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[2/2/2013 5:57:43 PM] Van Atman: Magic a Divine Science - (Page 473) His pupils, after receiving baptism from him (i.e., after Initiation), were said to “resurrect from the dead” and, “growing no older,” became“immortal.” [See Eusebius, Hist. Eccles.,Lib. III, iii. cap. 26.] This “resurrection “ promised by Menander meant, of course, simply the passage from the darkness of ignorance into the light of truth, the awakening of man’s immortal Spirit to inner and eternal life. This is the Science of the Râja Yogîs—Magic.

Every person who had read Neo-Platonic Philosophy knows how its chief Adepts, such as Plotinus, and especially Porphyry, fought against phenomenal Theurgy. But, beyond all of them, Jamblichus, the author of the De Mysteriis, lifts high the veil from the real term Theurgy, and shows us therein the true Divine Science of Râja Yoga. Magic, he says, is a lofty and sublime Science, Divine, and exalted above all others.

It is the great remedy for all . . . . It, neither takes its source in, nor is it limited to, the body of its passions, to the human compound or its constitution; but all is derived by it from our upper Gods, our divine Egos, which run like a silver thread from the Spark in us up to the primeval divine Fire. † [De Mysteriis, p.100, lines 10 to 19: p.109, fol. I.]

Jamblichus execrates physical phenomena, produced, as he says, by the bad demons who deceive men (the spooks of the sêance room), as vehemently as he exalts Divine Theurgy.

But to exercise the latter, he teaches, the Theurgist must imperatively be “a man of high morality and a chaste Soul.” The other kind of Magic is used only by impure, selfish men, and has nothing of the Divine in it. No real Vates would ever consent to find in its communications anything coming from our higher Gods. Thus one (Theurgy) is the knowledge of our Father (the Higher Self); the other, subjection to our lower nature. One requires holiness of the Soul, a holiness which rejects and excludes everything corporeal; the other, the desecration of it (the Soul). One is the union with the Gods (with one’s God), the source of all Good; the other intercourse with demons (Elementals), which, unless we subject them, will subject us, and lead us step by step to moral ruin (mediumship). In short: Theurgy unites us most strongly to divine nature. This nature begets itself through itself, moves through its own powers, supports all, and is intelligent.

Being the ornament of the Universe, it invites us to intelligible truth, to perfection (Page 474) and imparting perfection to others. It unites us so intimately to all the creative actions of the Gods, according to the capacity of each of us, that the soul having accomplished the sacred rites is consolidated in their [the Gods’] actions and intelligences, until it launches itself into and is absorbed by the primordial divine essence. This is the object of the sacred Initiations of the Egyptians. [De Mysteriis. p. 290. lines 15 to 18. et seq., caps. v and vii.]

Now, Jamblichus shows us how this union of our Higher Soul with the Universal Soul, with the Gods, is to be effected. He speaks of Manteia, which Samâdhi, the highest trance. [Ibid., p.100, sec. iii. cap] He speaks also of dream which is divine vision, when man re-becomes again a God. By Theurgy, or Râja Yoga, a man arrives at: (1) Prophetic Discernment through our God (the respective Higher Ego of each of us) revealing to us the truths of the plane on which we happen to be acting; (2) Ecstacy and Illumination; (3) Action in Spirit (in Astral Body or through Will); (4) and Domination over the minor, senseless demons (Elementals) by the very nature of our purified Egos. But this demands the complete purification of the latter.

And this is called by him Magic, through initiation into Theurgy.

But Theurgy has to be preceded by a training of our senses and the knowledge of the human Self in relation to the Divine SELF. So long as man has not thoroughly mastered this preliminary study, it is idle to anthropomorphize the formless. By “formless” I mean the higher and the lower Gods, the supermundane as well as mundane Spirits, or Beings, which to beginners can be revealed only in Colours and Sounds. For none but a high Adept can perceive a “God” in its true transcendental form, which to the untrained intellect, to the  Chelâ, will be visible only by its Aura. The visions of full figures casually perceived by  sensitives and mediums belong to one or another of the only three categories they can see: (angel) Astrals of living men; (beer) Nirmânakâyas (Adepts, good or bad, whose bodies are dead, but who have learned to live in the invisible space in their ethereal personalities); and (coffee) Spooks, Elementaries and Elementals masquerading in shapes borrowed from the Astral Light in general, or from figures in the “mind’s eye” of the audience, or of the medium, which are immediately reflected in their respective Auras.

Having read the foregoing, students will now better comprehend the necessity of first studying the correspondences between our “principles”—which are but the various aspects of the triune (spiritual and physical) man—and our Paradigm; the direct roots of these in the

[2/2/2013 7:08:22 PM] Van Atman: CHAPTER 4

FUNCTIONS

THE functions of the astral body may be roughly grouped under three headings: —

1. To make sensation possible.

2. To serve as a bridge between mind and physical matter.

3. To act as an independent vehicle of consciousness and action.

We will deal with these three functions in sequence.

When man is analysed into " principles," i.e., into modes of manifesting life, the four lower principles, sometimes termed the "Lower Quaternary", are :—

Physical Body.

Etheric Body

Prâna, or Vitality.

Kâma, or Desire.

The fourth principle, Kâma, is the life manifesting in the astral body and conditioned by it: its characteristic is the attribute of feeling, which in rudimentary form is sensation, and in complex form emotion, with many grades in between these two.

This is sometimes summed up as desire, that which is attracted or repelled by objects, according as they give pleasure or pain.

Kâma thus includes feelings of every kind, and might be described as the passional and emotional nature. It comprises all animal appetites, such as hunger, thirst, sexual desire: all passions, such as the lower forms of love, hatred, envy, jealousy; it is the desire for sentient existence, for experience of material joys — "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life".

Kâma is the brute in us, the "ape and tiger" of Tennyson, the force which most avails to keep us [Page 24] bound to earth and to stifle in us all higher longings by the illusions of sense. It is the most material in man's nature, and is the one that binds him fast to earthly life. " It is not molecularly constituted matter, least of all the human body, Sthûla Sharira, that is the grossest of all our ' principles', but verily the middle principle, the real animal centre; whereas our body is but its shell, the irresponsible factor and medium through which the beast in us acts all its life"

Kâma or Desire is also described as a reflection or lower aspect of Atma or Will, the distinction being that Will is Self-determined, whereas Desire is moved to activity by attractions to or repulsions from surrounding objects. Desire is thus Will discrowned, the captive, the slave of matter.

Another way of regarding Kâma has been well expressed by Mr. Ernest Wood in his illuminating book The Seven Rays: Kâma " means all desire. And desire is the outward-turned aspect of love, the love of the things of the three worlds; while love proper is love of life and love of the divine, and belongs to the higher or inwardturned self."

For our purposes in this book desire and emotion are frequently used as practically synonymous: strictly, however, emotion is the product of desire and intellect.

The astral body is often known as the Kâma Rûpa: and sometimes, in the older nomenclature, as the Animal Soul.

Impacts from without, striking on the physical body, are conveyed as vibrations by the agency of Prâna or Vitality, but they would remain as vibrations only, merely motion on the physical plane, did not Kâma, the principle of sensation, translate the vibration into feeling. Thus pleasure and pain do not arise until the astral centre is reached.

Hence Kâma joined to Prâna is spoken of as the "breath of life", the vital sentient principle spread over every particle of the body. [Page 25]

It appears that certain organs of the physical body are specifically associated with the workings of Kâma: among these are the liver and the spleen.

It may be noted here that Kâma, or desire, is just beginning to be active in the mineral kingdom, where it expresses itself as chemical affinity.

In the vegetable kingdom it is, of course, much more developed, indicating a far greater capacity of utilising lower astral matter. Students of botany are aware that likes and dislikes, i.e., desire, are much more prominent in the vegetable world than in the mineral, and that many plants exhibit a great deal of ingenuity and sagacity in attaining their ends.

Plants are quick to respond to loving care and are distinctly affected by man's feelings towards them. They delight in and respond to admiration: they are also capable of individual attachments, as well as of anger and dislike.

Animals are capable to the fullest possible extent of experiencing the lower desires, though the capacity for the higher desires is more limited. Nevertheless it exists, and in exceptional cases an animal is capable of manifesting an exceedingly high quality of affection or devotion.

Passing now to the second function of the astral body — to act as a bridge between mind and physical matter — we note that an impact on the physical senses is transmitted inwards by Prâna, becomes a sensation by the action of the sensecentres, which are situated in Kâma, and is perceived by Manas, or Mind. Thus, without the general action through the astral body there would be no connection between the external world and the mind of man, no connection between physical impacts and the perception of them by the mind.

Conversely, whenever we think, we set in motion the mental matter within us; the vibrations thus generated are transferred to the matter of our astral body, the astral matter affects the etheric matter, this, in turn, acting on the dense physical matter, the grey matter of the brain. [Page 26]

The astral body is thus veritably a bridge between our physical and our mental life, serving as a transmitter of vibrations both from physical to mental and from mental to physical, and is, in fact, principally developed by this constant passage of vibrations to and fro.

In the course of the evolution of man's astral body, there are two distinct stages: the astral body has first to be developed to a fairly high point as a transmitting vehicle: then it has to be developed as an independent body, in which the man can function on the astral plane.

In man, the normal brain-intelligence is produced by the union of Kâma with Manas, or Mind, this union being often spoken of as Kâma-Manas. Kâma-Manas is described by H. P. Blavatsky as " the rational, but earthly or physical intellect of man, encased in, and bound by matter, and therefore subject to the influence of the latter"; this is the "lower self" which, acting on this plane of illusion, imagines itself to be the real Self or Ego, and thus falls into what Buddhist philosophy terms the " heresy of separateness".

Kâma-Manas, that is Manas with desire, has also been picturesquely described as Manas taking an interest in external things.

It may, in passing, be noted that a clear understanding of the fact that Kâma-Manas belongs to the human personality, and that it functions in and through the physical brain, is essential to a just grasp of the process of reincarnation, and is sufficient of itself to show how there can be no memory of previous lives so long as the consciousness cannot rise beyond the brain-mechanism, this mechanism, together with that of Kâma, being made afresh each life, and therefore having no direct touch with previous lives.

Manas, of itself, could not affect the molecules of the physical brain cells: but, when united to Kâma, it is able to set the physical molecules in motion, and thus produce " brain-consciousness", including the brain memory and all the functions of the human [Page 27] mind, as we ordinarily know it. It is, of course, not the Higher Manas, but the Lower Manas, (i.e., matter of the four lower levels of the mental plane), which is associated with Kâma. In Western psychology, this Kâma-Manas becomes a part of what in that system is termed Mind. Kâma-Manas, forming the link between the higher and lower nature in man, is the battleground during life, and also, as we shall see later, plays an..

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