The Old Religions, the New Scientism, and the Awakening of the Psyche

Volume 5, Number 4, 1985
The Old Religions, the New Scientism,
and the Awakening of the Psyche

“You may hear me criticize all kinds of religious and psychic and mystical approaches to the Divine Reality, but I will not deny what is useful in them.”

Adi Da Samraj

 

ADI DA SAMRAJ: The most ancient consciousness of human beings is the etheric consciousness. Thus, the ancient religions are all forms of connection to the etheric dimension of existence, which is emotional in nature. You are already connected to it via your emotional-sexual functions, through which you experience the functional energy of the etheric dimension. Furthermore, the elemental body is connected to an etheric energy body that is its life. Thus, you participate at all times in the etheric dimension of existence, but because it is more subtle than the physical world, you tend not to be completely conscious and responsible for it. In the most ancient times, however, and in the earliest stratum of our consciousness, the earliest stratum of human culture, there existed a great culture of the etheric being.

The religion of the etheric being still survives in many parts of the world, even in a certain primitive level of every individual’s consciousness. It is the tribal religion. Wherever remote tribes of people are discovered who are isolated from conventional civiliza-tion, we find them involved in the religion of right relationship to the etheric dimension of existence. That same primitive consciousness makes us aware in ourselves that the gross physical body thrives upon, depends upon, and is lived by an energy body, or the etheric dimension of existence, and that the material or gross elemental realm in which we live is pervaded by this energy.

When people begin to become a little psychic, they begin to experience intuitions and even perceptions of the realm of energy in which this elemental realm is floating. Thus, for instance, psychics are able to see the dead and fairies and other etheric spirits associated with the elemental realm. These beings do not appear in elemental form, but they exist on the “other side” of the elemental realm and monitor the play of the elements. In fact, they are the lower powrs of Nature, the powers behind the elemental form. These energies are not visible in themselves, but they pervade and control the elemental world. Thus, the lowest stratum of our consciousness, the earliest level of human culture and awakening, is the awakening to the etheric dimension, which is the next most subtle or next highest level of existence from this gross elemental world in which we are bodily present.

The principle of etheric religion, then, is the connection with the etheric world. By the practice ofetheric religion, people sought to loosen their consciousness temporarily from the rigidity of the fleshy life through magical exercises, rituals, and tribal activities of all kinds. We do not have to go to the Amaion or deep into the heart of Africa to find people involved in the old etheric religion. Everybody is involved in it to one or another degree. The lowest level of our own consciousness operates in the etheric way. Everybody has his little superstitions, his little ritual activities. You may say, ‘~Oh, there are no such things as ghosts,” but there is still a primitive, etheric level of your own consciousness, and you always accommodate it in one way or another. Under the circumstances of danger, stress, and other kinds of intense emotional experience, you tend to lapse into your etheric religion, your rituals of subconscious activity. Your dreams are part of that religion. And your primitive emotional awareness, your life of fear and sorrow and anger, is essentially a life associated with etheric or emotional energy.

In the ancient etheric religions, however, one of the primary means of connecting with the etheric realm is to commune with the personalities of the dead. The members of etheric cultures were always very careful to maintain good relations with the dead, each honoring his immediate ancestors, the dead personalities of his own bloodline. The tribal dead, the significant chiefs and witch doctors, likewise were placated in order that the tribe survive and prosper. Just as the ancestors would be remembered quite frequently in ritual ways, etheric powers and personalities apart from the dead were also remembered, etheric personalities who never have been born but who exist only in etheric form.

Each etheric religion, then, was a complex religion of deities, of dead personalities, of nature spirits and influential powers of all kinds. Each of these influences possessed a persona, a unique quality, an individuality, and each was identified with the symbols of its personality figurines, totems, amulets, talismans, and fetishes. Putting attention on these objects in the appropriate manner enabled the practitioner to commune with the etheric powers. Such fetishistic means of establishing a right relationship to the etheric powers through ritual activity is the basis of etheric religion, and there were always some individuals, the shamans or witch doctors or seers of the tribe, who had a gift for entering into communion with the etheric world. Members of the tribe approached these people, always respectfully, to ask for special help. Thus, we see the origin of the holy man, and even of the Spiritual Master, as a cultural archetype.

