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The occult mysteries of religion (Part III)*

The third or the astral body is even more subtle. It is the subtlest of the subtle. If we break the ether into atoms – which still seems improbable, because we have barely unfolded the physical atom, so to experiment with ether will still take a long time. When the ether atoms are known we will find that they are the particles of the body that comes next – namely, the astral body. When we broke the physical atom its most subtle particles were found to be etheric. Similarly, if we break the etheric atom the most subtle particles will be that of the astral body. So we shall find a connection between them. These three bodies are clearly joined to one another and it is for this reason that photographs of ghosts have been taken.

A ghost does not have a physical body. Its veiling starts with the etheric body. It has been possible to photograph ghosts, because when the etheric body condenses a sensitive camera can catch its reflection. Another thing about ether is that it is so subtle, that it is easily influenced by the psyche. If the spirit of a dead person wishes to appear it can condense its form so that the atoms that are spread out come closer and form an outline. This can be caught by a camera.


Thus, our second body that is etheric is much more influenced by the mind than the physical body. The latter too comes under the influence of the mind, but not to that extent. The more subtle the body, the more it is affected by the mind and the nearer it will be to the mind. The astral body is even more influenced by the mind. This is why astral traveling is possible. A man can be asleep in this room but he can reach any part of the world with his astral body. You must have heard stories of a man being seen in two or three places at the same time. This is possible. His physical body will be in one place and his astral body in another. It is a matter of a little practice and this can be brought about.

The powers of the mind develop more and more as we go inward and they dissipate as we go outward. Going outward is just like burning a lamp and then putting a glass shade over the flame. After putting it the flame will not appear very bright. Then we put another and yet another. In this way we place seven covers over it. After the seventh covering the light of the flame will be extremely dull and dim because it has to pass through seven layers.

In this way our life energy becomes very dim by the time it reaches the physical body. This is why we do not seem to have much control over the physical body. But if someone begins to travel within, his control over his physical body becomes more and more, exactly in proportion to the depth of his inner journey. The subtle form of the physical is the etheric and the still more subtle part of the etheric is the astral. Then comes the fourth body – the mental body.

Until now we were under the impression that mind is one thing and matter another. Mind and matter were considered as two separate things. In fact, there was no way of defining them. If we were to ask, “What is mind?” we would be told, “That which is not matter,” and vice versa. If we were to ask, “What is matter?” there was no other definition. And this is how we have always been thinking about them – as being different and apart. Now, however, we know that mind also is a more subtle form of matter. Conversely, we can say that matter is the condensed form of mind.

When atoms of the astral are broken they become thought waves. There is a close proximity between quanta and thought waves; it was not taken into consideration. So far, thoughts were not considered to have a physical existence, but it is a fact that when you think a particular kind of thought the vibrations around you change accordingly. It is interesting to note that not only thoughts but even words have their own vibrations. If you spread sand particles on a glass top and chant Aum loudly, under the glass the pattern caused by the vibration of the sound will be different from the pattern caused by chanting Rama. If you were to utter an abuse the pattern would again change.

You will be surprised to know that the more foul an abuse, the more ugly is the pattern formed, and the more beautiful a word, the more beautiful will be the pattern of its vibration. The abuse will form a chaotic pattern, whereas the lines of the beautiful words will be well formed and well balanced.

Therefore, for thousands of years research was carried out to find words that produced beautiful vibrations, and it was considered whether their intensity was enough to affect the heart. Words are thoughts that are manifested. However, unmanifested words also carry a resonance and we call them thoughts. When you think about something a particular kind of resonance is created around you, a particular kind of vibration surrounds you. This is why you find sometimes that when you go near a particular person you feel sad for no apparent reason. It could be that the person has not uttered a single negative word, and perhaps he is even laughing and happy to meet you. Yet a sadness takes hold of you from within. On the other hand, in the company of someone else you may suddenly feel cheerful.

You enter a room and you may feel a sudden change inside yourself. Something holy or unholy takes hold of you. In some moments you are surrounded by peace and tranquility, and in others by restlessness. You cannot understand and you wonder, “I was feeling very peaceful. Why has this restlessness suddenly arisen in my mind?” All around you there are thought waves, and they keep on entering within you all the twenty-four hours.

Recently a French scientist developed an instrument which has succeeded in catching thought waves. As soon as a man approaches this instrument it begins to show what thoughts are within him. The instrument begins to catch the thought waves. If an idiot is made to stand before it there will be very few waves reported, because such a person hardly thinks. If an intellectual is made to stand before it the machine takes over all the vibrations of his thoughts.

So what we know as the mind is the subtle form of the astral. As we go more and more within the layers get more and more subtle. Science has reached the etheric body but even now it insists on calling it the atomic plane or the plane of atomic energy. But science has reached down to the second body of matter. It will not take long to reach the third plane, because now it has become necessary to do so.


* - Excerpt from OSHO. In Search of the Miraculous, Vol 2


Updated on 23-09-2019

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