Alchemy and Kabbalah are the two great sciences that the initiate needs to understand in order to walk on the path, in order to return back to Eden. These two sciences of Alchemy and Kabbalah are symbolized in the book of Genesis. Alchemy is symbolized as the tree of knowledge, which is in Hebrew called Daath. The Kabbalah is symbolized in the book of Genesis as the tree of life. These two trees represent the science or the precise wisdom, the precise knowledge, that one needs in order to know God and to achieve freedom from suffering.
Gnosis is a Greek word which means knowledge. Gnosis encompasses the knowledge of the two trees, the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and bad.
The books of Genesis and Revelation are the vehicles of that knowledge. They are an encoding of that wisdom. When we examine the book of Revelation, we have to bear in mind that were studying something that is deeply symbolic, and we cannot take it simply at the literal level. As was explained in the previous lecture, when we look at the seven churches that are mentioned by the writer John, he says seven churches in Asia, but we know that when you study Kabbalah you understand that it is not Asia that is written there, it is עשיה Assiah, which is the physical world, the kingdom. And those seven churches are symbolic of seven magnetic centers that exist in the physical body and in the other internal bodies that we have. In the same way, the other symbols and names and words of the book of Revelation are symbolic. They indicate to us the precise means to come to the knowledge that the book is indicating. Alchemy and Kabbalah form the foundation for the initiate. They provide the ground upon which the path can be realized. So this ground is the fundamental understanding that every initiate needs in order to work in the right way.
Kabbalah or the tree of life is more or less a map; it is a symbol. This tree encodes in its structure a map that demonstrates both how the consciousness works and how nature works. And for the initiate, for the student, for the aspirant to really come to know directly the knowledge that is contained in the book of Revelation, that person must understand the tree of life, because the book of Revelation is in itself expressing the knowledge of the tree of life. So if you do not have a good understanding of how the tree works, of how Kabbalah works, you can never understand the book of Revelation, likewise the book of Genesis, or for that matter, the rest of the Bible. This symbol encodes that knowledge.
The tree presents Gnosis in a visual form, which then indicates structures and relationships. Those relationships and structures exist within our own psyche. They are within us. They demonstrate how our own psychological systems function. So it is necessary for the initiate to understand that structure.
When we look in the book of Revelation and we study this text, we see that the language is very dream-like. The language is very poetic. It has a kind of structure, a kind of tone, which makes it different from the rest of the Bible. This is due to the language from which it was written. Revelation, like the book of Genesis, is an expression of the kabbalistic language or root knowledge. The tone and language within which the book is written demonstrates that it contains something more than simply the printed word. When we read for example, “I turned I saw seven standing lamps of gold and among the lamps one like a Son of Man robed down to his feet with a golden girdle around his breast.” To take that literally leaves the reader very dissatisfied. This is because on the literal level one cannot access the real content of the book. To just imagine some radiant person is not enough.
The book of Revelation is a sacred book precisely because it demonstrates and communicates a science, something practical, not merely something to be believed. And that is really the nature of Gnosis or Daath. It is something practical, something that we have to utilize.
Unfortunately, most readers of the Bible and the book of Revelation fail to grasp that, because they do not have the keys. We study Gnosis, the tree of life, and we study Alchemy in order to grasp those keys and use them to unlock the symbols that are contained in this book.
To unlock the symbols, we have to understand something about the Tree of Life.
Imagine, visualize, one sphere, one circle, and place upon that sphere the name Malkuth; this is a Hebrew word that means “the kingdom.” This single sphere is a symbol like an algebraic symbol or mathematical symbol, which represents many things. But in the case of what we are going to look at in this lecture, we will say that this circle represents our physical body. It represents us as a person. So you, seated inside of a physical vehicle, are symbolized by this circle of Malkuth. That circle rests or hangs from a triangle, and that triangle has a sphere at each point. So now we have in our imagination a single sphere hanging by itself, above which is a triangle pointed downwards. And that triangle symbolizes a deeper part of our selves. It symbolizes our psyche, aspects of our own psychological structure.
So if we have this physical body which is symbolized by Malkuth, we have within ourselves energy, which is that first sphere closest to Malkuth at the bottom of the downward hanging triangle, that sphere is called Yesod, which means the foundation. The top two spheres at either end of the triangle are Hod on the left and the one on the right is called Netzach.
Yesod, or the lowest sphere of these three above Malkuth, represents the energy that we have and this is often called the vital body or the etheric body. This is the energy that gives life or gives force to the physical body that we have. So in a certain sense you can say within that sphere of Malkuth, which is by itself, we have Yesod, but symbolically we show it above and separate from Malkuth.
After Yesod, the next sphere is Hod. Hod is related to our astral energy or emotional energy. And to the right of it is Netzach, which is related to the mind, to the intellect, to thought. In Sanskrit, Netzach is called Manas. This is inferior manas and is related to the mind that we have.
Above this triangle is another downward pointed triangle. The lowest point of that triangle has another sphere and this one is called Tiphereth. This one is superior manas in Sanskrit. Manas is a term which means mind, or intellect, more literally. But it is not intellect in the way we normally think of it. In Netzach, we have a kind of mind that is more concrete, it is more rational, and in Tiphereth we have a kind of mind that is more intuitive or abstract. So you can see that as we move further away from Malkuth were dealing with more and more subtle forms of psyche. More and more subtle forms of energy.
What we are looking at is the lowest five spheres of the tree of life. These five represent what Paul calls the terrestrial man. So when were reading in the book of Revelation by John, John is really representing a part of our psyche related to the terrestrial man, and this part of our psyche is receiving instruction, is receiving wisdom from another entity, from another intelligence. So these five spheres are important for us to understand in order for us to understand the book of Revelation. As you descend into the symbolism of the Kabbbalah as presented in the book of Revelation, it can become quite complicated and quite dense. These five spheres provide a basic structure upon which a great deal of the book can be understood.
