The Cosmic Cycles & the Afterlife
‘... great gods feed them in Indra’s high heaven.
Yet they, when that prodigious joy is over,
Paradise spent, and wage for merits given,
come to the world of death and change once more.’
- Ganguli (IX.21)
You will go to heaven if you desire to. When you pray and perform the rituals and rites of purification that wash away sin, you will attain the realm you seek. However when your acquired merit runs out, you must return to this world and once again transmigrate in the vehicle of human form.
Mind created temporal holograms
The heavens and not-so-heavenly lower realms are manifested by and are the products of our own thoughts. They are the holographic projections of our beliefs in various specific systems of faith throughout the Cycles of Time. They are mind created temporal holograms which are the result of a polarity thought matrix - good & evil, light & dark, etc. The subtle body experiences these locations as if they are ‘real’ just as the five senses of the physical body experience this world as real.
The desire to be in these temporal realms is a desire (kama). There is nothing wrong with desiring heaven, however the enlightened recognize that righteousness riddled with desire can only lead to another temporal state.
Location is a Function of Consciousness
No desire will ever lead you Home. The frequency of any desire immediately distances your consciousness from the One. Being in a state of desire removes you from the Immutable Imperishable (avyayam akshara). Desiring the heavenly realms, in whatever way you conceive them, implies that you are attached to the results of your actions (kama). You perform the rites of purification and fervently pray in order to achieve the result that you may enter heaven. This is attachment to results. You must go beyond desire’s attachments.
The Supreme Spirit (Paramatman) is beyond all attachments. The Creator manifests the world through desire (kama), but is never attached or in any way changed by Its creation. The creator has no need to cling to any one part of creation. All manifestations of all states of consciousness and their correlative realms - location is a function of consciousness - are endlessly created and dissolved within the Cycles of Time.
The Invisible Realms and the metaphysical trail of myth
In the Kali Yuga we are limited to the perceptions of the five senses. In the previous Yugas, depending on our consciousness, most could see the now Invisible Realms and were aware of their influence on human existence.
The interactions of the Invisible Realms are well documented in what we now mistakenly consider to be mythology. People didn’t just ‘make up’ these beings to satisfy their helpless need for meaning. These stories are the clues that remain on the trail of our metaphysical experiences in the Satya, Treta, and Dvapara Yugas. These so-called mythological stories are windows on the Myriad Worlds.
Knowledge and right understanding of the temporal illusory holographic Invisible Realms is crucial for those who are currently devoted to contacting the entities in these worlds. Yes, I understand that it may be an adventure to ‘channel’ these all too willing beings. The realms they inhabit are dazzling and seductive. But where will this lead you?
A Pinball Machine
A sobering metaphor is the pinball machine. Think of yourself as the tiny silver ball that at birth gets shot out onto the colorful playing board. You may be lucky and light up the gameboard’s flashing display. You may rise to the highest scores and for a time beat the others - the losers. But sooner or later you are going to fall back down into that small dark hole. We all die. Again and again you will find your ‘self’ shot back out into the same game, in manvantara after manvantara.
The Vayu Purana
The pinball machine analogy leads to a highly intriguing passage in the Vayu Purana. This Sanskrit text states that everything happens ‘in the same order’ in all sets of the four Yugas and that there are only twenty-five differences. This information is truly mind boggling. Does this mean that all the Yugas in every Manvantara are very similar? The text states that one Kalpa - which is subdivided into 14 manvantaras - is explained by explaining another! The implications of this are staggering. No wonder we all experience déja-vu!
The Vayu Purana Ch.58.116.
In a single set of four Yugas everything happens in the manner you have heard now. In the other sets of four Yugas also the same thing happens in the same order.
117. The differences that occur in the various creations are confined to TWENTY-FIVE, neither more nor less.
118. So also Kalpas and the Yugas are similar in characteristics. This alone is the characteristic sign of all the Manvantaras.
119. So also the transitions of the Yugas occur naturally. They are eternal as well. But the living beings that undergo modifications in the form of dissolution and re-creation cannot be permanent.
121-122. In respect to future Manvantaras the traits shall be inferred from the previous one. In the Manvantaras whether of the past or of the future, know that the Manvantaras shall be explained by the present one;
ONE KALPA IS EXPLAINED BY EXPLAINING ANOTHER.
123-124. The eight classes of Devas, sages and Manus are also similar in all Manvantaras in names, forms, and purposes. The division of the four castes and stages of life is the same in every Yuga.
The Vayu Purana Ch.8.33. Whatever names and forms (these beings have) in the past Kalpa, they mostly receive the same in future Kalpas.
