The Enchiridion of Enchantment
Shri Gurudev Mahendranath
Explained as an encounter with the preposterous, and a practical modus operandi to escape and overcome the enigmatic obstacles in our path, and the absurd paradoxes of the world and its whims.
We are now on the threshold of a world and a situation in the future which no one dares to predict. Undoubtedly, the material part of all human beings is due for some unpleasant adventures, if not extinction. The spiritual part of every individual will remain unhurt, but it is still possible for the divine spirit of every human being to be lost and confused through ignorance of its colossal potential and magick power. This power does not come automatically but is learned by overcoming the enigmas and paradoxes which we meet in human life, and by developing the nature of the spirit for a fuller and space-expansive life. Development is not spontaneous; thought and experiment are required to bring it into power and development.
“Those who are slaves on earth remain slaves in heaven.” Do not think that faith or God’s grotesque grace will eliminate the need for effort.
The real key to the human body is the potential of the mind.
If I were asked to state the main task of a Natha or Nathess, it would be to free the mind of the brainwashing and conditioning of society, teachers, and even parents, and think over aspects of the world and construct for themselves a way of life and a super lifestyle of peace, freedom, and happiness. Nobody, on their own, can do much to change the patterns and conditions of the world in which one lives, but our individual spiritual development and mental approach can do much to overcome the obstacles. See an ethereal, instead of a sordid material, environment; evolve to a state of mind and spirit as a barrier to – and even to evaporate – the elements of life which cause trouble, trauma, and tension for ordinary people. Only we ourselves can solve the enigmas and paradoxes of life, and in this the mind/spirit plays the most important part.
Many people may advocate many methods to solve all our problems. I think that magick is the only, and most effective, answer.
Magick machinations are based on the knowledge that a thing or event can influence another thing or event at a distance as the result of a metaphysical link between them. This formula is usually known as sympathetic magick.
MAGIKOS: To produce results through the use of incantations, mantras, symbols, will power, or other technique to give the magician control over metaphysical and also supernatural agencies, the forces of nature, or people, things, or ideas. Magick is any irresistible power or any extraordinary influence, charm, or change created. These techniques of magick operate in an enchanting way and create our own extraordinary and delightful world.
In this play and manipulation of magick, we must never forget that we are using the divine power of the cosmos. Magick is bipolar, has its own gravity, is black or white, yin and yang, good or bad. A Nath magician is careful to use only white values at all times in accord with Nath ideals. Of course, if white magick is projected to a dark or black object, then, on contact, the vibe becomes black also. This is in no way the responsibility of the Nath magician, who remains unharmed by the change. A vibration, so rendered black by the nature of the target, cannot return to a white magician.
India has been a land of supreme ideas and investigation, which led to gems of philosophy and the development of Siddhas or magick which far excelled that of any other nation in the world. But India was also the land which gave birth to many cruel practices, stupid superstitions, race inequalities, and made placid resignation to so many evils a pious virtue.
Jainism was born in India to eliminate the vast pantheon of Hindu gods and goddesses. In their place, they developed many teachers to whom they gave divine status. Later, Buddhism was founded and made Gautama a supreme teacher. In time, prayers and rituals were offered to the Buddha, and he too was given divine status. Jainism and Buddhism do not have a supreme creator and deny any belief in God. Buddhism became extinct in India, but Jainism still survives and have many active and well-patronized temples.
Hinduism, the last big and powerful religion in India, is now declining rapidly. In Hinduism, a wife had no rights. If her husband died, she inherited none of his wealth, money, or property. She could not marry again, and no one would have her. In spite of there being so many Hindu goddesses who received homage, respect, prayers, and offerings, a Hindu widow got nothing.
The Brahmins, whose superior status gave them the ability to solve all problems, devised a unique way out. The wife, instead of being an unwanted widow, must go to heaven with her dead husband. In order to show her love and loyalty, she must throw herself on the funeral fire and painfully mix with her dead husband’s ashes. This practice remained for thousands of years.
