Significance grades of
Word definition: Sahaja (Sanskrit: sahaja), means co-emergent.
Etymology: The Sanskrit [and the Tibetan, which precisely follows it literally means: ‘born or produced together or at the same time as. Congenital, innate, hereditary, original, natural (…by birth, by nature, naturally…)’.
Etymologically, saḥ- means ‘together with’, and ja derives from the root jan, meaning ‘to be born, produced, to occur, to happen’.. The Tibetan lhan cig tu skye ba is an exact etymological equivalent of the Sanskrit. Lhan cig means ‘together with’, and skye ba means ‘to be born, to arise, to come about, to be produced’. The Tibetan can function as verbal phrase, noun, or adjective. (Wikipedia)
Technical description: Nondual state.
Phenomenological description: Pure awareness.
Relevance of the concept: Sahaj samadhi is a type of samadhi, or “deep spiritual bliss,” which yogis believe to be their natural state. Many consider sahaj samadhi to be the highest, or the most complete level of samadhi. It is said to be unconditioned, non-dualistic and uncontrived; and, as a state, it is always accessible to the wise and those who have burned their past karma.
Sahaj means “natural” or “effortless.” As such, sahaj samadhi can also refer to a type of meditation practice that yogis consider to be a natural and effortless system of meditation.
Citations: From Joy there is some bliss, from Perfect Joy yet more. From the Joy of Cessation comes a passionless state. The Joy of Sahaja is finality. The first comes by desire for contact, the second by desire for bliss, the third from the passing of passion, and by this means the fourth [Sahaja] is realized. Perfect Joy is samsara [mystic union]. The Joy of Cessation is nirvana. Then there is a plain Joy between the two. Sahaja is free of them all. For there is neither desire nor absence of desire, nor a middle to be obtained.
Ramana Maharshi distinguished between kevala nirvikalpa samadhi and sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi:
“Sahaja samadhi is a state in which the silent awareness of the subject is operant along with (simultaneously with) the full use of the human faculties.
Kevala nirvikalpa samadhi is temporary, whereas sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi is a continuous state throughout daily activity. This state seems inherently more complex than samadhi, since it involves several aspects of life, namely external activity, internal quietude, and the relation between them. It also seems to be a more advanced state, since it comes after the mastering of samadhi.” (Wikipedia)
Word definition: Once-returner.
Etymology: (Sanskrit) “returning only once again i.e. being re-born, once-returner.” In Pail, the term is sakadagami. A term used by the Buddha Shakyamuni when he described four levels or degrees of attainment. Sakridagamin is the second degree.
Technical description: low subtle level mystic.
See further: https://marinusjanmarijs.com/mysticism/four-lateral-sublevels/
Phenomenological description: It is a state in which there are frequent periods of deep meditation, with a total absence of all conscious thought processes.
Synonyms: see here below ¯
Christian the holy men
Inuit (Eskimo) kahlalik
Tibetan snag kyi thegpa
Christian symbolism baptized with spirit (pneuma)
Relevance of the concept: the “once-returner” (sakadagamin), who will be reborn only once in this realm, a state attained by diminishing lust, hatred, and illusion, (Encyclopaedia Britannica)
The concept in mythology: The Hermit.
Supporting evidence: Similar independent descriptions of this stage from different cultures.
Word definition: the act of saving or protecting from harm, risk, loss, destruction, etc.
Theology: deliverance from the power and penalty of sin; redemption.
Etymology: Word Origin & History: c.1200, originally in the Christian sense, “the saving of the soul,” from Old French salvaciun and directly from Late Latin salvationem (nominative salvatio, a Church Latin translation of Greek soteria), noun of action from past participle stem of salvare “to save” (see save (v.)). In general (non-religious) sense, attested from late 14c. Meaning “source of salvation” is from late 14c.
Technical description: In religion, salvation is the saving of the soul from sin and its consequences. It may also be called “deliverance” or “redemption” from sin and its effects. Historically, salvation is considered to be caused either by the grace of a deity (i.e. unmerited and unearned); by the independent choices of a free will and personal effort (i.e. earned and/or merited); or by some combination of the two. Religions often emphasize the necessity of both personal effort—for example, repentance and asceticism—and divine action (e.g. grace).
It could be argued reasonably that the primary purpose of all religions is to provide salvation for their adherents, and the existence of many different religions indicates that there is a great variety of opinion about what constitutes salvation and the means of achieving it. That the term salvation can be meaningfully used in connection with so many religions, however, shows that it distinguishes a notion common to men and women of a wide range of cultural traditions.
The fundamental idea contained in the English word salvation, and the Latin salvatio and Greek sōtēria from which it derives, is that of saving or delivering from some dire situation. The term soteriology denotes beliefs and doctrines concerning salvation in any specific religion, as well as the study of the subject. The idea of saving or delivering from some dire situation logically implies that humankind, as a whole or in part, is in such a situation. This premise, in turn, involves a series of related assumptions about human nature and destiny. (Encyclopaedia Britannica)
Phenomenological description: A state in which the mind is free from suffering.
Synonyms: Deliverance, redemption, rescuing, saving.
Cross-cultural comparisons: In Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, the word for salvation is moksha or mukti.
Relevance of the concept: spiritual transcendence.
The concept in mythology: The creation myths of many religions express the beliefs that have been held concerning the original state of humankind in the divine ordering of the universe. Many of these myths envisage a kind of golden age at the beginning of the world, when the first human beings lived, serene and happy, untouched by disease, aging, or death and in harmony with a divine Creator. Myths of this kind usually involve the shattering of the ideal state by some mischance, with wickedness, disease, and death entering into the world as the result. The Adam and Eve myth is particularly notable for tracing the origin of death, the pain of childbirth, and the hard toil of agriculture to humanity’s disobedience of its maker. It expresses the belief that sin is the cause of evil in the world and implies that salvation must come through humanity’s repentance and God’s forgiveness and restoration. (Encyclopaedia Britannica)
Supporting evidence: Accounts of phenomenological self-observations of high level mystics from different cultures.
Word definition: Saviour of the world.
Etymology: c. 1300, “one who delivers or rescues from peril,” also a title of Jesus Christ, from Old French sauveour, from Late Latin salvatorem (nominative salvator) “a saver, preserver” (source also of Spanish salvador, Italian salvatore), from salvatus, past participle of salvare “to save”). In Christian sense, a translation of Greek soter “savior.”
Technical description: The concept of a saviour who rescues the world from (collective) sin, can be interpreted as follows:
The saviour is a mystic who has activated energies from the highest ontological level.
What is called collective sin, are universal instinctive patterns, within the collective unconsciousness.
By connecting the energies from the highest ontological level, with the patterns within the collective unconsciousness, a collective purification takes place.
While this has been done by one individual, this has a universal effect, because the collective unconsciousness is nonlocalised, trans-spatial, the activity of one person will influence the total of humanity.
While the concept the:” Salvator mundi” is mainly described in mythological, metaphorical language, it refers to an energetic process.
And because of its transcendent non-local nature, it is on a kosmic scale.
Cross-cultural comparisons: Supramentalisation, Divanisation.
Word definition: a state of higher consciousness.
Etymology: “intense esoteric meditation through yoga,” 1795, from Sanskrit samadhi-, literally “a putting or joining together,” from sam- “together” + a- “toward” + stem of dadhati “puts, places,” from PIE root *dhe- “to set, put.”
Technical description: Samadhi is a high state of consciousness. There are many levels of Samadhi.
Phenomenological description: there are different forms of Samadhi:
The ability to be in savitarka samadhi (a state of contemplation)
The ability to be in khanika samadhi (meditative state of ± 5 minutes,
the silence of mind just before an intuitive insight of the scientist…)
The ability to be in upacara samadhi (meditative state of ± 20 minutes,
the silence of mind just before the inspiration of a composer…)
The ability to be in appana samadhi (meditative state of ± 2 hours)
The ability to be in savikalpa samadhi (nirvana)
The ability to be in permanent savikalpa samadhi (parinirvana)
The ability to be in nirvikalpa samadhi (Temporarily non-dual state)
The ability to be in sahaja samadhi (permanent non-dual state)
The ability to be in low subtle bhava samadhi (the light body)
The ability to be in high subtle bhava samadhi (the light body)
The ability to be in low causal bhava samadhi (the light body)
The ability to be in high causal bhava samadhi (the light body)
(Bhava Samadhi: Superconscious state attained by intense divine emotions.)
Cross-cultural comparisons: Merkabah mysticism.