The etheric realm is senior to the elemental, just as our own emotional or energy body is senior to the fleshy body. The breath and its energy control the physical, pervade it, and give it Life. But the etheric realm is itself pervaded and transcended by higher dimensions of existence. The dimension of etheric energy is a fairly low level of manifestation. It is transcended by the astral dimensions of mind and the still subtler causal, or “seed,” dimensions of consciousness. The etheric dimension is simply the Instrument for managing the elemental dimension, but it is itself controlled, created by, and dependent upon the astral. Thus, at a certain point in what are called ancient times, though it is a relatively recent moment in terms of the great span of human time, another culture began to appear in the human world: the culture, or the several cultures, of the astral reality, the reality of the higher mind, which pervades, monitors, and controls the etheric as well as the elemental.

In India, for instance, the Aryan culture appeared and began to replace the older, primitive, etheric levels of culture. At the same time great religions appeared all over the East and the Middle East. The religions that are dominant in the world today are the remnant of these great astral religions: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, much of Buddhism, and many of the higher forms of Hinduism. These religions seek to turn the attention and consciousness of human beings beyond the elemental and beyond the etheric into the astral dimension, which is higher than the elemental-etheric world, or the gross realm of energy and of solid form. Thus, some 2500 to 3000 years ago, there was a movement toward astral religion and the development of a form of culture based on the intuition of this dimension that transcends, pervades, and controls the etheric and elemental realms of experience.

We can see the meeting of the etheric culture and the astral culture in the Old Testament, in the struggle out of which appeared the religion of Yahweh. Moses and the prophets constantly struggled with the people of Israel, who represented the ancient tribal culture, a people more or less associated with the magic of etheric religions. The Old Testament seems to teach that one should not worship idols, objects made of gold and holy images and the like. The worship of idols, however, was not the objection of the Hebrew prophets. They objected, rather, to dependence on etheric powers. The tribes of Israel did not worship the golden idols themselves. They used these images to connect with the powers in Nature, the chthonic deities, the ancestors and the spirits. They were using these objects as fetishes, as instruments of connection.

Thus, the prophets of Israel argued against the religion of the etheric world, the religion of appeal to or dependence upon the etheric world. Nevertheless, they did not deny the existence of the etheric world. They asserted that that world is simply an instrument of a higher power. They argued that Yahweh, or the astral deity, the deity of light above the gross world, has power ovei all of Earth, power over the etheric realm, power over the spirits power over the dead. Yahweh gives Life to everyone anc everything. Therefore, they claimed, you should appeal to thi~ deity. And if you do, then you will obtain the blessings of this life The etheric realm suddenly comes to your aid then, because th~ etheric realm bows to the astral deity. In the Old Testament Mose tussles with magicians, individuals who were part of the etheri culture and who had magical control over the powers of th ancestors and the nature spirits. Moses showed that he too hae power over those same influences, but he obtained his power W appealing to the astral deity. He showed that his god was mon powerful than the etheric gods.

When Moses came down from the mountain to find the tribe of Israel worshipping the golden calf, he was furious, although he was not for one minute under the illusion that they were worshipping the golden image itself. They were practicing the old religion that is what he objected to. They were involved in orgiastic activities and other techniques that belonged to the old, etheric religion, but they were not just having a party. These practices of the old way were associated with the etheric or emotional realm, and thus also with the sexual realm. Orgiastic sexual activity is always associated with these forms of ritual worship, and many other practices that look strange from the clean, astral point of view of the Ten Commandments and the new religion that was emerging. Through these activities, the tribes were giving themselves up to the etheric forces in order to bring power into their lives. They were making their peace with the energies that control the world.

Moses had a new vision of the astral god, Yahweh, who was the Power superior to those etheric powers. Appealing to the new, astral deity required a different kind of activity. One had to adapt to a different way of action, a life that was moral in the sense communicated in the Ten Commandments. Those who adopted the new religion were required to abandon the religion of the etheric powers. Through submission to the astral deity, they could receive the same benefits, because the astral deity is the god superior to the etheric powers, but to commune with the astral deity required a different way of life, a moral and lawful rather than orgiastic and magical disposition.

