Tattvic Influences: Tejas, The Fire Of Life
( Originally Published 1908 )
IT is only natural and in perfect: accord with the harmony which we observe throughout nature that the Tattva which puts us in happiest relations with the universe while we live on the terrestrial plane is the earth element, or Prithivi. Moreover, the fortunate influences of the Tattvas upon mundane life, decrease, ac-cording to Tantrik philosophy, in exact ratio to their remoteness from the terrestrial element; and the lower triplicity — Prithivi, Apas, and Tejas — work together with paramount influence upon human life — for good when harmoniously balanced, and for untold evil when misused. And this influence is not alone upon the gross plane in perfecting the physical body and maintaining the equability and harmonious functioning of all its organs, but also in subtler ways through the great sympathetic nervous system, which is the connecting link with exterior vibrations.
We are constantly lapped in an ocean of life-giving Prâna flowing in full currents of rhythmic harmony from its solar center; but in diseased physical conditions, these currents are beaten back, deflected as it were, by the antagonistic repulsion of the discordant vibrations holding sway over the body and surrounding it with their unwholesome atmosphere. Thus, the Universe of matter, to our vision unmanifested, surrounds us. We choose from it what we will!
If we desire harmony and poise, we must think of harmony and poise, for such vibrations do not impinge upon either physical or mental states of heat and excitement or depression and worry.
Here is the place to protest emphatically against the false logic which argues that there is no deep feeling, no earnestness, unless it expresses itself with passion and excitement, and defends the strenuous life as the only progressive life of deeds and accomplishment. At this particular epoch of racial evolution, especially as expressed in American life, the influence of this sophistical denunciation of the good, the true, and the beautiful in de-fence of the bad, the wrong, and the hideous is deplorable. The intemperance of living which it advocates and extols is a national menace, for it affects men and women mentally and morally as well as physically; and characters deteriorate even faster than physiques under the iniquitous strain after success at any cost.
You will learn in this study of self-development — that is, soul growth — through self-control that all great forces, working harmoniously to a given end, come out of the silence; just as Admiral Togo's fleet sailed out of the silent mist on that memorable May morning in the Tsushima Straits, and gave such an exhibition of conserved power as the world never before witnessed. All that this wonderful self-contained nation, Dai Nippon, has accomplished is an object-lesson of superbly controlled force. She is unlikely to fulfill any of the dire Western prophecies of " yellow peril "—fear of which exists only in the strenuous imaginations that picture the possibilities of power misused — for Nippon's samurai spirit is not predatory.
Those who understand how deeply bushido influences the national life realize that Japan has in this word not merely enlarged the universal vocabulary of expressive, high-thought symbols, but that she has given to the world an exalted, ethical standard of character. Bushido, " the Soul of Nippon," implies the spirit of discipline and sacrifice, of gentleness and firmness, of honor and integrity, of heroic endurance and chivalry. All that the Western world can teach Japan of material progress is elevated and transmuted through bushido into something which the average West-ern mind — the commercial, How-much-can-you-get-for-it? mind — cannot comprehend; in which, therefore, danger is scented.
But the whole secret is that the Nipponese have never lost touch with Nature. They have kept close to the soul of things, to the heart of the universe, with senses trained to consciousness of the nearness of the spiritual plane, which the Western people have blindly ignored, when not denied, in their head-long pursuit of things material. Japan's own peril is only from those of her people who imitate too closely Western commercial methods, forgetting the traditions of the past, or never themselves trained in them.
We who have worked so hard and made such tremendous sacrifices of the best things, the real prizes in life, pursuing wrong roads leading to precipices or blind alleys and forming wrong habits of thinking and doing, must now go into the silence to find our moral as well as physical equilibrium; to discover the right path leading to rational living and thinking and the forming of normal, harmonious habits.
