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Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Ascension of the Soul, Sant Mat E Booklet, Parts 1 Through 5 Combined

The Ascension of the Soul, Sant Mat E Booklet, Parts 1 Through 5 Combined

The Ascension of the Soul, Part 1

The Ascension of the Soul into Interior Regions of Light and Sound, Part One: Introduction to the Meditation Practice, And, The First Inner Region: Astral Plane: Sahas-Dal-Kanwal: Thousand Petalled Lotus

Unlike other yogic disciplines in India, such as kundalini, surat shabd yoga does not advocate breath control (pranayama) or a series of physical postures (asanas/mudras) as part of its practice. Rather, it is concerned with withdrawing consciousness from the nine apertures of the body (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, genitals, and alimentary canal) and transcending the corporeal frame and its limitations altogether. This is accomplished by attaching the mind's attention to an inner light and sound which is believed to be radiating behind the proverbial "tenth door" (the "third eye" of the Hindus), anatomically located behind and slightly above the physical eyes (Shiv Dayal Singh, 1970). When consciousness becomes totally concentrated at this pivotal point "between the worlds," the soul, according to the saints in this tradition, leaves the body and experiences in elevating degrees higher regions of bliss.

The distinctive characteristic of surat shabd yoga is its emphasis on listening to the inner sound current, known variously as shabd, nada, or audible life stream. It is through this union of the soul with the primordial music of the universe that the practice derives its name (surat -- soul, shabd -- sound current; yoga -- union). To be able to achieve a consciously induced near-death state takes great effort. Hence, masters of this path emphasize a three-fold method designed to still the mind and vacate the body: simran, dhyan, and bhajan (Charan Singh, 1979).

Simran, the repetition of a holy name or names, draws one's attention to the eye center, keeping thoughts from being scattered too far outside. Such sacred remembrance is similar in form to the use of a mantra or special prayer, except that the name(s) are repeated silently with the mind and not with the tongue. This stage, according to practitioners, is the first and perhaps most difficult leg of meditation.

Dhyan, contemplation within, is a technical procedure to hold one's attention at the third eye focus. In the beginning this may be simply gazing into the darkness or re-imaging the guru's face, etc., but it eventually develops into seeing light of various shapes. Out of this light appears the "radiant form" of one's spiritual master, who guides the neophyte on the inner voyage and becomes the central point of dhyan.

Bhajan, listening to the celestial melody or sound, is the last and most important part of surat shabd yoga, because it is the vehicle by which the meditator can travel to exalted planes of awareness. Whereas simran draws and dhyan holds the mind's attention, it is bhajan which takes awareness on its upward ascent back to the Supreme Abode, Sach Khand. Naturally, mastery of surat shabd yoga is not an overnight affair, but involves years of consistent application and struggle. The desired results, adepts in the tradition agree, being largely due to the earnestness and day to day practice of the seeker.


In due time, if the process is complete, the individual spirit current or substance is slowly withdrawn from the body. First from the lower extremities which become feelingless, and then from the rest of the body. The process is identical with that which takes place at the time of death, only this is voluntary, while that of death is involuntary. Eventually, he is able to pierce the veil that intervenes -- which in reality is "not thicker than the wing of a butterfly" -- and then he opens what is called the "Tenth Door" and steps out into a new world. The body remains in the position in which he left it, quite senseless, but unharmed by the process. He is now in a world he never saw before... -- (Julian P. Johnson, 1952)

Before the inner voyage of light and sound can begin, the meditator must become adept at withdrawing his/her attention from the world and concentrating one pointedly at the third eye center. Accordingly, when the neophyte has achieved even a modicum of success, having sensations of numbness just up to the solar plexus, flashes of light will begin to manifest. At first it appears that the light is coming and going, causing the phenomenon of bright sparks, but in actuality it is the mind which is ascending and descending (Charan Singh, 1958, 1967, 1973, 1979).

The feeling of physical insensibility is one of the important "acid tests" to determine if the mediation process is proceeding correctly. Starting in the feet, numbness rises slowly through the lower extremities, until the entire body feels like stone. When such a voluntary paralysis occurs, the meditator gravitates more to the inner universe than to the outer one. According to the masters (Julian P. Johnson, 1974), it is the function of simran to instigate this type of benumbing impression, which releases the mind from its constructing hold on the material corpus.

It is at this junction when the meditator senses an intense feeling of upward movement, as if being literally pulled by a magnetic force. This sucking effect is the direct result of one's attention moving inward away from the outer orifices. Though it but a preliminary stage, the student experiences first-hand what it is like to have an out-of-body sensation. With practice, the meditator finally does achieve total out-of-body consciousness, traveling at immense speeds through regions of darkness, not dissimilar in content to reports of clinically dead patients who have been resuscitated (Raymond Moody, 1975, Kenneth Ring, 1980, Darshan Singh, 1982).

After complete withdrawal from the physical body, the neophyte's capacity for inner sight (nirat) and sound (surat) increases tremendously, enabling him/her to see and hear clearly what was only thought before to be a figment of religious imagination. Accompanying this ability is also the realization of a super-conscious state of awareness, remarkably more vivid and lucid than the ordinary waking state (Sawan Singh, 1974).

To understand how such a new degree of consciousness can be awakened, it is important to see how awareness moves through various degrees of clarity. In the waking state, for instance, attention is centered behind the eyes at the back of the head. But, after eighteen or so hours, we notice a movement downward and inward from this station towards the throat (Jagat Singh, 1972) culminating in sleep. Likewise, after about eight hours, we sense a rising upwards to the eyes, with the final termination being, of course, our normal, everyday consciousness. In both of these cases, our common language expresses in a graphically simple way the process of awareness: "We fall asleep; we wake up," "My eyes are heavy;" "I feel so awake and high." In yoga psychology the farther down one's consciousness descends the deeper the sleep (or unconscious) state; the further up it ascends the higher the awareness (super-conscious). The pattern is quite clear; clarity increases steadily the more one ascends (not vice versa). Ken Wilber (1979, 1981) has beautifully described this spectrum of consciousness as having a definite hierarchical structure, with the higher orders subsuming and transcending their lower counterparts.

The following account, primarily based upon Shiv Dayal Singh's Hidayatnama is filled with rich mythological characterizations, metaphors, and illustrations. For anyone steeped in science, the account will sound too fantastic to be true. However, we should keep in mind that although Shiv Dayal Singh's description may be limited to the analogies of the 19th century, his fundamental insights are consistent with mystics from time immemorial. When reading Shiv Dayal Singh's descriptions of the inner regions we should always keep in mind that trans-rational experiences cannot be adequately contained by the inherent boundaries of human language. Let us not confuse a map for the real territory or a menu for the meal.