The new Hebrew religion communicated a psychic practice higher than that engaged in the etheric cultures. It was not merely adherence to a mental ideal about religious life, or a few behavioral or moral demands, but direct communion with the superior god. Thus, a new kind of priest appeared who did not appeal to the etheric powers, but he appealed directly to the astral deity, the higher psychic deity, Yahweh. There were prophets and priests, or great individuals, in that culture, just as there were shamans, or more psychic individuals, in the etheric culture. There were people like Moses, who could apparently enter into more or less direct psychic communion with Yahweh and receive visions and pro-phetic inspirations. These individuals had special prominence in the culture, since more ordinary people made their connection with Yahweh through the conventional forms of religious activity, which were likewise direct appeals to the higher deity rather than to the etheric powers.

In India, we see this same influence appearing in, though not altogether characterizing, the higher developments of Hinduism and the Upanishadic religion. But the ultimate result of the emergence of the astral religions all over the world was the combining of the two religions, the etheric and the astral, to produce an odd, complex kind of religion. Thus, in Mexico, for instance, Catholicism combined with the local Indian religion, both religious practices remaining intact in some form. Only great saints manifest the astral religion in its purity in any culture. In this cultural theatre of astral and etheric religion, the priests of the culture argue the astral point of view to the common people, who tend to be associated with the lower desires, the emotional and etheric life, however conscious they may be of their association with etheric powers.

A third level of cultural influence is generated by individuals who have passed through the mysticism of astral religion, beyond the Creator Deity of the astral dimension, into the Transcendental Dimension. These are the great sages who fulfill their sainthood to the degree of perfection and pass beyond the play of mind, the play of astral reality. A strain of instruction or culture appears as a reflection of the lives of these people and as an aspect of the higher religious teachings of the world. We see it in the form of Advaita Vedanta and aspects of Buddhism. This transcendental, or actually causal, culture is never very popular, because the mass of humanity is still struggling with the lower levels of vital life and the passage from the etheric dimension into astral consciousness. They are still struggling with vital and etheric purification, still struggling to raise their level of vision. Thus, people do not commonly hear about or respond to the higher philosophical teaching of transcendental and inward Self-Realization.

The sages tend to be exclusive in their consideration. They seek a reality that is exclusive, transcendental, and absolute, and that has no extensions in life or mind or world. They have passed beyond the elemental and the etheric into all the realms of mind, and they have gone beyond even the higher dimensions of the astral into the Realization of the very Consciousness of which everything is a modification and from the point of view of which nothing is necessary. They abide in that Consciousness exclusively. Thus, it is the sages who introduce the method that is asceticism to the realm of religion.

The techniques of asceticism were not at all a part of the old etheric religions. Those religions were based entirely in the psycho-physical realities of the gross world and were not inclined to abandon them. The practitioners in the etheric religions might engage in fasting or techniques of self-deprivation temporarily in order to attain a subtler state of mind, but the purpose of such practice was to achieve magical influence or to make magical contact with the etheric realm. Through right connection with the etheric powers, personalities, and energies, the primitive ancients sought to survive, to prosper, to gain power over their enemies, to overcome the “evil eye,” and to circumvent the natural disasters of the world.

The astral religions, however, tend toward asceticism and the transcendence of this gross etheric and elemental realm altogether. Thus, it is in the astral religions that we see the exploitation of asceticism and higher, mystical activity for the purpose of transcending the world. Astral religions do not in fact require the abandonment of this world but rather the gradual transcendence of this world in mystical vision and contemplation. They do not require a life that is absolutely ascetic, but rather a life that is self-controlled. The sages, however, those who are involved in the intuition of the transcendental Reality, see no necessity to any dimension of experience, astral or etheric or elemental. They therefore recommend that the attention be given up to the Reality that transcends everything and that is sufficient in itself. Thus, the technique of radical asceticism, or of the denial of the world, appears through their influence.

The trouble with so-called civilized human beings is that they pay lip service to the abstract ideals of astral religions, but they have lost the sense that the etheric dimension actually exists. When the astral religions began to appear, they were not in any sense based on a notion that there is no such thing as the etheric world of powers and spirits and discarnate entities. The astral religions fully acknowledged that these things existed. They simply communi-cated that there is a higher Power, a higher dimension of experience, a higher dimension of Consciousness, and that one’s highest benefit is in association with this higher Realm of existence, rather than in dependence on the ritualisms of the worship of etheric energies and powers, ancestors, chthonic deities, deities of Nature, and spirits. Contemporary society, however, is based upon a very mechanical orientation toward the elemental life through a closed, verbal mind that is essentially bereft of intuitive or psychic capacity. This society in general considers that there is no such thing as the etheric realm or the astral realm or anything whatsoever beyond the realm of elemental visibility. Even as individuals prattle on about Jesus and Moses and Mohammed and Gautama, they do not have any sense at all of a higher or subtler dimension. They are not even as sophisticated as the tribal, religious people of old, who at least had a connection to etheric forces that really did affect their lives.

