Showing posts with label Occult. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Occult. Show all posts



Philosophy taught from a physical standpoint might be seen as problematic. 

Philosophy has been associated with components of religion or else as something that has more to do with debate than demonstration in the modern yoga studio context. 

It's a good idea to start by examining the differences between religion and philosophy. 

Religions assume the presence of supernatural places, entities, and powers; religion claims the existence of supernatural things (Stark and Bainbridge 1985, 3). 

Belief in these supernatural beings does not have to be shown, and it may defy evidence. 

In contrast, one of the objectives of philosophy is that tenets be rationally deduced and the method by which it arrives at conclusions be provable. 

David Lewis-Williams and David Pearce develop a practical paradigm for explaining religion that, in many respects, is similar to a yoga explanation. 

Experience, belief, and practice are three mutually supportive components to explore. 

They claim that "religious experience is a series of mental states formed by the functioning of the human brain under natural and induced situations," and that individuals interpret these experiences as "kind of touch with otherworldly, but very real, worlds... 

"In the first instance, religious belief arises from efforts to codify this experience in particular social settings" (Lewis-Williams and Pearce 2005, 25–27). 

Beliefs give religious experience significance. 

The way beliefs are expressed — the specific rituals and symbology of the community in which they occur – is referred to as religious practice. 

These rituals are intended to guide individuals into religious experiences and to help them express their views. 

People may, for example, believe in the existence of a heaven and hell by visiting church on Sundays or that spiritual insight may be gained by taking a yoga class once a week. 

Because those in attendance share similar beliefs, the mystical experience is intensified and supported, and symbolism and rituals (an Om sign on the studio entrance; a cross on the church – kneeling to pray or putting the hands into namaste) are reinforced. 

Even if the most intense mystical experiences in religion and yoga are uncommon, these beliefs and practices give them legitimacy. 

Religion, on the other hand, gives definitive solutions, frequently backed up by a canon of written or oral scriptures, to challenging issues to which it presents hypothetical possibilities. 

Philosophers develop and test hypotheses in order to improve, disprove, or reify their subject's knowledge. 

Philosophical assumptions are evaluated by experience in physical yoga, and results are susceptible to change. 

The uniqueness of each experience is emphasized when the conditions of a yoga pose vary from day to day. 

The practitioner seeks to extrapolate – both about the uniqueness of the bodily experience and what this could entail – by constant exploration. 

Although Yoga has been put in a religious framework in previous assessments, there is nothing in yoga practice that requires believing in supernatural entities or that the supernatural exist (Eliade 1958, 363). 

While yoga and its physical philosophy share certain religious characteristics, such as references to heavenly or supernatural creatures, these are culturally particular (theistic) interpretations that are unimportant to the study of yoga and its physical philosophy (Jakubczak 2014). 

This is not to argue that religious ideas are unimportant to those who possess them; on the contrary, religious beliefs may help contextualize what a person experiences via yoga.

References & Further Reading: 

Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, Sri Srimad and Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, Pure Bhakti: Bhajana-rahasya, 2nd Edition. New Delhi: Gaudiya Vedanta Publications, 2015.

Birch, Jason. “The proliferation of asana-s in late-medieval yoga texts.” In Yoga and transformation historical and contemporary perspectives, edited by Karl Baier, Philipp A. Maas, and Karin Preisendanz, 101–180. Vienna: Vienna University Press, 2018.

Coomaraswamy, Ananda K. The dance of Siva: essays on Indian art and culture.
New York: Dover, 1985.

Cooper, David E. “Introduction.” In Aesthetics: the classic readings, edited by David E. Cooper, 1–10. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1997.

Eliade, Mircea. Yoga immortality and freedom, translated by Willard R. Trask. 
Princeton: Bollingen Foundation, Princeton University Press, 1958.

Herbermann, Charles, ed. “The Absolute.” In Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1913.

Jakubczak, Marzenna. “The purpose of non-theistic devotion in the classical Indian tradition of Sāmkhya-Yoga.” Argument, vol. 4 (January, 2014): 55–68.

