Unit VIII.  Visnu Vakta


1.  Threshold
2.  The Great Passageway
3.  Mind as Mirror/Emptiness
4.  Fears
5.  No-self
6.  Resurrection
7.  Implications for Practice

Materials needed: Journal

Books needed:

The Biology of Transcendence Pt. II
The Experience of No-self
The Cloud of Unknowing
Beyond Fear
Essence of the Heart Sutra
The Power of Now
Light and Ecstasy


Breaking Through
The Great Passageway
Essence of the Heart Sutra
What Is
Light and Ecstasy


Divine Light Invocation

“To be, or not to be: that is the question;
Whether ‘t is nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them.  To die, to sleep --
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to; ‘t is a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d; to die; to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream; ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause; There’s the respcet
That makes calamity of so long life... – Hamlet


Beyond the Supreme Bindu is another kind of life that is totally different from what we have become used to.  Once we cross this threshold, there is no longer any choice because we will then belong to the Divine One, and our will becomes Divine Will.  So at this point, the moment of our last choice, we must choose between union or identity with the Absolute.  

Union is the goal of Kundalini Yoga and most other religious traditions.  That was so in Christianity until fairly recently.  God is seen as the Beloved, and one wishes to be enfolded in Its loving arms.  In union, we still have two entities.  One is the Divine One; the other is the petitioner, the seeker, who wants to be loved or cared for or protected by a Greater Being.  

Identity, on the other hand, is the goal of Raja Yoga and many other mystical traditions.  In this conception, we lose all trappings of individuality and merge with the Divine One in whom we live and love and have our being.  To achieve this state, one must be able to perceive oneself as, literally, God on earth.  This approach says that God wished to be known, so He created the world (a Sufi mystical idea) and that everything in creation is an extension of the Divine Being – a projection, if you like.  Jesus taught that he came to show us how to be God in the world.  And this is true of all the great arhats.

Visnu-vakta Visnu Vakta means “the mouth of Visnu.  You will recall that Visnu is the Hindu god of preservation in the trinity.  So this means that all things are absorbed into Visnu, the cause who is SatCitAnanda.  The gross was absorbed into the subtle as we worked through the chakras.  Now, in the Sahasrara Padma, the subtle is absorbed into the causal. In other words,  matter dissolves into mind, and then mind into consciousness.  Now it is time to dissolve individual consciousness into the One Great, Cosmic Consciousness as we prepare to exit the Sahasrara Padma. Here, we dissolve the causal bodies (consciousnesses) into the Primordial Cause which is called Mahabindu.  Then the Mahabindu is absorbed in Citatma which is Brahma as Cit (Primordial Consciousness).  This leaves only the One.  From the standpoint of the individual, this means to realize that the little mind (Citta) is the discriminator and to absorb it into its Witness (Atma, or the Supreme One).

Facing the choice to take this final step, we are at the point of Dissolution.  


“Breaking through” is a term used by Govinda (1982) to refer to “the act of breaking through the confines of ego  into the universal state of the all-comprising essentiality (Vajrasattva)” (p, 198).  Here are annihilated the “I” and all ideas of selfhood, separateness, intellectual and rational thought.  What is left is intuition or intuitive knowledge and spontaneous feeling.  Buddhists see enlightenment from two different perspectives.  The first is a final, static condition of ultimate perfection, rest and harmony rather like Woodroffe’s description of Shiva.  The second is dynamic and is represented by the blood-drinking, terrifying deities that reflect the fears inherent in breaking through and the courage needed to persist in the face of those fears.  

Breaking through is an

           ecstatic thrust, all bonds, all worldly fetters, all prejudices and illusions are
            destroyed, all conventional concepts are swept away, all craving and clinging
            is cut off at the root,  past and future are extinguished, the power of karma is
            broken, and the Great Void is experienced as the eternal present and ultimate
            Reality and Suchness. (Govinda, 1982, p. 201)

It involves a “leap over the chasm that yawns between our intellectual surface-consciousness and the intuitive, supra-personal depth-consciousness (p. 201).  [Note: more information about these two systems can be found in Pearce (2004).]  The tool that is offered by the wrathful deities and symbolized by the blood is the knowledge principle.  Here we are referring to prajna or wisdom or direct knowledge that is afforded us by our intuition.  The starting point is the cognizing consciousness represented by the solar principle.  If I read this correctly, we are talking about the Universal Mind that is associated with Higher Consciousness.  It is one of the two parts of the Supreme Bindu.  We tune into this with our intuition.

The Supreme Knowledge-Holder is called the Lord of Dance because he is Lord of all that moves, the element of motion and the vehicle of Life, creative sound and spiritual unfoldment.  Note that here we have the second part of the Supreme Bindu: Life.  The Knowledge-holding deities are the last step before Breaking Through.  So we have Mind and Life as our elemental tools for transformation into the Absolute.

Roberts (1985) covers much of the same ground in her account of the endpoint.  She tells us that we must expect to lose our sense of self or self-consciousness, our intellect or reflexive mind, and our affective system.

