Contemplating Sri Yukteswar's The Holy Science

Sri Yukteswar who grandfathered the path of Kryia Yoga through his most famous disciple Paramahansa Yogananda, wrote that he had a vision of an immortal master Babaji who tasked him to write a book revealing the unity of all religions, in particular Christianity, based on yogic science, the most fundamental mystical principles.  In his introduction Sri Yukteswar writes:

"The purpose of this present volume is to show as clearly as possible that there is an essential unity at the basis of all religions, that there is no difference in the truths inculcated by the various religions prevalent in the world, that there is but one method by which the world both external and internal has been evolved and that there is but one goal admitted by all the religious books." Sri Yukteswar, The Holy Science (link)
His astrology is a cosmological astrology based on Sankyha philosophy (see article).  My research is basically a validation of that, seen from every angle and mystical tradition around the world, to the best of my knowledge.

I think it is important to remember that Sri Yukteswar is an important figure (from the view of nakshatra research) as an enlightened practitioner of Jyotish but all we have is this one book, The Holy Science, and Paramahansa Yogananda's reference to it in his Autobiography of a Yogi and in his volumes on the Bhagavad Gita and the New Testament.  The Holy Science is a very short and cryptic book laying out the most fundamental components of life through the eyes of mysticism, or one mystic, and astrology is only a minor part in it, and mentioned in the first chapter in relationship to the yugas or major cycles of creation.  I am very wary of how easily his views have been misinterpreted and I claim no expertise either.  This is all conjecture on my part based on my own inner research and the teachings of my own Guru Sri Vasudeva.

The Four Sections

In this book Sri Yukteswar emphasizes the four most fundamental components of life.  In fact he organized his entire book around it:
"The book is divided into four sections according to the four stages in the development of knowledge."  (introduction, The Holy Science)
Note that he does not explain exactly what the four stages in the development of knowledge are.   One is supposed to read the entire book and contemplate it and extrapolate the greater meaning.  Fortunately I have Sri Vasudeva's teachings to understand what this means, that there are fundamentally four possible layers to perception and these are the waking, dreaming, deep sleep, and turyia states of consciousness.  Through spiritual evolution we move from a gross physical level consciousness "I am the body" to an astral subtle consciousness "I am my thoughts and emotions" to a causal subtle consciousness "I am my memories" to the supreme witnessing state of the liberated soul that is beyond the pull of body or mind, lives in a blissful space of Self-identification and witnesses the other three states.  All three states can be glimpsed in meditation by anybody!  Only the liberated one is able to hold on to the fourth state and lives in a perpetual turyia titta, a transcendental witnessing space - with the ability to be fully engaged in the other states at the same time.  Life couldn't be more amazing!

Thus Sri Yukteswar places cosmological astrology in the first chapter, and explains the higher states of consciousness as the blueprint for our manifested physical gross material "reality".  Consciousness is at the root of everything, when Consciousness moves Energy is created.  This is how Purusha (Conscious as the Creator) produces Prakriti (Energy as Nature, the visible universe that we perceive through the senses).

But he writes that the four sections of his book correspond to the four stages in the development of knowledge.  What does this mean?  Again I refer to Sri Vasudeva's teachings.  The development of knowledge can only be the path to wisdom.  Sri Vasudeva has defined wisdom as intuition when it leads to Self.  We are all born intuitive - at the level of the human body it is built into our system for survival, these are the survival instincts, that gut feeling we get at the level of the body and stress/pleasure-pain responses stimulating chemicals in the brain.  Is that wisdom?  It the body's own wisdom but it is not true wisdom - because we are not the body.  And mind is not the brain, not a bunch of chemicals, but of our soul.  So there are higher levels of intuition.  But wisdom only begins when the Kundalini is awakened in the sushumna nadi - whether one knows it or not - because I agree with Sri Vasudeva that Kundalini is responsible for ALL SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES.  This is the Holy Ghost Sri Yukteswar refers to in his book and the tiny bit of mysticism that Christianity has accepted in its Bible.  The Kundalini awakened in the sushmna nadi becomes the inner guide, the power of God to take us deeper within ourselves in the evolutionary journey back to Pure Consciousness - the purest place of knowing.  That is what wisdom is.  And the path of wisdom has three stages: listening, absorbing, and realizing.

So the cosmological astrology of Sri Yukteswar is the level that we begin with on our evolutionary journey, the perceived universe, the gross level, and following an esoteric map that is the same everywhere - following a universal holographic principle (again from Sri Vasudeva's teachings) - that what is in us, is also in every atom and also in the entire universe.  This was known since ancient times and got codified into a cosmological astrology where planets and stars and their relationships and movements and numerological patterns became associated with mystical processes inside all of life - processes that are the foundational blueprint for all of life.  And quantum physics is headed in that direction.  Behind the gross is energy and behind energy is consciousness.

