According to ancient spiritual tradition the Mandala serves as a symbolic image of the Universe. In essence, the great vision of St. John about the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, from the Book of Revelation (chapter 21) can be interpreted as a colossal metaphysical Zodiac-Mandala - the Mandala of the Heavenly Jerusalem. All the elements of this Mandala - the centre, the horizontal and vertical axes, the three circles, the day/night cycle, the four seasons, the gates of initiation, and the temples - have deep mythological significance and symbolise the structure of Creation, the different phases in the involution and evolution of the human beings, and the different historical epochs in human civilization.
The centre represents the Absolute Origin of Being, the Primal Cause, the unknown Divine Spirit through whom the whole of Creation was brought into existence. All is Spirit, all is Light, all emanates from the eternal source – God. God, the Father/Mother of Creation, is unconditional Love, infinite Wisdom, and absolute Truth. The Absolute Origin of Being, beyond time, space and matter, is acknowledged in Hinduism as the Absolute, in Buddhism as the Great Void, Sünyäta, in Judaism as the World of Emanation, in Christianity as the Throne of God manifested by the Holy Trinity, and in Islam as the Essence of Allah.
THE THREE CONCENTRIC CIRCLES
(the earthly world, the celestial world and the highest Divine world).
The models of Creation in the spiritual traditions are different and this is understandable because each one of them reflects the structure of the Universe from a unique perspective in accordance with the historical epoch. In every cosmology however we can find the basic archetypal three-fold structure of the Universe which consists of three hierarchically placed worlds:
- the earthly, material world
- the heavenly, angelic world woven by celestial colour rays of light, spiritual music, sacred words and inhabited by myriads of light beings
- the highest Divine world which allows the contemplation of all Creation.
God as the great Spiritual Sun at the metaphysical centre of the Universe unceasingly radiates light and creative energy. Because of the cosmic law of involution and evolution, however, this light falls at varying 'angles' on human consciousness (just as the rays of the Sun fall upon the Earth), and determines the different phases in the development of the human being and human civilisation. As the Earth is subject to the day/night cycle and the turn of the seasons, so the involution and evolution of the human being can be compared with the cycle of metaphysical day and night, while the involution and evolution of human civilisation is comparable to the cycle of the metaphysical seasons. Thus, the cycles of the Mandala represent both the cosmic-spiritual day/night and the cosmic-spiritual year in the development of the human being and of human civilisation respectively.
THE DAY/NIGHT CYCLE
Every stage in the journey of human beings – spiritual dusk, night, dawn and noon – is a long period and characterises the main phases in their development. For example, the spiritual 'dusk' depicts the process of human involution and the gradual crystallisation of the ego. This process is marked by the loss of spiritual qualities and abilities, the loss of the spiritual perception of the world and it leads to increasing immersion in the material world. During the spiritual 'night' the ego is completely crystallised, the human being loses the direct link with the Divine source of life and becomes totally absorbed in the material world. The spiritual 'dawn' of the human being is the awakening of the soul and entry into the spiritual reality which this awakening reveals. During this spiritual 'sunrise' the inner light of the cosmic Sun constantly increases, new qualities and abilities develop and new spiritual bodies of the human being are formed. At the spiritual 'noon' the human being awakens his or her higher Divine Self and builds him/herself into a Temple of God. In this Temple the Divine Spirit as a dove comes to live forever.
THE FOUR SEASONS CYCLE
On the collective level – human civilisation – the development follows the pattern of the changing seasons. In a similar way the cosmic- spiritual Sun energises human civilisation. For instance, the cosmic- spiritual Summer corresponds to the epoch of the Golden Age when human civilisation develops under the bright Divine Light of the Spiritual Sun – God Himself. During the spiritual Autumn of civilisation the luminosity of the Spirit is still a reality, but the perception of Truth gradually diminishes until spiritual darkness obscures the light. In the spiritual Winter human civilisation is cut off from the direct link with the cosmic Sun. As a result humankind experiences spiritual ignorance, coldness, hate, fear and separation. During the spiritual Spring the life-giving cosmic-spiritual Sun begins to shine on all forms and processes of life and gradually they become filled with Divine Light. With this awakening comes transfiguration: the soul starts to blossom, melting the ice of hate and egocentricity, and the scope of the mind expands, as the spiritual essence of Creation becomes evident. During the spiritual Summer the whole Universe is spiritualised and glows in the aura of Divine Truth. Humankind returns to the higher levels of Being and begins its new Golden Age.
