How God Can Be Cognized/Raja Yoga and Buddhi Yoga: Their Place in the Evolution
Raja Yoga and Buddhi Yoga:
Their Place in the Evolution
The word Yoga (starting with a capital letter) means Unity, Mergence with God in the aspect of the Creator, Ishvara. If this word starts with a small letter, it means Path to this ultimate Goal of the evolution of individual souls (consciousnesses). These meanings fully correspond to the meaning of the Latin word religion.
But what is God?
We have to understand that by this word people mean different things. G.I.Gurdjieff was quite right when he said that everyone has their own religion. Indeed it is difficult to find two persons who similarly regard their religious paths, even if they belong to the same religious tradition.
Some people use this word to denote a god-spirit from a mythological, fairy pantheon.
Some groups of people knew concrete Divine Teachers — Representatives of the Creator — and worshipped Them.
But later on — in India through Krishna, in Judaea through Jewish prophets, in China through Huang Di, in Arabia through Muhammad — people received a more valuable — from the methodological standpoint — concept of One Primordial Consciousness of the Creator dwelling in Its Abode. Of course, in different languages this Consciousness was called by different words. It is present in the deepest (related to the material world) plane (layer, loka, eon) of the multidimensional universe. This understanding of the word God is the central one, and it formed the basis of monotheism.
There is one more monotheistic meaning of the word God: God as the Absolute, that is ALL (the Creator coessential with His Creation and thus composing with it One Organism).
One may speak of God in the personal aspect. Such an approach is admissible within monotheism since the Universal Creator can incarnate Parts of Himself into human bodies. But here one has to be careful — to avoid becoming a worshipper of the material body of a Divine Teacher — instead of aspiring to cognition of Him as a Divine Consciousness and to Mergence with Him in the Abode of the Creator.
The concept of God also includes His Manifestations as the Holy Spirit (Brahman). This concerns, first of all, non-incarnate Divine Teachers coming out from the Abode of the Creator into the Creation.
In order to be able to understand other people speaking of God and to make it possible for them to understand us, we have to keep in mind these differences.
… Now let us come to the topic of Evolution.
The most complete knowledge about this can be found in the Bhagavad Gita . This book comprises spiritual talks of Arjuna with Divine Krishna. It is the Bhagavad Gita that gives the most comprehensive knowledge about what is God, what is man, what is the meaning of human life and what main laws determine the way of man’s evolution.
One may view the evolution of humankind, the evolution of some particular person, and the evolution of God. All these are very closely related, as you will see from further information.
God’s evolution proceeds in cycles; in modern astronomy they are called cosmic pulsations. In Sanskrit these cycles are called Manvantaras. Each Manvantara consists of a Kalpa, which is the time period when there is a manifested world on the material plane, and of a Pralaya, which is the time period when the manifested world disappears. In the Bhagavad Gita these stages are likened to a “Day” and a “Night” of Brahman (the Holy Spirit).
Each Manvantara begins with the “creation of the world” (in the Bible’s language) and ends with the “end of the world” — when the conditions of in the given part of the Creation are exhausted.
At the beginning of each Manvantara, God in the aspect of the Absolute is manifested in His three main components:
a) Supreme Purusha — that is the Creator, who remains the Witness and Master of the purusha’s evolution in prakriti; He is also the Goal of the personal evolution of each unit of life.
b) Higher Purusha — Units of Divine Consciousnesses coming out from the Supreme Purusha; They are Divine Teachers representing the Creator. In the aggregate sense, They are called Brahman or Holy Spirit.
c) protoprakriti — that is protomatter (energy which forms matter);
d) protopurusha — that is the energy which is used for the creation of souls who will develop in the conditions created for this purpose in prakriti.
As a result of each Manvantara, the Creator adds to Himself those units of purusha evolving in material bodies which have managed to go through the whole cycle of their personal evolution and have attained Divine Perfection.
Everything in the Creation is meant for that purpose. This is the meaning of everything taking place in the universe. The Evolution of God Himself goes by this and consists in this.
By the way, some mystics raise the question of disappearance of time in meditations, hence, they infer, objective time does not exist. No, it does exist, but it can be different. The earthly time is measured by periods of Earth’s rotation around its axis (24 hours) and around the Sun (year). These units of objective earthly time were divided by people into conventional units: months, hours, minutes, seconds. But on the scale of galaxies, the time is measured by Manvantaras.
