Chapter 6 – The Sacrifice of Man
The Essence of Devotional Practice – DEVOTIONAL PRACTICE: BODILY WORSHIP OF THE LIVING DIVINE – Surrender Your Heart – The Way of Divine Ignorance Is True Religion, or the Sacrifice of Self in God – The Four Kinds of Practice – The Rationale of Practice in the Way of Divine Ignorance – The Practical Exercise of Love-Communion – Self-Possession and Divine Communion – The Realization of God through Transcendence of Experience – Spiritual Practice Is the “Conscious Exercise” of Love – True Prayer and Religious Magic – Interior Prayer and Bodily Prayer: The Foundation Stage of Practice in the Way of Divine Ignorance – The Way of Divine Ignorance and Devotion to the Name and Form of God
The Essence of
A free rendering of the Bhagavata Purana, book eleven, chapter twelve, verses one and two, and twenty-two through twenty-four, by Bubba Free John
The True Heart of the World said: Mystical practices, understanding of the components of experience, responsible self-control, study and recitation of the written Teaching, acts of self-purification and self-denial, ritual sacrifices, charitable and heartfelt service of others, the offering of gifts of money and other goods to the Church, fasting, devotional practices, spending of time in the Holy Places or Sanctuaries, and every other kind of truly human responsibility are necessary, right, good, and appropriate for those who Love Me and who always Commune with Me. But none of these things is as effective, useful, and auspicious in this Way of Communion with Me as surrender to My Living Form. Such is done through loving spiritual association with My Agent in the World, Who has Realized Me most perfectly and finally. The Company of such a One, as well as the general Company of all others who submit to that One, is the essential Means whereby all attachments to experience are dissolved by the Radiant Power of the true Self.
Those who truly “hear” My Teaching surrender themselves to Me in the Form of My Agent, Who has Realized Me. In this manner, those who Love Me confess and demonstrate that I Manifest Myself in Living Forms, through the Instruments of Nature.
Therefore, “see” this Truth in the Form of the Spiritual Master. Surrender to Him and serve Him as My Form. By Grace of the Power of Enlightenment that Radiates in that Company, you will sever all association with experience via the mind, the independent subtle or astral personality that migrates from body to body in the experiential Realm of Changes.
This is finally accomplished at the heart, the root of all coverings of the soul. When at last the true Self is Realized, there is nothing more to do. Then the devotee, the Spiritual Master, and the Radiant Heart are made One, through Perfect Realization of self-transcending Sacrifice in Me.
DEVOTIONAL PRACTICE: BODILY WORSHIP OF THE LIVING DIVINE
It is not true that the more intellectual person is natively inclined to a path of ` Jnana Yoga, ” or insightful discrimination, whereas the more emotional person is natively disposed to practice “Bhakti Yoga, ” the conventional path of devotion to a chosen deity or Master. In most cases, such inclinations reflect the preferences of self-indulgent people who have not yet matured beyond the first three stages of life.
Everyone must become a devotee. This is the Law. Everyone must win the heart of an Adept Powerful in God. Everyone must fully Awaken and become a whole body Sacrifice through the love of the Divine Person in the form of the Spiritual Master. Within the context of true practice of devotion to God, our temperaments change as we mature. In time, more discriminative conscious practices become necessary for our further adaptation and transcendence. But we remain devotees forever.Religious and spiritual devotion is the most excellent of human qualities. It is coincident with Freedom, Enlightened intelligence, and the Transcendental Bliss that exceeds all pleasures. The true devotee is the ultimate Scientist: He founds his every action in the heartfelt and bodily understanding that relationship is our very Condition, and that sacrifice is the Law.
Surrender Your Heart
Those who have not yet heard the Teaching of Truth must listen to it, and surrender their hearts.
Those who have heard the Teaching of Truth must practice it, and surrender their hearts.
Those who practice the Teaching of Truth must do so until death, and surrender their hearts.
