THERE IS NOTHING LEFT BUT THE ASH
A TALK BY HEART-MASTER DA
DEVOTEE: Love-Ananda, I’m not altogether clear on the description of the Vedanta Temple Event as being submission of the gross body and the culminating Death Event as the submission of the deeper personality.
HEART MASTER DA: In the Vedanta Temple Event, both the gross and deeper personality aspects became submitted, became a circumstance of Confession of Self-Realization. There wasn’t anything that was not transcended in the Great Event in the Vedanta Temple. But Realization was Prior to this birth. From birth, as I have said to you many times – I think it is even in The Knee of Listening – my Work was with this vehicle, to make it an Agent of further Work. I said this in The Dawn Horse Testament also. The first Work is dealing with the body-mind itself, that vehicle itself, until it ceases to be an obstruction to What is Prior to it and can confess That.
All of that Work occupied the first thirty years. The Vedanta Temple Event is the completion of that, Sahaj Samadhi, full Awakening. It is not that there was something left over for the sake of Enlightenment, something that needed to be done yet for the sake of Enlightenment. That is not the proper understanding. But the gross vehicle and even the deeper personality are themselves karmic mechanisms. This body looks something like my parents, you see. It has certain physical tendencies, organ tendencies and whatnot, that are a combination of my mother and father and tendencies inherited from generations before them. The tendencies of this gross personality are not limited to physical signs. Characteristic personality signs, emotional signs, habits, gestures, a mass of things, pervade the entire gross personality, simply an inheritance from the line of this body’s parents.
That gross body still existed, with all of its past and so forth, after the Vedanta Temple. Likewise the deeper personality. It was not something of which I was unconscious. I was not locked in the brain. Even before the Vedanta Temple there was this Great Awakening and Awareness of the deeper personality, experientially, Yogically. It is what you call the reincarnate, or the reincarnating personality. It is also, like the gross being, a karmic entity, a product of cosmic exchanges. It has a karmic destiny. Just as the body has a karmic destiny by virtue of its lineage, the deeper personality has a karmic destiny by virtue of its lineage.
In a birth of any individual this deeper personality becomes conjoined with a gross personality. But the deeper personality functions outside the brain, appears in the form of tendencies and destinies added to the gross personality This is why in addition to the fact that this body has inherited many qualities that are like its parents, there are many other qualities that have been demonstrated in the lifetime of this apparent bodily personality that are nothing like my mother and father. My sister, for instance – this body’s sister – I’ll use “my” as the conventional reference – my sister is much more like my mother and father than I am. Her destiny, her lifetime, has been very much more a duplication of their particular qualities.
I should have been living the life of a simple householder on Long Island. I should have gone into the window business. That would have been a straight duplication of my mother and father. I did not do anything of the kind, though. You cannot account for the difference by looking at my mother and father or grandparents. In the lineage of the body you cannot find the reason for that difference. The reason for that difference is on two levels: one, the very One born in this vehicle, and the other, the deeper personality, the karmic vehicle that is subtle, operating prior to the brain. That one also has its own destiny, its own signs that it has been showing all throughout this life.
Sometimes some of you like to consider the possible previous lifetimes of this one. It obviously has all kinds of qualities of a high Yogi. Some of its unique personality characteristics can be seen, because they are quite different from the characteristics of my mother and father, quite different from the lineage of this gross personality, which you have observed.
Likewise, after the Vedanta Temple Event, that entity, so to speak, or mechanism, still existed. It was not canceled. If it had been canceled in that Samadhi, death would have come shortly thereafter. Instead, those vehicles persisted as they were the day before the Vedanta Temple. They did not suddenly disappear or become utterly different because of the Vedanta Temple Event.
The full Awakening to the One appearing through these forms took place there. And this released the Siddhi of Who I Am into the context of this body-mind, and it spontaneously initiated the Siddhi of my Teaching Work, which was the Siddhi of submitting these gross and deeper mechanisms to others in the play of Teaching. This was a purpose inherent in Who I Am, and also a purpose rather characteristic of this deeper personality. This is a part of its sign, too, then – that motive to Teach, you see, to be so submitted.
You can see, then, how those mechanisms influenced, or were the materials of, the Teaching Work. It was Enlightened Play, “Crazy Play, yes, but it used these mechanisms just as they were. Because they were like people are generally, these mechanisms were allowed to be that way, to function with others in the ordinary way, to combine with them in an extraordinary way also, in this revealing Teaching Play. The vehicles were Awakened to Who I Am, within the context of Great Realization.
