Lecture VI 9th December, 1938
I hope that I have given you some idea of the course which a Buddhist Yoga process takes.
We have been studying a classical text, based on broad simple lines.
This was Buddhist, but many philosophical movements in India have other forms of Yoga which one could s ay run a physiological course.
The knowledge obtained is produced by exercises in which only the body is concerned; these exercises, however, have a psychological sous- entendu.
But when we imitate these things in the West they become mere gymnastic exercises for the psychological nuance escapes us.
We get, it is true, a foggy idea of such terms as Dhyana and Samadhi, the words sound wonderful to us, but such words are no mere concepts, and they mean nothing unless one has oneself experienced the states they denote.
It is really impossible for us to realise what such things mean to an Indian who has grown up in the specific spirit of Yoga.
The other day I came across a small English book by Yeats Brown, the author of “Bengal Lancer”.
He, like Paul Brunton the well-known journalist, is an amateur in Yoga.
There are pictures in Yeats Brown’s book of the peculiar positions of the body prescribed in that form of Yoga, and philosophy is poured thinly over the gymnastic exercises , as oil and vinegar are over a salad.
On no account should you meditate on such a text as that which we have read.
But some knowledge of eastern methods is a necessary preparation towards understanding the spirit of European active imagination, and is a great help in obtaining a right attitude towards it.
We spoke in the last lecture of the resemblance between the Buddhist conception of the inner sun and the western mystical idea of an inner Christ.
We find the same idea in the Indian Atman, a word which is related to the German Atem (breath]; it is the breath of life, which goes through everything, corresponding to the Buddha essence.
Prajapati, the world creator, has almost the same meaning.
Atman is the foundation, the primeval beginning, of our existence, and the universal being, the Self itself.
This Atman is not only the non-personal Buddha but al so the personal Atman.
Everyone has a personal Atman, a personal Self, which is one aspect of the universal.
One emerges from the personal Atman into the universal Atman through Yoga, the Yogin becomes aware of himself as the universal essence.
We will now study another form of Yoga, Tantrik Yoga.
This also belongs to Buddhism but not to classical Buddhism.
The Tantrik texts are as yet only partially accessible.
The little we know of them comes mainly from Sir John Woodroffe, who writes under the name of Arthur Avalon.
Both these names are taken from the Grail Legend. I
nteresting as it is, his book ” The Serpent Power”, on Kundalini Yoga, is very difficult to read.
Tantrik Yoga is in rather bad repute in India; it is criticised because it is connected with the body, particularly with sex.
It has a good many adherents in Bengal, however, and Tantrism has had a great deal of influence on Tibetan literature.
The text, which I am going to read, attracts one by its peculiar symbolism.
It is very difficult to understand but is exceedingly helpful in the task of understanding western parallels.
It has not a classical character and speaks of a sphere which springs from physiological levels.
It’s very important symbolism is full of significance from the psychological point of view.
This text is very difficult to date but it probably belongs somewhere in the Middle Ages.
Shri-Chakra- Sambhara Tantra.
Shri means holy, chakra means wheel or mandala, Sambhara means collection and tantra, weaving loom or war , text in other words.
So we could translate it: the holy wheel collected text.
It begins with an invocation:
Vajra-yogini, Shri Mahamaya and Tiirii.
Vajra means thunderbolt or diamond.
Vaj = hard and ra = bolt.
Yogini means consort or female companion, the yoked one, a goddess.
A divine being expressed as the consort.
A female being, a Shakti, a power or effective force that emanates from the male god, from the masculine principle.
Shri means holy and Maha means large.
Ma or maya is building material, it is the stuff of which the world is made.
Materia and mater are words which come from rna : rna is the mother or material of the world.
It is as if God made himself visible in his female aspect.
We speak of mother earth and in German of Frau Welt (Mrs. World).
Shri Mahamaya then is the holy great illusion, or the holy great reality which is also an illusion.
Tara is the white Tara, a goddess of Mahayana Buddhism.
“This is a clear exposition of the ritual of the Mandala of Shri Chakra (holy wheel) of Great Bliss. ”
The text is going to tell us how this mandala should be used.
I will give you a rough diagram and I showed you such a picture in the last lecture (see P. 38).
The square with the four gates is contained in a circle.
The mandala is represented in this text in its ritual function.
“Obeisance to the Guru and Shri Heruka.”
The Guru who is mentioned here is not a human teacher but a god.
The god of the mandala, the holy Heruka.
He is a kind of patron saint, a Devati.
We find Devatas already in the Pali Canon, whenever Buddha preached Devatas attended.
There are descriptions of Devatas who came to Buddha at night and filled the room with light, and conversations took place between Buddha and these semi divine beings.
“Having bowed with reverence to the Guru, the essence of all the Buddhas and to Shri Heruka, I now expound the Sadhana of Shri Chakra Mahasukha.”
Sadhana is ritual; a note to th e text says that it is a “practice whereby Siddhi [success, here spiritual attainment) may be obtained”.
It produces a magical atmosphere.
Shri Chakra Mahasukha means the holy mandala of great bliss.
The underlying thought has a magic effect. The god who is invoked here is an aspect of the Guru-essence.
You find these Gurus or spiritual leaders all over India, they are specifically Indian, they never offer themselves but are chosen.
It is the natural course of events in all good families for the young men to choose a Guru.