Relevance of the concept: Samadhi, (Sanskrit: “total self-collectedness”) in Indian religion, and particularly in Hinduism and Buddhism, the highest state of mental concentration that a person can achieve while still bound to the body and which unites him with the highest reality. Samadhi is a state of profound and utterly absorptive contemplation of the Absolute that is undisturbed by desire, anger, or any other ego-generated thought or emotion. It is a state of joyful calm, or even of rapture and beatitude, in which one maintains one’s full mental alertness and acuity. Samadhi is regarded in Hinduism and Buddhism as the climax of all spiritual and intellectual activity. The power to attain samadhi is a precondition of attaining release from the cycle of death and rebirth (samsara). |
The concept in mythology: A winged horse.
Word definition: Samāṇa; this universal energy is considered responsible for bodily functions is one of the types of prana, collectively known as the vāyus.
Etymology: Samâna (digestion and assimilation), One of the earliest references to samâna is from the 3,000-year-old Chandogya Upanishad, but many other Upanishads also use the concept, including the Katha, Mundaka and Prasna Upanishads
Technical description: The heat of digestion, which resides in the stomach area between prāṇa above and uḍāna below.
Phenomenological description: Samâna resides in the abdomen with the navel as its energy base, and is Green in colour. ( M.J.M.)
Word definition: Sudden enlightenment.
Etymology: 1727, from Japanese, said to mean literally “spiritual awakening.”
Technical description: Satori, Chinese Wu, in Zen Buddhism of Japan, the inner, intuitive experience of Enlightenment; Satori is said to be unexplainable, indescribable, and unintelligible by reason and logic. It is comparable to the experience undergone by Gautama Buddha when he sat under the Bo tree and, as such, is the central Zen goal. Satori is analogous to the conversion experience or spiritual rebirth of other religious traditions in that it constitutes a complete reordering of the individual in relation to the universe. Satori usually is achieved only after a period of concentrated preparation and may occur spontaneously as a result of a chance incident, such as a sudden noise. The relative importance of the period of concentrated attention or the sudden “breaking through” is weighed differently by the two major branches of Zen (Encyclopaedia Britannica)
Relevance of the concept: Satori, Chinese Wu, in Zen Buddhism of Japan, the inner, intuitive experience of Enlightenment; Satori is said to be unexplainable, indescribable, and unintelligible by reason and logic. It is comparable to the experience undergone by Gautama Buddha when he sat under the Bo tree and, as such, is the central Zen goal. Satori is analogous to the conversion experience or spiritual rebirth of other religious traditions in that it constitutes a complete reordering of the individual in relation to the universe. Satori usually is achieved only after a period of concentrated preparation and may occur spontaneously as a result of a chance incident, such as a sudden noise. The relative importance of the period of concentrated attention or the sudden “breaking through” is weighed differently by the two major branches of Zen: the Sōtō sect emphasizes quiet sitting (zazen), whereas the Rinzai sect devotes more attention to the various methods of bringing about an abrupt awakening. (See also koan). (Encyclopaedia Britannica)
The concept in mythology: Open space.
Word definition: meditation with support of an object.
Etymology: The term comes from the Sanskrit, savikalpa, meaning “differentiated” or “optional”; sama, meaning “together”; and dhi, meaning “mind.”
Technical description: In Hindu and yogic philosophy, savikalpa samadhi is one of several levels or stages of samadhi, which is a state of bliss or complete concentration obtained when the yogi has realized the nature of the true or higher Self. The term comes from the Sanskrit, savikalpa, meaning “differentiated” or “optional”; sama, meaning “together”; and dhi, meaning “mind.” It may also be referred to as samprajnata samadhi or sabija samadhi.
Phenomenological description: Savikalpa samadhi is a state in which the mind is still active and the yogi is still attached to the bodily and worldly distractions, but he/she gets a glimpse of bliss.
Synonyms: It may also be referred to as samprajnata samadhi or sabija samadhi.
Cross-cultural comparisons: Contemplation.
Word definition: the ego; that which knows, remembers, desires, suffers, etc., as contrasted with that known, remembered, etc.
The uniting principle, as a soul, underlying all subjective experience.
Etymology: Word Origin & History: Old English self, seolf, sylf “one’s own person, -self; own, same,” from Proto-Germanic *selbaz (cf. Old Norse sjalfr, Old Frisian self, Dutch zelf, Old High German selb, German selb, selbst, Gothic silba), Proto-Germanic *selbaz “self,” from PIE *sel-bho-, suffixed form of root *s(w)e-, pronoun of the third person and reflexive (referring back to the subject of a sentence), also used in forms denoting the speaker’s social group, “(we our-)selves” (see idiom). Its use in compounds to form reflective pronouns grew out of independent use in Old English. As a noun from early 14c.
Technical description: the distinct individuality or identity of a person or thing.
Synonyms: ego, personality, character, identity, soul.
The concept in mythology: A ship.
Word definition: Conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself : aware of oneself as an individual.
Technical description: Self-consciousness is a heightened sense of self-awareness. It is a preoccupation with oneself, as opposed to the philosophical state of self-awareness, which is the awareness that one exists as an individual being, though the two terms are commonly used interchangeably or synonymously. An unpleasant feeling of self-consciousness may occur when one realizes that one is being watched or observed, the feeling that “everyone is looking” at oneself. Some people are habitually more self-conscious than others. (Wikipedia)
Word definition: mentioned in Isaiah 6:2 Isaiah 6:3 Isaiah 6:6 Isaiah 6:7 . This word means fiery ones,
Etymology: 1667, used by Milton (probably on analogy of cherub/cherubim), back-formed singular from Old English seraphim (plural), from Late Latin seraphim, from Greek seraphim, from Hebrew seraphim (only in Isaiah vi), plural of *saraph (which does not occur in the Bible), probably literally “the burning one,” from saraph “it burned.” Seraphs were traditionally regarded as burning or flaming angels, though the word seems to have some etymological sense of “flying,” perhaps from confusion with the root of Arabic sharafa “be lofty.” Some scholars identify it with a word found in other passages interpreted as “fiery flying serpent.”
Technical description: Latin: seraphim and seraphin (plural), also seraphus (-i, m.); Greek: σεραφείμ serapheím Arabic: مشرفين Musharifin) is a type of celestial or heavenly being in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The singular “seraph” is a back-formation from the plural “seraphim”, whereas in Hebrew the singular is “saraph”.
Tradition places seraphim in the highest rank in Christian angelology (Wikipedia)
Phenomenological description: Visually perceived as streams of energy of at least hundreds of meters high or even much greater. They exist of three energy groups of different colour. They have subtle energies on different ontological levels, who interact through chakras (Ezekiel did describe the “Wheels”), who are what is called “Catherine wheels”, from about four meters across.
They are non-anthropomorphic and look more like streams of light such as northern lights. ( M.J.M.)
Synonyms: Deva rajas.
Cross-cultural comparisons: Seraph, plural seraphim, in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic literature, celestial being variously described as having two or three pairs of wings and serving as a throne guardian of God. Often called the burning ones, seraphim in the Old Testament appear in the Temple vision of the prophet Isaiah as six-winged creatures praising God in what is known in the Greek Orthodox church as the Trisagion (“Thrice Holy”): “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3). In Christian angelology the seraphim are the highest-ranking celestial beings in the hierarchy of angels.
In art the four-winged cherubim are painted blue (symbolizing the sky) and the six-winged seraphim red (symbolizing fire). Compare cherub. (Encyclopaedia Britannica)
Relevance of the concept: Aristoteles brought forward the concept of secondary movers who guided physical processes.
The concept in mythology: Anthropomorphic beings with birdlike wings.
Citations: Angel(s) [from Greek angelos messenger, envoy, announcer] In the Old Testament, used to translate the Hebrew mal’ach (messenger); in Christian, Jewish, Moslem, and some other theologies, either a messenger of God or one of various hierarchies of celestial beings, the idea of a guardian angel also being familiar. However, the idea of hosts of formative powers, rectores mundi, or other beings between divinity and man, serving as intermediaries or means of communication between man and high spiritual entities has largely vanished from popular Christianity, though Angels, Principalities, and Powers are mentioned by Paul, and the archangel Michael by Jude; while the influence of the Gnostics, Neoplatonists, and Jews on early Christianity gives a wider meaning to the term.
Angels, then, are members of numerous hierarchies of celestial powers, from the septenary formative host that emanates from the formative Third Logos down to the presiding genius or spirit of an atom, acting as intermediaries or envoys between the divine and the human or terrestrial.
Word definition: an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
Etymology: Word Origin & History: 1754 (but rare before 20c.), coined by Horace Walpole (1717-92) in a letter to Horace Mann (dated Jan. 28); he said he formed it from the Persian fairy tale “The Three Princes of Serendip,” whose heroes “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.” The name is from Serendip, an old name for Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka), from Arabic Sarandib, from Sanskrit Simhaladvipa “Dwelling-Place-of-Lions Island.”
Technical description: Accidental discovery.
The decades after World War II were marked by the first safe and effective applications of medications in the treatment of mental disorders. Prior to the 1950s, sedative compounds such as bromides and barbiturates had been used to quiet or sedate patients, but these drugs were general in their effect and did not target specific symptoms of mood disturbances or psychotic disorders. Many of the medications that subsequently proved effective in treating such conditions were recognized serendipitously—i.e., when researchers administered them to patients just to see what would happen or when they were administered to treat one medical condition and were instead found to be helpful in alleviating the symptoms of a mental disorder.
The first effective pharmacological treatment of psychosis was the treatment of mania with lithium, introduced by Australian psychiatrist J.F.J. Cade in 1949. Lithium, however, generated little interest until its dramatic effectiveness in the maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder was reported in the mid-1960s. Chlorpromazine, the first of a long series of highly successful antipsychotic drugs, was synthesized in France in 1950 during work on antihistamines. It was used in anesthesia before its antipsychotic and tranquilizing effects were reported in France in 1952. The first tricyclic (so called because of its three-ringed chemical structure) antidepressant drug, imipramine, was originally designed as an antipsychotic drug and was investigated by Swiss psychiatrist Roland Kuhn. He found it ineffective in treating symptoms of schizophrenia but observed its antidepressant effect, which he reported in 1957. A drug used in the treatment of tuberculosis, iproniazid, was found to be effective as an antidepressant in the mid-1950s. It was the first monoamine oxidase inhibitor to be used in psychiatry. The first modern anxiety-relieving drug was meprobamate, which was originally introduced as a muscle relaxant. It was soon overtaken by the pharmacologically rather similar but clinically more effective chlordiazepoxide, which was synthesized in 1957 and marketed as Librium in 1960. This drug was the first of the extensively used benzodiazepines. These and other drugs had a revolutionary impact not only on psychiatry’s ability to relieve the symptoms and suffering of people with a wide range of mental disorders but also on the institutional care of the mentally ill.
Synonyms: Fluke, good luck.
The concept in mythology: 1754; Serendip + -ity; Horace Walpole so named a faculty possessed by the heroes of a fairy tale called The Three Princes of Serendip.
Literature: Books / Articles / Websites:
The Travels and Adventures of Serendipity, Written in the 1950s by sociologist Robert Merton and Elinor Barber
Word definition: a serial layout or arrangement; the quality of taking place in series.
The process of occurring in a sequential manner; a serial arrangement; a succession.
Etymology: Paul Kammerer in 1919
Technical description: The biologist Paul Kammerer wrote in 1919 a book “Das Gesetz der Serie” full of unexplainable coincidences, of occurrences which seem to repeat themselves in time. His theory of seriality deals with a-causal connections. That history is repeating itself has been many times suggested, but Kammerer was a systematic thinker who did a lot of research in this matter.
See further: https://marinusjanmarijs.com/evidence-based-approach/14-research-areas/non-physical-perception-and-communication/seriality/
Phenomenological description: There are many events that are cyclical, characterized by repetition like the days and the years, but they have a natural explanation the rotation of the earth around its axis, and the rotation of the earth around the sun respectively. These are causal connections. But what Kammerer suggested was not a series of events that had a natural, causal explanation but a connection by meaning, by similarity. His theory is about meaningful coincidences. Events that seem unrelated to each other but seem to influence each other or have a relation to each other. Kammerer was convinced that (similar) events were connected to each other by waves of seriality. This would be an unknown influence which would manifest itself in peaks and repeated clusters. While Paul Kammerer’s seriality deals with events that happen in the course of time,
Carl Jung’s synchronicity deals with events that happen simultaneous. Carl Jung drew upon Kammerer’s work in his essay Synchronicity. ( M.J.M.)
Citations: ”Albert Einstein called Kammerer’s idea of Seriality “interesting, and by no means absurd“.
Literature: Books / Articles / Websites:
Paul Kammerer “Das Gesetz der Serie” 1919.
Word definition: In Jungian psychology, the “shadow“, “Id“, or “shadow aspect/archetype” may refer to (1) an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself, or (2) the entirety of the unconscious, i.e., everything of which a person is not fully conscious. In short, the shadow is the “dark side”. (Wikipedia)
Etymology: From Carl Jung.
Technical description: The shadow is the negative or inferior (undeveloped) side of the personality. It is said to be made up of all the reprehensible characteristics that each of us wish to deny, including animal tendencies that Jung claims we have inherited from our pre-human ancestors. However, when individuals recognize and integrate their shadows, they progress further towards self-realization. On the other hand, the more unaware of the shadow we are, the blacker and denser it becomes. The more dissociated it is from conscious life, the more it will display a compensatory demonic dynamism. It is often projected outwards on individuals or groups, who are then thought to embody all the immature, evil, or repressed elements of the individual’s own psyche. (New World Encyclopedia)
Phenomenological description: Carl Jung stated the shadow to be the unknown dark side of the personality. According to Jung, the shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to psychological projection, in which a perceived personal inferiority is recognized as a perceived moral deficiency in someone else. Jung writes that if these projections remain hidden, “The projection-making factor (the Shadow archetype) then has a free hand and can realize its object—if it has one—or bring about some other situation characteristic of its power.” These projections insulate and harm individuals by acting as a constantly thickening veil of illusion between the ego and the real world.
From one perspective, “the shadow…is roughly equivalent to the whole of the Freudian unconscious”; and Jung himself asserted that “the result of the Freudian method of elucidation is a minute elaboration of man’s shadow-side unexampled in any previous age”.
Synonyms: The personal unconscious.
Relevance of the concept: the shadow is the sum total of dynamically dissociated first-person impulses or disowned aspects of one’s self.
The shadow can manifest in any number of ways, one of which is projection.
When a person disowns and projects their own negative qualities onto other people.
The concept in mythology: The dark side, the shadow.
Supporting evidence: The manifestation of psychological problems because of repressed elements of the individual’s own psyche, and on a sociological level when a person disowns and projects their own negative qualities onto other people.
Jung, C.G. (1938). “Psychology and Religion.” In CW 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East.
Word definition: Shaktipat is a Sanskrit term for the transference of Kundalini energy from one person to another.
Etymology: Shaktipat or Śaktipāta (Sanskrit, from shakti – “(psychic) energy” – and pāta, “to fall”)
Technical description: This energy can be transmitted in a number of ways: by touch, through a mantra, with a look, through a sacred word or by thought. It is also said that it can be transmitted over distance through an object.
Practicing yoga extensively with a mentor can result in shaktipat.
Phenomenological description: Shaktipat is viewed as an act of grace provided by a guru or divine being to someone else. It is divided into a number of different levels, according to the intensity of the transfer and where the recipient is on the path to liberation. The highest intensity is tivra-tivra-shaktipat, which translates to “super supreme grace.”
Shaktipat can generally only be received after a long period of discipline and spiritual questioning. The disciple must be ready in order to receive it, so the giver must remove the intangible obstacles in their path toward enlightenment.
When practicing yoga with a mentor for spiritual purposes, it is possible that the teacher may engage in shakti-pata at a very advanced stage of instruction in order to deepen the student’s progress and understanding. (Yogapedia)
See further: https://marinusjanmarijs.com/methods-of-transformation/shaktipat/
Cross-cultural comparisons: Similar concepts in Judaism and Christianity are blessing and the laying on of hands. In these terms, shaktipat would be a very high form of blessing.
Word definition: Emptiness.
Etymology: “Śūnyatā” (Sanskrit) is usually translated as “devoidness,” “emptiness,” “hollow, hollowness,” “voidness.” It is the noun form of the adjective śūnya or śhūnya, plus -tā: śūnya means “zero,” “nothing,” “empty” or “void”. Śūnya comes from the root śvi, meaning “hollow”.-tā means “-ness”;
Technical description: Śūnyatā (Sanskrit; Pali: suññatā), pronounced ‘shoonyataa’, translated into English most often as emptiness and sometimes voidness, is a Buddhist concept which has multiple meanings depending on its doctrinal context. It is either an ontological feature of reality, a meditation state, or a phenomenological analysis of experience.
In Theravada Buddhism, suññatā often refers to the not-self (Pāli: anattā, Sanskrit: anātman)[ nature of the five aggregates of experience and the six sense spheres. Suññatā is also often used to refer to a meditative state or experience. (Wikipedia)
Phenomenological description: A deep meditative state. Absence of all conscious thought processes.
