DAMA : This is a word which relates to the quieting of the ten organs of sense and action, for it is obvious that until one can quieten one's sense and action perceptions one cannot adequately meditate or contemplate. Attaining to Dama is one of the Six Attainments, and that will be referred to under the letter S.
DEATH : This, in the occult sense, is the severing of the Silver Cord, which parts the astral body or Soul from the physical body.
There is nothing to be afraid of in death, because death is as natural as birth. Death, in fact, is the process of being reborn into another plane of existence.
It is a provision of nature that people normally are afraid to die. There is an ingrained racial fear of death, and that is necessary because if people knew how simple dying really is there would be more suicides, and that would be a bad thing because as soon as a suicide gets to the other side of death the poor fellow gets shoved back into another body — as a baby, of course — and then he has to live for his allotted span.
Every person coming to Earth has his days numbered, that is, his time of birth is known and his time of death is known. Thus, if a person commits suicide he gets put into the body of a baby and is sent back to Earth, and if he only had a few months to live, then he might be born again stillborn ; if he had two or three years to live, then the baby would die at two or three years.
Death is a good thing. It would be intolerable to think that one lived on this benighted Earth for eternity. Death is release from the toils of Earth, it enables one to evolve and to educate our Overself.
DEHA : This actually means ‘One who has a body.’ Man has three basic bodies, the dense, the subtle or not so dense, and the causal, but we will deal with that more extensively under the letter U.
The body is the means whereby the immortal Soul or Overself can gain experience from a physical life. The body is merely an instrument or puppet. You may like to read more about this under the letter P — Planes of Existence.
DEITY : Scriptures of all kinds state ‘Thou shalt not worship graven images.’ But to have a picture or an image of some sacred, revered figure, is not necessarily to worship a graven image. The image reminds one of that which one can become provided one tries hard enough. Similarly, a sacred picture or a sacred image to which one is attached can act as a very sound point of focus when one engages in meditation or contemplation. That is why some people have a personal Shrine at home with perhaps a photograph or an image or some picture — it acts as a soothing influence which puts one into the right frame of mind.
One can train one's mind to think of the sacred object to the exclusion of more mundane articles. Sacred pictures or sacred images are acceptable and permissible provided they are used as reminders and not as objects of senseless worship.
It must be pointed out that Christians use a Crucifix not necessarily as an object of worship, but as an object of reminding.
DEVA : A Deva is a Divine Being, one who is quite beyond the human state. Anyone who has attained to the necessary degree of enlightenment and purity, and is no longer on this Earth, could be a Deva.
Nature Spirits and manmade thought forms are not, and cannot ever be Devas of the human type, although naturally Nature Spirits and Animal Spirits have their own Group-Devas.
DEVILS : These people are the negative of the positive of good. It follows that if there were no devils there would be no Gods ! If we have a positive we must have a negative otherwise the positive could not exist. If you have a battery you cannot have just a positive terminal because no current would flow, you must have a negative terminal as well in order to complete the circuit.
Devils are necessary and they do quite a lot of good ; they remind one that it is much better to be on the side of good than fall into the clutches of devils, who are alleged to be quite unkind. Actually, there is a very real Force of Evil. Evil is a thing like trying to climb up some very, very steep hill in a car ; the hill is so steep that you have to be in bottom gear all the time, and you are afraid that your engine is going to stop and your brakes won't hold, and so back you will go.
However, that is a personal thought. Let it be stated as a fact that evil and devils are necessary because otherwise there would be no incentive to good, there would, in fact, be no yardstick by which we could measure good.
DHANURASANA : Some people for peculiar reasons of their own seem to like to try different postures. Although I have never seen the slightest use of these, here is one which you may want to try if you feel you should do a doctor or chiropractor a good turn. Make sure that you or your relatives know his telephone number before you start.
This Dhanurasana is a Yogic Posture sometimes termed the Bow Posture. If you really want to try it, lie on the ground with your face down, bring your legs backwards towards your neck so that your hands can catch hold of your ankles. Then pull yourself together so that your head and chest are off the ground.
Pull harder so that your legs and most of your thighs also are off the ground. Then you are teetering rather absurdly on a somewhat vulnerable part of your anatomy. Try this a few times, and afterwards try to decide what is the sense of it. It should be observed here that one can be good — one can be very good — without all these gymnastic contortions which are merely an exhibitionist stunt.
DHARMA : This word can indicate merit, good morals, righteousness, truth, or a way of life. Its true meaning, however, is 'that which holds your true nature.'
It means that one should take a way of life and maintain that way of life, without slipping back from the high standards which one has previously set oneself.
In Buddhism, Dharma means following the Noble Eightfold Path.
DHAUTIS : This is a word meaning cleansing. For a Western person it is a very dangerous process indeed, and should never, never, never be carried out except under the closest supervision of one who has been trained to a very high standard and knows the harm that can be caused if it is done carelessly.
Dhautis is a system of purification of the physical body, and does not confer any psychic abilities. Certain people in India swallow air and expel it forcibly in various unusual ways. Afterwards they swallow water and expel that in the same unusual ways.
Some of the practitioners of this in India swallow a strip of cloth, securely holding one end, of course. They swallow the other end of the cloth until a very considerable length is in the stomach. Then they rub and pound the stomach, afterwards pulling out the cloth, to which adhere all sorts of things from the stomach and throat.
Another stage is when the person passes a thread through the nostrils and brings it out through the mouth. The thread is pulled backwards and forwards in much the same way as one would clean a chimney.
This should be left well alone, and it is mentioned here so that you have been warned to leave it well alone.
DHYANA : This is a meditation or a deep form of concentration. It is an unbroken flow of thought towards that upon which one concentrates. It is a word which in Raja Yoga is known as the Seventh of the Eight Limbs.
DIET : Diet usually relates to food, although there is such a thing as a spiritual diet. But using this to refer to food it may be stated that many people have all sorts of weird ideas about diet. Some are strictly vegetarian, some eat meat. My own view is that at the present stage Man is a meat-eating animal, so if you feel the need for meat — eat meat.
One should not over-eat, one should eat in order to live, and not live in order to eat. If one is doing occult study, garlic and anything bitter or acid should be avoided.
Diet is just a common-sense approach to what one should eat. Do not eat too much, do not drink anything intoxicating because to do so is to desecrate the Temple of the Soul and to drive the astral body out of the physical body. Unfortunately, the stage into which the astral body is driven is known as the lower astral, which can be decidedly unpleasant.
Many people are fervent vegetarians, they will not eat meat because they think that some animal has to be killed. Well, why will these people cure an illness ? Germs or virus are animals of a certain type, and to cure an illness you have to kill the germs, and how do you know that a cabbage has no feeling ? Russian scientists have come up with a suggestion that all vegetables have feeling. The best way, if you feel that you should be a faddist and refrain from eating anything which has to be killed, is to starve, because you might accidentally bite a lettuce with feeling.
DIKSHA : This is the art of initiating a student into spiritual life, and is carried out by the Teacher or Guru concerned.
It might be worth mentioning here that the Teacher or Guru really is the one who should say when an initiation is carried out. From personal experience it may be stated that students always overrate their own abilities, whether spiritual or otherwise.
DIMENSIONS : People talk about the fourth dimension, or the fifth dimension, and beyond. People say that we are upon a three-dimensional world. Unfortunately, it is not possible to discuss the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, or ninth dimension to a person living in a third-dimensional existence.
We cannot be content with this, however, so let us put ourselves in the position of a one-dimensional person.
A one-dimensional being could only exist upon a line. If you draw the thinnest line that you possibly can on a piece of paper, and you imagine that one particle of graphite from your pencil is a person living on that one-dimensional world, and then remember that that piece of graphite is our person. Our person, then, lives on that line, and that line is the whole universe to that person. If you make one end of the line A and the other end B, you will see that the person can progress from A, which is birth, to B, which is death. The person will be able to move forward only, they cannot move backwards because that would be moving into the past.
Supposing that you could place a point, or perhaps a finger, on that thin line, then the person in that one-dimensional world would see phenomena in its sky. It would see only that part of your finger actually in contact with the line, and it would be impossible to visualise what you looked like, in that same way as it is impossible for most people in this three-dimensional world of ours to visualise what is behind the so-called ‘flying saucer.’
If we go on to a two-dimensional world what would we have ? It would be a plane surface, and the inhabitants would have to be flat figures. Now supposing you draw a line around one of these figures, it would prove to be a barrier to him because the line will have thickness, and to a completely flat person height would be beyond his understanding. If he tried to climb up that pencil line — which to him, of course, would be a considerable height — it would be the same as going out into space.
