Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews conversations with spiritually Awakening people. I’ve done 560 Something of them. Now, if this is new to you and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to bat gap comm bat gap and look under the past interviews menu. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. We don’t do advertising or anything aside from those annoying ads that pop up in YouTube. So if you feel like you know, support if you appreciate it, if you like supporting it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of bat gap met gap calm, and also a page about other ways to donate if you don’t like to use PayPal. My guest today is Paul Mueller Ortega. Second There we go. Welcome, Paul. Good to see you again.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Great to see you, Rick. Wonderful. Thank you for having me back here.
Rick Archer: Yeah, Paul was on about three years ago. And just this week, I listened to that first interview. And I you know, I’ve done so many of these that I forget what’s in them. But it was such a wealth of information that he brought forth. And I didn’t talk very much at all, which some people liked very much. And I felt listened to and I thought I could I could listen to this 30 times and keep getting new tidbits out of it. Nothing. I didn’t realize when I did that interview with Paul, but he told me afterwards, he and I met in like 1961 71 or so at a prep school in Connecticut. And so that’s kind of cool. We’ve we’ve come full circle here.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Many years indeed. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Into the US actually introduced Paul properly Paul is the founder of blue throat yoga, which is an internationally recognized meditation. He is an internationally mega recognized meditation teacher, and one of the world’s most highly respected academic scholars in the field of Indian full religion and Hindu Tantra. He will need these glasses after all, Paul is passionate and devoted to teaching students how to access their truest self. And to offer the knowledge base to understand and support that experience is that hundreds of meditation retreats offered a vast array of study courses translated and provided commentary on many of the most inspired sacred texts of the Shara Shiva Shakti tradition, and has personally trained over 40 people as authorized teachers of Neela conta meditation, and I kind of like it that you’ve only trained for days that strikes me as being a quality control thing that’s good. Train hundreds and hundreds.
Rick Archer: I’ll just continue on for a bit here. Paul is uniquely qualified to offer these potent teachings drawing upon the synergy of his long career as an academic scholar, his particular capacity to translate complex ideas and concepts into easily accessible and comprehensible understanding and a personal history of deep meditation and extensive practice in the Shiva Shakti Tantra tradition. So this now, the Shiva Shakti Tantra tradition is basically Kashmir Shaivism. Right.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Yeah, I mean, that’s, that’s one of the terms that’s used. And sort of, typically, in, you know, talking about this tradition, that term Kashmir Shaivism, is a little problematic for a variety of reasons that are maybe not so interesting except to scholars. So trying to be a little bit more precise about where where this tradition emerges. And the particular configuration, it’s a series of texts that are called Shiva, that is to say, because they’re considered to be revealed scriptures or Audemars or Tantras, that have been spoken by Shiva, but then much of the content of those texts is actually centered on a series of symbolic goddesses. So that the sadhanas or complex practices that are being taught or alluded to in those texts, then center on the symbolic forms of various kinds of goddesses. We’re talking about the 10th 11th century approximately, the most famous teacher being this amazing author and teacher by the name of Jonica, a bit of a Gupta lived approximately 975 to 1025, something like that in Srinagar. Yeah.
Rick Archer: And by revealed you mean that they weren’t just fabricated or composed by human beings, they, they were somehow more primordial that and were then cognized. But they already existed prior to their cognition.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Well, that’s the claim in the traditions, you have a differentiation between texts that are designated aagama. That is to say, what has come forward, or Tantra as the essential essential teaching, as it were, that have this character of not being attributable to any one individual human being. And then you have texts that are sort of commentaries on those. And you know, a bit of a Gupta is one who comments on the arguments in great detail. His most famous work is known as a tough local light on the Tundra’s. So he’s he stands in relationship to a very complex and rich body of hundreds of scriptural texts. At that time that are yes, they have no suppose that human author, but they must have come through somebody, you know. Yeah. And yeah.
Rick Archer: And, you know, you, you and I were both students of marshy, Mahesh Yogi early on, and he used to always say that what he was teaching had been lost, and that it was now being revived. Because there’s something like that in Kashmir Shaivism, also?
Paul Muller-Ortega: Well, I think that I mean, this is it’s a, it’s a sort of a rich question around this, you have these medieval traditions of practice and of initiation and different groupings and lineage streams of great masters, going back probably to at least the fifth or the sixth century, and in Kashmir, extending up to you know, the time that Islam comes and everything falls apart there, which is about the 12th 13th century different data differently by different historians and so on. And then, you know, the the tradition that a bit of a Gupta is sort of the the prime highest teacher and disappears to all intents and purposes as an initiatory lineage, it, it survives in terms of these extraordinary texts, and the theory that he proposes in those texts, which are disseminated pretty much all over India. And you, I mean, you find, you know, manuscripts of his texts and libraries all over India, and clearly you find the, the sort of ideological or philosophical traces of what he articulates. So he’s extraordinarily, you know, accomplished and and has an extraordinary impact, but not necessarily directly through the tradition that he represented as a living tradition. So it dies out and then the question is, you know, how, how does that tradition get revived? And of course, we have, you know, in the modern period, this figure of, you know, Swami electron joueur electron Ji, who is considered to be the 20th century revivalist of this tradition.
Rick Archer: So did he revived Nila Konta meditation Swami Manju? No Did you?
Paul Muller-Ortega: Who did I mean? Neela. Kata meditation is a modern term that I gave to the style of meditation practice that I’m teaching in order, just like you have many different yoga groups that take on different names and so on. Neelkanth is, you know, one of the names of Shiva, the blue throat of Shiva, stained by the poison that he swallows at the time of the churning of the ocean of milk, you know, and so on. And it just it was when I first started to teach the initial students I came into contact with in this was back in 2006. When I began to leave the university setting, they kept asking me, you know, what, what do you call this? And I was like, we don’t call it anything. We just, you know, it’s I did, I was a little naive, perhaps. And so then finally, I just, yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay.
Rick Archer: So you kind of formulated or devised or Neil Katha meditation, based upon all of your decades of experience and scholarship and, um, you know, understanding is that that correct to say,
Paul Muller-Ortega: Yeah, okay. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a complicated story. I always say that, you know, it’s in a certain sense, it’s like genetics. It’s like the father and the mother and then they have a child. And then you know, people come up to that child and say, Oh, you’re just like your parents. Well, the child doesn’t like that. So you know,
Rick Archer: yeah. But say the child was influenced by the pack yeah might look like them or something. And and so in addition to marshy were with girl my were you and looked down on the altar?
Paul Muller-Ortega: No, I never met him. No, never met.
Rick Archer: So you feel those two. You know marshy and Guru my had a kind of a formative influence on on what you’re teaching now.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Yes, I mean, a deep and powerful one, but also, you know, I started reading a bit of a Gupta texts, gosh, you know, 1982 or something in Sanskrit. So I spent 30 years, you know, investigating these extraordinary formulations with regard to practice and trying to discover kind of the, the, the root principles in a certain sense that upheld the kind of spiritual practice and the kind of teachings that were being brought forward. And then, as I said, Because have been of a group, this teachings were so influential in so many different ways, even people, you know, sort of losing track, historically of the fact that his teachings had had such an extraordinary impact, that then kind of discovering the traces and the Traceries of this tradition, which had been sort of lost in a certain sense. I mean, it survived, obviously, in terms of, you know, the Brahmin families of Kashmir and the texts and the study of the texts, and so on. But in terms of, you know, modern, or even later, teachers, there is a sort of an interruption that happens there and a hiatus. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Does Neil account the meditation involves the use of a mantra.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Yeah. So, yeah, so we use a series of, of mantras, and, you know, the one of the I would say that one of the, one of the primary things that a bit of a Gupta articulated in his texts, and is kind of the, you know, the singular contribution, theoretically, speaking of the Shiva Shakti tradition was a much more complex and nuanced understanding of mantra, and of the use of mantra, and of the varieties of mantras, and, you know, sort of the, the understanding of the different kinds of effects that different kinds of mantras have. I mean, you know, one of the names in scholarship for the, the sort of the sequence of the Shabbat tradition is called the mantra Marga, the path, the path of mantra, and the theory of understanding language and the potency of mantra that is articulated in the, in the shape of shock detects, particularly by venerable Gupta, but you know, based on the work of other scholars, including his most famous disciple, Chima Raja, is called Motyka Shakti, the potency of the the words as matrices of consciousness and so on. So it’s, it’s, I mean, it’s an extraordinarily fascinating theory that in a certain sense, it’s kind of like a, you know, a kind of almost like a, you know, the discovery of Newtonian physics or even the evolving of physics in, in in terms of sound, and in terms of the impact and relationship between sound, and consciousness, and very, very precise and very nuanced distinctions, and so on, in that regard. And I think that this is something I’ve been very, very fascinated with, it’s been, you know, a central piece of what I’ve been working on is this mantra Shakti understanding, let’s
Rick Archer: go into that a little bit more. Because, yeah, a lot of times people hear the word mantra and they have, it’s even, it’s even sort of a generic term, almost the way Guru is a generic term these days, you know. And, you know, if it’s used in a spiritual context, which it isn’t always, sometimes you hear the word on the news related to something rather, so and so’s mantra. But if it’s used in a spiritual context, it’s often presented as just a meaningless sound. Right? And some people might think, Well, why the heck should I sit there and think of meaningless sound? What’s that gonna do for me? Or maybe if it’s just the meaning of sound? Why don’t I just take the Zork or something and sit there think that and why do I have to get formal instruction? And I mean, or I can look on the internet, and, and actually, maybe the mantras, maybe it is important which one you get, okay, I do a little Google search. And there I see a list of mantras that are used in TM or some other things. I’ll just start like this one. I think I’ll take that one. I’ll start using that. What’s the flaw in that thinking?
