Happiness Vibrations : Apas And Prithivi
( Originally Published 1908 )
THE Tattvic Law of the Universe, under-stood and applied in daily life and thought, makes living under the old regime of blind submission to unknown forces, generally believed to be malefic and always endangering health, an utter impossibility,— really unthinkable. And the application of the Law leads one to spiritual living by as direct a course as the flight of a homing pigeon. This radical change of thought is a regeneration, but concerning the transition, there are several things to be considered.
In this pouring of the new wine of Higher Thought, or Spiritual consciousness, which is the only real life, into the old bottles of disordered bodies, the only trouble arises from failure to cleanse the bottles properly. Progress will be delayed as long as impurities of any sort are permitted to pollute " The temple of the Living God."
There are many kinds of pollution, and some of the most insidious society smiles upon as pleasures. Gormandizing, dissipation and excesses of any sort which recklessly exhaust nerve strength, and pickling the body with nicotine till the stale, rank odor oozes from its pores, are of these; and habits which thus ignore the body's need of order, cleanliness, and purity within as without must be changed be-fore the " old bottle " is fit for the new wine. It is a fatal mistake to belittle the body, for it is only when we have, through considering its needs ration-ally, moulded it into a wholesome, perfect body that we can forget it and make of it the perfect instrument for the soul's activities for which it was divinely destined.
When consciousness, in thraldom to the senses, is tossed hither and yon by fear and anxiety concerning the painful phenomena of physical disturbances, the soul is a prisoner in the darkest corner of the basement, and is powerless to exercise control,— it is reduced to the lowest servitude. But with recognition of the real status of the soul the physical conquest is more than half-achieved. There need be no ordeal of purification when the soul rules; no struggle of contending forces in the physiological chemistry; for as darkness is dissipated by light so there can be neither impurities nor discord when the soul turns on the spiritual cur-rent. When there is painful physical conflict, it is a reflection of the mental state,— a half-heartedness and wavering of faith and confidence from failure to comprehend the great truths involved, and hence inability to develop the latent soul-force.
The temptation to indulge in those pleasures of the senses which are physically injurious loses its fascination and is seen in its true light when the soul wakes to its real duty and the consciousness of its glorious power. This is the secret of the wonderful hypnotic influence that " cures the desperately ill, and releases youth from thraldom to petty vices that have enchained the will and threaten to wreck the moral being. By hypnotic suggestion the soul is roused to consciousness of its power and duty, and the soul itself works the miracle.
Moreover, the soul is receptive to suggestion in natural as in hypnotic sleep, for it is then released from the delusions and illusions of the senses, and is itself in touch with higher influences; consciously, when its aspirations lead it thitherward, but under any and all circumstances more accessible to them. It is not, perhaps, generally recognized that " the night time of the body is the day-time of the soul," which was the creed of Iamblichus, leader of the Neoplatonists. This is the divine opportunity for soul growth — the saving provision or means by which God retains at least a faint hold upon even the most wayward of His children. It explains, also, the inestimable value of the quiet period of introspection and uplifting thought which should precede the laying of the head upon the pillow for the night's rest. Incalculable harm is done to little children by sending them weeping and rebellious to bed,— a sure prelude to restless, troubled sleep, with a sense of injury stabbing the heart and rank-ling in the mind. It is a preparation inviting all evil influences and repelling the good. Life's cares and the world's travail should be dropped with our garments and we should trust ourselves with happy confidence to the blessed ministrations of the divine mystery of sleep, when the soul is offered release from its physical trammels.
The thoughts which occupy the mind at the moment when Sleep gently slips the cap of oblivion over our brains are of paramount influence not merely upon the rest which should ensue but also upon the general health, because they determine in no slight degree the character of the Tattvic flow and the equable balance of the two currents of Prâna. A pas and Prithivi, the water and earth elements, are favorable vibrations whose flow we encourage by cheerfulness, serene poise, pleasure, satisfaction and all pure forms of genuine happiness. We can thus by governing our unruly thoughts correct inherited surplusage of unfavorble vibrations and furnish the conditions that at-tract to us more fortunate ones.
Remember always that it is the mind which dictates every action that disturbs the Tattvic balance of the vital current, and that the endowment of free will makes every human being responsible for the thoughts that supply the impulse. The Tantrik philosophers held the firm conviction that if the human mind were steadfastly fixed upon any object for a certain time it was absolutely sure by very force of will to attain that object.
