A statue of Isis from a private sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods near Marathon, Greece built by a Roman statesman. How many of us were Egyptophiles from very early on in our lives, even as children? […]
Source: Isis Outside of Egypt
A statue of Isis from a private sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods near Marathon, Greece built by a Roman statesman. How many of us were Egyptophiles from very early on in our lives, even as children? […]
Source: Isis Outside of Egypt
What if massive ocean worlds – ‘Hycean’ planets – are a better bet in the search for life than terrestrial exoplanets? […]
Source: In the search for life, might alien ocean worlds be a better bet than Earth-like planets? | Aeon Videos
The real difficulty is entrenched delusion. It is the deliberate consolidation of the ephemeral and the finite at the expense of the immortal and infinite in man and Nature. Delusion, or moha, works through a deliberate captivity to a conditioned sense of being, through mindlessness and passivity, through appalling fear and insecurity, through a terrible obsession with success and failure, through slavery to comparative merit and external façades. In this way, illusions become delusions and after a point act as drugs that destroy the life-blood in the astral vesture. Once the circulation in the astral body is shut off from the subtler vestures, it becomes a poison that brings decay and death long before the soul is mercifully freed from the body. This is, of course, an unnatural condition, but it arises through a misuse of the mind, and it can only be corrected and cured by a fundamental metanoia, what Buddha called a turning around of the mind. All thinking is either from the standpoint of the real or from the standpoint of the unreal, from the standpoint of the one or from the standpoint of the many. Thinking is good and valuable, or evil and harmful, to the health of soul according to the ground, the basis, the premises and the presuppositions from which it proceeds. Even a human being who is at a loss in relation to ultimate premises or abstract presuppositions can concretely start with the question ‘Who am I?’ One can seek the basis of an honest concept of oneself, but not just as a bundle of habits or in terms of a series of acts and episodic reactions. One must also take into account all that has been frustrated, all that is potentially present, all that has been locked in and denied speech and denied expression — in one’s eyes, in all the gateways of the human body, but above all through one’s tongue in conversation and utterance. To be truly humble at least towards one’s view of oneself is a starting point which can certainly give a lot of integrity to thinking. One cannot really use that as a basis and a starting point without also including other selves, without becoming concerned with general truths about the human condition, about the relationship of man to Nature, Nature to god, and therefore god to man. Deep thought upon the relationship of the very highest to the very lowest, the most abstract to the most concrete, naturally leads to a search for a principle of continuity that transcends perceptions and conceptions, events and episodic experience, memories and anticipations. Such thought reaches beyond the realm of conditioned being to the deepest ideals, the finest hopes and the most sacred longings of the human soul.
If a human being persists in thinking beyond the realm of the phenomenal and has the courage to investigate the realm of the noumenal, and even to go beyond it, then there may be some hope of a partial mirroring in the lower vestures of the remote potential of the Eye of Dangma. But, to make the Eye of Dangma a central force in human consciousness is impossible without initiation by a perfected Master of suitable pupils at the right time. But such birth without the utter death of the personal self was never part of the program of human evolution, because that would violate the most sacred laws guarding the highest treasures and mysteries which are only opened to the true Eye of Dangma. But, much below this level and even simply in the desire to synthesize and go beyond all polarities, one can look in the direction of the Eye of Dangma, even if in the world of the blind, the deaf and the dumb.
Here it is valuable to actually deeply reflect upon the joy of agnosticism and the joy of recognition of the possibility and meaningfulness of indefinite growth to all beings and to the human kingdom. Through study and through meditation one will come to understand that the only authentic posture towards the Absolute is that of reverential agnosticism, a feeling of the immense sacredness of contemplating the unknown, and the freedom that comes from sensing its fathomless depths. The more one contemplates the highest conceivable wisdom, the more one can appreciate and enjoy the dignity and place of each and every relative truth. The more one draws closer in mind and heart to the highest perfected beings, the more one loves and reveres and sees something sacred and worthy of veneration in every single human being, but also in the entire world of monads in all the kingdoms of Nature, and indeed amidst the hosts of elementals below the mineral kingdom.
To reflect in this way is to increase one’s sheer joy in the process of human growth itself, as well as the unglimpsed prospects yet to be realized and the unknown plateaus yet to be scaled by humanity as a whole. In that sense, the highest humanism and the greatest hope for humanity as a species often comes more readily to agnostics and atheists than to true believers in any and all creeds, which, however grand, become in time like narrow cages and iron boxes. Therefore, the true test of what it is to be humane is to enjoy the achievements of all human beings. The achievements of the greatest human beings may look remote, but they are accessible to us in the act of adoration of all the finest, the greatest, the grandest philosophers, poets, artists, architects, seers, saviors and Sages at all levels, from the highest to the most immediate and simple in the saga of the human race. Joy at the thought of unknown human beings reaching towards the more inaccessible Mount Everest’s in consciousness can itself effectively enlarge the horizon of human possibility. For a lot of human beings who must linger throughout their lives in the darkness and amidst the noise of the plains, this is a true basis for being a member of the human family, for finding meaning and joy in existence. It is a firm basis for unbounded optimism and for a faith that is not only undefeated, but can never be defeated by any possible external event.