Relevance of the concept: Sunyata, in Buddhist philosophy, the voidness that constitutes ultimate reality; sunyata is seen not as a negation of existence but rather as the undifferentiation out of which all apparent entities, distinctions, and dualities arise. Although the concept is encountered occasionally in early Pāli texts, its full implications were developed by the 2nd-century Indian philosopher Nāgārjuna. The school of philosophy founded by him, the Mādhyamika (Middle Way), is sometimes called the Śūnyavāda, or Doctrine That All Is Void. (Encyclopaedia Britannica)
The concept in mythology: The Void.
Word definition: Siddhis (Sanskrit and are spiritual, paranormal, supernatural, or otherwise magical powers, abilities, and attainments that are the products of spiritual advancement through sādhanās such as meditation and yoga. The term ṛddhi (Pali: iddhi, “psychic powers”) is often used interchangeably in Buddhism.
Etymology: Siddhi is a Sanskrit noun which can be translated as “perfection”, “accomplishment”, “attainment”, or “success”. In Tamil the word Siddhar/Chitthar refers to someone who has attained the Siddhic powers & knowledge. Chitta is pure consciousness/knowledge in Sanskrit also.
Technical description: Siddhis are spiritual, paranormal, supernatural, or otherwise magical powers, abilities, and attainments that are the products of spiritual advancement through sadhana (spiritual practices), such as meditation and yoga. There is a related Buddhist term, “Iddhi“, that translates as “psychic powers”, and is often used interchangeably. People who have attained one or more Siddhis are formally known as siddhas. The attainment of Siddhis are typically independent of one another, although it is not uncommon for many Siddhis to arise simultaneously out of the proper conducive state of consciousness. (Wikipedia)
Phenomenological description: The abilities generated not by the physical body, but generated by the activation higher ontological subtle energy fields.( M.J.M.)
Cross-cultural comparisons: Similar descriptions from many spiritual traditions.
The first five types of Abhijna (supranormal powers attained by advanced meditation) within Buddhism, are similar to the siddhis of yoga in Hinduism, mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana and by Patanjali
Siddhis (Sanskrit: सिद्धि siddhi; fulfillment, accomplishment) are material, paranormal, supernatural, or otherwise magical powers, abilities, and attainments that are the products of yogic advancement through sādhanās such as meditation and yogaThe term ṛddhi (Pali: iddhi, “psychic powers”) is often used interchangeably in Buddhism.
Within Christianity the siddhis are called charismata
Usage in Hinduism
In the Panchatantra, an ancient Indian collection of moral fables, siddhi may be the term for any unusual skill or faculty or capability
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras
In Patañjali’s Yoga Sutras IV.1 it is stated, Janma auṣadhi mantra tapaḥ samādhijāḥ siddhayaḥ, “Accomplishments may be attained through birth, the use of herbs, incantations, self-discipline or samadhi”. Possible siddhis or siddhi-like abilities mentioned include:
- Ahiṃsā: a peaceful aura
- Satya: persuasion
- Asteya: wealth
- Brahmacarya: virility
- Aparigraha: insight;
- Śauca: sensory control/cleanliness
- Saṃtoṣa: happiness
- Tapas: bodily and sensory perfection
- Svādhyāya: communion with the Divine
- Īśvarapraṇidhāna: Samādhi
Eight classical siddhis
According to different sources, seven of the eight classical siddhis (Ashta Siddhi) or eight great perfections are:
- Aṇimā: the ability to become smaller than the smallest, reducing one’s body to the size of an atom or even become invisible.
- Mahimā: the ability to become infinitely large, expanding one’s body to an infinitely large size.
- Laghimā: the ability to become weightless or lighter than air.
- Prāpti: the ability to instantaneously travel or be anywhere at will.
- Prākāmya: the ability to achieve or realize whatever one desires.
- Īśiṭva: the ability to control nature, individuals, organisms, etc. Supremacy over nature and ability to force influence upon anyone.
- Vaśiṭva: the ability to control all material elements or natural forces.
The eighth is given as either:
- Kāma-avasayitva (per Kṣemarāja and Vyasa): satisfaction, suppression of desire, or (as Yatrakāmāvasāyitva) wishes coming true.
- Garimā (per the Rāmānanda Sampradāya): the ability to become infinitely heavy and be immovable by anyone or anything.
In Shaivism, siddhis are defined as “Extraordinary powers of the soul, developed through consistent meditation and often uncomfortable and grueling tapas, or awakened naturally through spiritual maturity and yogic sādhanā.”
In Vaishnavism, the term siddhi is used in the Sarva-darśana-saṃgraha of Madhvacharya (1238–1317), the founder of Dvaita (dualist) philosophy.
Five siddhis, according to Vaishnava doctrine
In the Bhagavata Purana, the five siddhis brought on by yoga and meditation are:
- trikālajñatvam: knowing the past, present and future
- advandvam: tolerance of heat, cold and other dualities
- para citta ādi abhijñatā: knowing the minds of others, etc.
- agni arka ambu viṣa ādīnām pratiṣṭambhaḥ: checking the influence of fire, sun, water, poison, etc.
- aparājayah: remaining unconquered by others
Ten secondary siddhis, according to Vaishnava doctrine
In the Bhagavata Purana, Krishna describes the ten secondary siddhis
- anūrmimattvam: Being undisturbed by hunger, thirst, and other bodily appetites
- dūraśravaṇa: Hearing things far away
- dūradarśanam: Seeing things far away
- manojavah: Moving the body wherever thought goes (teleportation/astral projection)
- kāmarūpam: Assuming any form desired
- parakāya praveśanam: Entering the bodies of others
- svachanda mṛtyuh: Dying when one desires
- devānām saha krīḍā anudarśanam: Witnessing and participating in the pastimes of the gods
- yathā saṅkalpa saṁsiddhiḥ: Perfect accomplishment of one’s determination
- ājñāpratihatā gatiḥ: Orders or commands being unimpeded
In the Samkhyakarika and Tattvasamasa, there are references to the attainment of eight siddhis by which “one becomes free of the pain of ignorance, one gains knowledge, and experiences bliss”. The eight siddhis hinted at by Kapila in the Tattvasamasa are, as explained in verse 51 of the Samkhyakarika:
- Uuha: based on the samskaras (karmic imprints) of previous births, the attainment of knowledge about the twenty-four tattvas gained by examining the determinable and indeterminable, conscious and non-conscious constituents of creation.
- Shabda: knowledge gained by associating with an enlightened person (Guru – upadesh).
- Addhyyan: knowledge gained through study of the Vedas and other standard ancillary texts.
- Suhritprapti: knowledge gained from a kind-hearted person, while engaged in the spread of knowledge.
- Daan: knowledge gained regardless of one’s own needs while attending to the requirements of those engaged in the search of the highest truth.
- Aadhyaatmik dukkh-haan: freedom from pain, disappointment, etc. that may arise due to lack of spiritual, metaphysical, mystic knowledge and experience.
- Aadhibhautik dukkh-haan: freedom from pain etc. arising from possessing and being attached to various materialistic gains.
- Aadhidaivik dukkh-haan: freedom from pain etc. caused by fate or due to reliance on fate.
It is believed that the attainment of these eight siddhis renders one free of the pain of ignorance, and gives one knowledge and bliss.
Usage in Sikhism
In Sikhism, siddhi means “insight”. “Eight Siddhis” is used for insight of the eight qualities of Nirankar or a.k.a. Akal Purakh mentioned in the Mul Mantar in the Guru Granth Sahib. God has eight qualities: EkOnkar, Satnam, Kartapurakh, Nirbhao, Nirvair, AkaalMurat, Ajooni and Svaibhang. The one who has insight of these qualities is called Sidh or Gurmukh.
- EkOnkar: There is one formless GOD. 2. Satnam: GOD is true. His remembrance is true. 3. Kartapuratk: GOD alone is creator. 4. Nirbhao: GOD is fearless. 5. Nirvair: GOD has enmity with none. 6. AkaalMurat: Beyond the life and death. 7. Ajooni Svaibhang: GOD is beyond the cycle of birth and death.
Sidh means the one who has mastered his self.
Usage in Vajrayana Buddhism
In Tantric Buddhism, siddhi specifically refers to the acquisition of supernatural powers by psychic or magical means or the supposed faculty so acquired. These powers include items such as clairvoyance, levitation, bilocation, becoming as small as an atom, materialization, and having access to memories from past lives.
Relevance of the concept: Talents and forms of genius.
Supporting evidence: Parapsychological research.
Literature: Books / Articles / Websites:
Dean Radin: “Supernormal.” 2013.
