Spiritual Transfiguration - Creation's Purpose - God's Intention - Duality - Pure Consciousness - Evolution - Fulfillment - Divine - Universe - Explosion - Dark Matter - Life

Describes the origin of Creation as an act of will or desire on the part of our Creator.

Argues that the purpose of life is for all biological organisms to become spiritually transfigured -- and in so doing liberate, through conscious, energetic union with God, all matter in the material universe.

Ends with some comments on spiritual transfiguration made by Ramana Maharshi, as paraphrased by Alan Chadwick (pdf): "One day Bhagavan was telling us that the Tamil Saint Manickavasagar's body disappeared in a blaze of light leaving no residue. I asked him how that had happened and he explained that the body is solidifed mind. When in Jnanam the mind dissolves and consumes itself in a blaze of light, the body is burned up in the process. He gave Nandanar as another example of this the case in the Bible of Elijah being carried up to Heaven in a chariot of fire, a poetic way of saying the same thing... He explained that the subtle body is composed of light and sound and that the gross body is a concrete form of the same."

Reviews the spiritual implications of the National Geographic (png) magazine's article from May 2005, "Beyond the Big Bang: Einstein's Evolving Universe" where is described modern physicists' prediction that space-time, having been created in a "Big Bang," will end in a "Big Rip."

Includes additional information regarding light, mystical experience, and the universe's creation from Hyatt Carter.

Ends with a discussion from Khandro.Net (pdf) of the buddhist concept of "rainbow body" where a saint's body dissolves into light at death, leaving behind only one's nails and hair.

Kundalini Awakening - Spiritual Signs And Symptoms - November 8, 2002


Spiritual Transfiguration.

This is a clarification to a post from November 6, 1994 [make link]. I thought it was important to pull it forward into the autobiography section, as it attempts to provide an ontology for my overall thesis.

We need an answer to the mystery of creation that is consistent and explains everything. The answer must also make sense of God's intent.

Here's my take on this timeless question, to the best of my ability, at this point in my life:

Creation began with an unimaginably huge, impossibly dense mass of matter fifteen billion or so years ago. It exploded or erupted and was sent via an act of conscious intent on the trajectory of the expanding universe that we now perceive. That original mass was dark matter -- or perhaps something darker still. There was no movement of atomic particles or electrons. It was an indivisible mass. It was frozen. But God was there.

God -- this infinite spiritual force -- blasted the mass and set it into motion. That blast was an act of will or desire. The Sufis are correct in their belief that God created the universe for sport -- a long play of love, drawn out over billions of years -- by which creation would seek to find Her, and in so doing, discover that they and She are One. The appearance of duality -- of separateness -- is ultimately a joke -- a developmental illusion; and the purpose of life is to discover the truth behind this deception.

That blast sparked the atomic processes and other material and energetic reactions that we observe in ourselves and the world around us. But though this great mass was dislodged and set into motion, not all of it was awakened. Much, even most, remained dark. Hence, science's estimate that ninety-five percent of matter in the universe is dark. So, just five percent of creation can be felt and seen. And of that five percent, perhaps one trillionth of one percent is matter that is capable of supporting life. And of that one trillionth of one percent, just one trillionth of one percent is matter that is actually alive. Like one grain of sand out of a thousand planets full of sand, that is how rare humans and the rest of life in this universe are.

I would like to present another tack in my explanation of creation. It's a paradox that is important to consider because the above description is still dualistic. Anyone who understands the truth behind mystical insight realizes that all dualisms are false. To think of a mass of dark matter and God as being two separate entities/categories both present prior to creation is illogical and counterintuitive.

The two were obviously one. But how so? The huge mass present prior to creation was also immeasurably small. It was so dense as to be a point without physical dimension. It was so dark as to radiate light. That is, this balled, insentient mass predating science's "big bang" was actually pure, indivisible consciousness. Rather than exploding -- which implies a material genesis -- it unfolded, or intentionally stepped down it's rate of vibration. That indivisible presence of divine energy consciously created divisions within itself -- divisions we now call matter, gross and subtle phenomena -- everything that falls within the electromagnetic spectrum. Matter, electrical energy, and so forth is still all God. It is still all divine consciousness. But play -- this illusory drama of duality -- has been intentionally introduced.

It is important to ask, "Why this game?" "To what end does creation purpose?"

The most simple and unifying answer is that the purpose of creation is to have all matter -- all manifest existence -- return to Spirit.

