Chapter 6 “Yoga and Tantrism”
Several themes and ideas are addressed in Chapter 6 “Yoga and Tantrism” that speak-to common assumptions and notions bandied about in discussions concerning Left Hand Path and Satanism. Without a particular dog in this race (Yoga, Tantrism, Satanism, etc being tools – modalities at best – and not identities worth splitting hairs over or championing) all possible interpretations are considered here.
We will start several sessions back at an earlier chapter: “Techniques for Autonomy” page 89. Siddhis or superhuman powers gained by one who is liberated in this life – Jiva Mukta – are considered symptoms of one’s progress toward liberation and not to be desired or even sought after. All emphasis rests on one avoiding the temptation to use such powers; a theme that is reminiscent of the last temptation of Christ.
It is not hard to see where Blavatsky may have gotten the notion that magical attainment used for the ends of liberation or moksha – return to the primordial and paradisal origin or absolute – is to be considered of the right hand, or connotatively “good”, while magical attainment in pursuit of these Siddhis is to be considered of the left hand, or connotatively evil. *May, being the operative word here, since none of Blavatsky’s works have been investigated in any serious amount of detail by yours truly. While this does represent a vast oversimplification of the nuances involved – specifically that of non-duality or that of the vigataklmasah: free from the corruption of good and evil – it is an understandable and even workable presupposition despite what “Yoga is a refusal to be bound by the constraints of human life: man’s right hand is the god’s left hand” on page 96 suggests. This echoed strongly in the words “On the altar of the Devil up is down, pleasure is pain, darkness is light, slavery is freedom, and madness is sanity.” from the Satanic Rituals.
Of course, the notion that Siddhis are to be avoided or even downplayed, not because to do so would be perilously misguided, but simply because they do not exist is entirely possible as well. Impossible or not, a selfish intent is still a selfish intent, and all selfish intentions are, reportedly, impulses of an illusory ego toward dominion over Samsaric existence. The bind is that one must concede to the reality of what one craves dominion over however futile the endeavor. Here, the idea of Satan as Lord of this World – equivalent to Mara – makes for an interesting parallel. In order to play the game such as to win, one must necessarily subject oneself to its rules and surrender or limit arbitrarily one’s freedom of action both on the field and off the field (that is, one must train even in the off-season) – in no sense of the word is this liberation. One is simply not above what one is greatly concerned about, attached to, or generally fixated upon. So too it goes with the pursuit of worldly powers. For good or for ill, it is the ego that binds one to the world – the game.
It is worth mentioning here that it is the evaluation of the ego that, at least superficially, distinguishes Satanism from Tantrism. It is on this point that the two diverge (at least overtly. One can only go-on and fairly give credit for what is written explicitly or stated out-right). How significant a departure this represents is a topic to be addressed in other future readings in the vein of social psychology. For now and in a phrase, “extremely significant” will suffice.
A variation of the vapid trope “Right hand path seeks to unite with God; Left hand path seeks to become god” is, thankfully, clarified on page 142: “The visagaras of [the left hand]… perform penances, know the Yoga technique, repeat the mantras, even practice certain meditations-but they ‘do not do this to unite themselves with the cosmic soul.’ They say that the Cosmic Soul ‘is in their heart’”. Autodeification in an egoic sense is never explicitly mentioned. That is, their motives are, although unspecified, simply not aligned with striving for unity. For this, they are shunned. “To the pure, all things are pure” comes to mind. Speculatively, if the intent were ever to completely divorce oneself from the Cosmic Soul, one possessed of the notion that it is within one’s heart would necessarily have to kill one’s own heart in order to do so. Though no such impetus is mentioned here, it is an interesting flight of poetic fancy for sure – one reminiscent of Crowley’s treatment of the Black Brothers.
“He who knows the most perfect carnal joys is not the brahman; but the Yogin – in heaven all the joys he has renounced on earth will be his to enjoy with 10 fold intensity” page 152 – a strikingly Judeo Christian theme if ever there were one then is juxtaposed by the mention in several places that in this Kali Yuga – a phase in human civilization characterized by a lack of spiritual values, materialism, unrestricted egotism – “The rediscovery of the goddess is bound up with the carnal condition of the Spirit” page 203, “Spirit is hidden in its carnal condition” page 262. Ideas pertaining to cycles of fire and ice and the exaltation of the carnal characteristic of Satanism show their likely origins here.
With respect to indulgence not compulsion (and indeed the 5 Ms are ritual indulgences) “By the same acts that cause the common man to burn in hell for thousands of years, the Yogin gains his salvation” page to 263 – to wit the nude altars for which Satanism generated quite a buzz, we have the attitude specific to Maithuna which, differentiating itself from mere fornication, states that “every naked woman incarnates Prakriti hence she is to be looked upon with the same adoration and same detachment that one exercise in pondering the unfathomable secret of nature” page 259
The similarities mentioned briefly here can lead to many a conclusion – all equally as valid, ranging from just a few more examples of what LaVey plagiarized and reconsecrated as Satanism, to there simply being far more depth to Satanism than ever could or should be spoon-fed. The truth of that matter is largely predicated upon one’s own biases and is tangential to the larger themes worth considering touched upon in this reading: the anti-gnostic / anti-Manichean notion that the divine is, in fact, very much within the flesh and blood. That matter and form, at least in this cycle of time, is spiritual. The human corporeality is not the temporal prison for the eternal soul, but rather co-participates along with it in the absolute.
*While the impetus to supplement each reading with at least a blurb of a post remains, it is inconsistently carried-out. This inconsistency will likely persist for the next several months during which the primary focus will be on readings and narration rather than on writing and analysis.