THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE
1889 by H. P. Blavatsky
Devotional classic of theosophy, concerning the seeker's inner awakening and development, leading to a choice between the compassionate path and the path for self alone. Reproduced from The Theosophical University Press (Online Edition). A printed copy can be obtained from The Theosophical Society.
THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE
THESE instructions are for those ignorant of the dangers of the lower IDDHI (1).
Having become indifferent to objects of perception, the pupil must seek out the rajah of the senses, the Thought-Producer, he who awakes illusion.
The Mind is the great Slayer of the Real.
Let the Disciple slay the Slayer.
When to himself his form appears unreal, as do on waking all the forms he sees in dreams;
When he has ceased to hear the many, he may discern the ONE -- the inner sound which kills the outer.
Then only, not till then, shall he forsake the region of Asat, the false, to come unto the realm of Sat, the true.
Before the soul can see, the Harmony within must be attained, and fleshly eyes be rendered blind to all illusion.
Before the Soul can hear, the image (man) has to become as deaf to roarings as to whispers, to cries of bellowing elephants as to the silvery buzzing of the golden fire-fly.
Before the soul can comprehend and may remember, she must unto the Silent Speaker be united just as the form to which the clay is modelled, is first united with the potter's mind.
For then the soul will hear, and will remember.
And then to the inner ear will speak --
THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE
And say: --
If thy soul smiles while bathing in the Sunlight of thy Life; if thy soul sings within her chrysalis of flesh and matter; if thy soul weeps inside her castle of illusion; if thy soul struggles to break the silver thread that binds her to the MASTER (4); know, O Disciple, thy Soul is of the earth.
When to the World's turmoil thy budding soul (5) lends ear; when to the roaring voice of the great illusion thy Soul responds (6) when frightened at the sight of the hot tears of pain, when deafened by the cries of distress, thy soul withdraws like the shy turtle within the carapace of SELFHOOD, learn, O Disciple, of her Silent "God," thy Soul is an unworthy shrine.
When waxing stronger, thy Soul glides forth from her secure retreat: and breaking loose from the protecting shrine, extends her silver thread and rushes onward; when beholding her image on the waves of Space she whispers, "This is I," -- declare, O Disciple, that thy soul is caught in the webs of delusion (7).
This earth, O ignorant Disciple, is but the dismal entrance leading to the twilight that precedes the valley of true light -- that light which no wind can extinguish, that light which burns without a wick or fuel.
Saith the Great Law: -- "In order to become the KNOWER of ALL SELF (9) thou hast first of SELF to be the knower." To reach the knowledge of that SELF, thou hast to give up Self to Non-Self, Being to Non-Being, and then thou canst repose between the wings of the GREAT BIRD. Aye, sweet is rest between the wings of that which is not born, nor dies, but is the AUM (10) throughout eternal ages (11).
Bestride the Bird of Life, if thou would'st know (12).
Give up thy life, if thou would'st live (13).
Three Halls, O weary pilgrim, lead to the end of toils. Three Halls, O conqueror of Mara, will bring thee through three states (14) into the fourth (15) and thence into the seven worlds (16), the worlds of Rest Eternal.
If thou would'st learn their names, then hearken, and remember.
The name of the first Hall is IGNORANCE -- Avidya.
It is the Hall in which thou saw'st the light, in which thou livest and shalt die (17).
The name of Hall the second is the Hall of Learning.* In it thy Soul will find the blossoms of life, but under every flower a serpent coiled (18).
[*The Hall of Probationary Learning.]
The name of the third Hall is Wisdom, beyond which stretch the shoreless waters of AKSHARA, the indestructible Fount of Omniscience (19).
If thou would'st cross the first Hall safely, let not thy mind mistake the fires of lust that burn therein for the Sunlight of life.
If thou would'st cross the second safely, stop not the fragrance of its stupefying blossoms to inhale. If freed thou would'st be from the Karmic chains, seek not for thy Guru in those Mayavic regions.
The WISE ONES tarry not in pleasure-grounds of senses.
The WISE ONES heed not the sweet-tongued voices of illusion.
Seek for him who is to give thee birth (20), in the Hall of Wisdom, the Hall which lies beyond, wherein all shadows are unknown, and where the light of truth shines with unfading glory.
That which is uncreate abides in thee, Disciple, as it abides in that Hall. If thou would'st reach it and blend the two, thou must divest thyself of thy dark garments of illusion. Stifle the voice of flesh, allow no image of the senses to get between its light and thine that thus the twain may blend in one. And having learnt thine own Agnyana (21), flee from the Hall of Learning. This Hall is dangerous in its perfidious beauty, is needed but for thy probation. Beware, Lanoo, lest dazzled by illusive radiance thy Soul should linger and be caught in its deceptive light.
