The Wesak Festival: An Inner Mythical Event With Its Physical Counterpart in the Tibetan Saga Dawa Festival.

Steve Nation
April, 2013


Wesak is the high point of the spiritual year. Of all the twelve full moon festivals, it is the most subjective, the most interior. As a world esoteric group, a field of focused mind and heart, our work is to stand subjectively, in the radiant presence of the Buddha and the Christ. In our imagination we are invited to sense the blessing of light for humanity, given by the Buddha and held by the Christ in safe-keeping until the Gemini full moon when it is released in service. This blessing can be sensed as a luminous light that dispels the ignorance of separateness, dissipates selfishness, and releases us from the habits and instincts of materialism.

In meditation our task is simple - to intuitively sense the reality of this event, to be present to this event. The Wesak blessing is a blessing for the human family as a whole - the global community of individuals, families, nations and peoples. It is a blessing to stir the soul; to nourish courage, vision and hope as we move forward as a species into a culture of oneness. It is this sense of Wesak as a living event taking place over the Taurus full moon that we need to focus on. During this event we have our part to play in establishing an alignment, a right relationship, between the New Group of World Servers, Hierarchy, Christ, the Buddha and Shamballa. Another way of speaking of this alignment is to speak of an unimpeded and right relationship with the Plan - and alignment with future possibilities. Our work is to ensure that the esoteric core of the New Group of World Servers is present, alert, and conscious of this alignment. We do this best as we attend to the beauty of the alignment of these different levels of being and as we intuitively sense the meaning and significance, for humanity, of this great inner festival. This is what DK has to say about the day of the Wesak full moon:

We must regard the Festival itself as a day of silence (I refer to an inner peace and silent solemnity that can be preserved unbroken though the individual may be serving through speech and spoken interest), a day of service carried forward entirely on esoteric levels, and of complete self-forgetfulness in the remembrance of humanity and its need. During that period, two thoughts only will hold our constant attention-the need of humanity and the necessity of providing a group channel whereby the spiritual forces can be poured through the body of humanity under the expert guidance of the chosen members of the Hierarchy.

This year the Taurus full moon is in April - so our meditations will not be synchronized in time with the meditations of Buddhist communities, most of whom observe Wesak as the birth, death and enlightenment of Gautama Buddha during the period of the May full moon. One way of thinking about this is that next month, when we are working with the energy flow of the Gemini Full Moon, our own meditation work will be augmented by the meditations and ceremonies of many in the Buddhist community. What is missed now, during Wesak, will be gained during the Festival of Goodwill.

It has become quite possible now, in a way that was not so straightforward during the period when Alice Bailey and DK were working together writing the books, for Westerners and people from all parts of the world to travel to Tibet and join local pilgrims in the region of the sacred Mount Kailash as they celebrate the ancient Saga Dawa festival. I have a number of friends who have made this pilgrimage, as I am sure many of you do. While Saga Dawa is celebrated throughout Tibet, famously in Lhasa, the gathering that draws pilgrims from around the world is held in a remote valley looking onto Mount Kailash. It has been famously recorded by Albert Falzon in his film Journey to the Wesak Valley in Tibet.

While the Saga Dawa Festival represents a physical counterpart to the mythical event, occasionally experienced as a dream, it is important for us in meditation to focus less on what physically happens every year in the valley looking onto Kailash - so that we can enter into the livingness of the inner mythical event - what Alice Bailey calls the 'heavenly event'. We are asked to focus our imagination on qualities of numinous light, on the presence of the Living Christ and the Buddha, imagining that the Mind that is in Christ contacts in a supreme moment, the mind that is in the Lord Buddha. It is this esoteric reality of the mythical heavenly Festival that we are asked to visualize, imagining that we are present, witnessing something taking place on subtle levels.

In this event Illumined Beings honored by all the religious and spiritual traditions of humanity, are said to gather at the north eastern end of the Wesak Valley in Tibet. The southern end of the valley is full of pilgrims who have assembled to observe the Saga Dawa ceremony. Three Great Lords, the Manu, the Christ and the Lord of Civilization face a huge flat rock at the northern-most end of the valley. A large crystal bowl, full of water, sits on the rock. As the moment of the full moon approaches stillness settles over the crowd. The Enlightened Beings assembled in subtle realms at the northern end of the valley perform ritualistic movements. Mantrams are chanted. A tension can be felt in the atmosphere as all eyes focus on the sky in the narrow edge of the valley, behind the rock. Alice Bailey writes of this aura of expectancy as the climax of the world's aspiration, focused in this waiting group.

This is something to imagine — the aspiration of humanity, now, in 2013, concentrated into this mythical moment of tension - all eyes figuratively looking up towards the North East — expecting to see the figure of the Buddha returning for his annual visit.

Here are Alice Bailey's words, describing what happens next:

Just a few minutes before the exact time of the full moon, in the far distance, a tiny speck can be seen in the sky. It comes nearer and nearer, and grows in clarity and definiteness of outline, until the form of the Buddha can be seen, seated in the cross-legged Buddha position, clad in His saffron-coloured robe, bathed in light and colour, and with His hand extended in blessing. When He arrives at a point exactly over the great rock, hovering there in the air over the heads of the three Great Lords, a great mantram, used only once a year, at the Festival, is intoned by the Christ, and the entire group of people in the valley fall upon their faces. This Invocation sets up a great vibration or thought current which is of such potency that it reaches up from the group of aspirants, disciples or initiates who employ it, to God Himself. It marks the supreme moment of intensive spiritual effort throughout the entire year, and the spiritual vitalisation of humanity and the spiritual effects last throughout the succeeding months. The effect of this Great Invocation is universal or cosmic, and serves to link us up with that cosmic centre of spiritual force from which all created beings have come. The blessing is poured forth, and the Christ - as the Representative of humanity - receives it in trust, for distribution. [Quotations taken from the booklet: The Wesak Festival : A Technique of Spiritual Contact, available from the Arcane School]

Slowly the Buddha recedes into the distance — returns to the secret place from whence he came. The whole process of his appearance, blessing and departure is said to last around eight minutes. The blessed water in the bowl is distributed in tiny portions — first to those figures gathered in the subtle realms, and then to the pilgrims assembled for the physical counterpart of the ceremony, the Saga Dawa.

Remember our work in meditation is not to approach this Festival as individuals, but as a group field of mind and heart sensitive to the aspirations of our fellow human beings. As a group our task is to lift the cry of humanity to that hidden sacred place in the subtle atmosphere of the the Wesak Valley where it will be heard by the Buddha and by his great brother, the Christ.

It seems to me that what matters here is not so much that we, as a planetary group of meditators, will be focusing on our role in this process, and on our own importance in this work. Our job is to forget ourselves, as a group - and to be absorbed in the human aspiration being lifted into the aura of the Buddha and the Christ. It is almost as if we need to viscerally feel the cry of humanity and, having felt the anguish of this cry, to imagine this cry being heard by the Buddha and the future Buddha, the Maitreya, producing an outpouring of compassion and wisdom. Above all we can imagine an outpouring of the energy that drives our will power. To grow in our ability to love takes persistence; the work of building right relations with the Earth, between peoples and between all the dimensions of our own being takes our whole lives. It involves an empowerment of purpose.

And so, friends, as we prepare for meditation, let us direct our attention to the Buddha, and to the future Buddha, the Maitreya, the Coming One. And let us remember Buddha's call to his disciples to train their mind so that they would be a lamp unto themselves and others, finding the sources of Truth within. Regardless of what others thought about them or spoke about them, he reminded his disciples:

Our minds should remain unsullied. Neither should evil words escape our lips. Kind and compassionate will we ever remain, loving of heart, not harbouring secret hate. And we will bathe them with the unfailing stream of loving thought. And proceeding further we will embrace and flood the whole wide world with constant thoughts of loving kindness, wide, ample, expanding, immeasurable as the world, free from enmity, free from ill-will. Thus my disciples must you train yourselves.

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