Sato on the Cycle of Life

September 24th, 2007

A diagram from Toru Sato’s The Ever-Transcending Spirit.

“One process [occurring during life] is the simultaneous process of separating the object from the subject and integrating a part of what used to be the subject with other objects (i.e., understanding our existence in relation to others). During this process, we begin to identify more and more with the object by integrating more and more of what used to be the subject with the object. This process enables us to see an increasingly bigger picture of how we exist in relation to others. As a consequence, this process helps us exist in more harmonious unity with other people and things…” (p82-3).

The cycle of life

“Eventually, if we reach a state of complete transcendence, we differentiate everything from the subject (so that the subject disappears) and integrate all objects with other objects and we experience objective unity. However, since objects cannot exist without a subject, we commonly call it subjective unity instead of objective unity. In sum, we begin by venturing out of subjective unity into the world of conflict between subject and object and then we end by returning back to subjective unity. Therein lies the beauty in the cycle of our lives. It is like a story with a peaceful beginning, conflict and excitement in the middle, and then a peaceful ending after the climax. This is probably why Black Elk, the well-known wise man of the Lakota native North American tribe says, ‘The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves'” (p83).

Yantras and Mental Oblation

September 23rd, 2007

Another yantra from Yantra (see previous post).

“Meditation on the yantra takes the most subtle form of all when it consists of inner illumination, a method of mediation without any yogic, ritual, or visual aids… The sadhaka builds up, in deep concentration, a square yantra enclosed by three concentric circles. In the centre of the square he visualizes the emblem of the yoni (a half-moon and bindu). The square symbolizes the vessel of consciousness (cit-kunda) in which burns the fire of consciousness, and into this symbolic fire the adept ‘surrenders’ all his mental offerings [his impulses, his senses, his selfhood, his acts, his self]. This mental offering of his entire being is the prelude to new birth” (p129).

Cit-kunda yantra

“The essential difference between the outer form of yantra worship (puja) and inward meditation through yantric symbols is that the former produces mental states that are like ‘seeds’ for the future workings of consciousness, while the latter is ‘without seed’ (nirbija) and relies on intuitive apprehension of the real, reveling in the ontological plenitude in which being, knowledge and bliss are inseparable and indistinguishable” (p130).

The Dynamics of Psyche and Symbol

September 22nd, 2007

Four yantras (see earlier post) and a diagram from Madhu Khanna’s Yantra: The Tantric Symbol of Cosmic Unity.

“Yantras function as revelatory symbols of cosmic truths and as instructional charts of the spiritual aspect of human experience. All the primal shapes of a yantra are psychological symbols corresponding to inner states of human consciousness, through which control and expansion of psychic forces are possible.” (p12).


Nepal, c. 18th century (p52).

“Each graphic shape can be seen as a psychological schema: the outer gates are the gates of one’s consciousness; the lotus petal, spiritual enfoldment; the inner geometrical figures, the stages of spiritual ascent; and the bindu, one’s innermost self” (p150).

“Every symbol in a yantra is ambivalently resonant in inner-outer synthesis, and is associated with the subtle body and aspects of human consciousness. Thus, for instance, the bindu in a yantra is cosmic when viewed as the emblem of the Absolute Principle but psychological when it is related to the adept’s spiritual centre. By aligning these two planes of awareness, the yantra translates psychic realities into cosmic terms and the cosmos into psychic planes” (p22).

Sri yantra

Sri Yantra, formed by the interpenetration of two sets of triangles, four, apex upward, representing the male principle and five, apex-downward, representing the female principle. Rajasthan, c. 1700 (p112).

“Yantra meditation should should not be understood superficially, as though attention were merely pegged on to a symbol, as for instance when we focus on any symmetrical figure to control our mental flux. On the contrary, genuine yantra meditation produces an active mental state and induces receptivity to symbolic revelations” (p107).

Smar-hara yantra

Smar-hara Yantra, the ‘remover of desire’. The circle is the latent Kundalini Sakti, which when aroused can penetrate beyond the successive planes of inwardness illustrated by the five male and female triangles which correspond to the five psychic sheaths that envelop the innermost self (p142).

“One of the most important rituals of yantra worship is the infusing of vital force (prana) into the geometrical pattern of the yantra, called pranapratistha. The goal is to cause the spiritual universe underlying myth and iconography to ‘descend’ into the yantra so that it becomes a radiant emblem and receptacle of cosmic power (sakti-rupa), and consciousness (chaitanya), transforming into sacred archetypal space what is phenomenally no more than a mere design. The transfer of power from the sadhaka to the yantra changes the nature of the diagram, and the consecrration of profane space conversely elevates the sadhaka to realizing the inherent energy of the theophany, so that the yantra becomes a powerful means of contact between the sadhaka and the cosmos” (p98).

