Lecture VII 16th December, 1938
We began a Tantrik text in our last lecture and we will penetrate further into its depths today.
This text is very difficult, it requires a great deal of explanation but by taking sufficient trouble it is possible to understand it.
“Imagining his own body to be that of the Devati (Demchog) is the bliss pertaining to the body.
Saying ‘Shri He-ru-ka Aham’, he should meditate on each syllable of the Mantra as follows:”
The mantra is ” Shri He-ru-ka Aham”. Heruka is the Guru and Lord of the Mandala, he must be imagined or created by the devotee.
The text prescribes dividing the mantra into syllables in order to elucidate the holy text.
It is necessary for the devotee to take infinite pains.
He can only understand and fully realise the meaning of the mantra through analyzing it minutely.
“Shri is non-dual experience;” This is literally “not two knowledge ” , advaita experience.
The term is used of Brahman, the world principle. Shri expresses here the devotee’s own non-dual experience.
“He is the cause and the Void or Dhatu;” “He is the primal cause and Shunyata, the Void or the ultimate formless reality.
Dhatu is the element or principle.
Literally “He ” is the primal cause of the element, and the Void which is only absolute nothingness from the point of view of the contemplator, for it is also absolute fullness . (We cannot define it so we think of it as empty.)
The Yogin must realise as he pronounces this syllable, that he is not only outside time but also at the beginning of all things.
” ‘Ru’ is uncompounded ;” Separation from combinations, not a compound. ” \’Ka’ is not abiding anywhere.”
This is the Buddha essence which cannot be said to be in any place for it is all-pervading, and dependent on nothing.
The Yogin comes to this first cause or essence by meditating on the four syllables.
“Thinking oneself to be the Self which embodies all these,”
He must be able to think of the all-pervading essence as himself.
This is almost impossible for the West to comprehend, for when we say ” myself ” we just mean the body, the three dimensional animal, but the text is perfectly clear on this point.
“whatsoever a man says is Mantra.”
This again is amazing to western ideas . We think that what man says is “human all too human”.
But we have to accept the fact that we have in our text the case of a man who thinks of himself as the Self, the primal cause , the Buddha essence.
We think of this as an inflation and wonder where it will end, yet we must allow that it expresses a psychological fact.
We can find parallels in the West, the Christian mystics experienced the inner Christ, a direct contact with the godhead.
If an Indian has really fulfilled the conditions which allow him to be the Self, the Atman, then he is himself the truth and what he says is a Mantra, a holy sentence, the truth.
A Mantra is repeated again and again, you can also use it as a sort of magic spell and it acts like a suggestion when directed towards our own psyche.
“Let him imagine in the centre of his own heart the letter ‘A’ ”
“A” is the first letter of Aham. “evolved from the experience which knows that forms are unreal.”
This is a circumlocution, literally the Sanskrit sentence means:
“‘thinking not’ knowledge: that is Jnana which is that Wisdom which knows that all forms have no real existence as such in themselves, that is, which knows that the true nature of forms is Shunyata.”
The ego form is also unreal. Buddhism holds that there is no individual soul.
When there is a collision in the streets in the East things are quite different to here.
Pandemonium breaks out here when two vehicles hit each other.
But in Ceylon, for instance, a mantra is spoken to the effect that all disturbances pass, everything is illusion, therefore my ego, which could become excited, is also an illusion.
Obviously this point of view has its advantages.
“On i t let him think of the clear Lunar disc which symbolises world experience,”
This again is a circumlocution.
A note to the text calls it Vishaya Jnana = world knowledge of objects, that is doubtful knowledge so it is related to the moon.
There is an Upanishad text which says that out of manas came the moon.
The word manas is connected with the Middle High German word mana, meaning moon.
The English word mind is also related to manas. All these words have a common root.
The moon lays a magic spell over a landscape, everything appears in a deceptive light.
So th e Yogin is really saying: everything which we know about the things of the world is doubtful, deceptive like moonlight.
The text continues: “and upon that the Mantra ‘Hum’,”
This is the second syllable of the word ‘Aham’.
It is the mystical sound which corresponds to ‘Om’.
We have already met it in the mantra” Om mani padme hum.” (See Lecture V. p. 36)
“Om” was the invocation and “hum” closed the mantra.
“which symbolises mind devoid of objective content.”
Mind is here that consciousness which is free of objective thoughts and contents, there are only subjective contents left.
And even these are only a subjective conception, an illusion, for we have just seen Buddhism holds that there is no individual soul.
