Monday, September 2, 2013

Esoterics of the Seven Bodies

(By Sudhakar V Reddy)

The individual can be divided into seven bodies.

The first body is the physical body which we all know.  The second is the etheric/pranic/emotional body, and the third-which is beyond the second-is the mental/astral body.  The fourth-which is beyond this-is the buddhi body, and the fifth is the spiritual/causal/soul body.  The sixth is beyond the fifth, and it is called the cosmic body.  Then the seventh and the last is the nirvanic body, the bodiless body.  While developing full consciousness of the material world in the human form, the self simultaneously develops the other bodies.  Each body is made of increasingly finer grades of energy, increasingly of higher control and increasingly of higher expanse.  Each body vibrates at different speed and they interact and overlap with each other.

As there are seven bodies, so there are also seven main chakras within the body.  In actuality there are one hundred and fourteen chakras out of which two chakras are outside the body.  That leaves one hunderd and twelve chakras within the body.  This is the significance of Shiva's one hundred and twelve mediation techniques.  Shiva was the first yogi of the world that has expounded all possible ways of meditation.  Any method in existence has to fall in line with one of these methods.

These chakras (wheels or disks) are energy centers that serve as junction points between the body and consciousness, or between matter and soul.  These chakras receive, assimilate and express our vital energy interpenetrating the physical body, in the same way that a magnetic field can interpenetrate the physical body.  They translate the spiritual into the physical, the invisible into the visible, or more broadly, what is "thought" into what is "felt."  The five centers below the eyes are strictly energy centers but the sixth and seventh centers are known as the centers of awareness.

In short, chakras are the mechanisms that turn Knowing into Experience.  When the flow of energy in one or more of the chakras become blocked, we may develop physical and mental illnesses.  These main seven chakras are connected in a special way with its corresponding seven bodies mentioned above.  We can also divide existence into seven dimensions.  In the entire existence, all the seven bodies are forever present.  Take a piece of iron say: all the seven bodies are present in it but all the seven are asleep; all the seven are dormant, inactive.  First body is just beginning to appear.  So a piece of iron looks dead.  Take a plant: its first body has become fully active, its physical body; its second body is just beginning to appear.  So we get the first glimpse of life in plants.

Mind always jumps from past to future.  The more thoughts you have, the farther you are from your being.  Man averages about 40 thoughts a minute in waking state which is his gross/physical body.  He is in his etheric/emotional body when his number of thoughts go down to, say, 30 thoughts per minute.  When he has almost no thoughts, he is in his fifth body, he is in his bliss/causal body.  When he has absolutely no thoughts, he is in eternity - past, present and future at once.  He is in his cosmic body - Brahman/Self.  He is aware of all that is happening.  He is simply aware.  He is 'Am-ness'.

>>> Table of Contents >>>

1. Physical Body
2. Etheric Body
3. Mental Body
4. Intellect Body
5. Causal Body
6. Cosmic Body
7. Nirvanic Body
Life Spans
Predestination Ends When One Enters the Sixth Body
Gender of the Bodies
Manifestation of the Life Energy (Praana) in the Seven Bodies
Moving from One Body to Another
Why are women masters very rare or none?
What is the significance of the third eye center?  Why do people apply thilak there?
What are the five sheaths of a man and their influence on human illnesses?
How are psychological illnesses viewed from a yogic perspective?

1. Physical Body (Sthula Sharira): In the first seven years of life, the Sthula Sharira-the physical body alone is formed.  The other bodies are in a seed form.  They have a potential for growth but they live dormant in the early stages of life.  Some people never grow beyond seven years; they stagnate at this stage and are no more than animals.

The chakra of the physical body is the muladhara.  It is the first and base chakra located at the base of the spine and associated with the prostate glands.  This chakra has an integral connection with the physical body.  The muladhara chakra has two possibilities.  The basic natural quality of this chakra is the sex urge of the physical body.  Another possibility of the chakra is brahmacharya, celibacy, which is attainable through meditation.  Sex is the natural possibility and brahmacharya is its transformation.  Obstacle of the first chakra is the suppression of sex.  Understanding and going beyond sex is the way to transform.  Unless a person reaches brahmacharya in his first body it is difficult to work on the potential of other centers.

Take a rock: All the seven bodies are present in it but the seven are asleep; all the seven are dormant, inactive.  Fist body is just beginning to appear.  So a piece of rock looks deadFirst body becomes fully active in plants and second body is beginning to appear, so we get the first evidence of life in plants.  Physical body exists here without any movement.  The plant puts down its roots and always stays in one place.  It is not mobile because for that the second body must be fully activated - the etheric body from which all movements come.  The plant is a fixed animal.  There are some plants that move a little, in a state between plant and animal.  Remember that there is no clear cut line between these bodies; consciousness is expressed in degrees, not in divisions.  There is always an overlap.  There are no divisions in existence.

The physical body creates its own dreams.  If your stomach is upset, a particular type of dream is created.  The dream is created out of some dis-ease.  Physical dream even can be stimulated from the outside.  If a wet cloth is placed around your legs while sleeping, you may dream you are crossing a river.  In the first body dreams, you can travel in neither time nor space.  You are confined to your physical state and to the particular time it is-say, ten o'clock at night.  Your physical body can dream in this particular time and space, but not beyond it.

2. Etheric Body (Praana/Emotional/Bhava Sharira): In the next seven years-that is from seven years to fourteen years-the Bhava Sharira, the etheric body, develops.  These seven years are years of emotional growth of the individual and, therefore, it is also known as emotional body.  This is why sexual maturity, which is the most intense form of emotion, is reached at the age of fourteen.  Now some people stagnate at this stage.  Their physical bodies grow but they are stuck with the first two bodies.

The second body is connected to the second chakra-the swadhishthana chakra located at the reproductive area and associated with the sex glands.  This also has two possibilities.  Basically, its natural potential is fear, hate, anger, and violence.  If a person stagnates at the second body, then the opposite qualities needed for transformation-love, compassion, fearlessness, friendliness-do not arise.

The second body becomes fully activated in animals.  Third body is beginning to develop.  Motion comes from the e-motional body.  Because of the second body being completely active it experiences anger, it can express love, it can run, defend itself, it experiences fear, it can attack or hide and it can move.  An animal knows what is good and bad, but it does not know what is right and wrong.

The etheric body dreams in its own way.  It can travel in dreams.  There is every possibility of it leaving the body.  There is no space limiting it; there is no question of distance for it.  Western psychology considers etheric dreams as unconscious.  It is not unconsciousness.  It is as conscious as physiological dreaming, but conscious on another level.  If you become conscious of your etheric body, the dreaming concerned with that realm becomes conscious.

Just as physiological dreams can be created from the outside, so too can etheric dreams be created, stimulated.  A mantra is one of the methods to create etheric visions, etheric dreams.  Sufis have used perfume to create etheric visions.  Mohammed himself was very fond of perfume.  A particular perfume can create a particular dream.  So-called spiritual visions belong to Bhava Sharira.  Gurus revealing themselves before their disciples is nothing but etheric trance, etheric dreaming.  In the etheric body you can travel in space but not in time.  You can go anywhere, but time is still ten o'clock at night.

3. Mental Body (Astral/Manas/Sukshma Sharira): In the third seven year period, between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one, the mental body, Sukshama Sharira (astral body) develops.  In the second body emotion is developed; in the third body ego, memory and thinking are developed.  This is why no court of law holds a child responsible for his actions up to the age of seven, because the child has only physical body.  We treat the child the same way as we would treat an animal; we cannot hold him responsible.  Even if a child commits a crime it is assumed that he has committed it under the guidance of another-that the real criminal is someone else.

After the development of the second body a person reaches adulthood.  But this is the adulthood of sex.  Nature's work is complete with this development, and this is why nature gives its full cooperation up to this stage.  But at this stage man is not man in the full sense of the world.  The third body, where ego, memory and the thinking power develop, is an outcome of education, civilization and culture.  This is why right to vote is generally granted to a person when he is around twenty-one years of age.

The chakra pertaining to the third body is Manipura which is located in the solar plexus region near pancreas/adrenal glands.  This also has two dimensions.  Primarily, the third revolves around doubt and thinking.  If these are transformed, doubt becomes trust and thinking becomes viveka, discrimination or awareness.  We cannot reach to the clarity of discrimination without going through the process of thinking.  He who stops thinking lands himself in ignorance and blind faith.  This is not clarity.  The power of discrimination is gained only after passing through the most subtle process of thinking.

In man the third, astral body is fully activated.  Therefore, not only does his body move but his mind also; he can travel with his mind.  He travels in the past as well as in the future.  There is no future for the animal, and for this reason it is never worried, never tense, because all anxiety is of the future.  What will happen tomorrow is our greatest worry.  He can also worry about what will happen after death - where he will go, where he will not go.  He also reflects upon where he was before birth.

There are also astral dreams.  In astral dreaming you go into your previous births.  That is your third dimension of dreaming.  In this mental realm, you can travel not only in space but also in time.  The astral body can trespass the barrier of time-but only towards the past, not towards the future.  The astral mind can go into the whole infinite series of the past, from amoeba to man.  But this is still individual.

4. Intellect Body (Buddhi Sharira): Intellect here refers to the higher mind or buddhi.  Intellect body develops between the ages of twenty-one and twenty-eight.  A person whose intellect is not developed may not be able to take interest in or enjoy mathematics, for instance.  For Einstein mathematics was not work but play, but the intellect must reach this peak of development in order to turn mathematics into play.  With each body that develops infinite possibilities open before us.

One whose etheric body does not develop, who stagnates after the first seven years of development, does not have any interest in life beyond eating and drinking.  So the cultures of those civilizations where the majority of people have developed only up to the first body revolve entirely around their taste buds.  The civilization where the majority of people have got stuck at the second body will be sex centered.  In the civilization in which the third body develops fully, people will be intellectual and contemplative.

Generally, man halts at the third and fourth bodies.  The majority of people do not develop after twenty-one years.  Some unusual phenomena are manifest in the fourth body.  Hypnotism, telepathy, clairvoyance, all have their potential in the fourth body.  People can have contact with one another without hindrance of time or place; they can read the thoughts of another without asking, or project thoughts into another.  Without any external help one can instill a seed of thought into another.  One can travel outside of the body.

The world that starts from the fourth body is subjective, whereas the world before that is objective.  Things are so subtle, so rare and personal on this plane, that a person has no means to test the validity of his experiences.  So we have always tried to save humanity from this fourth body, and those who made use of this body were always condemned and slandered.  Thousands of women were branded as witches and burnt in Europe because they used the faculties of the fourth body.  Hundreds who practiced tantra were killed in India.  They knew some secrets that seemed dangerous to human beings.

Whatever siddhis, psychic powers, are mentioned in ancient yoga texts are attained in this body.  Psychic happening is of two kinds-one true one false.  It will be false when it is a product of your imagination.  Kundalini is the focused energy of the fourth body and it is psychic.  When kundalini awakens you cannot take intoxicants; it is impossible.  After the awakening of kundalini the tendency for violence disappears completely.  Not only does the meditator not commit violence, but he has no feeling of violence within himself.  The intellect body gets influenced by alcohol very quickly as it is very delicate.  This is why when a woman consumes alcohol she becomes more dangerous than a man who does so.  This is because her intellect body is even more delicate, and it gets affected so quickly that things get out of her control.

Fourth body is connected to the fourth chakra, the anahata chakra.  Anahata chakra resonates in the heart and is associated with the thymus gland.  The natural qualities of this plane are imagination and dreaming.  If imagination is fully developed it becomes determination, will.  If dreaming develops fully it is transformed into vision, psychic vision.  If a man's ability to dream is fully developed he has only to close his eyes and he can see things.  He can then even see through a wall.  Vision means seeing and hearing things without the use of the usual sense organs.  The limitations of time and space no longer exist for a person who develops vision.  In dreams you travel far.  In vision also you can travel distances, but there will be a difference: in dreams you imagine you have gone, whereas in vision you actually go.  The fourth, psychic body can actually be present there.

The fourth body is fully active in a few persons, not in all.  If a person dies after his fourth body is fully activated he is born on the plane of the devas, the gods.  If the third body remains active, only then does a man remains a man.  From the fourth body birth into higher planes begins.  The fourth body can travel into the individual's past and into the future.  In an emergency, sometimes even an ordinary person can have a glimpse of the future.

If someone near and dear to you is dying, the message may be delivered to you in an ordinary dream.  If you dream in the fourth body in a clear-cut way then you can penetrate into the future, but only into your own future.  It is still individual; you cannot penetrate into another person's future.  Past, present and future becomes one in the fourth body.  Everything becomes a now.  There is no past and no future, but there is still time.  Time, even as 'the present', is still a flowing of time; you will have to focus your mind.

The etheric body, the mental body, and the buddhi body together are known as subtle body in Vedanthic tradition.  Vedantha acknowledges only three bodies instead of seven bodies; gross, subtle and causal.  Subtle body is the individual mind and the causal body is the Universal Mind (Ignorance, Maya or Prakrithi).  The subtle body is the instrument of perception and conception. The points on the physical body where sense perception seems to occur are not the actual sense organs.  Perception is only possible when the mind is behind the sense organs.  It is the subtle body (with the help of causal body) that transmigrates.

Jaina tradition considers man having nine bodies.  Buddhist tradition identifies man with seven bodies.  Patanjali (yoga system) considered man with five bodies.  It varies.  Sanskrit term for body is 'sharira' which means 'easily dissolvable', or 'subject to change' or 'full of holes'.

5. Causal Body (Spiritual/Soul/Karmic/Atma/Kaarana Sharira): The fifth body is of great importance.  Extremely rare people have discovered the Atma Sharira, the spiritual body or the soul body; they are those of religion.  All previous bodies up to the buddhi body are physical and with forms.  Causal body and bodies after this are non-physical and formless.  Intuition functions through causal body.  Intuition simply sees.

The fifth chakra is the vishuddhi chakra.  It is localized in the throat area and is associated with thyroid gland.  The first four bodies and their chakras are split into two.  The duality ends with the spiritual body.  The person who develops fifth body is completely rid of all unconsciousness.  He will not actually sleep at night.  That is, he sleeps but only his body sleeps; someone within is forever awake.  If he has covered himself with a blanket he knows it; if he does not he knows it.  When a danger is so great that we cannot function without awareness, we wake up with our fifth body.

