08 Into the sunset: Darśana yoga

Darśana yoga

I assume there’s a great demand for a book titled “how to attain spiritual realization without going crazy, getting into a cult, getting brainwashed, turning into a meme or getting fucked up in general”. Unfortunately, it would not be bought by the very ones who need it the most: instead, they would browse through the other part of the library, with titles on ancient philosophies, perfect techniques of yoga, enlightened spiritual teachers and recommended spiritual practices. Even less fortunately, that actually is the better option for them, because the books with the first theme are written almost exclusively by the people who are too dense and unrefined to understand the actual reasons why the audience browses the second group of titles.

Indeed, the spiritual scene abounds with fools, cults, madmen and nonsense, but for reasons other than expected. The expected reason would be that the there’s no genuine spirituality and it’s all a bunch of bullshit, which is a position happily advocated by the materialists. The true reason is that more-less all the aspiring spiritualists at some point have a spiritual experience, they interpret it in the context of religion and conclude that it is confirmation and final proof that everything religions said about God was true, and that religions and God are basically the same thing – that God inspired the religions, that religions lead to God, and what remains is to learn the revealed truths of religion and be humble and modest, because those things were written down by men who thousands of years ago mastered the very things you just happen to discover.

One would expect the transcendental experience to lead people towards the transcendental, but what actually seems to happen is that they get to end up in some crazy cult or get completely messed up with things that either serve no purpose, or are actually evil, and as a rule they end up worse off than they started. It is all caused by the belief that religions have a monopoly over spirituality, which is not a stupid idea, to be sure, since the religions are supposed to be the aspect of human activity that deals with the transcendental, with God and spirituality. They keep saying things that sound very much like a description of what you experienced; still, if you take your experience as confirmation of their validity, a new phase opens in your life. It’s a phase where you get fucked up.

Let’s start with the conclusion: if the religions are such a good idea, how come the enlightened people are practically unheard of, the good people are very rare, and evil is common in the religious circles? The religions are a steaming pile of shit. If you had a spiritual experience, regardless of the amount of religious iconography that it got blended with, it is a sign that your personal spiritual growth reached the critical point where this experience was needed. It did not happen by accident, or was it caused by religious practice. If religious practice had the ability to produce spiritual experiences, the followers of religions would not be the empty shells they commonly are. No; this kind of experience neither belongs to religion, nor it is a sign of your membership, following or resonance with religion. It is a sign of resonance between your inner momenta and the reality of the true, real world beyond this physical one. Your “spiritual eyes” were opened for a moment, and that made you capable of feeling the things that go beyond fucking, eating, sleeping and jerking off on Facebook. The fact that a founder of a religion had presumably experienced and described something similar, doesn’t mean that you experienced “his” world. If anything, he experienced yours. You see, you can be certain about your own experience’s validity, but anyone else’s… not so much.

Let’s keep it simple – let’s say you’re a little girl who just had her first orgasm. Does that mean you now belong to the world described by the porn industry, with thousands of whores that moan on cue with dead eyes and point their butts at the camera? No – they are a caricature and a perversion of the sexual experience, in the same way the religion is caricature and perversion of the spiritual experience. Religion is pornography of the spiritual, it’s the sphere of spiritual whores who moan falsely with their butts pointed at the camera.

Why is your spiritual experience colored by religious symbolism and iconography? Well, for more-less the same reason that would color your sexual experience by pornography, had you for some reason been exposed to this filth since birth. Human mind appropriates qualities of that to which it is exposed, it is shaped by the environment, by the experiences. Religious symbolism forms a mental framework which shapes human thoughts on spirituality, and it is perfectly logical, once you actually experience something from this sphere, that your brain searches for the closest possible structure to interpret the experience. The religious symbolism thus resides on the layer of interpretation. If you’ve been hearing how Jesus is the light of the world, the first thing to cross your mind once you see spiritual light will be Jesus – like, who else could it be, certainly not Joe from the lighthouse. The problem is, brain approaches interpretation quite aggressively, and interpretation gets to be so closely bound to the experience that, unless you are especially motivated, you are very unlikely to figure out any kind of distinction between the two. If you don’t know what I mean, just google optical illusions on the Internet and you’ll understand my point very quickly.  The brain aggressively interprets the inputs trying to present a coherent narrative to the consciousness. Things that “don’t make sense” get to be discarded, and the “sensible” part consists of the content the brain managed to figure out in some way and was presented in a coherent manner. Those “optical illusions” are occasionally quite dramatic, and you need to keep in mind that millions of illusionists make a living out of them. Your brain is their greatest ally, since it presents you with a “sensible” narrative that will confirm the objective nature of the illusions you are being presented with. In case of spirituality, the reality is the vast, immense, unknowable thing that is experienced. Jesus (substitute with deity of choice) is a lie, an illusion presented by your brain in order to produce a sensible narrative. Jesus is a rabbit that was pulled out of a hat.

An additional problem is that, following the experience, people turn into “converts” – they usually see their previous life as “sinful”, the experience “showed them the light” and now they intend to become good believers and practice everything the religion teaches them, because they saw that it is all true. That is about the worst thing one could possibly do, but it is nevertheless something that everybody invariably does.

The thing is, the experience didn’t show how sinful your previous life was. If it were so, it wouldn’t lead you to a spiritual experience. A sinful life leads one into spiritual darkness, depression and evil, malice and viciousness, not into transcendence. What lead you to the point of transcendence must have been good in some way. People usually rationalize such things by saying that God had led them throughout their lives of spiritual darkness and at one point delivered them into His holy presence that is the light and the truth. They then become followers of some religion and think it’s what God was leading them towards.

Do religions look to you like something God would lead one towards, especially those he likes and wishes well? Rather, they are the pit of madness, into which those devoid of virtue and brains fall.

Religions, by definition, are supposed to be intermediaries between God and man. If God just showed you how He can reveal Himself to you without intermediaries, directly, what the fuck do you need the religions for? Your brain works too well, so you need to beat it up with a stick? Your arse is in desperate need of fucking without lube? What? Just accept that you don’t need an intermediary, that this is a fact now, and that any kind of intermediary is in fact someone who will get in the way and interfere with the relationship between you and God. Unless it was some religious teacher who caused you to have a spiritual experience, what business do you have asking him about spirituality? For all you know, he might be butt-fucking children somewhere out of your sight, when his saintly halo is not in use. People, have some fucking dignity and stop humiliating yourselves before all sorts of assholes. Every now and then there’s news about some “saint” who was caught doing something scandalous or abominable, and if you saw him in his temple wearing the religious robe, you’d think he’s hundred levels of holiness above you, because he has the temple and robe and sacraments and enough circus to make Barnum & Bailey drool. And what spiritual use did that all serve? He’s trying to fill his spiritual emptiness by sucking little boys’ cocks, because all the talk about Jesus and the Holy Spirit did jack shit for him.

In short, we can conclude that, for a solid percentage of clergy of all religions, cock is more fulfilling than theology. Sometimes it’s not cock, but pussy or arse, but you get the picture. Now would be a good time to remember your spiritual experience and tell me honestly, how much did you think about cock, pussy or arse during the experience? Houston to Mars, hello?? What you were thinking of were ways of praising God and his awesomeness, any you cared about material existence so little that one could saw your leg off and you wouldn’t notice. And now you want to learn about spirituality from a guy who’s secretly thinking about sucking off altar boys. Have some fucking dignity, people.

The whole thing reminds me of a story from a Hindu text, where a man saw a whore with great tits and arse and got so turned on, he didn’t watch where he was going and stepped on some sadhu, a hermit-saint who yelled “watch your step, I’m meditating on the eternal brahman, and you’re walking all over me”. The guy then stopped and thought, “Wait a moment, what kind of meditation and what kind of brahman is that, if I got so preoccupied with a whore’s tits that I didn’t know where I was or who I’m stepping on, and you’re meditating on no less than the eternal brahman, and you notice when you’re being stepped on?” When that clicked, he realized what meditation is, he understood what dharana is and what samadhi is, much better than any text on yoga could teach him. Of course, he didn’t attain enlightenment because he’s an imaginary character from a cautionary tale, but it does give you something to think about, and that’s what I’m trying to point at. Meditation and enlightenment almost never have anything to do with either religious entities or with spiritual practice. Religion just happened to hijack those concepts and made a whole show of owning them, and the result was such degradation of both insight and practice that the religious guys find more fulfillment in cock than in the gods and saints they are supposedly praying to. That’s the true purport of the scandals abundant in the religious organizations: they don’t show the corruption of individuals within a religion, but futility, emptiness and uselessness of religion as such. The second message is even easier to understand: if God has less influence over your life than the hooker’s arse from the aforementioned story, you are obviously doing something wrong, and you might try giving up God and instead concentrate on arse. To paraphrase Vivekananda, imagine a thief who knows that in the room next to his there are millions of dollars in gold. He’s going to claw through the walls with his bare hands and teeth if need be, just to dig a hole big enough to get in and steal everything. He certainly won’t play Candy Crush on his phone and jerk off thinking about children, like the “saints”. If spiritual concepts don’t invoke a desperate, immediate reaction of need and desire, akin to that of a thief to the information that there’s gold in the next room, but rather that of a priest who can think about sucking off altar boys despite all the talk about Jesus, then I have your diagnosis: you know jack shit about spirituality. Take your phone and play “Angry birds”; let go of Jesus, karma, reincarnation, Buddhism, Islam and what not. You got here by missing your turn and ending up in the wrong town. It’s much better for your own health to find something that will cause you to react with the forcefulness of a horny teenager who just saw pussy, instead of wasting your life in apathy and spiritual emptiness.

The other danger you are facing are the materialists, the kind that will try to portray your experience as an artifact of the brain and not a transcendental experience. Honestly, the artifacts of the brain start happening once you start second-guessing yourself after hearing an earful of that nonsense. What kind of brain artifacts am I talking about? I’ll give you an example. Somewhere mid-20th century the official psychiatric opinion stated that “healthy” women don’t experience sexual fantasies, that it’s a pathological state – and indeed, women didn’t report having sexual fantasies. It’s logical – people have a need to make a good impression on others, and mostly they try to fit and be like everybody else, they want to be normal. If psychiatrists stated that to be normal means to see green bipedal crocodiles walking the streets, I’m quite sure a vast percentage of people would perceive green crocodiles wearing suit and tie, or would at least report that they did. My definition of a “psychopath” is a person whose mental mechanisms are malfunctioning in such a way as to make him unaware of all the acting and pretense that is necessary in order to portray oneself as normal, which indeed is extraordinary enough to point to a significant psychological problem, such as being preoccupied with having radio waves put in his head by the CIA, so he can’t really be bothered with reporting sightings of green crocodiles to the shrinks, at which they conclude that he is not normal, and they accidentally get to be right. Yes, the green crocodiles in suits may be too much of an exaggeration, but I used to live in a communist country where we as children had to write about our emotions regarding the “big brother”, also known as “comrade Tito”, and also about “brotherhood and unity of all our nations and nationalities”, and, without exception, everybody produced what was expected, including myself, although I can assure you that I couldn’t care less about either topic – I felt it was all some very bad kind of bullshit, but I didn’t want to get into trouble so I figured out what was expected of me and didn’t make any waves. So, if I could write compositions about my emotions regarding the “dear leader”, you can imagine I could as well have made emotional compositions about the friendly green crocodile I encountered while buying groceries.

So, essentially, when you interact with powerful materialists who can adversely affect your life if you don’t go along with their expectations, your brain will attempt to suppress the experience or resort so some form of rationalization or compartmentalization, doing what the millions of years of evolution designed it to do: keep you alive. It will try to keep you in the center of the herd, because those on the margins tended not to leave offspring; the “normal” ones either killed them, or marginalized them and allowed something else to kill them. Human packs have an inherent tendency to throw rocks at the “different ones”, which gave you the instinct that makes you try very hard not to be different because rocks hurt. Your brain will react to social isolation the same way it reacts to great heights, and will in fact attempt to “normalize” you even if it means reconstructing your memories and perception so that you remember the version that leads to survival. This is why members of the same social group tend to like and dislike the same things, and they all look more-less the same; it’s not because of conscious effort, but rather the instinctual conformity. If you thought that such things don’t influence the more fundamental layer, that of worldview and perception, and what experiences will be able to surface from memory and be interpreted this or that way, you’re very naive. Sure, there are people who are much better than others in overcoming such instinctual pressures, and they will be much more inclined to engage in activities that are extreme or out of whack, not necessarily with good results. On the other hand, there are those who have little choice in the matter – they were rejected by society for some reason, and so they must necessarily follow a path of their own, so it’s hardly a choice for them, which makes them very susceptible to social acceptance at some later point. They can very easily be led astray from the spiritual practice, if that is what they attempt. If spiritual practice opens the path to social advancement, they will jump at the opportunity and unscrupulously abuse the spiritual knowledge, abilities and techniques to that end. Since a significant number of my former disciples followed that path, I speak from my own unfortunate experience. There’s no God or transcendence that would mean more to those people than the possibility of being popular or accepted. Such people tend to hang out in some bar with a few “victims” who accept them as “gurus” of a sort, and wallow in their own self-importance. Again, as in the case of a pedophile priest, we can legitimately ask about the quality of their original desire for the transcendental, as well as the depth of their spiritual experience, if desire for social acceptance could outweigh it so heavily as to reduce spirituality to a mere instrument of social emancipation, comparable to showing off a new smartphone. Do not underestimate the power of those mechanisms. Not only are they hardwired in your brain by the power of biological evolution, but they can also reach you through the global astral field, the common psychic backdrop of your entire civilization. In order for one to keep those influences under control, he has to be either very badly rejected by the community, or very strongly attracted to the transcendental; preferably both. You see, transcendental experience is not something you can realistically expect to keep you functioning on a level of daily activities for a prolonged period of time. Such experiences are usually short, and most people can’t repeat them at will. Unable to focus their will and attention on the transcendental, which is now a mere memory, your attention is spontaneously shifted towards the alternative attractors. This mechanism is an important contributing factor to the recognized phenomenon of spiritual people who turn into poseurs, and their stories about spiritual experiences and spiritual posturing serve only to increase their social stature.

One of the nasty dangers threatening those who are trying to find their way around those things are the apostates, or people who tried something and failed. An apostate is distinguished by two basic features: first, that he learned something, so he has his mind filled with some spiritual narrative which he probably misunderstood, but which can be used to impress others, in a sense that he can create an impression that he knows more than actually happens to be the case. The second feature is a strong desire to present oneself in a positive light, while presenting the system from which he apostatized in the worst possible light, and so they commonly spread craziest and most incredible tales which have little reality outside their minds. If you don’t know the facts, and most people don’t know the facts regarding almost anything, you can only make probabilistic judgments, and since you can always find a bunch of negative opinions about every single thing that is practiced anywhere, mostly fabricated by people of questionable mental health, you are likely to be disheartened, because you will fall under the impression that everything is shit.

Idiotic followers are an even greater problem than the apostates. I studied Buddhism with varying degrees of attention for the greater part of 20 years, and what kept repulsing me was the dryness, schematic patterns and, for all intents and purposes, spiritual emptiness I felt in its followers. Those people are just morons, who usually have neither the spiritual experience, nor a valid spiritual practice, they rehash trivial sutras which they present as great wisdom, and they basically look like someone who studied the first-grade math schoolbook for ten years and presents his findings as great wisdom. What they consider to be “profound teachings” usually belongs to the domain of trivial concepts, and contains nothing of value. It’s like listening to Yoda from the Star Wars: attachment causes disturbance, and disturbance leads to suffering. No shit, Sherlock. Don’t say, it leads to suffering. What leads me to suffering is hearing the nonsense and shallow ideas people consider to be great wisdom. Had Buddha indeed taught on this level, basically “people, you should love each other, that’s good for you”, Buddhism would be the dumbest philosophy of all times. Unfortunately, such interpretations of Buddhism, where metta is the beginning and the end of all practice, have ancient origins and belong to the main stream of Buddhism. This is why I removed Buddhism from my short list of systems that can be used to build my personal worldview, and rather opted for vedanta.

