Eight Steps to Perfection

1. shAktAbhiSheka
2. pUrNAbhiSheka
3. krama-dIkShAbhiSheka
4. sAmrAjyAbhiSheka
5. mahAsAmrAjyAbhiSheka
6. yoga-dIkShAbhiSheka
7. virAja-grahaNAbhiSheka
8. mahAsAmrAjya-medhAbhiSheka

Flavors of Advaita - 1

- by Dennis Waite

The truth of advaita can only ever be one. The very meaning of the word advaita tells us that the purport of any teaching must be the same. Any difference lies solely in the way that this message is transmitted. And any method is valid if it leads to the truth, as pointed out in the siddhAnta-bindu of shrI madhusUdana sarasvatI:

Whatever are the means by which the inner-Self is realized by men, those should be regarded as flawless, and they are endless.

I would like to differentiate five methods of teaching advaita, for the sake of clarity: advaita vedAnta, neo-vedAnta, Direct Path advaita, Neo-advaita and Psuedo-advaita. There is a distinct danger of confusion between the terms Neo-vedAnta and Neo-advaita since these are often used interchangeably.

There is also the danger that these teachings will be seen as some sort of progression, with neo-advaita as the latest, streamlined version of an outmoded, archaic traditional system. If they are seen as equivalent, the neo-advaita is certain to seem more attractive to many Westerners, claiming as it does that no effort is needed and that you (can) have it now. Finally as Greg Goode says, “it often seems that neo-advaita presents its own hard line stance as the type of advaita for those tough and clear enough to take their Whiskey straight, no chasers”.

None of these views is correct, as the reader will hopefully now appreciate. Greg goes on to say:

Every path has its way of presenting itself as an alternative. A traditional way to look at the differences among paths might be in terms of the energy or guNa balances, none more correct or privileged than the others.

Traditional: more inclusive and active, for those who resonate with karma and jnAna yoga, or who have a balance of rajas and sattva, with less tamas.

Direct: more intellectual and less active, for those who resonate with jnAna yoga, or who have lots of sattva, some tamas and less rajas.

Neo: more emotional and less active, for those who resonate with bhakti yoga, or those who have lots of sattva and tamas, and less rajas.

Traditional Advaita

This is regarded as that defined by shankara in his bhAShyas on the upaniShads, the bhagavad gItA and the brahmasUtras (together called the prasthAna traya). Shankara formalized the traditional method around the 8th century AD, according to most modern authorities. Swami sacchidAnandendra, in his very scholarly works, believes that shankara’s essential method depends upon the technique called adhyAropa - apavAda or false attribution followed by subsequent denial. Thus for example, it provisionally teaches such things as the five sheaths of being or the three stages of consciousness. Later however, once the implications have been taken on board, it acknowledges that all such ideas are only part of the superimposition that we make upon the non-dual reality in our ignorance. It describes the two aspects of vyavahAra and paramArtha and recognizes the interim validity, indeed necessity, of talking about people and objects, concepts and practices - even though none of these really exist.

The traditional approach is defined by scriptures, which are claimed to be the ultimate source of the truth. All traditional teachers refer, and invariably defer to them. Traditional advaita recognizes various paths that seekers may follow to help them on their way to enlightenment. Amongst these are the way of action (karma yoga), the way of devotion (bhakti yoga) and the way of knowledge (jnAna yoga).


It refers particularly to advaita as taught by Swami vivekAnanda and his followers. It is argued that Traditonal advaita was, in a sense, watered down and adapted so as to be more palatable to the western temperament, when vivekAnanda brought the message of Ramakrishna to the West in 1893. It aimed to be a philosophy in the sense that it was understood in the West, perhaps equated with a sort of Absolute Idealism, rather than shruti - the unauthored message contained in the scriptures.

The stance of Traditional vedAnta is that the teacher unfolds the scriptures so that the student (eventually) gains immediate apprehension of the Truth. In this sense, the shruti are the direct pramANa. There is the sense that Neo-vedAnta, instead, treats the subject as a philosophy that is studied and then the student goes out into the world, applies the knowledge gained and eventually realizes the Truth. The scriptures are then only indirect or even incidental.

Some traditionalists argue that key elements of Advaita have been lost in this process, which now concentrates almost exclusively on jnAna yoga rather than bhakti or karma. For example, Bithika Mukherjee says that in particular the principle of renunciation and the concept of Ananda or bliss have been ignored at the expense of the more intellectual aspects which themselves belong in the realm of mAyA. This might have resulted, she suggests, because traditional adherents were anxious to refute possible accusations that advaita was in some way mystical and also lacked ethical foundation.

James Swartz suggests that another consequence of vivekAnanda’s teaching was that Westerners began to look, through the teachings of advaita, for an enlightenment experience, a concept that does not occur in the pure Traditional Advaita but rather from the various yoga-s that derived from patanjali’s method. Whereas yoga used to be treated as a spiritual practice and preparation, it now became in danger of being pursued as an end in itself.