What I take from 8.33 above is that these names and forms – nama rupa – are always here in this universe and that we enter into them and get recycled through endless Manvantaras – world without end – until we wake up. Of course it’s all the Divine Lila, God playing in Time and Space.
1000’s of universes
The Vayu Purana also states that there are many universes - not just this one.
Chapter 49.150-151. ...There are thousands of crores of Cosmic Eggs.
In his PARAMARTHASARA, the Kashmir Saivite Abhinavagupta says it like this:
Universes Float Like Bubbles in an Ocean…
Maya, the divine power of the Lord, reflected by him externally appears … The Lord, covering Himself with it, conceals his nature of absolute purity and divinity.
… He sees everything through of viewpoint of diversity and forgets the divinity of His I-consciousness. Besides, Maya-tattva serves as the inanimate objective substance out of which all other insentient elements evolve. It is thus the substantive cause of numerous universes floating in it like bubbles in an ocean.
The glorious inspiring astonishing beauty of this universe is not lost on me. I deeply love and appreciate Nature’s glory. I am not being irreverent of the Creator’s bounty and mystery in this temporal illusory hologram when I find myself wondering what other universes might be like. I hear the siren song of a call to new adventures and the unknown in other dimensional realities beyond this one.
Perhaps like many of you, I have come to a time in my life where I am recognizing the endlessly repeating patterns produced by my own guna-maya. Do you often feel that you already know what someone is going to say before they even speak? Do you enter a situation, say a new relationship or endeavor, and intuitively know the outcome? Have you come to value your solitude over the cacophony of the crowd?
Déja-vu & 454 Kali Yugas
I once took great pains to figure out - and I hope I never have to do this again, please - that it is very probable that I have lived through a Kali Yuga 454 times and repeated similar experiences.
No wonder we humans have that feeling of déja-vu. You know, that fleeting feeling that you are absolutely certain you have been here before or said this before. You feel you know someone well, who you only just met. Could you imagine that if you have already been who you are now and played this small identity ego-self around 454 times, there is the real possibility for the memory of something you have already done 454 times to recur in your mind.
Observing our various transmigrations in body after body from the perspective of the Cosmic Cycles of Time can give new meaning to the popular phrase - ‘Been there, done that!’
An understanding of cyclical repetition would also explain why so many of us have a sense of what is coming. We have been here for the Dissolution of our World, the temporal illusion, 453 times already – the current 454th is still in our future. I find this a rather striking, stunning, sobering thought.
Weary of Repeating Cycles
So if we do become a bit weary of the interminable repetition of cyclical polarities - sukha-duhkha - pleasure/pain, what might we do to release our consciousness from the webs of rope (the gunas) we have woven around our soul.
When we are weary of the ‘Play’ (Lila) and want to wake up from this self-created dream, we must turn inwards. We must remove our five senses from their objects, meaning the apparent solidity of matter. We need help from that part of God that we are and that remained always within us, untouched throughout all the Manvantaras.
If God were not within you, you would not be alive. We need the Grace of that which we have always been – call it ATMAN or Purusha or Spirit or your Soul, whatever. It is here and has always been here in our Heart. The God-within has remained pure and untouched by anything and everything the small identity ego-self did or thought throughout the Cycles of Time. It knows everything you need. It knows the way Home.
‘But to those blessed ones who worship Me,
Turning not otherwhere, with minds set fast,
I bring assurance of full bliss beyond.’
- Ganguli (IX.22)
Krishna gives the promise that those who are in Union (abhiyuktanam), and taking refuge in the God-within with an unwavering mind, will come to the highest reality. The attainment of the highest consciousness will be protected (yoga-kseman) and once you are in complete Union, you will not again fall.
Vasudeva sarvam iti
Krishna then acknowledges the fact that whatever gods or other beings are worshipped with faith (sraddha) are also the various forms of the Supreme Being (Paramatman). God is the All - Vasudeva sarvam iti - and therefore it is only ignorance and delusion that produces the appearance of multiplicity in what is worshipped (IX.23).
Beneath the curtain of each atom lies concealed
The life increasing Beauty of the face of the Beloved.
- Mahmud Shabistari, 14th century
The Supernal Oneness is within all forms and therefore is the ‘enjoyer’ (bhokta) of every rite, ritual, and offering made in reverence to worship and honor any form of the Creator in the apparent multiplicity. Abhinavagupta’s commentary clarifies the concept of sacrifice and says, ‘All the streams of flow of sacrifices are nothing but the flow of consciousness’ (B.Marjanovic).
God is All. It is sheer foolishness founded in ignorance that makes us critical of any form of worship. Each veiled expression of the Supreme Spirit (Paramatman) is engaged in the discovery of their highest Self in whatever form and manner as conceived by consciousness in any distinct time.