Now let us consider the evolution of purusha.
It starts with formation of the first rudiments of the initially diffusive energy on the crystalline lattice of the planet’s minerals.
Then the formed lump of energy is incarnated into bodies of protozoan organisms, later into more complex vegetal, then animal bodies, and develops in them from incarnation to incarnation.
Then the evolution of such souls proceeds in human bodies.
That means that each one of us, humans, has a vast prehistory of incarnations into various bodies.
Some of us went through a number of human incarnations, while others became humans for the first time. And one should not expect that the latter can embrace the religious field of thinking. Such people lead a different life now — not because they are bad, but because they are young, regardless of the age of their present material bodies. At some time in the future they will also become highly educated thinkers. And later they will possibly fulfill the supreme predestination of man — will become Souls developed to Perfection and will merge with the Divine Consciousness.
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Jesus said: be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect; that is, aspire to Divine Perfection, become like God (Matt 5:48).
How can one approach the realization of this supreme goal?
There is also the following precept in the New Testament: God is Spirit and they who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). That is one has to perceive oneself not as a body but as a spirit, i.e. a consciousness, a lump of consciousness. And as a consciousness, one must build relationships with God-Spirit, with the Universal Supreme Consciousness — in order to achieve Mergence with Him as a result.
In the Book for the Perfect of the Apostle Thomas the following is said about this final act of human evolution: by making spiritual efforts man has to merge with the Father (in the book — “with the King”) and stay in this Mergence forever [20,46].
The Bhagavad Gita discusses the same subject to a far greater detail: it presents the fundamentals of buddhi yoga — the teachings about development of the consciousness .
There are also such words in it: if you devote your whole life without reservations to Me, you will finally come to Me being consumed by the Atman. (9:34)
These are great and magnificent words, one of the best meditations brought to us by the Bhagavad Gita: we reach Mergence with God by letting ourselves be consumed…
This was emphasized not only by Krishna and Jesus: the same idea was also achieved by Chinese alchemists, Tibetan Buddhists, Mexican Indians-Toltecs, and Muslim Sufis [20,25,33,38] — adepts from spiritual traditions which may seem to be quite different at first look… Why did this happen? Because all people are guided on the spiritual Path by the same God!
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So we have a real possibility to submerge forever into the Embrace of our Great Universal Beloved — into the Embrace of God!
But for this, first, our love for Him must be strong enough and, second, we have to become worthy of this Mergence, that is become Perfect.
What do we need to do to realize this purpose?
… Let us come back to considering the evolutionary chain: stones — plants — animals — human beings — God.
It turns out that stones have some kind of peculiar rudiments of memory. And the one who has a certain experience can read the information from the stone’s memory.
To do this, one needs to move with the consciousness inside the stone — to the time when the stone was lying on the seashore and gulls were flying over it… One may see episodes of war… It is possible to read strong human emotions from the stone’s memory… For instance, on the former Finnish lands of Karelian Isthmus, I found a stone that served as a bench near a house and witnessed the high harmony and love of a young Finnish family and later — its utter distress when at the time of World War II, Stalin’s troops approached and this family had to abandon their dear home… Many of my companions could not restrain tears on this place…
Plants possess not only memory, but also emotions (of course, emotions of their — “vegetal” — level). All of us, no doubt, heard or read about the experiments of Baxter, which later were repeated in many other laboratories of different countries [39 and other]. Their essence consists in instrumental registration of the plant’s electrophysiological response to one’s emotion directed at the plant from a distance of a few meters; for example, an aggressive intent to sear its leaf…
Animals possess not only memory and emotions, but also intelligence; they can think — sometimes even better than many people…
As for humans, they have an additional possibility — the possibility to develop the consciousness.
But one should not think that everyone is a developed consciousness. This is not true! To gain it one has to go through a number of evolutionary stages in human bodies.
What is a consciousness? In the primitive atheistic materialism they spoke of “public consciousness”, or the term consciousness was identified with the term intellect. But in the fundamental psychology this word denotes a lump of self-aware energy.
In Sanskrit, for example, the mind is termed manas and the developed consciousness — buddhi.
