The Guru Chakra
In the previous chapter the story from the epic Srimad
Bhagavatam was told. The great sage King Puranjana was
dissatisfied, yet he was united with the absolute consciousness.
He sought identification with the body and its senses as a
source of pleasure. He was deluded by an idea, an idea born
on the urging of tamas to seek out a pleasant life. The sway
of tamas was so great that in identifying with the body and its
endless wishes, he obliterated the memory of being one with
the nameless universal consciousness.
From the viewpoint of an ordinary seeker in the twenty-
first century, on first examination this story is a contradiction
in terms. It flies in the face of reason for pursuit of spiritual
life. The very reason we pursue a spiritual path is to reach
the ultimate state of bliss and contentment, a state where
there is no dissatisfaction. King Puranjana was at one with
absolute consciousness, he was one with everything; he would
have realized the illusory nature of the lower self and he
would have seen illusion shrouding the truth. He would have
had the innate quality that comes with a fully awakened ajna
chakra. He would have seen the mind, and the ramifications
of such an action as identification with the body would have
been plainly obvious.
Just as we would say no to an ordinary sweet from the
local corner shop when we could have a box of the finest
Belgian chocolate, we would expect King Puranjana to say
no to lower forms of identification, yet he went ahead and
ignored his identification with the ultimate, and instead
identified with the body.
It is from this story that we can get an idea of why
creation happened at all. This logical argument falls down
only because we are missing vital information. The fact is
that creation did occur, and according to science it occurred
four billion years ago. It is just that together with this creation
the unmanifest transformed, becoming both manifest and
unmanifest. This has been spelt out in the first verse of the
Ishavasya Upanishad. This creation manifested and its source
was the unmanifest, just as rain is sourced from the ocean
but the ocean does not diminish. The unmanifest remains
unchanged and we have both manifest and unmanifest.
From the revelations of ancient rishis who have accessed
the source of all knowledge, we know that in the ultimate
unmanifest reality time stands still and there is no creation.
Shiva, the absolute almighty omnipresent consciousness, is
in perfect harmony with Shakti, the cosmic energy; both are
unmanifest, in perfect balance and equipoise. Shakti is not a
placid cosmic high energy state described by physicists as
Tantra — consciousness and energy
Swami Satyasangananda Saraswati, in her book Sri Vijnana
Bhairava Tantra (SVBT), writes: “Tantric philosophy postu-
lates that the universe of matter and energy has evolved out
of primordial nature, or Shakti, who represents pure energy.
Her cosmic counterpart and co-creator is Shiva, or pure
consciousness, who exists as conscious intelligence distinct
from her and her derivatives. In the original state Shiva is
forever immanent and eternal but inactive as opposed to
Shakti, who is forever immanent and eternal but active.
“Although Shiva and Shakti separate momentarily, giving
rise to the individual consciousness, in their cosmic
manifestation they forever exist side by side. So there are
both cosmic and individual aspects of Shiva and Shakti.”
Now this begs the question: why did the momentary
separation happen or why did creation and the fate of King
Puranjana eventuate? Continuing with Swami Satsangi’s
passage on creation:
“Shiva and Shakti together give rise to the avyakta or
unmanifest cosmos, as well as the vyakta or manifest creation.
The first manifestations of creation are known as nada, bindu
and kalaa. Nada literally means ‘vibration’. As a part of the
unmanifest creation, it exists as the cosmic vibration or
spandan. In the vyakta or manifest creation, it exists as sound
of varying frequencies. Bindu represents a point or nucleus,
and kalaa is a ray or force which emanates from the nucleus,
or bindu, due to the vibrations created by nada.”
So here we have the seed of the answer to the whole
creation question. Why do we identify with external values,
knowing that truth is within? Just as water always runs
downhill, our consciousness, if left to the forces of nature,
moves away from ultimate wisdom towards ignorance. To
move towards truth, we need a representative of the
unmanifest reality pointing the way and this representative
communicates with us through the guru chakra, ajna.
Out of the interplay of these qualities the limited dimen-
sion manifests, and this limited manifest dimension inherits
the qualities of which it came from, namely nada, bindu,
and kalaa. Atomic physics partly concurs. Heisenberg’s
uncertainty principle states that a subatomic particle behaves
both as a particle and a wave because the energy from
which subatomic particles manifested had those potentials.
