Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Number of the Beast

Woe to you, Oh Earth and Sea, for the Devil sends the
beast with wrath, because he knows the time is short...(Revelation, 12:12)

Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the
beast for it is a human number, its number is Six hundred and
sixty six. (Revelation, 13:18)

The Gnostics described two types of Christian: the psychic (psychic = of the psyche/mind) and the pneumatic (of the Spirit).  Psychic Christians were also known as "animal" Christians.  In India, Lord Shiva is known as Pashupati, Lord of the Creatures.  Those who are liberated from delusion identify themselves with the Lord.  Those who are bound to the illusory notion of "I" as distinct from "an other" are referred to as "pashu", an animal/creature. Essentially, the categorization boils down to a person operating either from their more bestial/material nature or their more spiritual nature.  The Gnostics were hip to spiritual materialism and called those who fell into that trap on it or, at least, acknowledged it in speaking among themselves.

Who is the devil?

And he [Jesus] said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. (Luke, 10:18)

  • Lightning = Baraq (Strong's Hebrew Dictionary, #1299, 1300)

  • High Place = Bamah (Ibid, #1116)

  • Conjunction = Waw or Vau, transliterated as "O" or "U"

  • Baraq O'Bamah = Lightning falling from the heights

Thus, one of a handful of probable strings of syllables actually uttered by Jesus in describing Satan is "Baraq O'Bamah".

And he [Jesus] said unto them, I beheld Satan as Barack Obama.
"Thank you, Satan!" (Barack Obama)

Did Jesus predict the name of the Antichrist?  Is this just wishful thinking on the part of Mr. Obama?  Maybe the answer is something even weirder.  

The primary characteristic of those under dominion of the Rider-Waite Tarot Devil is their bondage.  Note the number XV at the top, or 15 if you prefer.  Numerologically speaking, 15 = 1+5 = 6.

In Yoga philosophy, Māyā (illusion) is also known as "The World".  Author, Scott Onstott has undertaken unprecedented inventory of earth measurements and found frequently recurring motifs, which imply 'the hidden order of the universe'.  What's more, he's made his compelling data immediately and intuitively accessible by rendering it into viscerally appealing works of art.  666 is one of these motifs, literally embedded into the very framework of the world itself.

Devil Inside

So, based on what we've seen so far, I think it is safe to say that, in a sense, "Satan" is encoded into the earth.  The Bible concurs on this point, calling Satan "The god of this world" (2 Corinthians, 4:4), "The prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians, 2:2), and "the ruler of this world" (John, 12:31).  According to the Vedas and Purānas, we are presently in the age of Kālī, where darkness and ignorance prevail.  The Guru Gītā says that Māyā is intrinsic to the body (sloka 10 [SYDA version]).  The point that I would hope that people take away from this exercise is that sin is, very simply, to look for happiness outside of oneself rather than trying to find it by looking inward.  The prevailing tendency, especially in this age, is for the individual's attention to be directed outward, because of the association with the world and the body.

The Yogi's Seat

This brings up a practical consideration for all you meditators out there: the phenomenon of the yogi's seat in yogic literature.  Krishna covers the subject in the Bhagavad Gītā, the sage Suta discusses the subject at even greater length in the Guru Gītā.  It has been addressed by more contemporary yogis like Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh and Yogi Bhajan.  Between all of these sources, a great number of good candidates for the yogi's seat have been proposed.  Others have been rejected.  Cloth, wood, and stone are all poor choices according to the Guru Gītā.  Antelope, deer, tiger, and sheep skins, certain types of grass, and wool are the more desirable ones that leap to mind.  In an essay by Swami Sivananda whose name I can't recall, in discussing this same topic, he relates that the reason for giving such consideration to what to sit on in meditation and jāpa (mantra repitition) is to insulate the body from "subtle earth currents".  

My meditation seat: A wool blanket, atop a wool-stuffed meditation cushion, atop a mat made of kusha grass

Archetypal Forces

Vidya & Avidya (Knowledge & Ignorance)

 In the terminology of the non-dual philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism, Consciousness-absolute (God if you prefer) is called, Shiva.

This symbol represents Shiva as the cosmic (micro & macro) "Dancing Lord" (Nātarāja).  He is constantly engaged in dancing the universe into and out of creation.

Shiva has five functions: Creation, Sustenance, Dissolution, Concealment, and Grace.


According to Kashmir Shaivism, everything is Shiva only.  Consciousness is everything.  There is nothing that is not God.  Shiva creates everything that exists by willingly accepting limitation, for the sake of experiencing his own manifold nature.  He does this by subjecting himself to his own power of Concealment.  This is a subtle force, a power, his shakti.  It causes the infinite, eternal, undivided, Consciousness-absolute to forget its own true nature as such, but allows the opportunity of an individual experience.  A rock is one such individual.  So is a blade of grass, as is a human being.

This force manifests in the world numerically as 6 or 666.  It manifests as the concept of the Devil or Satan.  As I mentioned earlier, the force is similarly maligned in certain streams of Eastern thought, who have dubbed it "Māyā", which is regarded as unreal and an illusion.  The reason for this is that the seeming existence as a worldly individual equates to suffering.  But it is really just a process, mandated by Divine Will, which allows something to be born of no-thing; for Oneness to birth the realm of duality.  Thinking of it in these terms, it is easy to understand why Jesus would describe it as 'Lightning falling from the heavens'. 