The fifth body is called the spiritual body because there you get the answer to the question: "Who am I?"  The call of the "I" stops once for all on this plane; the claim to be someone special vanishes immediately.  The individual who enters this plane has to be very alert about clinging to peace/happiness so that it does not hinder him from going further.  This is why many meditators stop at atma gnyana, self-realization, and do not go on toward Brahman gnyana, the experience of Brahman-the cosmic reality.  Language does not go beyond this point.  This is why we have described God as Sath-Chith-Anand; truth-consciousness-peace.  This is not the form of the supreme self, but this is the best that words can express, it is the best expression of human language.

The greatest obstacle on the fifth plane is the unequalled joy we experience.  When we reach this temple of peace, there is an overwhelming desire to dance with ecstasy, to be lost in this peace.  This is not the place to be lost.  The ego, the feeling of "I" will die, but the feeling of "am" will not die.  So the quest up to the fifth body is to be rid of pain, hatred, violence and desire.  The state of liberation, moksha, is experienced in the fifth body.  After the fifth the search is to be rid of the self.

The fifth body crosses the realm of the individual and the realm of timeNow you are in eternity.  The dreaming is not concerned with you as such, but with the consciousness of the whole.  Now you know the entire past of the whole existence, but not the future.  Through the fifth body, all myths of creation have been developed.  They are all very similar, the symbols differ, the stories differ a little bit.

Ordinarily there is no way of dreaming a common dream, but from the fifth body onward, a dream can be dreamt by many persons simultaneously.  That is so many persons, dreaming in the fifth body, came to know the same myths.  They were created by particular schools, particular traditions working together.  So the fifth type of dreaming becomes much more real.  The four preceding types are unreal in a sense because they are individual.

Spiritual/Causal/Soul body is known as the Causal body in the Vedanthic tradition.  This body is the Universal Mind (Maya or Prakrithi).

6. Cosmic Body (Brahma Sharira): When a person evolves beyond the atma, the soul, when he is willing to lose it, he enters the sixth body.

The cosmic body and the sixth chakra, the agnya chakra, are connected.  Agnya chakra is located in the place between two eyebrows in the forehead near the pituitary gland.  This is also called the "third eye."  Here there is no duality as two eyes are transformed in a single "inner" eye.  The experience of peace becomes intense on the fifth plane and the experience of the existence, of being, on the sixth.  So here will be the perception of reality, of being-the perception of consciousness.  Some meditators stop after reaching the Brahma Sharira because the state of "I am Brahman" has come-of "Aham Brahmasmi," when I am not and only the Brahman is.  This is the state of "I AM."  Now what more is there to seek?

It is possible to stop here, and seekers do stop at this stage for millions of births, because there seems to be nothing ahead.  So the Brahman is the ultimate obstacle-the last barrier in the ultimate quest of the seeker.  Now only being remains, but non-being has yet to be realized.  Those whom we call an avatar, messaiah, son of God, are those who have entered the sixth plane from the fifth.  Such persons are forever striving and working for others to travel through the preceding journey.  Whenever anyone enters the sixth in this life we call him a Buddha or a Mahaveera or a Rama or a Krishna or a Christ.

In the sixth body, the cosmic body, you cross the threshold of conscious/unconscious, matter/mind.  You lose all distinctions.  The sixth body dreams about the cosmos.  Now everything is alive and conscious.  Even what we call matter/mind is now part of consciousness.  In this body, dreams of cosmic myths have been realized.  Those who have dreamed in the cosmic dimension have been the creators of the great systems, the great religions.  Matter, mind and Consciousness have become one, but not existence and non-existence, not being and non-being.  They are still separate.  This is the last barrier.

7. Nirvanic Body (Nirvana Sharira): Nirvanic body is of no body - it is a state of bodilessness, an incorporeal state.  This is the ultimate state where only the void remains - not even the Brahman, the cosmic reality, but only emptiness.  So when anyone asked Buddha, "What happens there?" he replied, "The flame dies out."  The word nirvana implies the extinction of the flame.  Nothing remains.  This is the state of "I-I."

The seventh chakra that corresponds to nirvanic body is sahasrara which is located at the top of our head above pineal gland.  The seventh body is never attained in this body.  In this body we can at the most stand on the boundary line of the sixth body from where we can see the seventh.  Therefore, in the life of Buddha two nirvanas have been mentioned.  One nirvana he attained under the Bodhi tree on the banks of the river Niranjana.  The day he died, about forty years later, is called mahaparinirvana; that day he entered the seventh plane.

The seventh body has its own dreams: dreams of nothingness, dreams of the void.  Now there is no sound but the soundless; there is absolute silence.  These dreams of silence are total, unending.

Life Spans: At the time of death, the mental body along with etheric, buddhi, and causal bodies separates from the physical body.  Etheric body consists of invisible physical matter or dark matter and corresponds to the 'fire' element of creation.  After thirteen days, the etheric body disintegrates.  This is the reason why in some cultures the rites are performed until thirteen days for the departed ones.  If someone dies with strong emotions and or unexpectedly, etheric body remains longer on the physical plane because his life energies are too strong to be diluted.  Not realizing that one is dead, he tries to live as usual with his loved ones and or loved objects.  This phenomenon is usually referred to as a 'ghost'.

Mental body resembles physical body with subtle sense organs.  It corresponds to the 'fire' and 'water' elements of creation and thus more fluid-like.  Mental/Astral regions are known as heaven and hell.  People living on the astral planes do not eat, drink, sleep, breathe or protect themselves from the elements.  They could travel anywhere simply by the power of thought.  You will spend experiences dictated by your inner state of mind, whether it is sadness or joy.  This is akin to dreaming.  After spending some time there, the soul moves on to the intellect plane.

On the intellect plane one has a mind but there is no body with the usual subtle sensory organs.  It is a wall-less body of desires.  This body corresponds to the 'air' element of creation, so it can only be felt.  Then after some time in the intellect plane, one could discard his buddhi body and move into the next plane of existence, the causal or the soul plane.  In the soul plane the soul exists in a state of peace until the time has come for one to incarnate on the physical plane thus starting the whole cycle of life and death all over again.

Causal body contains the seed impressions of your lifetimes, controls the formation and growth of the other four bodies and determines every aspect of the next birth.  Causal body corresponds to the 'akasha' element of creation (ether/space) which can only be inferred.  Once the soul is completely detached from its causal body it goes to the abode of God.  The soul never needs to come back to the world again except for the God's wish (Remember: Your are now God!).  When they come back to the world they come in the form of gurus or avataras.

Life span of each of the bodies is different.  Gross body depends on gross food therefore has very short life.  Mental and buddhi bodies depend upon thoughts and beliefs, therefore can survive longer.  Causal body survives longest since it needs only peace.  The more subtle a thing, the longer is its life; the more gross it is, the shorter is its life.  The Self is different from the first five bodies.  Self does not need anything since it is the experiencer or the witness and therefore it is eternal.

