Psychology of Yoga and Meditation
10 FEBRUARY 1939 Lecture 12 Psychology and Yoga Meditation
So, We come to Phase III, the synthesis:
- Out of shûnyatâ arises:
- Yam (supporting)
- Water (round)
- Earth (square)
- Mandala of Dharma-Dhâtu-Jnâna:
- Mount Meru
- City of Brahmas
- Four-headed Vjara
- Eight-petaled lotus
- Lotus = yoni
- Moon with lingam
- Vihâra (monastery)
- Magic circle (mandala) with lotus
- In this, the yogi himself as Mahâsukha: four faces, four elements, four colors, two
hands (nidâna chain), three eyes four times
(A1) The synthesis has two clear separate sections.
The first now follows:
Shûnyatâ means void.
It is an absolute nothing, but a nothing of positive being, a paradox that we simply cannot imagine.
Whenever Buddha himself was asked about eschatological concepts, his answers were mostly evasive; he was tight-lipped towards his pupils about certain things, for
The concept of shûnyatâ pertains here, for the mantra “yam,” a magic formula,
arises from this primordial cosmic void through imagination, by means of the yogi’s efforts to imagine it.
But what it means remains opaque; there is no commentary in the English text I use.
It is a root term that means supporting, carrying, bearing, and these functions are quite characteristic of a foundation.
A foundation, then, is to be created for the world built upon it, because what comes next comes from shûnyatâ, from the void, and it must encompass the entire metaphysical universe. In this sense the meaning of “yam” would not be a bad fit.
(A2) The mandala of the air arises out of “yam:” … from which issues the Mandala of Air.… [SCST, p. 15]
Mandalas are built one upon the other, the mandalas of the four elements:
[…] the Mantra Ram, evolving the Mandala of Fire red in color.… [SCST, p. 15]
The fire again sparks the one similar root word, meaning “ram.”
It could just as well mean the letter “r,” but as conceived here it seems to be “ram.”
It means to enjoy, to unite, also with erotic significance.
This fits very well, as the color red and fire are both linked to the idea of passion.
(A4) Water: … the Mantra Vam, from which issues the Mandala of Water round of form and white in color with a pot.… [SCST, p. 15]
Here we encounter again the idea of rounding.
The root “vam” means to spit out, which once again fits very well with water.
(A5) Earth (square)
Now the earth emerges as the fifth (again with the idea of the quinta essentia), linked to the mantra “lam”:
… the Mantra Lam, from which evolves the Mandala of Earth square in shape and yellow in color.… [SCST, p. 15]
“Lam” means the same as “ram”; it stands for sexual relations and connection, for pleasure, presumably of an erotic significance.
The earth now appears as an opposite to water, which is round, square.
This is typical for the entire East.
In Chinese it is also the same: in the geometric schema of the I Ching, the Book of Changes, in the middle one has the four corners of the earth, square in shape and yellow in color.
Yellow is the “correct color” also in China. It fits once again.
Now the interesting thing here is that we could expect from such a spiritual exercise that an ascent from the earth to the spiritual would take place, e.g., earth becomes water, fire, air.
Then we would have the succession we find in Heraclitus where the hottest, driest soul is the most noble: “For it is death to souls to become water.”
Here it is exactly reversed: out of the ultimate spiritual concept of shûnyatâ the earth emerges as quinta essentia, as if the imagination did not have spiritualization as its goal but aimed instead at the becoming-real of the tangible earth.
That is fabulously different from the Western attitude.
This square earth is also a foundation for the architecture of temples in the Tantric system and for another form of yoga, namely the so-called Kundalini yoga.
It begins with meditation upon the square earth, the so-called mulâdhâra chakra. Mulâdhâra means root, fulcrum.
This chakra contains the square earth with the elephant who carries the world.
That is specifically Indian whereas this text is Tibetan, while the other is Tantric, Hindu and not Buddhist.
(B1) Mount Meru
Then from the Mantra Sûm imagine Mount Meru the King of Mountains; the four fences of which are of crystal on the East, gold in the North, ruby in the West, and emerald on the South.
It is quadrangular in shape with three tiers of squares thereon and eight turrets. [SCST, p. 15]
This leads us into phase B: now due to the created earth the world mountain appears, and this is Mount Meru.
