Wesak in Taurus is, as we know, the day of the annual festival of the Buddha on the day of his enlightenment, birth and death, all of which occurred at the full moon of Taurus some 2,600 years ago. It is a meditation on enlightenment. This year we celebrate it on Thursday, April 25 at 7:58 pm UT, although most Buddhist nations celebrate it on the full moon of May. This event has been celebrated by Buddhists, Buddhist nations, and many non-Buddhists all over the world as a celebration of the enlightenment inherent in humanity, brilliant when actualized, but remaining a future goal for humanity as a whole. The seed thought for meditation in Taurus is, "I see and when the eye is opened, all is light." This is reflected in the great Vedic tradition out of which Buddha came and in the Abrahamic religion out of which the Christ came. It is also reflected in the natural world out of which science came, where the metaphors of nature may appeal to meditators in the fields of science, education, and the secular world. The entire world, visible and invisible, may be seen as rivers of light, from the microscopic world within to the rivers of starlight seen by the Hubble Space telescope and measured by the Kepler. The electromagnetic spectrum itself may be called a river of light, visible in rainbow colors to the physical eye, but revealing exo-planets visible in infrared and by measuring star light.
The River of Ideas
In terms of human consciousness, the history of ideas is a river of light through time linking Aristotle to Einstein, Buddha to Christ, and the Parthenon to the Potala. One day the contributions of each culture and civilization will be included in this universal history of knowledge. From the perspective of our teaching, the Bailey/Tibetan/Blavatsky tradition, the rivers of the rays will be found running through time in a uniquely causal way revealing the 'sound and color of the Logos washing up on the shores' of human consciousness and creativity, reflected in the annual conference this year in song and art, heralds of the new life energy. (Even the star fields of Lyra are singing this year with the song of possibility of planets with life like ours.) Recently science has discovered atmospheric rivers of water vapor invisible to the eye miles wide meandering though the sky. Imagine a seventh ray river flooding our world with new methodology making the digital revolution a brief beginning. How we do things, and how we know what we know — or think we know — will transfigure epistemology and implicit philosophy, the questions of our quest. What we ask is where we look.
A river of truth or reality runs through the bed of knowledge and mis-knowledge that humanity has carved out for itself. The river of ultimate reality runs through this stream of consciousness whose flood carries us finally to the ocean of dharma and home to the luminosity from which we sprang. The current of love is one and the same as this river of truth or reality. In Bailey this is called intuition or buddhic consciousness and is the primary river of light available to humans because in its highest form it occurs spontaneously as irrefutable fact. It is not worked up to by the analytical mind through ladders often missing rungs but comes as an image of the way things actually are. Saints and scientists alike have credited this type of experience as the impetus of their life direction. This type of intuition comes from the river of what can be known and reveals the true underlying nature of things whether it is the double helix of science or Pope Frances' truth that "authentic service is power." Conferences and meditations in the higher interlude are rivers of light created by group intention, the power of authentic service, and creativity. They spring from the "irresistible river of light pouring forth from the soul and the group life" (Arcane School letter April 2013). In the pondering of this equation of power we can prepare the analytical and conceptual mind for the meditation that reaches the altitude of the sun (or the moon) distancing mind and thought from the tangle of the near and loose, to the perspective of the timeless and everlasting relationship of spirit to matter. In this open space we can lift mind to the universal mind, manas, intuition, and will that drives evolution to its fulfillment and perfection.
In the visual world of nature the first river of life comes from the sun worshipped in the ancient Vedic Gayatri and Akhenaton's Hymn to the Sun, two of the most famous poems using the sun as the life-giving source of both spirit and matter. When the sun shines in your spring window and you sing your own hymn to the sun using the words of the famous Hindu Gayatri, ponder on the attributes of the sun that make up God immanent in you.
O thou who gives sustenance to the universe,
From whom all things proceed and to whom all things return,
Unveil to us the face of the true spiritual sun
Hidden by a disk of golden light
That we may know the truth and
Do our whole dharma as we journey to thy sacred feet.
