We come to the conclusion of our survey of the history of the spirituality – based idea called, the Law of Attraction. It has taken us many centuries to observe and follow its stages of development and form within the various eras, cultures and perspectives from many important figures from ancient times to the present day. We have learned how the Law of Attraction is explained as a magnetic force where ‘like attracts like’ is theorized as a metaphysical law. The idea behind the Law of Attraction is to mentally draw to yourself prosperity and wealth, since that is what God apparently wants you to do. Prosperity and good health is considered a sign of one’s self-realization and spiritual growth (an idea promoted within the New Thought movement beginning in the late 1880s) . Manifesting a positive outcome for yourself through using the power of your mind, feelings and emotions is the secret to make all your dreams come true.
Prosperity Consciousness, is particularly as it has been marketed in America, has long been an interest of people looking for tangible ways to succeed in their lives. Books by Napoleon Hill, especially, “Think and Grow Rich” and Wallace Wattle’s “The Science of Getting Rich” has sold millions of copies. These books promote the power of Positive Thinking, faith and affirmations as key components for becoming a success in life, and are still amazingly popular. “The Science of Getting Rich” was first published in 1910, and has remained in print to this day. Positive thinking techniques, will power, creative visualization and the mental science approach to health was applied by Wattle to give readers the key into attracting wealth.
William Walker Anderson was a prolific New Thought author and editor and is credited with coining the term the “Law of Attraction.’ He writes in his book, Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World“:
“We speak learnedly of the Law of Gravitation, but ignore that equally wonderful manifestation, THE LAW OF ATTRACTION IN THE THOUGHT WORLD. We are familiar with that wonderful manifestation of Law which draws and holds together the atoms of which matter is composed – we recognize the power of the law that attracts bodies to the earth, that holds the circling worlds in their places, but we close our eyes to the mighty law that draws to us the things we desire or fear, that makes or mars our lives.”
The primary equation that the Law of Attraction rests upon is the metaphysical claim that thought equals energy. This is an ancient philosophical and spiritual formula based on the assertion that the manifested universe has been created through an ineffable cosmic consciousness or “divine mind.” In his book, Atkinson lays it out this way:
When we come to see that Thought is a force – a manifestation of energy – having a magnet-like power of attraction, we will begin to understand the why and wherefore of many things that have heretofore seemed dark to us. There is no study that will so well repay the student for his time and trouble as the study of the workings of this mighty law of the world of Thought – the Law of Attraction.
Could this be true? On what verifiable foundation is this claim by Atkinson resting upon? Are there any other possible explanations why the Law of Attraction should be considered more than a pseudoscientific theory?
For Bernard Poolman, there is another explanation that seems far more plausible. Poolman was a noted businessman, author and spiritual practitioner who said he had worked with his own spirit guides and mentors before questioning the entire framework and effectiveness of the spiritual activities he once engaged in. After decades of investigation, he offered this conclusion which I share here:
So, existence exists as One Word. This is the Revelation that will be proven that existence exists. Within common sense you can work it out now – that existence exists as One Word: Stimulation.
Energy is never real, because Energy only exists when there is stimulation and the stimulation is always external and I mean if you or another person Stimulate the point and you Simulate it – that means you’re accepting it – you’re gonna have an experience, an elation in that relationship that elation is your Joy, your Love, everything. Love by itself doesn’t exist! It requires stimulation – that’s why no-one can actually stand for Life, because you want Life to be ‘unconditional’. Why do you want it unconditional? So that you can have Choice. So that you can have the choice? to be stimulated the way you want to. Bugger everyone else! It doesn’t matter what’s happening to them, they have the same power. They have Choice! They have Chosen to be Here – the fact that they’re in a country where there is no food – has got nothing to do with me! I mean, they can, they must plant something, I mean, they must not starve. I’m quite happy this side, I’m Stimulated! I know they’re not stimulated, but that’s not my problem! While I’m stimulated, I am not even aware of their existence – which is so wonderful! Please, stimulate me, then I don’t have to worry about anyone else! Just keep me stimulated!
But what about the all of these religious, philosophical and spiritual masters who claim that the Law of Attraction is a real, objective, magnetizing force operating in existence?
They will not explain to you how reality practically works or why it doesn’t work. They will stimulate you to have an experience and tell you to not worry about reality. Christianity is doing that, the Muslims are doing that, the Hindus, every Religion are doing one thing: that is stimulating you not to care about what is going on in Reality, and it’s Stimulating you to worry about what happens to you AFTER you are DEAD.
The Masters did the same. Did they really Master anything? There is not a Master in existence that’s mastered anything. The Masters mastered the way to stimulate their followers effectively to become mentally incapable of realising what is Here. Incapable of making any movement to actually care for Earth. That’s why we’ve created a Consumerism System.
In Spite of all the Great Masters that’s ever been on Earth – what have we done? We have not moved, we have not evolved. What is evolution at this stage? Evolution depends on Stimulation. Stimulated on how to become ‘more’. “I’m evolving! I am more Intelligent!’
Have a look – take your stimulation away, what happens to you? You’ll find you go into a depression, you go into a boredom, and you’re unable to get out unless you stimulate yourself – which is what? You’re experiencing the system dying because it’s not being stimulated. That’s what you’re experiencing when you’re in a depression and when you’re in a form of boredom – you’re experiencing the absence of stimulation!