Since nothing can proceed from the unknowable Absolute, it would be ridiculous to seek some sign from it to assure oneself that one’s faith is well-founded and that one is progressing in the direction that is pointed to in the teachings. What does make sense, however, is a firm inner trust in those that are pointing out the way. Further, there is at least one simple way in which one could test and discern the authenticity of one’s own sense of active learning in relation to the essence of the abstract idea, ideal and fact of the absolute. One can test oneself by the criterion of what is natural to a human being, which is to look up to that which is above and beyond, to greet and to revere it, to trust it, and to try out in practice what one has learned, putting oneself to the test. Most of all, it is to deepen one’s gratitude and reverence for those who are like forerunners and predecessors, pathfinders and sign-posters, pointers of the way. And any deviation from this is unnatural, self-destructive, and inimical with all growth, and the karmic reaction will quickly give one some sense of the inexorable law that governs all spiritual growth and all spiritual transmission, and which is reflected at all levels, in all spheres of human society.
Sadly, human beings are ceaselessly self-deceived, which means that they largely live to no purpose, with little or no real awareness of the Absolute or even the relative. Now, if one viewed participation in phenomena as a potentially instructive means of developing the power to perceive noumenal, formless, spiritual essences acting within the relative, this would help. In time, one would develop an increasing appreciation of the Absolute and relative, and this would tend to reduce self-deception and even help one to begin living to benefit others. Even though this is true, it is nevertheless not enough to dispel self-deception at the root, because human beings certainly do know this at some level, and yet, in fact, they are chained and enslaved through their deception and delusions. Given the versatility of the lower mind, and given the incredibly powerful and potent nature of the mahamaya, when these two combine with the tendency to deceive oneself within human consciousness, it becomes clear that one cannot make a jump to full authenticity, integrity and self-honesty. Just as in mathematics or music, or in the arts or sciences, one cannot, simply because of trying sincerely, expect to make a conceptual leap to the highest, so too in the broader arena of spiritual life. This is so because of another tendency which affects the actual quality of one’s motive in learning. We may recognize it in extreme poisonous, cancerous cases, but we never or seldom detect it in its early forms in ourselves — in all our habits of thought and feeling, word, speech and deed — and that is the tendency to absolutize the relative.
The Gupta Vidya II
Every rivulet of discrimination enhances the active power of buddhi. Even if one merely has a few drops of the waters of devotion and humbly consecrates them at the inmost altar of Krishna, it is possible to negate in advance any attachment to consequences. Engaging in action in a sacrificial spirit, with pure joy and the willing acceptance of pain, the true devotee will certainly be delivered from a network of errors and miseries. In the progress of time he will surely experience tranquillity of thought. Dharma in Sanskrit has a very different connotation from any strenuous conceptions of duty, Calvinistic or Teutonic. There is instead a firm yet relaxed sense of obligation which is self-sustaining and also spontaneous. In Indian thought dharma is ascribed to fire, the sky, all objects in space, all phenomena in time, and the categories of selfhood. Dharma is that which upholds: anything which holds up a human being, anything which sustains him, anything which helps him to keep going, is rooted in his duty. If dharma upholds every person, anyone can regulate and refine dharma through buddhic discrimination. This is the sovereign talisman of every human being.
All persons inherently possess godlike faculties of imagination, creativity, freedom and serenity. All are capable of exalted conceptions of calm, and can expand their perspectives and horizons while at the same time bringing a laser-like faculty of intense concentration to every task. The Great Teachers of mankind have always reminded the multitudes of the privilege of incarnation into a human form. Many people, however, are liable to be so rajasic at the moment of death that they will soon be propelled back into incarnation in circumstances they do not like. There are also those who are so receptive in life to the summerland of ghosts, demons and disintegrating entities, pishāchas and rākshasas, that at the moment of death they are drawn into the underworld of psychic corpses. Human beings are innately divine, but there are myriad degrees of differentiation in the manifestation of divine light. The light shines in all, but in all it does not shine forth equally. By using whatever in consciousness is an authentic mirroring of supernal light in the concrete contexts of daily obligations, one’s own light will grow. The rays of truth irradiate those who ardently desire to rescue the mind from the darkness of ignorance. It is critical for human beings to keep relighting themselves, to wipe out the ignorance that consolidates out of inertia and delusion in that pseudo-entity absolutized as the personal self. In the eyes of the Sages there are only rays of light accompanied by long shadows masquerading as personalities.
Krishna speaks in the sixteenth chapter of those who are born with demoniac propensities, and provides a perfect portrait of the shadowy and dying culture of kali yuga. He also offers a compelling picture of the graces and excellences of those who evoke memories of the Golden Age. The demoniac qualities, resulting in spiritual inertia, are the product of misuse in previous lives. Everyone who abused any power must face the consequences in the future. For three or four lives he may find his will blunted, his faculties castrated, his potencies circumcised, until he can thoroughly learn the proper use of his powers. There is a compelling passage in The Dream of Ravan wherein we are given a graphic analogy between states of mind and diseases. All ailments are caused in the realm of the mind; all ailments are rooted in the subtler vestures. Sattva corresponds to the kārana sharīra, the causal body, comprising the most fundamental ideas of selfhood in relation to which one generates a sense of reality. There is a correspondence between rajas, the principle of chaotic desire, and the sūkshma sharīra, the astral form. When this is irradiated by the Light of the Logos, it can show a reflected radiance. In all human beings there are glimmerings of noble aspiration, the yearning to do good. This is the source of fellow-feeling, the kindness of a mother for her children, the solicitude of a doctor for a pregnant woman whose baby he is delivering. These are familiar intimations of that sattvic quality which can make a human being magnanimous, noble and free.