Now, tell me, is there anything new under the sun? I must here enter my protest against this age-honored belief in the power of mind being in our day mis-called " New Thought." Its proper name, giving it something of the dignity its due in the revived cult which is mercifully encircling the earth, is " Higher Thought," as distinguished from the stultifying bondage of materialism. It is older far than materialism (only a passing phase of way-ward human struggles to know all things marking the close of the Black Age). Why belittle the golden light of the Truth by the term " new," as if it were but half-known and untried?
The therapeutic effect of happiness has been long recognized, and every physician feels that his battle with disease is half-won when he can keep his patient in a happy, cheerful frame of mind. Yet the vital significance of this favorable mental state has probably never been even surmised in Occidental practice. It will advance the science of medicine (purely empiric now) more than any discovery since Harvey's of the circulation of the blood, when it is known that instead of being itself, " a direct product from blood," as noted physiologists have maintained, the nerve-force (called by them " nervous ether ") imparts to the blood all the energy and power it possesses. Indeed, Tantrik philosophy pronounces the system of blood vessels only the shadow of the nervous system. All physiological effects are the products of nerve activity. Every atom of energy in the human being is transmitted by the nerves, and the form of that energy and the tempo of its vibrations, whether in rhythmic harmony or broken and discordant, is determined by the mind.
Happiness is an upbuilding force only equalled by the sun's rays. It is sunshine in the heart! And it moves with a joyous rhythm that sings through all the Nâdis (nerves and blood vessels) of the body. Therefore, no medicine in the pharmacopoeia possesses the curative virtue of happiness vibrations; while anxiety, worry, depression, and excitement of the heated flurry sort cause varying forms of stagnation and disintegration, which disturb the balance of the Tattvas, compel the flow of those which in excess are most inauspicious, and invite the very discord that fear dreads. Wrong thoughts and fear are the busiest builders of disease, suffering, and weakness that I know of, for they are the disrupters of the physiological balance of the Tattvas; that is, their manifestation on the gross plane of activity. It is the perfect balance of the positive and negative currents of Pratt which maintains life.
In the well-poised, symmetrical, harmonious life, Prithivi and Apas are the predominant Tattvas. In temperature, Prithivi is next to Tejas, and Apas is the coolest of the Tattvas, exercising a restraint upon the two heating forces, as does Vâyu in a lesser degree. The craving for water when over-heated is perfectly natural and can be gratified with benefit only, if the water be taken at a rational temperature; that is, cool, but not iced. Akâsha, says Râma Prasâd, " has a state which neither cools nor heats. This state is, therefore, the most dangerous of all; and, if prolonged, causes debility, disease, and death."
The lowering or raising of the body's normal temperature, a condition always watched with keenest anxiety by physician and nurse, is one of the first symptoms of disturbance in the balance of the Tattvas. If, for example, Tejas flows too long, it is robbing Prithivi, which follows it, of part of its assigned period of activity, and the temperature of the body rises above normal heat; and, in like manner, every Tattva which exceeds its regular period prevents its successor from setting in when it should; and as every one has its assigned field of activity,— some organ where it is supreme, some elemental need which only that Tattva can supply, —discord, disorder, and disease quickly manifest themselves. This is the real office of pain, not disciplinary but beneficent ; to give man immediate warning when he has transgressed the Divine laws which secure his well-being. When the Tattvas flow in rhythmic sequence and harmony, the delicate transition of one into another as they change is imperceptible.
All ignoble emotions, as jealousy, envy, malice, carping criticism or fault-finding, and uncharitableness have their physiological effect in disturbances of the Tattvas compelling the prolonged flow of those unfavorable in terrestrial activities, and repelling the joy-giving and health-upbuilding vibrations.
Of all the Tattvas, Apas carries the breath deepest, and next to it comes Prithivi, which discloses one secret of the inestimable benefit, the revivifying effect, derived from deep breathing, without which these beneficent Tattvas are denied their fullest activity. The dominance of Apas in this function is confirmed by the great semi-lunar ganglion which supplies the diaphragm with its nerves of involuntary motion. Any injury to these nerves is marked by symptoms of suffocation (as in drowning), from which the patient sometimes dies suddenly. These two Tattvas work together in complete harmony, under direct command from the soul, for the re-lease of the body from the dominion of pain and disease. Apas, the universal solvent, slakes thirst, allays fevers, washes away the germs of disease when we will it to perform that office, and imparts endurance under the privation of hunger and thirst.