And then you start searching and suddenly the next moment you “meet someone.” The ONE that can stimulate you. And immediately your whole body is on fire = “I’m stimulated. Please stimulate me – I don’t mind! I’ll exist as long I’m being stimulated.“
That is the whole point where everyone is existing. Because what do you want? You want to be stimulated. “Give me enough stimulation and I will exist, I’m satisfied. As long as that stimulation is to my approval, the way I like it, I’ll be Happy.
“Let it not be the way I like it, and I want to discard it – I’m not Stimulated by this.” I mean, this is just not acceptable. “I want to be stimulated like THIS! I have CHOICE! I can CHOOSE how I want to be stimulated. This is the way I want to be stimulated. And that’s all I’ll accept.”
You will not move unless you’re stimulated. Which means stimulation is your God. Whosoever stimulates you, controls you.
Money is what? Stimulation.
Without stimulation you will not move. Motivation is really just a nice word for stimulation.
So what is the Law of Attraction, really?
It’s the Law of Stimulation. Everybody now gets together and stimulate each other to Focus on the Positive! So now, the positive cannot exist without the negative, you automatically stimulate the negative. Which is perfectly fitting into the End Times – which is the perfection of the whole point of being stimulated according to a particular book and a particular prophecy so that it can become true. Why was it written? To make sure you create it!
Therefore you are Stimulating the End of Existence through what? Stimulating the Law of Attraction. How do you do it? By creating the Absolute Positive Polarity and holding it in place – no matter what! So that the Absolute Negative Polarity can Manifest, because you are Stimulating both! They cannot exist Separate from each other.
Light and Darkness exists together.
Positive and Negative exist together. Because the very moment something moves through stimulation, both Positive and Negative exist. Positive and Negative requires Stimulation to exist. Without Stimulation neither positive or negative exist. Now within the Law of Attraction, we are stimulating the Positive and the Negative, and we say “Law of Attraction.” “Let’s think Positive!” – which is, “Let’s Stimulate the Positive.”
So now we Stimulate Positive, Stimulate Positive, Stimulate Positive – I mean, you have to do it, and do it, and do it, and that it takes all of your attention, all your stimulation. stimulating it, stimulating it, stimulating – but what are you actually creating? You’re creating the stimulation which you use up – while in waiting is the negative, waiting to be activated once the stimulation crashes, once the stimulation can no longer stand. And what manifests the negative? BAM! In one singular moment – we call it = ‘an Act of God!’ – because in a single moment, God wiped out existence. But you’ve stimulated it to be a single moment. While positive stimulation took you a long time – it was not instantaneous – it took a long time – you built up the negative to manifest itself in a single moment.
So, existence in a single moment will change through the negative, because that’s how it has been created. Which is why a market crash for instance, is something that happens fast, while a positive market is something that builds very slow. The positive is always very slow, because no one understands the Principle of Stimulation.
If this sounds like a hard teaching, it is. Bernard Poolman liked to say he was not a “guru,” but “here to bring Uhuru!” What should those of us who bought into the whole program of believing in the Law of Attraction do? How do we move beyond past our present understanding that the law of stimulation is in fact the operating princile within human consciousness under the guise of “attraction.”
Forgive all the stimulations, because the stimulations are your addictions. They are based in geometrical patterns. The Sacred Geometry! I mean, isn’t it beautiful? If we can paint a beautiful picture about Sacred Geometry so that we can justify our stimulations which is our addictions to specific stimulations that makes us “special.”
Test the shit out for yourself and stimulate it yourself to see how it works. Then find out whether you’re justified in stimulating something for your pleasure without making sure that this part of Existence that is there as you as another being – who is actually understanding what the fuck they’re doing, and what they get themselves in for and that it is possible to exist without stimulation.
We’ve existed only through stimulation.
We have not existed as Life in fact.
Life is Here. Life does not require stimulation, Life doesn’t have a Beginning or an End. Life has been stimulated into illusions and being abused as these illusion called ‘Man’ and ‘Nature’. Everything that exists as a system is an illusion! Because the system is not aware of itself and how it functions. It is not aware how it is stimulated to get a result. You are not aware of all the points that stimulate you – have a look. You are living according to those points of Stimulation in your life that you like.
Everything in your Life exists as One Word. Who you are, is who you are right now because of how you’ve been stimulated to be. Everything you believe, every religion and every book you read is a point of stimulation. Every philosophy that exists is a point of simulation. The totality of Science is an observation of stimulation. Science is nothing extraordinary! It is people that are stimulated to watch stimulation – and according to that, they write down within their own observation of stimulation. That we call, Science! Isn’t it wonderful? It’s Profound! We’ve worked out Reality!
I mean, it’s One Word: Stimulation.
