THE Sanskrit word “Dharana” is defined as “the intense and perfect concentration of the mind upon some one interior object.”
This intense focus is “accompanied by complete abstraction from everything pertaining to the external Universe, or the world of the senses.”
Further, The Voice of the Silence instructs its aspiring students: “from the stronghold of your Soul, chase all your foes away—ambition, anger, hatred, e’en to the shadow of desire—when even you have failed.”
The devotional books Light on the Path, (“Kill out ambition…”), and The Voice of the Silence, (“let the Disciple slay the Slayer”), are metaphors for self-control as we pursue a spiritual path.
Similarly, the setting of the Bhagavad-Gita is on the plain of a great battlefield called “Kurukshetra.” This plain is considered sacred, and is symbolic, W. Q. Judge says in his essay, “of the body which is acquired by karma.”
This metaphorical “killing” or “slaying,” is not contrary to the Buddhist and Hindu doctrine of “Ahimsa” (harmlessness). It refers rather to inner control over our physical senses, ambition, intellect, etc.—and to resolving our personal karmic challenges, including non-violence and non-separateness.
Dharana, or focused meditation, is all about slowing the ‘mental noise,’ or what is called the ‘monkey mind,’ and regaining our lost rulership.
Our spiritual soul is the silent center, according to this old teaching, and for this True Self to always be in charge, it must be the ever-present decision maker in our lives.
Thus the Voice of the Silence teaches a paradoxical doctrine in which the intellectual, striving and desire-ridden mind, becomes its own savior through its higher counterpart, the light of intuition—the soul-mind—accompanied by occult sound vibrations:
“The Mind is the great Slayer of the Real.
Let the Disciple slay the Slayer.”
“…when to himself his form appears unreal, as do on waking all the forms he sees in dreams–when he has ceased to hear the many, he may discern the ONE the inner sound which kills the outer.”
The true student of The Secret Doctrine is a Jnana Yogi, and this Path of Yoga,” its author H. P. Blavatsky wrote, “is the True Path for the Western student.”
“It is to provide him with sign posts on that Path that The Secret Doctrine has been written.”
This mode of thinking, she explained, is what the Indians call Jnana Yoga. “As one progresses in Jnana Yoga one finds conceptions arising which though conscious of them, one cannot express nor yet formulate into any sort of mental picture.”
“As time goes on these conceptions will form into mental pictures,” she explained to a small group of her most earnest students. “This is a time to be on guard and refuse to be deluded with the idea that the new found and wonderful picture must represent reality. It does not.”
“As one works on one finds the once admired picture growing dull and unsatisfying, and finally fading out or being thrown away.”
Reality of Illusion
We seem to be left in a void without support, and, Mme. Blavatsky cautions, “be tempted to revive the cast-off picture for want of a better to cling to.”
“The true student will work on unconcerned, and presently further formless gleams come, which again in time give rise to a larger and more beautiful picture than the last.”
“Reality is merely an illusion,
albeit a very persistent one.”
– Albert Einstein
“Eventually [she] will learn that no picture represents the whole truth,” Blavatsky writes, “and this process continues as each picture fades away like the last. “
And so the process goes on,” she says, “until at last the mind and its pictures are transcended and the learner enters and dwells in the World of no form—but of which all forms are narrowed reflections.”
“We are not all too happy, wrote Blavatsky colleague W. Q. Judge (Letter 15), “but are rich in hope, knowing the prize at the end of time, and not deterred by the clouds, the storms, the miasma and dreadful beasts of prey that line the road.”
“Let us, then, at the very outset wash out of our souls all desire for reward,” Judge continues—”all hope that we may attain.”
“For so long as we thus hope and desire, we shall be separated from the Self.”
“If in the Self, all things are,” he counsels a correspondent (Letter 15) — “then we cannot wish to be something which we can only compass by excluding something else.”
Not in Books
“The Bhagavad-Gita is right in saying “spiritual knowledge includes every action without exception,” wrote Judge in his Essays on the Bhagavad-Gita, “and that it is to be attained by means of devotion. Ignorant men who had no access to books,
have by their inward sense perceived the real truth of things, not only those round about them, but relating to the larger concerns of nature.”
Jacob Böhme was born in Alt Seidenberg in Silesia near Görlitz, where he worked as a master shoemaker. He received his first vision in 1600, a second one in 1610, which he recorded in Morgenrote im Aufgang, also called Aurora.
“Jacob Böhme was wholly unlettered, but he knew the truth,” Judge wrote, and further: “his writings show
an acquaintance, not to be then gained from books, with the true doctrines found [only] in the Hindu scriptures and secret books.”