Now these five represent different levels of our own psyche, more and more subtle levels of thought, more and more subtle levels of any kind of psychological process. They also represent the vehicles of those forms of thought, of those forms of communication. So the physical level, the lowest sphere of Malkuth, represents the physical body, through which we receive certain kinds of information, and within which we perform certain kinds of action. Likewise, when we move to a more subtle level, into the level of Yesod, we have a body of energy or a body of chi, and this is the foundation. Upon this foundation is built everything. Yesod, or the vital body, is the cause of life of the physical body. You cannot have a physical body without energy, without a vital body. So in the same way that we act with our physical body, that action is empowered by the energy of the vital body, and that action is fulfilled by that same force. We can act physically, but we can also act energetically; we can act in other levels. And so we understand in Gnosis that not only do we have this physical body, and the capacity to act on that level, we have a vital body, or a body of energy, and we have the capacity to act on that level as well. We may not realize it, we may not be aware of it, but it exists.
In the same way, the more we ascend through theses spheres we find the capacity to act in different ways. So in Hod, related to the astral body, to emotion, that sphere has its vehicle. It has a body. It has a means by which action is expressed. That action can be perceived in different ways. If we are seated inside of our physical vehicle, this physical body related to Malkuth, we have emotional action or communication, or action, things that we perform related to our emotions. And that is related to the astral body or the sphere of Hod. But if were outside of the physical body in the same way that John is in the book of Revelation, John is taken up in the spirit outside of the physical body in order to receive that revelation. In that way he is acting with other vehicles, not the physical one. So here we see expressed in this portion of the tree of life, different vehicles of varying densities existing in varying levels of nature which each provide the capacity to act in its own way.
So the astral body provides our ability to act and communicate in the astral world, also called the fifth dimension. And within the same fifth dimension we have the mental body, or the capacity to act through the vehicle of thought. This is Netzach.
More subtle still is the abstract mind, or the body of conscious will, which is Tiphereth. This is in a more subtle level of nature: the sixth dimension.
So these varying levels or varying vehicles that we all have provide to us means to receive and transmit action, information, wisdom. And it is upon the bases of these vehicles that the work of the path of Self-realization is accomplished.
This is one of the most fundamental points that Gnosis offers to the initiate. The path to realize the true nature of self, the true nature of existence, cannot be realized merely physically. It cannot be realized merely through belief. That path is a work of action, and is a work of creation, but it is realized through successive levels of our own interior makeup. That is symbolized in the book of Genesis by the days of creation. We know that there are six days within which God creates the man and on the seventh he rests. These seven days are related to these spheres plus two more. The first five days of Genesis are related to these five spheres. So it is important for any person who really wants to understand how to conquer suffering, and how to enter into direct knowledge of the divine, to understand very well what these five spheres are within our selves. What truly is the physical body? How does it come to be? What empowers it, what enlivens it? What truly is the mind? What is emotion? What is a dream? What is it to pay attention? These questions have to be understood on the basis of the tree of life. The tree of life is what organizes this information into a useful structure. Without that, it is easy to become trapped in theories and contradictory ideas.
When we examine the book of Revelation, we have to keep in mind the structure.
The first chapter of the book of Revelation is the introduction both of John as the author and as the person who represents the initiate, and the Christ who is giving the wisdom. To understand their relationship is only possible on the basis of knowing what the tree of life is and how it works. Without that knowledge, this book becomes just a narrative which sounds like a dream and has no real impact on our moment to moment existence.
If we extend the tree that we have already outlined, and go deeper into the structure of our psyche, we can start to understand what John means when he writes “Son of Man,” because this is a very important term for us to understand.
The lower five spheres represent us. Beyond this we have deeper parts of our psyche, which correspond to superior levels of the being, superior parts of our own soul.
The second triangle has two more spheres on either end. The first one on the left is called Geburah, and this is the divine soul. In Sanskrit, it is called buddhi. Buddhi literally means “intelligence.” This intelligence is differentiated from manas, which means intellect. In the same way, you can understand the difference between fire and light. Fire would be Tiphereth: it is the flame that arises; but that flame, that fire, emits light, and that light would be buddhi, the more subtle part of the fire. Buddhi is one aspect of our soul.
The other sphere on this triangle is called Chesed. It is also called Gedulah, and this sphere is called in Sanskrit Atman.
In Gnosis, we understand Atman in a different way from Hinduism. Certain interpreters of Hindu scriptures have a conception of Atman as the absolute self, to being the root of the self, and in Gnosis we go further than that. Buddhism contests the Hindu or Brahmanic understanding of Atman, and Gnosis agrees with Buddhism. Buddhism states that Atman is not the real self. Gnosis states that Atman is not limited to simply the ultimate definition of self. It is truly our self, but it is not the root of self, because this self of Atman has its own self. It goes deeper. Atman or Chesed, we would say, is what we call in Christianity “our father,” our individual father, or the root, the Being that we have. This is our own inner being. But this inner self, Chesed or Atman, also has his own inner self. And that spirit we could also say arises due to yet another triangle, which sits atop of this one. So our Being has his own Being. But the Being of the Being is Non-being. This is the point of view of Buddhism: that there is no self. In the ultimate sense, this is true, but we have to understand that reality unfolds in levels, each of which is relative.
So we have in our imagination now one solitary sphere which hangs at the bottom, above it is a downward facing triangle, above that is another downward facing triangle, and above that is one more which points upward. This superior triangle is the top of the tree of life. It also has three spheres, one on each end of each point. And this superior triangle or supernal triangle is the triangle of the logos. This triangle represents what is classically known as the Trinity or the Trimurti. Trimurti is a Sanskrit term which means “three faced.” When you examine Hinduism, you find a very good understanding of the Trimurti. You will see sculptures of one god with three faces, that is the Trinity. It is one, but with three aspects.
We have to understand the Trinity or Trimurti. A Trinity is a tri-unity or three in one, and in Christianity it is known as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
In Hinduism, it is known as Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.
In Gnosis, we call these the Three Logoi: first, second, and third.
In Hebrew, the leftmost sphere is called Binah, which means understanding. The right sphere is called Chokmah, which means wisdom. And the top is called Kether, which means the crown. These three are one. They are three aspects of the same force. And these three in one in Gnosis we call the Cosmic Christ.
