Naam or Word – Evidence From Various Religions
By Kirpal Singh
If we go through the scriptures of various religions, we find clear references to the basic common factor, the Divine Light and Sound Current, as the only means for creation and maintenance of the universe and the regeneration of mankind.
According to the Hindu theological books, the whole creation was made through Naad. They also refer to it as “Akash Bani” (voice coming down from the Heavens). We have references to it in the Vedas, the most ancient scriptures in the world. In the Naad Bind Upanishad, for instance, the subject is dealt with in a very lucid manner. The Hath Yog Pradipaka also speaks of this Sound Principle.
He has taken the support of the Word (melodious tune).
Let yogi sit on Sidh Asan and while practicing the Vaisnavi Mudra, should
hear the sound through his right ear.
By communion with the Word, he will become deaf to the external sounds,
and will attain the Turya Pad or a state of equipoise within a fortnight.
First the murmuring sounds resembling those of the waves of the ocean,
the fall of rain and the running rivulets and the Bheri will be heard
intermingled with the sounds of bell and conch, etc.
NAAD BIND UPANISHAD
Though He is beyond speech and mind, yet one can experience and realize Him
by going beyond speech and mind.
He is the Immutable, the Supreme and the Self- luminous,
And knowing Him one transcends death; there is no other way to freedom . . .
He is to be realized in the cave that shines.
Meditation on Nad or the Sound Principle is the royal road to salvation.
HANSA NAAD UPANISHAD
Tejabind Upanishad conceives the Supreme Atman dwelling in the heart of man, as the most subtle center of effulgence, revealed only to yogins by super-sensuous meditation.
Now about the effulgent point: It has its excellent meditation, super-mundane, seated in the heart (attainable by) the Anava, Shakta and Shambhava (methods); the meditation is gross, subtle, as well as that which is transcendental.
It is the most difficult but the only process of Supreme Realization: Even to the wise and the thoughtful this meditation is difficult to perform, and difficult to attain, difficult to cognize, and difficult to abide in and difficult to cross.
The seeker must therefore be one determined to make that which is inaccessible
accessible, and one whose sole aim is to serve the Guru and His Cause only
– the worship of the Supreme Spirit.
After studying the Vedas, the intelligent one solely intent on acquiring knowledge and realization should discard the Vedas altogether as the man who seeks to obtain rice discards the husk.
Like the butter hidden in milk, the Pure Consciousness resides in every being. That ought to be constantly churned out by the churning rod of the mind.
There occur, in the Upanishads, terms like “Trilochan” and “Tryambaka,” referring to the one having three eyes – the third eye being the Single Eye of Christ or Divya Chakshu or the eye that is self-luminous.
Gosain Tulsi Das Ji, the famous author of the Hindi Ramayana, speaks of it as follows:
The nails of the Master’s feet are more lustrous than the shining crest jewel.
A concentration on them opens the inner vision and one becomes all knowing.
Extracts from “The Path of Sudden Attainment” by Hui Hai (a scripture of Mahayana Buddhism) translated by John Blofeld:
Nature of Perception: The faculty of perception is continuous, so perception takes place whether objects are present or not. Thus we know it is the objects themselves that come and go and not the faculty of perception. It is the same with all the senses.
Nature of Hearing: It is not the question of whether there is sound or not. Because the faculty of hearing is continuous, so hearing takes place whether there is sound or not. It is the real nature of the “Self” as knower, that perceives and hears independently of the objects and sounds respectively and apart from the sense organs.
Method of Enlightenment by sudden apprehension: Its purpose is to reach a state where thought is absent. Its scope lies in not allowing yourself to be moved by any form of allurement. Its nature is stillness and its activating agent is wisdom.
Wisdom – Four kinds:
(i) The five kinds of perception produce the “Wisdom of self-perception or self perfection.” It consists in being able to use all the forces of perception with out being thereby caused to believe in the plurality of form.
(ii) Apprehension produces the “Wisdom of profound discernment or observation.” It consists in being able to enter into the sphere of all forms of perception and to be proficient in making distinctions between them without allowing disorderly thoughts to arise and thus achieving freedom from illusion.
(iii) Discrimination produces “Universal Wisdom.” It consists in being able to regard every single atom without feeling love and hatred and implies the voidness of distinction.
(iv) Next comes the basis of all perception which produces the “Perfect All-reflecting Buddha Wisdom.” It is Absolute Void and Stillness, Perfect and Unwavering Brilliance.
Spiritual Experiences of Highest Bodhisattvas – Extracts taken from The Surangama Sutra – From “A Buddhist Bible” edited by Dwight Goddard (E. P. Dutton & Co.):
. . . Thereupon, the Blessed Lord revealed to the assembled highest Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas and great Arhats free from all intoxicants, this most sacred teaching. He said:
Honored Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas and great Arhats! You have now been under my instruction for a long time and have attained to perfect emancipation. As an introduction to what I am about to say, I want to enquire of each of you as to how you attained Samadhi. When you began to realize in the early stages of your devotion and practice the falseness of the eighteen spheres of mentation in contact with objects by the sense organs,* which one of the spheres first became thoroughly enlightened, by means of which you attained to Samadhi?”
(*The eighteen spheres of mentation in contact with objects by the sense organs
are as follows, in the case of sight.
(a) Organ of sight.
(b) Object of sight.
(c) Consciousness of sight, which results from the contact of the
organ of sight with the object.
Hence a, b and c in regard to all the six senses (Cognition-Sight-Hearing-
Smell-Taste and Touch) add up to 18.)
. . . Then Maha-Kasyapa with the Bhikshuni Suvarna and other nuns of his spiritual family, rose from their seats and bowed down to the Lord Buddha saying:
Blessed Lord! In previous Kalpas when Buddha Kandrasuryapradipa was living, I served him faithfully and listened to his teaching and practiced it faithfully. After he passed into Nirvana, I continued to make offerings to his sacred relics and kept his image freshly gilded, so that his teaching, like a lamp, continued to illumine my life by its brightness. By my faithful reverence for his relics and his image, my mind was illumined by a purple-golden brightness that reflected itself in all my following lives and became a permanent purple-golden brightness with my body.
Then Sariputra rose from his seat and bowing down before the Lord Buddha, said:
Blessed Lord! Since many Kalpas, as many as the sands of the Ganges, my mind has continued its purity and because of it, there have been many pure rebirths. As soon as my eyes perceived the differences in the ever-flowing process of changes, both in the world and in the Way of Emancipation, my mind immediately understood them and, because of it, I acquired the attainment of perfect freedom. When I was on the road one day, I met the brother Kasyapa who kindly explained the principle of the Lord’s teaching that everything rose from causes and conditions and, therefore, was empty and transitory, and I realized the infinitude of Pure Mind Essence. From that time, I followed my Lord and my perception of mental sight became transcendental and perfectly enlightened, so that I instantly acquired an attainment of great fearlessness and confidence. Because of it I attained to the degree of Arhat and became, in fact, the first Prince of my Lord Buddha, begotten by the Lord’s true words and nourished and transformed by his intrinsic Dharma. In reply to my Lord’s enquiry as to our first experience of attainment, I would answer that my first thorough accommodation of the eighteen spheres of mentation in contact with objects through the sense-organs, was by reason of the transcendent brightness within my own mind whose shining beams illuminated my intelligence and reached as far as my insight could penetrate. . . .