Nonetheless, these mechanisms were still themselves what they were, and became readily available for a unique Work. That was the Teaching Work. And the Teaching Work – was done completely, to death. In that death the vehicles became changed. The vehicles were not different the day after the Vedanta Temple Event, or the moment after. But they were different the moment after the Death Event. Those who were there observed this in one way or another, immediately after that event and in the months since then. It is there to be observed, at any rate, and some have observed it. The vehicles themselves became transformed.
This of course is part of what I talk about in terms of the seventh stage Demonstration, you see, this Transfiguring and Transforming Work, to the point of Indifference. The Indifference Sign has been more and more magnified since the Death Event, and also an advanced form of the Transformation Sign, such that the vehicles are no longer in play. They are no longer becoming the likeness of others in submission to others. They are submitted entirely to Who I Am. The circumstance of relationship to me can therefore no longer be one of this interplay, this exchange.
Therefore, the circumstance of the relationship necessarily becomes one in which the practitioner must submit. You see what the significance of the Death Event is, then. There is nothing left of the gross and the deeper personalities of this apparent one. There is nothing left but the ash. This is why Samadhi sites, so-called, are created for Realizers in various traditions. -It has since ancient times been understood that the process of Realization is itself a kind of first that burns out impurities, releases karmas, removes the obstacles to Realizing what is inherently so, or always already the case.
In the case of the Realizer, it is presumed that that fire has been allowed to burn everything. When an ordinary individual dies, his or her friends honor what the lifetime was supposed to be about by burning the body and offering prayers of release to continue that fire. But the Realizers body is, in effect, already ash, vibhuti, Prasad, even while alive. Therefore, the bodies of such individuals are often, not always, but in many traditions, preserved and made the center not only of people’s practice but also of a temple or what becomes a temple. So in this case, then. In some sense it has always been the case with this one. In Reality it is so, even all during this lifetime. But on the other hand, you see the sequences of the unique demonstration of intentional birth for the sake of Liberating others.
In this one’s case the movement is from the Self, acquiring the deeper and grosser aspects of personality for the sake of others. In the case of beings ordinarily, it is the gross personality reaches toward the deeper personality, and the deeper personality reaches toward the Self. Two different intentions, coming from two different directions, you see. The meeting of these two is the Great Secret, valued since ancient times. The Incarnate Realizer, the Divine Self Incarnate, submitting vehicles to the point of naked, most direct association with living beings, and the devotee, surrendering all these vehicles to the One Prior to all karma, and yet paradoxically incarnate or present. It is the meeting of these two that is the, Great Secret.
The Great Secret of sadhana is not a karmic entity, an ego identified with the gross or the deeper personality, doing things to itself to get free. This never becomes freedom. It is simply manipulation of conditional energies, manipulation of mind and body. There may be some potential for what you might call evolutionary changes in such manipulation, but these changes are still karmic in nature. In true sadhana such an apparent individual becomes devoted to surrendering to, submitting to, a Realizer who has done the Work of turning the body-mind into ash, the very Self becoming Prasad, so that you can take It and contemplate It, be moved by It, lived by It, Awakened by It. This is the great and ancient secret.
This is exactly what has been demonstrated to you. Now it is up to you to respond or not. The only right response is the sadhana. Anything other than that is continued identification with the karmic vehicle, the karmic mechanism, the ego, the body-mind, gross or subtle or causal. And for the most part, except for occasional experiences, most human beings are only aware of the gross personality. But as I said, the deeper personality is operative, full of tendency, destiny, unique characteristics that cannot be accounted for strictly through the parent-line. But in terms of awareness, it is the gross personality that the individual is aware of. The brain is considered by most people to be a great mechanism, a large part of which is not used yet, and such people think that we are going to grow more and more into extraordinary abilities by using more and more brain.
Only within the realm of the cosmos itself is that true. In other words, there is room for development of more mechanical capabilities in this brain mechanism, but the most fundamental function of the brain is to act as a barrier to what is previous to, or outside, the gross mechanism. The brain is there so you will not think the deeper being. It is there to lock you out from it. Now, why? Not because some evil has overcome you, but because it is not good for you to become involved as an ego in the great range of all possibilities. To do so would be binding.
You are born in physical form for a unique purpose, which is to be purified. You are not born as a human being merely to be a human being, merely to be this physical person and get fulfilled. You are born to create a circumstance of conscious awareness in which the karmic is beyond your awareness, prior to your awareness, so that you can be purified, so that you can be concentrated in the physical and do sadhana them, which in effect will release you from the unconscious and the tendencies hidden there. Fundamentally you are already in a circumstance that is the appropriate one for sadhana. It is not that you must first enlarge your mind and your sphere of experience into the subtle play.