Demoniac inertia, on the other hand, arises through a whole way of thinking that is false. If one thinks that this world exists for enjoyment only, that human beings are merely the ephemeral accidental product of the pleasure of a man and a woman, that everyone is in competition for wealth and fame and status, and if one ceaselessly caters to all such absurdities and stupidities, one develops an āsuric nature. Anyone who really wants to rise above this condition could do no better than to ponder upon the account in the seventeenth chapter of the Bhagavad Gītā of the philosophical nature of the three propensities, and the portraits given in the sixteenth chapter of the demoniac personality as well as the godlike being. A sensible person who wishes to travel on the road to true discipleship will find that simply by studying these chapters calmly, he could see clearly the convergence of attitudes and qualities which strengthen the demoniac or godlike nature in man. Instead of indulging in self-pity and self-contempt, the sincere seeker of Wisdom will allow his whole nature to become absorbed in contemplation on the godlike qualities.
The whole of the Bhagavad Gītā is replete with magnificent portraits of Sages. The magic of meditation is such that by merely focussing upon them, they can release a light-energy which streams downward, freeing a person from the bondage of self-created illusions and self-destructive acts. Rid of the specious notion that he is somebody special, he can freely accept his cosmic potential as a point in space and joyously deliver himself with the dignity of man qua man. It is only when he is ready that Krishna confers upon Arjuna the exalted title of Nara (man), an individual ray of Divine Light. When a person can truly witness the divine in every human being, he can also see that every time anyone torments himself, he tortures Krishna. No one has such a right. One’s parents did not give a body simply for the sake of crucifying the Christos-Krishna within through self-indulgence or false asceticism. One has to free oneself from all obsessive identification with the shadow and salute the empyrean with the cool assurance of one who does not fear the light, one who is not threatened by the fact that other human beings exist, and one whose stance is firmly rooted in the Divine Ground that transcends the gunas and the playful polarities of purusha and prakriti.
Every pilgrim soul who seeks to increase skill in action for the sake of increasing his or her capacity to add even a little to the sum of human good can benefit from the Teachings of Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gītā. Taken as a whole, the Gītā is a treatise on yoga, the kingly science of the individual soul’s union with the universal Self. That union is, ontologically, ever existent. But owing to the māyā of manifestation and the descent of consciousness through vestures which seem to create a world of many selves and many forms, the human mind becomes alienated from the true inmost Self in which Ishvara resides. It becomes confined within time and space, within past, present and future, and it must struggle to overcome these illusions. Thus the Gītā is a summons and challenge to engage in that righteous warfare which every human soul must undertake. In the eighteenth chapter of the Gītā, Lord Krishna declares that if one will not voluntarily choose to engage in this righteous war, karmic necessity will compel one to do so. The wise are those who cooperate with cosmic necessity, with their own divine destiny, with their own sacrosanct duty or svadharma. The wisest are those who choose as firmly and as early as possible, making an irreversible and unconditional commitment, in the gracious manner and generous spirit of Lord Krishna. Without doubt or hesitation, they choose His path, His teaching and His prescribed mode of skill in action, rooted in buddhiyoga.
In the second chapter of the Gītā, Krishna begins by affirming to Arjuna the eternal existence of one indivisible, inconsumable, inexhaustible source of all life, light and energy. Having dispelled the danger that Arjuna would abandon through fear the righteous battle and his svadharma, Krishna presents before Arjuna the talismanic teaching of buddhiyoga:
Verily, action is far inferior to the discipline of wisdom (buddhiyoga), O Dhanaṅjaya. In wisdom seek thou shelter. Pitiable are they whose motive is the fruit of works.
He who is yoked to wisdom (buddhiyukta) lets go both what is well done and what is ill done. Therefore, yearn for yoga. Yoga is skill in the performance of action.
Sages yoked to wisdom (buddhi) renounce the fruits of action, and thus freed from the bondage of births, attain to the state of stainless bliss. (II.49-51)
Buddhiyoga requires a fixity and steadfastness in intuitive intelligent determination which is superior to karmayoga, the yoga of works, as a means of gaining enlightenment. It involves an eye capable of recognizing essentials, which, once awakened, will give a decisiveness without wavering or wandering. Through this resolute intellect, one’s actions may become shadowless – nishchāya. Even though one may be obscured, as a member of the human family participating in the world’s pain, ignorance and turbulence, nonetheless one inwardly preserves the dignity of the power of choice. It is, therefore, possible to touch within oneself that level of absolute resolve which ensures that something essential will never be abandoned, diluted or doubted, never weakened by careless speech nor lost in the chaos of compulsive acts, but always protected from discursive and dissecting reasoning. Every human being enjoys such moments of assurance. Otherwise it would not be possible to survive. Even fools and knaves have a few moments of sushupti at night, inspiring them to awaken in the morning to greet another day. Were it not for this abiding sense of assurance about this minimum dignity within the core of one’s being, one could not go on.