But to comprehend this in fullness is possible only for those who have developed themselves as consciousnesses with the help of the methods of buddhi yoga. For them the consciousness is an empirical reality rather than a mere word. Even in India there are religious schools where for the followers consciousness has not become a reality yet, and the word buddhi they interpret as supreme mind. The same error is typical of translations of the Indian philosophical literature into European languages.
So, a consciousness is energy — the energy which is perceived as an individual “I”.
And the mind is just one of the functions of the consciousness. The brain is an apparatus meant for linking the consciousness incarnated in the body — with the outer environment.
While the consciousness is poorly developed, one cannot separate in self-perception the consciousness from the mind and from the material body.
Hence, man’s task is to develop, increase the amount of this energy to the cosmic scale, doing it in the highest, subtlest planes of the multidimensional space, — so that later, having destroyed one’s own “I” with the help of special techniques of buddhi yoga, to infuse oneself — as a developed consciousness — into the Consciousness of the Creator.
Practical experience of our School demonstrates that an individual normally has the volume of the consciousness approximately the size of a tennis ball. But after a few courses of buddhi yoga, one can reach any point within the bounds of Earth and space around it with the crystallized (i.e. developed) consciousness. (Of course, not all who come to the first course are capable of achieving this).
Such an effect is achieved through the methods of increasing the mobility of the consciousness and making it more subtle, and later by “growing” (crystallizing) it with the help of special techniques — first within the bioenergetical shell around the body (the cocoon), and then — outside of it.
The main provider of energy for the consciousness in the process of crystallization is ordinary food. That is the energy released in the process of biochemical conversion of prakriti particles in our bodies is used for forming the lower purusha at first and then — the Higher and the Supreme Purusha. It is for this purpose that incarnations are needed! And this is the reason why the evolution of human consciousnesses cannot proceed in the non-incarnate state!
Once again — purusha “feeds” on prakriti — in order to grow. It is for this purpose that the whole material Creation exists: to place material bodies in it, to give them the mechanism of self-reproduction, and to grow in them the energy of purusha.
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But to grow the lump of the consciousness is not a simple matter: this is not at all a mechanical process. To make it all clear, let us consider in detail the problem of man’s evolution in a series of incarnations.
There are many schemes of people’s psychotypes that reflect the stages of psychogenesis. The simplest scheme is the description of gunas presented in the Bhagavad Gita.
The first guna is tamas, that is darkness, stupidity, ignorance.
The second guna is rajas, that is the stage when man starts an active process of self-development, transcends dumb primitiveness, grows as a fighter, and then — as a leader, organizer of other people.
The third guna is sattva, that is purity, harmony, bliss, happiness.
But Krishna taught in the Bhagavad Gita that one should not fall into the trap of sattva, because sattva may become an attachment due to the happiness that man experiences on this stage of development. Krishna calls us to disengage ourselves resolutely from sattva and to go further — to the Creator — through further efforts on self-transformation.
But it is not possible to bypass the guna of sattva, since it is the only one that can establish man in subtlety and harmony, in peace.
Even so it is not possible to bypass the rajas guna, since it is in this guna that one develops vigor, gains the power of the consciousness necessary for further advancement. Sattva in man has to be supported with the power and vigor developed in the rajas guna. Sattva has to be powerful!
In the past I made several serious mistakes in estimating the abilities of some of my companions, when I mistook the ones who were weak in energy and intellect but had achieved subtlety thanks to taking our first courses, — for those possessing the true sattva. Then these people fell very painfully down to their initial tamas when the classes were over and work with them in our School ended. It turned out that they were not capable of standing firmly on their feet yet.
Thus I had to conclude the following:
— first — it is necessary to discern true sattva from tamas dressed up with sattva;
— second — serious spiritual work is not meant for the weak;
So instructors of the higher stages of yoga must thoroughly study the psychogenesis of their students: whether they have mastered rajas, whether they have become firm in sattva, and so on.
It is also helpful to determine the students’ psychotypes by applying several different scales to them. This allows one to get a fuller picture and avoid making mistakes.
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We have considered already another scale — Indian varnas as they are outlined in the Bhagavad Gita.
According to this scale, in the beginning one belongs to the varna of shudras. These are incarnate young souls. Such people are capable of nothing on their own. They need to learn from more mature (psychogenetically) people, helping them in their work.