 One of the books housed at the famous Nag Hammadi Library, “On the Origin of the World,” there is given a curious Gnostic creation myth where Adam, the primordial man, has been created by “seven rulers” (the “Archons”) without a soul. They are not pleased with their creation because the creature is devoid of life and is unable to move itself, so they abandon the man. Yet it is through the divine intervention of the spiritual feminine principle symbolized by Sophia-Zoe (Gk. “Wisdom-Life”) animates Adam by “sending her breath to him,” after which Adam is able to attain consciousness and speak. The Archons are surprised to discover that Adam has been animated and are even more displeased. They decide to place Adam in Eden, content with the fact that the man is still unable to move… until Sophia’s daughter, Eve is dispatched by her mother to rescue Adam, who can only writhe helplessly along the ground. Eve speaks and commands Adam, “Adam come to life. Rise from the ground!” Adam immediately obeys and stands up and exclaims, “You shall be called the mother of the living. For you have given me life!” Here is a clue of a half-understood principle of the Law of Stimulation, where Adam is stimulated into action.
Special thanks to Maya Harel, Bella Bargilly and Anna Brix Thomsen for their assistance.
“I could show you that whatever your powerful mind believes very intensely would instantly come to pass.”– Yogananda
“If a woman should happen to merely to overhear recitations of Vedic mantras by chance, hot molten glass should be poured into her ears.”– The Laws of Manu
The Laws of Manu is claimed by orthodox Brahmins to be of divine origin that descended from Manu, the archetypal first man of Hindu mythology and like Noah, a survivor of the great flood. Manu as the father of the human race is later made Earth’s First King by Brahman. Essentially a compendium of ancient domestic, religious social customs and rites, the Laws of Manu was written and compiled by the Brahmin elite sometime around the first or second century BCE, though no doubt containing many traditions that are much, much older, perhaps dating back to the period of the Vedic civilization 1500 years earlier. The Laws of Manu is a crucial link to ancient India’s past in the respect that it contains the legal template of the legitimization of the Varna/Caste social system as well as rules and regulations concerning various civil and criminal laws, rites, daily conduct, and basically all forms of right action that Manu laid down for humanity.Within the division of the Varna social classes, the Brahmins placed themselves at the top, the warriors and merchants classes underneath and at the bottom, the Shudras, the lowest caste of workers and beneath them, the Outcastes like the Untouchables and ‘Chandalas.’ They are to be content with “serving meekly” the higher castes without complaint, according to the Laws of Manu. Thus the Brahmins were able to institutionalize the acceptance of separation, inequality, servitude, domination and a metaphysical fear of “pollution” – which has defined the cultural traditions of India and Hinduism ever since. This fear of pollution is taken to the extreme, where a “twice-born” of the upper castes must avoid the shadow or even the appearance of an Untouchable. This preoccupation with pollution and it’s association with Hindu identity has locked in separation and unbelievable poverty and abuse which hundreds of millions of Indians are powerless to escape.For over 1500 years, the Shudras and the Outcastes (basically anyone not born a Hindu) have been considered less than human – and have been forced to exist for centuries within endless cycles of illiteracy, poverty and cruelty. As Hinduism failed to provide a sense of brotherhood and equality for all of India’s peoples, it took the Indian government to adopt the Prevention of Atrocities Act enacted in 1989 to specifically outlaw the parading of the Untouchables or “Dalits”, naked through the streets, or forcing them to eat feces, or to take away their land, or to pollute their water, or to interfere with their right to vote, or to having their homes burnt down.For the Shudras and the Outcastes, the Law of Attraction appears to be inoperable within their worldly life. According to the Laws of Manu, their only hope is to meekly accept their unforgiving fate, for they may move up to the next varna in their next life. Maybe.
20 percent of India’s population is composed of the Untouchables or Dalits. Anyone who is not born a Hindu is considered an Untouchable. Since no provision is made for the Shudra or Dalits to collect wealth thru their own efforts within the Laws of Manu, the Law of Attraction is only operable for the Brahmins and upper castes – with the Shudra’s acceptance of the enslavement and control by their masters.
Within the Laws of Manu, the Law of Attraction appears within the dynamic of a polarity, where one’s fulfilled desires must be connected to another’s unfulfilled desires. Indeed, this polarity can be seen within the Laws of Manu which justifies the removal of free will and economic security from the Shudra because “a Shudra who has acquired wealth gives pain to Brahmins.” Hinduism has comfortably conceived a unified principle of reality where everything exists on a cosmic level as “One,” but this oneness rings a bit hollow given the current reality of the Indian people today.
The World Bank estimates that 456 million Indians, nearly half of the total Indian population, now live under the global poverty line of $1.25 per day. Another study claimed that 77% of Indians, or 836 million people, lived on less than 50 cents per day. In other words, one out every third person stricken by poverty in the world, is an Indian, their innate divinity denied and ignored. Their fates and fortunes on earth determined by the Laws of Manu, based solely by their birth into a world which is considered to be an illusion. It is a convenient truth for the elites and upper varnas in India to consider the suffering of millions to be an illusion as well.
Perhaps it seems strange that Hinduism should be the birthplace of both the Laws of Manu and the Law of Attraction. As we have seen, the history of the Law of Attraction descended directly from the interplay of the Vedantic principles of the divinity and supremacy of consciousness and which were cross-pollinated by the occultism and spiritualism of the West, by the New Thought Movement, the Theosophists and the prosperity consciousness authors like Napoleon Hill, W.W. Atkinson and modern New Age figures like Wayne Dyer and Rhonda Byrne to explicitly form the Law of Attraction as we know it today.
