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Carl Jung on Eastern Mandalas and Invocation


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Lecture XI 3rd February, 1939

I should like to draw your attention again to the Invocation:

“Om, all-knowing one, . . . be round and round.”

This round motif should be kept clearly in your mind, for it is an exceedingly important symbol in the West as well as in the East.

It is especially women who produce such symbols in the West.

This is not the case in the East, the mandalas are made by men, the feminine has remained unconscious.

We find an exception to this rule in the matriarchal South of India.

There it is the special prerogative of women to draw the new mandalas.

I found a woman in a Temple at Madura, actually engaged in this work, and I then dis covered that it belongs to women’s mysteries.

They know the meaning of the whole and of the various pieces.

It was impossible for me to enquire, for the women were dumbfounded that a man should interfere in this realm.

There are a few matriarchal traces to be found all over India, but the Mahomedan influence, which entered with the invasion of the Moghuls, almost wiped them out.

I am not at all sure if the meaning of the southern mandalas is the same as that which we find in Kundalini Yoga which still has many adherents near Calcutta in Bengal.

As I said before the former are made by women and the latter by men. Kundalini Yoga is nearly related to Tibetan Yoga and is based on the “round and round” of our text.

This is the “rotundum” , or round element, as the medieval philosophers called it.

These philosophers rediscovered its value but it is of much more ancient origin, older than Plato, though his Timaeus is the ancient authority which is most often quoted by the alchemists.

The medieval texts are based on the Platonic idea of the round world ‘soul.

The microcosm is a small edition of the macrocosm, the anima mundi.

They both have the same round form.

Plato’s idea is identical with the eastern idea of the Atman or Purusha.

The person (purusha] not larger than a thumb who dwells in the heart of man and who compasses the earth on every side, extending beyond it by ten fingers breadth.

We see in our text that this “person “is not present from the beginning.

He has to be created by the Yogin, induced through the practise of Yoga.

So he is invoked to become “round and round”.

This is a magic procedure, undertaken in order to produce the spiritual personality, it is implored to become round and whole.

Round as the cosmos, and the Yogin hopes through this analogy to become one with the anima mundi, with the universal Atman.

This is a basic idea which reappeared curiously enough in the Middle Ages, but it had little chance to develop.

The Church was very powerful and the alchemistic philosophers had to be constantly on their guard to avoid persecution.

But the idea really disappeared through the attitude of the philosophers themselves.

They turned more and more to matter, alchemy ceased to be philosophy and became chemistry per se, which opened the path to the scientific point of view.

You can see this division very clearly in Paracelsus (1493-1541).

The old and the new world lie side by side in his works.

Philosophy itself became entirely intellectual, no doctrine of redemption existed apart from the intellect.

Modern philosophers philosophise with the head alone about man, but the old philosophy came from the whole man.

In our text it is the whole human being whom the Yogin seeks to unite and transform through a magic process.

We are very much afraid of the word magic, it has a bad name, for its meaning has degenerated and it has a purely superstitious sound in our ears.

But magical was originally simply psychical, the ancients did not know of the existence of the psyche, so not being able to call anything psychic they used the word magic.

The mandala works as magic in the East, its effect is feared; the need of care is realised there, because it has a peculiar influence, one is not sure what it will do.

These images, which are apparently just geometrical and ornamental designs , can bring evil things to light which are feared in the East.

Mandalas are sometimes made with the express purpose of evil, to do people harm.

The European who practises Yoga does not know what he is doing.

It has a bad effect upon him, sooner or later he gets afraid and sometimes it even leads him over the edge into madness.

Such Europeans live in the East with a western mentality, they have no psychological understanding to help them, no possibility to live or digest what they are doing and they are quite unadapted to the eastern point of view.

One could point to celebrated examples.

The lack of logic is very annoying to a European, he is apt to say: “Ridiculous!” and in that moment he gets caught.

The process is analogous to “going black” in Africa, both catch you from underneath.

If you live in a primitive country like Africa, the primitive, who already exists in your psyche, wakes up and catches you by his immense suggestive force.

We are in a bad situation in the West for we are living as decapitated heads.

The intellect is indispensable in order to understand, but you must feel yourselves that our text is not just related to the head, it arises from whole man.

We will now return to the text, where we are still in the second phase.

We reached the answer of the Devas in the last lecture and spoke of the way the dogma endeavoured to anticipate the answer.

This is not always successful for the Devatis become so real that they may answer with something exceedingly undogmatic.

The Yogin, however, having learnt their answer by heart, usually succeeds in drowning anything else which they may say.

Athanasius reports much the same phenomena in his accounts of St. Anthony of Egypt and the other hermits of the desert.

Their loneliness produces the same animation of the psychic figures, in their case it is individual experience caused by their extreme isolation, whereas the East
intentionally induces such figures to appear through meditation.