The Way of Divine Ignorance Is True Religion, or the Sacrifice of Self in God
The Way of Divine Ignorance involves worship of the Divine in Spirit and in Truth.” It is total and radical worship, or most profound sacrifice of self, granted to the transcendental Reality, or Life, that is the Condition and Consciousness of all that is alive and appearing. Worship is sacrifice. Worship in “Truth” is sacrifice of mind, or all knowledge, into the intuition of Divine Ignorance. The sacrifice of self-possessed knowledge ultimately becomes selfless Wisdom. Worship in “Spirit” is sacrifice of bodily existence into the All Pervading Divine Radiance. The sacrifice of bodily or formal in dependence of self ultimately becomes selfless Divine Existence. Worship in “Spirit” and in “Truth” is sacrifice of all that is oneself and that one possesses, or by which one is possessed. It is not sacrifice of what is less or other than oneself, or that is only symbolic of oneself, or that is less than the totality of what one possesses. It is the sacrifice of Man in God. And such worship or sacrifice is true religion, or religio-spiritual participation in Life.
The Way of Sacrifice in God, or Eternal Life, is a matter of growth in responsibility for the awakening and the sacrifice of all the various structures of the body-mind. The first level of such responsibility is expressed through the personal conditions of practice.
The personal conditions of practice involve responsibility for the regenerative management and Divine Sacrifice of the vital functions “below the heart.” Thus, the personal conditions involve regenerative or Life-positive responsibilities relative to diet and health, sexuality, exercise and common activity, work, transformative discipline of the verbal mind through study, and right exercise of the will through service.
The second level of responsibility in this Way is expressed through the central, most fundamental, and whole bodily dimension of the moral conditions of practice. The moral conditions of practice involve responsibility for the regenerative or Life-positive and self-sacrificial devotion of the “heart” itself, or the total and feeling being. Thus, the moral conditions of practice involves., kind of responsibility for the reactive tendencies of the bodymind – or the fundamental, self-defining reflex of contraction into self-possession, negative emotion, relational avoidance, and the subjective orientation. The moral responsibility in practice is expressed through service in the fullest sense of love, or devotion of feeling-attention, via all relations, under all conditions, into the Infinite Divine.
The third level of responsibility for true worship, or sacrifice of self – into ‘Life, is expressed through higher structural, or higher psycho-physical conditions of adaptation. Thus, the higher psycho-physical conditions of practice involve regenerative spiritual, yogic, and transcendental responsibilities, or forms of esoteric meditation and mental transcendence. The regenerative or Life-positive structural development of higher psycho-physical responsibility is a matter of growth into the dimensions of the body-mind “above the heart. “
The Way of Divine Ignorance, or the Life-Positive Way of Sacrifice of the independent body-mind into the Divine, is finally or ultimately summarized in a single, total, and radical responsibility. It is the intuitive Sacrifice of every dimension of our structure below and above and at the heart. It is that Sacrifice that is made from and as the heart in Truth. It is Dissolution and Translation of the body-mind, or separately defined self, into the Paradox and Spirit-Radiance of Divinity.
The Four Kinds of Practice
There are four kinds of discipline or responsibility in the Way of Divine Ignorance: (1) personal, (2) moral, (3) higher psycho physical, and (4) transcendental. All four are founded on the awakened “hearing” of the Teaching of the Spiritual Master, and each represents an aspect of the total Influence of his Company.
The first three kinds of responsibility together represent the structural hierarchy of the functions of the human bodily being. The personal disciplines involve such conditions as work, household living, exercise, diet and general health practices, and sexuality. Thus, such disciplines primarily involve the whole area of the vital physical presentation of the person.
The moral disciplines involve the whole affair of interpersonal or relational life and activity. They oblige the individual to be responsible for emotional reactivity and the “phasing” of feeling between positive relationship and negative self-possession. Therefore, the moral disciplines involve the whole life of service and love, in all relationships, even to the degree of Infinity.
The higher psycho-physical disciplines involve the growth of the individual into conscious responsibility for the human structures above the heart. Thus, they involve the mental, psychic, and higher mental or gnostic aspects of the body-mind. The disciplines include study and various forms of esoteric meditation.
All three of these kinds of discipline and responsibility are both necessary and mutually dependent on the others, as are the parts of the body, and all three must be done consistently and in cooperation with the others.
The fourth kind of discipline or responsibility represents the disposition of the whole and entire bodily being, rather than any independent part or aspect of its structural hierarchy. It is the transcendental or radical kind of responsibility, the expression of awakened intelligence or understanding and of intuition of the Real Condition of all conditions. It takes on the form of the conscious process (such as “bodily prayer and remembrance,” “enquiry,” “re-cognition,” and “radical intuition”) in each of the stages of practice.