Predestination Ends When One Enters the Sixth Body: Our lives are both predestined and they are not.  Both yes and no.  In a way, everything is predetermined.  Whatever is physical in you, material, whatever is mental, is predetermined.  But something in you constantly remains undetermined, unpredictable.  That something is your consciousness.  If you are identified with your body and your material existence, in the same proportion you are determined by cause and effect.  Then you are a machine.  But if you are not identified with your material existence, with either body and mind-if you confined yourself as something separate, different, above and transcendent to body-mind-then that transcending consciousness is not predetermined.  It is spontaneous, free.

Consciousness means freedom; matter means slavery.  With matter, no freedom is possible.  So it depends on how you define yourself.  If you say, " I am only the body," then everything about you is completely determined.  The fifth body, the causal or soul body, is ignorance, maya or duality.  So anyone that enters the sixth body crosses the threshold of the conscious/unconscious, matter/mind and, hence, will not be subjected to the law of cause and effect.  Krishna, Buddha, Mahaveera and Christ belong to the sixth body consciousness.

Gender of the Bodies: The first body of the man is male, the second is female, the third again is male, and the fourth female.  In the female it is the opposite: her first body is female, the second male, the third is again female, and the fourth is male.  The difference between male and female exists until the fourth body.  After the fourth body there is no difference.

If a male A unites with female B externally, creation of a child takes place.  If male A unites with female B within himself, a creation takes place which is towards the Brahman.  The energy always flows from the male to the female regardless of whether it happens outside the body or inside the body.  If the sex energy of the physical body of a male flows towards the etheric female within him it is not diffused.  Then what is known as brahmacharya, celibacy, happens.  Then the energy flows upwards continually; it reaches up to the fourth body.  After the fourth body brahmacharya has no meaning, because there is nothing like male and female there.

Shaktipat (transfer of energy) happens from the first body.  Man to woman will happen quickly.  Man to man requires more effort; but from woman to man is nearly impossible, because in the moments of transmission she tends to absorb the vital energy herself.  Her first body is like a sponge and sucks everything in.  In the case of grace the conditions are the same.  Grace comes from the fourth body.  The fourth body of the male is female so he receives grace very readily.  Now the woman's fourth body is male so she experiences the same difficulty with regard to grace: she cannot receive grace directly.  Therefore, the female has no direct message to impart; that is, no woman has been able to claim that she has known Brahman.

Manifestation of Life Energy (Praana) in the Seven Bodies:  Praana is the living energy in us, the cosmic energy in us, the life in us.  Every energy has polarities, it cannot exist otherwise.  As far as the physical body is concerned, this praana manifests itself as the incoming breath and the outgoing breath.  In a single moment there is day and night, there is birth and death.

In all of the seven bodies there will be a corresponding incoming and outgoing phenomenon: In etheric body it is the attraction and repulsion (emotionally influenced forces); in mental body it is the power and powerlessness (magnetic forces); in buddhi body it is the thought pulling in and thought pulling out (thought forces); in spiritual body it is the life energy itself coming in and going out (life forces); in cosmic body it is the creativity coming in and destructivity going out (cosmic forces or Brahma and Shiva); and in the nirvanic body it is the being and the non-being or awareness and non-awareness.

In the seven dimensions - in the seven bodies - life energy manifests into multidimensional realms.  Everywhere, wherever life is to be found, the incoming and the outgoing process will be there.  Life cannot exist without this polarity.  If one becomes aware of these forces in a body, he transcends to the next body.

Moving from One Body to Another: Every body has two dimensions: the outer and the inner.  Be aware of your outer body moment to moment.  And not only outwardly aware.  You can become aware of your body from the inside also - with an inner feeling.  When you come to know the first body from the inside, you become aware of the second body from the outside.  The difficulty for the first body is overcoming the gravitational pull.  The second body, the etheric body, is like condensed smoke.  You can pass through it without hindrance, but it is not transparent; you cannot look into it from outside.  The first body is solid.  The second body is just like the first as far as shape is concerned, but it is not solid.

When you get any disease, seventy-five percent of it comes from the second body and spreads to the first.  When the first body dies, the second remains alive for thirteen days.  It travels with you.  Then, it too is dead.  The second body can go out of your physical body.  Sometimes in meditation this second body goes up or down, and you have a feeling that gravitation has no pull over you.  The etheric body is the body that is put to work in hypnosis.  if you are in a deep trance, your second body can be influenced.  So in the second body just say: " I am inside the body."  Just will it and you will be inside it.  Etheric body is not under the influence of gravitation.

The moment you are inside the second body you will be outside the third, the mental.  The astral body is like a vapor like the second body, but it is transparent.  So the moment you are outside the astral body, you will be inside.  The mental body is the same shape as the first two bodies.  Up to the fourth body, the shape is the same but with a different content and different size.  Size gets bigger as you move from first body to higher bodies.  With the sixth body the size will be cosmic.  And with the seventh, there will be no size at all not even the cosmic.

The fourth body, buddhi body, is absolutely wall-less.  It is just a boundary, so there is no difficulty in entering and no need of any method.  Just wish to be inside the fourth body is enough; you will be there.  But to go beyond the fourth, there is as much difficulty as there was in going beyond the first, because now the mental ceases.  This wall is of different dimension.  The four lower bodies were all concerned with one plane.  The division was horizontal.  Now, it is vertical.

Not unless you begin to look upward can you move into the fifth.  Fire goes upward; it never goes downward.  So in moving from the fourth body to the fifth body, fire is the symbol.  What is the way?  Look towards the agnya chakra, the third eye, the space between the eyebrows.  That is why in India a color mark, thilak, is placed in that spot to remember to look upwards.  When you look upward, the spot is fiery, as if everything is burning.  Because of that burning, you are transformed.  That is the meaning of "passing through fire."

Raja yoga and gnyana yoga begin with the fifth body.  Only hatha yoga begins with the first body; praanamaya begins with the second body; mantra yoga (chanting) begins with the third body; and the bhakthi and karma yogas (devotion and desireless action) begin with the fourth body.  To move from the fourth body is the most significant thing.  Up to the fourth body you are human.  Now you become superhuman.  

After the fifth body you move into still another realm, another dimension.  From the first body to the fourth body the movement is from outside to inside; from the fourth to the fifth it is from downward to upward; from the fifth it is from ego to non-ego.  And the ego is the most difficult thing of all to lose.  There is no method to move beyond the fifth body because every type of method is bound with the ego.  In actuality you do not have an ego, so how can you lose it?

Therefore, do not be identified with this ego in the fifth body.  Just be aware of this closed house of "I."  Just be aware of it - don't do anything - and there will be an explosion.  You will be beyond it.  From the sixth to the seventh, there is not even no-method.  Method is lost in the fifth, and no-method is lost in the sixth.  It just happens; uncaused, unknown.  It happens instantaneously.  Only one thing is to be remembered: you must not cling to the sixth.  There is no positive way to move to the seventh, but there can be a negative hindrance.  You can cling to the Brahman and say, "I have reached!"  Those who say they have reached cannot go to the seventh.  Those who say, "I have known," remain in the sixth.  No teacher can say he has known about the seventh because the moment you say it you lose touch with it.  Once you have known it, you cannot say! 