It is taken from Hindu mythology, and is a cosmic mountain that is a mandala entire unto itself.
Also, it already exists in Hinduism. It has four ramparts and four different sides characterized by various minerals: crystal, gold, ruby, and emerald.
This also refers to four different colors, which we already met with in the elements.
I want to make a small schema for you here of these colors.
This is not insignificant, because we meet them again in the Western appropriations of yoga and in the psychology of the unconscious:
North = white
West = green East = yellow
South = red
These four different colors also occur in the Bardo Thödol, the four paths to salvation via enlightenment.
These are quite clearly four psychic functions that more or less concur with the
analysis of the spiritual functions in this text—that is, with what we would describe as four psychological functions for orientation.
The fact that these functions are characterized by colors requires some explanation, since colors always represent feeling values.
The ultimate ideal of the Western intellect is to think without feeling, because feeling is a cosmetic blemish that destroys thinking.
In the East that is not the case.
The East always thinks as a totality and much more substantially, from the whole person.
It thinks from the heart, not from the head.
For this reason, the radiant mantra “hûm” is in the heart, and from it emerge all beings, i.e., one should not imagine them issuing from the head, but rather out of the heart.
So, it is clearly apparent that thinking in the East is not only thinking in an abstract way, but with feeling.
We see this clearly in psychology: we can’t manage only with pure abstractions.
We can’t get at psychic phenomena that way.
We violate the psychic phenomenon if we don’t grasp it with the whole person.
Otherwise we’ve understood only one quarter of it, for the intellect amounts to only a quarter of the functions.
For the most part, we also need auxiliary functions in order to complete the experience.
So it’s inevitable not only in psychology but also in life that we use feeling as an adjunct, since otherwise we’d remain in the dark about the value of a thing.
Otherwise one is left speculating about something, when in practical terms such theorems have absolutely no meaning.
For if something is imbued with feeling then you can be sure that in practice it will play a great role, even if the intellect sees it as madness.
So, if something speaks to feeling, it’s useless to say: “From the intellectual standpoint this matter is nonsense.”
Mark Twain, I believe, enumerated every last condemnation of Christian Science.
He believed it was complete nonsense.
A distillation of human stupidity.
But he added that it’s this stupidity that rules the world.
A thing need only be really stupid for it to be believed.
Everyone understands stupid, whereas intelligent things reach only a few.
These colors seek to say that the four functions have different feeling values, e.g., if red is given, then what is being said is like blood, like fire, having to do with passion and love.
Love is warm, otherwise, as is well known, it is not love (South).
Sensation has to do with the green earth; it perceives the actual being (West).
Thinking is cold and white like snow (North).
Intuition is yellow, luminous, radiant, through the sweepingly immediate perception one encounters with this function (East).
A typical example are Goethe’s eyes in Stieler’s painting, which do not see but rather look; that’s the intuitive glance.
It is not directed towards the concrete phenomenon, but keenly absorbs the reality, the whole atmosphere.
Seeing eyes, observing eyes, work like forceps.
The sight-lines converge, lending sharpness to the gaze, as gripping as tweezers; such are the eyes of sensation, of perception.
They’re suited to microscopic work, while the intuitive would do better simply to turn down the wattage.
The East uses yellow to illustrate the quality of intuition—for with it one feels being rather than formulating it intellectually or more abstractly.
(B2) The city of Brahma
On this mount Meru there is a city like a fortress with eight towers and three storeys.
Imagine all these to be placed, the one above the other in their order, … [SCST, pp. 15–16]
(B3) Four-headed varja … and on the top of all a multi-colored, four-headed Vajra.… [SCST, p. 16]
Varja is a form like a cross.
You find a representation on the cover of Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines by Evans-Wentz.
These are two superimposed dorjes or vajras (thunderbolts) with instructions about the color.
Center dark-blue. [SCST, p. 16]
The white is replaced by blue, a light blue completely different from the dark blue of the center. What has happened?
The schema has turned 90 degrees clockwise.
This is a correct pradakshina movement. This means progress.
The color white is transformed into blue.
(B4) Eight-petalled lotus
On this dark blue ground again place the Mantra Pam.… [SCST, p. 16]
The meaning of “pam” is unknown, of “sum” also.
… from which emanates an eight-petalled lotus.