If you can expand your mind enough to really consider this, you'll realize what a profound Truth it is. Creation's return to Spirit reflects the remarkable and totally logical intention on the part of our Creator.

This return begins with the spiritual transfiguration of individual creatures. In the case of the planet Earth, at the present time, that means human beings. But as time goes on -- provided that humans do not make this world an uninhabitable spiritual desolation -- as they are currently doing in quick fashion -- more species, and more beings overall, will participate in this ultimate spiritual union with God.

A minute shift or change occurs in the universe with each transfiguration. A small amount of mass -- the mass of a biological life form -- is permanently released into pure consciousness. That matter -- or rather, that low vibration energy which is perceptible matter -- is permanently released as pure energy. Never will that pure energy re-materialize -- at least not in this Creation. With each transfiguration a small amount of matter/energy is released from duality -- from this world that is perceptible to ordinary senses. Over time, over the course of billions -- perhaps many billions -- of years, all matter will come to be released from creation through the transfiguration of life.

It is amazing to think that so small a speck of mass as biological life can have so great an effect as the dissolution of all matter in the universe. Such potential -- such an evolutionary destiny -- for life boggles the mind. It is more amazing than one molecule of water out of a thousand oceans of water single-handedly changing all the currents and tides. But that is what is possible. That is the task at hand.

Which brings us back to my post from November 6, 1994 [make link]: Creation did not begin with matter. If it is possible that matter can be totally released -- dissolved -- into immaterial consciousness, as is the case with spiritual transfiguration, then it's possible that all matter can be released into this pure, transcendent state. This could take a few more billion years; but God has all the time He needs. That means, however, that all matter must first become alive, as this is the first requirement for spiritual transfiguration. Little by little, as matter disappears from this planet, on account of this process, more and more matter will be released into this state. And, as this potential becomes more powerful -- because, who knows how much more developed our connection to God will become over the course of eons? -- more beings, more species, and more matter overall will participate in this union. Someone like myself -- who perhaps could have liberated one hundred people upon my own departure, had this world allowed me to follow my path -- in the future could perhaps liberate, or at least have a tremendous effect upon, millions of creatures. There is no telling where an evolution directed by God is taking us. There is no way of predicting just how powerful the flow of spiritual energy through the human form can be.

It is because of this bright future that is possible for us that I am so shaken and disturbed by the pollution of our environment by manmade electromagnetic fields, genetic engineering, toxic chemicals, and other poisons. They are all a spiritual pestilence and must be completely rooted out.

Creation, then, began with pure consciousness. Out of choice, or will, this Consciousness stepped down its vibration level to create the universe we now see. Here, on this planet, it is up to us, we human beings, to help bring this cycle full-circle, bringing -- raising -- this creation back to its original state, back to God.

It is on account of this tremendous potential that lies before us and within us that makes me so upset with the current state of affairs. If our planet -- our civilization -- can't even get one person, such as myself, off the ground, spriritually, then that is pathetic. It's a damned tragedy. If God's intention is to liberate not just all life that currently lives, but all matter that exists in all of creation, then we have one hell of a lot of work to do. We don't have a second to waste. Everything that thwarts God's purpose -- be it manmade EMF, artificial growth hormones, drug abuse, domestic violence, poverty, or any other social or environmental ill -- must be abolished immediately. Of course, we need to be methodical and move forward with our social institutions intact; but there should be no foot-dragging with respect to elevating all of our customs, laws, institutions, and so forth, into a closer alignment with our spiritual purpose.

Which isn't to say that I want a theocracy at the helm. I absolutely don't. Ninety-nine percent of the time, bringing God into the discussion just messes everything up. There is a tremendous amount of secular work to do merely to set the stage for people to be able to choose a path leading to God consciousness. People need to be safe from physical harm, free to express their every thought and feeling, secure in their finances, and free to play integral roles in their society's political governance. All humans must be empowered to become true custodians of this world. Such responsibility is a necessary precondition to both happiness and, ultimately, God consciousness.

I have a couple of final comments. One is that science estimates that if you could liberate the atomic bonds in something as small as an eraser at the tip of a pencil, then that liberated energy would be sufficient to power all of human civilization's electricity needs for an entire year. Think about that. That's electricity to six billion people for an entire year -- and that only from an eraser! Think about those same bonds being liberated in a mass as large as a human being -- something many thousands of times larger in mass. And think about what it must mean to be near someone who goes up in transfiguration. Only awe and expletives come to mind -- as it is such an outrageous, enlightening proposition.

