Three days till 11/11.
When, at Xenia Retreat Center in Sept. 2018, I ventured in meditation into the very bottom of my heart, the depths of my heart, called the Seat of the Soul, I there found the Light of the Self. (1)
But, after the experience, I was filled with doubts. The soul doesn’t “live” in the heart; it fills the whole of creation. Who else can be found to support that statement? And then I promptly forgot about the matter.
But today I came across a section in From Darkness Unto Light, which features a large group of enlightened masters saying exactly that: That the Self, the soul, the spirit lives in and is to be sought and found in the heart. (2)
I feel buoyed up having found such a range of evidence in support of what sounded to me like a statement in need of corroboration. Here is that evidence:
Within the city of Brahman, which is the body, there is the heart, (1) and within the heart there is a little house. This house has the shape of a lotus, and within it dwells that which is to be sought after, inquired about, and realized. (Swami Prabhavananda and Frederick Manchester, trans., The Upanishads. Breath of the Eternal. New York and Scarborough: New American Library, 1957; c194, 74.) (Hereafter, UPAN.)
- (1) Not the Heart Chakra, but the heart behind the hridayam or heart aperture.
The ancient, effulgent being, in-dwelling Spirit, (1) [is] deep-hidden in the lotus of the heart. (UPAN, 17.)
- (1) The Self, the soul.
Smaller than the smallest, greater than the greatest, this Self forever dwells within the hearts of all. (UPAN, 18.)
Both the individual self and the Universal Self have entered the cave of the heart, the abode of the Most High. (UPAN, 19.)
He who … sees [the Atman] inhabiting the lotus of the heart, living among physical elements, sees Brahman indeed. For this First-Born is the immortal Self. (UPAN, 21.)
The Supreme Person, … the Innermost Self, dwells forever in the heart of all beings. (UPAN, 24.)
The Self exists in man, within the lotus of the heart, and is the master of his life and of his body. (UPAN, 46.)
Within the lotus of the heart (1) he dwells, where, like the spokes of a wheel in its hub, the nerves meet. Meditate on him as OM. Easily mayest thou cross the ocean of darkness. (UPAN, 46.)
- (1) Not the heart chakra, which is shaped like a lotus, but the Hridayam, or heart aperture, which closes like a closed lotus.
I am the Lord in the midst of the earth. (1) (Exodus 8:22.)
- (1) “In the midst of the earth” = I.e., in the center of the body; that is, in the Heart.
The devoted … know Him always There in the heart, Where action is not. (Sri Krishna in Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, trans., Bhagavad-Gita. The Song of God. New York and Scarborough: New American Library, 1972; c1944, 59.) (Hereafter BG.)
There in the ignorant heart … I dwell. (Sri Krishna in BG, 87.)
The fire (1) shall ever be burning upon the altar; (2) it shall never go out. (Leviticus 6:13.)
- (1) The Father or Self. (2) The Heart.
The Lord is in his holy temple: (1) let all the earth keep silence before him. (2) (Habakkuk 2:20.)
- (1) The body; more specifically, the Heart.
(2) Silently meditate on Him.
Oh, Lord, dweller within; You are the light in the heart’s lotus. (Shankara in Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher lsherwood, Shankara’s Crest-Jewel of Discrimination. Hollywood: Vedanta Press, 1975; c1947, i.) (Hereafter CJD.)
Here, within this body, in the pure mind, in the secret chamber of intelligence, in the infinite universe within the heart, the Atman (1) shines in its captivating splendour, like a noonday sun. (Shankara in CJD, 53.)
- (1) The Self.
The Atman, which is pure consciousness, is the light that shines in the shrine of the heart, the center of all vital force. (Shankara in CJD, 63.)
The Atman is … the real I, hidden in the shrine of the heart. (Shankara in CJD, 69.)
The first step to self-knowledge is to know that thou art composed of an outward shape, called the body, and an inward entity called the heart, or soul. (1) By “heart” I do not mean the piece of flesh situated in the left of our bodies, but that which uses all the other faculties as its instruments and servants. In truth it does not belong to the visible world, but to the invisible, and has come into this world as a traveller visits a foreign country for the sake of merchandise, and will presently return to its native land. It is the knowledge of this entity and its attributes which is the key to the knowledge of God. (Al-Ghazzali, The Alchemy of Happiness. trans. Claud Field. Lahore: ASHRAF, 1971; c1964, 21.)
- (1) Al-Ghazzali here equates the hridayam or heart with the Self.
There is something nearer to us than Scriptures, to wit, the Lord in the heart to which all Scriptures come. (William Penn in Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy. New York, etc.: Harper and Row, 1970; c1944, 14.)
God, the true Philosopher’s Stone,
Who answers every prayer,
Lies hidden deep within your heart,
The richest gem of all.
(Paramahansa Ramakrishna in Swami Nikhilananda, trans., The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1978; c1942, 235.) (Hereafter, GSR.)
The heart of the devotee is the abode of God. He dwells, no doubt, in all beings, but He especially manifests Himself in the heart of the devotee. A landlord may at one time or another visit all parts of his estate, but people say he is generally to be found in a particular drawing-room. The heart of the devotee is the drawing-room of God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 133.)
(1) See “The Heart is ‘the Seat of the Soul’,” December 17, 2018, at http://goldenageofgaia.com/2018/12/17/the-heart-is-the-seat-of-the-soul/
(2) From Darkness Unto Light at https://goldengaiadb.com/index.php?title=From_Darkness_to_Light