Common people remain common, not very illumined. And, over time, the propagandizing of astral religion has led people to forget that the etheric dimension exists. Not only do they fail to enter into relations with the etheric dimension, they also have not realized the mystical activity that permits the connection to the astral religion. The result is a very low class of humanity, who have no real sense of the nature of the universe, who cannot accept basic truths about the universe, about consciousness, about the psyche. Such individuals have no way of connecting with what is real. They only go to their jobs and watch TV; they have no consciousness at all. At the present time, then, we do not have a higher level of culture. We have instead a non-culture, dead humanity.

This cultural emptiness is complicated and made ominous by constant propagandizing against the awakening of the psyche. The psyche is kept asleep by our mechanistic scientism and religious movements that are bereft of Divine life and even of etheric energy and astral vision. No psyche remains in them. They do not permit the flowering of the psyche, the awakening of the consciousness. Dreams are anathema; mysticism is anathema. Enjoying ecstatic states is anathematized by our hard-edged, materialistic thinking. Even the old religions, having become full of doubt because they have lost their connections with the realms of psyche and power, are themselves influenced by the pervasive scientific and material-istic thinking that does not sense the etheric level of reality, not to mention the astral dimension or the transcendental Consciousness.

Many people claim to be religious and to be profoundly committed to traditions that belong to a higher view of human culture, but very few people have a sense of the powers behind the world, or an experiential understanding of the psyche, or a moral grasp of what it truly means to be religious, or a heartfelt commitment to how one must live in order to realize a truly religious life and destiny. True religion is to enter ecstatically into the Domain of Radiant Existence that is beyond the limited personal self, or ego, or body-mind. It is to engage in higher intuitive, mystical, moral, and emotional processes that lead into and then beyond the realms of the psyche and even all the realms beyond material visibility. It is a way of making positively creative changes even in one s ‘material” or physical life, as well as passing consciously beyond this gross physical life into another destiny, even while alive, and also at death. However, very few people have any understanding of this process, or even any hope that such a process may actually exist.

It is only later in time, in the recent centuries of objectively glamorous “civilization,” that people have lost or begun to deny their psychic connection to the universe. And it is only in such exclusively materialistic or world-conquering civilizations that religion has become nothing more than a collection of behavioral precepts for downtown life, for how to manage your business, how to be completely fulfilled as a “person,” and so forth. But true religion is not based on the emotionally dissociated superficialities of conventional worldliness. True religion is based on the psychic connection to Reality. There can be no true religion without profound psychic activity. True religion expresses the inherent disposition and motive of the psyche, or the intuitive, feeling core of Man. The contemporary religion of civilized popular societies has little or no psyche remalning from its psychic, feeling origins. The psyche is taboo to science and industry. Only the verbal mind is permitted to priest our destiny with all the automatic nonsense of meaningless, heartless rituals and objective beliefs. Such civilized religion is not based on a sense of the invisible forces with which we each need to enter into right association in order to live well and to be happy, in order not to be undone, bound up, smothered, and destroyed by the elemental movements in Nature. All true religion and spirituality are founded in the Way of the psyche, which contains a secret Pathway that leads beyond the Realm of Nature.

In order to live such a true religious Way of Life, individuals must enter psychically into the play of their experience in the material or objective universe. We must move beyond the self-bound stupidity of the verbal mind, which has no sympathy, no heart, no feeling, no psyche. We must move beyond the unhappy and degenerative stupidities of the mere bodily exploitation we inevitably engage when we are frozen in this mind without a psyche. The usual man in our time is limited only to verbal thinking and exploitation of his physical experience. Everything else is taboo, or else confounded by complications. The usual man cannot go beyond the hard-edged appearance of the physical body and the apparent objectivity of physical experience, because he is not permitted his own deep psyche. The psyche is the deep disposition of union with That which is Radiant and Alive. Only the unitary and self-transcending disposition of the psyche, rather than the separative and self-defining disposition of the conventional mind, can provide the foundation for true religion and a true humanity.