Christ is a universal force. When we say Christ we do not mean the same things that the Christians mean. We are not referring to Jesus of Nazareth alone, to one person, to one vehicle of the Christ. We agree that Jesus of Nazareth is a great initiate, but we add that he was not the only one. We understand that Krishna was also a Christ, an embodiment or a vehicle of this three in one, this force. Mohammad was also a vehicle of the Christ. Quetzalcoatl was also a vehicle of the Christ. Moses as well. There have been many, not just one.
We have to understand that this force, this Christic energy is, in its base expression, love. But it is not the kind of love that we as a terrestrial person can understand. Our understanding of love is rooted in materialism, rooted in matter, rooted in sensation. When we think of love, we tend to think of something that is conditional, that is based on certain conditions or circumstances. This is not love. Love is an energy or a force which is beyond any conceptual understanding that we could ever have. A conceptual understanding is limited to manas, to the intellect. Even in the abstract sense, when we use abstract mind, Tiphereth, if that Tiphererth, that abstract mind is not unified with the Cosmic Christ, it cannot comprehend love, it cannot understand it.
In order to understand the Christic energy, the Christ has to become humanized in us. We have to experience that. And that is the only way to understand what it is. So when we indicate the Cosmic Christ we have to understand that we are talking about something in an intellectual or conceptual way that can never really be understood in that way. As much as we build a nice structure in our mind about what this means, it is not the thing itself.
The Cosmic Christ arises and manifests driven by its own impulse of love. That love is characterized in different ways and expressed in different ways through each of its three aspects. But in the context of the book of Revelation, we have to understand that this force of love expresses itself as the Son of Man.
So what is that, who is that, what does Son of Man mean? In the Bible, you find this term all over. In the early parts of the Bible, the original Hebrew for Son of Man is בן-אדם [Ben-Adam]. Later, it is Ben-Enosh, בר אנש. In the later books in the New Testament it is in Greek [υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου]. In some cases, the phrase literally refers to a common person. But in others, the meaning is something elevated, superior.
In the gospels, the great teacher Jesus refers to the Son of Man often. But he says it in a way that is very interesting. He never says “I.” He talks about the Son of Man in the sense that it is him and it is not him. He says the Son of Man will be persecuted and will rise again. He is talking about himself, but at the same time he is not talking about himself. Why is that? Because he is not the only one. The Son of Man is a symbol of how the force of the cosmic Christ expresses itself through Chokmah, the Second Logos, which is the Son, and becomes humanized in the initiate.
The way that happens is very unusual and somewhat rare. The Christic force descends through the symbolic tree, and at a certain stage of the initiatic process of a given person, it is born in the person’s heart and becomes humanized. This is symbolized when Jesus is born in the stable amongst the animals. The animals symbolize the bestial elements that we have in our mind, the impure elements, all the animalistic forms that we have within our psyche. And the humanized Cosmic Christ is born as the child in the stable.
In order for an initiate to receive that type of blessing, the initiate has to accomplish certain tasks. It is not simply a matter of believing in the Christ for that Christic force to become born in us. Many people think that way. Millions of people believe, but among them can we find the Christ, living, breathing, acting, sacrificing?
Chokmah in Hebrew means “wisdom.” In Sanskrit, wisdom is “bodhi.” When that force becomes humanized, when it enters into a person, that person becomes something different, something new, something distinct. This force of Chokmah, this force of the cosmic Christ, has Love as its very essence. But this force as expressed through Chokmah through the Second Logos, expresses through its law, which is sacrifice. The force, the will of the christic energy, is sacrifice, love. And this is perfectly illustrated in the initiatic drama that Jesus lived. He sacrificed himself completely for the good of others.
In Buddhism, this type of person is called a Bodhisattva. Sattva means “essence of” or “embodiment of” or “vehicle.” Bodhi is “wisdom.” Bodhi indicates Chokmah, the Christ. So a Bodhisattva is the essence of the Christ, or a vehicle of the Christ, an embodiment of that force. So we then would say Jesus is a great bodhisattva, Moses is a great bodhisattva, Quetzalcoatl, Mohammad, Krishna, all these teachers are great bodhisattvas, embodiments of Christ. The Son of Man is that Christic force humanized in Tiphereth, in the human soul, in manas, in the mind, inside of the heart.
This accomplishment is achieved by the initiate who firstly, works on a daily basis with true alchemy, the science of the tree of knowledge, and secondly, who works on a daily basis with the knowledge in the kabbalah or the tree of life. When someone is working with the science of alchemy and working with the science of the tree of knowledge, the tree of life, they begin a process to fill each sphere of the tree of life, in themselves, with fire. And that fire is the fire of the Holy Spirit, also the fire of the Christ because those two are one. But in essence the initiate has to work with alchemy in order to raise in Malkuth, what we call a serpent of fire. In other words, in Sanskrit, it is called kundalini. In the book of Numbers, Moses explains that this is the Serpent of Brass.
Brass is a very important symbol in Alchemy. Brass is a combination of two metals: copper and tin. This is an alchemical symbol, which is demonstrating that these two metals, copper and tin, one masculine and one feminine, represent the man and the woman, male and female. Those two merged in purity can create brass, and in the book of Numbers we know that the Serpent of Brass heals the Israelites of their spiritual problems, symbolized as death and sickness.
In the book of Revelation, we see that the Son of Man is described as having feet which gleam like burnished brass refined in a furnace. The furnace is the Athanor or the Matras of the Alchemist. It is the Alchemical oven, symbolized in the east as a lingam yoni. The oven is the laboratory of the Alchemist. In that oven is placed the metals copper and tin. They are merged in purity.
If we take this tree of life that we visualized and we super imposed that on our own body, Malkuth would be where our feet are. So the feet of the Son of Man are a symbol of Malkuth. So we have to understand the Son of Man becomes the Son of Man by working in Alchemy, with an alchemical oven, with purity, to formulate the perfect bond of copper and tin in alchemy. That process raises upon the spinal column of the physical body a serpent of fire. And this is accomplished in the first great initiation of major mysteries. It is called the first serpent of fire.