Jaspers, Karl. The origin and goal of history, translated by Michael Bullock. London: Routledge, 1955.

Johnson, Williams J., translator. The Bhagavad Gita. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Lewis-Williams, David and David Pearce. Inside the neolithic mind. London: Thames and Hudson, 2005.

Mallinson, James and Mark Singleton. Roots of yoga. New York: Penguin Books, 2017.

McGilchrist, Iain. The master and his emissary: the divided brain and the making of the Western world. New Haven: Yale, 2009.

Rama, Swami. The science of breath. Delhi: The Himalayan Institute Press, 1979.

Rama, Swami. Sacred journey: living purposefully and dying gracefully. Delhi: Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust, 2002.

Rees, Martin. Our cosmic habitat. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001.

Sinh, Pancham. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika: Sanskrit text with English translation. New 
Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1915.

Sinha, Phulgenda. The Gita as it was: rediscovering the original Bhagavad Gita. LaSalle: Open Court, 1986.

Stark, Rodney and William Sims Bainbridge. The future of religion. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.

Tarnas, Richard. The passion of the Western mind: understanding the ideas that have shaped our world view. London: Pimlico, 1991.

Vasu, Rai Bahadur Srisa Chandra, translators. Siva Samhita. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1914–15.

Mediumship and Psychic Mediums


Mediums, unique individuals considered to be especially open to the subtler realities of the world and therefore particularly capable of interacting with spirit beings, have historically been central to the Spiritualist movement. “A Spiritualist is one who believes, as the foundation of his or her faith, in the communication between this and the spirit world through mediumship, and who endeavors to mold his or her character and actions in conformity with the highest teachings devised by such communion,” the National Spiritualist Association of Churches declares in its Declaration of Principles.

The radio, which operates by receiving waves of energy that vibrate at different frequencies, has been used to explain mediumship. As a result, a medium was described as someone who was receptive to the spirit world's higher vibrations. As a result, mediums may function as a conduit for spirits that spoke with or through them. Any mediums relayed material they perceived from their interaction with the spirit world while in a slightly disturbed state of consciousness.

Others worked in a deep coma, allowing what they thought were spirit beings to gain hold of their bodies and communicate through their vocal cords. When trance mediums went into trance, it was normal for one or more control spirits to arise first, then serve as master of ceremonies for other spirits to appear and communicate.

AUTOMATIC WRITING is a type of mediumship in which the medium allows the spirit agent to regulate his or her motor activity to write messages with pen and paper. Spiritualism arose from the very primitive mediumship of the young Fox sisters, Kate and Margaret, who encountered rappings in their home, but the trend advanced quickly with Andrew Jackson Davis' full-trance mediumship.

He not only served as a conduit for people to collect fleeting messages from departed loved ones, but he also provided extensive treatises on divine teachings from reputedly advanced spirit beings, a phenomenon now known as channeling. Materialization was a particularly contentious concept applied to mediums.

During the last decades of the nineteenth century, scores of mediums appeared, claiming to be able to not only interact with the deceased, but also to enable them to manifest in a ghostly state for a fleeting period. Mediums mediated several tangible embodiments of ghosts, including the materialization of spirit beings at small meetings for spirit contact known as séances.

Other mediums, for example, used cameras to photograph those that visited them. Mediums can also perform a series of “impossible” physical feats, such as the levitation of items held in the séance room's core or the teleportation of tiny objects from other places to the séance room.

Overwhelmingly, the physical phenomena associated with mediumship has been shown to have been produced by fraud, a fact that has called appropriate reprobation on the movement. Today, with few exceptions, Spiritualism has been content to fall back on the basic verbal communications from the spirit world that gave the movement birth. Mediumship is a phenomenon by no means limited to the Spiritualist movement. Analogous religious functionaries, special people who have access to information and contact with different spirit entities, operate in a variety of religious traditions, and include shamans from indigenous religions and those who speak with angels in modern Christian churches.

