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Shankara's Self is unwavering Reality of Self-Knowledge.

Yukteswar's Poignant Ideas and Some Others


Yukteswar accepts that God is. [Hos 21, 22].

Yukteswar talks of liberation of the spirit of a human as a certain inward "aloneness", or separatedness. [Ith 234]

Adi Shankara:

There is a self-existent Reality, which is the basis of our consciousness of ego. That Reality is the Witness of the state of ego consciousness and of the body. That Reality is the constant Witness . . . your real Self. That Reality pervades the universe . . . Its nature is timeless Awareness . . . This is your real Self, the Supreme Being . . . It is unwavering. It is Spirit itself. [More]

In Yukteswar's book, The Holy Science, he writes,

The highest aim of religion is Atmajnanam, Self-knowledge [Hos 6] . . . God . . . in the universe, is therefore not comprehensible by man of this material world, unless he becomes divine by lifting his self [Hos p. 22].

"There are indeed exceptional personages [who] can grasp today what ordinary people can not . . . those exalted ones . . . require nothing of it [his book]," writes Yukteswar [Hos 18-19]. [What Buddha thinks of method in the matter].

After AD 499 . . . the intellectual power of man started to develop [Hos 16]."

COMMENT. Suppose that year is wrong. Good evidence is missing. Buddha, for example, lived about a thousand years earlier. Scriptural mentions and notions may or may not be all right, says Buddha in his ground-breaking Kalama Sutta against bizarre indoctrination too.

Ho-ho-ho Teachings

A few Revelation passages runs like this:

Before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the centre, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come."

Whenever the living creatures give glory, honour and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." [Revelation 4:6-11, niv]

Yukteswar reads into it, in essence:

The Word, Time, Space, and the Atom [monad] are one and the same. These four ideas are the four beasts of the Revelation and give rise to confusion . . . [Hos 24-25, rendered]

If that is not kidding, what is it?

That Time is a Revelation Beast, time will show - Time and space form a continuum, according to physics . . . Has Yukteswar caught the New Testament's meaning of the Four Beasts? Yukteswar says the throne is the Atom or Monad: "Atoms . . . are the throne of Spirit" [Hos 25], and Revelation says the four beasts surround the throne. So he says in effect:

  • The Atom is around the Atom (throne).

  • Another complication is that Yukteswar voices the dualistic Samkhya view of many Atoms, anus, monads; it is not just one. Many atoms, many thrones, accordingly - or are "the innumerable atoms, "one and the same", as he says [Hos 24]?

  • A third difficulty lies in this: Yukteswar says about the four beasts - Word, Time, Space, and Atom (monad) - that they are not only "one and the same", but also "substantially nothing but mere ideas" [Hos 24]. Accordingly, they are not "things". Ideas are not things.

  • Consider, too, that Yukteswar tells that in Swarloka [i.e. the celestial plane], the source of all matters, fine and gross, man perceives the luminous astral form around his Heart, Atom, the throne of Spirit the Creator, provided with five electricities and with two poles, Mind and Intelligence, of seven different colors as in rainbows.

    You may soon enough come to wonder: "Some insects and animals perceive ultra-violet light, and snakes infra-red light. The man who allegedly "understands the true nature of the universe," won't he see at least nine colours in the rainbow?"

  • Or maybe you start to wonder why someone would spend a lot of time to describe "one and the same" by enumerating said twenty-five gradations of it into mere nothingness.

    "Everyone to his liking," a proverb goes.

  • Still another problem arises from Revelation 3:21, where someone else than the individuality (Yukteswar's Atom) sits on the throne, which the individual was supposed to be, according to Yukteswar [cf. Hos 43].

From these verbatim Bible verses and Yukteswar's hazardious interpretations it stands out that the throne Yukteswar speaks of, is yourself, your individuality. In Yukteswar's exegesis the throne is the Atom, man's individuality, and in the middle of it and around it are many eyes and flapping wings and songs day and night. How beasts may mass a lot where there is neither air nor organs is not told. . . . [Hos 24, 25]

The twenty-four elders according to Yukteswar, are "twenty-four principles . . . nothing more than the development of Ignorance." The Bible's "Ignorance elders" worshipping the one on the throne - is that bad Ignorance too? [Hos 32]

Kutastha Chaitanya is Omnipresent Holy Spirit, and is called the Holy Ghost which shines on the individual parts of Darkness. Ignorance is repulsion and does not comprehend the Spiritual Light. [Hos 26, rendered]

Fifteen attributes plus Mind and Intelligence constitute the seventeen "fine limbs" of the subtle body. These fifteen attributes with two poles - Mind and Intelligence - of the spiritualised Atom constitute the fine material body [Hos 21, 31, abr]

The Holy Spirit of the gospels is different from what Yukteswar tells. Evidence is here: [Link].