Then Samantabhadra rose from his seat and bowing down to the Lord, said:
I became a Prince of my Lord’s Dharma many long Kalpas ago, and all of the innumerable Tathagatas of the ten quarters of the Universe, taught their disciples, who had the qualifications for becoming Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas, to practice the devotion of Samantabhadra’s unceasing compassion for all sentient beings for his name’s sake. The transcendental and intrinsic hearing of my Essential Mind became very pure and transparent, so that I could use it to discriminate the understanding and ideas of all sentient beings. Should there be any sentient beings in whatever quarter of the Universe – past, present or future – to develop the devotion of Samantabhadra unceasing compassion within his mind, I would become aware of its vibrations through the transcendental sensitiveness of my hearing and I would thereupon ride to them on the mysterious elephant of six tusks, in a hundred thousand different manifestations of my likeness, at the same time, to attend upon them each in his own place. Whatever might be his hindrances, however deep or serious, able to appreciate my presence or not, I would be near him to lay my hand upon his head, to give him encouragement and support, peacefulness and comfort, so that he might accomplish his supreme attainment. As my Lord has enquired of us as to our first attainment of accommodating our eighteen spheres of mentation in contact with sense-objects through our sense organs, I would say that in my case it was through the intrinsic hearing of my Essential Mind and its spontaneous understanding and response.
Then Purna Metaluniputra rose from his seat and bowed down to the feet of the Lord Buddha, saying:
Blessed Lord! For an infinity of Kalpas I have had great freedom in preaching the Dharmas of emptiness and suffering and because of it have realized my own Essence of Mind. In the course of my preaching, I have interpreted profoundly and wonderfully the many Dharma Doors, with great confidence and with no feeling of fear, everywhere, and before great assemblies. Because of my eloquence, my Lord has encouraged me to make use of it in propagating the Dharma by means of the wheel of my voice. Since these ancient days, since the Lord has been among us, I have offered my services in turning the Dharma wheel, and have lately attained to the degree of Arhat by means of the development of my hearing, by reason of which I am conscious of the Transcendental Sound of the Dharma reverberating like the roar of a lion. Consequently, my Lord has honored me by regarding me as the greatest preacher of his Mysterious Dharma.
As my Lord has enquired of us which was our earliest accommodation of the eighteen spheres of mentation in contact with objects through sense organs, I would answer that my first thorough accommodation of mentation was the subjugation of my internal attachment and enemies and the extermination of all intoxicants by means of the Intrinsic Sound of the Mysterious Dharma.
Then the great Maudgalyana rose from his seat and bowed to the Lord Buddha, saying:
Blessed Lord! When I was begging on the road, I met the three Kasyapa brothers who taught me the Lord Tathagata’s profound principle of causes and conditions. I was greatly influenced by the teaching and very soon acquired and realized particularly clear intelligence. My Lord was so kind as to bestow on me the true robe for my true body, my beard and head were shaved and I became a follower of my Lord. Since then my transcendental powers have become wonderfully developed, I have made visits to all the ten quarters of the Universe, without hindrance by space, passing instantly from one Buddha-land to another without being conscious of how it was done. I thus attained the degree of Arhat and was accounted by all and by my Lord Tathagata as being highest among the disciples in perfect enlightenment, great purity of mind, spontaneity and fearlessness in manifestation of transcendental powers.
As my Lord has inquired of us which was our most perfect accommodation of the eighteen spheres of mentation in contact with objects through the sense organs, I would answer that my first perfect accommodation of the eighteen spheres of mentation was my mind becoming abstracted in tranquil reflection that mysteriously developed its enlightening brightness, as if my mind that had been a muddy stream had suddenly become clear and transparent like a crystal ball.
Then the Bodhisattva-Mahasattva Akshobya rose from his seat and bowed to the feet of the Lord Buddha, saying:
Blessed Lord! My Lord Tathagata and I had already acquired a transcendental body of infinitude at the time, long ago during the advent of the BuddhaCamatha-prabasha. At that time, I had in possession four precious pearls having the transcendental penetrating power of the Element of Fire, by reason of which everything was luminously clear to my intuitive insight, even to the farthermost Buddha-lands of the most remote Universe. In the light of these magic pearls everything became as empty and transparent as Pure Space. Moreover, within my mind, there manifested a great mirror that was marvelously self illuminating that radiated ten kinds of wonderful, glorious, far-reaching rays as the infinitude of all-embracing space. In this marvelous mirror were reflected all the royal continents of the Blessed, and like the mingling of different-colored lights, merged with my body into pure brightness and clarity of infinite space, there being no hindrance to their entrance or passing. By this magical power, I was able to enter into all the Buddha-lands and engage in all their Buddha-services of adoration with great ease and perfect accommodation. This transcendental power was due to my deep intuitive insight into the source of the Four Great Elements, by reason of which I was able to see that they were nothing but the appearing and disappearing of false imaginations, which were intrinsically as empty as pure space and with no more differentiation as pure space. And I realized that all the innumerable Buddha-lands within and without the mind were of the same inconceivable purity. From this intuitive insight I consequently acquired the Samadhi of perseverance of non-rebirth.
As my Lord has enquired of us which was our most thorough accommodation of the eighteen spheres of mentation in contact with objects through the sense organs, I would answer that in my case it was through my perfect intuitive insight into the infinity of open space as illumined by the Element of Fire, and by that power I attained to the highest Samadhi and the transcendental power of Samapatti.
Then the Prince of the Lord’s Dharma, Vejuria rose from his seat and bowed down to the feet of the Lord Buddha and said:
Blessed Lord! I recall that many, many Kalpas ago there appeared in the world a Buddha called Amitayus, teaching all Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas the intuitive and essential nature of the wonderful Essence of Mind, and urging them to concentrate their minds on the essential sameness of Samsara World, and all sentient beings in it, that they were all alike manifestations of the Element of Wind (or Ether) and its rhythmic-vibrations revealing and manifesting all else. In my practice of Dhyana, I concentrated on this and reflected on how the great world was upheld in space, on how the great world was kept in perpetual motion, on how my body was kept in motion, moving and standing, on the rhythmic vibration of its life established and maintained by breathing, upon the movement of the mind, thoughts rising and passing. I reflected upon these various things and marvelled at their great sameness without any difference save in the rate of vibration. I realized that the nature of these vibrations had neither any source for their coming nor destination for their going, and that all sentient beings, as numerous as the infinitesimal particles of dust in the vast spaces, were each in his own way topsy-turvy balanced vibrations, and that each and every one was obsessed with the illusion that he was a unique creation. All sentient beings, in all the three thousand Great Chillicosms are obsessed with this hallucination. They are like innumerable mosquitos shut up in a vessel and buzzing about in wildest confusion. Sometimes, they are roused to madness and pandemonium by the narrow limits of their confinement. After meeting my Lord Buddha, I attained to a state of intuitive realization and non-rebirth perseverance, whereupon my mind became enlightened and I was able to view the Buddha-land of Immovability in the Eastern Heavens, which is the Pure Land of Buddha Amitayus. I was acknowledged as a Prince of the Lord’s Dharma and vowed to serve all Buddhas everywhere, and because of my enlightenment and great vow my body and mind became perfectly rhythmic and alive and sparkling, mingling with all other vibrations without hindrance to its perfect freedom.
As my Lord has enquired of us as to which was our first thoroughly perfect accommodation of the eighteen spheres of mentation in contact with objects through the sense-organs, I will say that in my case it was through my intuitive insight into the nature of the Element of Ether, and how by its balanced and rhythmic vibrations everything was embraced in perfect purity in the Enlightening Mind, and how concentrating my mind upon it I attained Samadhi and in that Samadhi I realized the perfect oneness of all the Buddhas in the purity of the Wonderful Mind Essence, that is the Bliss-body of Buddhahood . . .
Then Bodhisattva-Mahasattva Maitreya rose from his seat and bowing down to the Lord Buddha, said:
Blessed Lord! I recall that many, many Kalpas ago there was a Buddha appeared in this world called Chandra-suryapradipa-prabasha whom I followed as his disciple. At the time I was inclined to the worldly life and liked to associate with the nobility. The Lord Buddha, noticing it, instructed me to practice meditation, concentrating my mind on its consciousness. I followed his instructions and attained Samadhi. Since then I have served numberless other Buddhas using this same method, and by it have now discarded all desire for worldly pleasures. By the time Buddha Dipankara appeared in the world, gradually I had attained to the supreme, wonderful, perfect Samadhi or Transcendental Consciousness. By this highest Samadhi I was conscious of infinite space, and realized that all of theTathagata-lands whether pure or impure, existent or non-existent were nothing but the manifestation of my own mind. My Lord! because of my perfect realization that all such skillful devices of the Tathagatas were nothing but evolvements of my own mental consciousness, the essential nature of my consciousness flowed out in innumerable manifestations of Tathagatas, and I came to be selected as the next Coming Buddha, after my Lord Shakyamuni Buddha . . .