It is in the stillness that we give the rhythmic breath of life (ever offering its healing restorative power) an opportunity to overcome the antagonistic, disordered vibrations in our bodies, and draw into synchronous movement — that is, vibration — all the rebellious atoms and molecules which have been setting up independent republics, all warring against one another. The state we woo is inward and individual, and not dependent upon exterior silence although aided by it. As the delicious calm of this stillness in which we try to enwrap ourselves makes its presence felt, a poise and serenity flows over and through us, penetrating every fiber of our beings and restoring confidence and power; but few, even when rejoicing in this new-found strength, attempt to analyze its source. It is the magnetism generated by the rhythmic current of Prâna, which, sweeping through every channel, imparts corresponding motion to every atom, as a great tidal stream sweeps through its estuaries with irresistible force, carrying all obstructions before it, and compels every molecule of water to flow in the same direction.
The rhythmic current of Prâna coming under the control of the soul-centered will thus affects for good the whole being. When practicing the breathing exercises and endeavoring to concentrate the mind upon a given center or subject causes physical disturbance, it is because this control has not been gained. The disturbance is open revolt against control and order. Not struggling but letting-go is necessary. Retire to the silence of the soul on the heights of your being, and reflect its calm upon the mind. Downward, to those rebellious physical atoms the reflection must pass on. It is the unchangeable law. The rhythmic word or affirmation is at such times most helpful. There is a monitor within who quickly takes cognizance of the accent and establishes the rhythm, so that you feel every group when it is complete. This holds attention and prevents the exercise from becoming mechanical, in which state the benefit is greatly lessened.
The figure of man, standing with outstretched arms, epitomizes from his crown to his toes pre-dominant Tattvic influences in the exact order of their evolution. Akâsha is prevalent in the head which is raised heavenward. Out of this Akâshic bowl of mentality comes whatever of good or evil our consciousness mixes there, to be reflected upon the physical plane, and affect for weal or woe our-selves and our fellows; for none can live to him-self alone. Pâyu has its keenest vibrations in those extended fingers; Tejas is extremely active throughout the torso, and has more centers of dominant influence there than any other Tattva; Apas is influential in the knees; and Prithivi, predominating in the soles of the feet, maintains man's gravity as his feet press Mother Earth and meet her sympathetic vibrations.
A deep significance is here. The living man is the live cross. It should not need historical proof that the cross is the most ancient of symbols — its origin lost in the mists of antiquity to convince us that like all symbology it originally expressed the recognition of the Truth of Being. That is, the dual Principle Spirit-matter, positive-negative — and the elemental forces evolved therefrom, which involved the submergence of the Spirit, and out of which the Soul must be evolved. And just as the Spirit in order to manifest laid Itself upon the cross (the first sacrifice), the " spark of spiritual fire radiating from center to circumference, thereby limiting Itself to the sphere, so the soul center of man is at the intersection of the cross just between the shoulders, where Angel's wings are always indicated; and whether there be winged angels in very fact matters not the least. They symbolize the flight of the soul when it recognizes its own power and freedom.
The intimate relations of Tejas with the vital organs, so compactly fitting the one to the other in the torso, makes the rhythmic flow of this Tattva in its divinely assigned proportions of paramount importance to both health and happiness. Not only does it maintain the normal heat of the body, with centers of great activity in the sacral and solar plexuses and between the shoulders, but it presides over digestion and distributes the renewing nutrient juices throughout the system. In disturbed conditions it destroys its own work. The positive phase of Tejas is manifested in the stomach and its negative phase in the duodenum. Its prevalence in digestion explains the close sympathy between the stomach and brain; for as Tejas stimulates the optic nerves, it has at all times a strong influence upon thoughts, and correspondingly suffers as strong a re-action from them. Indeed, no other Tattva is so quickly affected by every mental disturbance.
The Hindu god of fire - that is, the power or force in this element, the luminiferous ether — is called " Agni," and this word is frequently used interchangeably with Tejas to signify the same element; though, in some of the Upanishads the distinction is made of naming heat or fire " Agni," and light " Tejas." The god " Agni" is represented with seven tongues, which of course symbolize the seven permutations of the Tattva. There are many references in the Upanishads to Agni as the fire within by which the foods are cooked." The student is bade to stop his ears and meditate upon the throbbing he hears within which he should recognize as the noise of Agni's activity; and also as tangible proof of the life and light within which are one with the Spirit Divine,-in very truth, not figuratively, omnipresent. On the approach. of death this inward noise ceases. The forces of life are withdrawing.