However, what we have learned is that the Law of Attraction is inoperable for those not “free” enough to acquire what they desire. A person’s birth within the caste system fully determines their potential in one’s life. In fact, by exploiting the despised and neglected Shudra and Untouchables who have been used historically as the vehicles to fill the desires of the higher castes, the Laws of Manu and the Law of Attraction work together through the religious and cultural institutions of inequality and the suffering of hundreds of millions of Indians for the benefit of the Higher Castes. Thus the Law of Attraction operates ‘as the dynamic trajectory’ through the polarity between the ‘wealth and dominance’ of one and the ‘accepted enslavement and control’ of another, producing both the wealth and pollution the Hindu accepts as Maya.
What’s up with that?
A Source Book in Indian Philosophy, edited by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Charles A. Moore, Princeton University Press, 1957
The Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
The Philosophy of Hinduism, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Writings and Speeches, vol. 3″, Government of Mahararasshtra, Bombay, 1987
India’s “Untouchables” Face Violence, Discrimination by Hillary Mayell, National Geographic News, June 2, 2003
Poverty in India.” Wikipedia contributors. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 9 Apr. 2010. Web. 9 Apr. 2010.
Caste: In India and Africa, by A. K. Ingutia © 1965 W.E.B. Du Bois Institute.
The leadership of the Theosophical Society, which disseminated the teachings of the 19th century occult movement “Theosophy,” had established its Eastern branch in India, but some of the locals did not appreciate the Society’s presence nor what they saw as the brazen attempt to link the Theosophical teachings of their secret Masters, or “Mahatmas,” to India’s Aryan and post-Aryan religious tradition. These Secret Masters were depicted as supermen who directed the world affairs from the underground cities under the Himalayas, as explained in Blavatsky’s magnum opus, “The Secret Doctrine”. The Brahmins largely objected to the Theosophists and considered “The Secret Doctrine,” provocative and blasphemous. Yet there were a few Brahmins who were attracted to the teaching of Theosophy, which allowed enough support to build the Theosophical Society headquarters in Adyar.
Theosophy concerns itself with the teachings of certain “Mahatmas” who allegedly form a hierarchal organization called “The Great White Lodge,” or “Brotherhood.” The most important theme in the doctrines by these Mahatmas, claimed by the Theosophists as the ‘divine wisdom’ of the Gods, is the Spiritual Evolution of Humanity which is accomplished thru the modality of multiple “rounds” or cycles of reincarnation at various points in the planetary system, forming a Great Chain of Being, allocated and adjudicated by the lords of karma who register the actions of humans – all as part of the ‘Divine Plan’.
Annie Besant had converted to Theosophy after meeting Helena Blavatsky in 1887. After reading Blavatsky’s “Secret Doctrine”, Besant became Blavatsky’s principle disciple and trusted friend, with Blavatsky eventually handpicking Besant as her successor. After Blavatsky’s death, an acrimonious power struggle ensued that resulted in a schism breaking the Theosophical Society into two main divisions, which saw Besant moving to India to head the Eastern branch in Adyar. Besant was a prolific author and persuasive orator, and who had for many years prophesized the return of the World Teacher, the Maiterya, who would lead humanity into freedom.
Assisting Besant was fellow Theosophist and occultist, Charles Webster Leadbeater, a close associate of Blavatsky and member of the small circle of beings claiming they either spoke with or witnessed the Mahatmas in person. Leabeater had taken the Mahatma’s seriously and was looking for a child that the Mahatmas said would be the “vessel” of the World Teacher. One day as Leadbeater was strolling on the private beach on the Theosophical Society grounds, he happened to cross two young boys, brothers, sitting in the sand. The eldest was Jiddu Krishnamurti, born into a Brahmin family in 1895. His father was a theosophist living on the property of the Theosophical Society. Leadbeater was convinced this young boy would be the vessel of the Maitreya. Soon, Besant was convinced as well, especially after the Mahatmas verified that the boy was indeed the vessel.
Besant now took over the affairs of Jiddu Krisnhamurti and his brother Nityananda, having them educated in India and England in the finest schools under the auspices of the Theosophical Society. The Order of the Star was established as a vehicle to proclaim Krishnamurti as the prophet of the World Teacher. But years later after the sudden death of his sickly, younger brother (whom the Mahatmas repeatedly assured Jiddu his brother would survive), a grieving Krishnamurti, now a adult, disbanded the Order and renounced the World Teacher project, effectively breaking away from the Theosophists although he remained close with Besant until her death. The Mahatmas were discredited and the Theosophical Society would never fully recover its the prestige of its former stature.
“I am concerning myself with only one essential thing: to set man free. I desire to free him from all cages, from all fears, and not to found religions, new sects, nor to establish new theories and new philosophies.” -Jiddu Krishnamurti.
During his life, Jiddu Krishnamurti was not above using his profile to become a well-travelled lecturer and an influential writer. Krishnamurti focused on relationships, the nature of consciousness, calling for a mental revolution of the mind of human beings, insisting that the religious, political and economic authorities have failed their promises, causing nothing but discord and suffering. Krishnamurti spoke about the necessity of gaining freedom from the tyranny of one’s own ego, inclinations and habits. Since human beings were conditioned from birth by society – the “true religion” according to Krishnamurti, was to be able to “think with a clear, polished mind.” According to Krishnamurti, a mind that is not “clear” leads to diminishment and fear. Stilling the mind would lead to clear observation and salvation in observing correctly, the truth.
