Swami Sri Yukteswar (SY) was asked by Mahavatar Babaji to write a book showing the underlying essence of Jesus’ teachings and those of Krishna. By extension, this is to say to show the essential truth underlying all faith traditions.
Truth is called by many names by men but truth is one and eternal. “Hear O Israel, the Lord, the Lord our God is One.” By so many words, rituals, and symbols perhaps the most universal truth teaching is to say (in numerous ways) that God (by whatever name or no name) exists and is the sole (or essential) reality behind all appearances. Thus begins Chapter 1 (The Gospel) of The Holy Science.
Perception by man of this truth is thwarted by the hypnotic influence and stimuli of the five senses of the human body. We identify reality with their reports. Consequently, the divine presence remains hidden to us until we can stimulate and develop our inner (sixth) sense through the all-seeing “eye” of intuition.
The One, absolute and Self-contained began creation by become two. God so created the world by making himself dual: the power of his Shakti (joyful energy) and his omniscient feeling (consciousness or chit). These form God as nature, God as manifested. In the microcosm of the Self, we have our will power (with enjoyment underlying it) and we have self-awareness as that which enjoys. This dual power could also be described as the outgoing (repelling) force, and the inflowing (attractive or Love) power. This dual power has a sound which is called the Word (or the Aum, or Amen).
The creation through Aum has four elements: vibration (intelligent word), time, space, and particle (atom and individuality, or separateness of objects). (These are the four beasts of the Book of Revelation in the Bible who attend the throne of God.) The Holy Ghost vibration of Aum is God manifested and manifesting creation through the principle of dwaita, duality, and its spinning hypnotic effect, maya. Though made manifest through God’s Light, the divided parts of the creation do not comprehend their reality or source.
First, individuality must become self-aware. This is the human stage with our highly developed cerebrospinal centers (the chakras). Then we find the competition between the pull upwards toward Sat (truth or God) or downward toward avidya (ignorance). Separateness, as an idea which creates separate forms, is energized toward individuality and individual consciousness by the universal intelligence and feeling state of chit. From this develops the illusion of individuality (ahamkara-ego). Here we have the dual pull of Buddhi (Intelligence) toward ultimate reality (Sat), and the pull of Manas (blind sense-Mind) (ignorance-avidya) seeking enjoyment from and within the creation itself. Underlying all creation – whether the outgoing force or the inward force – is the impulse towards bliss (or Love, or Joy).
SY then embarks on a comprehensive (not necessarily readily comprehensible) dissection of the three bodies of man (and all creation): physical, astral, and causal. He describes the essential components of each. Chitta, the calm state of mind with its sense of separateness, has five pranas (aura electricities-Pancha Tattwa) which constitute the causal body. These five in contact with the three gunas (aspects of nature, being enlightening, energizing, or darkening) produce fifteen astral attributes plus four aspects of mind for the astral body. These nineteen are the five senses, the five powers of locomotion (hands, feet, excretion, procreation, and speech), the five natural objects of the senses, and four aspects of mind: intelligence, sense-mind, ego, and feeling.
The physical body then is manifested through five elemental forms of space, gas, fire, liquid and solid. The nineteen astral attributes added to the five of the body constitute the twenty-four elders of creation mentioned in the Book of Revelations. These are the building blocks of individuality that set into motion the drama of creation.
On the macrocosm of creation, SY describes seven spheres (swargas) of creation, with seven centers (chakras or Sapta Patalas) in the human microcosmic universe. Together these fourteen stages of creation are called the Bhuvanas. The Spirit in creation is hidden by five sheaths, or koshas: feeling, intelligence, mind (as focused upon and limited by the senses), life force (prana), and matter.
As the twenty-four elders of creation are in place, the power of Attraction (Divine Love) begins to manifest, first attracting all atoms toward each other to form the five elemental forms of creation (space, gaseous, fire, liquid, and solid) and then evolving each stage of creation beginning with the minerals, then vegetables, animals, human, astral (angelic), and lastly emancipated from all koshas. As each stage emerges, one kosha is shed to reveal more and more intelligence and feeling then at last divinity (Oneness).
Introspection reveals our dream-like and idea-based sense-bound perception of reality and individuality. It is through the power of the sat-guru (savior or preceptor) that the divinity behind all forms is revealed to truth-seeking souls. Baptism, or rebirth in the sacred river of Aum, is symbolized by holy water and rivers whose sound, like many waters, is heard in deep guru-given meditative states. Thus the universal meaning and significance of rivers and of water. In merging into the inner Light, by degrees, do we reclaim our eternal birthright as sons of God.
Thus is a summary of Chapter 1, the Gospel, showing the nature and process of creation and of salvation. Don’t forget about the class series on this subject: it begins Wednesday, September 7, 7:30 p.m. at Ananda Meditation Temple. We are working on a streaming video presentation for those at a distance, but this latter promise is not yet a reality as of this date. Either way, you can register on line at www.AnandaSeattle.org