Part Three 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: In India, one sees this same influence appearing in (though not altogether characterizing) the higher developments of Hinduism and Upanishadic esotericism.
But the ultimate result of the emergence of the astral "religions" all over the Earth was the combining of the two "religions" — the etheric and the astral — to produce an odd, complex kind of "religion".
Thus, in Mexico, for instance, the astral "religion" of Catholicism combined with the etheric "religion" of the local Native American cultures, both "religious" practices remaining intact in some form.
In any culture, it is only the great holy individuals who manifest the astral "religion" in its purity. In the cultural theatre of astral and etheric "religion", the priests of the culture argue the astral "point of view" to the common people, who tend to be associated with the emotional and etheric life(whether or not they are consciously aware of their association with etheric powers).
A third level of cultural influence is generated by individuals who have passed through the mysticism of astral "religion" — beyond the "Creator-Deity" of the astral dimension, into the Transcendental dimension.
These are the great sages, who pass entirely beyond the "play" of mind, the "play" of astral reality.
A strain of instruction appears in human culture as a reflection of the lives of the great sages. This can be seen in the tradition of Advaita Vedanta and in aspects of the Buddhist tradition.
This Transcendental — or, strictly speaking, causal — culture is never very popular, because the mass of humanity is still struggling with the lower levels of vital life and the passage from the etheric dimension into astral consciousness. People are still struggling with vital and etheric purification, still struggling to raise their level of vision.
Thus, people do not commonly respond to (or even hear about) the higher philosophical teaching of Transcendental (and inward-directed) Self-Realization.
The sages tend to be exclusionary in their "consideration". They strategically seek a reality that is exclusive, transcendental, and absolute, and that has no extensions in life or mind or "world".
They are passed beyond the elemental and the ethericand even the astral-entering into the Realization of the Very Consciousness of Which everything is a modification, and in Which no "thing" is necessary. They Abide in That Consciousness exclusively.
Thus, it is the sages who introduce the "method" of absolute asceticism to the realm of esoteric practice. The "techniques" of absolute asceticism were not at all a part of the old etheric "religions". Those "religions" were based entirely in the psycho-physical realities of the gross "world" and were not inclined to abandon them.
Practitioners of the etheric "religions" might engage in fasting (or some other activity) as a "technique" of "self"-deprivation, in order to attain a subtler state of mind — but the purpose of such practice was to achieve magical influence, or to make magical contact with the etheric realm.
Through right connection with the etheric powers, personalities, and energies, the primitive ancients sought to survive, to prosper, to gain power over their enemies, to overcome the "evil eye", and to circumvent the natural disasters of the "world".
The astral "religions", however, tend toward the transcending of the elemental and etheric realm altogether. Thus, it is in the astral "religions" that one sees the exploitation of asceticism and mystical activity for the purpose of transcending the "world".
Astral "religions" do not, in fact, require the abandonment of this "world", but (rather) the gradual transcending of this "world" in mystical vision and meditative absorption.
They do not require a life that is absolutely ascetic, but (rather) a life that is "self"-controlled. However, the sages, those who are involved in the Intuition of the Transcendental Reality, see no necessity to any dimension of "experience", elemental or etheric or astral.
Therefore, they recommend that attention be given up to the Reality That Transcends everything, and That Is Sufficient in Itself. Thus, the "technique" of absolute asceticism, or of the denial of the "world", appears through their influence.
The trouble with so-called "civilized" human beings is that they pay lip service to the abstract ideals of the astral "religions", but they have lost the sense that the etheric dimension actually exists. When the astral "religions" began to appear, they were not in any sense based on a notion that there is no such thing as the etheric "world" of powers and spirits and discarnate entities.
The astral "religions" fully acknowledged that these things existed. They simply communicated that there is a higher power, a higher dimension of "experience", a higher dimension of consciousness — and that one's highest benefit is in association with this higher realm of existence, rather than in dependence on the ritualisms of the worship of etheric energies and powers, ancestors, chthonic deities, deities of nature, and spirits.
Contemporary society, however, is based upon a very mechanical orientation toward the elemental life, through a closed, verbal mind that is essentially bereft of intuitive (or psychic) capability.
Contemporary society presumes, in general, that there is no such thing as the etheric realm, no such thing as the astral realm, nothing whatsoever beyond the realm of elemental visibility.
Even as they prattle on about Jesus and Moses and Mohammed and Gautama and Krishna, they do not have any sense at all of a dimension higher (or subtler) than the gross physical. They are not even as sophisticated as the tribal people of old, who had a connection to etheric forces that really did affect their lives.
Common people remain common, not very illumined. And, over time, the propagandizing of astral "religion" has led people to forget that the etheric dimension exists.
Not only do they fail to enter into relations with the etheric dimension, they also have not entered into the mystical activity that permits the connection to astral dimension.
The result is a very dull, uninformed class of human beings, who have no real sense of the true nature of the universe, who cannot accept basic truths about the universe, about consciousness, about the psyche.
Such individuals have no means of connecting with What Is Real. They only go to their jobs and watch TV. They have no consciousness at all. At the present time, there is no higher level of culture. Instead, there is a non-culture — dead-end humanity.
This cultural emptiness is complicated and made ominous by constant propagandizing against the awakening of the psyche. The psyche is kept asleep by mechanistic scientism and by "religious" movements that are bereft of Divine Life (and even of etheric energy and astral vision). No psyche remains in them.
They do not permit the flowering of the psyche. Dreams are anathema, mysticism is anathema. Enjoying ecstatic states is anathematized by hard-edged materialistic thinking.
Even the old "religions", having become full of doubt (because they have lost their connections with the etheric realm of power and the astral realm of psyche), are themselves influenced by the pervasive scientific materialistic thinking that is not sensitive to the etheric level of reality — not to mention the astral dimension or the Transcendental dimension.
Thus, people claim to be "religious" or Spiritual and associated with traditions that belong to a somewhat higher human culture, but they have no sense of the powers behind the "world", no sense of the psyche, or of what it truly means to be "religious" or Spiritual, or of how one must live in order to realize a truly "religious" or Spiritual life.
True Spirituality enters ecstatically — through higher intuitive and mystical processes — into the realms of the psyche, the realms beyond material visibility. However, people do not have any understanding of this process.
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
Over time, the propagandizing of astral "religion" has led people to forget that the etheric dimension exists.
True Spirituality enters ecstatically — through higher intuitive and mystical processes — into the realms of the psyche, the realms beyond material visibility.