The First Inner Region: Sahas-dal-kanwal: Thousand petalled Lotus



"Thousand Petalled Lotus"

"When your eye turns inwards in the brain and you see the firmament within, and your spirit leaves the body and rises upwards, you will see the Akash in which is located Sahas-dal-kanwal, the thousand petals of which perform the various functions pertaining to the three worlds. Its effulgence will exhilarate your spirit. You will at that stage, witness Niranjan, the lord of three worlds. Several religions which attained this stage and took the deity thereof to be the Lord of All, were duped. Seeing the light and refulgence of this region they felt satiated. Their upward progress was stopped. They did not find the guide to higher regions. Hence they could not proceed further". 

-- Shiv Dayal Singh/Swami Ji Maharaj, Hidayatnama (Esoteric Teachings, Sar Bachan Radhasoami Poetry, Book One)

[Astral Plane; Cluster of Lights]

Although the wondrous journey out of the body in surat shabd yoga meditation begins in darkness, eventually the meditator glimpses keen points of light, much like stars filling up a black midnight sky. The student is advised to focus his/her attention on the largest and brightest of these "stars" (Kirpal Singh), which with repeated concentration will burst revealing a radiance similar to that of a sun (Sawan Singh). When this light explodes, a brilliance comparable to a full moon will pull one's attention even further within. Out of that light, according to the masters (Julian P. Johnson), known as Asht-dal-kanwal ("Eight petal lotus"), the resplendent form of one's guru will appear. This marks the half-way point in the disciple's ascent, since from here on one is guided to the upper regions by the radiant form of the master (Sawan Singh). Hence it is by comparison an easier progression for the soul than the withdrawal of the mind current from the body.

Along with the seeing of light, consisting of different colors and hues due partly to a particular person's karma (Faqir Chand, 1978), the meditator also hears a variety of different sounds. At first, as the concentration becomes finer it will assume a more distinct tone, not dissimilar to the tinkling of bells. Indeed, it is the bell sound which is to be held onto, as its melody will help lead the soul into the first region, known technically in Radhasoami as Sahas-dal-kanwal, but also termed in other traditions as the astral plane, turiya pad, etc...

Entrance into the pure astral plane, though heralded as a magnificent achievement, is, according to Sant Mat, but the beginning of the inner voyage. It is alleged by many saints in the tradition (Kabir, Tulsi Sahib, Sawan Singh, etc.) that several great religious leaders mistakenly believed that the light and sound of this region were of the Absolute Lord. Instead of realizing that the manifestations were partial glimpses of a higher reality, they worshipped them as the totality of God. This kind of error is perhaps the chief reason why the Sant Mat and Radhasoami movements stress so much the necessity of a living guide. Above all else, the masters emphasize, test thoroughly whatever appears inside meditation. [The main test advised by the mystics is to repeat slowly the holy name or names which were given at the time of initiation; also verify the authenticity of one's experiences with the outer guru for his/her validation.]

Each major region of consciousness has its own center and guiding lord. In Sahas-dal-kanwal the ruler is known as the lord of light and is the creator of all the universe in its jurisdiction (Julian P. Johnson). However, the extent of each ruler's power is limited and circumscribed by the next higher deity, who, likewise receives its creative energy from above, etc. This governing hierarchy, like the kundalini chakra system, is based on the concept that all spiritual evolution (and even material transformation) was preceded by an involution. Therefore, the meditator must pass through several regions of light and sound before attaining true enlightenment.

In order to overcome the many barriers and obstacles on the way, the guru instructs the student not to attach him or her self to any particular vision, as they are merely signposts along the way. In fact, all of the intermediary lords, or centers of power, are not to be venerated but transcended. It is for this reason that the Beas branch of the Radhasoamis and Sawan-Kirpal Mission in agreement with previous saints, give out five holy names as their meditation mantra. Each name represents the presiding lord and his relative spiritual energy; to the meditator they serve as passwords, so to say, to insure safe passage into the next level of consciousness.

Obviously, the concern here is that a student may get stuck or retained in one of the lower realms, believing that he/she has reached the ultimate, when, in fact, what they have attained is illusory and impermanent. Surat shabd yoga literature is replete with stories of would-be masters who have been duped on the inner journey (for instance, see the book Anurag Sagar which goes on in detail about sages being misled in their meditations).

(Above is from, Enchanted Land, by David Lane, MSAC Philosophy Group)

Huzur Maharaj (Rai Saligram):

"This discourse is intended for the benefit of those who, seeing the instability and transitory state of the things in this world, as well as its short-lived pleasures and greatness, have a craving for everlasting and unalloyed happiness and undisturbed peace in a realm which is not subject to change, decay or dissolution".

Huzur Maharaj (Rai Saligram):

"The method of taking back the Spirit entity to its Original Source is to ride the Sound Current".

"The method for taking back the spirit entity to its Supreme Source is first to concentrate at the eye-focus -- the seat of the soul, the spirit entity and mind which are defused in our body and in a manner tied to external objects by desires and passions, and next to commence its journey homewards by attending to the Internal Sound, or in other words, by riding the Life or Sound Current which has originally emanated from the Supreme Source".

"The Current which has been instrumental in having brought it down here must naturally be the Path for its return to the Original Source, and whoever finds this Current is on the Path of Emancipation. This Current which is the Spirit and Life Current is called in the Radhasoami Faith, "Sound" or "Word" or Holy Name". (Prem Patra Radhasoami, Agra)

The Ascension of the Soul, Part 2

The Ascension of the Soul into Interior Regions of Light and Sound, Part 2: Introduction to the Inner Regions/Heavens, And, The Second Inner Region: Causal Plane: Trikuti

"The ascension of the soul, stage by stage, to higher regions can be accomplished with the help pf Shabd. Hearing these Sounds, the soul will proceed from one region to another, and will ultimately reach the Highest Region, and enter into Rest."  (Huzur Maharaj, "Prem Patra Radhasoami")