Krishnamurti advised meditation and celibacy along with finding a different quality of mind through clearing hidden patterns and compulsions. Critics of Krishnamurti complained that he lived a posh, luxurious life of fancy cars, tailored suits and lavish homes, his lifestyle supported entirely by wealthy patrons over his life, living up to his nickname as “The Rich Man’s Philosopher.” He didn’t seem concerned about the common people as previous Indian leaders like Ramakrishna, Vivekananda and Gandhi. Rumours and accusations that the self-proclaimed celibate had engaged in sexual affairs with the wife of his best friend were indications that Krishnamurti lived a double life and didn’t follow what he told others to do.The philosophy of Krishnamurti may be somewhat outside the scope of traditional Hinduism, but his philosophy still contained Brahmin consciousness. The ancient Hindu trait of giving preeminence to consciousness, is fully supported and elaborated by Krishnamurti in his works. Krishnamurti was trained to believe that his words would have an effect on the world. He remains one of the most influential thinkers India has ever produced, his books still can be found in student dorm rooms, cafes or on bookshelves of those interested in Eastern philosophy. But as he approached the end of his life, nothing of the words that Krishnamurti spoke or written had managed to change anything in the world. Jiddu Krishnamurti was left to bitterly complain that no one had understood a word he said. The Maitreya that the Theosophists and the Mahatmas had claimed to appear on earth to liberate humanity, remains a prophecy unfulfilled. According to the Law of Attraction, a clear mind that specifically and intently focuses on a desired result, will magnetically attract to you what you desire.
Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening,”Mary Luytens
Jiddu Krishnamurti. (2010, February 3). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 08:18, February 4, 2010, fromhttp://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?tit … =341774605
The Intrigue of the Possible by Robert A. Mayer, AuthorHouse. 2007
Socio-religious reform movements in British India, Volume 3 By Kenneth W. Jones, Cambridge University Press.
Annie Besant, Heretic,” aritcle, Jone Johnson Lewis
Stripping the Gurus” by Geoffrey D. Falk.
The Life and Death of Krishnamurti” by Mary Lutyens,
Hindu Spirituality: Postclassical and Modern,” K. R. Sundararajan, Bithika Mukerji
Theosophy: History of a Pseudo-religion by René Guénon,Alvin Moore, Jr. Sophia Perrennis, 2001
“A man sitting under the shade of the Kalpa-vriksha (wishing-tree) wished to be a king, and in an instant he was a king. The next moment he wished to have a charming damsel, and the damsel was instantly by his side. The man then thought within himself, if a tiger came and devoured him, and alas! in an instant he was in the jaws of a tiger! God is like that wishing-tree: whosoever in His presence thinks that he is destitute and poor, remains as such, but he who thinks and believes that the Lord fulfils all his wants, receives everything from Him.”
-Gadadhar Chatterji (Sri Ramakrishna)
This saying encapsulates the main doctrinal point of the Law of Attraction, of “like attracts like.” and comes from ascetic visionary Sri Ramakrisna living in through the mid 19th century, one of the most revered saints of Hinduism.
Gadadhar Chatterji was born to poor Brahmin parents in 1836 in the West Bengal province of India. Although Gadadhar was illiterate and unschooled, he was an extrermely devout young man whose obsessive and mystical fervor in his worship of Kali enabled him to attain sustained states of blissful awareness of God. His mystical states and odd behavior were so extreme, it led some to believe he was mad. But others were impressed by the young man’s devotion, grace and the content of his spiritual wisdom he imparted to others.
Gadadhar left home as a young man to the Kali temple at Dakshinewsar, a small village located on the outskirts of Calcutta, to assist his older brother, Ramkumar, who was the temple’s head priest, but who died in 1855. Gadadhar took over his brother’s role as head priest, but was dismissed over his bizzare behavior brought on by his intense ecstatic visions and trances. Gadadhar was permitted to live in a modest apartment on the temple grounds, and over a period of time began to draw an ever-increasing crowd of spiritual seekers and intellectuals enamored by the ascetic’s profound yet simple wisdom – and maybe catch a glimpse of his erratic behavior – like washing an outcaste’s hovel with his hair, effefctively renouncing his Brahmin heritage and committing other taboos related to common spiritual practice in an attempt to show that caste and creed were meaningless to him.
After a meeting with a wandering monk, Gadadhar, now going by the name, “Ramakrishna” was initiated into Advaita Vedanta and the found himself drifting into and out of mystical, blissful states of God-consciousness – the Nirvikalpa Samadhi, the highest of all spiritual experiences – for the rest of his life. With his interest in Sufism, Islam and Christianity came more Samadhi states, where Ramakrishna experienced visions of Jesus, Mother Mary and Mohammed. The result of these visions were Ramakrishna‘s teaching that all religions are paths to the divine were available. Doctrines, dogmas and sects were irrelevant.
A group of young men attracted themselves to the spiritual teachings of Ramakrishna, came to the Kali Temple to become his disciples. Ramakrishna selected one to be the leader of his disciples, a young man named Narendra Nath Datta who was destined to take his Guru’s spiritual message to the West.
