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Understanding Physical and Pranic Bodies

Merging with Siva

Understanding the world of the mind and controlling that autonomous, interrelated, self-perpetuating mechanism with the will. Reacting to, despising or cherishing the body too much along with negative or positive attachment, ragah-dvesah, needs to be overcome to progress in religious life. Following spiritual teachings consciously changes the subconscious mind. Seek positive thoughts, positive experiences and eventually inner experiences, so that you identify as your individual soul, jiva-atma and deeper yet as Satchidananda thereby realizing that everyone is a 'oneness' which is Siva.

Master Course Trilogy, Merging with Siva, Lessons 167, 212, 213. "Patanjali's Yoga Sutras" Verses 2.7-2.8. The practice of alikayshum and simshumbisi.

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone.

We have a new lesson from "Merging with Siva" from 1960:

"The Physical and Pranic Bodies.

"Introduce yourself to your physical body by looking into a mirror today, a full-length one if possible. Say to yourself aloud, 'I am not my physical body. I am much greater than my physical body.' You will immediately see this to be true if you approach the mirror and stand before it with these two thoughts in mind. Then listen to yourself saying, 'I am not my physical body. I am much greater than my physical body.' The physical body is only one of the vehicles through which your highest being functions. To gain a concept of how much greater you really are, you must first begin bringing these several vehicles under your conscious control. This is done first by using the power of understanding, which is about fifty percent of the application of control when it comes to the world of the mind."

That's a very interesting idea that just understanding how the mind works, we're half way there. We have 50 percent of control of the mind if we have a good understanding of it. Gurudeva explains this a little more in "Merging with Siva," Lesson 167:

"There is but one mind and, in its functioning, it works the same in everyone, as an autonomous, interrelated, self-perpetuating mechanism. (That's pretty good, isn't it?) an autonomous, interrelated, self-perpetuating mechanism. Concentrate upon that mind. Find out what the mind is. Observe your thoughts, feelings and actions from within, and know that your mind is yours to use to the extent that you control the mind with the will. ?Why must you study the mind? Be cause understanding alone is fifty percent of the control of the mind. This understanding is necessary to impress the subconscious deeply enough to secure awareness so that spiritual strength continues to come from within, from the superconscious through the subconscious. Before we can meditate, we have to know our way around within the mind. What part of you understands how the mind works? It is your superconscious. The subconscious can't understand how the mind works, because it's the repository. The subsubconscious can't understand. It's a collective repository. Your conscious mind can't understand either, for it is opinionated knowledge--looking at the world through the eyes of others. Only the superconscious and subsuperconscious can conceive how the mind works."

And back to the text:

"Quite often new aspirants coming to me to enter the classical yoga path will say, 'I am sick of this body and its desires. I want to renounce it and live entirely spiritually.' There is nothing wrong with such a resolve, except that usually the aspirant really means, 'I have no control over my body. I don't understand it, nor any of my emotional drives. They control me, and somehow I can't get away from the consciousness of them.' As long as you react to your physical body, despising or cherishing it too much, you cannot progress well in sadhana or religious life."

So that last phrase there: "...despising it or cherishing it too much" is what I'll comment on.

The standard concept of attachment is positive attachment, we are attached to that which we like. Gurudeva is pointing on that despising the body also needs to be overcome, or negative attachment. This concept is found in the Yoga Sutras as part of what are called the five kleshas which are the five forms of wrong cognition. Verses seven and eight of Chapter Two are on this topic.

"Attraction is that which rests on pleasant experiences." [sukha-anusayi ragah]

So attraction is translation of ragah. Of course, an individual is attracted to a multitude of objects and individuals not previously experienced. What this verse is saying that one's strongest attractions are based on memories of having experienced pleasure.

Verse 8:

"Aversion is that which rests on sorrowful experiences." [duhka-anusayi dvesah]

Aversion is a translation of dvesa.

When the concept of being detached is initially thought about, it would be common to focus solely on lessening our attachment to what we consider pleasurable. However, strong attachments also exist to our memories of what caused us suffering, such as mistreatment from our parents. It is necessary to also detach from these memories of suffering.

So two kinds of detachment. Back to the text:

"However, through the practice of concentration of the flow of thought forces, and through the deliberate use of your willpower, the power of cognition, deep understanding will unfold within you, acting as a controlling agent of the odic forces that sometimes can be so turbulent.

"As an exercise in concentration, locate the different parts of your physical body through feeling while sitting still. Feel all of your muscles. Feel each bone. Locate them with your mind's eye. Feel every organ, your heart, your liver. Feel your circulatory system, the warmth, the flow. You are using the feeling faculties of the subconscious mind, the part of the subconscious that governs the involuntary processes of the body. The other part governs the involuntary processes of the mind, such as habits. In feeling the various parts of the body you are actually becoming consciously conscious of odic force, using the aggressive vibration of this force to become conscious of the physical body."

My commentary:

I remember Gurudeva's story about asking individuals to concentrate on their left foot. Some had to look down at the foot to do this, meaning it was not natural just to feel it without a need to look. So, in other words, it may seem very easy to feel something like your left foot but some people actually are not used to trying, not used to using the feeling nature and would not be able to do that without looking at it.

So developing the feeling nature, from subtle to gross is an important ability in Gurudeva's approach to meditation. For example, we have the practice of [in Shum]:


The natural heat, or psychic heat, of the body; psychic heat felt as meditation begins. (So we're trying to feel it.) Begin by locating this heat inside the body, then gradually become conscious of it permeating out through the skin; as in the practice of lishumnambi, become friends with this feeling of warmth as an integral part of yourself. (So that's a very simple feeling, feeling the warmth of the body.)

A more subtle one is:


Feeling the actinic energy within the spine; (Again we're not thinking about it, we're just feeling what's there. So this is a more subtle use of feeling.) The pure life force, yellow in color, flowing through the spine and out into the nerve system; the area of fourteen strong psychic nerve currents of the subsuperconscious state of mind running along the spinal column. (So that's a subtle feeling.)

And back to the text:

"Did you know that the physical body reflects the higher states of your consciousness and actually registers the flow of actinic force? There are advanced yogis who can look at the physical body of a beginning seeker and observe how evolved he may be on the spiritual path. He would also be able to intuit from his observation the remaining subconscious seed experiences that yet must be worked out either physically or mentally. (So the body isn't independent of the mind, in other words. The body is a reflection of what's in the subconscious and subsuperconscious mind.)

"Your physical body will express the highest that is within you when the actinic forces are flowing freely through it. Often the physical body reflects the lower nature when the odic forces are turbulent and in or out of control. The best way to keep the actinic force flowing through the physical body is practicing the art of giving, doing little things for others that you have not been asked to do. This keeps you creative, and being creative is actinic, superconscious and religious. Giving, doing without thought of return, affectionate detachment, creates an odic vacuum which your actinic, spiritual forces flow into and fill. As you practice this bhakti and karma yoga art, your relatives and friends, even strangers, will recognize your unfoldment, for the actinic forces, the real you, will permeate your physical body, making each of your features alive."

So, commentary:

Gurudeva stresses the importance of giving many times in "The Master Course." In this description, Gurudeva is explaining that giving causes the actinic force to flow through the physical body, which over time actually changes the appearance of the physical body, making it more refined.


"You can only detach yourself from your odic physical body when you know that a higher you exists, when you have gained stability by identifying yourself as actinic force. Don't mistake your personality or ego for your actinic individuality.

"Often the two terms individuality and personality are taken to be synonymous, but this is far from true. In classical yoga teachings we look at individuality as being the actinic energy, or the clear white light, the pure energy substance of the mind, which is constant, ever unfolding itself, peaceful and controlled. The personality we consider as the various masks or personae which cover the individuality. The personae which are heavy, dark and glued on to one's face, so to speak, are those of an intense ego, congested odic force. They are most difficult and rather painful to drop off, or even to pull off. The personae which are transparent allow the clear white light from the actinic being to shine through. One can have many of these personalities and have fun using them constructively in the world, doing things of the world, always recognizing that the clearness of actinic vision shines through the mind-constructed personality of the individual's race, occupation, social background and various accomplishments. "

So then my comment:

The Sanskrit word for actinic individuality is jiva which our lexicon defines as:

"Living, existing. From jiv, 'to live.' The individual soul, atman, bound by the three malas (anava, karma and maya). The individuated self (jiva-atman) as opposed to the transcendental Self (parama-atman).

Back to the text:

"Many people become attached to their personality and suffer when it changes. One cannot, however, be attached to his individuality. In identifying the difference between personality and individuality, we can say that man's individuality is the actinic, superconscious mind, which is constant, permanent, ever-unfolding and secure, and deep within, at a more intense rate of vibration than his odic conscious and subconscious mind, which make up the ever-changing personality. It is conceivable that man can have many different personalities, but he can have only one constantly unfolding individuality. And so it is the ego or personality masks we must identify as being the unreal and impermanent, and the actinic individuality as being the permanent, secure, ever unfolding and refined actinic phase of the mind. This week do an internal concentration on the words personality and individuality. Try to locate your individuality by identifying your several masks or personalities that you have created in this life and write your findings on why you can get attached to personality but cannot get attached to individuality."


Identifying as your individual soul, jiva-atma, has the benefit of not feeling inferior to others. When you see yourself as a divine being, then you of course see others as divine beings as well. Therefore, everyone being divine is equal. Of course, deeper yet is seeing yourself as Satchidananda in which case everyone is a oneness which is Siva.

So if you have a 'oneness' one part of the oneness can't be greater than than the other part of the the oneness or less than the other part of the oneness.


"You perhaps have had a series of good, positive and constructive experiences. They have gone deep into your subconscious mind. The subconscious mind has reorganized itself, giving you a more positive, constructive, fruitful outlook on life. As a result, several weeks later your friends say to you, 'You look different. Your face has a glow. You appear eight years younger.' These compliments also go into your subconscious mind, and you begin to feel good about your physical body. These good feelings, constructive, healthy feelings, again go into the subconscious mind and build from within itself a new atomic structure for the physical body. You take a new lease on life. Your body grows younger because your mind has had good impressions placed within it.

"Think on this. Be renewed by a change of your mind, and seek for the constructive experiences with a positive reaction. Allow the reaction to bear fruit within the subconscious mind. Concentrate and feel the good feelings permeating the nerve currents running through the physical body, thus being renewed actinically from within. Good feelings are like food to the physical body. Food from deep within the nervous system, fed out through the circulatory system, right out to the skin, makes for an inner glow which can be seen on your face and through the rest of the body. This constitutes happy organs. In other words, all of the organs of the body are working in perfect timing, one with another, being proportionately fed by actinic energy and the vital odic forces. A good, well-balanced 'force diet' makes for healthy organs and controlled calm central and sympathetic nerve systems."

My commentary:

A common perspective people have about themselves is that 'I am who I am; I can't change. That's just the way I've always been.' However, that is not actually true. We are constantly undergoing experiences and those experiences and our reactions to them go into the subconscious mind. Therefore, change is not something we can avoid. Following spiritual teachings is consciously changing the subconscious mind in an organized way with positive thoughts, positive experiences and eventually inner experiences. As the subconscious mind changes, so does our physical body.

Thank you very much. Have a wonderful day.