The greatest satisfaction in using the Law of Life is in the consciousness that such a Power is available, rather than in any use we make of it. For any particular use we make of It is a passing thing, whether it be healing oneself or others or producing any other temporary good. All of these are transitory, and there is something in everyone that longs for permanency.
The artist knows that even though he has created something beautiful, it can be destroyed. His real and innermost satisfaction is not in the object, but in the subject; that thing within him that penetrates the mystic splendor of Beauty itself. So it is with all our temporary creations. Empires may rise and fall. Chance and change, the comings and goings of human events, inevitably must give way to something bigger. You are greater than the sum-total of all the experiences you have had.
I know that a Law of Life exists and that I am one with It and inseparable from It. I am part of an infinite Energy from which I draw limitless creative imagination. This energy is the invisible essence and substance of every visible form. Its nature is goodness, truth, beauty, and love, and that is my nature too.
Summary: The essay is about the powers that are commonly associated with the idea of God and invoked by a majority of people during worship.
When a million people think of the same thought, that thought will have an awesome power. That thought reigns supremely in the subtle world of consciousness. It connects all those who entertain that one thought and moves them in the same direction for which it is intended. Thoughts have power. We know it because all actions arise from thoughts only. You live and act according to the sum of your thoughts. When the same thought is entertained by many people, its power becomes exponentially multiplied.
The same holds true with the idea of God, which we entertain in our minds. When we all think alike about the same God, that thought becomes omnipotent and omniscient. It gains momentum and energy in our consciousness and guides our destinies. No one can see God with naked eyes. No one knows how he actually looks like, but one can envision God and pour life into it through devotion and faith.
The idea of God
The God we worship or the gods to whom we make rituals offerings are the ones we create in our minds with our knowledge and awareness, using our imagination and aspiration. Faith, therefore, is important to our spiritual Wellbeing. When you have faith in God, that faith drives your world. When other people join you in their thoughts and prayers envisioning the same God in their consciousness, it gains momentum and credibility.
A guru becomes a demigod or a divine person by the same process. Divinities gain or lose their importance according to the beliefs and the faith of the people who worship them. A place become sacred in a similar manner as people for several generations revere it and sanctify it with their thoughts and prayers. It is we who pour life into the images of God and into the stone from which we create his forms and install them in the temples and our homes.
The same is true with regard to numerous other thoughts, which we entertain in our minds. With our thoughts we empower ideologies, political leaders, national heroes, spiritual masters, divinities, social norms, governments, scientific innovations, cultural trends, celebrities, and even dictators and evil people. We give them the power to influence our lives and destinies and set the norms for our civilization. We give them the power to control our lives and destinies by surrendering our will to them or by becoming deluded by their promise and appeal or own ambition and desires
Thought power and God power
We do not recognize how strongly we influence our lives and the world with our individual and collective thoughts. A thought gains momentum when it is thought by several others. It faces a lot of resistance when it is thought by one individual or by a few only. As it gains support and acceptance, it gain momentum. Each war is essentially a conflict between two equally powerful and opposing armies of thoughts. When they clash with great intensity, numerous people die in the war that breaks out. Whether it is yoga, social unrest, civil war or terrorism, they enter public awareness and gain importance when a large number of people accept them and give them power to influence their lives and destinies for the better or worse.
No one has physically seen the true form of God. They may have seen aspects of him or symbols of him but not his infinite form. Indeed, it is physically impossible also to envision the infinite form of God because that which is finite cannot envision an infinite reality. Therefore, each of us creates our own vision of God according to our faith, beliefs and knowledge. Some believe that he does not exist at all. Even that is a belief too. When millions of people think that there is no God, the idea of nonexistent God gains ground and the power of God diminishes for them and the world to that extent.
The power of faith
The power of God works for you according to your faith. If you want it to work for you, you must believe in your idea of God and intensify that power through faith so that it can gain strength and become a powerful force of change and inspiration for you. If you let that idea of God manifest in your thoughts first, he will later manifest in other aspects of your life also and become part of your journey. It is why having a pure mind and pure faith is important in spiritual life and devotional worship.