Then one becomes a vaishya, having developed the intellect so that one becomes able to start one’s own business, becomes a craftsman, or a farmer, or a merchant, etc.
Having developed oneself in the preceding varna, one naturally comes to the varna of kshatriyas, that is one becomes a leader, organizer, a selfless fighter.
Having gained the supreme spiritual knowledge and having walked a practical religious path first as a disciple and then as a religious leader, man attains, with the help of the methods of buddhi yoga, the Nirvana in Brahman and becomes a brahman, a representative of the highest varna. From this stage one can advance further.
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Let us review now one more scale of psychotypes.
According to it, in the beginning one is aware of oneself as of a material body only. This takes place both in psychogenetic and in ontogenetic youth. And this in necessary: a child has to learn first living on the Earth, on the material plane, developing through this. Children should not be taken away from the material plane by teaching them, for example, complex meditations. They also should not be initiated to the religious truths too profound for their age.
Let me repeat once again: any individual, first, has to gain strength in interactions with the material plane — to gain intellectual power, knowledge, experience in solving arising problems. Only after this, one can safely engage in serious spiritual practice! Only those who have learned to stand firmly on their feet can be selected for such practice.
So, man on the first stage sees only the material plane and perceives oneself only as a material body.
The second stage is called the astral plane. On this stage, people start to understand and feel that there is more to the physical matter. They begin to feel non-identity with the material body, make attempts to gain better understanding of this by means of mystical practice, among others. They are not capable of perceiving the Divine levels of consciousness yet, since they are not subtle and therefore cannot enter these levels. Thus they often get involved in relations with non-incarnate beings of the coarse spatial dimensions and sometimes consider them as their “teachers” and often as “God”.
The cosmic astral plane is the abode of less developed, less evolutionary advanced non-incarnate beings, including people.
It is the state on the subtlety-coarseness scale habitual during the life in the body that defines where the soul finds itself after death of the body — in hell, in paradise, or in the Creator’s Abode. That is why the salvational tendency to avoid gross emotional states and to make the consciousness more subtle is of so great importance from the evolutionary standpoint.
Hell is the coarsest non-material layer of the multidimensional universe. It is the destiny of those who have developed hellish qualities in themselves during life in the body. This can result from neglect of fighting one’s own vices, active cultivation of them, as well as from attunement with inhabitants of hell.
This is why it is most advisable for everyone to “pass” the astral stage of the development as quickly as possible, since it is very easy to slip off to hell on this stage. For this purpose, one has to pay the most serious attention to ethical work on oneself in accordance with the commandments of God.
The evolutionary stage following the astral plane is the mental plane. People come to this stage when they begin a serious intellectual search for the Highest Truth and develop the intellect through this. Specifically, one has to understand that on the Path to God, to happiness, ethics should be given the most serious attention. A person who is mentally preparing for further spiritual work is a representative of the mental plane.
Those who have achieved a high stage of ethic purification, who have cognized the subtle states of the consciousness, and have become steady in them — those are on the next stage — on the supramental plane.
The next stage of development is the subdivine plane. It is the stage of true spiritual leaders.
After this stage, man ascends to the stage called in Sanskrit Brahman, or the Holy Spirit in English. Who are they who have attained this stage? — Those who have entered with the consciousness — developed both qualitatively and quantitatively — into the Consciousness of Brahman, and accustomed themselves to living in this state.
Through further efforts on self-development one can reach the last stage — to settle with the consciousness in the Abode of the Creator and merge with Him. Thus man finishes personal evolution, personal ascent, and then learns to live in the Abode of the Creator and to act from it.
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According to another scale of psychotypes, in the beginning of the spiritual Path man is a disciple.
Then man has to become a householder — a grihastha. In the narrow sense, a grihastha is one who has a family and has learned to support oneself and other people. In other words, a grihastha is one who has developed oneself to such an extent that he or she is capable of doing this. In a wider sense, a grihastha is an organizer of people working on the social scale, for example, a good manager, a political leader, etc.
The grihastha stage incorporates two stages of the varna scheme of psychotypes: vaishyas and kshatriyas.
The next stage is sannyasa, when one has to abandon the “fuss”, in which he or she has been developing up to now, and has to stay face-to-face with God, being busy only with spiritual service and with further self-development.
