White Lotus Breath
Myriam Milner French (1920)
The lotus has ever been a symbol of the deepest and sacred meaning from remotest antiquity among the Egyptians, Hindus, Chinese, Japanese and Greeks. It was a symbol of the Cosmos —a symbol of the God in Man.
The Lotus was considered an emblem of the physical and spiritual productive powers, symbolizing generation. It was the flower sacred to Nature and her gods, rooting in the mud— our material life—the stalk passing up through the water and finally the beautiful buds floating upon the surface, opening the perfect blossoms towards the Sun. It is therefore the product of earth, air, fire and water, and is called the Flower of Power— the sacred lily of Isis.
Botanists have found the lotus seeds contain even before germination, completely formed leaves—the tiny shape of the perfect flowers they will one day become, as do we contain the spiritual prototype of what one day we shall become in the course of evolution.
The lotus then represents the human soul and its struggles through the circles of time—its growth up through material matter and finally evolving to the perfect full bloom flower. The Breath of Life is in every atom of minerals, plants, animals and man, but it is only man who has been granted the priceless gift of being privileged to realize the Divine within—the miniature image of the perfect flower within the tiny seed. Om mani padme hum—Oh, the Jewel in the Heart of the Lotus—Oh, my God within. Every physical organ in our body is a reflection of the perfect corresponding principle on the higher planes, but the awakening, the bringing into life, the germination must start from within and the subsequent manifestations will evolve naturally, steadily and sweetly.
Moreover the lotuses or padmas are the symbolic name of various centers that have already been alluded to, and will be referred to from time to time as we progress.
Let us think of ourselves as lotus bearers—Chakna Padma Karop.. .He who holds a white lotus. There are other sacred meanings besides those given, but it would be profane to thus openly and freely discuss them. Let it suffice that the name, “White Lotus” Breath Series signifies all we can possibly conceive and infinitely more.
“Worship His Holy Feet on the Lotus of the Heart.”
Tagore says: “I will meet one day the life within me, the joy that hides in my life. I have known it in glimpses and its fitful breath has come upon me, making my thoughts fragrant for a while. I will meet one day that joy, without me, that dwells behind the screen of light and will stand in the overflowing solitude where all things are seen as by their Creator.”
It is the writer’s earnest, consecrated endeavor to try to cast a ray of light, however tiny, upon that joy that hides within each life, and should she be able to do that for but one reader, then her purpose has been accomplished, and the debt of gratitude is alone hers. “I am nothing, but the Life that uses me is All in All.”
Carlyle tells us, “There is but one temple in the Universe and that is the Body of Man, nothing is holier than that high form. We touch heaven when we lay our hand on a human body – we are the miracle of miracle, the great inscrutable mystery, the mystery in it is a breath of Heaven, the Highest Being reveals himself in Man. This body, these faculties, this life of ours, is it not all as a vesture for that Unnamed?”
Understanding the mystery of self will never come from reading unless we have also acquired the faculty of intro-vision, and that alone comes through self-mastery. “The soul is made wise by rest and quietness.” The reason for absolute stillness being that the least motion interferes with inspiration and ex piration which accompanies all motion. “Be still and know that I am God.” When internal quietness and stillness have been secured, then the whole world will become calm, but only through the inner senses can the control of the outer senses be obtained.
“He who is harmonized in self finds bliss in self.” The highest vibrations of which we are capable should be our con trolling emotion, although we may not constantly be conscious of it, but faithful practice, united with a determined effort to carry our highest vibrations to the spiritual counterpart just above, will shortly increase our capacity for responding to still higher vibrations.
A firm will and a pure purpose will enable us to steadily climb to the summit, where with wider vision, the beauty of Life can be seen in the bright sun-light of illumination.
The higher we can carry these vibrations by raising the breath, the greater the expansion we will experience through still loftier forces flowing into us. This is true on all planes of our being.
It is impossible to control and use such potent vibrations without training. The greatest patience is required to learn to quiet the mind, which Krishna told Arjuna was as fickle as the wind.
All real knowledge comes from within and moves outward. Through concentration comes all knowledge. Only by certain practices does the mind become strong and controlled ready to be used in meditation, and it is only through the ability to concentrate that we are able to meditate, which means a contant remembrance of the thing we are trying to meditate upon. Only as we are able to suppress the turbulent ocean of the mind, will the glory of soul, free from mental distraction or motions of the body, shine in fullest radiance. Concentration is the fixing of the mind in the same spot while meditation is the continuous flow of consciousness, “one unbroken flow of consciousness in one Tattva.”
It should always be borne in mind that to concentrate when the body is ill or the mind sorrowful is injurious.
As a wound leaves a scar upon the physical body, so can our thoughts leave a stain upon the mind and our breaths poison the air. It is claimed that the breath of lepers is so infected that birds flying near them are poisoned and die. Thus can we understand how our breaths may cause destruction through anger or other evil thoughts, and the life giving qualities that may be breathed out through loving thoughts.
