Occultism in South India
T.Subba Row in his letter to Madame H.P.Blavatsky dated 3-8-1882 made certain claims. He did take HPB and others to the Ashrams of Rishis living in South India. The Science being of high sophistication and Sacredness the living saints do not come open into the world and try to popularize their systems. When the eligible persons are available they spare no pains to get in touch and guide them.
South India has always been a seat of Occultism. Rishi Agasthya travelled from North to South and stayed on here for certain reasons. Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhwa, to speak of only a few, were born here and made significant contribution to the Occult Sciences.
In modern times, many saints such as Aurobindo, Ramalingaswamy, Valluvar, Vemana, CVV were born here and formulated their Occult philosophies. There are any number of schools popularizing Occultism, Religious philosophy and Yoga systems. Achala and Taraka Raja yoga systems are ancient and still well known to their followers.
Occultism is the work of Universal mind on Nature, which includes the human-nature. It is a path to perfection and Realization, in the true sense of the term.
From the Logos who is heading the solar system, out-going energy flows through 7 centres of force. As these 7 Rays of Light come forth, so too there are 7 types of Adepts , in strict accordance of this classification are of 7 types. The first two classes of Adepts are rare in manifestation. Once in 2 or 3 thousand - year period one may appear on earth. Sankara and Buddha belong to these classes. The adepts of the other classes are always available on earth.
In Occultism, there are two distinct classes of tradition: Himalayan and the Southern. Though the aim pursuit of the adepts belonging to the two schools is the same, it is not necessary that those of south Indian system should dovetail to the Himalayan/Tibetan School.
There is a clear Guruparampara in each of the systems. An adept while leaving his body selects an eligible Disciple and transfers all his spiritual knowledge and Wisdom to him for furtherance of the cause. The Teacher always overshadows his disciple and because of the stupendous skills and powers he exhibits we call him an Avatara many times. There are avataras and also those who have come up of their own struggle and strife (as we see in the case of Buddha - the Flower of the 4th root race.)
In the South school, there is lot of study connected with the states of consciousness. Jagrat, Svapna and Sushupti are the popular names given to these states but what is peculiar is the sub-states in each of them making a total of nine. The 9 stages of consciousness are tabulated underneath:
Jagrat Jagrat - waking consc.
Sushupti- dreamless sleep
Svapna Jagrat - waking clairvoyance
Svapna -somnumbulic clairvoyance
Sushupti Jagrat - devachan
Svapna- between planets
Sushupti- between rounds
Above these 9 stages, come the true mystic states of consciousness.
Adepts have access to these.
Atma or self observes the nine classes of objects which means such and such a consc. Is active.
There are seven senses according to Occult Science but the fact is the higher two are not yet developed. So the South school speaks of only 5 senses. There are 7 factors in each plane of the consciousness. But only 5 are active. The 6th factor is Mind. The 7th is Atma. Mind draws deductions from the impressions of the senses when collected and arranged. Atma observes the generalization that the mind makes from the impressions of the senses.
Seven rays emerging from the Logos are separate and subsequently co-mingle in the formation of all beings. When the individual begins his course of evolution, these rays are equally balanced in him. In the course of man's actions, his karma causes him to come under the particular influence of a Ray. He must make progress under this ray till he merges his life in the life of the Logos— the grand fountain-head of light and power.
Even as the merger takes place, man will not lose his individuality; he enjoys an almost infinite extension of individuality. Even as an individual merges with a particular Logos, the touch or contact with the other Logoi will not die down. He shares in and experiences their consciousness also.
We cannot possibly understand the relationship of Atma on any plane with the Logos. This relationship will be known only after the last initiation is taken. Then he will thoroughly understand his spiritual nature, sees the way to the Logos but it may take him several incarnations after the last initiation before he can merge in the Logos.
The South school recognizes 2 paths to the same end, the glorified Immortality.
(i) Steady natural path of progress through moral effort and practice of virtues.
(ii) Precipitous path of occultism through a series of initiations.
The second path is dangerous to those who do not hold the talisman which ensures safety. This talisman is: a perfectly unselfish, self-forgetting, self-annihilating devotion to the religious good of mankind, a self-abnegation.
The South school recommends only the first path, not again saying that second path is not to be adopted at all. Disciple is sufficiently warned so that he does not hamper his own progress.
The first path is methodical this way:
(i) A devotion to virtue.
(ii) A gradual withdrawal from the grosser material concerns.
(iii)A withdrawal of life forces from the outward world and its interests.
(iv) The direction of these forces to the inner life of the soul, until the man is able to withdraw himself within himself.
(v) Turn round to direct himself towards the Logos and the spiritual life and away from the material plane, he passes first into the astral life, and then into spiritual life, till at last the Logos is reached, and Nirvana is attained.
South school recommends the safe path; with reservation that if the disciple is fit for it his Karma will lead him to the second path. Path of occultism seeks the disciple and will not fail to find him, when the fit man presents himself.
T.Subba Row, though he does not categorically indicate as such, is suggesting the Taraka Raja Yoga system for general adoption by the aspirants.
[Adopted from TSR's essay by Dr N C Ramanujachary]