The Antahkarana as an Electrical Phenomenon
In order to discuss the antahkarana as an electrical phenomenon the first and most obvious question to address is – what is electricity? What is the attractive force between a positively charged object and a negatively charged one? What is the attractive force between a proton and an electron in the heart of the atom? Science knows how electric charge works and behaves well enough, but seems at a loss to actually describe or understand what it is in essence. But then again, science isn’t equipped to penetrate this core mystery because electricity is, quite literally, alive; it’s a living entity – something that would probably come as a surprise, even a shock, to your local electrician.
In esoteric literature, this Great electrical life is referred to as Fohat and to paraphrase Helena Blavatsky, He is personified electric vital power, the transcendental binding Unity of all Cosmic Energies, on the unseen as on the manifested planes… On the Cosmic level, his influence is felt in the constructive power that carries out the plan in the mind of nature…in the formation of things, from the planetary system down to the glow-worm and simple daisy. On the earthly plane his influence is felt in the magnetic force. He is the active force in Universal Life; the messenger of Cosmic and human ideations. And on a lower scale He is the objectivised thought of the Gods; the ‘Word made flesh’. 1
Elsewhere we read Fohat; the swift son of the divine sons, runs circular errands…. He passes like lightning through the fiery clouds (cosmic mists); strides through the seven regions above and the seven below (the world to be). He lifts his voice, and calls the innumerable sparks (atoms) and joins them together.2
"Fohat runs circular errands". What a beautiful way of describing the ultimate – the primary electric circuit. In this scenario, everything in manifestation is part of one gigantic electric circuit; with myriads of smaller circuits existing within larger ones. Furthermore, wherever we have electricity we have magnetism, they are two manifestations of the same electromagnetic entity – wherever there is an electric current there is an accompanying magnetic field and vice versa; and it is this relationship that forms the basis of the science of invocation and evocation.
To understand this we can visualize a simple electric circuit to see how the invocation of a Great Life is taking place at a purely physical level in every electrified household as surely as it is by a group of people coming together to participate in spiritual work through the ritual and ceremony of group invocation.
In a simple circuit, such as a ring of copper wire with a battery and a light bulb inserted into it, the outer electrons in the atoms of copper that make up the wire are loosely bound to one another and are pushed along the wire from atom to atom when the chemical energy of the battery is switched on. This is what we generally understand by the term an "electric current". But this current doesn’t supply any power of its own, for the current flow – the movement of the electrons along the wire – is less than a centimetre a minute; and that’s direct current or DC. In our homes we use AC – alternating current, and here the electrons don’t flow around the circuit at all, they just vibrate; they jiggle or shuffle back and forth on the spot. So if the electric current moves forward so lethargically or not at all, what’s happening?
In fact, in the simple movement of the electrons we are witnessing the basics of ceremony and ritual. This little electron dance or ceremony is a "seventh ray shuffle", for, as the Ageless Wisdom tells us, the seventh ray works in connection with the phenomena of electricity. And this rhythmic motion is part of the invocation rite of Fohat, Who, invoked by the chemical reaction in the battery, sweeps through the circle of vibrating electrons to perform His electrifying work. In distinction to the little electron lives who make up the electric current, it is the electromagnetic force field that does the work of lighting up our bulb. A great life has been evoked to do this with the cooperative, rhythmic motion of myriads of not so great electronic lives. Fohat sweeps along the spaces around the wires that connect the battery to the bulb filament at close to the speed of light. Here he rushes into the electron elementals in the filament and stimulates them with His electrical energy to the point that He is converted into light and heat which radiates out into the environment.
Think now of the way seventh ray ceremonial rituals work such as the preparations made at the Wesak festival each year. Prior to the appearance of the Buddha, attendees of every grade perform ritualistic movements to magnetise the ethers and build up the force of invocation to facilitate the Buddha’s appearance and work. They weave in synchronized movement to form significant symbols such as the five-pointed star, the triangle and the cross, and all to the sound of certain chanted words and mantrams. The sense of expectancy grows and the tension increases. "Through the entire body of people there seems to be felt a stimulation or potent vibration which…fuses and blends the group into one united whole." Fohat has been invoked and an aspect of his electrical power shoots through the gathering. Each attendee is acting both as a battery and a light bulb – participating in the invocation rite of Fohat through ritualistic sound and motion; and as the invoked electric charge pours into the centres of the attendees bodies, it is converted into light and "the warmth of energetic moving out" to coin an esoteric phrase. Light and occult warmth radiate out into the environment – and, in fact, throughout the world. Now that the circuit is alive and functioning, the blessing of the Buddha can be carried through the group and flow into the world on waves of Fohatic energy.
Having covered the basics of electromagnetic circuits, we can now consider the antahkarana itself as an electrical phenomenon. An initial sticking point is that the antahkarana is not commonly thought of as a circuit, but more as a bridge across the gap in consciousness that exists between the lower mind of the personality and the higher mind of the Spiritual Ego. However, we will recall that the antahkarana is actually woven around an already existing thread of force that stretches across this chasm. This is the sutratma, the life thread that stretches from every individualized son of God on the highest planes of the system right down through the Solar Angel on the mental plane and into the personality in the lower three worlds, delivering the vital energy of Life itself and as much of the consciousness of the higher planes that can be registered at any particular personality’s stage of unfoldment. When our thoughts are directed back upwards towards this high source on the spiritual realms in meditation, the antahkarana is woven around the sutratma and we have a two way flow of living, conscious energy, and this completes the fohatic or electrical circuit.Interestingly, the old commentary describes someone who has spun or woven the first tenuous strand of the upward part of this circuit as "a weaver in fohatic enterprise".
