The eleventh sign of the Zodiac corresponds to the stellar influence of Aquarius. The symbol of Aquarius is most commonly seen as a water-bearing human – usually male – pouring forth the waters of wisdom. Aquarius can also be represented by a woman with an urn or a vessel in either hand carefully mixing the liquid between these two vessels. The same icon, the same image, is visible in the Fourteenth Arcanum of the Tarot, which we call Temperance. This symbol contains within itself the mystical science, the precise understanding, of alchemy.
Alchemy is a term that directly translated means “the chemistry of God,” and alchemy is a process where by forms of matter are manipulated consciously; in other words, nature is worked with in a conscious way, in order to arrive at a transcendental goal. But as with any science, with any chemical process, Will is the determining factor. We can use any science with evil will in order to accomplish a desire, or we can use any science through conscious will in order to realize the purposes and goals of creation in accordance with the Laws.
If we analyze the word Aquarius, we find in it elemental attributes that relate directly to this science of alchemy. The first part is obviously “Aqua,” which of course is water, from Latin, and then we have “Arius” or air. Aquarius as a sign is related to the basic elements of water and air: but air is the main element. Each of the Zodiacal signs is related to an element, and the core element of each sign provides the foundation of the way that constellation or Zodiacal sign can influence the psyche.
Air is related to the mind, related to the eagle, to the mind that can reach lofty heights. The air, the mind, is related to thought, to intellect, and to Buddhi, the spiritual soul.
Aqua or water is related to the sephirah Yesod. The waters figure significantly in all religions. In particular, it would be a worthwhile endeavor to spend a little time analyzing the appearances of water in the Bible and if you do, you will discover that there are a great number of miracles and magical works in the bible, all of which are related to water. If we look simply at the gospels we would discover that a vast number of miracles of Jesus were accomplished by means of water. And this is not accident: it is symbolic, and the water that performs the magic is the water that is being mixed between the two urns in the fourteenth Arcanum. It is the water of Aquarius.
Yeshua talks about the water of life which spring up in the belly, which is of course, if you have studied any kind of Chinese medicine, then you have heard of the tan tien, the ocean of chi, which is related with the lower abdomen. This is symbolic of sexual energy. The sexual forces are accumulated and polarized through the sexual organ, which are not merely the external component that is visible on the outside of the body: it is also related to the internal glands and internal chakras, which are related to the lower abdomen.
So the water and the air – or in other words the water and the spirit – are the two elements of Aquarius. In the Gospels, Jesus tells Nicodemus that we must be born again of water and spirit. So what is this Aquarian mystery? What is the deep hidden knowledge related to the water and the air?
Some of you may have heard that very recently we as a race – as a planet – entered into a new age, a new era of development. Different groups calculate the passing into this new age in different ways, but all agree that within the last few decades we entered into a new era, the Age of Aquarius, and in Gnosis we assign that transition to February 4th 1962. This transition was the movement out of the Age of Pisces, which we will study in the next lecture, and into the Age of Aquarius, which is the age in which we are now. And as you can easily perceive, since the year 1962, humanity has undergone a tremendous change.
Beginning with that period of time in the early 1960’s, there was a huge shift in our psychological environment; all of our social systems began to change in radical ways. We witnessed huge upsets in the balance of power between man and woman; we witnessed a huge revolution in the way people think about life, but in particular about sex. Starting in the 1960’s this revolution spread around the world: to abandon the previous concept of sexuality, which was stale, which was regressive, which was suppressive. In other words, in the Piscean era, humanity was enslaved by sex, hid sexuality, suppressed it, didn’t like to talk about it, kept everything related with sex hidden, and this is because the influence of the Piscean forces.
In particular we find, this was especially true of the Tantric mysteries. Tantra – or true alchemy – was previously hidden from the eyes of the population, and it was only in the years leading up to the dawning of the Aquarian age that the Tantric mysteries began to be revealed in an open fashion. And of course through out the 60’s and 70’s the interest and investigation of Tantra began to increase dramatically, until now. There are a vast number of people who have heard of Tantra and always equate it with sexuality, but unfortunately, the understanding of Tantra in these times is corrupt.
Aquarius is the bringer of knowledge, so when we entered into the Aquarian age, we entered into a time within which humanity is due to receive knowledge, science, and in a very superficial form we can see that reflected in the arrival in what people are calling the “information age.” In this time, in our economics, in our social systems, we have shifted away from a materialistic basis for our economic health and the shift now is on the information basis: knowledge, wisdom, understanding, learning; this is a very superficial reflection of the influence of the Aquarian era. The heart of the Aquarian influence is in esoteric knowledge, but to understand that, we need to know a little bit about this word “knowledge” and what precisely it is referring to.
We tend to make the assumption that knowledge is related to the intellect, and it is true that intellectual knowledge is a form of understanding, a form of knowledge, that is necessary. But, it is only the bottom, it is the most superficial; the most shallow level of knowledge is intellectual knowledge. So to comprehend why we talk about Aquarius as the bringer of knowledge, we are going to look a little bit at some Sanskrit terminology, which can open up some doors for us in our understanding.
In Sanskrit, there is the word vidya, and we also hear the word jnana; both of these terms are translated as knowledge. Vidya actually has two meanings, two forms of knowledge are enclosed by vidya: the first is aparavidya, which is simple intellectual knowledge, or in other words lower knowledge. The other form of vidya is called paravidya, and this is higher knowledge, but paravidya is intuitive experiential knowledge. So in the understanding of the two forms of vidya we see immediately the two forms of Kabbalah.