The Higher Regions -- Radhasoami Reality

One's passage into the astral plane is aided by the sound of a deeply resonant bell. A dazzle of colors immediately emerges, subsiding into a deep blue, like the blue of a late afternoon sky. Subsequently a light appears in the blue, intense but diffused, as if veiled by a gauze screen. The soul aims for the light, penetrates the gauze, and arrives at a brilliant flame surrounded by a dense blue-black sky. That area, a higher realm within the astral plane, is called shyam kunj (the thicket of darkness), and it is regarded as the divine headquarters for managing both the physical and astral realms. It is controlled, of course, by Kal; here he appears as Niranjan, the Lord of the astral realm. The soul should not be satisfied with attaining this realm, however, but focus on the flame, which replaces the blue-black sky with an intense bright white. This enables the soul to by-pass all the supernatural regions referred to in the literature of other religions: the Christians' heaven and hell, the Hindus' svarga and naraka, the Muslims' dozakh and bahisht. These all exist at the level of shyam kunj, but there is no ultimate advantage to being lodged in one rather than another. Heaven may be filled with "comfortable rooms" and hell with "painful cells," but in the last analysis all who live in either are trapped "in the same jail."67 The fortunate soul, however, has a way out. The Radhasoami master guides it to a dark spot in the light and a sound similar to that of a conch shell, which it hears at first only distantly from a tunnel high above. The tunnel is called banknal (the crooked path). Upon following the sound into the tunnel, the soul turns around and then enters the next plane.

This second region is called the causal plane, for it is from here that the phenomenal world is ultimately generated. At one spot, for example, is a four-petaled lotus from which emerge utterances that eventually issue as the four Vedic scriptures of Hinduism. The world was created in this region as a subtle, invisible form, and here karmic burdens are dispatched and reclaimed. Thus cause and effect, both material and moral, begin and end here. Brahm, the creator, sustainer and dissolver of the universe, is considered the Lord of this region, but he too is an agent of Kal, so this world, like the astral, holds its perils for the wary Radhasoami soul.

The soul, forewarned, enters the causal plane with care, listening again for the guardian sound, which in this region reverberates like the sound of large drums or rolling thunder, and which may also sound like the rumbling chant of the Hindus' om, om, or the Muslims' HU, HU. The light that the soul looks for to guide it takes on a brilliant reddish color in this realm, like that of the sun in a summer sunrise. The soul fixes on these aural and visual guides, and passes by locations where the things of our physical world were created. Within the landscape are also vistas that are well known from Hindu mythology-Mount Kailasa, for example, where Lord Shiva is thought to dwell, or the forests and gardens said to have been inhabited by Krishna. The light that the soul has followed, already brighter than many suns, becomes ever brighter as the wayfarer proceeds upward, bursting through the pyramidally shaped causal realm.

At that point the soul moves beyond the arena in which causation has meaning and transcends the last shreds of materiality. It leaves behind realms referred to by Hindus as "the three worlds" (trilok), i.e., the known universe, and moves into what Radhasoami calculates as the third spiritual plane: Daswan Dwar (the tenth door), also known as Sunn (emptiness). This transition is more decisive than any other, and is second in importance only to the initial shift from the physical to the spiritual plane, for it marks the point beyond which the soul no longer inhabits form, whether physical, astral, or causal. From here onward, the soul exists purely in spirit. It passes beyond the karmic cycle, breaking free of the bondage that forced it to shuttle from one physical life to another. The soul has now achieved moksha (release), in the Hindu reckoning, and is "rid of all covers of matter and mind, and shines forth in its naked glory with the radiance of twelve suns."68 It has a new name, too. It is called hamsa, the high-flying goose that in Indian mythology is invested with almost magical properties; in Radhasoami writings it is usually described as a swan and is sometimes identified with the phoenix. Having passed beyond the realms governed by Kal, the soul is free to revel in divine bliss and enjoy an ambiance suffused by a pleasant light and a divine sound. The light resembles that of the full moon in a clear sky, shimmering in all directions, and the sound is like that of a guitar, lute, or harp. ("Radhasoami Reality," Mark Juergensmeyer, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-07378-3)
65 Rai Saligram, Jugat Prakash Radhasoami, p. 26.
66 Misra, Discourses, p. 219. See also Sawan Singh, Philosophy of the Masters, vol. 4, pp. 132-33.
67 L. R. Puri, Radha Swami Teachings, p. 202.
68 Ibid., p. 183

The Higher Regions (Continued) -- Radhasoami Reality

There are interesting places for the soul to visit on this plane: Maha Sunn, for example, "great emptiness," a vast expanse of utter darkness located above Sunn, where hidden spiritual secrets are revealed and where five new universes, each with its own Brahm, may be observed. Or the soul may rest in Achint Dip, an "inconceivable island" of spirituality in the midst of the void. The Lord of this region is called Parbrahm, "super Brahm." He has the power to direct the soul either downward or upward to an even higher region, and with the assistance of the master, the Radhasoami soul can make the further ascent.

When the soul leaves the third realm and ascends to the fourth, penultimate level, it finds itself in a medium that at first seems strange. The fourth realm whirls in dizzy delight and is called Bhanwar Gupha (the rotating cave). Its central sound is like that of a flute or the sound of the Vedic mantra soham (I am that), and the Lord of the region receives his name from that term: Soham Purush (the person of soham). The light is like that of the sun at midday, radiating in all directions. There are lovely islands where souls dwell and have fellowship together, but the Radhasoami soul hastens on to the fifth and final region.

This ultimate level is called Sach Khand, or Sat Lok (both meaning "the realm of truth"), and Radhasoami writers expend countless superlatives attempting to describe it: "an ecstasy of Divine Love," "intense bliss," "a beatitude indescribable."69 When it approaches this highest state, the soul first meets a sort of guardian in the form of saba; (spontaneous, intuitive consciousness).70 If it passes beyond sahaj, it is ushered into the entrance, which is like a garden or like a courtyard in a golden palace. One is surrounded by flowers of charming fragrance and fountains flowing with nectar. The sound that circulates in this ultimate realm is that of the bin, a wooden musical instrument that produces an oboe-like tone and is often played by snake charmers. Some Radhasoami writers, however, claim that the word that is intended here is actually vina, which refers to a classical stringed instrument that one Radhasoami author translates as "harp."71 The words sat, sat or haq, haq (the Sanskrit and Persian words for "truth," respectively) may be heard intertwined with the tones that emanate from the bin. The light is as strong as sixteen suns, but even with that brilliance it is scarcely able to compete with the radiance emitted from the luminous form of the Lord of the highest realm; his name is Sat Purush (the true person) or Sat Nam (the true name). The soul presently enters into the very chambers of the ultimate Lord, and the meeting that ensues is described by Swami Shiv Dayal as involving a sort of password given in response to the Lord's command. As the soul "pushes forward," it "beholds Sat Nam smiling in bliss. Out of his lotus-like appearance comes a voice: 'Who are you, and why did you come here?' The soul replies, 'A true guru instructed me in the secrets. By his graciousness I have received the grace of your presence, 0 Lord.' And as the soul beholds the sight of the Lord it becomes greatly enraptured."72