Steps and Stages Homeward

The fit approach is to transcend treatises, as Milarepa says and Transcendental Meditation helps us to. "I have never valued word-knowledge set down in books in conventionalized form," is a message of Milarepa, (cf. Evans-Wentz 1969:245).

Samkhya differs from Advaita in being dualistic. How a soul can become one with Spirit by realising the soul is nothing, as Yukteswar holds, makes one wonder what sort of tricky union is into it.

And so on. A ripe fruit, should it be eaten or discarded as nothingness? Do not be mistaken: Some gurus at times teach one thing (nothingness) and live quite another. Moral stands need to be upheld, next cultivated too, and some good courses to adhere to in life help too. [cf. Hos 71-72]

The Seven Lokas - empty?

Yukteswar tells of seven spheres [lokas, realms, levels, planes] in the "big nothingness" of the realm of illusion - which is of vacuums or vacuum, heavens or heaven.

Dharma Wheel The unenlightened alone regard It [the Void] as being nothingness".W. Y. Evans-Wentz. [Tiy 119n]

"Regard not the Void as being Nothingness." [Tiy 119]

"Many people are afraid to empty their minds lest they should plunge into the Void. They do not know that their own mind [contains] the Void." [Cf. Huang-po in Dmt 48].

An aside: Northern Buddhism enumerates eighteen degrees of the Voidness, starting with Internal Voidness; External Voidness; Internal and External Voidness in union; Voidness of Voidance itself. Next on the list is Great Voidness; Real Voidness; Compounded Voidness; Uncompounded Voidness; and Boundless Voidness. Voidness number 12 is Natural Voidness. Number 13 is Voidness of Phenomena and so on. There are voluminous works and commentaries devoted wholly to the expounding of these eighteen degrees of the Voidness, informs W. Y. Evans-Wentz. Well, would you know! [Tiy 206n]

"The particular meanings of "emptiness" vary with the particular context and the religious or cultural tradition in which it is used," says the Encyclopedia Britannica. [EB "emptiness"].

"Piousness suggests intentness of the soul on its own nature, or "intentness on the reality of the Self", he says too, and "The learning of the learned may bring enjoyment but not freedom – Freedom is won by a perception of the Self's oneness with the Eternal, not by rites and sciences." [Shankara teachings]

Five Sheaths, Koshas

Yukteswar also teaches that the Son of God [soul] is covered by five sheaths, koshas. He is "screened by five coverings".

  1. Annamaya kosha. The grossest sheath is of matter. This coating may nourish and support the material world. Take care not to do it to your long-range loss. [Hos 35-36]
  2. Pranamaya kosha. The "envelope" inside the body is of Prana (life energy).
  3. Manamaya kosha. The third layer from inside is the Mind (manas).
  4. Vijnanamaya kosha. Yukteswar explains: The "layer" of Magnetic Intelligence that determines what is truth. This layer is the seat of knowledge, he says.
  5. Anandamaya kosha Yukteswar says this innermost covering is the Heart, also called the Atom, which feels great bliss. The blissed Atom Heart! However, Vedanta teaches that bliss is the "envelope", that it is bliss which is the sheath. The Heart is more essential than a sheath.

The origin of the koshas, often visualised like layers of an onion, is the Self, is the teaching of Advaita. The teaching of koshas, sheaths, are generally well supported yoga teachings. [Cf. WP, "Kosha"]

On page 24 Yukteswar says the World, Time, Space and Atom are one and the same, and on page 35 he says the Atom (Heart) is composed of these four ideas. What kind of teachings is that? Messy, is one word to describe it, for "The atom is composed of the Atom and three more one-and-the-same ideas," is what Yukteswar teaches.