This transcendental responsibility for whole body or whole self discipline pervades and masters all three of the hierarchical disciplines. And it is that responsibility whereby all the other disciplines are first unified, as one body or person, and then sacrificed-into the Condition which transcends all temporary and independent sub-intensities of the Divine Reality.
The Rationale of Practice in the Way of Divine Ignorance
The subjective, astral, mental, or psychic dimension of the psycho-physical being is the medium between the soul and the body, or the field of concrete relations. Therefore, the mind is the repository of tendencies, urges, or desires, which produce bodily action. In this sense, the subjective aspect of the bodily being is senior to the objective or bodily aspect. However, the mind, in itself, is nothing more than attention. It becomes tendencies of attention through association, contact, repetition, and reaction in relation to experiential phenomena. Thus, the body, in its various objective relations, is senior to the mind, or the interior, subjective personality, as a source of tendencies.
The body-mind, therefore, is not simply controlled by the mind. The body-mind is a dynamic or two-sided mechanism, in which both aspects cycle through phases of dependence and dominance in relation to one another. This scheme requires a unique form of intelligence or wisdom to appear, or else there is no self-mastery.
The Practice in the Way of Divine Ignorance accounts for the dual or dynamic nature of the body-mind, while it is also founded in the radical point of view of the Free soul. At every stage of the Way, right functional or whole bodily activity is the chosen principle, rather than any or all forms of exclusively subjective or internal and mental self-manipulation. The individual must change his action first, or else the contents of the mind, which are only a reflection of past actions, will not change. At every stage of the Way, the devotee is obliged to accept responsibility for a more and more total functional spectrum of action.
Coincident with responsibility for the whole body, or action (which naturally includes right and responsible exercise of the various mental and psychic faculties), the devotee is also constantly obliged to bypass all casual indulgence of the mind – as random internal urges, desires, thoughts, subtle experiences, and so forth. The random content of the mind is not manipulated or suppressed. Rather, the random content of the mind is simply not indulged. Instead, the root of all mental content, which is simple attention, is constantly entered into the Disposition of Love Communion with the Living God.
As a result of the two principal aspects of Practice – appropriate or responsible whole bodily action and surrender of attention into Divine Communion – the motivating content of the subjective or internal personality is undermined, and it ultimately becomes obsolete. In this manner, the mind, or the subjective being, which migrates and causes the soul to experience birth in the Realm of Change and Death, is Dissolved in the Living God. Therefore, at last, the soul Abides in God, and the body, or the formal association with experience, falls away – since the mind is no longer there to demand experience.
Practice in every stage of the Way of Divine Ignorance is guided by this understanding. The Essential Principle is Awakened through “hearing” and “seeing” the Spiritual Master in Truth. That Principle is the Disposition of the Free soul, or continuous Love-Communion with the All-Pervading Radiant and Transcendental Consciousness that is the God and Self of all. In this Disposition, the mind, or the self-possessed gesture of differentiated attention, is constantly bypassed, undermined, and made obsolete by non-use.
Likewise, every moment of Divine Love-Communion is enacted whole bodily. That is, it is not merely an internal, subjective, or mental-psychic gesture. Rather, it is a matter of responsible, whole bodily or psycho-physical activity. Therefore, in every moment, whatever action or functional condition is natural and appropriate is openly and freely engaged, and it is engaged as a form of conscious Love-Communion with the Living God, the Condition of all conditions.
This is the Ultimate Principle or Logic of Spiritual Practice in the Way of Divine Ignorance.
The Practical Exercise of Love-Communion
At every stage of practice in the Way of Divine Ignorance, various responsibilities become the obligations of the devotee. These responsibilities include forms of personal and moral practice. And they also include forms of devotional and meditative practice, or the higher psycho-physical exercises of Love Communion with the Living God.
The devotional and meditative practices are formally engaged during at least two principal periods of “bodily prayer and meditation” each day. However, these same exercises are intended to be engaged at random throughout the day, so that, in effect, the practice is continuous.
