Meaning of Fires on Earth & in Space

Very soon after I found out about the Notre Dame fire, an acquaintance posted the following to a private occult forum:

Sun in Aries squaring Saturn conjunct Cauda Draconis in the 4th house (real estate). Mars in the 9th house (religion).

Scrolling through Twitter a bit later, I saw a few other astrological posts about the devastation of that grand cathedral and then, quite quickly, as many from scientists and “science fans” proclaiming that astrology is obvious bullshit and astrologers are all delusional, superstitious idiots, or else grifters and frauds. It was as obvious as it was petulant; it was the dictionary definition of “too soon”.

Astrology is a common tool of humanity, a means of digging out meaning from the events of life and finding out our part in the universe.

Now, be honest: Did you have an immediate eye-rolling response to that last sentence? Do phrases like “search for meaning” and “our part in the universe” immediately strike you as clichéd? Rest assured, the astronomers of Twitter and readers of “IFuckingLoveScience” agree.

What is the rest of humanity missing that these Children of the Enlightenment see?

The answer, I’m afraid, is a stark, dead universe lacking in poetry.

Astrology, of course, is not the only approach to meaning; it just happens to be a particularly useful and effective one. Magic, mysticism, religion, poetry, and art all perform this duty. Even the sciences do so when they are pursued to sufficient depth. To paraphrase Gordon White, if you go deeply enough into anything, it becomes theology.

And here we come to one of the great persistent points of confusion which makes such a discussion necessary in the first place: How do we define meaning? Even the words we have to use to phrase the question cause problems. Meaning, like pornography, is a know-it-when-you-see-it proposition; it is not a fact but a sense. Very importantly, meaning is not the same as explanation.

Isn’t it interesting that when a child asks an adult, “Why is the sky blue?” or “Why did grandma have to die?”, the immediate response is not to discuss the “why” but the “how” or the “what”? The sky is blue, of course, because of light refraction caused by atmospheric moisture and particulates, and grandma had to die because she was very old and her immune system was weak so she got sick and couldn’t fight it off so that was that. The answers to those questions famously do not satisfy the child, who then asks another “but why?”, and rather than rethinking the problem, the adult merely gets annoyed and keeps giving more of the “how” and “what” until both are frustrated.

It should be clear from the fact that we have different words for them that “why”, “how”, and “what” are different questions. “How” is about process; “what” is about substance; “why” is about meaning. And meaning, it turns out, is so fundamental to our experience that the child’s first impulse was to ask after it! Why are we adults so bad at responding in kind?

As more information, video, and photographs of the Notre Dame fire started to hit news sources and social media, there were also more and more posts berating people for being sad about it or imputing less than noble motives behind the emotional outpouring. Some of these were transparently political, such as insistences that sadness over the collapse of Notre Dame’s roof and endangering of its contents was hypocritical in light of the crimes of the Catholic Church — an observation which ignores all of those odd little bits of meaning like history, art, architecture, skill, and labor. But others were simply based in the accusation that many of the mourners around the world had never even visited Notre Dame, aren’t French or Catholic, and so forth.

But, again, this ignores the deeper truth of the situation. People who may have never even thought of entering through the doors of Notre Dame before have been slapped suddenly with a strange sort of existential realization that perhaps the option has been revoked entirely and, more intense still, one of the greatest efforts and creations of human genius has just burnt to cinders before the eyes of the globe. If it can happen to a protected historical landmark, it can happen to anything, anywhere — or anyone, for that matter.

One thing that astrology and the Notre Dame fire both do is remind us of time, of change, and of eventual destruction, death, and decay. At their best, however, both cathedrals and astrology also remind us of the vaulted heavens, of the smallness of our bodies but the infinite expansiveness of our souls, of the endless outwardness of the cosmos and corresponding inwardness of the mind. Whether or not the cathedral is rebuilt as it was, whatever was or wasn’t able to be saved, it can never be rebuilt exactly as it had been — and it was never the same from moment to moment anyhow. The same is true of our bodies and minds. Just as the Notre Dame roof caved in, just as our skulls will eventually collapse from heat or the weight of centuries, yet the space within both simply rejoins the space from which it had been (only ever apparently) separated by the confines of stone and bone.

Here, then, is meaning.