“The reason is, that these men have attained to devotion,” Judge declared, “and thereby cleared away from before the eye of the soul the clouds of sense, whose shadows obscure our view of truth.”
“They do not decry or despise learning,” he wrote, “it is a great possession— but if the learned man were also a devoted one in the sense of the Bhagavad-Gita, how much wider would be the sweep of his intellection no one could calculate.”
“Learning of the human sort is not despised among the highest occultists, even among the adepts. They use it and acquire it.”
“They accumulate the record of the experiences of seers and devoted men of small learning for long periods of time, until a great master of both learning and devotion arises.”
“By reason of his profound knowledge joined to devotion, he can make the wonderful deductions … respecting matters so far beyond us that they can with difficulty be imagined.”
“But this again proves that devotion is the first and best,” concludes Judge, “for these extraordinary Masters would not appear unless devotion had been the aim of their existence.”
Story of Compassion
“Without devotion a vast confusion arises within us that has been likened by some to a whirling motion,” explains Judge in his Notes on the Gita Ch. 2, “by others to the inrushing, overpowering flow of turbid waters.”
“Böhme calls it in some aspects the turba. It is the delusion produced by the senses.”
“And so Krishna, in closing the second lecture, says: ‘The performance of works is by far inferior to mental devotion… Seek an asylum, then, in this mental devotion, which is knowledge:
‘He, who by means of Yoga is mentally devoted, dismisses alike successful and unsuccessful results, being beyond them.’
‘Yoga is skill in the performance of actions: therefore do thou aspire to this devotion. The uncontrolled heart, following the dictates of the moving passions,
‘…snatcheth away his spiritual knowledge, as the storm the bark upon the raging ocean.
“Therefore, he is possessed of spiritual knowledge whose senses are withheld from objects of sense.’
‘What is night to those who are unenlightened is as day to his gaze — what seems as day is known to him as night, the night of ignorance.'”
“Such is the
The Piece Left Out
Think, or Not
“The man whose heart and mind are not at rest is without wisdom or the power of contemplation — who doth not practice reflection, hath no calm
“…and how can a man without calm obtain happiness?”
“But he who, free from attachment or repulsion for objects, experienceth them through the senses and organs, with his heart obedient to his will, attains to tranquility of thought.
And this tranquil state attained, therefrom shall soon result a separation from all troubles; and his mind being thus at ease, fixed upon one object, it embraceth wisdom from all sides.”
Seeking nothing, he gains all—
Forgetting self, the Universe grows ‘I’.
“The tumultuous senses and organs hurry away by force the heart even of the wise man who striveth after perfection,” Krishna, the Higher Self, says to his disciple Arjuna.
Let a man, restraining all these, remain in devotion at rest in me, his true self — for he who hath his senses and organs in control possesses spiritual knowledge.”
“He who attendeth to the inclinations of the senses,” teaches Krishna, “in them hath a concern.”
“From this concern is created passion, from passion anger, from anger is produced delusion, from delusion a loss of the memory, from the loss of memory loss of discrimination, and from loss of discrimination loss of all!”
“If you could’st empty all thyself of self
Like to a shell dishabited, then
there would be no room for little Me.”
(Collected Writings 13, p. 285)
“First in dreams and then in pictures presented to the inner eye during meditation. Thus have I been taught the whole system of evolution, the laws of being and all else that I know, Mme. Blavatsky wrote—”the mysteries of life and death, the workings of karma.
“Not a word was spoken to me of all this in the ordinary way, except, perhaps, by way of confirmation of what was thus given me—nothing taught me in writing.
“And knowledge so obtained is so clear, so convincing, so indelible in the impression it makes upon the mind, that all other sources of information, all other methods of teaching with which we are familiar dwindle into insignificance in comparison with this…
A childlike quality of the mind really means a mind which is fresh, which sees things as if for the first time.”
“One of the reasons why I hesitate to answer offhand some questions put to me,” Blavatsky explained, “is the difficulty of expressing in sufficiently accurate language things given to me in pictures,” she told her students, “and comprehended by me by the pure Reason.”
From Reflections on a Mountain Lake: Teachings on Practical Buddhism by Venerable Tenzin Palmo, published by Snow Lion Publications
“YOU see a glass and you see it as it is, rather than seeing all the other glasses you have seen in your life, together with your ideas and theories about glasses and whether you like glasses in this or that shape, or the kind of glass you drank out of yesterday. We are talking about a mind which sees the thing freshly in the moment. That’s the quality we are aiming for. We lose this as we become adults.” – Venerable Tenzin Palmo
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A big hello to all of you from the west coast! Phyllis