Wisdom of the Ancients - (Originally published in 1965) the second of two self training books into metaphysics. In this book Lobsang explains the meaning of many occult words in an understandable format for Western People. More exercises on breathing, stones, diets and why you shouldn't exercise.
It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
The Lady Ku’ei
who taught me
and always encouraged me !
Table of CONTENTS
Table of CONTENTS 3
WHAT THIS BOOK IS 4
From A to Z 4
SUPPLEMENT A :
SUPPLEMENT B :
SUPPLEMENT C :
THE STUFF WE EAT ! 117
SUPPLEMENT D :
EXERCISES (Why you should NOT exercise) 124
“KINDNESS TO PUBLISHERS” DEPARTMENT 125
WHAT THIS BOOK IS
Such a lot of people like to have big words. Such a lot of people mess up the whole thing when they go in for Big Words.
I like small words. It is so much easier to say what one means with small words. After all, if we are going to read a book in English, or Spanish, we do not normally need Sanskrit or Hindustani or Chinese words. However, some people like Big Words.
This is an honest attempt to give you a Dictionary of certain words, and to go into some detail about the meanings. In some instances the meaning could well constitute a monograph.
Monograph ? MONOGRAPH ? What is a monograph ? A short essay on one subject will explain it.
But let us get on with our little Dictionary because that is what you will be interested in. I thought that first of all I should say — Just A Word !
From A to Z
We will start with the letter A. I cannot think of any which comes before, so the first word is :
ABHINIVESHA : This indicates possessiveness restricted to a love of life on Earth. It is an attachment to the things of life and a fear of death because of the loss of possessions which that will bring. Misers love their money, and they fear death because death will part them from their money. To those who suffer from this particular complaint I will say that no one has yet succeeded in taking even a penny into the next life !
ABSTINENCES : We have to abstain, or refrain from doing, certain things if we are to progress on the road to spirituality. We must refrain or abstain from injuring others ; we must refrain from telling lies. Theft — we must avoid theft because it is altering the material balance of another person if we steal from them. Sensuality ? That is an impure form of sex, and while pure sex can elevate one, sensuality can ruin one spiritually as well as financially !
Greed is a thing of which we should not be guilty. Mankind is lent money or abilities in order that we may help others. If we are greedy and refuse to help in case of genuine need, then we may be sure that help will be refused us in time of need.
If one can honour the Five Abstinences — abstention from injuring others, abstention from lies, abstention from theft, abstention from sensuality, and abstention from greed, then one can be at peace with the world, although it does not follow that the world can be at peace with one.
ACHAMANA : This is a rite practiced by those of the Hindu belief. It is a rite in which a worshipper purifies himself by thinking of pure things while sipping water and sprinkling water around him. In some ways it is similar to the sprinkling of water during a Christian ceremony. The Hindu, having done this, can then retire into a peaceful state of meditation.
ACHARYA : This is a word for a spiritual teacher, or, if you prefer it, a Guru. Acharya is frequently a suffix to the name of some revered religious teacher.
ADHARMA : This indicates lack of virtue, lack of righteousness. The poor fellow probably does not abstain from any of the Five Abstinences.
AGAMA : A Scripture, or in Tibet a Tantra. It can be used to indicate any work which trains one in mystical or metaphysical worship.
AGAMI KARMA : This is the correct term for Karma. It means that the physical and mental acts performed by one in the body affect one's future incarnations. In the Christian Bible there is a statement that as one sows so shall one reap, which is much the same as saying that if you sow the seeds of wickedness then you shall reap wickedness, but if you sow the seeds of good and help for others then the same shall be returned to you ‘a thousandfold.’ Such is Karma.
AHAMKARA : The mind is divided into various parts, and Ahamkara is the sort of traffic director which receives sense impressions and establishes them as the form of facts which we know, and which we can call to mind at will.
AHIMSA : This was the policy followed by Gandhi, a policy of peace, of non-violence. It is refraining from harming any other creature in thought, deed, or word. It is, in fact, another way of saying, ‘Do as you would be done by.’
AI : The shortest known way of saying equal love for all without discrimination as to race, creed, colour, or form. When we are capable of truly fulfilling the meaning of the word Ai, then we do not have to stay on this world any longer, because we are too pure to stay here any longer.