They happen to quite normal Europeans (not only to hermits) when very tired or lonely, and also in dangerous situations in primitive places; their surroundings suddenly become animated, they see visions or hear voices or both together.

But these are natural phenomena, which are not induced by religious exercises or dogmatised.

Athanasius reports that the devils appear in every form, they read the Bible or even sing hymns.

He says that they are most dangerous when they speak the truth because then the hermit is bewildered, he does now know whether God’s angel or a devil is speaking to him.

Athanasius meets the danger in very much the same way as in our text, he gives Church prescriptions, rules of behaviour for the voices and visions.

We must keep the fact in mind that such exercises are not undertaken by the inhabitants of big towns but by Lamas in monasteries.

Or more likely by a Lama, connected with a monastery, but living in complete solitude in some hermitage in Tibet, between a mountain and a lake, 12,000 feet perhaps above the sea.

They spend years alone in such places, seeing no one but an occasional shepherd or peasant woman who come to bring them food.

Or they even shut themselves into their hermitages and allow their food to be put down outside.

When one remembers the conditions, the prescriptions become very comprehensible.

The text Continues:

“The worshipper should repeat the invocation Mantra Vajra-muh and say in his mind ‘Pray come’.”

This is again an invocation such as the previous one to the all-knowing One.

Muh means to deceive or blind; moha, delusion, blinding, comes from the same word.

A moha mantra is an imprinted form to induce and create delusion.

So this mantra “Vajra-muh” is a magic word used with the purpose of blinding the demons and protecting the Yogin from their interference.

“These constitute the thirteen means of acquiring merits. Then from the Bija Mantra Hum which lies in the heart”

A humming tone in the heart.

“emanate ten female Devatas (Dakini) who are the keepers of the doors. There are eight in the eight points of the compass and Khanda and Roho
are above (zenith) and below (nadir).”

The text speaks here of the ten female Devatis that the Yogin has brought out of himself and placed round him, he unburdens himself of his psychic contents with these Devatas .

Those which he has brought forth earlier in the text have all been male.

As the Yogin is a man his conscious is masculine, so the male Devatas represent his conscious thoughts , religious, philosophical and personal.

He has already been freed from his masculine conscious, but to be really freed he must also externalize his feminine unconscious.

This necessity is dealt with here as the ten female Devatas who shine forth in the ten known directions of space, protecting the Yogin from ba ghosts and watching the doors while he meditates.

Khanda means multitude, and Roho means growth, uprising. Presumably the roots in nadir develop into the multitude in zenith.

“They are on the east, south, west, north, and then south-east, southwest, north-east and north-west. Then repeat a syllable (Pada) of the Mantra of the four-faced Devata and as each Pada is repeated make a snapping noise with the finger and thumb of the left hand. By these means let him think that he has expelled all mischievous Spirits. Then on a flood of light issuing from the ‘Hum’ in the heart proceed by stages to make the Vajra-bhumi (ground);”

The eternal basic foundation is made of the light which issues from the heart.

“next the wall, ceiling, ceiling curtain with fringes and net-work of arrows and outside all a fence of divine flames.”

We come here to the creation of the square room and the circle.

The fourfold mandala which is described is surrounded by flames.

You will remember that in the Lamaistic mandala which I showed you (see diagram, p. 38) this was the fire of desire, the concupiscentia.

Desire is transformed, reincarnated in the mandala.

When the Lama is in the mandala he has left desire behind; but should he go out by one of the gates of the functions he would again be at the mercy of the concupiscentia.

Inside the circle he wills, outside it he is willed.

Presumably the fire fence has also an apotropaic value, it is possible that it guards the Lama from disturbance and makes him inaccessible.

At any rate we find such a fire fence in most of these e astern mandalas.

“He should commence this work from within and proceed outward in their order.”

The work should proceed from within outwards and not vice versa, so that the Yogin is always in the centre of his mandala.

“Then form the fingers of the left hand into the threatening Mudra and point it at the ten directions.”

We have here the threat towards the ten directions.

“She who causes fall”, the concupiscentia, has attacked the Yogin through his senses.

In order to comb at this he himself has created ten female Devatas.

He draws attention to them here.

“making the snapping noise above mentioned, repeating solemnly the following Mantras thrice: (Foundation] Om medini-vajra bhava vajra-bandhana hum hum phat” . . . etc.

The editor translates this in a note:” Om earth-Vajra worldly Vajra-bondage, hum hum Phat (destroy]. ”

Hum is the eternal secret.

This mantra is connected with the snapping of the fingers above mentioned to expel all mischievous spirits.

It is said in order to prevent anything from injuring the heart, first to the ground, the foundation, and om is then repeated towards the wall, the ceiling, the cloth, the net-work and towards the fire fence.