Subsequently, the initiate has to do the same work through each sphere, moving up. Each serpent is raised based upon ordeals, and tests, and proofs. Nothing is given freely; nothing is given easily. The process of Alchemy is very demanding.
What happens when you place elements into an oven? They are submitted to heat and pressure. They are submitted to being purified, and that process is not pleasant for the element that is inside the oven. It burns, and in the same way the initiate is tested. This is well represented in the book of Job. Job is tested quite severely, and this well represents what the initiate must pass through: psychological tests.
This is because we as a mind, as a creature, have many elements inside of our psyche which do not belong there. If we study the gospels closely, we see that the vehicle of the Christ named Jesus indicated repeatedly we cannot be adulterers and enter heaven. We cannot be liars, we cannot be murderers, we cannot be impure in anyway. So all the impurities that we have within cannot just be ignored; they cannot just be forgotten. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that our sins will just disappear. They must be comprehended, they must be understood. They must be removed. And this is accomplished through examining them in detail. We examine them in detail when they arise because we face problems. And that is why God allows Lucifer to test Job. God needs to see how pure is he really, how good is he really? He seems good, he seems very devoted, but is he, in the depths? So Lucifer tempts him, punishes him, puts him in very difficult situations, in order for all those elements in his mind to be stimulated. So he puts heat and pressure. Job of course suffers intensely, if you are familiar with the book, but in the end he proves himself because he has the capacity to analyze himself. He does not justify himself, he does not defend himself. He analyzes, he looks for what is wrong, he looks to change what he should change. The initiate must do the same. So with the process of raising each serpent is the process of facing difficulties, tests, ordeals, and this is how our own inner Being, Chesed, calls us. He tests us to make sure that we are prepared to receive the blessing of the birth of the Christ within us.
Little by little, as we change psychologically, as we remove from ourselves ways of thinking, ways of feeling, ways of behaving, that are wrong, that are harmful, little by little we incorporate more purity in ourselves. That purity is embodied in the fire.
There are five serpents related to these first five spheres. Each one is a long and difficult work. Each one is very demanding. And in the process of each one, many fail. Some keep trying, some walk away. With great patience, with great discipline, with great energy, some devoted ones arrive to the completion of the fifth serpent of fire. Theses ones have worked for a long time to purify the many levels of their psyche of problems, mistakes, and to prove their discipline, to prove their willingness to change.
In Sanskrit, this attitude is called Atmayagna, and this term is very interesting. Yagna means “sacrifice.” Atma is related to Atman, the “self.” So this term means “self-sacrifice.” This has multiple levels of meaning. In the highest sense, the real self sacrifices himself: that is our goal. But to reach that, first the false self has to be removed. Atmayagna indicates that the false self, or in other words the I, the ego has to be sacrificed. It has to die. This is perfectly represented in the crucifixion of the initiate. Upon the cross is placed all of the elements that must die. Everything within us that is impure, that accrues karma, that causes suffering, and that is opposed to God, must die. Every initiate has to sacrifice his own sense of self. His very essence, the very fiber of who he is has to die psychologically. And this is not something that is merely believed. It is an action. And this is not something that we will do “someday.” It has to be done on a moment to moment basis, according to our level, according to our capacity. The little sacrifices that we make moment to moment, day to day, are preparing us for the great sacrifices that will be expected if we intend to incarnate the Christ.
What is the basis upon which the sacrifice is made? It is the sacrifice of self-will. The I, the ego, is self-will. It is “I” who wants something. That desire is a polarity, a pendulum of like and dislike. Craving and aversion. But in its essence, every desire is rooted in ego and every ego is rooted in desire. So we have to understand, in order to perform this process, it is an ascending scale of greater and greater degrees of self-sacrifice. First we sacrifice all of our egotistical ideas, then we sacrifice our true selves for the benefit of others.
Some aspirants manage to walk a certain percentage of this road towards Tiphereth. And some even reach this fifth serpent of fire, and a certain percentage of purification. But all along the way they may still do it selfishly, more for there own benefit. More because they want to know God. Or they want to have mystical experiences. Or they want knowledge. Many accomplish this, and they teach according to the way they do it. These teachers are called Pratyekas in Sanskrit. In the Bible, they are called Pharisees.
The Pharisee or the Pratyeka is a person who has reached a certain degree of development but rooted more in the sense of self. Something for themselves. Something that makes them feel empowered, makes them feel holy. Makes them feel pure. This is all selfish. This type of person, the Pratyeka, or what you could also call a Nirvani with Residue, accomplishes a degree of development, or in other terms we can say they managed to create the solar bodies: astral, mental, and causal. They managed to reach a degree of development within which they have powers and they have a certain amount of understanding. But unfortunately, they have not utilized Atmayagna, in its true sense in its true meaning. They perform sacrifice to a degree. They offer their teachings, they try to help people, they may help the sick, help the poor, feed the hungry, they may help people in the way that they are able to do it. But this type of person, this type of walker of the path, stops there. They feel quite pure, quite holy, and their teachings appear quite good. They write many books, and they lead schools, and they run churches, and many of them are highly venerated by humanity, and worshipped as saints, but they stop there.
In order for an initiate to move beyond this stage, there has to be a great sacrifice, and what greater sacrifice can be made then to sacrifice one’s own self? To give up material things is good. To gather money, and food, and clothing, for the poor and the sick and suffering is good. To assist in the spreading of any kind of good teaching for humanity is good. But what does it truly cost of oneself?
To give is important, but to sacrifice is something else. To sacrifice means to give completely. To give without expectation, to give without connections, without expecting anything back, without conditions. The master Jesus just gave. Gave his time, gave his blood, gave his life. The great initiates of the East, Naropa, Padmasababa, Krishna, gave and gave and gave. We read and study stories of initiates who gave and gave and gave at the expense of their own health, at the expense of their own livelihood. They gave their lives; that is real sacrifice. So as the initiate works in each level moving upwards, greater and greater degrees of sacrifice are expected. Some very few demonstrate the willingness to completely abandon there own self-will and to instead take on the will of the Christ and be an expression of that.
