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Isis and Christianity (part 6)

"There are however, indications that the birth of the Messiah without sexual intercourse
originated not in Rome but in Ancient Egypt.  Isis is said to have conceived her son Horus
by using the phallus of Osiris, her  brother and husband, after his death and dismember-
ment.  This posthumous sequence of events  is illustrated on the walls of the Osiris tem-
ple at Abydos, in Upper Egypt.
A later development of the legend rid it of its physical connotations and related the

Isis and the Christian Church (part 5)

"As we have seen, there are remarkably clear parralels between the life of Jesus and the story of Osiris.  But perhaps, even more tellingly, many of his actual words appear to have come unchanged from the tradition of the Egyptian religion.  For example, Jesus said (John 12:24): ' Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.'  This imagery and concept comes undeniably from the Osirian cult. [B.

Isis' influence on Christianity (part 4)

"Why was the Isis cult so popular -  what did it have to offer its followers?  As we have seen, it was concerned with personal salvation and redemption, and bestows on its
devotees the blessings of an eternal afterlife.  As Sharon Kelly Heyob says in 'The Cult of
Isis among Women in the Graeco-Roman World' (1975):
     Isis eventually became a saviour goddess in the essential meaning of the word.
     Individual redemptionn could be attained through participation in her myster-

Isis' influence on the Christian Church (part 3)

"Astounding though it may seem now, the similarities bewteen early Christianity and Isis and Osiris worship were actually recognized by the early church.  In fact, the two reli-
gions were open competitors for the hearts and minds of the same people: apart from the Christians' insistence that their founder had been a real man, the doctirnes were vir-
tually identical...
The lower classes of Rome loved the Isis cult and embraced it wholeheartedly.  Such mass movements were always treated with suspicion by the authorities, who saw in them the potential for large subversivion, so the Isians of Rome suffered frequent persecutions.

Isis' influence on Christianity (part 2)

"Scholars accept that the early Christians absorbed certain aspects of the Isis cult into their own movement, such as the concept that a belief in the goddess bestowed eter-
nal life.  They also took over many of her temples.  One such shrine was at Sais, an old
capital of Egypt, which became a church of the virgin Mary in the 3rd century.  A thou-
sand years previously, as a temple to the great goddess Isis, it had carried the inscrip-
tion " I am all that was, that is, and is yet to come" - which later found it's way into the

Isis' imprint on the Christian church (part 1)

"...Luckert's erudite analysis shows conclusively that the twin concepts of Jesus' unique resurrection and his continued spiritual presence can be traced without a doubt to Egyp-
tian theology.  As he explains, Egyptian theology:
          ...made it possible to believe that the Son of God rose from death...and
          thus returned to the Father...Also, in tune with Egyptian logic was the no-

The Legacy of Thoth in the West (part 4)

"Among the Greeks, the influence of Egypt was felt primarily through its literature, but among the Romans, the influence took a different twist...At the beginning of the 1st c.
A.D., the Romans controlled the Nile Valley.  They embraced its culture, and the
emperor was compared to a pharoah.  The conquerors adopted certain rites of the land they had conquered, and the cult of Isis found a home in Rome. 
Rome adopted Egyptian architecture.  Even now, we can admire one of the last

The Legacy of Thoth in the West (part 3)

"...in the 3rd century AD, the Greeks adopted Thoth, giving him the name of Hermes, and describing him as 'Trismegistus' - Thrice-greatest.
As Thoth was the teacher of speech and writing, it was natural that the Greeks made him the father of Homer, their greatest poet.  Heliodorus indicated that Homer was the son of Hermes and an Egyptian priest's daughter, and little by little was forged the concept which stated that Egypt was the source of wisdom and knowledge.

The Legacy of Thoth in the West (Part 2)

"Considerable evidence relates the relationships between the sages of Greece and of Egypt.  In the 5th century BC, Herodotus visited Egypt and conversed with the priests.   In his history he discusses the Osirian mysteries celebrated at Sais.  For him, the mys-
teries of Greece owed much to Egypt.  Comparing the Greek and Egyptian pantheons, he observed that certain divinities of his country had their origins among the pharoahs. 
There existed a strong tradition which claimed that the great sages of ancient Greece

The Legacy of Thoth in the West (part 5)

"An analysis of the discourse on Moses and Egypt brings to light a phase in the reception
of ancient Egypt which has up to now remained neglected...{It} consists mainly in the discovery of alleged "Egyptian texts", such as...the 'Corpus Hermeticum'.  {Writers of the Italian Renaissance} reconstructed Hermetic philosophy as ancient Egyptian theology and wisdom.  These authors deemed themselves able to fill out the Classical image of Egypt ...with the cosmological, theological, and philosophical content which they were able to extract from the Hermetic writings.