Paul Muller-Ortega: Where do I start? I think that, yes, Mantra is one of the sort of words that has been you know, it’s entered our English language, it means something like a slogan, you know, either a political slogan or whatever. And that obviously, is not the original meaning it’s, you know, English as a way of mean of, you know, it’s grabbing words from every possible language and then changing their meaning. And mantra is certainly one of those words that has had its meaning altered significantly. I think that one of the things that is central in the teachings of the Shiva Shakti Masters is the notion of initiation. So they spend you know a bit of a Gupta spends a tremendous portion, I mean, 20 or 30. chapters of his Tantra loca on the different varieties of Deeksha of initiation. And really digging deep into the notion of initiation as understanding that there is a there is a procedure for the bestowing of an esoteric practice from a teacher, to a student that has certain mechanical requirements that guarantee the efficacy of the practice as it’s going to be received. In other words, none of us want to sit around and do practices that are not going to lead anywhere, or they’re not going to have results, they’re not going to be able to, you know, take us anywhere in a certain sense or transform our experience in the ways that we seek to have that happen. And so there is this very precise and very detailed examination of this idea of how it is that in fact, there is the the appropriate communication, whether it’s a practice that has mantra, or any practice of you know, an esoteric sort in that sense, that is communicated potently effectively, and that will then yield the desired results as opposed to just someone you know, picking it up. One of the terms that comes up, it’s actually a very ancient term is this understanding of virya so the Shiva masters speak about month, Vidya. Vidya means potency. And there is this, this idea of it related to the word virility. Yes, it is, you know, Sanskrit definitely has links to Latin and so on, which then, you know, gives us that word in English as well. And so yes, Vidya the strength or potency, the capacity of the month, to yield the result. And, you know, the, the fundamental understanding that the Shiva masters bring forward, as they say, Well, you know, the, the highest mantra is the mantra, Aha, I am, is it’s not a mantra that one repeats inside oneself, but it is a formulation in a certain sense of the, the, the presence, the, you know, the powerful presence of consciousness itself somehow inherently held in a vessel or container of syllables. So, we have to, you know, one of the things that they begin to differentiate about is the difference between what are called the varnas, or the Sanskrit phonemes. And the month itself, just the phonemes do not constitute a month or the month that it must be like a vessel, it has to be like a chalice in a certain sense, the chalice can be full or it can be empty. And the difference is, does the month that I have consciousness in it or not, in that sense, now, someone could say, well, doesn’t everything have consciousness? Yes, that’s a different, you know, consideration, but the activation in a certain sense. And so the, the the study of what it is that must transpire inside someone such that then the mantra is filled or activated in a certain kind of way that when it is received, it then yields the desired result. Versus then a mantra that what you’re looking at when you’re looking at, whether it’s a book or the internet, or whatever it is, or the phonemes of it, and the phonemes, then do not have that that component. And this is, you know, this is an essential part of the this idea or differentiate the differentiation with regard to what the tradition talks about when they talk about Sula or the surface of life, such minor, the subtle dimensions of the sutra, or the extraordinarily subtle dimensions, and then the transcendental domain of reality and saying, if your focus or your attention is restricted only to the stool and all that you’re gauging or looking at or studying is the stool is superficial, then you miss out on fundamental, intrinsic and deeply necessary components of the activation. It’s kind of like you know, in physics, when we don’t we’re not aware of, you know, atomic or subatomic particles, etc, and so on. We’re just looking at sort of, you know, the surface of life and what we miss out on the intrinsic or inherent structure and mechanism and the fundamental, you know, the Sanskrit masters use this word Shoba, the throb or the aliveness, the shape of masters, I mean, the throb or the aliveness, the activated throb of consciousness in something and that that is necessary in a certain sense. And then, but that’s not all that’s necessary there. You know, there are other there are other pieces and components to that. Now, just coming back to something you said before, there’s a differentiation in the in the study of mantra than that the Shiva masters and certainly a bit of a Gupta spends a tremendous amount of time in both of his most major works that have come down to us examining this theory of Motyka Shakti. It says there are certain categories of Montana’s some of which then in Sanskrit, the term is Assam Katie got they have no ordinary dictionary meaning now not all month does are like that. There are many months does that have perfectly understandable incomprehensible dictionary meaning so it’s a sub sub category in a certain sense, what are called the what are called the hidden they are Beija, mantras, you have the mantra, and then beach amongst us. And then who did the Abuja mantras, which are understood to be us and ketiga having no ordinary significance or dictionary meaning whatsoever, but yet constituting a particular vibratory frequency, that is something that is going to act act not just on the stool or surface dimension of our being, but it’s also going to vibrationally resonate with the sukma, and the anti sexual levels inside us and yield sort of transformative effects of various sorts by in that regard. And so therefore, that’s why, you know, coming back to your idea of the meaningless sound, etc. And then also, the idea of surface preference. When someone you know, when someone says, Well, you know, I like that particular mantra, because it goes with my decor in my living room, or, you know, whatever, my mother or something? Well, yeah, you know, so these are surface sorts of things that are really irrelevant in a certain sense, because all you’re looking at there is the, you know, the sort of the surface resonance of the syllables rather than really understanding what is it that is supposed to be carried or conveyed or, or, or communicated or made available? At the more subtle levels of, you know, so anyway, that’s it. That’s a piece of it. Yeah.
Rick Archer: So he said, 3d obj means heart, doesn’t it? Mean seed?
Paul Muller-Ortega: That’s right. So the heart seat month does as a sub sub category of mantras that have this idea of a suncadia having no ordinary signification or ordinary meaning. And then, you know, it isn’t just that they don’t have meaning they have other sort of characteristics as well. But in his thought that a loca, a bit of a Gupta talks about this and he says, because of that, they don’t catch or shape, idea forms are thought forms or concept forms in the mind, what are called the culpas. So they, they don’t they don’t create the culpa in the mind. And then he also says they, they are able to animate a higher vibratory frequency in Sanskrit. That’s the verb form spun diamante, they, they they cause consciousness to vibrate at higher and higher frequencies in a certain sense. And because of that, then certain things begin to happen. And so on. So I mean, there’s more to that as Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Just Just to comment on the potency, or the varia aspect of it. I know, when you and I were TM, teachers, we used to do a ceremony and you still do, and I’m sure when you teach people, and, you know, if I were to do like, in fact, up at TAF, the school where we met I, there was one weekend where I taught about nearly 50 Kids in one weekend. And, boy, I was high as a kite. You know, it, would it that ceremony had a very profound, the whole process of initiating people had a very profound influence. And I would often find that if I had some particularly profound experience, while I was doing it, the person I was teaching would report the same experience. Like I remember one lady, this is teaching in my sister’s bedroom, in my father’s home. My awareness just sort of became vast while I was doing the whole ceremony, and I sat down, I taught her and she said, Oh, my awareness just became vast. So there’s definitely some kind of resonance or train moment or some such thing that took place and if I was not coherent or scattered, that people wouldn’t get as good a result.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Yeah, I mean, this is these are all aspects of things that have been goes into in detail in his texts with regard to who it is that’s actually doing the teaching the tradition basically says now that the human teacher, in a sense, animates or activates a rises the highest possible level inside themselves and that from a from a from a highest sort of esoteric perspective, it is that absolute consciousness, whether we call it Shiva or shut the or Shiva Shakti or whatever name you want to give to it, that is actually functioning through the medium in a certain sense of the person and and then therefore there is this process of a certain kind of preparation, or a certain kind of you no prior unnecessary sort of procedure that is necessary for the for the teacher to be able to communicate, and then of course, that also, you know, has their different levels with regard to that, depending on what level of realization or attainment the teacher has reached you whether or not that you know, prior or external preparation or external ritual is necessary or is it just being enacted, just because it’s the tradition that it’s enacted, but it’s not really You know, sort of instrumentally necessary and Yeah,
Rick Archer: seems to be instrumental and necessary, and what, what you were saying, using those different Sanskrit words still and so on. So the whole idea I think you were presenting is that the, you know, the purpose of a mantra, and I’ll just say this briefly, and you can elaborate is it’s actually like a vehicle, which allows the mind to settle down or progress to subtler and subtler levels of experience, and ultimately to transcend its own activity and arrive at pure consciousness or state of Samadhi. Right.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Right. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think that, you know, what a bit of a Gupta talks about he uses vocabulary from from the chakra tradition where he differentiates not to get too deep into the sort of the weeds of the Sanskrit but he differentiates between different currents of consciousness. So you have a current of consciousness, it’s called the vomit current, which is, you know, extra aversive consciousness radiates out from some central point of, you know, the self in a certain sense, that is ordinarily beyond everyone’s, you know, experience there is this outward, radiating, like the rays of the sun in the sky. And then you have the opposite current called the Gish sticker, which is an intro verse of credit of return. So the, you know, one of the one of the ways to understand the technicalities of, of the use the appropriate use of mantra, particularly in the context of meditation, because of course, Mantra is used also in Java, it’s used in Bhavana, do many, many different other practices that can use months, and then there are practices as well that do not use months. And that’s a whole separate piece of practice that, you know, we also don’t engage with, but this idea that says, when a particular form of vibration is animated within the awareness field of the individual, it allows that individual to become aware of this intro Versiv, naturally flowing currents of consciousness that then, you know, it’s almost like a little boat placed on a stream, the boat just flows carried by the current in that way. So the mantra is instrumental in a certain sense in this in a sense in this reversion in Sanskrit, Pedy, Vidya this, this turning of attention from moving in the outward direction to becoming aware of deeper levels of the pulsating the pulsations of consciousness within. And then that is what the GIF to current is actually, which is always operative, it’s just that we are ordinarily, our attention or awareness, or waking consciousness is flowing in the vomit current, this extra aversive current where consciousness moves out. And it’s it’s a, you know, I suppose a corollary or or a consequence of that, when someone attempts to practice intro Versiv meditation by attempting to go against the vada current Obama current will always win in that sense, it’s that you can’t you can’t force attention, or in a certain sense, what you’re trying to do is use the vomit current to go against Obamacare, I use that extra aversive waking consciousness to somehow counteract itself. I mean, I use these really silly analogies in my teaching, he talks about, you know, going up the down escalator in a certain sense, and it’s like, well, you’re going against the flow in that sense, you have to find where is the, you know, where is the up escalator in a certain sense, I mean, these these directionality, these are arbitrary, you know, but we’re talking about the inter aversive or essential or sub totalizing current that effortlessly yields this. This this intro aversive movement and attention and, you know, this the one of the things that I mean, I’ve, I’ve spent many, many years seeking out the sources in a certain sense of a lot of this terminology, this term. Yup na are a Yatta, which is a term that have been of a Gupta uses, means effortlessness. And he he highlights this idea of effortless practice as opposed to practices effortful, he differentiates two different domains. He doesn’t he doesn’t reject effortful practice. He just says there’s two different categories of practice one, which we would call sort of natural and effortless, and, and non strategic and the other kinds of practice being effortful and having a certain strategic, you know, investment of the body mind of will or attention, or a certain kind of forcing to happen and that that’s these are these are differentiated in the tradition. He calls it accredited versus credited the spontaneous natural or effortless dimensions of practice, that have a certain kind of ease with regard to them as opposed to practices that involve a tremendous amount of effort in terms of counteracting or, you know, opposing certain movements and I mean, we know that you know, oppositional practices As part of it in the yoga sutra, that’s all idea. pups are going against whatever it is that’s happening inside you, in order to, you know, to negate it, or to cause it to cease is a legitimate arena of practice, it’s just these are sort of, I suppose they are categorized in terms of interior most and then practice, it happens at a more surface level of life with regard to the senses.