As my Lord has enquired of us as to our first perfect accommodation of the eighteen spheres of mentation in contact with objects through the sense organs, I answer that my first perfect accommodation of the eighteen spheres of mentation was by my perfect realization that all the ten quarters of the Universes were nothing but activities of my own consciousness. It was by that that my consciousness became perfectly enlightened and that the limits of my mind dissolved until it embraced all Reality forsaking all prejudices of conditional and unconditional assertions and denials, I acquired perfect non-birth perseverance . . .
Then Maha-sthama-prapta, Prince of the Lord’s Dharma, rose from his seat and bowed down to the feet of the Lord Buddha, together with the fifty-two members of his Brotherhood of Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas, and said:
Blessed Lord! I recall that in a past Kalpa long ago, as many Kalpas ago as there are grains of sand in the river Ganges, there appeared in this world a Buddha, called Amitabha-prabhasa Buddha, whose Buddha-land was in the Eastern Heavens. In that Kalpa there were twelve Tathagatas following each other in close succession, the last one being called Buddha-Chandra-surya-gomin, who taught me to practice meditation upon the name of Amitabha, saying: Namo Amitabha-Buddhaya. The value of this practice lay in this: so long as one practices his own method and other practices a different method, they balance of each other and meeting, it is just the same as not meeting. Whereas, if two persons practice the same method, their mindfulness would become deeper and deeper, and they would remember each other and develop affinities for each other life after life. It is the same with those who practice concentration on the name of Amitabha – they develop within their minds Amitabha’s spirit of compassion toward all sentient life. Moreover, whoever recites the name of Amitabha Buddha, whether in the present time or in the future time, will surely see the Buddha Amitabha and never become separated from him. By reason of that association, just as one associating with a maker of perfumes became permeated with the same perfumes, so he will become perfumed by Amitabha’s compassion, and will become enlightened without any other expedient means.
Blessed Lord! My devotion to reciting the name of Amitabha had no other purpose than to return to my original nature of purity and by it I attained to the state of non-rebirth perseverance. Now in this life, I have vowed to teach my disciples to concentrate their minds by means of reciting the name of Amitabha (Namo-Amitabha-Buddhaya) and also I teach them to wish to be born in his Land of Purity and to make that their only Refuge.
As my Lord has asked us which is our first perfect accommodation of the eighteen spheres of mentation in contact with objects through sense organs, I answer that my first perfect accommodation of the eighteen spheres of mentation was that I recognized no separation or differences among my six senses, but merged them into one transcendental sense from which arises the purity of Transcendental Wisdom, by reason of which I attained highest Samadhi and the graces of Samapatti.
Then the Bodhisattva-Mahasattva Avalokiteshvara rose from his seat and bowing down to the Lord Buddha said:
Blessed Lord! I recall that ages ago, as numerous as the sands of the river Ganges, that there was present in the world a Buddha, called Avalokiteshvara, by whose instruction I was encouraged to begin seeking enlightenment. I was taught to begin practicing by concentrating my mind on the true nature ofTranscendental Hearing, and by that practice I attained Samadhi. As soon as I had advanced to the stage of Entering the Stream, I determined to discard all thoughts discriminating as to where I was or had been. Later I discarded the conception of advancing altogether, and the thought of either activity or quietness in this connection did not again arise in my mind. Continuing my practice, I gradually advanced until all discrimination of the hearing nature of my self-hood and of the Intrinsic Transcendental Hearing was discarded. As there ceased to be any grasping in my mind for the attainment of Intrinsic Hearing, the conception of enlightenment and enlightened nature were all absent from my mind. When this state of perfect Emptiness of Mind was attained, all arbitrary conceptions of attaining to Emptiness of Mind and of enlightened nature, were discarded. As soon as all arbitrary conceptions of rising and disappearing of thoughts were completely discarded, the state of Nirvana was clearly realized. Then all of a sudden, my mind became transcendental to both celestial and terrestrial world, and there was nothing in all the ten quarters but empty space, and in that state I acquired two wonderful transcendencies. The first was a “Transcendental Consciousness” that my mind was in perfect conformity with the Essential, Mysterious Enlightening Mind, of all the Buddhas in all the ten quarters, and also it was in like perfect conformity with the Great Heart of Compassion of all the Buddhas. The second transcendency was that my mind was in perfect conformity with the minds of all sentient beings of the six Realms and felt with them the same earnestness and longing for deliverance.
Blessed Lord! because of my adoration for that Buddha, Avalokiteshvara, he taught me how to attain the Diamond Samadhi by the single method of concentrating my mind upon Transcendental Hearing. And, moreover, he helped me to attain the same compassionate capacity that all the Tathagatas had, by reason of which I attained the thirty-two kinds of transformations that are instantaneously available in response to the prayer for deliverance from any part of the world at any time.
These transformations have all been attained and exercised with perfect freedom and spontaneity in the mysterious Diamond Samadhi which I attained by concentrating my mind in the practice of Dhyana on the nature of Transcendental Hearing.
Blessed Lord! I have also, because of the mysterious powers that accompany the Diamond Samadhi, and because of my being in perfect conformity and with the same earnestness and longing for deliverance with all sentient beings, in the Six Realms of all the ten quarters of all the universes, past, present and future, been able to bestow upon all sentient beings the same Fourteen kinds of Fearlessness, which animate my own mind . . .
As my attainment to the original nature of perfect accommodations is wonderfully developed from the hearing organ to include all the sense-organs and discriminating mind, my body and mind profoundly and mysteriously embrace all the phenomenal world, so that if any disciple should recite my name, his blessing and merit would be like and equal to that of any Prince of the Lord’s Dharma, whether he uses the same name or some other name. Blessed Lord! The reason why their merit is like and equal for one to recite my name, and for another to recite some other name, is because of my practice of Dhyana by which I acquired the True and Perfect accommodation.
Blessed Lord! this is what is meant by the Fourteen kinds of Fearlessness of Powers of Deliverance which bring blessing to all sentient beings. But in addition to the acquirement of perfect accommodation by means of my attainment of Supreme Enlightenment, I have also acquired another Four kinds of inconceivable, wonderful Transcendencies of Spontaneity.
The First is as it is, because when I first attained to my Transcendental Hearing, my mind became abstracted into its essential nature, and all the natural powers of hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching and understanding attained to a state of pure, glorious, enlightenment of perfect mutuality and accommodation in one perfect unity of Awareness. Because of this, I have acquired this great Transcendental Freedom, so that when I give deliverance to sentient beings, I can transform myself into wonderful appearances . . .
Sometimes I appear in a form of kindness, or in a form of justice, or in a state of concentration, or in a state of intelligence. But in all I do it for the sake of deliverance and protecting of sentient beings so that they might acquire a like Great Freedom.
The Second inconceivable, wonderful Transcendency of Spontaneity is as it is because of my emancipation of hearing and thinking from the contaminations of the six sense-objects. It is as if sound were passing through walls without any hindrance. Thus I can skillfully transform into different kinds of appearances and recite different Dharanis, and can transform these appearances and recitation of Dharanis, to give the Transcendental Power of Fearlessness to sentient beings. Thus in all the countries of the ten quarters, I am known as the Giver of Transcendental Power of Fearlessness.