AJAPA : This is a special Mantra. The Easterner believes that breath goes out with the sound of ‘AJ,’ and is taken in with the sound ‘SA.’ Hansa is the sound of human breathing. ‘HA,’ breath going out ; ‘N’ as a conjunction ; ‘SA,’ breath coming in. We make that subconscious sound fifteen times in one minute, or twenty-one thousand six hundred times in twenty-four hours. Animals also have their own particular rate ; a cat does it twenty-four times a minute, a tortoise three times a minute.
Some people consider that the Ajapa Mantra is also an unconscious, or rather, a sub-conscious prayer, which means ‘I am That.’
AJNA CHAKRA : This is the sixth of the commonly accepted figure of seven of the known Yogic centres of consciousness. Actually there are nine such centres, but that would be delving too deeply into Tibetan lore to explain here.
Ajna chakra is the Lotus at the eyebrow level, a Lotus, in this case, with only two petals. This is a part of the sixth-sense mechanism. It leads to clairvoyance, internal vision, and knowledge of the world beyond this world.
AKASHA : Many people refer to this as ether, but a rather better definition would be — that which fills all space between worlds, molecules, and everything. The matter from which everything else is formed.
It should be remembered that this matter is common throughout our own planetary system, but it does not at all follow that other universes have the same form of matter. You can say that the human body consists of blood cells, flesh cells, and, yet in a different part, bone cells.
AKASHIC : This is usually used when referring to the Akashic Record.
It is difficult to explain to a three-dimensional world that which is an occurrence in a more multi-dimensional world, but it may be regarded like this :
Imagine that you are a cine photographer who has always existed and will always exist, and you have an unlimited supply of film (and someone to process it for you !). From the beginning of time you have photographed everything that ever happened anywhere to anyone and everyone. You are still photographing events of the present day. That represents the Akashic Record ; everything that has ever happened is impressed upon the ether as are light impulses recorded on cine film, or a voice record can be impressed upon recording tape.
In addition to this, because of the multi-dimensional world in which it is recorded, there also can be recorded the very strong probabilities which affect everyone on Earth and off the Earth. You can imagine that you are in a city ; you are on a street, a car is coming along, it passes you, and it disappears from your sight, you have no knowledge of what is happening to it. But supposing, instead, that you were up in a balloon and you could look down and you could see the road for miles ahead. You could see the car rushing along, and you could see perhaps an obstacle in the road which the car would not be able to avoid. Thus you would see misfortune coming to that driver before he was aware of it. Or you can regard the case of the timetable : Timetables are issued indicating the probability that a train or a bus, a ship or a plane, will leave at a certain time from a certain place, and according to the timetable, which is merely a record of probabilities, will arrive at a certain place at a certain time. In nearly every instance the vehicle does arrive.
When considering the Akashic Record it is worth remembering that if you could travel instantly to a far distant planet and you had a very special instrument, the light which was arriving from the Earth (light has a speed, remember) might show what was happening on Earth a hundred, a thousand, or ten thousand years ago. With your special instrument you would be able to see the Earth as it was a thousand years ago.
The Akashic Record goes beyond that because it shows the strong probability of what is going to happen. The probabilities confronting a nation are very much stronger, are much more certain, than in the case of individuals, and those people who are specially trained can enter the astral state and they can consult the Akashic Record to see what has happened, what is happening in any part of the world, and what are the terrifically strong probabilities for the future. It is very much, in fact, like going to some news theatre and seeing a film. If you know from the program what film is on at a certain time you can go and see just that.
ANAHATA CHAKRA : The symbolism of this Chakra is The Wheel or The Lotus. The symbolism of the East refers to it as a stylised Wheel, which is also a stylised Lotus. In Tibet it is The Lotus only.
This is a Chakra at the level of the heart. It has twelve petals of a golden colour. When one can see the aura one can observe that sometimes the gold is tinged with red, at other times it will be streaked or flecked with a dark blue showing the different moods, and the different stages of evolution of the person.
Below this Anahata centre is another manifestation of The Lotus, one with an eight-petal arrangement which stirs and waves slightly when one does meditation. It stirs and waves like the sea anemone which we can see in an aquarium.
When one can see the aura, one can see the rays of light which make it resemble The Flowering Lotus or The Wheel, depending upon one’s sense of imagery, the mechanical or horticultural.
The Anahata Chakra is the fourth of the seven commonly known Yogic centres of consciousness. Actually, as already stated previously, there are more than seven.