It was not until India came under British rule that somebody noticed that the wives of dead men were not so enthusiastic about this custom, and also noticed that any unwillingness to throw themselves into the fire was counteracted by the Brahmins taking the unwilling woman and throwing her into the blazing fire by force. Of course, suitable prayers and hymns were chanted by the Brahmins to give a holy tinge to what was really blatant murder. For God’s sake! (No pun intended). If the wife died first, Hinduism has no custom or requirement for the husband to demonstrate his love and loyalty to the wife by throwing himself on the funeral pyre.
Sati (or sometimes suttee) means in India “a good woman.” The word is taken from the myth of Sati, Shiva’s wife, who generated internal heat and burned herself to ash to protest an insult done to her husband. Many suspect that the practice of burning unwanted wives is older than the myth. The position of women is a little better today, but India still has a long way to go.
A narrow-mindedness now envelops the India subcontinent which was unknown in the past. So many great saints like Rishaaba, Dattatreya, and Sukadev are only a few among thousands which abounded in India’s past periods. The Jains still hold the naked Sadhu as the highest expression of their religious life. I myself have lived and taught entirely naked in many parts of India without raising an eyebrow. It is not so today.
The Nagas are a fairly modern sect of Sadhus, and I never saw a Naga wearing clothes until modern times. Now they would not think of walking about the streets naked. Their origin is amusing. Originally, they were the mercenary caste of warriors who, like the Celts, fought and lived naked. Nudity was common and accepted then. When the British took control of India, the petty wars between kingdoms employing these naked fighters which were sport to the many Rajas and Maharajas were banned, as were private armies. The warriors solved their unemployment problem by becoming Sadhus and still retained their naked status. The still lived in Arcudda (gymnasium), and many still have their fighting weapons hung on the walls. Now Nagas are rare, but all Sadhu sampradayas are now reduced to minute numbers.
In modern India, people give little support to Sadhus, and the hospitality which is essential to a wandering life has completely vanished. A Sadhu may be able to count on old disciples, but he can no longer rely on strangers or go to places where he is not known.
Historians and scholars now suspect that prior to the Mogul invasion (1526 A.D.), the Hindu ladies wore little more than their ornaments. The Moguls were a Muslim people and were horrified by nudity. It is also thought that this was the time when the sari, one long strip of cloth to hide everything, was invented.
But many odd customs continued, one of them digambar biksha or nivana biksha. Biksha means to give alms to a Sadhu. In digambar biksha, the Sadhu is asked to come into the house, and the hostess takes off her clothes and serves the meal naked. After the meal, the Sadhu serves the lady as only a man can, and both pray that the lady will be blessed with offspring.
Making women pregnant is not the intention of becoming a Sadhu, but many childless couples will still go to any lengths to have children. In practice, a man cannot ask a relative to perform the operation because that is against Hindu law. He cannot ask a neighbor to do the deed, as the neighbor may want to repeat the service and visit too often. A wandering Sadhu whom nobody will ever see again is the ideal person. It is also a rule that once receiving digambar biksha, the Sadhu must never again return to that place. A holy man is also expected to carry or transmit some holy vibes which an ordinary person may not have.
India has a unique philosophy, equal only to modern scientific knowledge, that even its greatest gods, Indra, Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu, and others, are all impermanent, making it the only religion in the world where its gods are not eternal. It also stresses the wide gulf between the earthly body and the spirit or soul. Life’s real purpose seems to be for one to escape from the other.
Failure to respond to this knowledge is called ignorance. Five aspects of ignorance can be described:
1. Ignorance in wasting precious time and opportunities to prepare the spirit to enable it, at some later stage, to separate completely; and for the life of the spirit to attain other dimensions and greater fulfillment.
2. Ignorance of the spirit, one’s true self.
3. Ignorance in thinking that the human body is one’s true self.
4. Ignorance in yielding to anger, which is only related to the body.
5. Ignorance in thinking that the death of the body is the end of life.
The five kleshas, the obstacles to development and enlightened understanding, include ignorance. It is surprising what ignorance, rubbish, superstitions, and lies humans are ready to accept without thinking. Politics and daily life are mostly planned only to relate to the human body.