The Legacy of Thoth in the West (part 1)

"In the Egyptian pantheon, Thoth enjoyed a special illustriousness.  He was shown as an ibis-headed man or as a baboon (cf.  The Egyptian Book of the Dead).  Equipped with a
palette, reed, and papyrus, he was always ready to transcribe the words of Re.  He was
the very epitome of a scribe, he was  described as the inventor of hieroglyphics.  Thoth
was the protector of scribes, the teacher of medicine, astronomy and the arts.   He
knew the secrets of magic; he was the initiator.

Fragrances for the Gods

"Pure essential oils became available  through the invention of distillation.  In ancient times, however, our forefathers simply burned dried herbs.  The word perfume comes
from the Latin 'per fumam' - through burning.  Dried herbs and resins released their fra-
grances when burned on hot coals and rocks.  People watched smoke rise to the sky,
where some imagined gods resided.  This rising smoke became a kind of communication.
With the smoke, people sent prayers, offerings, and wishes.

Meditation in Ancient Egypt (part 4)

"...In both the ancient and modern world, the tantric spiritual path, although the most powerful meditative system, always remains hidden amongst a confusing framework of
rituals and idols which are baffling to the casual observer.  This Egyptian sustem of spir-
itual knowledge has had a deep and formative influence on the whole of western culture
today in fields as diverse as magic (Hermes Trismegistus, the father of western magic,
writing and law, was an Egyptian High Priest), occultism, (including the system of divin-

Meditation in Ancient Egypt (part 3)

..."It is very clear that Egyptian culture and spiritual life were firmly based in tantra.  The Egyptains conceived of the universe as the interplay of two complementary forces - Shiva and Shakti.  They were personified as Isis, the divine mother and virgin of the world, and Osiris, her husband and brother, considered to be the sun god, the guardian of death, and lord of the underworld...Aspirants were led to the progressive realization and union of the twin forces of Isis and Osiris within themselves and the whole of creation, which ultimately led them to dwell in transcendental consciousness on a higher plane of existence.

Meditation in Ancient Egypt (Part 2)

"...Various western spiritual institutions, including the Rosicrucians and the Freemasons,
trace their origins to Egypt and record that the pyramid was used as a chamber of ini-
tiation into the practices of higher meditation.   For many thousands of years, spiritual
teachers or gurus initiated suitable seekers from all over the ancient world into a sys-tem of spiritual, psychic and pranic regeneration, very similar to the tantric meditation
system known as 'kriya yoga'.  In this system, the means of inner transformation, conser-

Meditation in Ancient Egypt (part 1)

Swami Satyananda Saraswati   'Sure Ways to Self-Realization'
"Although the Nile Valley civilization flourished in the years from 6,000 to 2,500 BC, and
probably well before that time, there is remarkable evidence to suggest that it was a
spiritual and technologically evolved culture than we possess today, more than eight
thousand years later.
Unlike other later civilizations, the Egyptian civilization seems to have degenerated to a lower state of development with each succeeding pharoah dynasty.

Indian (Vedic) mysogyny - (part 2)

Notwithstanding that I may or may not be on firm footing while writing about any subject,  I can only acknowledge that this one is problematic.  I intend to quote an author, whose opinions mirrored/reinforced my own, however, I have grown uncomfortable singling out the Vedas in terms of their hatred towards women.  The Brooklyn Museum, during an exhibition on 'women's history', had the following commentary relating to the Middle Ages: 
        " .

Indian (Vedic) mysogyny (part 1)

While acknowledging glaring exceptions among individual women, the Indian subcontin-
ent - Pakistan, Afghanistan, India - seems to be the worst place on the planet to be born
female, in terms of being a generalized class of people.  My focus here will be primarily
on India, and on what role pre-Islamic religious tradition may have played in their treat-
ment (the Islamic branch of hatred towards women, so apparent in Afghanistan and Pak-
istan today, can only be traced to the 7th c.

