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The Two Selfs

Hoffman's portrait of ChristPart 8 of the Aquarian Gospel for Awakening

The unity of all

“Again Elihu met his pupils in the sacred grove and said, No man lives unto himself; for every living thing is bound by cords to every other living thing. Blest are the pure in heart; for they will love and not demand love in return. They will not do to other men what they would not have other men do unto them” (Aquarian Gospel 8:1-4).

There is only the One within which the many live in total and irrevocable union. Therefore “no man lives unto himself; for every living thing is bound by cords to every other living thing.” Loving our neighbor as our self is profoundly metaphysical, not just social. When we understand our unity with all that live–mineral, plant, animal, human and angelic–we realize that to injure another is to injure ourself; to help another is to help ourself. How can we kill and eat ourselves? Or enslave ourselves? Or oppress ourselves? Or neglect ourselves? In this perspective Jesus’ account of the judgment given in the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew takes on an altogether different complexion. It is our true self that says to our lesser, illusory self: “I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.…I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.”

Oftentimes meditators and monks are challenged as to what they are doing for others and accused of being selfish. But the truth is that every time we think a positive thought it registers in the lives of everyone in the universe. (Conversely, when we think a negative thought it harms everyone.) So if we can enlighten our hearts, that light will be shared among all other beings as well. Those who liberate themselves greatly further the liberation of others and make the path easier for them.

The pure in heart

We usually think of purity in negative terms–no impurity. But it entails much more, and Elihu speaks of two aspects of purity in heart: “Blest are the pure in heart; for they will love and not demand love in return. They will not do to other men what they would not have other men do unto them.”

Love, real love, is rare, for it only gives and demands nothing in return. This is a primary mode of God’s existence. See how He loves us, expecting nothing in return, wishing only for our highest welfare. This is because God is perfectly egoless. In a sense He sees only us, never Himself. And we should be the same in relation to Him. From this aphorism we also see that ego is the impurity that must be removed from the heart to make it pure. “What about me?” cannot arise in the pure heart. The pure in heart demand much of themselves, but nothing from others. The saints are perfect demonstrations of this. Loving is their fulfillment.

Wishing only the best for others, they can never do aught to others but what they would wish for themselves. In their love they experience the unity spoken of in the previous section, and can have no duality in their thoughts, no dual standard. Being the best, they give only the best: themselves and their love.

The two selfs

“There are two selfs; the higher and the lower self. The higher self is human spirit clothed with soul, made in the form of God. The lower self, the carnal self, the body of desires, is a reflection of the higher self, distorted by the murky ethers of the flesh.

“The lower self is an illusion, and will pass away; the higher self is God in man, and will not pass away. The lower self is the embodiment of truth reversed, and so is falsehood manifest. The higher self is justice, mercy, love and right; the lower self is what the higher self is not. The lower self breeds hatred, slander, lewdness, murders, theft, and everything that harms; the higher self is mother of the virtues and the harmonies of life. The lower self is rich in promises, but poor in blessedness and peace; it offers pleasure, joy and satisfying gains; but gives unrest and misery and death. It gives men apples that are lovely to the eye and pleasant to the smell; their cores are full of bitterness and gall.

“If you would ask me what to study I would say, yourselves; and when you will have studied them, and then would ask me what to study next, I would reply, yourselves. He who knows well his lower self, knows the illusions of the world, knows of the things that pass away; and he who knows his higher self, knows God; knows well the things that cannot pass away.

“Thrice blessed is the man who has made purity and love his very own; he has been ransomed from the perils of the lower self and is himself his higher self” (Aquarian Gospel 8:5-16).


Twins fascinate virtually everyone; and stories about conflict or confusion between an evil twin and a good twin never fail to interest readers and theater-goers. This is because twins are an archetype of the human psyche. Nothing can exist without being fundamentally dual, and that includes the mind. The contradictions that thrive within each human being are a marvel and a torment to all. Elihu is going to make their nature plain to all and give the resolution for the problems they produce.

The soul

The soul is not the same as the spirit, but is the complex of several levels–from the biomagnetic to the causal–that link the spirit with the body. However in this instance the higher self is considered as consisting of the higher astral and the causal bodies as well as the spirit. The higher self reflects the divine nature, both the Trinity and the Septonate, in its makeup. It is this likeness that enables the spirit to move upward towards God even while being in the body. For all these levels are both entities and the powers that enliven those entities; and they in turn enliven the body by focusing the Divine Light downward upon it.