Path Ways of Light
Imagine a vision of the Sun emitting innumerable rays of light, and make these rays become paths to walk upon. In the Eye of your Mind, see all the beings on this planet and in all the Myriad Realms walking on these rays of golden light. Some are in the process of moving away from the Source of the Light from which they emerged, while others are walking back towards their Source. They are returning Home.
We are all in our perfect self-created point on the Path. None are wrong and none are right. Right and wrong are part of the polarities that make up this wondrous temporal illusory hologram. The polarities/dualities give us a place to Play (Lila). It is our own consciousness that defines our location in the universe and our perceptions of it.
All systems will do
All the systems of philosophy, religion, and metaphysics available in printed form are reflections of Truth at various moments necessary to fulfill the needs of a particular time. It is not useful to permanently ATTACH your conscious awareness to any of these systems. Learn from them and realize that new forms need to emerge.
The forms that exist are still useful for many. Prehistory or lost forms more than double the now existing ones. Truth is Truth in any ‘present’ moment of apparent existence regardless of the form it manifests. The form is subject to both the need and determined by capacity for reception of an existing group of beings relative to the frequency level point in their evolution.
Life is truly an open-ended realm of possibilities. It is the limited human mind that wants to close Life into some system. In fact all systems will do.
But once a man clings to any system, he begins to be pushed to the edge of that system into the abyss so that he can experience the exact polar opposite of whatever system his mind (buddhi) has ‘attached’ him to. So that eventually he can realize the positive/negative nature of manifestation and experience his true Self as being totally Free within that.
- Thel Dar, 1985
The Supreme One receives all offerings to any of Its varied forms (IX.24). However it is the frequency of the consciousness the offering is performed in, that generates the arrangement of its aftereffects. Those who are not conscious that in reality they are worshipping the One who is All, and therefore do not recognize (abhijananti) God everywhere - beneath the curtain of each atom - they fall (cyavanti). This ‘fall’ is simply another temporary deviation from the Oneness and leads to repeated rebirth.
Those who ‘fall’ go to the realm that corresponds to the frequency of consciousness produced by their beliefs. They go to those heavens that are prescribed by their various religions, or to the worlds of their ancestors, or to whatever location their consciousness has created as an idea of the afterlife. Consciousness is a continually morphing aggregate of the three gunas - sattva, rajas, & tamas - produced by their subtly shifting states of balance and imbalance in any given point of time.
Consciousness is Location
Those who worship the gods and goddesses, go to the god worlds. Those who worship the ancestors (Pitris or manes) will join them in the ancestral realms. Those who worship the spirits (Bhuts or bhutani), for example Nature Spirits, will go to the shaman worlds (IX.25).
यान्ति देवव्रता देवान्पितॄन्यान्ति पितृव्रताः .
भूतानि यान्ति भूतेज्या यान्ति मद्याजिनोऽपि माम् .. ९- २५..
yānti devavratā devān
pitṛn yānti pitṛvratāḥ
bhūtāni yānti bhūtejyā yānti madyājinopi mām 9.25
It is quite true that people who use either natural or man-made molecules, which are geared to produce entry into the Invisible Realms, see myriad beings. It is my understanding that each particular molecule contains a frequency that opens a door to a specific region. Location is a function of consciousness and consciousness can be described by the term frequency. Therefore a substance will over and over produce the frequency of the correlative realm of that molecular structure. Everyone who ingests the same herb, etc. will be able to verify the experience based on their shared visions and similar experiences.
There is nothing wrong in visiting these worlds. However they are highly seductive and can mislead the seeker of the ultimate Truth. They can entice you to deviate from your Path. This deviation could endure for many lives and while every adventure is enjoyable in its own way, you must decide what you want and where these side trip excursions will eventually lead you. Those who worship the One, go to the One.
For I am the Receiver and the Lord
Of every sacrifice, which these know not
Rightfully; so they fall to earth again!
Who follow the gods go to their gods; who vow
Their souls to Pitris (ancestors) go to Pirtris; minds
To ... Bhuts (spirits) given o’er sink to the Bhuts;
And whosoever loveth Me cometh to Me.
- Ganguli (IX.24-25)
The Vayu Purana
Part 1 & 2
Translated & Annotated Dr. G.V. Tagare
Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1987, 2003, Delhi
Essence of the Exact Reality or PARAMARTHASARA of Abhinavagupta
With English translation & notes by Dr. B.N. Pandit
Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers; 1991, New Delhi
Mahmud Shabistari: The Secret Garden
Translated by Johnson Pasha
The Octagon Press, 1969; London