Asat, Sat and Tan
Guardians of Darkness
Tani Jantsang and M. Slayton, D.D.
Asat is a Sanskrit word ("sat") with a negative prefix ("A") that roughly means "non-being." Yet in order to fully grasp the immense meaning contained in this one word it is necessary to examine a few key concepts of the Esoteric Tradition. The first of these is expressed by the Sanskrit word parabrahm, and the second is mulaprakriti. We will first touch briefly upon the meaning of the former, and then that of the latter, so that the end result will be a somewhat basic understanding of not merely the words and their etymology, but their inner meanings as they pertain to the Dark, or Esoteric, Tradition.
The simple approach taken by Eastern Adepts, and Western to some extent, often escapes serious scholars who, while certainly masters of the philosophies they explore, tend to over intellectualize matters. Within scholarly circles this practice may be perfectly acceptable and quite in keeping with the free flow of ideas, but for the majority of us it is not so important that we use eloquent speech or fanciful expositions. This is most blatantly seen in the word used by Eastern Adepts when speaking of parabrahm, it is simply tat, a sanskrit word which means "that." The world of manifestation, conversely, is referred to as idam, another sanskrit word which means "this." There is an almost childlike (not to be confused with childish) sense by which an Eastern Initiate approaches the Esoteric Tradition, so much so that the difference between Eastern and Western philosophy has often been explained by pointing out that Eastern philosophies are concerned with the wonder of life, while Western philosophies deal primarily with fear and concerns about solving the "problem" of existence. It needs to be clarified here that there are a great many Western systems of Magick and Occultism which have the same grasp of the wonderment and beauty of life as those of the East, yet invariably these have drawn extensively on Eastern concepts. The word "Hermetic" itself is attributed to those Eastern philosophies which have taken root in the West and evolved into their own unique systems. The need for secrecy, per se, is due to the Western environment in which these very Eastern concepts have grown. One does not, for example, cast pearls before swine, as they can not fathom their value and will treat them like so much common slop.
Turning back to the concept of parabrahm, the word itself comes from para (beyond) and Brahman (universal life or consciousness). Parabrahm is that which is beyond Brahman, that which is before all things that exist anywhere at any time, the one boundless life/substance from which proceeds the cyclical force often called the Logos. Parabrahm is essentially the cause, insofar as words can express it, of the primordial vibration within the Darkness, that first initiating urge to become. Parabrahm is not an entity nor a centralized force, it can not be construed in any other way as simply to indicate that which is beyond the capacity of any cognizing mind to understand, that about which nothing can ultimately be said except that it is "beyond" whatever our minds can conceive, and on some level is it's cause. Parabrahm is intimately connected to our second concept, mulaprakriti, which is it's veil.
Mulaprakriti is another compound sanskrit word which literally means root nature, from mula (root) and prakriti (nature). What we see when we look around us, what our hands feel and our senses perceive, all of matter, is ultimately made of one substance which becomes differentiated, or diversified into it's various states and compositions. Mulaprakriti is precosmic in that it exists (inasmuch as these can be said to exist), with parabrahm, before the manifestation of the cosmos, or what is also called the Mahamanvantara (supreme manifestation). One might consider parabrahm as pure consciousness, and mulaprakriti as the pure vehicle, or body if you will, of parabrahm. In another more specific sense, mulaprakriti is the appearance of parabrahm as seen by the Logos and transmitted to the individualized mind.
In the Esoteric Tradition, the multivarious forms that matter takes, all of the shapes and distinctly unique patterns which compose the vastness of the cosmos, are called prakriti, which spring from the five tanmatras or subtle elements. The five tanmatras begin as five logoic emanations of Asat (or parabrahm-mulaprakriti) which in turn unfold the five mahabhutas, or loosely "the primordial elements which become all things." The tanmatras are often said to proceed from sat (pure existence, or BE-ness), and this is more technically correct, as they partake of, and are in fact one with, the essence of being itself which stretches forth (tan) in the great cosmic threads woven into the fabric of reality by the cyclical and Logoic activity caused by Asat. Asat in a sense can be said to give birth to sat, and sat can also be said to beget Asat, and this creates a kind of perpetual motion from which all of the cosmos ultimately springs. The true meaning of pi to the Pythagoreans, then, is seen to be not so much concerned with the measurements of circles as we see them, but more with expressing that perpetual motion which is always "slightly imbalanced" in a certain sense, so as to be simultaneously appearing and disappearing.
Asat also has a secondary meaning in the Esoteric Tradition. Because of the literal meaning of the word it is often applied to all illusory phenomenon in the cosmos and is, in this sense, identical with the mayavi element which is said to enter into all manifested things. In other words, sat, or enduring BE-ness, is said to be eternal and in every sense "real," while that which comes into existence as the various forms (prakritis) of objective matter are said to be fundamentally non-existent, or Asat, because temporary. That is also referred to as Samsara.