There are indeed exceptions to this rule.
I was talking, for instance, one day in India to a well-educated Hindu. He was speaking of education, so I asked him about his Guru.
He gave a classical name which surprised me and I asked him whether this Vedic name was still used.
“Oh no” he replied “the original one is my Guru”.
The man he spoke of had been dead for 2,000 years but this intelligent Hindu of 70, who with us would b e a worthy Town Councilor or something of that kind, said perfectly calmly that this ancient Guru had introduced himself in a dream, and that he had realised at once he was his Guru and that he therefore had no need of a human one.
This man was a friend of Gandhi’s.
According, therefore, to the eastern conception Shri Heruka is a spiritual Guru , though such an idea is very difficult for the West to understand.
. . . “The devotee when about to go to sleep should firstly, imagine his body to be that of Buddha Vaj ra-Sattva.”
This Buddha has the surname of Vajra-Sattva, Vajra as we have seen means diamond or thunderbolt, and Sattva means essence of being.
We know from the texts that, on the primitive level of B on, the thunderbolt was exceedingly important as a magic projectile, but later the diamond aspect plays the greater role, symbolizing the most durable thing.
The diamond is the subtle body in Chinese philosophic Yoga.
The lapis philosophorum of the alchemists is the same thing as the Vajra, it is the thing which is produced in the laboratory of a man’s life and which is far more durable than he is.
These thoughts run parallel both in the East and West.
The text tells us that the body of the sleeper is imagined to be the body of the Buddha, we should understand that as the diamond body.
So it is the transformation of the ordinary body into the eternally durable body that is meant.
“and then at length merge into the tranquil state of the Void. ”
This text has been translated by a Tibetan, Kazi Dawa-Sandup.
He was a Lama and became a professor in Calcutta but unfortunately fell a victim to the climate which was fatal to him after his native mountain air.
He was the Guru of Evans-Wentz who brought out the Bardo Thodol, the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
We owe this Lama a great debt of gratitude for the help which he gave to Evans-Wentz and to Sir John Woodroffe , the editor of this text.
Shunyata is a Sanskrit word for this tranquil state of the Void.
The devotee must dive into the absolute Void and immerse himself in it for a long time in order to make his spirit receptive.
“Arising from that state he should think that the double drums are resounding from the midst of the heavens proclaiming the Mantras of the twenty-four Heroes.”
You will remember the four points of the compass in our last text and here it is the drums which come from the four corners of the earth.
The ritual of the drummers is a very important one in the East and is full of significance.
At Kandy in Ceylon there was a drum ritual every evening at 7 o’clock.
Five drummers with big double drums came into the vestibule of the Temple and stood in the four corners.
The master-drummer was in the centre with a still bigger drum, but only the four corner drummers, the representatives of the four gods of the mandala (apparently they represent the guardians of heaven) se their drums at first.
They march through the temple and only in the Mandapam, at the entrance of the innermost sanctuary, does the master drummer begin with his perfect drumming.
It is a most impressive ceremony, the temple is very dark and in the depth of the temple you see a golden Buddha smothered in flowers.
They use j as min flowers and the air is laden with the scent, they use the blossoms without stems so that they shall fade quickly.
Women and girls bring these flowers and sing a mantra to the effect that as the flowers fade so do our earthly lives.
As the Master Drummer reaches the sanctuary one’s whole being is nolens volens shattered by the vibration.
It produces a supernatural agitation and phantastic atmosphere.
The drum melody is a sacrifice of tone to the Buddha, the music is brought to the temple in order to be sacrificed.
This theme, as we have seen in the passage that I have just read, appears right at the beginning of our text.
“Arising from his sleep in this state of divine body he should regard all things around him as constituting the Mandala of himself as Vajra-Sattva.”
In other words he should regard his surroundings, his bed, room, house, etc., as part of the Bodhi-mandala, the place of enlightenment, where his body becomes the diamond body, the body of the Buddha.
“If beneficial to his devotion, he may perform the ablutions as he had done while receiving initiation.”
We should call this baptism, and s ay that he could, f beneficial, repeat the baptism which was his initiation from a personal existence to a supra personal existence.
“Then seating himself with ease facing the South let him sanctify his body by tasting the drop of Amrita.”
Amrita is a drop of the wine of the gods, a nectar.
It is ordinary wine but it may only be used in the ritual, and has the same characteristics as the Christian communion wine.
Amrita is taken on the tip of the ring finger, which then moistens the lip s and thus fills the participator with the divine spirit.
“Then he should begin by repeating the Refuge formula. (I take refuge in Buddha, the Law and the Assembly.)”
Sangha is the Sanskrit word for Assembly and plays a great role in Buddhism.
“and the Good Wishes formula. (May all sentient beings have happiness and be endowed with the cause thereof. May all sentient beings be free of pain and its causes. May all sentient beings ever enjoy happiness unalloyed with pain. May they feel supremely equable.)
Then let him meditate on himself as Demchog”
Demchog is the Tibetan word for Mahasukha, meaning the great bliss of this mandala.
“and his Consort.”
We come here to the place in the text where it becomes clear that it is not just the god but also his consort who is meant.
So, at the beginning of the process, the Yogin is transformed into a body which is female as well as male, he is Yogin and Yogin!,
He is identified with the lord of the mandala in his male and female form. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 9Dec38, Pages 41-45.