By Cyrus Ryan
DEITIES: their Importance for Spiritual effort in the New Age
Very few aspirants who are sincerely studying the Ageless Wisdom, especially Theosophy, and its extension through the works of AAB as dictated by the Master DK have very little interest and even less knowledge of Deities. Its no wonder, for if you look and the pantheon of Hindu or even Tibetan deities, one is easily overwhelmed by the magnitude of the study that would be involved. In the Santana Dharma of India there are literally more than one hundred thousand deities, each with their own mantra, and even sadhana. The same goes for the Tibetan Vajrayana. Just look at some of the mandalas that are associated with a particular tantra, and you’d find that knowledge of many of the deities is required to truly enter into a sincere discipline. When one begins to study a particular deity, it becomes apparent that each deity is multi-layered in symbolism. For instance, in Vajrayana, many of the deities have numerous arms and brandish a variety of weapons. Are these weapons just symbolic or do they have a practical use? Sometimes one deity will have several forms, so, which form is the correct form or which one should be the focus of a particular sadhana? It becomes apparent that this is a complex study, therefore most aspirants fail to examine carefully this most important part of the path. In fact, the application of deity sadhana is the key to enter so much deeper on the Path of Return.
If an interest arises to study deities and apply them in one’s sadhana, how do you choose which deity to meditate on? Generally, if one is drawn to a particular deity, that inner urge is a reflection of some past memory that awakens at a particular time to help with ones’ spiritual evolution. But what happens if this occurs and you decide to ignore it, thinking is weird or even paralyzing since you don’t know how to handle it, and thus ignore the inspiration/experience. Why doesn’t Theosophy talk about deities?
The reason that real knowledge is hard to come by is that the sadhana on a deity is the real esoteric knowledge. Thus, the deeper knowledge is protected and not readily available. You can find information on many deities through the internet, but what do you do with this information? The main deities that you initially can find information on are, ‘Krishna, Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesh, Hanuman, and Kali-ma in the Hindu pantheon, and in the Buddhist Vajrayana, Avalokiteshavara/Chenrizig, Quan-Yin, Tara (white and green), Mahakala, and Manjushri. Other systems also have their own pantheon of deities such as the Norse gods, and Egyptian gods. Though these gods exist as expressions of the ‘one life and light’, some are in passive cycles while others are in more active cycles. There are greater deities and lesser deities. The lesser gods can be invoked through ritual and certain chants, but they can lead to greater difficulties for the unsuspecting aspirant who as yet does not know the law, but wants the experience certain rituals can bring.
For the accepted disciple it is the Master who connects the disciple to the correct deity that will help in the process of purification and initiation. This is an advanced stage of discipleship. When this occurs, it indicates that the disciple is truly being trained by one of the Masters for some particular future service. The Master will give a mantra to reinforce and build the connection with the deity for the disciple. Then it is up to the disciple through discipline, and study to build a relationship with the deity and to evolve that relationship. This is very important. As the relationship evolves, the power of the deity increases. As this happens the negative substances, especially from one’s astral body are transformed, and the desires become purified, which results in a change in one’s personality.