Our flat being would not be able to look down on the line and see that it was comparatively flat. Thus a line or an angle would be an astounding phenomena to a flat being.
By the way, just try this if you doubt what I am saying : Hold a pencil at a level with your eyes so that the pencil is lengthwise to you. Then behind it hold another pencil end on. You will not be able to see that pencil because it will be hidden by the line of the first pencil. Thus you will be in the position of our flat being, and before you can see the second pencil you will have to enter another dimension, that is, you will have to descend below the level of the pencils or rise above it, so that you can look up or down and see by perspective.
The fourth dimension is actually where we have travelled into the astral, because we then have different abilities, and although we can fully exist, although we do exist, we cannot be seen by people of third dimension except as a ghost.
DIRECT COGNITION : This is full realisation, awareness of that which cannot be taught. One cannot have a full realisation of the fourth dimension or of what our Overself is like while we are in the body, nor can another person necessarily convince us of anything connected with this, nor with a God. We have to know by direct cognition, by direct realisation.
DISASSOCIATION : Some people have a loose astral body, and when the person in the flesh goes day-dreaming he or she may separate into physical and astral.
Some years ago there was a case in France where an unfortunate schoolteacher, a woman (Émilie Sagée, Ed.), had this remarkable ability that when she was engrossed in a subject her physical and spiritual bodies parted. It created a lot of alarm in her pupils when they could see two teachers, apparently twins. Eventually it came to the knowledge of the school authorities and the schoolteacher became a schoolteacher no more.
Disassociation can also relate to a mental state in which a person is not able to control mental processes.
DISEMBODIED :When we do astral travelling we are in the disembodied state, that is, our astral becomes disassociated from the physical and we are connected only by the Silver Cord.
When we are thinking of ourselves, we are in the embodied state, that is, the embodied state is a temporary thing and endures only for our stay on Earth.
The disembodied state means what it says — out of the body ; we have to get out of the body to know what we are, what we are doing, and where we are going.
DIVINITY : This is one of the very old original Sanskrit words. It goes back to the earliest days of Mankind. It means ‘to shine.’ Often a Diva or a Godlike person will be known as ‘The Shining One.’
In connection with this, you may be interested to remember that when Moses descended from the mountain his face was shining and he had to veil his face so that the shining light was obscured from the common gaze.
DREAMS : One of the most misunderstood subjects of all. Because of Western Man's conditioning Western Man can rarely believe in astral travelling and such things, thus it is that when the astral body rejoins the physical body complete with a lot of most interesting memories, the physical body rejects the story and alters it to fit the facts which are acceptable to Western training. Thus a person who has met another in the astral world and discussed various courses of action, will say in the morning, ‘Oh, I dreamed of So-and-So last night. He was in a bad temper. Wonder what it means ?’
Some dreams, of course, can be caused by eating too much and too richly before going to bed, but that is a mere disturbance of the body functions and cannot be taken seriously. In this case the lower mind and the emotional mind get together and set aside the reasoning part of the mind. One should write down one's so-called 'dreams' immediately one awakens, because if that is done conscientiously one soon reaches the stage when one is able to recall the actual astral travelling experience which occasioned the mis-called ‘dream.’
DWAPARAYUGA : Throughout the world in world religions there are various systems which divide the life of this world into different periods or cycles. According to Hindu mythology the world is divided into four stages, each of 864,000 years. The four periods become successively more evil. In the first period right and good prevail, but with each period the power of evil increases, the power of wrongdoing increases.
At present we are in the fourth stage, the stage of Kali, and no doubt everyone will agree that the world at present is an evil place in which those of bad intentions invariably get the upper hand, a stage in which treachery succeeds.
When this cycle has ended the world will start again on a new cycle where goodness will predominate. But in the Age of Kali, of course, there must be some 'Saviour' who will start and set the world right. That is the unvarying process.
DWESHA : This is aversion, dislike as opposed to like. It goes back into the memory department. If we have had a severe shock we dislike that which caused the shock, and we try to avoid getting such shocks in the future.
We may not be aware of that which caused the shock because it may have been pushed down into our sub-conscious and a form of amnesia will have taken over to block the unpleasant memory.
In the process of Analysis the practitioner helps one to delve down into the sub-conscious memory to dredge up the unpleasant occurrences, so that having seen the cause of behaviour one can realise that cause, and avoid such behaviour patterns in the future.