Before yoga sullied the pure teachings of vedAnta, enlightenment was considered to be the removal of ignorance about the nature of the Self. But with the ascendency of the yoga teachings, enlightenment came to be considered a permanent experience of the Self in contrast to the mundane experiences of everyday life, which obviously can’t be if this is a non-dual reality as the upaniShads claim. It cannot be a permanent experience, first because there is no such thing as a permanent experience and second, it cannot be an experience in a non-dual reality because the subject-object distinction necessary for experience is missing in a non-dual reality. If this is true, then the quest for a permanent enlightenment experience is pointless and what is needed, as traditional vedAnta says, is the knowledge of reality since the craving for experience, including the experience of the Self, is mAyA, the consequence of seeing oneself a doer who is separate from reality.

The reason why vivekAnanda is considered a neo-vedAntin by the traditionalists is because of the way he taught vedAnta. He taught it as a philosophy, as an intellectual discipline. His lectures were lectures. Lecture is not the method of teaching in traditional vedAnta although many who call themselves traditionalists lecture because they are not enlightened or did not learn how to wield the means of knowledge. vedAnta is a pramANa, a means of knowledge. It does not talk about the Self. When you talk about the Self, you inspire bhakti and a desire to know or experience it (yoga). When you teach It directly you reveal it. If it is considered that neo-vedAnta believes that the Self can become enlightened or experience enlightenment, then the views expressed contradict Traditional vedAnta.

It should also be noted that others deny that vivekAnanda is in any way not traditional. Certainly many of his lectures are clearly advaita in the traditional sense. It is possible that some later disciples have emphasized the yoga element of his teaching to the detriment of the advaita.

contd ...

Tranquility and Insight - 3

[Most Buddhist texts reject the different states of samAdhi including the nirvikalpa of the pAtanjala yoga and related darshanas as trance states of absorption and not mapping to true enlightenment. dhyAna, yoga, japa, prANAyAma, maNDala visualizations etc. are utilized as means to attain a state of tranquility but these states of absorption or a state of oneness is rejected by the mAdhyamikas as the state of true freedom or enlightenment. In fact, these states of yogic absorptions are, after a point, considered to a hinderance. The states of tranquility or samAdhi are to be utilized for the purpose of gaining insight, which alone liberates one from samsAra. Like the famous mAdhyamaka rule goes: samsAra is nirvANa, and it is all about perception. The following discussion is helpful is distinguishing Tranquility from Insight - HR]

Identification of the True Nature of Tranquility and Insight

Sandhinirmochana-sUtra states:

He who lives in solitude, settling the mind in inward purity, meditates on aspects of reality previously realized. Such a sentient being continuously draws his mind inward. By so achieving a state of tranquility and the ability to attain that state as many times as possible, one attains the perfect ease of body and mind. This is said to be - dwelling in tranquility.

The same text says:

Having achieved such ease, one should settle in this state, abandoning all thought forms, and then proceed to analyze the focus of contemplative absorption. “Insight” is the process of investigating the totality of contemplative absorption with a view to discerning properly and perfectly the reality of knowledge. It is achieved through the exercise of discrimination, observation, examination, endurance and yearning.

In simple words:

Tranquility is one-pointed concentration.
Insight is analytical comprehension.

sUtrAlamkAra states:

The mind settled in its purity
Is in a tranquil state.
Analysis of this state
Is Insight.

Vasubandhu comments on this verse thus: The mind resting in harmony through meditational absorption is in tranquility. Analysis of this state causes insight. Without meditational absorption, there cannot be tranquility and insight. Such is the description of the two states.

In general, tranquility is achieved by fixing the mind upon any object so as to maintain it without distraction. Insight is characterized as wisdom that analyses the reality of knowledge. Tranquility is achieved by focussing the mind on an object and maintaining it in that state until finally it is channelled into one stream of attention and evenness. Insight is attained through a general and detailed examination of reality and the systematic application of intellectual discrimination.

Focussing the mind on its ineffable essence and on images of reality, one maintains an awareness free from judgements and distractions. With a delight in all mental mages, one focuses the mind on the mark of inner absorption, maintains it, and channels it into a stream of attention and quietude. These methods produce a state of tranquility free from judgements and distractions. When one appreciates all images of meditation, which range from fixing the mind upon the marks of inward meditational trance and sustaining an absorption to intensely consolidating it into one stream and achieving meditational trance, this is called Tranquility.

Insight, on the other hand, is attained when a meditator, having achieved tranquility, now contemplates the various aspects of the mind and analyzes properly and perfectly its conditioned and unconditioned realities.

Concerning the mental images of tranquility and insight, tranquility is non-conceptual. It simply focuses on any given object without duality. Insight is the sublime perception that examines the nature of the mind.

Tranquility is a non-conceptual perception of phenomena that discerns neither their extent nor their exact nature. Insight is a conceptual perception of phenomena that discerns their extent and exact nature.

Tranquility is so called because, having pacified distractions, one focusses always on an inward image joyfully, naturally, and without interruptions while maintaining perfect ease of mind. Insight is that which examines the nature of that tranquil state so long as it remains.

There are three aspects of Insight:

1. That which originates from conceptual judgement: it originates from the analysis of a perceived image of contemplative absorption.
2. That which is attained through perfect inquiry: it arises from the intellectual investigation of the unknown aspects of the mind.
3. That which is achieved through analytical examination: it arises from perfect analysis of the mental aspects of reality, which the intellect has understood in all its subtleties.

