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Index of Articles: by Gordon
The Spirit of
Awakening the Heart Chakra
Article by: Ted
Krishna's First Lesson to
Arjuna - Reincarnation
published in the CYF Newsletter 1988)
The Spirit of
The word Mantra is defined in my Sanskrit
dictionary as a sacred word or phrase of spiritual significance and power; hymns; "that which saves the one
who reflects" (from the verb root man = "to think"); form of sound.
A mantra is a verbal formula, a sound structure of
significance and they can be used to create, modify, or destroy gross material things. Anyone who has sailed in a
ships fo’c’sle, or spent time in the army, will be aware of low type mantras of a repetitive and rudimentary
nature, that can be threatening and forceful expressions of not always harmonious intent.
Mantras that are pleasant sounding, if not completely
understood, are occasionally used in Yoga classes, as they help focus the mind and are often spiritually uplifting.
Yoga Mantras are linked to the Sanskrit language and to a time when ancient seers divined the language and saw its
sound structures as the underlying template that gives rise to the material world.
This awareness of the creative power of the word is not
confined to Sanskrit as we read in St. John’s Gospel ch1.v1. In the beginning was the word, and the word was with
God, and the word was God. The Greeks had a name for this word, and it was Logos, which also means ratio, that is
the ratio of all things.
Mantras can be said aloud, whispered, repeated mentally and
the essence of the sound carried into the stillness that is beyond form, and it is these levels of application that
can help us to understand them.
My own teacher Eugene Halliday, who had mastered the
difficult Sanskrit language, when speaking about the transforming power of words, referred to consonants as
personalised spirit and the vowels as representing pure spirit.
To have the spiritual insight to unlock the spiritual
significance of words and mantra is an unusual gift and the Yogi who is competent to arrange a mantra is called a
mantrakara. An important start to understanding the spiritual significance of words and mantra is to be clear about
meaning, as words have different levels of significance. A passive vocabulary consists of words, that because of
their emotional charge tend to control us and these can be powerful tools in the hands of those who have undertaken
some motivational research and want to control or sell us something. An active vocabulary consists of words that we
can clearly define and of which we have full control.
Clearly defined words help to raise our understanding to that
level of Truth, which first gave them utterance. To unlock the spirit of mantra will
initially require the help of a mantrakara Guru, or a
realised being able to guide our meditations, and unlock the spiritual significance of the many words and phrases
For example: - the words ‘Praise Be To God’, starts with the
consonant ‘P’ which can be represented as the Positing power of spirit, and when whispered, as form without
‘R’ is representative of the principle of
‘PR’ as power differentiation raises our understanding to the
level of the ordering power of spirit, expressed as word or logos.
This ‘PR’ root is seen in the word Prana, which is defined by
Vivekanada in his Raja Yoga, as the Infinite manifesting Power of the Universe.
This level of Jnana Yoga or knowledge, wisdom, is an
important step on the way to liberation (moksa),
with each letter of the alphabet a part of the sound geometry of the universe
and of spirit moving into and out of form.
We are not all gifted with knowledge of Sanskrit or the
insight to unlock the spirit of mantra, interestingly a visiting Yogi, told us, that it was not necessary to
understand all the words, only to repeat the mantra. There could be some truth in this as mantra with its
repetitions (japa), channels the thought processes of the mind, and its rhythmic intonation into the space and spirit
beyond its formal patterns.
However, it is better to understand the mantra rather than
approach it blindly and according to (Sakta)
philosophy, a mantra is so called because it saves one who meditates on its
It is interesting to note the relationship that exists
between Mantra, Yantra and Mudra, as they are all aspects of each other.
Mantra is a specially structured sound
Yantra is the diagram or pattern formed by the underlying
sound pattern and provides a way of looking at reality.
Mudra is the living embodiment of spirit and form and is
occasionally seen in the gestures of sacred dance and meditation.
The ultimate purpose of mantra is the Divine marriage between
the highest expressions of spirit and the material world.
