1939 3 FEBRUARY Lecture 1 11 Psychology and Yoga Meditation
One last postscript. I’d like to direct your attention once again to the invocation: “Om, all-knowing one, fulfill (my desire), fulfill (my desire); come forward, come forward; be round, and round (the Mandala).”
One should keep this notion in mind.
It is important precisely for Western and very often feminine symbolism.
It has become apparent in the West, in complete contrast to the East, that women in particular elaborate such symbols in their unconscious.
In the East this occurs only exceptionally.
These symbols of roundness, the mandalas that you find in the East, are produced in Buddhism exclusively by men.
The women have fundamentally nothing to do with it.
On the other hand, in the matriarchal South, in the area south of Hyderabad, it’s the prerogative of women.
I have seen quite new mandalas, of modern vintage, drawn on that very day.
In the great temple of Madurai I observed a woman at work.
She could not understand why a man might take it up: in her view only women know all the many significances involved in how the mandala comes into being.
But that is the matriarchal South.
In the North you can still find these matriarchal traces, but not by a long stretch to such a degree, because the North has been strongly penetrated by Islam following the Mogul invasion.
But in the South it is practiced much more.
Sadly, I was not able to research this in more depth.
One cannot ask the women what they are doing.
They are astounded if a man asks them about it, and they immediately fall silent, horrified.
There is an exception in the South, where one can penetrate into this mandala symbolism, and where men in fact still practice it.
That’s more to the North, in the region of Bengal, where one finds quite a few followers of a certain yoga practice more closely linked to Tibetan yoga, namely Tantric yoga, laya yoga or kundalini yoga.
There, such mandalas are also crafted by men.
These mandalas—the circle or “rotundum,” as it was called by mediaeval philosophers—are ancient in origin also for us here.
Mostly the mediaeval texts refer to Plato’s Timaeus: the depiction of the round soul of the world, and at the same time the soul of the individual: in this respect it is a microcosm related to a macrocosm.
For the medieval philosopher, spiritual man is a microcosm.
Thus, the individual human soul is of the same roundness as the soul of all-being
that surrounds the entire universe.
The Platonic notion is identical to the Eastern philosophy of the âtman or purusha who
surrounds the whole world two hand widths high and yet still lives in the heart of every individual person; he is the size of a thumb, a thumbling.
A small human figure, tiny, situated in the heart of everyone but at the same time spanning the whole world, two hand widths high, yet extending beyond it.
The idea of roundness, however, is not conceived of as being present from the beginning, but is to be created by the yogi.
In the exercise he must somehow call forth this roundness through his efforts.
Hence this invocation: “be round and round.”
This is a magical process, which should cause his spiritual personality to become round and complete, as round as the entire cosmos.
Through this invocation he seeks to place himself at one with that being containing within itself the entire cosmos as a transpersonal âtman.
His hope is that, through this rounding, he will become identical with the spirit of the world or the being of the world.
This idea was prevalent also in our medieval philosophy.
However, it didn’t have a chance.
It always had to be careful in the face of the church, and then it went to ground after being suppressed by the scientific worldview.
And hermetic philosophy itself is not without blame in this.
They practiced chemistry in their own way and sought the soul of the world in matter, thereby becoming the fathers of modern science.
So therefore scientific instincts were privileged, and in the process philosophical ideas went underground.
You’ll find the transition point in the writings of Theophrastus Paracelsus.
The ancient world that still held full sway fell away from the new world, which was preparing itself to blossom.
Both things can be seen quite clearly in his work still yoked together.
The sixteenth-century ascent into a purely intellectual Western philosophy no longer had room for a way of salvation or doctrine of redemption unless it came via
At that parting of the ways philosophy separated itself completely from the person as
a whole. Henceforward one philosophized with the head.
Whereas the ancients philosophized with the whole person.
From then on they philosophized only about the person, not out of the person.
Nonetheless our text shows how they are philosophizing here from the whole person, and how a transformation of the whole person is the goal of this magical procedure.
These days we are blinded by the fear of superstition. Magic is objectionable to us.
If someone uses the word “magic,” it is construed as being opposite to science.
But “magical” simply means “psychological.”
This concept was unknown in earlier centuries, so that what was psychological in nature was magic.
This can still be seen in the East.
The mandala figures are also taken as magic signs and are handled with awe because one does not know what these things might do.
I have also known Europeans who have immersed themselves in all this for a long time, for whom the unconscious has been constellated through these images, and who have developed a remarkable fear of them:
“One must not display this sort of thing; some of the drawings are quite evil.”
And these are only simple geometric drawings.
If a European bothers with it long enough, he is convinced that these things have an unpleasant or dangerous effect.
Then he can go a bit crazy or even a bit too crazy.
There are some well-known cases of this.
And it’s caused by one thing only: that people have no psychological capacity to grasp such things and process them.
They cannot find a formula for understanding it with the Western mind-set, being somehow unable to connect it to their framework of knowledge.
Initially it’s rejected as pure madness, crazy superstition.
Then finally the moment comes when madness takes hold and they are in its grip.
Just as many people have turned “black” beneath the skin in the tropics—the well-known phenomenon of “going black.”
If European man has lived long enough in those regions, the primitive man wakens in him.
This has a colossal power of suggestion, because this primitive man is whole.
So these days, we in the West are rather at a disadvantage, because we have completely
separated the head from the whole person.
We are not doing things any differently here today.
But from the text you may be able to feel for yourself that it is speaking not only of the intellect but of the whole person.
We are as good as done with phase II.
I had just mentioned that this response of the devatâs, who to some degree give the dogmatically correct reply, does not apply under all circumstances.
For there remains the chance that the person who remains in this visual world might hear such devatâs saying something to him that just might not be in line with dogma.
Hence the safety measures: the pupil of yoga is urged to memorize the response of the devatâs so that when they start to talk he can immediately say: “Aha, this is what you want to say, then!”
With the formula he has learned by heart; he can drown out what the devatâs would preach.
Quite similar things occur in church history, for instance, there is a work by Saint Athanasius, the teacher of Saint Anthony, where he writes about the inner life of man in the desert.
There he describes the sort of phenomena that can manifest for these hermits.
These are vivifications, similarly animate figures, who unlike those in the East do not arise from meditations but out of solitude, hallucinations in solitude.
If one is alone for a long period, the possibility arises that one animates solitude.
Likewise if one is very tired or in danger.
In more primitive countries such active animations can arise for normal Europeans who are otherwise completely normal spiritually.
These reveal themselves as voices or visions or both.
They arise naturally, not having been stimulated by any sort of exercise.
So, for these hermits who dwell in the desert, such solitary manifestations in the form of
various figures are not always desirable.
Athanasius describes the phenomena that arise, e.g., the devil; one hears them reading the Bible or singing pious hymns.
They sit around and say all sorts of things, the worst being that they tell one the truth.
He then gives examples of the truths revealed by the devils to the hermit; astonishingly true things emerge from them that equal our contemporary knowledge.
He says that this is the most dangerous thing because by this means the hermit is compelled to believe that it’s not the devil speaking to him but an angel of God.
Then Athanasius advises how one should behave towards these figures, according to church doctrine.
You must imagine that such exercises are not undertaken in just any old city, but by lâmas situated in a monastery, or who more likely have sought out another meditation place linked to a monastery, near some high lake in the mountains of Tibet, 4000 or so meters above sea level.
There on the shore, between lake and mountain, the lâma builds his hut and spends years meditating in absolute, deathly silent solitude.
You may easily imagine what sort of things can happen in such stark isolation.
Probably seeing no human being for months at a time, or maybe some shepherd or a woman who brings him food.
Perhaps he doesn’t even see them, enclosed as he is in the hut during such meditations.
Such figures operate on a completely different level than what we are talking about here, where the instructions become uncommonly easy to understand.
The worshipper should repeat the invocation Mantra Vajra-muh and say in his mind “Pray come.” [SCST, p. 12]
Vajra-Muh is a specific type of invocation: muh means to deceive or to blind. Moha, i.e., the blinding, comes from the same root.
A moha mantra is the memorized formula for blinding, i.e., it effects what is spoken: blinding.
This invocation vajra-muh, causing blinding, is a moha mantra, a spell-binding word.
It is used by adherents to blind the demons who could imperil the sacred exercise, shielding the yoga practitioner from the influence of demons.
These constitute the thirteen means of acquiring merits. [SCST, p. 12]
(B4) Creation of the ten female devatâs Then from the Bija Mantra Hûm which lies in the heart emanate ten female Devatâs (Dakini) who are the keepers of the doors.
There are eight of them in the eight points of the compass and Khanda and Roha are above (zenith) and below (nadir). [SCST, p. 12]
These divine beings are ten female goddesses whom the yogi must produce from within
Until now only male devatâs have been created.
I have explained to you what the creation signifies: an unburdening of one’s own psyche of its contents, placing them outside of it.
So, an unburdening of the psyche. But these are conscious figures. The yogi is a man.
His consciousness is masculine in nature.
If he allows only male devatâs to come out of him, then they are all actually conscious religious thoughts, which he places before him in a personified way, still leaving him with his unconscious.
And in order to be completely liberated he must also create his female unconscious.
This, then, takes place through the ten female devatâs.
They are manifested in the ten directions of the room, and become keepers of the doors against the evil spirits while the yogi is meditating.
Kandha means the multitude (at the zenith), while roha is the ascending out of the growing (nadir).
We visualize the concept, namely, that above or at the top occurs the unfolding, while below grows the root—where the plant grows upwards.
They are on the east, south, west, north, and then south-east, south-west, north-east, and north-west. [SCST, p. 12]
(B5) Creation of the square and the circle
Then repeat a syllable (Pada) of the Mantra of the four-faced devatâ 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); next the wall, ceiling, ceiling curtain with fringes, and net-work of arrows and outside all a fence of divine flames. [SCST, pp. 12–13]
This is evidently the description of a square mandala with doors.
The mandala is surrounded by fire, the heavenly flames.
This is the fire of concupiscentia, of desire, that gets entangled in new births.
This must burn outwards to defend against external temptation.
He should commence this work from within and proceed outward in their order. [SCST, p. 13]
The mandala is not to be constructed from outside in, but from the center, from the inner outwards, so that he is always in the center of the mandala itself.
(C) Threat to the ten directions and the protective circle
Then form the fingers of the left hand into the threatening Mudra and point it at the ten
To support the keepers of the doors. He uses his unconscious contents as a means of
defense against the outer.
… making the snapping noise above-mentioned, repeating solemnly the following
Mantras thrice: Om medinî-vajra bhava vajra-ban-dhana hûm hûm phat. [SCST, p. 13]
This means: “Om. Ground, eternal being, eternally becoming! Hûm.”
Then phat, i.e., crash, bang, refers to the clicking.
This mantra is now spoken towards the wall, the ceiling, and towards other parts of this imaginary structure, in order to secure all directions against hostile spirits so that nothing will disturb this holy place, which is founded on the nothingness of the heart.
Having concentrated the mind on the above protective circles, create from the “Hum” in
the heart Vajra-daggers with Vajra-hilts, and Vajra-clubs.
Placing these in the left and right hands of the innumerable attendants resembling himself let him center 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 the 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. [SCST, pp. 13–14]
This is a crucial point for the real magic of the Tibetan: the imagination of magic projectiles.
They are conjured up for the purpose of this numinous emanation.
It is granted, apart from all these forms, that one can also create magical entities through yoga, projectiles that are taken as vajra, which can be imaginally produced so as to harm certain people or even kill them.