Insight differentiates systematically and fully all things with respect to their apparent and true nature. It also examines fully and perfectly duality and non-duality. This investigation remedies harmful and dualistic tendencies. Not only does insight deliver one from the wrong course, but it also directs the mind to focus on the right path.

Insight is said to consist of four stages:

1. That which differentiates all aspects of reality.
2. That which differentiates absolute reality.
3. The examination of the concept of duality.
4. The understanding of that duality.

The mind must rest in tranquility during all this.

How does one differentiate the reality of all phenomena?

1. A crystal-clear analysis, keen intellectual perception or a purifying mental image that eliminates distortions.
2. Differentiation of the nature of reality as it is.
3. A complete intellectual examination that must occur when the mind clings to duality.
4. Perfect examination that results when one perceives reality perfectly.

Insight may be determined through six methods of investigating the nature of the mind:

1. Reality
2. Substance
3. Characteristics
4. Spatial dimensions
5. Time
6. Dialectical process

Most doctrinal treatises related to the sUtras that the tranquility should be attained first and insight afterward:

Mastery of the preceding principle results
In the realization of the succeeding principles.
The former is inferior and coarse,
The latter superior and subtle.

Knowing that insight arises from tranquility
And clears the defilements of the mind,
One should first achieve tranquility.

contd ...


Sangitakalanidhi Padmavibhushan Smt. D K Pattammal patti is undoubtedly our most adored personality of Carnatic Music, closely followed by Sangitakalanidhi Sri Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer. We have had the privilege of being acquainted with both these great personalities and Patti has always succeeded in touching our hearts with her Simplicity, Devotion and Dedication to Her art. She has seldom failed to evoke tears of joy, be it through her music or words. She may also be regarded as our Guru in a sense as she taught us the Kriti shrIguruguha tAraya Ashu mAm in less than thirty minutes. The last words she told us were these, along with her characteristic child-like smile: "We both are doing the same! You access nAda through japa and I through samgIta. And both of us have the highest regards for shrI dIkshitar. It's so nice". Patti's music is a sure way to establish one's contact with the Divine.

Malkauns Meets Hindola

padmanAbha shatakam


या ते पादसरोजधूळिरनिशं ब्रह्मादिभिर्निःस्पृहैः
भक्त्या सन्नतकन्धरैः सकुतुकं संधार्यमाणा हरे |
या विश्वं प्रपुनाति जालमचिरात् संशोषयत्यम्भसा
सा मां हीनगुणं पुनातु नितरां श्रीपद्मनाभान्वहम् ||

तस्मात् छिन्दि मदीय मोहमखिलं संसारबन्धावहं
भक्तिं त्वत्पदयोर्दिश स्थिरतरां सर्वापदुन्मूलिनीम् |
वाणीं त्वत्पदवर्णने पटुतमां विद्वज्जनाह्लादिनीं
देहि त्वत्पदसेवकाय ननु मे कारुण्यवारान्निधे ||

इन्द्रद्युम्ननृपः करीन्द्रजननं प्राप्तोऽथ शापेन वै
नक्राक्रान्तपदो विमोचनपटुः नाभूत्सहस्रं समाः |
भूयस्त्वामयमर्चयन् सरसिजैः शुण्डोद्धृतैः सादरं
सारूप्यं समवाप देव भवतो नक्रोऽपि गन्धर्वताम् ||

पापः कश्चिदजामिलाख्य धरणीदेवोऽवसत्सन्ततं
स्वैरिण्या सह काममोहितमतिः त्वां विस्मरन् मुक्तिदम् |
अन्ते चाह्वयदीश भीतहृदयो नारायणेत्यात्मजं
नीतः सोऽपि भवद्भटैस्तवपदं संरुद्ध्य याम्यान् भटान् ||

सदा प्रसक्तां विषयेष्वशान्तां
मतिं मदीयां जगदेकबन्धो |
तवैव कारुण्यवशादिदानीं
सन्मार्गगां प्रेरय वासुदेव ||

नृणां भवत्पादनिषेवणं तु
महौषधं संसृतिरोगहारि |
तदेव मे पङ्कजनाभ भूयात्
त्वन्मायया मोहितमानसस्य ||

यदीह भक्तिस्तव पादपद्मे
स्थिरा जनानामखिलार्तिहन्त्री |
तदा भवेन्मुक्तिरहो करस्था
धर्मार्थकामा किमु वर्णनीयाः ||

चिन्मयाम्बुनिधिवीचिरूप सनकादिचिन्त्य विमलाकृते
जातिकर्मगुणभेदहीन सकलादिमूल जगतां गुरो |
ब्रह्मशङ्करमुखैरमेय विपुलानुभाव करुणानिधे
भावयामि हृदये भवन्तमिह पद्मनाभ परिपाहि माम् ||