Mediumship itself expanded in the last generation because of the New Age movement. Spiritualists did not positively relate to the New Age movement, but integral to the New Age were channelers. Through the 1980s literally thousands of channelers emerged, offering New Age believers the information they received from a variety of spiritual beings. That Spiritualism tended to distance itself from the New Age accounts in large part for its lack of growth while related movements were rapidly expanding during the 1980s and 1990s.

The majority of the physical manifestations associated with mediumship have been shown to be the product of deception and has brought appropriate condemnation upon the movement as a whole. Spiritualism has been content, with few exceptions, to rely on the simple verbal messages from the spirit world that gave rise to the movement. The phenomenon of mediumship is not confined to the Spiritualist movement. Similar ritual functionaries, such as shamans from indigenous faiths and others who communicate with angels in western churches, practice in several religious practices and have access to wisdom and communication with various spirit beings.

Astral Senses


The crass person who adopts the cheap cynical approach toward occult matters, which he reveals in his would-be "wise" comment that he "believes only in what his senses perceive," is well-known to the student of occultism. 
He seems to conclude that his cheap wit has put an end to the situation, implying that the occultist is a credulous, "simple" guy who believes in the presence of objects that defy the facts of the senses.

While the opinion or beliefs of people in this class are obviously unimportant to any genuine student of occultism, their mental mindset is worth noting insofar as it acts as an object lesson in the childlike attitude of the ordinary so-called "practical" individual when it comes to the matter of the facts of the senses. These ostensibly practical people have a lot to say about their senses.

They want to talk about "the facts of my senses." They still talk a lot about possessing "solid sense" and "sound common sense," and they often boast about having "horse sense," which they seem to think is an asset. Except, alas, for the greed of this group of people. They are often seen to be very credulous in matters outside of their ordinary work and thinking, following without doubt the most ludicrous teachings and dogmas given to them by the voice of some supposed authority, while scoffing at some sophisticated instruction that their minds are incapable of comprehending.

Anything that looks out of the ordinary to them is considered "flighty," and deficient in their cherished "horse sense." However, I have no intention of devoting time to these meaningless half-penny brains. I've included them to draw your attention to the fact that the concepts of "meaning" and "senses" are very closely linked in the minds of many people. They treat all awareness and wisdom as "meaning," with all such sense deriving directly from their five senses.

They almost entirely disregard the mind's intuitional stages and are oblivious of many of the higher thought mechanisms. Such people believe what their senses tell them to be so. They believe it is heresy to doubt a sensory analysis. "It almost makes me question my senses," one of their favorite lines goes. They are oblivious to the fact that their senses are, at best, faulty devices, and that the mind is continually engaged in correcting the erroneous reports of the usual five senses.

Not to mention the widespread occurrence of color blindness, in which one color seems to be another, our perceptions are far from precise. We can be led to believe that we smell or taste things that don't exist, and hypnotic subjects can be led to believe that they see things that don't exist except in the person's imagination. The well-known experiment of crossing one's first two fingers and positioning them on a small point, such as a pea or the tip of a lead pencil, demonstrates how "mixed" one's sense of feeling can get.

The several well-known examples of optical illusions illustrate that even our keen eyes may be deceived—every conjuror knows how simple it is to deceive the eye with persuasion and misleading gestures. The most well-known example of erroneous sense-reports is that of the earth's rotation. The world is a set, immovable entity, and the sun, moon, planets, and stars pass through it every twenty-four hours, according to a person's senses.

Only when one accepts the reasoning faculties' reports does one realize that the earth not only spins on its axis every twenty-four hours, but also circles around the sun every three hundred and sixty-five days; and that the sun, carrying the earth and other planets, moves around space, moving toward or through some unknown point far away.

If there is one sense report that seems to be without doubt or challenge, it is this basic sense report of the fixedness of the planet under our feet and the motions of the celestial bodies surrounding it—but we realize that this is only an illusion, and that the details of the case are very different.

Again, how many people are aware that the eye perceives something backwards and that the subconscious eventually learns to change the impression? I'm not going to convince any of you to question the results of your five senses.

That would be unintelligent, for we all depend on these five senses in our daily lives, and we would easily come to grief if we dismissed their reports. Instead, I'm attempting to familiarize you with the true nature of these five senses, so that you can recognize what they aren't as well as what they are; and so that you can see that it's not absurd to believe that the ego, or soul, of a person, has access to more channels of information than these commonly used five senses.