The Third inconceivable, wonderful Transcendency of Spontaneity is as it is, because of my practice upon the pure, original Essence of perfect accommodation, so that wherever I go, I lead sentient beings to willingness to sacrifice their lives and valuable possessions in order to pray for my compassion and mercy.
The Fourth inconceivable, wonderful Transcendency of Spontaneity is as it is, because of my acquirement of the Buddha’s Intrinsic Mind and because of my attainment of the supremacy so that I can give all different kinds of offerings to all of the Tathagatas of all the ten quarters of the universes.
As my Lord has enquired of us as to what was our first perfect accommodation, of the eighteen spheres of mentation in contact with objects through the sense-organs, I answer that my first perfect accommodation was, when I attained to the state of perfectly accommodating reflection of Samadhi by means of myIntrinsic Hearing and Transcendental Mental Freedom from objective contaminations, so that my mind became abstracted and absorbed into the Divine Stream,and thus acquired the Diamond Samadhi and attained Enlightenment.
Blessed Lord! in those far off days, my Lord, the Buddha Avalokiteshvara, praised me for my skillful acquirement of the all-accommodating Door of Dharma, and in one of his great Assemblies, he announced that I, too, should be called Avalokiteshvara, “The hearer and answerer of Prayer,” the Bodhisattva of Tenderest Compassion. As such, my Transcendental Hearing reaches to the ten quarters of all the universes, and the name of Avalokiteshvara prevails over all the extremes of human suffering and danger.
Thereupon, the blessed Lord, sitting upon his throne in the midst of the Tathagatas and highest Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas from all the Buddha-lands, manifested his Transcendent Glory surpassing them all. From his hands and feet and body radiated supernal beams of light that rested upon the crowns of each Tathagata, Bodhisattva-Mahasattva, and Prince of the Dharma; in all the ten quarters of the universes, went forth rays of glorious brightness that converged upon the crown of the Lord Buddha and upon the crowns of all the Tathagatas, Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas and Arhats present in the assembly. At the same time all the trees of the Jeta Park, and all the waves lapping on the shores of its lakes, were singing with the music of the Dharma, and all the intersecting rays of brightness were like a net of splendor set with jewels and over-reaching them all. Such a marvelous sight had never been imagined and held them all in silence and awe. Unwittingly, they passed into the blissful peace of the Diamond Samadhi and upon them all, there fell like a gentle rain, the soft petals of many different colored lotus blossoms – blue and crimson, yellow and white – all blending together and being reflected into the open space of heaven in all the tints of the spectrum. Moreover, all the differentiations of mountains and seas and rivers and forests of the Saha World blended into one another and faded away leaving only the flower – adorned unity of the Primal Cosmos, not dead and inert but alive with rhythmic life and light, vibrant with transcendental sound of songs and rhymes,melodiously rising and falling and merging and then fading away into silence.
Then the Lord Tathagata addressed Manjusri, Prince of the Dharma, saying:
Manjusri! you have now heard that these Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas of greatest and highest attainments have testified regarding the expedient means that were involved, and the results seen in spiritual graces and powers of Samapatti, that followed in their devout lives and practices. Each one stated that the beginning was seen in the perfect accommodation of some one mental sphere in contact with its sense object, and from that followed the perfect accommodation of all the spheres of mentation and the attainment of Samadhi, Samapatti and the perfect awareness of their Intuitive and Essential Mind. So we see that their devout practices, in spite of their variations, all eventuated in the same good result irrespective of their attainments and the times involved.
I want Ananda to fully understand and realize these different attainments of Enlightenment and note which of them is adapted to him. And I wish also, that after my Nirvana, as future disciples of this world wish to attain highest Anuttara-Samyak-Sambodhi, that from these experiences they may know which door of expedient means appears to each most easily entered.
Having listened to the Blessed Lord, Manjusri, Prince of the Lord’s Dharma, rose from his seat bowed down to the Lord Buddha, and sobered by the influence of the Lord’s profound dignity uttered the following stanza:
The keeping of the Precepts is a necessary part of the practice of Dhyana, but the novice cannot depend upon them alone to bring him to the nature of perfect accommodation . . .
Then Manjusri addressed the Lord Buddha, saying:
Blessed Lord! Since my Lord has descended from the Deva Realms to this Saha World, he has helped us most by his wonderful Enlightening Teaching. At first we receive this Teaching through our sense of hearing, but when we are fully able to realize it, it becomes ours through a Transcendental and Intuitive Hearing. This makes the awakening and perfecting of a transcendental faculty of hearing of very great importance to every novice. As the wish to attain Samadhi deepens in the mind of any disciple, he can most surely attain it by means of his Transcendental Organ of Hearing.
For many a Kalpa – as numerous as the particles of sand in the river Ganges – Avalokiteshvara Buddha, the hearer and answerer of prayer, has visited all the Buddha-lands of the ten quarters of the universe and has acquired Transcendental Powers of Boundless Freedom and Fearlessness and has vowed to emancipate all sentient beings from their bondage and suffering. How sweetly mysterious is the Transcendental Sound of Avalokiteshvara! It is the pure Brahman Sound. It is the subdued murmur of the seatide setting inward. Its mysterious Sound brings liberation and peace to all sentient beings who in their distress are calling for aid; it brings a sense of permanency to those who are truly seeking the attainment of Nirvana’s Peace . . .
While I am addressing My Lord Tathagata, he is hearing at the same time, the Transcendental Sound of Avalokiteshvara. It is just as though, while we are in the quiet selection of our Dhyana practice, there should come to our ears the sound of the beating of drums. If our minds, hearing the sound, are undisturbed and tranquil, this is the nature of perfect accommodation.
The body develops feeling by coming in contact with something, and the sight of eyes is hindered by the opaqueness of objects, and similarly with the sense of smell and of taste, but it is different with the discriminating mind. Thoughts are arising and mingling and passing. At the same time it is conscious of sounds in the next room and sounds that have come from far away. The other senses are not so refined as the sense of hearing: the nature of hearing is the true reality of Passability.
The essence of sound is felt in both motion and silence, it passes from existent to non-existent. When there is no sound, it is said that there is no hearing, but that does not mean that hearing has lost its preparedness. Indeed, when there is no sound, hearing is most alert, and when there is sound the hearing nature is least developed. If any disciple can be freed from these two illusions of appearing and disappearing, that is, from death and rebirth, he has attained the true reality of Permanency.
Even in dreams when all thinking has become quiescent, the hearing nature is still alert. It is like a mirror of enlightenment that is transcendental of the thinking mind because it is beyond the consciousness sphere of both body and mind. In this Saha world, the Doctrine of Intrinsic, Transcendental Sound, may be spread abroad, but sentient beings as a class remain ignorant and indifferent to their own Intrinsic Hearing. They respond only to phenomenal sounds and are disturbed by both musical and discordant sounds.
Nothwithstanding Ananda’s wonderful memory, he was not able to avoid falling into evil ways. He has been adrift on a merciless sea. But if he will only turn his mind away from the drifting current of thoughts, he may soon recover the sober wiseness of Essential Mind. Ananda! Listen to me! I have ever relied upon the teaching of the Lord Buddha to bring me to the Indescribable Dharma Sound of the Diamond Samadhi. Ananda! You have sought the secret lore from all the Buddha-lands without first attaining emancipation from the desires and intoxications of your own contaminations and attachments, with the result that you have stored in your memory a vast accumulation of worldly knowledge and built up a tower of faults and mistakes.
You have learned the Teachings by listening to the words of the Lord Buddha and then committing them to memory. Why do you not learn from your own self by listening to Sound of the Intrinsic Dharma within your mind and then practicing reflection upon it? The perception of Transcendental Hearing is not developed by any natural process under the control of your own volition. Sometimes when you are reflecting upon your Transcendental Hearing a chance sound suddenly claims your attention and your mind sets it apart and discriminates it and is disturbed thereby.As soon as you can ignore the phenomenal sound, the notion of Transcendental Sound ceases and you will realize your Intrinsic Hearing.