ANAHATA SHABDA : This means a sound which is not an actually perceived sound. Instead, it is an impression of sound which is often heard during meditation when one has reached a certain stage. The sound, of course, is that of the Mantra Om.
ANANDA : Pure joy. Joy and pleasure unalloyed by material concepts. It indicates the bliss and happiness which one experiences when one can get out of the body consciously and be aware of the absolute rapture of being free, even for a time, from the cold and desolate clay sheath which is the human body on Earth.
ANATMA : The renaming of this is ‘This is the World of Illusion.’ Upon this world, this Earth, we think that only material things matter. People grub in the dirt for money, and pile up masses of money (some of them !). No one has ever taken a single penny into the next life, but they still rush after the material things which we leave when we depart from this world.
ANGAS : An indication of things which one must obey in order to progress in spiritual rather than physical Yoga. One must progress and correctly observe meditation, breath control, advanced meditation, and contemplation. One must also specifically remember the Golden Rule which means — Do as you would be done by.
ANNAMAYAKOSHA : That big word just means the physical sheath or body which encases the spirit. When one is coming back into the physical body after being consciously in the astral one does not even use such a word as that to express one’s feelings of the cold and clammy mess into which one must painfully clamber, one uses a much worse word. But — Annamayakosha is the technical word.
ANTAHKARANA : Eastern philosophy, Vedanta philosophy, uses this word when referring to the mind as it is used in controlling a physical body.
APANA : Some of the words of the far, far East are remarkably explicit in their meanings. Sanskrit is not bound by the conventions of many Western languages. We cannot always use precisely the same meanings, so let us just put down the meaning of Apana as all that which has to do with excretion, the various orifices, processes, etc.
In the aura appropriately enough it appears as a dark red, or dark-brown red, colour which swirls and twists and then spreads out like a turgid pool.
APARIGRAHA : This is the fifth of the Abstinences. It indicates that one should take the Middle Way in all things, being not too good but not too bad, avoiding extremes and being balanced.
ARHAT : This is one who has attained to a perfect understanding of that which is beyond life. It indicates that one has discarded the ideas that :
1. The body is important.
2. Uncertainty about the correct Path to take.
3. Dependence upon rigid rules.
4. Likings arising from an imperfect memory of a past life.
5. Dislikings arising from an imperfect memory of a past life.
ASANA : This is a posture, or sitting position, and is used when preparing to meditate.
The Great Masters never laid down fixed rules about how one should sit, they merely stated that one should be comfortable and at ease, but since those times various people who are not by any means Great Masters have tried to create a sensation, tried to increase their own self-advertised status by ordering that their Yogic students should indulge in all sorts of ridiculous and fantastic contortions.
The only thing you have to do in order to meditate is to sit comfortably, and then you are definitely in the correct position. It does not matter if you sit with your legs crossed, or your legs straight out or straight down, so long as you are comfortable that is all that is required in the posture.
ASAT : All those things which are unreal or illusory. This is the World of Illusion, the world of unreality. The World of the Spirit is the real world.
The opposite of Asat is Sat, that is, those things which are real.
ASHRAMA : This means a place wherein Teacher and pupils reside. Often it is used to denote a hermitage, but it can also be used to indicate the four main stages into which life on Earth is divided. Those stages are :
1. The celibate student.
2. A married person who thus is not celibate. The person does not have to be a student.
3. Retirement and contemplation.
4. The monastic life, and monastic, you may like to be reminded, indicates a solitary life.
ASMITA : Conceit, egoism, and the puffed-up pride of the unevolved human. As a person evolves Asmita disappears.
ASTEYA : A name for the third of the Abstinences. The third of the Abstinences exhorts one not to steal, and when one is warned not to steal it means that you must not steal in thought nor in deed, nor must you covet the property of another person.
ASTRAL : This is a term which is generally used to indicate the place or condition that one reaches when one is out of the body. It is a place where one can meet one's friends who have passed over after leaving the body in so-called death, and who are waiting to make plans so that they may reincarnate.
The astral world could be considered as corresponding roughly to the Christian Paradise, a place which is an in-between place, a meeting-place, but not the ultimate Heaven.
ASTRAL TRAVELLING : When a person lays down to rest the physical mechanism of the body becomes quiescent. The physical functions slow down, but the astral form, or Soul or Ego, or Atman, does not rest in the body but goes out of the body into the astral plane.