Once you have a correct empirical understanding of the true nature of the five ordinary senses, you will be able to comprehend the existence of the higher psychic faculties or senses intelligently, and therefore be well equipped to use them. So, let us take a few moments to get this basic wisdom firmly embedded in our heads. What precisely are the five senses? "Feeling, seeing, listening, eating, and smelling" would be the first response.

But that's a list of the various types of sensing. When it comes down to it, what is a "sense"? A sensation is a "faculty, possessed by creatures, of perceiving foreign objects by means of observations made upon the organs of the body," according to the dictionary. When we get down to the basics, we discover that man's five senses are the channels by which he becomes aware or conscious of knowledge about things outside of himself. These senses, however, are not limited to the sensory organs.

Back of the organs is a strange configuration of the nervous system, or brain centers, which carry up the signals obtained from the organs; and back of it is the ego, or spirit, or mind, which, at the end of the day, is the true KNOWER.

The eye is merely a camera; the ear, merely a sound-wave receiver; the nose, merely a sensitive mucous membrane arrangement; the mouth and tongue, merely a reservoir of taste-buds; the nervous system, merely a sensitive device built to send signals to the brain and other centers—all are merely part of the physical machinery, and all are susceptible to impairment or destruction. The true Knower who makes use of all this apparatus is at the heart of it all. Science tells us that of all the five senses, that of Touch or Feeling was the original—the fundamental sense.

All the others are thought to be variations and advanced versions of this initial sense of emotion. I'm telling you this not only because it's fascinating and instructive scientific knowledge, but also because knowing this truth will help you understand what I'll have to say about the higher faculties or senses more clearly. Many of the most primitive and simplistic types of animal life have only this one meaning, which is mostly underdeveloped.

The basic life type "feels" the touch of its food or other items that might meet it. Plants have a meaning like this, which in certain situations, such as the Sensitive Plant, is very established. We find signs of taste and anything akin to primitive hearing or sensitivity to sounds long before the sense of sight or light sensitivity existed in animal life. Smell evolved from the sense of taste, with which it is now closely associated.

The sense of smell of certain lower animal life forms is much more evolved than in humans. Hearing developed over time from the primitive sensation of sounds. The strongest of the senses, sight, came last and evolved from the basic sensitivity to light. Although, as you can see, both senses are just variations on the initial sense of touch or sensation. The touch or sensation of light waves striking the eye is registered. The touch or sensation of sound waves or air movements that enter the ear is registered.

The chemical touch of food particles or other compounds meeting the taste buds is recorded by the tongue and other taste seats. The chemical touch of gases or fine particles of material that meet the mucous membrane of the nose is registered. Sensory nerves detect the presence of external stimuli that meet nerve ends in different areas of the body's skin. Both of these senses merely document the interaction or "touch" of external objects, as you can see. The sense organs, on the other hand, are not responsible for detecting the presence of objects. They're all fragile bits of devices used to capture or collect primary impressions from the outside world.

As wonderful as they are, they have human predecessors, such as the camera, which is an artificial eye; the phonograph, which is an artificial ear; the delicate chemical apparatus, which is an artificial taster and smeller; and the telegraph, which is an artificial nerve. Not just that, but nerve telegraph wires are still there, carrying signals from the eye, ear, nose, and tongue to the brain, informing something in the brain of what has been sensed at the other end of the line.

If you cut the nerves that connect to the eye, even if the eye continues to register correctly, no message can enter the brain. And the brain will be rendered blind, with no messages from the nerves supplying the eye, ear, nose, tongue, or any other part of the body reaching it. You know, there's a lot more to getting meaning signals than you would imagine at first. All of this implies that the self, or spirit, or consciousness, as you like to call it, is the true Knower who becomes mindful of the outer world through the senses' signals.