We could have a whole other discussion about the accuracy and usefulness of the information gained from astrology — such as the smaller but still notable fire in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest sites in all of Islam, at the same time as the Paris blaze — but for as great as that is I find the greatest benefit to be gained from the study of astrology is what I learn about myself and about the connection I enjoy with the cosmos which I share with every other person for whom I conduct readings. This, too, is meaning, above and beyond the facts.

It is not my goal, here, to convince anyone of the non-bullshit nature of astrology any more than I care to prove to you that music is a discipline worth keeping around. The fact is that they both arise from something intrinsic to the type of sentience which not only sees itself of the world but also sees itself as in relation to the world. In a civilization which sells meditation as a productivity tool and does not have words for the worth of something which do not immediately and semi-consciously tie it back in with assumptions of capital and materialism, I despair of anyone who does not simply have it to be capable of gaining the understanding of meaning-as-such distinct from what-and-how processes. Philosopher of religion Jeffrey Kripal insists that such a shift in perspective requires that a person be “flipped” by the weight of bizarre and numinous experiences; a fundamental revolution in many peoples’ way of living in the world is required to let them tell the difference.

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The Five Sources of Pain, Part 2: Delineating the Kleshas

As stated in the last post, the five sources of pain are listed as Ignorance, Ego, Attachment, Repulsion, and Clinging to Life. Though existing as upwellings of a single disease, the five may be teased apart like the threads of a rope, thus weakening the whole. (Have you ever noticed that ropes burn better when separated enough to allow oxygen to move between the strands? No? Just me? Well, the simile stands even for people who haven’t burned as many things.)

Ignorance (avidya), being the root of all pain, is not merely the lack of knowledge of some particular fact or other. A person may be illiterate and less ignorant, in the Yogic sense, than a highly educated university professor; this is in no way a judgment on education, but to point out that it is not possible to attain to gnosis (jñāna or vidya) from gaining worldly, or wordy, knowledge. For many people, such knowledge can form a temporary barrier to gnosis, though wisdom gained can tip this balance in the other direction. Kleshic Ignorance is a fundamental misapprehension of the Nature of the Self, a failure to recognize who and what one’s own soul actually is. This is the closest thing to “original sin” or “fall from grace” there ever was, and we cannot know who or what is to blame anyway. As Lord Buddha made clear, to ask the question of how it came to be before we have attained freedom from the condition which keeps us from knowing is like the man struck by a poisoned arrow who refuses treatment until he knows who fired the arrow and why, who created the poison, etc. In short, don’t worry about it; get free, and then the speculative questions can be approached. Whether or not this Ignorance has always existed or was somehow added to us is not, therefore, a relevant question for now and must be set aside. What is sure is that it can be removed. We have this assurance by way of the example of the individuals who have transcended it and come to jñāna. While each such Master’s followers may make claims to uniqueness, as a rule they all tell their disciples something like, “If I can do it, so can you.” Accepting this idea is shradha, or faith, an essential trait for engaging in the practice. This particular faith overcomes ignorance, not by blinding us to any contradictory evidence (which is really a deepening of ignorance) but by opening us up to the possibility of deliverance. We can rightfully say that Ignorance is the one Klesha from which the others grow and which the others reinforce.

Ego (ahaṁkāra) is perhaps the most obvious manifestation of Ignorance. The Sanskrit word ahaṁkāra can be translated as “I-maker” or “I-actor” suggesting that “ego” is really more of a process than an entity. Anyone who has studied Buddhism can see in this a clear parallel with the doctrine of anātman or “no-self”; our self-identity rests on a roiling ocean of experiences and mental events and as we dig into it we can watch pieces of it go floating off into nothingness like icebergs melting into the sea. Ego is therefore the process of identifying oneself with this, that, or the other — none of which is the genuine article. Generally, the more energy we put into the something, the more of our identity we draw from it. Consider that when we ask someone, “What are you?” we are given a career, a university degree, or a job title in response. We may also be told, “I am a father,” or “I am a Christian,” or “I am a film buff,” the like interpersonal roles, belief systems, hobbies, etc., but even these depend on how much time and energy the person puts into them. Few people, for example, identify themselves as comic book fans if they only pick up the odd graphic novel a few times a year, even if the description might still fit in terms of how much they enjoy or get out of the experience when it happens. Thus we find the source of many social phenomena such as “fandoms” which have arisen in a big way in the age of the Internet. This perfectly illustrates the painful influence of Ignorance: nothing about the process of self-identity is inherently harmful, but our ignorance of our true nature means that we reify those identities, letting our minds and senses of self crystallize in a configuration entirely based on those identities. As we will see in discussing the other Kleshas, we feel the need to protect our identities, often irrationally and viciously, because to let them fall apart is death.