One can liken it to this ; when one goes to bed one takes off one's day clothes and lays aside the day clothes. In the same way the astral body lays aside the flesh body as we lay aside the clothing of the day.
It is worth noting that there are various planes, or stages, of the astral world. One can do astral travelling and travel from one's country of origin or country of residence to various parts of the physical world ; one can go from England to Australia, or Australia to China, or anywhere like that. It depends on what one has to do, how one uses one's astral time.
A person who is very evolved and perhaps is living his last life on Earth is busy always in the astral, and the more evolved a person, the farther he travels in the astral.
Astral travelling is easy provided one practices. It needs practice only, or perhaps one should say, practice and patience. All animals can do it, as all animals can do clairvoyance and telepathy.
It should also be mentioned here that the Paradise of the astral world can, in some instances, be purgatory for those who have misbehaved on the Earth ! People meet in the astral and plan what they are going to do in the physical. Unfortunately, so many people forget their wondrous intentions and do only that which suits them.
It is recommended that one practices astral travelling because it is the most stupendously wonderful feeling that one can imagine to rise up at the end of one's Silver Cord, and watch the cities of the Earth beneath one's gaze, and then perhaps soar into space and look at other worlds. Or if one deserts the physical world completely one can go into the metaphysical worlds, and see and talk with friends who have gone on before.
ATMA : Some people call it Atman. Vedantic philosophy regards the Atma or Atman as the overriding spirit, the Overself, the Ego, or the Soul.
AURA : Just as a magnet has lines of force about it so has the body lines of force, but these are lines of force in different colours, covering a wider range of colours than human sight could ever see without the aid of clairvoyant abilities.
The auric colours flare out from the most important centres of the body, and unite to form a swirling egg-shaped mass with the blunt end of the egg at the top.
A good aura can extend for perhaps six feet from its possessor.
A trained clairvoyant by seeing the colours of the aura can detect incipient illness or disease. Later there will be instruments for seeing the aura in colour (so that the non-clairvoyant can see it, that is), and by applying a suitable heterodyne signal, defective shades of the aura will be cured of illness.
The aura must not be confused with the etheric, which we will see under E.
AVASTHAS : A word descriptive of the three states of consciousness which are :
1. The waking state, during which one is in the body more or less conscious of things going on about one.
2. The dream world, in which fantasies of the mind become intermingled with the realities experienced during even partial astral travel.
3. The deep sleep of the body when one does not dream, but one is able to do astral travelling.
AVATAR or AVATARA : This is a very rare person nowadays. It is a person who has no Karma, a person who is not necessarily human, but one who adopts human form in order that humans may be helped. It is observed that an Avatar (male) or Avatara (female) is always higher than human.
In the Christian Bible you read of angels descending to the deepest hells of Earth in order that they may bring assistance to suffering humanity.
Avatars appear on those occasions when the world is in danger, or when humanity as a species is in danger. You may not recognise Avatars because they often have great suffering. They are pure, and unless they are able to take certain suffering they could not stay on the Earth. You can liken them to a deep-sea diver who has to put leaden weights upon his body that he may sink down into the depths of the dark and mysterious sea.
You will not recognise Avatars unless you are very pure, because the Avatar does not advertise his state on radio or television, nor does he tell you that if you take a certain magazine monthly you are sure of entry into the highest realms of Heaven !
AVESHA : This interesting condition means entering another's body. At times an Avatar will need to take possession of another's body in order to do some special work, but such possession is only accomplished when the original occupant of the body agrees. After some seven years, never more, the Avatar has changed everything in the body, every cell, every molecule, and so the body becomes truly his.
Two points of interest — some people say, ‘Well, how can a molecule change places ?’ The answer is, of course, that even in the humble process of electro-plating, molecules are sent from one electrode to the other electrode of a plating vat. Thus, even a base metal can have pure gold deposited upon it.
The second point — often an Avatar will take over a body which is already adult. That is because the Avatar must not waste the time of being born and growing up through the painful stages of childhood.
AVIDYA : This is a form of ignorance. It is the mistake of regarding life on Earth as the only form of life that matters. Earth life is merely life in a classroom, the life beyond is the one that matters.
On other planets, in other universes, there are entities, some not so intelligent as humans, and some incredibly more intelligent than humans. They may not follow the human pattern of body form, but they are still sentient Beings.