In the intoxicating odor of the occult, we have many new doors to open and many which we must close, lock, and never open again. This process is broadly described as experiment, for it is only by a process of experiment that the individual can determine what is true valid knowledge, and what is time-wasting superstition. This does not decry the value and use of imagination in the development of magick, and also to create the environment for both the development and use of magick.
Colors, robes, fine clothes, lamps, incense, perfumes, bones, ashes, diagrams, wands, swords, spears, beads, ornaments, flags – and anything else – may all be used, although all of them have no real magick of their own. Yet things, combined with the fantasy of fantastic imagination, can help to create the atmosphere, environment, and even a higher dimension in which the magician can work his wonders. (I think my hyperbole is showing). The perplexing, the mysterious, and the enigmatic need a new pattern of think, form, relationship, and imagination to manipulate them.
The charismata of the Naths is the state of excellence which is conferred by initiation and is the true shining forth in the eyes of all who behold them The Natha is guided by their amoral thinking, so that their actions correctly suit the occasion. A new pattern of life requires new thinking. We do not don the outworn garments of dead men and women, but create new and fantastic clothes of our own choice and imagination. We want to make a new and better history of peace, freedom, and happiness – and not join the rat-race to repeat the mistakes of others or delude ourselves that the past parade of slaughter, murder, and massacre were noble events worthy of being enshrined and remembered. We need newer think today than we had yesterday, and newer tomorrow than we have today.
My work has been to find the spiritual and magick gems of India and the path which only becomes real when it is shorn of superstitions and cruelty.
This manuscript is in no way intended to be an autobiography. I have no wish to make the world unhappy or anyone envious. Such a revelation would be more than most human being could endure. I only wish to relate important events which will be of interest and guidance to the International Nath Order, and my presence, even intrusions, into these event is coincidence and regrettable.
I have never kept a diary, and I have no books for reference. I know of certain events contained in my memory which are part of my life span. Actual times and dates may not be easily remembered, but this is in no way important to you or to me.
If a mantra or a group of words are repeated a number of times and for a suitable period, this routine tends to shut out other thoughts and also to prevent other disturbing thoughts from entering. Thus the process tends to produce calmness and bring about a level of delightful tranquility. Naths will note that the mantra or group of words mostly has value in the rhythm and sound vibration, and does not have any special magick in itself. But this is not always so.
I must tell you of one special mantra because it has been a strange, if not weird, experience during my nearly 34 years in India. It was given to me by my first Indian guru, Shri Lokanath the Avadhoot, a day or so after my arrival in India. I myself have made liberal use of this mantra, traditionally very, very powerful, and in my own life and experience, the cracker to explode away difficult and dangerous situations and knock down walls that I would have thought impenetrable. I often use this mantra with others in a sing-song tone which is pleasant to me, although to others it might sound unbearable. I do not hesitate to speak or sing it aloud because the words are meaningless if overheard by a casual listener.
The story is told that Krishna wanted to approach the Lord Shiva and request from him an unusually important and great boon. To do this, he had to make the pilgrimage to Mount Kailash. The journey was long and difficult, but on the way he rested in a small cave complex filled with sculptures, shrines, and invisible ghosts.
Krishna soon learned that this cave was the summer residence of Virabhadra, the demon whom the Lord Shiva had created from a lock of his hair to be the instrument for destroying Daksha’s sacrifice in order to avenge the death of his wife, Sati. Normally, at the entrance of the cave was a large mat from which the word “Welcome” had been erased. But on this occasion, Virabhadra knew the visitor was Krishna and asked him to think of the cave and all it contained as his own home. Then the hosts of Virabhadra came in with supernatural delights in the way of food and drink, not to mention a few delicacies which must have originated on another dimension. Virabhadra was determined to show love and harmony to Krishna and aid him on his journey.