Ponder on the attributes of the sustainer, you as sustainer of your subjective spiritual world, as sustainer of your life and that of others, as provider of what life your money, work, thought, presence and energy give to others. See your spiritual life as what you create within as your physical journey proceeds from birth to death and your spiritual journey proceeds from the darkness of no knowledge and no sight at birth to opened eyes seeing spiritual reality and sustaining the vision of ultimate reality to yourself and to those in your sphere of radiance. Unmask the true face of beauty, taking off the masks that we project unto others creating what psychologist Sam Keen years ago called, Faces of the Enemy (which is also an award-winning PBS documentary). The radiant golden light is us, we are the sun within and we radiate on all despite their projections of fear and suspicion. In wisdom we see each group and nation in the beauty of their own radiance and point of view. We abhor the politics of personal destruction and discrediting, so injurious to social relationships. Let us do our dharma accepting our gifts of radiance, beauty and light, knowledge, insight and perceptions, avoiding projections unto others in the social war games of our times. Let the power of the truth be ours to give in the light that shines like the sun on all life alike. The attributes of the sun are reflected alike in the life-systems that have grown on our earth, from the worlds of rock and crystal, to the ever-green pines and flowers of every color, to the winged and four-pawed creatures. Each evolutionary expression is its own river of light.
The River of Light Within: the Light Body
Analogies and metaphors of nature ground us in empirical experience while challenging our intuitive ability to find the correspondent inner reality to open perception to the incredible beauty of the human design, pattern and structure, a mirrored reflection of the macrocosm. In Buddhist literature we often find the phrase naked reality and naked realization meaning in its original state and without cover-up, the original light body. This body is what we are in reality, a body with seven primary centers from crown to base of the spine connected by a vast network of nadis of which the central nervous system and glandular systems are substructures. Flowing from top to bottom and back again are rivers of light within us.
The rivers of light are also the ray energies that flow through the earth's light or etheric body and its 5 spiritual inlets. Energies from the solar system and constellations are said to reach earth through these rivers of rainbow light entering the planet in five current etheric centers of distribution representing the whole as the Western hemisphere, the British Commonwealth, the blending of East and West, Asia and the Far East through New York, London, Geneva, Darjeeling and Tokyo. It is interesting to note that London, Darjeeling and Tokyo are associated with the sociological field, the first as "social synthesis," and second as "enlightened social structures eliminating old-age practices," and Tokyo as "social practices based on idealism and practicality." The Tibetan points out that the "Science of the Antahkarana and its lower correspondent, the Science of Social Evolution (which is the joint or united antahkarana of humanity as a whole)....is in reality the Science of Magnetic Rapport, in which right relationship is brought about...; it lies behind the rapport between man and man, group and group, and eventually between nation and nation." (Bailey, The Rays and the Initiations, p. 470). It is the invocation of these models of right social relationship that go forth from the depths of human need and which the World Bank, the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development, for instance, under the leadership of Jim Yong Kim, is focusing on by selecting the Uttar Pradesh region of India containing 8% of the world's population living in extreme poverty for development, and publishing a yearly 'inequality index' to show the "extent to which growth is inclusive."
Light as Energy
We work essentially with energy, which is described in the tantra teaching as "that which abides in the heart of all beings, self-existing simplicity, that which sustains wisdom. This indestructible essence is the energy of great joy; it is all pervasive, like space….This energy is the sustainer of the primordial intelligence which perceives the phenomenal world….It is the driving force of emotion and thought in the confused state, and of compassion and wisdom in the enlightened state." (cited in Trungpa, p. 218). We clothe this energy with names, images, historical context and stories but it exists in us in naked form, free to our becoming it and being it. It is the vivid, precise luminosity of things. "The word tantra means continuity. It is like the thread which strings beads together. The thread is the path. The beads are…the Five Skandas or the five constituents of ego as well as the primordial potential of the Buddha within oneself, the primordial intelligence," (ibid., 219-220). Beads of light are woven on luminous threads by weavers in the Light. These beads are the five bodies and the five primordial Dyhana Buddha families woven together so that nirvana is brought into samsara. Spirit and matter co-exist from the beginning but the skanda of consciousness is unawake. Those who weave in the Light help to create a socially evolved civilization as part of the building of the antahkarana. As we invoke the Enlightened Minds of Compassion and Wisdom we evoke these qualities from ourselves — or should. The ray energies of this meditation are the 1st and the 5th and, the Tibetan tells us, "one of the three Buddhas [of Activity] now coming into activity is the one Who works through the spiritual will," (Bailey, The Rays and the Initiations, p. 273).