Having established the fact that there is no real communication gap between Monad, soul and personality, other than one of conscious realisation, we can help our understanding by considering another electrical phenomenon of the physical plane – lightning. How often have we looked in awe at the power of Fohat as he strides across the heavens throwing down lightning bolts connecting sky to earth? Again science flounders in attempting to explain the thousands of electrical discharges taking place all over the planet at any one time via thunderstorms and lightning. They are generally thought to be due to atmospheric perturbations. In reality thunderstorms are the exact opposite to what they are currently thought to be. Rather than electrical generators, they are dissipaters of energy in an interplanetary circuit – lightning being the spark of a celestial current as it connects to the Earth.
So, drawing on a visualization by William Beaty on the Science Hobbyist website,3 let’s imagine going outside in a thunderstorm and slowing everything down a thousand fold so that we can see what’s actually occurring in a lightning strike. We’re standing outside in this time frozen world of a raging thunderstorm. The trees and bushes around us are thrashing frozenly in the stopped wind, and a few torn shingles flying from the nearby roof hang in the air nearby. High up in the sky we see a tangled, branching network of dimly glowing wiggly purple lines like a tree root, which are lengthening. Now we notice that everything on the ground is starting to glow. Bits of dim purple fire are popping into existence on the tops of bushes, the edges of the roof of the nearby house, the ends of the tree branches and the flying pieces of shingles from the roof. Holding our hands out in front of us, we notice that the tips of all our fingers are sprouting dim purple fire as well. As we see the purple fire from the sky lengthening and coming downward, the purple fire on all the objects on or close to the ground is becoming more intense, and beginning to sprout upwards. The invocation/evocation rite of Fohat is well underway and the formation of an antahkarana between the heavens and earth.
As the dim purple lightning from the sky grows downwards it speeds up and, simultaneously, the jagged purple flames from our fingers are growing upwards as a narrow wiggly violet line! We notice that there are streamers growing upwards from the tree, the bushes from the roof of the house, and they’re all moving towards the incoming lightning strike. As the attraction or charge builds up between the sky and the ground to an irresistible point of tension, the upward growing streamers connect with the down coming ones and now Fohat surges forth and the purple changes to the blazing blue white lightning we are familiar with, and the voltage difference between sky and earth is neutralized. As an aside, the blue white flash of light we see in a lightning strike is not Fohat Himself; this is the bridge of plasma formed in the air through which he passes – a bridge of nitrogen and oxygen being stripped of their electrons and radiating light and heat as Fohat rushes through. A channel of air is performing the same function as the tungsten filament does in the light bulb in our circuit.
Fohat himself is invisible, intangible and consists of nothing that the lower senses can detect. And so too is the antahkarana that we are constructing in meditation. The Tibetan talks about the antahkarana being composed of mental substance, or of light substance but then turn to a different page and he tells us that this is just a symbolic way of speaking. This is because like the electric current in our circuit or the channel of air plasma in the thunderstorm, while the antahkarana can be described as a bridge or conduit composed of matter of the various planes, it is the life that rushes through it that is our concern. In fact, we have to start thinking of ourselves in general as divine projections, force emanations from the divine, electromagnetic field-waves rather than identifying ourselves with our vehicles of matter, regardless of how sublime. Our bodies are like congealed knots of frozen electricity – capacitors storing electric charge at any particular level of the system we focus our consciousness upon; for as we know, energy follows thought.
So to continue the lightning analogy, the antahkarana is similarly a connecting bridge of electrified mental substance that connects two terminals of opposite polarity or charge. Through concentrated thinking, we build up charge in our meditation into a point of high electrical tension like a capacitor, and then we deliberately release it in a surge towards the spiritual Triad, completing the circuit of consciousness. When this has been done, the centres in our lower vehicles take on the role of the light bulb in the circuit and electromagnetic field waves from the Spiritual Triad pour into them whereupon they are converted into a form of energy that is appropriate for the stimulation of human consciousness in line with the Divine Plan.
We can take the electrical theme right down to the dense physical plane too where lightning storms are constantly taking place in our brains. Even from a solely physical perspective, man is an electrical being relying on the conductive ability of metals to communicate. The human brain consists of more than a 100 billion nerve cells each possessing around 100,000 connections. Every second, trillions of electrical signals are transmitted between neurons – that makes the Internet seem trivial in comparison. And it is the metals, sodium and potassium, acting like batteries, which regulate the electrical energy balance in every cell membrane. Everything we see, feel, imagine or remember, expresses itself through a world of electrical signals, all relayed and communicated to and from the central consciousness in the brain through the ionic bonds formed by electrostatic attraction between these metals.
Indeed, the human being is an electrical entity, and his function is to offer electrical resistance to the inflowing force of Fohat, and the qualities he is carrying. Through contact with the lower planes and specifically within the vital airs in the cavities of the brain, the thought forms we have built light up acting as filaments or resistors through which Fohat can convert his electrical force into light for the world. And interestingly the term for measuring units of electrical resistance is the ‘OHM’, which has a familiar ring to it...but perhaps we should leave things here – this would probably be an analogy too far!
Finally, to end on, here are two quotes from the Tibetan that explain the importance of starting to think in electrical terms, of viewing life and the universe we live in, from an electrical perspective, and the reason behind the Electric Bridge initiative on the Arcane School section of the Lucis Trust website.