Chidambaram Subrahmanya Dikshitar


shrImAtre namaH

As I sat in immense pain suffering from toothache, the attempt to immerse myself in vedanA-sati as directed by the tathAgata turned futile. The ever favorite practice of being aware of the Awareness as taught by bhagavAn ramaNa refused to become accessible and the mind sought refuge at the lotus feet of our kuladevatA, the six-faced son of parAmbA. ‘lopAmudrA’ Smt. prakAshAmbA had always told us how great Masters such as Sri Muttuswami Dikshitar, father of Brahmasri chidAnandanAtha and others had freed themselves of afflictions through the grace of shrI devasenApati. My own grandfather had been a naiShthika upAsaka of Lord sUryanArayANa and a knower of the secrets of Aditya Tantra. However, after coming under the loving and protective care of Smt. prakAshAmbA, Aditya and agni were replaced by the upAsana of ShaDAnana and he was always the last refuge when in physical distress. The mind, still immature and easily bothered by something as insignificant as pain, appealed to the great Lord to grant relief from pain, reciting the manu of shatrusaMhAra mUrti. Within about 14 minutes, the grace of the Lord was felt as an immense hot wave of energy sweeping through the body. In a matter of minutes, it was hard to believe there ever was any pain in the tooth.

To offer thanks to the brother of our beloved hastimukha, we performed AvaraNa pUjA for both saguNa and nirguNa mUrti-s and concluded the ritual with vaTu-pUjA. A gentleman who arrived at that point mentioned that his ancestor was the great Chidambaram Subrahmanya Dikshitar and that brought back a chain of memories.

Chidambaram Subrahmanya Dikshitar, nearly forgotten today, was one of the greatest upAsaka-s of Subrahmanya in the early part of this century. Though his ancestors were from Chidambaram, his own family had a tiff with the head dIkshitar of Periya Kovil at Chidambaram and had moved to Kumbhakonam. Dikshitar was a postmaster by profession and taught Veda and prasthAnatraya bhAShya in his spare time. He was married to Smt. Tripurasundari and had two sons and a daughter. Greatly devoted to Lord chitsabhApati and bhagavatI shivakAmasundaryambA, Dikshitar visited Chidambaram often. During one such visit, he had the good fortune of meeting Pacchamalai Swamigal, an avadhUta from Kanyakumari who was visiting Chidambaram. Swamigal, known as Ramakrishna Bhagavatar in his pUrvAshrama, was a great upAsaka of subrahmaNya and was respected as the very incarnation of Sage Agastya. Swamigal found great potential in Dikshitar and initiated him into the secrets of kaumAra tantra, where maNi and auShadha were as important as mantra. Dikshitar successfully completed the purashcharaNa of mUla ShaDakShara mantra of guha (which is less known compared to subrahmaNya, kumAra or sharavaNa mantras) in Tiruttani and had a grand vision of the Lord. He is known to have cured innumerable people of various diseases by the power of his mantra siddhi. During this time, he also came in contact with Brahmasri Chidanandantha and was initiated into Srividya by ‘Sir’. Sri Chidanandatha in turn used the treasure trove of kaumAra material in the possession of Dikshitar (which was the lifelong collection of his Guru Sri Pacchamalai Swamigal), condensed it with his own knowledge of kaumAra vidhi transmitted by Paramahamsa Sri Guhanandanatha and designed saparyA vidhis for both saguNa and nirguNa forms of the Lord. Sir also included the nAmAvaLis composed by his paramaguru shrI AtmAnandanAtha which bring out the true essence of subrahmaNya tattva.

Dikshitar himself authored a more comprehensive worked named subrahmaNya pUjA kalpa which, along with mantra, AvaraNa krama, prayogas etc., includes six different trishatI stotras of the Lord. I first came across a copy of this book while looking for a clean version of the shatrusamhAra trishatI. shrI yogAnandanAtha (Sri Kunchita Padayyar), a shiShya of Chidanandantha, was a great astrologer and an upAsaka of Sri Ucchishta Ganapati; he had published a prayoga of shatrusamhAra trishatI which was reasonably clean but still with errors. Having gone through nearly forty different copies and manuscripts of the trishatI, Dikshitar’s version which also had a Tamil commentary was truly the Lord’s gift for me. Both Sri Chidanandanatha and Dikshitar rely on Agastya Samhita as the chief source of mantras and AvaraNa kramas. Though Dikshitar describes the vidhi for tANDava subrahmaNya, the chief form of ShaDAnana worshipped in the AmnAya krama of bimbAmbikA sampradAya, the mantra and vidhis are significantly different. Though the index of the work lists chapters devoted to auShadha and kAyAkalpa, the copy in my possession are missing these chapters. Dikshitar attaches much more importance to mUla mantra trishatI of sharavaNa than the popular shatrusamhAra trishatI in this work. He also refers to a sahasranAma from skandayAmaLa (chitrakUTa-kumAra sahasranAma) which I have so far failed to locate.

Dikshitar was a prolific writer and is said to have authored at least fifty works on Srividya and worship of Brahmanya. It is unfortunate that Dikshitar and his works are forgotten today. akShara shuddhi in his works is remarkable and worthy of emulation.

सुब्रह्मण्यकराम्बुजप्रविलसत् ज्योतिर्मयं सुस्थितम् |
ज्ञानस्योत्तरशक्तिसंयुतमहं वेलायुधं भावये ||

shAkta siddhAnta – 13

The viewpoint of the dualistic Agamas may now be summed up. Here the divine essence or shiva is conceived as inalienably associated with a shakti or Power which is purely divine and identical with it. The Essence and Power, both of the nature of chit or pure consciousness, constitute the two aspects of one and the same divine principle. Shiva is a transcendent unity. Shakti too is really one, though it appears as jnAna and kriyA according to the character of the data on which it functions. It is the will (icChA) of shiva and is essentially one with Him. Bindu is the eternal material principle outside shakti, and the three principles are usually described as the three jewels (ratna) of shaivism and its holy Trinity. In creation (in pure creation directly and in impure creation indirectly), Shiva’s place is that of an agent, shakti’s is that of an instrument and bindu serves as the material stuff. Shakti being immaterial never suffers any modification during action but bindu does. The modification of bindu, which follows from a disturbance of its equilibrium (kShobha) under the stress of divine shakti at the end of cosmic night (praLaya) gives rise to the five kalA-s which appear as it were like five concentric circles with greater and greater expansion. These kalA-s which precede further progressive modifications called tattvas and bhuvanas bear the names of nivR^itti (outermost), pratiShThA, vidyA, shanti and shAntyatIta (inmost). This represents one line of evolution of bindu, as that of the objective order (artha). The other line is represented by the evolution of sound or shabda. In this aspect we find nAda, bindu and varNa as the threefold expression of bindu arranged in an order of increasing externality.

Bindu is synonymous in this system with mahAmAyA and kuNDalinI. It is pure matter-energy and is to be distinguished from mAyA and prakR^iti, which are impure. In fact shaiva Agamas of all schools which recognize the thirty-six tattvas distinguish mAyA from prakR^iti. They are identified in the shvetAshvatara upaniShad: mAyAM tu prakR^itiM vidyAnmAyinaM tu maheshvaram. In the Agamas generally, mAyA is eternal but prakR^iti is not so. For prakR^iti is evolved from kalA which itself is an evolute from mAyA. But in some places in the tantras they are definitely conceived. prakR^iti stands for the material principle in a general way and mAyA is one of the vikalpas under this category. Bindu this is the matrix of pure creation, i.e. of shabda and artha, so that it is to be looked upon as of a dual nature. The pauShkara Agama says: shabdavastUbhayAtmA.asau bindurnAnyatarAtmakaH.

The order of shabda creation out of the disturbed mahAmAyA is thus given:

1. mahAmAyA
2. nAda
3. bindu
4. sAdAkhya
5. Isha
6. vidyA

In this scheme mahAmAyA stands for para-bindu in its undisturbed condition and nAda represents the same bindu when the chit shakti has acted upon it. As the action of shakti upon bindu is in a sense constant, it may be assumed that mahAmAyA and nAda are really two aspects (logically successive but in actual fact simultaneous) of the same principle, nAda representing the disturbed part of mahAmAyA. If mahAmAyA is kuNDalinI in its essence, nAda is the same kuNDalinI in its awakened and active state. mahAmAyA as such has no relation with puruSha but as nAda or kuNDalinI it resides in every puruSha, normal and super-normal.

contd ...

Rani Tero Chir Jiyo Gopal

Entities, Tulkus and Servitors

- Zivorad Mihajilovic Slavinski

Deliberate creation of Entities is elaborated with most precision in the magical operations of Tibetan yoga. It is based on thousand-year-old concepts of Oriental philosophy according to which matter is condensed and crystallized psychic energy. Gods, demons and the whole universe are only illusions created by the human spirit – they come from it and return to it. Since human spirit creates the world of phenomena, it is capable of creating any desired object. In the process of creation, a desired and visualized object is endowed with palpable existence. There are two discernible approaches in this field. One of them is identification with a previously imagined and elaborately visualized ideal, which resembles the assumption of “God forms” in the tradition of the magical organization Golden Dawn. The second procedure is similar to creation of “familiar spirit” and homunculus in Western magic.

The first approach is simple. The Yogi should create in his mind a divine being – an embodiment of divine virtues: infinite love and compassion for other beings, profound wisdom, moderation and self-control in behavior, impartiality and tolerance for suffering, etc. Such visualization is repeated until a very clear picture of such a divine being is created in the mind of the practitioner. Then he begins the second phase of the magical operation – assimilation and identification with that being. Once the feeling of oneness is there, the yogi makes permanent efforts to move, speak, behave and think like the divinity.

Many writers have discovered that during the writing of a novel where they become profoundly identified with their fabricated personalities, heroes had a tendency to become independent, get out of control and begin living their lives independently of the already conceived plot. The most prolific American science fiction author, Ray Bradbury, was so fascinated by this phenomenon, which occurred many times during the writing of his novels, that he used it as the theme of his novel The Martian Chronicles. In it, he depicts an encounter of visitors to Mars with personalities from classical literature who have somehow acquired a corporeal existence on Mars.

The second approach is more complex and requires efforts over a long period of time. It is creation of tulkus and tulpas. By means of sharpened visualization it is possible to create a thought form in human shape, which is called tulpa. If reflective concentration is intense enough during a long period, and if it is supported by strong will, often by energy invested by a lot of people, such a form ceases to be a phantasm and incarnates as a normal human being, receives a palpable physical body and an appropriate personality. In that case, it is called tulku or the “phantom body”.

A child born in this way at first sight does not differ from other children. Yet it is usually a personification of a previously deceased person or a divine being or demon. By repeating this process, a chain of tulku-personalities who are identical in many aspects, although they can develop differently, is created. This process lies at the basis of the long succession of Dalai Lamas. In other cases it is also believed that tulku is a reincarnation of a previously existing person, while it, in its turn, was the reincarnation of a personality that preceded it, and so the sequence stretches back to a prominent person who lived in the past.

Several persons wrote about these phenomena. The most famous among them is Dr. Alexandra David-Neel, the celebrated researcher of Tibet. She depicted the Tibetan way of life, their customs and especially their practice of magic in her book Magic and Mystery in Tibet (1967), where she documented her claims thoroughly.

Alexandra David-Neel and Lama Yongden write about the artificially created Entities thus: The Tibetans distinguish between tulkus and tulpas. The tulkus are men and women, apparently living normal lives like our own. Tulpas are more or less ephemeral creations which may take different forms: man, animal, tree, rock, etc., at the will of the magician who created them, and behave like the being whose forms they happen to have. These tulpas coexist with their creator and can be seen simultaneously with him. In some cases they may survive him, or, during his life, free themselves from his domination and attain a certain independence. The tulku, on the contrary, is the incarnation of a lasting energy directed by an individual with the object of continuing a given kind of activity after his death. The tulku does not coexist with his ancestor.

Dr. David-Neel spent considerable time in Tibet and was fascinated by many expe- riences. The greatest riddle of all, she states in her book, was the creation of tulpas, which was based on the secret knowledge of Tibetan adepts. She claims that the phantom beings described by Tibetans, and the apparitions she had a chance to see, have little resemblance to the apparitions which appear during spiritualistic séances. She wrote that while camped in the Tibetan highlands, she was visited by a painter she knew from a previous stay in Lhasa. The man was obsessed with one of the many Tibetan gods. For years he had med- itated daily on the deity and painted its image many times. As he entered the camp, Dr.David-Neel claimed she saw a misty representation of the god hovering behind him.

When a tulpa acquires enough life strength to be able to play the role of a real being, it has a tendency to free itself from the control of its creator. Tibetans compare the process with the behavior of a child matured in its mother’s womb, now capable of living separated from her body, who at a certain moment has a natural tendency to leave its mother’s womb. In Tibet, stories about phantom beings that become disobedient and about the struggle between the magicians and the beings they have created are not unusual. They can seriously hurt and even kill their creator. Dr. David- Neel heard stories from Tibetan sorcerers about tulpas that were sent to accomplish a certain mission, yet after its completion would not return to their creator, but continued to wander as half-conscious and dangerous beings. The same thing can happen when a tulpa’s creator dies before the tulpa is dissolved. At the moment of the creator’s death a tulpa usually either abruptly vanishes or gradually disappears, just like a body does when left without food. On the other hand, there are tulpas created with the intention of outliving their creator, which they do.

Mrs. David-Neel posed the question of whether we should accept such stories as true, or whether we should discard them as products of exuberant imagination. She was so intrigued by this phenomenon that she studied Tibetan teachings about tulpas and eventually decided to create one for herself. To this end, she visualized a cheerful brown-robed monk, based loosely on Friar Tuck in the Robin Hood legends. After weeks of effort, the imaginary monk became so vivid that he appeared to her as if he were physically present – an induced hallucination.

She describes what happened, which may not provide the experiment with a “certain degree of success”, but was a truly fascinating experience that cannot leave many feeling indifferent. Here is what it looked like.

In order to avoid being influenced by the forms of lamaistic divinities she would see daily on pictures, she chose for her experiment a funny and joyful personality in the form of a fat monk of small stature. Then, in isolation, she concentrated on him daily and performed the necessary rituals. She does not specify the rituals. His form took shape gradually, became more solid and looked alive. He became something like a guest in her house. After some time she set out on a journey with her servants, with the fat phantom monk as a member of their group. Although they traveled on horses, the illusory creature persevered. She could see him from time to time during the journey, and she no longer had to think about him in order for him to appear. He performed various activities she did not request. She perceived him mainly optically, but several times she felt his clothes touching her, and once felt the touch of his hand on her shoulder.

His appearance, imagined at the beginning of the process of creation, changed gradually. The fat monk with round cheeks was becoming ever slimmer, while his face acquired a shrewd and evil expression. He became imprudent and started to cause trouble. He obviously got out of Dr David-Neel’s control. Once a shepherd brought butter to her tent, saw him and believed that he was seeing a real lama. The tulpa’s presence started to make her feel nervous and after some time turned into a nightmare. Since she was about to travel to Lhasa, where she was supposed to be calm and undisturbed, she decided to get rid of him. She claims in her book that she had managed to do so only after six months of great exertion. The tulpa she had created clung to life with all his might. She completed the depiction of the experience with these words: “There is nothing strange about the fact that I have created my own hallucination. What is interesting is that others also saw that reflective form at moments when it materialized.”

Franz Bardon was born in the village Opava, in today’s Czech Republic, as the youngest of thirteen children. He spent his childhood and youth there, but not much is known about those periods in his life. Between 1920 and 1930 he earned a reputation as a magician in Germany, by performing on stages throughout the land under the name Frabato. That was also the title of his unfinished novel, Frabato, the Magician, published after his death.

Although Bardon claimed not to have been a member of any occult group, information from true connoisseurs indicates that he was a member of the most famous magic organization in Germany, Saturn Fraternity. When Hitler, who himself was a member of the black-magic order of Tula, came into power, Nazis began to actively persecute and imprison masons and members of all occult societies. Bardon was sent to jail in the beginning of 1942. Some of his disciples assert that Hitler had promised him a high position in the country’s hierarchy if he helped him win the war with his magic, but that Bardon refused. We must treat such stories with caution, for they follow all famous occultists. It would only be natural if Bardon had refused to serve Hitler’s war plans because in his past lives, according to stories spread by his close associates, he was St. Germain and Nostradamus, and before that Apolonius of Tyana, Lao Tse and no other than mythical Hermes Trismegistos.

After the war, Bardon came back to the Czech Republic and continued to teach small groups of disciples. When his books were published in the West during the 1950’s, individuals drawn to his teachings started to visit him in Opava, where he lived at the time. The communist government had no more understanding for such activities than the Nazis, and Bardon was sent to prison again in 1958, where he died the same year.

Franz Bardon is relatively unknown as a magician in the broader occult milieu, although in the narrow circles of his followers he enjoys a reputation greater even than that of Eliphas Levi, Blavatska and Crowley. He made an exceptional effort to provide his followers with the most complete guidelines available without having personal contact with a Master. He made magical procedures public in his books: Initiation Into Hermetics, The Practice of Magical Evocation and The Key to the True Quabbalah. Some of the instructions were previously unknown in occult circles, for, according to Bardon, they were jealously guarded among the most elevated adepts. However, their true value cannot be determined without a practical test.

Bardon was acquainted with Tibetan mysticism, or at least with the works of Dr.Alexandra David-Neel, whose words he cites in several places. He mentions data which a careful reader can spot in her already mentioned book; for instance, the magical diagrams kilihor and the inner fire tummo, which by controlling, Tibetan adepts manage to dry a wet shirt on their bodies while they meditate in open space, exposed to very low temperatures.

In his first book, Initiation Into Hermetics,, which is actually an elaborate description of tarot’s first arcane, Bardon describes in detail four methods for creating elementaries; that is, Entities with artificially made material bodies. Although he calls his method secret, and adds that it is revealed to readers for the first time, if we consider the final outcome, his method resembles the creation of tulpas in Tibetan yoga.

During the last thirty years in occult circles, the practice of deliberate creation has developed, including the use of special kinds of Entities called Servitors or Magic Servants. Although it is based on medieval concepts of bodiless assistants and spirit-servants, it is largely stimulated by Parson’s works, guidelines Franz Bardon offered in his books, and, above all, by the ideas of a man by the name of Austin Osman Spare.

Spare was a painter, mainly draftsman, occult philosopher, writer and magician. He was obviously ahead of his time, for it is only now that his work has attracted admirers and followers, while on his theoretical hypotheses and practical work a new magic discipline, the magic of chaos, was built.

Born in 1886, Spare manifested from an early age an exceptional talent for painting and magic. He learned painting in art school, and magic from a woman called Mrs. Patterson, whom he considered his “mother witch”. She taught him how to visualize spirits and elementals and by doing so enabled his imagination to blossom in its entirety. She was also the one who gave him his magical name Zos. It is hard to determine how reliable Spare’s assertions regarding this woman are, for many of them are unusual. He considered her a true sorceress, for she was, to cite an example, capable of changing her physical form from an old woman to an infatuating young woman.

Spare was a member of Aleister Crowley’s occult organization Argentium Astrum (the Silver Star) for a short while. He left it because he began to work on his most famous book – The Book of Pleasure - in which he presented some original ideas regarding the practice of magic and gave detailed instructions for making sigils – magical stamps that are drawn and activated for the purpose of realizing specific, clearly determined and limited goals. Sigils are believed to cause changes mainly in the practitioner’s mind, and subsequently in his environment. Spare’s attitude toward magic and the universe was confirmed by discoveries made in the fields of quantum physics and mathematics of chaos, and his teachings have many similarities to a branch of Tibetan Buddhism called Jok Chen.

In his next book, The Focus of Life, he emphasized for the first time that chaos was the basis of the natural order of things in the cosmos and of the complete personality: “The more chaotic I am, the more completely I am what I am.” This seemingly illogical assertion is understandable from the point of view of the free personality, which we could also call the quantum personality. The quantum condition is entirely unpredictable; within it unpredictable manifestations occur. Family upbringing or society imposes on the individual restrictions, limitations and rigidity, and these are manifested in predictable conduct. Liberation from such imposed limitations leads to manifestation of absolute spontaneity.

In 1924, Spare published Anathema of Zos, with which he severed the bonds that connected him to the artistic and philosophical circles in England. Since that time, he lived in a poorly maintained basement in London, not caring for fame or money, but he continued to develop his philosophy, to paint and practice magic.

The technique for the creation of magical servants – servitors – presumes procedures that are relatively new in the history of occultism. Servitors are Entities which the practitioner consciously and deliberately creates from energies derived from his own unconscious, or the collective unconscious, by means of evocation, so that they would perform quite specific functions. The practitioner actualizes servitors— that is, creates them from the unconscious— as half-conscious beings which serve to accomplish precisely determined tasks.

According to Spare, the easiest way to create such a being is to use the energy of some practitioner’s obsession. For most magicians of chaos, obsession is not a bad thing. On the contrary, it sends an unambiguous message to the practitioner that he desires something. A practitioner with an obsession shapes a part of his personal and collective unconscious into a half-independent phenomenon that will do the necessary work to fulfill the practitioner’s wish. Another famous practitioner, Phil Hine, in his User’s Guide to Servitors, writes: “By consciously separating parts of our psyche and identifying them by giving them names, characteristics and symbols, we are able to work with them and understand on the conscious level how they affect us.”

A no less famous practitioner of the magic of chaos, Stephen Mace, in his treatise Stealing the Fire from Heaven, writes: “It is the ability of catching spirits, training and harnessing them, so that we can, as we do with energies, manipulate them in our spirit, and cause changes in it and beyond it.” Some practitioners ask whether those Entities exist in the unconscious before being activated by evocation, and answer that this is possible, for magic is metaspacial and metatemporal.

Although deliberate and conscious creation of servitors is emphasized, many persons obviously create them unconsciously, even though they would never associate themselves with magic of any kind. People often personify their pets, cars, weapons, favorite books and songs, and attribute to them traits such as love, protection, good luck and the like. What is most important, while they are doing this, they invest their energy in such acts and conduct.

There are different attitudes toward creation of servitors. However, everyone agrees upon one thing – the practitioner must begin the process of creating Servitors with entirely clear intention, which is the precondition for all magical acts. Clear intention means that the practitioner understands his initial desire with which he begins his magical activity. A Servitor can be used for finding rare books, getting a job, development and improvement of business, protection of home, family, and the operator himself from hostile influences, as well as for creation of desirable personal traits needed in a certain period of life and for the elimination of negative ones. Servitors that have harmful personal traits should be treated as demons. Yet demons are not what the uninitiated believe them to be, but they are groups of uncontrollable moods, characteristics, fantasies and activities. They often appear in vulnerable periods of childhood as a response to traumatic situations in one’s family and social circle. The adult, conscious practitioner realizes that they do not fit into the satisfying lifestyle of a mature person, and therefore makes an effort to eliminate them and by doing so prevent them from disturbing him further.

Once the intention is shaped and clearly manifested, a suitable container from which the Servitor will exercise its influence must be found or made. It can be a graphic figure in the shape of sigil, that is, a magic seal, a talisman or a written text. It is useful to create a suitable personality for an individualized Entity. This is also useful because at a certain moment the operator’s personality must absorb it or reprogram it.

Spare taught that each magical act, and so the creation of Servitors, will have a greater chance of success if one eliminates duality from his mind. For this purpose, he advised that dualistic concepts, beliefs and feelings be systematically eliminated by confrontation. The state that comes into being when the dualism is overcome he named the Neither- Nor state. It resembles yoga meditation Neti-Neti, in which the aspirant searches for his true identity by eliminating everything he is not.

Created Entities resist our desire to assimilate, eliminate or destroy them. This becomes obvious if we pay attention to some negative states of ours that obstinately resist our attempts to control them. They take energy from every available source in our psyche, primarily from negative structures of long standing, such as intolerance and hatred for members of our family or people against whom we have a grudge. When we eliminate such states, energy that was bound in them becomes liberated. It is now at the operator’s disposal, and he can use it to actualize the intention manifested through his Servitor.

Realizing the Neither-Nor state, in other words, the state of Void, enables the Servitor to be filled with energy. If this state is not achieved, there is a risk of the practitioner’s efforts remaining fruitless, for the invested energy will be taken over by uncontrolled and to him unfamiliar Entities that dwell in his unconscious.

[Harsha] The world Tulku is split as Tul, meaning emanation or a magical creation and Ku meaning reincarnated body. The Dalai Lama is often described as a Tulku for he is considered both as the reincarnation of his predecessor and an emanation of Avalokiteshvara. In the case of the word Tulpa, ‘pa’ simply is a particle and the word Tulpa thus means a magically created being. As the article above hints, a Tulpa s not a mere imagination or a hallucination as it can also be seen and experienced by people other than its creator. The tulpas are generally created as automated energy structures that are driven by the specific intent of the creator and lack self-awareness. The typical use of a tulpa is to serve as a consort or mudrA (karma-mudrA) for Tantric practices but they also find frequent use as servitors that protect the creator and assault his enemies. When separated from the creator, the tulpa may become self-aware and gain a certain level of independence and can occasionally turn into a malevolent being. This is especially true when the process of creation of a tulpa goes wrong and subsequently the tulpa gains independence from its creator. Unable to serve the purpose of its creation due to its incomplete or incorrect energetic structure, the tulpa may go out of control and harm sentient beings. Also, if it achieves a certain degree of self-awareness, it will become aware of its own shortcomings, will develop a desire to attain wholeness, gets confused not knowing how and turns malevolent. When a tulpa outlives its creator, it is also possible for it become a tulku, as in the case of Tenzin Rinpoche about who I talked elsewhere on this blog in the context of my experience with the Sadhana of vajravArAhI and my conversation with the tulku.