At the end of the feast, Krishna slipped his hand into and inside pocket and withdrew a golden object on a think silk cord and said, “Virabhadra, noble crest-jewel of Shiva’s power to transmute and the divine power of enchantment which gave you birth, your magick would appease the divine appetites of the gods and goddesses of 99 universes. As a mark of recognition of your warm hospitality, I ask you to accept this small gold phylakterion. Please wear it and keep it with you always. I know that in reality the true phylakterion of a lucky life is a brain free from conditioning and knowing the difference between wants and needs.”
Virabhadra took the gift with great delight and placed it around his neck. Then the smile left his face, and his countenance took on a more serious expression.
“Govinda,” he said, “I am honored to have a human avatar in my humble dwelling, even if only for a tick of time. Now you are engaged on a journey which is arduous and difficult. You also seek a goal which is impossible for most people. But I can help you, as Shiva is my master and creator, and give you a mantra of such dynamic power that vibrations uttered on one side of the earth will make trees dance on the opposite side. With this mantra on your lips, you will make travel easy and pass safely through the sphere into the presence of Lord Shiva. If you continue to use this mantra, Shiva will not only grant your boon but will, in a flash, return you to your own city of Mathura. Do not question the words; do not question the letters or meaning. It is possible to enjoy the perfume of a rose without counting the number of petals.”
Krishna knelt in silence while Virabhadra slowly pronounced the mantra. He asked Krishna to repeat it. When he had done so, the mantra was given and repeated a second and third time.
Said Virabhadra, “Krishna, arise and continue your journey as now you are well prepared, and victory is certain.” Krishna arose, bowed, and left the cave.
I first arrived in India on Guru Purnima, Sunday, 14 July 1953, but the International Nath Order was founded in Mehmadabad on 1 January 1978. In the years which have passed, many lovely people have joined the Order, and my own beautiful relationship with these lords and ladies has been one of delight, exhilaration, and joy. I never dreamed that the simple seed planted in 1978 would grow into such a cascade of brilliant stars. To express my indebtedness to these Naths and Nathesses, I have written Section VIII to be an introduction and give then the mantra which has worked so well in the thirty-three years I have been in India. This is the mantra, pronounced as it is written:
Om Rudra Chelee Chelee Chelee Chelee Melee Melee Om Swaha!
Use your life and this mantra wisely.
As a Guru and Sannyasin, I have been incubated and walked much in the pattern of Hinduism. There has never been any conflict in my mind, as a Sannyasin is protected by customs and traditions which separate him from the Hindu religion. He is not supposed to go into a temple, and he can only enter a house if invited. If asked to stay, he should leave on the third day. When initiated as a Sannyasin, he repeats a mantra1 renouncing the world, the celestial kingdom, and heaven. To renounce the world has meant to renounce its religions also.
At the age of twelve, I had a strange “awakening”. I cannot go into many details here, but at school the “religious instruction” for half an hour every morning began to develop into heavy debates between the master and myself. I read the Book of Words, but I could not see its relationship with modern life, nor believe any of the pseudo-science which it taught. While I have never followed any religion, I have also never been an atheist.
If I liked a god or goddess, I liked them. It matters not to me if they are real or not. So long as they fit into my own pattern of being, I am willing to make them part of my life. I think that if we do this, we ourselves can give gods and goddesses power to give us the power which we want in order to strengthen our own power.
I adopted the concept of metamorphosis when I was twelve, but it differs from most schools of rebirth insomuch as while we are bound to rebirth on this earth plane, we can be reborn at a period in past history or into the future. Might this not explain why some people can invent and some look into the future? We all know that we cannot alter the past, but I think the future too must happen as it happens. Who can pretend that mankind will ever get together or work in harmony because they want a better history than present trends indicate? Everything seems possible except peace. We cannot change the world, only ourselves.
Magick is a personal knowledge or science and is essentially amoral. It is the supreme media for converting the enigma of life into a perverted paradox of puzzling patterns – and solve them.
Magick cannot remain stationary because it is a form of energy which responds to the spatio-temporal nature of the cosmos. Because most magick is personal and related to human beings, its strength, power, and efficiency is increased by practice and use, and also by greater mind development and will power.
