Theosophy | GĪTĀ YOGA – III

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.

Raghavan Iyer
Concord House, November 1985

Rosicrucianism | A Preliminary Rosicrucian Grade from the Gold and Rosy Cross Restored: The Theoretical Brother 

The Rosicrucian Ritual of the Gold and Rosy Cross Restored: The Theoretical Brother.

Source: A Preliminary Rosicrucian Grade from the Gold and Rosy Cross Restored: The Theoretical Brother – Rosicrucian Tradition Website

Donald Michael Kraig | From “Inner Secret” to Minor Diversion

When Aleister Crowley was initiated into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, he was initially impressed with the intensity and seriousness of the vows he took never to reveal any of the secrets of the Order. He quickly became disappointed, though, when those “secrets” were revealed to be relatively mundane—or at least well known—things like the Hebrew alphabet and the signs of astrology.  […]
Source:  Inner Secrets

A Brief Defense of the Golden Dawn System of Magic

On the Occult Corpus website, a poster by the name of alwayson posted a thread entitled ‘How to Become Better than a Golden Dawn Magician,’ in which he claimed that one could easily do […]

Source: A Brief Defense of the Golden Dawn System of Magic

Embarking on the Mysteries | The Secret Teachings Of All Ages (Manly P. Hall)

Join me LIVE as we read “The Secret Teachings of All Ages” by Manly P. Hall and understand what only a miniscule fragment of humanity has glimpsed. I hope you all are as excited as I am to be reading the Secret Teachings of All Ages. Today we finish up the introduction and explore the thinkers who shaped modern philosophy. This will give us the necessary information to embark on the mysteries and begin exploring the hidden symbolism of secret societies, occult doctrines, and esoteric philosophies.

NOTE: This book is in the Public Domain

Rosicrucianism | Silence: Inner Learning through the Power of Silence (AMORC)

Silence:  Inner Learning through the Power of Silence by Jeanne Guesdon, S.R.C., Former Grand Master of AMORC France; From the Rosicrucian Digest, December 1978, page 17.

Silence, one of the most difficult things to achieve in our world today, was an important key to the Pythagorean Path, and to all of Mysticism. Former Grand Master Guesdon reminds us of its importance across the ages.

1,600 Occult Books Now Digitized & Put Online, Thanks to the Ritman Library and Da Vinci Code Author Dan Brown

Back in December we brought you some exciting news. Thanks to a generous donation from Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown, Amsterdam’s Ritman Library—a sizable collection of pre-1900 books on alchemy, astrology, magic, and other occult subjects—has been digitizing thousands of its rare texts under a digital education project cheekily called “Hermetically Open.” We are now pleased to report, less than two months later, that the first 1,617 books from the Ritman project have come available in their online reading room. The site is still in beta, so to speak; in their Facebook announcement, the Ritman admits they are “still improving the whole presentation,” which is a bit clunky at the moment. But for fans and students of this literature, a little inconvenience is a small price to pay for full access to hundreds of rare occult texts.  […]


The Journey of the Rose

In my dream I saw that I was walking through a beautiful garden that was filled with roses, walking on a path that was lined by rose bushes and in front of me I could see a beautiful tree that was full of healthy, delicious looking fruit. I saw a rose vine spiraled around the tree and in the heart I saw Venus sitting on a throne holding her son/sun on her lap. As I looked up at the top of the tree I saw Venus joined as one with the son/sun whose face changed to Jupiter. […]


An Alchemical Mass

An Alchemical Mass

This is an interesting alchemical text, by Melchior Cibinensis, in which an alchemical process is pictured in the form of the Mass. From Theatrum Chemicum Vol III. 1602.

Introitus. Our Lord, fount of goodness, inspirer of the sacred art, from whom all good things come to your faithful, have mercy.

Christe. Christ, Holy one, blessed stone of the art of the science who for the salvation of the world hast inspired the light of the science, for the extirpation of the unbelievers, have mercy.

Kyrie. Our Lord, divine fire, help our hearts, that we may be able, to your praise, to expand the sacraments of the art, have mercy.

Graduale. He descends like rain upon the fleece, and as showers falling gently upon the earth. Allelujah. O blessed creator of the earth, whiter than snow, sweeter than sweetness, fragrant at the bottom of the vessel like balsam. O salutary medicine for men, that cureth every weakness of the body: O sublime fount whence gushes forth truly the true water of life into the garden of thy faithful.

Ave Maria. Hail beautiful lamp of heaven, shining light of the world! Here art thou united with the moon, here is made the band of Mars and the conjunction of Mercury. From these three is born through through the magistery of the art, in the river bed, the strong giant whom a thousand times a thousand seek, when these three shall have dissolved, not into rain water… but into mercurial water, into this our blessed gum which dissolves of itself and is named the Sperm of the Philosophers.

Now he makes haste to bind and betroth himself to the virgin bride, and to get her with child in the bath over a moderate fire. But the Virgin will not become pregnant at once unless she be kissed in repeated embraces. Then she conceives in her body, and thus is begotten the child of good omen, in accordance with the order of nature.

Then will appear in the bottom of the vessel the mighty Ethiopian, burned, calcined, discoloured, altogether dead and lifeless. He asks to be buried, to be sprinkled with his own moisture and slowly calcined till he shall arise in glowing form from the fierce fire …. Behold a wondrous restoration and renewal of the Ethiopian!

Because of the bath of rebirth he takes a new name, which the philosophers call the natural sulphur and their son, this being the stone of the philosophers.

And behold it is one thing, one root, one essence with nothing extraneous added and from which much that was superfluous is taken away by the magistery of the art …. It is the treasure of treasures, the supreme philosophical potion, the divine secret of the ancients.