Therefore, it is not surprising to me that people who are subject to the notion of individuality would anthropomorphize this force and demonize it.  Furthermore, since Consciousness is everything, I am not surprised that this force constantly shows up in one from or another.  From the world being patterned upon variations of the number six, to a temporal leader who is very much caught up in worldliness repeatedly and unwittingly uttering, in his acceptance speech no less, three syllables which reveal a message thanking this force by name when reversed.


On the flipside, this force is balanced by giving the individual an out, in the form of Grace.  By Shiva's power of Grace, the individual can transcend the very limitation of their own individuality and remember the Unity that underlies it; which is each and every individual's own essential nature.  the individual goes from being the pashu (animal) to Pashupati (Lord of the Creatures).  The jīva (individual) becomes Shiva.  Shava (a corpse) becomes Shiva.  When the individual becomes One with everything in this way, the result is, 'the Peace which passeth understanding'.  The karma engendered by sins, which bind the individual to desire for some things and a desire to avoid others, is burned away.  Everything in the world is only the Self at this point and, thus, is sublimely beautiful; welcome.  The symptom of the fruition of this state is unshakeable equanimity.  This at-One-ment, if you will, is the true atonement for our sins.  

The tradition of Kashmir Shaivism unfailingly reverberates with the chorus, "The Guru is the means" (Shiva Sutras, 2:6).  

I pay homage to that wonderful speech of my Guru, which is like a boat for crossing the fathomless ocean of doubt and is full of words, which yield wonderful meaning.   (Stanzas on Vibration, IV:1)

Although Consciousness is one's true nature, the force of obscuration does not allow one to easily come out from under its dominion.  Being entrenched in the habit of thinking and acting as one who is subject to the force of Concealment, the individual's instincts tend to keep him or her entrenched in this way.  Thus, Rāmana Mahāṛshi said that, for such an individual, the external Guru is necessary also.  The internal Guru manifests the external Guru for the sake of the seeker.  When the external Guru is found, he gives a push to turn inward and also causes attention to be pulled inward by the internal Guru.  

What Rāmana is describing is called shaktipat, the transmission of Grace.  "The Guru is the Grace-bestowing power of God" (Swami Muktananda).  This is a literal (but subtle) force which sends attention inward rather than outward; toward Oneness as opposed to diversity; which bestows spiritual desires rather than animal ones.  If there has been any tendency in a person's life toward these themes, that is Grace in itself.  However, a relationship with the outer Guru basically cranks up the heat as high as it will go.  It is, in essence "....Jumping out of the pan and into the fire." (Guruji).

As an interesting aside, the day that I received mantra deeksha (initiation), I was constantly having syncs with the numbers 7 and 11, among other noteworthy phenomena.  You can read about that HERE.

At any rate, these opposing forces, while often maligned and cast as "good" and "evil" are, according to Kashmir Shaivism, merely the  sport of Shiva: the play of Consciousness (Chit-Shakti Vilas).  It is the Divine Sport, Drama, Comedy, and Tragedy all at the same time.  Consciousness is all-encompassing, indivisible Unity.  It is infinite potential, but unmanifest, similar to the manner in which all parts of a tree are contained, yet unmanifest, within its seed.  "Evil" isn't really evil, it is simply ignorance, which can be dispelled.

If you are interested in receiving what the Guru has to offer, feel free to contact me.  My job as a Swami is to help make this accessible to those who desire this Grace in their lives.  Our work is free of charge.  This is a labor of love.  Finally, if the subject matter interests you, I am currently working on a new translation and commentary on a scripture known as the Guru Gītā, which is the most exhaustive treatise on the matter that there is.  

If man is 5, then the devil is 6, and God is 7.  This monkey's gone to Heaven.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

It's Your Birthday

So yesterday I stopped at a grocery store on my way to go hiking in the mountains.  There was an old lady right outside the door talking to a little girl.  They were talking about her age and I heard the old lady say, "You'll be in school soon!"  To which the adult who the girl was with said, "She had her first day of school today!"  The old lady responded with, "Happy birthday!"  That struck me as an odd response as I walked through the door to the store.

 Immediately upon entering the store, about five steps in, I heard a completely different person (at the customer service desk) say, "Happy belated birthday!"  The timing made this stand out in my mind right away and I thought, "OK, what's going on here right now?"

At the end of the day, my wife and I dropped a load of stuff off at the Goodwill near where we are staying.  She  spotted a pile of stuff that somebody had left near another thrift store that just closed its doors, so we went to check it out.  I had recently decided that I needed some clothes for job interviews.  When I got there, I found a garbage bag full of clothes that are exactly my midget size.  This might not seem like a big deal to you.  If that's the case, you're obviously not a 5'5'' grown man.

I was reminded of birthdays as a young kid, when you get all the stuff you need -- a year's worth of socks, underwear, and pants -- but none of the toys you were asking for. LOL.  So, "Happy birthday to me," I thought.  (It isn't literally my birthday for the record)

This begged the question, "So to whom do I owe these thanks?"

That's when I pulled this out of the bag:

And was reminded of the 1008 names of God. (There wasn't a phone in the box)

I don't know if there's a more clear way that the universe could tell a person that they are being Divinely taken care of, kept in a safe way, if you will.  Thank you, Sri Ganesha. OM Gam Ganapataye Namaha!