This sense of one’s distinct place in the total scheme of things is what Spinoza called the conatus, the urge or will to sustain rational and spiritual self-preservation. This is not merely an intellectual notion, but a biological fact. When a person begins to approach death, the anāhata vibration in the spiritual heart ceases to sound in the linga sharīra – the subtle astral vesture. The Sage or Seer can recognize this cessation of sound and a subtle alteration in the rate of breathing several months before the time of physical death. Throughout this period, the human being is engaged in a protracted review of the whole of his or her life, a review which is too often chaotic and confused, a jumble of recent memories and childhood events. Only at the time of separation from the physical body is the soul enabled to view in an orderly and rapid manner the complete film of an entire life. In the final preparation for this there is an ebbing of the connection between the sound vibration in the spiritual heart and the karana sharīra – the causal body and the vibration in the linga sharīra, and therefore also in the sthūla sharīra, or physical body. Once this ebbing begins, the person has begun to withdraw or die.
Concord House, November 1985
In May 2022, a team of Egyptian archaeologists made an extraordinary discovery during excavations carried out in the ancient necropolis of Saqqara: a papyrus from the Book of the Dead. This collection of sacred texts served the deceased in overcoming the dangers they would encounter on their journey to the afterlife. The papyrus was found […]
Source: The Discovery of 16-meter-long “Book of the Dead” Papyrus
As withso many things in Egyptology, there’s controversy surrounding the many female figurines that have been found throughout Egypt and spanning itslong history.
These figurinestake several forms. Some are standing females, usually nude with sexual characteristics emphasized (eyes, breasts, vulva). Some are abstracted into what have been called “paddle dolls”; more on themshortly. Some show a woman lying on a bed, often with a baby or child beside her. Others show a woman nursing a child.
The old gentlemen of early Egyptology initially guessed that the nude females and paddle dolls—some of them found in tombs—were “spirit concubines” for deceased Egyptian men. Because of course they did. However, the fact that they have been found in the tombs of women and children, too, throws a significant monkey wrench into that interpretation.
There’s also the more modern controversy about whether ancient female figurines…
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Many souls all over the globe were deeply moved by the tragic happenings in Tibet which led to the dramatic escape and exile of the fourteenth Dalai Lama. Here was a harmless, happy people, with a distinctive culture and traditional society totally different from that existing anywhere else in the world. To some this society seemed to be an archaic survival, an anachronism in the modern age, a ‘theocratic’ system which Europe had rejected long before the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. And yet, in spite of all facile attempts to label Tibet, many had a feeling of deference towards a religious culture they could not claim to understand. Despite all the travellers’ tales, the several volumes written by scholars and by others fascinated by Tibet, one still felt that the essential truth had not been told, that perhaps it could never be told by anybody inside that remote and close-knit community to anyone outside it. A few went so far as to follow Burke’s maxim: “We must venerate where we cannot understand.” But even the most insensitive of persons, willing to write off Tibet and dismiss its tradition, had somewhere deep down a sense of not knowing what one was talking about.
Most observers, ranging from the troubled sceptic to the ardent admirer and even to the true believer — most felt that there had taken place a sudden confrontation, unprecedented in history, between a way of life centered on spiritual concerns — which could be criticized in terms of modern criteria but nonetheless had a radiant integrity of its own — and the crude forces of aggression and the destructive passions of politics which are all too familiar in the outside world. It seemed as though Tibet was a test case: can a spiritual tradition survive if it does not arm itself against aggressors who are ruthless, who care nothing for the tradition they are prepared to tear apart or for the culture they are willing to destroy in the name of modernization? This is a question which still troubles many people.
The Dalai Lama is fortified by his faith that in the end Tibetan tradition, embodied in the way of life of which he is the custodian and the conscience will survive, will even eventually triumph. He is also convinced that, as time goes on, more and more people will come to see that Tibet has a profound political and spiritual significance for all humanity. Elementary human rights have been flagrantly violated by aggressors among a people who were not linked with any foreign power, who were not involved in any sense in the Cold War or giving cause for offence to any neighbouring nation.
Here, then, is a test case of the vindication of basic human rights, and the Dalai Lama pins his hopes on people everywhere who think about this, who read the reports of the International Commission of Jurists, who seriously try to get some idea of the implications, for a people such as the Tibetans, of the desecration of their monasteries and shrines, and of a stable religious and social order in need of internal reform. His Holiness feels that if men and women continue to be silent about Tibet they will be betraying their very humanity.
We find that on the political plane the issue has been so sharply and squarely stated that it ultimately touches upon those fundamental decencies which make life meaningful. But, also, the Dalai Lama is convinced that the tragedy of Tibet has a spiritual significance and a meaning even for those who are not primarily interested in the Buddhist tradition. Even for them it must appear tragic that there should have been this brutal interference with the benefits of a gentle and tolerant people. Do the virtues of tolerance and civility for which Europe fought so hard — and which were finally enshrined in the seventeenth century — do these virtues mean nothing to people who may not necessarily share in the beliefs of the Tibetans?