Therefore, an absurd word will be used to indicate the seventh plane-a word which has no meaning, which will mean nothing - AUM.  AUM is a meaningless word, and is used in connection with the seventh body.  OM and Amen are variations of AUM.  The three basic sounds of our speech are a-u-m.  Our whole development of language is an expression of these three sounds.  They are the root sounds.  Now the sounds of A-U-M in themselves carry no meaning, because it is their relationship that decides the meaning.  When "a" becomes a word it carries a meaning; when "m" becomes a word it carries a meaning.  But by themselves they are meaningless.  Yet they are roots, and all our speech developments are extensions and combinations of these three sounds.  AUM is very vast.  Everything appears out of it, everything merges into it.


Why are women masters very rare or none?..........

The first body of the man is male, the second is female, the third again is male, and the fourth female.  In the female it is the opposite: her first body is female, the second male, the third is again female, and the fourth is male.  The difference between male and female exists until the fourth body.  After the fourth body there is no difference.

If a male A unites with female B externally, creation of a child takes place.  If male A unites with female B within himself, a creation takes place which is towards the Brahman.  The energy always flows from the male to the female regardless of whether it happens outside the body or inside the body.  If the sex energy of the physical body of a male flows towards the etheric female within him it is not diffused.  Then what is known as brahmacharya, celibacy, happens.  Then the energy flows upwards continually; it reaches up to the fourth body.  After the fourth body brahmacharya has no meaning, because there is nothing like male and female there.

Shaktipat (transfer of energy) happens from the first body.  Man to woman will happen quickly.  Man to man requires more effort; but from woman to man is nearly impossible, because in the moments of transmission she tends to absorb the vital energy herself.  Her first body is like a sponge and sucks everything in.  In the case of grace the conditions are the same.  Grace comes from the fourth body, intellect/buddhi body, vignyanamaya kosha.  The fourth body of the male is female so he receives grace very readily.

Now the woman's fourth body is male so she experiences the same difficulty with regard to grace: she cannot receive grace directly.  Therefore, the female has no direct message to impart; that is, no woman has been able to claim that she has known Brahman or God.

What is the significance of the third eye center?  Why do people apply thilak there?.........

The third eye is the spiritual center, the energy center - a point between the eyebrows - which is the door to an unknown world, supernatural world.  You can only see external world with your physical eyes.  But with your third eye, you can see in both the directions - external and internal.  It gives you vision, clarity about everything.

This center is known as agnya chakra in yogic tradition.  Agnya in Sanskrit means 'order' (master).  There are seven chakras in our body.  Chakras (wheels or disks) are energy centers that serve as junction points between the body and consciousness, or between matter and soul.  They translate the spiritual into the physical, the invisible into the visible, or more broadly, what is 'thought' into what is 'felt.' 

Agnya chakra is the sixth center from the bottom of the spine and is about couple of inches deeper from the forehead between the eyebrows.  It is located at around the pituitary gland. Interestingly enough, pituitary gland is known as the 'master' gland which controls the functions of other endocrine glands in the body.  The agnya chakra is not found in the same place on everyone; if someone has meditated for a long time in his past lives, his agnya chakra spot will be lower down.  If no meditation has been done, that place is higher up on the forehead.  The lowest spot it can ever go is at the level of the eye; never lower.

The whole world drama was created so that we could know Who We Are in our own experience.  It's also been designed to help us forget Who We Are, so that we might remember Who We Are once again, and create it.  What we used here to help us forget is what some of us would call the Pleasure Principle.  The highest nature of all pleasure is that aspect of pleasure which causes us to create Who We Really Are in our experience right here, right now - and to re-create, and re-create, and re-create again Who We Are at the next highest level of magnificence.

The lower nature of all pleasure is that part of pleasure which causes you to forget Who We Really Are.  Do not condemn the lower nature, for without it, we could not experience the higher.  It's almost as if the pleasures of the flesh at first cause us to forget Who We Are, then become the very avenue through which we remember!  And the use of physical pleasure as an avenue to remembering Who we Are is achieved by raising up, through the body, the basic energy of all life.

This is the energy which we sometimes call 'sexual energy,' and it is raised up along the inner column of our being, until it reaches the area we call the third eye.  As we raise the energy, we cause it to course all though our body (kundalini).  It is like inner orgasm exploding at the third eye center which is the highest pleasure of God!

The main use of thilak is to show you the right spot on your body to focus and remember.  Applying sandalwood paste or kumkum or holy ash will increase the receptivity, sensitivity of the center.  When remembering deepens, a moment will come when nothing else is remembered about the body except that thilak.  Then one day you will be able to burn the barrier to seeing with the third eye.  With the opening of the third eye the inner sky is opened.  That center gives an insight which is beyond the world of matter and of desire.  With the third eye functioning, you will know things automatically or intuitively - you do not have to think about them.

With the third eye functioning, the burning sensation at the spot gets neutralized by the soothing and calming effect of the sandalwood paste (and kumkum or holy ash).  With the third eye functioning, if you look at a person you look at his soul, at his spirit, not at his body - just like you look at the physical body through the physical eyes, but you cannot see the soul.  The same happens when you look through the third eye: you look and the body is not there, just the one who occupies the body - the 'master' of the body.  The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

There is a small difference between the use of thilak and teeka (bindi or round dot).  The teeka is meant particularly for women.  In women the agnya chakra is very weak, it has to be because the woman's entire personality is created for surrender - her beauty is in surrender.  That is why a woman always needs someone's help in one form or another.  So it is necessary to make her agnya chakra strong in a different way, because if it is done in the usual way, the same way as for a man, it will reduce her femininity and she will begin to develop the qualities of a man.  Therefore the teeka is invariably and firmly associated with a woman's husband.  The agnya chakra cannot go against the person whom it is associated with.

If a teeka is put on the right spot of a woman's forehead and with the right material, with its deep association with her husband, she will be able to follow him, but she will be powerful against the rest of the world.  So as soon as the husband dies the teeka has to be removed because now she is not to follow anybody.  Now she will have to live like a man for the rest of her life; and more independent she becomes the better it will be.  The teeka experiment was very ancient and very deep.  If the teeka is only decorative it has no value.  Then it is only a formality.  So when the teeka is applied for the first time, it is done with ceremony, with a fixed ritual.  Only if it is done that way will it be beneficial and not otherwise.

Another aspect of the third eye is that it is the center of will power.  We call it agnya chakra because whatever discipline we have in our life is governed by it; whatever order and harmony there is in our life arises from this point.  The line drawn upwards from the agnya chakra divides the brain in two, right and left.  It has been observed that half of our brain is not utilized.  Even if that half of the brain is surgically removed, the person will not even know.  But scientists know that nature does not create anything unnecessarily.  Yoga maintains that the right half of the brain becomes active only after the agnya chakra is activated.

When the centers below the third eye chakra are working, the left side of the brain is utilized.  When the centers above it begin to work, the right side of the brain is activated.  Such insights have not just come to light from recent experience, but have been known for at least twenty thousand years.  You cannot rely on any conclusion reached by science because what science believes to be true today may be proved wrong within six months.  But these insights of yoga are confirmed by the experience of thousands of yogis for at least twenty thousand years.

Thilak is applied on every occasion of respect and honor because of the law of association.  Our mind is very interesting.  Mind wants to forget the moments of misery and wants to remember the moments of happiness.  That is why the mind forgets all events that brought unhappiness and remembers only the moments that give happiness.  That is why we always feel that the past was happy; childhood was happy.  No child ever says that his childhood is full of happiness.  Children want to grow older fast.