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The greatest Yogi was Jesus of Nazareth, as he came to fulfil
the law. Not the law of mortal beings, but the law and will of God. This condemned him to crucifixion, as he
exhibited a level of free will that ran contrary to the establishment of the day. He spoke with authority, not the
authority backed by man made laws, but with the authority of someone who spoke as one of the elect. Christ saw
through and beyond the web of this world, with its trials and tribulations, and could with a glance or touch,
relieve suffering and heal the sick. This was not an extra-ordinary gift for someone who was at one with the
creator of all life, as he was at one with the Divine template, the truth that underlies and defines mortal
existence. It is fallen man that distorts the true picture and the catalytic power of Christ’s vision, and presence
that makes whole, hence Christ’s admonition, ‘go and sin no more’.
The true spirit of Jesus exists in everyone, and the
practising Yogi, although not in the familiar words of the church, seeks to find the same spirit in
Self recognition is the goal of the Yogi and ultimately
continual Self remembrance. There are two aspects to the Self, like a two way mirror, one looks outward to the
world, guided by the senses five. The other way of looking is inward into the pristine stillness, from which the
soul was formed.
The outward and worldly looking, that can so easily captivate
us and influence our self-development from generation to generation, we call the exoteric and because it is so
often self-limiting, it is usually spelt with a small ‘s’. The reflexive techniques of inward looking to the
guiding spirit within, the esoteric, releases us from the self-limitation imposed by the external world and awakens
the soul to a more Conscious and visionary way of life and here we refer to the Self by writing with a large
The middle ground that mediates between the inner and outer
worlds is the mesoteric and realm of the Observer, the watcher and Self conscious being able to break the dominion
and interests of the temporal world, guided by the pure ground of the eternal, that has existed from before
The highest form of Yoga exhibited by Christ is the most
difficult; as we have for generations invested so much energy in outward looking that it has become the habitual
way of responding to stimulus. These energy patterns have become so habitual that they not only condition human
behaviour, but also influence the energy patterns of the life fields of which we are a part.
Every thought in the human mind has an emotional charge, even
thoughts we would like to ignore and suppress, given the
opportunity, still seek to find self-expression.
In this context, the words of Jesus "I and my Father are
One", have a tremendous significance, as the Will of God, the Will of the eternal unchanging Self, is not the will
of mortal beings with their limited perspectives, but arises from a vision that that encompasses all universes from
the smallest to the greatest.
When you know yourself as Will, in the highest sense of the
word, you can in accord with the greatest Yogi, truthfully repeat the words "I and my Father are
All Yogis work toward achieving this highest ideal of Yoga,
Union with the Absolute Good, or Will of God, made understandable and possible by the Greatest Yoga, the Son/Sun of
This highest level of Raja Yoga, the Yoga of Kings, requires
continual watchfulness, as most actions, no matter how well intentioned, have hidden within them, some private
purpose, that will have some karmic debt to repay.
To become a disciple of the Greatest Yogi, is to become like
Arjuna the Charioteer and hero of the Bhavadgita, as you will meet many friendly faces along the Way, called
comfort and desire, and an easy life, couched in meaningful words, which when challenged by the immediacy of the
Self, will burst like bubbles on the wind.
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Yoga or Religion?
Often we hear strong denials
that Yoga is not a religion. Although the words Yoga and Religion are not originally of the same language, they are
in essence related and as far as any words can be are synonyms.
The word Religion means to
rebind, that is to bind back to the source. The ‘lig’ root in the word is found in words like ligature, meaning to
bind. The word Yoga is used in a similar sense in that it means to yoke or join with the source of one’s
Most Yoga practitioners have no
desire to offend the established church and when we hear of the occasional Yoga class being banned from a church
hall. The statement often accompanies that Yoga is not a Religion. This can be made in all earnestness when the
exercises are taken out of context and it is believed they belong in sports or keep fit
To the knowledgeable and
discerning Yoga reaches far beyond matters that relate just to health and into the philosophical and spiritual
realms in a way that no other practice can.