Exercise: Breaking Through

In The Experience of No-self  (Roberts, 1985), read the Introduction and chapters 1-3 and see if her experience  resonates with you.  What does she mean by the “silence?”  What insight did she have about God?  What happened when the self disappeared?  What is the Great Flow?   What was the Seeing?  What was the “gathering of intensity” she experienced in the mountains and how would you react to it?

Secure a copy of The Cloud of Unknowing (Progoff,  1981) and begin to read it also.  Compare the author’s descriptions with those of Roberts.

The Great Passageway

In time I came to the edge of the void.  It was as if I stood on the brink of a bottomless chasm looking down into utter darkness.  And I knew I had to jump.  But I could not move.  In my terror, I sought Michael, my guardian angel.  He told me to sit on the threshold until I was ready and not to force myself.  

When I examined my fears, I found that I was afraid there would be no light, that I would be unconscious in the dark forever after death.  And that scared me too because I had never before been afraid of death.  But I had expected it to be a return to Love and Light.  Now this experience seemed to challenge that illusion.  By this time, I was absorbed in asamprajnata samadhi during meditation in which my experience was of complete nothingness.  I would sit for an hour and know nothing during that time as if I were completely unconscious.  It felt like deep sleep, but instead of the usual 90 minute interval of sleep which included dreaming, I would come to myself on the minute of the time I had allotted myself as if some inner clock  had sounded the “all-clear.”  No one that I knew could explain to me what was happening.

So I went looking for an explanation in books, my usual resource, and was able to identify the chasm as the Void.  This is the emptiness of space before time and life and mind.  It is the endless, open space out of which everything created arises.  It seemed analogous to the “Field” that spaciousness which contains the universe and which is, still, full of movement and activity.  I thought it worth trying to maintain my consciousness as I descended into the blackness of samadhi.  What occurred was I could detect something huge moving in that vast space.  It had no physical qualities but there was a felt sense of enormity.  There is a background “hum” in the universe of about 7 hertz that does not come from any known astral bodies.  Perhaps it was this “hum.”  

Some writers called it black space.  Others called it radiant darkness or dark light.  So, when I ran across these discussions, I figured that the reason I experienced darkness was because the light frequencies were too high for my human perceptual ability.  That meant I would need to raise my own bodily and mental frequencies if I wanted to see it.

While all this was going on, I was studying the Sahasrara Padma and dissolution.  I discovered that total absorption means a loss of all the parameters of being in the world.  If I went far enough, it meant loss of life and mind because they are defined by form and maya.   I faced the end of differentiation and separation and objectification as they were stages of creation.  There would be a loss of power consciousness and the mental activities associated with that.  A sense of union would also go as the circumference of the Supreme Bindu dissolved.  It meant that the Void was the ultimate destination.

At this point, I had what could be described as a breakthrough.  As I was sitting at my computer working, I suddenly realized that my consciousness was the God within, or rather that my consciousness is God’s consciousness.  This meant that God is living my life and the lives of everyone else on earth, and that perhaps that was the whole purpose of creation.  It could mean that we are all part of a process of universal evolution in which human beings are not yet fully formed or completed. This would certainly explain the variations in development of awareness that we see all around us.  Then maybe instead of our being cells in the body of God as Swami Radha suggested, we are working, creative thoughts in the mind of God, and maybe the "Field" is the mind of the Creator.   It follows that, because we are each a part of that whole, there is no room for critical judgment of others or ourselves.  

It was not long after this that I  recognized that what was true for consciousness was probably also true of mind, that my mind was a facet of the Universal Mind, intimately connected with it and able to tune into it.  This, I discovered, could be accomplished through judicious and careful use of intuition.  There was intuitive guidance, of which I had been aware for many years, which would warn me of impending danger or answer questions I had.  But this new insight proved to be a valuable tool for developing this guidebook.  When I got stuck, I could study and “program” my little mind to be receptive.  Then, at an opportune moment, usually when drifting off to sleep, I could pose the question again, and an instant answer would come that solved all the mysteries of that particular issue.  The answer, then, had to be translated into a form that could be communicated to others.  This is similar to a process developed by Margharita Laski and explained in The Biology of  Transcendence (Pearce, 2004, pp. 187-8).  I had used a variant of it in college when it was term paper time.

After these two insights, I found that my fears had mostly disappeared.  I was not going to lose my mind.  And my identity was Divine rather than self-conscious.  So I am not going to be unconscious in the dark.  

It has to be said that no two people are going to have the same experience traveling through the passageway.  The Cloud of Unknowing describes one, Roberts (1985) and Ruiz (transl. Nelson, 1997) tell about others.  Swami Radha used to say that adequate preparation, meaning purification, eases the transitions.  So, perhaps the trauma Roberts suffered came partly from lack of experiential knowledge on the part of her human guides.  Associated with the increasing information about spiritual emergency, her experience suggests that we need to take a closer look at people who are institutionalized because of loss of ego structures.  The current psychological zeitgeist defines lack of ego as psychotic and lack of boundaries as borderline.  So it might be prudent to be careful with whom you share your experiences of these uncommon domains.

Exercise: The Great Passageway

Begin reading Beyond Fear by San Miguel Ruiz (Nelson, 1997).  Pay particular attention to the passage through the snake and compare it to Robert’s transitions.  What do they have in common, and what do they say about the passageway?

