Hi, I’m writing this while sitting under my mango tree. I never really understood why my first teacher, Swami Muktananda, was always so big on sitting under mango trees to meditate. You feel the presence in this tree. It’s a very old one. It’s nice to sit under it and not think too much about anything. But that’s difficult. Seeing as some thoughts came up, I thought I’d share them with you. They have to do with the ongoing ‘bone’ that I’ve been at, which is Jupiter and Saturn and this current, particularly rare conjunction. The exactitude of the conjunction is the closest they’ve been for many centuries.
principles of Jupiter and Saturn
When looking at the principles of Jupiter and Saturn, it got me thinking that these are opposite forces. In astrology, the principle of expansion and spiritual wisdom is shown by Jupiter. Whereas Saturn is more of a constrictive inward-looking planet. That expansive quality of Jupiter has been nipped in the bud by Saturn, and also by the fact that it’s been in Saturn’s sign, which is its weakest position.
So, these two principles reflect the binary nature of the universe. Expansion-contraction, two polarities like breathing in and out. Thinking is the same. There’s outward movement, as with breath, which brings awareness into the manifest or objective universe. Jupiter is that expensive process or outward movement. Contraction brings you back within. Saturn is that contractive or inward process.
I also got to thinking this relates to the principle of the movement of consciousness. Thinking tends to moves outwards toward the manifest or rather, creating the manifest physical domain. This relates to nature or Prakriti as the Vedas say. The inner contractive or self-turned awareness is called Nivritti or the inner path, the inner movement.
This Saturn-Jupiter conjunction is going to lead to an amazing alchemical process of two supposedly opposing forces of nature coming together and unifying. It’s a balancing of that outward and inward movement. It relates to the astrological expression, a more philosophical and energetic sort of perspective.
Jupiter represents expansion as the material manifestation. The material expression of these planetary energies is what astrology generally talks about. And those important internal changes that take place are also a representation of a kind.
That does bring me back to the point because this is a turning point. A turning point for the human race. That turning point starts with each individual. And the turning point is neither left, right, straight ahead nor in a reverse direction. It’s the turning point of that awareness, the tipping point between Prakriti awareness being absorbed in outer events, or the Nivritti component, which is awareness being withdrawn back into pure subjectivity.
That happens naturally anyhow, with different creative and artistic pursuits. Even when you’re absorbed in the most mundane activities it happens but it’s not done consciously. Jupiter is very much about finding where you are in that process of your awareness. Where is it taking you inwardly, although expanding? I mean, just because awareness moves inward doesn’t mean that that’s necessarily a happy space, either.
A lot of people struggle when they get into meditation in the early stages. Because meditation is that inward-turned perception and awareness is beset with the gamut of internal and psychological processes. This is called grantha ( knot ) in yoga.
These are within the etheric, emotional, and psychological systems. These are all the accumulated past experiences, not just of this life, (if you subscribe to the dream philosophy of karma that this is real). If it’s a dream ( Maya ), then we talk about past lives, but we can only talk about those past lives in terms of the Universal dream. Once the dream collapses, the full awareness of that dream becomes obvious. If you subscribe to this doctrine, past karmas from all of those supposed lives are embedded within subtle channels of the human system. Yoga, mantras, and meditation, and other spiritual activities, break down those knots.
These are subtle channels or nadis as they are called are like blocked drains. You need a wire, that gadget to get down deep to clear those blockages. That gadget is what teachers called mantra. And this process is essentially one of self-awareness. It’s about bringing your attention to yourself.
The last couple of years, I’ve made some fairly mind-blowing observations. Even the most evolved amongst us can’t help ourselves. We become absorbed and enticed by this mesmeric outer movement of awareness.
In the root chakra, there’s a need for self-preservation. And that need for self-preservation is the propellant, the ‘going out’ – getting money, building a house, buying clothes for the kids etc. All of those day-to-day activities are included in that.
These processes are fuelled by the outward movement of awareness. This is the propane of desire. That’s what actually drives karma if you study it carefully. Going full-circle, it’s embedded in the attraction-repulsion process. Attraction, which is the cause of that Jupiter’s ‘expansion energy’ and repulsion, the ‘contraction energy’ or fear and apprehension of Saturn.
The universe is predicated on that very, very principle, the yoga sutras but the great sage Patanjali talks very much about this principle, this inherent propellant. This fuel that drives us that’s the desire. And that is enmeshed in this attraction-repulsion or what’s called raga-dvesha principle of attraction-repulsion.
The repulsion or fear is embedded in the biological and evolutionary makeup of all as self-preservation ( in the material dream ). And attraction, of course, is also embedded within us. It’s what you’re attracted to, due to the environment in which you’ve grown up. It’s those ingrained belief systems. These are the things that have fuelled all these other aspects of karma and are determining your experience. That is why this inward movement, the pull from within is the primary driver of dispassion and spiritual endeavour. It’s based on the notion of ‘being done with it once and for all’.
My Grandmaster used to say that everyone is on the train (of life). Everyone’s going to get to the destination. And so someone asked ‘well, what’s the difference between me and you? ‘He replied, “I fell asleep on the train. While others were enjoying the sights and scenery, getting off at the next station, sightseeing, getting back on for the next leg of the trip, I fell asleep and mysteriously woke up at the destination”.