The Four Ideas & the Cosmological Circle

In the cosmological circle template that seems to be the foundational concept of the universe in ancient times (see post) we have the idea of the four quadrants of the circle, ruled by the guardians of the four directions - and there are all kinds of concepts about this from different traditions.  The fact that we have an upper and lower and left and right brain is merely one of the manifestations of this fundamental 4-fold organizing principle (which continues to be subdivided - and gets us to the 7x4=28 divisions of the lunar mansions).  This four-ness of life is of profound significance. Remember that The Holy Science is structured based on that.  It is worthy of contemplation here.

Sri Yukteswar speaks about it again from the context of the unconditional love and bliss of the Divine out of which creation began in the macrocosmos:
"The manifestation of Omnipotent Force the Repulsion, in its complementary portion Omniscient Feeling - Love the Attraction, is vibration which appears as a peculiar sound the Word Amen Aum; and in its different aspects presents the idea of change, which is Time Kal, in the Ever-unchangeable and the idea of division, which is Space Desh, in the Ever-indivisible, the effect whereof is the idea of particles - the innumerable atoms patra or anu.   These four viz. the Word, Time, Space and Atom, therefore, are one and the same and substantially nothing but mere ideas."   
Sri Yukteswar, The Holy Science, 1st edition, 1920, p.3 (link
And he also writes about the four yugas, and the four feet or padas of the Dharma cow that each yuga represents in its macrocosmic orbit that takes humanity as a whole through its involution-evolution cycles same as the reincarnating soul - this is TIME, Kala.  And these yugas are linked to the ages marked by precession of the equinoxes and the dominating zodiac axis of the time.  During Kali Yuga the axis has been from the virgin Virgo to the fish Pisces, as represented in the Christmas story and the axis from the 6th to the 12th house in the natal chart.  This is SPACE, the illusion the we are "on a journey" when it is all a dream of Maya and so we are "already there" and just need to "wake up".

What of Sound/Word and the Atom?  Here I think he is talking about the relationship between vibration (Sound is a vibration in a Space) from the level of the unmanifest to the manifest.  And that's why sound vibrations link soul expression through the petals of the chakras - travelling along the highway of nadis or energy meridians.  Sound is a form of prana.  Words carry power.  Words can take us home or can make us more deeply attached and caught in Maya's web.

Sri Yukteswar writes that the Heart is छित्त्वा chittwa and is composed of the four ideas (Word, Time, Space and Atom).  Referring now to Paramahansa Yoganada's writings in his volumns on the Gita, and to Sri Vasudeva's teachings - I know that चित्त chitta is mind stuff - that part of the soul's "brain" that stores the memories of lifetimes, that we carry with us from lifetime to lifetime.  It is in the causal "body" / "energy field" of our soul, that sleeping part of the mind that we cannot perceive directly (until we become the Witness in the turyia state).  This causal part of us has its own cerebrospinal brain and nervous system that eminates from that part of the heart which is known as hrit/hridaya (GV8-Magha) moving deep inside the sushumna along the brahmanadi up to the brain at the top in the Bhramarandhra chakra (GV20-Abhijit).  This whole thing is the deepest part of us in the mental part of us, the "I" part of us - but ultimately we are not that - we are Consciousness - the perception that comes finally at the crown.  So all of this is what I believe Sri Yukteswar means by the Heart.  It is our storage space of attachments - the Rahu and Ketu parts of us that exist in seed form (samskaras) waiting to sprout and drive us crazy (if we are not self-disciplined) in this world through the magic of karmic events.

Sri Yukteswar writes of the Heart:

"This atom Abidya the ignorance being under the influence of Universal Love chit the Holy Spirit (Kundalini) becomes spiritualized like iron-filings in magnetic aura, and possessed of consciousness the power of feeling, which it is called Mohot the Heart Chittwa, and being such the idea of separate existence of self appears in it, which is called Ahamkar Ego the son of Man."
Sri Yukteswar, The Holy Science, 1st edition 1920, p.6 
As Paramahansa Yogananda explains in his writings, whenever Jesus refers to himself as "son of Man" He means of the body.   It is the idea of body-identification, like when someone refers to you as a man or a woman, they are identifying you as the physical body, not the genderless soul that you are, not the unmanifest divinity that you are.  In this sense "son of Man" is derogatory and when Jesus the Christ (the enlightened son of God) was using the phrase he was basically being sarcastic - because people with ordinary perception can only see the outside of things, not the inner heart, and that which lies beyond even the heart.