Therefore, at every stage of the Way of Divine Ignorance, devotees constantly apply themselves to appropriate whole bodily action, while yielding even bodily into Love-Communion with the Living God. This Way of Practice expresses the native Disposition of the Free soul, which is constantly Re-Awakened through “hearing” the Teaching and “seeing” the Spiritual Master. Devotees implement this bodily Sacrifice of attention through random as well as regular formal exercise of the devotional and meditative practices that belong to the given responsibilities of each stage in the Way
Self-Possession and Divine Communion
The conditions of experience, high and low, must all be transcended. This is the Law – every thing must be a sacrifice in God. In each moment we are confronted by a Divine Test, in the form of our experience. We may yield all conditions and Commune with God, or we may choose self and relations and things and experiential states, and thus turn out of the Infinite toward passing illusions.
It is not that we must forsake all relations, functions, and conditions of experience. Such only leads toward self-possessed inversion, and possession by the illusions of structural inwardness. Rather, we must transform all relations, functions, and conditions of experience into forms of Communion with the Radiant Consciousness that is the Divine, Present to Man in the World.
If we thus transform all our conditions, we ultimately transcend all our conditions in the Fullness of the Living Divine. The Divine is never known in itself, as an object of our own functional awareness. Rather, the Divine Reality is that Condition with which we may only Commune, through functional and literal self-surrender. And when we Commune with the Divine, we are relieved of self-consciousness and all sense of confinement to conditions of the body-mind. Therefore, to Commune with the Divine is to lose oneself, to be Ecstatic, to be emptied of all knowledge, forms, limits, and conditions.
The usual man or woman recoils from the Mystery of the Infinite by absorption in the reaction of mortal fear. Thus, fear produces self-possession and loss of Communion with the Divine. Such recoil produces psycho-physical adaptation of a reactive kind, and every function, every relationship, every condition of experience, high or low in the structure of the body-mind, becomes a reflection of the primal recoil toward self, away from all relations, and away from Communion with the Living Mystery that is Divine. The self-possessed individual is wound up in self-recoil, and every part demonstrates the reactive drama of relational avoidance, subjective bondage, and bodily dis-ease.
There must be Awakening from this reactive bind of self. That Awakening comes through sudden “hearing” and “seeing” of Truth. The Spiritual Master is Awake, and he, with all devotees in Truth, serves that same Awakening in others. But that Awakening is not only sudden and present. It is the seed of the ongoing Process of Life.
Those who are Awake must be a whole and total and constant and ecstatic Sacrifice into the Divine, or else they are Godless and self-possessed. And those who are self-possessed only acquire suffering, in the form of experience. How can we be such a Sacrifice? Only by Awakening from the entire experiential self, and thus passing into Divine Communion. And we must allow that Awakening to transform the habitual and reactive and self-possessed tendencies of every part of the body-mind, or else Divine Communion itself becomes only a consoling illusion of the separate self.
Devotees in the Way of Divine Ignorance are Awake to self released or ecstatic Communion with the Radiant Divine, via all functions, in all relations, under all conditions. They gradually adapt to the Condition of Fullness of Life, in which the body-mind is priorly free and whole and disposed toward regenerative activity. They do this rather than submit to the conventional state of total psycho-physical tension, or reactive self-possession, in which the body-mind chronically seeks degenerative release of tension. In Divine Communion we breathe the Life of God from the heart, and the body-mind is dissolved at Infinity.
The Realization of God through Transcendence of Experience
Truth or Reality is not uniquely or exclusively within us. The ultimate or Real Condition, in itself, cannot be located within or identified with any human structure or experience. The Reality cannot be known in itself, over against “I,” the knower, the body-mind. But Truth is Realized in the instant of the sacrifice or dissolution of “I,” the bodily or psycho-physical being, the coverings of the Free soul, the illusions that prevent Self Realization and God-Realization.
Truth or Reality is not found as a result as an effect of a cause-of any human action in time and space and mind. But the Real is obvious in every present instant of ecstasy, or dissolution of the contracted point of view and reactive independence of the bodily and mental self.
Therefore, the Way of Truth and the Real is the Way of present, whole, and entire human sacrifice to the degree of Infinity, or absolute Intensity. It is the Way of free feeling-attention, or love-free of the force of all reactivity and all limitation by acquired knowledge or experience. It is the sacrifice of the whole and entire body-mind (the psycho-physical self), epitomized as unobstructed feeling-attention (or love to the degree of Infinity), and consciously performed via the breath and the heartbeat in the play of every moment.