India has been my home and mother for more than thirty-three years. It is for this reason that I do not wish to speak against India or its masses. I worked for India on a political level while in my late teens. Then, the issue was freedom from British rule. Eventually, we got the granting of immediate independence to India included in the election manifesto of the Labour Party.
At the close of World War II, the surprise vote of the British military forces swept the Labour Party into power for the first time. Within a matter of days, the new government voted and made India an independent nation and no longer under British rule. This event took place so quickly that the routine agitators such as Nehru and Gandhi were taken by surprise. Unfortunately, modern India tends to hide this truth and pretend that freedom was only won through the activities of the Nehru and Gandhi people, and the actual role of the Labour Party and the goodwill of the British voting public is ignored and forgotten.
It is not the turmoil of modern India I wish to praise. All my Indian references belong to an age now dead and passed, and I do not think India can see them again. Today the word knowledge as used in modern India means Western know-how, so it has nothing new for us. It is in the ancient past that we find the romantic India, the deep mind-boggling philosophies, the mind-blowing cosmos and fantastic astronomy of living life, and an art expressed in flesh, stone, and sound that reveal an ancient world of weirdness and wonder. I grasped this ancient world and wisdom in the deep meditation of yoga, and not a tour of ruined temples or dusty museums. You can do the same.
No word is more used, more distorted, more misunderstood, and more misused than the three-letter word “God”. This is not the only defect. This one simple word is also defined or expressed by hundreds of names, some of them flattering qualities. God could be the linguistic enigma and a word which has a different meaning to every living being on this earth. Even in dogmatic religions, there are vast levels of understanding and misunderstanding.
In the ten volume edition of The Encyclopedia of God’s Greatest Mistakes, considerable space is devoted to many of God’s pranks, and these include the creation of the Garden of Eden. This was followed, purely as an afterthought, by the making of the stars. Then came the first man and woman. Scientists have not yet discovered the date of the first man and woman, although it is also the important date of the invention of the first human sexual organs. This book also laments that no scripture reveals what Adam or Eve really thought about God. Several expressions, from reliable sources, have appeared but were censured as indecent and do not appear in later editions; so the first he and she are made to describe him only as a heavy trip.
In India, God is more versatile. He sometimes appears as a monkey, and another concept gives him a rotund body with an elephant’s head. Indians love monkeys and elephants, so there is no conflict. Most religions think of the form of their god as unchangeable, but his temper is as mercurial as the maladjusted metal in a thermometer.
Indian numinous history tells us that the handsome god Vishnu once changed his form in order to distract and delude the race of Asuras. He changed himself into the beautiful, mind-boggling, and breast-bubbling Mohini, wearing only a minuscule minimus which did nothing to hide her interesting details as she waved the small piece of cloth when she ran or danced. In those days the Indian scriptures knew how to relate a good story.
There are two epilogues to this event. Mohini was not forgotten in a hurry, and the event reached the ears of Lord Shiva. Shiva was interested in a fleshy sort of way. The next time he met Lord Vishnu, he not only talked about Mohini but asked him to oblige by repeating the wonderful transformation. This Vishnu kindly did, but Lord Shiva immediately became so sexually stimulated that he ran after Mohini with his weapon at the alert. She ran among the trees and tempted him all the more.
The first epilogue tells us that Shiva did eventually catch her, but as he did so, he attained orgasm and his semen sprayed over the countryside and fell to earth as drops of gold and silver. This was a near miss, but the other epilogue differs. In this story, Shiva not only caught Mohini but reached the target. Think of a cannonball entering the vagina. Of course, Mohini vanished and Vishnu regained his original form.
The sequel is not unexpected for a scriptural story. After all, Mary got the bang from an archangel, and here, Mohini got it from Lord Shiva. Vishnu found himself pregnant and later gave birth to a son. There is a temple in south India where this son is worshiped as a god, and also as the son of Vishnu and Shiva.
Human concepts must differ from person to person and from land to land: sometimes in human form, shape, or pattern, sitting on a cloud, floating in the sky, or hiding behind the altar. Such a god made the vast cosmos and can, according to his capricious and changing moods, grant or refuse our requests.Such a god made the vast cosmos and can, according to his capricious and changing moods, grant or refuse our requests.
