Etheric and Astral Culture
Part Two of:
by His Divine Presence, Avatar Adi Da Samraj
Editors' note: The following is an updated version of the Talk originally published in Vision Mound magazine (Volume 2, Number 9, May/June 1979), and also in Laughing Man magazine (Volume 5, Number 4, 1985).
Avatar Adi Da Samraj: One can see the meeting of the etheric culture and the astral culture in the Old Testament, in the struggle out of which appeared the "religion" of Yahweh. Moses and the prophets constantly struggled with the people of Israel, who represented the ancient tribal culture, a people more or less associated with the magic of etheric "religions".
The Old Testament seems to teach that one should not worship idols — objects made of gold, and holy images, and the like. The worship of idols, however, was not what the Hebrew prophets objected to. They objected, rather, to dependence on etheric powers.
It was not the golden idols themselves that the tribes of Israel were worshipping. The Israelites used these images to connect with the powers in Nature, the chthonic deities, the ancestors and the spirits. They were using these objects as fetishes, as instruments of connection.
Thus, the prophets of Israel argued against the "religion" of the etheric "world", the "religion" of appeal to (or dependence upon) the etheric "world". Nevertheless, they did not deny the existence of the etheric "world". They asserted that that "world" is simply an instrument of a higher power.
They argued that Yahweh — or the astral deity, the deity of light above the gross "world" — has power over all of Earth, power over the etheric realm, power over the spirits, power over the dead. Yahweh gives life to everyone and everything — therefore, they claimed, you should appeal to this deity.
And, if you do, then you will obtain the blessings of this earthly life. The etheric realm suddenly comes to your aid then, because the etheric realm bows to the astral deity.
In the Old Testament, Moses tussles with magicians, individuals who were part of the etheric culture and who had magical control over the powers of the ancestors and the nature spirits.
Moses showed that he, too, had power over those same influences, but he obtained his power by appealing to the astral deity. He showed that his god was more powerful than the etheric gods.
When Moses came down from the mountain to find the tribes of Israel worshipping the golden calf, he was furious — although he was not for one minute under the illusion that they were worshipping the golden image itself. They were practicing the old "religion". That is what he objected to.
They were involved in orgiastic activities and other "techniques" that belonged to the old, etheric "religion", but they were not just having a party. These practices of the old "religion" were associated with the etheric (or emotional) realm, and (thus) also with the sexual realm.
These forms of ritual worship were always associated with orgiastic sexual activity, and with many other practices that look strange from the "clean" astral "point of view" of the Ten Commandments and the new "religion" that was emerging.
Through these activities, the tribes were giving themselves up to the etheric forces, in order to bring power into their lives. They were making their peace with the energies that control the "world".
Moses had a new vision of the deity, Yahweh, who was the power superior to those etheric powers. Appealing to the new, astral deity required a different kind of activity. One had to adapt to a different way of action, a life that was moral (in the sense communicated in the Ten Commandments).
Those who adopted the new "religion" were required to abandon the "religion" of the etheric powers. Through submission to the astral deity, they could receive the same benefits as before, because the astral deity is superior to the etheric powers.
But to commune with the astral deity required a different way of life — a moral and lawful (rather than orgiastic and magical) disposition.
The new Hebrew "religion" communicated a psychic practice higher than that engaged in the etheric cultures. It was not merely adherence to a mental ideal about "religious" life, or a few behavioral or moral demands, but direct communion with the superior god.
Thus, a new kind of priest appeared, who appealed not to the etheric powers, but directly to the higher psychic (or astral) deity, Yahweh. There were prophets and priests, or great individuals, in that culture — just as there were shamans, or more psychic individuals, in the etheric culture.
There were people like Moses, who could apparently enter into more or less direct psychic communion with Yahweh and receive visions and prophetic inspirations.
These individuals had special prominence in the culture, since more ordinary people made their connection with Yahweh through the conventional forms of "religious" activity, which were (likewise) direct appeals to the higher deity (rather than to the etheric powers).
Next: Transcendental Culture
This book was conceived by Adi Da Samraj at the end of 2005. He was first moved to make His own rendering, or "interpretive translation", of a traditional Advaitic text, The Heart of the Ribhu Gita, in order to elucidate (and thereby honor) its full meaning.
Adi Da Samraj then did the same with other great teachings from the traditions of Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism. In each case, He brought the essence of the instruction to the fore, with elegance and Illumined understanding.
Texts whose meanings were only partially (or cryptically) expressed even in the original — let alone in translation — suddenly shone forth, like rough gems cut by an expert hand.
In This Section
Moses showed that he, too, had power over those same influences, but he obtained his power by appealing to the astral deity.
He showed that his god was more powerful than the etheric gods.