As soon as this one sense perception of hearing is returned to its originality and you clearly understand its falsity, then the mind instantly understands the falsity of all sense perceptions and is at once emancipated from the bondage of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking, for they are all alike illusive and delusive visions of unreality and all the three great realms of existence are seen to be what they truly are, imaginary blossoms in the air.
As soon as the deceiving perception of hearing is emancipated, then all objective phenomena disappears and your Intuitive Mind-Essence becomes perfectly pure. As soon as you have attained to this Supreme Purity of Mind-Essence, its Intrinsic Brightness will shine out spontaneously and in all directions and, as soon as you are sitting in tranquil Dhyana, the mind will be in perfect conformity with Pure Space.
Ananda! As soon as you return to the phenomenal world, it will seem like a vision in a dream. And your experience with the maiden Pchiti will seem like a dream, and your own body will lose its solidity and permanency. It will seem as though every human being, male and female, was simply a manifestation by some skillful magician of a manikin all of whose activities were under his control. Or each human being will seem like an automatic machine that once started goes on by itself, but as soon as the automatic machine loses its motive power, all its activities not only cease, but their very existence disappears.
So it is with the six sense organs, which are fundamentally dependent upon one unifying and enlightening spirit, but which by ignorance have become divided into six semi-independent compositions and conformities. Should one organ become emancipated and return to its originality, so closely are they united in their fundamental originality, that all the organs would cease their activities also. And all worldly impurities will be purified by a single thought and you will attain to the wonderful purity of perfect Enlightenment. Should there remain some minute contamination of ignorance, you should practice the more earnestly until you attain to perfect Enlightenment, that is, to the Enlightenment of a Tathagata.
All the Brothers in this Great Assembly, and you too, Annnda, should reverse your outward perception of hearing and listen inwardly for the perfectly unified and intrinsic sound of your own Mind-Essence, for as soon as you have attained perfect accommodation, you will have attained to Supreme Enlightenment.
This is the only way to Nirvana, and it has been followed by all the Tathagatas of the past. Moreover, it is for all the Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas of the present and for all in the future if they are to hope for perfect Enlightenment. Not only did Avalokiteshvara attain perfect Enlightenment in long ages past by this Golden Way, but in the present, I also am one of them.
My Lord enquired of us as to which expedient means each one of us had employed to follow this Noble Path to Nirvana. I bear testimony that the means employed by Avalokiteshvara is the most expedient means for all, since all other means must be supported and guided by the Lord Buddha’s Transcendental Powers. Though one forsake all his worldly engagements, yet he cannot always be practicing by these various means; they are especial means suitable for junior and senior disciples, but for laymen, this common method of concentrating the mind on the sense of hearing, turning it inward by this Door of Dharma to hear the Transcendental Sound of this Essential Mind, is most feasible and wise.
O Blessed Lord! I am bowing down before my Lord Tathagata’s Intrinsic Womb, which is immaculate and ineffable in its perfect freedom from all contaminations and taints, and am praying my Lord to extend his boundless compassion for the sake of all future disciples, so that I may continue to teach Ananda and all sentient beings of the present kalpa, to have faith in this wonderful Door of Dharma to the Intrinsic Hearing of his own Mind-Essence, so surely to be attained by this most expedient means. If any disciple should take this Intuitive Means for concentrating his mind in Dhyana Practice on this organ ofTranscendental Hearing, all other sense organs would soon come into perfect harmony with it and thus by this single means of Intrinsic Hearing, he would attain perfect accommodation of his True and Essential Mind.
Then Ananda and all the great assembly were purified in body and mind. They acquired a profound understanding and a clear insight into the nature of the Lord Buddha’s Enlightenment and experience of Highest Samadhi. They had confidence like a man who was about to set forth on a most important business to a far off country, because they knew the route to go and return. All the disciples in this great assembly realized their own Essence of Mind and proposed henceforth to live remote from all worldly entanglements and taints, and to live continuously in the pure brightness of the Eye of Dharma.
Extracts from “The Tibetan Book of the Dead” (Bardo Thodol), edited by Dr. W. Y. Evans-Wentz (London, 1957):
O nobly-born, when thy body and mind were separating, thou must have experienced a glimpse of the Pure Truth, subtle, sparkling, bright, dazzling, glorious, and radiantly awesome, in appearance like a mirage moving across a landscape in springtime in one continuous stream of vibrations. Be not daunted thereby, nor terrified, nor awed. That is the radiance of thine own true nature. Recognize it.
From the midst of that radiance, the natural sound of Reality, reverberating like a thousand thunders simultaneously sounding, will come. That is the natural sound of thine own real self. Be not daunted thereby, nor terrified, nor awed.
O nobly-born, five-colored radiances . . . vibrating and dazzling like colored threads, flashing, radiant, and transparent, glorious and awe-inspiring, will . . . strike against thy heart, so bright that the eye cannot bear to look upon them.
. . . Be not afraid of that brilliant radiance of five colors, nor terrified; but know that Wisdom to be thine own.
Within those radiances, the natural sound of the Truth will reverberate like a thousand thunders. The sound will come with a rolling reverberation . . Fear not. Flee not. Be not terrified. Know them (i.e., these sounds) to be (of) . . thine own inner light.
Extracts from “My Experience in Meditation” by His Holiness The Venerable Tai Hsu (Chinese Buddhist monk), translated by Bhikku Assaji:
. . . From this time I discontinued my old routine of meditation; this was from 1908 to 1914. When the European War broke out, I began to doubt Western theory and my own power to save the world with Buddhist teaching. I felt it was a sheer waste of time, if I did any more of what I had done. So I went to “Po-To” island, where I secluded myself in a monastery to develop further spiritual advancement.
After two or three months of seclusion, one night when I was meditating, my mind became calmer, I heard the sound of a bell from a neighboring temple. It seems that my chain of thoughts was broken by that sound and I sank into a state of something like a trance, without knowing anything until early next dawn, when I heard the sound of the matin bell and I regained my sense of knowing. At first, I only felt that a light melted into me. There was no distinction of self and other things and of what was inside and what was outside.
After this experience, I continued my life of reading sutras, writing books and meditating, for about one year, and after that one year, I chiefly engaged myself in studying the books of the Vijnana School. I especially paid attention to the Records on Wei Shi (Vijnana). Here I once more experienced another trance-like state. I was reading for several times repeatedly a certain paragraph of the said Records, explaining that both conditional things and the Truth are devoid of the substance of Self. I entered the trance-like meditation. This time it was different from the former two; I perceived in it that all things which exist on conditions had their deep and subtle order, minutely arranged without the slightest confusion.
This kind of comprehension I can produce now whenever I desire.
The third experience showed me the truth of cause and effect, which appear to be so on account of our consciousness. It is true, the law of cause and effect has its natural way without disorder.
After each of these three experiences, there was some change physically and mentally, and I also happened to have some presage of divyachaksus(clarvoyance), divya-srota (clairaudience) and parachitta-jnana (thought reading).
If the six supernatural powers are possible, then the theory of Karma and Rebirth, which is based on the demonstration of clairvoyance and purvanivasan Usmritijnana (knowledge of all former existences of self and others) is also believable.
There are two ways of Vidya:
(i) Agh Drishta or Apara Vidya, for the layman who wants physical happiness.
(ii) Yog Drishta or Para Vidya, which deals with that which is above the senses.
Jainism divides Yoga, the science of knowing yourself and attaining perfection, into eight stages as follows:
l. Mitra – Vision is very dim. It can be compared to light of grass particles which is momentary and extremely dim. The yogi in this stage adopts vows of non-violence, truth, celibacy, etc. To him all living beings are friends. He bears ill will to none. He finds great happiness in good thoughts and good deeds; but it is not possible in this stage to go much higher.