There are two kinds of Kabbalists:
- Intellectual kabbalists, who only study theories and memorize things, but have no conscious experience of what they study, and these would be people who are gathering aparavidya, which is intellectual understanding, intellectual knowledge.
- The second kind of kabbalist seeks after paravidya, which is intuitive spiritual experience, in other words the direct experience of the truths of the tree of life. They have penetrated consciously into the direct experience of the Kabbalah.
We have another kind of person next to these two, or another form of understanding, called avidya, which is the word vidya with an A in front of it. Now you will notice that aparavidya is just like paravidya but with an A in front, and avidya is vidya with an A in front. The a means “without,” so avidya means “without knowledge,” in other words, without experience, even without intellectual understanding. And in both Hinduism and Buddhism they say the source of all suffering is avidya, ignorance, to ignore. Ignore is an I with gno, gno from gnosis; I indicates “without,” just like the A in avidya.
If you have studied Hinduism, you have stidied the Bhagavad Gita. The Bhagavad Gita is a discourse given by Krisha, who is the Christ in the Indian mysteries, and Krisha throughout the entire discourse of the Bhagavad Gita emphasizes knowledge, but he clearly differentiates two forms of knowledge. In most translations you will find them as “phenomenal” and “numinous.” And Krishna states explicitly that we need both of these forms of knowledge, both of these forms of vidya.
Phenomenal knowledge is related to phenomenon, manifested things, to have knowledge of our environment, to have knowledge of what we perceive.
Numinous knowledge is of spiritual things: these are vidya and jnana. Vidya would be related to numinous knowledge, to spiritual knowledge, while jnana is just knowing, or knowledge in general. So it is good to understand when studying these scriptures, the different subtleties of the terms, and the reason is that our own thinking, our own understanding, is our obstacle.
For example, in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna, “Spiritual liberation comes through knowing me.” So most followers of Hinduism read that and think in the same way that Christians do, “If I believe in Krishna, then I am saved.” This is false. This is not what Krishna is saying. Krishna is saying by “knowing” me; this is not belief: this is experiential, conscious. Many of us have a hard time conceiving of the idea that you can actually know Krishna personally, but that is the point of real religion: to know for oneself, to converse with the prophets, with the gods, to talk to them, to get answers from them, to get guidance. This is the purpose of religious studies really. It is not just to stuff our heads with concepts or beliefs; that is the lowest form of knowledge, intellectual knowledge, and that is aparavidya, which is low knowledge, it is related to spiritual things, but it is stuck in the intellect. We need paravidya, experiential knowledge, knowledge of the wisdom of the gods through our own direct experience, and to acquire that consciously, not by reading, but by doing it.
That is why we call this science Gnosis. Gnosis means knowledge, but it is not knowledge from books, and it is also isn’t knowledge by association. In other words, in the Christian tradition, nowadays there is this prevalent belief that if you believe then you are saved, and the same exists in Buddhism and Hinduism and other religions; there are followers and practitioners that simply think that if they believe in that religion, if they follow their priest, then they are saved. Believe it or not, there are people in the Gnostic tradition who are the same, who take their cultural predisposition – usually a Christian background – and they project that in their Gnostic concepts. So they believe that as long as they are associated to a certain group, they are saved. This is false.
It is due to exactly this that Samael Aun Weor emphasized that students should not follow anyone except their own inner Being. The reason is that our ego seeks security, it wants safety, to feel safe, by being associated with someone else, or some group or some school. So there are students who attach themselves to an instructor and have the belief that because this instructor is supposedly very elevated, or very advanced, or very awake, that the student will be saved merely by cause of association; but this is not true.
We are saved by our works; we are saved by our consciousness, by the One who is in us, by knowing our own inner God, not by knowing anyone outside, not by associating with any school. The one who saves is the Christ, and he is within.
This is the emphasis of the Bhagavad Gita. The Gita says this throughout the book, but in particular if we study in chapter seven, often translated as the knowledge of the absolute. This is where that famous quote comes from, where Krishna says, ‘Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows me in truth.” That knowledge, that knowing, is aparavidya, which is conscious knowledge.
There is another way to look at this term vidya, and it’s a way of explaining the nature of Gnosis, that there are different kinds of knowledge that we study. Of course we know that mysticism, religion, comes in many forms, but when we analyze them, we find that they all pretty much contain the same things, just organized a little differently and with some different terms.
The first of these types of knowledge that Samael Aun Weor indicates is called Yajna-vidya. Yajna-vidya is defined as certain types of rituals which are performed in order to awaken powers, to awaken latent capacities within.
The second one is Maha-vidya, related to metaphysics, the kabbalah, they study of the laws and structures, such as kalachakra. Maha means “great.”
The third is Gupta-vidya, related to the use of sound, mantra, recitation, prayer.
These three terms are a Sanskrit point of view designed to help put the different aspects of the knowledge that we study into an organized grouping.
What is interesting to note is that Yajna-vidya is related to certain kind of rituals; the term yajna means “sacrifice,” so when we read in the Bible, or we study ancient religions, we read about sacrifices that priests perform; this would be rituals or practices that fall into the grouping of Yajna-vidya, and the purposes of these practices is to gather energy. But as was mentioned previously, any of these forms of science can be used in one of two ways:
- by evil will, or egotistical will, or desire will,
- by conscious will or in other words, the will of Atman.
Atman in Sanskrit is a term that is used to refer to the self, and there is this fourth type of knowledge, which is Atma-vidya, or the knowledge of the Being, the knowledge of the Self: Self-knowledge.