Lastly, it's a mystery how the transfiguration of life forms could enliven inanimate, dark matter. And I wonder what will happen when the planet Earth begins to melt away into God consciousness as a result of the countless transfigurations occuring in the final days. Obviously, there must come a time when whole sectors of the universe just vanish into God. If you're lucky enough to be around then, I don't think you'll find that anyone's complaining. It will be an extraordinary galaxy-wide festival of liberation.

It is the mind-boggling, unprecedented achievement of universal spiritual fulfillment that defines the endpoint and purpose of Creation.

Ramana Maharshi

Alan Chadwick, a devotee of Ramana Maharshi's, who lived with him at Arunachala Mountain for fifteen years (up until Sri Bhagavan's death in 1950), writes:

"One day Bhagavan was telling us that the Tamil Saint Manickavasagar's body disappeared in a blaze of light leaving no residue. I asked him how that had happened and he explained that the body is solidifed mind. When in Jnanam the mind dissolves and consumes itself in a blaze of light, the body is burned up in the process. He gave Nandanar as another example of this. [He also] mentioned the case in the Bible of Elijah being carried up to Heaven in a chariot of fire, a poetic way of saying the same thing... He explained that the subtle body is composed of light and sound and that the gross body is a concrete form of the same."

The Sanskrit jnanam is used in a variety of ways, but principally means the contemplation and embodiment of pure consciousness.

More on the Telos of Creation

I was reading the May 2005 issue of National Geographic. It states that dark matter accounts for approximately 90 percent of the universe's mass, and that it is this mysterious "stuff" that holds the expanding universe together. In a sub-article, entitled, "Fast Forward: The Big Rip?" it states: "The death of the universe could rival its birth in explosive drama if a puzzling form of energy continues to accelerate the expansion of space-time. Since the 1920s astronomers have thought the expansion was slowing down, but recent observations of distant stars reveal that the stretching of space is actually speeding up. If it picks up even more, the universe could be headed for a 'big rip.' ...some 20 billion years from now, unchecked expansion could tear matter apart, from galaxies all the way down to atoms. The driving force is a mysterious 'dark energy' that counteracts gravity's pull and might ultimately defeat all the forces that bind matter. Einstein was the first to introduce the notion of repulsive gravity, but he later disavowed it. Dark energy, says cosmologist Michael S. Turner, who coined the term, 'has the destiny of the universe in its hands.' Although we live in the best of times, under a sky full of stars, it will grow ever darker and emptier as space-time expands."

Continuing from the same issue's main article, "Beyond the Big Bang: Einstein's Evolving Universe," is more discussion of the physics of black holes:

"Astronomers have found some strange objects in the expanding universe -- and these too are Einstein's children. In the 1930s a young Indian physicist, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, applied special relativity and the new theory of quantum mechanics to a star. He warned that if it surpassed a certain mass, it would not settle down as a white dwarf at the end of its life (as our sun will). Instead, gravity would squeeze it down much further, perhaps even to a singular point. Horrified, Eddington declared that 'there should be a law of Nature to prevent a star from behaving in this absurd way!'

There was no such law. Chandrasekhar had opened the door for others to contemplate the existence of the most bizarre stars imaginable. First there was a naked sphere of neutrons just a dozen miles wide born in the throes of a supernova, the explosion of a massive star. A neutron star's density would be equivalent to packing all the cars in the world into a thimble. Then there was the peculiar object formed from the collapse of an even bigger star or a cluster of stars -- enough mass to dig a hole in space-time so deep nothing could ever climb out.

Einstein himself tried to prove that such an object -- a black hole, it was later christened -- could not exist. Like Eddington, he loathed what would be found at the black hole's center: a point of zero volume and infinite density [italics mine], where the laws of physics break down. The discoveries that might have forced him to acknowledge his theory's strange offspring came after his death in 1955.

 

Continuing from the same issue's main article, "Beyond the Big Bang: Einstein's Evolving Universe," is more discussion of the physics of black holes:

"Astronomers have found some strange objects in the expanding universe -- and these too are Einstein's children. In the 1930s a young Indian physicist, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, applied special relativity and the new theory of quantum mechanics to a star. He warned that if it surpassed a certain mass, it would not settle down as a white dwarf at the end of its life (as our sun will). Instead, gravity would squeeze it down much further, perhaps even to a singular point. Horrified, Eddington declared that 'there should be a law of Nature to prevent a star from behaving in this absurd way!'