Whenever there is a happy event, let thilak be put on your foreheads.  Both the happy event and the thilak will be remembered through association.  Now the thilak can never be forgotten.  If the thilak is associated with happiness, as the happiness is magnified, so also is the thilak.  With this happening frequently the happiness is closely associated with the agnya chakra so you can never forget it.  When this happens, understand that you have made use of happiness for opening the third eye.

What are the five sheaths of a man and their influence on human illnesses?..........

Man is a very complex organism.  According to Vedanthic and Yogic traditions of India, man is composed of five sheaths or layes (koshas)!

These five sheaths are: 1. Annamayakosha, Gross or Food Layer, 2. Praanamayakosha, Energy/Emotional Layer, 3. Manomayakosha, Mind Layer, 4. Vignyanamayakosha, Intellect Layer, and 5. Anandamayakosha, Causal or Bliss Layer.  Sometimes these five sheaths are also known as three bodies; Gross Body, Subtle Body and Causal Body.

Each kosha is made of increasingly finer grades of energy, increasingly of higher control and increasingly of higher expanse.  Each kosha vibrates at different speed and they interact and overlap with each other.

Take a rock: All the five layers are present in it but the five are asleep; all the five are dormant, inactive.  Food Layer is just beginning to appear.  So a piece of rock looks dead.  Look at a tree and you will also find something else other than what is in the rock.  It is not so dead as rock; it is more alive - first layer, the Gross/Food Layer -  Annamayakosha - has come into existence in full.  If you treat a tree like a rock, you mistreat it.  The tree is more evolved.  It's Emotional Layer is beginning to develop.  That is why trees show some emotions in a subtle way.  There are some trees that move a little.

Then take an animal - still more complex.  And the second layer has fully evolved: Praanamayakosha or the Emotional Layer.  An animal can move; it has emotions; it's motion comes from its e-motional body.  It's Mind Layer is just getting activated.  Some animals have begun to develop memory.

Reptiles do not have any memory, but mammals do.  That is why a more evolved animal knows what is good and what is bad; it does not know what is right and what is wrong.  That is man's prerogative, with mind and intellect layers - Manomayakosha and Vignyanamayakosha.  Remember that there is no clear cut line between these layers; consciousness is expressed in degrees, not in divisions.  There is always an overlap.  There are no boundaries in existence.

Modern psychology has taken man in fragments, in divisions.  Yoga is the only discipline which takes the whole of man into account.  The science of man does not exist yet.  Patanjali's Yoga is the closest effort ever made.  He divides the human being into five layers.  And behind the five layers is being.  According to Patanjali, illnesses are the results of tensions created in these five sheaths.  Tension means that you are not pleased with what you are, and you long to be what you are not.  This tension is the basis for the disturbances in these five layers.

Yoga is pure science, and Patanjali is the greatest name as far as the world of yoga is concerned.  This man is rare.  There is no other name comparable to Patanjali in the system of yoga.  For the first time in the history of humanity, this man brought religion to the state of a science: he made religion a science, bare laws; no belief is needed.  Yoga says experience.  Just like science says experiment, yoga says experience.  Experiment and experience are both the same, their directions are different.  Experiment means something you can do outside; experience means something you can do inside.  Experience is an inside experiment.

The same that has happened in psychology, has also happened in medicine.  Allopathy believes only in the physical body, the Gross Layer.  That is why it has become scientific, because scientific instrumentation is only capable yet of very gross things.  Gross Layer corresponds to the 'earth' element of creation.  Tensions develop in the Gross Layer due to the physical longings - if you long for something other than what you are.  You may want to become beautiful; want to seek a particular body, a particular shape then there is tension in your Gross Layer.  Physical pain and physical illnesses are the result of such tensions.

Poor diet and lack of exercise also play a significant role in the manifestation of the physical illnesses.  "Anna" means food.  In the Annamayakosha, there needs to be an optimization and balance in the various organs and systems like the digestive, respiratory, cardio-vascular and others.  Balance in Annamayakosha can be achieved by a set of aasanas, exercises, shatkarmas and Yogic dietary habits.

Going deeper, Acupuncture, the Chinese medicine, enters one layer more.  Acupuncture works on the energy body, the emotional body, the praanic body, the Praanamayakosha.  Praanamayakosha has the same shape as physical and is opaque.  This sheath supplies the life energy to perform different functions of the body, viz., digestion, circulation of blood, excretion, etc., and manipulate the body from within.

The second layer corresponds to the 'fire' element of creation.  It consists of invisible physical matter or dark matter and is opaque with subtle sense organs.  Acupuncture tries to work on the bio-energy, the bio-plasma.  The energy body is little higher than the physical body.  If the energy layer is set right, the physical layer simply follows it because the blueprint exists in the energy/praanic layer.  The physical layer is just an implementation of the praanic layer.

Tensions in the Emotional Layer develop due to fear or repressed emotions.  Psychosomatic diseases such as eczema, stomach ulcers and high blood pressure are caused first within this layer.  In the Praanamayakosha, praanic blockages need to be removed, deficiency of praana needs to be attended to and a smooth, unhampered flow of praana all over the body needs to be attained.  All natural emotions need to be expressed.  If they are suppressed, the same energy turns around and damages the health.  Right or natural breathing is essential.  Harmony in Emotional Layer can be achieved by various practices of praanayama and the practices of praana vidya and praana nidra.

Praanic Layer is very important as the Gross Layer dies within few minutes of the separation of the Praanic Layer.

Homeopathy goes still a little deeper.  Homeopathy works on the Manomayakosha, the Mental Sheath.  Mental Sheath consists of thought energy with subtle sense organs and has the same shape as the physical sheath except that it is transparent.  It corresponds to the 'water' element of creation.  The third sheath is subtler than the second, higher than the second.  Animals have the second sheath but not a complete third sheath; the third sheath is mostly dormant.  The founder of Homeopathy, Hahnemann, discovered one of the greatest things ever, and that was: the smaller the quantity of the medicine, the deeper it goes.  When the medicine has almost disappeared, it enters the most deep core of Manomayakosha.  It enters into your Mental Sheath, and from there it starts working.

Tensions of Manomayakosha, the Mental Sheath, are due to the accumulation of everything you have been longing for.  They result from improper and/or repressed thoughts and beliefs (wrong beliefs).  Your total longing, thousands and thousands of remembrances and their repetitive longings, are all in this layer.  This is the most tense part of your being.

All illness is created first in the mind.  Nothing occurs in our lives—nothing—which is not first a thought. Thoughts are like magnets, drawing effects to us.  The thought may not always be obvious, and thus clearly causative, as in, “I’m going to contract a terrible disease.”  The thought may be (and usually is) far more subtle than that.  Thoughts are a very subtle, yet extremely powerful, form of energy.  Words are less subtle, more dense.  Actions are the most dense of all.  Action is energy in heavy physical form, in heavy motion.  When you think, say, and act out a negative concept such as “I am a loser,” you place tremendous creative energy into motion.  Small wonder you come down with a cold.  That would be the least of it.