What is precisely and devastatingly wrong with the universal scientism of modem society and all the forms of mass politics that are derived from that scientism is that the modem scientific and political world-view does not permit the human being his psyche and the Way of the psyche. Scientism (or the disposition of scientific materialism) constantly obliges the individual to stand face to face with mere elemental experience and to deny all reality and hierarchical supremacy to higher and subtler dimensions, which in ancient times were commonly recognized to be the fundamental resource of human individuals and societies. Scientism denies our true connection to the energies and creative sources of the world. We are denied true religion by the mind of scientism and all of the social and political agencies of popular scientific or material culture.

Scientism is simply an analytical activity of the verbal mind. It is oriented toward the investigation of elemental phenomena without the “limiting interference” of psychic participation. Even when scientists consider phenomena that are not merely elemental, but that belong to the ambiguous realm of energies and the human psyche, they do not study these things through the psyche. They study them objectively, as if these invisibles were butterflies under a pin. But in order to investigate the higher phenomena of light-energy (or the hierarchy of processes in which “matter” is arising) one must ultimately enter into consideration of them through the medium of the psyche itself, through feeling, through intuition, through surrender to energy, through all the aspects of the mind and heart that precede and transcend the verbal consciousness.

The currently popular presumptions about the world do not permit us to recognize and acknowledge the invisible and psychically perceptible dimensions of existence. We are encouraged to watch TV and go to work and walt for science to save everyone. But science can never save anyone. Science is not a method of salvation. Salvation depends upon the awakening of the psyche of the human individual. There is no salvation (no fulfillment of Man) apart from psychic awakening. Science, however, is not a psychic activity or adventure. Therefore, it does not serve or awaken the psyche or the psychic Path of the individual. Science is nothing more than a useful method for the investigation and mechanical exploitation of aspects of the extemalized or apparently objective and material universe. Such an enterprise can, if rightly used, produce useful technologies and benign changes in the environment, but it cannot improve our lot in any fundamental sense, because human beings are fulfilled and liberated only through psychic awakening, and psychic participa-tion in the pattern and ultimate Condition of the universe. We must be awakened psychically, personally, emotionally, and deeply in order to be truly happy and free.

That the materialistic point of view of civilized scientism dominates human beings is a profoundly negative state of affairs, because such an application of science strictly anathematizes the awakening and the activation of the psyche of human beings. The propaganda of popular science is most profoundly about the anathematization and material limitation of the psyche. Whatever benign changes it may bring technologically, scientific materialism represents a trend in philosophy that is opposed to the psychic awakening of human beings. That is what is wrong with it. And as soon as anybody shows an inclination toward psychic life, toward the things of the psychic view of the world, toward mysticism, or toward religion (in the psychic sense, rather than just the downtown illusions of morality and self-fulfillment), he is con-sidered crazy, bizarre, eccentric, an anachronism. And the popular cult of scientists is regularly represented in the press, animating benighted claims that the movement toward psychic experience is nonsense, falsehood, superstition, a sign of reaction to urban pressures, a passing phase in our material leap toward utopia and final collective knowledge.

The historical origin of modern scientism was in the rebellion of the verbal mind against the popular institutions that tyrannized it. Modern science was founded on a philosophical reaction to archaic exoteric religious institutions and other movements in human cultures that prevented the free and independent exercise of mental activity in the investigation of Nature. Scientism appeared as a righteous and, at the time, entirely appropriate, reaction to cultural oppression. Science arose as a revolutionary movement, which sought to permit the free exercise of the verbal mind. That revolutionary cultural reaction was fundamentally right and positive, and a major aspect of science and scientific influence is certainly positive. However, because of the philosophical ex-clusiveness of that original reaction of science, the popular culture of scientific and political materialism now supports a cultural psychology (or psychosis) that wants to exclude the psychic awakening and the psychic Path of our Destiny in and beyond the Realm of Nature. Therefore, such scientism represents a new kind of oppressive exoteric priesthood, a different kind of Church, against which others must now rebel. There must be the free exercise of the verbal mind and of intellectual inquiry, but there must also be the free psychic and Spiritual exercise of human individuality. Human beings must be permitted psychic associa-tion with the Great Universe. If such is denied them, they become crazy and dangerous. And that is exactly what has happened these few hundred years in which the modern and materialistic scientific point of view has gradually become dominant have emptied human culture of its higher psychic associations and aspirations.

