|On Seeing the Light|
The Vedas speak of seven planes where the mind can dwell. When the mind is immersed in worldliness it dwells in the three lower planes...
The fourth plane of the mind is at the heart. When the mind dwells there, one has the first glimpse of spiritual consciousness. One sees light all around. Such a man, perceiving the divine light, becomes speechless with wonder and says: "Ah! What is this? What is this" His mind does not go downward to the objects of the world.
The fifth plane of the mind is at the throat. When the mind reaches this, the aspirant becomes free form all ignorance and illusion...
The sixth plane is at the forehead. When the mind dwells there, the aspirant sees the form of God day and night. But even then a little trace of ego remains.
In the top of the head is the seventh plane. When the mind rises there, one goes into samadhi. Then there is the direct perception of Brahman... Generally the body does not remain alive after the attainment of samadhi... After the well is dug one generally throws away the spade and basket. But some keep them in order to help their neighbours. The great souls who retain their bodies after samadhi feel compassion for the suffering of others. They are not so selfish as to be satisfied with their own illumination.
The ancient yogis believed that there was an actual center of spiritual consciousness, called "the lotus of the heart," situated between the abdomen and the throax, which could be revealed in deep meditation. They claimed that it had the form of a lotus and that it shone with an inner light. It was said to be "beyond sorrow," since those who saw it were filled with an extraordinary sense of peace and joy.
... the prakasha is the primordial light beyond and behind all manifestations...
The primoridal light is known by a great variety of terms in the non-dual Kashmir Shaiva tradition... The variety of words for light employed by the Shaiva tradition may be thought to derive from the continuous attempt to describe the essentially indescribable contents of yogic experience which include great varieties of powerful and subtle phenomena of light.
In the Paratrishika-laghuvritti Abhinavagupta explicitly identifies the Heart as the locality where one may find repose in the prakasha-vimarsha: ... Heart is called the place where there is a repose in the pure light and pure consciousness... When the Heart is free of stains and a light occurs which illuminates the Supreme plane, by immersion in this shining light, one obtains identity with the Supreme Shiva, that is, with consciousness.
The gleaming light of the Heart activated by the practice of the mantra severs the knots of the Heart and true knowledge of the Self is attained. Once released, however, this light can in no way be held back: it is unconcealable and unbounded. It begins to spread out from the inner reality of the Heart and invades the entire structure of finiteness. When this happens it transforms the inertness of finitude into the vibrancy of life.
Behold the self-luminous Self which pervades everything.
... it is the guru of all gurus, it is the Self, it is the light that illumines the world from within.
... when the inner light, kindled by a proper study of the scriptures and enquiry into their truth, illumines both knowledge and the experience of it, their total identity is realised. This inner light itself is regarded as self-knowledge by the holy ones: and the experience of it is an integral part of self-knowledge and non-different from it. He who has self-knowledge is for ever immersed in the experience of it.
... abandon the false and fanciful notion of the ego-sense within your own heart. When this ego-sense is dispelled the supreme light of self-knowledge will surely shine in your heart.
He who sees the Lord, the sun, in one's heart, sees the truth.
... Two aspects of the "heart" are spoken of here: one is acceptable and the other is to be ignored. The heart that is part of this physical body and is located in one part of the body may be ignored! The heart which is acceptable is of the nature of pure consciousness. It is both inside and outside and it is neither inside nor outside. This is the principal heart and in it is reflected everything which is in the universe, and it is the treasure-house of all wealth. Consciousness alone is the heart of all beings, not the piece of flesh which people call the heart!