The Dalai Lama speaks with a faith and confidence akin to that of the Encyclopaedists, the great humanists and the religious prophets, and it would be wonderful for any of us to get something of this faith. How this could be translated into immediate political action is a question which is not a matter for casual discussion. Although nowhere more than in England was there an immediate response in the way of sympathy and material support for the Tibetans in their plight, yet already, in a short time, many people even there have begun to take the subjugation of Tibet for granted, and sometimes to talk as though the Tibetan cause were wholly lost. The Dalai Lama has spoken very warmly about England as the leading spiritual and cultural centre of the whole of Europe. He thought that the British Government, more than any other Government in the West, was aware of the historical background of Tibet and the implications of all that had happened. He also felt that the admirable work of the Tibet Society in England was a pointer to the kind of sympathy and support which could be fruitful.
It is indeed distressing that we should come across the feeling that Tibet is a lost cause, an irretrievable tragedy, and that perhaps the time has come to write Tibet’s epitaph. Some of us are keen to do what we can for the refugees and to assist the Dalai Lama, while still regarding the cause of Tibet, at least in a political sense, as hopeless. This feeling of hopelessness is unwarranted but perfectly understandable in our time. Whatever we may feel about the legitimacy of the survival of the Tibetan way of life, we are all affected by the tremendous increase in historicism, determinism and fatalism in the modern world, and especially in our own century, even though we instinctively condemn these attitudes when they are couched in their crudest Marxist form. Many of us think that there is something irreversible about the process of modernization, something titanic and totally irresistible about the Industrial Revolution, the march of science and technology. We consequently feel that when any country, but especially a country with an archaic society and a simple economy, with a monastic culture and old-fashioned ideas of government, comes up against a modern aggressor, be he communist or anyone else, the traditional system must necessarily give way to the forces of modernization.
When the British entered Tibet at the time of the famous Younghusband Expedition, and even earlier — going back to the emissary sent out in the eighteenth century — there was a willing recognition that Tibet was no worse for being different. It is Britain, more than any other power that has moved out into far places, which has preserved that due respect for differing cultures and traditions which comes naturally to a people steeped in a traditional culture that has set a high value upon tolerance and the acceptance of diversity. The British failed in the assimilation of people who were racially and culturally different, but they were able to play a protective role in many areas of the world where they were in power. Even in countries where they unwittingly launched the process of modernization they had doubts and reservations; they were never too certain that this was the universal panacea.
But when a country such as Tibet comes into violent contact with fanatical believers in the gospel of material progress and ruthless modernization, can it survive? If we are convinced it cannot, then we can do no more than merely deplore the actual methods used by the Chinese, which indeed are ghastly. And here we have the cruel paradox of modernization introduced by methods which take us right back to the Middle Ages, methods which beggar description. Sickening details of the heinous things that are being done in Tibet in the name of modernization are to be found in the objective reports prepared by the International Commission of Jurists.
Are we going to be content with deploring the pace, the cost, the pains and the ruthlessness of this compulsory modernization? Has not the time come for us to reassess our high valuation of the very process of modernization? If we do this, we shall become less inclined to accept without question the notion that it is inevitable and unavoidable in every part of the world. We may even come to distrust the dogmatism or fatalism with which people declare Tibet to be a lost cause.
If we wish to appreciate the significance of Tibet, we must not merely have second thoughts about the blessings and inevitability of modernization but also discard at least one version still in vogue of the doctrine of Progress. No doubt the idea of progress is an ancient one, derived from several sources of the Western tradition, different from the cyclical views of history of the East, but it assumed a wholly new form in the last sixty years. All the early apostles of progress — Herder, Kant, Condorcet, Renouvier — regarded it mainly as a moral concept, an ethical ideal towards which modern man was moving. Renouvier clearly condemned the deterministic notion of progress. There is, after all, no religious warrant for the belief that the Kingdom of God will inevitably appear on earth in the foreseeable future. There is no scientific proof for the belief that technological and scientific developments will necessarily ensure better social relations, happier and more harmonious human relationships. There is no economic basis, either, for the belief in indefinite and automatic expansion.
But none of these doubts entered sixty years ago into the minds of those who took the permanency of their political universe for granted. Then, for the first time, as a result of the Darwinian theory of evolution, a new and specious form of the doctrine of progress came into being: the idea of inevitable, automatic, cumulative and irreversible progress achieved purely through technological inventions, economic betterment and the raising of living standards. This idea, although it was powerfully attacked and rejected by several leading thinkers and writers in Europe, still lingers on in people’s minds even if they disavow it. This lingering latter-day notion of progress is a serious obstacle to our appreciation of the significance of Tibet.
If we look at Tibet with this idea in our minds, there is no chance of our really understanding it. Tibetans have lived in a land rich in mineral resources but refused to develop them because they believed that this would be an unnecessary and undesirable interference with the soil. These are people willing to spend a significant proportion of their meagre earnings upon the maintenance of a vast number of monasteries; a people completely happy to accept that the only education available to them (and it was generally available in Tibet) was an essentially religious education. It is true that those who did not wish to become monks went to these ancient monastic universities and got some kind of secular learning, but not what we would today call secular learning. They might acquire a little knowledge of elementary mathematics, indigenous medicine, traditional arts and crafts and practical skills. But how could such people be fitted into any scale of values we might have?