2. Tara – Vision here is also dim, compared to the light of cowdung cake, although vision is a little better, but it is momentary and dim. One adopts short-term rules for purification. He becomes purer in his relations with outside world also. He busies himself in reading of books of great seers. He feels great interest in all that is helpful in raising the soul higher.
3. Bala – Vision here is also dim, compared to wood-light. Asanas are performed. He can easily do Padmasan etc., but it is not external Asanas which are aimed at but the spiritual Asanas. He becomes firm in external Asanas but he experiences glimpses of spiritual happiness. He rises a little above the body.
4. Dipra – is compared to light of Deepak or candle light. Here he attains Pranayam not only externally but internally also. He has now firm faith that it is the soul which is to be called for primarily. To save the soul he may even give up his body. To attain purification of soul, he is prepared to face any dangers and difficulties. His leaning is more and more toward soul. He attains peace not known before.
5. Sthira – is considerably bright and lasting, compared to the light of jewel. He sees the world and worldly things in proper perspective. Strong likes and dislikes have disappeared. He becomes composed and calm and realizes and feels that he is not body but he is some Divine element residing within. He is soul and he feels the difference. He feels his body different from soul. He gets the Sound from within of various wonderful tunes which attunes one with Samadhi. Desires of body and senses are not liked by him. He has full faith in God, in the pure form of the soul, and he is yearning to be pure, absolutely pure.
6. Kanta – can be compared to light of star. Here there is great control over mind. The mind finds happiness in devotion to God, in love and meditation of pure soul. Mind becomes steady in these higher things and finds no pleasure in physical happiness and amenities. Here he becomes so pure that he can get vision ofSiddhas – liberated souls, great souls. His actions also become so pure that he is loved even by great Saints.
7. Prabha – can be compared to light of sun. It is bright and strong. Here right knowledge has grown immensely and meditation becomes his second nature and he finds innermost happiness. He is serene, he has great control over his senses and mind.
8. Para – can be compared to the light of moon, serene, peaceful and cool. Here meditation reaches highest pitch and he becomes immersed in it. He attains Samadhi (Sama) and becomes faultless. His state can be compared to full Moon in all its Splendor.
FROM YOGA DRISHTA SAMUCHAYA
BY SRI HARIBHADRACHARYA
EXCERPTS FROM JAIN SCRIPTURES:
From Suttagame Part II, by Puppha Bhikoo (1954 edition):
Tapas itself is the light and it shines forth in the human body.
PAGE 996, GATHA 44
Hearing the Sound resembling that of the conch and witnessing the Lotus Light
like that of a newly blossomed flower between the two eyebrows,
one faces his Ishta, the Satguru.
When the knowledge finds an anchorage in Knowledge, there flashes forth light.
The aspirant is enjoined to sit in solitude and meditate with a single-pointed
attention, on the Maha Mantra of Panch parmesti and to perceive the light.
SHRI SUTRA NANDI
The essence of the Avestic teachings is to be found in the prayers to the various cults of life as taught by Zoroaster, the Master of life, who lived several thousand years ago. Edmund Szekely, speaking of these cults, tells us of the last two cults as follows:
(i) The Cult of the Light of Life: The next cult in the Avestas is the cult of Humanity or as the Zend text expresses it, the cult of the “Light of Life.” What does this stand for? This Light, declares Zoroaster, comes to us continually from the most distant ages, making it possible for us to possess the total wisdom and experience of previous generations, without the need to try again for ourselves what they have already tried and proved right in the course of thousands of years. For Zoroaster, the greatest fault we can be guilty of, is to neglect this “Light of Life” and to limit it to only a few rays instead of absorbing It in its fullness through observance of the cult which bears its name. Most of the passages concerning the cult of the “Light of Life” are to be found in the book of the Avestas entitled Vispered, which is the exact Zend equivalent of our word “Omniscience.”
(ii) The Cult of Eternal Life: The ninth and last cult in the Avestas is the cult of the Stars – the cult of “Eternal Life.” This cult became the one most widely known in antiquity, and most of the passages mentioning Zoroastrianism in the works of the classical Greek authors are concerned with it. According to Zoroaster, life is not the exclusive privilege of this planet; there are innumerable planets and solar systems in infinite cosmic space where life exists in a wide range of forms. Zoroaster teaches that life is a form of cosmic energy which will always appear wherever favorable preconditions exist. Life is a cosmic function, an inherent quality of the Universe, and there is in boundless space and time a universal solidarity connecting all forms of life on whatever planet. Certain planets or solar systems may disappear or appear, and the life of them likewise, but life itself, appearing and disappearing, on eternally changing planets and solar systems, is as eternal as the Universe. And man is a part of this eternal life — of this universal cosmic ocean formed by the sum total of all forms of life on all the planets. The most beautiful hymns in the Avestas are to be found in the part devoted to the cult of “Eternal Life.”
The Avestic term for the principle of life is “Sraosha” (the angel of inspiration) . In Zend Avesta, we have an invocation to Mazda praying for the gift of Sraosha for those whom He loves.
Mr. M. H. Toot, a great scholar of comparative religions, in his book, “Practical Metaphysics of Zoroastrians,” tells us that in “Gatha Ushtavaiti,” Ratu Zoroaster proclaimed:
Thus I reveal the Word which the Most Unfolded One has taught me,
The Word which is the best for mortals to listen.
Whosoever shall render obedience and steadfast attention unto Me,
will obtain for his own self the All-embracing Whole Being and Immortality;
And through the service of the Holy Divine Spirit
Will realize Mazda Ahura (i.e., Godhead).
Again the same scholar quotes elsewhere in an as yet unpublished work, the following passages from “Ahuravaiti Yasna”:
Divine Guidance of the Eternal Master,
Accomplishing long life in the Right Paths leading to the Absolute Kingdom
of the Divine Mind,
Wherein the Omniscient, Self-existent Life-Giver dwells by His
I cause to invoke that divine Sraosha (i.e., the Word) which is the greatest of all
divine gifts for spiritual succour.
The Creative Verbum:
Assimilating one’s unfolding self with His all-pervading Reality
The Omniscient, Self-existent Life-Giver has framed this mystic Verbum
and Its melodious rhythm,
With the Divine Order of personal self-sacrifice for the Universe,
unto the self-sublimating souls,
Which is that person who with the Enlightened Superb Mind can give both
these (Mystic Verbum and Divine Order) through His gracious mouth unto the
JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY
The Jewish and Christian scriptures abound with references to the Word as the creative aspect of God, and as the means by which He is reached. In the very beginning of the Bible we read:
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth . , . And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.
This is elaborated by St. John as follows:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. . . . That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world . . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.
JOHN 1: 1-5, 9,14
Christ further explained the initiatory aspect of the Word in one of his most famous parables:
Behold, there went out a sower to sow; And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some a hundred. And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. . . .
The sower soweth the Word. And these are they by the way side, where the Word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the Word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the Word, immediately receive it with gladness; and have no root in themselves, and so endure for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the Word’s sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the Word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the Word, and it become unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the Word and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.
MARK 4:4-9, 14-20
Following are some of the many references to the Word or the Audible Life Stream found throughout the Old and New Testaments: (For a complete discussion of the teachings of Christ in this connection, see The Crown of Life (Delhi, 1970) by the same author, pp. 204-213.)
By the “Word of the Lord were the heavens made . . .For he spake
and it was done.
PSALM 33:6, 9
Forever, O Lord, thy Word is settled in heaven. . . . Thy Word is a lamp unto
my feet, and a light unto my path.
PSALM 119:89, 105
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it and is safe.
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the Word of our God shall
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me,
mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize (immerse)
you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of
the mouth of God.
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but
canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that
is born of the Spirit.
Verily, verily I say unto you, he that heareth my Word, and believeth on him that
sent me, hath ever-lasting life and shall not come into condemnation; but is
passed from death unto life.
Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you.
I have manifested thy Name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world . . .
I have given them thy Word . . .
