This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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Generation and corruption

When the Greeks said that the ‘sublunary world’ alone is subject to corruption and generation, we can see how this relates to what was said about about the Sphere of the Moon, since corruption and generation are synonymous with birth and death when applied to the entirety of individual manifestation. It is this world which one escapes by moving beyond the Sphere of the Moon, which is the division between the Upper Waters of formless manifestation and the Lower Waters of formal manifestation.

Here the deva-yana passes into the Sphere of the Moon (Chandra or Soma), which we have already described, although unlike in the previous case of the pitri-yana, the being does not remain but climbs through the region of the lighting (vidyut) to the Realm of the Water (Ap), which is ruled by Varuna, and the symbolic scene here is of the lightning flashing through the clouds of the heavens. Moreover, we can remind the reader that, since we have already said that the Sphere of the Moon marks the border between the formal (individual) and the formless, the ‘Heavens’ in question are the Upper Waters mentioned in Genesis, representing the totalities of formless possibilities. Having transcended the Sphere of the Moon, the being has left behind the Lower Waters, containing the totality of formal possibilities.

What remains of the journey takes place in an intermediate ‘luminous’ (pertaining to knowledge) region called Antariksha, the realm of Indra which is occupied by Ether (Akasha, representing the primordial state of undifferentiated equilibrium), leading eventually to the spiritual Center where is found the ‘Lord of produced beings,’ or Prajapati, who is a direct manifestation of Brahma in relation to the whole cycle or degree of existence to which the human state belongs.

We can pause here to point out that the regions through which the deva-yana passes, called Worlds (Lokas), Spheres, or Realms, should be understood as so many different states. And we call attention to the fact that the Sanskrit word loka corresponds to the Latin locus, or ‘place’–a term used in Catholic doctrine to describe Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell. Obviously these ‘places’ are not to be understood as localized in gross manifestation, and so they can be seen as examples of the Christian understanding of the posthumous states we are speaking of.

The progress of the being through these various states was described earlier as the ‘possession’ of the states themselves through knowledge. In these terms, we can say that this possession is achieved progressively by identification with the Rulers of the state in question, and so the ‘theory’ which we are presenting here is merely a support for a realization, which is to say an identification with a higher state, and this is something else entirely. All of these are of course still conditioned states, as we said at the outset, and represent ‘preliminary identifications’ on the path toward the ‘Supreme Identity,’ each one being more universal than the preceding, until the being arrives at total universalization.

In what has been described so far of the krama-mukti, the being has not sundered completely its connection with the human state, and so although it has transcended the Sphere of the Moon, it has only obtained ‘virtual immortality.’ Even at the spiritual Center, we are still only dealing with the center of a particular degree of existence, the one to which the human being belonged. We will remark that it is here that religious conceptions seem to stop, since they do not allow for anything beyond the prolongation of the human individuality, which is what we have thus far dealt with but not transcended. And that is why, although the being at this point has achieved ‘immortality’ and ‘salvation’ from the religious standpoint, it has by no means achieved deliverance, and the pralaya still lies ahead. This is always why it has been suggested that ‘mystical states’ so prevalent in Western religion are not equivalent to the realization of genuine metaphysical knowledge.

The foregoing distinctions were necessary in order to understand that when the Divine Journey is said to have the World of Brahma (Brahma-Loka) as its final goal, this is still not the Supreme Brahma. Rather, it is Its determination as Brahma (of the Hindu Trimurti), who is Brahma ‘qualified’ (saguna) and is therefore considered contingent insofar as it is the effective of the productive Will (Shakti) of the Supreme Principle (Karya-Brahma). In this sense, Brahma is identical with Hiranyagarbha, the principle of subtle manifestation and therefore the whole domain of human existence. And this is why we said earlier that even those who achieve krama-mukti and ‘deferred Deliverance’ are still ‘incorporated’ into Hiranyagarbha until the ‘Last Judgement.’ Thus, Brahma-Loka, which we have said refers to a state and not place, refers to this state of incorporation achieved through the completion of the deva-yana. This situation, where the being has achieved virtual immortality and awaits the pralaya or ‘Last Judgment,’ is the closest thing in Hindu doctrine to the ‘Heaven’ or ‘Paradise’ of both Christianity and Islam. Moreover, when in these Western religions a number of different heavens are in question, they can safely be considered those states superior to the Sphere of the Moon, leading up to the Brahma-Loka but not beyond it.

We will also mention an additional case in which a being who passes beyond even what has been mentioned and, through the process of identification, is enabled to see Hiranyagarbha’s superior aspect which is Ishvara, which is nothing short of Universal Being and first principle of manifestation, such a being has finally transcended the subtle and entered the unmanifested. This is the state equivalent to Prajna. It follows that the being who does not proceed beyond this point is the one mentioned earlier who is united with Brahma in the manner of deep sleep only, making a return to another cycle of manifestation possible. But due to the fact that the being has achieved identification with Ishvara and has in this way transcended individuality, the state to which it returns can only be a formless or supra-individual one (this is opposed to those who follow the pitri-yana, who must return to an individual state). This is sometimes described as passing from the condition of man to that of a Deva (something like the ‘angelic’ state of Christianity).

Finally, we must mention the case where Deliverance is obtained from the conditioned state. Here the object of identification is not Universal Being, but is the Supreme Brahma Itself (nirguna Brahma, or Brahma unqualified). This is Brahma in Its Infinitude, and this encompassing in its totality the possibilities of manifestation and non-manifestation alike, which is to say both Being and Non-Being, as the principle both lying therefore beyond them both, and even beyond the ‘spiritual Sun’ which emits the Solar Ray, since it is beyond all determination of any kind. We emphasize in saying this that even Being, which determines everything in existence and is determined only by itself, is thereby determined. And since a determination is a limitation, even if it is a ‘self-limitation,’ then Infinity cannot be attributed to Being. If we seem to insist on this point it is only because those more accustomed to Western theology, even that theology which touches on metaphysics, will tend to see Being as the most Universal of all principles, and to attribute Infinity to what is only relatively so. Having clarified this point, we can say that we are now referring to the fourth ‘condition’ of Atma, which is not a condition at all, but is Atma absolutely unconditioned.

In passing we remark that this state cannot be attained if the being has only mediated on Brahma by way of symbol (pratika), since in that case the meditation (upasana) woud only have a limited result.[1]

The ‘Supreme Identity’ then, which is the ultimate goal of this journey through which the being is freed not only from the conditions of individuality but from all limiting conditions (upadhis) of any kind.

At this point the being who was once a man has fully realized the ‘Self’ and has through this knowledge attained Deliverance (Moksha or Mukti), the final Liberation of the being.

[1] Brahma-Sutras, IV.3.7-16.

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