The Divine Spirit never abandons humankind whatever phase it may be passing through. The creative Spirit of God leads humankind continuously through the cosmic-spiritual processes of involution and evolution, of spiritual Night and Day, in order to fulfil His great cosmic plan. In every cosmic-spiritual season God sends His messengers, prophets and initiates to help humankind on its spiritual journey. In accordance with the 'season' and the state of development of humankind, every Divine Master shows the path towards the Living God and reveals a magnificent 'seasonal picture' of the whole Universe. For this purpose every Divine Master appears in all three worlds of the Universe with a perfect physical, celestial and universal body. For instance, Jesus Christ manifested the mystery of God the Son in all three worlds:
- in an earthly human form as a particular historical person, Jesus (Matthew 1:21)
- in a celestial transfigured form as spiritual light personified (Matthew 17: 1-2)
- in cosmic-spiritual Divine form as the Universal Logos (John 1:14)
THE GATES OF INITIATION
All points of the inner circle symbolise the impulses which the Divine Masters (and their initiates) carry for the spiritual evolution of humankind. Each Divine Master activates a new phase in the development of the human being, reveals new spiritual realities and sows the seeds for a new civilisation. It is the spiritual impulses brought by the Masters that give the creative energy which forms all the fundamental structures in the life of human beings and society at every level – religion, culture, arts, science, and so on.
The Divine Masters also show the way (in accordance with the 'season') to the higher levels of Being and union with God. Thus, the points of the inner circle of the Mandala represent the Masters, appearing in celestial bodies, as Gates of Initiation into the higher heavenly worlds. Here again we can see the great truth in the words of Christ when he said 'I am the way, the truth and the life' (John 14:6).
THE TEMPLES OF INITIATIONS
On the scheme the inmost circle represents the entry into the highest Divine world of the three-fold structure of the Universe. Human beings can enter into this world only by merging with the universal body of one or another Divine Master. This mystical process means receiving the Initiation of the Master. So, if metaphorically we called the points of the inner circle – Gates of Initiation, now we can call the points of the inmost circle – Temples of Initiation.
When human beings finally enter into the highest Divine world they perceive the whole three-fold structure of the Universe as a Divine Temple. In this Temple they unite with the Living God.
From the celestial Temples we could contemplate the whole three-fold structure of the Universe revealed by the world religions. We can call them Temples, Mansions, Palaces, Gardens, Worlds, but in essence they encompass the totality of the Universe and enshrine life in the presence of the Living God. Each celestial Temple represents a unique aspect of Creation and the wholeness of the human being as its micro-model. Figuratively speaking, we can relate each celestial Temple to a unique metaphysical architecture modelling the Universe.
The Highest Priests and Priestesses in the Temples are the Masters themselves and their feminine counterparts. They manifest one or another universal principle of God and fill the whole Temple with Divine Light, Love, Wisdom and Truth. The Masters, surrounded by their closest disciples (initiates, saints, apostles, bodhisattvas), in union with their feminine counterparts, perform an eternal Divine Service before myriads of their followers. They shine with dazzling white light which integrates all colours of the Divine Rainbow and reveals the ultimate Truth about God, Creation, and the human being. All Temples have a common altar – the Throne of God from where the Masters and their feminine counterparts perform the eternal Service. In each Temple, however, the altar (the concept of the Throne of God) takes a different form, the one most appropriate and inspiring for the followers of the particular tradition.
THE FOUR CARDINAL POINTS
The four cardinal points of the Mandala mark the changes of the spiritual seasons. The initiations at these points are of crucial importance. Each one of them reveals a different picture of the Universe and initiates a new phase in the evolution of the human being. Seen in this light, the initiations at the cardinal points are the main cosmic gates – southern, western, northern, and eastern – to the spiritual reality of the Holy City.
The initiations at the four cardinal points can be identified as the initiations of Krishna (personified in our epoch by the Hindu Master Babaji), Buddha, Jesus Christ, the Master Beinsa Douno (Peter Deunov) and the Holy Spirit. Each one of the Divine Masters has a feminine counterpart who plays a very important role in the initiation. In fact, the initiation is completed only when the aspirant harmonises both the masculine and feminine aspects of the initiation.
THE TWELVE GATES OF THE CITY
We can compare the Mandala of the Heavenly Jerusalem with a gigantic cosmic-spiritual Zodiac with God as the Spiritual Sun at its centre and the four cardinal points marking the change of the seasons. Then, analogous to the astrological symbolism, we can imagine twelve signs of the spiritual Zodiac which will be determined by the type of correlation between spirit and matter, light and darkness, objectivity and subjectivity – i.e. all the categories which constitute the spiritual seasons and affect the evolution of the human being.