Sanctify them through thy truth; thy Word is truth.
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,
and upholding all things by the Word of his power . . .
For the Word of God is quick (living), and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged
sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and
marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with
meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls.
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God,
which liveth and abideth forever.
I PETER 1:23
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him a hundred forty
and four thousand, having his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I
heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great
thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as
it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts and the elders:
and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand,
which were redeemed from the earth.
The testimony of Christian saints of all traditions (Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox) confirms and clarifies the scriptural references:
Those in whom the eternal Word speaks are delivered from uncertainty. From one
Word proceed all things and all things tell of Him. Love the Word better than the
THE IMITATION OF CHRIST
The Word of God became man that you also may learn from a man how a man
becomes a God.
CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA
Absolutely unutterable and indescribable are the lightning-like splendors of Divine beauty; neither can speech express nor hearing apprehend. Shall we name the brilliance of the morning star, the brightness of the moon, the radiance of the sun – the glory of all these is unworthy of being compared with the true light, standing farther from it than does the gloomiest night and the most terrible darkness from midday brightness. This beauty, invisible to bodily eyes, comprehensible to soul and mind only, if it illumines some of the saints leaves in them an unbearable wound through their desire that this vision of Divine beauty should extend over an eternity of life; disturbed by this earthly life, they loathe it as though it were a prison.
ST. BASIL THE GREAT
The Writings Of Jacob Boehme, the Lutheran cobbler-mystic of seventeenth-century Germany, center around the Word and offer conclusive evidence that the esoteric teachings of Christ (Surat Shabd Yoga) had not been completely forgotten:
If you should in this world bring many thousand sorts of musical instruments together, and all should be tuned in the best manner most artificially, and the most skillful masters of music should play on them in concert together, all would be no more than the howlings and barkings of dogs in comparison of the Divine Music, which rises through the Divine Sound and tunes from Eternity to Eternity.
For all whatsoever has life, liveth in the Speaking Word, the Angels in the Eternal Speaking and the temporal spirits in the re-expression or echoing forth of the formings of time, out of the sound or breath of Time and the angels out of the Sound of Eternity, viz., out of the Voice of the Manifested Word of God.
The Disciple said to his Master; How may I come to the super-sensual life, that I may see God and hear him speak?
His Master said: When thou canst throw thyself but for a moment into that where no creature dwelleth, then thou hearest what God speaketh.
Disciple: Is that near at hand or far off?
Master: It is in thee. And if thou canst for a while but cease from all thy thinking and willing, then thou shalt hear the unspeakable words of God.
Disciple: How can I hear him speak, when I stand still from thinking and willing?
Master: When thou standest still from the thinking of self, and the willing of self; “When both thy intellect and will are quiet, and passive to the impressions of the Eternal Word and Spirit; And when thy soul is winged up, and above that which is temporal, the outward senses, and the imagination being locked up by holy abstraction,” then the Eternal hearing, seeing, and speaking, will be revealed in thee; and so God “heareth and seeth through thee,” being now the organ of his spirit: and so God speaketh in thee, and whispereth to thy spirit, and thy spirit heareth his voice. Blessed art thou therefore if that thou canst stand still from self-thinking and self-willing, and canst stop the wheel of imagination and senses . . . Since it is naught indeed but thine own hearing and willing that do wonder thee, so that thou dost not see and hear God.
OF THE SUPERSENSUAL LIFE
The following is the spiritual experience of Eliphas Levi, a Catholic priest:
A particular phenomenon occurs when the brain is overcharged by Astral Light; sight is turned inward instead of outward; night falls on the external and real world, while fantastic brilliance shines on the world of dreams; even the physical eyes experience a slight quivering and turn up inside the lids. The soul then preceives by means of images the reflection of its impressions and thoughts.
This is to say that the analogy subsisting between idea and form attracts in the Astral Light of reflection representing that form, configuration being the essence of the vital light; it is the universal imagination, of which each of us appropriates a lesser or greater part according to our grade of sensibility and memory. Therein is the source of all apparitions, all extraordinary visions and all the intuitive phenomena peculiar to ecstasy.
The appropriation or assimilation of the light by clairvoyant sensibility is one of the greatest phenomena which can be studied by science. It may be understood in a day to come that seeing is actually speaking and that, the consciousness of light is a twilight of eternal life in being. The Word of God Himself, who creates light, and is uttered by all intelligence that conceives of forms and seeks to visualize them. “Let there be light.” Light in the mode of brightness exists only for eyes which look thereon, and a soul enamored with the pageant of universal beauty, and fixing its attention on that luminous script of the endless book which is called things manifest, seems to cry on its own part, as God at the dawn of the first day, the sublime and creative words: Fiat lux . . .
. . . To understand the cause of this force, but never to be obsessed and never overcome thereby, is to trample on the serpent’s head. In such secrets are contained all mysteries of magnetism, which name can indeed be applied to the whole part of antique Transcendental Power. Magnetism is the wand of miracles, but it is this for initiates only; for rash and uninstructed people, who would sport with it or make it subserve their passions, it is as dangerous as that consuming glory which, according to the allegorical fable, destroyed the too ambitious Semele in the embraces of Jupiter.
One of the great benefits of magnetism is that it demonstrates by incontestable facts the spirituality, unity and immortality of the soul; and these things once made certain, God is manifested to all intelligences and all hearts. Thereafter, from the belief in God and from the harmonies of creation we are led to that great religious harmony . . .
. . . It follows from this revelation from the ancient world that clairvoyant extasis is a voluntary and immediate application of the soul to the universal fire, or rather to that light-abounding in images – which radiates, which speaks and circulates about all objects and every sphere of the universe. This application is operated by the persistence of will liberated from the senses and fortified by a succession of tests. Herein consisted the beginning in the light, the adept became a seer or prophet; then having established communications between this light and his own will, he learned to direct the former, even as the head of an arrow is set in a certain direction. He communicated at his pleasure either strife or peace to the soul of others; he established intercourse at a distance with those fellow-adepts who were his peers, and, in fine, he availed himself of that force which is represented by the celestial lion. Herein lies the meaning of those great Assyrian figures which hold vanquished lions in their arms. The Astral Light is otherwise represented by gigantic sphinxes having the bodies of lions and the heads of Magi. Considered as an instrument, the Astral Light is that golden sword of Mithra used in his immolation of the bull. And it is the arrow of Phoebus which pierced the serpent Python . . . The Astral Light as a whole, that element of electricity and of lightning, can be placed at the disposition of human will. What must be done, however, to acquire this formidable Power? Zoroaster has just told us; we must know those mysterious laws of equilibrium which subjugate the very powers of evil by sacred trials, must have conquered the phantoms of hallucination and taken hold bodily of the light, imitating Jacob in his struggle with the angel. We must have vanquished those fantastic dogs which howl in the world of Oracle, we must have heard the light speak. We are then its masters and can direct it, as Numa did, against the enemies of the Holy Mysteries. But in the absence of perfect purity, and if under the government of some animal passion, by which we are still subjected to the fatalities of tempestuous life, we proceed to this kind of work, the fire which we kindle will consume ourselves; we shall fall victims to the serpent which we unloose and shall perish like Tullus Hostilius . . .
Pythagoras defined God as a living and Absolute Truth clothed in light; he defined the Word as number manifested by form; and he derived all things from the Tetractys – that is to say, the tetrad. He said also that God is supreme music; the nature of which is harmony.