Anxiety, stress, depression, schizophrenia and guilt are some of the diseases associated with this layer.  In Manomayakosha, the thought patterns need to be managed, the emotions need to be channeled and given a constructive outlet, and a harmonious blending of these two aspects needs to be attained.

Balance in Manomayakosha can be achieved by relaxation, mantra/chanting and the premeditative practices of pratyahara, dhaarana and the integration of the principles of the yamas (don't do's) and niyamas (do's) in our day-to-day lives.

You get a clear sense of what the Mental Sheath is when you observe a patient in a coma.  Their second sheath is still operating so their heart continues to pump and their lungs expand and contract.  But the person has no awareness of the external world and no ability to take action because the activity of the Mental Sheath has shut down.  The Praanamayakosha operates from the moment of our first breath to our last, but the Manomayakosha shuts down temporarily on a daily basis, regenerating itself during the state of deep sleep.

Ayurveda, the Indian medicine, is a synthesis of all these three medicinal systems.  It is one of the most synthetic of medicines.

Hypnotherapy goes still deeper.  Hypnotherapy touches the Vignyanamayakosha: the fourth layer, the layer of the intellect/buddhi.  Intellect Sheath consists of higher energy, intuitive.  It is like transparent mental body but with no subtle sense organs and no distinct body outline.  It is a seeing directly into the nature of things; it is not trying to think about it.  The fourth layer corresponds to the 'air' element of creation and thus can only be felt; not seen clearly.

Tensions in Vignyanamayakosha are created by disturbances in feelings: contradictory feelings, contradictory experiences, contradictory expectations - which ultimately result in a confused mind.  Hypnotherapy does not use medicine.  It simply uses suggestion, that is all.

If your consciousness just accepts a certain idea, it starts functioning.  The act of fire-walking is nothing but an outgrowth of hypnotherapy.  Trust is hypnotherapy.  Without trust, you cannot enter into the subtle parts of your being; because a small doubt, and you are thrown back to the gross.  Doubt is a method in science because science works with the gross.  A physician does not ask you to trust in his medicine; he simply gives you medicine.

Post psychiatric diseases such as Post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD), paralysis, delusion and homicidal/suicidal tendencies are some of the diseases resulting from this layer.  So, surrender is the method here.  Religion is surrender.  Devotion is surrender.  Devotion, Bhakthi Yoga, is a hypnotherapy.  Desireless action, (Karma Yoga), is a form of Bhakthi Yoga and, therefore, works from this layer.

But, there is still one more layer.  That is Anandamayakosha: the Causal or Bliss Sheath.  This layer is also known as ignorance (ignorance is bliss!).  Causal Layer consists of peace/happiness/bliss and has no shape or form and is also non-physical.  It is infinite.  The first four layers are all physical and have a shape.  This layer corresponds to the 'akasha' element of creation (ether/space) and thus cannot be seen or felt.  This sheath can only be inferred.  Since you as an individual have not created your Gross and Mental Sheaths, they require a cause.  Causal Sheath, which itself is causeless, is the origin of the all other sheaths.

Tensions in Anandamayakosha are created by disturbances in desires.  Remember, your highest desire is to "be" God, to "be" Love.  Ignorance or lack of awareness or lack of peace/contentment can be argued as the ultimate cause of all diseases.  Hypnotherapy goes up to the fourth; Meditation, Raja Yoga, goes up to the fifth.  The very word is beautiful because the root word is the same as 'medicine'.  Meditation works from the last layer (and consequently through all layers) and makes you healthy and whole.  Meditation drops all props, all supports from outside.  It is strictly your inner.

Self-inquiry, Gnyana Yoga, also works from this layer.  And it is the ultimate medicine.  Diseases such as cancer can be cured working from this layer.  Medicine cures your gross body and meditation cures your being.  So, awareness is the method here (because ignorance is the symptom).  Be aware of your total mind.  Do not choose; be choiceless; be desireless.

Beyond this - is your being, is your Self.  Mind always jumps from past to future.  The more thoughts you have, the farther you are from your being.  Man averages about 40 thoughts a minute in waking state which is his Gross Layer, Annamayakosha.  He is in his Praanamayakosha when his number of thoughts go down to, say, 30 thoughts per minute.  When he has almost no thoughts, he is in his last layer, he is in his Bliss Layer - Anandamayakosha.

When a man has absolutely no thoughts with full awareness, he is in eternity - past, present and future at once.  This is the Self.

How are psychological illnesses viewed from a yogic perspective?..........

All illness is created first in the mind.  Nothing occurs in your life—nothing—which is not first a thought.  Thoughts are like magnets, drawing effects to you.

Mind develops psychological illnesses due to an imbalance, disturbance or suffocation in our being.  Fear and desire are the causes.  Self in Manifestation is governed by three forces ('gunas'): sathva, rajas and thamas.  Imbalance among these three gunas causes disturbance.  Rajas is the force that creates desires for acquiring new things and fears for losing something that one has.  These desires and fears lead one to activity.  Fear and desire are the hallmarks of a separate-self.  Fear promotes sadness, guilt and worry; desire promotes competition, jealousy and hatred.  Sathva (purity, soul) is needed to balance thamas (matter, lethargy, ignorance) and rajas (mind, activity).  Bipolar disorder is due to excessive rajas and thamas but not enough sathva.  You go from rajas to thamas and from thamas to rajas in circles.  In order to get knowledge or control over your life, you need sathva.  Combination of excessive rajas and thamas with rajas dominating is the cause for depression.

There are four kinds of fear; fear of losing your wealth, fear of losing your dear ones, fear of losing your health and the fear of death.  These imbalances cause the subtle body (energy, mental and intellect layers) to shrink.  When the subtle body shrinks, initially, thoughts such as "I am depressed" crop up and physical activity including hormone secretion reduces.  These fears also prepare the battle ground for fight.

Health is an announcement of agreement between your body, mind and soul.  When you are in harmony, you are, but there is no 'I', no feeling of the 'I'.  'Am-ness' is there, being is there, but without a center.  Your head exists only when there is a headache: if the headache is not there, the head is not there.  Can you feel your head?  If you can feel it there is some heaviness.  Something is disturbed, something is ill.  You become aware of your stomach when it is disturbed.  Pain is needed to feel the body and suffering is needed to feel the mind.  And that pain creates the I, that suffering, anguish, anxiety, creates the I (the ego).

So if you are egoistic, remember that this shows that your inner harmony is lost.  You cannot do anything about the ego directly - unless you regain the inner harmony.  If you start doing something for the ego directly, nothing will happen.  Because the ego does not exist; it is imaginary.  Fighting ego is like fighting with darkness.  On the contrary, you may get more disturbed - and the last state of ego is madness.  When you are whole, you are healthy; when you are fragmented, divided, split, disturbed you are unhealthy.  'Health' comes from 'whole'.

Sanskrit word for health is 'swastha' - it means to be in one's Self.  When you are in your Self, there is no ego.  Ego does not allow love to flow; non-ego does.  Fear and desire are the essential elements of the ego.  Fear and desire (realism) feed the ego and, in turn, ego (dualism) feeds the fear and desire.  It is a continuous, circular process.