And in this text, this applies only to evil spirits who wish to remain in ávidyâ, i.e., in ignorance, and can be slain by these weapons.
Then orally recite: Om: may the dispersal of the dense mass of darkness of delusion of
Avidyâ be brought about; may all misery be destroyed.… At the same time imagine that
they are pounded into dust by strokes from the Vajra-Hammer. [SCST, p. 14]
You see to what a huge extent the East honors consciousness as the light benevolently
supporting man in the terrible darkness surrounding him.
This darkness of the unconscious is what the East construes as the epitome of evil.
All evil comes from ignorance.
All evil, the entire sum of life, comes from not knowing.
You will find this doctrine in the original words of the Buddha.
For whoever is in the state of unconsciousness behaves like an automaton.
He has no ethic.
He will therefore act out of concupiscentia (in the sense of lust) and thereby entangle
himself in life, suffering, age, illness, and death, and hence let the wheel of existence go on turning.
He will go on being reincarnated, abandoning himself to creation, which is none other
than suffering, and only increase the totality of suffering, not decrease it.
Only through knowledge arises the cessation of desire.
One no longer wants to go on turning the wheel of events, the samsâra cycle of existence, but to come to an end and thereby put an end to the whole creation.
Concentrate the mind on the absolution of the sins of the mischievous Spirits and imagine that their Vijnâna-principles have been transferred to the Realm of Buddha Akshobhya. [SCST, p. 14]
Thus the sins of evil spirits, i.e., the principles of enlightenment of the dharma-dhâtu of the evil spirits, must be brought back to the kingdom of the light.
Then the attendants take up their position at the outer fence of Vajras.
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 the acquiring of causal merits. [SCST, p. 14]
The two causal rewards are the holiness of effort and jnâna, i.e., enlightenment.
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. [SCST, p. 14]
The attendants are his figures. Here a bit of Eastern superiority comes in.
These devatâs are exactly like the buddhas and bodhisattvas who all fill the heavens so powerfully, just like mâyâ, i.e., deceit, illusion, like the being that populates this world.
All this multiplicity is illusion.
That is what he should think.
It is like imagining some sort of holy figure and then realizing that we should just take it as an illusion.
This is mandatory for any yogi.
All that they have constructed, even the highest divine beings, is an illusion, and singularly: he in the secret, empty state is the pure one who is the true nature of all things.
“Man as the measure of all things,” the origin of all aspects of the world.
This means that one’s own consciousness, streaming from the ground of the heart, is the source of all perceptible things, whether seen or otherwise perceived through the senses.
Not that they are not, but that our perception of them is nothing but illusion.
Everything achieves illumination from the light that we have in our heart.
Again, meditating on Mâyâ (s Gyûma, that is the world) as being Shunyatâ (the Void)
inconceivable by thought, say—Om: I am of the nature of the Void and Varja knowledge.
[SCST, p. 15]
This is the knowledge that anything that we can know of the world, in either the physical or spiritual sense, is psychic.
Everything known is filtered through the psyche, it is “psychified.”
The very fact that we know something, anything at all, is grounded in the being of the psyche.
We cannot state what extends beyond it, even, for example, the galactic systems thousands of light years away from us.
They are strictly “galactic systems” in the psyche.
In the universe outside, they are not “galactic systems,” but our creation.
By naming them, we have interpreted certain sense impressions in the psyche in such a way, and that is the world.
We are actually enclosed in a psychic world of images.
And while certain psychic things originate in a material
world of images and others in a spiritual one, who can say what is physical and what is spiritual?
We simply have one psychic world of images with two labels, “physical in origin” and “spiritual in origin,” whose reality, however, is purely psychic.
If that were not so one wouldn’t know that the world exists.
This is the East’s fundamental insight.
And the whole of the East strives to make this insight true by seeking to liberate itself through this awareness of the suffering of being.
Next time we will make a start on phase III.