The energy of such particles is measured as discrete packets
called quanta. Why does this manifestation always move
from an undefinable subtle state to a limited dimension
and why has it been happening for millions of years? This
is one of the great mysteries that continue to baffle our
reasonable minds because the answer is unreasonable, yet
we demand an answer for such a haunting question as to
why creation and us, both you and me, came into existence
Just as my body is the manifest expression of my parents’
desire, my being is the manifest expression of my desire, and
creation is the manifest expression of a universal desire. ‘The
unmanifest is not at equipoise; it is energy having different
qualities and at any one time one quality predominates, then
at other times another of the three predominates.
Yogis following the path of tantra raised the energy within
the framework of their individual awareness and uniting
with universal consciousness brought enlightenment within.
This was their experience and they had direct knowledge of
the nature of cosmic energy. Yogis experience pure cosmic
energy and have reported their experiences to us. In S VBT
Swami Satsangi translates the original sloka (verse four) telling
us of the nada, bindu and anahata nada, the sound that is
experienced out of an invisible source, the unstruck sound.
SVBT tells us that energy is the face of consciousness.
God is faceless, invisible and unmanifest, yet we can
experience or reach the experience of consciousness by
relating with the forms of energy, be they gross material
forms (apara shakti), mental or visualized form (parapara
shakti) or supreme primal transcendent energy (para shakt.).
SVBT tells us that kalaa, bindu and nada are the first evolutes
of primal energy (spandan) in the process of creation and
since nothing comes from nothing, the potential for these
evolutes must be inherent in the nature of pure energy itself.
Tantra postulates that Shakti and Shiva are one. Every
part of consciousness is replete with energy and the highest
state of consciousness is a very high state of energy. At the
moment of creation, or four picoseconds after the instant of
creation, space was created and began to expand (described
as an expanding bubble of vacuum). Nowscientists have further
calculated that this expanding bubble of universal proportion
is still expanding, yet the rate of expansion is decreasing and
is coming to a halt. Then it will begin to turn in on itself and
shrink to an incredibly dense ball, tending toward zero
dimension. This is the course of nature, indicating that the
pursuit of the manifest dimension brings no ultimate reward.
Thinking humans know that worldly pursuits can only bring
ongoing duties and responsibilities, and ultimately there is
no joy in material gain, yet the attraction is irresistible.
Maya is the illusory force of nature that makes us find worldly
objects and attainments so attractive. Ajna is the eye that
can reveal the way to a lasting satisfied bliss free from the
need of objects.
Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati tells the story of Maya,
the goddess of illusion, and Bhakti, the goddess of devotion,
leading us to the ultimate truth. He tells us that originally
Maya was dressed in unattractive rags and Bhakti was
resplendent in fine clothes and jewels. One day Maya and
Bhakti were at the pond and while Bhakti was busy bathing,
Maya crept ashore and stole Bhakti’s clothes, leaving her own
rags behind for Bhakti to wear. Since then Maya’s attraction
is unparalleled, whilst Bhakti’s beauty is concealed in rags.
So nature, the female aspect, manifests and after a time
this manifestation shrinks to non-existence in the manifest
dimension, yet the unmanifest dimension remains unaffected,
unchanged throughout the process of creation and destruction.
In the unmanifest dimension we have cosmic energy with the
potential to vibrate, to behave like a point and to act like a
wave, and it is a very high energy state. Just as high voltage
electrical energy in clouds is naturally released as lightning,
creation of the manifest dimension is a natural event.
The manifest quality of Shakti is nature, everything
around us, and it is constantly changing: air, trees, rivers,
earth, rocks, mountains and the absorbing blue of the sky.
We are also that nature and we are also ever changing.
Tantra, Samkhya and Vedanta philosophies tell us that the
change in nature is due to the gunas, or three qualities of
nature, namely, sattwa, rajas and tamas. Sattwa is born of the
equipoise of rajas and tamas and is our highest and purest
state. Just as pure unmanifest cosmic energy has its three
qualities of nada, kala and bindu, manifest energy has these
three qualities of the gunas.
Dominance of sattwa over the other two is our refuge from
a life overwhelmed by events. Sattwa is the poetry of truth, of
beauty, a love of purity, free from the trammels of worldly
responsibilities and the travails of the ordinary day. Sattwa can
- be achieved through fasting, pilgrimages to sacred sites and
through extended and continual yoga practices such as
pranayama and meditation. These are well known techniques,
yet the technique we use most often, but remain ignorant of,
is plain hard work. Lifting rocks and stones, carrying them
some distance and then digging them in to make awall requires
determination and muscles. This kind of work leads quickly
to exhaustion, especially if the loads are heavy, and so we stop
to rest. Then we see a bird, a leaf, an ant, or the sky and at this
moment we need nothing; the blueness of the sky or the
movement of the ant occupies our total attention and we
become momentarily enraptured in the beauty of the moment.
