There is one Mind, one omnipresent Mind, Omnific. His most holy name is Love. Truth of subliming import!
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1
He who would hear the Voice of Nada, “the Soundless Sound,” and comprehend it, he has to learn the nature of Dharana [concentration]. Having become indifferent to objects of perception, the pupil must seek out the rajah of the senses, the Thought-Producer, he who awakes illusion.
The Mind is the great Slayer of the Real. Let the Disciple slay the Slayer.
— The Voice of the Silence
The verity of the last command, strategically placed at the very beginning of The Voice of the Silence, is irrefutable. Since “mind is the Man, not the human body which can be pointed out with the finger” 3 and “the essence of life is thinking” 4 it follows that life is one “woven mind.” 5 Some say that Selfishness is an attitude of the mind. This is not correct: Selfishness and mind are one and the same. Thus spoke Brahman:
That Mahat which was first produced, is afterwards called egoism; when it is born as the feeling itself I, that is said to be the second creation. That egoism is stated to be the source of all entities, that from which the changes take place; it is full of light, the supporter of consciousness; it is that from which the people are produced, the Prajapati. It is a deity, the producer of the deities, and of the mind; it is the creator of the three worlds. That which feels thus — “I am all this” — is called by that name. That eternal world is for those sages who are contented with knowledge relating to the self, who have pondered on the self, and who are perfected by sacred study and sacrifice. By consciousness of self one enjoys the qualities; and thus that source of all entities, the producer of the entities, creates them; and as that from which the changes take place, it causes all this to move; and by its own light, it likewise charms the world.6
The Delphic injunction “know thyself” 7 entails the destruction of every desire-thought, every trace of personal self. This is neither self-abnegation as believed by the pious, nor some sort of moral cleansing as the word purification suggests to the religious mind; nor can it be attained by the contrived trance and transcendence of the opportunist. It is the unimaginably hard task of committing menticide, of demolishing the walls of separation built tall and strong over thousands of incarnations. Every single thought of this mental barricade is a stone that must be crushed. Far from protecting us from imagined fears it has made our world a “joyless region,”
Where slaughter, rage, and countless ills reside.1
Each for himself is everyone’s plea:
Nothing but what is shameful pleases: each one cares only for his own enjoyment, and if it can be procured at another’s cost, it is all the more agreeable.2
To know thyself, first and foremost you have to conquer the persona, the fake self and cruel master that keeps you shackled to birth, misery, and death. And then, crush its head!
The Logoi or “Saviours” of all nations are represented as treading on the head or heads of a serpent or dragon, or as transfixing the monster with their several weapons of power. This represents the conquest of Spirit over Matter (the “Old Serpent” or the “Great Deep”), which by spiritual transmutation finally becomes subservient to the divine will of the glorified Initiate, and the “Gods” or powers of nature are conquered by the divine “Rebel,” the Asura, the “Dragon of Wisdom,” who fights against the Devas; i.e., the activity of Manas triumphs over the passivity of pure spirit. Krishna crushes the seven-headed serpent Kalinaga. Hercules lops off the heads of the Hydra, the water serpent: the Egyptian Orante treads upon the serpent, while his arms are extended on a crucifix, and Horus pierces the head of the Dragon Typhon or Apophis; the Scandinavian Thor smashes the skull of the snake with his cruciform hammer, and Apollo transfixes the Python, etc., etc. All this signifies from one aspect the extension of the planes of consciousness and the corresponding domination of the planes of matter (symbolically, water) of which there are fundamentally seven.3
Just as the seed cannot come to life unless it dies,4 so once consciousness has flowered it has accomplished its purpose and should be pruned back. Otherwise, clinging to “a useless life is an early death.” 5 Nothing less than a wholesale annihilation of everything personal and material can reconnect us with the Sun of Truth and restore the inner sight of our common identity and destiny.
What is it then that stops us from taking the bull by the horns, and what is all the fuss about? It is the mind itself and its formidable attempts to defy its own execution — and who wouldn’t? And the fuss is that we cannot take charge of an entity which, in point of fact, has gone beyond control. The more one thinks about controlling it, the more it strengthens.
The divine intellect is veiled in man; his animal brain alone philosophises. 1
In terms of Consciousness, Mind is a name given to the sum of the states of Consciousness grouped under Thought, Will, and Feeling.2
In terms of Personality and Impersonality, HP Blavatsky distinguishes the animal mind from the higher indwelling Intelligence that ensouls it:
It is usually called the animal soul (the Nephesh of the Hebrew Kabbalists). It is the ray which emanates from the Higher Manas or permanent Ego, and is that “principle” which forms the human mind — in animals instinct . . . 3
. . . the higher Ego (Manas) itself is more or less dormant during the waking of the physical man. This is especially the case with persons of very materialistic mind. So dormant are the Spiritual faculties, because the Ego is so trammelled by matter, that It can hardly give all its attention to the man’s actions, even should the latter commit sins for which that Ego — when reunited with its lower Manas — will have to suffer conjointly in the future.4
Blavatsky makes the difference between the animal soul of a living Man and his Spiritual Soul even more plain. She says that those followers of the Delphic injunction who “have cognised life in their inner selves, those who have studied it thoroughly in themselves, before attempting to trace and analyze its reflection in their outer shells,”
. . . they have ascertained that
(1) the seemingly living mechanism called physical man, is but the fuel, the material, upon which life feeds, in order to manifest itself; and that
(2) thereby the inner man receives as his wage and reward the possibility of accumulating additional experiences of the terrestrial illusions called lives.5
And what keeps us apart from the Oneness in Otherness, Manyness, and Loneliness — so preoccupied with ourselves that we became deaf to the cries of others? It is this animal stuff, the so-called human nature. It inflames vice, incites vengeance, waxes stronger with every sigh of the soul. And because it is we who permitted its self-gratification and unchecked passions in the first place, only we can put an end to its despotism and self-aggrandisement.
The WISE ONES heed not the sweet-tongued voices of illusion.1
No mind nurtured in self-adulation and self-exaltation over long kalpas can possibly master itself. How could it? That is why it has to be slain. Coaxing it is futile: rather than giving up gracefully, it is indefatigable in generating excuses to stave off its execution, like “charity begins at home” and alibis like Macavity, the mystery cat,2 faster than its sophistry can justify the evasion.
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