Mind as Mirror/Emptiness

In many places, we have said that the mind serves as a mirror.  Seen as the circumference of the Supreme Bindu, it marks the boundary between existence as life and the void.  On one side is emptiness and on the other is form.  Tibetan Buddhism honors this dichotomy with its own deity: Aksobhya.

Mirrors reflect light as well as the images that are caught in the light. So if a mental mirror is turned toward creation, it will reflect the forms of which creation is made.  One the other hand, if it is turned toward the void, it will reflect emptiness.  We already know of the mind’s penchant for projection which is a reflection of something in me from someone else which I can then perceive “objectively.”  So let us assume that consciousness is the source of “light” and mind is the mirror.  We can use attention to direct the mind in any direction and to focus on something we wish to examine.  So, if I think about the world, that is what I will perceive.  And, if I cease to think, the void is what I will perceive.

The implication for practice is that if we want to exit the mind, we need to re-enter the reflection.  Or, to put it another way, we need to go into the light; or raise our level of consciousness.  Alternatively, we can learn how to focus the mind’s lenses to vary our experience.

Exercise: Emptiness

Begin to read The Essence of the Heart Sutra by the Dalai Lama (Gyatso, 2005).  This is the quintessential work on the nature of emptiness.  So, as you read, try to formulate a working definition of emptiness for yourself.  What is the form and emptiness interaction?  How does that relate to mind as mirror and what are the implications for practice?  Can you find any common ground with Almaas’ (1986) discussion of the Void?  In what ways are they talking about the same experiences?

Earlier, I mentioned feeling terror at the edge of the abyss.  And we talked about the Breaking Through experience.  Contemplation of the Void may cause a kind of fear that is worse than what we ordinarily experience because we are confronting a loss of who we think we are.  The ego, personality and intellect have been developed over the entire life span and our very idea of who we are depends upon constant reinforcement of our self-perceptions.  This is the job of the mind, so when the mind is silenced, we literally disappear.  If you have done enough meditation, you will have experienced this.  However, we come out of meditation and “normal” life continues with our self intact.  We may even have met our Witness Self.  Or we may have spent time getting acquainted with our souls.  The existence of the Void suggests to us that all that is going to be lost forever if not now, at least when we die.  So we repress and defend against any conscious awareness of that possibility, in order to function in the world.


Our first experience with the confrontation of loss of self comes at around 5 years of age when the ego reaches a level of maturity at which it can perceive the threat of engulfment by the dynamic ground as Washburn (1995) calls it.  The ego’s response is to generate repression of the overwhelming force of the Divine One, so it can establish itself in a position of control over the organism.  It sets boundaries to delineate who we are.  It creates an ego-identity that is coherent and stable, and it sets up a sense of individuality that separates us from every other person on earth.  And then it proceeds to defend that position to the death.  Fear of engulfment is a fear of loss of the separate self, and it is a powerful motivator.  Only a long period of self-examination can enable us to relax that vigilance, tune in to our personal essence and tolerate loss of boundaries.


A corollary fear is that of annihilation which means not only loss of life, but loss of personal essence, individuality, soul, consciousness, mind and existence itself.  In other words, not being.  Part of this is fear of loss of mind and/or insanity.  For me, this was a huge obstacle.  I just could not confront not being able to know: who I am, where I am, what is happening, etc.  We are able to perceive ourselves on many different levels: physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual, etc.  and there is a comforting thread of existence running through all these attitudes and qualities that stays the same no matter upon what part of ourselves we focus attention.  It is the loss of that thread of continuity we dread losing.

Death of God

We also fear that there may not be a Divine Being who created everything and who cares for us.  All of the images of heaven and a deity full of light and love reflect our need to return to the Source of our existence and being.  However, confronting the void raises a question: Is there really a God?  Or, if there is a God, does He really care about us?  Or, if He cares about us, why does He allow so much pain and suffering? Or She?  Unable to answer some of these questions satisfactorily, many people stop believing in a Divine Being.


Standing at the edge of the abyss, one thing becomes clearly apparent: I have to do this alone.  No one can help me.  The scriptures say that the last steps must be taken alone.  So it is essential that we come to terms with our basic aloneness.  I am not talking about loneliness.  We all need company from time to time.  This is an elemental solitude, a space in which there is no other person or soul.  There is no union, no light, no love, nor any other feeling except that of existential helplessness.  It puts us in touch with our actual lack of control over what happens to us.  


A deep sense of grief and sorrow comes over us at the potential loss of our lives.  It may feel like terminal hopelessness, as if nothing we have done had any purpose.  We wonder what was the point of incarnation at all.  We grieve the loss of our family and friends as well as lost opportunities because we recognize that there is no going back to the way things were before this moment.  Whatever happens, we will never be the same person again.  Our relationships, if they survive, will necessarily be different because we shall be different.

Loss of Consciousness

We have mentioned this, but it goes to the marrow at this point.  If we lose consciousness, there can be no awareness of anything at all, nothing happening, no one, no place, just the void in its limitless expanse.  It threatens not being, non-existence; that engulfment and annihilation mentioned above.  And this seems to be what must be tested in order to continue the journey.

