This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

The path of liberation

Having understand the processes that occur at the moment of death, and the nature of the conditioned states that follow, we may proceed to outline the ‘divine journey’ of the being that follows these processes. We should call to mind here that although this path does not apply to those who obtain Deliverance in life or immediately upon death, it does apply those who, by ‘deferred Deliverance,’ obtain it through the posthumous state, as well as those who, after the reabsorption of the individuality at the end of the cycle, must pass through other states of individual manifestation. Of these two cases, the former, destined, so to speak, for liberation, are said to follow the ‘Path of the Gods’ or deva-yana; those who will re-enter the individual state, on the other hand, follow the ‘Path of the ancestors’ or pitri-yana. These two itineraries are described in the Bhagavad-Gita:

At what time those who tend toward Union [without having actually realized it] quit manifested existence, either never to return or destined to return to it, I will teach thee, O Bharata. Fire, light, day-time, waxing moon, the half year when the sun ascends toward the north, it is under these luminous signs that those go to Brahma who know Brahma. Smoke, night, waning moon, the half year when the sun descends toward the south, it s under these shadowy signs that there pass to the Sphere of the Moon [‘attain the lunar light’] those who later will return [to fresh states of manifestation]. These are the two permanent Paths of the manifested world [jagat], the one bright, the other dim; by the one they go to return no more [from the unmanifested to the manifested]; by the other they go to return again [into manifestation].[1]

[1] Bhagavad-Gita, VIII.23-26. The symbolism used here is elaborated in various passages of the Veda. For more on the pitri-yana, see Chhandogya Upanishad, V.10.3-7 and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, VI.2.16.

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