Atma-vidya encloses and encompasses all the other forms of knowledge, and supersedes them and may use them, but in a purified way. In other words, true self-knowledge cannot be used in two different ways; the ego cannot enter into Atma-vidya; desire cannot enter. Atma-vidya is the wisdom of the Being, wisdom of our Innermost, direct knowledge, experiential knowledge, intuitive knowledge of the truth, which is free of desire. This form of knowledge, this kind of wisdom, can utilize rituals, kabbalah, astrology, cartomancy, mantra, prayer, invocation, conjuration, any number of spiritual sciences, but only in a pure way, without desire, without ego: this is Atma-vidya.
So as we explained before, mahavidya, which is kabbalistic studies, could be utilized by the ego, through desire, to build pride, to answer fear, to find a sense of security. There are many who enter spiritual studies, religious studies, because they are very afraid, and they find confidence in studying religion, they find a sense of security in becoming attached to a religious group, or a teacher. But this unfortunately is a use of vidya, or knowledge, by the ego, and in turn makes it avidya, ignorance. All of us make this mistake.
In synthesis we would say, this is how the air of the mind and the water of the sex combine in our psyche to produce suffering, because the ego corrupts that knowledge.
What we need is Temperance. The woman in the card of the fourteenth Arcanum is our Divine Mother, and as you know, the Divine Mother is a symbol of knowledge; she has the veil of Isis, which resembles, which symbolizes, the veil which stands before the temple, prohibiting the animal from entering into the sacred precinct; that animal is your own mind.
To acquire real knowledge, the animal mind has to be sacrificed. This is real Yajna-vidya, this is Ahamkara, the sacrifice of the I. This is how you arrive at Atma-vidya, this knowledge of the being, because to enter Atma-vidya, or that superlative knowledge, the ego cannot be present, so that ego has to be sacrificed.
Now I mentioned that Yajna means “sacrifice,” but that term is also used as a descriptive for a God. Do you know which one? Vishnu. This is where things get really interesting.
In Gnosis, we study the Tree of Life (Kabbalah) , and at the top of the Tree of Life, we have three spheres; this is called the Supra-monad, the supernal triangle. These three are one; they symbolize the tri-unity, or the trinity, which is the basis of every religion. In Christianity, we call them Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Kabbalah, they are Kether, Chokmah, and Binah. The second one in Hebrew is called Chokmah, while in Gnosticism this is called the Second Logos. In Hinduism, these are Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, so the second one is Vishnu.
Yajna is a name for Vishnu, and in Hinduism they have a vast mythology of Vishnu. Vishnu, as a very elevated god and due to his compassion, will manifest himself into this world in order to teach Vidya, to teach his knowledge. Krishna is one of his incarnations, Rama is one of his incarnations, Jesus, Buddha – these are all incarnations of Vishnu. They are his Avatars, his bodhisattvas, in other words.
His name, Vishnu, begins with VI, the same as vidya, the same as wisdom, “visdom.” Chokmah, the second sphere, is the Hebrew word for “wisdom.” This is no accident, it is not coincidental, that Vishnu and Chokmah, Sanskrit and Hebrew, mean the same thing; that is not a coincidence. It is not a coincidence that bodhisattva means “essence of wisdom,” incarnation of Christ. All the bodhisattvas incarnate Vishnu. Within them is born the Christ child, who is Krishna, who is Rama, who is Buddha, and the name of that birth, the name of that force, the essence of that intelligence is sacrifice: yjana.
For that birth to occur, there has to be a death: the death of the “I.”
So here you see, I am describing for you three essential factors: birth, death, and sacrifice. These are the three essential components of any religion, of any form of spirituality. You can call yourself whatever you want, you can attach yourself to any religion, you can follow any master, any scripture, but to awaken the consciousness, you must practice these three factors. Without them, you cannot awaken – it is impossible. These three factors form the basis of every religion that has ever existed.
These three factors are symbolized in the stories of the great prophets and masters, the great saints, the avatars, the gods. In the life of Yeshua, we have his mystical birth; we have his lifetime of sacrifice, and we have his mystical death. We see the same in the life of John the Baptist, we see the same in the life of Krishna, in the life of Buddha, in the life of Moses, in the life of Heracles.
Heracles in particular is very interesting; Heracles symbolizes the Christ in the Greek mysteries. He performed many tremendous works, great labors, impossible for mere mortals, and he was able to accomplish these great labors because he was part divine: in other words, he was a bodhisattva, he had incarnated part of a God within, but he still had his human impure aspect. At the end of his mythology, you find that he dies a very painful death, but that death symbolizes the absolute death of everything in him that was impure. All the human parts die, and what rises is the divine, purified, complete. When he ascends to Olympus as a purified being, the gods give him a present: a wife. This woman is named Hebe. Have you ever seen a picture of her? You will be astonished. She is a young goddess, daughter of Zeus and Hera, who carries in her two hands, two vessels: she is the cup bearer of the gods, and is seen mixing the waters, and she serves in these vessels, ambrosia, the food and drink of the gods, that fuel, that energy that makes them immortal. She becomes the wife of Heracles. She is the symbol of Aquarius. This same image of the woman with the two cups is Hebe, the wife of Heracles, the great warrior.
What this indicates to us is that by following in the footsteps of the great masters, the heroes, and learning how to accomplish the factors of birth, death, and sacrifice, we arrive at the union of our pure element, of our pure psyche, the pure consciousness, with Hebe in us, who is that divine feminine force who provides immortality, perfection. But that is arrived at through great works of conscious knowledge, not by reading books.