“Take up one idea! Make that idea your life. Think of it. Dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves every part of your body be full of that idea and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” -Narendra Nath Datta (Swami Vivekananda)
Narendra Nath Datta was born into an upper class Brahmin family in Calcutta, and received a Western – styled education. Narendra possessed a disdain for superstition and idol worship, but also yearned for spiritual enlightenment and to “See God.” He eventually found what he was looking for after meeting Ramakrishna and becoming his chief disciple, immersing himself in his Master’s spiritual teaching and states of Samadhi.
After Ramakrishna’s death, Narendra and the remaining disciples formed the Monastic Order of Ramakrishna, which was set up to support the poor and needy. Narendra was now given the name: “Swami Vivekananda” and he renounced the world, walking up and down India visiting holy sites and preaching that the highest way to serve God was to serve humanity.
Because of his talented oratorical skill, Vivekananda was chosen to represent Hinduism at the World Parliament of Religion, which was to be held in Chicago in 1893. His speech was tremendously well – received, and the Swami stayed in America for several years lecturing about Indian culture, Yoga and his interpretation of Advaita Vedanta while visiting many cities, before returning to India where he devoted his life to the public service and liberating India from capitalism and British imperialism.
Vivekananda saw that India’s decay and degeneration of the former ancient glory of Vedic culture could not be blamed solely on the British. The deliberate negligence of India’s impoverished people would never be corrected through politics, but only through education and compassion.
While Swami Vivekananda has gone down in history as one of India’s finest freedom fighters, it must be added that Swami Vivekananda followed in the spirit of Ramakrishna‘s statement of, “Whatever you will think, that you will be.” Which is again, the formula of “Like attracts like.”
What Ramakrishna and Vivekananda both imparted to the world was a crucial tenet that would wind its way through the eddies and streams of spirituality and re-emerge into the Human Potential Movement, which was the notion that one is always diminished or exalted by the level of positivity within one’s own mind. Thanks to Vivekananda, these ideas now took firm root within the varieties of spirituality in America and England. The Hindu concept of “Karma,” where “good conduct” brings a favorable future life was now drifting to West, as a mental revolution of how Positive Thinking could give one that “favorable future life” right now. The mind within the human being was now becoming more and more identified as God Itself.
Ramakrishna, His Life and Sayings, by Max Müller *Encyclopedia of the Occultism and Parapsychology,
Swami Vivekananda, edited by L.A. Shepard, Gate Books, 1974
*Meetings with Ramakrishna. Hixon, Lee. Great Swan: Boston: Shambhala, 1992.
Swami Vivekananda in India: a corrective biography, by Rajagopal Chattopadhyaya, MotilalBamarsidass Publ. 1992
Pathways to Joy: The Master Vivekananda on the Four Yoga Paths to God, By Swami Vivekananda, Dave DeLuca
Vivekananda – Biography, Principles and philosophy, Interaction with notable contemporaries, Miscellaneous,
The legend begins with a Brahmin monk and his disciples making their way down to the Ganges River to perform their ceremonial ablutions, when they happen across a Chandala walking towards them on the road, leading a pack of four mangy dogs. A Chandala was an Untouchable, the despised class of people who didn’t belong to any recognized varna or caste. Their only allowed participation within Hindu society was to be maintainers the funeral burning grounds or other equally detestable work. When the Chandala refused, the Brahmin became indignant and he instructed the out-caste to stand aside, for a holy man of Brahmin birth could never permit himself to be polluted by even the shadow of such an offensive being. The Chandala stood his ground and demanded that the Brahmin explain himself.
The Chandala said, “You preach to others that the atman and the Brahman are the same, that all distinctions are barriers against the realization of that supreme truth. If there is one Absolute Brahman in all, then why do you accept caste and creed? You teach that there is only one Absolute Brahman in all things, yet you acknowledge differences between man and man. How can this be consistent with your teaching of Advaita ? To whom do you address? The body which is transient, or the soul which is eternal?” Admonished in this way, the monk realized his error and prostrated himself before the Chandala, proclaiming that anyone who could show him the truth, Brahmin or Untouchable, that one was his teacher.
The name of that Brahmin monk was Adi Śaṅkara, founder of Advaita Vedanta, and considered one of the greatest religious philosophers in Indian history. Those of us in the West may have never heard of Śaṅkara, but 1200 years ago, he established a religious movement that has lasted to this day. Śaṅkara achieved fame and notoriety for traveling on foot across the four corners of India to debate other monks and scholars and setting up monasteries to promulgate his teachings, before dying at the age of thirty-two.
The major tenet of Advaita is that of Universality – that “all is God, and God is all and everything is the manifestation of Brahman.” This absolute monism claims that only the Brahma, the ultimate reality, is the Only Reality. All forms are just manifestations of Brahman.
The world of differentiated objects, or the variety of forms, like a water drop and the ocean, are ultimately illusions; everything in existence are but the thoughts of Brahman . This Brahman was totally uninterested and absolutely removed from the happenings at the level of human beings.
However, Śaṅkara’s absolute monism ran into the same contradiction that the ancient Greek philosophers were pressed to resolve: how could an unchanging, unmovable, uninterested, undivided and utterly transcendent Universal Principle have any relation to the affairs of the world?