Sakti yantra

Sakti Yantra. The three sides of the yoni, the primordial triangle, creative matrix of the cosmos, stand for the three qualities composing material nature: sattva, the ascending quality, seen as white; rajas, the kinetic quality, seen as red; tamas, the descending quality or inertia, seen as black. Rajasthan, c. 17th century (p113).

“What is counselled is not withdrawal from existence or a cold ascetism which teaches us to sever our links with life, but a gathering up of existence into our own being. This gathering up is effected by cosmicizing the body, and treating it as a ‘tool’ for inner awareness by taming it with yogic rituals, awaking zones of consciousness and activating its latent subtle energies” (p119).

The Dynamics of Psyche and Symbol

The dynamics of psyche and symbol. This process should be seen in relation to the dynamics of cosmic evolution and involution. Click to view larger version with labels (p75).

“When [the adept] has internalized all the symbols of the cosmos and his body ‘becomes the yantra’, [he] is no longer alienated from the truth that the symbol illustrates, but is transformed into the truth he seeks” (p80).

Aor and the Language of the Birds

September 15th, 2007

Continuing on the theme of the last post, another diagram from Vandenbroeck’s Al-Kemi.

“I worked up a construct [below] to show as clearly as possible the qualities which characterize the predominance of each of the three alchemical principles: heat for Sulphur, humidity for Mercury, coldness for Salt. This structure shows the principles and elements held in a network of relations between trinity and quaternary, and ruled by the permutations of two pairs. Completed to the show polarized duality manifesting a vertex of puncticular and irrational oneness, this pyramid of Pythagorean number forms the renowned Tetractys. An exaltation of the four elements reveals a quintessence as basis of the Pentactys, emblem of manifestation traditionally associated with the five senses” (p118).

Pythagorean pyramid

Click image for larger version.

“Neither formulas, mechanisms, or processes had any bearing upon the science that concerned us. The presentation would be a gesture of knowing intuition, so that the only dependable representation would be an intuitive perception of form — as number, color, sound, volume, or plane-image. It would be an inscription into the fixed salt, not a notation onto memory” (p228-9).

“Aor maintained that the material process of the alchemical opus are banal, that they occur at every moment in every laboratory in plain view of everyone. There are no special or hidden chemical events, and the alchemical processes are of the most usual sort, so common that they escape notice, as is repeated again and again with regard to materia prima in alchemical texts. The difference in the esoteric manipulation lies entirely in the apprehension of the event: it is a matter of perception, of vision” (p147).

Says Aor, “The Oeuvre is not the discovery of a technique, it is nothing of the sort, it is the perception of an existing process. It is the perception that is the object of study and prayer. That is the theoretical part, and after that comes the practice, the proper gesture in matter and time. The perception of a process, the vision of an evolution, that is the first aim of the scientist. Prima materia into Materia prima is a constant process of nature, it is mindless, and therefore beyond the cerebral cortex. That is really the only difficulty. There is no use addressing the analytic mind with Hermetic language; it can do very little with it. Therefore the language of the birds, not spoken, only heard” (p60).

A Reeducation of the Senses

September 8th, 2007

A diagram from André Vandenbroeck’s Al-Kemi, memoir of R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz.

Perception Construct

Says Aor, “It is interesting to study the senses from the point of view of form-perception, to become aware of their functions as formative instruments. Realize how prejudiced we have become in favor of sight, because it seems to give us the volume so immediately and, we think, so surely, so certainly. But that isn’t even the eye’s primary function; this perception of volume is entirely secondary, it is color that is the primary sight-form… In the same way, volume is secondary form for the hearing function; it is sound that is primary. But volume is the material presence and all the senses partake of it… The immediacy of [sight] is what attracts us, but it is a solution of facility, and without perceptual education, it results in a universe of objects, of things. Actually, for the proportional perception that gives us so many profound hints as to the cosmic constitution, the ear is a far better tool. The laws are harmony are just that, perception of ratios and proportionality, and here the sound-form without equal… That trinity of lower senses can in fact be summed up under the sense of touch, as both smell and taste are a matter of contact… And touch… has contact with volume only.” (p106-7).

“You can say that the universe of form, pervaded by affinity, spans between number and volume. Volume and number are the forms of origin, whereas color and sound are later forms of more advanced evolution. Number exists inside and out of the least mineral structure as surely as does volume. Polarity is already number, in the same way that space is already volume” (p107-8).

Attention, cher ami, if you really want a beginning, you have to find a totality, a oneness, and where experience is concerned, that oneness must be achieved in the perception of the experience. You can fragment it through an analytic view, which is what we have trained our cerebral cortex to do, or you can identify with the formal and functional essence of the experience and intuitively place it in its cosmic context. That takes a reeducation of the senses for modern man… Without adequate perception, you will encounter a world of objects to register into your brain matter, but you will only rarely be inscribing experience into salt” (p177-8).