After that brief encounter, the soul rushes directly into the form of the highest Lord and "becomes one with Him in an ecstasy of Divine Love and intense bliss."73 The soul has finally reached its home. The journey is over. ("Radhasoami Reality," Mark Juergensmeyer, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-07378-3)
68 Ibid., p. 183.
69 Ibid., p. 180, 181.
70 One finds saba; also in the final stages of the Buddhist and Nath  yoga journeys of consciousness. It is the "mysterious state" that is  the goal of hatha yoga as practiced by the Naths (Vaudeville, Kabir,  p. 125), and their idea has influenced Kabir, who speaks of saba as a spontaneous experience of truth" (Hawley and Juergensmeyer, Songs of the Saints of India, p. 44).
71 Maheshwari, Truth Unvarnished, part 2, pp. 35, 107-8. The leader  of another Radhasoami branch confirms that the bin is the snake-charmer's oboe (Interview with Bansi Lal Gupta, Gwalior, August 21, 1985),
72 L. R. Puri, Radha Swami Teachings, p. 180. 73 Ibid.



"Three Prominences"

"At the apex of this Akash (in Sahas-dal-kanwal), there is a passage which is very small like the eye of a needle. Your Surat (spirit) should penetrate this eye. Further on, there is Bank nal, the crooked path, which goes straight and then downwards and again upwards. Beyond this passage comes the second stage. Trikuti (having three prominences) is situated here. It is one lakh yojan in length and one lakh yojan in width [millions of miles in inner space; an expression describing tremendous dimensions]. There are numerous varieties of glories and spectacles at that plane which are difficult to describe. Thousands of suns and moons look pale in comparison to the light there. All the time, melodious sounds of Ong Ong and Hoo Hoo, and sounds resembling thunder of clouds, reverberate there. On obtaining this region, the spirit becomes very happy, and purified and subtle. It is from here onwards that it becomes cognizant of the spiritual regions."

-- Shiv Dayal Singh, Hidayatnama (Esoteric Teachings, Sar Bachan Radhasoami Poetry, Book One)

{Causal Plane; Universal Mind}

Progression to successively higher regions of existence is secured in Radhasoami and Sant Mat through listening to the finer shabd (sound) melodies. As remarked before, it is the bell sound which leads the soul into the first region. Subsequently, access to the next stage, Trikuti, is garnered by attaching one's attention to the powerful rhythm of drums (or, clashing thunder). However, on the sojourn between the first and second regions, one must pass through bank nal, a crooked tunnel which can ward off spirits from progressing further. An interesting description of this particular stage comes from a letter written by a disciple of Sawan Singh, dated January 30, 1945 (Rai Sahib Munshi Ram, 1974):

"My progress again started from 9th January. Sometimes I could see light and get some taste, but there was not upward progress. One day I saw three paths and after many days my soul started following the middle one. It is not a straight path but a sort of crooked tunnel which goes on narrowing as one moves forward. At one place it was so narrow that I had to crawl forward on my stomach. There were many snakes and scorpions in this path but through Your mercy they all appeared dead and did no harm to me. I felt absolutely no fear because I was conscious all the time of your presence and your Shabd Form. Further on, the path narrowed still more and a sinner like myself could never go through it without Your mercy and grace. It is like a round tunnel and it is all lightened up with a beautiful circular light like that of the morning sun. It appears as if the sun is rising. I tried to pass through this sun but could not do so and therefore came back through this tunnel. This happened about two or three days ago."

Trikuti, so named because of the three huge mountains of light situated there, is the home of the universal mind where individual karmas have their origin. Saints point out that this region is the most difficult to traverse because it means surrendering one's mind entirely. Since such a task is almost impossible immediately, the soul stays within the boundaries of the second stage for a considerable duration.

The spectacles of Trikuti are reported to be so enticing and spectacular that the meditator often does not want to go on further. Indeed, the inner master sometimes prevents the student from beholding the sights in fear that he/she will become too saturated with joy and forget his/her real mission (Rai Sahib Munshi Ram, 1974).

Faqir Chand, a radical teacher in the Radhasoami movement who presented a number of startling interpretations on the nature of religious visions (Lane, 1983), believed, on the basis of over seventy years of meditation, that the reason Trikuti is so hard to overcome is due to the fact that whatsoever one desires it manifests accordingly. Literally, worlds upon worlds can be created by sheer thought in the second stage. Thus, the soul can be trapped by an infinite set of cravings, wants, and wishes, which continually attract the mind to ephemeral pleasures (Faqir Chand, 1976).

Furthermore, in the grand design of the cosmos, there is a negative force whose sole purpose is to detain the soul from transcending to higher states. This power is known as Kal (time/death), the lord of the mind, in the terminology of the saints in the Sant Mat and Radhasoami traditions (Julian P. Johnson, 1974). Kal is the antithesis of the positive current, Sat, which constantly goes back to the Supreme Lord, Anami Purush. Kal's force is downward (instead of upward) toward the creation. Hence, Kal, though also a manifestation of the Absolute on a lower vibration, represents the main obstacle in the ascent of the soul. The only way a sincere student can conquer Trikuti is by withdrawing the spirit from the mind itself, just as the mind separated from the body.

(The Section Above is from the Book, "Enchanted Land", by David Lane, MSAC Philosophy Group)

"Saints show us the Path of Sound and Light,
They still the mind and raise it to the skies
The soul gets concentrated at the Door and
is in bliss;
Ascending the celestial skies she is in sight
of Gagan (Inner Sky of the Second Stage).
The fortunate soul sets out on its journey
along with the Divine Melody;
Listening to this Celestial Music day by day,
she becomes detached."
(Bhajan of Sant Tulsi Sahib)

The Ascension of the Soul, Part 3

The Ascension of the Soul into Interior Regions of Light and Sound, Part 3: The Third Region: Daswan Dwar and the Great Dark Void

["The Tenth Door", Par-Brahm, Sunn (the Void) and, Maha Sunn -- The Great Void]

"The refulgence of this region (Daswan Dwar) is twelve times that of Trikuti. Pure pools of ambrosia, called "Mansarovar," [the Lake of Nectar] abound here. There are innumerable flowers and gardens. Spirits, like beauties, dance at various places. At every place fountains of nectar are overflowing and the streams of nectar are gushing out. How may one describe the splendour and decoration of this region! There are platforms of diamonds, beds of emeralds and plants of jewels, all studded with rubies and precious stones. Bejeweled fish, swimming in pools there, display their beauty and ornamentation, and their glitter and sheen attract attention. Beyond this, there are innumerable palaces of crystals and mirrors, in which spirit entities reside at their respective spots, as allocated by the Lord. The denizens there are spiritual and free from physical taints. Full particulars of these regions are known only to Sants. It is not meet to describe them in greater detail."