The lower self

The “carnal self” entails the physical, biomagnetic, and sensory mind bodies. The lower self is not only bound by the materiality of the physical body, it is enslaved by the material attunement of the biomagnetism and the senses. The biomagnetic and sense bodies together are “the body of desires” which includes egoic and fleshly emotions such as anger, greed, lust, and fear. Since the lower self “is a reflection of the higher self” it masquerades as the higher self and is a kind of satire of the higher self. Even worse, because of their reflective natures, both the higher and lower selves are continually echoing off one another and so become confused with one another.

Think of the higher and lower selfs as an object set upon a mirror. There will appear to be two of them, though only one is real.They will mirror each other in an inverse manner–the top of the real object will appear as the bottom of the reflected image. In the chakra system of Yoga this is seen very clearly. “Earth” consists of the three lower chakras–one at the base of the spine, one above it about a third of the way between the base and the navel, and one at the navel itself. (The chakras are really in the spine, but it is easier to locate them by thinking of their corresponding points on the front of the body.) “Heaven” is the three higher chakras at the center of the chest (heart chakra), the hollow of the throat, and the point between the eyebrows. (The seventh chakra is “out of the game” and corresponds to no other chakra, but is the ruler of all six.) Their polarity correspondences are: 1) eyebrow-base, 2) throat-middle, and 3) heart-navel. (So you see, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!).

The lower-higher polarization

There is an awful polarization of the higher and lower centers through which the activation of aspects of the higher self automatically activates the corresponding aspects of the lower self. The result is a terrible conflict and confusion, producing despair in anyone whose conscience is at all developed. The employment of even wise speech (throat chakra) can somehow trigger off the emotions that reside in the middle lower or “water” chakra. We think of intellect as opposed to emotion, and that is so; but intellect is chained to emotion in most people, so we get the arousal of both. The love of the heart chakra becomes mixed with the greed and dominance drive of the navel chakra. (This is why so many caring and charitable enterprises end up being strongholds of greed, and why so many marriages degenerate into selfish exploitation and battles for domination.) And worst of all, the stimulation of the eyebrow chakra can stir up the lusts of the base chakra, which is why so many religious and spiritual leaders have had great problems (and downfalls) with sexuality. A superficial view causes us to class them as hypocrites, but that is not so. Rather, they are suffering from this hellish polarity, experiencing the reality of the esoteric statement: “Satan is God reversed.” Unpleasant as it is, we must pursue this subject further. For if we do not understand the workings of the lower-higher self connection we will not be able to work out the problems it causes.

First of all, the black-dog-white-dog analogy is completely false. I am speaking of the oft-told story of a simple person who said that the spiritual struggle is like a fight between a black dog and a white dog, the black one being the evil in us and the white being the good in us. The way to ensure the victory of the white dog and the defeat of the black dog is to only feed the white dog and starve the black dog. The implication is that the lower nature will either die or be so weak it will be of no significance. The simile is cute, but it is not so. When one “dog” gets fed, so does the other, because they are interconnected. Essentially they are the positive and negative poles of a single thing: the envelope of the spirit. This is why great sinners make great saints–and vice versa.

Dual conflict

Some philosophies postulate that there are two equal cosmic forces, one negative and the other positive, that are in perpetual conflict; that one cannot win out over the other, but they keep seesawing back and forth endlessly. In the field of relative existence, this is absolutely true. Only in the transcendence of relativity does the state of Unity prevail (not the winning out of good over evil–both are left behind). Consequently, as long as we are centered in relative, dual consciousness, there will be no victory of either side. Those with memory of their past lives know that some lives are mixed in character, and some are altogether negative or positive–that a horribly negative life can be immediately followed by a thoroughly positive life, and the other way around. We just go around and around, up and down, tossing on the seas of life. “Continuous shows all day” in the theater of our life.

“Today one walks in gloom, downhearted and oppressed; tomorrow that same one is filled with joy. Today the heavens seem full of blessedness and hope; tomorrow hope has fled, and every plan and purpose comes to naught. Today one wants to curse the very ground on which he treads; tomorrow he is full of love and praise. Today one hates and scorns and envies and is jealous of the child he loves; tomorrow he has risen above his carnal self, and breathes forth gladness and good will. A thousand times men wonder why these heights and depths, these light hearts and these sad, are found in every life” (Aquarian Gospel 9:5-9).

There is no stopping until duality is transcended, until the six chakras are subordinated to the consciousness of the seventh chakra. That is why in the book of Revelation, after a great deal of action and noise, “when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven” (Revelation 8:1). The battle only stops when the “sabbath” of the seventh level of consciousness is opened and the process of transmuting the lower six levels into the seventh is approaching its end. Meditation alone is the opening of the seventh seal.

Right now “the murky ethers of the flesh” usually prevail, pulling us downward. Yes, the picture is awful, but: “the lower self is an illusion, and will pass away; the higher self is God in man, and will not pass away.” So a realistic view may be ugly, but it can be equally optimistic and confident. For if we pick up our object and take it away, it will no longer have an unreal reflection in the mirror. The terrible bondage-polarity of the six chakras can be escaped by the activation of the seventh (spirit) chakra. Through meditation we can awaken from the nightmare of reflected being into the life of true being.

The lower self–the devil

The lower self is “the devil, the father of lies” (John 8:44) and we must not listen to or believe it. This is not so easy, since the body, feelings, and lower mind are the only reality most of us know. And even those of us who occasionally rise to higher perceptions are bound by the conditionings from countless lives in which we had no higher perceptions. A little pressure, and we revert immediately to our lower habit patterns. Hard as it will be to do, we must wean ourselves away from the lower self and steadfastly refuse to pay attention to or follow it. It is always a lie and a liar. In regard to it we must keep in mind the words: “Touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (II Corinthians 6:17). The wise will not even look at it lest they be enticed to touch and get stuck up in the tar baby of the lower self. For the lower self is absolutely “the unclean thing.” In contrast:

Justice, mercy, love and right

“Justice” implies both clearsightedness and an aspiration for divine order. It also implies an objective fairness in relation to others, uncolored by egoic ideas or desires. It implies a love of truth and orderliness that transcends personal self-centered motivations. “Mercy” is an active care for others, not just a noble attitude. It also implies tolerance, patience, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice. “Love” implies an embracing of others in a sense of spiritual unity and identity. “Right” implies rectitude on all levels of being and a love of truth above all personal inclinations. It implies the banishment of prejudices and demands. It does not make us blind, but makes us clear and at peace.

Without mercy and love, justice and right become oppressive and heartless injustice and wrong. Without justice and right, mercy and love becomes unprincipled indulgence and emotional sentimentality.

The character of the lower self

We can profile the lower self by simply thinking of the traits opposite to those of the higher self. The lower self is not a thing in itself–merely the negation of the higher self.

“The lower self breeds hatred, slander, lewdness, murders, theft, and everything that harms.” The lower self is not itself these things, but when planted in the soil of earth through incarnation it breeds them like germs in a host. And it breeds them in our minds, from whence they develop into actions. The lower self is a horrible seed from which all evils can proceed without hindrance. HOWEVER: we need not fight, oppose, or hate it. Since it is unreal we need only dispel it like the illusion it is. We need to “become real” in God, the sole Reality. Therefore we should not waste time with the lower self, but become involved exclusively with the higher self through the Four Keys to the Kingdom: Baptism, Eucharist, Silence, and The Word.

The character of the higher self

A rose is not fragrance, but wherever a rose is, there is its perfume. In the same way, whenever the higher self is allowed to function it gives birth to the virtues and harmonies of life. And let us not forget that “virtue” means not just a positive quality, but the power that such a quality conveys. (“And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me” Luke 8:46). How often do our well-intentioned words or deeds produce conflict or misunderstanding. The result indicates that they proceeded from the lower self, for the higher self always produces harmony. (This is not to infer that those immersed in their lower self will not react inharmoniously to us, for that will be their doing.) When we act through the higher self, only good results. Outside the higher self good becomes impossible. That is why so many people strive to be good and fail–they are striving through the lower self, which can never do good. They must learn to rise to the consciousness of the higher self and function from there before they can either be or do good. The path to hell is paved with good intentions because the “intenders” are walking with the feet of the lower self.

The deception of the lower self

“The lower self is rich in promises, but poor in blessedness and peace; it offers pleasure, joy and satisfying gains; but gives unrest and misery and death. It gives men apples that are lovely to the eye and pleasant to the smell; their cores are full of bitterness and gall.” This passage demonstrates one of the values of the Aquarian Gospel: it needs no interpretation or commentary; it says it and says it well and completely. It is true that we can expand on the ideas found in the Gospel and elaborate them, but we need not explain them. The teachings are direct and clear, even the most profound of them. There is no need to prove anything; the meaning is unmistakable. Consequently, all argumentation is avoided. Levi Dowling has done an inestimable service to all truth seekers by setting down his perceptions in such a straightforward manner.