Aurobindo on Women and Tantra

('Sri Aurobindo on the Tantra')
"All sciences, O Goddess, are different parts of thee.
   The sense is that wherever the feminine principle is found in the living personality,
we have  the entire presence of the world-supporting maternal soul of the Divinity. 
The Devi with all her aspects, kalas, is there in the Woman; in the Woman we have to
see Durga, Annapurna, Tara, the Mahavidyas, and there is said in the Tantras, 'Where-
ever one sees the feet of Woman, one should give worship in one's soul even as to one's

Fasting and Phases of the Moon

Ananda Marga (Path of Bliss) is a global spiritual organization, founded in 1955, with a
mission of self-realization/individual emancipation, among other things, and this take
on fasting is part of their teaching.  Their adherants fast one day at a time, two to four times a month for the purpose of mental purification and spiritual development (with longevity and physical health, acknowledged benefits).  They prescribe fasting on the 11th day of the waxing and waning moon.  At these times, "the dual effect of the solar and lunar attractive forces leads to an imbalance among the fundamental factors of the body, causing mental disturbance.

Fasting as a spiritual practice

The religions that practice fasting encompass the vast majority of people on the planet:
Ba'hais, Buddhists, Christians, Essenes,Hindus, Jains, Jews, Sufis, Native Americans, and
Taoists.  In addition, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Hippocraates, Confucius, and Zoroaster
taught and practiced fasting.  We have, as well, secular (rational) fasting - so called be-
cause it is understood to foster health through the mental/physical purification of the
body (and which shall remain outside of the present scope).

Enough Already

Six months on "The Self' (to the day)!!
Violet wants to read about food.
Ok, that's next...

Buddhist vs. Yogic Deliverance

The dhyanas and samapattis share similar traits to the various stages of samadhi of clas-
sical yoga.  Buddhists themselves acknowledge that yogis and non-Buddhist ascetics can
have access to the four dhyanas, samapattis, and even to the ultimate, the samapatti of
unconsciousness (asamjnisamapatti).  However, they challenged the authenticity of this
last samapatti when it was attained by non-Buddhists: they believed that the 'samapatti
of the destruction of consciousness and sensation' was a discovery of the Buddha, and

Buddhist Ascetism

In order to attain to the unconditioned state, to extinguish the suffering, illusory life in
favor of the one that leads to nirvana, Buddha employed yogic techniques.  The prelim-
inaries of Buddhist asceticism and meditation are similar to those recommended by Pa-
tanjali's Sutras.  The ascetic should choose a secluded place - in a forest, at the foot of
a tree, in a cave, in a cemetary -  adopt the lotus position, and meditate.   The distin-
tion lies in the lack of any ethical meaning during Buddhist meditation.

Buddhism and the Self - revisited

The soul/spirit (purusha), for Samkhya and yoga, while pure and intangible, nevertheless
needs association with an instrument created by prakrti - intelligence, in order to be "de-
livered". The question has always been: if the soul is pure, how can it 'consent' to a rela-
tionship with what is impure - matter?  In order to avoid the problem of a Self, having
no relationship with Nature, yet, in spite of itself, :), drawn into one, Buddhism totally eliminated  the Self as an irreducible unit, and replaced it with "states of consciousness".

Samkhya and yoga vs. Vedanta

In Samkhya and yoga the world is real, not illusory as in Vedanta.  Nevertheless,
the existence of the cosmos is owed to the ignorance of the spirit/Self (purusha), specifically, the degree to which it is ignorant of itself, and "by reason of this ignorance of a metaphysical nature, suffers and is subjugated.  At the exact instance when the last Self shall have found its freedom, the whole of creation will be reabsorbed into the primordial substance....The Indian texts reiterate, to the point of satiation, this thesis according to which the cause of the soul's 'enslavement' .

Patanjali vs. the subconscious

Patanjali's Sutras refer to the pain (klesas) produced by the psychomental states (citta-
vrtti).  In fact, human experience in its essence is painful.  He says that yoga alone
makes it possible to suspend the vrtti (psychic matrices) and abolish suffering.  Because
other 'whirlwinds' would immediately arise to take the place of any ones eliminated,
(emerging from the huge reserves of vasanas {subconscious latencies}), the mere aboli-
tion of metaphysical ignorance is not sufficient to end the 'states of consciousness'.

