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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Essay on Immortality, Chapter 13 of Jnana Yoga by Swami Vivekananda

By Patrick Horn ("Rishi") 

Swami Vivekananda says, “The whole of this life which slowly manifests itself evolves itself from the protoplasm to the perfected human being — the Incarnation of God on earth — the whole of this series is but one life, and the whole of this manifestation must have been involved in that very protoplasm. This whole life, this very God on earth, was involved in it and slowly came out, manifesting itself slowly, slowly, slowly.”  A serious seeker doesn’t leave the possibility of realizing latent potential to chance. Initiation with right guidance accelerates the evolutionary process to a definite end.

In the first initiation, the body is disciplined, its impulses transmuted, and conduct reoriented toward wisdom and spiritual principles. The needs of the body for food, drink, sleep, and sex do not dominate. The aspirant moderates desire and espouses vegetarianism. Ideals of duty and mercy become strong. In the second initiation, emotional life is stabilized. The ignorance and confusion of fear and vanity is clarified and overcome through withdrawal from the senses and non-attachment. The soul is no longer stifled by animal instincts, conditioned reactions, and habituated opinions. There is no distress arising from shame, aversion, or the need to control. Sincere devotion and steady effort nurture altruism and free an initiate from burdens of the heart and distortion of thought.

In the third initiation, intellectual life is developed, and character becomes mindful and virtuous. By a logical method of inquiry and investigation, the initiate arranges facts, observes patterns in accord with principles, and applies knowledge in the creative expression of wisdom. There is mastery of numbers, forms, and harmonics. The philosophical apprentice gains abstract and practical knowledge of minerals, plants, animals, and astronomy. Symbolic intuition is acquired in the discovery of relationship between macrocosm and microcosm. The soul discerns the unreal from the Real in the first perceptions of unchanging original Truth.

In the fourth initiation, false identity is retired, as are the masks worn for the common roles of society and economic flattery. The initiate is no longer motivated by money, status, or pleasant sensations. Life is generously dedicated to a noble purpose and given meaning through the study of religion and esoteric knowledge. Meditation and other advanced spiritual practices are integrated into daily routines. The soul is done with suffering in the cycles of phenomenal appearances and seeks freedom in the permanent joy and peace of the numinous eternal. The disciple perceives the unity and order of the cosmos and gains in divine perfection.

In the fifth initiation, the novice becomes the Master of the worlds of sense-desires, pure forms, and formless Truth. The veil of existence is perceived as the timeless play of the immortal Absolute free from causality. The soul is beyond disease and decay with extraordinary knowledge of the past, the future, and the invisible processes of Nature. With skillful means and fully-realized mind-powers, the adept may act as a figure-of-history and person-of-destiny to introduce new values and lifestyles to society. The evolutionary goal is thus achieved.

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