Śaṅkara solved this problem by stating that the Brahman was both wholly transcendent and pervaded all of existence. The being who achieves knowledge of the Brahman within his soul, or Atman, achieves liberation from the world, and becomes one with Brahman. The end result of this process is termed, the “Higher Self,” which is the pure self of consciousness, free from ignorance and impurity and liberated by its knowledge of its awareness that all distinctions are false.
According to Śaṅkara, The “lower self” is subject to ignorance and deception, which causes the being into believing that polarity and the differentiation of objects are real. The minds of those beings that are ignorant of Śaṅkara’s Brahman will only form a projection which stands as the personal god the devotees pray to and worship.
This projection is the “Lower Brahman” whom Śaṅkara called, Ishvara, who possesses human qualities such as Love and Justice. Although these projections of the human mind are broadcasted through ignorance, Śaṅkara claimed it was better to worship the projection than to worship nothing at all, because Isvara, even as a projection, is the closest thing to the Higher and pure Brahman of consciousness.
Critics have labeled Śaṅkara’s doctrine as moral skepticism, charging that it implies that one risks enslavement to rebirth and ignorance by following moral codes of dharma and caste – when the unrealized self-will be seduced by differences one sees in the world, while believing self-identification is real – when all of what is seen, is illusion. Śaṅkara claimed that while all things in existence are the mere thoughts of the Higher Brahman – the Higher Brahman Itself, is devoid of attributes, thus “qualities” like individuality and polarities like “good and evil” do not exist.
Yet, Śaṅkara was forced to recognize that apparently, the people always suffered the consequences of evil actions.
Śaṅkara employs the line of reasoning that Evil cannot be created by God because in the allowance of evil, God’s qualities of goodness would be negated, and God would be in truth open to the accusation of extreme cruelty “abhorred even by a villain.” Śaṅkara reasons that since the Higher Brahma has no qualities at all – He cannot be the author of evil. Thus evil is the ignorance that deceives the human mind, which is geared to self-interest and abuse against others in this world.
The seeming duality of “good and evil” and “light and dark” are relative only at a certain level of reality. Śaṅkara compared the Brahman’s position to the polarity of good and evil to that of the sun producing both day and night. The sun itself is not subject to day and night, but the world rotating on its axis produces the effect. It is the characteristics of the Earth and its relation to the sun and the ignorance of the observer that appears to cause day and night. The same design holds for the apparent distinction of good and evil.
Śaṅkara used the analogy of a magician to illustrate his point about Brahman ‘s relation to the illusion of ignorance. When the magician pulls off a magic trick through sleight-of-hand, the ignorant viewer is taken in by the magician’s creation of a perception, like pulling a live rabbit out of a hat. Those in the know are not fooled, because they have knowledge that the magician has used an illusion, and they know how the illusion works. The magician, who stands as Brahman, is not confused by the illusion of the magic trick.
Anyone familiar with the workings of the Law of Attraction will recognize the role Brahman as pure consciousness plays. The idea with the Law of Attraction is to consciously draw to yourself prosperity and wealth, which is considered an indication of one’s self-realization and spiritual growth.
Śaṅkara’s Higher Brahman stands as the point of absolute Universal Consciousness, or Divine Mind, which pervades the essence and substance of existence, and is the conduit of the magnetic attraction that brings one’s desire to fruition. The concept was transformed in the West as the starting points of the new religious movements led by the writings of Helena Blavatsky, Alice Bailey and Rudolf Steiner, who were all instrumental in forging the design of the spirituality of modern Hindu and New Age philosophy.
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The next largest Hindu denomination after the Vaishnava sect is Shaivism, the sectaries who worship Shiva as the Supreme God. While the Vaishnava is Hinduism’s largest denomination, Shaivism claims to be the oldest, with archeological evidence suggesting a proto-Shiva worship in some form in prehistoric India.
The origins of Shiva worship is clouded in mystery. The name, “Shiva” refers to his “Auspicious” nature, but only appears in the Vedas as a title for a minor Vedic storm god, the ferocious and howling Rudra.
Rudra was a malevolent god, feared by the people for his terrible death-dealing wrath. However, Rudra also possessed aspects of a healer. There is an alternate theory which places the emergence of Shiva from an ancient non-Vedic phallic-worship background.
The Upanishads are Brahmin mystical and sacred texts written in Sanskrit that are commentaries on the Vedas assembled over a period from 800 BCE to 200 CE. During the time when the final Upanishads were being circulated, between the 2nd century BCE and the 2nd century CE, the figures of Rudra and Shiva were amalgamated by the various Shaiva cults emerging during this time, like the Pashupata
The ascetic Pashupata sect distinguished themselves by wearing their hair in knots, their penchant for magical ritualism and for chanting the holy syllable,”AUM.” These wandering ascetic monks renounced the world and desires by taking to carrying human skulls as begging bowls, living in the graveyards, And smearing ashes over their bodies three times a day.