This creates a protective circle and we come next to the creation of the diamond weapons.

“Having concentrated the mind on the above protective circles, create from the ‘Hum’ in the heart Vaj ra-daggers with Vajra-hilts and Vajra clubs.
Placing these in the left and right hands of the innumerable attendants”

These innumerable attendants are all the figures which he has created and which stand round him.

“resembling himself let him centre his mind on the innumerable attendants filling the skies who summon the Spirits, including those powerful
ones who guard the four directions of the world system. Those who are white take refuge and enter the path of righteousness. Think of those
who are black as being transfixed with a dagger through the crown of their head.”

We have here the destruction of the micked and of avidya.

This is real Tibetan magic and is very important there.

They imagine a magic projectile for the purpose of sending it out.

They are magic realities, magic daggers , and they can be sent out to harm or even to kill, certain people.

In the spirit of our text such daggers would only be used against bad spirits, avidya ghosts, who must be destroyed.

The white spirits are already in the path of righteousness.

“Then orally recite: om: may the dispersal of the dense mass of darkness of delusion of Avidya be brought about; may all misery be destroyed, etc.
. . . At the same time imagine that they are pounded into dust by strokes from the Vajra-Hammer.”

The diamond hammer pounds all the agents of not-knowing [avidya] and unconsciousness to dust.

The East values consciousness very highly, it is the helpful light in the darkness, and the Easterner looks upon the darkness of unconsciousness as evil arising from avidya.

This teaching is already to be found in the sermons of Buddha.

While we are in avidya, we act like automatons, we have no idea what we are doing.

Buddha regarded this as absolutely unethical.

Avidya acts in the sense of the concupiscentia and involves us in suffering, illness and death.

While we remain in avidya we are forever rolling with the wheel of life, one with a creation which is nothing but suffering and by this we only increase the suffering that is in the world.

But through knowledge, through overcoming avidya, we reach a state where we no longer desire to roll with the wheel of events, with the wheel of the Sangsara, we want to stop the Sangsara, and by that to bring the whole of creation of an end.

. . . “Concentrate the mind on the absolution of the sins of the mischievous Spirits and imagine that their Vijnana-principles have been transferred to the Realm of Buddha Akshobhya.”

The Yogin asks here to be delivered from the sins of the mischievous spirits.

Buddha Akshobhya is the Buddha of the East where the light of consciousness rises.

The principle of cognition must be got back from the demons through enlightenment.

“Then the attendants take up their position at the outer fence of Vajras.”

The attendants are his figures and are to make the diamond circle around him.

“Imagine that they guard the devotee so long as he does not attain Buddhahood. This is the method by means of which one guards against the possibility of being interrupted whilst seeking to acquire wisdom through meditation on the magical protective fences. This is acquiring of causal merits.”

A note to the text says that there are two kinds of merits.

Causal merits are ” those which accrue from virtuous acts”. J

nan a is the other kind of merit, and is “wisdom acquired with energy and through meditation.

“We come next to the recognition that the Yogin is of the true nature of all things:

“Then regarding all outward and inward objects to be illusory like dreams say: Om, I am the pure which is the true nature of all things.”

Here is a piece of the superior wisdom of the East.

The Yogin realises that· all the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Devatas with which he has filled the heavens are Maya illusion just as the world itself is Maya. All this plurality is illusion.

The Yogin must first take endless trouble to build up this multiplicity of figures, and then it is demanded of him to admit that they are only his illusion, even the highest divine being is an illusion.

Only one thing is true: himself as the pure, as the Void.

This is the teaching of Shunyata, the pure origin and true nature of everything which exists.

The light of consciousness which issues from his own heart is the source of all things.

It is not that the things do not exist but that our perception of them is nothing but illusion.

“Again, meditating on Maya (sGyuma, that is the world) as being Shunyata (the Void) inconceivable by thought, say – Om: I am of the nature of the Void and Vajra knowledge. This is the acquiring of spiritual merits.”

The Lama states that he is of the nature of the Void, and he realises here that all his knowledge of the world has reached him through the filter of the psyche.

It has been “psychised” so to speak, before it reaches him.

We cannot know anything which is beyond the reach of our own psyche: We speak of the Galactic systems, but what can we really say ab out them?

They are millions of years away from us.

We give them names and translate them by our psychic systems, they are interpreted by the psyche.

We make hypotheses about the stars or spirits.

We do not know what a spirit is any more than we understand matter.

We are really enclosed in a psychic world of images.

We label everything as physical or spiritual but the only reality is purely psychic.

If this were not so there would be no world because no one would know that it existed.

This realisation is the basic foundation of the eastern point of view, it is through this that the Easterner strives to free himself from the wheel of suffering. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture XI, Pages 70-75.

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