When the mind is cut off from these texts, it becomes almost blank in terms of external objects. Any one of the senses would be diminished or cut off, implying that a portion of the ego's universe would be diminished or cut off. Similarly, each new meaning applied to the list continues to broaden and expand the ego's universe. In certain cases, we are unaware of this. Instead, we have the propensity of believing that the universe is made up of a finite number of objects and truth, and that we are aware of every single one of them.

This is a child's way of thinking. Remember how much smaller the world of a person born blind or deaf is relative to the world of the normal person! Consider how much bigger, broader, and more wonderful our planet would become if any of us were unexpectedly given a different meaning! How much more will we be able to perceive? What a difference it will make. How much more can we learn? How much more will we have to discuss?

Why, we're in the same boat as the unfortunate blind girl who said that the color scarlet must be similar to the sound of a trumpet. She had no idea of color because she had never seen a beam of light, so she could only see and talk in terms of touch, sound, taste, and scent. She would have been deprived of even more of her world if she had already been mute. Consider these points for a moment.

Assume, on the other hand, that we developed a new sense that enabled us to detect electrical waves. Under that scenario, we'd be able to "see" what was going on in another location—perhaps on the other side of the globe, maybe on another planet entirely. Imagine having the ability to see through a stone wall and into the rooms of a building if we had an X Ray sense. We might see what is going on Mars and transmit and receive emails from others who live there if our view was enhanced by the inclusion of a telescopic adjustment.

Or, if we could see all the mysteries of a drop of water with a microscopic adjustment—perhaps it's for the best that we can't. In the other side, if we have a well-developed telepathic sense, we would be mindful of others' thought-waves to the point that no secrets would be kept concealed from anyone—wouldn't it drastically change existence and human interaction? Many will be no more amazing than the evolution of our senses. We can do any of these stuff with devices built by man's brain—because man is nothing more than a natural imitator and adaptor.

Perhaps there are people on other worlds or planets that have seven, nine, or fifteen senses instead of the five we have. Who knows what will happen! However, it is not appropriate to use one's imagination to conjure up images of creatures on other worlds that possess more senses than humans. Although occult teachings affirm that there are entities on other worlds with senses as far higher than those of the earth-man as the latter's are higher than those of the oyster, we don't have to go far to find evidence of beings with far higher and more powerful faculties than those used by the average man.

We just need to understand man's higher psychical faculties right now to see what new worlds are available to him. When you have a scientific view of these things, you'll find so much of the overwhelming body of marvelous encounters of men throughout history, which the "horse sense" man dismisses as "queer" and "contrary to sense," is simply nothing mystical. You'll find that these interactions are almost as normal as those affecting the five senses—even though they are super-physical. You must understand that there is a significant distinction between supernatural and super-physical.

Both occultists are aware that man has additional senses beyond his five senses, but few men have learned them enough to use them effectively. Occultists refer to these extrasensory perceptions as "the astral senses." The name "Astral" is taken from the Greek word "astra," which means "star," which is used by both occultists, ancient and modern. It's used to define the planes that are directly above the physical plane. The astral senses are man's parallels to his earthly senses, and they are linked to the person's astral body in the same way as the physical senses are linked to the physical body.

The aim of these astral senses is to allow a person to obtain sensations on the astral plane in the same way as his physical senses allow him to do so on the physical plane. The consciousness of man experiences only the sense sensations of the actual organs of sense on the physical world; but, as the mind acts and vibrates on the astral plane, it needs astral senses to receive the impressions of that plane, which are present, as we shall see. Any of man's physical senses has a corresponding astral equivalent.

Thus, in latency, man can see, sound, taste, smell, and hear on the astral plane through his five astral senses. Furthermore, the strongest occultists understand that man has seven physical senses rather than only five, but these two extra senses are not activated in the normal human (though occultists who have reached a certain stage are able to use them effectively). In the astral plane, these two additional physical senses have equivalents.

People who have evolved their astral senses can receive astral plane sense sensations almost as clearly as they can receive actual plane sense impressions using their physical senses. For example, the individual can sense events on the astral plane; read the Akashic Records of the past; see events in other areas of the world; see past events; and, in unusual situations, catch glimpses of the future, though this is much rarer than the other types of astral sight. Again, using clairaudience, a person can hear sounds from the astral plane, both past and present, and in rare cases, hear things from the afterlife.