-- Shiv Dayal Singh, Hidayatnama (Esoteric Teachings, Sar Bachan Radhasoami Poetry, Book One)

Certain saints report that there are ten passage ways in Trikuti; the first nine are local leading the aspirant only to outlying parts of the second stage. The tenth door, though, opens up into the third region, a dimension beyond mind and matter appropriately entitled Daswan Dwar ("tenth door," so named because of the key passage way in Trikuti).

The third region is exceptionally auspicious, since the student leaves the mind plane altogether and realizes for the first time his/her true Self; as a pure drop of infinite light and love. From Daswan Dwar the pull is inherently upwards; no longer does Kal's negative power attract the free spirit. Like a butterfly liberated from its inhibiting cocoon, the soul flies forth unencumbered to its original and true abode.

The lord of this region is known as the "Detached One" and the shabd manifests as a sarangi (stringed instrument) with white light shimmering like diamonds. Daswan Dwar's refulgence is so brilliant that it dims twelve-fold the reddish light of Trikuti.

Although the sound current is one constant audible life stream, it has four major gradations: anahad (unstruck); sar (essential); sat (true); and nij (original). For instance, in the third region, the shabd transforms from anahad into sar, which is the movement from the mind to the soul current. Progressively, sar shabd leads into sat shabd, which finally ushers in the nij current of the Supreme Lord, who is absolutely beyond all expression.

One of the central attractions in the third region is Mansarovar, "a vast pool of immortality" wherein the soul is cleansed of residual samskaras (past impressions). Elucidates Sawan Singh (1970): "When the Sikh Gurus built the Golden Temple at what is now the City of Amritsar they surrounded it with a pool of water, to represent on earth the Mansarovar Pool or Lake, of the third Spiritual Region. This pool they called Amritsar, which has the same meaning as Mansarovar -- the pool of the Nectar of Immortality. In the same way, the Indian Rishis and Munis (sages and holy men of the past), called the confluence of the Ganges, Jamuna and the now vanished Saraswati, Tribeni, to symbolize on earth the meeting place of the three great streams of refulgent Light in Daswan Dwar. But the real thing that gives liberation lies within and not without."

Although Self-realization is achieved in Daswan Dwar, the student has not merged back totally with the Supreme One. Consciousness is identified with the drop/bubble, but not yet with the ocean of love in its awesome entirety. Thus, the soul must evolve even further to achieve full jivan mukti, "liberation while living." The face of the Self has been discovered -- consciousness beyond body and mind is experienced to be the true reality -- but the primordial body of the Absolute remains unattained (Sawan Singh. 1974).

Perhaps the most frightening phase in the meditator's exploration is through the region known as Maha Sunn (Great Void) which is located between Daswan Dwar and Bhanwar Gupha. Though the soul is said to contain the light of twelve suns, its brilliance is blinded by the impenetrable darkness which precedes the fourth region. In fact, saints rarely discuss this stage, as it can only be crossed with the help of the inner guru. Outlines Shiv Dayal Singh (1970) of this plane:

"Having sojourned there (Daswan Dwar) and having enjoyed the glory thereof for a very long time, the spirit of this Faqir proceeded on, in accordance with the instruction of the Guides. After traversing five arab (one thousand million) and seventy five crore yojans upwards, the spirit entity affected ingress into the bounds of Hahoot and witnessed the panorama of that region. There the expanse of ten neel (one thousand million) is enveloped in darkness. Depth of this dark region cannot be fathomed. The spirit went down one kharab yojans, still the bottom was nowhere to be found. Then it (the spirit) turned up and proceeded on the path chalked out by Guru. It was not considered advisable to go down right to the bottom of this region. This region is called Maha-sunn. There are prison cells for the condemned spirits, ejected from the Court of the True Supreme Being. Although these spirits are not subjected to any trouble, and they perform their functions by their own light, yet, as they do not get the darshan of the Lord, they are restless. However, there is a way of their remission also. Whenever Sants happen to pass that way with the spirits reclaimed from the lower regions, some of these spirits fortunately get their Darshan. Such spirits go along with the Sants who very gladly take them to the Court of the Lord and get them pardoned."

To cross the abyss without such a guide is impossible according to the masters (Shiv Dayal Singh 1970), because the ascent is not Self-centered but God-centered involving the mauj (will/grace) of the Supreme Lord. In a sense, what we are witnessing is the ultimate surrender. First, the physical body has to be given up (sensory paralysis; out-of-body experience, etc.), then the lower and higher mind (in the stages of Sahas-dal-kanwal and Trikuti), and finally the soul itself (in Sach Khand), which is nothing but a mere bubble in the ocean of Infinity.

(Above is from, Enchanted Land, by David Lane, MSAC Philosophy Group)

Soami Ji Maharaj in Daswan Dwar and Exploring the Great Dark Void of Maha-Sunn -- From Another Translation of Sar Bachan

"Beyond this, there are innumerable palaces made of crystal (sheesh mehal) and diverse spirits inhabit them and are settled there in accordance with the allotments made by the Lord, and they see the peculiar mutual display which is so blissful, and in turn they also establish their own plays and sports. In Hindi, these spirits are described as 'circles of hamsas' (purified spirits). The engravings and the designs carved in these spheres are to be seen in order to be believed. The entire dispensation and workshop there is purely spiritual; it is not at all gross or material.

"Spirits dwelling there are characterized by excessive delicacy, subtlety, refinement and purity; they don't have a trace of physical coarseness (kasaafat) and impurity. The details of this sphere are known only to the faqirs. ['Full particulars of these regions are known only to Sants' -- Maheshwari translation.] To unfold more about it is not proper and advisable. For a long time the spirit of this faqir (i.e. Soamiji Maharaj Himself) sauntered and stayed there and then under instructions from the Teachers and Guides, moved ahead.