Heracles didn’t sit around and read books, neither did Krishna, neither did Jesus. Reading books can be useful, but alone it does not bring awakening. You cannot awaken the consciousness with the intellect. You cannot awaken the conciseness with a belief. You cannot awaken it with a ritual. You cannot awaken it with a mantra. You cannot awaken the consciousness with kabbalah.
You can awaken the consciousness only by actively using the consciousness. All of these other forms of knowledge help, but they cannot awaken us on their own.
You can utilize all the mantras you want, as part of Gupta-vidya, which many practitioners of Hinduism and Buddhism do. You often hear that the beginners are given practices to perform 100,000 recitations of a given mantra, so they set to it, and there may be some benefit to that, in different ways, but it does not awaken consciousness. You will find that Buddhist and Hindus alike place a great value on hundreds of thousands of recitations of mantras or doing prostrations or doing circumambulations, walking around sacred sites. The Christians value doing hundreds of recitations of Hail Mary, or the Lords Prayer, while the Gnostics value reciting certain mantras or doing certain invocations or conjurations, doing certain kinds of practices. All of these are all useful, but they in themselves do not awaken consciousness. They assist, they provide help, but they do not awaken it: the one who awakens the consciousness is you.
If you do not consciously utilize the tools, then you remain asleep. And this is why in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says,
Now hear how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of me with mind attached to me, you can know me in full free of doubt.
In full consciousness. Not in belief consciousness. To be conscious of something is to perceive it. When you are unconscious of something, you do not perceive it.
This is very simple, but often over looked.
How many practitioners of religion do great efforts with rituals, with mantra, with study, with pranayama, with meditation, practicing meditation for hours and hours but without consciousness of it? This is a tragedy. All of these practices, all of these scriptures, are given only to assist the individual effort to awaken consciousness.
To awaken consciousness is something you do right now, not later. You may think “I am going to meditate later to awaken,” or “I will do these mantras later,” that is good, you should do those practices, they will help you, but they on their own cannot awaken you.
Awakening is in each moment.
To be awake is to perceive consciously, to be aware; this is where Atma-vidya is born: in this moment.
The consciousness that we have right now is that which connects us with divine intelligence, with divine forces, with our own Atman, our own Buddha. That Self is not a Self in the sense of a guy on a throne somewhere: it is consciousness; simple. That Self is not what we think it is. It is not what you think you are.
If you study the Bhagavad Gita, you see that Krishna states explicitly that Atman is consciousness, not someone on a throne, not a superior I, not a me that is better than me, but consciousness, all pervading, all present, all perceiving.
And this is what the Buddha was indicating when he said that there is no independently existing self, to point out for the Hindus, for the Brahmins, that the idea of self they have is false. Most of us think that we have some “superior I” in another plane of consciousness who is our real self; and we do have a real Self, we have Atman, we have a Spirit, but that self is self-less; our real Being has no I. Our real self is empty of self.
It sounds contradictory when in Gnosis we say that we as intellectual animals, as the people that we are, do not have real individuality. We say that because of our direct experience: that from moment to moment, we contradict our selves. There is not one I, there are many “I’s.”
Today, I am very good friend with a given person, tomorrow I am their enemy, because one I is here today and another I is here tomorrow. These are samskaras, these are aggregates. These I’s are individual egos that have no organization, no continuity, and are a chaos within our psyche.
In the Mahabarata, these are the hundred brothers that the Pandava have to kill, the legions of I’s.
In one moment we feel happy, in the next we feel angry; one moment we feel good, and the next moment we feel depressed.
These are elements, aspects, psychological components, which rise and pass, that utilize us to express themselves, to get energy. We call these “I’s.” And they work in us through our psychological centers; sometimes they work through the intellect, through our thoughts; sometimes they work thought our emotional center, through our feelings; sometimes through our motor center, through our mechanical habits, sometimes through our instinct, through flight or fight, through different kinds of desire, and sometimes they work through sex. These five centers are different aspects of our psyche that process energy, and the I’s arise and pass coming into the drivers seat of our psyche, to run the show for a period of time, till another one comes and knocks it out of the way. All the while, we think we are one, but who is this I, who is myself?
If the basis of realization is Self-knowledge, we have to investigate this: how is the knowledge of our true self arrived at, if we ignore the very contradictory self that we are now?
Absolute self-knowledge is knowledge of oneself at every level. The one who achieves this becomes “the perfect nine,” which is related with the Ninth Arcanum of the Tarot, but refers directly to having perfect knowledge of oneself, in all the eighteen spheres of the Tree of Life: nine related with the heavens, and nine related to the hells.
In this moment, we begin by being conscious: by being conscious of what we do, by being conscious of what we think, of what we feel, and in this way we analyze our psyche: always watchful.
You notice how in the Bible, and in Hinduism, they say the self is “the watcher” – that is because they real self is the consciousness, who is always watching, but when we are asleep, when we are being mechanical, we forget that real self, so the watcher is not active, this is why we are subject to suffering.
Remaining conscious, watching our five centers, we start to gather knowledge of who we really are. We observe when we feel irritated, and we watch that irritation to find out what thoughts are associated with that, what feelings are associated with that irritation, what sensations, where is that irritation coming from, what does it want. This is not something that is done in a day or a week, this takes a lifetime of continuous consciousness of ourselves, to know ourselves in every detail.
By knowing oneself, we learn to discriminate, and this is where we start to exercise will. Normally – the way we are now – desires come and go through out our five centers. We have a desire to learn about these kinds of things, to study mysticism, to study religion, but do we know where that desire comes from? Do we know what is attached to that, what that desire expects? We have to investigate that in ourselves to know what our motivation is. We should not theorize about it, or just have some ideas about it: we need to perceive it in action, as it truly is, to find experientially what’s driving the different elements that arise in our psyche.
