Neither. In this case, “Chariot” (Hebrew: “Merkavah”) refers to a type of mysticism, kind of like proto-Kabbalah. In other words, he astrally ascended to heaven in a state of perfected consciousness, whilst his physical body probably just died normally. This is not dissimilar to the Yogic concept of “Mahasamadhi,” which is how great sages end their physical incarnation whilst in a state of perfected meditation.
Tag Archives: Yoga
This was originally on Quora.com, but it was removed because they didn’t like me linking to an external website.
Give the so-called rational person a copy of Wilhelm Reich’s The Function of the Orgasm: Sex-Economic Problems of Biological Energy (The Discovery of the Orgone, Vol. 1) and explain to them that Kundalini awakening is similar in purpose and function to the release of “orgone” which Reich describes as occurring when a neurosis is abreacted.
You might also point out, however, that a traditional Yogi would view the process in far more spiritual terms than Reich would ever have countenanced: for example, a Yogi would not say neurosis so much as karma, and moreover would see the whole process as a spiritual one, whereas Reich only viewed it as a psychiatric one.
I touched upon this subject briefly in a blog post in 2009 (“Lucid Dreaming“). Since then I have had experiential evidence of actual “Translucid Dreams.” It appears that other writers had had experience of these phenomena, which I only discovered after writing the blog post referred to above. Ken Wilber actually described them in his book One Taste as “Pellucid Dreams” as opposed to “Lucid Dreams.” I also discovered that one tradition in which I had taken a vow of secrecy advocates the practice as part of its teachings, without me realising beforehand! Oh well I shall not disturb their privacy – I have already stated my position on oaths of secrecy.
Anyway, the position is this: what I call a “Translucid dream” is a Lucid Dream in which one experiences Transpersonal states of awareness. The basic technique appears to be: starting from a lucid dream, dissolve all dream images until one is left with nothing. I believe that the great Neo-platonic adept, Plotinus, who was said to have been united with God four times whilst still in the body, was conversant with a similar technique – or at least that is what I understand from reading David Godwin:
The way to achieve these states was by contemplation. One recommended technique was to visualize the universe and then mentally abolish its limitations.
Godwin, D, 1992, Light in Extension: Greek Magic from Homer to Modern Times (Llewellyn’s Western Magick Historical Series), Llewellyn, Minnesota – p146.
It occurred to me that as lucid dreaming and astral projection are two forms of the same phenomenon, it ought to be possible to achieve “trans-astral-projection” as well, if you will pardon the inelegant use of language. Be that as it may, when I first tried to achieve translucid dream states I found I could momentarily dream about nothing, but it did not seem to be particularly impressive. Then however, one night recently, I spontaneously realised what the final or at least next step was. After having dissolved every astral phenomena and then thought “what next?” on the spur of the moment I dissolved the dissolver.
The result was astounding. I ceased to exist – and yet when I re-incarnated an indeterminate time-later – coincidentally not a million miles away from where I remembered I was before this catastrophe – I was aware that SELF had been conscious of the experience the whole while. SELF had experienced Nothing – i.e. not nothing-in-particular but actual Nothing. In slipping off the clothes of Ego, SELF had also managed to escape from the inertial-frame of every object in the material universe. This is why I refer to “an indeterminate time” – I really have no idea whether the experience lasted five, ten, twenty minutes, half-an-hour or more.
Moreover it was a particularly powerful experience – even the memory of this moment of SELF-awareness grips my imagination writing sometime after the event.
That such “peak experiences” are possible are not so surprising when one considers this is exactly what people like Patanjali and all the great Yogis from history have been talking about for more than two thousand years or so. However, what I find remarkable is that it is possible to achieve such experiences whilst dreaming. It strikes me that, in Yogic terms, the Lucid Dream state is a perfect example of Pratyahara, or “sense-withdrawal,” the fifth of the eight-limbs of Raja Yoga. The mind of the Lucid Dreamer is conscious but perfectly detached from all external influences. Hence the Translucid dream would be equivalent to directing the mind towards the sixth, seventh and eighth limbs – Dharana (Concentration), Dhyana (Meditation), and Samadhi (Contemplation/super-consciousness).
Hence: the Translucid dream phenomenon is not an end in itself, but a useful tool for progressing on the path.
“Charlatans have brought the stellar science to its present disrepute. Astrology is too vast, both mathematically and philosophically, to be rightly grasped except by men of profound understanding. If if ignoramuses misread the heavens, and see there a scrawl instead of a script, that is to be expected in this imperfect world. One should not dismiss the wisdeom with the ‘wise.’
“…A child is born on that day and at that hour when the celestial rays are in mathematical harmony with his individual karma. His horoscope is a challenging portrait, revealing his unalterable past and its probable future results. But the natal chart can be rightly interpreeted only by men of intuitive wisdom: these are few.
“The message bold blazoned across the heavens at the moment of birth is not meant to emphasize fate – theresult of past good and evil – but to arouse man’s will to escape from his universal thraldom. What he has done, he can undo. None other than himself was the instigator of the causes for whatever effects are now prevalent in his life. He can overcome any limitation, because he created it by his own actions in the first place, and because he has spiritual resources which are not subject to planetary pressure.
“Superstitious awe of astrology makes one an automaton, slavishly dependent on mechanical guidance. The wise man defeats his planets – which is to say, his past – by transferring his allegiance from the creation to the Creator. The more he realizes his unity with the Spirit, the less he can be dominated by matter. the soul is ever-free; it is deathless because birthless. It cannot be regimented by stars.”
Sri Yukteswar Giri, quoted in Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda.
Now I have been tough on certain Nobel Prize Winners in the past, and implied that I am perfectly willing to do as much for world peace as they have, but for less money. However, in all seriousness, I do know at least one thing about Peace and that is basically it is generally not a good idea to start a fight if you can avoid doing so.
In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, one of the five moral commandments (“Yama”) for every Yogi is Ahimsa – “non violence.” What Patanjali actually says is:
When non-violence in speech, though and action is established, one’s agressive nature in relinquished and others abandon hostility in one’s presence.
Now there is a famous saying, Roman in origin but made most famous by Metallica – “To secure peace is to prepare for war.” But the meaning of Patanjali says the opposite – to secure peace one must be peaceful. Indeed it does not take someone versed in ancient Yogic philosophy to realise that if you do not want to be challenged to a fight, it is probably not a good idea to go through life with a chip on your shoulder.
I say all this because I note in the news that Israel soldiers claimed that the deaths of the arabs on the so-called Freedom Flotilla was “self-defence.” Now of all the possible justifications for the controversy regarding the Flotilla, this must surely be the lamest. It was the Israeli soldiers who rappelled on to the ships. They were not obliged to board, they went looking for trouble, and of course they found it.