There was no such law. Chandrasekhar had opened the door for others to contemplate the existence of the most bizarre stars imaginable. First there was a naked sphere of neutrons just a dozen miles wide born in the throes of a supernova, the explosion of a massive star. A neutron star's density would be equivalent to packing all the cars in the world into a thimble. Then there was the peculiar object formed from the collapse of an even bigger star or a cluster of stars -- enough mass to dig a hole in space-time so deep nothing could ever climb out.

Einstein himself tried to prove that such an object -- a black hole, it was later christened -- could not exist. Like Eddington, he loathed what would be found at the black hole's center: a point of zero volume and infinite density, where the laws of physics break down. The discoveries that might have forced him to acknowledge his theory's strange offspring came after his death in 1955.

Astronomers identified the first quasar, a remote young galaxy disgorging the energy of a trillion suns at its center, in 1963. Four years later, much closer to home, observers stumbled on the first pulsar, a rapidly spinning beacon emitting staccato radio beeps. Meanwhile, spaceborne sensors spotted powerful x-rays and gamma rays streaming from points around the sky.

All these new, bewildering signals are believed to pinpoint collapsed objects -- neutron stars and black holes -- whose crushing gravity and dizzying spin turn them into dynamos. With their discovery, the once sedate universe took on an edge; it metamorphosed into an Einsteinian cosmos, filled with sources of titanic energies that can be understood only in the light of relativity..."

Comments

I will revisit this commentary later and add more, but for now I just want to highlight a couple of things.

Prior to reading the above article I had never considered where the universe might be heading from the perspective of modern physics. If the universe is destined for some kind of collapse/disintegration of space-time, then it is likely that this potential for transfiguration of life forms will be a fairly rare event occurring against a backdrop of insentient matter and coercive physical laws. If this is true, then God's intention perhaps is merely to create a playground through which beings may find their true natures -- and be released as That -- but not necessarily to release the energetic and atomic bonds of all matter in the universe through this form of ecstatic union.

Nevertheless, as the eternal optimist, I remain open to the possibility that life may overcome the limitations and karmic bonds of matter. There is still the possibility that all matter -- regardless of it's being dark or visible -- will be dissolved in radiance through the agency of individual life forms who voluntarily and successfully find release of their beings into -- and as -- God.

Though it is the case that humans are much more likely to destroy the Earth and the further spiritual potentials that lie within them, it is helpful to consider that humanity has not been around that long -- a few million years or so -- and that if the sun continues to bless us for another seven billion years (as is expected), there is no telling where a divinely guided (rather than humanly misguided) evolution will take us.

As I describe here [create page and make link for kundalini-descending-current.html] where kundalini's heightened energy sought to ground me with a force ten times the power of normal consciousness, it was my intuition at the time that I would be able not only to liberate my own material and energetic bondage, but an additional 100 people's as well. I don't think this was mere egoic fantasy on my part. Although, when I reflect on this possibility, it does seem to undermine the necessity of individual agency. I am uncomfortable with the idea of one person being "saved" by another. Each person, in my view, must be responsible for his/her growth/salvation. Nevertheless, it could be the case that one being could be directly responsible for the liberation of other people. I hope such a proposition doesn't put me on the slippery slope of cultism. People have to stop looking for saviors to solve their problems. And as to how a being -- in this case, a human -- could dissolve "insentient" matter (like a rock, or perhaps a tree) is a mystery to me. But if humanity has several BILLIONS of years of continuous auspicious evolutionary adaptations in the service of God, there is literally no telling where all of this inspired activity is heading. Life may actually be able to head off the impending "Big Rip" of the universe. I mean, in the world of dreams and aspirations, why the hell not?


Could human flesh contain the dynamic energy of God?

An excerpt from Hyatt Carter's The Path of Light and Levity [a thank you to rila at the Daism forum for posting this]

What is it about the nature of light that causes a great mystic to say, "There is no more worthy, more glorious, or more potent work, than to work with light."

Why is it that Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman felt an enchantment that would last for a lifetime when he heard his high-school physics teacher say: "Light always follows the path of the beautiful"?

What is it about the nature of light that prompted Albert Einstein, early in his career, to say, "For the rest of my life I will reflect on what light is!"?

What is it about light that makes it the most enduring metaphor for the divine presence, and so natural a metaphor that we image God in countless ways as light, and these images of light find constant and pervasive expression in all sacred literature? ...

Unity with the Light of the divine presence has been called the very signature of mysticism, and descriptions of this event by mystics tell of their feeling of unity, oneness, and a feeling of the inter-connectivity of the many and the one, a feeling of what Gregory Bateson has called "the pattern that connects"— the pattern that connects all things to one another and also to the One in whom we live, move, and have our being. ...

When the mystic tells us that God is light, are we to take him literally, or is there a better interpretation? In his excellent book Electromagnetism and the Sacred, physicist Lawrence W. Fagg provides a helpful distinction. God is not light, he suggests, nor is electromagnetism God, but light, or the EMI, is an analogue for the immanence of the divine presence.

"This hypothesis is based essentially on how the EMI at the physical level can be seen to be analogous to God’s immanence at the spiritual level. First, they both share in the property of ubiquity: both are all-pervasive in our world. Second, they have analogous ranges of intensity from the most subtle and sensitive of experiences and perceptions to the most powerful and awesome. Third, they are analogous because light is so often used as a sign, symbol, or metaphor for God’s presence. Light, however, is electromagnetic radiation. Just as God’s light extends far beyond what we can sense, so analogously the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation extends far beyond what is visible. Fourth . . . just as the speed of electromagnetic radiation is constant, so is the abiding, eternal constancy of God’s light; the ubiquity, the range of intensity, the invisibility, and the constancy relate to each other at each level, the physical and the divine, in an analogically proportional way." ...

And then along came Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell who showed that these three—electricity, magnetism, and light—like the three persons of the trinity, were really one, or better, manifestations of one underlying force: electromagnetism, which includes light. ...

It is through the EMI that all living systems hang together from moment to moment, cohere as a unity, as one thing: a dynamic singular, and, at death, this coherence falls apart, and the process of bodily decomposition begins. ...

According to field theory in QED, a photon is one of the so-called "messenger" particles that carries, or transmits, the electromagnetic force between matter particles and is thus a primary player in how the universe holds together. ...

Let There Be . . . Light!

In the creation story (Genesis 1:3), God’s very first creative act was the creation of Light.

In like manner, in the stillness of each new dawn, the sun blesses us again with First Light, beginning the beauty of sunrise, a beauty that is new every moment as it opens out into the full light of day. This is God Light. No wonder the birds are singing! "Then shall thy light break forth as the morning," says the prophet Isaiah.

Light figures in the most famous equation in physics, Einstein’s E = mc2, which tells us that Energy equals mass times the speed of light (186,000 miles per second) squared. Early in his career, Einstein said: "For the rest of my life I will reflect on what light is."

And one of our great contemporary mystics, Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov, who wrote extensively about light, both solar and spiritual, said: "There is no more worthy, more glorious or more potent work, than to work with light."

British physicist David Bohm says that "all matter is frozen light," and it has been suggested that life and light are aspects of the same energy, in two different states of process—life manifesting in form, and light mysterious in its formlessness (is light a wave, or a particle, or maybe a wavicle?). Could it be that metaphysics and physics, the mystic and the scientist, are converging, coming together "in the light"?

One of the paradoxes about light is that a photon, a particle of light, has no mass and therefore no weight, and thus it may be said that a photon is "light" in more ways than one. A particle sans mass is the very paragon of lightness! ...

The pineal gland, or the pineal body as it is otherwise called, being a light-sensitive body, may be said to be on most intimate terms with photons. Situated deep within the center of the brain, the pineal has been called the "third eye," the "seat of the rational soul," and the "light meter" of the body. Its many functions (some only recently coming to light) include production of melatonin, and the monitoring of light-related information to keep the body attuned to changing conditions of light in the environment. When we are sound asleep, photons interact with seratonin in the pineal to produce melatonin. In response to darkness, the pineal secretes melatonin which seems to influence daily rhythms by informing the body as to when to rest and (in its absence) when to be active.

As Jacob Liberman has suggested, the pineal, as part of the endocrine system, and in harmony with the biological clock in the hypothalamus, helps to balance and synchronize the vital inner functions of the body with the conditions of the external environment. ...

[Hyatt goes on to quote from] Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh by Matthew Fox:

Matter is frozen light (David Bohm).

Light and matter are ultimately interchangeable. "There is no ultimate physical substance to matter."

"Matter is nothing but gravitationally trapped light."

The afterglow of light from the original fireball of the universe is so significant that "for every one atom of ordinary matter in the Universe there exist 1 billion light particles."

While most of the energy of the universe resides in matter, almost all particles in the universe are those of light.

For every particle of matter, there are 1 billion particles of light. "Matter is just a minor pollutant in a Universe made of light" (Ilya Prigogine).