Attachment (rāga) is the principle mechanism by which we seek to strengthen Ego and by which ego itself extends its reach. Attachment is often conflated with desire; while desire is part of Attachment, it is not the whole thing. Simple enjoyment of something good or pleasurable which comes our way is not the problem. The problem is how much “need” we feel for that object or experience, how much we think it defines us, how much of a sense of security we try to squeeze out of it, and how unwilling we are to let it go once it has served its purpose. All of the above applies not only to physical objects but to beliefs and ideas as well. More often than not, the ideas we hold dear say a lot more about ourselves than they do about the world to which we think they apply. Again, this is not a bad thing in itself, but such attachments do make it hard for us to re-evaluate our beliefs and assumptions when they begin to hold us back or push us into destructive behavior. If Ego is the fortress keep of the psyche, Attachment is the sum total of its fortifications and supplies which make us feel safe, comfortable, and secure locked away from real experience of the world-as-it-is.

Repulsion (dveṣa) or Revulsion is the other pole to Attachment, and the push-and-pull which they represent is calibrated to uphold the Ego regardless of how deranged it has become. Like Attachment, the problem is not that we avoid that which is harmful but that because of Ignorance we are unaware of what constitutes harm and because of Ego we have false ideas about who or what is being harmed. To continue the fortress analogy, Repulsion is our psychic military; from Repulsion come anger, aggression, defensiveness, and other habits of hostility. Just as Attachment also applies to ideas, so does Repulsion. The beliefs of others can offend us — that is to say, we respond to them as if they are attacks — to such a degree that it is as if an egoic immune response has triggered and a war begun against an invading force. But, of course, the invasion is usually an error of perception on our part rather than a genuine personal attack. Such is the messy interaction of the sources of pain. It’s worth noting in passing that our interpersonal prejudices, both positive and negative, are egoic Attachment and Repulsion in action; racism, for example, is Repulsion based in an overweening emphasis on the superiority of one’s own ethnicity, while those inversions of racism which attribute, say, innate mathematical ability to people from Asian countries represent Attachment focused on a limited sense of identity projected onto others.

Clinging to Life (abhiniveśa), otherwise formulated as fear of death, is the natural outcome of and reinforcement to the other four Kleshas. Where Attachment and Repulsion tend to be focused on specific objects of experience, Clinging to Life is a more free-floating anxiety, existential angst, unhealthy fear of mortality, and the like: basically, all of those patterns of thought and emotion which are rooted in egotism but whose tendrils wrap around the whole of life rather than stabbing straight into some thing in particular. Ultimately, it is the fear of dissolution, of lost identity, of oblivion. After all, this is what undergirds all of life’s anxiety and fear. A person fears being forgotten because this is a form of erasure from the only type of post mortem survival we’re taught to believe in by our materialist society; another is afraid of change because, whatever else they tell themselves, change reminds them that one day they will die; examples are endless.

All of these sources of pain may seem so natural to what it means to be a thinking, feeling, embodied being that the cause of dissolving them seems hopeless. Alternatively, one or another of the Kleshas may be such a strong obstruction that dissolving any or all of them itself feels undesirable. The anger of Repulsion, for example, may shore-up our self-identity as righteous, just, socially aware individuals such that it seems like personal weakness or moral failure to do away with it. For many of us, Ego and Clinging to Life are such strong presences that any weakening of the Kleshas as a collective seems like an existential threat — reducing the hold of any Klesha feels like a tearing-away of a piece of one’s own essence and, so, a move toward death.

Partly, the sense of the natural or inherent status of the Kleshas is a consequence of how deeply they have become rooted in any given individual’s consciousness. One of the great lessons of spiritual practice is simply the negative knowledge that, “I am not what I have habitually believed myself to be,” and it is this very negative knowledge which brings true freedom. However it must also be borne in mind, lest we allow ourselves to fall into the dualism, world-denial, or solipsism so common in spiritual circles throughout history, that even the Kleshas are themselves based in something basically good: Ignorance can’t exist without something real of which to be ignorant; Ego is an ersatz of a genuine Self (even if the nature of which cannot be put to words). Contemplation of what might be at the heart of any given Klesha is a useful exercise in and of itself.