Word definition: the quality of being significant or having a meaning
Etymology: Word Origin & History± c.1400, “meaning,” from Old French significance or directly from Latin significantia “meaning, force, energy,” from significans, present participle of significare “to mean, import, signify” (see signify). The earlier word was signifiance (mid-13c.). Meaning “importance” is from 1725. Related: Significancy.
Technical description: The significance of something is the importance that it has, usually because it will have an effect on a situation or shows something about a situation.
Phenomenological description: Importance is a subjective indicator of value. As a concept, importance is the recognized attribution of a subject’s significance or value as defined by a perspective. In its most basic form, importance is used to define subjects that are essential and relevant from those that are not. A subject that is defined as of having no importance is often seen as having no value.
Synonyms: important, meaningful.
Relevance of the concept: Significant within science is above chance level.
Word definition: existing, occurring, or operating at the same time; concurrent.
Etymology: 1650–60; < Latin simul together (see similar) + (instan)taneous
Technical description: Simultaneity is the relation between two events assumed to be happening at the same time in a frame of reference.
Synonyms: Concurrence, synchronism.Cross-cultural comparisons: The Axial period.
Relevance of the concept: The question whether it is random or meaningful.
Literature: Books / Articles / Websites:
Karl Jaspers: “The Axial period.”
Word definition: the doctrine of salvation.
Etymology: 1760–70; < Greek sōtērí(a) salvation, deliverance (sōtēr- (stem of sōtḗr) deliverer + -ia -y3) + –o– + -logy
Technical description: In Christianity salvation is the saving of the soul from sin and its consequences. It may also be called “deliverance” or “redemption” from sin and its effects.
Variant views on salvation are among the main lines dividing the various Christian denominations, being a point of disagreement between Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, as well as within Protestantism, notably in the Calvinist–Arminian debate. These lines include conflicting definitions of depravity, predestination, atonement, and most pointedly, justification. (Wikipedia)
Synonyms: deliverance, redemption
Cross-cultural comparisons: A great many nonliterate traditions have myths about a culture hero (most notably, one who brings new techniques or technology to humankind—e.g., Prometheus, who supplies fire to humans in Greek mythology). A culture hero is generally not the person responsible for the creation but the one who completes the world and makes it fit for human life; in short, the culture hero creates culture. Another example of a culture hero is Maui in Polynesia, who brought islands to the surface from the bottom of the sea, captured and harnessed the sun, lifted the sky to allow human beings more room, and, like Prometheus, gave them fire.
The bringer of culture is often also the bringer of health. Thus, the culture hero of the Woodlands and Plains Indians in North America is at the same time related to the foundation of the medicine society. A comparable figure occurs in many traditions of Classical antiquity or the Mediterranean basin generally as the “good son”—e.g., Horus, the son of the god Osiris in Egypt, or the figure of the king in the Psalms. Health and (spiritual) salvation are synonymous, and this is implied in the Greek word sōtēr, which can mean both “saviour” and “preserver from ill health.” Related to soteriological myths in many cases is the hope for a final and total salvation in which the “good” powers will triumph, such as through Saoshyant, the saviour in Zoroastrianism. In fact, Zoroastrianism shared with the Judeo-Christian tradition the notion of a Last Judgment followed by the ultimate salvation of the world. According to Zoroastrian belief, as the end approached heroes from the past would come to life and help in the struggle of good against evil. Saviours, the Saoshyants, would work toward the triumph of virtue and the spreading of heavenly light over all creation. (Encyclopaedia Britannica)
Relevance of the concept: related to the ultimate meaning of life.
The concept in mythology: The Hero.
Word definition: The principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part.
-The spiritual part of humans regarded in its moral aspect, or as believed to survive death and be subject to happiness or misery in a life to come: arguing the immortality of the soul.
-The disembodied spirit of a deceased person.
-The animating principle; the essential element or part of something.
Etymology: Word Origin & History: “A substantial entity believed to be that in each person which lives, feels, thinks and wills” [Century Dictionary], Old English sawol “spiritual and emotional part of a person, animate existence; life, living being,” from Proto-Germanic *saiwalo (cf. Old Saxon seola, Old Norse sala, Old Frisian sele, Middle Dutch siele, Dutch ziel, Old High German seula, German Seele, Gothic saiwala), of uncertain origin.
Technical description: Non-physical subtle energy field(s).
Bewerken: (Greek psyche ; Latin anima ; French ame ; German Seele ).
Mental characteristics that cannot be explained in naturalistic terms, and do point in the direction of a Soul.
– qualia, (individual instances of subjective, conscious experience).
– consciousness (pure awareness),
– levels of consciousness,
– how transformations of consciousness do occur,
– free will (conscious choices),
– esthetic appreciation,
– high level mental functioning,
– the capacity for understanding,
– intuition, trans logical insight,
– spiritual enlightenment,
– the ability to generate flow,
– paranormal perception (nonlocal perception),
– out of the body experiences / near death experiences,
– life after death,
– reincarnation and a non-physical memory,
– higher ontological worlds,
– the mind-body problem,
– hylic pluralism (multiple materiality),
– subtle energy systems,
– primary and secondary qualities distinction,
– philosophical dualism / pluralism,
– mystical union,
– contact with transcendent dimensions,
– precognition (trans temporal perception),
– intentionality- or directed attention, and so on.
What is the nature of the soul, of what is it Composed?
It is composed of a number of non-physical subtle energy fields, which penetrate each other, who are on different ontological levels, but occupy the same space.
When visually perceived, how do these fields look like?
As oval / egg-shaped fields which stretches out to about halve a meter from the body. They have several horizontal layers of different colours which are vertically layered above each other. The different colours represent different capacities:
Red: Aesthetics; Yellow : Cognitive; Green: Social, communicative;
Blue: Moral; Violet: Spiritual.
Next to these permanent layers there are temporarily substructures, which are variously colored according to the transitory psychic and mental condition of the individual and are generated by momentarily emotions ,thought movements, and so on.
How do these fields (the soul) interact with the physical body?
They are drawn in to energy-centers (chakras) into ring-shaped connection-points, from that into subtle energy channels (nadis), which are connected with the brain.
See further: https://marinusjanmarijs.com/the-soul-2/
Cross-cultural comparisons: Many cultures have recognized some incorporeal principle of human life or existence corresponding to the soul, and many have attributed souls to all living things. There is evidence even among prehistoric peoples of a belief in an aspect distinct from the body and residing in it. Despite widespread and longstanding belief in the existence of a soul, however, different religions and philosophers have developed a variety of theories as to its nature, its relationship to the body, and its origin and mortality.
Among ancient peoples, both the Egyptians and the Chinese conceived of a dual soul. The Egyptian ka (breath) survived death but remained near the body, while the spiritual ba proceeded to the region of the dead. The Chinese distinguished between a lower, sensitive soul, which disappears with death, and a rational principle, the hun, which survives the grave and is the object of ancestor worship.
The early Hebrews apparently had a concept of the soul but did not separate it from the body, although later Jewish writers developed the idea of the soul further. Biblical references to the soul are related to the concept of breath and establish no distinction between the ethereal soul and the corporeal body. Christian concepts of a body-soul dichotomy originated with the ancient Greeks and were introduced into Christian theology at an early date by St. Gregory of Nyssa and by St. Augustine.
Ancient Greek concepts of the soul varied considerably according to the particular era and philosophical school. The Epicureans considered the soul to be made up of atoms like the rest of the body. For the Platonists, the soul was an immaterial and incorporeal substance, akin to the gods yet part of the world of change and becoming. Aristotle’s conception of the soul was obscure, though he did state that it was a form inseparable from the body.
In Christian theology St. Augustine spoke of the soul as a “rider” on the body, making clear the split between the material and the immaterial, with the soul representing the “true” person. However, although body and soul were separate, it was not possible to conceive of a soul without its body. In the Middle Ages, St. Thomas Aquinas returned to the Greek philosophers’ concept of the soul as a motivating principle of the body, independent but requiring the substance of the body to make an individual.
From the Middle Ages onward, the existence and nature of the soul and its relationship to the body continued to be disputed in Western philosophy. To René Descartes, man was a union of the body and the soul, each a distinct substance acting on the other; the soul was equivalent to the mind. To Benedict de Spinoza, body and soul formed two aspects of a single reality. Immanuel Kant concluded that the soul was not demonstrable through reason, although the mind inevitably must reach the conclusion that the soul exists because such a conclusion was necessary for the development of ethics and religion. To William James at the beginning of the 20th century, the soul as such did not exist at all but was merely a collection of psychic phenomena.
Just as there have been different concepts of the relation of the soul to the body, there have been numerous ideas about when the soul comes into existence and when and if it dies. Ancient Greek beliefs were varied and evolved over time. Pythagoras held that the soul was of divine origin and existed before and after death. Plato and Socrates also accepted the immortality of the soul, while Aristotle considered only part of the soul, the noûs, or intellect, to have that quality. Epicurus believed that both body and soul ended at death. The early Christian philosophers adopted the Greek concept of the soul’s immortality and thought of the soul as being created by God and infused into the body at conception.
In Hinduism the atman (“breath,” or “soul”) is the universal, eternal self, of which each individual soul (jiva or jiva-atman) partakes. The jiva-atman is also eternal but is imprisoned in an earthly body at birth. At death the jiva-atman passes into a new existence determined by karma, or the cumulative consequences of actions. The cycle of death and rebirth (samsara) is eternal according to some Hindus, but others say it persists only until the soul has attained karmic perfection, thus merging with the Absolute (brahman). Buddhism negates the concept not only of the individual self but of the atman as well, asserting that any sense of having an individual eternal soul or of partaking in a persistent universal self is illusory.
The Muslim concept, like the Christian, holds that the soul comes into existence at the same time as the body; thereafter, it has a life of its own, its union with the body being a temporary condition. (Encyclopaedia Britannica)
Relevance of the concept: The question of the reality of the soul and its distinction from the body is among the most important problems of philosophy, for with it is bound up the doctrine of a life after death, and whether the soul is capable of an existence separate from the body.
Soul, in religion and philosophy, the immaterial aspect or essence of a human being, that which confers individuality and humanity, often considered to be synonymous with the mind or the self. In theology, the soul is further defined as that part of the individual which partakes of divinity and often is considered to survive the death of the body.
The concept in mythology: The Horseman.
Citations: From Rebbeca Goldstein’s Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel:
“The philosopher Thomas Nagel recalled also being seated next to Gödel at a small gathering for dinner at the Institute and discussing the mind-body problem with him, a philosophical chestnut that both men had tried to crack. Nagel pointed out to Gödel that Gödel’s extreme dualist view (according to which souls and bodies have quite separate existences, linking up with one another at birth to conjoin in a sort of partnership that is severed upon death) seems hard to reconcile with the theory of evolution. Gödel professed himself a nonbeliever in evolution.”
Supporting evidence: The existence of non-physical energy fields.
Word definition: the principle of conscious life;
Etymology: Word Origin & History: mid-13c., “animating or vital principle in man and animals,” from Old French espirit, from Latin spiritus “soul, courage, vigor, breath,” related to spirare “to breathe,” from PIE *(s)peis- “to blow” (cf. Old Church Slavonic pisto “to play on the flute”).
Original usage in English mainly from passages in Vulgate, where the Latin word translates Greek pneuma and Hebrew ruah. Distinction between “soul” and “spirit” (as “seat of emotions”) became current in Christian terminology (e.g. Greek psykhe vs. pneuma, Latin anima vs. spiritus) but “is without significance for earlier periods” [Buck]. Latin spiritus, usually in classical Latin “breath,” replaces animus in the sense “spirit” in the imperial period and appears in Christian writings as the usual equivalent of Greek pneuma.
Meaning “supernatural being” is attested from c.1300 (see ghost); that of “essential principle of something” (in a non-theological sense, e.g. Spirit of St. Louis) is attested from 1690, common after 1800. Plural form spirits “volatile substance” is an alchemical idea, first attested 1610; sense narrowed to “strong alcoholic liquor” by 1670s. This also is the sense in spirit level (1768).
Technical description: The concepts of a person’s spirit and soul, often also overlap, as both are either contrasted with or given ontological priority over the body and both are believed to survive bodily death in some religions, and “spirit” can also have the sense of “ghost”, i.e. a manifestation of the spirit of a deceased person. In English Bibles, “the Spirit” (with a capital “S”), specifically denotes the Holy Spirit.
Spirit is often used metaphysically to refer to the consciousness or personality.
Historically, it was also used to refer to a “subtle” as opposed to “gross” material substance, as in the famous last paragraph of Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica. (Wikipedia)
Synonyms: Essence, psyche, purusha.
Cross-cultural comparisons: Similar concepts in other languages include Greek pneuma and Sanskrit akasha/atman (see also prana). Some languages use a word for “spirit” often closely related (if not synonymous) to “mind”. Examples include the German Geist (related to the English word “ghost”) or the French ‘l’esprit’. English versions of the Bible most commonly translate the Hebrew word “ruach” (רוח; “wind”) as “the spirit”, whose essence is divine (see Holy Spirit and ruach hakodesh). Alternatively, Hebrew texts commonly use the word nephesh. Kabbalists regard nephesh as one of the five parts of the Jewish soul, where nephesh (animal) refers to the physical being and its animal instincts. Similarly, Scandinavian, Baltic, and Slavic languages, as well as Chinese (气 qi), use the words for “breath” to express concepts similar to “the spirit”. (Wikipedia)
The concept in mythology: A winged horse.
Word definition: of or relating to the spirit or soul, as distinguished from the physical nature.
Etymology: Word Origin & History: “of or concerning the spirit” (especially in religious aspects), c.1300, from Old French spirituel (12c.), from Latin spiritualis, from spiritus “of breathing, of the spirit”
Technical description: relating to sacred things or matters; religious; devotional; sacred.
Phenomenological description: related to trans-logical levels.
Synonyms: metaphysical, nonphysical.
Relevance of the concept: related to the meaning of life.
“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light‐years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.”
― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
“My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.” ― Albert Einstein
Supporting evidence: Higher levels of consciousness.
Etymology: c. 1300, “of or concerning the spirit” (especially in religious aspects), from Old French spirituel, esperituel (12c.) or directly from a Medieval Latin ecclesiastical use of Latin spiritualis “of or pertaining to breath, breathing, wind, or air; pertaining to spirit,” from spiritus “of breathing, of the spirit” (see spirit (n.)). Meaning “of or concerning the church” is attested from mid-14c. Related: Spiritually. An Old English word for “spiritual” was godcundlic.
Technical description: A religious experience (sometimes known as a spiritual experience, sacred experience, or mystical experience) is a subjective experience which is interpreted within a religious framework. The concept originated in the 19th century, as a defense against the growing rationalism of Western society. William James popularised the concept.
Many religious and mystical traditions see religious experiences (particularly that knowledge which comes with them) as revelations caused by divine agency rather than ordinary natural processes. They are considered real encounters with God or gods, or real contact with higher-order realities of which humans are not ordinarily aware. (Wikipedia)
Phenomenological description: Psychologist and philosopher William James described four characteristics of mystical experience in The Varieties of Religious Experience. According to James, such an experience is:
- Transient – the experience is temporary; the individual soon returns to a “normal” frame of mind. Feels outside normal perception of space and time.
- Ineffable – the experience cannot be adequately put into words.
- Noetic – the individual feels that he or she has learned something valuable from the experience. Feels to have gained knowledge that is normally hidden from human understanding.
- Passive – the experience happens to the individual, largely without conscious control. Although there are activities, such as meditation (see below), that can make religious experience more likely, it is not something that can be turned on and off at will. (Wikipedia)
The concept in mythology: Apotheosis.
Word definition: Any spiritual practice dedicated towards increasing one’s personal spirituality
Technical description: A spiritual practice or spiritual discipline (often including spiritual exercises) is the regular or full-time performance of actions and activities undertaken for the purpose of inducing spiritual experiences and cultivating spiritual development. A common metaphor used in the spiritual traditions of the world’s great religions is that of walking a path. Therefore, a spiritual practice moves a person along a path towards a goal. The goal is variously referred to as salvation, liberation or union (with God). A person who walks such a path is sometimes referred to as a wayfarer or a pilgrim. (Wikipedia)
See further: https://marinusjanmarijs.com/methods-of-transformation/the-effectiveness-of-training-methods/
Phenomenological description: Methods, practices to shifts ones focal point of consciousness to a higher level.
Synonyms: Concentration, contemplation, prayer, Yoga.
Word definition: Stream enterer.
Etymology: In Buddhism, a sotāpanna (Pali), srotāpanna (Sanskrit; , ), “stream-winner”, or “stream-entrant” is a person who has seen the Dharma and consequently, has dropped the first three fetters (saŋyojana) that bind a being to rebirth, namely self-view (sakkāya-ditthi), clinging to rites and rituals (sīlabbata-parāmāsa), and skeptical indecision (vicikicchā).
Technical description: Nature mystic.
Synonyms: see here below ¯
Christian nature mysticism
nuit (Eskimo) mittat
Tibetan theg men
Christian symbolism baptized with water
Relevance of the concept: Sotapatti (Pali) Sotāpatti Equivalent to the Sanskrit srotāpatti — the first of the four paths that lead to nirvana; the other three paths in Pali are sakadagamin, anagamin, and arhat.