Now we are looking toward a future of technological domina-tion, a heartless world, a human world without psyche. It is not only political totalitarianism that is represented in the image of the future of science fiction. It is a human world without human psyche or Transcendental Destiny. It is a universe without a psychic dimension, a merely physical universe rather than a psycho-physical universe. The current state of our so-called culture reflects the same lack. True culture depends on the awakened and heartfelt disposition of the human psyche.

The scientific community must understand and acknowledge that its positive aspect is its orientation toward free intellectual inquiry. The old exoteric religious institutions perpetuated an “understanding” of the physical universe that was characterized by uninterpretable poetic mythologies and all kinds of absolutist cultic nonsense. Fresh and direct inquiry into phenomena needed to be permitted. That aspect of the emergence of scientism was completely positive. The exoteric religious institutions that existed when scientism began to appear were not founded in universal Truth or a broadly communicated esoteric understanding of the “material” universe and the Way of Man. They were (and remain) downtown exoteric institutions, traditional cultic institutions, without great Adepts and without universal Wisdom. In throwing away this half-baked religion, however, we have also thrown away all psychic inquiry into the universe and its ultimate Condition or Destiny. Intellectual inquiry into the objective phenomena of experience certainly has its value, but psychic inquiry into the experiential universe is not only equally essential, it is primary, and it is more fundamental to the individual. Indeed, such psychic inquiry is absolutely essential for human happiness.

The attention of the psyche can move in any number of directions. There are Great Teachings and lesser teachings and false teachings. The dull conventions of downtown religion and the aggressive passion that one acquires in the streets and in the school of the common world are no Great Teaching at all. All of that is the lowest form of human communication, because it denies that the deep psyche is the fundamental nature of Man and that the individual must live by his psyche, not by the things of the world, not by the objects of experience, not by the elemental, fleshy life, and not by thinking alone.

To “sin” is to “miss the mark,” to be without a psyche, or to fail to accept the Way of the psyche, which is to be surrendered into the etemally all-pervading Life-Principle and to be identified with the Radiant Transcendental Being wherein all experience and the total Realm of Nature are arising. To “sin” is to fail to accept the Law of sacrifice, or self-transcending love. It is to be enamored of things themselves, to have lost the psychic and feeling connection to Reality, and to be turned in on yourself without free consciousness. To be awakened from sin is to “meet the mark,” to be awakened in your psyche, in your heart. Man must live by his psyche, his unqualified feeling nature. He must enter psychically into relation-ship with the powers of the world, into relationship with the ultimate Power, the absolute God of the world. If he does not, he is deluded and seems to be destroyed.

The function of the Adept, or Spiritual Master, is to restore this understanding, this awareness, to reveal the true significance of all experience. The Adept Spiritual Master does not represent the glorification of any single convention of human experience. He is Awake in the midst of all experience, all the psycho-physical phenomena of human life. Therefore, such an Adept can establish (or reestablish) a culture based on the perfect Realization of Truth, in which all aspects of the structure of human experience are rightly understood. Man must realize a right sympathy with the etheric life of energy, feeling, and life-force; Man must also ascend through and beyond the etheric life in his astral, or mystical, higher mental, and intuitive structures of consciousness; and he must also evolve beyond the subtle inward dimension into the Transcen-dental Realization of Reality. We cannot even exclude bodily life in our Realization of the Absolute; we must become a sacrifice, even bodily, into the Absolute Being and Radiant Living Truth. Our action and adaptation while alive must represent a right relationship to that Absolute Reality, and, through that relation-ship, to all of the manifestations of the Universe and of Man that proceed from that Absolute. All things work together for the good of individuals who remain in right association with the Absolute Reality or Living God. They are awakened, they see through the limits of their experience, and they transcend the phenomena that bind and contain them.

The Adept Spiritual Master communicates the entire Way of the psyche, the Way of Life in Truth, and the right disposition toward all of the phenomena of experience. Therefore, he must criticize all of the forms of exclusive acculturation, all of the less than absolute religions and persuasions. You may hear me criticize all kinds of religious and psychic and mystical approaches to the Divine Reality, but I will not deny what is useful in them. I criticize the exclusiveness in every point of view and the limitation of experience and understanding that is evident in each kind of approach. Just so, I also constantly criticize the social and cultural conventions of ordinary worldly life, not because people enjoy themselves, true enjoyment is necessary and positive, but because there is no psyche in the dull and repetitive enjoyments of the usual man. There is no heart, no Truth, no Life in the popular design of our subhumanity.

The whole world is obsessed with the anathematization of the psyche, and to the degree that people become involved in the deep psychic life at all, they are involved in some little compartment of it, some creepy, petty, fascinated aspect of it that is not God-Realizing. I communicate the disposition of the heart in absolute terms, the Way of Life that involves the psychic or heartfelt relationship to everything. I communicate the Way of sacrifice, via the heart, or the psyche, to the Radiant Absolute Living Reality. In the process of this Way, through your awakening to the psyche, you will likely become fully aware of uncommon phenomena that are not discussed on television or admitted by the intellectual elite who presume to determine what we may know and not know. You are inherently and perfectly free to experience everything from ghosts and spirit forces to the most sublime visions and absorp-tions in the Great Light that shines above Nature and the body-mind. And you are also inherently obliged to transcend all experience through heartfelt understanding and the feeling sacn-flee of the whole body-mind into the All-Pervading and Radiant Transcendental Consciousness that is the Seat of the world.

Just as scientific inquiry must be free, so also must psychic or religious inquiry be free of all kinds of nonsense and suppression. As it exists in the common world today, religion is largely comprised of accretions of nonsense, the archaic ideas and presumptions of very ordinary people. True religion can only be founded on the direct communication of Realized individuals, or Adepts, whose voices must be heard and honored in the world. People must begin to engage in truly religious forms of activity, a truly religious Way of Life. Likewise, science, or free intellectual inquiry, must also be permitted its freedom, its special function in the world. Nevertheless, the motive of science and its social influence in general must be purified of anti-psychic dogmatism. If the voice of science is not thus purified, it will more and more represent an evil influence in the world, an influence that seeks to dominate, suppress, and destroy the psychic potential and the psychic need of Man.

MASTER DA FREE JOHN: What if you suddenly lost the ability to concep-tualize? What if you suddenly lost the ability to have verbal thoughts? What if, right now, you suddenly lost the ability to have any ideas? What is left of the Teaching for you to practice under those conditions? Not having ideas and becoming a vegetable is one thing, but what if not having ideas is simply your characteristic, and you must still practice spiritual life? What if it is functionally characteristic of you that you do not expect to have ideas any more than you expect your parakeet to have ideas? On the other hand, you must fulfill the Law as a human being, not a parakeet. You must engage spiritual practice. If the consideration suddenly came to an end, what would your practice be?

 

DEVOTEE: Ecstasy!

 

MASTER DA FREE JOHN: Not neces-sarily. Some of you might become very uptight. What if suddenly you could not think? Did you ever have the experience of being unable to form a thought? It scared you, right?

 

DEVOTEES: Yes!

 

MASTER DA FREE JOHN: If the head is chopped off, you will still have an instant of bodily life. Do you imagine you will fall off with your head, rather than lie a moment as the Heart?2t When the head is chopped off, which part will live? In that fraction of time, you go either with the head, or with the trunk. If the head is lopped off in the guillotine, in that fraction of time before the energy body~2 realizes another state al-together, do you go with the head or the trunk?

In our ordinary waking state, we have the feeling of beingassociated with the head. The idea of someone being beheaded is fascinating to us, like a puzzle, because of our association with the head in daily life. We have done a dangerous thing by going off to the head here. [Laughter.] We have wandered out from the Heart. In this maze of associations, we appear to pilot ourselves from the head, and we are anxious. The idea of being beheaded is an archetype, a physical expression of the implications of our con-ventional state. If we were established in the Heart, we would not even think about being beheaded. But we are mystics and thinkers, attached to the position of the head.

God-Realization is a matter of Radiance, not inwardness. There is a big difference. What does the yogi look like in his inwardness? He is not radiant in general, unless something unusual is going on. You must Realize that everything is arising in Consciousness, and therefore simply enter into that Consciousness. What else would you do?