To the end of contemplating the Kleshas and find more practical approaches to disentangling them, next time we will explore a model of the five elements and how they relate to one another. While this may seem like an aside, it is actually a necessary step in gaining a better understanding of how the Kleshas actually work in and on our minds. As an added bonus, this astrologically-based approach to the elements is applicable in understanding the planets and signs and in practical magic.

Five Sources of Pain, Part 1: Introducing the Kleshas

Pentagrammatic five kleshas yantra
Rose Devi’s Klesha Yantra

The Five Kleshas, the sources of pain, are given significant attention in the classical Yoga of Patañjali, but they are absolutely essential in the Yoga of the Nathas. They are the principle obstacles in any process of illumination. As such, we give them our attention at the outset of our practice.

But why focus on the problem rather than the solution?

In the case of the Kleshas, the two are one in the same. Knowing about the obstacles is already a huge step forward in the way that knowing about the presence of a toxin in the system is necessary before finding an appropriate countermeasure. To this end, we might even install a Klesha Yantra on our altar for worship; we are not therefore worshiping the Kleshas, but rather the awareness which makes them increasingly transparent to us and the fire which reduces their substance to ash. In fact, the pentagram-as-Yantra is itself used in the worship of Rudra and Bhairava — each radiating triangle is a tongue of flame reaching out from the central pentagon-dhuni. The points of the pentagram are therefore not the Kleshas themselves, but the energy crystallized by them awaiting the freedom of the flames.

“Klesha” can be translated as hardship, trouble, anguish, pain from disease. I like the translations of “obstruction” and “source of pain”. Applied to the spiritual process, the Kleshas are the five greatest sources of pain which follow us through all individual experience. We name them: Ignorance, Ego, Attachment, Repulsion, and Clinging to Life. Every spiritual tradition worth the name has its parallel notions, and may enumerate them differently and draw subtle distinctions where others do not feel the need. There are two most important points shared by enough of them to consider them universals: that there is something deeply rooted in what it means to be a sentient being that causes suffering (dukha), and that the sources of pain are rooted in ignorance or delusion.

In your own practice, use whatever list works for you. For me, this grouping of five is especially satisfying and helpful, especially when each Klesha is mapped onto a point of the pentagram. The lines of the pentagram denote specific relationships between them, as do the arcs of the circle which connect the points in a different order. Future posts in this series will explore these relationships in depth, but for now just be aware that they exist; in short, the Kleshas are not separate psychic forces, but a single source of disease which manifests principally in five ways, and that the relationships between these five make them appear as all the many harmful habits, tendencies, thoughts, and behaviors of which we are capable.

This series will explore these obstructions in some depth, as well as the nature of their relationships. More importantly, I’ll go into the insights I’ve gained in how we can make use of this information in spiritual practice. Regardless of your tradition and methods of choice, there is help to be found in studying the Kleshas — not just in the abstract, but in the day to day particulars of your life.

Post Scheduling & Patreon

I know I’ve been quiet here for a while. I have a lot of material I’m getting ready to go, though, so starting tomorrow I’m committing to post every other Friday.

In support of this, I am also launching a Patreon for any readers who may be willing and able to help me in keeping this blog rolling. Writing takes a lot of time and energy, as well as the background of my daily, weekly, and monthly meditation and magical practice, and the cost of maintaining the domain and hosting for the blog itself. Any money you decide to put into my Patreon will therefore help me to keep to this post schedule and expand it moving forward.

Just as importantly, I also have a number of related projects in the works — from chapbooks to a podcast — which will also require more time, picking up or polishing some different skill sets, and so on, but which I’m sure will be of interest to anybody reading this. The Patreon will also help to bring those to life.

If this blog has brought any value to your spiritual practice or your intellectual life, please consider clicking the link above or in the sidebar and becoming a patron. Every little bit really does help. Either way, stick around for more regular content moving forward.

I Ching for 2019

I don’t do as much divination as a lot of people I know. I’m not the sort who turns toward Tarot and astrology any time I need to make a decision, even an important one. Instead, I tend to use them for spiritual and psychological guidance, setting the tone for a project I’m working on, or otherwise gaining perspective. There’s ancient advice concerning I Ching which I think applies as well to most other oracles, and it simply comes down to this: don’t be frivolous. Everyone has to figure out what that means for themselves, but for me it usually means that if I already intuitively know the answer, I’m not going to bother the cards or coins about it. If we’re being honest with ourselves, that’s most things, most of the time. Nevertheless, there will always be some things which are obscured or too far away for us to see them clearly, and so we have tools. For most questions requiring deeper vision and farther sight, I turn to I Ching.