This light shines from the jewel of the Great Ensnarer, (Mara) (22). The senses it bewitches, blinds the mind, and leaves the unwary an abandoned wreck.
The moth attracted to the dazzling flame of thy night-lamp is doomed to perish in the viscid oil. The unwary Soul that fails to grapple with the mocking demon of illusion, will return to earth the slave of Mara.
Behold the Hosts of Souls. Watch how they hover o'er the stormy sea of human life, and how exhausted, bleeding, broken-winged, they drop one after other on the swelling waves. Tossed by the fierce winds, chased by the gale, they drift into the eddies and disappear within the first great vortex.
If through the Hall of Wisdom, thou would'st reach the Vale of Bliss, Disciple, close fast thy senses against the great dire heresy of separateness that weans thee from the rest.
Let not thy "Heaven-born," merged in the sea of Maya, break from the Universal Parent (SOUL), but let the fiery power retire into the inmost chamber, the chamber of the Heart (23) and the abode of the World's Mother (24).
Then from the heart that Power shall rise into the sixth, the middle region, the place between thine eyes, when it becomes the breath of the ONE-SOUL, the voice which filleth all, thy Master's voice.
'Tis only then thou canst become a "Walker of the Sky" (25) who treads the winds above the waves, whose step touches not the waters.
Before thou set'st thy foot upon the ladder's upper rung, the ladder of the mystic sounds, thou hast to hear the voice of thy inner GOD* in seven manners.
[*The Higher SELF.]
The first is like the nightingale's sweet voice chanting a song of parting to its mate.
The second comes as the sound of a silver cymbal of the Dhyanis, awakening the twinkling stars.
The next is as the plaint melodious of the ocean-sprite imprisoned in its shell.
And this is followed by the chant of Vina (26).
The fifth like sound of bamboo-flute shrills in thine ear.
It changes next into a trumpet-blast.
The last vibrates like the dull rumbling of a thunder-cloud.
The seventh swallows all the other sounds. They die, and then are heard no more.
Eternal life's pure waters, clear and crystal, with the monsoon tempest's muddy torrents cannot mingle.
Heaven's dew-drop glittering in the morn's first sun-beam within the bosom of the lotus, when dropped on earth becomes a piece of clay; behold, the pearl is now a speck of mire.
Strive with thy thoughts unclean before they overpower thee. Use them as they will thee, for if thou sparest them and they take root and grow, know well, these thoughts will overpower and kill thee. Beware, Disciple, suffer not, e'en though it be their shadow, to approach. For it will grow, increase in size and power, and then this thing of darkness will absorb thy being before thou hast well realized the black foul monster's presence.
Before the "mystic Power" (31)* can make of thee a god, Lanoo, thou must have gained the faculty to slay thy lunar form at will.
[*Kundalini, the "Serpent Power" or mystic fire.]
The Self of matter and the SELF of Spirit can never meet. One of the twain must disappear; there is no place for both.
Ere thy Soul's mind can understand, the bud of personality must be crushed out, the worm of sense destroyed past resurrection.
Thou canst not travel on the Path before thou hast become that Path itself (32).
Let thy Soul lend its ear to every cry of pain like as the lotus bares its heart to drink the morning sun.
Let not the fierce Sun dry one tear of pain before thyself hast wiped it from the sufferer's eye.
But let each burning human tear drop on thy heart and there remain, nor ever brush it off, until the pain that caused it is removed.
These tears, O thou of heart most merciful, these are the streams that irrigate the fields of charity immortal. 'Tis on such soil that grows the midnight blossom of Buddha (33) more difficult to find, more rare to view than is the flower of the Vogay tree. It is the seed of freedom from rebirth. It isolates the Arhat both from strife and lust, it leads him through the fields of Being unto the peace and bliss known only in the land of Silence and Non-Being.
Kill out desire; but if thou killest it take heed lest from the dead it should again arise.
Kill love of life, but if thou slayest tanha (34), let this not be for thirst of life eternal, but to replace the fleeting by the everlasting.
Desire nothing. Chafe not at Karma, nor at Nature's changeless laws. But struggle only with the personal, the transitory, the evanescent and the perishable.
Help Nature and work on with her; and Nature will regard thee as one of her creators and make obeisance.
And she will open wide before thee the portals of her secret chambers, lay bare before thy gaze the treasures hidden in the very depths of her pure virgin bosom. Unsullied by the hand of matter she shows her treasures only to the eye of Spirit -- the eye which never closes, the eye for which there is no veil in all her kingdoms.
Then will she show thee the means and way, the first gate and the second, the third, up to the very seventh. And then, the goal -- beyond which lie, bathed in the sunlight of the Spirit, glories untold, unseen by any save the eye of Soul.
There is but one road to the Path; at its very end alone the "Voice of the Silence" can be heard. The ladder by which the candidate ascends is formed of rungs of suffering and pain; these can be silenced only by the voice of virtue. Woe, then, to thee, Disciple, if there is one single vice thou hast not left behind. For then the ladder will give way and overthrow thee; its foot rests in the deep mire of thy sins and failings, and ere thou canst attempt to cross this wide abyss of matter thou hast to lave thy feet in Waters of Renunciation. Beware lest thou should'st set a foot still soiled upon the ladder's lowest rung. Woe unto him who dares pollute one rung with miry feet. The foul and viscous mud will dry, become tenacious, then glue his feet unto the spot, and like a bird caught in the wily fowler's lime, he will be stayed from further progress. His vices will take shape and drag him down. His sins will raise their voices like as the jackal's laugh and sob after the sun goes down; his thoughts become an army, and bear him off a captive slave.
Kill thy desires, Lanoo, make thy vices impotent, ere the first step is taken on the solemn journey.
Strangle thy sins, and make them dumb for ever, before thou dost lift one foot to mount the ladder.
Silence thy thoughts and fix thy whole attention on thy Master whom yet thou dost not see, but whom thou feelest.
Merge into one sense thy senses, if thou would'st be secure against the foe. 'Tis by that sense alone which lies concealed within the hollow of thy brain, that the steep path which leadeth to thy Master may be disclosed before thy Soul's dim eyes.
Long and weary is the way before thee, O Disciple. One single thought about the past that thou hast left behind, will drag thee down and thou wilt have to start the climb anew.
Kill in thyself all memory of past experiences. Look not behind or thou art lost.
Do not believe that lust can ever be killed out if gratified or satiated, for this is an abomination inspired by Mara. It is by feeding vice that it expands and waxes strong, like to the worm that fattens on the blossom's heart.
The rose must re-become the bud born of its parent stem, before the parasite has eaten through its heart and drunk its life-sap.
The golden tree puts forth its jewel-buds before its trunk is withered by the storm.
The pupil must regain the child-state he has lost ere the first sound can fall upon his ear.
The light from the ONE Master, the one unfading golden light of Spirit, shoots its effulgent beams on the disciple from the very first. Its rays thread through the thick dark clouds of matter.
Now here, now there, these rays illumine it, like sun-sparks light the earth through the thick foliage of the jungle growth. But, O Disciple, unless the flesh is passive, head cool, the soul as firm and pure as flaming diamond, the radiance will not reach the chamber (23), its sunlight will not warm the heart, nor will the mystic sounds of the Akasic heights (35) reach the ear, however eager, at the initial stage.
Unless thou hearest, thou canst not see.
Unless thou seest thou canst not hear. To hear and see this is the second stage.
. . . . . .
When the disciple sees and hears, and when he smells and tastes, eyes closed, ears shut, with mouth and nostrils stopped; when the four senses blend and ready are to pass into the fifth, that of the inner touch -- then into stage the fourth he hath passed on.
And in the fifth, O slayer of thy thoughts, all these again have to be killed beyond reanimation (36).
Withhold thy mind from all external objects, all external sights. Withhold internal images, lest on thy Soul-light a dark shadow they should cast.
When thou hast passed into the seventh, O happy one, thou shalt perceive no more the sacred three (38), for thou shalt have become that three thyself. Thyself and mind, like twins upon a line, the star which is thy goal, burns overhead (39). The three that dwell in glory and in bliss ineffable, now in the world of Maya have lost their names. They have become one star, the fire that burns but scorches not, that fire which is the Upadhi (40) of the Flame.
And now thy Self is lost in SELF, thyself unto THYSELF, merged in THAT SELF from which thou first didst radiate.
Where is thy individuality, Lanoo, where the Lanoo himself? It is the spark lost in the fire, the drop within the ocean, the ever-present Ray become the all and the eternal radiance.
And now, Lanoo, thou art the doer and the witness, the radiator and the radiation, Light in the Sound, and the Sound in the Light.
Thou art acquainted with the five impediments, O blessed one. Thou art their conqueror, the Master of the sixth, deliverer of the four modes of Truth (43). The light that falls upon them shines from thyself, O thou who wast disciple but art Teacher now.
And of these modes of Truth: --
Hast thou not passed through knowledge of all misery -- Truth the first?
Hast thou not conquered the Maras' King at Tsi, the portal of assembling -- truth the second? (44).
Hast thou not sin at the third gate destroyed and truth the third attained?
Hast not thou entered Tau, "the Path" that leads to knowledge -- the fourth truth? (45).
And now, rest 'neath the Bodhi tree, which is perfection of all knowledge, for, know, thou art the Master of SAMADHI -- the state of faultless vision.
Behold! thou hast become the light, thou hast become the Sound, thou art thy Master and thy God. Thou art THYSELF the object of thy search: the VOICE unbroken, that resounds throughout eternities, exempt from change, from sin exempt, the seven sounds in one, the
VOICE OF THE SILENCE
Om Tat Sat
(1). The Pali word Iddhi, is the synonym of the Sanskrit Siddhis, or psychic faculties, the abnormal powers in man. There are two kinds of Siddhis. One group which embraces the lower, coarse, psychic and mental energies; the other is one which exacts the highest training of Spiritual powers. Says Krishna in Shrimad Bhagavat: --
"He who is engaged in the performance of yoga, who has subdued his senses and who has concentrated his mind in me (Krishna), such yogis all the Siddhis stand ready to serve."
(2). The "Soundless Voice," or the "Voice of the Silence." Literally perhaps this would read "Voice in the Spiritual Sound," as Nada is the equivalent word in Sanskrit, for the Sen-sar term.
(3). Dharana, is the intense and perfect concentration of the mind upon some one interior object, accompanied by complete abstraction from everything pertaining to the external Universe, or the world of the senses.
(4). The "great Master" is the term used by lanoos or chelas to indicate-one's "Higher Self." It is the equivalent of Avalokiteswara, and the same as Adi-Budha with the Buddhist Occultists, ATMAN the "Self" (the Higher Self) with the Brahmins, and CHRISTOS with the ancient Gnostics.
(5). Soul is used here for the Human Ego or Manas, that which is referred to in our Occult Septenary division as the "Human Soul" (Vide the Secret Doctrine) in contradistinction to the Spiritual and Animal Souls.
(6). Maha Maya "Great Illusion," the objective Universe.
(7). Sakkayaditthi "delusion" of personality.
(8). Attavada, the heresy of the belief in Soul or rather in the separateness of Soul or Self from the One Universal, infinite SELF.
(9). The Tatwagyanee is the "knower" or discriminator of the principles in nature and in man; and Atmagyanee is the knower of ATMAN or the Universal, ONE SELF.
(10). Kala Hamsa, the "Bird" or Swan (Vide No. 11). Says the Nada-Bindu Upanishad (Rig Veda) translated by the Kumbakonam Theos. Society -- "The syllable A is considered to be its (the bird Hamsa's) right wing, u, its left, M, its tail, and the Ardha-matra (half metre) is said to be its head."
(11). Eternity with the Orientals has quite another signification than it has with us. It stands generally for the 100 years or "age" of Brahma, the duration of a Kalpa or a period of 4,320,000,000 years.
(12). Says the same Nada-Bindu, "A Yogi who bestrides the Hamsa (thus contemplates on Aum) is not affected by Karmic influences or crores of sins."
(13). Give up the life of physical personality if you would live in spirit.
(14). The three states of consciousness, which are Jagrat, the waking; Swapna, the dreaming; and Sushupti, the deep sleeping state. These three Yogi conditions, lead to the fourth, or --
(15). The Turya, that beyond the dreamless state, the one above all, a state of high spiritual consciousness.
(16). Some Sanskrit mystics locate seven planes of being, the seven spiritual lokas or worlds within the body of Kala Hamsa, the Swan out of Time and Space, convertible into the Swan in Time, when it becomes Brahma instead of Brahma (neuter).
(17). The phenomenal World of Senses and of terrestrial consciousness -- only.
(18). The astral region, the Psychic World of supersensuous perceptions and of deceptive sights -- the world of Mediums. It is the great "Astral Serpent" of Eliphas Levi. No blossom plucked in those regions has ever yet been brought down on earth without its serpent coiled around the stem. It is the world of the Great Illusion.
(19). The region of the full Spiritual Consciousness beyond which there is no longer danger for him who has reached it.
(20). The Initiate who leads the disciple through the Knowledge given to him to his spiritual, or second, birth is called the Father guru or Master.
(21). Agnyana is ignorance or non-wisdom the opposite of "Knowledge" gnyana.
(22). Mara is in exoteric religions a demon, an Asura, but in esoteric philosophy it is personified temptation through men's vices, and translated literally means "that which kills" the Soul. It is represented as a King (of the Maras) with a crown in which shines a jewel of such lustre that it blinds those who look at it, this lustre referring of course to the fascination exercised by vice upon certain natures.
(24). The "Power" and the "World-mother" are names given to Kundalini -- one of the mystic "Yogi powers." It is Buddhi considered as an active instead of a passive principle (which it is generally, when regarded only as the vehicle, or casket of the Supreme Spirit ATMA). It is an electro-spiritual force, a creative power which when aroused into action can as easily kill as it can create.
(25). Keshara or "sky-walker" or "goer." As explained in the 6th. Adhyaya of that king of mystic works the Dhyaneswari -- the body of the Yogi becomes as one formed of the wind; as "a cloud from which limbs have sprouted out," after which -- "he (the Yogi) beholds the things beyond the seas and stars; he hears the language of the Devas and comprehends it, and perceives what is passing in the mind of the ant."
(26). Vina is an Indian stringed instrument like a lute.
(27). The six principles; meaning when the lower personality is destroyed and the inner individuality is merged into and lost in the Seventh or Spirit.
(28). The disciple is one with Brahma or the ATMAN.
(29). The astral form produced by the Kamic principle, the Kama rupa or body of desire.
(30). Manasa rupa. The first refers to the astral or personal Self; the second to the individuality or the reincarnating Ego whose consciousness on our plane or the lower Manas -- has to be paralyzed.
(31). Kundalini is called the "Serpentine" or the annular power on account on its spiral-like working or progress in the body of the ascetic developing the power in himself. It is an electric fiery occult or Fohatic power, the great pristine force, which underlies all organic and inorganic matter.
(32). This "Path" is mentioned in all the Mystic Works. As Krishna says in the Dhyaneswari: "When this Path is beheld . . . whether one sets out to the bloom of the east or to the chambers of the west, without moving, O holder of the bow, is the travelling in this road. In this path, to whatever place one would go, that place one's own self becomes." "Thou art the Path" is said to the adept guru and by the latter to the disciple, after initiation. "I am the way and the Path" says another MASTER.
(33). Adeptship -- the "blossom of Bodhisattva."
(34). Tanha -- "the will to live," the fear of death and love for life, that force or energy which causes the rebirths.
(35). These mystic sounds or the melody heard by the ascetic at the beginning of his cycle of meditation called Anahad-shabd by the Yogis.
(36). This means that in the sixth stage of development which, in the occult system is Dharana, every sense as an individual faculty has to be "killed" (or paralyzed) on this plane, passing into and merging with the Seventh sense, the most spiritual.
(37). See number 3.
(38). Every stage of development in Raja Yoga is symbolised by a geometrical figure. This one is the sacred Triangle and precedes Dharana. The [triangle] is the sign of the high chelas, while another kind of triangle is that of high Initiates. It is the symbol "I" discoursed upon by Buddha and used by him as a symbol of the embodied form of Tathagata when released from the three methods of the Prajna. Once the preliminary and lower stages passed, the disciple sees no more the [triangle] but the -- the abbreviation of the --, the full Septenary. Its true form is not given here, as it is almost sure to be pounced upon by some charlatans and -- desecrated in its use for fraudulent purposes.
(39). The star that burns overhead is the "the star of initiation." The caste-mark of Saivas, or devotees of the sect of Siva, the great patron of all Yogins, is a black round spot, the symbol of the Sun now, perhaps, but that of the star of initiation, in Occultism, in days of old.
(40). The basis (upadhi)of the ever unreachable FLAME," so long as the ascetic is still in this life.
(41). Dhyana is the last stage before the final on this Earth unless one becomes a full MAHATMA. As said already in this state the Raj Yogi is yet spiritually conscious of Self, and the working of his higher principles. One step more, and he will be on the plane beyond the Seventh (or fourth according to some schools). These, after the practice of Pratyehara -- a preliminary training, in order to control one's mind and thoughts -- count Dhasena, Dhyana and Samadhi and embraces the three under the generic name of SANNYAMA.
(42). Samadhi is the state in which the ascetic loses the consciousness of every individuality including his own. He becomes -- the ALL.
(43). The "four modes of truth" are, in Northern Buddhism, Ku "suffering or misery"; Tu the assembling of temptations; Mu "their destructions" and Tau, the "path." The "five impediments" are the knowledge of misery, truth about human frailty, oppressive restraints, and the absolute necessity of separation from all the ties of passion and even of desires. The "Path of Salvation" -- is the last one.
(44). At the portal of the "assembling" the King of the Maras the Maha Mara stands trying to blind the candidate by the radiance of his "Jewel."
(45). This is the fourth "Path" out of the five paths of rebirth which lead and toss all human beings into perpetual states of sorrow and joy. These "paths" are but sub-divisions of the One, the Path followed by Karma.