At the origin of the universe, all the light of the universe was compressed in a volume smaller than the point of a needle.

All the other chemical elements of our bodies (40 percent of the atoms of our bodies) were forged in the interiors of stars. They are "recycled star dust."

Light is a vital ingredient in all atoms and in molecules and life-forms (including human ones) that are made up of atoms.

The human body stores immense amounts of light: The 100 trillion atoms in each of our 100 trillion cells together store at least 1028 photons. This is enough light to illuminate a baseball field for three hours with 1 million watts of floodlights.

The Earth receives only 2 parts per billion of the sun’s total energy output — but this is 10,000 times greater than the total energy presently consumed by the human race.

Every 18 days our galaxy gives birth to a new star.

The energy of the Big Bang may have equaled the total energy of 10 million billion quasars, each of which equals 300 billion suns in light energy alone.

At the beginning of the universe, light was trapped and did not escape for hundreds of thousands of years.

Several hundred thousands of years after the Big Bang, the universe cooled enough that electrons married nuclei and created little hydrogen and helium atoms. From these were born galaxies, stars, planets, and us.

One second after the Big Bang the radiation era began.

At the 700,000-year mark, the radiation era ended and matter separated from radiation and hydrogen was created. In a few billion years, hydrogen and helium formed the first galaxies and stars.

Hydrogen is the "blood of the universe."

When the universe was 9.6 million years old, it was expanding at 1.98 million miles a second or 10 times faster than the speed of light. Thus space, not matter, was doing the expanding. A spaceship traveling this fast could get from Earth to Pluto in less than 25 minutes.

rila added a few more statements about light:

Walt Whitman described cosmic consciousness as "ineffable light, light rare, untellable, light beyond all signs, descriptions and languages.''

Augustine said, "He that knows the truth, knows what this light is and that it is eternity". And Emerson said, "time and space are but the physiological colors the eye makes, the soul is light".

''Humanity, one might say, is the organ of consciousness in the universe. We are the result of consciousness's desire to become aware of itself. As Jung observed, 'If the Creator were conscious of himself, he wouldn't have needed us.'

Lawrence Kushner: "Being speaks of and listens to itself through humanity... Of course, there is no consciousness in the universe without humanity. Humanity is the organ of consciousness in the universe and for this reason we hold our Creator hostage; without our eyes the Holy One of Being would be blind. Insensate.''

The "rainbow body" from Khandro.Net (thank you again to rila at the Daism forum)...

Jhalu or The Rainbow Body

A teacher or yogi who has acquired the highest forms of accomplishment can manifest what is called "the rainbow body" or "body of light." Usually this happens after death, but it has been known to happen at other times. For example, one of the 8 forms of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) is The Rainbow. HH the 16th Karmapa was observed by many people as he temporarily dissolved in this way during a Black Crown ritual.

On Padmasambhava's Rainbow Body

Those who have mastered the trek-chod phase of Dzogchen in which pure and total presence is stabilized, are able to do to-gal. This is the final Dzogchen practice which enables the yogi at the time of death to dissolve his or her physical body into the essence of the elements. The yogin then disappears into a " body of light" leaving behind only the hair, toe and finger nails, and the nasal septum.

Sogyal Rinpoche wrote,

"In 1952 there was a famous instance of the rainbow body in the East of Tibet, witnessed by many people. The man who attained it, Sonam Namgyal, was the father of my tutor at the beginning of this book.

He was a very simple, humble person, who made his way as an itinerant stone carver, carving mantras and sacred texts. Some say he had been a hunter in his youth, and had received a teaching from a great master. No one really knew he was a practitioner; he was truly called a "hidden yogin."

. . . he then fell ill, or seemed to, but became strangely, increasingly happy. When his illness got worse, his family called in masters and doctors. His son told him he should remember, 'Everything is illusion, but I am confident that all is well.'

Just before his death at seventy-nine, he said "All I ask is that when I die, don't move my body for a week." When he died his family wrapped his body and invited Lamas and monks to come and practice for him. They placed the body in a small room in the house, and they could not help noticing that although he had been a tall person, they had no trouble getting it in, as if he were becoming smaller. At the same time, an extraodinary display of rainbow-coloured light was seen all around the house. When they looked into the room on the sixth day, they saw that the body was getting smaller and smaller. On the eight day after his death, the morning in which the funeral had been arranged, the undertakers arrived to collect the body. When they undid its coverings, they found nothing inside but his nails and hair."

 

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