By Rudra Shivanananda

ConsciousnessKnowledge of reality beyond the five senses is termed transcendental.  We must understand that by knowledge we should not think of some sort of theoretical information acquired from external sources but rather a direct experience of truth that permanently transforms our framework and perception of reality.

A direct experience of truth transcends the mundane mind that is bound by the five senses and utilizes the intellect or intuitive mind or even the super-mind. Normal mode of speech confuses the intellect with the mundane mind such that the word intelligence is used to mean an acumen in sorting through the miasmic three-dimensional model produced by the five senses.  The actual intellect that we are referring to is a higher function of our consciousness and is different from the analytically bound mundane mind.

It is important to realize that we possess higher functions in our consciousness that we are not tapping into systematically or willfully.  This is analogous to having access to an electron microscope and limiting oneself to a magnifying glass to examine the complexities of cell structure – it sounds absurd but everyday seekers of truth courageously but foolishly use their sense-bound minds to try to examine reality which is beyond the three dimensions bounded by the five senses.

Karma is the law of cause and effect that manifests in our limited understanding of reality in the guise of reward and punishment and ultimately in the cycle of death and re-birth called re-incarnation. Even though we can understand and wish to believe that positive or “good” actions give rise to a better life in the future and that negative or “bad” actions give rise to a worse future, we cannot perceive the direct relationships between what will happen in some future live and what we are doing now.

When we have experienced reality and have access to transcendental knowledge then we can fully examine the karmic process and in doing so have the ability to remove the potential pitfalls that are waiting to befall the three dimensional being and essentially put a stop to the operation of this process.

Therefore one view of the goal of Yoga is the realization of transcendental knowledge which would free one from the operation of Karma and lead to liberation from the cycle of re-birth. This is a desired goal because every birth has its load of suffering (and enjoyment) and will lead to further entanglements in non-reality.

The ancient sages have examined many possible methods of achieving this transcendental knowledge and have selected a small number to be practiced by humanity.  The specific path followed by a seeker of truth depends on his or her tendencies in this life towards the various methods blessed by the experiences of those who have successfully achieved their goals and stayed behind to guide their fellow seekers.

The path of selfless work is highly recommended for those who enjoy helping others and revel in activities.  They devote themselves to good work and offer the results of their work to the Divine, taking no credit for their actions and therefore taking no negative karma either.  Sustained effort in this manner leads to the purification of the mundane mind and access to the higher intellectual mind with its consequent effortless direct experience of reality. The path of good works is not focused on higher consciousness or on the experience of reality, only in performing one’s work without attachment.

For those who have great faith in the love and power of the Divine, the path of spiritual devotion can remove all the egocentric obstacles to the transcendental experience. Immersion in an image of the Divine and constant prayer leave no room for doubt and selfish activities. The goal is to experience that aspect of the Divine that is the object of devotion.

Then there are the other yogic disciplines such as Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Kriya Yoga, involving rigorous physical /vital and / or mental control in order to storm the citadel of sensory mind and defeat the usurper Lord Ego to directly experience the transcendental reality.  These are fast evolutionary paths that require much time and effort but yield proven results in one life-time, as testified by the successful practitioners over many generations.

Rarely, we are blessed with someone who is born with the gift of direct experience of reality. Such a one becomes a beacon of light to show the way and as testament to our inherent birthright to experience beyond the limitations of the three dimensional playground.

The awareness and experience of reality can be blissful but also disorienting to our previous erroneous physical, emotional and mental conditionings and can lead to periods of eccentric behavior….eccentric to those imprisoned in their limited egocentric world-view.

There are also different levels and intensities of transcendental experience.  Sometimes, one may only have a glimpse and spend a whole lifetime trying to integrate it into one’s life – this is usually the case of one who is not following a yogic discipline. More often, transcendental experiences follow one another in an escalating series that lead to complete awakening to reality of the Here and Now, to the essence of Being.

During the period of awakening there is both an internalization and externalizing of the experiences to distill them into transcendental knowledge.  An analogy would be application of the Einstein’s discovery that mass can be converted to energy leading to the production a nuclear power station to generate electricity. Transcendental knowledge gained from the repeated experience of reality enables the re-wiring of the body-mind complex burning away the karmic bonds and restraints and enabling the performance of actions from the perspective of higher dimensional awareness.  Actions initiated from perspective the three dimensional perspective are not subject to the three-dimensional karmic laws and instead are synchronized with the laws of higher dimensions.

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