The reputed founder was Lakulisha, a sage who lived approximately 200 CE in western India and later was considered by the sect as the 28th and last avatar of Shiva. The Pashupata also claimed that Lakulisha the creator of yoga. The Yoga Masters appeared at the end of the Fourth century and Bhakti, the devotional worship focused on a God considered the Supreme Deity, became popular, and the cults that were devotees of Shiva began to grow. Over time, Shaivism claimed adherents throughout the subcontinent, spread by the singers and composers of the Puranas, the sacred Sanskrit texts of legends and folklore.
As the centuries passed, Shiva grew in stature while his attributes and worship evolved. In the end, Shiva had been transformed from obscure non-Vedic origins, to a minor Vedic storm god, and finally, to becoming the Supreme Being of creation.
There are several sects within Shaivism but they all tend to believe that Shiva will save those who are devoted to him. Shiva is the creator, creation and the Divine Judge who will mercilessly destroy the wicked. Meditation on the properties of Shiva produces “yoga” a state of mental bliss and heightened awareness. Liberation of the soul is achieved thru fervent adoration of Shiva, and if successful, one’s soul becomes equal to Shiva. Shaivites consider the suffering existing in the world is caused by ignorance, thus knowledge is the only thing that can remove it. Purity of the mind is much more commendable than purity of the body.
The legends of Shiva are endless. It is said that he skulks around battlefields and crossroads, and is always surrounded by devas and demons. In devotional art, Shiva is generally depicted as a half-naked ascetic, or as the symbol called the Linga, or as the Nataraja, the Lord of the Dance.
Portraits of Shiva: the Ash-covered Yogi
The devotional art of Shaivism is heavy on the symbolism, and depicts this aspect of Shiva as the ascetic yoga master, covered in ash and dressed in a tiger skin which echoes the Lord of Creatures and the protector of life, Prajapati. Shiva sits in the lotus position for he is the Master of Yoga. His staff is a trident, which symbolizes Will, Action and Knowledge and the power to destroy evil and nescience. Serpents cover Shiva all over his body; he wears one around his neck, chest, arms and his hair, representing the endless cycles of time. Shiva’s matted hair is also dressed with the symbol of the crescent moon and the mighty Ganges River. Centered on Shiva’s brow is his Third Eye, symbolic of the power of knowledge. His right and left eyes appear half-open, because when Shiva opens his eyes completely, the universe comes into being. When Shiva’s eyes are closed, the universe is dissolved. Thus Shiva is the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer, who uncovers and conceals.
The worship of Shiva is done with the anticipation of attaining a place alongside him after escaping from the terrifying world of rebirth and suffering. According to the Law of Attraction – what you believe is what you receive. It is the state of one’s consciousness and the power of belief that determines one’s place in a consciousness-based existence.
Shiva as the Master Yogi, offers escape and salvation through the ascension of the mind. Renunciation, meditation, self-absorption and leading a morally pure life are among the tools of the yogi to counteract karma and achieve liberation.
Shiva: the Linga
The image of Shiva that is most widely worshipped, is that of the Linga: the cultic veneration of the abstract symbol of Shiva’s generative power and of Shiva himself. The linga is a rounded cylindrical pillar usually made of stone or some other material, its origins shrouded in the mist of history. Excavations of the Indus-Sarasvati Civilization has yielded what appears to be lingas made of stone standing two feet high or taller, indicating that some form of pillar-worship existed in pre-Vedic India. There is a long tradition of placing offerings of water, milk or clarified butter upon the linga. Shaivite devotees will have in their homes linga-shaped stones to which they perform ablution, flower-worship and offerings of food.
We do not know how Shiva became directly connected to the linga, but there are various legends of how Shiva-Linga worship was instituted. An interesting tale concerns Brahma and Vishnu busily arguing over who was the mightier god – when all of a sudden, an unknown enormous column of light appeared before them. The gods agreed whoever discovered the meaning of this mystery would be recognized as the Supreme Being. Vishnu shape-shifted into a boar and began to dig to find the bottom of the shaft, while Brahma changed into a goose to fly to the top. No matter how far the gods traveled to reach the end of the shaft of light, still farther the shaft extended. Eventually the two gods returned to the point where they began, and out of the endless shaft of light, Shiva walked out to meet them and both gods were forced to recognize that Shiva was the Supreme God.
Shiva: the Nataraja
The Nataraja symbolizes Shiva’s role as Lord of the Dance. This is cosmic dance of sublime and graceful energy which sustains existence. Shiva is shown standing atop a vanquished demon who symbolizes ignorance. In his upper right hand, Shiva holds a drum which symbolizes of the sound of creation. His upper left hand holds a flame, which is the destruction of the universe. Thus, the Nataraja reveals that existence as a rhythmic manifestation of cosmic cycles : time as a cyclic, endless procession of creation, preservation and the termination of existence. When existence becomes too damaging and unbalanced to the beings within it, Shiva’s Dance is the saving liberation for those suffering, trapped beings – and here again, the role of religious adoration and devotion provides a hope of compensation for living in a world of suffering.
Within the Law of Attraction, Shiva represents the Divine Plan, an active, cosmic force that rewards those who focus their devotion, hopes, desires and dreams, upon him. According to the Shaivites, without the foundation of cosmic consciousness, which stands as Shiva to reflect knowledge and morality back to the mind of the human being, one’s chance for escaping this world of sorrows would be non-existent.
Next: Śaṅkara’s Advaita: The Pure Brahman of Consciousness
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