In the past, we were mind-created spiritual beings, nourished by joy. We soared through space, self-luminous and in imperishable beauty. We thus remained for long periods of time…( Aggañña-Sutta)
Entranced, Ernst Schäfer fell into a subterranean mind-stupor and found himself spiraling-downwards into an unimaginable well of darkness. Twilight began to dissolve away the numbing miasma as he lay paralyzed on the bottom of some infernal cavity. Demons of the pit appeared and, lifting his immobile frame, sent him headlong into a fiery cauldron of scalding-liquid as they fiendishly watched his slow descent into this molten-hell.
Ernst Schäfer belched-out in inconceivable agony as one of the demons sliced-off his head, chopped his body into small pieces, and mixed the dissolving elements as if stirring a toxic stew. There the demons boiled his body for an indefinite period before draining the remains into a cavernous-stream that emptied out into a nearby river. After time, Lochana came and fished Schäfer’s bones out of the river and began to reassemble them on top of Ratnasambhava’s Jeweled-Throne. Lochana opened Schäfer’s skull’s mouth and poured from a crystal-vase, sparkly balls filled with light and energy. In its eye sockets she placed two shining emeralds. In the third-eye location she inserted a luminous diamond. Then the remnants of Schäfer’s bones were restored into an amethyst skeleton.
The Ernst Schäfer character (in his mind’s-eye) has undergone here a form of Shamanistic initiation. Like Dante, the Ernst Schäfer character begins the journey to mystic-heights in the very bowels of the earth. This is symbolic of the condition into which the ascetic’s body must fall if his spirit is to enter into sambhokayic reality. The skandhic-remains are shredded while the spirit is freed to traverse through barriers with its manomayakaya, or Mind-made body. This is known as Ratnasambhava’s Vase-Empowerment as the yogin is purified from all skandhic defilements and Mara’s Five Aggregates are crushed. This is also indicative of how the Stream of Mind is purified as it begins to awaken its bodhipower. The “demons” described here also have a role to play, much like the Tibetan Wrathful Deities who seek-out and destroy any adventitious defilements in the mindstream that hinder and prevent proper Mind-development. Through Lochana’s intervention the manomayakaya is being refashioned into the Real Body of the Tathagata. Symbolically, Schäfer’s amethyst skeleton signals that Ratnasambhava’s Foundation is made secure; meaning that the early structure of the yogin’s shamanistic-like journey is fashioned. Lochana represents the Earth Element; it is within this context that the mind adept is empowered (solidified) to begin the quest for Actual-Self discovery. The Luminous Diamond that is inserted into the location of the third-eye chakra is a representation of how the yogin is beginning to see spiritual realities through the very Dragon-eye of the Tathatic Mind and Spirit.
If the reader is feeling perplexed it can be stated quite plainly that what we are dealing with here in this instance, as well as this entire blog-series, is something called the Twilight Language (saṃdhyā-bhāṣā). This is the Transcendent Expedient through which Gnostic-truths are fashioned and revealed. Through the utilization of mythic-motifs, mantras and mudras, mandalas and chakras, Mind-made journeys into Higher Tathatic–Realms of consciousness are made possible. Hence, Schäfer’s dismemberment-resurrection theme is a critical initiatory junction in which ordinary samsaric-reality is erased in favor of the Real Nature of the Dharmadhatu.