Supporting evidence: Similar independent descriptions of this stage from different cultures.
Word definition: existing or operating in the mind beneath or beyond consciousness. the totality of mental processes of which the individual is not aware; unreportable mental activities.
Etymology: Word Origin & History: 1823, “not wholly conscious” (implied in subconsciously), from sub- + conscious. First attested in De Quincey. The noun, in the psychological sense, is attested from 1886; earlier subconsciousness (1874).
Technical description: In psychology, the word subconscious is the part of consciousness that is not currently in focal awareness. The word “subconscious” represents an anglicized version of the French subconscient as coined by the psychologist Pierre Janet (1859-1947), who argued that underneath the layers of critical-thought functions of the conscious mind lay a powerful awareness that he called the subconscious mind. (Wikipedia)
Relevance of the concept: Unconscious, also called Subconscious, the complex of mental activities within an individual that proceed without his awareness. Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, stated that such unconscious processes may affect a person’s behaviour even though he cannot report on them. Freud and his followers felt that dreams and slips of the tongue were really concealed examples of unconscious content too threatening to be confronted directly, the existence of unconscious mental activities seems well established and continues to be an important concept in modern psychiatry. (Encyclopaedia Britannica)
The concept in mythology: The sea
Word definition: Non-physical energies.
Technical description: The concept of subtle non-physical energies is to be found all over the world, recognized by many different people, in many different countries and cultures and at different periods of history. The idea is that the world does not only consists of matter which is perceptible to the senses but also comprises a number of forms of subtler matter. ( M.J.M.)
Phenomenological description: The origin of what in philosophy is called Qualia.
Synonyms: Pneuma, spirit.
Cross-cultural comparisons: The concept of subtle energies is to be found in at least 60. different cultures.
Relevance of the concept: The concept of non-physical subtle energies is relevant for different areas of research:
- Out of the body experiences/near death experiences;
- A comprehensive conceptual framework of parapsychology;
- The mind-body problem;
- The concept of higher, non-physical worlds;
- Mystical development;
- Transformations between developmental levels;
- Research relating to consciousness;
- The visual perception of a non-physical light during mystical experiences;
- Teleological forces;
- Research to the existence of (a) non-physical memory;
- A layered hierarchical structure of reality (ontological levels);
- Philosophical arguments/views related to dualism.
The concept in mythology: Inner fire.
Supporting evidence: Cross-cultural data. Multi-disciplinary research.
Poortman J.J. :”Vehicles of consciousness, The concept of hylic pluralism (OCHEMA) Volume 1+2+3+4.”
Word definition: Superstring theory – known less formally as “string theory” – is sometimes called the Theory of Everything (TOE), because it is a unifying physics theory that reconciles the differences between quantum theory and the theory of relativity to explain the nature of all known forces and matter. According to string theory, at the most microscopic level, everything in the universe is made up of loops of vibrating strings, and apparent particle differences can be attributed to variations of vibration. An object (such as an apple, for example) and a force (such as radiation, for example) can both be broken down into atoms, which can be further broken down into electrons and quarks, which can be, finally, broken down into tiny, vibrating loops of strings.
Etymology: Superstring theory came to the forefront in the 1980s, when Michael Green at Queen Mary College and John Schwarz at the California Institute of Technology demonstrated that it had the potential to be the unifying theory that Einstein sought: one that could be used to describe gravity as well as electromagnetic forces.
Technical description: n Superstring theory is an attempt to explain all of the particles and fundamental forces of nature in one theory by modeling them as vibrations of tiny supersymmetric strings.
‘Superstring theory’ is a shorthand for supersymmetric string theory because unlike bosonic string theory, it is the version of string theory that accounts for both fermions and bosons and incorporates supersymmetry to model gravity.
Since the second superstring revolution, the five superstring theories are regarded as different limits of a single theory tentatively called M-theory. (Wikipedia)
Word definition: To actualise energy of the highest ontological level on the physical plane.
Etymology: By Aurobindo
Technical description: Supramentalisation:
The objective and final stage of integral yoga is to actualise the Supermind within one’s being (“Supramentalisation”). This would constitute a divinisation of matter itself or a realisation of its inherent primordial propensity, and usher in a completely new, ‘divine’ way of existing. (Life Divine Book II, ch.26-28). This involves bringing down the Supramental consciousness to transform the entire being, and ultimately to the divinisation of the material world. Supramentalisation requires both a spiritual and a psychic transformation.
Sri Aurobindo believed that most yogas and religions were concerned with ‘ascent’, a striving to ascend beyond the body and beyond time into a formless and timeless absolute or transcendent self. He wrote that the ‘old systems’ arrived at an ‘infinite empty Negation or an infinite equally vacant Affirmation’. He introduced the imperative for and the process by which the supramental (beyond or other than mental) consciousness would ‘descend’, to firmly establish itself in Earthly life.
Phenomenological description: The supramental transformation means the birth of a new individual fully formed by the supramental power, the same power that enabled the universe to be created in the first place from out of a Divine Source. Such individuals would be the forerunners of a new truth-consciousness based supra-humanity. Among their capacities are: a total oneness and identity with the environment and with others; total integral knowledge replacing our essential ignorance, i.e. knowledge by identity; a unification of knowledge and will (what one knows is automatically created, what is willed is fully known in its truth); the Force of creation reunited with the Consciousness; and a complete unity of the Individual, Universal, and Transcendent purpose expressed through the person. Also, all aspects of division and ignorance of consciousness at the vital and mental levels would be overcome, replaced with a unity of consciousness at every plane, and even the physical body transformed and divinised. A new supramental species would then emerge, living a supramental, gnostic, divine life on earth. (The Life Divine book II ch.27-28)
Synonyms: Spiritualisation of matter, to establish the kingdom of God in the material world.
Cross-cultural comparisons: Beginning with the Catholic theologian R.C. Zaehner, a number of scholars have pointed out parallels between the respective spiritual evolutionary philosophies of Sri Aurobindo and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (see e.g. Zaehner 1971, Feys 1973, Sethna 1973, 1981, Bruteau 1974, Chetany 1978, Brookman 1988). Both describe a progression from inanimate matter through life and mind to a future consummation and Divinisation of humanity and the Earth as Supermind at Omega Point/God-Omega. Neither seems to have been aware of the other’s work. A scientific basis for Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s and Sri Aurobindo’s panentheistic Omega point philosophies was provided in 1994 by the physicist Frank J. Tipler’s promulgation of his Omega Point Theory.
The Lurianic Kabbala
After the establishment of the Zoharic corpus, no major changes took place in Jewish esoterism until the middle of the 16th century, when a religious centre of extreme importance for Judaism, mainly inspired by teachers coming from families expelled from Spain, was established in Safed (in Upper Galilee, Palestine; present-day Ẕefat, Israel). Kabbalistic literary output had been abundant in Spain until the expulsion in 1492 and in Italy and the Middle East during the following two generations, but it was primarily a matter of systematizing or even popularizing the Zohar or of extending the speculation already developed in the 13th century. There were also some attempts at reconciling philosophy and Kabbala.
The expulsion from Spain and the forced conversions to Christianity in both Spain and Portugal were profound tragedies. These events accentuated the existing pessimism caused by the dispersal of the Jews among the nations and intensified messianic expectation. This expectation most likely contributed to the beginnings of the printed transmission of Kabbala; the first two printed editions of the Zohar date from 1558. All these factors, joined with certain internal developments of speculative Kabbala in the 15th century, prepared the ground for the new theosophy inaugurated by the teaching of Isaac ben Solomon Luria (1534–72), who was born in Jerusalem, educated in Egypt, and died in Safed. Although his teaching is traditionally associated with Safed, he spent only the last three years of his life there. Luria wrote very little; his doctrine was transmitted, amplified, and probably somewhat distorted through the works of his disciples, especially Ḥayyim Vital (1543–1620), who wrote ʿEtz ḥayyim (“Tree of Life”), the standard presentation of Lurianic Kabbala.
The theosophy of Luria, whose novelty was proclaimed by its creator, was perfectly realized by the esoterists who held to the Zoharistic Kabbala, which was organized and codified precisely in Safed during the lifetime of Luria by Moses ben Jacob Cordovero (1522–70). Although its details are extremely complex, it is basically an attempt to reconcile divine transcendence with immanence and to solve the problem of evil, which the believer in the divine unity can recognize neither as a power existing independently of God nor as an integral part of him.
