On Personal Dignity and Initiation, Part Three
When Yogis Kill
Oddly, these notions of “dignity” and “obeying nature” are often presented in a very stereotypical manner in many modern schools. We see the image of the spiritual friend and guide as being one who is like a warm and loving grandfather or grandmother, filled with joy, from whom never a harsh word or action is exhibited. Nearly all of our teachers, even if they are family men or women, are portrayed as asexual – constantly dwelling in the “higher planes” or constantly serving humanity in their “worldwide mission,” leaving them no time for personal relationships. Upon close examination we also see that – at least among those coming from the East – it is not uncommon for teachers (such as some of the more famous Tibetan Lamas of the modern era) to have extensive financial sponsorship relieving them of material family obligations. The daughter of the Nyingma master and head of the Nyingma Order (in exile), Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, stated that it was not until she was six or seven years old that she even knew that he was her father, as he was constantly on spiritual retreat. As such, he not only needed to be supported on retreat, but his family needed to be supported as well while he was away. This needs to be seriously reflected upon in the modern world, as it is a situation few
Western teachers have: the ability to dedicate themselves full-time to practice and teachings without concern for the financial reality of familial obligations. Nearly all are expected to hold careers, and successful ones at that; maintain a healthy family; and teach in a high-quality and professional manner. They are expected to be nearly superhuman, while constantly under the microscopic scrutiny of those they are helping. This often means that student-teacher relationships are easily transformed into financial, romantic, or even clearly hierarchical relationships of authority – under the guise of spiritual teaching.
In reality, relationships with teachers are to evolve into genuinely dangerous ones, and that is they the teacher can be called a “dangerous friend.” They take you to dark and dangerous places in body and mind. They are powerful relationship that are concerned about the creative power of life itself, and that power is like electricity – you have to know its rules if you do not want to be killed by it! Ignorance is no excuse in the physical world or the metaphysical ones. Just as bad manners can get you killed in a foreign land, they can also get you killed in “spiritual” domains as well. To dominate nature, we must submit to its laws. To submit to them, we must first know and understand them. Again – and we cannot repeat this enough – the laws are impersonal: just like electricity, as it lights the house and cooks food, it also kills for the executioner, and anyone who would accidently fall on the third rail of a subway line.
The back-jacket copy to Sinister Yogis by David Gordon Smith states it well:
“Since the 1960s, yoga has become a billion dollar industry in the West, attracting housewives and hipsters, New Agers and the old aged. But our modern conception of yoga derives much from nineteenth-century European spirituality, and the true story of yoga’s origins in South Asia is far richer, stranger, and more entertaining than most of us realize. … Combing through millennia of South Asia’s cast and diverse literature, [White] discovers that yogis are usually portrayed as wonder-workers or sorcerers who use their dangerous supernatural abilities – which can include raising the dead, possession, and levitation – to acquire power, wealth, and sexual gratification. As White shows, even those yogis who aren’t downright villainous bear little resemblance to Western stereotypes about them. … Sinister Yogis tears down the image of yogis as detached, contemplative teachers, finally placing them in their proper context.”
Among the few examples of this kind of activity we hear, from Svoboda’s Aghora Trilogy, of the story wherein a Master, if required, would kill one of his students to prevent them from undertaking an action that would only complicate their karma. Clearly this is extreme, and the student’s intended action would also have to be extreme, but it shows the difference in morality and ethics experienced at various stages of the Path – and it is not limited to Eastern practices.
Again we return to Dubuis. In his essay “Ethics and Principles,” Dubuis states:
“We do not have to be unprincipled, but we do not have to be slaves to [principles]. Also, before adopting a temporary or permanent one, a review is required; for this we have a certain degree of freedom available. If we have sufficiently advanced on the initiatory Path and got some inner awakening, the problem of choosing the right or wrong principle or behavior change is practically solved. Indeed, discernment acquired through this awakening, or communication with the Inner Self, will suggest the best solution for us.”
This is related to Dubuis’s view regarding initiation. In his essay “Karma Is Not What You Think,” he writes:
“The second effect of the passage of the Nadir is a liberation; because the Law of Thelema is then the law of the being, “Do what thou wilt is the whole of the law.” In another form, Plato, Socrates’ disciple, said: “What is right is what suits each one.” It is necessary to note that this crucial point of evolution transforms the Good into Evil and Evil into Good.
How can the law act on the present physical or material in each of us? Simply because everyone creates his own life, not through intellectual power but by the energies of his centers of consciousness. These centers have magical or divine powers, according to their position on the Tree of Qabala.
All our past actions are not accumulated in a cosmic bank account that tallies misfortunes or happiness under the rule “eye for eye, tooth for tooth,” because this conception of justice is only relevant in the physical world. “My wisdom is not your wisdom, and your wisdom is madness in the eyes of the Eternal.” The problem of good, of evil, or of vengeance does not arise on the spiritual planes. There is only energy imbalance in the Sephirothic centers of humans. Restoring energetic balance immediately neutralizes all this so-called Karma. Of course, the one who, in this world and after the Initiation of the Nadir, does not act towards his evolution or his fellow human’s, certainly imbalances his own energies and creates a disharmonious physical situation for himself …”
The Path of Initiation is demanding. It requires that we take full responsibility for our lives and, with that, our Thoughts, Words, and Deeds. There are few hard-and-fast rules that we can cling to in times of crisis when action is demanded. All that we can do is cultivate what Evola describes as an inner calm (imperturbability), a regal impassibility or inability to experience suffering, and strength. We must cultivate these virtues, coupled with an understanding that we alone are responsible for our situation – even if we turn to others for assistance. It is in this freedom and our use of it that the dignity of our personal Initiation on the Path of Return is to be found.
Links to the essays of Jean Dubuis can be found in French and English at the following website: