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Dane Rudhyar's Occult Preparations for a New Age. Image Copyright 2004 by Michael R. Meyer.

by Dane Rudhyar, 1975

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A Planetary Approach to Occultism amd Its Source

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To Michael R. Meyer
and Nancy Kleban
In warm appreciation
and friendship.

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This title was first published by Quest Books, 1975.

Cover for the online edition copyright ©2004
by Michael R. Meyer.

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Two Polarities of Spiritual Life - 2

The mystic — generally speaking and as a characteristic type — deliberately leads a life and tries to reach a mode of consciousness which separate him from what the society in which he is born considers "normal." The mystic, just as the true Occultist, is a manifestation of a countercultural trend polarizing the basic vibration of the culture of his community and race. Even in old India, a land which we tend to associate with mystics and yogic feats of supernatural power, these manifestations, though generally accepted and revered as supremely valuable, stood in sharp contrast with the jungle-like character of the people's biological and psychic passions and the undisguised violence of the political life, at least during a great deal of India's history.(3)

The four-fold pattern of development of a human life which the ancient Laws of Manu established, or at least codified, had the great advantage of integrating the search for mystical realizations within the total lifespan. Each of the four age periods was given a definite task: the task of learning the tradition (Brahmachara stage); the task of perpetuating the race by producing a progeny and insuring its physical welfare by some productive work (Grihastha stage); the task of unremunerated service to the sociocultural community (Vanaprasha stage); and finally the task of preparing oneself for death, but death considered as a transition toward a more spiritual form of subjective existence leading eventually to a new birth the character of that new birth depending on "the last thought in death" (Sannyasa stage).

This last stage, already to some extent prepared for by the third, represented a complete reversal of consciousness, because while the first stages implied a fundamental attachment to and identification with the life energies of nature and the traditional culture of a rigidly planned society, this fourth stage demanded of the individual total detachment from all that to which he had been previously attached. The aging person in many instances withdrew from the village — the social unit of India's culture — and lived in the surrounding forest, devoting most of his time to meditation. It seems to have been out of such meditations on detachment and death that the ancient "Forest Philosophers" derived the teachings of the Upanishads proclaiming the possibility of merging the individualized consciousness with the universal "ocean of being," even while retaining the same physical body. This meant the possibility of experiencing "death" — total detachment — and of returning to the consciousness of personality in a transfigured state and with a transformed understanding of the life-death-life cycle. Yoga most likely was at first a technique ultimately leading to an experience of death followed by the return to full consciousness, and we find this death-experience an essential part of Judo and other forms of training — not forgetting the Gospel episode of Lazarus and his return from three days of the death-state. The state of Samadhi is in a sense a death-condition as far as the personal consciousness is concerned, and at the last stage of the raising of the Kundalini force the vital energy of every cell of the body is raised to a point in the head, leaving the body itself in a death-like state followed by a rebirth resulting from a descent of spiritual energy.

The true mystic also comes to experience a death of the natural person in him and a rebirth in a new state illumined by the memory — and ideally the possibility of re-experiencing at will — an ecstatic condition of being and/or consciousness. Ecstasy literally means a going out of oneself, thus a reaching out to and attaining not only an illumination of the individualized consciousness but a transcendent state of being in which separation, distinctions, and differences are absorbed in a feeling experience of the unity underlying them.

Such an experience in many instances may be a reflection of the power and quality of the "field of consciousness" of a much greater Being upon the stilled and expectant mind of the mystic. It may come as the result of a temporary opening of doors of perception — the letting in of a supernal light — through the action of some personage who has become repolarized at that transcendental level. It may even be produced by psychedelic drugs tearing down for a few brief moments the protective membranes and safeguards built by the ego and by one's culture and religions dangerous way, for the protective agencies may remain permanently impaired and they are needed for the operation of the effective mind in our everyday world. In all these cases what is primarily affected and revolutionized is the feeling aspect of consciousness. And this is why most of the great mystics, trying to transfer to others something of the quality of their experience, had to use experiences of human love and physical union as symbols.

Because of its rationalistic and dogmatically theological approach to human experience, European culture could not truly integrate the mystical state in its regular patterns of human development. Monasteries and convents became the only acceptable forms of counterpersonal activity; but that activity was totally contained within the collective boundaries of the religious spirit, and it operated through intense devotion to and worship of a divine Person, be it Christ or Mary, the Virgin-mother. A similar, yet more fragmented and pluralistic approach to transcendent realization developed also in medieval India in the great bhakti movement and the Radhakrishna cults, and persisted in the typically Hindu relationship linking chela and guru.

I apply the term counterpersonal to such manifestations of the apparently deeply human urge for self-transcendence expressing itself as intense devotion, and (at our individualistic state of evolution) as a longing to return to a primordial condition of unity and "spirituality," because for some twenty-five centuries the mainstream of human development has been flowing in the opposite direction. Mankind on the whole has sought to develop the individualizing and atomizing mind; and that mind operates best with almost infinitely divisible and strictly measurable matter. Man's consciousness has therefore been unfolding its latent capacities in a matter-ward direction. It has been concerned with an ever increasing multiplicity of data, always more complex and refined sensations, and a myriad of intellectual variations on the basic themes of sexual enjoyment, bodily comfort, and nervous excitement. These are the foundations on which our Western civilization has been built, especially during the last 500 years, and before that time the same trends operated in varied forms in other cultures, though not with the same character of near-exclusiveness. Thus every movement working against this evolutionary mainstream can rightly be called, at least to some extent, countercultural and, particularly in our American society, counterpersonal.

1. cf. Heinrich Zimmer The Philosophies a India (paperback, Meridian Books, N.Y.) Part Two: The Philosophy of Success, and the Philosophy of Pleasure. Particularly interesting is his reference to Kautilya's Arthashastra, the treatise on government written by the super-Machiavelli of India.  Return

By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1975 by Dane Rudhyar
All Rights Reserved.

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