Another traditional indication of this is in the Old Testament. What do you think all of that forbidden fruit stuff is about? It is about unlocking the key of the brain and getting out of the brain, which is a barrier to the esoteric knowledge proposed there in that garden. Now, on the one hand that is part of what you might call an esoteric tradition, hiding things from the common people, so to speak. On the other hand, there is also a fundamental principle there that has to do with Liberation.
Physical incarnation specifically bars you from what you, while alive, usually might call the unconscious, the deeper part. It focuses you in the physical. That very phenomenon, being focused in the physical with the brain barring you from subtler aspects of existence, is what is valued in the traditions when they say such grand things about the unique opportunity that human birth is. It is precisely that circumstance that is the unique opportunity, being barred from the unconscious, or what then becomes the unconscious, being given the opportunity to transcend yourself by being concentrated in physical life and limited in experience by the brain mechanism. This enables you to be purified of your karmas if you will use your lifetime for that purpose. If you simply indulge yourself in that circumstance, you will imprint more into the unconscious, and then after death the unconscious becomes your circumstance in a variety of different ways, some of them maybe amusing and many of them not. In any case it is bondage.
The purpose of physical existence is therefore not merely karmic in some negative sense, as if you have done something and now you have to be physical, as if you have “fallen”. No. Physical embodiment has the purpose of Enlightenment, the purpose of purification. But you have to find this out. It was traditionally communicated. Yet it is getting lost in the shuffle of materialistic culture. The link to this Great Tradition is being cut off. Just as the brain cuts you off from much of experience, culture cuts you off from the rest of it, and you are left with nothing but the automaticity’s of physical existence, with no apparent purpose other than to survive.
If you will receive my Teaching-Revelation, if you will consider it, if you will become responsive, then you become capable of making use of this lifetime for the purpose that it inherently can serve. It is a limit, yes. It is a limit on a limit. It is there to relieve you of certain kinds of experiences, certain kinds of destiny, temporarily, so that you have the opportunity to break the spell, so to speak, of that karma. Therefore, it is possible in the human lifetime not merely to evolve so that you have subtle experiences. It is possible in the context of a human lifetime to move out of the domain of the first five stages of life into the domain of Transcendental, ultimately Divine, Self-Realization. That is the uniqueness of human birth – not that you can evolve subtly, but that you can transcend gross and subtle, all aspects of the conditional personality in ultimate, truly Divine Realization. This is the Great Secret of the significance of human birth.
If you accept that as so, then you must not allow yourself to be controlled by the apparent purposes of the body-mind. They are karmic tendencies, you see. Rather, you must submit the body-mind to the Great Purpose. And the great and ancient secret of how to do that is to submit the body-mind within the Great Relationship, the Sat-Guru-devotee relationship, in which you engage constantly in a contemplation that relieves you of the karmic tendencies of attention. By these means you are purified and brought to the point where the Perfect Practice and Realization, to use my own language to describe that process, become possible.
This is what I am calling you to do, then. Accept the Dharma, the Law, inherent in your birth, the purpose that is inherent in your birth. Take up the sadhana in my Company, and prepare yourself by right sadhana for the Perfect Practice. Do not blithely, through all your fantasizing, look forward to some inward Yogic destiny. Rather, understand what this process is about. It is not about psychism and subtle experiences and all the rest of it. It is fundamentally about purification to the point where the psycho-physical mechanism is no longer an obstacle to your assumption of the Native Witness-Position. It is simply a matter of purification, until the Witness-Position is obvious and you can take up the Perfect Practice.
Your life, then, is for the purpose of purification. Not self-indulgence, not the fulfillment of a destiny, but the submission of that destiny or tendency, that mechanism itself, to the point of transcendence, such that you could stably Stand in the Position that is always already the case, that is inherently Free and does not wander. Therefore, at death you will not be reincarnated. At death, in other words, you will not drift into the unconscious, the realm of the deeper personality, the migrating entity. Instead, at death, the conditional personality itself and all of its signs will be released.
Fundamentally that process takes place in the Awakening that is the transition to the seventh stage of life. That is the purpose and the process to which I call you in my Company. This is what I serve by my Mere Presence here. So this is what I am here to serve, then, and not the incredible variety of ordinary things that you expect me to be doing here. None of that has anything to do with me. That is what you are supposed to do. That is your business. You respond and do the sadhana. You take care of institution, culture, and community. You take care of the Treasures, you see. I am simply here to be available for this relationship, which should be the core of every devotee’s life. I should be here simply to associate with people for whom this relationship is the fundamental context of their existence. That is what I am here to do, not to be obstructed by you or delayed or obliged to do all kinds of things that are simply your business. Don’t you understand that?