The Yoga Philosopher seeks to
discover the link factors that exist between all manners of disciplines, ideals and different religious practices,
so that a more holistic view of life is developed.
No matter how strong the denial
that there is a connection between Yoga and Religion, for those who practise Yoga there will be gradual awakening
to what is best described as the dawning of the spiritual. To concentrate on Hatha Yoga leads to a truer and nobler
way of life, with improved control in all aspects of living. Even the most physically orientated individual can
glimpse the way of the Bhakti, as without love for what we are doing there can be no real
Recently I spoke with someone
who had attended several Yoga classes and he thought that Yoga was somewhat selfish and self orientated.
Some aspects he was right as
Yoga is toward a higher selfishness that ultimately transcends the lower orientation of the self and
Self-Realisation as the goal of
Yoga is best expressed if spelled with a capitol ‘S’ rather than otherwise as it is the level of transcendence and
immediacy of spirit that transcends ego.
If there is uneasiness about
things Eastern why not practice Christian Yoga, as it will be discovered that as knowledge and understanding
deepens, inconsistencies melt away and that there will be awareness of the best practice and with The Way, The
Truth and The Life.
It is the quality of the Will
that is of importance and The Way is the Will to the highest. The Truth is the light of Consciousness expressed as
Logos or Word. The Life is the Love that works for the development of the potentiality of all
This does not mean that there
are different powers as the Trinity expresses the triune nature of an Absolute that is without limit yet complete
in itself. Whether or not we use a traditional Yoga terminology or not, it is important that we define our terms
correctly and clearly as this will help dispel fear. As ultimate reality id Divine Power that is only limited
within us by lack of understanding and misrepresentation.
Yoga is about relationship
between all levels and with each other. The Will of God includes the birds of the air, the fish of the sea as well
as man. It is identification with difference that separates us from each other. Yoga is the opposite movement and
is towards integration and understanding.
We speak in differing tongues
and language but Yoga like the different spokes in a wheel links us into a harmonious whole, which is life
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Awakening the Heart
Non-Yogic man is a divided
being, caught in a body of ancestral inertias. It is a body, which for generations has had to fight for survival.
During the Ice Age, to be aggressive and able to hunt the sabre toothed tiger and other wild animals was an
admirable quality, as it ensured survival and food for the cave dwelling family.
Today the qualities of
aggression and fierceness when they come to the surface in a civilised community, if at a football match or
wherever, is no longer considered a virtue unless the nation be at war, when the fighting man resumes those
qualities that ensure survival
The inherited tendencies in man
to procreate and survive are very strong indeed and every man must recognise the tendency for his head to turn and
his gaze follow every attractive girl that passes by. That which turns his head is patterned deep within his
protoplasm and is the pressure of his ancestors seeking rebirth. The same can be said of the female who attracts
the male in more subtle ways, with her interest in fashion and clothes. One is here reminded of the sea anemone,
attracting the interest of every small fish that passes by. None of these qualities do we really associate with
individual free will?
Reflexive Self Consciousness
has another quality and that is his ability to be reflexive and look deep within himself for the answers. To
break identification with the inertic demands of the outer world has taken time and often with the guidance
of enlightened teachers both religious and Yogic. These visionaries who can see beyond the limitations of the
finite world have seen a greater purpose for mankind and have outlined the steps to be taken in order to put
their houses in order whether Physical, Emotionally, Mindfully and Ideationally in order and reach the
highest levels of Spiritual Self Awareness.
The heart chakra lies central to the way we feel and its seed
symbol (Yantra) is a six-pointed
star, one triangle is pointing downward to the earth and the other apex upward. For the Nada Yogi listening for the
inner sounds both physical and spiritual the H-ear-t is the centre from which we can listen to sounds of our
ancestors, educators, parents etc, that still try to exert control at some level and those from a much higher
spiritual source so that resolution can be found at the very centre of our being.