Rick Archer: So one thing you just said in all of that is that maybe you didn’t quite say, but that the subtler levels of the mind, this will sound familiar, or more, more charming? And why would you need to make an effort to have the mind move in the direction of something that’s more charming, you know, you put some good food at the door and the dog is there. So, you know, if the mind can begin to move in that inner direction, and if it begins to encounter, greater happiness, greater charm, greater fulfillment, then it’ll be very effortless for it to continue to do that, right. So, so therefore, not forever,
Paul Muller-Ortega: right. And I think that the way that the Shiva Shakti masters talk about that, it has to do with Shakti, in other words, that there is an increase of the potency of consciousness. And again, the analogy of the you know, the star in the sky, the sun, where you know, the, the intensity of heat, so to speak, increases as you approach the source, so to as you’re approaching the state of the transcendental self, the intensity of irradiating outwardly moving Shakti is increasing. And that therefore, that increase has, it has the different components of the Shakti including, as you just mentioned, the Ananda Valley, the increase of the Ananda value, which, you know, that has to be linked in terms of the theory, then to another understanding, which is, has to do with the nature of the mind. And this is where, again, a bit of a Gupta uses this term swap bhava, which is a it’s a fairly common philosophical word in Sanskrit means the inherent nature of something it says, you know, just like the inherent nature of fire is its heat, the inherent nature of the flower is its perfume, the inherent nature of the mind is that the mind will always move towards something more this is called the Sputa value, the moving toward the increase of the light or the increase of the bliss or the increase of the perceived inner sense of wholeness of fulfillment in a certain sense that is being registered within as the attention flows on the dish to current. And, you know, yeah, so basically, I mean, yeah, these there’s these different elements that come together to Yeah,
Rick Archer: so if people people might ask, Well, if this is so natural, and if the inner value is so charming, why don’t we just automatically slip into that on a regular basis, the way we slip into sleep at night sleep is enjoyable? You know, what, why do we need to learn something? Why doesn’t it just happen as part of our normal human functioning? And I guess you explained it in terms of that other current that starts with a V, the environment, that vomica and is so habitual, I guess, are so predominant, that the other one is overshadowed by it.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Yes, I mean, that the the vomit current is explicit, it’s obvious, it’s predominant in waking consciousness, and it continuously causes awareness or attention to flow out, thereby creating our state of life. In other words, it flows through the mind, it flows through the the the felt sense of individuality, the Omkara, it flows through the mind, you know, the senses, it flows through memory, etc. And it animates the whole field of our sort of body mind in a certain sense, and there’s also a habituation over a long period of time in life to sort of being in the body mind awareness, and and that, that, you know, over many lifetimes says had been a Gupta creates a particular habit pattern of that being identified as the normal state or the ordinary state of the predominant state of life. And so, therefore, there has to be some form of instruction in a certain sense that that that allows an individual to begin to discover that there is something else and the process of of temporarily relinquishing the the you know, the inhabiting in the body mind is something that is is learned over time or experienced over time, or also can be alarming in a certain sense that this is part of, you know, when people talk about having near death experiences or, you know, very powerful experiences in which they feel themselves, you know, departing very rapidly from their ordinary consciousness, you know, we had it well, there’s a whole arena of talk about that. This is something also that is, you know, talked about by in the Shiva texts with regard to the very rapid movement of attention in that introverted current, temporarily obliterating the felt sense of individuality or the felt sense of identification with the body mind or of the activity of the senses, etc, and so on. So there’s you know, but but, yeah, yeah, yeah. And, and people, by the way, just you know, the other aspect of it is, people do slip into these states, but often haphazardly and also a non not able to in ways that are not repeatable. So, what we want is the repeatable accessibility of entering into that just to current and the movement of attention in across the vibratory spectrum inside to higher and higher levels of vibration that then allows the, you know, the yielding or the merging of separate of attention into this space of you know, what in the classical you would call the pollution, the pure content, less consciousness or the so called Turia fourth state of consciousness. So, you know that that process itself is something that is, it’s blocked by the vomit current, but then the tradition brings up the Shiva tradition brings up a whole different kind of terminology, which is the whole understanding of the molars, and so that the molars are the fundamental root contraction of individuality that sustains our individuality. In other words, if if it’s if it is the case, that what we are as individual beings is a sort of a manifestation, or an expression of this unbounded vastness of absolute consciousness? Why doesn’t this the very question that you’re asking is asked by the tradition, why isn’t it the case that the person then just reverts back to, you know, in the analogy of the wave in the ocean, why doesn’t the wave of our individuality just automatically continuously melt back into the oceanic totality of life, and and the Shiva tradition then comes up with this terminology of the molars, it says it’s a fundamental root contraction, the so called honor of Amala, that maintains the separateness of the individuality. Now, that’s a good side, because then we get to live our life. But it also has a bad side, which is that that very process of contraction of the mala is concealing, we have this whole idea of revealing and concealing in the activities that are attributed to Shiva, the so called punch of good ideas include this idea of revelation and concealment. So you have this idea that the, you know, this ultimacy of absoluteness, has concealed itself from itself, on purpose willingly and out of its own freedom, and that therefore, our ordinary state of individuality and of our life experience, not just in any way, in one lifetime, but across multiple lifetimes, is maintained in its separateness and it’s sort of finiteness by the operation of the honor of Amala that continues to assert that sort of intention or the nature Shakti, the will of reality with regard to our individuality, that that be maintained. And that also operates against, then the capacity of the individual to easily begin to, to sort of slide back, you know, in different moments now that I mean, there’s a lot there’s a lot to talk about all of this, but um, yeah. Yeah. Anyway, a
Rick Archer: bunch of good things in there. Um, one point you made is that it’s, it’s not a bad thing that we have some, you know, stability to the individuality. A lot of people, number of teachers around these days, in fact, the guy that I interviewed last week, emphasized heavily on there is no person, there never was a person there is no freewill. You know, you’re it’s just sort of a delusion that you think yourself to be an individual. And I kept hitting back with, yeah, of course, you’re a person, you’re just not only a person. But it’s hard to debate that with somebody a lot of times because they emphasize that, that the absolute value to the exclusion of relative values, and I just kept trying to say, it’s much more multi dimensional than that, and all these things can be can coexist and must coexist simultaneously for life to be lived. Right. Yeah, so there’s that.
Paul Muller-Ortega: I mean, I think just to comment on that for a moment, if you will, I don’t know who you were talking to. And I’m of course, never addressing myself to any other individual, but in terms of the tradition, you have these two very different streams of kind of, I suppose, one could call them spiritual ideology or philosophy with regard to the absoluteness and, you know, the the differentiation between the so called renunciate Tory stream, in which you know, one of the highlights are hallmarks of the tendency toward stream is exactly that sort of assertion of negation with regard to any sort of appearance, so that any sort of appearance is in fact, more Maya gets it is illusory and its character has never happened. And is we’re in some kind of a weird, you know, matrix in the sort of movie sense of that. And you know, we’re deluded by it all, but in fact, you know, nothing has ever happened, nothing is ever taken place, etc, and so on, and that there is no such thing as individuality. And that’s, that is a fundamental assertion of a tendency toward strain, which, in fact, you know, in the in the both in terms of Advaita, Vedanta, and in terms of various forms of medieval Buddhism really wins the day, historically speaking, and ideologically and philosophically speaking to the exclusion. I mean, one of the things that I always want to talk about with regard to the Shiva Shakti tradition, whether you call it tantric, or the mantra Marga, the path of mantra is that they have a different assertion, they’re saying, All of this is the activity of the great potency of consciousness, the Maha Shakti is activity. And it is relatively real, it is just, you know, to echo your point, it’s not absolutely real. But it there are these appearances now, yes, in the journey of consciousness, across stages of, of evolutionary expansion, that is to say, in terms of enlightenment, and so on the growth of consciousness, eventually, there is the arriving at the oceanic all embracing totality within which everything that has appeared, is now recognized to have been a temporary sort of appearance. And since of the Sanskrit term is a Basa, like a movie, in a certain sense, it just projected on the screen of the Absolute, the absolute itself, projects on its own screen, the reality of everything that arises and it is then sustained, and then it eventually dissolves, as well, and so on. But it but there’s not this assertion of its illusory character, even at the relative level, there is assertion says no, it’s relatively real, we can’t think we can’t deny it at that level. And it is then eventually, not so much transcended the technical term that gets used as sublative. In other words, just like when you go from a dream, to waking the dream, it’s ablated, by waking consciousness, so to your waking consciousness, will eventually be sublimated by some higher state of realization, or attainment that isn’t just temporary, but is a stabilized condition that the individual begins to live in, and so on. And then And then, you know, the speech or the description of reality that is then uttered by someone who is living in such a state of consciousness, then will not correspond and will not be the same as the description. I mean, these are obviously perspectival descriptions of reality that you know, come from it depends, you know, what you see depends on where you’re standing and or where you’re seated. And so, you get these different but the, you know, the, the sad part, in a certain sense, historically, is that the, the so called Shiva Shakti tradition, which was amenable and acceptable to householder, in other words, that the whole idea was that it was non renunciate story and character it was, you know, you could practice to the highest levels of practice and receive the highest levels of initiation aspire to the highest levels of realization within your household, your life and your embodied life and your life in the world as it were. And, and and this is one of the points that, you know, I often come up against where people fundamentally still in our marketplace, I mean, of course, there are many, many voices out there speaking from many perspectives, but there’s still an understanding of so called spirituality as being inherently renunciate story and its character. And I think that that’s one of the one of the great sort of mind shifts that the Shiva Shakti tradition brings us it says, No, it is not necessary, necessarily renunciate story to aspire to the growth in evolution and the blossoming of consciousness within an individual it does not require, in fact, in fact, it’s the opposite. There’s a whole different perspective with regard to the impact of consciousness and a deep practice on the individual that is not necessarily, you know, rennen, Satori, so that, you know, when you have when you have a statement, such as the one that you know, it seems to me, I would say that somewhere in the background of statements like that is always a sort of Vedanta Ik, you know, non dual Vedanta outlook that seeks to deny or to negate or in a certain sense, just preclude anything about, you know, the appearing reality versus reality. It says these are things that are relatively real, they are the operation of the Maha Shakti. And yes, then, in fact, one of the sort of great sort of adventures of life is to seek out what are the different forms of the operation of this extraordinary potency of consciousness and how does she operate at different levels of reality, and this is exactly what these tantric texts are bringing forward the the sort of the hierarchical and sequential operation of different levels of consciousness potency, that then create this grandiose and, you know, completely astonishing structure that is far bigger as we know than just our physical universe. So
Rick Archer: yeah, yeah, I was on the monastic program the TM movement for many years. And, and you know, there is this sort of subtle attitude or something, if you orient yourself that way, the the, you know, the creation itself is some kind of mistake, and that we should get there, the whole goal is to get out of it as soon as possible. Which, yeah, is not very complimentary to God, I would say. And, you know, because when, you know, when you think about it, when you look at it, there’s this incredible, beautiful display of divine intelligence all about us and every little grain of sand. And, you know, that just doesn’t seem like a mistake. So, if you think of the universe as, as, you know, one big evolution machine and that there’s a purpose to this, all this evolution, that, that some, there’s a value added, kind of, to not just having absolute all by itself, and that it’s not like something has been lost, and we want to sort of get back again, it’s possible, then the changes in a very, very subtle way, it changes your attitude and your feeling level. In fact, the whole, you know, kind of 20 Actually, maybe more like 40 years ago, 35 years ago, I would have thought of the Kashmir Shaivism perspective as kind of a compromise or a cop out or, you know, you know, that’s just for householders. And, you know, they can’t really go for the highest, right. But now I see it as personally, and maybe it’s because I’m married, but I think it’s more than that. It’s it’s really a more rich and inclusive and profound orientation. Want to you want to riff on that a little bit?
Paul Muller-Ortega: Sure. I mean, this is one of the things that I spend a lot of time talking about. I think that what, you know, in the richness and the sort of the multifarious sense of reality, the understanding that there, there are at least, you know, there’s more than one non dual path, in other words, that the assumption with regard to so called non duality that’s out there is that it is fundamentally a tendency toward in its character, but what you have in the medieval period, at the same time that you have a chunk into, for example, in the Advaita Vedanta, you have a bit of a Gupta in this Kashmir Shabbat tradition, which is not, you know, renunciate Taureans character, he was actually not a swami in that sense, he was he did not take Sunday. So, as far as we know, although apparently he was a bachelor, you know, all of his life except and so on. So, it didn’t really have to do so much with external married status or whatever, but it more in terms of ideology, but you have this, you know, one of the analogies that I use and and, you know, is this ocean, the ocean and wave, it says that you have this idea of Nehemiah these are, these are illustrative principles that help us to understand things so that in the eye of the ocean of the wave says, Well, one way to look at spirituality is to say that the whole purpose of the spiritual journey is to negate or to subside the wave back into the ocean is to annihilate to obliterate to completely, you know, eradicate and uproot all traces of separateness of individuality of finiteness of manifestation or expression. And that that, in fact, is that the rate core of what could be called a tendency toward path and all renounce the Tory ideology, as well as tendency toward practice, as well as renouncing Tory month those are then gauged to accomplish that goal of the extraction of whatever it is sustaining that separate activity of the wave, and leaving behind this idea of the ocean. And that for, as I said, Just a while ago, for many people, that’s the only thing that’s the only way to look at it. However, the opposite way to look at it is to say that the forms of practice in which the practice has as a goal the drawing of the oceanic character of the absolute consciences into the wave, and then the wave begins to rise and rise and rise and rise, and that eventually, there could occur a circumstance and this is what you know, the Shiva masters met by jeevan mukti, in which the entire ocean has actually risen paradoxically into the expression of the wave and then at that, at that moment, you have embodied enlightenment in that sense, you have this notion of, of the, you know, the posit the via positiva, an affirmative way away of embodiment, rather than a via negativa of negation, or of Obliteration and, and so on, and this has, you know, it has 1000 different consequences, but I think, you know, going back to the topic, Mantra, one of the things that that, you know, that I’ve investigated and I have found traces of it, you know, I mean, we heard it from Maharsha G, but I’ve investigated in the Shiva texts as well this idea of different monthlies for householders than monthlies for renunciate. Because there’s different, there’s different there’s a fundamentally different directionality. The, the approach of the renunciate is an approach of, of self undoing, and a certain sense of relinquishment of separateness of the abandonment of separate will, or separate intention, or separate agendas. It’s really a negation of any form of creativity, any form of engagement of any sort whatsoever, just to, as it were, you know, depart off into the vastness, love absoluteness, the, you know, the Mahabharata, one of the great going forth and off, you go into that absolute, and you leave behind this illusory domain, etc, and so on. And in fact, you know, obviously, you, as a separate individual can’t do anything, you have to abandon yourself. In that sense, you get all this talk about ego death, and you know, the killing of the ego, and all of that, that is part of the ideology of the tendency toward tradition. Whereas, you know, in the Shiva tradition, you have a different understanding says, How do you draw into life? How do you embody, how do you hold and then also, how do you express? How do you serve as a vehicle for increasing degrees of divine creativity to flow through individuals and to make, you know, creative contributions to life and to it to existence, through the increase of that upsurge? You know, the Shiva system talks about udia Moabite of the upsurge of the absolute into the relativity of life, and then the expression of the the modulating out of that creativity, and that, that, that requires a very different ideology, a very different set of practices and a very different set of mantras, that, in fact, then bring about such a result, and are not involved in the ultimate relinquishment. Now, yes, ultimately, you know, we all have to leave this physical body. And so, you know, there is there is that differentiation, you know, in terms of Yes, eventually, we will depart as it were. And, you know, it’s a very fascinating thing to talk about, what what are the sort of post mortem destinies that these different traditions, you know, imagine or envision for, for, you know, different beings, etc? and so on. But nevertheless, yeah, yeah,
Rick Archer: a couple of things on that. And one is just to, to use the wave analogy a little bit more, you know, it seems like the recluse thing is, alright, I’m this insignificant little wave, and it’d be best if I cease to exist and just become an ocean without waves, or just the ocean, regardless of who else thinks they’re a wave. Whereas the, the perspective you’re presenting is, hey, you know, it’s not a bad thing, a wave, how about if I am able to draw upon the full depth of the ocean and rise to become an even more powerful wave, and yet, you know, not be not be divorced from the ocean still remain connected, because that’s the only way I can be a more powerful way of is if I embody my ocean hood. And you know, the practical translation of that is, you need to think in terms of like living just a simple non productive life, you can actually become more productive, more successful or engaged with the world, but not lost in it, because you have retained or rediscovered your ocean who had your your unboundedness.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Yeah. And I think that I mean, I think that another element or component of the understanding of the of the of the sort of tantric sadhana is a bit of a Buddhist teaching of what he called the corpus and scar, the refinement of consciousness. And so basically, it isn’t just that you’re just getting a whole bunch of power in a certain sense, or a whole bunch of way of oceanic kind of absoluteness and staying the same. It’s the
Rick Archer: powerful jerk, you know, who has got all this ocean voltage helping you to well, sale screw people.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Summarize it beautifully. Right to the point. That’s exactly I shouldn’t be delicate about the matter.