So there is Being and Non-Being, but these are absolutes. We don't ever see something that totally "is" and something that totally"is not." Instead, we see an interaction of the two. They interact dialectically and achieve a synthesis as "Becoming." This is all we ever see. Look for a shadow. It is dark but, in the real world, it is never perpetually dark, but is in the process of going from dark to light, i.e., it, like all tings, is Becoming. This is why the Marxists liked Heracleitos, who said that nothing is, and nothing is not, but all is in a state of becoming. He said "pantos rhei," i.e., "all is flowing." The only way to see something that is "totally red," let's say, if if time stopped. A modern physicist would say that red is not a thing, it is not static, but is a process. It's hard to think of "pure being" without thinking of "void" or "pure non being." But in the real world, there is only Becoming, which is some sort of synthesis of the two (Being and Non-Being, Sat and Asat) which transcends them both: i.e., Becoming is different from Being and Non-being.
In the Esoteric tradition, Tan is the stretching forth of the five tanmatri that infuse into the prakiti, as if one blended, and this process is what causes the Becoming.
Sankara wrote clearly on this
The oldest name of Brahma is Sanat-Kumara This would be part of what is called the Sanatana Dharma. Brahma was made into a Deity for the "ones incapable of inner truth, the ones who cannot Know it."
The Cosmos shows design, mathematically precise design. Ergo, it was theorized that there must be an agent or ruler, or force, which creates and maintains all things, as if forming things into a mathematical mold, preserving it for awhile (coagule), and then dissolving it (solve). This is Brahma. But this is more specifically Brahma:
Brahma has two conditions in relationship to the cosmos and all that exists in the cosmos:
1. it is completely transcendental or outside of it.
2. it is completely present and infused everywhere in this cosmos.
Both, at the same time.
Both 1 and 2 have two aspects that can be Known: passive and active.
Transcendental, the passive is called ASAT. This is universal dissolution back into The One. This "Big Crunch" is called Pralaya.
Transcendental, the active is called SAT. This is Being and the Sat (through the five Tan or Tanmatri principals it manifests in this cosmos) maintains Being. "The One"
The completely present and infused aspect, the passive is shown by the idea that matter (and energy) seem to make the things in the cosmos seem real, and yet when you try to look at matter, you see something that is being acted upon. Question: acted upon by What? Answer: the Sat but this is now the Sat in the form of ATMA which means “Infused Dark-Breath” i.e., Black Flame.
The completely present and infused aspect, the active is ATMA. The Atma has no qualities (like matter and energy do), but it brings about alteration in everything that exists, to different degrees. Yet the Atma itself is unchanging because it is, in truth, THE SAT, And it is the SAME ATMA in ALL living things. “The All”
We reverse the active and passive in our doctrines (by that I mean the Pythagorean and non-Hindu Tantrik) to mean more at YANG and YIN – light (visible, seeable) and dark (hidden, invisible) – but the meanings are the same in both traditions. (In the Pythagorean system, Atma is Pan meaning to pan, the all. Sat is Apeiron or to en, the one.)
The things or people (living) that are able to feel this in them are called “Brahman” and this means that “My ‘soul’ IS Brahma”. Ergo: Abrahm means “NO SOUL” (Adamite)!! This came to mean the name of a group of people much later on and it took on the aspect of a “racial type.” Not so in the original doctrine at all.
Sanat-Kumara, in more detail, has five aspects – i.e., ways in which it can be seen to affect matter/energy. These words are Vedic and Naga which is far older than Sanskrit.
Originally, whoever was a Brahman, was a Brahman. Later on, this all became hereditary priesthoods and racial laws and etc. Much later under the Suryavansa came. And even much later than that, people who misunderstood the word Aryan came, and misunderstood all of this.
That Dark Force that is molding all of matter/energy is our Cosmocrator. Also later, a concept of “hell” was put forth – apparently by people who felt as if life were hell. Then the faith and salvation dogma crept in. Some whole groups of people just DO this because they FEEL this and it is the only thing they are capable of understanding. Everything got changed into religion. But the people who Know the doctrine simply by turning within – they keep it pure.
They also knew that matter was Atomic and said it, described it clearly, but that Kundalini or Atma is NON-atomic. The Greeks did not stress this as much as the Vedics did. The Greeks instead knew that Atomic (Demiurgos) is the thing that does sustain matter and keeps "That" which results in increased entropy from totally ripping everything to shreds, and they knew what would happen if you broke this force open: the tetraktys would collapse. Tetraktys is "image you are in."
SAT AND TAN by Tani Jantsang
From the Vedanta and earlier Naga writings.
There is a Dark Force that Is. It is ONE and it is immutable reality. It is infused into ALL living things - the atma, the "breath." It animates these living things manifesting as Will. It is One-Thing - therefore, no matter where it is, or what it is in, it is always One-Thing.
But the living things are multiform. No two are alike, and that is a LAW of our Cosmos which this Dark Force RULES as it PUSHES the Cosmos onto constant change, and at the same time consumes it, dissolves it. This is the Mystery of the Serpent that eats its own Tail. No matter what, the Darkness is always ONE. Some call it "none" because they have truly SEEN, but I'm sure the reader can understand One-Thing better than he would understand "none."