"Moving on and on, the spirit soared up about 5 arab (1 arab = 1 billion) and 75 crores (1 crore = 10 million) jojans (really incalculable height) and broke into the realm of Hahoot or Mahasunn (in Sar Bachan, Prose, Part I, para 13, the word Hahoot is used for Sunn, and not Maha-sunn) and sauntered around it. How shall I describe it? For ten billion miles (again, incalculable distance) there is utter darkness. How shall I describe its depth, except to say that for one kharab (1 kharab = 100 billion, i.e. incalculable extent) jojans, the soul descended and yet its bottom could not be discovered; then again it reversed and turned upward, and following the track pointed by the sages, the spirit treaded that path and then it was deemed improper to determine and find out the depth of this dark region.

"The surat then moved on..."

("The Quintessential Discourse Radhasoami" -- Sar Bachan Radhasoami, Poetry, Volume I, Translation by M. G. Gupta, M.A., D.Litt. Former Member of the Faculty of Political Science, Allahabad University, Huma Books, Agra)

"Soamiji in his Discourses has said that his surat descended into the dark regions of Maha-sunn but could neither locate the bottom or the end of it nor did it feel it worthwhile to go down any further. Thereafter, his surat [soul] adhering to the signs as revealed to him by his Gurus ascended upwards. Here Soamiji says that it was the inner Mercy of his Satguru Tulsi Saheb and that of Maharaj Girdhari Das Ji [a successor of Tulsi Sahib] whose Satsang he attended for a very long period of time."

(Sant Gharib Das, disciple in the inner circle of Soami Ji, commenting on the passage above in the book, "Anmol Bachan")

The Ascension of the Soul, Parts 4 and 5: From the Whirlpool Vortex to Sach Khand

The Ascension of the Soul into Interior Regions of Light and Sound, Parts 4 and 5: the Fourth Through the Eighth Heavens

Initiation Into the Mysteries by a Living Master

"Those who purify should bestow upon others from their abundance of purity their own holiness: those who illuminate, as possessing more luminous intelligence, duly receiving and again shedding forth the light, and joyously filled with holy brightness, should impart their own overflowing light to those worthy of it; finally, those who make perfect, being skilled in the mystical participations, should lead to that consummation those who are perfected by the most holy Initiation of the knowledge of holy things which they have contemplated." (The Celestial Hierarchy, by Dionysius the Areopagite)

"When I arrived, I opened a Path and taught people about the Way of Passage for those who are chosen and solitary, who have known the Father and have pursued Truth." (Yeshua, Dialogue of the Savior, a Gnostic Gospel in, The Nag Hammadi Library)

"The world has never been without a Living Master. Beneath all other impelling forces in the creation, spirituality is the primary cause. That, and that alone, is the driving force that always leaps up to join its Source. In every Living Being, from tiny plant up to man, the spiritual flame of life is struggling upward and onward toward its Source of Being, and this process and this struggle must go on until the last speck of dust returns to the central fires of Infinite Being.

"The message of the Masters fills the world with hope, and at the same time it offers a rational foundation for such hope. It not only tells people what they should do, but it offers them a definite method of doing it. In the march of the ages, cycle after cycle, in every planet where human beings reside, the great Masters are the Light-Bearers of that world. Until the end of the ages, they will remain the friends and saviors of those who struggle toward the Light." (Julian P. Johnson, Path of the Masters)

There are several techniques described, the specific details of which are taught to students of Sant Mat at the time of their deeksha (initiation) into the practice: 1) developing a daily routine, the habit of meditating at the same time or times each day; 2) proper posture so that one is truly focused at the Third Eye and remains alert and awake; 3) Manas Japa (Simran), a mantra repetition of a sacred word or words done mentally; 4) Manas Dhyan, the technique of mentally visualizing a form of God or one's spiritual master; 5) Drshti Yoga, the technique of focusing upon an Infinitesimal Point (Inner Light Meditation). This Point will eventually blossom into inner Light or visions of Light. One gazes into the middle of the darkness or the Light one sees while in meditation. One passes from scene to scene and vision to vision always looking toward the center; 6) Nada Sadhana (Surat Shabd Yoga, Inner Sound Meditation), the practice of inner spiritual hearing; and, 7th) reaching the State of Kaivalya: Oneness with the Supreme Being in the Pure Conscious Realm. The ultimate goal is to merge into the upper level of Kaivalya known as Sabdatita [Sabtatit] Pad – the State beyond the Sound, the Ultimate Reality of God in the Nirguna or Formless State, also described with terms such as Radhasoami (Lord of the Soul), Anami (The Nameless One), Anadi Purush (The Soundlessness One), and Ocean of Love.


Bhanwar Gupha

Whirling Cave Vortex

Ana-HU: "I Am He!" (in Sufism) -- So-Hang: "I Am That!" (in the Sant Tradition)

"The spirit, thereafter, went to Hootal Hoot, which, in Hindi, has been described as Bhanwar Gupha. There is a rotating swing here which all the time in subtle motion, and the spirits ever swing on it. All round, there are innumerable spiritual islands from which the sounds of 'Sohang Sohang' and 'Ana-Hoo Ana-Hoo' rise all the time. Spirit entities playfully and rapturously enjoy these sounds. Whiffs of scents of various kinds and sweet fragrance of sandal are enjoyed by the spirit there and the melodies of flutes are heard, while it proceeds onwards. Other characteristics of this region cannot be reduced to writing, as they can be realized by the spirit only when it reaches there after performing Abhyas [meditation practices]."

-- Shiv Dayal Singh, Hidayatnama (Esoteric Teachings, Sar Bachan Radhasoami Poetry, Book One)

Upon arriving in Bhanwar Gupha, the soul's nirat (power to see) and surat (capacity to hear) attain a state of satisfaction (Julian P. Johnson, 1953). This contentment, according to Shiv Dayal Singh's account, is due to perceiving a most intriguing and wondrous structure within the Rukmini tunnel in the entrance to the fourth region. Exactly what this sight is has not been explained by any Radhasoami saint in print. Like all experiences in the upper regions it must be encountered first-hand to be understood, not simply referenced in its decidedly mythological analogies. Bhanwar Gupha is the funnel of the entire creative process from Sach Khand downwards. Its very name exhibits the tremendous power inherent within the region: "whirling vortex". The lord of this realm is termed Sohang ("I Am That"), a descriptive-mantric term which implies a conscious intuition on the part of the soul with its higher identity.

