The heart was universally thought of by the ancients as the most sacred of organs. Even today, in the common language of the people, the heart is given a special place. Even though it is a very fundamental organ it is not on this account alone that it is held to be sacred. There is a far deeper reason that touches some of the most sublime teachings of the Ancient Wisdom.
A quotation from The Secret Doctrine runs as follows:
The Sun is the heart of the Solar World (System) and its brain is hidden behind the (visible) sun. From thence sensation is radiated into every nerve-center of the great body, and the waves of the life-essence flow into each artery and vein. . . . The planets are its limbs and pulses . . . — I, 541
H. P. B. explains this Commentary on the Stanzas of Dzyan with the following:
Thus, there is a regular circulation of the vital fluid throughout our system, of which the Sun is the heart — the same as the circulation of the blood in the human body — during the manvantaric solar period, or life; the Sun contracting as rhythmically, at every return of it, as the human heart does. Only, instead of performing the round in a second or so, it takes the solar blood ten of its years, and a whole year to pass through its auricles and ventricles before it washes the lungs and passes thence to the great veins and arteries of the system.
We have here keys that will unlock many doors for us. What is this brain behind the Sun? What are the waves of vital essence and the nerve centers? What is the food that is carried by the blood of the Sun? These and many more questions spring to one's mind. We shall deal with only a few.
From the Chhandogya Upanishad (1) we have the following:
Now what is here in this city of Brahma (the body) is an abode, a small lotus-flower (the heart). Within that is a small space.
The Upanishad goes on to assert that this small space contains within itself, as a unity, all things which exist here in manifestation. The simple quotation taken from the Upanishad has a world of meaning within it if the symbols used are analysed. Thus when the Upanishad speaks of a small space within the body (of the sevenfold sun) it is hinting at a key which will unlock the meaning. Space is the symbol for a storehouse containing within its bosom everything that is contained in the systems that emanated from it. It pervades these systems and is their root-substance. Akasa is often associated with Space. It contains and includes the Seven Centers of Force, being itself really the seventh and synthesis of the other six. Akasa tattva is also called the force of the third Logos or the creative force in the already manifested Universe.
The seed of our Solar Universe is contained in the small space of the Lotus (heart) of the Sun. Now it is known that the Lotus is the universal symbol of the Kosmos as a totality. Within this flower is contained the seed of the Solar Universe. The seed contains the image of the flower to be. This is especially true of Lotus Seeds hence their selection as a symbol in the Upanishad.
Behind and in the heart stands the mind. Now Mahat is the positive aspect of Akasa and is to Akasa what manas is to Buddhi. However Akasa is not the sixth but the fifth universal principle. Akasa has seven degrees and it is in its lower reaches that occur the Aether of Space associated with manifested Mahat. From this brain behind our visible sun we receive a reflexion of abstract ideas, and the same patterns we find in physical nature are contained in our intellectual patterns of thought. But there are other forces besides the manasic principle which directs differentiation along ideational lines. The Seeds in the Lotus (heart) of the Sun may be said to contain the Ten Divinities which manifest as Forces. Three of these forces are contained in the seventh principle and the remaining seven forces are the seven Forces exuded forth to the Rupa worlds. It seems to me that the seven principles of man are a true reflexion of these seven Solar Forces. Thus in addition to abstract ideas (Eternal Ideas of Plato) and the prank energy (vital electricity), we have other forces that correspond to and feed the various principles of the entities in the Solar System.
To sum up, let us say that the Sun in abscondito is the storehouse of our little Kosmos and that it self-generates a vital fluid which it is ever receiving back again in amounts equal to that given forth. Thus we have the rivers of lives streaming from the Solar Divinity through certain channels and ever returning thereto as an instance of the rhythmic law of cycles. The exact knowledge of the channels through the different planetary systems of the seven-fold family of the Sun is kept very secret, and it is open to question as to whether such details will ever be printed in any book available to the public. However the Upanishads reveal much in heavily veiled allegory, and even from logic it can be seen that since the waves of the vital life-essences pulsate forth and likewise return, there must be openings. The Chhandogya Upanishad asserts that there are five openings for the Gods. It is known that the Hindus have long stressed the number five as a blind to the seven-fold nature of the manifested Universe. The Upanishad asserts that there is an eastern opening correlated with Prana; a southern opening correlated with Vyana partaking of the moon; a western opening correlated with Apana; the northern with Samana, and the upper opening with Udana partaking of space. This last one is extremely interesting for the Katha Upanishad asserts that the opening that goes up is one of immortality and the others are for departing in various directions. Imagine the glorious adventure awaiting the initiate who has gained the portals of the Sun. The Maitri Upanishad asserts that there are five doorkeepers for the five entrances. Entrance through any one requires certain qualifications.