To become an expression of the will of the Christ means to become the essence of sacrifice. That is the nature of a bodhisattva. Sattva is essence, bodhi is Christ-wisdom, which is pure sacrifice in itself. To become the essence of sacrifice is not easy, because the entire ego that we all have within is opposed to that.
Our ego wants to be comfortable. Our ego wants to be fed regularly and well. Our ego wants nice things. Our ego wants ease, wants things laid out in a clear and comprehensible manner so we can understand everything that has happened and everything that will happen. The ego wants to know, “Is my spouse the right one for me?”
“Am I doing the right thing?”
“Is this the right job?”
“What’s going to happen in six months? What’s going to happen in a year?”
“Will I have a house, will I have a job, will I have a life?”
“Will people like me?”
This is all selfish will. The ego always asks expecting something for itself.
The Christ never asks for anything for Himself. The Christ does everything only for the benefit of others.
The ego wants to teach Gnosis, wants to teach Buddhism, wants to be a good Christian. The ego wants to be respected, wants to be liked. Our ego wants to be admired, to be envied. Our ego wants to have a big school with lots of students.
The ego, pride, likes to show itself. The Christ remains hidden.
The Christ is born in the heart of a human being and is not visible. Pride wants to be seen. How can Christ be born in the heart of a prideful person? And yet he is. Because the one who reaches the fifth initiation, who accomplishes the sacrifices required, and who receives that blessing, still has ego. That person enters into great contradiction. They have something inside that is very pure and something inside that is very ugly.
Everybody thinks they are a bodhisattva; everyone wants to be a bodhisattva, but few understand the pain of that path.
The initiate who has accomplished the fifth great mystery stands in the position of making the choice: “Do I stay with the Nirvanis and walk the Spiral Path, slowly, or do I take the Direct Path, which is great sacrifice and pain?”
That person faces a choice that is truly incomprehensible. The one who takes the Direct Path pays all of their karma right away and is required to give up all sense of self. Self-will must be abandoned in order to advance on the Straight Path. That person is required to completely abandon themselves and embody the will of Christ: love, sacrifice.
Unfortunately, most initiates, most students, walk these first few levels based on their own will, or submitting themselves to the will of someone else. In many cases we find students and initiates who never learn to act from their own will, who instead always seek advice, always seek to be told what to do. The beginner especially is a victim of this way of being because, not knowing the path, the beginner must seek and ask and look for instruction, and this is good. But the student needs to understand gnosis is a matter of action within oneself. To really accomplish the works of the path, one has to perform the will of the Being, the will of God, and in the first portion of the work that will is the will of our Innermost, the will of Atman, the self.
If we are always going to another person, a teacher or a friend to ask advice, to ask what we should do, we will never learn to hear the voice of our being. It is a form of suffering to not know the will of the Being; there is no question about that. But it is not an answer to go to an instructor or a teacher to find the will of your Being. Your instructor or your teacher will not know the will of your Being. They will have their opinion, and it may be an educated one, but that does not mean it is right for you. The true initiate, particularly at the moment of facing the decision of the direct path versus the spiral path, has to know the will of his Being. That decision, if made from self-will, will inevitably be the spiral path, because the Nirvanis are selfish.
The person who truly aspires to know what Christic love is has to begin today. Firstly by making the effort to know the will of the Being, by making the effort to sacrifice to know that will. We have to be willing to renounce the urge of the ego that wants to get easy answers. We have to sacrifice the urge of the ego to always ask the opinions of others, the urge of the ego to not meditate.
The real initiate has to learn to carry a burden and that burden is a cross. The cross is heavy. We train ourselves daily, we have to learn to measure what we are managing, to always try to take the more difficult step. More difficult in a sense that knowing that there are no easy answers, more difficult in a sense that we have to sacrifice our self-will. This can only be known inside, in ourselves intuitively and directly through meditation.
So if the student begins from the very beginning to train themselves to act on the will of the Being, not the will of any other person, not any teacher, not any instructor, not any leader of any movement, but only their own inner Being, if they train themselves in that way everyday, by the time this person reaches this fifth degree of initiation, they will know what to do. And the will of the Being may be to take the Spiral Path, and that is what they should do, and that is good. But the will of the Being may be to take the Direct Path, and the initiate will say, “Oh my God, how can I do that… but I must.” The only one who can do that is the one who knows how to understand the will of the Being.
When an initiate enters into the Direct Path, their will is changed, because the will of that initiate is impregnated with the will of the Christ. And this is the birth that happens when the Christic energy is born in the heart of that initiate. This is only possible for those who take the straight path, the direct path, or in other words the path of the bodhisattva. The nirvanis, the pratyekas, never access that experience, unless they enter the straight path. That change is tremendous and it marks the birth of the Son of Man.
The Son of Man is the humanization of the cosmic Christ within the person. So when we read the first chapter of the revelation of John, we understand this is a conversation between the initiate and the Christ who is being born in him.
It was on the lords day and I was caught up by the spirit and behind me I heard a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet which said to me write down what you see on a scroll and send it to the seven churches to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamon, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. I turned to see who’s voice it was that spoke to me and when I turned I saw seven standing lamps of gold. And among the lamps one like a Son of Man robed down to his feet with a girdle, golden girdle around his breast. The hair of his head was white as snow white wool and his eyes flamed like fire. His feet gleamed like burnished brass refined in a furnace and his voice was like the sound of rushing water. In his right hand he held seven stars and out of his mouth came a sharp two edged sword. And his face shown like the sun in full strength.
The seven standing lamps of gold are the seven spinal columns of our seven bodies, and these are these five first serpents, five bodies plus two more on that triangle related to the divine soul and Atman. So the Son of Man appears amongst those seven candlesticks or the seven serpents of fire. The symbolism is quite deep.
Out of the mouth of the Son of Man comes a sharp, two-edged sword. That sword is the wisdom, the knowledge. That sword is sharp because it cuts through illusion, cuts through the ego, cuts through theory. And it is two-edged because it is both literal and symbolic.