This kind of analysis is not in the intellect. There are some groups who try to analyze the psyche by developing diagrams, by developing a sophisticated outline of the psychological structure that we have. So they will map out pride, and anger, and lust and fear, and come up with a very beautiful image, a very beautiful idea, about the ego. What we have to grasp however, is that the I is inconstant, inconsistent; each I will work in accordance with circumstances, and circumstances always change. In other words, if you have developed an intellectual concept of the structure of your ego, that concept can cause you to be blind to what the ego is actually doing, because you will be limited to see only through your self-imposed filter.
In the same way, when you go home today and you go into the bathroom, you don’t really see your bathroom because you have seen it so many times; you now have a picture of it in your mind, and you don’t see the actual place anymore, you don’t really see it: you see a mental projection. If you don’t believe that, then why do you lose your keys? Why do you lose things, and then find them in a very obvious place, right in front of you, or you don’t see something that you are looking for, which is right there? It is because your own mind is projecting an illusion that it has made. We do this constantly; this is maya, illusion, it is self-projected.
Therefore, it is of little value to develop an intellectual structure of your own ego, but it is of ultimate value to constantly observe the ego, because the ego changes according to circumstances.
The way your pride will come out today is rooted in the circumstances you are in, and tomorrow you will be in different circumstances and that pride will do something different. If you are looking for it to do the same thing, you will miss it, you won’t see it, and you will remain asleep.
But the knowledge of the self, the knowledge of what is arising in our own psyche, is essential; we need to know who we are, and what we are doing, because in each moment all the energy that is transforming through us is producing consequences. You are now simply the result of what you did previously. Everything that you are is because of what you have done: everything.
But going further, everything you are is because of how you have used energy. It is simple: if you suffer, it is because you set in motion energy, which returns to you to balance itself. If you are in pain, you are in pain because of what you, yourself, has done – even if you do not see it right now, it is a law of nature: it is called karma.
In the Bible, it says every man will reap what he sows; in other words, for every action, there is a consequence. This is called “invariance” in physics. Any given level of energy has to return to that level, invariably; it is a law of nature. If you invest energy into a given thing, that energy must be equilibrated, it is a law, so when you are investing energy into anger in your heart, into lust in your sex, into a concept in your mind, that energy must return. And if that investment of energy is contrary to the laws of nature, then there is pain: this is the basis of suffering.
By knowing ourselves, by acquiring Vidya of our own self, we can change how we use energy, because we can apply conscious will, a will that knows better, a will that can distinguish and discriminate between right and wrong. That is the entrance into Atmavidya. Atma is the real self; by knowing how to behave in the right way, in each moment, we start to know our own real self, because that real self knows: it is conscious knowledge, conscious knowing of right and wrong.
The arrival in the ultimate sense to Self-knowledge comes through the application of these three factors, in very simple terms, we put it this way: we need birth. Birth comes in levels: we need first the birth of the soul, we need to create the soul. We also need death, the death of the ego, and we need sacrifice: we need to work on be half of others, to help others. In general terms, this is how we describe these three, but to get more specific, we need to see how demanding they each are.
Birth refers to that spiritual birth that Jesus taught to Nicodemus. We have to be born again, and he states “that which is born of flesh is flesh” – that is not the type of birth we need, that is the first birth, which we already have, we already have that which is born of flesh, which is the physical body, symbolized in the Tree of Life by Malkuth, the lowest sphere. But “that which is born of the spirit,” atman, “is spirit” – we need a superior birth, spiritual birth, and this birth is derives in the same way, in a similar way as our physical one. I said before that everything that we are is because of what we have done; everything that we are now is karmic. But that action that has produced what we are is always sexual in its base, because all energy is in its base a mere modification of sexual energy. All energies are derived from the same source, so what we are physically is obviously the result of sex; our parents had the sexual act and produced the body that we have, but to have a spiritual birth requires a similar sexual cooperation, the cooperation between a man and a woman, who are the only ones that can create life. However, this form of life is in accordance with the laws of the Holy Spirit; to create a spiritual birth, one has to work with the science of alchemy, which again, is symbolized in the icon of Aquarius, the woman mixing the two vessels.
These two vessels symbolize man and woman, solar and lunar, the sun and the moon, husband and wife; she does not spill a drop, but she mixes these forces to produce ambrosia, to create immortality, and that immortality is the creation of the soul, this is birth as one primary factor. The birth is realized when those sexual forces are gathered and purified.
“When male and female are made into one,” says Yeshua, “then you will enter into the kingdom.”
In Hebrew, “kingdom” is Malkuth, this first sphere on the tree of life; this is where we begin to work; to have spiritual birth, we work physically, here. The first birth is when the male and female working in scientific chastity renounce the orgasm, gather the sexual forces, and by means of the science of tantra, or alchemy, under the guidance of the Being, or Atman, those forces are harmonized or equilibrated, and when they are equilibrated, a spark is produced in the very base of the spinal column. This spark can produce an awakening of fire, that in Hinduism is called kundalini; in Christianity, it is called the Holy Spirit.
The awakening of that fire is dependant on moral purity, qualities of the heart. The fire of the Holy Spirit is the intelligence of God, it is not mechanical. It does not come to anyone – it comes to those who earn it, and God rewards those who follows his laws, and who are working to achieve purity of heart and mind. In other words, the kundalini awakens only with moral progress, with psychological death. The ego is killed through our psychological analysis; as we take energy away from the ego by making better choices from moment to moment, that ego starts to die.
These three factors of birth, death, and sacrifice must be made active in our self-observation, in meditation, and in transmutation.