The shabd currents in Bhanwar Gupha are so sweet and enchanting, according to the Saints, that souls live entirely off its invigorating nectar, desiring nothing but darshan of the presiding lord and the manifestations of light and sound. Kabir, the most famous of the medieval saints, describes in his writings (or, at least, those attributed to his pen) how hansas (pure spirits) live on spiritual dweeps (islands) with magnificent palaces for transmundane enjoyment. Faqir Chand, in his Yogic Philosophy of the Saints (1980), gives a more psychological interpretation of the meditator's experiences in the fourth region: "When in the course of meditation man reaches this state of Bhanwar-Gupha he experiences that there was none except his own self. This centre is compared with Bhanwar which means whirl. At this centre a wheel rotates like a cradle. It means that at this centre a wave springs out of the surat of the meditator and again merges in its own source, or say, it rotates around its own source and produces the sound of Sohang-Flute. The Shabd of this centre is so effective that the meditator enjoys the pleasure of being one with the Supreme Soul."

(The Section Above is from the Book, "Enchanted Land", by David Lane, MSAC Philosophy Group)


Nirvana -- Kaivalya -- Oneness -- Sach Khand -- The True Eternal Realm Divided Into Four Sub-sections:

5) Sat Lok (True Realm), Sat Naam (True Name), Sat Purush (True Original Being)

6) Alakh Lok (Invisible Realm),

7) Agam Lok (Inaccessible Realm, Nearness,)

8) Anami (Nameless Realm), Radhasoami Lok -- Radhaswami Dham -- The Abode of the Lord of the Soul, The Most High, Ultimate Reality, "The Eighth" -- Ocean of Love -- Upper Level of Kaivalya known as Shabdatita [Sabtatit] Pad -- Beyond the Sound and Light, the Ultimate Reality of God in the Nirguna or Formless, Soundless State

"On crossing this place, the spirit entity reached the outpost of Sat Lok, where melodious sounds of 'Sat Sat' and 'Haq Haq' were heard as though coming out of vina (harp). On hearing this, the spirit penetrated further on rapturously. There rose to view the silver and golden streams full of nectar, and vast gardens, each tree thereof is  one crore yojans in height, and crores of suns and moons hang from them as flowers and fruits. Innumerable spirits and Hansas sing, chatter, and play on those trees like birds. The wondrous beauty of this region is ineffable. While enjoying it, the spirit entered Sat Lok and came into the presence of Sat Purush. Now as regards the glory of the person of Sat Purush, each hair of His is so brilliant that crores of suns and moons look pale in comparison. How may one describe His eyes, nose, ears, face, hands, and feet; They are all nothing but refulgence, even to describe them as oceans of light does not give the remotest idea adequately. After witnessing the glory of this region the spirit proceeded on to Alakh Lok and got darshan of Alakh Purush. Thereafter the spirit entity went on and attained Agam Lok. The spirit entity sojourned there a long time and on going beyond, it got the darshan of Radhasoami, that is, Anami Purush, and merged in Him. Radhasoami Dham is boundless, infinite, endless and immeasurable. It is the Nij Sthan, the special resting place of Sants (Faqirs). That region is the Ultima Thule of all Sants, and all speech and description end here."

-- Shiv Dayal Singh, Hidayatnama (Esoteric Teachings, Sar Bachan Radhasoami Poetry, Book One)

Though it has been a long time coming, the soul after traversing the lower realms finally reaches its real home, Sach Khand (true region), where even the subtlest duality between the spirit and God are transcended. The Supreme Being, Sat-Chit-Ananda (Truth, Existence, Bliss), is found in Its pure form only in this region, the saints stress. All of the previous planes of existence are but reflections of this infinite abode (Shiv Dayal Singh, 1970).

On being admitted to Sat Purush's court, the soul revels in delight, for the inner guru has delivered what he promised: God realization. However, a curious thing happens when the student beholds the Supreme Lord for the first time; the guru is seen as not different from Sat Purush, but rather they are one and inseparable. All along it was not just a human being or an inner spirit guiding the yearning soul but, according to the Saints, the Absolute itself.

Now, at this crucial transformation, the student realizes the Supreme Truth that he/she is also not separate from the divine master or the Lord but in eternal unity with them. This enlightenment, unlike the partial glimpses of insight in the intermediary realms, is permanent and lasting; it is the very root of all manifestations, projections, and creations. One without a second; infinity without measure.

Although Sach Khand is the last and final stage, according to the Saints, there are three further levels within it of intensification: alakh (invisible), agam (inaccessible), and anami (nameless). Upon merging with Sat Purush, the spirit is taken up further into the very depths of the Absolute, experiencing what no words or approximations can adequately describe. Shiv Dayal Singh (1970) says it is but "wonder, wonder, wonder; wonder hath assumed a form." Faqir Chand, in this usual iconoclastic manner, describes the highest state as follows: "Beyond Agam is only realization. I do know that there is something in me that listens to the Supreme Shabd. What is that? That I do not know... I used to listen to bells, thunders, and vina, but now I listen only to one sound, which is an unbreakable tune, about which I cannot say any word. It is what it is. Now at this age of ninety two years I do not care for the Sound and Light too. Why? Because Light is seen by Me (Sat Purush/Anami) and Sound is heard by Me. Then who is great? Light or Sound or He who sees it and listens to it? So far, my realization is concerned, the bubble will merge in the ocean. Light will merge in the Light...." (Faqir Chand, 1978)

According to the Saints it should be remembered that Sat Purush is not some mysterious God which is vastly greater than our limited selves. Rather, it is, in the most profound sense, our very beings. We are not less than it, nor greater than it... we are it. No subject, no object, just pure unqualified Being in an Ocean of Infinite Creative Power. It may appear that the Master and God are separate from the disciple, but in truth they are but expressions of the same Whole, the same One (Charan Singh, 1979).

(The Section Above is from the Book, "Enchanted Land", by David Lane, MSAC Philosophy Group)

"In summary, one grasps the central Sounds of the lower realms and progressively is drawn upward to the Sounds of the higher realms. Ultimately, one reaches the center of the Original Sound, the Essential Divine Sound, and thereafter attains the Ultimate State, Sabdatita [Sabtatit] Pad (the State beyond the Sound). The Yoga of Sound [Surat Shabd Yoga Meditation] must be practiced in order to attain the Nameless State. This is fully elaborated and described in the Upanishads and literature of the saints. The Yoga of Sound is the only medium to reach this State, no other. The greatest good is in the attainment of the Ultimate State, the Nameless State." (Maharshi Mehi Paramhans, Philosophy Of Liberation)

"The State beyond Sound is acknowledged in the writings of saints as the goal of their teachings. In addition, their writings accept Manas Japa (repetition of a Divine name [simran]), Manas Dhyan (concentration on a form of the Divine), Drshti Yoga (fixing the mind on a Point [accessing the Third Eye Center and inner Light]) and Nada-nusandhana (concentrating on the inner Sounds of the different spheres) as means to reach the Soundless State. These four techniques are therefore essential in Sant Mat." (Maharshi Mehi Paramhans, Philosophy Of Liberation)

It is All Love, So Says Radhasoami

In the Sar Bachan are hymns of praise, conversational prayers directed towards the Friend, the Beloved, the Object of his Communion, the Lover of his soul: the Merciful Lord of the Soul: Radhasoami Dayal. In this loving context of devotional Bhakti, mystical experiences (Surat Shabd Yoga, Divine Light and Sound of God) take the devotee-soul upon an interior journey beyond illusion, beyond time and duality, to an Ultimate Reality, the Ocean of Love, Soami Ji Maharaj describes as "Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent with attributes of Grace, Mercy, Love, Bliss and Peace."