Spiritual Practice Is the “Conscious Exercise” of Love
The key to practice in every stage of the Way of Divine Ignorance is whole bodily Communion with the Divine through unobstructed feeling. Thus, each specific practice must be done as a form of “conscious exercise,” as described in Conscious Exercise and the Transcendental Sun. In that case, the practice itself is made into a form of ecstatic sacrifice into the Divine and Communion with the Divine through feeling-release of the entire body-mind. Every kind of practice must be devoted and performed via profound self-released feeling into the All-Pervading Radiant Life of God. Such is true sacrifice to God, and such sacrifice must characterize all practices and every moment of the devotee’s experience.
The four great stages in which the practices of this Way develop involve specific functional responsibilities at every level of the body-mind. Each of these responsibilities takes the form of a personal, moral, or higher psycho-physical practice. And all of these specific functional responsibilities are mastered by one or another form of the radical or whole bodily conscious process, in which insight makes a sacrifice of all experience in God-Feeling.
Thus, the Way of Divine Ignorance is one in which every moment of experience is made a form of psycho-physical love of God. When that love makes the body-mind into a whole and single gesture of Communion with the Radiant Reality, then the experiential body-mind itself is transcended, and there is only God. Such Ecstasy ultimately becomes perfect dissolution of the psycho-physical entity in the very Radiant Divine, Who transcends all that may be experienced or known.
No experience, however high in the esoteric order of yoga, is Blissful or Ecstatic in itself. Any experience is, in itself, a form of confinement to the separated self, the independent and reactive body-mind, or “I. ” Only when the body-mind and the principle of experience itself are sacrificed in God-Feeling is there the Ecstatic Bliss of the Divine. Therefore, the Way of Life in God is not experiential attainment, but the feeling-transcendence of specific experience in every moment.This is certainly true. And, therefore, in every moment of experience, or spiritual practice in the midst of experience, there is also the contrary tendency to contract feeling and attention upon the experience or the practice itself. Thus, we tend to become “dry” or frustrated as we practice, and we wonder why our discipline has become dissociated from Bliss. In that case we must Awaken, through “hearing” the Teaching and “seeing” the Spiritual Master, so that we again release the body-mind and every practice into unobstructed whole bodily feeling-Communion with the All-Pervading Divine, which is neither objective nor subjective to us. Then we are Full and Ecstatic again.
True Prayer and Religious Magic
That people commonly know as prayer is a form of conventional magical activity that has as its ultimate goal the fulfillment of self and its functional desires. Practitioners of such prayer are always expecting and doubting and hoping for changes in the conditions of the body-mind, or experience. But they pray for the sake of experience itself, because they are suffering, and because they have not yet Realized God or the Way of Truth.
True prayer is the radical activity or process of the sacrifice of the entire point of view of self and desire. It is the Way of the transcendence of all aspects of the body-mind through Love Communion with the All-Pervading and Transcendental Divine Reality and Person. Practitioners of true prayer do not look to experiential results in mind or body for their Happiness. Rather, they simply and always look to God. Prayer itself is the Way in which they are Blissful, Free, and Satisfied.
In this truly prayerful Communion, all aspects of the bodymind are naturally surrendered and aligned to the Living God, and, therefore, that Power also Works directly in the experience of those who pray in Truth. But all of that is secondary, and all of that must also be surrendered in every moment through the process of true prayer, or transcendence of the functional and experiential limits of the body-mind through Love-Communion with the All-Pervading Life and Transcendental Consciousness that is the Real Condition of all beings and things.
True prayer is the total and spiritual Sacrifice of the human individual to the Transcendental Condition of the Living God. Conventional prayer, or magic, is the offering of a fraction of ourselves, a moment of attention, as an exchange for rewards that we do not otherwise expect or deserve. True prayer is the activity of the truly human being. Conventional prayer is an extension of the desperate and strategic enthusiasms of our childhood, whereby we temporarily assumed a certain character or behavior in order to gain the attention, the indulgence, and the material advantages of our parents. Conventional prayer seeks relief or an answer to problems for which we are unwilling or unable to presume responsibility. True prayer is the process of responsibly choosing that Condition which is always already Divine and Free.
True religion is in our maturity, our true Manhood. False religion and everything unmanly and subhuman are made from the extensions of unfinished childhood and the chronic adolescence of Man.