His face shone like the sun in full strength. Strength is the virtue of Mars. Mars is closely related with Samael. The sun is the symbol of the Christ, so we see here the Martian or warrior Christic force.
And John continues, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.” This also is quite symbolic. The initiate falls at the feet of the Christ out of devotion and humility. But the ego must die and fall at the feet of the Lord.
But he laid his right hand upon me and said do not be afraid I am the first and the last, I am the living one for I was dead and now I am alive for ever more and I hold the keys of death and deaths domain. Right down therefore what you have seen, what is now, and what will be here after. Here’s the secret meaning of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand and the seven lamps of gold. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven lamps are the seven churches.
That symbolism we will discuss in the next lecture. But the point for today is to understand that in order for us to fully grasp and understand the symbolism of this book of Revelation, we firstly have to work on ourselves everyday. We have to be putting into practice these teachings. These texts are not made merely to theorize and intellectualize. They are given as an indication of the work we have to perform. In order to accomplish the works that we’ll study in this course, we have to be working with it practically.
In this first chapter, we see, “I fell at his feet as though dead.” This is the right approach; this is the right attitude. To comprehend the works that the Christ explains in this book we have to fall at his feet. We have to humble ourselves. We have to renounce our own self interest, our own sense of what we think and believe, and if you look at it this way, if we already understood the teachings we would have done it. If we already understood God or Christ, we would not be here. We would not be what we are. So to fall at the feet of the Son of Man is to recognize that we know nothing. And to humble ourselves and to work towards that death inside.
Student: Can you talk a little bit about how Master Samael says that in order to work with the Second Logos we have to be able to forgive the unpleasant manifestations of others?
Instructor: The Second Logos or the Christ Chokmah is the force of Love and the force of compassion. The force of sacrifice. Sacrifice is really the giving up of self-will and self-interest,in exchange for the benefit of others. To do that is difficult. It is difficult on a daily basis to really consider our each action, even to the point of what we feel and think. To measure each thought, each feeling, each action, based upon how it will affect other people is very difficult, because our habit is to always be thinking about ourselves, what we want, what we need, what we “think” we need. Even in common life, the ease of our existence, this is difficult. So what about when things get hard? What about when we face real difficulty? Naturally our tendency is to become even more self-obsessed, to complain, to whine.
Things get a little hard, and we start to feel pain, to feel conflict, to complain about it, to go and talk to our friends about it, to say, “Oh it is so bad, this is terrible, this is happening to me, blah blah blah,…” …it is all illusion. None of its real, and we make a mess of it, we make it worse with our attitude.
So what about when things in life get even worse than that? What about when are being persecuted? If we can’t even transform when things are easy, and manage that with grace and humility and concern for other people, we certainly cannot do it when someone is giving us a really unpleasant impression or when we are dealing with a person who is identified.
Say for example we have a friend, even a family member or someone we admire, who is giving us bad energy, who is giving us a bad impression, who may be doing things that are questionable. How do we react to that? Normally, we react to it out of our own sense of self. “Oh, I can’t believe him, it is terrible, I can’t believe he’s like that. What a bad person.”
Moreover, if that person starts to direct that behavior towards us, it is even worse, we start to react even more strongly. Criticizing, gossiping, blaming, attacking.
How do we then learn to receive those impressions and to return love? In Buddhism there is a very profound teaching, which is also present in Christianity, but not in such a systematic way. The practice is essentially learning how to exchange oneself with another person. Commonly, in Buddhism this is taught as a method of meditation. You meditate and you imagine the person who is at the center of your problem. You switch places in your mind; you visualize, “what if I were in this persons shoes? Would I be different? What would I feel if I were them?” And the point of this is to firstly understand what they are experiencing, but more than that is to understand how you are affecting them. If a person is treating you badly, why? Maybe you deserve it! Maybe you’ve done something to stimulate that person that way. Perhaps there is something that you are not seeing, and meditation can show you that.
In its basis, this practice helps us develop more understanding of other people, more patience, and love. It can help us to have compassion for someone else. The thing is though that compassion and love in this sense means the ability to relate to people in the right way. It doesn’t mean that we are soft, it doesn’t mean that we are sweet, it doesn’t mean that we just accept the foolishness of other people and we remain silent. It may mean that we have to act. It may mean we have to speak up. It might mean we have to walk away from that person and isolate them. We know very well in Gnosis that if a person is demonstrating negative behaviors, negative emotions, negative thinking, repeatedly, we isolate that person out of love. We put that person to the side not to be mean, not to be cruel, but to isolate the negative energy that they are irradiating, because those negative forces are infectious and damaging. And of course the isolated person doesn’t understand and they become angry. They become vengeful, they blame, they criticize, they attack, they sabotage, never realizing that what’s being done is done out of love. And this happens in Gnostic schools, it happens in spiritual groups. So if you find yourself being isolated look at yourself, meditate, try to understand, “Why am I being treated this way? Maybe I deserve it.”
Student: In that we all have our own particular Father who is in heaven, Kether, why is it that some monads desire self-realization and others do not when they are all gods?
Instructor: Every monad has there own idiosyncrasy and has there own will. As to why one would want Self-realization and another would not, I have no idea.
Student: While studying to understand Alchemy is it better to abstain from union or just jump into alchemy without really understanding what one is doing, spilling once in a while and holding it in once in a while. Is this a form of grey tantra and is this better than spilling all the time?
Instructor: To really answer that question thoroughly, it would require a lot of time because it brings up a lot of points. The first thing that I recommend is that the questioner should study the books, the teaching, and the reason is because when we are at the beginning of this work it takes a certain amount of effort, and discipline, and will, to understand it. But there comes a point at which the student has to make a decision do it or not. To be on the fence is to not only waste one’s time but to cause harm. So I would say that ultimately you have to really comprehend what the teachings mean, and I mean that as something in your heart, something that you really understand, not just with the mind. When you have that understanding, the work becomes normal, it becomes natural. It becomes something that you can’t imagine not doing, because you understand it. So in terms of how one should practice, you have to listen to your heart, but I mean the part of your heart that is true, the part of your heart that is a little more quiet then the desires that we feel or the passion that we feel. Passion, desire, tries to push us towards certain kinds of experiences, certain kinds of sensations. And I think a sincere person will recognize that desire, that will, tends to lead to trouble. So with sincerity and with understanding comes the interest in this teaching and the desire to change. So if you take that as your point of view and pursue it, it seems to me that it would be natural that you will come to the realization that those desires and passions that you feel are only going to lead to trouble. So if you’re going to renounce desires and passions, do it, and do not go back.