Exercise: Essence of the Heart Sutra

Continue reading The Essence of the Heart Sutra by the Dalai Lama (Gyatso, 2005).  What are the four seals of existence?  What is the basic wisdom of the Prajnaparamita of which the Heart Sutra is the core?  How does the Buddhist concept of emptiness speak to our fears?  And what is the distinction between self and no-self?

Continue reading Beyond Fear by Don Miguel Ruiz (Nelson, 1997).  What is his explanation for the fear we experience at the threshold of transformation?  Compare his ideas about evil and the parasite with Pearce’s (2004) “Anatomy of Evil” in Part II of  The Biology of Transcendence.  How do the four masteries help us to go back Home?  Compare Ruiz’s ideas about emotions to Robert’s report of loss of the entire affective system.  Does shifting the Assemblage Point resemble any of Robert’s experiences in developing silent mind?  How does controlling the dream speak to our fears?

It is important to realize that what is at stake here is not physical existence though that has its own level of importance.  What is being tested is whether we are able to sacrifice our very perceived existence in order to become more conscious of our identity with the Whole.  It is a crisis of consciousness.  Can I become aware of More?  Is it worth the sacrifice of my ego, personality, intellect and soul?  Can I deliberately step into the mouth of God?  Can I risk assimilation?


No-self is not God; rather, it is the gap between self and God, and the gateway to what is not only beyond the self, but beyond no-self as well.  – Roberts, 1985, p. 95

Vis a vis annihilation, let us look at no-self, what it would be like to not exist in the manner to which we have become accustomed.  What is it like to be nothing, to have no ego, no personality, no thinking mind, no affective system, no center, as Roberts (1985) describes it?  And is that a useful question, or are we merely discussing what we are conscious of?  If there is no self, who is conscious or who can be conscious?

Buddhists declare there is no self, there is only consciousness.  Consciousness just is.  All of the characteristics mentioned above as being in jeopardy are only mental creations.  And, in fact, if we had a powerful enough microscope with which to examine ourselves and the world, it would all disappear into quarks and particles: positive and negative bits of energy.  So we only exist by virtue of some organizing principle that arranges these particles into some kind of temporary order.  Objectively speaking, we do not exist as solid, or even mental, objects.  So maybe there is something to this idea of emptiness with vibration of which Light, Love and Life are only curious variations.

Here, I think, is where we come to the edge of the abyss which could be redefined as the brink of unknowing.  We really do not know how the system works in spite of all the research.  Yet, still, we feel there is something there, there is a tenacious order in what we can perceive out there and within ourselves.  And, although there is constant change, it is orderly and grandiose.

We feel our existence.  It is not any of the definitions we have reviewed but beyond them.  Still, we are here, present.  We are presences that can relate to each other and, hopefully, to a creator.  We also feel the presence of an Other, a stable, higher-order Being whom we would like to know better and be able to trust.  So, intuitively, we decline the concept of no-self in favor of Beingness or the Absolute, the Divine One, Universal Reality or some such entity who is more powerful than ourselves.  What we cannot deny, apparently, is the need to traverse the terrain of no-self in order to make direct contact with this higher power.

What Is

What Is is not the personal god experienced in union or unity, but the space beyond that contains it and us.  We can project that What Is  must be conscious and intelligent since It created consciousness and intelligent human beings – relatively speaking, of course.  As Swami Radha said, “the Power that has created the eye can see” (Radha, 1978, p. 131).  Interestingly, Roberts (1985) calls It the “Eye” in one of her initial encounters with It.  She also describes vibratory feeling tones in experiences that terrified her enroute to that discovery.  In the end, what she discovers can only be called “What Is” because It cannot be known by our minds or consciousnesses but only through absorption in or identification with It.  The prerequisite for that is no-self.

However, it seems to me that no-self need not mean absolute destruction of our habitual self-perceptions, but rather an expansion of identity, a kind of reversal in self-definition in order to see ourselves as the Divine One trying to lead individual lives within a whole new set of parameters in a world that is really only dancing ions; cf. Shiva as Lord of the Dance.  The familiar assets of life are still there along with the usual habits of mind and behavior when we choose to engage them.  But we are now privy to a whole new zeitgeist of experience, the door to which is expanded consciousness and a new tuning knob on the mental satelite dish.

Thus, there would seem to be an unlimited opportunity and depth  for exploration in this new dimension that is limited only by our willingness to proceed.

Exercise: What Is

Read chapter 6 and the rest of Part I in The Experience of No-self.  What was the smile?  And how would it relate to the triad of knowing, seeing, and doing?  What is “What Is” and how can it be known?  What is the silent mind and how does it differ from the ordinary everyday mind?  Compare silent mind with silent knowledge in Ruiz’s Beyond Fear (Nelson, 1999).  What happened to Robert’s  body?  her memory?  Under what circumstances can truth reveal itself?  Outline the summary pages, and add your own comments and experiences to them.  Pay particular attention to the section on Silent Mind.  Make a list of the characteristics of “silent mind” and notice what distinguishes it from “blank mind.”  How do these relate to no-self?  Compare “What Is” with “Beingness as explained in The Power of Now (Tolle, 1999)


Resurrection means to “rise again” though not always from the dead though that is the usual association we may make.  It can also mean to bring back from a lost place or to revive.  The term is used here to indicate the end of the passageway or transition through the mouth of Visnu.  It can be defined as Self-liberation or just Liberation.  Sometimes it is called Self-Realization which means that we finally recognize our divinity and identity with the Divine One.  Pearce (2004) calls it a “fall into grace.”  Norbu (1996) calls it “Rig Pa” which means the “intuitive and direct knowledge of the primordial condition, maintained as a living presence” (p. 136).  Jesus’ resurrection has the same meaning: that we have come through the shadow of death, analogous to the passageway, and survived on a higher plane of existence.  It differs from ascension in that the individual is still in a body and able to function in the world.  However, there has also been a change in appearance of the physical body.  It is now full of light.


When the bodymind is purified to a certain point at which the veils of conditioning are largely removed, it is possible for the soul’s natural light to become noticeable.  This may be experienced as a shiny countenance or may actually be seen as light emanating from the body or as an aura around the head or body.  In addition, the person may also become able to detect light in other people who may not be as far along developmentally as well as in those who are.  We may also begin to be able to detect light in the environment where there was apparently none before such as around trees, mountains and bodies of water.  Or we may begin to be able to see the colors in other people’s auras.  Everyone has a light body, and it radiates.  Being able to see it may be why this stage of development is called enlightenment.

I remember one night when I was living at the Ashram seeing my own light.  I had gone to bed, the lights were out and it was fully dark.  I looked down and could see light flowing out of my hands and fingers.  At other times, I could see the light flowing out of other people especially Swami Radha.  On one occasion when she was giving a talk on love, the whole room filled up with golden light.  Once, I was attending a weekend retreat with Pir Vilayat Khan at The Abode of the Message.  His light and that which he created in the group was astounding!  He had the ability to enable others to see the natural radiation in all of nature and in each other.

Light is one of the manifestations of Sambhogakaya.  There are three: 1) light as the visible aspect of energy before assuming any form,  2) sound perceived as mantra, and 3) rays which manifest all the forms and colors of the mandala of the divinity. The “Great Transference into the Body of Light” is a transmission that “involves the transference or reabsorption, without a physical death, of the material body into the luminous essence of the elements, in the course of which realization the physical body disappears from the sight of ordinary beings” (Norbu,1996, p. 61).  If this is not experienced during life, it can be after death.  

Exercise: Light and Ecstasy

Secure a copy of Light and Ecstasy by Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan (1998) if you do not already have one and enjoy his accounts of experiences with light.  The book was published by the Sufi Order International and would probably be available through their website.

Practice: Divine Light Invocation

See Appendix A.

Under the circumstances we have been describing, one can feel very fragile and alone.  The new experiences, if shared with others who are not at a similar stage of development, can result in rejection or avoidance because they are so much like psychopathology.  Therefore, it is important to seek out a group or community of like-minded souls with whom you can share your journey.  Monasteries, convents and ashrams were set up for the purpose of providing shelter and support to disciples of the master who founded the community.  Many, if not most, people  who live in those places for a while tend to stay there and give service to others who come for teaching and training.

If such a community life is not practical for you, there is a possibility for meeting compatible friends at workshops and trainings that are given at various places.  These can be spiritual communities as described above or just conference centers who specialize in spiritual training such as Omega Institute, The Abode of the Message, and Kripalu.  Most of these places have websites and you could find them by searching for “spiritual communities.”  Many of the conference centers offer certificates and in-service credits in the areas of training.

It is now possible to study spiritual development for an advanced degree at various institutes and universities that have been accredited for that purpose.  The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology has a complete program up through the PhD level.  Naropa University also awards advanced degrees including one in Contemplative Psychotherapy.  The California Institute of Integral Studies and the John F. Kennedy Institute in California offer advanced degrees.  And many other univer-sities offer programs in transpersonal studies while not yet specializing in them.

If you feel drawn to do intensive inner work with the guidance of a teacher, I suggest the Diamond Heart work or Sufi Retreats.  The teaching I received at the Ashram was this kind of self-examination.  It is life-changing!

On the inner planes, you may seek out the guidance of either Spirit or your guardian angel through meditation.  Over time, a dialogue can develop during which you may ask questions and be instructed.

Your own Higher Self or Witness Self is also a support since It does not respond to events in the world with emotionality but is an objective observer.  It can be a very valuable  resource when you are trying to discriminate among projections: yours and those of others.  It also serves as a stable “ground” since it does not change in the face of outside stimulation.

Your soul, too, is a guide since it knows where it is going and what your life is meant to achieve.  Its feedback comes to you as the finer feelings.  It may be blocked in its self-expression by the ego who can be threatened by its proclivities.  In fact, an ego-soul conflict or confrontation is not at all unusual.  In our culture, the soul is usually the loser in any such contest.

In the end, Liberation is Self-Liberation because only you are privy to your inner workings.  And, at the higher levels, as we have said before, one must proceed alone on the causal plane.

Implications for Practice

In this section, I want to do two things: review the dissolution process and suggest some practices.  The Visnu Vakta is the threshold of dissolution, so it is here that we need to investigate what it requires.

The Dissolution Process

You will remember that the dissolution process is a reversal of the whole creative action.  And we have been systematically retracing those steps throughout this entire guidebook.  So let me review in summary what we have learned.  Then we will see what implications that has for the return journey.  A pattern does emerge from the confusion.

Please turn to or print out Tables 8-10.

Table 8. Creation

Note that these symbols do not match exactly what we have been using, but they give a better sense of the action. Table 8. Creation shows the progession of consciousness development on the causal plane.  The essential process is a distillation of what happens at each level.

Now look what happens when we reverse the process to examine dissolution.  Read up the right column for the essential process of that realm.  Each lower one gets dissolved into the next highest one. Now, please look at Table 9 for some implications for practice.  You may find it helpful to print the tables out for ease in processing.

Table 9. Creation Triads

[Note: The dotted lines with arrows should be seen as zigzagging all the way down the chart such that the Nature at one level becomes the Essence at the next level down.  Then the horizontal dotted lines with arrows indicate the triads. The vertical arrows indicate the creative progression shown on Table 8. for comparison]

You will remember Norbu’s (1996, p. 53) description of the three aspects of the void or the three primordial wisdoms:  Essence, Energy and Nature.  Essence is the base or pure condition and the basis of all manifestations in the universe.  This is analogous to Presence or that which takes the initiative.  Energy is the process of manifestation or projection of the original qualities of the essence, i.e., the light of the primordial state.  This is the movement aspect of the triad.  Nature is the more concrete manifestation of the primordial state in all its aspects, or we could think of it as the result of the creative movements of the initiator.  Norbu goes on to say that these three characteristics of the void correspond in the path to three aspects of the nature of the mind: presence, movement and calm states.  Finally Norbu compares these three dimensions as fruits of realization: Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya respectively.  [Note that the base, path and fruit are another similar and relevant triad.]  In the individual, these three aspects take the forms of mind, voice and body which may give you a more grounded point of departure.


Now, the leap I am going to take is to suggest that these three forms or aspects of the void provide the working formula for creation and dissolution.  We have seen their pervasiveness throughout this series of guidebooks, so it is apparent that they are critical forms.  If you will examine Table 9. Creation Triads, you will find  the causal planes again along with the triad that seems most logical to carry out each level of activity.  You will notice that the “Essence” and the “Nature” columns contain the same concepts juxtaposed to show a continuity of the movement which is found in the “Energy/Movement” column.  What this means is that the Nature or manifestation of one plane becomes the Essence of the succeeding one.  Therefore, each level becomes more dense or differentiated as we go down the scale until physical forms finally appear.  [I have not shown all the arrows of direction in the Tables  but you may visualize them as a series of “Zs” rather than the simple vertical dimension in my diagram.]    

Note: Nature does mean manifestation, but, in this case, we must think of it as increasing levels of differentiation in the realm of consciousness because in the causal plane everything that happens is occurring only in consciousness, not in the physical or mental worlds.  We could rework the table to indicate  more concrete effects in the Nature category such as Vision producing Light and Love or Unity becoming Mind and Life.  This would not be wrong, but it would not show the process quite as clearly.


If you look at Table 10. Dissolution, you will see that the only change is in the direction of the arrows and the type of Energy or Movement.  The parentheses indicate the Creation, Energy Movement in the creative direction.  But here we are not creating the world, we are making it disappear.  So the movement must be the opposite of the creative actions.  Here is where we may find more implications for practice.  Some ideas follow.  Notice that you may enter the chart at any point depending upon your own level of development.  However, you are urged to make sure that you have done the preliminary work before continuing on.  If the foundation is not secure, the whole edifice will tumble.  So let us see if there is any useful material here.

Table 10. Dissolution Triads

Practices: Dissolution

The following ideas are based on the interactions between the causal plane and the associated triads of each one.  I suggest  you take each plane as a practice over a period of time to give you a chance to apply the processes to your own development.  You might want to sit with the main idea first, then journal your reactions.  After that, sit with the questions and/or make up your own.  Then journal your thoughts about them.  Finally, it helps to write a self-reflective paper about the whole process and what you learned from it.  Remember that the act of writing bridges the two hemispheres, and it also enables the left hemisphere to share in the direct knowledge of the right one.

1.  A-Ka-Tha.  Here all creation is destroyed in consciousness which means we are not aware of it at all as in samadhi.  Only the potential form is left.  But we can come back to it when we disengage from meditation.  That is the condition of asamprajnata samadhi.  For reflection, you might look at the forms of your external and internal life.  Externally, that could mean what roles you play, what kind of job do you have, with whom are you in relationship, etc.  Internally, you could look at your inner life.  What are your hopes and dreams?  Your fears?  Your thoughts, and how well can you control them?  How is your health?

2.  Kamakala.  Here form decomposes into its essence, archetype or tattva.  There is still a pattern present.  You might learn to perceive the essence of things around you.  For example, what exactly is the essence of trees, i.e., what is treeness?  Look for archetypal patterns.  What are the underlying unities?  Think about will/feeling, knowing and doing:  each by itself, then each separately.  And what do they have in common that makes them essences?  On the personal level, ask yourself what you do best, who you really are, what makes you unique.  What is your essence?  What is the gift with which you came into a body?  Look at the patterns behind the forms you worked with at the A-Ka-Tha level.  Do you see any archetypes?  Are you an ingenue, a wise old lady, a priest, an introvert, or what archetype(s) do you follow?  Jung’s (Keirsey & Bates, 1978) typology could be used as a step toward identifying personal archetypes.

3.  Mahanada.  This is where intentional vibration stops.  So the essences of things must be withdrawn into mere intention or will. You might look at the triadic pattern itself.  Ask, how do triads emerge from intention?  Examine the triadic process and relate it to your life.  What do feeling, knowing and doing mean to you: separately and together?  Are they in balance?  If not, what needs to happen?  Try to withdraw the knowing and doing of your life into will, then into finer feelings such as love. Can you subject your ego’s will to Divine Will?   How can you surrender your individual will to Spiritual Will? With respect to intention, what do you intend to create? You could ask what is the purpose of your life, for what reason did you incarnate?  Stilling the vibrations of consciousness would mean to quiet the mind and bring silence and solitude into our lives.  Can you spend a day or more in silence without talking?  Do you allow yourself the solitude you need to avoid stress and to restore  your sanity?

4.  Vyapika.  Here, intention or will is internalized into the original vision or “seeing.”  Can you visualize the purpose of your life as your soul might have conceived it before you were born?  Since Light is one of the outcomes of this level of creation, you might try to dissolve the will or your intentions in Light.  Use the Divine Light Invocation to do this.  Focus will on the One.  Seek Divine Will and delete self-will.  Iccha means “desire” which translates into either will or feeling. So you could try to shift attention from wanting to pure energy.  Instead of thinking about what you want, ask what God wants from your life.  You could ask,  how do I see my life?  How does the Divine One see my life?  What are my future options?  Do you have access to your intuitive mind?  If so, for what do you use it?  Since this is the level of radiation, you might ask what kind of energy do you radiate as you go about your daily life.  And, since one of the products is bliss, can you see love in all beings?  If not, what are the obstacles to that?  And, since light symbolizes the truth, are you always honest?  What are the important truths for your life?

5.  Samana.  Here vision must be consolidated into duality.  You will recall that the particular duality is mind and life.  So we could bring the Light of Vyapika to both the Mind and to Life.  To do that, focus Light on your projections.  Bring Light to mind.  Dissolve small mind in Universal Mind.  Focus attention on Life as a whole.  Forget small self and absorb it in Life as a whole: how could you give your life in service to the One, for instance?  What is the relationship between mind and life, and how do they interact?  What do you think about life?  How have your thoughts created the life you now have? What is your life about?  What do you focus attention on?  How does your life influence your thoughts? your mind?  For what purposes do you use your mind and life?  What are the interactions between light, life and love in your life?

6.  Unmani.  At this point, all activities, perceptions and movements are collected into unity.  Mind and Life become inseparable.   You need to learn how to withdraw all of your projections into Consciousness.  That means you become aware of all projections and differentiations: withdraw all separateness into Unity.  Dissolve the mind and your life into Consciousness.  This means that you give your conscious awareness the power over all aspects of your mind and life, not that you are going to die.   Ask  yourself, what is your relationship, if you have one, with the Creator?  Are all parts of yourself in harmony and balance?  What is the role of your Witness Self and are you in touch with it?  What do you know about your soul, and what do you think and feel about it?  Are your ego and soul in conflict or have they resolved their issues?  How are mind and life alike?

7.  Void.  This is the final step into Dharma Megha Samadhi.  Liberation.  All perceptions, relationships and identifications disappear into Cosmic Consciousness.  Consciousness is the primal force.  If you let it guide your life, there is no end to the possibilities for growth and bliss.  So what restricts or intimidates your consciousness? What experience, if any, have you had of Cosmic Consciousness?  What veils over it are still present and what do you plan to do about them?

In summary, transcendence or dissolution may consist of combining Energy and Nature to achieve Essence.  Then finding the quality of the next highest level into which to absorb this triad.  To do this, we need to withdraw projections as follows:

1.  Manifested universe into the essence of form and will.
2.  All of our feeling, knowing and doing into Spiritual Will toward intention.
3.  Intention, vibration and Spiritual Will into vision of the Divine One or into Light.
4.  Vision of the Divine One, seeing, insight and intuition into Light, Life and Love.
5.  Light, Life and Love into absorption/contemplation.
6.  Separation and aloneness, differentiation/projection and dualism into Unity Consciousness or         Union with the Divine One.
7.  Unity consciousness into Cosmic Consciousness.

Eight Rungs of Yoga

There is yet another set of practices that are most likely meant just for the seven planes of the causal plane.  The Eight Rungs of Yoga, you will recall, is a series of Yogic practices that gradually take you to samadhi.  A quick summary of these practices can be found in the Ashtanga Yoga Primer  by Baba Hari Dass (1981) if it is still in print.  Raja Yoga by Swami Vivekananda (1976) or the Taimni (1975) book explain the larger picture.  Let us see how they might fit.