Vedanta is far richer in the intellectual sense; it encompasses a much wider spectrum of human reality and experience. For starters, vedanta doesn’t give a fuck about suffering. Suffering is irrelevant to vedanta; it can be bad, but in some cases it can actually be good, for instance when you have to choose suffering rather than to lose your dignity and identity through compromise, but suffering is never a cornerstone of spiritual experience, only an external influence, something that takes place on the layer of senses and activities. You can say that suffering is evil as such, because it is the opposite to the ananda aspect of brahman, but there are many forms of suffering, and sometimes it is good to choose the external, physical suffering in order to avoid deeper, spiritual suffering which comes from sinfulness and having one’s spiritual core compromised.

What vedanta strives to do is awaken you, create awareness of self, of atman, and produce permanent deliverance from the position of an eternal backdrop to the worldly experience. This emancipation of atman is attained by strengthening the ego, by forming the “I” core. As “I” grows in strength, it becomes the one who asks questions, thinks, is able to explore the modes of being alternative to merely witnessing the storm of experience. Such a strong ego becomes the core, the cornerstone of spiritual evolution, and is in fact a precious gemstone made of the stuff of brahman, of asmita.

Again, we see the difference between the way the “spiritual people” usually understand the ego, and the way I understand it. To them, the ego is a state in which an insecure person postures in front of other insecure persons in order to gain status in his social circle, and why, because he doesn’t know who or what he is, and thinks that if others don’t recognize his importance, he is for all intents and purposes a non-entity, since he has no self-effulgent value. In short, it is the opposite of the emancipated personal identity which I call “ego”. An emancipated personality does not care about social standing and posturing, it cares about identifying and solving the actual problems.

It is a paradox that those very people, who couldn’t give less of a fuck about other people’s opinions, become extremely distinguished and admired in the society, simply because they radiate confidence and power, which produces two basic reactions in people: either admiration, or envious hatred, and what it looks like in practice can be seen on the example of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Those characters have more money and influence than most countries, and they cannot be bothered with impressing others even as much as it takes to get a proper haircut and a good shirt. They don’t give a single fuck about you, because they have more important things to attend to. Your opinion, love and sympathy are something interesting to actors and b-list celebrities, who would suck as much cock as necessary, in front of cameras if need be, if that’s what it takes for you to notice them, but that’s instinctually perceived as a sign of desperation and spiritual misery, not strength. Strength is when one doesn’t give a fuck about you, despite making a living out of selling you products and services, and doesn’t even care enough to make a market research in order to find out what you would like to have. He doesn’t give shit about what you would like – you’re just not smart enough and don’t have enough taste to know what’s good for you. He’ll make you something he thinks is good enough, he’ll tell you why it’s the way to go, and if you’re not total fools without taste, you’ll go ahead and buy it. That was Steve Jobs’ approach, with the end result of you all standing in line to suck his dick. You know you did, stop pretending you didn’t. He’s a strong, formed ego, and you’re a herd of morons. You can now pretend you’re not by criticizing him and supposedly roll your eyes over the mentality of “those others”, but that’s going to do you little good – he had the guts and the personality, and you have neither, and whether you choose to criticize him or suck his dick, that makes precious little difference. In fact, from my point of view those who’d suck his dick actually have more virtue, because they at least have enough sense to notice when something’s good, for which the other group lacks the inner fortitude. It’s a much healthier reaction to see a person with strong ego and say “wow, this is awesome” than act like an envious pissy little critter. Being a pissy critter doesn’t make you greater, and admiring great and powerful role models is a time tried and revered method of personal growth. People learn by emulating, and if you choose to emulate someone of value, you have much greater chance of not ending up like a piece of shit, than if you act like that pathetic critter that lives in Jabba the Hutt’s asshole and ridicules Luke Skywalker. I can assume that a dog who barked at Einstein thought it’s at least as important as he, because he ain’t wagging his tail at a nobody walking the streets. Had anyone asked the dog, he’d say he’s much more cool than all those students admiring Einstein, because he’s so cool he doesn’t have to admire, he can bark. So, you have two basic approaches you can take when facing the powerful individuals: that of an admiring student, and that of a barking dog. Sure, a dog can imagine being in the same position relative to Einstein as Niels Bohr, who occasionally argued with him profusely about quantum physics, but the dog would think so only because he’s as stupid as a bag of bricks. Yapping at your superiors is the very sign of a weak and worthless personality, poorly formed and deeply rooted in the animalistic mechanisms of the id, and that has nothing to do with the ego. The ability to admire, however, is a sign of true strength, a sign of personality that isn’t scared of falling apart and ceasing to exist if it kneels before someone greater than oneself. The ability to kneel before your superiors is, paradoxically, a sign of maturity, strength and spiritual growth, because the spirit appropriates the qualities of that on which it dwells, and admiration is indeed just a way of absorbing the qualities of the ideal. It is an important evolutionary mechanism that needs to be recognized and used; it’s not a small thing. You see, the majority of the evolutionary mechanisms are there to make you into a worse animal, and this one has that exceptional quality of being able to make you into a God.

This mechanism was recognized in religion since the ancient times. For instance, the vedas are hymns of praise and admiration – and they are the oldest scripture known to man. The Hindu ceremony of puja is based on the same principle, as well as the concept of ishta devata. Ishta devata is a deity one recognizes as “his own”, someone he admires and whose attributes he aspires to acquire. This is the reason why the puranas were created – the tales about Gods, demons and important humans, who embody either the spiritual qualities to be adopted, or those that are to be avoided and despised, and a man who reads about the qualities and “adventures” of his ishta devata, “chosen deity”, initially feels admiration quite close to that felt by an admirer of the bitten apple cult when listening about the adventures of Steve Jobs. The difference is that the puranas were written by very smart men, such as Vyasa and Shuka, who used them to gradually build and refine the spiritual states, so that the correct practice of puja, or formal worship of the ishta devata in form of a picture or a statue, accompanied by living through the images from the puranas, leads one to an ecstatic state and shapes the physical conditions for accepting a transcendental experience. As I said, it was invented by someone really, really smart, who knew very well what he was doing, and I am simply amazed by the quality and precision of the idea as well as its implementation. The thing has the ability to control the lower animalistic impulses in a way that vastly exceeds everything offered by the religions that advocate “self-control”. With puja, self-control is not necessary, because the thing with worshiping your ideal is that you instinctively avoid doing anything that would separate you from it. You just have the need to avoid anything that interferes with the puja-state in your spirit, which arises when you admire and worship your ishta-devata. In the state of puja, you try to be the ideal person that is able to exist on the level described in the puranas, on the level where emotions and spiritual states described therein are possible. Everything that pulls you out of that state inflicts upon you the kind of pain a wealthy man would feel if he suddenly lost all his money and became homeless. It is something you instinctively avoid at all cost, because of the loss and pain involved.

As always, the problem is that, in Hinduism, puja is in theory practiced by all, but in reality by almost nobody. Most are merely worshiping statues, putting flowers and fruits before them, pouring water or milk over them, they say a few sentences of praise while thinking about work and family, and go about their business. So, it would be an excellent spiritual practice were it indeed practiced as intended, which it is not.

You might now say that this form of worship and spiritual following can hardly turn you into a strong and emancipated ego such as that of Steve jobs, but you’d be quite mistaken. Puja is not intended to turn you into a sheep, or a follower in the negative connotations of the word, but to turn you into an avatar of your ishta devata. As Caitanya once nicely put it, there are two ways of spiritually existing on Krishna’s level. First is to be Krishna, who exists as Krishna because he has all the properties of Krishna, and his activities reflect those properties. The second way is to be Radha, who exists on Krishna’s level because she is constantly preoccupied with Krishna, with his properties and activities, and incessantly worships him and contemplates His glory, and in such a way Her spiritual state manages to have even greater fullness of taste of Krishna’s properties than the spiritual state of Krishna himself. Metaphorically, Caitanya and his disciples formulated it this way: at some point, Krishna in his transcendental abode felt the need to experience the fullness of his own being and its properties, which is possible only to Radha, and He thus decided to take incarnation as Caitanya, his own bhakta.

Metaphor or not, the idea is as clear as it is brilliant, and it founded in the basic principles of vedanta, according to which, if I am to repeat it for the nth  time, consciousness appropriates the qualities of that on which it dwells, which it observes and which it admires. Darshana is, therefore, the foundation of the true yoga, which is why I called my system of practice darśanayoga, or “spiritual union attained by absorbing the qualities of God in direct presence and vision”, as it is translated from the concentrated Sanskrit form.

07 Into the sunset: On perfect scriptures

On perfect scriptures

I can already anticipate the objections. If transmission of knowledge from higher spiritual beings to humans is so inexact and subject to ambiguities, errors and arbitrary estimates, how then do I explain the entire volumes of holy scripture that was dictated to humans by God, to the letter? How do I explain the very precise commandments and laws given to humans by the gods?

I was wondering about that myself at some point in time. You see, from the Vedas through the Qur’an, the ten commandments, leviticus, up to the New Age channelings, the statements are made about the literal Divine authorship, not even the high spiritual inspiration, but literally authorship, where God or the angels spoke out the text which was written down exactly to the letter by humans.

All the ancient texts contain some sort of mythological cosmology and physics, explaining how the world works. One would expect that, based on such excellent explanations of the world’s underpinnings, we had nuclear technology, computers, aeronautics and space flight since the bronze age. No such luck – we had a geocentric model of the stellar mechanics, supported by the Church because it was in greatest agreement with the Bible. The medicine was nonexistent, physics was nonexistent, chemistry was nonexistent, biology was nonexistent, and instead of the theory of evolution we had the creationist fairy tales – again, with biblical sanction, or whatever scripture the other religions had.

OK, if the Bible isn’t “literally Divine” enough for your taste, take a look at the Qur’an and the Vedas. The Vedas are said to be literally the voice of God, remembered by the Rishis, and given to oral transmission through the ages. The Qur’an is said to have been dictated word by word by archangel Gabriel to Mohammad. What is the level of the practical, scientific knowledge transmitted in this manner? Have those texts imparted the mankind with specific knowledge about the functioning of the Universe, knowledge that would match the claim of God the Creator, in his absolute knowledge and wisdom, having it put into words and reciting it so that every letter is correctly transmitted?

I’m so tired of this bullshit. Just look at those texts and you’ll see that they were obviously pulled out of someone’s arse. They never state something that would be actually useful, such as “The basic law of the material world is gravity. It is a force of mutual attraction of all massive objects in proportion to their mass and in reverse proportion to the square of distance. Because of this force, the gas that was originally created with the Universe collapsed to form the stars, where matter grew in complexity, as simpler particles were compressed into producing larger ones, until the stars ran out of fuel and exploded, dispersing the complex matter into the interstellar space. This complex matter would there mix with the primordial light gas, and gravity would again compress it into new generation of stars. After a few generations of this process, enough of the complex matter was made to allow the formation of planets, the massive spheres that are lighter than the stars and so the gravity cannot compress them enough to produce light and heat, but where additional processes of combining material particles into larger structures are possible, eventually producing life. The life originally existed in form of tiny, invisible beings, that adapted to their environment and evolved through the principle of survival of the fittest, evolving in a multitude of directions and shapes, creating all the forms of life known to you today, as well as the infinite multitude of those preceding them and having been extinct due to the natural selection, as well as natural disasters. The entire process of matter’s growth in complexity has the purpose of manifestation of increasing amounts of God’s spiritual qualities, which are reality, consciousness and bliss. Humans, as the most advanced product of evolution of matter on this planet, possess the greatest capacity for manifestation of those qualities, and it is My will that you grow in this direction, and to perform acts of knowledge, reality and happiness. All your thoughts, words and deeds should be performed having this in mind.“

Interesting, the “holy scripture” said to be literally the word of God contains none of this. Instead, you get the instructions on how to bow to some pissed off deity in order to appease his ego, how to sacrifice animals, fight infidels and what the sacrificial cow is to look like in order for the infinite God Creator of Heaven and Earth to be pleased. In short, the text was written by a schizophrenic with shit for brains, who attributed authorship to God, every word of it.

Do you even stop to think how stupid this sounds? If God personally dictated something to humans, those scriptures would contain something useful, instead of being garbage that creates medieval spiritual darkness each and every time one takes it seriously enough to implement this “revelation of God” into practice. Europe left the spiritual darkness only after having invented science, which is based not on God’s revelation, but on the concept that theory should be verified by experiment and observation, and what is proven is the truth, and what is falsified is false. This very concept opposes the entire theory of God’s revealed scriptures, and its adoption sufficed to transform the entire civilization, within a few centuries, from a civilization that harnessed animals for work and transportation, used oil lamps for light, quill for writing, “healed” people by bloodletting, fought contagious diseases by magic, saw Earth as the center of the Universe and stars as tiny holes on the firmament of heaven that allow the light from heaven to go through, and God was so good that he had to kill himself as sacrifice for sins committed against him by the original man who ate from the forbidden tree – so, from such a shitty place and spiritual misery caused by religion, in a few centuries we came to the knowledge of astrophysics sufficient to ascertain mass, size and temperature of the planets orbiting the distant stars, and observe the events on the very limits of the observable universe, from the time the first stars were formed, ten billions of years ago. We came to the point where we can send robots to Mars, and have them move around and send pictures back to Earth. We came to the point where the only reason why we didn’t send humans to other planets in the solar system, is financial cost. Humans move across the entire world in self-propelled vehicles that advise the driver about the best course using satellites in Earth’s orbit. More-less everyone has a computer connected to the global network that allows him to instantly communicate with people on the other side of the planet, including full duplex video. Everybody has a personal communication device in the pocket, which also does satellite navigation, voice and video communication, interface to the global network where you can easily pull the data from, read books and listen to music, and I’m writing this text on a laptop computer that was made by Steve Jobs, not God. Had we been listening to idiots who claimed with full confidence that they had received the perfect knowledge from God himself, I’d be writing this with quill on parchment, and more likely I’d already have had contracted plague and died.

In short, I shit on your heavenly revelations. If anything can be said with full certainty in the sphere of religion, it’s that no transcendental force had ever given us information that was literally accurate, precise, transmitted word-by-word, and useful for any practical purposes. What is certain is that the basic limitation to the ability to manifest the transcendental in this world is sophistication and complexity of the physical brain and intellect of the material beings.

I recommend that you stop and repeat that until you completely understand it, because it’s the most important lesson about spiritual experiences and interpretation thereof you will ever get. If you don’t absorb this, your spiritual journey stops here.

I used to perceive the difference between my own transcendental experiences and what the religions, their founders and followers are talking about, and concluded that I must be on a lower level of realization, because others seem to be receiving coherent, long revelations of verbalized content, unlike myself; however, as I studied those “revealed” materials, I came to understand that it’s all either the products of human subconsciousness, or made up bullshit produced with the goal of establishing authority over other people, where invoking the authority of Gods is a time-tried method of man dominating over another man. As I got deeper into the matter, it became clearer that my way of perceiving things is actually a rule rather than the exception, and that the excessive specificity, detailedness and linearity of some “descriptions” are actually products of dishonesty by the authors. At best, they wrote down one possible interpretation of the experience and withheld the actual form of the experience in order to give themselves credibility with the followers. To say that you saw Light that poured realization into your soul, realization that is indescribable by words, is far less “impressive” than the claim that Jesus surrounded by angels revealed himself to you and told you that the Bible is literally true, and you now have to fight homosexuality and abortion because the Bible says so.

So, the way I perceive things is not an exception to the rule, it’s actually the way those things really work, with the only difference between me and others being that I’m intellectually honest enough to say how these things actually work, instead of writing fairy-tales. But sure, those who believe in fairy-tales tend not to like either me or my approach.

An additional difference between me and most people with spiritual experiences is that I learned how to function in a non-linear manner, by following multiple concurrent “narratives“, working with  the possibility of simultaneous correctness of multiple seemingly opposed “narratives”, and, in general, the fact that most work on the level of basic arithmetic where 2+2 are always 4, and I work with complex numbers and equations with multiple solutions.

