Shiva-Vishnu Temple Bay Area California
Writing About Yoga
Keaau Beach, Oahu
When I got back to Keaau nobody was around. I was glad for that, so I
used that time to write down everything I could remember about yoga. I
had the aid of the pamphlet that I picked up at the Vishnu temple.
When I tried the temple doors, I found them locked. It was time for me
to return to the beach anyway, but before I left, I took with me one
of the free yoga pamphlets that were in a box.
Yoga was at least as old as the Vedic hymns (Indian spiritual
teachings). The hymns went back many hundreds of years before Christ.
Ever since that time, yoga had been passed down from teacher to
disciple, and, according the great Yogis, it taught how to communicate
with the divine. Underneath everything else, we are all divine, or so
sayeth the great Yogis.
The highest-level divine manifestations came in two forms,
soul-consciousness and universal-consciousness. On a personal level,
soul-consciousness was our real self, or our atman. That self was not
our body or even our mind. Body and mind, according to the pamphlet,
fell under the category of “personality.” Our real self was what
produced our individuality. It was independent of body, which it
inhabited, and mind, which it used as an instrument. Our real self was
a drop from the divine ocean. Yoga practice, the age-tested means to
soul-consciousness awareness, was the method used to raise
consciousness up to the level of divine awareness. Usually, exercises
in meditation and rhythmic breathing were considered part of the
practice. All of these skills helped in the liberation process.
Acquiring atman-consciousness was one’s admission ticket to the big
one, or universal-consciousness.
The human Spirit (which was really the same thing as
soul-consciousness) was a drop in the ocean of Spirit, a drop in the
ocean of universal-consciousness. It appeared separate and distinct,
but it was really in touch with the ocean itself and with every other
drop in the ocean. Yoga practice allowed spiritual consciousness to
unfold, and the practioner (in theory at least) would become more and
more aware as the developmental process continued. Eventually, if all
went well, the disciple would almost achieve at-one-ment with
Universal Spirit (and in some cases, they did). According to the
pamphlet, meditation and rhythmic breathing were the tools that
enabled one to attain higher states of consciousness. At the highest
level of consciousness, soul-consciousness and universal-consciousness
The most basic of all spiritual levels was the physical. Here, the
body was trained in motion and posture. Next was the level of psychic
phenomena, the Astral level. This was the level of spirit closest to
the body. Next up, was “vital force,” or Prana. Breath, for the yogis,
was life, and life was breath; master one and you mastered the other.
Instinctive-mind was the next level up, and above that was the
Intellect. Sensation ruled on the level of Instinctive-mind, while the
first glimmer of self-consciousness was felt at the level of
Intellect. Spiritual-mind was the level above Intellect. Hunger for
more consciousness (more light) was supremely felt at that level. Even
if the desire for more light at the Spiritual-mind level was not felt
directly, it was still there. According to the yogis, consciousness
raising was a push/pull affair. The spirit got pulled (as it got
pushed) into higher levels of consciousness.
Finally, on the Spirit Level of consciousness, the seventh level,
True Being got realized. The few, who had achieved it, according to
the yogis, experienced it through a love that encompassed the lowliest
of the lows and the Holiest of the highs. On that level, there were no
exclusions. Everything got included.