In psychological terms, this is what we call a personal god. Generally, the idea of such a thing is implanted in our minds when we are young. People grow up and never forget these primitive ideas. Only a few are stubborn enough to question the idea of this personal god and reject it as impossible. Although this personal god has many names which differ from place to place, his capricious and treacherous nature is universal.
Belief in a benevolent deity is still widespread throughout the world, yet as a child, I could not find the existence of a benevolent deity compatible with the widespread poverty and misery among human beings; most animals were better off than people. Time has not diminished the defects but increased them. Religion, in many countries, has just become commercialism and big business.
Sleeping on the roof during the hot Indian summer months gives me an opportunity to lie on my back and contemplate the cosmos, even if the naked eye reveals only a minute portion. Here among the points of light and distant orbs, I can see a wonderland of illumination where distances are so vast that they are measured by the speed of light, and still produce unwieldy numbers. There is boundless space, yet still not room in this expansive canopy of constellations and distant worlds for a personal god to hide.
My eye rests on a point of light, no brighter than the flame of a distant candle. I know by its location that it is not a star, or even a planet, but a vast galaxy, an empire in space, of myriads of suns and planets too numerous to count. The universe is a rational combine of spirit and matter. In my own personal experience, I find it impossible to even glance at this vast illuminated cosmos and its infinite space-sparkle without a sense of spiritual awe and wonder.
How did this vast illuminated cosmic wonderland come to be, and what caused it to be? Here we obtain an entirely different concept of god – a cosmic architect or planner beyond human concepts. A far cry from a petty personal god who might answer prayers and take sides in the murder and massacres of innocent people.
In the distant past, unknown men made the first attempt to trap the cosmos into a book which they called The Book of Changes. Before I throw the coins to make this book speak, I recite a short formula for my own inspiration and not to please God:
I bow to the cosmic oracle:
The miracle of transformations;
The ideas of me are confusing,
But clear is the way of revelation.
I think that this simple verse has the magick charm to put me in relationship with the cosmos as it is presented to us in patterns of matter changing into space and infinity. If God, as a cosmic force or energy permeating all space, is devoid of speech, then the I Ching presents a unique medium of communication between God and mankind.
Hexagram 50 – the Cauldron – reminds us that the cosmos and its fantastic changing patterns, as seen from our earthly plane, are seen as diagrams or as Hexagrams vibrating as lines and light. In the space unending, we see light and dark, yin and yang, signs and lines. Heaven and earth are now moving into the harmony of revelation, and God speaks.
The divine of the cosmos cannot make its will known except through man. Without man, can God have any meaning? Thus the supreme revelation of the divine is heard in the voice of Gurus and Magicians. To venerate these holy men is to worship God. The will of the divine as heard in their voices should be humbly accepted, and this will lead to inner understanding. This is both good fortune and cosmic harmony. To love life and the world as it truly is, is to grasp the whole cosmos and let it spin on the palm of your hand.
How can people expect blessings from God if they do not have a government? While people vote for rubbish, they must expect a garbage-can way of life. If we can project the mind to India of ancient times, we find that human failings are not a modern development, but it was the substrata of science, order, and philosophy which took people to a higher spiritual level which we fail to see in all the confused secular communities today. As men and women think, so they must become: low if the thinking is low and elevated if the think is worthy of numinous shining levels.
It would be difficult to find, even today, a scientist who did not have a deep feeling of the numinous in relation to the cosmos. It is not possible for a sane person to dismiss this miracle wonderland as only material. In all this vastness, bounded only be infinity, we exist only as a tiny speck of matter, but we contain another wonderland of molecules, atoms, and substance which can think. If an agglomeration of atoms can think and act, why can not the greater cosmos do so, too? Surely, this great miraculous body of the glorious cosmos cannot be associated with a personal god based on fear, revenge, or blind faith! The reality of deity in a numinous cosmos cannot be taught as it remains something we must develop and understand for ourselves, and our higher emotions must play an important part in our realization.