Agni is the name of various plants, among them Citrus acidus (lemon) and Plumbago Zeylanica, a member of the leadwort family. Other plants are called " Tejas;" among them several scarlet-flowered ones; and were we to make a careful examination of these plants we should doubtless find they all possess some pungent or heating property.
The fibrous aril of the nutmeg, known to commerce as " mace," betrays in its red color and its fiery pungency its affinity with Tejas, the taste of which is pungent. Tejas is closely associated with minerals, and during its flow, according to Tattvic philosophy, the thought of minerals and quadrupeds rises in the mind. Gastric juices, lymph, bile, and marrow are in Sanskrit called either " agni " or " tejas." When people are " cold to the marrow of their bones," something is wrong with Tejas.
In all hot disputes and excitement Tejas vibrations are disordered and increased; and in excess it becomes the instigator of the most diabolic crimes, blindfolding reason and shackling self-control. In Sanskrit, impatience and inability to put up with inconvenience (general cantankerousness as it were) are called " tejas." The word identifies the sharp edge of a knife, as also the point of a flame; and all brilliant, dazzling, glowing, flaring things are known as tejas.
I believe the Tejas Tattva to be the chief force employed in all intense, effective, organizing thought; and also the space-annihilating vibration which is the mysterious agent in thought transference, and which transports us mentally from New York to Tokyo at a speed that leaves Puck a laggard. This conjecture is corroborated by the fact that the Sanskrit name for the brain is tejas. The concentration in the brain of this radiant, disintegrating and transforming force in a state of great activity would account for the vast discrepancy between the fatigue effects of mental and physical exertion. It is well known that the breaking down of tissue in the brain during intense application is so rapid that three hours of brainwork is as great a drain upon the physical forces as a whole day of manual labor.
A logical diagnosis of rheumatism by the Tattvic law explains its cause as an excess of Vâyu and a decrease of Apas vibrations causing extreme acidity of all the secretions and excretions of the body. The intense suffering in the bony structure arises from the pressure upon these vibrations of the cohesive Prithivi Tattva; and the relief which hot baths and inunctions of pungent oils afford is due to the expansion of the luminiferous ether, the flow of Tejas being thus accelerated and encouraged.
An increased flow of Apas naturally follows, and this water vibration dilutes and washes away the acid impurities whose clogging wastes have choked channels.
For some years before radium was discovered, the miners working in large Montana mines were familiar with a strange mineral which they were positive possessed curative properties. They called it " Medicine ore " and " rheumatism rock; " and they carried bits of it in their pockets believing it a positive cure for kidney and stomach troubles, miner's consumption," rheumatism, and some nervous disorders. The mineral emits phosphorescent light under slight friction, but there is absolutely no perceptible heat in it, and the radiance is most brilliant under water.
When radium was discovered, it occurred to one of the miners that the "rheumatism rock" might contain the rare new element, and he induced some Butte chemists to examine its. Careful tests and analysis disclosed a trace of radio-activity, and the mineral has been named " radiumite; " but no one can account for its strange medicinal virtues, which have been substantiated by many experiments under close observation of a prominent Butte physisian. It is of course an igneous rock aglow with subtle Tejas vibrations, which explains clearly and scientifically its magical curative and invigorating properties. To the underground worker especially is it a blessed boon, supplying him with the life element of which his deprivation of sunshine and light robs him.
You see it is of vast importance to human well-being that the balance of. the Tattvas be maintained, and this is the remedial office of alternate breathing.
It is sometimes very helpful in crises of great fatigue and exhaustion following strenuous exertion, to take several full deep negative breaths inhalations through left nostril — exhaling all through right nostril. Hold the breath in and out while you count nine, and increase this count as control is gained; but never do it to the point of least strain or discomfort. Take the exercise lying prone upon the back, perfectly relaxed, or when walking in the open air.