Of course, in order to be able to say anything whatsoever about the transcendental, I have to shape the original non-linear experience into a linear narrative of some kind, but I am very aware of it being only a storyline, and that the original experience could be interpreted in different ways, and I have no problem changing the narrative every now and then. The narrative evolves along with my ability to comprehend the transcendental reality. I kept re-interpreting some things for decades, continually pulling new elements from the experience that lasted a few seconds, and contained, for instance, a single moment in which my whole life was shown to me from a vantage point somewhere in the future. There’s no way a physical human brain could simply unpack such things without interpolations or losses. The thing lacks flexibility, speed and the ability to transcribe the experience into an accurate intellectual narrative; I often found myself “seeing” myself, in some point in future, from my own vantage point, perceiving myself, my own consciousness as it is at that point, the spectrum of possibilities, the spiritual horizon, and at the point where I receive the experience I just don’t know what to do with it, except having foreknowledge of my way of existing in the future as something great and good that I currently cannot even comprehend. After a decade or so went by, I occasionally stopped and realized that this is exactly the moment that I saw in the past, but I couldn’t interpret it because the things that I presently mentally rely on and work with didn’t exist at the time – they have all been formed in the meantime and were impossible to recognize at the time when I had the experience.

In short, the entire concept according to which such experiences are something verbal, linear, that can be told in an equivocal and clear manner, is incredibly mistaken and needs to be rejected if you are to make any progress whatsoever. If integer arithmetic could provide answers to all questions, people wouldn’t come up with equations that give sets of multiple correct solutions, transformation matrices and sets of numbers that can never be completely written down or known. We need to acknowledge the fact that the transcendental sphere is a richer form of reality and being, compared to this trash heap that we all know and “love”. As good as we get in making up narratives, the transcendental reality will remain completely different, richer and greater. That’s why we need to give up on the concept of the holy scriptures, revealed eternal truths and bronze age theologies, because if those people had enough sense to understand God, they would not be leading sheep to greener pastures thinking you can reach heaven if you make a tall enough building, which made God scared enough to scramble people’s tongue as to disrupt their efforts.

06 Into the sunset: The worldview illusion

The worldview illusion

In the religious sphere people have a tendency of imagining things working in ways that have nothing in particular to do with either common sense or reality. For instance, there is a belief that transmission of knowledge from above, into an “authorized guru”, functions more-less like downloading a file from the Internet into a personal computer. The idea is supposedly that there’s readily available knowledge “up there”, this knowledge can be copied into a yogi’s brain, and there are no revisions or modifications. If a guru happens to modify anything along the way, it means he didn’t get the authentic version of the original document, and if he’s perfecting it, it makes him more of a seeker on a path than a master.

So yeah, that’s what the kindergarten of spirituality looks like.

Spiritual experience and initiation are not a download of information. That’s not the way things work. A much better comparison is exposure to a magnetic field of great strength, which produces partial magnetization of suitable ferromagnetic materials even after brief exposure. This “magnetization” can last for quite a while, but it is incomplete, like a fragment of a hologram, which contains the entire picture, only faded and unclear, and it takes multiple exposures to the “magnetic field” to make a stronger impression, but due to the qualities of the physical matter, imperfections of the physical brain, and inability to perform a 1:1 mapping of the higher realities onto matter, the print will necessarily and inevitably remain incomplete. It’s akin to a two-dimensional projection of a three-dimensional body. As good as it is, it is necessarily an image on a surface, and not a volume. The projection is but an imperfect, reduced interpretation, and only from a singular point of view. If you rotate the 3d object, it will form a different 2d image.

Let’s move from the abstract to the specific, to an example of a spiritual experience. Let’s say you read a few texts on yoga and you tried to meditate. At some point you really manage to attain a spiritual experience, and you feel something that looks at the same time like an expansion of consciousness, powerful flash of joy and bliss, alleviation of weight and pressure that come from the painful nature of the physical existence, and a great sense of this experience’s higher degree of reality compared to the physical, sensory experiences. This experience lasts for ten seconds or so, and after it passes you remain in a state of awe and amazement. You try to understand what was it that you actually experienced, and you automatically create a narrative, a story that purports to explain the experience. And so, you make your theories, but none of it causes the experience to repeat, nor does it necessarily make any sense.

After months or years, you quite unexpectedly, while riding on a train or a bus and thinking about something unrelated, experience the following: a powerful burst of energy that gives you goosebumps from head to toe as if you were exposed to a powerful light, only it isn’t physical, but more consciousness and power. You understand that this light is a sense of presence of some spiritual being that reacted to some of your thoughts and came to answer them, since your thinking started leading you in a wrong way. The being addresses you with something that is more of a sequence of thoughts, or realizations, than spoken language, although you automatically attempt to translate it all into linear verbalized thought, and you get feedback in real time if you make a mistake in translation – the message repeats until you comprehend it as it was intended. After the message has been delivered, the being disappears from your consciousness and you can no longer sense its presence. Again, you try to think of a narrative that would make sense of the experience.

In the following months you have an impression that you keep hitting the limits of your understanding and you are frustrated because nobody is explaining anything to you and you are nevertheless expected to get it, and at that very moment a part of the veil of illusion is removed from your consciousness and you find yourself in the presence of a powerful spiritual being, yet completely different from the previous experiences. It’s powerful, conscious, brilliant, and completely different from the previous one; let’s say you can feel the difference the way you can feel a woman to be different than a man, or a mathematician from a historian. This being doesn’t convey any messages, but its very mode of existence, its “aura” and context automatically deliver you first into savikalpa, and immediately afterwards into nirvikalpa samadhi, and you experience a state of cosmic consciousness, realization that I Am, in all things, that I am One and Undivided, without other. I am that brahman, My nature is sat-cit-ananda. In the transition between that and the human consciousness, your consciousness is flooded by a great number of realizations, very briefly, and you don’t manage to decipher them properly in an unequivocal manner. When asked to describe the thing, you could pick any number of correct answers. In any case, the way you understand things has nothing whatsoever to do with the way people imagine the transfer of “spiritual knowledge”, supposedly by copying books from a heavenly library, or cramming chemistry or math in school, or whatever nonsense. The real thing is something entirely different.

After the experience, again you try to assemble a worldview. What does it all mean? Some things are obvious, while others are not. It is obvious that the transcendental exists, and that its reality is of a higher order compared to the material existence. It is obvious that there are the spiritual beings with different properties, all of them powerful, magnificent, blissful and with vast consciousness. They are also benevolent, they appear occasionally when they deem it necessary, and they convey some important knowledge or realization. The experiences are occasionally “impersonal”, as the Hare Krishnas would say, and it creates an impression that the core reality is a state of consciousness, something like bliss or awareness, and occasionally they are incredibly personal, which creates the impression that it is the person of God that produces the impersonal radiation of consciousness, power and reality. The impression immediately shifts and it seems that the personal deity is merely a personal form of the vast ocean of consciousness, reality and happiness.

Which of the theories is more accurate? I would really like to hear the opinion of smartasses who think spiritual knowledge to be something that is either copied in its final form, or is not really authentic, because that is what a realistic situation looks like. Which interpretation is intellectually more accurate, and how much does it matter? Is an experience authentic if you are not sure how to accurately interpret it? Is an experience under question if you change interpretations, knowing it’s an equation with multiple solutions, and that it gains accuracy in proportion to the number of iterations, like the integral calculus, meaning that you can meditate on the same state for ten years and, from such direction of consciousness upon a Divine state, the realizations gradually emanate, creating a complex image with progressively greater accuracy?

Do you understand that it is possible to have a complete, perfect and absolute realization of the transcendental, and at the same time be unable to say three coherent sentences about it? If not, you obviously never had a transcendental experience, and all your thoughts on the matter amount to nothing.