Meditations of the heart are
very much Bhakti meditations that enable us to mediate between the world of spirit and the temporal world of every
day life, as the way we feel not only influences our actions but also the health and chemistry of the body. We have
here chosen the rose as a Mandela for the heart chakra as it is a symbol of love and development, which when
coupled with the light of consciousness can become a powerful link with higher levels of
It is important to note at this
stage that the foundations of Yoga i.e. the Yamas and Niyamas are well established otherwise the more refined
levels of spiritual consciousness will find difficulty in finding resolution at the level of the physical and if
not accepted can cause problems of a psychosomatic nature.
When meditating visualise a
rose at the centre of feeling within the heart, make it as beautiful and as perfect as you can. The rose is a
creation of Intelligence and light, once established let the image of the rose fade back into the light from which
it came, holding the feeling of perfection allow the image of the rose to return more beautiful than ever its light
refining the way that you feel. Light is a symbol for consciousness and as the meditation continues, the form of
the rose and the light or essence from which it arises will become inseparable and the whole body will become
filled with light. The breath also will become peaceful and refined and experienced as a healing breath throughout
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Krisna’s First Lesson to Arjuna – Reincarnation
Students of the Bhagavad Gita will be aware that the first
lesson given by Krishna to his student, Arjuna, was on the topic of Reincarnation. This being the first lesson in
Yoga it can be assumed that the topic is of first rate importance for a full understanding of Yoga
Reincarnation or rebirth is a teaching which, in the West,
was at one time accepted by the early church fathers but around about 553 A.D. it was pronounced a heresy with dire
penalties for anyone who taught or discussed the idea openly.
To-day, in a climate of far greater freedom of thought, we
find that the teaching has resurfaced and serious thought is now being given as to its validity. This has come
about following recent academic research which is concerning itself with (a) people who have clear personal
memories of past lives (b) reported revelations of such earlier lives through the techniques of hypnotic regression
and (c) the migratory nature of consciousness which appears to occur as a result of out of the body experiences and
near death experiences.
The present general interest in the subject is largely
centred in its application to human lifetimes but the teachings of Yoga in the Bhagavad Gita go much further than
this. They indicate that the natural laws underlying the phenomenon of human birth, death and reincarnation are
reflections of a great Universal and Cosmic Law of Cyclic Recurrence. Hence there is found in the Bhagavad Gita a
reference also to a vast system of Cosmology which tells of the coming into being of the Universe of which humans
are part, its subsequent passing away and its coming into being again.
Thus the teaching of reincarnation, as taught by the Yogis,
is consonant with those axiomatic statements to be found in all esoteric literature that "Life is One and
Indivisible", that "man is a microcosm of the macrocosm" and that the great law is "As above-so
For the purpose of this article we shall take a look at the
teaching from both points of view, i.e. the individual (The microcosmic) and the Universal (The
The key statements made by Krishna to Arjuna are set out in
Chapter 2 of the Gita and read as follows:-
"You (the inner Self) were never born – you will never die.
Unborn, Eternal, and Immutable you do not die when the bodily sheaths are discarded".
"The bodies or vehicles which enclose the immortal spiritual
self (that which we know as "I") are mortal but he (the Inner Self) who dwells in the bodies is Immortal and
"As a man abandons worn out clothes and acquires new ones, so
when the bodies are worn out new ones are acquired by the Self who lives within."
"There has never been a time when you or I or any of the
people here have not existed-nor will there be a time when we shall cease to exist. So the wise grieve not for the
living or the dead."
On reading this for the first time we are prone to think of
it as all very fine and
encouraging, full of hope and giving meaning and purpose to
life. But if we have no direct experience of the statements made we can only accept the idea of past, present and
future lives on a basis of blind faith. But for the Westerner of to-day this is exceedingly difficult because we
tend to want everything to be proved evidentially to our own satisfaction. And so we look to the scientist and
researcher to provide us with such proof.