Although people differently think about God and approach him in different ways, still they entertain many identical thoughts about God across all traditions and belief systems. Their collective thoughts and aspirations combined with the sustaining power of their faith make God a powerful undercurrent in their lives and consciousness. Those thoughts have a power of their own. When you join them in the internal ritual of manifesting God in your consciousness and align your mind with that stream of collective consciousness, you richly draw from that flow and open yourself to his incredible powers, with which you can help yourself and others.
God as an incredible, universal force
In Hinduism the powers of God are symbolically represented as the numerous hands and feet of God, his aspects and manifestations, skills, strands of hair, weapons, vehicles, emanations, incarnations, qualities, perfections, names and forms, associate energies or Shaktis, and so on. We worship them individually as divinities or parts of his universal form.
These powers exists in all of us, but do not fully manifest. They manifest in you when you think of them and project them into your idea of God. If you sustain them with faith and conviction and make them an integral part of your consciousness, they gain further strength and momentum and become powerful forces of transformation and purification. The following are some such powers which a majority of people entertain in their minds as part of their faith and vision of God.
1. God as the beneficent power
The reason we pray to God is primarily because we believe him to be a generous and benevolent being, who helps those who pray to him and seek his help. Our scriptures reinforce the belief that God responds to our calls for help. It keeps alive our hopes and faith in a difficult world. Chanting God’s names or contemplating upon him has a beneficial effect upon all. Hence, it is strongly encouraged in all traditions.
2. God as the purifying power
God is the purest being. He is symbolically represented as pure light and consciousness. He is incorruptible. Even when he is surrounded by evil, he remains pure, which is the case with the Self in the mortal world. People pray to him for healing because his very thought can have a purifying and soothing effect upon their minds and bodies. God manifests in us, to the extent we are pure. Hence, devotees practice austerities to cultivate purity and manifest their divine nature.
3. God as the uniting power
When a number of people entertain the same idea of God, it unites them around a common purpose and values and helps them work in harmony for common good or a greater good. Religions have such power and influence over our lives for the same reason. They unite people under a common religious identity and inspire them to serve others. When a group of people put their mind together and pray to God, it makes them feel closer to God and feel oneness.
4. God as the uplifting power
Nothing uplifts our falling spirits more than a prayer, especially so when we are in distress or going through difficult times. People feel refreshed and energized when they pray to God or meditate on him. People who visit temples or sacred places because it gives them the feeling of assurance, hope and courage. The uplifting power of God keeps us going when our efforts fail, and we feel helpless.
5. God as the protective power
God is the greatest protector we have. As part of his Dharma, he protects the worlds and beings from evil. He also protects us from harm and danger. We live in an uncertain and dangerous world. Therefore, the idea that God is protecting us is greatly assuring to most of us. Our scriptures affirm that those who worship God and take refuge in him with devotion are forever protected.
6. God as the blessing and consecrating power
Whatever is touched by God becomes God. People seek the blessing of God so that they become infused with is power and remain free from impurities and suffering. We see the consecrating power of God not only in him but also in all those saintly people, who reflect his divine qualities and remain absorbed in his thoughts. Hence, people seek their blessings and treat them as if they are living forms of God.
7. God as the awakening and enlightening power
God is the highest awakening and enlightening power. Hence, we revere all teachers of wisdom as God only. All sacred knowledge flows from him. He dispels our doubts, delusion and ignorance, and grants us enlightenment. When you become aware of the presence of God in you, you become awakened to the idea of liberation. The inspiration to pursue it arises from God only, who is both the Concealer and Revealer.
8. God as the loving and forgiving power
God is the epitome of compassion and universal love. He loves his devotees and forgives their sins. He forgives the transgressions of even the most sinful ones if they pray to him and show repentance. The world in which we live is an impure world, where no one can escape from desire-ridden actions and their sinful consequences. We look to God because we know his forgiving and compassionate nature.
9. God as the punishing and reformative power
As the enforcer of the Divine Law (Dharma), God is also the Ultimate Judge. He punishes those who violate his laws or disrupt the order and regularity of the worlds through their selfish actions. However, his punishment is a blessing because it helps people overcome their shortcomings and achieve perfection and purity. Even his punishment is an expression of love only and is part of his eternal Dharma.
10. God as the creative and regenerative power
Creativity is a divine quality. The source of all creativity is God only. It becomes reflected in us also. All the creative, regenerative and reproductive power in the universe arises from God only. In Hinduism we personify it as the Goddess or Devi. It manifests in us to the extent God manifests his power in us. In enlightened beings it reaches its highest perfection. Hence, whatever they say becomes true.
11. God as the destructive and transformative power
Whatever that manifests in the transient world has an end. The destructive power of God manifests in creation as both positive and negative forces. Hence, in several traditions God is considered both creator and destroyer and worshipped as such. People invoke his destructive power against their enemies, misfortune and evil forces. The Upanishads personify him as the all devouring Death (kala).
12. God as the preserving and supporting power
God is the raft in the sea of suffering. He is the ultimate support of all things in creation, while he is fully independent. He is the source and support of all in creation. In the body he is the life-supporting breath (Prana). In external world he is the all-pervading universal Self. As the upholder of the Dharma he performs his duties without desires to ensure the order and regularity of the worlds and beings.
13. God as the liberator and rescuer
We look to God not only for peace and prosperity but also for the ultimate freedom. Our scriptures portray him as the goal as well as the means of liberation. He liberates beings from the cycle of births and deaths according to their merit, faith and devotion. Those who worship him with single-minded devotion and cultivate spiritual purity (sattva) attain immortality and earn the right to enter the highest heaven.
God exists in us as an idea. We pour life into it and infuse it with sacred power with our thoughts, emotions and aspirations. We may envision God according to our knowledge and wisdom. However, the God who lives in our minds and hearts is shaped mostly by our collective wisdom and knowledge of the scriptures. The idea of God becomes a transformative force if you have the strength of faith, conviction and devotion. It is this God, whom you must allow to grow in your thoughts and pervade your whole consciousness, so that at some stage, you become absorbed into it without any duality and become a living embodiment of his essential nature.
Today is a day to focus on bringing passion to everything I do. Not just the things that it is easy for me to feel passionate about – but everything I have to do. My intention today is to do everything with the energy, focus, and commitment that comes from true inner passion.
I know that I did my best today to focus on infusing my life with passion. I know that I can live every day of my life with passion – the passion to love, to learn, and to contribute.
-From the book ‘A Daily Book Of Pagan Prayer ‘ by Megan Day
The pathway of life shines before me into the perfect day. I walk the pathway of the soul to the gate of good. I enter into the fulfillment of my desires. Nothing need be added and nothing can be taken from the All Good which is forever expressing itself in me. Daily I receive its great blessings and my soul rejoices forevermore. I am now entered into my good.
The Divine Presence in me is everlasting Love. The action of love is expressed in my world. God’s wisdom holds me steady, and the Peace of God fills me. I am His creation, understood, wanted, and cared for. From this Infinite sourse I give and receive love in my world. If petty emotions seem to trouble me, I immediately turn to the source within me of strength and peace. God in me does the loving, and I have no fear.
Kindness and understanding are shown to me. I bless anyone who seems to disturb me. I know how to love those who are dear to me and love them more each day. As our love grows so we grow as individuals.
God in me is never troubled. Nothing can take love from me or keep it out of my heart. Love enters freely, and there is no restriction to it. I came into this world to love, and I am loving. I express my love for God, a boundless gratitude, because I live. God rejoices for me, because of and by means of me.
It is of great importance for us to know and understand exactly who and what we are and what we consist of. Most people are familiar with the three words spirit, soul, and body, but these three do not sufficiently or adequately explain the true nature of the human constitution. Besides this, many people confuse the terms “soul” and “spirit” and mistakenly think that they are one and the same thing.
In the teachings of Theosophy, H. P. Blavatsky and the Masters describe the human being as consisting of Seven Principles, divided into a Higher Triad and a Lower Quaternary. These seven principles or seven parts of our nature are the divine part, the spiritual part, the intellectual part, the passional part, the vital part, the astral part, and the physical part. The first three of these comprise the Higher Triad and they last forever, while the lower four last just for one lifetime and are new in each lifetime that we have.
Theosophy states that this teaching about the Seven Principles – along with that of Karma and Reincarnation – is of the utmost importance to humanity. This article only provides a brief overview and introduction but hopefully it will be of interest and benefit to many. It is a companion article to A Right Understanding of Karma and A Right Understanding of Reincarnation, both of which can be read by clicking on the title links.
THE SPIRITUAL TRIAD
#7. ATMA – The Divine Part
Atma (also written “Atman”) is the highermost and supreme part of man’s spiritual being. It is pure eternal Spirit. It is the Higher Self, the Divine Self, the Real Self of the human being and it is literally one and the same in essence and identity as the Infinite Supreme Self. This is in accordance with the fundamental teaching of Hinduism; that our Self (the Atman) IS the Supreme Self (Brahman). Atman literally means Self. It is the only one of our Principles to which the unqualified term “the Self” may be applied.
It is not an individual thing. There is no such thing as “my Atman” or “your Atman.” The Eternal Spirit is neither yours nor mine and is not the separate individual possession of anyone. There is neither “my Atman” nor “your Atman” but only THE Atman, the ONE Universal Self of all. It is here that all is truly one. The golden key to understanding universal oneness, divine allness, and non-duality (and thus the key to world peace!) is contained in this teaching about the Atman. I am the Atman. You are the Atman. Atman is Who and What we really are. It is our essential nature, it is our true self, it is the All IN All. In fact, It is the one and only Reality. As the Upanishads say, “This Atman IS Brahman.”
Since the Atman is literally Divinity Itself, we should always remember that it never incarnates or reincarnates, nor is it ever affected by our Karma or even by anything whatsoever. It just simply IS.
#6. BUDDHI – The Spiritual Part
Buddhi is the second highest Principle of man’s constitution and is referred to as the Spiritual Soul, the vehicle through which Atma (the highest Principle) radiates its light. There is nothing individual about the Buddhi principle. As with Atma, we cannot talk in terms of “my Buddhi” or “your Buddhi.” Contrary to popular opinion, Buddhi is not a synonym for “intuition” but rather intuition arises in Manas the closer it draws to Buddhi. Buddhi itself has very little to do with anything except serving as the vehicle for Atma, the Self.
“The Monad” (meaning “ultimate unit” or “primary unit”) is a term used to describe the conjunction of the two highest Principles of the human constitution – Atma and Buddhi. There is nothing higher than Atma; Atma is the highermost and supreme part of man’s spiritual being. Because Atma is literally Divinity Itself, it has to have a vehicle through which to radiate its light to the individual soul. Buddhi is this vehicle and so the two in conjunction with each other are called the Monad.
#5. MANAS – The Intellectual Part
Manas is the mind principle in man, the consciousness aspect, the thinker, the permanent individuality which incarnates and reincarnates. It is in fact the human soul. Manas is the mind and the mind and the soul are one and the same thing. It is a mistake to confuse the mind and the brain, as if they are the same thing. The brain is only a physical organ and serves but as a physical vehicle for the mind/soul – who is the true thinker – to manifest through while in physical incarnation.
In the teachings of Theosophy, the Manas principle is often called the Ego. This is using the term “Ego” in its true and literal sense, of meaning the true “I” of our being.
It is the Manasic entity, the individual human soul, which sets the causes in motion in each lifetime – through every thought, word, and action – which have to have their corresponding Karmic effects in this and subsequent lifetimes. It is the maker and the experiencer of Karma.
It has a dual nature, that of Higher Manas and Lower Manas. When the mind and consciousness are lifted, raised, and elevated towards higher things, spiritual things, abstract things, intellectual things, things of goodness, truth, purity, love, compassion, and beauty, it is then functioning as the Higher Manas and rising ever closer towards the divine shining light of Buddhi, the Spiritual Soul. When the mind and consciousness are instead allowed to sink downwards towards the lower, separative, selfish, and sensual things of life, it is Lower Manas, attaching itself to the principle of Kama, the Animal Soul.
Manas cannot go in both directions at once. It can only either go up or down . . . up towards spirituality or down towards sensuality. Spirituality and sensuality can never and will never mix. Manas, the human soul, stands right in the middle between the two and must make a choice between them. Our primary battleground in life is that of the mind.
THE LOWER QUATERNARY
#4. KAMA – The Passional Part
Kama, which literally means “Desire” in Sanskrit, is the desire principle of the human being when in physical incarnation. It is the source and centre of his desires, passions, lusts, and sensual nature. It is sometimes referred to as the “animal soul” because it is the more animalistic and beastly part of us.
During human life this Principle is called Kama. After the lifetime has come to an end, the Kama principle forms itself into Kama Rupa, which literally means “desire form.”
One of the stages after death is that the desire nature objectifies itself into a sort of senseless, disembodied form which remains in Kama Loka (the psychic atmosphere and attraction of our Earth) until it finally gradually fades out and disintegrates of its own accord. It will survive and remain until the force of those desires and passions has drained away and how long this takes will naturally be determined by how sensually oriented the individual was during the lifetime just ended.
#3. PRANA – The Vital Part
This is the Life Force, Vitality, or Energy which keeps the physical body alive. It is the Life Principle, the “breath of life” in the individual. A person remains in physical incarnation for as long as Prana remains active within them. As soon as Prana departs and ceases to flow, the physical body has no other option than to die, since it is the force of Prana which keeps it going.
#2. LINGA SHARIRA – The Astral Part
Linga Sharira – called the astral body – is the subtle, unseen “double” of the dense physical body. It is the form, mould, and blueprint upon and around which the dense physical body is built. It comes into existence before the physical body and it only fully fades out and dies when the very last remaining particle of the deceased physical body disappears and disintegrates, excepting the skeleton.
The astral body can also be thought of as the “vital body” or “energy body” of the human being because it is the vehicle through which Prana (the 3rd Principle) flows to the physical body. It is this part of our constitution which is utilised in the activities which have become known as astral travel, astral projection, and so forth. The term “astral” is used in Theosophy simply as a synonym for “subjective,” “subtle” or “inner.”
Its main connection point with the physical body is in the area of the spleen and these two bodies that we have are connected with one another throughout each lifetime by a sort of unseen umbilical cord which some have called the “silver thread” or “silver cord.” Sometimes the order of Prana and Linga Sharira is swapped round in the Theosophical literature but if one stops to think about it this isn’t actually a contradiction.
#1. STHULA SHARIRA – The Physical Part
Sthula Sharira is the Sanskrit name for the dense physical body. It is not in strict truth a Principle in itself but is simply the vehicle of all the other Principles during physical incarnation. Sthula Sharira is described as being the child of Linga Sharira (its mother) by conception of Prana (its father). It is our outer shell and really nothing more. We often place far more importance and emphasis on our outer shell than is really necessary or worthwhile.
We are not doing ourselves any favours if we identify ourselves with our body or with any other aspects of our lower nature. These simply comprise our present personality, in distinction to the permanent individuality of the soul, the Reincarnating Ego. And higher still than the soul is our Real Self, pure eternal Spirit. Souls are many but Spirit is ONE. The whole aim of life is to realise Who and What you really are and to rebecome it in consciousness. Only the inner is the real.
Today is a day to focus on words. The words I speak, the words I hear, the words I read. Words have power, and I need to be aware of that power. The energy I put into my words can be creative or destructive. Today I will use my power to communicate wisely and I will focus on the good effect I can have with positive words and ideas.
I know that what I did and said today made a difference. I will rest tonight knowing that I made an effort today to ensure that my thoughts and words had a positive effect on the world around me.
-From ‘A Daily Book of Pagan Prayer ‘ by Megan Day