Says Soami Ji: "I hear the sonorous sounds of bell and conch-shell which resonate and reverberate (in Sahasdal Kanwal), and I hear the melodious and wondrous sounds of been (harp in Sat Lok) and flute (or bansuri in Bhanwar Gupha). The tune and rhythm of drums (mridang) and fiddle, reverberations and the sound of kettledrum and tabor resonates every moment. The ambrosial rain falls in a thousand currents and the heavenly sphere (gagan mandal) revolves like a wheel. I go round and round (ghoomland), losing all my strength and ego and becoming utterly humble and dependent upon the Lord, so that the sheen of my doxology becomes intense and scintillating. The atmosphere that is created beggars description, and all the satsangis (initiates, gathering of devotees) join together in singing the doxology. Diamonds and rubies are being showered all around as propitiatory offering; the strings of pearls and quartz are being interwoven.

"I behold Radhasoami every moment. I have now completed this doxology! 0 Lord! Confer upon me your grace (prasad) which basically is ambrosia (and which will immortalize me, putting me beyond the ken of decay, decline and death). I am now unfurling the banner (flag) of love in the Heavenly Spheres of Three Prominences (Trikuli or Gagan) where the resonance of anhad shabd emanates from the Inaccessible Sphere.

"In those islands, the lakes of ambrosia are full to the brim and the hamsas there have the glimpses of Sat Purush for their nourishment (substance that nourishes; food, nutrient). There every time, there is a new sport (lila); how shall I speak of the majesty and grandeur thereof? Beyond that, the Alakh (Invisible) Sphere has been carved out, and there the surat goes, abandoning the non-Self ('I-ness' or ego or aapaa).

"How shall I admire the splendour and lustre of Alakh Purush? Billions and trillions of moons and suns feel humble and humiliated and are put to shame for they are all surpassed by the glory of Alakh Purush and feel disgraced. The surat acquires such a brilliant form there that crores of suns cannot do justice to its mien and beautiful aspect (chhabi).

"Then the surat steps forward and goes to perceive the Agam Lok (the Inaccessible Sphere). The sheen and lustre (shobha) of the Inaccessible Purush is peculiar, wholly distinct, for His brilliance and shine excels the light of trillions of suns.

"Beyond that is the Nameless One (Purush Anami), who is called as indescribable and Infinite (akeh and apaar). None can go there save the saints, who have termed it their own, original, eternal abode. 0 Lord (Soami)!

"Radhasoami, I adore and adulate you, for you have revealed to me the Mystery."

Swami Ji Maharaj says, "From one step to another the soul beholds strange things which cannot be described in human language. Every region and everything is utterly beyond words. What beauty and glory! How can I describe them? There is nothing here to convey the idea. I am helpless... Love plays the supreme part. It is all love. So says RADHASOAMI." (Sant Radhasoami Sahib)

Ingredients of a Living Spiritual Path -- Gnostic-Sant Mat Parallels 

In the Corpus Hermeticum and Nag Hammadi scriptures are/were described all of the ingredients of a living, viable mystical path:

1) living masters/teachers with students (past masters, scrolls, cuneiform tablets or old scriptures are not enough; a living guide is required);

2) a cosmology of several heavens/inner regions/planes/spheres;

3) an understanding that souls can access these realms here and now during this present life (a present-tense Kingdom of Heaven available to souls right now, not a spirituality postponed till some magical date on a calendar or hypothesized future age);

4) an initiation into the mysteries of the heavens, imparting to spiritual seekers the meditation techniques and sacred names;

5) visionary and auditory mysticism (inner Light and Sound, spiritual seeing and hearing) -- descriptions of souls traveling within through various inner regions;

6) they have an ethical code, and this ethical foundation includes a vegetarian diet, then and now;

7) The Goal of the teachings and meditation practice is experiencing direct union with God.

The Goal of Sant Mat Spirituality and Meditation: Our Path Back to the Source -- The Inward Journey Back to God

Sant Mat (the path and teachings as taught and practiced by Saints [Sant Satgurus]) delineates the path of union of soul with God. The teachings of the saints explain the re-uniting as follows:

"The individual soul has descended from the higher worlds [the Realm of the Divine] to this city of illusion, bodily existence. It has descended from the Soundless State to the essence of Sound, from that Sound to Light, and finally from the realm of Light to the realm of Darkness. The qualities (dharmas, natural tendencies) of the sense organs draw us downward and away from our true nature.

"The nature of the soul (atman) draws us upwards and inwards and establishes us in our own true nature. Returning to our origins involves turning inward: withdrawal of consciousness from the senses and the sense objects in order to go upward from the darkness to the realms of Light and Sound. [We experience this phenomenon of withdrawal as we pass from waking consciousness to deep sleep.] Another way to express this is to go inward from the external sense organs to the depth of the inner self. (Both of these expressions are the metaphors that signify the same movement). The natural tendencies of the soul (atman) are to move from outward to inward. The current of consciousness which is dispersed in the nine gates of the body and the senses, must be collected at the tenth gate.

"The tenth gate is the gathering point of consciousness. Therein lies the path for our return. The tenth gate is also known as the sixth chakra, the third eye, bindu, the center located between the two eyebrows. This is the gateway through which we leave the gates of the sense organs and enter in the divine realms and finally become established in the soul. We travel back from the Realm of Darkness to the Realm of Light, from the Light to the Divine Sound, and from the Realm of Sound to the Soundless State. This is called turning back to the Source.

"This is what dharma or religion really intends to teach us. This is the essence of dharma." (Swami Santsevi Ji Maharaj, Harmony Of All Religions)

Also See: Charts of the Heavens -- Inner Regions -- Planes -- Levels -- Spheres of Creation According to Sant Mat: