This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

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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Seat of Brahma

Having identified the indwelling spirit with Brahma, we can understand what is meant in the Chhandogya Upanishad when it refers to the ‘vital center’ of the human being, which is the ‘Seat of Brahma’ in the individual:

‘In this seat of Brahma [Brahma-pura],’ that is to say, in the vital center of which we have just been speaking, ‘there is a small lotus, a place in which is a small cavity [dahara] occupied by Ether [Akasha]; we must seek That which is in this place, and we shall know It.[1]

Here, and in much of what follows, the reader should keep in mind that when corporeal elements and features are referred to it should not be taken in an exclusively literal sense. Ether, taken as a support for the remaining four elements, here takes on a symbolic meaning and it is this meaning that matters, and the same goes for the ‘cavity’ and the ‘lotus’ which should imagined as spatial realities of the corporeal order.

This Atma, which dwells in the heart, is smaller than a grain of rice, smaller than a grain of barley, smaller than a grain of mustard, smaller than a grain of millet, smaller than the germ which is in the grain of millet; this Atma, which dwells in the heart, is also gareater than the earth [the sphere of gross manifestation], greater than the atmosphere [the sphere of subtle manifestation], greater than all the worlds together [that  is, beyond all manifestation, being the unconditioned].[2]

The central message of this text is the inverse relationship with what is below and what is above. We must recall, for example, the teaching of Christ, that what is first will be last, and what is last, first,[3] and that: ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in the branches.’ (Matthew 13:31-32). What is first in the order of manifestation will always be, from the point of view of manifestation, the smallest and sometimes most insignificant. To use an illustration from geometry, we can say that the point occupies no space, and so is quantitatively nil, but at the same time it is the principle by which space in its entirety is produced. In the same way, this Atma which dwells in the ‘vital center’ is the principle of all, and from the point of view of the Absolute, it is not Atma that dwell in the human being, but the human being who dwell in Atma.

We refer to another text of the Upanishads that has another parallel that often goes unacknowledged in the Gospel parable: ‘Two birds, inseparably united companions, dwell in the same tree; the one eats of the fruit of the tree, while the other looks on without eating.’[4] Here the first bird is jivatma, whose concern is the world of action, while the second represents Atma, pure knowledge. Their ‘inseparability’ here signifying the fact that they are in reality Atma viewed from two opposite points of view.

[1] Chhandogya Upanishad VIII.1.1.

[2] Chhandogya Upanishad III.14.3.

[3] Matthew 20:16.

[4] Mundaka Upanishad III.1.1, Shvetashvatara Upanishad IV.6.

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