The manifested universe, Sri Vasudeva tells us, is illusion - a play of Maya, created out of the bliss of the one-Self of which we are holographic components, a collective ego imagined as individual egos.  Maya was created out of the bliss (ananda) of the Self.  You and I are creatures of bliss (would only that we knew it) and bliss is our birthright.  Sri Yukteswar speaks of anandamaya kosha (bliss sheath) which exists at the level of this Heart - छित्त्वा chittwa  and is composed of the 4 ideas (Word, Time, Space and Atom) - and he is talking about our causal body at the level of the human experience, but also the causal body of the universe at the level of the macrocosm.

This is just a small contemplation of a small section of The Holy Science in which I tried to clarify some things related to Sri Yukteswar's intention in writing the book and how it might relate to the cosmological story I am researching on this website.

Assignment of the chakras to Sri Yukteswar's model

An excellent explanation from a Kryia Yoga perspective is given on this site (link) which provides the following model explaining the rationale for the assignment of the zodiac sign to chakra points on the body (note that these are different to my GV template):
The Yugas in Relation to Brahmanda Jyotish (link to source)
All the explanation for this diagram is given on the site and I suggest you read it carefully as it is very clearly explained.  Here I'd like to remind the reader that the nakshatra system is an older system of astrology than the zodiac system which came later and incorporated the nakshatra system into it.

I am interested in comparing the GV template with this and immediately some interesting things show up.  For example in the Brahmanda Jyotish of Kryia Yoga Aries corresponds to the lunar half or backside of the body and the navel chakra.  However in my GV template the nakshatras associated with Aries (GV27-Ashwini, GV28-Bharani, and GV1-Krittika) are associated with the root chakra.  GV27 is to me a kind of soul entry subtle point where the soul extends out into the astral body before reincarnation (for me the twins or the two "horses" of the Ashwins correspond to the subtle breathing apparatus of Ida and Pingala).  GV28-Bharani is in my opinion the point where the soul enters the physical body through the mouth of the baby that is in the womb of the mother and all bodies together entering into a new life (and new natal chart) through the mother's vagina and to that first breath moment that marks the start of the natal chart (although Paramahansa Yogananda wrote that Sri Yukteswar considered conception as the true moment for the chart).  GV-28 brings us as reincarnating souls into total ignorance until we grow sufficiently old enough to begin our spiritual journey of ascension into higher consciousness, marked by GV1-Krittika that is for me that heat of the Kundalini energy experience (kryia) at the base of the spine where the soul is "rooted" into physical body-consciousness.  So how does all of this link to Sri Yukteswar's model?

It makes sense for me to see how Aries could have come to be associated with the womb of the mother.  As infants in the womb we are connected through an umbilical cord through which we receive the nourishment via our mother's placenta.  Being born we take our first breath and then our first nourishment at mother's breast (ideally).  Here is a very natural connection between the mouth and the womb.  (See also Achala Sylwia Mihajlović's research that links these nakshatra bij sounds with certain throat chakra petals/nadis in this post.)  That umbilical cord is the physical counterpart to what is probably an energy channel (nadi) between GV28-Bharani and the navel chakra itself.   Paramahansa Yogananda (Kryia Yoga) wrote that the soul enters the body through the medulla and Islam also believes that the soul enters through the mouth (both GV27 and GV28 are situated on the anterior side of the medulla).  So in the alignment of the soul, which lives in an energy body, to the physical body, which is its outer vehicle of senses enabling mind to experience the physical plane - there is this complex orientation of nadis and chakras within that are linked to the cosmic structure (both subtle and physical) that we perceive with our senses.

Another example is looking at Abhijit (GV20) and how its position in Capricorn connects it to the root chakra (solar side) in this model based on Sri Yukteswar's The Holy Science.  In the GV template Abhijit is the Brahmarandhra Chakra and the highest point of enlightenment whilst in a human experience at the very top of the sushumna nadi and in the deepest place in the brahmarandhra nadi. Thus it is associated with the crown chakra and the ego or "I" in manifestation.  Capricorn here is assigned to the root chakra, that place of consciousness and energy responsible for holding us in the physical body and where our awareness of our true nature as subtle energy beings emanating out of Consciousness is hidden, where Kundalini lies dormant or as we say "sleeping" in a coiled form.  The root chakra is the world we live in when our mind looks through the senses.  (The mind - MOON - looks through the subtle senses associated with the chakras and then through the physical senses of the body.)  The root chakra is the earth plane, or our relationship to it.  Once again this is another natural esoteric connection because GV20 is where Kundalini becomes completely uncoiled and is as aligned with the cosmic greater Self (that which we are collectively) as much as is possible in the limiting condition of being in a human body.  It is where the avataurs live, and why Krishna identified with Abhijit (“…of the lunar mansions [the twenty-seven nakshatras] I am Abhijit.” – Krishna speaking in Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 11, ch.16, v.27).  Root and crown are connected - all the chakras are able to function at their 100% maximum, as they do for Sri Vasudeva and any fully enlightened being.  Again, this makes sense.  Notice how we need to understand the two systems - zodiac and nakshatras - separately and then combined in order to really fathom their secret meaning.