This is the experience of sattwic energy, amomentary equanim-
ity or enrapture in the beauty of the moment.
Dominance of rajas manifests as our will and dynamism,
as our ambition to succeed, achieve and acquire. The very
core of our being, the essential consciousness, may be
indefinable, all knowing, yet the energy of our being is the
knowable aspect and this has the nature of the macrocosmic
energy of creation from which we are manifest. Thus the
dynamism of our being is a mark of our personality.
Tamas is the quality of nature that, predominating, leads
to nature’s own destruction. Within our own individual
microcosm we have preferred solid objects to mental ideas.
Prior to the creation of the body and senses we possessed,
and still possess, the same faculties in the subtle dimension.
In place of sight we preferred to have eyes that have the
sight and then we could say, ‘these are my eyes and I see’,
and the same goes for all the sense organs and all the organs
of action. When we examine the complete process of
manifestation of creation from both macrocosmic and
microcosmic points of view, we come to understand that
each manifestation is a process of tamas predominating.
It is little wonder that we are helplessly dragged along in
the current of natural energy flow and the helpless dragging
is not done by an external force. It is our own belief that pursuit
of worldly actions will bring relief to the anguish of life. From
birth we have been trained for worldly pursuit by our parents
and peers, but this does not validate it as a spiritual path.
We took birth for a purpose: we came because we wanted
to and our individual set of desires will never be exhausted
until we act. According to the law of karma such unfulfilled
desires can never be eliminated through superimposition of
higher spiritual values and actions, and in fact pursuit of
higher spiritual actions, denying the demands of our worldly
ambitions and hopes, will lead to frustration on both paths,
worldly and spiritual.
Role of guru
Gurus make great strides towards evolving their personality;
they have disciplined minds that do not dwell on worldly
directions and achievements; they have made the leap to
spiritual directions and are firmly established on that path.
We strive to evolve toward perfecting all our faculties and to
exclude identification with our worldliness.
It is only through the continued influence of the guru for
many years that we remain on our spiritual path whilst
attending to our residual worldly needs. It is partly through
the senses that we absorb guru’s guidance and this sensory
information is made up of the whole gamut of worldly
influences as well. This influence comes through external
means and through influence in conscious thought as well as
dream, and it is these subtle communications that come to us
via ajna. Information received through the five sensory
channels has to compete with all worldly trends. The sacrifice
of selfish and worldly gain is a part of spiritual life and the
guru’s influence is necessary to sustain selfless pursuit.
Guru communicates through ajna to mind, to manas.
Guru communicates directly with mind itself and we receive
this guidance as if we are thinking it ourselves, as if we are
having the idea. Just as the nose is the channel through
which a particular part of the mind receives smell, in the
same way manas receives super sensory information from
the mind itself. The part of the mind that receives information
is connected to ajna and the capacity to receive super sensory
information depends on the awakening of ajna or the faculties
associated with ajna.
There are no psychic or personal barriers between humans
when there is love between them. Such super sensory
communication is an everyday occurrence with mothers and
their babies and with guru and disciple. This is why there is
such high praise for guru. Aspirants for spiritual life take
initiation from a guru and establish a relation with that guru
that is second to none. The guru’s attitude toward the disciple
can be remote, dismissive or autocratic; however, this
behaviour is effected only after guru and disciple both have
achieved such a connection that the disciple adores the guru
no matter how he appears. No matter if the guru appears
angry, unjust, biased, or mistaken, the disciple accepts his
guru as he is. We chant Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru
Maheshwara (guru is the God of creation, guru is the God of
preservation and guru is the God of destruction) and for the
disciple if the guru appears unjust, then so be it; God is
unjust also. To not accept behavioural anomalies in the guru
is a separation from him and a separation from his teachings
and a separation from the guru within.
The mother who finds fault in her baby distances herself
from her baby at the cost of psychic communication. The
husband who finds fault with his wife suffers the same distance,
losing psychic communication. The same relationship
capabilities are available to all humanity and it is this
relationship between guru and disciple that opens the path.
A disciple accepts everything in the guru’s personality to
keep the communication of the intuitive psychic centre.