1.  A-Ka-Tha triangle.  The first practices are the yamas and niyamas that are the observances and abstinences.   We met those in Book I, and you can find the details there.  As a reminder, they are used primarily to purify and clarify the ego and personality.  So they would speak directly to your daily life in all its aspects.

2.  Kamakala.  Hatha Yoga comes next, and you might find it difficult to imagine how that would relate to the tattvas or archetypes.  The main purpose of Hatha Yoga is to bring the mind and body together through focusing on the breath while holding a posture.  These  practices will eventually put you in touch with your essence since they involve prana directly via the breath.

3.  Mahanada.  Pranayama is next.  It relates to intention and will because it will put you in touch with your vital power.  We use the breath and our life’s vitality to carry out our intentions or to manifest our wills.  Breath and prana are the power behind all we can do.

4.  Vyapika.  Pratyahara is the practice that helps us to close down our sensory mechanisms in order to join the inner life. So it enables us to focus attention on intuition and our spiritual energies.  When we do this, we can experience SatCitAnanda.  Over time, pratyahara will put you in touch with the Divine Light.

5.  Samana.  Concentration speaks directly to Samana since it narrows the field of attention to oneself and the object of focus.  So concentration is a tool to focus the mind which is one of the pair in this place.  It could also be used to focus one’s life when appropriate.  Usually the object of the focus is the Divine One, in which case,  we would be talking about devotion, Bhakti Yoga or worship.

6. Unmani.  Meditation enables us to become one with the object of concentration.  So, it would seem, it can bring us into direct contact with the Divine One also known as Citatma or Brahman or God.

7.  Void.  Contemplation, also called samadhi, is the practice that eventually results in experience of the void or identity with the One.  

“Samadhi is the Void itself” (Woodroffe, 1978, p. 468).

For more details and information about how the Eight Rungs of Yoga accomplish these goals, please see The Patanjali Sutras.  I think The Science of Yoga by Taimni (1975) is the most lucid translation and commentary.

Complementary Practices

Most of these will simply be a continuation of what has gone before.  The real work is suggested by Table 10. Dissolution Triads.  But the following may offer some support for those processes.

Meditation is the basic practice.

Contemplation:  See The Cloud of Unknowing for new ideas on how to do this.

Cultivate Virtues.  These are not new either but bear repeating since they are germane to what is happening at this level.  For an extensive list of spiritual virtues, see al-Asmā’ul-Husnā: The 99 Beautiful Names of Allah by Muhaiyadeen (1997) or the qualities being developed in The Pearl Beyond Price by Almaas (1990) or the Holy Ideas in Facets of Unity also by Almaas (2002) which you may already have in your collection.  You can make your own list, of course.

Patience is a must because the process takes time and cannot be rushed.  In addition, the process is being supervised by a higher power and, therefore, is not under our control.  You can practice patience everywhere, while standing in line for instance or waiting for a special phone call or when your children or spouse are being difficult.

Humility is essential for the same reasons.  Ego is being put out of business and may be expected to resist vehemently.  Humility is one way to train it.  My practice is to try not to talk about what I know.  It could be interesting to try to give some service without anyone else knowing about it.

Silence is another discipline that is much needed in our society.  Because so many of us are extraverts, talk has become a medium of contact whether it is conveying any important information or not.  To not talk, opens up other avenues of communication some of which are quite delightful.  Silence also gives you exquisite insights into your own mind.

Trust may be the most difficult achievement because the Power working here is not embodied, and we must have faith that what is happening is benevolent.  If you are a member of the older generation, you may have had traumatic experiences with lack of trust and/or bonding as an infant which will make this issue particularly difficult.

Acceptance of What Is must occur because there is no alternative.  Any resistance just makes the passage more difficult and painful.  This is our surrender practice again.  When you catch yourself resisting doing something or listening to someone else’s advice or you feel critical or judgmental, use that insight to discover what obstacles get in the way of your ability to surrender.

Surrender mind because it gets in the way.  Here we are talking about the small mind that becomes an obstacle.  The silent mind is a different entity.  Also no-self requires the surrender of mind.

Purification Practices

These come from Kundalini Vidya by Harrigan (2002).  The Shuddha beha purifies the physical system.  The Pranava beha improves brain function.  And Jnana beha refines higher intelligence.  There are other very beneficial practices in Harrigan’s book, but you may find them yourself, so I will not outline them here.  See also Kundalini: Yoga for the West by Swami Radha (1978) which organizes practices to align with the chakra system.

Here we come to the end of the Visnu Vakta discussion and are prepared for the Candra Mandala.  We have looked at the void as emptiness and darkness as well as the Great Passageway between our causal body and the final outcome.  There are fears of non-existence to be overcome as well as a transition through no-self in order to come to What Is.  At the end of the passage, transfiguration may occur which is a revelation of the Light within.  Implications for practice include an understanding of the dissolution process and its relationships to the triads.

In Unit IX. Candra mandala, we will look at the endpoint where we achieve eternal existence, cosmic consciousness and Light.  This is complete Liberation and includes cessation of suffering.


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