But can the scientist and researcher provide us with the
irrefutable proof we seek? The classical Yoga texts say they cannot. There is a passage in the in the Katha
Upanishad where it is stated that:-
"The Self (that which reincarnates) is not known through the
study of writings or through the sublety of the intellect, nor through much learning
These books tell us that the proof of the teaching can only
come about as a direct result of inner mystical experiences and that to have such experiences calls for the
development of a level of conscious awareness which completely transcends our normal every day five-sense
This transcendental state of awareness is known in Sanskrit
and in the Yoga texts as "Samadhi" and in the West as Cosmic Consciousness. Students will recognise the "Samadhi"
state as the end aim of the practice of the 8 limbs of Yoga and that this tends to be brought about by special
types of meditational work.
Reincarnation as a Universal Law is to be found in Chapter 8
of the Bhagavad Gita. In a few brief sentences it teaches that a Universe comes into manifestation and after
millions of year’s passes away only to be followed in time by reformation and rebirth at another
The key sentences, taken from the translation by
Prabhavananda and Isherwood are as follows:-
"There is day, also, and night in the Universe. The wise know
this, declaring the day of Brahma a thousand ages in span and the night a thousand ages.
"Day dawns and all those lives that lay hidden asleep come
forth and show themselves mortally manifest. Night falls and all are dissolved into the sleeping germ of
"Thus they are seen, O Prince, and appear unceasingly,
dissolving with the dark and with the day returning back to a new birth, new death. They do what they
These passages are not elaborated to any great extent in the
Bhagavad Gita itself. They can, however, be looked upon as a somewhat poetic representation of a vast system of
Cosmology known to ancient sages called "the wise". It is also very apparent that they taught that all Life in the
Universe is subject to a Universal Law of Cyclic Activity and Rest.
For more detailed information about this tremendous system of
Cosmology we have to turn to other Eastern literature or the more modern writings of those who claimed to have had
mystical or occult insights – people like Swedenborg, Blavatski, Steiner, Heindel and others.
In this literature we find that the "Day" period mentioned
above represents the active outward life period of the universe whilst the "Night" period represents the period of
rest, inactivity or death, which ever term is preferred.
Next we are told that the "day" and "night" periods of the
Universal Cyclic periods are a thousand ages each. These periods, in Hindu literature, are known as "kalpas" and
each "kalpa" is said to have a duration of 4,230 million years. But within this vast cycle there are lesser cycles
which govern the coming into existence, passing away and rebirth of the Sun, Moon and Planets etc. Which in their
orbits also affect the life of men and nations.
For example Rudolph Steiner in his work "An outline of
occultism" tells us that our earth has been through three major planetary incarnations and is now in its fourth. It
is now virtually halfway through a major septenary period. This is a teaching which is also found in the books
written by H. P. Blavatski and Max Heindel.
It is interesting here to note that this huge cycle of Cosmic
Days and Nights or periods of birth, death and reincarnation has a remarkable similarity to modern astronomical
theory about the expanding and contracting Universe or the Big Bang theory put forward by present day physics and
cosmology. Perhaps too the mysterious "Black holes" may have some relevance.
It is also noticeable that this cycle is also a parallel to
the genesis story of the creation of the world in seven days and seven nights once we can accept that the Genesis
cycle may refer to Cosmic Days and nights rather than the seven days of our calendar week.
In the second or third quotations at the top of the preceding
page we are told that all those lives that lay hidden and asleep reappear in manifestation in the active (or day)
period and then go back into a state of rest again in the next night period. Further this activity goes on
Thus the concept of the reincarnation teaching is that the
life of the individual human being is one of those lives which has been in and out of manifestation throughout the
whole evolutionary process.
The relationship of the individual and Universal
When the teachings about the cycles of personal incarnations
are seen in the context of the grander Universal scheme of the birth, death, and rebirth of the manifest Universe
it is possible to see the teaching of Reincarnation against the background of the heart and core teachings of Yoga
which is the Holistic concept of the "Fundamental Unity of All Existence".
The teaching is that that we as humans are part of and of the
same nature as the Universe itself. We have evolved with it and can be said to have been there at the beginning and
will be there at the end of all the unceasing cycles of Cosmic activity.
Ted Lovett. (First published in the CYF Bulletin Autumn 1988) Download Back to