“The same was in the beginning with God.” (1)
I awoke this morning saying to myself “in the beginning was the Word.” I have no idea why that was so and I could not rest again until I had written a brief note on that Word. Perhaps the events of the rest of this month will make clear why it’s desirable to discuss this now.
Prior to the beginning of Creation, there was only the formless, still, and silent God and Creation itself was only a potentiality. Then God spoke the Word, which Hindus call “Aum” and Christians and Jews “Amen,” and worlds came into being. Before looking at the nature of that Word, let’s look at several descriptions of that event, which contemporary scientists call “the big bang.”
One is from Genesis:
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
A second is from King Solomon, whose code name for the “Word” is “Wisdom”:
“The Lord by wisdom hath founded the Earth.” (3)
His description of the Earth’s founding is told by Wisdom herself, whom modern generations also call the “Holy Spirit,” spiritus in Latin meaning “breath.” And is this description not the same as John’s?
“Doth not wisdom cry…
“The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
“I was set up from everlasting [that is, before time], from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
“When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. …
“While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
“When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass on the face of the depth.
“When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep.
“When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth.
“Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him. …
And a third description comes from a modern student of the Kabbala, Maura O’Connor, who is taught by Rabbi Moses de Leon, what that event must have been like. The rabbi depicts the speaking of the Word as a breath of God and an emission of Light:
“Emptiness, what the kabbalists call ayin [God the Father], exists far beyond concepts or language. It is like a pure ether that can never be grasped by the mind. … Emptiness is the ultimate mystery, the secret of the Cause of Causes, and it brought everything into being. …
“I must tell you of the great rabbi, Isaac Luria. Luria was a visionary like none other: he lived during the fifteenth century in the holy town of Galilee…. He spent his life ceaselessly contemplating the source of the universe, the primordial emptiness we call ayin…. He recognized that in order for the latent divinity of ayin to manifest its glorious potential for life, a cataclysmic contraction had to take place. …
“Luria understood that the absolute nature of this emptiness meant that it was so pervasive, nothing else but it could exist. In order for life to become manifest, a seismic contraction of emptiness in on itself had to occur, creating a space in which divine emanation was possible. …
“Following this immense contraction, God’s first cosmic act was the emission of a single perfect ray of light. This beam pierced through the void and then expanded in all directions. Think of it as God’s first breath [“spirit” = “breath”] exhaling into the abyss after eons of slumber and filling it with His divinity. This is how the universe was born.” (5)
Jesus equates the Holy Ghost with the Word Aum/Amen, by using the ancient Hebrew rhetorical device of repeating two equivalent elements of a description.
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the [Holy] Spirit saith unto the churches…. These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” (6)
Paramahansa Yogananda identifies Aum as being a primal creative energy and the first manifestation of God in matter:
“The intelligent holy vibration, or the first manifestation of God the Father, … manifests as the cosmic sound of Aum, or Amen, which can be heard in meditation.” (7)
In fact many people hear the sound of Aum as a ringing in the ears. Some think they have tinnitis, never suspecting that they are listening to the primal creative vibration of life, the Holy Spirit.
Yogananda also equates the Christian Amen with the Hindu Aum:
“The Cosmic Energy, or Vibration, … has a voice of Cosmic Sound which is called Amen by Christians or Om by Hindus. This Amen is the faithful witness in the beginning of creation — that is, all vibrating creation is accompanied by the Cosmic Sound of Amen or Om or the Word or Holy Ghost, which is the first vibrating manifestation of God. (8)
“Aun [sic] or the Holy Ghost, [is] the sole causative force that upholds the cosmos through vibration.” (9)
He says that Aum has three phases:
“Ghost signifies an intelligent, invisible, conscious force, or intelligent cosmic vibration. It is holy because the emanent (outflowing) consciousness of God the Father, or Christ intelligence, guides it to create all finite matter.
“The ancients, not versed in the polished language of modern times, used ‘Holy Ghost’ and ‘Word’ for Intelligent Cosmic Vibration, which is the first materialization of God the Father in matter. The Hindus speak of this ‘Holy Ghost’ as the ‘Aum’. “A” stands for ‘Akar’ or creative vibration; ‘U’ stands for ‘Ukar’ or preservative vibration; and ‘M’ for ‘Makar’ or destructive vibration.” (10)
In Hinduism, the name for Aum, the Word, the primal creative vibration or energy is “Shakti.” And the names for the three phases of the sine wave that Shakti is are the three gunas: rajas (Akar or creation), sattwa (Ukar or preservation), and thamas (Makar or transformation). A “guna” is a cosmic force.
Readers of this site will know that I’ve speculatively equated these three with the deistic personifications Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. (11)
In the beginning therefore God spoke the Word, Aum or Amen, and created the primal energy or vibration which set the worlds into being. Among the various things that this Word or energy created was the human body, as Solomon indicates: “Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars.” (12)
The seven pillars are the seven chakras.
This Wisdom or Word is the voice that cries in the wilderness. God is the wilderness in that no law can bind His wildness. He is beyond the natural law that prevails only in the domain of what I prefer to call the Divine Mother. Shakti, the Holy Spirit, the Word is the Mother of creation and the formless, still and silent void is the Father.
Before one finds Father God, one must find the Word, Wisdom, the Holy Spirit – Mother God. He who does can say with Solomon:
“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom…
“She is more precious than rubies; and all things thou canst desire are not to be compared with her.
“Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and honour.
“Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
“She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her; and happy is everyone that retaineth her.” (13)
She trains the children of God in her school of karma, enlightens them, and brings them to God the Father. One cannot know Him fully until She removes her veil of maya. Until then we are mired in illusion.
This then is God as the Divine Mother, her differentiation from God as the Father being the same as the differentiation of movement from rest, sound from silence, light from darkness. It was God the Mother who created the Heaven and the Earth, God the Father being stillness. For this reason Hindus represent Shakti as dancing on the supine body of Shiva. He creates through Her. She is the Mother of Creation.
(1) John 1:1-2.
(2) Genesis 1:1-2.
(3) Proverbs 3:19.
(4) Proverbs 8:1, 22-4, 26-30, and 32.
(5) Maura O’Connor, “A People’s Revolution of Enlightenment: Kabbalah,” WIE, Issue 27, Nov.-Feb. 2004, 86-7.
(6) Revelation 2:7 and 3:14.
(7) Paramahansa Yogananda, The Second Coming of Christ. Three vols. Dallas: Amrita Foundation, 1979-86, 1, 17.
(8) Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 2, 22.
(9) Paramahansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi. Bombay: Jaico, 1975, 487n.
(10) Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 15-16.
(11) “Christianity and Hinduism are One,” at http://goldenageofgaia.com/spiritual-essays/christianity-and-hinduism-are-one/.
(12) Proverbs 9:1.
(13) Proverbs 3: 13, 15-8. For more on the Divine Mother, see “On the Nature of the Divine Mother,” at http://goldenageofgaia.com/spiritual-essays/on-the-nature-of-the-divine-mother-or-holy-spirit-2/