Following this analogy, we can envisage, in addition to the initiations at the cardinal points, initiations at the rest of the twelve signs and at many other important points on the Zodiac – i.e. in the middle of the signs, around the cardinal points and so on. In fact, all points of the inner circle of the Mandala (their number will be a function of the structure of the spiritual Zodiac) are important and mark either specific initiations, or at least significant aspects of some of the main initiations.
So, all the remaining initiations through which humankind has passed in the course of history can be inscribed within this cycle – for instance, the initiations of Hermes, Moses, Zoroaster, Lao Tzu, Orpheus, Pythagorous, Plato, Muhammad, Bodhidharma and many others. All these initiations have a definite place in the inner circles of the Mandala at one or another of the important points on the cosmic-spiritual Zodiac. Thus, the spiritual Zodiac Mandala gives a great overview of the spiritual history of humankind and the place, role and significance of each one to the initiations.
THE GREAT COSMIC-SPIRITUAL YEAR IN THE HISTORY OF HUMANKIND
As we can see, the Mandala of the Heavenly Jerusalem is a typological picture of the whole metahistorical cycle of humankind's life on Earth since the Fall – the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise – to their return back to the Father's house. It is a typological picture of the great cosmic-spiritual year in the history of humankind which includes all historical epochs through which humankind has passed during the process of involution (from the Garden of Paradise to the material world) and evolution (from the dark 'material' consciousness evolving to cosmic-spiritual consciousness).
Having passed along the cosmic-spiritual path, humankind will return to the Kingdom of God enriched by many spiritual experiences and various initiations. Each initiation, however, regardless of the time it was given to humankind, is not lost from God's memory, but remains to shine throughout eternity as a spiritual jewel. After its return to the Kingdom of God, humankind will resurrect all initiations through which it has passed and experience them as the 'many rooms in the Father's house'. Thus, by the grace of God, it becomes possible to go beyond the stream of cultural-historical time and to transform dyachrony into synchrony. In other words, we can rise above the cycle of the cosmic-spiritual seasons in the evolution of humankind and encompass the whole macrostructure of the spiritual Zodiac in which the various initiations find integration.
Therefore, the Mandala of the Heavenly Jerusalem is a basis for the integration of all religions. Although they have very different ways, often even opposing, due to the particular cosmic seasons in which they flourish, they come from one and the same spiritual centre of Being and lead back to it. The knowledge of their differences and their essential unity will allow the misunderstandings between religions to be transcended and combined work for the descent of the Kingdom of God on Earth to begin. Moreover, the Mandala of the Heavenly Jerusalem will open up the possibility for easy passage from the spiritual world of one religion into the spiritual world of another. Thus the followers of the different religions will become free citizens of the Holy City.
THE NEW ENLIGHTENMENT
In principle, human beings, who were created in the image of God, should not have descended to the lower cycle of involution – i.e. entered the previously described cosmic-spiritual year of life in earthly consciousness. However, after the Fall, due to the power of cosmic law, humankind descended into the material world and had to undergo a very long and painful metahistorical process of involution and evolution through the spiritual seasons. Naturally, after humankind has completed its process of ascension and has reached the zenith of its earthly evolution (i.e. when it enters the cosmic 'Summer', 'Noon'), humankind will not descend again but will start a qualitatively new cycle of spiritual evolution in the celestial worlds. When the same archetypal structure of the cosmic-spiritual Zodiac is projected onto the first, material, world of the three-fold structure of the Universe it determines a long historical involution and evolution which lasts thousands of years. When however it is activated in the second, celestial, world, the structure of the cosmic-spiritual Zodiac determines the pattern of just one spiritual year in the life of humankind which gives initiatic fruits twelve times a year – once every month. Then, in the highest Divine world the structure of the cosmic-spiritual Zodiac manifests itself as the wholeness of the Holy City of Jerusalem with its twelve gates and the Throne of God which shines as the eternal Spiritual Sun upon the City. On this level the cosmic-spiritual Zodiac becomes a Divine archetypal structure which can be contemplated in one single act of illumination as the New Enlightenment.
Thus, by ascending to a new higher cycle of evolution, humankind will fulfil its original Divine purpose envisaged by God from the beginning of Time – going not through various painful historical epochs of earthly life, but from initiation to initiation in the celestial realms.