It is not going to be easy for ‘progressive’ people to seize on the true significance of Tibet, and to realize that they are confronted not just by helpless exiles pleading for sympathy but by a moral challenge to many assumptions they normally would not question. As the Dalai Lama has said in his book My Land and My People, one cannot understand Tibet if one has no feeling for religion.
What is religion to the Dalai Lama, to Tibetans? Religion, he says in his book, has got everything to do with the mental discipline, the peace of mind, the calm and poise, the inner equanimity achieved by any human being, which is bound to show in his daily life. The Dalai Lama says explicitly that religion is not a matter of merely going into retreats and monasteries. No doubt when this is done it has its value, but religion is not a matter of outward profession or formal observance. His Holiness does not even use the word ‘Buddhism’ with anything like a sectarian sound. He is simply not interested in making claims of any sort. Religion means for him something quite different from what it means to almost all of us in the modern world. For him, and for the Tibetans, religion means what it meant in Carlyle’s definition: the beliefs by which a man really lives from day to day, not the beliefs to which he merely gives verbal or even mental assent.
The Royal Society, London June 13, 1962
This Audiobook Version is Read by Julian Brown.
Timothy Freke is the author of 35 books, translated into more than 15 languages, including a Sunday Times bestseller and Daily Telegraph ‘Book of the Year’.
He is one of ‘The 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People’ on the 2021 list in Watkins Magazine (# 57) and the winner of ‘Author of the Year 2020’ in Kindred Spirit magazine. He has been exploring spirituality since a spontaneous awakening aged 12 and leads experiential’ Deep Awakening’ retreats internationally and online. Find out more on his youtube channel or website https://timfreke.com
04:57 The Last Words Of Thrice Great Hermes
05:56 Chapter 1: The Prophecies of Hermes
14:48 Chapter 2: The Initiation of Hermes
23:27 Chapter 3: The Being of Atum
34:10 Chapter 4: Contemplate Creation
42:27 Chapter 5: The Living Cosmos
48:24 Chapter 6: The Circle of Time
52:09 Chapter 7: The Gods
58:23 Chapter 8: The Hierarchy of Creation
1:02:05 Chapter 9: The Creation of Humankind
1:09:44 Chapter 10: The Birth of Human Culture
1:15:11 Chapter 11: Man is Marvel
1:24:11 Chapter 12: The Zodiac and Destiny
1:30:32 Chapter 13: The Universe and the Particular
1:37:13 Chapter 14: Incarnation of the Soul
1:45:18 Chapter 15: Death and Immortality
1:53:45 Chapter 16: Ignorance of the Soul
2:01:11 Chapter 17: Knowledge of Atum
2:09:01 Chapter 18: Rebirth
2:16:04 Chapter 19: Secret Teachings
2:22:19 Chapter 20: In Praise of Atum
2:32:02 Outro with Music
On the island of Philae, east of the Temple of Isis, stands a smaller temple to Hathor. The Hathor temple was restored, at least in part, in 2012 and reopened to the public.(Both the Isis and Hathor temples, as well as the other temples of ancient Philae are now on theEgyptian island of Agilkia, aka Agilika, where they were moved prior to the building of the Aswan Dam, which created Lake Nasser and flooded Philae.)
Compared to the Temple of Isis on Agilkia, the Temple of Hathor is quite small. Reciprocally and interestingly, at Denderah, Hathor’s great Ptolemaic temple complex, there is a similar small Temple of Isis.Clearly, there is a relationship between these two Great Goddesses; so much so that it was required that each Goddess…
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Max HEINDEL (1865 – 1919)
A primer for those interested in the basic philosophy, beliefs & secrets of the Rosicrucians. (Summary by Kirk Ziegler.)
There’s an invisible law active in all things.
It would serve us well to be aware of this law and learn to employ it to our benefit.
An esoteric system is a way of guiding man to a right relationship to himself, others, and the Infinite Universe, of which he is a part. After we’ve accurately located ourselves in the big scheme of things we are ready to move forward to what we came here to do.
You were created to develop beyond what life offers you.
Authorized by the Philosophical Research Society, this video book was produced under license for distribution. Financial proceeds from this video are shared directly with PRS to support their work dedicated to the truth seekers of all time. For more info: http://www.prs.org
The Initiates of the Flame is a little essay on the mystery of fire. To all ancient peoples fire was a symbol of the divine One dwelling in the innermost parts of all things. Robert Fludd, a Rosicrucian mystic, writing in the seventeenth century, declared that the fire of the philosophers was divided into three parts: first, a visible fire which is the source of physical light and heat; second, an invisible, or astral fire, which enlightens and warms the soul; third, a spiritual, or divine fire which in the universe is known as God and in man as spirit.
The Initiates who took their oaths in the presence of the Flame renounced the lesser concerns of ordinary life and, freed from the attachments of this material sphere, these purified souls became custodians of that symbolic Flame of wisdom which is the true Light of the world. This Light is a manifestation of the one Universal Life, that active agent whose impulses are the cause of all sidereal phenomena. Where in antiquity this flame of light, this spirit-fire, was the object of a universal adoration and was worshipped as the very presence of God Himself, it now lies buried beneath the ruins of man’s fallen temple. Obscured by the paramount interests of the flesh, it emits but the faintest gleam in this non-philosophic age.
– Manly P. Hall
– Bookcase 00:43
– Preface 03:23
– Introduction 13:01
– Foreward 14:20
– The Fire Upon the Altar 25:49
– The Sacred City of Shamballa 37:56
– The Mystery of the Alchemist 48:49
– The Egyptian Initiate 58:50
– The Ark of the Covenant 01:08:30
– Knights of the Holy Grail 01:19:38
– The Mystery of the Pyramid
Credits: Text – Manly P. Hall
Audio Narration – Adam Hanin
Visual Photography and Editing – Brian Dehler
Produced by Cine-O-Matic, Inc. dba Master Key Society on location in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
This YouTube book is copyright ©2022 Master Key Society
Translation of Prayer to Ra:
“Oh Almighty Ra!
Thank you for gifting us Light and Life
We hold you in our heart in reverence
May we always remember we are children of you
May our heart and mind be joined with yours
May we be protected from all harms through your greatness and kindness
And so it is!”
Isis, Mistress of Wind Deep breath. In and out. I don’t know about where you are, but here in the Pacific Northwest, it is…just…beginning to feel like spring. Finally, finally. So […]
Source: Isis, Lady of the Air
In exploring the deeper meanings of this, we all go through mini deaths (changes) after which we are reborn, in our lives. We can choose to suffer the material losses that inevitably come from such processes, or we can keep focused on the Divine, higher aspect of ourselves, or that which we call God, and maintain our inner peace, despite the challenges from the material world around us. In the end it is up to each of us to choose our state of mind in any given situation, and learn to be less reactive to the external.
Have a great weekend everyone!
The Hermetic Tarot by Godfrey Dowson was one of my earliest deck reviews on this blog, back in 2013. And it wasn’t even really a deck review. I don’t know what that was other than a lit […]
But how do we know that Isis is? How do we know that She’s “real”? Must we simply have faith? Do we just choose to “believe in” Her? Can we prove Her is-ness?
Source: The Is-ness of Isis
The term ‘devotion’ remains one of the more beautiful words in the English language, its suggestive and sacred etymology harking back to the taking of a vow. At the popular level this may be seen in frenzied devotion to a secular cause such as that of a political party. There can be total commitment without any streak of scepticism. There is neither wavering nor weakening of such commitment, but it is focussed upon an abstract idea attached to some tangible form. Few human beings, however, can contain the vast energy of unconditional commitment within the vessel of any external organization. Attempts to do so in messianic politics merely re-enact what happened in earlier history in relation to dogmatic religion. Owing to the limitations of sectarian ideologies and organizational structures, and especially due to the difficulty of distinguishing between the impersonal immortal individuality and the changing personal mask, ardent votaries fall prey to self-righteousness, an outburst of exaggerated emotion mistaken for deep feeling. No wonder Socrates challenged Euthyphro’s claims to knowledge of piety and holiness – the relation between gods and humans – the most exalted, elusive and mysterious of subjects, wherein one’s credential is the uncommon recognition that one does not really know. What was true in his day is even more evident in our own time. Many people are running away from past symbols of piety, from various forms of totalism and tokenism in churches, and from every kind of trivialized, degraded and vulgarized ritual and sacrament. But in rushing to the opposite extreme, pretending to be nihilists, they are often trapped in the tragic predicament of having no faith in themselves, not even enough to carry on from day to day. Muddled thinking and negative emotions reinforce each other, corrupting the psyche.
Devotion is much more than wanting to be devoted. It is far more than having a euphoric feeling, however holy this may seem at the time. Bhakti is a different order of consciousness from that involved in the expenditure of emotion. Its sovereign power can only flow freely from the ātman, the perpetual motion of transcendental light that shines upon every human soul. It is invoked through an inward prostration of the mind within the sanctuary of the heart towards the Light of the Logos. To ask how one can prostrate before that which one does not comprehend is to ask how to be humble before the great mystery of Nature, the vastitude of life or the saga of humanity. To be humble in this sense is not merely to say to oneself that one does not know, but also means that one can thrill with the thought of the mysterium tremendum. Even though one does not know its destiny or destination, one may feel reverence for the whole of humanity; though one cannot fathom the breadth or depth of Nature, one rejoices in one’s kinship with Nature; though one has no final answer to the basic questions of life, one remains open towards the life process. Such simple devotion generates the proper mental posture, which Krishna depicts in the Bhagavad Gītā. It is neither too high nor too low, neither so abject that one cannot generate any enthusiasm nor so lofty that one is isolated within an ivory tower of self-delusion.
True bhakti comes to birth through the firm recognition of the unity of all life and the universality of the highest ideals and ideas conceived, transcending the human capacity to formulate and transmit them. When devotion continues undiminished through the trials that it necessarily brings, just as light increases the shadow – it renews itself. It must be put to the test, and it surely will be. One has to encounter the abyss; one has to be tried and tempted. Jesus had three great temptations, of which a remarkably perceptive account is given by Dostoievsky in the story of the Grand Inquisitor. All Initiates go through trials, and they do this deliberately because, although those who are perfected before birth really need no tests, they compassionately re-enact the archetypal story for the sake of the human race. Any person can, from small beginnings, tap the immense potential power in a vow to give birth to lasting devotion. This cannot be done even with an authentic start and a self-sustaining rhythm unless it is fortified by the fearlessness and courage that are rooted in the invulnerable truth of one’s devotion.
Devotion is rather like the harnessing of electrical energy. In order to be properly channelled to some end, the resistance or responsiveness of the conductor is crucial. Just as a river cannot rise above its source, the power of devotion is as great as the heights upon which it is focussed. Devotion is also affected by the clarity of the mental picture of the ideal, even though that evolving picture may fall short of the ideal, which, when fully realized, becomes so all-encompassing that it is beyond the possibility of formulation in words or any expression in particular modes. As Shelley knew,
Rome’s azure sky,
Flowers, ruins, statues, music, words, are weak
The glory they transfuse with fitting truth to speak.
Devotion fundamentally alters the relation and ratio between the unmanifest and the manifest: what is not said is more important than what is said; what is not shown or seen is more suggestive than what is shown and seen. Francis Thompson exclaimed:
O world invisible, we view thee,
O world intangible, we touch thee,
O world unknowable, we know thee,
Inapprehensible, we clutch thee!
This celebrates the passage from the region of māyā to the realm of sat. One of the oldest invocations in the Upanishads is:
Lead me from the unreal to the real!
Lead me from darkness to light!
Lead me from death to immortality!
Lord Krishna came at a time when he knew that humanity could not go back and restore the child-state of antiquity. He also knew that human beings in kali yuga were going to be enormously vulnerable to self-righteous merchants of the moral language who narrow and limit conceptions of duty and morality by institutionalizing them, thereby binding human beings through fear to mere externalities of conduct. Therefore an alternative had to be shown. Being magnificently generous, Krishna speaks at the widest cosmic level of how the Logos functions out of only a small portion of itself and yet remains totally uninvolved. It is like the boundless ocean on the surface of which there are many ships, and in which there are many aquatic creatures, though the depths of that boundless ocean remain still. The whole world may be seen from the standpoint of the Logos, which is essentially incapable of incarnating and manifesting within the limitations of differentiated matter. The Logos can only overbrood. This overbrooding is joyous, producing myriad kaleidoscopic reflections within which various creatures get engaged, act and become caught.
For the sake of all beings enmeshed in this māyā, Krishna incarnates the immortal standpoint and sovereign perspective of divine activity, which is all sacrifice. That is the critical relationship between the unmanifest and the manifest, for if the unmanifest can never be fully manifested, how can the manifest ever be linked to the unmanifest? There is always in everything that is manifest, behind the form, behind the façade, a deathless core of the very same nature and essence as that which is unmanifest. Where a human being can, by the power of thought, bring this to the centre of individual consciousness, it is possible to consecrate. It is possible to act as if each day corresponds to the Day of an entire universe, or to a lifetime. It is possible to act in each relationship as if it were a supreme expression of the very highest sacrificial relationships between teacher and pupil or mother and child. It is possible to act in a small space as if there were the possibility of an architecture and a rearrangement with analogues to the grand arrangements of solar systems and galaxies.
This is the great gift of creative, constructive imagination without illusion. What makes it Wisdom-Sacrifice is that one trains personal consciousness – the chattering mind, the divided and wandering heart, the restless hands. One centres all of these energies around a single pivotal ideal, having no expectations. An ordinary human being with no expectations whatsoever would simply die, because, typically, a person lives on the basis of some confused and vague expectations in regard to tomorrow, next year and the future. Deny a human being all expectations, all claims, and personal consciousness usually will collapse. Of course this must not be done from the outside. The shock would be too great. But human beings can administer the medicine to themselves progressively and gradually. Merely look at the years already lived and see how many expectations have been built up. Either you dare not look back at them and how they were falsified – which means there is a cowardliness, a lie in your very soul – or you have replaced them so fast by other expectations that you are caught in a web of externalizing expectations. To initiate a breakthrough you can earnestly think, “Supposing I have only one day more to live; supposing everything that I have is taken away from me; supposing I can rely on nothing and expect nothing. What would be the meaning of joy, the dignity of grief?”
At that point, if a person thinks of Lord Krishna, of the unthanked mahātmas and adepts, and thinks of them not as distant from the human scene but as the ever-present causal force behind the shadow-play of history, then he finds an incredible strength in that thought, a strength in consciousness, but without a solidification of the object of consciousness. One can act with a freedom that is ultimately rooted in total actionlessness, like the supreme light of the ātman which is in eternal motion but which is not involved in what we call motion, refracted by differentiated matter. At the same time, one can live as if each act is supremely important, sublimely sacred. The person who really thinks this out trains himself in this mode of thinking, feeling, breathing, acting and living, and can in time gain a new lightness and economy, a fresh conception of real necessity, but above all a fundamental conception of identity merely as one of manifold unseen and unknown sacrificial instruments of the one Logos.
Concord House, November 1985