There is one point I will comment on, though, and that is the fact that it is the lower self that makes promises. The higher self never does, for it is itself what would be promised; and once you are in contact with it you have what it is. So when we see spiritual or religious propaganda filled with marvellous boastings and promisings we can know that it proceeds from the lower self and is illusory if not an outright lie.

Knowledge of the selfs

One of the requisites of Yoga is swadhyaya–self-study–because if we do not analyze ourselves we will not detect when the lower self is working its will and fooling us. Also, we will not realize the existence of the two selfs and know how to distinguish between them. Just as an expelled enemy can creep back and resume power, so the lower self can do the same. (“When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first” Matthew 12:43-45). Eternal vigilance is the price of spiritual as well as political liberty. Further, when we know our higher self it becomes possible to progress onward to know God, for Elihu continues: “He who knows well his lower self, knows the illusions of the world, knows of the things that pass away; and he who knows his higher self, knows God; knows well the things that cannot pass away.” We have to face the truth about this world and that which ties us into it–all is illusory and impermanent. Buddha gave the full picture: everything of the lower self is impermanent, having nothing to do with us (not-self), and stressful, pulling us out of shape into the distorted state of suffering, ignorance, and bondage.

Thrice blessed

To master and perfect the threefold nature of the human being–physical, astral and causal–and become a perfect imaging of the Father-Mother-Son Trinity–is to be “thrice blessed.” This occurs when the aspirant makes purity and love “his very own” by making himself a literal embodiment of purity and love. Purity in the highest sense is freedom from all that is not spirit, and love in the highest sense is permanent union with God. These “ransom” us from the dungeons of the lower self, freeing us to enter into the true being of our higher self. For the higher self is not really an aspect of our being, it is our being. We do not “have” a higher self, we are the higher self. As long as the higher self is an object to us, something that can be risen to and fallen away from, that can come into play and sink into abeyance, we are not thrice blessed but are “under the curse” (Galatians 3:10) of duality. However, since the lower self is really illusory, our ascent to the higher self and the reclamation of our true being is inevitable, “for we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith” (Galatians 5:5).

Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: Deliverance From Gods and Demons

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The Aquarian Gospel—Commentary and Text

The Aquarian Gospel for Awakening—A Commentary on the Aquarian Gospel
by Swami Nirmalananda Giri (Abbot George Burke)