“Of this ‘Hum’ the letter ‘U’ stands for the knowledge which accomplishes all works; the body of the letter ‘H’ for that knowledge which distinguishes; the top of the letter ‘H’ for the equalizing knowledge;”
Literally “equal intensifying of knowledge”.
Here it is the sameness of all, Samata Jnana, in contrast to the last form of knowledge mentioned, the “knowledge which distinguishes”, which recognizes differences.
“the crescent (Chandra) for the mirror-like knowledge;”
This crescent moon is very peculiar, it is doubtful where it comes from.
It plays no role in India. Perhaps it comes in through Tibetan influence.
I know very little about Tibet.
“and the Hindu (Thigle) above that for the changeless knowledge.”
Dharma-dhatu-Jnana, the changeless knowledge, is that knowledge which knows that things are not liable to change or transition but are all of the same essence, that is, the Buddha essence, the Self.
In other words:
“The wisdom which knows that the things which are coloured differently and the like are really not so, but they are all of one nature and taste. ”
The Hindu (Sanskrit) or Thigle (Tibetan) is a point above, it is of special significance in Tantrik Yoga.
It is the Mantra expression for Ishvara (lord and creator) in India, and for the highest truth in Tibet.
You find it also in the Bardo Thodol where it is called the Dharma Kaya.
It would lead too far for me to go into further detail but the many aspects of consciousness mentioned here amount to a whole psychology and repay study.
“Meditation on these different parts of the Mantra symbolizing the mind is the method by which the latter is qualified for pure experience And enjoys the bliss which arises from contemplation on the bliss of the divine mind.”
The Yogin must make a real analysis of all these different consciousnesses.
“From the Mantra ‘Hum’ rays of blue, green, red and yellow light shoot forth through the four heads of the Devata and gradually fill the whole Universe.”
The Yogin must be imagined in a magic circle, the four heads of the Devatas making a square.
The Yogin is in the centre, saying “Hum”, the first quality of consciousness, the world principle.
The four colours emanate from the c entre, the four qualities of consciousness, that is the four functions of consciousness, the four possibilities of consciousness.
I have spoken of the seat length in earlier lectures.
This image has a psychological meaning, the four heads of the Devatas, permeated with light, radiate out into the universe.
“Then think in the following order : – ‘May all sentient beings enjoy happiness and be endowed with the cause thereof’ –
‘May they be freed of all pain and of the causes thereof’ – ‘May they never be separated from the highest happiness’ – ‘May they be free both of attachment as well as hatred, and may they have all their eight worldly wishes pruned and levelled.’
Think fully on these wishes in their order the one after the other.
Then snapping the thumb and middle finger of the left hands and pointing the latter in the ten directions ”
These are the eight points of the compass , zenith and nadir.
These peculiar gestures are very foreign to us but they belong to this Yoga.
I will now read you a passage out of a Mithraic Liturgy, second century A.D :
“After you have repeated the second prayer, in which Silence is called for twice, whistle twice and snap your fingers twice and you will at once see stars coming forward from the disc of the sun, many, many stars, five-pointed, filling the whole air.
Say again ‘Silence, silence’ and when the disc of the sun has opened you will behold an infinite circle and fiery doors that are closed.”
This is a parallel and is also filled with magic significance.
It is apotropaic in the Mithraic Liturgy, it says clearly in another place that it is when the gods come too near you that you should snap your fingers and click with your tongue.
You feel the gods approaching too closely, so you make a propitiatory gesture as you would to an animal , and ask them to keep a little further off to prevent them from becoming threatening.
This is a very foreign idea to us now, though such things were common in the Middle Ages.
A sorcerer, who wanted to dig up a treasure, for instance, would isolate himself by drawing a magic circle.
He was still vulnerable and there were ghosts and demons ready to attack him.
You can still find Swiss peasants who use the magic circle to prevent bad spirits doing them harm, and the same idea app ears here in Tibetan Buddhism.
The snapping of the fingers in our text is a propitiatory gesture as in the Mithraic Liturgy.
The text continues:
“let him think it to be such directions and repeat the Mantra ‘Sukhe bhavantu’ [Be happy.)”
A formula of welcome.
“By this means he dedicates all the merits that he acquires to the benefit of others. This is the meditation on the four abodes.”
The four abodes are the four states of Dhyana.
He is performing a meritorious action and dedicating his merits to the benefit of others.
He propitiates the world powers in this way.
These are the dangers which we also saw in the Mithraic Liturgy.