Student: How is it that there are hierarchies among the angels if they are all perfect? Do they reach their particular level after completing the path or do they reach it while walking and can continue higher?
Instructor: We tend to understand the term “perfection” as an absolute term, and it is not. It is similar to the term truth. There is truth, but there are levels of truth. There is truth in levels, according to your own development. Perfection is the same. To reach perfection in the absolute sense is to become a Paramarthasatya. And to reach that level you pass through other levels of perfection, degrees of perfection. All the angels, the Buddhas, have varying degrees of development, which correspond to their degrees of perfection, but none of them are absolutely perfect until they become Paramarthasatyas.
Student: If we react to the behavior of a negative person by sending out the energy of love, not the emotion but the energy from the heart chakra, will that help to dissolve the negative energy being sent to you and can we use this to assist our loved ones?
Instructor: Absolutely, there is no question about it. The spontaneous and true feeling of compassion is the most perfect form of defense that we have. Nothing can penetrate that. And that is why you read and study these different masters and teachers who were being persecuted terribly, tortured and abused, and yet they always maintained their serenity and they maintained love towards the person who was abusing them. They may have suffered physically and they may have suffered some emotional pain, but that love is so strong, so pervasive, and so radiant that they are not ultimately harmed. And that experience becomes a vehicle of change, right? I becomes a way for even the persecutor to be benefited. For example, Paul who was persecuting the Gnostics and then saw a light. And that light is the light of love, that Christic force that helped him realize what a mistake he was making. There are many stories like that. Also in the stories of the Buddha. People who came to the Buddha with great anger and ferocity to attack him but he responded with so much serenity and love that each person became transformed. So there is no question that by generating compassion and working to cultivate the qualities of the Being, we can improve our own lives and improve the lives of other people. And at same time we have a natural defense against the unpleasant energies of others.
Student: Could you explain the difference between being harmed physically and emotionally and being ultimately harmed?
Instructor: Real harm has to be related to states of consciousness. Someone who is an embodiment of the Christ (a bodhisattva) who is fully irradiating that Christic force cannot really be harmed. They can be harmed when they become identified. So if a bodhisattva becomes identified with anger, resentment, or lust, or pride, that immediately opens a door or a gap within which harm can come and that person can fail. They can create a problem for themselves or a problem for someone else. We are all vulnerable to that until we reach the state of absolute perfection. So a bodhisattva, even though that person may embody the Christic force, is still vulnerable, because they still have ego. And so that person is undergoing a tremendous struggle to maintain the presence of that Christic force and to not be identified with the ego. This is very difficult, and you know you see that initiates, bodhisattvas, fail, they make mistakes, because they are not perfect, they are not the Christ. They are carrying that seed, but they make mistakes. Unfortunately for the person whose working in that way, for the person who is a bodhisattva who has accomplished these degrees of development, it is much more difficult for them. Firstly, to see the mistake, and secondly to act on it. And the reason is, they are working in more and more subtle levels. More and more difficult to perceive and discern. And those egos, those aspects of the psyche, are more and more clever. So this is the reason why the master Samael Aun Weor emphasized and emphasized and emphasized repeatedly how important meditation is. It is absolutely essential for the beginner, no question about that. The beginner struggles. But the beginner is working with very superficial levels of the mind. And still doesn’t get it! So for the person who is working in more subtle levels, it is much more difficult, much harder. And so the tendency to make a mistake is greater and the impact of that mistake is greater.
Student: A good example is in the bible: the two bodhisattvas the two kings Saul and David. Saul failed.
Instructor: If you read the story, you see that Saul is an initiate but he became identified with certain parts of his ego and he failed. And if you look, you see that in many, many examples, how initiates can work and achieve great degrees of development, but why do they fall? Why does a bodhisattva reach such a great height and then fall? Because they still have ego. And they have vulnerabilities. They have yet to transcend. We know for example the case of the initiate Solomon. He achieved great heights of comprehension but then failed. That initiate reached a certain stage of development but did not perceive the deception of some ego. And so he entered into mistakes and lost everything. And you see the same case in many other stories. So it is not as simple as, “once you’re walking on the path you are guaranteed to get there”. Or, “once you are a bodhisattva you are guaranteed to get there.” No way. The path is so dangerous, but those dangers are also within our own mind.
Student: When the bodhisattva Samael fell, did another angel take precedence over the ray of strength?
Instructor: Well, we have to understand something. The Being never falls. The Innermost, Atman, never falls. The one who is in charge of the ray of strength is the inner God, the Being, and that Angel, that Entity, that Intelligence, is always there and is always in charge of that ray. But his son fell. His bodhisattva. So while the bodhisattva is fallen, the Master has to work in different ways, through other vehicles, through other means, through other methods, until his son arises.
Student: When one walks the path and completes it, does he become a paramarthasatya, or is it only achieved by walking the path many times as master Aberamentho did?
Instructor: To become a paramarthasatya requires such a degree of knowledge and understanding that very, very few have reached it. There are initiates who rise to a certain point and descend again rise again descend again each time to gather more knowledge in order to ascend a little higher. And on the next try a little higher. So generally speaking that is the nature of the work. The human soul the bodhisattva descends or falls, according to the circumstances in order to achieve more knowledge, more wisdom, and each time they do that it is more difficult, more painful, more risky, and yet if they do it they get more knowledge. Some do not dare, they do not risk it, and so there human soul will achieve a certain degree of development and stay there. This is something we will discuss in detail later in the course.