There are some religious trends where people believe that it is enough only to pray day after day using a few standard prayers, to lament over one’s own faults, to take part in some religious ceremonies — and that is all. They even bar children from sports, from reading books other than religious ones, from going to the cinema, from watching TV… This perniciously affects the children’s development. Why? Because man is represented not by a single growing feature but by a great number of them. Every sprout is a feature, a quality. And every one of us has to come to Perfection not through one feature, but through the entire field. Each good quality has to be grown to maturity, and all the weeds have to be rooted out.
Only complex development allows one to quickly advance on the Path. This is why one has to know sexual love, maternity or paternity, to change as many jobs as possible — in order to learn more, to travel on the Earth — to observe the life of other nations; one’s body has to be strong and developed, for it is only in a harmoniously developed body that man can go successfully through the stages of the Spiritual Path.
This is why sport is essential for a person, especially when the body is young.
One also needs to go through dynamic, rhythmic dances at a young age, because they help to develop the ability to be vigorous.
People lacking this ability cannot succeed on the spiritual Path, for they have no inner power.
And one’s education has to be broad as much as possible, since the development of Wisdom starts with accumulation of specific knowledge.
When people asked me: what should we read? — I answered: everything! Read even the leading articles of the Pravda newspaper — to learn to distinguish false from truth, to develop in oneself the capability for critical evaluation of information. Through this one develops Wisdom.
Wisdom is a) possession of a large amount of various kinds of specific knowledge, including the supreme one, plus b) the ability to use and integrate it, and the ability to create intellectually. Each one of us has to become a creator! This quality is mastered on the stage of grihastha. It is not possible to become Brahman without having become an intellectual creator on the grihastha stage!
Let us note the fact that the technically and scientifically developed modern society provides its members with the richest possibilities for developing the intellect! There is no doubt, that the progress of science contributes much to the evolutionary process!
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And now let us discuss the psychoenergetical aspect of spiritual development, spiritual work. It consists of three stages:
Among the tasks of the first stage there are the initial efforts of putting the body and its energies in order. This helps to get rid of some diseases. These tasks can be accomplished by the methods of hatha yoga and, for example, with the help of dynamic exercises of the Chinese gymnastics, or some European gymnastic systems, and so on. Yet, without ethical self-correction (it concerns the subject of nutrition as well) one cannot achieve success.
The second stage, that of raja yoga, implies special work on cleansing and developing specific energy systems of the organism — chakras and meridians and also refinement of the consciousness. Among other things, one has to learn:
— to move with the lump of consciousness from one chakra to another. The criterion that the exercise is done correctly is the ability to look from the chakras. The main emphasis in this work has to be put on the chakra anahata.
— to work with the microcosmic orbit; this facilitates cleansing and refinement of the energies inside the body and the cocoon.
— to make sushumna and the middle meridian clean .
If the student has mastered this and is ready to come to the next stages (by the intellectual and ethical criteria; this depends to a big extent on the student’s psychogenetic and ontogenetic age), then the student’s development can be continued with the help of buddhi yoga. It consists of the following stages:
— Withdrawal of the consciousness from the body into the cocoon, distributing it there and then — dividing the cocoon into two parts — the upper one (the region of the head and neck) and the lower one (the region of the trunk and legs).
— Development of the lower bubble of perception in the scale of the planet by filling the planet’s form with oneself as a subtle spiritual heart.
— Cognition of Nirvana, including its dynamic aspect. Mastering the state of Nirodhi through the meditation of total reciprocity. At that, one achieves the stage of “non-I”. All this and the subsequent can be achieved only through transformation of oneself as a spiritual heart, and doing it on the scale of the planet.
— The advanced consciousness established in the state of the subtle spiritual heart — easily merges with various Manifestations of God. Having cognized empirically the entire structure of the Absolute, such a spiritual warrior is accepted by the Creator into His Abode, gradually becomes accustomed to the state of Mergence with the Creator, and then acts from the Abode in the world of evolving purusha. The latter is possible both from the non-incarnate state and from the state of possessing a material body.
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So we have considered the place of raja yoga and buddhi yoga in the Evolution of the Universal Consciousness. We started this analysis from the point when individual forms of life come into being and traced their development to the very end — that is when they lose their individualities in Mergence with the Creator.
This is the Evolution of God. And this is our place in it.