The greater the anxiety, anguish, the greater will be the ego - the greater will be the confusion, the greater will be the madness.  Fight is needed for the ego - a battleground: your being must become a battleground.  This can happen in two ways: either you can fight with others or you can fight with yourself.  You can fight with others in a competitive world.  You want to be fulfilled as an ego, others are also on the same route.  Then you fight with them.  This is the worldly way to achieve the ego - the political or the economic way.  This external way of fighting is by enlarging the ego.

But there are internal ways also.  You stop fighting with others.  You divide yourself and you start fighting with yourself in an internal world; by dividing.  You fight with sex, you fight with anger, you fight with ideals, you fight with the body, you fight with the world of 'sin' - you divide yourself.  You divide yourself as body/mind, soul/mind.  Not only that: you divide your body also into the lower body and the higher body; you divide the mind into lower mind and the higher mind.  This is a negative kind of ego.

The ego is very intoxicating; it makes you unconscious.  You become two persons: one voice says "Do this," the other voice says "Don't do that" - then the ego arises.  This is the whole mechanism of ego feeding the ego.  If you are whole, the ego cannot exist.

Depression is a common psychological disorder.  Depression is an extended and intense form of sadness.  Depression comes because of fear, repressed emotions (like anger) and boredom.  This boredom may also come as a result of outer life successes, the outer life comforts; but with no inner space and no inner balance.  However, at the levels of instinct (animal) and intuition (enlightened) there is no depression.  It occurs only on the intellectual level.  
Depression can cause headaches and chronic body aches.  It's also sometimes an effect of certain neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.  Depression is due to an imbalance in the Manomayakosha.

The outcomes of depression are three: 1. Addiction...It could be drugs, alcoholism, workaholism, smoking, obsessive eating, obsessive watching of tv, etc., 2. Suicide and 3. Spirituality.  Very small percentage of people could come out of depression and get into the path of spirituality.  When you choose spirituality, depression becomes an ambassador to the divine.  It is a great opportunity; it is a blessing.  How?...When the situation/mood or the depressive-emotion is hot, seek the source!  Meditate on it.  Because the path is now clear, visible inside, you can move on it easily.  That is the reason why sometimes the deepest depression can take you to the highest love.  You will find that the source of it is Pure Love.  If a tiger is attacking you in a night dream (a nightmare), aren't you forced to wake up upon doubting, questioning your self and then finally by knowing (remembering) that the dream-ego is not the real you?

Depression, in one form, is a negative state of anger.  When you press anger too much it becomes sadness.  Sadness is a negative way of being angry, the feminine way of being angry.  The problem is that depression in this form cannot be solved, because it is not the real problem.  The real problem is anger - and you go on condemning depression, so you are fighting with shadows.  Let anger come.  Be aware of your anger.  Once anger comes up your depression will go.  
Witness and understand the negative emotions.  Be with them, the source at the bottom of all emotions is nothing but Pure Love and Peace!

Emotions are natural.  Express emotions; do not suppress them.  Life is there to express.  When a negative emotion (energy in motion) happens, you can do three things:  Suppress, express and channel the energy to the original source through meditation.  Suppression is disastrous to yourself now and when it explodes later it could be disastrous to you or the other, and the expression is usually disastrous to you and the other now (plus you will be wasting your energy).  Channeling the energy to the source (through meditation) is the most desirable because it transforms into formless energy, Pure Love.  Remember: Energy can only be transformed, never destroyed.

When you become capable of reuniting your energy with your original source, you have become the master of your body, your mind, your energy.  Now you will not dissipate your energy.  You "become" the Love.  You will feel energy - vital energy.  If you love deeply, you will not have much energy to be angry.  Through the layers or divisions of suppression you can only fight with yourself.  In the East, madness is not such a problem as it is in the West because the whole western mind depends on the ambition to fulfill the ego.  Ambition means hell.

Guilt means you have an unnatural idea in your mind about how life should be, what should be done, and then one day you find yourself following nature, and you do the natural thing.  You go against the ideology.  Because you go against the ideology, guilt arises, you are ashamed.  Guilt is the feeling of going against your ideology.  
Guilt is the feeling that keeps you stuck in who you are not.  You feel yourself very inferior, unworthy.  Morality creates schizophrenia, split personalities, divisions.  A moral person has a personality but no individuality because he is divided.  The feeling of guilt is part of the egoistic mind.  It is part of conscience, and conscience is created by others.  It simply says that you are a sinner and you could have done otherwise.

Guilt is the shadow of the ego.  It is the same ego that says you are guilty.  Somebody says something and you become angry - it is the ego that becomes angry.  Then later on you repent and you feel guilty - it is also the same ego.  Now you are in a trap.  First the ego becomes anger, and then it becomes repentance.  When it becomes repentance you think that now it is not the ego.  You think that you have become very religious, spiritual, beautiful.  It is nothing of the sort - it is a trick of the ego.  Now the ego is deceiving you in a subtler form.

Once you become more aware, deep down you know that it is all nonsense.  There was nothing you could have done to prevent it.  It is past.  But, guilt goes on bringing in your past again and again - burdens you with the past.  Guilt condemns which is wrong in you.  Hence guilt creates a dual personality in you: on the surface you are one person and deep down you are another - because you can see the futility of it, the nonsense of it.  You become split - guilt creates schizophrenia.  Guilt is also due to an imbalance in Manomayakosha.

In a sense we are all schizophrenic because when we bring dualism or egoism, we bring a subtle schizophrenia into the world.  Whenever you say, 'This is beautiful,' you have brought ugliness into the world.  The way out of guilt is to accept you as you are; acknowledge your mistake, forgive yourself and promise not to make the same mistake again.  Change the guilt into a regret.  Drop the ego.  Guilt is about feeling that I did something "wrong", while regret is about feeling that what I did is not something I would do again.

Fear and Guilt are the main enemies of man.  Love and Consciousness are the antidotes, your true friends.  Fear nothing.  Be cautious - be conscious - but do not be fearful.  For fear only paralyzes, while consciousness mobilizes.

There are worldly egos and there are internal egos, but there are also religious egos.  A man who achieves riches, achieves prestige, becomes powerful, has a worldly ego.  A man that is depressed, guilty, sinful has an internal ego.  But do not think that a person who is struggling religiously doesn't have one.  He may have an even subtler ego - a deeper, a more refined ego, but he has one.  And he will fight with it, and when he wins he has a very egoistic feeling.  He feels power.  You may have the ideal of egolessness - that doesn't matter, the ideal brings the ego.  Your ideal of egolessness will bring subtler, and greater, ego.  
So the egoists are those who think and announce that they are humble people, who pretend that they are egoless.  A man with no ego will not claim anything good or bad; he will not claim at all.

Whenever you feel powerful, whenever you feel sinful, whenever you feel idealistic, you have attained a crystallization of the ego.  That power is against love, against silence and against the total.  You meet the total only when you feel yourself to be totally powerless, helpless, no one, nobody.  Hence the emphasis of spirituality is to dissolve the ego: only then you are healthy, you are harmonious, you can enter the divine.

The most powerful way out of depression and guilt is to shift the focus of one's life away from the separate-self (the ego) to the Self.  Embrace Love!  The 'other' disappears in Love!

- Sudhakar V Reddy

................(Compiled from books and talks by Osho and other yoga texts)

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