Student: What can you tell us about the Ahdi-buddha who resides in the unmanifested absolute; is he beyond the Glorian?
Instructor: Ahdi-buddha is the absolute, is that nothingness, or that Being of the Being which resides deep within the essence of all creatures. Ahdi-buddha when manifesting forms the ray of creation, or in other words Avalokiteshvara, the force or light of light, love, and compassion. And that force, when it expresses itself further, and it begins to manifest the spirit and the soul, is the glorian. It is that three in one who is expressing and becomes the Glorian. Ahdi-buddha is before that.
Student: Was Samael Aun Weor the dhyani bodhisattva or the bodhisattva of Samael? Can you explain the difference between one and the other?
Instructor: A Bodhisattva is a vehicle of wisdom. So any initiate, any human soul who chooses from the will of the being to take the direct path becomes a bodhisattva by right. They incarnate that wisdom. When that bodhisattva, that human soul, continues the work and is successful in accomplishing greater heights working through the second mountain, they enter into the third mountain, and the Being becomes a Logos, a Cosmocreator. A dhyani bodhisattva is the bodhisattva of a Logos. That is it?
Student: We have a very inquisitive groups of students today.
Instructor: I see that.
Student: When one becomes a Logos does that mean that their monad has fused with their own particular intimate Christ and hence it is in communion with the Cosmic Christ?
Instructor: That is right.
Student: What did John mean when he said it was on the day of the lord?
Instructor: Well what do you think the day of the lord is, anybody know?
Instructor: Right, the Sabbath. Saturday, related to Saturn, related to death. So it is a holy day. It is a day related to the death of the ego, it is a day related to alchemy. And Binah, of course, because Binah is related to Saturn. Binah is the Holy Spirit, so there are a lot of correspondences there.
Student: If the work is to reunite with the Christ and to join a particular ray how does one pass beyond this if this is what it means to be a paramarthasatya?
Instructor: The paramarthasatya has absolute knowledge, absolute consciousness. This is really beyond even the ray. Because the ray or the glorian is the expression of that trinity. Right? Kether, Chokmah, Binah. The Paramarthasatya has gone well beyond this and entered into the absolute. So having full knowledge and incorporating the understanding of the ray is happening in the levels of Binah, Chokmah, Kether, etc. But to move beyond that is to enter into the knowledge of the Okindinokh. The ray of creation the Ain Soph Aur the Ain Soph and the Ain. And that knowledge is vastly more profound then simply the knowledge of ones own ray.
Student: When people travel out of the body is this only in the lunar astral plane or do they also go into the lunar mental plane or even the causal?
Instructor: Well, you have to understand firstly when someone is going out of the body it just means that their psyche is leaving the physical form. So if you look at the tree of life and you take the consciousness out of Malkuth you still have a lot of spheres left over. You have all of the spheres of the Klipoth and you have all of the superior levels. So then it becomes a question of where is the person’s center of gravity? Is their center of gravity in the ego? Then they are probably wandering around in the infernal worlds. Is their center of gravity in the solar astral body? Then they have the capacity to enter into those realms. So if we as students are asleep and we are struggling to have any kind of experiences, then generally speaking when we have some kind of awakened experience or even a dream it is in the inferior dimensions. To enter into the superior ones is a work of conscious will.
Student: Is Master Samael Aun Weor a paramarthasatya?
Instructor: As far as I know, he said he was working towards that.
Student: What level of development do we need in order to travel beyond our galaxy?
Instructor: You need to have a solar astral body.
Student: What constitutes a universe and are there many universes?
Instructor: Each sphere each sephiroth is a world in itself. And each one of those has different levels and aspects. The universes that exists are related to superior levels of the tree of life and to superior worlds of the kabbalah, so there are many. What’s difficult to comprehend is that they are both isolated and interrelated and to understand that you have to meditate.
Student: If one has walked the path before, reached Self realization but fell, and he has lost every other opportunity for the work again, does he return to the Absolute as an elemental or does he return with whatever development he achieved?
Instructor: I think to really understand that question there are some lectures on the website to read about the process of the ray of creation and how the transmigration of souls occurs. I would go into the website and take a look in the materials there. There is a lot written that will explain it more thoroughly then I can do in the time we have here.
Student: What can you tell us of Judas Iscariot; is he a master?
Instructor: Of course, Judas is a master, a great master of the white lodge. Unfortunately I think there are some people who think that what he did was wrong or made a mistake but we know or understand from the teachings that the role that Judas played in the life of Jesus was sacred and a great honor. Master Samael explained that Judas Iscariot is working now in the infernal worlds to help humanity.
Student: How is it that a bodhisattva who completed the work and returned to his inner god can make the mistake of falling again, if he is already perfect as his father who is in heaven is perfect?
Instructor: Because there are levels of development. The thing to understand is this, the bodhisattva, when becoming a bodhisattva, has still only eliminated a very small fraction of the ego. That initiate then has to work very intensely for a long period of time to eliminate the totality of the ego. When that is accomplished the person is resurrected and they enter into additional levels of work. Even when the ego is dead we can make mistakes, because perfection is achieved in levels. So even the great gods have made mistakes and this is demonstrated in various mythologies and also in some stories that the master Samael explained. Just because one has reached a degree of perfection does not mean that one is infallible. Karma is very complicated. Even for the gods. So to understand karma and to act properly at all times is only possible for a paramarthasatya. Anyone below that level of development, anyone who is out of the Absolute is in danger of making mistake. That is all.
Student: Is the absolute an entity trying to reach realization of itself through the work of its monads?
Instructor: The absolute is beyond conception. It is uncreated light; it is a kind of intelligence, a kind of force that needs to know itself. It does not have attributes but it manifests through attributes in order to acquire self knowledge. So to understand what that means requires a lot of meditation. It is not something that you can simply say, “The Absolute is a being who feels this and that,” it isn’t that simple. It is very, very difficult for our intellect to understand what the absolute is and is not.
I’m glad everyone was so enthusiastic. And I’m sure that you’ll come up with even harder questions for next week’s lecturer, so thank you very much.
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