When we have anger stimulating us, it is very painful, and very difficult to renounce. It is very difficult to sacrifice our anger, because our anger wants justice, our anger wants to be fed. It is an easy matter to give up a desire to have a pleasure; we can easily give up something that we want just for pleasure. Let us say it is sugar. We can easily renounce sugar or coffee, something like that, but it is very difficult to renounce anger. It is very difficult to renounce resentment, or lust, because these create suffering, and we love our suffering. This sound contradictory, but watch this in yourself. Next time someone really make you mad, try to not act out on that anger, in any way: not just physically, but also in your mind, because what you think and what you feel is an action, which produces consequences. That is why Jesus said:
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. – Matthew 5:27-28
So it is not just physical action we are talking about, it is emotional, it is mental. So try to renounce your anger, and see how difficult that is. But when you do it, that is an act of sacrifice, a beautiful act of sacrifice, when you renounce and do not feed your own ego, your own desire. And in that sacrifice, there is a step towards death, because that ego is not getting its food. But as you know, if you stop feeding the animal, the animal gets very angry, and it will fight you; it will demand to be fed. This is why the very beginning stages of learning to save the sexual energy are so hard for the beginner, because the animal ego of lust is very hungry, and very fat, and used to getting all the food it wants, so when you stop feeding it, you stop feeding your lust, when you start trying to transmute your energy, it feels like a battle of life and death, it is very difficult, but you have to remain strong and take it moment by moment, fighting against that desire. The process of death begins when we stop feeding the desire; that ego starts to become weak. Eventually, transmutation is easy, physically anyway; it becomes natural, because it is the natural function of the body.
In the moment of denying food to an ego, birth is also happening, because when you stop empowering the ego, you are taking those energies that are in you and beginning to put them into your consciousness, that begins a process of birth. So you see the three factors just in self-observing: birth, death, and sacrifice.
Those three factors applied from moment to moment, are what empowers and opens the doors for the awakening of the kundalini. That awakening in itself is another octave of birth and death and sacrifice; in this case, each vertebra of the spinal column that we want to bring the fire through requires ordeals, tests, challenges, for our own psyche, and each one of those requires the three factors, and in every ordeal, every test, and every challenge that we are given, we have to remember the three factors, and look to accomplish them.
The ordeals come from difficulties in life, difficulties in our relationships, difficulties at work, at school, with our family in all the aspects of life. We have to be prepared in every moment, recalling and using the three factors, looking at ourselves and saying, “What am I giving energy to in my thinking, in my feeling, and in my actions?” By doing that kind of analysis of oneself, you can more easily perceive the ordeals and more easily over come them.
We fail when we become identified with a desire. For example, when someone is opposed to us, maybe making fun of us, talking badly about us, when we become identified with our image, with looking bad, of being embarrassed, with being angry, we are failing that ordeal, because those egos are being fed. When we on the other hand we understand that pride is an ego, shame is an ego, resentment is an ego, and the Being we have is perfect, we recall and remember our own God, then we why do we need the approval of others, why do we need to care if someone praises us or blames us? We can be the same, whether we are attacked or loved, we can be the same person: equal, serene, at rest. With that kind of psychological equilibrium we gain progress in the advancement of the kundalini.
So the kundalini has to be awakened first in the physical body. This produces a psychological change, benefits for the consciousness, and provides extra help through forces which can assist us. We then work on the second serpent of kundalini related to the ethereal body, the vital body. If you study Buddhism, you have seen how the Buddha is often represented by seven serpents over his head: these seven serpents symbolize the first seven initiations of major mysteries, which are related to the first seven spheres of the tree of life. These are the initiations of fire. They are related to raising the serpents of the kundalini, in each of our bodies: the physical body, the ethereal body, the astral body, the mental body, the causal body, the buddhic body, and the atmic body. Each body is a body of flesh; each one of matter, each one is real, but only one of them is physical, which is this one, the physical body. As we are now, that’s the only body that we have that we can work with consciously.
We need to become conscious here and now, and become awake as a consciousness. By creating the bodies of the soul, we start to awaken consciousness in different ways, different levels, but there is no guarantee, there is nothing easy here. You can work in the process of the birth of the soul, you can be self-observing, self-remembering, and be working on your ego in the physical world, you can reach the third initiation of major mysteries and create the solar astral body, but that does not mean you are automatically awake in the astral plane. You may have created the body of that world, but that does not mean you are awake in that world. The astral body gives the capacity to travel in the world with the consciousness awakened, but it doesn’t give you the gift to be awakened there: this is a distinction that we need to understand. It is easy to assume when studying this science that as soon as you have created the astral body that you will be 100 percent awakened in the astral plane, but it is not true. You become 100 percent awakened in the astral plane when you awaken your consciousness there. In the same way we need to awaken consciousness here, we have to awaken there. But we start here, physically.
Related to the astral plane, right now we have the kama rupa, the body of desires, which is a lunar body that we use in the astral plane, when we are dreaming we are using that body, when we lay down to sleep physically, when we start to dream, we are traveling in our own body of desires, but this is a lunar mechanical body, which is basically constituted of the ego. We can have out of body experiences, lucid dreaming, and conscious awakened experiences in the astral plane with that lunar body.
Awakening the consciousness is not equivalent to creating the soul; creating the soul is creating the soul, it is the process of creating vessels, vehicles, but to utilize them, you have to be awake; do you see the distinction?
You can awaken without creating the bodies; look at Yogananda. Yogananda awakened a great deal of consciousness, and could be awakened in the astral plane, but he did not have the solar astral body, yet he had the discipline to remain conscious of himself, physically and internally.
