Inspired by the teachings of Grand Master Choa Kok Sui. Reference material: Esoteric Astrology (Alice A Bailey), Initiation, Human and Solar (Alice A Bailey), Wisdom of the Zodiac (Torkom Saraydarian), Achieving Oneness with the Higher Soul (Master Choa Kok Sui), Theosophy teachings on Esoteric Astrology (EK)
According to Holy Master Djwal Khul (DK), symbols are outward or objective manifestations of subjective realities or inner truths. By studying symbols, one abstracts the essence behind the form and comes in closer contact with the mind of the Creator.
The Sphinx is one such mysterious symbol. Located in Giza, Egypt, the Sphinx is estimated to be at least 10,000 years old. A monolith carved out of a large limestone block weighing several thousand tonnes, it is a mythical creature with the head of a man, body of a bull, wings of an eagle and feet of a lion. It is believed that the ancient Egyptians worshipped the Sphinx as “Ra-Horakhty” a powerful form of the Sun God. The popular myth about the Sphinx among the ancient Egyptians was that it guarded the entry to the sacred chambers of initiation in the pyramid and if an entrant failed to qualify or answer its riddle, they would be devoured.
The ancient Egyptians knew a lot about astronomy and the celestial constellations. A plain glance at the horoscope section of any newspaper today will tell you that some of the animal symbols in the Sphinx can be connected with Zodiac signs.
So what relevance does an ancient symbol like the Sphinx hold for present day humanity? Presented below are a few pointers for consideration:
- The Sphinx can be considered a synthesis of the following astrological signs or constellations: Aquarius for the Man, Leo for the Lion, Taurus for the Bull and Scorpio for the Eagle (higher/transmuted version of Scorpio). It is a symbolic Cross with Aquarius and Leo comprising one arm and Taurus and Scorpio comprising the perpendicular arm. It is no surprise that the last letter of the Sphin”X” is a cross in itself. These cardinal points represent the “Fixed Cross” in Heavens. The Fixed Cross is the cross of the man “fixated” on the goal of spiritual evolution. Such a soul having experienced duality in life (pain and pleasure, joy and sorrow) seeks fixation and has one pointed spiritual aspiration. The Zodiacal signs of the Fixed Cross pose the challenge and man has to rise up to it. The human gladiator has to emerge victorious to exit the arena of the Fixed Cross and get to higher ground.
- So what challenge does the Fixed Cross pose to a man on the spiritual path? The Fixed Cross stretches the disciple between “self-interest or individualized consciousness” represented by Leo and “others oriented nature or group consciousness” represented by Aquarius. The perpendicular arm across Taurus and Scorpio tests the disciple across “lofty thoughts” symbolized by the flying eagle (Scorpio) and “practical grounded reality” represented by the bull in Taurus. When the right balance between self and others orientation is achieved and the ability to have lofty ideas that can be manifested into practical reality is demonstrated, man’s “fixation on the spiritual goal” has been tested and the victorious gladiator is ready to move beyond the Fixed Cross to greater goals.
- The SphinX or the Fixed Cross also symbolizes the soul crucified in a material body made up of the four elements. Aquarius for Air, Leo for Fire, Taurus for Earth and Scorpio for Water. The SphinX tests the ability of the human soul to synthesize the four apparently diverse elements into one harmonic or cohesive whole under the directive power of the soul. Each element has its peculiarities, strengths and drawbacks but a mature soul is able to balance them by moving from the periphery or circumference of the circle (where it experiences the vagaries of each element) to the center (point of balance), away from polarization to the point of synthesis. The SphinX through its test teaches man to be the master magician and wield power over the elements.