Ultimately, therefore, you cease to take seriously all mystical visions, the central nervous system, or the body-mind. You see what you are involved in. Much of it is just your own nervous system. The rest of it is your own mind. It is all founded on a little tension in Consciousness that makes it impossible for you to consistently enter into the very Condition in which you exist, in which thoughts, the body, and all phe-nomena are arising. It is simply Con-sciousness.

Mind and body are simply a modification, an imposition on Consciousness. This is your mind sitting here before me. It is your mind, your self, your ego, as plain as the nose on your face literally! You are completely seen. You are completely visible to me. I know your state exactly. It is very easy to consider you. You are so obvious. I need not go too deep. Just sitting there on the floor, it is obvious what you are. To me you seem nothing but a modification of my Consciousness. When I say “my,” I don’t refer to any independent owner or sense of ownership of that phenomenon.

DEVOTEE: As you see us, we see you as the Divine Person.

MASTER DA FREE JOHN: What? You say, “I am seeing a man alive whose head has literally been severed from his body!” [Master Da chuckles.] Why do you think I talk about the Heart all the time’? I have been beheaded! You remember in The Knee of Listening23 I mentioned the severing of the sahasrar.24 My head was simply lopped off, my central nervous system was plucked out, like the skeleton of a fish. You see me standing before you, but I have no central nervous system. The conventional sense of identity is in some way inoperable in me. It does not have the force it has in your case. It is very much like having been beheaded. Just as you have the sense of being in your head there, I have the sense of being in my heart here. [Master Da laughs.] It is as if I were beheaded.

I am the headless horseman. If you put me on the Dawn Horse,25 I will hold my hat in the air because there is nothing above my collar but the evening. [Laughter.] It’s no trick to be Conscious as the Heart if you are already without a head. I have noticed that my head has been severed and everything goes on. You have not noticed this. You are afraid that if your head is severed, you as the head will go falling off. Your body will disappear in the distance like a caboose! You know what that means. You have the subtle feeling that that means death. To identify with the mind is to be that which depends on something else. Then you can feel the possibility of being snuffed out.

This human life in itself is terrible. It’s terrible! You are going to die. You must give up the occupation of this body-mind first, in order to practice Ecstasy. You should be as free of this embodiment as you are of all past ones exactly as free. It should be in the back of your mind just like the rest of them, never even perceived, not even of that mtnd. Don’t you think so?

21. The Heart is the Infinite and Radiant Consciousness Ihat is the very Nature and Condition of all beings and things. Although intuited at the right side of the physical heart, the Heart is not inside body and mind, nor located in any place in relation to hody and mind. The hody and mind arise within this All-Pervading Condition, and they ace modifications of It.

 

22. Master Da Free John has described the ‘energy body or etheric body” as the field of energy, magnetism, and space that surrounds and permeates the physical body and serves as a conduit for the forces of universal light and energy to the physical body. In practical terms, the etheric aspect of the being is our emotional-sexual, feeling nature.

 

23. First published in 1972. The Knee of Listening. The For/c t4fi and Radical Spiritual Tea, hing.s of Da Free John is Master Da Free John’s account of his Illumined birth, his years of preparation, testing, and transformation, and his ultimate Re-Awakening as Divine Being.

 

24. The sahasrar is the highest “chakra” or center of Life-Energy, the terminal goal of the conventional yogi. It is associated with the crown of the head, the upper brain and

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higher mind. For a description of the severing of the sahasrar” of Master Os Free John. see The Knee of listening. pp. 117-18.

 

25. In a dream vision Master i)a Free loho visited the Ashram of a Siddha or Adept on a high subtle plane. The Siddha was instructing his disciples in the yogic technique of manifesting objects spontaneously. After he had initiated the process of manifestation, his disciples stood quietly fora time and then left, satisfied that the process was completed, even though no manifestation had apppeared. Master Da Free John remained behind with the Siddha for a time. when gradually a small horse appeared, the Dawn Horse’ of spiritual Awakening and the fruit of the silent considera-tion of the Siddha. Master Da Free John has often pointed to this vision as the archetype of his own [caching work. From his point of view, that of the Adept, his Teaching work is complete, though its fulfillment is still to come.

 

26. Os Free John, God t.s Not a Gentleman and tAut That One, pp. 20-28.