These initiations of Major Mysteries are processes by which the sexual forces are utilized and the initiate is tested and the soul is created. The soul is a vessel, a vehicle; the vehicle is utilized in order for us to gather deeper self-knowledge, but that self-knowledge comes through awakening consciousness, so do not assume that creating the bodies is going to save you: it does not; it gives you extra tools. In the same way, learning mantras does not save you from suffering or the lower realms; mantras just give you extra tools, but obviously having the soul or the solar bodies is a billion times more powerful than having mantras, because those solar bodies – when you awaken and you learn how to use them – allow you to travel in other planes of consciousness, so you can penetrate more deeply into your own mind, more deeply into your own karma, more deeply into your own self in order to free yourself of suffering and the second death.
The factor of Birth is how we take the sexual forces and – under the guidance and assistance of our own Divine Mother – we utilize those forces to create superior bodies, to create the soul, the merkabah. But that same energy, sexual energy, is also used to destroy the ego; this is why in Hinduism, Shiva, the Holy Spirit, is known as the creator and destroyer: it is his fire, his energy that creates and destroys, so while we gather our sexual forces and transmute them, the Divine Mother takes those forces and uses them as needed, but she can only use them according to our works.
In order for any psychological aggregate to be destroyed, it has to be understood, why? Each ego, each psychological element is part of us, is something we create, we produce.
When we look at another person in a lustful way, we take that imagery and we invest into that imagery a very potent energy, so that that image becomes more concrete; that imagery of lust, invested with energy, creates a false life: historically, these are called incubi and succubi. These are psychological elements that we create with our lust, with our fantasy.
In the same way, we create egos; egos are psychological elements in our own mind which are packets of trapped energy, sexual energy. When we are criticized, and we feel our pride is hurt and we think about that, and we go around with that hurt feeling, what is happening there is a transformation of energy, but in hell, our own psychological hell. That packet of energy is becoming trapped, in what we call an “I” or an ego. It is a block in the flow of nature, it is a wrong transformation of forces, and it is Karma. In order for our Divine Mother to us free of from that suffering, we have to extract the purity of it, the consciousness.
In each ego is trapped a portion of our consciousness. When we as an animal soul first entered into humanoid bodies, we had an element of free consciousness, called buddhata, tathagatagarba, or essence, and this element is an extension of our own inner Being. The essence is that which gives us the capacity to be conscious, to be aware, to pay attention, to perceive. In ancient times, all of us could perceive more than we do now, this is why in our folklore, we hear stories of sylphs, gnomes, dwarves, pygmies, elves, all kinds of creatures, that nowadays we think are fantasies. In past times, we could see them, they are real, they exist. They are the spirits of plants and rocks, the spirits of animals, which at one time we could perceive, and work with directly. But over the centuries, because we have become more and more trapped in desire, in pride, in lust, in anger, in envy, in fear, we have lost more and more of our senses, we have lost the ability to perceive.
We are becoming deeper and deeper buried in lust, in pride, in fear, and that is why we see the suffering of humanity getting worse. We see that, instead of feeding the hungry, instead of caring for those that suffer, we are developing more and more powerful ways of destroying each other. It is because our essence is becoming more and more trapped in the ego.
When we take and harness the sexual forces, transmute them, our own Divine Mother can use that energy to destroy those packets, and free the energy that is trapped in them, free the consciousness. But she cannot do it while the energy is in there, because that would hurt us. We extract that consciousness by becoming conscious of that karma, by knowing fully that ego, by knowing fully that element in our own mind, and when we fully comprehend that particular karma, that particular I, that desire, we can extract the free consciousness, we can free it. At that precise moment, the Divine Mother can kill that demon, that element, which is symbolized by Durga, in Hinduism, fighting the demon.
So death arrives based on self-knowledge, but to just practice birth and death is insufficient. There are some who work with the forces of alchemy to transmute their sexual energy, and who meditate on the ego, but they remain stagnant, this is because they are not utilizing the third factor, which is sacrifice. To sacrifice is to follow after Vishnu, Chokmah, the Christ. You know in the gospels that Jesus said, “Anyone who would come after me, must deny himself,” (this is psychological death), “must take up his cross,” (the cross is the alchemical connection between a man and woman), “and follow me,” or sacrifice, to emulate the master Jesus, to do what he did, which is to give up all self-interest, and to give for the benefit of others: that is the nature of a bodhisattva, an incarnation of Yajna, Christ, sacrifice.
Vishnu, Chokmah, the Christ, has one law, sacrifice, love. The force of the Christ is the force that gives life to every existing thing. Without Christic energy, existence is not possible. All the great masters, all the great prophets, are incarnations of that Christic sacrificial force who give freely of themselves to benefit others. They don’t charge for their wisdom, they don’t demand anything for themselves like worship or even respect; they give, and they give, and they give, even when being betrayed. Even Jesus, while on the cross, betrayed, tortured, humiliated, and being stolen from, said “Father, forgive them.” He demanded nothing for himself.
This factor of sacrifice stands equal to birth and death and all are equally necessary, from moment to moment. We begin to embody that from moment to moment, when we are confronted with our challenges, when we are confronted with problems.
Problems in life are a great form of help; our problems bring up the things we need to change in ourselves. In adversity, the hero comes to light, and adversity is all around us. So the Gnostic learns to take advantage of all adversity, to give thanks, to be grateful, to kiss the hand of the executioner. The one who brings you suffering, the one who brings you pain, is bringing you a great gift: the opportunity to know yourself. Most of the time we waste it, and we become furious against the executioner, against the one who brings us criticism, or problems. But if we can learn to take advantage of those moments, we can learn to change.