  1. The Mother of Jesus
  2. Prophecies of the Births of Saint John the Baptist and Jesus
  3. The Birth of Jesus
  4. Revelations in the Temple
  5. Coming of the Wise Men
  6. Herod’s Reaction
  7. Revelations in Egypt
  8. The Two Selfs
  9. Deliverance From Gods and Demons
  10. About God the Tao
  11. From India to Chaldea
  12. The Wisdom of Buddha
  13. God and Prayer
  14. The Mission of Jesus and John the Baptist
  15. Sin and the Forgiveness of Sin
  16. The Universal Law of Man’s Free Will and the Divine Will For Man
  17. Understanding Death
  18. The True Teacher
  19. The Value of Ritual
  20. The Law Behind All Laws
  21. Opening To The Truth
  22. In the Temple at the Age of Ten
  23. Revelation to the Teachers and People in the Temple
  24. Jerusalem to Nazareth
  25. Nazareth to India
  26. What is Truth?
  27. What Is Man?
  28. What is Power?
  29. Understanding
  30. Wisdom
  31. Faith
  32. Healing and Healers
  33. Conflict Over Caste
  34. The Destiny of All Men
  35. God and Man
  36. The Voice in the Heart
  37. Seeing the Unseeable
  38. To God Through Man
  39. Who Is Jesus?
  40. The Real Versus The Apparent
  41. The Brotherhood of Life
  42. God…and Man
  43. Relating To God
  44. The Worthy Host
  45. Come to the Light
  46. The Kingdom Revealed
  47. The King Revealed
  48. Perspective On Death
  49. Fire and Sword
  50. Evolution: The Path of Glory
  51. The Real Heaven
  52. Getting to the Essence
  53. New Perspective on Religion
  54. In Tibet and Ladakh
  55. Words to the Worthy
  56. The Thirty-Eighth Chapter
  57. The Origin of Evil
  58. The Silence
  59. The Source of Healing
  60. The Fivefold Gospel
  61. Homecoming
  62. In Athens
  63. The Oracle of Delphi
  64. The Real God
  65. Return to Egypt
  66. First Steps to Wisdom
  67. Strong in Will and Intent
  68. Here Comes the Ego
  69. Blessed are the Merciful
  70. Claiming Our Freedom
  71. The Great Test
  72. Comprehending Death
  73. The Christ!
  74. The Asembly of the Masters
  75. The Seven Pillars of the Aquarian Age – I
  76. The Seven Pillars of the Aquarian Age – II
  77. The Declaration of Jesus
  78. John the Baptist – I
  79. John the Baptist – II
  80. John the Baptist – III
  81. Baptism – Jesus and John
  82. Self-Examination and Temptation
  83. The First Disciples Follow Jesus
  84. Jesus’ First Sermon
  85. The King and the Kingdom
  86. Dealing With Challengers
  87. The First Miracle of Jesus
  88. Kings and Kingdoms
  89. The Temple of God
  90. What Is A Messiah?
  91. The Laws of Healing
  92. Nicodemus Finds The Kingdom
  93. The Prince of Peace
  94. Dealing With Spiritual Opposition
  95. The Opened Gate
  96. John the Baptist Speaks of the Christ
  97. John Speaks Further About Jesus
  98. The Woman at the Well
  99. The Disciples and Samaritans at the Well
  100. Jesus in Sychar
  101. More Wisdom In Samaria
  102. The Imprisonment of John the Baptist
  103. In Jerusalem
  104. The Insights of Jesus
  105. Sabbath Wisdom
  106. Prayer and Good Deeds
  107. Divine Laws and Principles for Seekers of the Divine
  108. A New Understanding of the Ten Commandments
  109. Aspects of the Higher Law – 1
  110. Aspects of the Higher Law – 2
  111. Aspects of the Higher Law – 3
  112. Aspects of the Higher Law – 4
  113. Chapter One Hundred One
  114. Chapter One Hundred Two
  115. Chapter One Hundred Three
  116. Chapter One Hundred Four
  117. Chapter One Hundred Five
  118. Chapter One Hundred Six
  119. Chapter One Hundred Seven
  120. Chapter One Hundred Eight
  121. Chapter One Hundred Nine
  122. Chapter One Hundred Ten
  123. Chapter One Hundred Eleven
  124. Chapter One Hundred Twelve
  125. Chapter One Hundred Thirteen
  126. Chapter One Hundred Fourteen
  127. Chapter One Hundred Fifteen
  128. Chapter One Hundred Sixteen
  129. Chapter One Hundred Seventeen
  130. Chapter One Hundred Eighteen
  131. Chapter One Hundred Nineteen
  132. Chapter One Hundred Twenty
  133. Chapter One Hundred Twenty One
  134. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Two
  135. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Three
  136. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Four
  137. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Five
  138. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Six
  139. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Seven
  140. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Eight
  141. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Nine
  142. Chapter One Hundred Thirty
  143. Chapter One Hundred Thirty One
  144. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Two
  145. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Three
  146. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Four
  147. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Five
  148. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Six
  149. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Seven
  150. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Eight
  151. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Nine
  152. Chapter One Hundred Forty
  153. Chapter One Hundred Forty One
  154. Chapter One Hundred Forty Two
  155. Chapter One Hundred Forty Three
  156. Chapter One Hundred Forty Four
  157. Chapter One Hundred Forty Five
  158. Chapter One Hundred Forty Six
  159. Chapter One Hundred Forty Seven
  160. Chapter One Hundred Forty Eight
  161. Chapter One Hundred Forty Nine
  162. Chapter One Hundred Fifty
  163. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-One
  164. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Two
  165. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Three
  166. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Four
  167. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Five
  168. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Six
  169. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Seven
  170. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Eight
  171. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Nine
  172. Chapter One Hundred Sixty
  173. Chapter One Hundred Sixty One
  174. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Two
  175. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Three
  176. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Four
  177. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Five
  178. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Six
  179. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Seven
  180. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Eight
  181. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Nine
  182. Chapter One Hundred Seventy
  183. Chapter One Hundred Seventy One
  184. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Two
  185. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Three
  186. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Four
  187. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Five
  188. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Six
  189. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Seven
  190. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Eight
  191. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Nine
  192. Chapter One Hundred Eighty
  193. Chapter One Hundred Eighty One
  194. Chapter One Hundred Eighty Two

The Text of the Aquarian Gospel—by Levi Dowling

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