The sign of problems is not when one talks about spiritual experiences in unclear terms or with differences in each narration, but on the contrary, when he talks too consistently and using clearly intelligible concepts, which usually indicates we are dealing with either a fraud, or a person whose mind is too shackled with rigid structures, conditioned by the experiences with physical matter. A third option is that you’re dealing with a very smart person who deliberately invented stories that cater to your limitations, in order to lead you as far as possible along the path to actually acquiring a first-hand experience. Still, most often we are dealing with people who had an experience of the spiritual light, and then concluded that it must have been Jesus, because the Bible said that Jesus is the light of the world, or something. Their next step is the conclusion that if they saw Jesus, it must confirm the literal accuracy of everything they read in the Bible, and they end up preaching against abortion and homosexuality, because Jesus wants it – indeed, he personally told them so. And what is the truth in all of this? That they saw the spiritual light. Everything else is just hogwash, the mind’s attempt to forcefully make sense of the experience. That’s what the mind is for: it attempts to integrate experiences into an equivocal narrative, essentially making a map of the world which you can use to find your way around and survive. When you don’t understand how this works, and you don’t differentiate between experience and interpretation, and you start to believe in this nonsense, that’s when you start having a problem. The same experience can be used to prove Christianity, advaita Vedanta, dvaita Vedanta, Buddhism, monotheism, polytheism or Islam. In all of that, only the experience itself is actually true, and everything else is the ape-mind’s attempt to impose its control over the things that go way past its pay grade.

You can blame ego, Satan or Canada, but the fact remains that the purpose of the brain is to process inputs; it is biologically conditioned to perform a single purpose, which is to integrate sensory inputs into a consistent map of the world that will keep you alive, allow you to reproduce, and to attain better social status and control of the resources. When the brain is given spiritual inputs, it treats them the same way it does everything else: it tries to create a narrative that makes sense and will improve its chances in the world. You need to watch out for that, because the brain didn’t cause the experience to happen, nor does it have any claim whatsoever in the matter; if anything, the experience happened despite the brain’s best efforts to filter things out, not because of it. More-less everything the brain does with the memory of the spiritual experience serves the purpose of rehashing it to favor the human animal aspects – essentially, the brain will treat it the way it did in the case of thousands of your ancestors when it saw a stick: it thought whether it could be shaped into a good club to whack someone upon the head or a spear to impale him through the gut. This is why all good systems advise against talking to others about your experiences and using them to further your social status, because the experiences you had will happen to be your last. You see, once this animalistic aspect of human existence creates a “spiritual narrative” that it finds to be socially useful despite being wrong, it will cement things so strongly within your mind, by making a strong mental structure that is intended to defend your existence and wellbeing, that this thing will stand as a strong obstacle to your further spiritual efforts, because you would have to discreate it all in order to move on, and you will have the feeling that your entire world will collapse if you let it go. It is therefore much more useful to see spiritual light, and say that you saw spiritual light the meaning of which is unknown to you, than it is to say that you saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and that he is the light of the world, opposes the abortion and hates faggots, and that it confirms everything that’s said in the Bible, which means that your religion is the only true religion.

05 Into the sunset: A successful practice doesn’t require a good theory

A successful practice doesn’t require a good theory

The questions that logically arise at this point basically all ask “how”, in regard to the mechanics and physics of the spiritual. If something exists and functions, there must be a mechanism that makes it so, the underlying laws of some layer of nature, on which this functionality is defined, as gravity is defined within the material universe.

Gravity is actually a good example, since we have a very good example of “how” it works, because all the mechanisms are known, we have the formulae that work completely reliably and perfectly anticipate the behavior of matter even in the most extreme of conditions, but despite all that we still don’t know “what” gravity really is, or how this force actually functions. In fact, we don’t even know whether it is a force at all, or simply geometric curvature of the universe, where gravity isn’t as much a force as mass is a coordinate axis, like width, breadth and depth. It is therefore quite possible that even in the material universe there is a force so fundamental that nothing in the known universe would exist without it, it permeates the entirety of our material existence and is its necessary prerequisite, its behavior is completely understood and predictable, and yet on a theoretical level we don’t know what it is. I’m telling you this so that you would understand that it isn’t necessary to understand the exact “why” as long as you know “how”. You don’t need to understand the exact underlying mechanism. NASA didn’t have to know what gravity is in order to send satellites into orbit and men onto the Moon; what was important is to understand “how” gravity works, in a sense of having the precise formulae that describe the behavior of massive objects in a gravity field. Those formulae are known, which is why we have no problem planning and executing spaceflight, despite the fact that the physicists are still trying to figure out whether there is some exotic form of boson called “graviton” which produces the gravitational attraction, or Feynman was right to speak of gravity as a geometric property of space, which would explain why we can’t make a unified theory that would encompass both gravity and other forces.

If this can be the state of things with the physical universe and physical matter, which is a tangible domain subject to simple sensory verification and experimentation, imagine how much more sensitive the things become in the spiritual sphere. To establish that something exists at all is very difficult. To establish the general rules according to which something works is immeasurably more difficult. To establish “what” something is exactly, is practically impossible. As a matter of fact, it appears that the modern physics found itself in a bit of a tight spot, because its theories can be experimentally tested only up to a point. When it reached concepts according to which the entire material manifestation is but a tiny fragment of a far more complex picture, such as the n-dimensional strings, it managed to find itself in a position that was commonly reserved for the spiritual sciences.

Due to the aforementioned difficulties, the various religious or spiritual systems are traditionally more accustomed to describing the actions that give favorable results, than they are describing the inner workings of the system according to which things work as they do. This is because it is easier to apply the scientific method to establishing what works and what doesn’t – you make several attempts, see what works and after a few generations you end up with a decent system, which has foundations, walls and roof, and gives repeatable results. Admittedly, it’s mostly an attempt to map the unknown while working blindly, which often gives the results with very narrow applicability, and with poor ability to generalize.

It is therefore no wonder that the religions are most similar on the layer of the recommended actions, while their “whys” can differ wildly. This is so because it’s reasonably easy to empirically establish what kind of activity results in favorable spiritual changes, and when it comes to figuring out why that may be, everyone had an idea, and none of those could be successfully falsified.

This, of course, has a very likely corollary that everybody is in fact operating on a level on which astronomy was studied in ancient Babylonia – there is observation of the phenomenon, but without true understanding, which resulted in some kind of astrology, where watching the animal entrails and watching the motion of the planets served the same purpose: attempting to anticipate what the harvest will be like. Obviously, without a correct theoretical model, attempts at predicting the future result in some form of divination. This, I’m afraid, is the level at which most religious systems, including the best ones, seem to be firmly anchored.

You will probably expect me, like all other systems, to cite myself as a great exception to that rule, but I have no such intention. On the contrary, I can cite my own experience and practice as a great illustration of that principle, with the notable exception that I, unlike most, am aware of my position.

Let’s take the example of the techniques of yoga that I formulated in their final form in year 1997. I created them by figuring out what worked in practice. I knew exactly what had to be done in order to get a certain result, I knew how the energies behave when the consciousness is directed in a certain way, and I formulated it into a technical system. But had one asked me “what” exactly is going on, I would of course have an explanation ready, but I was acutely aware that the explanation was far from the accurate understanding of the underlying mechanisms, since I didn’t know what those were, really. I knew what had to be done in order to get from point A to point B, the way a cook knows how to make a cake, but if you asked him what physical and chemical processes take place during certain phases of admixture and thermal processing of the ingredients, the explanation he could give you would leave much to be desired. That, however, doesn’t mean that the cake isn’t good and that he’s not a good cook. It’s just that full understanding of the theory and the underlying principles of a phenomenon doesn’t belong to the same skillset as the understanding of the practice that is based on those principles. They are two separate things. For example, a world champion rally driver uses physics while driving, but don’t expect him to express it in terms of a tensor of forces at the wheel or to express distance as a definite integral of velocity. What he does know is how to get through that bend at the highest velocity possible for the given terrain and in a given vehicle. On the other hand, you can have a physicist who will be able to calculate those things formally and accurately, but don’t expect him to sit in the car and drive like a rally champion. Those are the two separate and unrelated skillsets, and you would really have to be a really bad asshole to tell the physicist that his formulae are worthless because he can’t drive worth a damn, or to tell the driver that his skill is shit because he can’t explain what he’s doing in terms of mathematics. Those are not legitimate objections, but pure sophistry and nefarious wordplay. Do you know when it was that I came to really understand the majority of the theoretical background of my inner space technique? Quite recently; in the year 2010. That’s 13 years since I originally formulated the technique. And you know what I would change now in the original formulation of the technique? Absolutely nothing. It’s perfect from start to finish. Understanding of what exactly is going on with the kalapas and their aggregations is completely irrelevant for the formulation and functionality of the technique. Likewise, I could have spent 13 years playing tennis and only in the last year learn enough physics to completely understand and calculate the path of the ball, its elastic deformation and release of the stored energy, and this knowledge would change nothing, except being a nice thing to know. It’s great to have a theory, but doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with practice; furthermore, you can have dramatically different theories, even in a sense where one of them is completely wrong and one is completely right, and the choice between them can have very little effect on the practical situation, such as it happened with the celestial mechanics. Up until Newton (or, more accurately, until Laplace), the completely theoretically wrong Ptolemaic system was giving more accurate predictions of the celestial body motions and eclipses than the principally more accurate heliocentric one, because the mathematics necessary to do calculus on a n-body system wasn’t invented yet, and a purely scientific test that compared the accuracy of predictions made by the respective systems would have had to choose the Ptolemaic one. If you have two systems, of which one makes better predictions, it’s obvious that you are going to favor it. It is thus possible for a better theory to give worse results, at least in its early phase of development, and too much scientific rigidity can get you stuck with a theory that is completely wrong, simply because you judged the results at too early a phase, and you didn’t allow the new theory to limp along until its maturity.

What is to be noted in my case is that practical experience doesn’t immediately provide you with a good theory. An intellectually watertight theoretical system doesn’t automatically follow from the practical knowledge, spiritual experience and understanding which things are useful and which are harmful – a theory is something entirely other, and a talent for formulating one is as different from the “feeling” for the spiritual practice, as the talent for driving a rally car from the talent for computing the phycical parameters of the drive. Those things are as separate as night and day, as separate as the capacity for love and the ability to formulate love in terms of biochemistry, by measuring the concentration of endorphins and mapping the activity of the sections in the brain, as separate as it is to experience orgasm and to make a quantitative lab analysis of the ejaculate.

For some reason, people expected me to provide some theory, and that’s what I did. I figured something out, because that’s what I’m good at, but I kept modifying it depending on the evolution of my understanding of things. On the other hand, I hardly ever changed the recommended practice, which was the first thing I formulated, a long time ago. I didn’t add anything since 1998, although what I personally do is much different now, because of my greater skill and power, but the way I would recommend one to go about acquiring those skills did not change. The practical techniques from 1997 proved themselves as good, flexible and effective, simply because I came up with them in a feedback loop with reality, by spending a few years figuring out what exactly works, I identified the mechanisms and they work as such, and the fact that I didn’t understand the theory behind it had absolutely no detrimental effect. When I read my old writings in which I explained to students what they were to do, I find them to be the same things I would say today, with my current knowledge, despite the fact that I now have a better understanding of the underlying theory. I simply worked by instinct, and I knew what had to be done despite not knowing why. I knew what would work, and I was fully within my right expecting to be obeyed without question. It’s like having a master kickboxer tell you how to kick a bag. If you do exactly as he told you, you will learn the correct technique, regardless of the fact that he can’t name all the muscles, ligaments and bones in your arms and legs. Those things are unrelated to the degree of his practical skill. A kickboxer doesn’t have to pass an anatomy exam in order to know how to hit one in the head so that he passes out. When I look at the things I taught people in hindsight, absolutely all of it would have excellent results had they literally and diligently applied it. The fact that my theoretical understanding evolved doesn’t mean that the past instructions were inferior.

This however doesn’t mean that everything the religions are bombarding their followers with is good and useful; on the contrary, a lot of it is a product of rationalizations and poor interpretations. I recently read an excellent example in a modern children’s book based on ancient Greek myths, where a satyr, a goat-man, seeks his lost god Pan, and in an instant he senses “the breath of the wild” which is an unmistakable sign of his god. Later, as he attempted to understand what caused the experience, he mistakenly concluded that it was the coffee he was having at the moment, and kept saturating himself with coffee for months, in attempts to re-create the experience. The religious sphere shows us more examples of this form of logical error, than they do of correct understanding of the phenomena. It often happens that a person has a spiritual experience for one reason, or without any reason whatsoever, and later attributes the experience to something he happened to do at the moment, which doesn’t necessarily have any causal relationship with the experience – was it because I was a vegetarian, or because I was celibate, or because I walked barefoot, or because I faced North, or because I prayed to the right God, or because I made the right kind of sacrifice, because I smoked the right kind of weed, had sex with the right person, or had coffee at exactly right time in the morning? It’s something to have in mind when analyzing the “holy scriptures” and writings of people who had spiritual experiences, who then built a theoretical framework around it in order to explain what happened to them and attempt to re-create it. Because, for the most part, they are barking at the wrong tree.

04 Into the sunset: Nature and evolution of the soul

Nature and evolution of the soul

The idea according to which not all shall attain enlightenment, and we are in fact dealing with the evolutionary principles that do not have a predefined or certain ending, is deeply unpopular in the oriental circles, probably because the people who choose to follow the eastern religions in the West opt for them as an alternative to the Abrahamic monotheistic religions such as Christianity, where the central theme is exactly the possibility of hell and uncertainty of salvation. If someone found that to be extreme or nonsensical, he usually found some niche New Age philosophy based on Vedanta or Buddhism, according to which all beings in their essential nature are the eternal and perfect atman, or, alternatively, where Buddhahood  is inherent to all beings, and all beings will eventually attain enlightenment.

I’m not saying that the eastern religions don’t teach that; indeed, Vedanta teaches that individual beings are but a transitory illusion, and the only truth is atman, while Buddhism indeed has significant branches teaching how Buddhahood is inherent to the beings, and that it only needs to be activated by removing the impurities; there are folk tales from Buddhist traditions according to which Buddha said that even Devadatta (portrayed in those tales as a great scoundrel and malefactor) will eventually attain Buddhahood. Those tales, combined with the stories about the Bodhisattvas and their limitless compassion, saturate Mahayana Buddhism, and it is understandable why this narrative is usually accepted beyond doubt. According to this narrative, a being in its original nature is perfectly pure, and everything that is commonly perceived as spiritual filth, low inclinations etc., is interpreted as karmic impurity, which exists on the lower, external part of the soul, closer to the sphere of choices and activities than the inner nature. As much as this narrative exists in Buddhism on the level of later interpretations and transformations of the original teaching, in Vedanta it exists as the central theory.

Despite all that, this narrative is incorrect. Vedanta and Mahayana are in error, and the original Buddhism is much closer to reality.

In the original Buddhism, there is no such thing as the “original core of the being”. It is a later concept. In the original Buddhism, karma is not the “external layer” of energy, accumulated by activities and superimposed on the true being. There is no concept of the “original being” or soul that exists separately from karma: the soul consists of karma, soul is a name we have for the aggregation of karmic substance, produced by choices and activities through many incarnations.

This is a radical concept, and a more difficult one for the Westerners to understand, than the concepts of Vedanta (dual or nondual), because it is incompatible with the Christian concept of soul, which also functions according to the concept of soul on one layer, and its actions and their consequences on another. On the other hand, the Western physics operates with the concepts that are far closer to the Buddhist understanding, and this is what I am going to use in order to illustrate the point. You see, what the original Buddhism teaches is that an atom as a concept doesn’t exist once you have removed the protons, neutrons and the electrons. I devoted big parts of “The jewel in the lotus” to this, where I explained the concept on the example of an apple, which differs greatly in the hermetic worldviews on one hand, and science and Buddhism on another. The hermetic worldviews think that a physical apple is an imperfect and transitory manifestation of a perfect ideal apple, which exists somewhere in the astral plane in its perfect and eternal form, and all earthly apples are merely the imperfect reflections of that ideal. Science and Buddhism, on the other hand, claim that an apple is merely an appearance, and that the mental image of an apple is an illusion, and reality is that a bunch of atoms are interconnected into molecules and further into larger structures, none of which has anything to do with an apple. There is no Applium (Ap), the fundamental atom of everything apple; just carbon, oxygen, nitrogen etc. Buddhism has the same opinion of soul, as it does of apple: that it is an aggregate, a synthetic entity created as a result of the elaborate process of karmic evolution, by accretion of karmic substance into an increasingly larger and more complex structure, which comes to include increasingly complex substances. This process of evolution is by no means a necessity or a given, but only a possibility. Likewise, Buddhahood is also a mere possibility, and by no means a necessity, and is certainly not a guaranteed destination for all.