I think that all the nakshatras could be contemplated in this way in comparison to this model.  I would assign the nakshatras to the GV template as given in this research and not to their placements according to the zodiac in the above diagram, as many have done.  This is a departure from tradition and I may be wrong, but I think I am not.  This is, remember, a converging of two different systems - the nakshatras coming from something much more ancient.  And they may be connected through a more advanced understanding of the subtle anatomy and the workings of the chakras and nadis - something to be re-discovered and re-mapped all over again using the wisdom from many cultures.


Sri Yukteswar and the 20 Day Signs of the Maya

Here I'm contemplating Carl J. Calleman's nine waves of consciousness in his decoding of the Mayan calendar subdivided into ascending and accelerating time periods based on the numbers 13 and 20 some of which is discussed in this post (link).  Here is a diagram about it probably taken from one of his books:

In my post on these numbers I suggest that the nine waves are the same as the Sri Yantra and are linked to the yugas (4 descending + 4 asending + 1 resting or non-moving/non-involved in creation = 9) and to the nakshatras GV20 to 28 via the Vimshottari Dasha sequence - see post).

Carl Calleman has explained how the number 13 relates to the 7 chakras as 6 lunar + 6 solar chakras for root to brow around the 13th for the crown - and this is naturally correlated to the 13 months of the lunar year in which we see the brighter and darker halves of the year related to the 4 seasons.

In The Holy Science (pp.7-10) Sri Yukteswar explains how the yuga time periods are determined by the number 20.  The 4 fold yuga cycle of 20 portions each takes 12,000 years to complete as the sun orbits along an eliptical path (same as the sushumna represented by the Shiva Lingam) around the galactic centre:  The Kali Yugas (asending and descending each) being 1/20th each, Dwapara Yuga being 2/20ths each, Treta Yuga 3/20ths each and Satya Yuga 4/20ths each giving us the chronological time spans associated with each yuga, thus (1+2+3+4) x 2 (ascending+descending) = 20.  And 20 is the number of nakshatras along the GV template from tailbone (GV1) to top of head at Brahmarandhra Chakra (GV20) - which is the Kundalini ascension path along the sushumna.

And the four padas would then be linked to the four yugas also as they deal with the four primary states of consciousness:  physical, astral, causal and turyia.  (These states of consciousness and how to attain them are discussed at length in many of Sri Vasudeva's workshops.)

Fascinating isn't it?  How much more the ancient wise ones knew than today!  More to follow...


Modern Millenial Minimalist said...

Yvonne, can you elaborate on this excerpt from your writing here: "And the four padas would then be linked to the four yugas also as they deal with the four primary states of consciousness: physical, astral, causal and turyia. (These states of consciousness and how to attain them are discussed at length in many of Sri Vasudeva's workshops.)"

Does this mean that certain padas (1, 2, 3, and 4) are linked to the four primary states: physical astral causal and turyia...respectively? The way I learned it was that padas 1 through 4 varied in another way, namely, padas 1, 2, 3 and 4 were 'assigned' or related to the various rasis, and also padas 1, 2, 3 and 4 are related to dharma, artha, kama, and moksha, respectively.

I supposed we could connect the four primary states of consciousness, physical astral causal and turyia dharma, artha, kama and moksha, respectively? Just thinking out loud. Thank you...

Yvonne Keogh said...

Thank you for your question. Kapiel Raaj (KRSchannel) did a long series of planets through padas on YouTube where he talks about pada 1 as physical body, 2 as the mind (that's astral), 3 as the soul's intuition (that's the causal), and 4 as the self-annihilating one (spiritual).

I believe that the pada concept is related to the yugas. The yugas relate to the 4 levels of consciousness and are described as having feet (padas). Patanjali's Yoga Sutras are also divided into 4 padas. Sri Yukteswar also divided his book into 4 parts, going deeper layer by layer. The common theme becomes clear when you lay everything side by side.

I'm not saying that the padas are not related to the 4 goals of life but rather that there are deeper levels of meaning to explore from which these associations probably derived. Moksha actually encompasses the other 3 goals. When one becomes liberated, one is in Satya Yuga Consciousness which has all 4 padas in it (and these are gunas also). These are huge topics in themselves - way too much to explain here.