Yoga and Samkhya

Classical yoga begins where Samkhya ends.  Patanjali took over the Samkhya philosophy
almost totally, but he did not believe that metaphysical knowledge by itself could lead
to liberation.  Eliade says it only prepared the ground (Patanjali and Yoga).  Emancipa-
tion ought to be won through intense struggle, particularly by means of an ascetic tech-
nique, and a method of contemplation.  "The objective of yoga, like that of Samkhya, is
to abolish normal consciousness for the benefit of a qualitatively different consciousness

Samkhya on the Self

Among the Non-Vedantic orthodox systems referred to previously, Samkhya and Yoga,
the problem of the self has come up as well.  The oral teachings of Samkhya date, most likely to 1500 BC, and its literature,  perhaps to 200 AD.  Ramesh Bjonnes relates that it is the darsana which informed Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, as well as Ayurveda, the most.  Mircea Eliade states, in "Patanjali & Yoga":...
  "Patanjali merely repeated, in broad outlines, the Samkhya philosophy, which he coor-

Vedanta on the Self

Vedanta hinges on the belief that everything, without any exception whatsoever, is the
one spirit.  Other orthodox systems, while evolving out of the Vedas, are non-Vedantic,
specifically Samkhya and yoga, among others (see: Patanjali, et al., on the Non-Self). 
And of course, there is Buddhism, regarded as both non-orthodox and non-Brahmanic,
(in this context, orthodox means tolerated by Brahmanism).
One way Vedanta approaches the self is to say that anything the self observes can not

Scales of Maat - 7 chakras

    "O people of the earth, men born and made of the elements, but with the essence
     of the divine within you, rise from your sleep, rise from your ignorance.  Know that
     your home is not the earth but the light...Prepare yourself to climb through the se-
     ven rings, and blend with the eternal light.

The Self and Platonic philosophy

Vedanta states that Brahman permeates everything that exists.  It is the material cause
of the world. Nothing exists without the presence of Brahman.  Even the individual self and all its organs and functions are manifestations of the same substance, Brahman.  Consequently, two of the four central aphorisms of Vedanta are "This Atman is Brahman" (The individual self is the universal self), and "That thou art".  That, being existence itself, devoid of all space and time, or being Brahman, pure spirit, of the nature of sat, chit, and ananda,(existence, knowledge/consciousness, and bliss).

Sri Ramana Maharshi on the Self

"Enquiring within 'Who is the seer?' I saw the seer disappear leaving That alone  which 
stands forever.  No thought arose to say 'I saw'.  How then could the thought arise to
say I did not see."
           interview on Sri Ramana Maharshi's life and teachings, p.1
"The place where even the slightest trace of 'I' does not exist alone is Self."
"The Self itself is God"

The Self

                                           "Who thinks the Self may kill, who thinks the Self
                                            Itself be killed, has missed the mark of truth.

Patanjali, et al., on the Non-Self(anatman)

As mentioned, Buddha called for impersonalizing the personality, and rejecting any indi-
vidualized, immortal soul.  He nowhere denied the existence of a self/soul, but taught
that no permanent entity not subject to anica and dukkha can be found, or, that there
is no self/soul that is real, non-transitory, or possessed of a unique and eternally sepa-
ry separateness of things camouflages reality, and that ignorance/avidya is the price for illusorily enjoying the distinctness and joys of selfhood.

Tibetan Buddhism and the Non-Self

What marks off Buddhism from the legacy arising from the Vedas is this: "All things are
devoid of self."  This self has been given the western equivalent soul or ego, but in
Sanskrit is called the jiva, or the atman - and is the 'self' to which reincarnation is ap-
plied.  This belief, in self, is thoroughly rejected in Buddhism.
The classic example given in Buddhist texts is that of the wagon which consists of wheels
and their spokes, a pole and so forth - or the house which consists of a frame made of

Alexandra David-Neel

From her book 'The Secret Oral Teachings of Tibetan Buddhist Sects', p.1
It is a long time since the idea of writing this book occured to me.  One fine summer
afternoon I had explained my plan to a learned Tibetan who led a life of contempla-
tion in a little house on the side of a mountain.  He was not encouraging.
"Waste of time", he said.  "The great majority of readers and hearers are the same all
over the world.  I have no doubt that the people of your country are like those in

Egyptian dynastic dates vs. Old Testament dates

                         Comparison of Genesis Death Dates During Methuselah's Lifetime and
                                                       Egyptian Dynastic Chronology*

Gandhi's 'Note to the Reader'

From "Fasting in Satyagraha"  *
I would like to say to the diligent reader of my writings and to others who are interested
in them that I am not at all interested in appearing to be consistent.  In my search after
Truth I have discarded many ideas and learnt many new things.  Old as I am in age I
have no feeling that I have ceased to grow inwardly or that my growth will stop at the dissolution of the flesh.  What I am concerned with is my readiness to obey the call of Truth, my God, from moment to moment, and, therefore, when anybody finds any inconsistency between any two writings of mine, if he has still any faith in my sanity, he would do well to choose the latter of the two on the same subject.