"Make hay when the sun shines [Proverb]." Why? "Supreme wealth, Paramartha, is the ultimate goal. [Hos 52, 51]."

Paramartha is Sanskrit for such as "supreme wealth, highest or whole truth; spiritual knowledge; best kind of wealth; highest truth." It is the "supreme thing," loosely put. (SDSS)

Wealth is of many sorts and levels. [Hos 56-58]

Yukteswar holds this to be better love: "Stop loving them." [cf. Hos 61].

"The power of love has been beautifully described" - Yukteswar. [Hos 97]

Eating and drinking: What to choose?

Pigs treat us as equals. [Sir Winston Churchill]

Yukteswar makes this point: "man is, in all probability, a frugivorous animal." [Hos 64-65].

Yukteswar informs that pigs like nuts, roots and vegetables - One may add pizzas to the list along with potatoes and vegetable peelings. Do not make do with just asking, "What would the pig eat?" Man can cook food too. Many who delight in chocolate, don't want raw cocoa beans. Among humans as in Ayurveda, much depends on the processing, in other words. [WP, "Marzipan"]

"In men of all races we find that their senses of smell, sound, and sight never lead them to slaughter animals," says Yukteswar [Hos 65]. He does not find it fit to tell that in Vedic India people used to eat meet. Encyclopaedia Britannica also informs: "In ancient India, killing people in war or in capital punishment and killing animals in Vedic sacrifices were acceptable to many people who for other reasons refrained from eating meat." [EB, "Hinduism"]

Yukteswar also talks for milk: "Milk is undoubtedly the food of the newborn babe." [Hos 66] Jesus says - correct me if I am wrong, "Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. [Matthew 18:3]." Luke tells how people were bringing babies to Jesus, who said, "The kingdom of God belongs to such as these. [Luke 18:15-16]."

Become like children, Milch trinken (drink milk) is the message. Along with extensive lacto-vegetarianism, Hindus also venerate the cow that gives food without having to be killed." [EB "Hinduism"]

"From these observations the only conclusion that can reasonably be drawn is that various grains, fruits, roots, and - for beverage - milk, and pure water openly exposed to air and sun are decidedly the best natural food for man . . . well chewed and mixed with saliva . . ." [Hos 66].

COMMENT. Feel confident that Yukteswar does not want everybody to chew water. One may include raw or steamed or cooked vegetables to make a delightful stew or soup.

He Does not Advocate Very Much Sex

Interestingly, he also says, "In the sexual desire everyone has a very accurate thermometer to indicate the condition of his health." He holds that "sexual desire in its normal state makes man quite free from all disturbing lusts." "The sexual organ . . . is in a sense the root of the tree of life." He also says "Man well instructed in the proper use of sex can keep his body and mind in proper health and can live a pleasant life throughout." [Hos 68]. Compare: [Link]

COMMENT: "The likable one learns to ask for a second opinion to avoid getting stuck in the next best things of life." [Maxim].

Seven Golden Candlesticks and What They Mean to Yukteswar

Yogin with six chakras, India, Punjab Hills, Kangra, late 1700s National Museum, New Delhi.
Seven chakras of man and woman.

Yukteswar comments on Revelation 1:10-17, and says the Ego or son of man passes toward the Divinity through seven golden candlesticks, equating them with yoga chakras (padmas) along the subtle spine and in the skull. He also says the candlesticks are seven churches and that the Ego that journeys through all the seven churches, understands the true nature of the universe and perceives his own dear Heart, his Atom [Hos 91-93].

There is much reference to chakras (padmas, lotuses, whirls and vortexes of inner energy) in yoga works, particularly in Kundalini works. Sir John Woodroffe's The Serpent Power [Spo] goes deeply into this difficult terrain. A books that is a summary of Sir John's book, is the slender Kundalini Yoga. The latter leaves out juicy details. [Kuo 38-39].