Buddhism doesn’t interpret the vast differences that exist between the souls as results of karmic impurity superimposed on the original perfection, but simply as insufficient complexity and evolvement, causing a quantitative and qualitative inferiority of the unevolved souls compared to the evolved ones. It is very logically straightforward and parsimonic – if you stop to think, a theory according to which a primitive sack of shit who beats up his wife when piss drunk, rapes his daughter and listens to some shit folk music, is really a Buddha in his true nature, only covered with more bad karma, is utterly nonsensical. It’s like saying that a rock has the same essential nature as a man, only covered with more karmic impurity. None of it makes any sense. A theory according to which those beings differ in spiritual sophistication and complexity, and so a drunken savage is merely a drunken savage, a being whose undeveloped soul consists of much simpler karmic structures than that of a sophisticated, subtle person of high spiritual longings – it explains the evidence without a need for crazy assumptions and citing dogma. Of course, it’s not a theory that has much chance of gaining popularity among the masses, because the majority would rather believe that humans are all equal in their essential nature, and that the differences are superficial. In reality, it is the opposite: it’s exactly the similarities between people that are superficial. The similarities are a result of incarnation into the same biological species with very small genetic diversity, or variation between specimens, combined with the quality of the physical plane that blocks the direct influence of the soul on the matter. In those circumstances, the uniformity of the biological platform masks the huge quantitative and qualitative differences between the souls, and so there is an appearance that the entities created from some astral substance, that would feel equally at home if incarnated as insects, snakes, hamsters or squirrels, as well as Gods made of the Purusha, around whom “weapons” and “robes” made of vajras orbit and pledge devotion and allegiance to, are “more-less the same”, that they are “equal”, only because they are both incarnated as the same species of ape.

You can forget equality. The very concept is completely remote from any kind of a spiritual reality. Those are the fairy-tales that serve the purpose of social cohesion of a human community, an animality not greatly different from the mechanisms that bind the bees into a colony. Physically speaking, the humans are more-less the same. Intellectually, there are already significant differences, but when we come to the soul, the differences can reach the order of magnitude that separates a hydrogen atom from the supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy, and the physical similarity of the bodies through which those vastly different entities manifest their presence on the physical plane is one of the greatest illusions, and greatest injustices. Ok, you object to that, and think you’re anyone’s equal. Sure, join the club of those who thought that Jesus and Barabbas were equal and it doesn’t matter who gets crucified. Get it yet? Jesus was a God, and Barabbas, well, nobody cares about what he was. That’s the truth about the nature of their souls. Body-wise, they were both brown apes. Do you now understand why I might believe this to be a source of immense injustice?

One might now say that a yogi in the state of samadhi, or cosmic consciousness, switches into a state in which there is only One, and that this is the foundation of the theory of equality and identical fundamental nature of the souls, because the fundamental nature of all souls is brahman, and nothing else.

Where there is One, there is no multitude. There are no humans, there is no equality, there are no relationships between things, in short, there is no relativity because that is the Absolute. The things that apply to the Absolute cannot be projected on the interpersonal relationships of the relative beings, and serve as a foundation for theories. It is true that the Absolute is One, but it is also true that the Absolute is sat-cit-ananda, the totality of reality-consciousness-bliss. It would be fair to say that you reflect Oneness about as much as you reflect the sat-cit-ananda, which is to say not much. The human packs and the spiritual darkness of their inner social workings have absolutely nothing to do with the state of One, so it would be wrong to attempt to draw any kind of parallel between equality of humans and the Oneness of brahman. In short, it is wrong to us the existence of the Absolute as foundation for the theory of an eternal soul, or equality between the beings. For all you know, the connection of your soul with the Absolute might not be any more eternal than that of your mortal material body – because, of course, if everything is brahman, then the atoms of your body are brahman, and how is their claim to eternity less than that of your soul? As brahman is the eternal witness to the corporal existence, so is it a witness of the astral and who knows what other existence. To draw a conclusion that all souls are indeed brahman and as such equal, is as sensible as saying that one dollar and one billion dollars are both manifestations of the same concept of money and as such equal. Sure, if they are equal, give me the billion and you keep one.

To interpret the difference between the souls with the difference in karmic purity makes about as much sense as it would be to claim that the difference between a university professor and a worker at some mill is to be attributed to the fact that a worker’s mind is filled with bad content. It’s not filled with any content whatsoever, that’s the problem. The worker failed to develop his mind, and as a result it has lesser complexity and sophistication of content. The professor kept developing his mind and filling it with content of high quality, and the worker didn’t. That’s the difference. It’s not as if they both started from the super-genius level and the worker fucked himself up more with the passage of time; no, they both started as babies with empty heads, with the difference being that the worker was fucking around and playing football while the professor was reading books and learning things. The vedantic theory about the different levels of impurity cast over the originally perfect atman is therefore completely wrong and cannot be reconciled with the facts. The Buddhist original theory of evolution by progressive growth in complexity of a karmic aggregate matches the perception very accurately. So, not only were you not originally a perfect soul made in God’s image, but you did not exist as an entity, at all. This has two main corollaries: one pleasant, and one not so much. The not so pleasant one is that you cannot rely on having the good daddy in heaven who loves you and gets all riled up each time you do this or that. The pleasant corollary is the same thing, once you think about it. You don’t have a daddy in heaven who will make incessant demands without bothering to teach you anything of value first, a daddy who has expectations but provides you with nothing of value. You are not a created being, and so you don’t owe anything to your creator – if anything, you are your own creator, since your soul was created as a result of your own choices and actions, unique and personal. Each decision made you in a way a sculptor removes excessive stone and “releases” a statue from the stone. Every choice defined what you are, and what you are not.

I won’t bother to go into details of the underlying energetics, at least not at this occasion, because here it is of no consequence. What matters is that your actions made you as you are now. If you rather spent time, as a kid, learning and reading, instead of fucking around and stealing, you turned into an intellectual rather than a thief and a scoundrel. Your actions defined you. If you used the opportunity to screw someone over instead of helping him, your actions defined you. If you saw something beautiful and mocked it instead of stopping and feeling the gratitude for the opportunity to witness its existence, your actions defined you. If you saw something ugly and evil, and you failed to feel revulsion and need to oppose this evil in some manner, but instead you mocked the victim of the evil, your actions defined you.

You are your own God Father the Creator, you are your own Michelangelo, having carved yourself out of the primordial spiritual substance and out of the pool of possibility, and whether you look like David, or like Michelangelo’s turd, it’s your exclusive fault or merit. There are no gods to thank, or blame. It’s your own fault, it’s your own claim to fame, and your reality is a direct result of your volition and your perception of what brahman is. It is the reason why some souls are tiny little turdlings made of filthy astral substance, while some others are the oceans of light, power, and consciousness that far exceed anything that is worshiped by the faithful in the temples of the religions. Choices. Out of the treasury that is brahman, some choose to appropriate the jewels of consciousness, reality and bliss, and some choose to shit at the treasury’s door, so that any visitor would have to step into the glorious product of their existence.

There indeed are the Gods, but they are not the ones who made you. They made themselves into what they are, the same as you did. This is at one hand humiliating, if we observe only the difference in the results, but it is also immensely encouraging, if you take a look at what can be attained. In any case, if you’re no good, it’s not a given, and you have no one to blame for your predicament; on the contrary, it is something that can be immediately acted upon, in order to effect change. On the other hand, if you are a great soul with many great accomplishments in your crown, there is no God who would claim the credit that you fully deserve. You, then, are to be praised as a wonderful and magnificent creator of a God.