Rick Archer: Too refined. But this thing you said about postmortem intrigues me because I’ve interviewed a number of people who actually had encounters with Ramana Maharshi before they even knew that there ever had been such a person. You know, like this, this woman named Pamela Wilson has been on the show a couple times. And when she was a teenager, she said she said, I just want to know truth. She had this burning desire to know truth Truth, I’m gonna just gonna sit here on my bed until Truth comes through that door, but she couldn’t stay up all night. So she fell asleep and all sudden, she woke up in the middle of the night. And there was this little Indian guy sitting on her bed and she threw a pillow at him. And like some years later, she saw a book with Ramana Maharshi on it. And this has happened to at least half a dozen people I know of so well, I wonder you know whether cosmic intelligence is just fabricating an image of Rama Maharshi because later on, you know, the person will encounter that person and that image on a book and, you know, get interested in Advaita? Or if Ramadan himself actually still exists in some functional form and is like some kind of Ascended Master or something. Yeah. Any thoughts on that in terms of the whole post moto Morden thing with with his enlightened beings?
Paul Muller-Ortega: I mean, I think we have to be
Rick Archer: conjectural a little bit. Yes.
Paul Muller-Ortega: And and understand that, you know, we’re sort of taking guesses about things that are way beyond our ordinary experience in that way, or whatever. And so that statements, I mean, casual statements that are made about this, and so on, can be it’s much more complicated in a certain kind of way. But I think that, I think that there’s no question that there’s a sort of reverberating echo of the teachings and of the energies of great beings that can sort of, it’s like a wave that started it’s sort of like a galaxy that exploded billions of years ago, the light is still streaming through the, through the physical universe. And so when you get these extraordinary beings, there, the effect of their, of their realization of their attainment is still streaming through time and space, whether it is their separate individuality or not gets us into really complicated questions, in a certain sense, and sort of trying to imagine some of these things that are really beyond a certain kind of imagination. But certainly, I mean, what you’ve just described as a standard story that is repeated in the case of, you know, many, many 1000s of different teachers in practically every tradition, you know, this notion, and it’s something that, you know, even the Buddhists, I mean, in Buddhism, you know, you have this idea that in early Buddhism, the Buddha is actually addressing himself to this, and he says, look at, you know, I’m about to go, and you better ask me all your questions now, because when I’m gone, I’m gone, there’s no contact me, you know, there’s no Skype or zoom, or whatever the contact, you know, the Buddha in some subtle plane, or whatever. And, you know, this is the teaching of early Buddhism, it’s the term to target the thus Dawn one, utterly disappeared, utterly unavailable, utterly transcendent, utterly, completely gone, gone, utterly gone beyond, as the famous sutra has it, and so on. Whereas then, later, Mahayana, Buddhism is a little more cautious about that, and they’re like, you know, we’d really like to actually have some form of the Buddha’s sticking around, that we might be able to communicate with, and so on. So they, they create, you know, the three bodies of the Buddha theory, and you get a lot of, you know, you get a lot of discussion around these things. But my feeling is that it’s, it’s difficult for us to categorize or judge or know, you know, what, what, what exactly is transpiring? But that there are energies of I mean, this is another, you know, one of the one of the fundamental concepts of the tradition is this idea of Shakti pot, sometimes loosely translated as Grace, although the, the concept of grace has so many Christian overtones, sometimes that that word, you know, it’s filled with kind of connotations that are not so comfortable in a certain kind of way. But you have this idea of the, you know, the irradiating movement of freedom, that moves through the structures of bondage, or of limitation. And so it’s, it’s this wave of freedom, that is opening that is expanding, that is releasing that is eliminating, that is transforming our life in a certain kind of way. And that, then, you know, just as you know, to come back to the Shiva terminology, just as the honor of Amala has created the persistence of our individuality now, there’s a wave of freedom that begins to disassemble that force of contraction within us. And within that, then individuals can have numerous and numberless kinds of experiences of various sorts that present themselves to the individual in terms sometimes the content of their mind, or the content of their some scars from previous times. In other words, you said, Well, you know, in this case, the person didn’t know anything about Ramana Maharshi in this lifetime, but who knows, what is there in the deeper in the deeper
Rick Archer: for them last time around or something?
Paul Muller-Ortega: Potentially? Or, you know, or that was just a Yeah, yeah. So,
Rick Archer: but then, you know, there’s a number of traditions that outline the whole scheme of different levels of evolution. And human, the human level is by no means the apex of it, there are many, many levels higher. And so it’s all it’s, it’s speculative, but it’s kind of fun to play with a little bit every now and then. It’s very fascinating for sure. I mean, the underlying sentiment here is just that. Just as we feel in our own lives, you and I, and I’m sure your students that this is a lifelong project of continuing refinement and evolution. You know, who’s to say that, even if some high degree of enlightenment is gained, the process doesn’t continue on some level, maybe not the human level anymore.
Paul Muller-Ortega: No, that’s right. And I think that I think that’s, that is congruent with what the Shaybah tradition speaks about and it’s a gimmick and tantric literature, in other words, that you get this, this description of super complex hierarchies of beings rising higher and higher and higher and higher, who then enact various kinds of specific kind of higher level functionality. So that where, you know, you have a person whose attention is only their own home, now it expands to their city, it expense to their state, their country, their planet, the, you know,
Rick Archer: beings whose jurisdiction as a galaxy or something.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Exactly, exactly. And so that, you know, the idea that, I mean, we have these somewhat flattened perspectives of enlightenment as saying, Well, you never come back and so on, or, you know, Matcha is liberation from any form of samsaric, trans trans migration. And, yes, on some level that is fundamentally, the, the differentiation, but it may be quite a bit more complicated process with many more levels into, you know, interval levels that we don’t, we’re not aware of, and then, you know, the other piece, which I mean, I remember hearing, marshy talked about this, which was the idea of a kind of cosmic ambassadors, and this is the whole notion of avatars in a certain sense where people come, you know, beings come back not for their own individual purposes, just like an ambassador travels from one country to another, not because they’re tourists, they’re taking tourism to that other country, their purpose has to do with the whole country that they represent. So to you have sort of this idea of cosmic ambassadors, who may return many times, I mean, this is, you know, in a sense, in Buddhism, you have the teachings of the Bodhisattva, and so on the commitment to continue to return to serve the suffering of human beings, and to serve the enlightenment of human beings, you know, and that on that, then the idea of a terminal or finite, Nirvana in the Buddhist sense is actually critique. I mean, I know, these are very subtle ideologies in Buddhism that are looked at from 20, different philosophical perspectives, and so on, you know, not doing them justice right now, but nevertheless, that’s, that’s a piece of it. In a certain sense, we it’s a much more complicated story. And, you know, so within that, I think that for me, I think that understanding the ways in which awakening is a natural process that may begin to transpire in the awareness of an individual, for reasons that are inexplicable, in other words, that though, we seek out rationales and explanations and various kinds of descriptions of Well, it happened because of this, or it happened because of that, I had a dream or I saw a book or I met a person or, you know, whatever it is that these are surface explanations, but that, in fact, the Shiva masters are speaking about sort of a, a wave that begins at the deepest level of reality that then impacts the contracted state of the individual and begins to loosen that hold of individual contraction. And that as a result of that sets up, sort of an impact of transformation. And also it sets up energies inside the individual that you know, a bit of who does this basically, first you get grace, and then you seek out a mastery it’s as if the inverse and people say well, I’m looking for the grace of the master, actually, the grace has already moved deep inside and it’s already open something it has already released something it is already you know, structure restructured or you know, reef reformulated some some notion and this is you know, this is then in his Tantra loca benefit, if the then speaks about different levels of of the path or of the methodology of the path the so called PIAA. And he says, well, it can happen very much in a mild way, it can happen in an intermediate way, it can happen in a very, super intense way. And he categorizes it, you know, in terms of three then in terms of nine and in terms of 27, he creates a kind of hierarchy of transformation, and that then at each level, the, the, the intensity of the impact then determines the phenomena that will occur inside that individual in terms of, you know, their motivation, the the depth of commitment, the depth of devotion, for example, or the depth of, you know, a cognitive chitta, one pointedness of consciousness or not in that way. So, it’s a sort of mild, medium and intense kind of idea that he formulates there.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay. So many things I want to cover with you. I’ve gotten into debates every now and then with some teacher about the direct versus the progressive paths, and particularly teachers who are, you know, hitting on the direct path idea, I kind of lean on the progressive side. And but I think maybe the issue can be resolved by saying that it can be both. Because if if direct means that somehow you directly glom on to enlightenment and you’re done I’ve never seen An example of that. But on the other hand, you can dip into somebody from day one, and that’s direct. And then thereafter, it takes, you know, 1000s and 10s. of 1000s of drippings for further refinement to progress to continue. So I don’t know, do you have any comments on that?