If you understand it and are responding to me, you should immediately do whatever is necessary to change the situation into which you have continued to put me in spite of the Great Event two and a half years ago. You are functioning as if you understand nothing about it. So yes, there first is an understanding of what that Great Event is about, Who I Am here in your company, and then there is the response to it in the form of commitment to the practice, and then there is the service you do on the basis of that commitment.
Is there anything more about the history of my own Work and demonstration? Any more questions about that, the Vedanta Temple, the Death Event, the birth itself, the Work that follows? Anything about the mechanisms of birth, which I’ve discussed today? Anything about all of these things?
DEVOTEE: One thing I’m trying to understand is, did the way we treated You basically bring about the Death Event, or could it have been another form of transition for You?
HEART MASTER DA: If the world had not been the way it is, the way it was, and the way it continues to be, and if you all had not been the way you were, it would not have been necessary for me to do that kind of Work to begin with. That kind of “Crazy” Work, you see, was itself based on certain signs in the world. It was an intentional birth in the West, an intentional association with people who traditionally would not have had anything to do with Spiritual life. For a variety of reasons it became appropriate for this birth to happen, and then after the vehicle itself was prepared for my direct Work with people, it occurred spontaneously for the Work to take on the “Crazy” Teaching form, because of the quality of the people I was associated with.
So you ask, if you hadn’t been the way you were, hadn’t treated me the way you did, would the Death Event have happened? No, the Death would not have happened, but the process of the Teaching Work as it happened would not have been necessary either. They all worked together, you see. I exhausted myself by that submission. You all did what you did, and that is what such people do. And, yes, you could have done otherwise, but you didn’t, and by tendency you would not have done otherwise. You could have responded and not dramatized tendency. That was possible. It simply did not happen. The gesture of submission to others became a sacrifice, a submission to the point of total exhaustion or death.
I think you can see in that a kind of inevitability, though. The “Crazy” Work was allowed to complete itself through that ultimate exhaustion. Others in the Great Tradition may be called “Crazy” Teachers, or “Crazy” Masters. There is a likeness between myself as Teacher and them, but only up to a point. There are many different kinds of “Crazy” Teachers. There is a different kind of “Craziness” associated with each of the advanced stages of life. There are “Crazy” fourth stage Teachers, “Crazy” fifth stage Teachers, and so on. So you can’t make an equation between me or my kind of Work and all others who may be called “Crazy” Masters or “Crazy” Teachers. There are only some likenesses. You must discriminate in your consideration of the likenesses between my Work and the work of others who have appeared in the Great Tradition. There is likeness up to a point and yet there is distinction also. That is why you should not just casually, like a fan of the Great Tradition, engage in this fantasy reading of the literature from the Great Tradition. You must be guided in your study, discriminate, bring intelligent principles to it.
My own Work in the “Crazy” fashion was a unique kind of Work, in a unique time for a unique purpose, and with a unique result. You must see what all those kinds of uniqueness are in my case, in order to rightly appreciate and understand the event that has occurred in your company. The “Crazy” gesture of submission to others, having been initiated, necessarily had to go to death in any case, or go to the point of exhaustion. The Play could have varied some, depending on the response of others. As I said, the kind of event that may be associated with a moment we can point to as the moment of transition from the Teaching Work, that particular event could have been different than it was. These are possibilities. But ultimately the significance would be the same. And the times being what they are, you can see why it took the form that it did.
But you should also take a lesson from it, and not blithely indulge yourself and your limitations any longer. Understand that practice of this Way requires relinquishment of limitation. Embrace the discipline of this Way. The lesson you should get from studying my Work and my history should convince you of the necessity of discipline, the necessity of self-submission. There is a particular art associated with such discipline in the Way of the Heart. It is not merely a monastic, ascetical orientation, but it is not the middle-class good life either. It is not that at all. It is a renunciate life, not a monastic life, necessarily, or characteristically.
Is there anything else about that?
DEVOTEE: Love-Ananda, I was feeling that my heart-response to You is that no harm ever come to You, that You always be protected, and that the Treasures be protected. This is my love-response to You.