Blessed is he that finds such thing.

One that has seen this thing writes and speaks openly, and I know that his testimony is true.

Praise be to God for evermore.

Theosophy | The Crest Jewel – 1, by Raghavan Iyer

To affirm is to deny. It is obvious that we do this always, but we periodically forget because of narrowing our focus to what we affirm in the language of perceived objects and in terms of the illusive independent existence of a particular set of subjects who see those objects. We fashion a pseudo-system. The universe is boundless, birthless and partless. Both within and beyond visible space and in eternal motion within endless duration, going through apparent vicissitudes like the waxing and waning of the moon or the rise and fall of the tides, through cyclical and cosmically precise changes, human beings have the privilege of exercising the deific power of creative imagination. At the highest level conceivable to a finite mind caught up within the prison of the personality, imagination is ceaselessly enjoying the universe, for example, the play of light and shade upon the green leaves of summer. If we say that there is also continuous negation, we are correct because chlorophyll is gradually negated, and thereby the leaves turn yellow. Thus we know that spring and summer must be followed by autumn. Human beings, however, sometimes forsake these primal facts because they prefer convenient fictions which involve false affirmations.

There is the false affirmation that a whole lot of bodies are in existence today. Do the bodies say so, and if so, how do they know? Apparently they are supposed to have minds, but what is a mind and what is the evidence that bodies have minds? We entertain opinions about these matters, but are opinions the same as ideas and are ideas the efflux of fluctuating moods? Is that the same as thinking, the activity of a Thoreau in the woods and an Emerson in his study? Questions of this kind are deeply troublesome and difficult. Therefore, Sri Shankaracharya states that before you can begin to deserve the Crest Jewel, which is in the crest above the forehead of the human body, the regal gem of pure discernment and spiritual wakefulness, and before you can benefit by it in the three states of consciousness – waking, dreaming and dreamlessness – you must recognize that at the root you have made a false identification. Without knowing it, you have engaged in falsehoods to which you were invulnerable before you learned to walk, before you learned to identify with the body that stumbles and before you learned to talk, to repeat sounds associated by other people with sense-objects. You started to slip into a stupor, and began to live an increasingly unreal existence, mostly reinforcing your sense of unreality but insisting it was the only reality – thereby showing that it was not real to you – against other people’s conceptions of reality. Therefore, that compassionate teacher Sri Shankaracharya states that we must get to the root and core of illusion.

What is the root? We are told that the Crest Jewel is that which causes all our problems but which also is their cure. The Crest Jewel represents the fundamental affirmation that two habitual negatives make a higher-order affirmation. On the one hand, there is a false negation in the notion of reality attached to the apparent freedom of all seemingly separate subjects, and the resulting glamour of the false shadow-play created by supposedly separate selves. On the other hand, there is also the notion of a plurality of separate objects, constituting a false negation of the one homogeneous substance or root-matter which is of the quality of pure primordial light and remains undivided and untransformed. All the various collocations of atoms, in seemingly fortuitous movement, whirl and revolve around invisible centres which are seemingly separate points in one homogeneous universal region, giving rise to the falsehood that there are separate objects. These two false negations have been marked out in the great teaching of the Guru.

Sri Shankara begins the text by saying there are three things extremely difficult to have. One is manhood. The second is the longing for liberation. The third is access to Masters. Without the second the third is impossible and the first is useless. If one wants access to Masters, one has to long sufficiently for liberation. One has to want sufficiently, with the whole of one’s being, to become free from the massive burden of inane repetitions that we call life and the impossibility of making it meaningful with the help of borrowed, lifeless and bloodless categories that wear masks and don caps and engage in a perpetual pantomime play called living. Shankara says that there is nothing new under the sun, that it is all the same old story. One might say it began with thinking man, but it really began when man stopped thinking. As a result, a huge rigamarole emerged which men then packaged and called recorded history.

History represents in recent centuries a harsh but also a necessary negation of the absurdities, errors and illusions of the past. When that happens with so many minds, when so many wills are blunted, hearts hurt and human beings lamed and crippled, suddenly we know that springtime is near. The Golden Age is next door. Suddenly we realize what we always might have known – that there are children in this world, that other people exist, that while ten men are gloomy there are another hundred who are happy. Those who are engrossed in being happy do not go around certifying their happiness to the gloomy. The gloomy want certainty, but there is no certitude to be attained anywhere in the realm of differentiation. This is a philosophical truth which everyone knew as a little child. The intuitive negation of childhood, a beautiful sharing with no “mine” and “thine,” was followed by cruel adolescent affirmations which are intensely ugly especially to others and sometimes to oneself. Then came the prolonged adolescence of those who are petrified that they might actually have to assume minimal responsibilities. But when men will not negate, Nature negates. Nature’s power of negation is vaster than the collective power of negation of history, and both seem more awesome and decisive than the capacity of an individual to negate.

Hermes, August 1977
Raghavan Iyer

Operative Alchemy: Avery Hopkins

An open lecture given on the basics of alchemical philosophy and applications. Details on the 3 principles, 4 elements, there internal and external correspondences, the energetic (chakra) centers of man, and the creation of medicines for the body and the mind using alchemical philosophies and operations.




The Tetragrammaton – Masonry Meets Theurgy

The Tetractys and the Sephiroth represent similar concepts; however the link between these two concepts would not be readily apparent were it not for their common use of the Tetragrammaton. The Tetagrammaton serves as a bridge between these concepts which span time, culture (Greek and Hebrew), and multiple Masonic rites and rituals. This paper discusses the Tetragrammaton, the Tetractys, and the Sephiroth and shows how the three are related.  […]