Paul Muller-Ortega: Well, I mean, I think that’s just what I was talking about. This is a bit of, I mean, these debates are very old. In other words, that are modern debates about these things. We didn’t discover most of these ideas, they’re they’ve been floating around, you know, in the ether for a very long time. And the, the, what a bit of a Gupta talks about when he talks about a pie in his tundra logo, and this is the subject matter of the first five chapters, as he takes up this very important theme. And he says, Look, if the impact of Shakti pot of this awakening descent of grace is sufficiently powerful, the individual is almost instantaneously liberated and also departs from their physical body or very soon thereafter, departs from their physical body so that the the most intense forms of Shaktipat that involve No, it’s called the umpire the non method method, there’s no practice, there’s no doing, there’s no attaining, there’s no, there’s no mantra, tantra, Yantra, mandola, there’s nothing in that sense, in terms of, you know, there is just sheer the sheer impact of liberty of grace that operates to such an extraordinary level of impact that it almost instantaneously releases the individual or it releases that individual without the individual having to engage with any form of practice. And here in comes the difficulty, which a bit of Buddha himself also identifies, when such an individual is liberated purely by Grace without any form of practice, then their idea of liberation and their narrative with regard to the path is going to reflect that notion that Well, I just opened my eyes and I saw reality, what’s the matter with you that you can do the same thing? See, yeah, and and this is something you know, we’ve seen this in modern teachers as well. But this is something a bit of a Gupta himself talks about it. This is the second Annika of his second chapter was Sentrilock. He says, Look, even if you are in this club, so to speak of the it’s not the highest level, but just one notch down from the highest level Shakti. But you have to have compassion for the fact that not everybody’s destiny is going to be that they don’t have to engage with practice in that way. They don’t have to engage with effort or, you know, different levels of practice, and yet practice the level of intention of knowledge and action. So each Ayanna and Cree has different levels of practice that are there, and so on, and the unknown PIAA so called the the method, the non method method in which there is there is nothing to be done, there’s nothing to be, you know, engaged with in that way. And that, and that, fundamentally, and this is I mean, I remember Maharshi saying this, basically, he said, they make terrible teachers, because, I mean, not, you know, addressing anybody in particular, but because he said, they don’t have any idea of the path, they only experienced liberation. And therefore, they that while they may assume that what they accomplished, or that happened, or transpired for them is something that is universally going to occur as a phenomenon actually, that’s not the case. It’s an extraordinarily rare circumstance. And therefore, you know, it is not, it’s not, it’s not capable to be replicated in the case of young people, you know, and this is, you know, I mean, so, anyway,
Rick Archer: in modern parlance, he was born on third base, and he thinks he hit a triple. But, um, but also, you know, emergency is the analogy of a man’s sitting on top of a mountain. Maybe he forgot how he climbed up there or something. And he’s shouting out a description of the view. Oh, so marvelous. And I can see other mountains that are so beautiful. And there’s all these people trying to climb up and his his shoutings are of no use to them whatsoever, because he’s describing his perspective, but he’s not described giving anything about how to come up the trail, you know, look out for this glacier, this boulder, whatever.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Exactly. Yeah, I mean, that’s a good analogy. I use something similar to that where I talk about people say, if you could get up to you know, if you look at a mountain, you say, okay, you know, 1000 feet up at the mountain, there’s a ledge, if you could just get yourself up to that ledge, then everything would be hunky dory. But the question is, how do you get up to that ledge, you know, and this whole idea of LEAP, you know, how do you leap up to that ledge of liberation, or that ledge of freedom and that’s where then the, you know, the Shiva tradition wants to articulate a complex structure of upaya that that then has increasing degrees of practices that address themselves to individuals who may have received lesser levels of, of the impact of liberation and so on, and who therefore require additional kinds of, I don’t want to say remedial but certainly have practices that engage the energies of transformation and and so on and so we’re talking about them and so you know, yeah, yeah.
Rick Archer: Since we’re talking about levels and all that, you know, for waking dreaming sleeping first three states of consciousness to Rhea means fourth, it’s a fourth day of conscious which you know is transcending and all that, you know, to Samadhi. But um, would there also be fifth, sixth, seventh? Yes, states of consciousness, which are not only subjectively different, but physic neuro physiologically different from the first four. And so how does Kashmir Shaivism sketched those out?
Paul Muller-Ortega: Yeah, I mean, this, it’s a fantastically interesting topic for sure. You have the Turia state as fourth state of consciousness, and then you have TR Yata, beyond the fourth state of consciousness. So and and this gets into complexities with regard even to meditation practice, where
Rick Archer: can Toria be safe abiding? Or is it only by definition, momentary and and it’s to reiterate the abiding one.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Yes. So, so, well, like any state of consciousness waking is temporary, it gives way to sleep or to dreaming and then Toria state also can be something that is momentary, but then there is the the increasing persistence of that state, not the experience of the curious state, but of the, of the of the stabilized wholeness of consciousness that begins to be able to coexist with increasing degrees of activity in the awareness field in that way and the rising and that sense of the curiosity to say to what the shy version called the optimum VRP so what we in the old days is called CC, but it’s basically the atma biasI consciousness. Yes, exactly. Yes. Thank you. Sorry, but
Paul Muller-Ortega: you’re right. So the idea being that the cultivation of the per critic body mind you what you weren’t narrowly take yourself to be as an individual is such that it begins to permit the persistence of a level of wholeness, a level of totality, a level of absoluteness, so to speak, to coexist with the the the critic, the activity of the critic, body mind, until you reach a level where the that wholeness can tolerate every kind of activity of the body, mind and not disappear, ordinarily have this notion of the Turia state in deep meditation as an introverted state only that pops as it were, the very second there’s any form of separate activity that arises in the body mind and this is something that you know, the, the Shabbat, tradition speaks about it basically, at a certain moment, the what’s called the Parramatta pramana, from May the the the knower, the means of knowledge and the known object, this is part of the so called tricolor triadic school, that you ordinary waking consciousness is, is tripartite in its structure, there is a knower there is a means of knowledge, there’s a known object, and that that structure unfurls out of the non triadic structure of or the of the so called forth, that’s why it’s, you know, to 2d or 2d or Korea, Korea, these are all equivalent names for that fourth state of consciousness. And this is all I mean, this understanding, by the way, is the precise subject matter of the first eight Sutras of the Shiva Sutras of the Shiva tradition. In other words, that you know, and there are other traditions to speak about states of consciousness, but the Shiva Sutras take up this understanding of the fact that you have these three states of consciousness, then you have a fourth state of consciousness, and then there is there is this notion of rising beyond the Toria state. So what is that cultivation that leads to the rising beyond the Turia state, and then when the the three estate has rising beyond all of that to what’s called the atman property, the provision of the self has been completed to such a degree, there is the stability of, of identity as transcendental wholeness, coexisting with individuality permanently from that point on. And what’s what’s fascinating about that, there’s many different things that are fascinating about it. But what’s fascinating about that is that that level is actually sort of the beginning point of many of the sadhanas that are talked about in the tantric tradition. In other words, that much of the tantric tradition is then a reverse reversal of what prior to that prior to that all practices introverted practice has to do with going inside. Now you have this session that has now there is a process of extraversion of bringing something out and down that is hidden that is ordinarily been hidden. and so on, and that that that process then involves, it’s another understanding of refinement, it involves refinement of the breadth of the body, mind of the senses of the, of the emotions of the intellect, etc, and so on. And that that refinement then is able to bring an experience that is, it’s, it has many different names, it’s called the devia Chuck shoes and many of the terms it which is what we would call the celestial perception. In other words, that open eyed perception of the the inherent divinity and the inherent, fluctuating pulsating presence of the Divine, as the as the reality of everything all together. And that then, finally, the tradition that says the Shiva Shakti, even beyond that is then this whole idea of everything, you know, not Shivam Vidya to quench it, there is nothing whatsoever, that is not the absolute consciousness, but that that that is reached, as it were through these stages. And, you know, this sounds, it sounds familiar, it’s because, you know, these, these understandings that we learned a long time ago, are powerfully reflected, this is part of what I’m, you know, it’s what I’ve discovered over over many, many years that, that, you know, these understandings formed and shaped a kind of ideology of stages, the Shiva suit that says boom, meets, it says this, my yo, yoga Bhumika, the stages of yoga and the sense of enlightenment are astonishing. And there are many stages to that process. It’s not an on off switch. It’s not just, you know, click on and you’re enlightened, click off, you’re not enlightened it has, it has all these gradations. And yeah, and yeah, so there’s a lot to talk about.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s really good. And it’s important, you don’t hear people talk about developing celestial perception very often in spiritual world around these days. I mean, there’s kind of a sense that, well, self realization is the end of it, you know, and, you know, just enjoy that once it’s attained. But what you’re saying is, in a way, that’s the beginning of it. And there’s a role. Yeah, it’s a prerequisite to really getting going on all kinds of developments, that wouldn’t even be possible until the self has been realized. And funnily enough, a lot of people do speak of having unity, consciousness. I don’t say perception, but you know, they live life in what they feel is unity consciousness, seeing things in terms of the self, but they don’t generally mention having gone through a celestial perception phase. Do you think that things aren’t necessarily linear like that? Or? Or what do you think’s going on?
Paul Muller-Ortega: Well, it’s hard to judge. I mean, it’s really hard to judge, I don’t know what specific cases you’re talking about, in that sense. And, you know, they’re there, for all of these things, there are levels of attainment and their levels of mastery. And, and yes, it is not linear, in an ordinary sense, there can be apparent leaps of various sorts, also, you know, the difference between temporary states that assemble themselves for a period of time and then collapse, and they often collapse in the face of the fact that the, you know, the, the, the scars, the residual traces of past action, that are deeply embedded in the body and the, you know, the, you know, the pre egoic consciousness, behind the ego is the is the, you know, the Elia, the, the dwelling place of the some scars, so that at a certain moment, when the samskaras, then are activated, they cause a, they corrode, as it were a temporary state of attainment of one sort or another, it’s one way to understand why people, you know, can have a state and can persist for two weeks and possess for two years, but then suddenly, it disappears in a certain sense, because something else has been activated inside. So yeah, it’s it’s the map, you know, I mean, this is not something that, you know, I mean, this is even from a different tradition, the map is not the territory. And, you know, the, you know, the map is a guide, in a certain sense, but the territory is super complex in terms of the actual lived experience of these different states. But, you know, the problem that arises, because then if someone takes a temporary state as being constituting a permanent attainment, then that can create problems as well.
Rick Archer: Yeah, eventually, they’re going to discover that it isn’t that they can create a lot of trouble until they discover that there’s a whole section in the Shiva Sutras or in one of these books you sent me about, you know, substandard teachers and the karma that one might have for getting involved with them, and how, nonetheless, benefit can be derived right from teachers who themselves are not fully realized. Yes. But, you know, it’s I don’t know, maybe it’s analogous to studying high school physics as opposed to going to Princeton and you know, studying with top physicists in the world or something you should still progressing and learning physics even though your teacher is not top of the heap. Right? Exactly. Yeah. Oh, maybe that’s not a good analogy, because presumably, in high school physics, they’re not, you know, distorting the teachings of physics, as often happens in spiritual circles with teachers sort of gobbling up messages and propagating them to people.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Yeah, it’s a complicated. Drama, for sure. Has has many different storylines in that regard, but I think that, you know, on the benevolent side, not the malevolent side of these things, but on the benevolent side, there’s no question that, you know, before you can aspire to have a masterclass with, I don’t know, name some famous violinists, you’re really going to want to, you know, be put through your paces by many, many teachers who may not be at that level, yet nevertheless, can communicate useful, important and necessary pieces of practice and have, you know, write practice in terms of the violin or whatever it might be, and communicate about history communicate about, you know, you know, I know that a
Rick Archer: waste of Itzhak Perlman time to deal with you if you’re a beginner? Absolutely, it’s much more useful for him to just be dealing with the cream of the crop.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Yes, yeah. And that’s often the case that, you know, I mean, that, so therefore, you get levels of, of insulin, not been of a good day, you know, he talks about the idea of Aika Gouda, he basically says, look, there’s really just one teacher, that’s the absolute consciousness, which takes on different personalities, depending on the destiny and karma of different individuals, and then also is, you know, takes on different flavors, and different, you know, connects up with different traditions and so on. But there is fundamentally this idea that, you know, underlying all of that is an extraordinarily powerful energy, of liberation, of illumination of, of, you know, encouraging the individual growth of consciousness in any one individual or group of individuals to, you know, to proceed forward. So, yeah, yeah,
Rick Archer: there’s this concept of Yana vinyasa. And that question just came in from John in Atlanta, who asks, what is the relationship between direct experience in meditation and intellectual conceptualization about that experience? Do they complement one another?