It is related furthermore that beasts were obedient to Pythagoras. Once in the middle of the Olympic Games, he signaled to an eagle winging its way through heaven; the bird descended, wheeling circlewise, and again took rapid flight at the master’s token of dismissal. There was also a great bear ravaging in Apulia; Pythagoras brought it to his feet and told it to leave the country. It disappeared accordingly, and when asked to what knowledge he owed such a marvelous power, he answered: “To the Science of Light.” Animated beings are, in fact, incarnations of light. Out of the darkness of ugliness forms emerge and move progressively toward the splendors of beauty, instincts are in correspondence with forms; and man, who is the synthesis of the light whereof animals may be termed the analysis, is created to command them. It has come about, however, that in place of ruling as their master, he has become their persecutor and destroyer, so that they fear and have rebelled against him. In the presence of an exceptional will which is at once benevolent and directing, they are completely magnetized, and a host of modern phenomena both can and should enable us to understand the possibility of miracles like those of Pythagoras . . .
The Astral Light is the Living soul of the earth, a material and fatal soul, controlled in its productions and movements by the eternal laws of equilibrium . . . This light, which environs and permeates all bodies, can also suspend their weight and make them revolve about a powerfully absorbent center . . .
Among the Muslim Sufis, it is known as Sultan-ul-Azkar (the king of prayers). Another order of Sufis call it Saut-i-Sarmadi, (the Divine Song). They also call it Kalam-i-qadim (the Ancient Sound), and the Kalma or “Word,” Nida-e-Asmani (the Sound coming down from Heaven). The fourteen Tabaqs (regions) were made by the Kalma – the Word.
Khawaja Hafiz, a great divine, says:
From the turret of the Heaven, a call bids thee Home,
But fallen into the snares thou listeneth not.
No one knows where the Mansion of the Beloved lies,
But sure enough, the chiming of the bells proceeds therefrom.
Take the stop-cock from thy ears, and hear thou
the voice of emancipation coming to thee,
Attach yourself not to the material world,
The elixir of life is showering from above.
The beat of Love while sounding in the Heavens,
Sends blessings to the souls of the devotees.
Jalaluddin Rumi, in his Masnavi, says:
Grow not skeptical, but attune thyself to the Sound
coming down from the Heavens,
Thy soul shall have revelations from afar.
What are these? the glimpses of the Unrevealed;
were I to speak of these sweet melodies,
Even the dead shall rise from their graves.
Rise above the horizon, O brave soul, and hear the Melodious Song
coming from the highest heaven.
Prophet Mohammed said that he heard the “Voice of God” as any other sound.
Shah Niaz, another Muslim devotee, says:
Soul is the Will and the Secret of God. Its meditation is carried on
without the help of tongue and palate. Alas! thou art stuck fast
in the physical bondage and do not hear the Holy Sound of God.
My Beloved is speaking to thee all the while, but woe to thee
for thou heareth not the Voice.
The whole universe is resounding with the Sound, and thou hast only
to open the door of thine ears.
For opening the ears, it is sufficient to stop hearing the outer sounds.
If you do this, you will hear the perpetual and unending Sound. It is infinite
and has no beginning nor end, and on account of that, It is called Anhad
(i.e., without any limits). Without this Word – the Eternal Sound – an expression
of the Infinite, the world could not have come into existence. Hold communion
with the Melodious Sound and lose yourself in it, O wise man. O God! show me
that place from where the Kalma (Sound Principle) proceedeth without Words.
Here are a few extracts taken from the “Hidden Words” of Baha-Ullah, a mystic saint of Persia:
O Son of Love!
Thou art but one step away from the glorious heights above and from
the celestial tree of love. Take thou one pace and with the next advance
into the Immortal Realm and enter the Pavilion of Eternity. Give ear then
to that which hath been revealed by the pen of glory.
O Essence of Negligence!
Myriad of mystic tongues find utterance in one speech, and myriads
of mysteries are revealed in a single melody; yet, alas! there is no ear
to hear nor heart to understand.
O Children of Negligence and Passion!
. . . Open your ears that ye may hearken unto the Word of God,
the help in peril, the Self-Existent.
O Son of Dust!
. . . hearken unto the mystic voice calling from the Realm of the Invisible.
O Son of Being!
Thou art My Lamp and My Light is in thee. . . . I have created thee rich. . . .
and within thee have I placed the essence of My Light.
O Son of Spirit!
. . Alas! How strange and pitiful, for a mere cupful, they have turned away
from the billowing seas of the Most High, and remained far from
the most effulgent horizon.
O Offspring of Dust!
. . . up from thy prison ascend unto the glorious meads above, and from
thy mortal cage wing thy flight unto the paradise of the Placeless.
O Son of spirit!
Burst thy cage asunder, and even as the phoenix of love soar into the firmament
of holiness. Renounce thyself and, filled with the spirit of mercy, abide in
the realm of celestial sanctity.
O Son of Man!
Ascend into My heaven, that thou mayest obtain the joy of reunion,
and from the chalice of imperishable glory quaff the peerless wine.
O My Servant!
. . . This is the river of everlasting life that hath flowed from the well-spring
of the pen of the merciful; well is it with them that drink!
O Son of Passion!
Cleanse thyself from the defilement of riches and in perfect peace
advance into the realm of poverty; that from the well-spring of detachment
thou mayest quaff the wine of immortal life.
O Son of my Handmaid!
Quaff from the tongue of the merciful the stream of divine mystery . . .
THE TEACHINGS OF THE MASTERS
Without the Word, Sound or Eternal Song, the soul sees not.
Where could she go? As she cannot fathom the mystery of “Word”
she is wandering from place to place.
Mind hankereth after evil; through the Word the Master restraineth it.
GURU TEG BAHADUR
Through the medium of the Word, soul doth cross the endless ocean of matter.
Lowly Nanak, therefore, glorifies His Naam (the Word). 99
The Word is both earth and ether. These had their being through the Word.
This Word expressed Itself in other aspects as well. The whole creation sprang up
after the Word. O Nanak, the endless Word is reverberating in each heart. 100
The all-pervading Word has attracted all my mind. What else have I to think of?
Communion of the soul with the Word creates everlasting Bliss. At-one-ment with
the Lord procures the Essence of Joy and Peace. 101
I am emancipated. The God-man has unfettered me. Through the communion
of soul with the Word, I have gained the resplendent seat of honor. O Nanak!
the All-pervading Naam or the Word dwelleth in the hearts of all. The company
of the Gurumukhs procures communion with it. 102
Far off, on the other shore, is my Beloved. The God- man’s Word alone carries
the soul across. In the company of the saints, man is in bliss and never repents. 103
How can the ignorant get to the principle of union of soul with the Word?
Without communion with the Word, soul comes and goes. O Nanak! the
Gurumukh who is himself emancipated, is met by the merciful Writ of the Lord.104
The creation and the ultimate dissolution of the universe is caused through
the Word. Again, through the Word, it takes its existence anew. 105
GURU AMAR DAS
By good luck, the Lord Consort has become ours. The Endless Song (the Word),
resounding everywhere, gives a clue to His Court. 106
The Word made all the earthly and heavenly systems. 107
He is the true saint, who talks about the secret of the Divine Word (Eternal Sound).
Having scrutinized the Unknowable and the Unthinkable, He has realized
the Bani (the Eternal Sound).
Word is the lock and Word is the key thereto,
With the chains of the Word, all are bound.
The Lord resideth in the form of the Word,
I bow my head at His Feet.
Ever since I heard the Limitless Divine Song (Anhad) reverberating throughout,
The indriyas (organs) have become tired of going out,
And the mind has shed all its ramifications,
All desires have been satisfied; like a madman, I have lost myself
in the Word, and obtained complete oneness with It.
The Sound of the Word is the prime cause of all. It is also the be-all
and the end-all. The three regions and the fourth were made by It.
The Word and the Spirit are of the same origin and both spring from
the essence of the Nameless One. It is both the cause and the effect,
and all were created by It. The Word is the preceptor as well as the disciple
and is resounding in the heart of everyone. The Word is water and
It is the fish also. Kabir speaks only of this Word. Nanak and Tulsi
proclaimed the same Truth. The king and the minister, both are
Word personified. Radha Swami (the Lord of the Spirit) says:
My brave son, listen to It.
SWAMI SHIVDAYAL SINGH