The vision of Luria is expressed in a vast mythical construct, which is typologically akin to certain gnostic and Manichaean (3rd-century dualistic) systems but which strives at all costs to avoid dualism. The essential elements of this myth include the withdrawal (tzimtzum) of the divine light, which originally filled all things, in order to make room for the extra-divine; the sinking, as a result of a catastrophic event that occurred during this process, of luminous particles into matter (qelippot, “shells,” a term already used in Kabbala to designate the evil powers); and the consequent need to save these particles and return them to their origin, by means of “repair” or “restoration” (tiqqun). This must be the work of the Jews who not only live in complete conformity to the religious duties imposed on them by tradition but who dedicate themselves, in the framework of a strict asceticism, to a contemplative life founded on mystical prayer and directed meditation (kawwana) on the liturgy, which is supposed to further the harmony (yiḥud, “unification”) of the innumerable attributes within the divine life. The successive reincarnations of the soul, a constant theme of Kabbala that Lurianism developed, are also invested with an important function in the work of “repair.” In short, Lurianism proclaims the absolute requirement of an intense mystical life with an unceasing struggle against the powers of evil. Thus, it presents a myth that symbolizes the world’s origin, fall, and redemption. It also gives meaning to the existence and hopes of the Jews, not merely exhorting them to a patient surrender to God but moving them to a redeeming activism, which is the measure of their sanctity. (Encyclopaedia Britannica)
Relevance of the concept: The ultimate destiny of humanity and the Kosmos.
The concept in mythology: A new heaven and a new earth.
Literature: Books / Articles / Websites:
Aurobindo: ” The Life Divine.”
Word definition: One of the main nadi’s.
Etymology: Sushumna is a Sanskrit word meaning “very gracious” or “kind”
Technical description: The sushumna is the name for the central nadi in the body. Anatomically, the sushumna runs down the central axis of the body, through the spinal cord.
Phenomenological description: the sushumna runs through the spinal cord, is 9.mm across and blue in colour. On another sublevel, the green stream that comes from the navel chakra runs also through the sushumna. ( M.J.M.)
Synonyms: Sushumna nadi is also called Brahmanadi, or the channel of the Absolute (Brahman). Some refer to it as the saraswati (wisdom) or shanti (peace) nadi.
Cross-cultural comparisons: Taoism: The main meridian.
Relevance of the concept: The sushumna nadi connects the muladhara chakra to the sahasrara chakra, and is the path for the ascent of kundalini energy up the base of the spine into the sahasrara. It is considered the central channel for the flow of prana throughout the body, and unites all other chakras in the body.
Word definition: The dreamless state of deep sleep.
Technical description: Ramana: Question: Sushupti [deep sleep] is often characterised as the state of ignorance.
Ramana: No, it is the pure state. There is full awareness in it and total ignorance in the waking state. It is said to be ajnana [ignorance] only in relation to the false jnana prevalent in jagrat [the waking state]. Really speaking jagrat [the waking state] is ajnana [ignorance] and sushupti [the sleep state] prajnana [wisdom]. If sushupti is not the real state where does the intense peace come from to the sleeper? It is everybody’s experience that nothing in jagrat can compare with the bliss and well-being derived from deep sleep, when the mind and the senses are absent. What does it all mean? It means that bliss comes only from inside ourselves and that it is most intense when we are free from thoughts and perceptions, which create the world and the body, that is, when we are in our pure being, which is Brahman, the Self. In other words, the being alone is bliss and the mental superimpositions are ignorance and, therefore, the cause of misery. That is why samadhi is also described as sushupti in jagrat [sleep in the waking state]; the blissful pure being which prevails in deep sleep is experienced in jagrat, when the mind and the senses are fully alert but inactive. (Guru Ramana, pp. 112-13)
Relevance of the concept: Distinctions were sometimes drawn between the waking (jagrat), dreaming (svapna), and dreamless-sleep (sushupti) states of the self, and these three are contrasted with the fourth, or transcendent (turiya), state that both transcends and includes them all. (Encyclopaedia Britannica)
Word definition: An image or representation which points to something that conveys a living subjective meaning.
Etymology: Word Origin & History: early 15c., “creed, summary, religious belief,” from Late Latin symbolum “creed, token, mark,” from Greek symbolon “token, watchword” (applied c.250 by Cyprian of Carthage to the Apostles’ Creed, on the notion of the “mark” that distinguishes Christians from pagans), literally “that which is thrown or cast together,” from syn- “together” (see syn-) + bole “a throwing, a casting, the stroke of a missile, bolt, beam,” from bol-, nominative stem of ballein “to throw”.
The sense evolution in Greek is from “throwing things together” to “contrasting” to “comparing” to “token used in comparisons to determine if something is genuine.” Hence, “outward sign” of something. The meaning “something which stands for something else” first recorded 1590 (in “Faerie Queene”).
Technical description: (especially in semiotics) a word, phrase, image, or the like having a complex of associated meanings and perceived as having inherent value separable from that which is symbolized, as being part of that which is symbolized, and as performing its normal function of standing for or representing that which is symbolized: usually conceived as deriving its meaning chiefly from the structure in which it appears, and generally distinguished from a sign.
Synonyms: motive, pattern, representation.
Relevance of the concept: Since the 20th century some scholars have stressed the symbolical character of religion over attempts to present religion rationally. The symbolic aspect of religion is even considered by some scholars of psychology and mythology to be the main characteristic of religious expression. Scholars of comparative religions, ethnologists, and psychologists have gathered and interpreted a great abundance of material on the symbolical aspects of religion, especially in relation to Eastern and local religions. In recent Christian theology and liturgical practices another revaluation of religious symbolical elements has occurred.
The importance of symbolical expression and of the pictorial presentation of religious facts and ideas has been confirmed, widened, and deepened both by the study of local cultures and religions and by the comparative study of world religions. Systems of symbols and pictures that are constituted in a certain ordered and determined relationship to the form, content, and intention of presentation are believed to be among the most important means of knowing and expressing religious facts. Such systems also contribute to the maintenance and strengthening of the relationships between human beings and the realm of the sacred or holy (the transcendent, spiritual dimension). The symbol is, in effect, the mediator, presence, and real (or intelligible) representation of the holy in certain conventional and standardized forms. (Encyclopaedia Britannica)
Word definition: meaningful coincidences.
Technical description: “Swiss professor of philosophy Carl Gustav Jung (1875 – 1961) and Austrian physicist Wolfgang Pauli (1900 – 1958) were fascinated by examples of “meaningful coincidences”. They conjectured the existence of undiscovered and mysterious “attracting” forces driving objects that are alike, or have common features, close together in time and space and used the word synchronicity” to describe situations like these. Jung emphasizes his belief that the interrelationship between the internal states of consciousness and the external world is not bound by cause and effect, but something more difficult to define, something like “meaning”.
(“Some Considerations on Seriality and Synchronicity” Elena Nechita)
Phenomenological description: “Following discussions with both Albert Einstein (When the Einstein was working in Zurich in 1909 and 1912, he was Jung’s dinner guest on several occasions) and Wolfgang Pauli, Jung believed that there were parallels between synchronicity and aspects of relativity theory and quantum mechanics. Jung was transfixed by the idea that life was not a series of random events but rather an expression of a deeper order, which he and Pauli referred to as Unus mundus. This deeper order led to the insights that a person was both embedded in an orderly framework and was the focus of that orderly framework and that the realisation of this was more than just an intellectual exercise, but also had elements of a spiritual awakening. From the religious perspective, synchronicity shares similar characteristics of an “intervention of grace”. Jung also believed that in a person’s life, synchronicity served a role similar to that of dreams, with the purpose of shifting a person’s egocentric conscious thinking to greater wholeness. An example of the mechanism is the ubiquitous phenomenon of multiple independent discovery in science and technology, which has been described by Robert K. Merton and Harriet Zuckerman”. (Wikipedia)
See further: https://marinusjanmarijs.com/evidence-based-approach/14-research-areas/non-physical-perception-and-communication/synchronicity/
Synonyms: Meaningful coincidence.
oss-cultural comparisons: Multiples.
Relevance of the concept: The expression of a deeper order.
Word definition: The interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions, etc.; synergism.
Etymology: 1650s, “cooperation,” from Modern Latin synergia, from Greek synergia “joint work, a working together, cooperation; assistance, help,” from synergos “working together,” related to synergein “work together, help another in work,” from syn- “together” (see syn-) + ergon “work” (from PIE root *werg- “to do”). Meaning “combined activities of a group” is from 1847; sense of “advanced effectiveness as a result of cooperation” is from 1957.
Technical description: Synergy is the creation of a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts. The term synergy comes from the Attic Greek word συνεργία synergia from synergos, συνεργός, meaning “working together”.
Phenomenological description: Holistic interaction.
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