The emanations that proceed from us and produce a luminous egg-shaped cloud are called an Aura, which extends some distance from our bodies, according to the strength and quality of our thoughts. It can then be readily seen how such vibrations can give out disease and poison, or healing and life, to those who contact them and come within the radius of our aura. Consciously and unconsciously we are sending out vibrations that are but reflections of what is within.
One of the most ancient beliefs was that any idea or thought will manifest itself externally if one’s attention is deeply con centrated upon it. “As a man thinketh, so is he.”
“By the body, by the higher and lower faculties of the mind, even by the mere
senses, Yogis perform actions for the purification of the soul. . .”
“Understanding the secret of the Sun and Moon one is master of everything.” Scientists tell us that the force of the sun exerts both mechanical and chemical forces which nothing can restrain and that it also operates in a sensible manner on the nervous system of man.
Thrice Greatest Hermes said the creation of life by the Sun is as continuous as its light and nothing can arrost or limit it. The greatest power comes by the inbreathing of the rising Sun. And especially when we breathe consciously, repeating the Word of Glory, there flows into our being the spiritual representation of the Sun. For as the physical sun causes life and growth, so the greater spiritual Sun at the same time comes on waves of vibrations, so that atoms enter our bodies that revivify and enrich us on the higher and inner planes as do the life forces of the physical sun revivify our physical bodies. It is then we “feast unto the Lord,” for our inner senses are fed by a fine magnetic substance of which we are unconscious, and through the vital breath doing its appointed task, our physical and mental conditions are greatly stimulated and thereby refreshed. Job said “The breath of the Almighty has given me/ life.” In the beginning God breathed—God spoke. That was the first thing that happened—a great outbreathing. The law of breathing or vibrations is the great cosmic law. All life is a series of vibrations or breaths.
The Moon is also powerful in its influence. It may both be a power of good or malignantly evil. It is the negative principle and consequently the female. The various attributes of the Moon are too numerous to more than mention here but it might be stated that its influence is extremely occult and mysterious. There are many esoteric meanings concerning the moon.
Breathing at once clears the mind and invigorates the body. Strong emotion changes the breath; mental action as well as emotion depends on the quality of the breath. Merely inhaling and exhaling the air from the lungs only give life to our physical bodies. There is a way, however, that does for the mind and spirit what ordinary breathing does for the body.
By consciously breathing or directing the mind in certain channels during breathing exercises through the power of Will, Prana is drawn in from the atmosphere in much larger quantities than otherwise. But here lies danger.
From a purely physical standpoint, an excess of deep breathing unless one is accustomed to it from long previous practice, causes giddiness. We should therefore not try even deep physical breathing to excess at first, but gradually and steadily in crease our capacity if we would not injure our lungs and delicate brain cells with undue inflation.
We have already learned that the vital force within us and around us everywhere is called Prana. Matter is the body— the female principle—the negative or moon force. Prana is the male and positive—the Sun force. Matter, the female without Prana the male, the life-giving positive force, is unproductive. Likewise Prana deprived of Matter upon which to give forth its life force, is also unproductive. An excess of the Life force in the body of Matter may cause disease, insanity and death. It may also prematurely arouse the serpent fire, and in the same manner that intemperance and indulgences of the lower prototypes—the male and female—bring destruction.
In Article III of the White Lotus Breath Series we be came familiar with the five lower Tattvas and their corresponding names both in Sanskrit and English.
Everything in nature is seven-fold and the physical body is no exception with its seven senses and the seven states of consciousness. The brain has seven centres called the seven Master Chakras, which govern the nervous plexuses or padmas (Lot uses) in the body. As these centres are spoken of frequently they are only mentioned in passing at this point.
H. P. B. says: “Ida and Pingala (the sun and moon breath) are the keynotes in the septenary harmony of principles which when struck in the proper way, awaken sentries on either side (the spiritual and physical) and subdue the lower through the Higher.” This is accomplished through Will power.
There are but five Tattvas enumerated but if we follow the seven fold theory as we must in observing everything in nature, it is obvious there must be two higher Tattvas of which little is said. And yet it is through the use of these two higher Tattvas in combination with the Akasha, the highest Tattva among the five lower ones, that mental and will development can be gained. We must seek God and His Righteousness—the very highest— and then it is all other things will be added unto us. In order that our growth may be continuous and spiritual, we must build on the rock foundation of the Highest and the rest will follow naturally and with but little effort to put simply what might otherwise be complex, breathing through the Ida and Pingala, the sun and moon breath, means that certain activities can be done better by positive energy and others by negative. We draw in more air than we breathe out because much of it is converted into nutriment which together with the spiritual force is contained in the lungs.
Isodorus said : “We laugh with the spleen, we are angry with the gall, we are wise with the heart, we love with the liver, we feel with the brain, we speak with the lungs, and that is the cause of laughter, anger, love, wisdom, speech and feeling, which proceed from the spleen, gall, liver, lungs and brain.” While Aristotle said: “The spleen is the seat of melancholy composed of terrestrial and earthy matter.” The spleen among occultists is given considerable attention.
The next number will contain detailed information concerning YOGA—and the two methods in which we are interested.