My concepts of deity are based on my own will. We cannot ignore Shiva or Krishna because they are both fantastique and illuminate our world with the bizarre and wonderful. Also, a pastoral unbelievable captures my imagination and makes an ideal subject for experiment. If you sit down and write a short essay on the world of Pan, a fantasy forest of natural wild and the delightful denizens of this fantastique world, satyr and faun to laugh and love their lustful life in bliss, and the soft music of the flute or pipes to soften life into an incomparable scene of love and beauty – what would you write, and how would you describe it?
I want to embrace you, great light of the cosmos,
Absorb in smooth magick and bathe in your wonder
And wear the star robe of your glow and your splendour:
The galaxy quakes and the stars burst asunder.
So many the stars glow but none everlasting,
So great is the splendour, the shining and glowing;
Many the galaxies, beyond calculation,
Bewildered by vastness, but deep is our knowing.
For the right moment, each paradox is waiting:
An enigma lurking without a solution.
It’s only the cosmos preparing its laughter,
A drain on the lifespan and no restitution.
So thick is the brightness, the journey distrustful,
The flames of the sunspots just splendid with splatter;
Something to conquer and lead to your presence,
A mountain of stars and in-built bright matter.
The black hole which opens into a new cosmos,
For real or for fancy but most cannot bear it,
Yet something to conquer and lead to new living,
A new robe of glory but most cannot wear it.
Yoga – originally an Indian Sanskrit word – simply means union with the divine and the process to attain it. In the western world of today, the meaning has been debased to mean a system or routine of physical exercises, keeping fit, building muscles, and miracle cures defeating disease and making you more presentable to meet the mortician. Gadgets, books, bodywear, and videos have now entered on the yoga scene. Far away from the original concepts of the yogi sitting naked in solitude beneath a giant tree.
Indian philosophy is contained in six “schools” of thought. Yoga is one of these schools and was expressed about 200 B.C. in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. His work has been altered and interpolated during the passing centuries, and a fourth chapter has been added. It is now not essential to consult this work. No helpful guidelines are given, and important sutras on concentration, meditation, and breathing are expressed in only one word. No physical exercises or postures of Hatha yoga are included. In fact, many of the Hatha yoga postures taught today are recent inventions.
It is possible that the very terse one word sutras were only intended as speaker notes for a guru giving instruction. The sutras do not give the name of any popular god or goddess, but just a terse instruction of “Resignation to the Ruler of the Cosmos (Ishwara)”. This, in practice, means that we resolve to resign our life and future, on spiritual levels, to the natural laws and forces of the universe.
Nothing said in this manuscript prohibits any member of the Nath Order from practicing Hatha yoga if they wish. When they feel the world is upside down, then headstand may be a great relief. Only a wide and expansive approach will ensure your development and success. I can only add to this by relating that this expansive outlook helps to elevate my thinking to a higher level, and also helped considerably in my own development. But they are still only guidelines and not dogma.
From India, we get the first expansive concepts of distance and time. It was Indians who revealed the realization of the supreme, and the processes of nature are easiest when we utilize the combined male and female principles, and that a holy or spiritual life depends on natural laws relating to the world and the human body. They even calculated past time in yugas of 1,986,120,000 years. They said that the apparent rotation of heaven was due to the axial rotation of the earth. Thousands of years ago, they knew that the earth was round like a ball, while the Christian church, as late as the time of Columbus, maintained that the earth was flat.
Indians were the first to write about “The Milky Way”, “The Ocean of Milk”. They wrote a beautiful story about it overflowing and descending onto the earth to form the Ganges River to flow 1550 miles from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal. There was difficulty and danger when such a vast volume of water fell onto the earth from such a vast height. It was Lord Shiva who came to help mankind by letting water fall on his head to cushion the world from a force which might have caused much destruction.
The Indians equated the Milky Way and the Ganges with spiritual life, and Shiva became the link between the cosmos and an Indian river. Fantasy, deity, and imagination all played their part to formulate their spiritual world which has little to do with the sordid wants and wishes of human beings. To people who want to get away from it all, the cosmos provides boundless opportunities.