I have been privately doing I Ching readings for the “tone of the year”, but realized that it may be of interest to others as well. This year, I did two readings: a private one for myself, and one to share with the public.

The query was simple: “What is the spiritual tone for 2019 which my readers should know?”

The Response

Hexagram 54 (The Marrying Maiden) with an old Yang in the fourth place;

Hexagram 63 (After Completion) at the heart of the matter;

Hexagram 54 transforms into Hexagram 19 (The Approach).

The Reading

It’s interesting to note, first of all, that the response of the Marrying Maiden was the same for the public reading as well as my own private reading. The line reading came out differently, but it strikes me that there is a common tenor set for the year for those of a magical and spiritual bent who find some resonance with my writing. The Marrying Maiden advises us to maintain an unshaken focus on the eternal end, which is to say “keep your eyes on the prize”. This constitutes the purity of intention necessary in Yoga. While it may mean having to pass up opportunities in order not to divert one’s efforts, the changing fourth line promises that our inner purity will not have been in vain when an opportunity comes along that actually moves us forward in our spiritual practice.

At the heart of the Marrying Maiden is After Completion: while it may feel that we are just waiting around as we quietly continue our practice, we are really in a dynamic balance in our work. We are trying to hold the middle between two extremes and if we lose focus or become lazy with the thought that everything will take care of itself, this balance will collapse. Here is the most urgent reason to remain intellectually pure, for backsliding is always a possibility until the goal is reached.

In the midst of all of this focus, it is easy to lose sight of other people and their needs, or to feel superior to “the herd” for our different priorities. While a real concern for others can arise naturally from spiritual practice, it doesn’t necessarily do so on its own. We must cultivate humility and compassion not as sidelines but as an integral part of maintaining our internal balance. Excessive egotism is a klesha, a source of pain for all involved, and we must root it out by developing its opposites—if not for their own sake, at least to maintain the equipoise necessary to continue our development.

The Discussion

Any divination is a conversation more than a pronouncement. As such, it is up to every reader to figure out how the above applies to their own life. There is a general interpretation I can give, however, which will likely have something to say for most or all of us. If I were speaking with a client, I might say it like this:

You would be wise to put your full effort into remaining grounded in your spiritual practice in the midst of the chaos of the world. Whatever it is you are pursuing, whether it be Yoga or the Hermeticism of Franz Bardon or ceremonial magic or whatever, contemplate the goal of your practice every day and never lose sight of it, no matter what the world throws at you.

Politics, religion, economics, and similar factors will always be trying to grab your attention and topple you. Maintaining the equilibrium of priorities will make you unassailable. This can, however, lead to falling off the other way into inaccessibility, coldness, and arrogance. It is necessary, therefore, to maintain contact with other people, to allow ourselves to grow affectionate towards them, and to remember that we are all in this together. This doesn’t imply a milquetoast acceptance of anyone else’s bullshit, but it does necessitate making the effort to understand their actions and motives just as we come to understand our own.

When we talk about the world as an obstacle to spirituality, we must be quite clear: “the world”, in this context, refers not to the natural world itself but to the cultural and social world—the world of reified ideas and assumptions. This particular world assails us every moment of every day from the moment we are born until we die (and, arguably, even between death and rebirth, though differently) and we must consciously, deliberately choose to construct an inner world more in line with a combination of our own ideals, the world of Nature, and a vision of the Immensity (brahman) we call God. This process won’t usually make us a lot of friends, but it will ensure our integrity.

2019 will not be an easy year, but what year is? Harkening back to, say, 2012, or even 1996, people may pine for a year when “everything was okay,” but it only looked “okay” if you weren’t paying attention. Better that we make our way well in the world, help those we can, and keep our own equipoise at the center of our concern. We can then better enjoy the good times and carry through with far more wisdom and power during the bad times.

Here’s to all of you. May 2019 bring you the wisdom, power, and integrity to not only make it through, but to excel on your way.

Blog Update & Moving Forward

I apologize for the silence of late! I know that I still have some readers who check in to see if I’ve added anything, and it’s been months since I have.

