This series presents the framework of a Spirit Science of Conscious Evolution that leads to the Fulfillment of the Human Being as Divine Gnosis and the resulting Immortal Spiritual Body of Light.
Part I, "The Fruit of Human Existence", introduces the Human Being as a Function of the Divine Evolutionary impulse to emerge from Consciousness into Existence and then Know itself in the Gnosis of Divinity and Human Being.
In this second part, "Yoga of the Divine", we consider the Divine as the process of the Gnosis.
YOGA OF THE DIVINE
"All Life is Yoga" Sri Aurobindo declared. Indeed, as all Existence is the Yoga of the Divine. The very impulse which effectuates our Being is to merge back into Source. Life is the crucible in which the alchemy of Humanity is transmuted by fire into purified Divine gold.
For thousands of years, Seers, Saints and Prophets across all cultures have indicated that the Divine intends for us to Know ourselves as the Children of God. To fulfill this Gnosis we have developed a wide variety of practices of worship, devotion, invocation and concentration involving word, song, chant, prayer, meditation, postures, hand gestures, dances, physical activities, fasting, penance and other means of altering our consciousness and adjusting our perception so that we can come into greater contact with Source.
The accumulated wisdom of these practices, drawn from the infinite well of Divine Intelligence, is the true patrimony of the Human species. It is the precious methodology and invaluable set of tools by which Conscious Evolution is ultimately fulfilled. These methods and means of the Spiritual Science have undergone a process of gradual, staged advancement over time. Just as it has been necessary for Matter to evolve from the inconscient to the conscious, Humanity has also had to pass through many stages of spiritual development. Each individual also passes through a parallel series of stages over the course of a single lifetime and over the course of multiple lives.
"While seemingly entirely contrary and separate phenomena, the attachment to God and the aversion to Existence on the one side and the aversion to God and the attachment to Existence on the other make up two sides of the same coin. They are philosophically identical and in fact require, support and sustain each other"
In the first stage we seek to Appease and Evoke Blessings from the Divine. The initial spiritual practices of early Human societies involved first becoming aware that Beings and the Universe were somehow Created by a Power. This included a sense of thankfulness for the elements of Creation that were deemed pleasant and beneficial with an accompanying sense of dread and resentment for the aspects of Creation that were experienced as painful and harmful. Deities were anthropomorphized and rendered as objects of praise and fear. Ritual was performed to appease, evoke blessings, supplicate for protection and invoke curses upon enemies. Creation was experienced as a Wonder filled with pain, anguish, disease and death. Divinity was regarded as a distant, self-conflicted, multi-faceted Power that could produce random interactions and unpredictable results and needed to be approached with the utmost care. The emphasis at this level is on Survival.
In the following stage we seek to Venerate and Obey. The view of Divinity as a singular parent, as in early Old Testament Judaism, evolved as Humanity sought a more stable connection to the Source. The idealized relationship of fixed dedication to the Authority of the Divine Parent became predominant. No longer in its infancy of insecurity and helplessness, Humans entered into a Child-Parent relationship with the Divine. Mosaic Law was a set of rules for the Child race. It consisted primarily of rules meant to protect us from doing harm to ourselves and others. As one would advise a child to not touch a hot stove, the Divine gave us basic instructions to preserve our fundamental well being. Similar lists of do's and don'ts are found in most cultures as foundational spiritual and ethical code. From crying for sustenance and begging for protection, the species moved on to Obedience to basic rules of conduct, the observance out of which abundance, stability and safety and all good would naturally proceed. The emphasis at this level is on Creation and Abundance.
"Conscious Evolution recognizes biological evolution but places it within the context of the progressive development of Consciousness."
In the subsequent stage Humans begin to seek out Meaning. This stage of development can be perhaps characterized as young adolescence, in which the child demands to Know and wants answers. What is the Purpose of Existence? Why does Deity allow suffering? Why is Existence in apparent separation from the Divine? Two basic sets of answers emerge.
In the first case, Existence is regarded as a horrible, unfortunate trap from which the spiritual aspirant seeks to to be Liberated. A desire to return to the perfect state of Consciousness is sought by rejecting Existence and Deifying pure Consciousness. Consciousness is regarded as the Liberated state free from the imperfections of Existence. The Meaning of Existence is found in the apparent separation from the Divine and the resulting impulse to be reunited and complete in the Divine Presence. In Christianity we see this expressed as a desire to purify one's soul so that it can abide in Heaven with God after death. In Yoga this is expressed as the unification of the mind of God and the mind of the Yogi so that the Soul can depart the body and need not be reborn in the realm of Existence again. The most prominent characteristic of this stage is the belief that the Divine is separate from oneself and located elsewhere. Whether while living in the body through mystical practice or at the time of Death, the path of Liberation from the troubles of the World leads the aspirant on a journey through time and space into the presence of Divine Source.
In the second case, this same young adolescent level of development can be seen as the Deification of Existence and an aversion to Consciousness. In this case there is a tendency towards Materialism and even Atheism while Existence is explored and exploited fully and completely. Meaning is sought in Existence and its experiences alone. This aspect of Human spiritual development spawned the material, scientific and industrial revolution of society. This state of being is called Pasu, or Animal. As the animal lives to satisfy instinct and drives, so does the Human who has essentially deified Satisfaction and Experience. The path of Freedom of Will in the World leads the aspirant on a journey into need, desire and hunger and finally into a darkless void after Death.
"Conscious Evolutionists regard Existence as merely one of the many states of Consciousness and further embrace Existence as an opportunity to embody Consciousness fully"
While seemingly entirely contrary and separate phenomena, the attachment to God and the aversion to Existence on the one side and the aversion to God and the attachment to Existence on the other make up two sides of the same coin. They are philosophically identical and in fact require, support and sustain each other. This is reflected in the fact that Deistic Transcendency (the drive to escape from Existence and return back to God Source) and Existential Atheism (the drive to derive Satisfaction from Existence and the denial of Consciousness) have existed side-by-side, commingled and interpenetrated during the whole of Humanity's most recent epoch of development. This relationship is characterized by an "either-or" dichotomy which urges a choice between Consciousness and Existence. Good versus Evil projects out from this. Divinity is seen as present only under certain conditions. Here, there is God; there, God is not. This is Divine; that is not Divine. This is Reality; that is Unreality. Existence is Reality; God is Reality.
Humans have tended to vacillate between an inclination towards Deity or an attraction towards Existence, rarely skewing entirely towards one end of the apparent dichotomy or the other. Since the two attributes of the Divine are inseparable from each other, there is a continuous flow of energy between them and never a perfect balance. It is the firing of this energetic engine that has been the primary mechanism of development during our most recent epoch.
We are now at the beginning of the period which could be equated with late adolescence. There is a growing tendency to seek Balance and Harmonization between Existence and Consciousness. Divinity is more commonly accepted as both Consciousness and Existence, equally and simultaneously, or the transcendence of the duality itself. The child wants Fulfillment of Purpose as a wholistic experience, seeking the Divinity of Existence and the Existence of Divinity.
"It is only relatively recently that the fully embodied Gnosis of Humanity and Divinity has become an available and viable path. The basis has been Generated over the course of thousands of years; now the Completion stage of the Gnosis can begin."
In the subsequent stage of development, Humans will seek not just Balance and Harmonization between Consciousness and Existence, but will seek the Fulfillment of the two as Being. Action along this path will lead to the further Surrender of Identity and the full Realization of Self as embodied Divinity. This is the full adult Human Being stage of Conscious Evolution. Conscious Evolutionists regard Existence as merely one of the many states of Consciousness and fully embrace Existence as the opportunity to embody Consciousness. The Consciousness potential of Matter is seen as fulfilled through the agency of the Human Being. There is then a Gnosis of Divinity and Humanity, Consciousness and Existence.
GENERATION AND COMPLETION
The sum total of the individual and collective experience stored in its many religions and traditions is the spiritual patrimony of humanity. Just as the apple seed goes through a process to become a fruiting tree, each stage of spiritual development is a natural and necessary part of of a Divine Process. There can be a tendency to discard the past as wrong, outmoded and useless. But the lessons and practices of the previous stages are necessary and indispensable to the unfolding and Fulfillment of the Divine Yoga. Individuals and peoples and the entirety of Humanity will continue to inevitably pass through the various stages of relationship with the Divine, so that rather than being discarded the practices evolved for each level of development will be refined and honed and applied when and where appropriate. The unfolding of this total process in each individual Being as well as on a collective basis is the Yoga of the Divine.
"Life is the crucible in which the alchemy of Humanity is transmuted by fire into purified Divine gold"
In Tibetan Buddhism, Yoga practices are often separated into Generation Stage and Completion Stage. Generation Stage practices accumulate the required means and capabilities for the fulfillment of the Yoga. They "generate" the underlying basis of the Yoga. In the Completion Stage, practices are geared towards catalyzing the transformation of the accumulated means. It can be very useful and instructive to maintain discrimination between these stages of Yoga.
Viewed as the Generation of accumulated means, the true value of our past spiritual development can now be realized. It is only relatively recently that the fully embodied Gnosis of Humanity and Divinity has become an available and viable path. The basis has been Generated over the course of thousands of years; now the Completion stage of the Gnosis can begin.