HEART MASTER DA: Good. That is what you all should do. Obviously. If you had children, or if you have children, wouldn’t you, or don’t you, do that much? What does one do with a Treasure? What does one do with a child? Not what you all have done certainly with me and with all the Gifts I have given you. Don’t you understand? You should do something different. You should do what you are suggesting you are moved to do.
You will treat something as a Treasure when you find out it is a Treasure, when you relate to it as a Treasure. Spontaneously there are certain things you do with it. But if you do not acknowledge something as a Treasure, you will treat it as something else, something that you do not treasure. Again, I think primarily the reason I have been obliged to suffer what I do in your company is your lack of acknowledgment, your reluctance, your non response, the absence of the fundamental response that is practice, or the treasuring of the Treasures, the treasuring of the Heart-Master. Whereas if you did treasure the Heart-Master, your responses would be immediate, as with any Treasure, or as with a child, for example. You naturally, spontaneously, inevitable protect a child, don’t you?
Is there anybody who doesn’t? And so with Treasures altogether. How could there be any question whatsoever about protecting and preserving the Treasures? What else are you going to do with them? Do you have some other plan? Do you have to struggle with some other motivation? There must be something, because the Treasures have been abused, and if not abused, neglected. And practitioners became diverted from the course.
Does anybody have any more questions about these matters?
DEVOTEE: Could You please clarify the history of Your penance in 1986, because I have a very conventional point of view about what that was.
HEART-MASTER DA: It was not for the sake of my sadhana. It was something done for the sake of others. As I said of it during those months in 1986 when I assumed the formal signs of a sannyasin, this body-mind took on the qualities of people from those many years of submission. This body-mind was a link to everyone then. The Death Event did not just stop. It was not just a moment, you see. A process was initiated then. In addition to that particular event on that one night, the qualities shown through this body for some period thereafter were signs of what you could call tapas, or penance, if you will – heat in the body, burning up, purifying. It was a purification, not merely of personal karmas, because this vehicle is not fundamentally about personal karmas – it is not a karmic personality. But it used these mechanisms in such a way that they took on the likeness of, established a link with, all beings.
And so the karma that was overcome in this body is all karma, not just that of an individual. All karma has been overcome in this one. Not that in that Death Event something has now been done in the world so that everybody is going to become Enlightened spontaneously. No. The One in Whom, by Whom, the sadhana has been done has become your opportunity. The One in Whom and by Whom the sadhana has been done, Who has made this vehicle available through the process of Incarnation and this great Work, is now the relationship, the circumstance, in which the same Liberation can take place in others, through a unique Gift, a unique Graceful opportunity, which is quite different from my just giving you a Teaching and now you work out your salvation. A unique relationship, a unique vehicle, in which all karma has been transcended, has become available for your contemplation, your guidance. It is the mechanism of Grace for anyone who will take up the sadhana.
This is how the Work that transcends all karmas and that has been done even in this body becomes effective in the case of others. It did not become effective merely as an historical event, back in 1986, and now everyone is free. It all was concentrated through this mechanism and prior to it and at all levels in which it is continuous, and now a unique relationship is available if you will choose it. Even in the past it was available, but people did not choose it. People entered into association with me, not in the form of the real sadhana, but rather through their interest and their reluctance at the same time. They could not make the act of submission, so I made it in order to serve them. But ultimately it comes to the point where that Work on my part must cease and you must make the submission. All I did with all that Teaching Work was prepare you to do such.
Do you all understand this, then?
DEVOTEE: Love-Ananda, I am really grateful for this opportunity and for the better understanding of what a sacrifice You have performed in Your vehicle. In terms of the Ashvamedha, Your vehicle is the horse that You have sent forth among us to absorb all our karmas. In the Death Event You have made it possible for us to go beyond them, to transcend them, just by contemplation of You.
HEART-MASTER DA: The horses, the vehicles, were sent out into the world, throughout the kingdom, so to speak, and then they were brought home to the place of origin, the very Self-Position, and sacrificed there. The Horse-Sacrifice is performed. This is the Death Event. And what remains is the ash to be distributed. The Ashvamedha, the Horse-Sacrifice, is also associated with the consecration, in usual ceremonial terms, of a king or a leader within some community, or in esoteric terms it means the establishment of the Adept rightly understood in the eyes of devotees.
DEVOTEE: This calls for a Celebration, because it is also establishment of Your supremacy over this domain.
HEART MASTER DA: Tcha.
DEVOTEES: Thank You, Love-Ananda.
End of talk. There Is Nothing Left But the Ash – 1988.
THERE IS NOTHING LEFT BUT THE ASH
A TALK BY HEART-MASTER DA