Discourses on Tantra Volume One
Each and every stage of Macrocosmic expression – crude, subtle or causal – shines with divine joy. Every atom of the universe is moving in that divine flow, in that rhythmic dance. It is as if this entire universe is the stage for the divine dance of Puruśottama. The divine dance, with Puruśottama as its nucleus, is the blissful flow of joyful creation.
When Prakrti loses Her balance, different evolutionary changes begin. Prakrti and Her principles are given different names at different stages of evolutionary change in the flow of creation.
At the first stage, when there is no imbalance in the triangle of forces, Prakrti is called Kaośikii Shakti (Shivánii Shakti). She is given this name because she is responsible for the creation of the kośas [layers of mind]. In that supreme stage Kaośikii remains unmanifested, remains as the primordial cause of all subsequent manifestations.
The second stage of Prakrti occurs when the triangle of forces loses its equilibrium. This is the stage at which Prakrti is first expressed as a straight line emerging from one of the vertices of the unbalanced triangle. It is called the Bhaeravii or intermediate stage. At this stage of expression there is no wave, and hence creation remains beyond the scope of perception. It is only when náda [flow without curvature] is converted into kalá [flow with curvature] that creation comes within the scope of perception.
When Bhaeravii Shakti attains the form of kalá She is called Bhavánii Shakti, and thus begins Prakrti’s third stage of expression. Bhavánii Shakti is active in air, light, vital energy and numerous other entities, and is responsible for maintaining the coordinating link between the crude and the subtle.
In intuitional practice this process is reversed: devotees elevate themselves from Bhavánii Shakti to Bhaeravii Shakti, from Bhaeravii Shakti to Kaośikii Shakti, and finally attain oneness with the Supreme Entity. Those who pursue this path of divine adoration are called devotees. Whom do devotees ideate on? Certainly on Puruśottama. Those who accept matter as their object of ideation can never attain Puruśottama, but will invariably degenerate towards the staticity of Bhavánii Shakti. Their entire being will ultimately be converted into inert matter. To ideate on Puruśottama means to transform Bhavánii into Bhaeravii and Bhaeravii into Kaośikii, thereby establishing oneness between the devotee and the Lord. In the process of transforming crude waves into subtle waves, devotees become one with their final goal. If one’s movement is towards the crude, one’s psycho-physical waves will become cruder and cruder. But if one’s movement is towards the Supreme, if Bhavánii Shakti is transformed into Bhaeravii Shakti, then one’s waves will gradually straighten. The subtle waves of effulgence will also become straight. Thus a devotee’s movement towards the Supreme One is an endeavour to transform crude energy into subtle energy. To transform Bhavánii Shakti into Bhaeravii Shakti both shraddhá [implicit veneration for one’s goal] and viirya [stamina] are important. Without regular spiritual practice this transformation is impossible.
For a devotee, action is indispensable. Sádhaná itself is a type of action. If one sits idle like a piece of inert matter, sádhaná is impossible; the conversion of crude into subtle will never occur. The relationship between devotees and their Lord is strengthened through action. At this point a question may arise: on the path of sádhaná who is greater – a bhakta [devotee] or a karmii [person of action]? The answer is simple and straightforward. For bhaktas all actions are a part of their psycho-spiritual practice, whereas for karmiis actions are merely seen as actions. Those people whose actions are indistinguishable from devotion are true devotees. Thus in the process of conversion of Bhavánii Shakti into Bhaeravii Shakti, devotion plays a greater role than so-called action.
What is the source of inspiration of the individual’s efforts to convert crude energy into subtle energy? In this case the Cognitive Faculty is the source of inspiration. Bhaeravii Shakti is prevented from being converted into Bhavánii Shakti with the help of the Cognitive Faculty, and with the help of the Cognitive Faculty Bhaeravii Shakti is merged in the cognitive flow.
In the struggle to transform Bhaeravii Shakti into Kaośikii Shakti, Citishakti [Cognitive Force] plays a dominant role, because Bhaeravii Shakti is the second stage of Citishakti in the flow of creation. The Cognitive Force manifests itself as Bhaeravii Shakti to expedite the evolution of mind. The will to evolve is primarily dependent on the active role of Bhaeravii Shakti. In fact Bhaeravii Shakti is one’s real “I”. It is with Her help that one must carry on one’s sádhaná to attain Citishakti. It is just like worshipping the Ganges with the water of the Ganges.
Suppose a certain student studies abroad with his father’s financial assistance. If he saves a little money every month and buys his father one of his favourite objects, his father will certainly feel happy. The pursuit of dharma is a similar process. One attains Parama Puruśa with the proper application of devotion, knowledge and action, which are the faculties He has chosen to bestow on spiritual aspirants.
Exactly the reverse occurs in the case of materialists who are puffed up with vanity: their Bhaeravii Shakti is gradually converted into Bhavánii Shakti. Only devotees can expand Bhaeravii Shakti because only they cherish the desire for supreme union with the Cognitive Faculty. They do not ask the Supreme Being for wealth, opulence, fame or children, but pray, “O Lord, please manifest Yourself fully in me. Make me Yours, O Lord.” They continue to pray like this until they merge in the Supreme.
They continue their efforts to attain the Supreme with the physical and psychic strength already bestowed upon them by the Supreme Entity. To ask for extra power without first utilizing the power already given them would be to show disrespect to Parama Puruśa. Only after all their power has been totally exhausted may they ask Parama Puruśa for anything. If He so desires, Parama Puruśa may grant that request through some third entity. While utilizing one’s energy one should pray to Parama Puruśa, “O Lord, I am working with the strength given by You. Let me not make the mistake of taking it to be my own power. Let me not forget You, O Lord.”
Devotees will have to straighten the waves of Bhavánii Shakti. The more the waves are straightened, the more Bhavánii will be transformed into Bhaeravii Shakti. This straightening of the waves is the first stage of sádhaná. As long as sádhakas remain within the scope of Bhavánii Shakti they observe that all finite entities of the universe are separate from one another. But when they enter the bounds of Bhaeravii Shakti after straightening the waves of Bhavánii Shakti, they discover that all those previous differentiations have vanished into nothingness. The more the influence of Bhavánii Shakti, the greater the feeling of differentiation; and the more the influence of Bhaeravii Shakti, the greater the feeling of unity.
Many people think that social service alone is the best process of sádhaná, but they are mistaken. Through intuitional practice a sádhaka succeeds in elevating Bhaeravii and Bhavánii Shaktis in individual life. A person who develops the cognitive faculty in this way will spontaneously do social service. Service is the way and the life of such a spiritual aspirant. A balance between one’s individual dharma and social dharma will thus be established.
When one’s cognitive faculty becomes so subtle that one sees Brahma in all manifested entities, one can play a proper role in the practical world. Only at this stage does one realize that no one in this universe is inferior, for all are the children of the same Supreme Father and Supreme Mother. Brothers and sisters belonging to the same family cannot belong to separate castes. So those who support casteism are atheists. Those who want to perpetuate economic disparities are also atheists. No parents could sincerely desire one of their children to become fabulously rich and roll in opulence, while another slowly starves to death.
Human beings should develop themselves as individuals by expanding their dormant cognitive faculties through intuitional practice, and should develop their socio-economic life by eradicating the vested interests in the socio-economic sphere. Those who have rendered service to society and have either become government ministers or been otherwise rewarded with power and prestige, but have failed to practise sádhaná in their personal lives, generally degenerate later.
What happens before Bhavánii Shakti is metamorphosed into Bhaeravii Shakti? Bhavánii Shakti emanates from Puruśa in so many waves. It is the variation in these waves which causes the differences among the many objects of the universe. Bhavánii, Bhaeravii and Kaośikii Shaktis are created according to the way the three principles act on the Cognitive Faculty. When major changes occur in Bhavánii Shakti, ether, air, fire, water and other crude objects can be perceived. These entities acquire different forms due to the differences in the waves created by the three principles. Thus we observe the same Puruśa manifested in different ways.
It is due to a particular vibration of Bhavánii Shakti that we perceive Puruśa as a piece of iron, and due to another vibration that we perceive Puruśa as a piece of gold. Had there been no differences among the wavelengths of Bhavánii Shakti, there would have been no differences among the manifested objects. When spiritual aspirants remain within the periphery of Bhavánii Shakti and observe the differences among objects, they realize the Supreme Singularity behind the diversity of expression.
All objects are the varying forms of Puruśa. When one realizes that all these diverse objects finally merge into His supreme singularity, social service becomes more important than anything else, because service to individuals or the collectivity means service to Brahma.
So in the first stage of sádhaná, as a result of the constant superimposition of Cosmic ideation, Bhavánii Shakti is changed into Bhaeravii Shakti. Then all the objects of the world are seen as expressions of Brahma. This realization is not brought about by the study of books. Book knowledge is only perceptional knowledge; it cannot take one beyond the boundary of perception. If people study constantly without practising sádhaná, psycho-physical parallelism will make them vain and egotistical.
Mathitvácatváro vedán sarvashástrańi caeva hi
Sáraḿ tu yogibhih piitaḿ takraḿ pivanti pańd́itáh.
[When the Vedas and all the scriptures are churned, the essence of all knowledge is assimilated by the yogis, and the non-essential portion is eaten by the pandits.]
The constant churning of the ocean of knowledge produces butter and buttermilk. The spiritual aspirants eat the butter; the pandits remain satisfied with the buttermilk. The goal of a sádhaka is not to become a bookworm, but to become a devotee.
Remember that until one becomes one with the Cognitive Faculty, one will have to continue to act. Through karma sádhaná [the yoga of action] one advances to the second stage of progress, realizing that everything is Brahma. The outlook of differentiation is a defective outlook.
In the third stage the question of differentiation does not even arise: the difference between the seer and the “seeable” is completely obliterated. The doer, the deed and the witnessing entity merge in the same Consciousness. All that remains is one undifferentiated Supreme Entity.
The Cosmic force that is active in the psychic sphere of microcosms is Bhaeravii Shakti. As Bhaeravii is the force which starts moving from a vertex of the unbalanced supreme triangle, one will have to concentrate one’s mind on a particular point in the process of sádhaná. Thus in ásana shuddhi, Bhaeravii Shakti is concentrated at a nuclear point, and subsequently transformed into Kaośikii Shakti. When that transformation occurs, the unit mind gradually dissolves into the Cosmic Mind. The three principles of Prakrti remain perfectly balanced in Kaośikii Shakti, and thus lie unexpressed.
Devotees reach Kaośikii Shakti with the help of Bhavánii and Bhaeravii Shaktis. Hence devotees must be Sháktas, always ready to fight against the hostile forces which thwart spiritual progress. They must not encourage timidity or cowardice. If their minds are directed towards Bhavánii Shakti their Bhaeravii Shakti will become crudified. Hence sádhakas must carry on a relentless fight against all crudifying forces. For this reason they must also be viirácáriis.(1) They must ideate constantly on Parama Puruśa, and gradually transform Bhaeravii Shakti into Kaośikii Shakti. But one should remember that Kaośikii Shakti is not one’s final goal. Even after merging one’s identity into Kaośikii Shakti it can still be the cause of bondage and subsequent rebirth.
Of all the bondages, the bondage of [Bhavánii] is most strongly felt, but [Bhavánii] Herself is not the original entity. While utilizing mundane objects, one should always ideate on the Cognitive Faculty working behind this myriad world of forms and colours. The regressive movement that the mind makes when ideating on matter is prevented by this Cosmic ideation or Brahmacarya sádhaná.
One who ideates on the Supreme Entity while engaged in individual and collective sádhaná establishes a happy correlation between Bhaeravii Shakti and one’s cognitive faculty. Such a person will never degenerate, even though his or her cherished supreme goal may not be fully realized. The main factor is the clear awareness of one’s goal. Your own excellence depends on the excellence of your goal. To build a bridge over the Ganges is not the goal in itself; the actual goal is to connect north Bihar to south Bihar. Of course, that goal is achieved by building the bridge.
The attainment of Brahma signifies the victory of one’s ideology; first the victory of Bhaeravii Shakti and then the victory of Kaośikii Shakti. Or put in another way, first the defeat of Bhavánii Shakti, then the defeat of Bhaeravii and Kaośikii Shaktis at the hands of Puruśa. When one becomes the master of Bhavánii, Bhaeravii and Kaośikii Shaktis, one attains enormous power to subdue the wicked forces and protect the forces of righteousness in the external world.
One who does not practise any active sádhaná to control these three shaktis and expand one’s cognitive faculty cannot fight against antisocial forces. This process of bringing these three shaktis within one’s control is called sádhanásamara [the battle of intuitional practice]. This battle should end in one of two ways: in victory or in death. One should never undergo the ignominy of defeat. If one dies while seeking the Supreme, one will surely attain the Supreme after death. One who is totally absorbed in ideation on the Supreme becomes one with the Supreme at the time of death. This is certainly true in the case of devotees. The duality between the one who serves and the entity served ceases to exist. Ultimately the one who serves, the entity who is served, and the action of serving become fused into one. If one’s goal is right, one is sure to attain the supreme stance. And one who attains the supreme stance will never make the mistake of differentiating between high and low, literate and illiterate, touchable and untouchable.
Shmasháne vá grhe, hirańye vá trńe,
Tanuje vá ripao, hutáshe vá jale.
Svakiiye vá pare samatvena buddhyá,
Viráje avadhúto dvitiiyo Maheshah.
[The sádhaka who views everything with equanimity, be it his home or the burial ground, gold or grass, his own children or his enemies, fire or water, his own property or another’s property, lives in the world as an avadhúta, as if the second manifestation of Shiva.]
24 March 1959 DMC, Saharsa
(1) Editors’ note: Tantrics who adopt a particularly “heroic” ideation while seeking to confront and overcome all mental weaknesses.
Shrii Shrii A'nandamu'rti
Discourses on Tantra Volume One