In either case, the explanation is the same: impulses are received on the astral plane rather than the actual plane. The astral sensations of hearing, taste, and sensing function in the same way. However, although we sometimes experience astral sensing, we scarcely experience astral smelling or tasting during those processes of psychic phenomena, because the astral senses are available and ready to be used. Only while moving in the astral body do the last two described astral senses, namely scent and taste, come into action.

Telepathy, also known as mind transference, is a phenomenon that exists on both the physical and emotional planes. On the physical world, it manifests randomly, while on the astral plane, it is as transparent, consistent, and receptive to demand as astral perception, for example. The average person experiences only sporadic bursts of astral sensing and is rarely able to witness the phenomena at will. In the other hand, a learned occultist will move from one set of senses to the other with a simple act or effort of will anytime he wishes.

Advanced occultists will also work on both the physical and astral realms simultaneously, but they don't often want to. To see astrally, the educated occultist literally changes his visual mechanism from actual to astral, or vice versa, in the same way that a typewriter operator shifts from small letter to capital form by pressing the shift key on his keyboard. Many people believe that to use the astral senses, they must fly on the astral plane and in the astral body. This is a blunder.

In cases of clairvoyance, astral visioning, psychometry, and other practices, the occultist resides in his own body and experiences the phenomenon of the astral plane very quickly by the astral senses, just as he can perceive the phenomena of the physical plane through the physical organs—in certain cases, much more easily. In most instances, the occultist does not even need to reach the trance state. Travel in the astral body is quite another phase of occult phenomena and is far more difficult to manifest.

Under the supervision of a qualified tutor, the pupil can never try to fly in the astral body. In Crystal Gazing, the occultist simply uses the crystal to harness his influence to put his astral vision into view. The crystal itself has no mystical qualities; it is merely an instrument for achieving a purpose, a piece of valuable equipment to help in the development of such phenomena. In psychometry, an entity is used to put the occultist "in tune" with the person or item with which it is associated.

However, the astral senses are used to describe the thing's past environment, as well as the current and past behavior of the individual in question, and so on. In other words, the entity is simply the unwound end of the psychic ball of twine that the psychometrist winds and unwinds at will. Psychometry, like crystal gazing, is just one form of astral seeing. Telekinesis, or movement at a distance, requires the use of both astral sensing and astral will motion, which is also followed by the actual projection of a part of the astral body's material.

We have an example of the simplest method of astral seeing in Clairvoyance, which does not include the "linked entity" in psychometry or the focal point of the crystal in crystal gazing. This is true not only to regular clairvoyance, in which the occultist sees astrally the happenings and doings at some remote stage, at the time of observation; it is also true of historical clairvoyance, or astral seeing of past events; and future clairvoyance, as in prophetic vision, etc. All of these are just various variations of the same thing.

"These phenomena are supernatural, way beyond the domain of common law," some of you might suggest, "and yet this guy will have us think otherwise." Dear reader, please don't leap to conclusions too quickly. What do you know about natural law and phenomena's limits? What gives you the freedom to declare that something outside the normal spectrum of sensory perception is outside of Nature? If you know you're attempting to put a cap on Existence, which is basically limitless?

If a man from a previous century had been told that the wonders of wireless telegraphy could be manifested, he would have been similarly justified in asserting that they were mystical. Going back even more, the man's father would have said the same thing about the telephone if someone had been so brave as to predict it. Imagine the response of some of the old men of the time to the telegraph if we go back another century.

These objects, though, are merely the discovery and deployment of some of Nature's amazing powers and energies. Is it any more implausible to believe that Nature already has a mine of undiscovered treasure in both man's mind and constitution and in inorganic nature? These phenomena are as normal as the physical senses, and not a smidgeon more miraculous. It is perhaps that we are used to one and not the other that the astral senses seem to be more wonderful than the real senses. Nature's workings are all amazing, and none are more so than the others. When we come down to the heart of it, they are all beyond our comprehension. So, let's keep our minds open!