The exercise of the Held breath encourages in a marked degree the flow of Prithivi, and it is brought into great activity during Prânâyâma. This Tattva gives endurance to acts performed during its flow, increases the power of attention, stimulates memory, and strengthens the will-power. The prevalence of Prithivi imparts a golden tinge to the circle of light about our heads and to the brilliant play of light-vibrations seen within. This inner light sometimes glows as brilliantly as the sunshine streaming through the purest atmosphere. It is a startling proof of the reality of this inner world, pulsing with golden glory, which we penetrate in concentration, when, after such experience, one opens the eyes upon a grey and gloomy sky. This has often happened to the writer, whose gaze, from her study windows, sweeps over acres of house-tops to a hill-bound horizon thirty miles distant. At such times, the external gloom seems the unreality !
Prithivi is sweet smelling and sweet to the taste, while Apas is astringent, salty, and is itself the taster; that is, it stimulates the sense of taste. Apas is the predominant Tattva in saliva, which ac-counts for the extraordinary solvent power of this digestive fluid. It is gross injustice to the whole digestive canal to hastily cram into it a load of half-masticated food, thus depriving Apas of opportunity to perform its assigned work and thrusting upon the other Tattvas an office they are unfitted for. Much of our food is put into the mouth in the Prithivic — solid — state, and should be reduced to Apas — liquid — before we permit it to pass through the Apas gate of taste by swallowing it. Tejas works harmoniously after Apas, but when required to perform not merely double duty but work it is, chemically speaking, unable to do, the effort generates an overplus of Vâyu (see Chap-ter VIII). Gastric disturbances of the most serious character have often no other origin than this. Sudden deaths from nominal heart-failure have been caused in this way, the pressure of the gas — Akâsha and Vâyu — upon the heart arresting its action.
The great benefit derived from walking is that through the exercise of the feet and their contact with the ground we are attuned to terrestrial forces. Not only does the Prithivi Tattva in the feet in-crease in strength, but throughout the body it works more actively in all its centers. It shares the influence of Tejas in the solar plexus, and stimulates the wholesome normal flow of this Tattva in all its centers. As Prithivi is active in the liver and in the lower intestine and kidneys, it can be readily understood that the exercise of walking is an unequalled stimulus to healthful digestion, if we eat pure foods adapted to our physical needs and perform the only voluntary process of digestion — mastication — with the care its importance demands.
Apas being regnant in the mouth and throat is naturally the prevalent Tattva in the function of speech and production of voice. As the semi-lunar current of this Tattva passes over the muscles of the vocal cords they are drawn up and contracted. The deeper the curves the tenser the cords, and the variations in sound and tone are due to the modifications of this stimulating Tattva through its per-mutations with the others.
The anatomy of the larynx is a beautiful ex-ample of the co-operative action of the Tattvas. Five cartilages corresponding to the different Tattvas enter into the construction of this marvellous vocal instrument, itself of triangular form blended with crescent-like curves. Be not confused by reading in Century Dictionary that there are nine cartilages. All but the ring-like cricoid cartilage, the seat of Akâsha, which connects the larynx with the trachea, are in pairs, and the dictionary counts them separately, though this is not usual in physiologies. The spherical form of Vâyu is recognized in the thyroid cartilage (Adam's apple), upon the action of which the intensity of the voice is determined; Tejas influence is seen in the triangles of the Arytenoids, and that of Prithivi is recognized in the hardest of these cartilaginous bodies, the corniculalaryngis. All these forms are rounded and modified by the prevalent Apas, and throughout the whole body its centers of activity can be traced in semi-lunar valves, ganglia, and cartilages.
Concerning the changing tones of the voice in speech and song and their correspondingly changed colors facts of much interest will be developed in a later chapter. The thoughtful student, however, must already realize something of the Tattvic value of an agreeable tone in the speaking voice,— of music in speech. Every word we utter has its effect upon the invisible forces around us. It has been said that " to pronounce a word is to evoke a thought and make it present. The magnetic potency of the human speech is the commencement of every manifestation in the Occult World." Remember the formative power of sound, ever building or disintegrating. It is a stupendous force when properly directed, for the subtle sound-space atoms are everywhere; and pleasant speech is every human being's contribution to universal rhythm and harmony, but it affects immediately and most powerfully himself and his associates.