I have indeed been writing, and I do have some articles in the works for this site. I did, somewhat recently, add to my Metapsychology of Liberation series over at Phanes (formerly Phalanx)—a site run by the indefatigable Angel Millar. I have also been working on a book. My goal is to have enough written for it to begin submitting to publishers in the spring, so of course that has taken up most of my writing time over the past few months.

But there’s more…

Since my initiation as a Nath two Septembers ago, now, I’ve been undergoing a shift in focus in my own practice. This hasn’t been a huge change so much as it has been a cleaner synthesis of spiritual impulses which have always been natural to me. Though it has forced me to reevaluate a lot of relationships, both to people and to ideas, it has been something of a homecoming for me. I am learning more and more how much of a natural fit so many of my prior practices have with one another. Many teachers I’ve had, organizations I’ve looked into or had brief affiliations with, and systems I’ve explored have (whether actively or passively) discouraged the exploration of other methods and ideas, or else discouraged their coming together with any other stream for any reason. This never sat well with me. And I’m happy to say that the Nathas have no such attitudes: While our focus is simple and straightforward, we are each encouraged to explore as we see fit and to make use of what gets the job done rather than worrying over some abstract doctrinal purity.

All of this to say that this blog, along with me, will be opening up a bit. I will begin to explore topics even further afield of a “purely Hindu” purview than I already have, and will hopefully bring a little more of the practical in here as well. It is also my hope to have the occasional guest writer or even interview to gain some perspective on practices well beyond my own. Context is king, after all, and the more we can learn about how and why others do what they do, the more our own contexts fill in.

The heart and soul of this blog are therefore staying the same: my own focus is, and ever has been, on the essentials of spiritual development. But I will also be working to fill in the gaps around the edges and hopefully to add some much-needed depth to prior discussions by making connections in a variety of directions. I know that this all sounds vague right now, but it should all start to come clear as I begin to post some new articles in coming weeks.

Thanks for sticking around, everyone. More soon.

Book Review: Yoga Vidya Samhita

Yoga Vidya Samhita
Vidyanath
Art by Sri Vijayanath & Alex Gehrz
Self-published (2018) — Purchase link to follow when available

Part poetry, part prosody, and part Devil’s DictionaryYoga Vidya Samhita is Patanjali and Bodhidharma as told by Groucho Marx.

As ethics dictate, I should tell you first that this book was given to me by the author. It was not, however, given to me to review, as the book isn’t receiving a wide enough release for free review copies to be a good idea. It was given to me because I helped out a little bit with the editing and because the author, Vidyanath, is a very close friend of mine.

It would, therefore, have been easy enough for me to keep my mouth shut, say a few comforting platitudes to my friend, and never have said a word to the public if I didn’t like the book. Instead, I chose to write this brief review of Yoga Vidya Samhita because it’s exactly the sort of thing I wish there were more of in the marketplace of books on the occult, esoteric spirituality, Yoga, and related topics: an unpretentious, good-humored distillation of a lifetime of experience.

Vidyanath is the living embodiment of mysticism. He is faithful to his Way in every moment of his daily life but light-hearted non-dogmatic in his discussion of it. He has a light touch on heavy experiences, but isn’t too cowardly to abrade or upbraid when necessary. More than anything, Vidyanath has a sense for the essential. This book is not long, but it is deceptively dense. There were plenty of times during my first couple of reads when I couldn’t understand why a line had been included or why a paragraph was placed where it was, or how a joke was relevant to the topic under discussion. I would shrug and keep reading, for the time being, but when I came back through on a second, third, or later revisit, I found some of these things clicking into place. Nothing is without purpose, here, and there is no filler.

But who is it for? Clearly intended originally for his fellow initiates, or close friends of, the International Nath Order, Vidyanath has produced a handbook suitable to novices of Nath Yoga. Yoga Vidya Samhita does not provide direct instructions in meditation or ritual. Instead, it includes the sort of pointers which are often not explicitly discussed. One often wonders why these details are left out of books and other teachings and we must conclude that, often enough, it is simply because the teacher in question is not as qualified as could be hoped. Vidyanath is a rare Yogi of the modern world who has reached sufficient depth to come back and tell us about it in the simplest terms. As such, serious meditators outside of the INO would surely also find it a helpful field guide. It’s a shame that this work will probably never have the wide distribution that it deserves—given how little interest there is in mysticism utterly devoid of flash and pretension—but I’m extremely happy to have mine and to keep it handy for when I need a re-grooving.