and truth, the source of authentic humility.
As one spends a few moments each day noting the growth of the plant, one may see this as linked magnetically to the seed of the new astral form which one seeks to gestate within oneself out of the soil of the old astral. This old astral is chiefly composed of patterns of selective memories, which are instinctual, habitual and compulsive, as well as somewhat inefficient and so unreliable that they would be unacceptable in any court of law. Having no firm basis in either fact or truth, they are primarily externalizations based upon misconceptions and predilections directed against those to whom we owe so much. Rather than remaining captive to an appalling burden of memories and an attendant tendency to judgementalism towards parents, grandparents and ancestors – of whose trials and difficulties one knows little or nothing – one should mainly concentrate the mind upon the nurturing of the new astral form to which one is attempting to give birth. Indeed, one"s motive in doing this should be to benefit all those who have come before and to whom one should be grateful. One is aiming at the attainment of an active state, where one has energy, but in which one is not bound to one"s persona and irrational self through the forces of kama, krodha and lobha – desire, anger and greed. Speaking of the purifying and benevolent energy of the spiritual will, H.P. Blavatsky pointed to the fundamental requirements of spiritual regeneration and their connection with the discovery of one"s true immortality.
The path of inner gestation and self-regeneration depends critically upon the recovery of the capacity to think clearly, freely and creatively. This prerogative, guaranteed to every human being by the cosmos, which never has been (and nor can it ever be) abridged by any terrestrial institution, is the sacred and sacrificial birthright of every Monadic being blessed with the fire of Manas. Whilst true thinking may be rare, this is not the fault of any society or government, and it is irresponsible and immature in the extreme to blame one"s lack of thoughtfulness upon anything outside oneself. Thinking, in fact, has nothing to do with blame; the more one thinks, the less one will be involved with blaming altogether. As Merlin exhorted Arthur, "Think! Think! THINK!" It is extraordinary how rare true thinking is, but as soon as one does begin to think, thinking things through – dianoia – then one begins to concentrate and gains the ability to go back to an original moment. Those who have completed this training, true disciples who have gained effortless mastery over their astral forms at will, can instantly summon the moment of birth or of death. Herein lies the authenticity and integrity of the true spiritual Path. If ever one hears someone speak of astral travel who is unable to say what his thoughts were before the moment of birth, one should know immediately that such a person is deluded, or a dupe. It is too late to be taken in by such twaddle, much less participate in it.
One should begin by trying to think through what is essential in one"s life, seeking to recover, if not one"s moment of birth, then one"s moment of spiritual awakening in this life. What were one"s dreams as a child before seven? Was there any moment of awakening then, when one realized that one was worth more than all of one"s toys and trinkets? Was there any moment of awakening between the ages of seven and fourteen, when bright possibilities of the future were glimpsed, and was there a moment around the age of puberty, when one was filled with hopes and ideals in relation to human brotherhood? Did the possibilities of human growth, beauty, fulfilment and promise fire ones s imagination? What were the secret dreams and longings for the good that one whispered to one"s closest friend in school but did not mention to adults? Were there certain withdrawn and sensitive moments in one"s life which one did not mention to another living soul, but rather honoured in the heart? Each person must self-consciously recover these golden moments for himself or herself because no one else can do this for another. Each person must discover the seeds of goodness within himself or herself and nurture them. If one is to take into account one"s failures, mistakes and errors, then it is only fair that one should also note in one"s life-ledger one"s golden dreams and finest thoughts. One should learn to accentuate the positive and not become preoccupied with the negative. The best means to do this is not to speak very much about oneself to others. Be silent for awhile. Learn to talk less and think more. Then, as one takes note of the truest things in one"s life, one will begin gradually to see connections within, and one will no longer be a slave to connections imposed from outside by others.
Ultimately, one"s life is one"s own. It does not belong to parents or friends or spouse or any other. In one"s spiritual life one cannot come closer to the Guru until one has become worthy of the blessing, and this can only be done by voluntarily putting oneself through vows within a period of probation. During that period of probation there will be a tremendous testing brought on by no one else but oneself. By putting oneself as oil in a refinery, or as a jewel in a cleansing solvent, one chooses precisely which trials and tests are to be brought upon oneself by oneself. Through the power of one"s resolve one enters upon an alchemical process of removal and burning out of impurities in one"s nature. If, for example, one pronounces a sacred word like Atman, then one both blesses and curses oneself. One curses oneself in that the darkness will be drawn out; one blesses oneself in that the Light of the Atman will be shed upon one"s nature. One can choose to stand in the Light of the Atman, but then there will be war – war between that part of oneself which loves and is one with the Light, and that part which is incompatible with the Light. It is impossible to cling to Light and darkness at the same time. One cannot worship both God and Mammon. One must choose, and even though one cannot choose all at once, each choice on behalf of the Light increases self-respect. Every time one chooses to meditate instead of cerebrate, every time one chooses to contemplate instead of chit-chat, every time one chooses to learn from other human beings instead of becoming judgemental, one gains dignity and a measure of self-respect. And unless one respects oneself, one cannot earn the respect of others. This does not mean that one should work at this anxiously and with strain. Rather, one should accept and recognize one"s unimportance, seeing oneself as only one amongst billions of human beings, treating this not as an excuse but as one of the primary facts of life.
Human beings must find out for themselves individually the meaning and purpose of their life. Each human soul in incarnation has a sacred mission and goal. One must have the courage to discover what one has come to earth to do. If one has come to work for the City of Man, then one must train oneself. One must come out of Necropolis, the city of the dead. One cannot work for the City of Man whilst remaining captive to the city of the dead. One must learn compassion for the morally and mentally crippled, the blind and lame, the victims of crime and ignorance, as well as the criminals themselves. One must become a person of strong nerves capable of loving more and more people, and along with this one must become aware of what one can handle and what one cannot. Each individual is different, and it is necessary to learn something about the plastic potency of one"s own astral vesture. What are its capabilities and what its limitations? There is also great meaning and value in meditating upon a vast and general promise which is the glorious goal of universal human evolution. It is good to envisage in the mind, not merely for oneself but on behalf of all, the prospect of that sacred moment far along the Path when
Mahatma K. H., commenting upon the Tibetan proverb that everyone is master of his own wisdom, states that each is at liberty either to honour or degrade the slave. He then goes on to link this with the eternal process of evolving subjective matter into objective atoms. This intimates that one must, through the power of meditation upon extremely abstract and subjective thoughts, evolve new life-atoms. It is these fresh and pure life-atoms which will push out the old life-atoms of one"s astral body. This is analogous to taking a purgative medicine to clean out unhealthy and unwanted residues in the body. It is even more analogous to the taking of an antibiotic, such as penicillin, which was discovered in bread mould by Sir Alexander Fleming. One must, so to speak, extract out of the fungus of one"s chaotic mind a purifying idea capable of cleansing one"s entire mental field. One must directly and deliberately intervene in the war between creators and the destroyers within one"s astral frame. Like an antibiotic medicine derived from life itself, yet capable of destroying harmful bacteria, one"s heartfelt ideals, distilled and clarified through meditation, have the power to release the purifying and benevolent energy of the spiritual will. This is only an analogy pointing to the process of mental self-purification through sacrificial meditation, which is a vital part of the sacred science of spirituality. That science is mathematically exact and precise in its laws and is therefore not possessed by human beings who are captive to the illusions of terrestrial existence. It is an arcane science which combines meta-chemistry with meta-biology, and it is rooted in a metaphysics which only becomes dynamized and activated when it is rendered into meta-psychology – that wisdom which is used and applied in daily life. When it is properly used, and this has nothing to do with mere words – though it has a great deal to do with the use of the tongue – it is extremely powerful and is equivalent to the release of the spiritual will flowing from the Atman.
For the neophyte, the initial step is to become a true pragmatist by putting to use the idealism which is within the soul and which is consubstantial with the plane of Mahat-mic ideation in the cosmos. It will then become possible to bring into the unreal world of time, which ordinary human beings mistake for reality, the fruit of meditation, the flower of contemplation and the fragrance of self-study and self-correction. When one is filled with the milk of human kindness, it will become possible to extract from the depths of one"s divine nature the ambrosia of immortality. In deep sleep, when one is far from the persona, when the personal nature is reduced to a cipher, one may receive the gift of Krishna, a drop of the divine elixir. The personal nature will know nothing of this secret gift, and when one awakens, it matters little what the personality makes of the change. What is important is that one honour and treasure it and go forth into the day, sifting and selecting that which is of value, that which is good and true and beautiful. One should not do this strenuously, but rather with a lightness and relaxation consistent with one"s own sense of unimportance in relation to the entirety of mankind.
All forms of over-exertion and strain are signs of a sense of personal self-importance and a desire for attention incompatible with spiritual maturity. Karma cannot condone an abnormal desire for attention for oneself at the expense of the human race, because Karma cannot shelter the propensity to indulge in attention to the shadowy persona. Therefore, one must learn and enjoy a new set of rules wherein one does not ask for more ego space than one is entitled to. But if one understands what it is to be only one amongst billions of human beings upon the earth and only one of a smaller though extensive class of beings who have come into the presence of the Avatar, then one will know how to do this. Instead of yielding to the backward tendency to impose one"s personality and problems upon others, one will learn to do tapas in silence, so as to prepare oneself for the opportunity to serve which comes with being in the presence of other human souls.
If one would become worthy of being in the presence of Krishna, then one must begin by attempting to understand what Krishna meant when he said that he established this entire universe with but a single portion of himself and yet remains separate from it. Whatever be the percentage of that portion of himself, and that would vary with the needs of the era, his essential nature remains Kutashtha – He who standeth apart. The sense in which Krishna is separate from the universe is mystical and metaphysical, but one cannot hope to begin to understand this if one remains subject to the delusion that one can understand oneself by understanding Krishna. This is a typically Western misconception. One must understand oneself through understanding other human beings; when one has understood oneself through all other human beings, then one may begin to understand Krishna. Through love and devotion one can cross the barriers of the mind and the heart and the self, and prepare oneself for Mahasmashana – the burning of the corpse of the persona. There one is consumed by the fire of devotion so as to be reborn to live purely for the sake of others and not at all for oneself. Only those who have crossed that sacred threshold, difficult of approach, can participate in the conscious creation of their lower self. Very few have heard of this mystical threshold, and of these, even fewer have been able to approach it. Fewer still are those who have made a burning-ground of their hearts for the sake of the Guru, and thereby truly entered his service. Yet such is the great teaching and rich promise given by Krishna to his devotees, to all those heroic souls who would become willing servants of the City of Man.
Hermes, February 1982