Paul Muller-Ortega: Yeah, yeah. And, yes, compliment is a great word. I mean, I think that I think that often it is the case that a person can have experiences and not understand them. And if you don’t understand them, you also can’t value them. And you can’t really also persist in cultivating them in a certain kind of way. And there’s a sense almost in the sense of saying that you haven’t had the full experience until you have actually fully understood it. So that you have this, this, this synergy between Yana and Vigna, between sort of intellectual knowledge and experiential knowledge, and that both of them are necessary. In other words, it’s like, it’s like reading about, I always talk about, you know, growing up in South America, and as a little kid, you know, growing up surrounded by mangoes, and then going to my graduate school, I mean, my prep school, which is the school where we interact with that one time, the task school, and, you know, in 1962, arriving at that school, and casually talking about mangoes and people going like, what’s that, you know, hopefully, it’s hadn’t begun to import mangoes, and then 62, you know, and so it was like, well, trying to tell someone about fruit that they’ve never tasted is a pretty difficult thing. But at the same time, you know, conversely, knowledge about what it is it’s being tasted is also a necessary piece of, I’m not speaking about mangoes anymore, but speaking about, you know, attainment in that way. And I think that so this is also part of the difference between a renunciate story and householder path. In other words, many renunciate our traditions, simultaneously cherish and denounce knowledge in a curious kind of way they cherish it, but they also wanted to announce it in a certain kind of way that has to be done away with and, you know, it’s, it’s, you have to go beyond even all of that, whereas the, you know, the Chava tradition, worships knowledge as one of the forms of consciousness and and has this understanding of two different kinds of knowledge that are also necessary. So you have a different kind of differentiation, there is a the knowledge of the self and the knowledge of that arises in terms of the culpa and so on. So yeah,
Rick Archer: yeah, my remarks used to use the analogy of a man picking up a shiny rock on the road and putting it in his pocket, not knowing that it was a diamond because he didn’t have the knowledge of a jeweler. And so he’s carrying that On this valuable thing, and he might throw it away, because it’s he’s tired of putting it keep keep me in his pocket, he might give it to his kid to play marbles with or, or something. And to translate that into actual examples, you know, we’ve probably both seen examples of people who were meditating, having good experiences and benefiting but sort of not realizing how significant it is that those two things were developing. Like, I’ve run into people who’ve said, Yeah, well, I want learn to meditate, meditate, because I wanted to feel more calm, and now I feel calm. So I’m giving it up, or I want more energy, and now I have more energy, so I’m giving it up. And so the kind of the knowledge of not only what they’re experiencing, but what they could potentially experience, if they keep at it, you know, it sort of keeps the path alive. And it safeguards it.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Absolutely. Right. And I think, you know, it’s a beautiful analogy, and again, I’ve been going to uses the same analogy, he says, he says, The jeweler is able to look at a great mass of stones, and pick out the one stone that is valuable, as opposed to the other stones that are semi precious, or that are just trash, and does so instantaneously. And that that’s a product of his of knowledge and experience, by means of which there is this capacity to, you know, understand and to, to really hone in on certain things that are significant, that are important, that are precious and valuable, as opposed to things that are, you know, temporary or not so important or are actually detrimental in some way. And speaking in terms of, you know, of the paths. So it isn’t just, it isn’t just intellectual knowledge in terms of ideology, it’s also, it’s also sort of the application of knowledge in the field of experience that allows you to see nuances of experience and allows you to cultivate those nuances so that they become more, you know, more powerfully established. And that’s, I mean, I, you know, this this text that I’ve been studying for a very long time, the so called big neon Advaita Tantra, which is an extraordinarily beautiful document is a text that is filled with nuanced understandings about the life of meditation, it is really a very rare text, because it’s, it’s, to my knowledge, the only text that’s focused entirely on meditation in that sense, and then all these different nuanced aspects and dimensions of what happens as one practices and lives a life of meditation that are then going to be highlighted or cultivated as a result of someone drawing your attention to it, you’re able to say, Oh, let me develop that a little more. Or let me recognize the importance of that a little bit more in that way.
Rick Archer: Can you give us some examples of some of those things?
Paul Muller-Ortega: Well, I mean, I think that, you know, the, the text, for example, speaks about uses the concept of Medea. And so it Medea means the betwixt in between. And it’s, you know, this is a very common understanding nowadays, people talk about the space between the breaths, or the space between thoughts, or the space between states of consciousness, but understanding what what that is, in a certain sense, when people go into meditation, many times they will begin to experience that there is a change, for example, in their breathing pattern, and that in as the breath gets refined, and gets more and more subtle, something opens up in that space between the breaths and what is that? So the the tradition says that’s, that’s called the muddiest space. And it’s the, you know, the entry into that space is what will lead to, eventually the cessation in a breathless Samadhi of all activity of waking consciousness or dream or deep sleep in us in notorious state in that way. And that understanding how that occurs at sort of a microcosmic, and sort of mezzo and macro cosmic level in terms of the presence of absolute consciousness that is identifiable or locatable, or that suddenly flashes forth in these different circumstances in that way. So it’s putting a name to a certain kind of experience that people might have, and allowing that person to value it and understand it, as opposed to prison saying, Well, I don’t know, you know, it, just my breath changes. And so what, you know, that doesn’t mean anything. Yeah.
Rick Archer: I think another good point to throw in here is that with all this talk of experience and knowledge of experience and analyzing it and all that, it’s good to remember not to compare yourself to others or envy them. If people are having some particularly profound experience. You don’t beat yourself up over it if you’re not. I’ve seen people get stuck in that I’ve gotten hung up on that myself in the past, it’s just like things will happen when they happen and I’ll as well and wisely put and just be true to yourself and, you know, don’t sweat it if you’re not having some particular thing.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Yeah, for sure. That’s a it’s a beautiful point. Absolutely. You know, and and it’s walking our own path. Yeah. And, and being devoted and dedicated to our own evolutionary growth and not so much, you know, looking here or there and being or, you know, aspiring to something that may be unnecessary or artificial or simply actually serve as an obstacle, someone else’s positive experience may actually be an obstacle for us in a certain kind of way. So,
Rick Archer: sometimes if people are wired a certain way, they have certain kinds of experiences, which you’ll never have, because you’re not sad that way. Right?
Paul Muller-Ortega: Yes, exactly. So, you know, some people have visions, and other people have auditions, and other people have bodily sensations, and other people have nothing whatsoever on that on that front. And so you know, yeah, for sure.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Let’s see. Got a couple of questions that came in from people. Here’s one that Devin from Hawaii, us. If consciousness is fundamental, how do we understand evolution in the Darwinian sense in terms of our consciousness and sense of self? How do we reconcile this with a sense that humans evolved toward towards a state that gave a survival advantage?
Paul Muller-Ortega: This is Hi, Devin. Hi. No, no, doesn’t ask. Yeah, it’s a great question. Very smart guy. I think that trying to trying to parallel the meaning of this term evolution with Darwinian concepts of evolution, etc, and so on, is a mistake. Yeah, this was a it’s a terminological mistake. It’s why I tend to not use the word evolution so much, although I fall into it sometimes when I fall into my, my older speak in a certain kind of way, but it’s really about a certain kind of growth, and that there are many, many levels that I mean, again, to bring it back to the Shiva Shakti tradition. One of the things that have been of Gupta talks about is the tradition he calls Chroma, the chroma tradition, Chroma means sequence or sequence, he ality and the mapping of the inherent sequences of reality is part of the the realization of the the mechanics of the mechanical structure of how everything grows, how everything evolves, how everything is programmed, in a certain sense. So you have these sequences that happen in life, where you go, you could say, well, you have, you know, you’re a baby, and then you’re a little kid, and then you grew up. So that’s one sequence, or you have the sequence of time itself, where you have sequences in terms of knowledge, this as well, you’re in kindergarten, or you’re in graduate school, and everything that’s in between. So this idea of Chroma is very fundamental. And, and that then there are, you know, the sequences reveal themselves in different ways. So you have a kind of sequential manifestation or expression of organic life, you know, that was called evolution by Darwin, and I’m no expert in Darwinian evolutionary theory, etc, and so on at all, I you know, but you know, but nevertheless, you have that, that, that movement of the organic structures and the genetic play the adaptation to environment, etc, and so on the whole idea that even within a single lifetime, a person can, you know, genetically modified to respond to their environment, different ways, and that, you know, organisms grow and evolve in relationship to external circumstances, and also to what is inherited nature versus nurture all of that stuff, but all of that has to do with a certain kind of surface level of reality. And that, and that it may have a certain mechanical quality to it, it may be almost a kind of a machine that is operating, not because God has abandoned it, and the sort of deistic sense, but nevertheless, there’s a sort of automaticity, to the machinery of the physical structure of the universe that is self replicating over time, and doing the same thing over and over and over again and modulating with each so called sameness, that what is appearing at the surface, etc, and so on. And what the Shiva masters didn’t say, is look, those sequences that are replicating themselves over billions of years in terms of the physical universe and what appears in in life experience on which who knows what is happening on other another, you know, planets where life forms are growing, but we can speculate in a certain way that there may be similar or parallel, or at least, recognizably sort of parallel processes. All of that is taking place because there is another level of potency, that is generating those sequences. And that sequence and sort of sequence generator itself is the result of a deeper level of what could be called meta sequence generators. And that then you have this reality at the at the absolute level that transcends all sequences is archroma in a certain kind of way, so that they’re not interested so much looking at a kind of our Islamic level, a horizontal level of the evolution of organisms in time and the way that these things move and so on. they’re looking at, you know, the shifts and changes that happen, particularly when you add another element into awareness. They’re not mapping. They’re not scientists in our Western sense. They are scientists of consciousness, but they’re not mapping the changes of organisms. They’re mapping the notion that says, when an individual undergoes a certain transformation inside themselves, then what begins to happen as you add elements of transformative practice, into the circumstance of that individual? And what you know what reveals itself in that way, so I’m not sure I’ve even understood Devon’s question, but I’m
Rick Archer: not sure I have that either. But um, one thought that comes to my mind is, you know, you can use evolution for both spheres of knowledge if you want to, but in the Darwinian sense, it’s the evolution of physical vehicles, you know, a certain up the evolutionary scale, in the spiritual sense. It’s the evolution of souls. And the taking on of souls of more sophisticated vehicles as is appropriate to that level of evolution. And so they kind of dovetail in a way because we need Darwinian evolution for more evolved life forms to develop, and souls need those more more about life forms as vehicles for their evolution as as souls. Yeah. Is that make sense? Yeah, yeah. Here’s another John submitting a question. This one from Dublin. That has been said that the yoga Vasishtha is quite similar to Kashmir Shaivism, as powerfully earlier with that, and if he is, does he think the What does he think of the philosophical similarities and differences?
Paul Muller-Ortega: The Yoga Shiva is a very beautiful text, and it certainly seems to historically originate in Kashmir. It is a it is the syncretistic texts. However, when one looks at it, it doesn’t represent a single philosophical outlook, it has elements of sort of Puranic Shaivism, of Vedanta of sort of, you know, the Ramayana elements because Rama plays, you know, an important role there, and so on, and his group, you know, position and so on. And, you know, it also involves certain aspects and dimensions of Indian storytelling, where you get stories within stories within stories that are characteristic, for example, also the Mahabharata where you have a narrator, and then the narrator starts telling a story about somebody else telling a story and so on. And you get lost in these sorts of things. It’s a very beautiful, it’s a very beautiful text, but I don’t think that it is a text that represents purely the outlook of so called Kashmir Shaivism. It is a text that has, you know, an admixture of different perspectives. And yes, I’m, I love the young wishes, it’s, you know, I’ve dipped into it for many, many years, it’s a sort of a shorter version and a longer a longer the lug V and then, you know, the versions and so on. And it has these paradoxical stories of you know, of kind of astonishing revelations of reality and and on a certain level, is almost like reading those stories or listening to the stories is meant to awaken us to the notion that this life may in fact be a sort of a dreamlike life that is taking place when you know we’re asleep and some other dimension of reality on our nice sort of cosmic bed and we’re dreaming all of this in a certain way etc, and so on and that that that that you know that wow, amazing astonishing kind of idea of you know, awakening from the dream and and all of that, that is part of the vocabulary of spirituality is very much implicit in that but it has very strong impact of Vedanta in it as well and, and other traditions as well that are there via obviously, Rama is one of the avatars is you know, it’s the idea of Rama receiving Shakti but basically is, you know, what, what is happening as sort of the story of the and his teacher then telling him all these stories as a way of, you know, allowing him to awaken from the dream of its own. It’s, it’s beautiful. It’s a beautiful book. And one thing
Rick Archer: that some people say, people who are some, in some cases near death experience people or people like Michael Newton, who regressed 1000s of people to the to the experience the place between lives, is that it can very well be that only a portion of our soul sort of incarnates and is living this life, let’s say 25% or something, while the other 75% is still very much doing its thing. Some other logos are that in fact is, you know, even 25% could go here and 25% There, there could be two lives being lived by this one soul. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but you can think of like, for instance, bees, who some say the whole hive is one sort of entity and the little bees are just sort of, like cells in that entity. Right.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Right. Exactly. That’s beautiful. I like that. I like that very much. And you know who, again, it’s? Yeah, the issue is, you know, to what degree does understanding something like that help us and inspire us and move us along in terms of our own growth, evolutionary growth, if we want to call it that in our own in our own path, and, you know, to what degree is it just sort of amusing or entertaining, but isn’t particularly transformative, or, you know, profoundly impactful? It just has a sort of a, you know, a kind of a, yeah,
Rick Archer: well, everybody likes eating a few potatoes just can’t live on him.
Rick Archer: Got some great phrases that went up. One thing I want to make sure to talk to you about, while we still have time, is, and there are many things in my notes here, which we could, you know, spend an hour on each point. But um, one thing I want to bring up is what’s happening in the world today, you know, you alluded to a little bit of three years ago in our in our interview, but boy, things have really heated up in the past few years. And it might be helpful, even though again, we might be speculating a little bit, to try to put things in a broader perspective. And, and part of what I wanted to weave into this particular part of the conversation is this, I’m just gonna read this. This is something from you. These days, people on a spiritual path are very into listening to their own inner wisdom and following their intuition. But this is frequently undertaken without the knowledge and guidance of the profound texts. And without the essential eradication of the some scars that tinge and color their intuition with the detritus of past actions and experiences. In other words, there’s a rush to act from knowingness without having done the work that permits an unblemished knowing this to arise. And I’m reminded of conspiracy theories, which are just going wild these days, where you hear people saying, well, I’ve done I’m started, I started doing the research, and I went deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole. And, to my mind, it looks like they’ve gotten brainwashed by all kinds of ideas, because they’re lacking in discrimination and are very impressionable. And it’s like a cult thing, where you’re not just going to snap out of it, you get deeper and deeper into it, and it’s going to take a while to come out of it again. So that kind of it’s part of the picture of what’s going on in the world today. But there’s also more to that picture and like to hear what you have to say about it all.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Well, I mean, I think I, you know, I’m very cautious about making big pregnancy and Mentos about this circumstance of what’s taking place on the planet, I mean, there is there is obviously a perspective of the of, you know, sort of the ancient tradition that looks at it in terms of a certain kind of karmic explosion in a certain kind of way, and that what, for whatever reason, for whatever cause for whatever, you know, explanation, which we still don’t have any real idea about scientifically, people are still arguing and probably will argue, who knows, for a long time, was it manmade? Is it is it a natural thing, etc, and so on, who knows what the virus, the virus, you know, but that the, you know, we are living through a planetary time of extraordinary poisoning and a certain set sort of planetary poisoning of one sort or another, and that, you know, again, arguments on on a sort of political level or social level, was it necessary, was it not necessary, whose fault is it could have been avoided, have been avoided, etc, and so on. I mean, we know that the Yoga Sutras, this is one of Maharshi, his famous, most favorite sutras that I remember him quoting all the time, hey, do come Monogatari In other words, you know, avoid the suffering that has not yet come. And I think that, in assessing his life at which is still requires a tremendous amount of study to really understand who he was, and he is really still very deeply misunderstood in my personal opinion, to understand that, you know, his work during his lifetime was on a planetary scale, in terms of trying to avoid certain kinds of planetary disasters from from from from happening, and that this is part of the part of the Yokosuka that the OSA has this extraordinary Aya it’s called the Doug de btme is a burnt seed cannot sprout. And so how do you burn the seeds of negative some scars in particular, now, individuals have negative some scars, but the collectivities sort of the collocation of these negative some scars also sort of cement in a certain sense to invent a slightly awkward word in terms of the summation of all of them in terms of the destinies and the unfolding karmas of groupings, you know, in a particular time and space and and larger and larger groupings. And we have a circumstance that is affecting at least most of the planet, there may be places that are avoiding this right now. But that, you know, life as we know life, as we know, it has dramatically shifted almost as they say, in a twinkling of an eye, although it didn’t happen, and totally overnight, was creeping up on us, and we didn’t know it, and so on. So, how to interpret these things from a spiritual perspective. I don’t like to lock these things down, but but in terms of, you know, I mean, the, the, the, the Indian tradition in many, many of its branches, has this understanding that says, How do you bypass famine? How do you bypass widespread epidemics? This, these are considerations from 1000s of years ago, how do you bypass you know, crop failures and starvation? And also, how do you bypass war in a certain sense, or civil unrest or extraordinary violence in that way? How do you establish, you know, society on the basis and foundation of a certain kind of harmony, a certain kind of luminosity, a certain kind of love, etc, and so on, and that, clearly, this has something to do with consciousness, it’s clearly about certain kind of restrictions or in darkening and consciousness versus eliminations and expansions in consciousness that then create the summations of various kinds of expressions at the school level. So the effects of these things as they reveal themselves at a surface or school level, you know, are one thing and then the source is that sort of the, the tracing back through the structure of reality, to try to discover, you know, what, what are the mechanisms by means of which one could either bypass something, and, and, and destroy it before it arises and expresses or explodes at the surface, or, in fact, it then explodes at the surface, and at that level, you know, as, as our teacher used to say, you have a problem, once you have a problem, you have a problem, and basically, and to solve things at the level of the problem is very, very difficult, you know, the whole ideology of the tradition was to dissolve things to dissolve them before they’re able to express in this negative kind of way, and that, at certain periods of time, you know, when I think back to my time that I spent my should you basically, uh, you know, I experienced the entire time that his focus was planetary, he was a juggling guru. And he was looking at the destiny of the entire humanity, and not any one, he wasn’t a guru in the sense of a teacher to individuals. In that sense, he was, he was someone who was a vision, a planetary visionary, he was a rishi in the sense that he saw, he had long vision he see saw far back into the past, and far into the future, and far into the depths of reality, and saw mechanisms of reality by means of which then he attempted in the span of, you know, a single, you know, blessedly long, but still short lifetime to have an extraordinary impact of bringing forward certain kinds of understandings and at least sparking them in the awareness. And, and that, you know, his idea of, of, of, you know, a time of dawning, in a certain sense, which he announced to us, you know, in 1975, he had been sort of talking about this beforehand, but he talked about this idea of a time of donning and that in the, in the, in the Indian tradition, they talk about the the yugas, the aeons of time. So you have the so called Kali Yuga, which is what you know, supposedly were emerging from, and then you have a site yoga, but in between those periods, here’s another muddiest space and in between, you have this idea of a Sunday or a transitional time, which is neither one nor the other, just like in the day, when you have you know, before the full day has come, the nighttime is still there, that you know, the the mists of night are still there, the humidity of night, and so on. And then finally, the day dawns when the sun breaks the horizon, but that that Sunday, a time is a time that is neither one nor the other, and expresses and shows characteristics of both, y’all simultaneously, we can see a planetary phenomenon of awakening that is taking place, and it’s not just taking place in terms of spirituality is taking place also, in terms of civil justice, racial justice, political justice, you know, economic justice, you know, sort of expansion of human dignity, etc, and so on, that is pushing against, you know, is it centuries or millennia of the opposite of all of that? And that then, yes, it is also expressing itself in terms of a transformation of understanding by means of which people can reassess what they have even imagined spirituality to be like, and I think that the Kali Yuga version of spirituality is severely diminished and impoverished and limited in a certain kind of way. And not that it isn’t great in and of itself, but that You know, it’s the whole idea that walks on one leg during the call the Yoga, you know, the Dharma walks on one leg only, and so that the the RE blossoming of a richer, more complex, more deeply rooted in authenticity, of teaching an extraordinary sword kinds of understandings that we’re still in process with, and that that’s something that, you know, if I, if I look at myself, and I say, you know, what am I trying to accomplish, I’m trying to accomplish, yes, on the one hand, you know, I’m I’m wanting to offer practices of deep experience and have deep inner transformation. But at the same time, I’m wanting to speak about, you know, the, the idea that there are sources of authentic knowledge that we should be attending to, and we should be looking at, in order to complexify, to enrich, to deepen to deeply route, what it is that we imagined spirituality to be about, that doesn’t just arise from the kind of machinations of individuals individual’s minds and their their creativity, however great those may be in individual cases, and so on. But that is also takes into account the fact that we have a past in which extraordinary being spoke sometimes to very small groupings. I mean, a bit of a Gupta had a very small Kula, he had a very small grouping of followers around him, that he impacted individually, but yet, the impact of his teachings, you know, sort of was invisibly present, but yet very powerful for 1000 years, and then it resurfaces, once again, to this understanding of, you know, this idea of the householder path versus the renouncing to our path, which is something that, as you know, this was a Maharsha JS first talk, when he began to speak after he had spent time in Uttarkashi, and so on, was precisely about the differentiation between householder practice and tendency toward practice and the differences between those two. And that’s something that I remember being I mean, I, you know, like you, we were teenagers, I mean, we were just unbelievably impacted by this extraordinary being who was speaking about nuanced differentiations with regard to knowledge that were far beyond the sort of, you know, ways in which these things have been spoken about before. And I think that, that that distinction, which he first began to talk about, whenever that was 1958, or whatever, it’s still not something that is been understood fully, in terms of, you know, the way that people approach the idea of devoting themselves to something life transforming to something that causes life to blossom, because it causes you know, a separation from, from ignorance and from free, you know, an entry into higher and higher domains of freedom and also to an awareness of, you know, the exquisiteness of what surrounds us we are surrounded by the celestial goddess, at every place, we, you know, she is operating, you know, in the mist and the fog and the trees and the rain, in the, in the sunshine and the stars, and she is everywhere, but yet we can’t see her, you know, really, she’s hidden in a certain kind of sense, just like in Roman mythology, you have the, you know, the wooden nymphs and the river naiads, and all of that stuff, so to hear the you know, the idea of the Devas that are that are pulsating, everywhere around us, and yet we are we are blind to that reality. So opening to that, and then also Yes, opening beyond the celestial, the transcendental reality of existence also, but But what are we going through right now? It’s really it’s a you know, I mean, you know, in the Shiva tradition, you have this myth, the, the Devas and the isodose, combined together in an extraordinary cosmic enterprise, have churning the ocean of milk, and they want to churn the ocean of milk in order to receive the pot of nectar the Under Armour, Kalash. And so we’re and yet halfway through that extraordinary enterprise in which they you know, they upturn a mountain and they wind you know, that serpent, a soupy is the winding, you know, rope etc, and so on the poison that is hidden in that ocean rises to the surface, and that, that, that this is a myth, it’s not historical fact. But nevertheless, it’s extraordinarily illuminating understanding. It says, When, when you’re churning in this way, what is hidden and concealed in terms of, you know, the hidden agony of humanity rises to the surface and expresses itself and takes shape in a variety of different ways for me, you know, living in a kind of slightly sort of archetypal mythological universe I see this as this is the this is where Neil comfort comes from, because then, you know, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu call on Lord Shiva was up in the Himalayas and he comes down and he sits in his it’s called the month of Morty in the form of the mantra, he sits at the edge of the ocean of milk, and he puts his left hand into and the poison begins to rise up his hand into his throat. And you know, he is able to transmute that poison in a certain kind of way and that and that, you know, this is Sadat Shiva. This is the the primordial form of Shiva the eternal Shiva of the earth. Your Shiva tradition not so much in the later tantric tradition where he appears his bite about but so, I don’t know, you know, I mean, this is it’s it’s, it’s it’s a mystery on some level. And it’s it’s it’s an extraordinary passage for us, we’re living with life and death, you know, we’re living with life and death at the passing sneeze of a stranger on the street in that way. And yes, there are people who deny that etc, and so on. And yet, I don’t know, I mean, I just I just reread the statistics, and they are, they’re positively terrifying in a certain kind of way. It’s not the ultimate destiny of the planet, to be poisoned in this way. But yet nevertheless, this is a passage that for whatever reason, whether it could have been avoided, should have been avoided, might have been avoided, was not. And here we are, you know, living this, and then the question is, you know, how to live, how to live with that. And I think that one of the things that I’ve experienced in my own, in my own practice over many, many years has been, you know, the living with the awareness of death, not as something negative, but as something that activates and eliminates a, you know, a ferocity of intent inside with regard to saying, Yes, we have limited time in this body, we have limited time on this planet, we have an enormity of, of tasks on many different levels of life to accomplish and to achieve. And we therefore must be excruciatingly careful and judicious and intelligent about the choices that we make, and the arenas that we get involved in, and the ways that we invest ourselves in a certain kind of way to make maximum use of that time I, you know, in my own life, I mean, speaking very personally, I live with an extraordinary sensation of the brevity of time, the brevity of life, I always tell people, you know, life is basically three days long, you know, one day, you’re 30, the next day, you’re 60. And the next day, you’re, you know, you’re heading into the white light, basically. And, you know, whether you whether you make it or not is, is, it depends in great measure to what you’ve done, you know, in those in those previous however many decades of life you have gotten and some people, you know, as we know, don’t even make it to 30 in that way. So it is it is a time I think this is precipitating all kinds of radical shifts and changes and people are suffering horrendously, there’s no question about that. But at the same time, you know, in terms of, you know, I look at myself, and I say, Well, I actually, I have lived most of my life in a kind of locked down in a certain kind of way, in terms of deep study and deep practice, whether it was a scholar, you know, whether a meditation practitioner, and then now as a teacher, it’s living with the inner self living with the domain of the purity of consciousness, turning to that aspect of reality, and really cultivating that, you know, assiduously and, and and in a prolonged kind of way, not because we’re going to magically cause this thing to disappear, but because it forces and compels us to understand that we have limited time, yes, you know, reincarnation and all of that. But I always say very strongly to people don’t just count on reincarnation, because it’s way, way more complicated than one can imagine, you know, in terms of, you know, receiving a human body, etc, and so on. It’s, it’s really, it’s way more complicated than that. And so we’re here now, and we want to make the maximum use of the time and of course, everybody will have their own opinion of what that means to make the maximum use of time. But but for me, I think that this is, this is actually something it’s not that it has a silver lining in any sense. But it is something that that powerfully motivates, yet more potent, one pointedness of awareness, I’m saying whatever path you’re on, pursue that path with great vigor with great devotion with great dedication, use this time advisedly and purposefully and don’t just allow, you know, yourself to meander off into depression or into fear, or into you know, uselessness of a certain sort in that way. Yes, it’s, it’s scary to even go, you know, put gas in your car can be scary these days, you know, in a certain kind of way. But at the same time, then, you know, I feel blessed about having a path in my own in my own life that I can turn to, and I can sit and say, Well, fine. So I’ve lived, you know, we’ve both done very long retreats in our past time, and I feel okay, this is my, you know, I did a six month course, this is my 18 month course, this is my 24 month course, whatever it may be, however long it is, I’m, I’m, you know, devoted in that way to be actually, you know, in a way, it’s welcome in the sense of I get to read and I get to, you know, study and all of that where I’ve spent 12 years on the road, which also has this great delight and charm and something I certainly miss, but I don’t know, Rick, I mean, I don’t you know, there’s a lot in
Rick Archer: that answer. Sometimes I think that the reason people are going so nuts is that they’re, they’re kind of on a forced retreat these days, and they’re not used to being on a retreat and you know what can happen on a retreat when you’re not used to it? Little. And a couple other quick thoughts that, you know, the first time we ever heard about this idea of phase transition or big shift in society was it was in about 75, with marshy on a boat ride on Lake Lucerne. And someone asked him, you know, how can we survive this? And he said, Hold on to the self. Yes. And you’ve kind of just said that often says she has a lot more but by any means, but she often says, you never know when your next breath breath might be your last. And you should live like a bird who’s perched on a branch that could break at any time. And a friend of mine was in his garage the other day working on something and fell off a ladder and died just like that. So you never know. So make hay while the sun shines. I want to before we close, I want you to talk a little bit about what you teach. And you know how people can get involved in various ways. But we had talked earlier about household versus reclusive mantras. And a question came in from Avi in Denmark. And let’s, let’s try to do wrap this answer up in just a minute or two. But Avi wants to know, if I want to understand home, where do I begin? I am told that it is the sound of the universe. And I’m told that many read endless books and still won’t grasp it completely. Any advice? Where can I begin?
Paul Muller-Ortega: Well, I mean, in terms of texts, the famous text ism and Dooku Punisher, which is all about, okay, so that’s that, you know, if you want to read a text that tells you about all that, certainly, you know, it’s a beautiful, it’s one of the classical Upanishads readily easily available translations of it from Sanskrit, it’s the, you know, the so called them to, to punish it, of course, ohm appears in many, many different places, in the tradition, and, and and, you know, it’s talked about endlessly, in, you know, many, many different pieces of the tradition. But yes, I would say, Dre. Yeah.
Rick Archer: I mean, I wonder if RB is wondering whether he should meditate on or she should meditate on as a mantra. And I mean, is that something in Kashmir Shaivism? Would, this Kashmir Shaivism hold this notion that using them as a mantra so reclusive?
Paul Muller-Ortega: The historical evidence on that I’m still working on that. But there’s, there’s this very beautiful text called the so much Bhupati, which has a list that seems to reflect this understanding of home being particularly for the Paramahansa it’s as it’s called, that, you know, the great the great beings who have gone forth from ordinary life, etc. And that you have, you know, you have different versions, I mean, the and you know, it’s it’s, it’s interesting because, for example, the mantra on nama shivaya people think on the Misha via but in fact, the the original mantra, which is in the Vedas, it is Vedic mantra, actually, it’s in the, it’s in the yogic Vedas, and the rhythm is Nama Shivaya, the punch, actually the five syllable punch, actually mantra, which later on then gets modified by the addition of own etc. And these are, I mean, these are nuanced complexities of that, can people get upset about this topic many times when I talk about it, and so on, I remember Mihashi saying to us, close notebooks, and then saying, ohm is a mantra for death. And this was something that really shocked all of us in the hall when he said that, and what he you know, I don’t pretend to know exactly what he meant, but why heard him talking about his saying that month, you know, at the time of leaving your physical body, you will leave on the pulsation of ohm, which will carry you back into the absolute in a way that is permanent, as opposed to in a way that is temporary, within a certain kind of way. But you know, there are different understandings about this. And I know that there’s, you know, there are tons and tons and tons of people who are meditating on home and using home as a meditation mantra. And then, you know, as they say, people always say this, and it’s one of my pet peeves. The proof is in the eating of the pudding, not in the pudding, the eating of the pudding. The proof is in the pudding. It’s you know, what happens when you use, you know, powerful month is of this sort, how does it reorganize and restructure your life? And I certainly, my own feeling about meditation is that you should go and learn meditation from someone who knows about meditation and that learning meditation from a book, I’ve never thought was a smart way to go, I know that there are people who do it and people, you know, there’s articles on the Internet that will teach you meditation and YouTube in five minutes, etc, and so on. You know, well,
Rick Archer: that’s a good segue into how you teach meditation. I noticed on your website, it seems like it’s being taught every weekend on Zoom is done individually on Zoom or to a whole group of people and what is it how does it work?
Paul Muller-Ortega: Well, the zoom thing is a recent thing. I mean, it basically Because of the real exam, I mean, typically up until you know, this year, it’s an individual process. And it is, you know, taught, it’s usually learned in person, but it’s just a question of helping people long distance that we’ve, you know, taken the recourse to technology in that way. And we’re finding, I mean, it’s, it was something that honestly, on some level, I resisted it at first, I was like, this is not, this is not the way that we’re supposed to go. And yet, it has proven to be fascinatingly effective, actually. So it kind of caused me to reformulate my own understanding and realize, well, it’s not about the physicality, the stool, the level of the physicality is not what’s operative, there is something at a subtle level that is, you know, it’s not that it instantaneously transcends time and space, but that time and space don’t have the same meaning. Separation and distance are different with regard to these more subtle levels of Yeah, I mean, I, you know, I started out teaching, I was in the University of Rochester, and I just felt it’s very powerful. things start to happen in me in 2006. And I wanted to not any longer be a university professor, not because I mean, it was a great department, wonderful colleagues, I had wonderful courses, there had beautiful experiences there for many, many years. And yet there was this really powerful urging to take a leap and begin to offer, you know, teachings, and particularly what I wanted to do was to bring forward these teachings of Kashmir Shaivism, and to really have people understand, you know, what, what is what, what is this text of the show suit this, what is this text of the template, a logo, what is this text of Indiana Bight of Atlanta and so on, and to offer translations of all of that, so that people would have access to a different kind of literature of spirituality, because even today, you know, so many people are reading the text only of renunciate story traditions, and that they’re, they don’t have access to, they don’t even know it exists on some level, that you have a different kind of trajectory of teachings and understandings and even fundamental principles. So, you know, that was part of the motivation. And within that, then, when I started teaching in 2006, I was like, okay, there was a group of people, you know, I connected with a group of 25 people, and I said, Alright, let’s spend a year together, talking about these things, and really talking about what these teachings are. And it kind of is organically grown from there, where at a certain moment, I realized, you know, they do need to have a meditation practice, they also I, you know, I teach, you know, a dozen practices meditate, there’s sort of what you see at the surface. And then there’s also, you know, many, many, many other practices that that, you know, are there that are accessed via an increased inner opening and an inner sensitivity that comes through meditation, but, um, so so, you know, there’s a lot there. Yeah. And your
Rick Archer: website is well laid out. And, you know, one can just go there and explore the different menus, and there’s plenty of places where they can click to get in touch and exactly, figure out what what they can do. Well, so good. Alrighty, well, thanks, Paul. I’ve really enjoyed this whole week preparing for this listening to you, and then having this conversation with you. And thank you very much. I think I think it’s great what you’re doing with your life. And, you know, making a great contribution, good, good perspective, like you said, just every moment is precious, and you’ve been making hay while the sun shines, so to speak, I
Paul Muller-Ortega: really, really admire what you’re doing. It’s an incredible work that you’re doing, of, of this process of these conversations with so many different people. It’s really, it’s really very special and very unique and very admirable, and, and, you know, making available, so many different perspectives for people and allowing, you know, kind of an open ended conversation to happen in that way, just to you know, discuss and understand it’s, it’s beautiful, what you’re doing, you guys
Rick Archer: feel it’s just, it feels like an instrument, you know? Yes, exactly. It’s not like you’re doing it. Of course, there are a lot of people doing things, my wife, Irene here and a bunch of volunteers and couldn’t do it all without them. But I think we’re all just part of a little team of people and which is sort of a subset of a much larger team of, you know, around the world of people who are just sort of, in their own way, helping to shepherd in this this transition to higher consciousness for the planet.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Exactly. Yes, indeed. Well said. Thank you. Thank you,
Rick Archer: Rick. Yeah, thanks.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Thanks and love to you and take care and beautiful work that you’re doing and thank you again, very grateful for allowing me to be with you this today. Yeah, it’s really sweet to talk with
Rick Archer: you. My pleasure, my blessing. So for those who are listening or watching, thank you for doing so. And this is an ongoing series. So if it’s new to you, as I said in the beginning, go to bat gap COMM And you can check out past ones you can also sign up now To be notified of new ones that you can subscribe to YouTube channel. You know, this is all you guys understand how to do this stuff. So do it if you’d like and thanks for being here and we’ll see you for the next one. Thanks.
Paul Muller-Ortega: Thank you. Thank you man.
Rick Archer: Bye bye bye bye