Where did it all start, and when did it all begin? Where will it go, and where will it end? Nobody has an answer, and nobody can contend that an answer really matters!
The inspiring concepts of the supreme deity and the cosmos belonged to India’s ancient past, but is neither preached nor understood in the present India of modern industry, drink, drugs, overpopulation, and corrupt politicians. Indeed, many have tried to dress up meditation and rhythmic breathing into complicated systems requiring expert instructions and a steady flow of sterling or dollars.
A Sadhu can beg for food, but he cannot ask for money, even from close disciples. When asked to give instruction, he cannot ask for fees or any form of repayment, nor should he want to. One cannot break the fetter of rebirth and the world by wanting more of it. Much of the worldly energy of modern life is printed on paper as currency notes.
The practice of meditation is, in itself, one of the simplest processes, and it is also essential in the growth and expansion of magick power and harmony. A calm rhythmical breathing is required. This acts like a natural measuring gauge to indicate natural, normal calmness of mind and body. The more excited or stimulated the mind and body become, the faster the breathing. Any normal person can meditate with great profit and develop the magick of clear thinking, and even penetrate the deeper and less obvious aspects of occult science. Meditation, to the Nath Order, includes the rhythmic breathing, concentration of mind, and calmness of the physical and spiritual aspects of the body.
The means of producing the required concentration is by counting the breath as it goes in and out of the nostrils. Thus: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven – do not interrupt the breathing, and start again – one, two, three, … This breathing and counting is a continuous process and can go on for a considerable period.
Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position on the floor, a mat, straw, or a thin cushion of the required size. It will take a little time to get used to the seat and sitting long periods. The worst obstacle is a wandering mind. Outside noises should not distract you.
Sometimes the counting goes well but, on occasion, you will suddenly become aware that you have gone to far and are counting twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three. This will happen, but do not let it disturb you. Just switch back to counting from one to seven. This over-counting is due to the fact that the mind has wandered from the prescribed pattern of counting. The mind must remain awake and aware.
Sleep, trance, unconsciousness are not related to true meditation. Meditation gets more difficult to start as you get older, and in old age, it becomes impossible. In India, I meet so many people who express their great determination to get down to serious meditation later in life or when they retire. I remain silent, as any intention to delay does not indicate serious interest on their part.
A small or subdued light can be an asset. A small candle is also sufficient light. In darkness, there may be more of a tendency to fall asleep. I concentrated on the morning and evening periods of twilight, and also suitable periods and opportunities in between. Once you get down to meditation and have had some practice, no time can be considered as unsuitable.
Meditation will not only help in the intensification of insight and intuition, but will produce some wonders which are never experienced by ordinary people. It is the gateway to magick and magick powers. Of course, this development must also be related to the body and favorable change in health, but it should not be practiced only for health or for mundane objectives.
In the Nath Order, the essential key word to all our practices, ideas, and experiments is THINK. It will be quickly seen by Nathas that a calm, analytical, and tension-free mind is essential for clear, valid THINK. Also, in our divine aspects of the cosmos, meditation and THINK play important roles.
Do not let any aspect of meditation become a routine or lead to dullness. It must ever remain as the key to progress and better life, and on to the future beyond. It is not a religion and has no fixed dogmas. It is responsive to experimentation, variation, and testing. When the five Klesha are controlled or eliminated, it expands to infinity. Meditation will itself help to control the five Kleshas.
It is the cascade or cosmic shower which will, like the Milky Way, descend and deluge your life with magick power and flow to benefit all mankind. This is the analogy of Shiva receiving the cosmic cascade on his head. It is the supreme initiation into higher life and outlook. Meditation is the cauldron in which the divine gem of enlightenment is received. It impregnates the Dragon Seat and transforms it into a zone of power. It will be your secure defense against a hostile world. It is the alkahest or universal solvent, and the transmutation of base lead into purest gold.
1The Praisha mantra
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