- In Initiation, Human and Solar, Chapter 3, Holy Master DK through Alice. A. Bailey (AAB) talks about the aphorism of the SphinX which is worded as “To Know, To Will, To Dare and To Be Silent”. According to AAB, all true occultists are distinguished by the characteristics of knowledge, dynamic will, courage, and silence. Based on the teachings of Master Choa Kok Sui (MCKS), further, the Man in Aquarius stands for “To Know”, the Lion in Leo stands for “To Dare”, the Bull in Taurus stands for “To Will” and the Eagle in Scorpio stands for “To Be Silent”.
- To elaborate further, one has to think in order to Know, apply one’s mind to plan ahead, chart a strategy, possibilities. Then comes the Will aspect that involves discipline, schedule and commitment to the plan. Implementation of the plan also involves the Dare aspect where one braves the problems that come along the way and musters the courage to carry on. Finally, To Be Silent involves assimilating the experience, introspecting and developing wisdom. It points to the measured use of words, the right time to speak and stay silent, the right time to share and withhold information. It also emphasizes the need to reduce the “inner noise” to tune into the silent whisper of the Soul. The SphinX through its symbolism is revealing the technology to bear the Fixed Cross and develop the qualities of the soul.
- The principle of Silence which is the culminating phrase of the aphorism of the Sphinx is very characteristic of great spiritual teachers. Pythagoras used to impose a vow of silence on his disciples during their training period, Mahatma Gandhi is said to have practiced the vow of silence every Monday, similar also the case with Osho. The cross X is also symbolic of the sign of silence which is typically made by crossing ones’ index finger over the lips. The Cross X also represents the Roman numeral 10, the precise number of letters in the phrase “To Be Silent”. In Achieving Oneness with the Higher Soul, Chapter 9, MCKS emphasizes the need to still the mind in order to cultivate inner stillness and experience the Soul. To paraphrase his teachings, the inner stillness or silence is found in the gap between the two spoken words, between the breaths (inhalation and exhalation), between two thoughts, between two successive chants of the mantra Om or Amen or any other sacred divine name. By meditating on the Gap and the Silence in the Gap, one is able to experience the SphinX within oneself, the Higher Soul nature.
- The Indian story of the 4th avatar of Lord Vishnu, Nara-Simha (Man Lion) symbolizes the same universal truth of the SphinX. The demon King Hiranyakashipu had a boon that he could neither be killed by a man or beast, neither during the day or night, neither on earth or in the heavens, neither inside the house or out of it. This represents the famous riddle of the SphinX which can only be resolved in the gap or the midway point which is neither here nor there. Thus NaraSimha appears in the midway point (neither here nor there) or put esoterically in the Gap (Stillness) and devours the demonic nature. This is symbolic of the Higher Nature (NaraSimha) making its presence felt in the Gap to regulate and overcome the lower nature (Hiranyakashipu). It is also interesting to note that the Avatar uses its two hands (the symbolic 10 digits) to tear the belly of the demon to silence him.
- Connected with the SphinX is the development of the heart. The ability to tune into Silence is connected with Heart chakra. The Heart chakra is called “Anahata” in Sanskrit. Anahata means “that which is unstruck” meaning “that which can hear the unstruck sound of Silence”. The SphinX among other things is also a reminder to develop the heart by blessing, forgiving, being generous, joyful and serving in order to tune into the Silence. The practice of cultivating the SphinX within oneself is incomplete without the development of the heart.
We wouldn’t be far off then to conclude that the Sphinx is a symbol of the rising soul or inner sun wizened from the trails of the Fixed Cross thus relating it to the Egyptian worship of Ra, the Sun God. The SphinX guards the secret to surmount the Fixed Cross – through the application of our mind, developing discipline or constancy, braving circumstances and vagaries of life and cultivating wisdom by listening to the silent voice of the soul. All of this accompanied with the proper development of the heart and the principle of compassion.
Till we are ready, the SphinX will devour us on the Fixed Cross and the soul will experience duality through the cycle of life and death over and over. Eventually through experience, it will develop fixation on the spiritual path to seek emergence out of the Fixed Cross and then the Riddle of the SphinX will no longer be a mystery.