Interior Prayer and Bodily Prayer: The Foundation Stage of Practice in the Way of Divine Ignorance
The first stage of practice in the Way of Divine Ignorance is named the Way of Divine Communion. Practice in this stage involves adaptation to Communion with the Living Divine through prayer, regenerative personal discipline, and exercise of the relational or truly moral disposition of loving, or nonreactive service to others.
In the Way of Divine Communion, prayer is not practiced in the traditional manner. It is not a matter of interiorization, or exclusively mental conversations and requests toward the Deity that, it is believed, somehow specially monitors our subjectivity. The Way of this Teaching is not characteristically a subjective or internal Way, but a radical, transcendental Way. The “inward” self is not regarded to be closer to God than the “outer” self, nor is subjective change regarded to be the primary, sufficient, and independent requirement for objective change. Rather, change occurs through insight into the entire method of subjectivity, and it requires a persistent, active commitment to new and truly human functional adaptation. First, change your act-and your mind and desires will begin to change as a reflection of what you are presently doing (whereas now your mind and desires only reflect what you have already done and are, therefore, mechanically tending to do).
Just so, it is not the “inward” self that is in Communion with the Divine, but the total or whole self, prior to the reactive self-consciousness that divides the body-mind into interior and exterior parts. Therefore, true prayer is not an inward or subjective activity, but a whole bodily activity in relationship, in which we bodily Commune with the All-Pervading Transcendental Radiance of Reality.
Practice in the various stages of the Way of Divine Ignorance is not founded in any primal dilemma, or in daily reactive problems, or in the self-possessed and self-divided needs and demands of the separate, infantile personality. Rather, practice in this Way is founded in radical insight and intuition, wherein the binding motives of the separated “person” are already undone, and most direct Communion with the Living Reality is the always present Condition of personal existence. Therefore, the reactive, self-possessed, self-divided disposition is not made into a principle of practice. Rather, it is obviated in every moment, and positive adaptation to right activity is accepted as a discipline, transcending all orientation to the archaic inner mind and self.
Thus, positive and regenerative personal and moral disciplines characterize every stage of this Way, including the Way of Divine Communion. And the practice of prayer in the Way of Divine Communion is thus a non problematic, direct process of free Communion with the Living Divine.
The practice of prayer in the Way of Divine Communion develops in two stages, as does the Way itself. The first stage of the Way is practiced by lay members and novices in The Free Communion Church. This is the essential religious stage of practice in the Way of Divine Ignorance, and it could, in some cases, occupy the individual for many years, or even a lifetime. In this first stage of practice in the Way of Divine Communion, the individual makes the transition from the subhuman adaptations enforced by common society and self-possessed motivations, and passes on to the truly human adaptations of a life in prior and constant Communion with the Divine. Thus, regenerative personal disciplines are accepted at this stage, relative to such functional matters as work, social and household relationships, entertainment’s, use of money, application of dietary principles, exercise, sexual activity, and study. Likewise, the entire orientation of the individual is turned about, from self-possessed and reactive demands for the attention and energy of others and for the casual fulfillment of degenerative desires. Instead, the functional body-mind is yielded to the Divine via the responsive disposition of love-giving, granting of attention, transcendence of frustration and reactivity, and heartfelt service to others. In the midst of such a practical orientation, prayer, or devotional practice in Communion with the Divine, is simply an extension of the same turned about disposition that engages in regenerative personal and moral practices. Indeed, such personal and moral practices are themselves forms of prayer-true prayer, which is bodily Communion with the Radiant Divine.
Thus, in the first stage of the Way of Divine Communion, prayer is practiced as a regular and formal devotional exercise, applied as a daily rule, and also under the random circumstances of experience. Since prayer is a whole bodily or total psycho-physical activity of Divine Communion, there is use of vocal or mental invocation of the Divine-but not the exclusively inward appeal to the inward Divine, to be experienced in the form of more or less exclusively inward mystical phenomena. Invocation, through thought, speech, chant, and song, is, in this Way, simply used as a means or as an expression of the orientation of the entire bodymind to the All-Pervading Presence, Radiance, or Current of Life. The primary activity in this process of prayer is bodily, or whole bodily, in nature. It is an activity of bodily self-yielding, prior to thought and reactivity, wherein the Radiant Life of God is permitted to acquire and awaken and transform the total bodily individual.