Until you are “non- dual” another exists who could harm you. I will read you another passage from the same Mithraic Liturgy:
“But you will see how the gods fix their eyes up on you and press themselves against you. Then lay your forefinger on your lip sand say:
‘ Silence ! Silence! Silence!’ the sign of the living, immortal god, ‘Protect me, Silence!’ Then give a long whistle and snap your fingers and speak and then you will see how graciously the gods look up on you, no longer pressing themselves against you but going rather to the scene of their own activity.”
We see here that it is possible to pacify and avert these supernatural powers.
If the Yogin is “non- dual” no one else exists for him to fear but yet the apotropaic gestures have remained in our text.
This originated in the time when the gods were the therianthropic, partly man and partly beast. We still project part of our
psyche which does not seem to belong to us into animals.
This is particularly evident with primitives, who become very disturbed when an animal departs from its usual habits.
The coyote, for instance, is a very shy animal and never shows its lf by day and, if one should be seen in an Indian village in daylight, all the inhabitants are convinced that it is a doctor coyote, a daemon, supernatural, a medicine man among coyotes.
The American Indians are afraid of such an animal and have ceremonial usages and sacrifices to avert the danger, for the animal has broken the world order.
You find the same idea among the Africans, when unusual events take place on an ant heap, for instance, the natives dig out the ants and perform sacrifices.
When an animal departs from its usual nature the primitive feels entirely disoriented and expects water to begin running up hill.
We are insufficiently aware of the animal side of our nature .
We find animal headed people in the Mithraic Liturgy I have just quoted, like the old gods in Egypt and elsewhere.
When a god is called a bird or a falcon it is no facon de parler. He is a bird or a falcon, that is, his peculiar behaviour gives the impression of a bird or falcon.
There were many animals in early Christianity, three of the Evangelists are represented with animals’ heads.
An Indian who went to England was very much surprise d to find that Christianity was an animal cult!
He saw it with his own eyes, he reported, eagles, lambs and doves were to be found in every Church!
The human being is much more “en evidence” in Indian temples, though the elephant-headed Ganesha is an exception.
We are only gradually laying aside the idea of animal gods.
Our text continues:
“Again think that rays of various coloured light beam forth from the Mantra ‘Hum’ filling the whole body and shining there out in all space, cleansing the sins and ignorance and the propensities born of habit of all sentient beings, changing them all into myriad forms of Khorlo-Demchog.(Shri-chakra-mahasukha)”
The holy chakra of the highest bliss.
“Then having withdrawn inwards all the rays of light and absorbed them into one’s own self, meditate again as follows:”
This is very typical, first the light beams forth out of the Mantra, and then it must be withdrawn into the centre.
The rays have gone out of the body and must be brought back into it again, and when the emanations have been gathered in from the whole world, the Yogin should meditate as follows:
“Let the worshipper think the Rupa-skandha (bodily aggregate)”
The form element. (Rupa = form, skandha = aggregate or element.)
This is another eastern psychological idea, namely the element which brings about all forms, i.e. imagination forms, ideas.
“to be Vairochana; his Vediina-kandha (aggregate of sensation) to be Vaja-suryya;” Diamond sun.
Vajra means diamond or eternal, and suryya sun. “his Samjna-skandha (aggregate of feeling)”
The translator has left these “skandhas” in the Sanskrit, the bracketed aggregates come from the notes on the text.
These say that Samjnii-skandha is an “aggregate of feeling”.
Feeling is a rational function and the Sanskrit word “samjna” has more the meaning of harmony. I hardly know whether it can be rendered as feeling.
“to be Padme-nateshvara, (Padma Lord of Dances); his Sangskiiraskandha (aggregate of tendencies);”
Padma means lotus and the Sangskara-skandha could be given as the element of instinct.
“to be Raj a-Vajra” Kingly diamond.” and his Vijniina-skandha (aggregate of cognition) to be Buddha Vajrasattva.”
The aggregate of cognition (knowledge) is the Buddha, the enlightened diamond essence.
The highest essence proceeds out of the four functions as the final result.
“Meditate thus upon all the principles constituting the self as having become each a Tathagata: the whole constituting the revered and glorious Heruka.”
The text here is a kind of conscious analysis of the four functions.
The Yogin tries to establish a fourfold consciousness and the fifth in the centre, uniting all, is Buddha consciousness.
The quaternity is dissolved in the essence of the Yogin, and the fourfold image of consciousness disappears. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 16Dec1938, Pages 46-51.