Using truly space age analogies, the Tibetan writes of rainbow rivers, "Forget not that relating our planet to the planet Venus is a planetary antahkarana, passing from thence to the Heart of the Sun and later to the cosmic mental plane. There are "rainbow bridges" carrying the sevenfold energies of the seven rays from planet to planet, from system to system, and from plane to plane on cosmic levels. It is over these bridges that the will of the related spiritual Identities is projected, producing that synthesis of effort which is distinctive of the cooperative systemic life" (ibid., 406). The group of all Enlightened Minds who have a karmic link to Earth throughout its long history make up the River of Light streaming into the little river of light made up of the relatively enlightened minds of our time and our civilization in the new group of world servers. Into that great stream we dip and to it we give. Eventually the combined rivers of light find their way to the sea and enter the ocean of dharma. Then our work on Earth is fulfilled and other work stretches out on the path of Higher Evolution. "The work of the initiate is to aid in the construction of the body of light-substance which will finally reveal the nature of Deity and the glory of the Lord. It is the planetary correspondent to the light-body through which the Christ and all the Sons of God Who have reached perfection finally manifest. It is a vehicle created by Will," (ibid., 184).
River of Light as Life
"We know God through His nature, and that nature is Spirit or Life, soul or conscious love, and Form intelligently motivated. Life, quality, and appearance--these are the three major aspects of divinity" and "eventually provide the mechanism of knowledge and the intuition to penetrate into the divine Nature," (Bailey, Bethlehem to Calvary, p. 136). We know God transcendent and God-immanent through the Great Invocation as mind, heart and will in each of us and as three great planetary centers. The Karmapa has just written a book on clearing away what prevents us from recognizing the nobility of our own hearts and seeing the connection to every other heart. Bailey writes that "The divine Christ in the human heart can express itself in many different departments of human living--in politics, in the arts, in economic expression and in true social living, in science and in religion….The glory is today revealed in every department of human activity, and the Transfiguration of those who are on the crest of the human wave of civilisation is very close at hand," (The Externalisation of the Hierarchy, p. 605). The esoteric knowledge tells us that our heart center and mind centers are hubs of constant motion and activity but at the very center of planetary will there is silence, stillness and listening. Here is where both the deep inner pattern of Earth's evolution and the larger world of the solar community's evolution come together in one integrated whole.
The Life aspect in its deeper essence appears at the end of the antahkarana bridge opening to Monadic and Divine life, the life more abundant that springs from the eternal spirit that never expires and the light that never goes out. At birth we experience a life defined by motion — the quick and the dead are contrasted — but Buddhists call life after birth the semblance of life; real life is well hidden within and remains to be experienced in stages and in full. The path of light, the path of love/wisdom, and the path of life all await full experience and expression in the great creative act of human living. Meditation in all of its fields is the supreme science behind full human living.
May this Wesak meditation flood your mind with the river of light and bring you new life-energy.
Joann S. Bakula
P.S. A streaming video-on-demand of Vesak 2011 from the U.N.'s 16 Buddhist nations is available at: http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/2011/05/10th-session-of-un-permanent-forum-on-indigenous-issues-opening.html. Watching this video or others is one easy way to prepare for the Wesak meditation and to appreciate the contributions of the Buddha to the United Nations, to world enlightenment and to ethics.
Bailey, Alice. From Bethlehem to Calvary. NY: Lucis Publishing Co.
----. Esoteric Healing. NY: Lucis Publishing Company.
----.The Externalisation of the Hierarchy. NY: Lucis Publishing Co.
----. The Rays and the Initiations. NY: Lucis Publishing Co.
Karmapa, 17th. (2013). The Heart is Noble. Boston: Shambhala.
Keen, Sam. The Face of the Enemy: Reflections of the Hostile Imagination. Harper.
Trungpa, Chogyam. Cutting through Spiritual Materialism. Boston: Shambhala.
Tsering, Tashi Geshe. (2012). Tantra: the Foundations of Buddhist Thought. Boston: Wisdom.