The Buddha's secret teachings

Tibetans hold that human beings are generally not capable of seeing the whole of reality
at once.  Rather, spiritual awakening must awaken in stages.  Even if the fullness of real-
ity were to be displayed , people could only see what their current level of maturity
would allow.  In consideration of this quality of human nature, the Buddha gave a vast
array of teachings and practices, each of which addresses a particular stage on the path
to enlightenment.
They believe, as well, that, as a realized being, the Buddha manifests himself on many

Noor Inayat Khan (part 2)

Noor parachuted into France, and began sending messages from Paris.  Her network was
soon discovered by the Gestapo, in what has been termed the most devastating coup they were to make in occupied France.  Noor refused the order to return, given in light of her imminent capture, expressing the desire to rebuild the network, becoming the only radio link between Paris and London.  She was ultimately betrayed, and spent 9 months imprisoned in Germany.  She did manage to escape from prison, but was recaptured.

Amazing true story (part 1)

Noor Inayat Khan, (1914 - 1944), born into an aristocratic Indian family, was the
eldest child of Hazrat Inayat Khan and an American, Ora Baker, and, the great,
great-granddaughter of Tipu Sultan of Mysore.  By 1920, the family had  settled
outside Paris.  She studied at the Sorbonne, and the  Paris Conservatory, under
Nadia Boulanger.  In 1939, her book 'Twenty Jataka Tales',  inspired by the Jata-
ka tradition of the early lives, both human and animal, of the Buddha, was pub-

Mantras (part 2)

Thomas Ashley-Farrand translates the Gayatri Mantra (long form) as follows:
     In that realm of truth which is beyond human comprehension, in that place where all
     the celestials have received enlightenment, kindly enlighten our minds.  Light that
     has given birth to the luminous planes of consciousness, that informs these lokas and 
     appears through the spirtual lens of the sun, also illumine our intellect.

Hazrat Inayat Khan

" I gave up my music because I had received from it all I had to receive.  To serve God 
 one must sacrifice the dearest thing, and I sacrificed my music, the dearest thing to me.
 I had composed songs, I sang, and played the vina.  Practicing this music I arrived at a
 stage where I touched the  music of the spheres.  Then every soul became for me a mu-
 sical note, and all life became music.  Inspired by it I spoke to the people, and those 

Narayana Guru

Narayana Guru, wrote, in his 100 Verses of Self-Instruction, verse 1:
      The one who knows beyond knowledge/gnosis..., and gains control of his 5 senses,
      from within, when he looks without, will be able to understand the ultimate truth
     - neither the self exists, nor the other exists - all humanity is one.
The phrase 'knows beyond knowledge' is intriguing.  One of the most striking Buddhist doctrines concerns the 'going beyond'.

Zen (Rinzai) Meal Meditations

At every morning and midday meal, (dinner is traditionally not offered in Japanese Zen Buddhist monasteries), the Five Reflections are chanted:
      First, let us reflect on our own work and the effort of those who brought
              us this food.
      Second, let us be aware of the quality of our deeds as we receive this meal.


A word about Anandasagar.  One thing he has is a serious lineage pedigree in both India and Nepal, something that, because certain teachers have passed, could not be duplicated today.  Anyway, he is a Kundalini master, but also exposed me to the Shatkarma purifications - the ones we avoid at all costs, and other disciplines, that we also avoid.  His example has caused me to stick with most of them, but some of them - oh well.   Anyway his most difficult lesson was how to take your sadhana into the real world, a real work in progress. 

Mantras - part 1

The Gayatri Mantra may be the oldest chant that has been  continually recited in the history of the world ('Pandit' David Frawley), with an antiquity of at least 5,000 years.  Roughly translated: "We meditate upon the radiant splendor of the Divine solar Creator, that he may direct our minds".  It is recited by both Buddhists and those in the Vedic tradition.  For all Vedic mantras, there are three primary factors, and, for the mantra to be fully effective, it is said that one should know and honor all three factors.

The Story of Tara

Transcribed from the CD 'Red Tara: The Concise Practice and Commentary'
Countless eons ago, in a time beyond the beginning of our time, a buddha appeared in a worldly realm called 'Various Lights'.   A princess in that realm, called Moon of Wisdom, (Tibetan - Yeshe Dawa), developed great faith in, and devotion towards, the buddha.  She payed homage in body, speech, and mind, making immeasurable offerings to him and his retinue.  When, by virtue of her vast accumulations of merit, and pristine awareness, the thought of supreme awareness and enlightenment awakened in her, the monks of the realm advised her to pray for rebirth in a male body, for they thought that such a body would be a superior vehicle for enlightenment.

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