The second stage of practice in the Way of Divine Communion extends the practice of whole bodily prayer into a meditative form of voluntary reception and release of the Life-Presence of God, enacted via the breath cycle. This practice requires prior maturity in the truly human cultural adaptations of right prayerful Communion with the Living Divine, including literal readaptation of the body-mind to a regenerative personal and moral practice of daily life. This second stage of practice, described in the book Breath and Name: Bodily Worship of the Living God,’ is accepted by members of the esoteric order of The Free Communion Church, as an Awakened responsibility in the Company of the Spiritual Master.
The Way of Divine Ignorance and Devotion to the Name and Form of God
The spiritual views expressed by modern devotees of the “Name” and “Form” of God are often blissful and true reflections of the Transcendental Understanding that Awakens in the higher or ultimate stages of life. Such views have been fully expressed by many true Saints, including Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Ramdas,2 and Seraphim of Sarov. However, the method of Realization that is commonly proposed by devotional cultists is a conventional exercise that naturally belongs to the third and fourth stages of life, and, by itself, it is only likely to produce maturity in the seventh stage of life (not to mention the fifth and sixth) in extremely rare cases.
The method of “Name” recitation and chanting, coupled with mental evocation of Divine Images, or else spontaneous psychic Visions of the “Form” of the Eternal Divine, is the common prescription for practice in the devotionally oriented cults. But such practice is popular mysticism and yoga of the type that appeals to the mind in its earliest approach to God. Ultimately, the mind itself must dissolve in the Living God, and all “Names” and “Forms” naturally dissolve in the Process. Therefore, the Bhagavata Purana, the Philokalia, 3 and other primary literary Sources for the devotional tradition, clearly state that such practices as evocation and worship, through both formal and spontaneous concentration on Divine “Names” and “Forms,” represent only the first stage of a Process that ultimately transcends all subjective and objective devices and supports, including the mind itself.
However, such practices certainly do have their place in the earlier stages of our sacrifice. And, in any case, the traditional consideration of subjective and objective practices of devotional concentration (or mind control) is most often coupled with a Philosophy that is of the highest type-which understands the highest Realization to be beyond the experiential and inward self, and a matter of devotional sacrifice of self into the Transcendental and Living Personality of God.
The Way of Divine Ignorance also makes certain use of devotional chanting, and both formal and spontaneous Remembrance, via “Name” and “Form.” And it not only involves the highest or Transcendental Understanding of the Absolute Divine Personality, but it also provides a Way that is equally Perfect and Complete, and that matures by stages to the degree of literal Translation in the seventh stage of life. This Way is not “easy,” in that it requires both intelligence and perseverance. But even the exclusive method of the “Name,” which is popularly claimed to be the easiest if not the only Way suited to this epoch, where people are dull and spiritually weak, actually requires equally great powers of mental and bodily discipline and renunciation, if it is to be more than a consoling preoccupation of mind and ego.
The whole matter of self-transcendence and Divine Translation is the most difficult and creative task of Man, and, therefore, it cannot be managed without profound strength of purpose and clear intelligence. The process also necessarily involves certain transformations of the nervous system, the endocrine gland system, and the disposition of the brain-mind in general. Therefore, the intensity of psychic and higher bodily experiences varies from individual to individual in this Way-depending on the natural development of the endocrine system, the nervous system, and the body-brain complex permitted within the physical limits unique to each born individual. Even so, the essential phenomena of each stage can certainly be experienced by all who embrace the practice, and all may likewise transcend every kind of self-based phenomenon via the conscious process at every stage, as well as the Devotional Expansion that characterizes the Way of Radical Intuition
1. Breath and Name is the basic source text for the entire Way of Divine Communion. It presents full instructions relative to both the religious stage of bodily prayer and the spiritual stage of esoteric practice, as well as a comprehensive summary of the personal and moral disciplines of the Way.
2. Swami Ramdas (A.D. 1922-1963) was a saint of South India who practiced the “japa,” or constant heartfelt repetition, of the Divine Name “Ram.” He attained an extraordinary degree of mystical Communion with the Absolute solely through this method and the Grace of God.
3. The Philokalia is the principal mystical text of instructions for monks in the Eastern Orthodox Church. A collection of writings by the saintly Fathers of the Church from the 4th to the 14th centuries, it lays great emphasis on the esoteric practice of the famous “Prayer of the Heart” (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me”).
End of Chapter 6 – Part 1
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