Yukteswar taught kriya yoga, which is at bottom Kundalini Yoga (serpent yoga), and sometimes loosely referred to as Raja Yoga. In Yoga and Kriya and Kundalini Tantra Satyananda explains how kriyas are done, in detail. [Cy; Kta] [Link]

The chakras are linked to the spine, without being physical. Each comes with a root mantra, and associated qualities and sounds (represented by lotus petals - see figure). Besides ascent is marked by increased awareness, which is at the heart of it. From bottom and upward the seven main chakras are:

  1. Muladhara (base centre) around the perineum/scrotum.
  2. Svadhisthana (sexual organs).
  3. Manipura (navel).
  4. Anahata (heart).
  5. Vishuddha (throat).
  6. Ajna (between the eyebrows).
  7. Sahasrara (skull). [All: Kuo 34-40]

Sir John Woodroffe has aligned many more mantras to each of the main padmas, chakras, in his book The Serpent Power. It is far from an easy read.

Now, there are no naked statements in Revelation as to what most of its visionary images mean. Yet, in the book of Daniel (chap. 7), which Revelation is thought to draw on, interpretations of four beasts are supplied. "The four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth." [Dan 7:17]

In another vision a shaggy goat was the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes was the first king. Despite the explanations furnished in the vision, when Daniel woke up he found his goat-vision was beyond understanding. [Dan 8:20-21, 27]

We may note in passing that the term "son of man" was also applied to Daniel himself. Ancient Hebrews also taught "Uplift yourself," as does the Bhagavad Gita (6.5). Meditation is for that. Compare, if you like, Barnasha must be lifted up. (John 3:13-15; cf. John 8:28). Such a teaching is part of the Hebrew tradition, and Barnasha means simply 'human being', explains Dr Neil Douglas-Klotz (2001:162-63).

In his ascent teachings, Yuktewar draws on an unseen, non-carnal spinal channel called sushumna ("the narrow way"), and "circles", chakras of energy and consciousness that are like parts of it somehow [Bhg, chap 1, v. 15-18, commentary]

In Zen, knowledge of chakras is not thought much of. This said, yoga methods and allied, cool teachings do not depend on many misrepresentations or biblical comparisons. Good yoga is capable of sitting on its own bottom.


Yukteswar writes about koshas ("sheets"), lokas (realms, including heavens) and chakras ("wheels", vortex centres). These concepts are parts of yoga teachings. Varied meanings of nothingness tell so little. Proficient meditation is at least for getting into heaven in time. It could be wise to learn good methods.


Yukteswar book, the holy science, Literature  

Douglas-Klotz, Neil. The Hidden Gospel: Decoding the Spiritual Message of the Aramaic Jesus. Wheaton, IL: Quest Books, 2001.

Au: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 13th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1998.

Ay: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 1st ed. New York: Philosophical Library, 1946.

Bhg: Yukteswar, Swami. Srimad Bhagavad Gita: Spiritual Commentary. Portland, Mn: Yoganiketan, 2002. On-line. [].

Cy: Satyananda Saraswati, Swami. A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya. Munger: Yoga Publications Trust, 1981.

Dmt: Huang Po. The Dharma of Mind Transmission: Zen Teachings of Huang Po, tr. John Blofeld. New York, NY: Grove Press, 1958.

Hos: Yukteswar, Swami: The Holy Science. 7th ed. Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), Los Angeles, 1972. ⍽▢⍽ In the 8th edition from 1990, the pagination is different.

Ith: Flood, Gavin. An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Kuo: Pandit, M. Kundalini Yoga. 5th ed. Madras: Ganesh, 1972.

Kta: Satyananda Saraswati, Swami. Kundalini Tantra.8th ed. Munger: Yoga Publications Trust, 2001.

Ky: Dasgupta, Sailendra B. Kriya Yoga and Sri Yukteshvar. Portland, Mn: Yoganiketan, 1998. On-line: [].

Net: Lamsa, George, tr. The New Testament. Philadelphia: Holman Bible Publishers, 1968. Later edition is ◦Online.

Spo: Avalon, Arthur (Sir John Woodroffe). The Serpent Power: The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic Yoga. 7th ed. New York: Dover, 1974.

Tb: Osborne, Arthur ed. The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharsi in His Own Words. New ed. London: Rider, 1971.

Tiy: Evans-Wentz, Walter Y., ed. Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines. 2nd ed. London: Oxford University Press, 1967.

Tm: Evans-Wentz, Walter Y., ed. Tibet's Great Yogi Milarepa. 2nd ed. London: Oxford University Press, 1969.

Szi: Nishijima, Gudo Wafo, and Chodo Cross, trs. Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. Book 2. Windbell Publications, London: 1996.

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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