In the center of the lotus again imagine a ring formed by the sixteen Sanskrit vowels, twice repeated, going from right to the left.…[SCST, p. 16]
This circle goes around to the left, apradakshina.
The movement to the left refers to the dark side.
I will summarize the following points in the text, not word for word: the lunar disk arises from the meditation on the vowels and upon this the consonants.
These go from left to right.
Here we have the pradakshina movement, which turns towards the light, toward the conscious side.
The leftward movement goes towards the dark side, to the feminine side, i.e., down into the darkness of the unconscious, whereas the rightwards movement moves towards consciousness.
For example, if you greet a high cleric, after bowing you must not place yourself in front of him but rather next to him, and then you must go around him to the right, clockwise.
This is described laboriously in the discourses of the Buddha.
To go around him in a leftwards direction would be unpropitious, a bad omen.
You’d be showing contempt for him.
One must approach him on the
conscious side, in this way showing him that one recognizes his worth.
When both these
movements occur it is called: expansion downwards as well as upwards.
(B6) Sun essence of the body
Through meditation upon this image, the sun rises. From the rightward movement the light rises.
The sun is the symbol of ultimate consciousness and clarity.
On the surface of the solar disc again imagine the Mantras Om, Â, Hûm, the essence of the ordinary physical body, speech, and mind. [SCST, p. 16]
The essence of the physical body is created here, not the spiritual man.
The mind and language, the things that matter to us, come only in second place, as sort of an add-on to the body.
(B7) Lotus yoni
Above all these, meditate upon a Lotus Disc, the pure emblem of the female organ of the Female Deity.… [SCST, p. 17]
(B8) Moon with lingam … and above that on the Lunar Disc, emblem of the male seed of the Male Deity. [SCST,
That is the sequence here.
Through the apradakshina movement the feminine arises, the
moon, the light that illuminates the night.
Then comes the feminine lotus and here the moon with
the lingam, the male organ. In a footnote to the text it says:
The Deities created by the mind, the Male according to the Tantric Buddhists being the
Symbol of Power and the Female of the mind which guides and uses it. [SCST, p. 17, n. 1]
As you see, then, the symbol for the mind is not a masculine symbol as it us for us.
Think of logos, God the father, or think of the male Greek god Hermes.
It is much more a feminine symbol that characterizes the mind.
And there you see what sort of mind is characteristic for the
East, a type of feminine mind (as seen by the man), a sort of unconscious mind.
Not the generation of a creation or figure of consciousness but much more a creation of the unconscious.
For the East, what presents itself to us from the unconscious is the mind.
But here with us it is something connected to the ultimate development of consciousness.
Spirit here is the English “mind.”
All these considered as one, including the objects of worship, and their receptacles, and
forming one Mandala as the Consciousness which is Eternal and Immutable (Dharma-
Dhâtu-Jnana). [SCST, p. 18]
This is now, as you see, a complete unification of the masculine consciousness with the
unconscious feminine mind.
We also have certain reference points in Western culture, in that the
Holy Spirit would be called upon as mother by the early Christian gnostics in the Acts of Thomas.
The Holy Spirit, Sophia, is a feminine being.
There is even a famous love story between Bythos, the primal father, and Sophia, his youngest granddaughter, who falls terribly in love with him.
It can be found in Iranaeus. You can also find that story in Hans Leisegang’s book.
Concentrate on the above until it is vividly present to the mind’s eye. [SCST, p. 18]
This is not about spontaneous visions but the conscious work and effort required to imagine these things in as lively and plastic a way as possible.
(B9) Vihâra (Monastery)
Then proceed as follows:—Within the magical protective fences, created as above by Mantras, imagine a grand temple (Vihâra).… [SCST, p. 18]
This is the interior of the entire mandala that I showed you.
… quadrangular, with four entrances, built of various precious metals, on the summit of
Mount Meru on each of the four sides.
Imagine the walls to be five-fold and of five
different colors in the following order, black, white, yellow, red, and green. These walls are surmounted by a yellow metal cornice ornamented with moons, to which are suspended bells with half and full loops of jangling metal bells waving in the wind. [SCST, pp. 18–19]
This is a frequent motif in ancient Indian temples.
In the temple of Jagannath in Puri in Orissa this Hindu god, the lord of the world, is borne on a great eight-wheeled carriage.
Even today people occasionally throw themselves under the feet of the four thousand men who are pulling the carriage.
And there in this temple one finds this ornamental motif everywhere, namely a bell hanging under a moon.
This motif has been adapted many times.
Gradually a face emerged out of it, in the moon, i.e., out of the lunar vessel a face appears indicating consciousness and personification.
Once the bell “speaks” and calls, it is already personified.
It represents the voice of God that calls the believers to prayer, bewailing the dead: “Vivos Voco/ Mortuos plango/ Fulgura frango,” as Schiller says in “The Song of the Bell.”
For this reason, it can also be replaced by the face of a god.
Each of the four entrances has pillared porticos, the pillars being surmounted by four-tiered cornices.
These again are topped by the Wheel of Dharma.… [SCST, p. 19]
One often finds wheels on Buddhist monuments because it is said that Buddha set the wheel of the law in motion in his first sermon in the grove at Benares.
… figures of antelopes, umbrellas, banners, as also yak-tail fans with jeweled handles.
Imagine a beautiful arrangement of flowers, and gems and decorations and bannerets.
The corbels supporting the cornice on the inner side are coloured blue on the east, green on the north, red on the west, and yellow on the south.
The fourfold central wheel is sur-mounted by a dome in the form of a Stûpa (Chorten) with four tiers at the base. [SCST, p. 19]
The ancient stûpa form is similar to the baroque church towers of the Jesuits. It emerges out of a lingam.
The stûpa building stands exactly at the place where the lingam stands in a Hindu temple.
Then imagine that outside the Vihâra there are the eight Great Cremation Grounds of the dead as follows.… [SCST, p. 19]
One stills find such burning ghats in India today, in Benares it is the bathing ghats.
Ghats are public places, used for various purposes. I already saw ghats in Bombay.
The Tibetan mandalas are outside the ring of fire, nearly always surrounded by eight cremation places where all the horrors of the graveyard are depicted.
The corpses are not always cremated, but are also
left as fodder for vultures, to ward off demons.
Here India’s fantasy flourished, and still it
remains the gathering place for every horror and monstrosity.
It symbolizes all the suffering of the world.
(B10) Magic circle (mandala) with lotus
Next imagine within the latter [i.e., Vihâra] a circle within which again picture an eight-petalled lotus. [SCST, p. 21]
(B11) Yogi as Mahâsukha
Let the worshipper think of himself in the center of the Lotus as being the Chief Devatâ,
Khorlo-Demchog (Chakra-Mahâsukha) with four faces symbolizing the four Purified
Elements, the four Boundless Wishes, the four Emancipations, and the four Acts.
The face in front is blue, that on the left green, that at the back red, and that on the right yellow.
To symbolize that he does not change from the Dharma-Dhâtu-Jnâna, the body is of a blue color. [SCST, pp. 21–22]
Krishna as an incarnation of Vishnu is blue, like Osiris in Egypt. The blue body symbolizes the body of a god.
To show that all the three Lokas …Kâmaloka is the world of the senses, rûpaloka is the world of form, arûpaloka is the formless,
… are under His vision and that He knows the Three Times each Face has three eyes.
[SCST, p. 22]
The Indian gods are often represented with three eyes.
Here we learn that this is in order to see the three times: past, present, and future.
Every face has three eyes. There are four faces.
The four ramparts are of four colors, which ultimately represent the four basic psychological functions.
Even the four-headed vajra was linked to the four elements. In this case they signify divine attributes.
The believer is elevated in this state of samâdhi to the being of the world from which the four qualities emanate.
Also it is always repeatedly mentioned that the walls of the sacred room are of four different colors.
This is also expressed in ordinary spiritual art. I picked up an example of this in India.
The blue color denotes that he is a god. He is concealed by five walls: green, yellow, blue, and red, while dark blue or black is the holy color of the center, the quinta essentia.
Behind this lies what is to be cloaked.
This is the god of the underworld: Yama, the god of death. In dark blue.
This spectacle is now covered by the four walls, whose four colors are to veil the holy figure in theimage from profane eyes.
One must as it were pass by the four walls in order to arrive via these four levels in a state of readiness to behold the image. ~Carl Jung, Psychology and Yoga Meditation, Page 123-136