In pre-Sanskrit, Deva-Nagari language of Nagas, this is called SAT:
This Dark-One-Thing IS what animates living things. Scientifically, as regards things (matter/energy) - there is same exact amount of matter/energy in the universe now as there was 100 trillion years ago and as there will be 100 trillion years from now; the amount never increases or decreased but it constantly shifts and changes as if propelled on to constant change. Things get more complex but there is never more or less of the things (matter/energy). Let's focus on living things. The living things come in many forms. Probably any form you can imagine, exists - somewhere, or at sometime. As such, these things are ALL inter-related -- as if they too, are One. Death is only the dissolution of this animating One from a given life form. Then the flesh-form of the living thing goes through rapid change. It's atomic or molecular structure falls apart. (Molecular - a living creature; atomic, a star like the sun).
To be able to look at a cat, for instance, and See that animating Will, that Darkness infused, the Atma -- this is the most beautiful and awesome thing I can imagine. And to Know, "I am that too". To look at a seed, and watch it become a tree. That growth, that Will to Become what it IS --- that is the same Dark-One-Thing in the tree.
There is a chain, like a sequence to this all. One could call it a food chain if one could truly see matter as it is moving through time - forming a weave, or a pattern like in cloth. Big fish eats little fish. Bird eats fish. Some animal eats the bird - and so on. Sometimes there is symbiosis and two distinct things merge to become another wholly other thing - like mitochondria evolved. It might seem "violent" to some - but that is due to their Ignorance of the Laws of Nature. Each animal (and plant) in all of their multi-forms, IS what it IS, and that Dark-One-Thing infused into it, URGES IT to Will-to-Be WHAT IT IS and do what is innate for it to DO. They flow on a Cosmic Wheel that spins and never stops spinning. The Dark-One-Thing spins it, whirling. We experience this as Time. And we usually experience time as change.
Each of the all-different living creatures (and plants) have a Law of their OWN Nature. This Law is the result of how this Dark-One-Thing is “stretched” so that it is infused into their particular being-flesh-atoms. How it is infused, is called TAN (as in Tantra).
1. The creature lets-go to its own nature and the FLOW of its own Being.
2. The creature KNOWS its own boundaries, it knows who and what it IS.
3. It is connected to its parents, who are connected to their parents, who are connected --- all the way to the slime, and ultimately, all the way back to the ROOT before the Cosmos came into being.
4. The creature follows its own Nature without even thinking about it - it is automatic.
5. The creature is in-tune, at-peace with its own chakra-flow and each part of its own Being.
There is a 6th principle too, though it is not part of the Tan. It is connected to the Abyss, it is a defender, though it really seems more like a Child: Innocence. This Innocence is like a "sparkle in the Eye of the Great Dark" like a shining diamond child, metaphorically speaking. ALL Black or LHP magicians KNOW this! NONE would harm it!
The disrespect for what another creature IS, is a violation of ALL principles of life. To hunt for food is normal. All animals do this as per a chain of life. But that is part of innate survival instinct. Disrespect means to NOT HONOR what another creature is. Or a human not respecting WHAT another human of another type IS. This disrespect is EVIL, it is like a war against the Great Darkness and it is thus, a war against the Self. The Dark Breath in that other person is the SAME Dark Breath that is in the offender. And, the Dark Breath CAN withdraw leaving a shell.
The turning of an animal, or a person, against himself, is a war against Innocence. And it is a One Way ticket into the Abyss, as the destroyer destroys HIMSELF. Christians and others who imagine there is a "battle" between the "light and the dark" have waged this war over and over and yet they SEARCH for Deity. They look for "a Light". They do not realize that the Great Darkness IS THE LIGHT WHEN it is ANIMATING a living creature. They seek the "light alone" and try to fend off the darkness. The Light can not exist alone: it is IN Darkness, within the Darkness from whence it came and into which it returns. The Vajra or Logos comes INTO YOU from Darkness. It whooshes up as kundalini through the chakras (nerve centers) and nourishes your entire Being. It whooshes up and OUT - back into the Darkness from whence it came. As this process continuously happens, without being blocked, the person flows on his path on the Wheel of Life. That kind of person is in tune.
It is this process and the Darkness, that dualists have turned their own backs on and waged a war on. When you turn your back on the Dark Breath, it withdraws. What's left is a Klippoth or Preta - a thing with no Self.
See articles at "Dark Doctrines," under the section on Klippoths for more information about what Klippothic people DO. Klippoth is a Hebrew term. The Eastern term for that is Preta.
Note: You can find the terms Sat and Asat in the Columbia Encyclopedia, 1971, volume 21, page 6433 under "Vedanta." You can also find "Sat" in the 1975 Encyclopedia Britannica, and from there find further references to this and similar large schools of thought in the Micropedia.
There are 3 major schools of Vedanta interpretation, this one is the NON DUALISTIC school of Sankara (a person) and it's called the Advaita School. The Esoteric one is for those who Know. The exoteric dualistic ones are for the dummies who can't know and who need "personal gods." Tan, however, is a simple root word, as in Tantra, Tanmatri, etc. It is notably this Advaita School that physicists have said sounds more like quantum physics.