These three factors are elements of change, and that is why Aquarius is the most revolutionary sign of all the Zodiacal signs: it provides the most capacity for change. When the Age of Aquarius arrives, our whole society changes, everything shifts. And the same is true of what Aquarius can provide in our psyche if we take advantage of it. We are in the Aquarian Age, so that influence is very strong. Unfortunately, most people receive that influence and only use it to feed the ego; this is why when the Age of Aquarius arrived, we saw such a proliferation of degenerated sexuality, beginning in the sixties is when it first arrived; but now the degeneration of humanity is accelerating as the Aquarian Age deepens and becomes stronger, and as people continue to fail to dominate their ego. Sexual degeneration is becoming more and more prevalent and public; all you have to do is watch the news to see it, all you have to do is look at your friends, and look to see how commonplace degenerate sexual practices are becoming, which thirty or forty years ago would have been unheard of, and that is the influence of Aquarius which is providing the potential to revolutionize our sexuality.
Aquarius is governed by two planets: Saturn and Uranus. Saturn is the planet related with death, and Uranus is the planet related with sex, Uranus governs sexuality. That name comes from the Greek and refers to the sky. The orbit of Uranus is an orbit of 84 years around the sun, and that orbit is polarized into two parts of 42 years each. As a strongly polarized planet, Uranus provides a strongly polarized influence on our psyche, but directly related with sexuality; in other words, for a given 42 year period, Uranus is giving more strength the women, and then that flips and Uranus gives more strength or more predominance to men. There was a movement or shift of that influence in the sixties, and this is why we saw the women’s revolution, women’s movement, where women became much more empowered and became the central focus of many of our social changes. But that is switching back: it has been 42 years. So now you will see over the next few years that men will once again have much more of an influence, more of a push for dominance, socially. This does not mean one is better than the other; it is simply a stellar influence.
The point is that Saturn, the planet of death, and Uranus, the planet of sex, are the ones that govern Aquarius. In other words, when we misuse the sexual forces, when we misuse the energies that are flowing through Aquarius, though humanity now, what kind of death are we producing? When the sexual energy under Aquarius is misused, and it is combined with Saturn, what is dying, what are we killing, what kind of death is being produced? For the Gnostic, for the spiritual warrior, this provides a tremendous energy to destroy the ego, to kill desire, and to come to know the truths of life and death, to come to know the Gods directly. But for the one who receives those forces mechanically, through the ego it produces a tremendous energy to kill the soul, to kill the consciousness: thus you see how our society, our culture, is pushing for degenerated sexuality, grasping after it desperately, trying to degenerate, trying to spread the doctrine of infrasexuality, impure sexuality, fornication, and adultery, abuse, and all kinds of variations of misusing the force of the Holy Spirit. And we see then wide spread suffering, growing suffering.
I think you can see from the context of this course so far, that in all of the Zodiacal signs and the planetary influences, there are tremendous energies available to us, at each moment, that we use, but we use them unconsciously. The purpose of our studies is to become conscious, to make the unconscious, conscious, to bring light into our own darkness, and as such we are in the position of receiving a lot of help, partly because, having entered the Age of Aquarius, the doors to esoteric knowledge have been thrown open.
Humanity is sharply degenerating on a very sharp curve downwards. All of the great compassionate Buddhas said, “Open the doors to the esoteric doctrine: humanity is doomed. Humanity cannot return from the edge of the abyss, so open the doors to the esoteric knowledge for those who want it, and give them the esoteric knowledge freely, for any who want it. For those who don’t, very well, we respect that, and we will see them all when they come out of the Second Death after a few thousand years in the abyss. Yet for those who do want the knowledge and the way to escape suffering, we will help them. We will help them by giving them ordeals, and by giving them more knowledge in order to overcome those ordeals.”
So the knowledge is being presented freely, openly, for the first time in the history of this planet, the history of this race. So we have this great opportunity to take advantage of the three factors, of birth, death, and sacrifice in ourselves, and awaken. Those three factors harmonized and balanced in each moment produce the awakening of the consciousness. This is why I stated at the beginning that you can do all the rituals you want, you can learn all the Kabbalah you want, you can learn all the mantras you want, related to those other forms of Vidya, and that is fine, they help, but they do not awaken consciousness: the three factors do. But those three factors have to be practiced consciously, by will, in each moment.
There is a little part from the Bhagavad Gita that I would like to read to you which related to this.
Know that I am the original seed (sexual seed) of all existences, the intelligence of the intelligent, and the prowess of all powerful men. I am the strength of the strong, devoid of passion and desire. I am sex life which is not contrary to religion. Know that all states of being, be they of goodness, passion, or ignorance, are manifested by my energy. I am in one sense everything, but I am independent. I am not under the modes of material nature, for they on the contrary are within me. This divine energy of mine consisting of the three modes of material nature, or gunas, is difficult to overcome, but those who surrender unto me can easily cross beyond it. Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, who are lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons, do not surrender unto me. O best among Bharatas, four kinds of pious men begin to render devotional service unto me: the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute. Of these, the one who is in full knowledge and who is always engaged in pure devotional service is the best, for I am very dear to him, and he is dear to me. All these devotees are undoubtedly magnanimous souls, but he who is situated in knowledge of Me I consider to be just like my own self. Being engaged in my transcendental service he is sure to attain me, the highest and most perfect goal.
So we see in the Bhagavad Gita that absolute knowledge of Christ is acquired through service, through Yajna, and that is the renunciation of false self nature, which is ego.