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Chapter 19: Kundalini: The Discipline of Transcendence

A man attacks you with a gun or a lion attacks you in the jungle: even though nothing has yet happened to the physical body, the etheric body promptly prepares to leave it and a great distance is created between the two. So you can observe the workings of the second body in a subtle way, and this can be done without difficulty. The difficulty lies in this, that we fail to observe the processes of the physical also. If we do so we will start feeling the movements of the second body. When you have a clear knowledge of the working of both, this very fact will create a harmony between the two.

Then there is the third body - the astral body. Its movements are definitely more subtle - more subtle than fear, anger, love and hatred. It is difficult to grasp its movements unless the knowledge of the second body is complete. It is difficult even to understand the third body from the first body because the gap is now greater. We are unconscious on the first plane. The second body is nearer the first so we can understand a few things about it. It is just as if the second body is our neighbor. Sometimes we hear the clatter of pots or the crying of a child next door. But the third body is the neighbor’s neighbor from whose house we do not hear any sound.

The phenomenon of the third body is yet more subtle. It can only be grasped if we begin to grasp the emotions fully.

When emotions get condensed they become action. And astral vibes are subtler than the waves of emotions. That is why I will not know that you are angry with me unless you show your anger, because I can only see it when it becomes an action. But you can see it well in advance. You can feel it rising in your etheric body. Now this anger that has risen has its own atoms that come from the etheric body. If these atoms do not arise you cannot be angry.

You can call the astral body a collection of vibrations. You will be able to understand the different conditions of this body better with an example. We can see water and we can see hydrogen and oxygen separately. There is no trace of water in oxygen; there is no trace of oxygen in water. Neither oxygen nor hydrogen has any of the properties of water, but these two combine to form water; each has a hidden quality that manifests when they combine. Anger and love are not seen in the astral body; nor are hatred or fear. But they have vibrations which become manifested when combined with the second body. So when you are completely aware of the second body, when you are completely alert about your anger, then you will know that some reactions have taken place before the advent of anger. In other words, anger is not the beginning. It is part of a process that has already begun elsewhere.

A bubble rises from the bottom of a lake and begins to travel upwards. When it rises from the sand at the bottom of the lake we cannot see it. When it reaches half the depth of the lake it is still invisible. When it is a short distance from the surface it begins to be visible although it is very small. Then it begins to get bigger and bigger as it reaches the surface, because the weight and pressure of water decreases as it comes up. Also it becomes clearer in our view. At the lower depths the pressure of water kept it small, but as it travels upwards the pressure becomes less and less until it reaches its full size at the surface. But where it reaches its full dimensions it also bursts.

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