The five breaths such as the apana, samana, etc., are mentioned above as correlated with the five openings of the Sun. However, there are really seven breaths, each one of which helps to build and sustain the seven principles of man's constitution. This is a reflection of the solar process where each of the seven pathways is predominant in some particular one of the sacred planets. The full correlations between the breaths and the planets which serve as openings to the Portals of the Sun are of course kept secret because of the possibility of their misuse. Too much would be revealed which would be very useful in the hands of some clever person interested in magic. These different breaths are forces, and it is really only by the knowledge of the real nature of Akasa and other connected mysteries that a knowledge of forces can be obtained. In fact, I believe that if one were to become acquainted with Akasa he would have keys to the mysterious sixth principle of the Universe. But Occultism is not some intellectual game, and for every step one takes in pursuit of the hidden knowledge one should take three in perfecting the character.
Now the circulations of the solar system must carry food. The Taittiriya Upanishad asserts that from food creatures are produced and in food they live, and back into this source they finally pass. Food is both eaten and it also eats things. In my opinion, food has seven aspects — one for each of the seven principles in Nature and in Man. It is the Ideational food that is most interesting since it has to do with innate ideas. These patterns of thought are regulated by the various Silent Watchers who for a certain Yuga will strike the keynote determining the quality of innate ideas or "food" and also the cycles of these ideational patterns. These patterns regulate the patterns of the material world of a certain Loka and Tala as well as the intellectual qualities of self-conscious entities, as far as I can see. In fact the ideations play a very vital role in directing the differentiation of the worlds from the fountain-source of the Third Logos. Mahat is the first product of Pradhana or akasa and is no other than the positive and creative part of the Third Logos.
It is most fascinating to reflect upon the rivers of Ideas and inspiration transmitted to us by our teachers. (This river is represented by the sacred Ganga of India.) This is spiritual and intellectual "food" to us. As all food returns to the Solar Fountain so does also the food we receive from our teachers. We bear gifts garnered through self-experience. Those who bear no gifts return empty handed. Truly our highest thoughts and noblest inspirations may be food for the Gods in return for having showered it upon us. The food we receive has been added to by our self-conscious experience. Here is one of the most vital thoughts that the study of the Solar Heart brings to our attention. No organism can maintain life without receiving from its lesser lives. We are the lesser lives to the Greater Ones, so while we receive we must give. We must see to it that we cultivate the noblest thoughts so that we may bear gifts to those who have given some of their life-essence to us. The circulations of the solar system from the heart and to the various organs and back again provide for the carrying of food (seven degrees for each principle). Food enters our minds and hearts, and if we are to contribute to the workings of Nature we must make the best use of this type of energy. Otherwise Nature will react upon us. As waste material is cast from our bodies so does nature cleanse her channels of useless material. The soul which can not give a drop of spirituality to his higher principles becomes as useless material and in time finds its way to the Planet of Death.
Each of us has a heart which contains a small space wherein the Lotus lives. Knowledge is of no avail if it does not inspire us to seek out that which resides there. If we expand in thought and love this Lotus will bloom and the burdens of Humanity will be lightened as far as our part weighed upon it. Seek the Lotus Flower of your own Heart and the Voice of the Silence from that small still space will speak.
1. Insertion of (the body) and (the heart) are mine taken from explanation in other part of text. Page 263, The Thirteen Principal Upanishads, trans, by Robert Ernest Hume (Second Edition Revised) Humphrey Milford. Oxford University Press. (return to text)