Cosmicizing and Divinizing The Body

What we call ‘self’ lies within the body’s boundary, with the skin as the outer edge of the (physical) body. Something that is outside our skin will be called “something else” or “someone else.” Edges of the physical body are easy to comprehend. However, this is not the case with the boundaries of the subtle body, both on the mental and energy levels. The boundary between the empirical physical body and the abstract mental body is the energy layer. What at least he can feel is the impact, both in the physical and psychological layers.

The mind is one layer of the subtle body. But where is the edge of the mind? There are no space nor time limits for the mind. The mind can live in the past, and it can also instantly wander into the future. Indeed, sometimes the mind doesn’t even know if it is past or future. While the physical body is in one place at one a time, at the same time, the mind may be wandering in another place and time. While the physical body is in one place at a time, the mind may be in another place and time at the exact moment.

The appearance of the physical body is easily recognizable, with a clear face and body posture. The physical body has a distinct look, with a clear face and body posture. Whereas, what is the form of the subtle body known as the mind?

The mind can take many forms and faces. Unfortunately, even the owner of that body may not identify their mind’s form and face. It has been explained that traditionally, the psychological organ that gives a face to the human mental body is called the ahangkara. And that face is built only with “concept” or “ideas.” Unlike the physical look, this concept is also volatile, can change quickly, and constantly changes.

Although not visible to the eyes, the quality of ahamkara’s constructs can be observed by looking at the living conditions. Ahankara is indeed located beyond the skin, but its effects can extend far beyond the boundaries of the physical body.

A person who keeps a self-concept as a weak person usually appears from his nature. That’s the kind of person who is always anxious, afraid, and confused. Likewise, people who have a strong self-concept will reflect confident attitudes and behaviors. Surprisingly, this self-concept “vibration” can be easily felt by others.

People with a weak self-concept will tend to make other people look down on them. And even themselves look down on them. On the other hand, a person with a confident disposition will make others submissive. There is some authority that radiates from this kind of person. Because of this, the first person will usually experience a lot of social difficulties, and how the second person quickly becomes the leader of the herd.

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Knowing that the mental body is volatile in shape but has a significant external effect, there are traditional mystical teaching in Bali that take advantage of this nature. The teaching is called  Pangiwa. Pangiwa is a Meditation technique that focuses on self cosmicization and divinization using a mantra, ritual, and visualization. From the contents of its mantra, the practitioner of Pangiwa is instructed to visualize themself as having every powerful force as their body. This means they are taught how to significantly modify the shape of the face of their mental body. 

The stars and the moon are earrings, dragons, and garuda (mythical eagle-like bird) as mount, worshiped by gods as well as bhuta, respected by humans, the origin of all power, the ability to do things like a thousand hands and feet, personal capacity as if having thousands of heads, and so on. In short, they form a cosmic body and a divine self.

A certain shifting of consciousness is expected to occur from these practices: from being weak and full of limitations to being filled with power and authority. Thus, many conveniences of life can be obtained; commands are being obeyed, every instruction is followed, trust is gained, requests are granted, and so on. For leaders, things like this will undoubtedly be beneficial in carrying out their dharma (personal duty). Indeed, Pangiwa is meant to be secret knowledge of the Kings and Brahmins, one of which is a government leader, and the other is a religious leader.

Even though the empirical boundaries of the physical body are still skin, the limits of the mental body have changed drastically; the universe is the body. They become human beings who are aware that the cosmic power is within them and live based on that awareness. Can you imagine how powerful it is?

How a person views their body is primarily determined by the concept that becomes the face of ahangkara. Many people have beautiful looks but see themselves as if they are the embodiment of ugliness. While many are physically not-so-attractive but are always adored by others. Some people endlessly praise themselves, and some people torture themselves with various insults and bullying without rest. It all depends on how they see themselves.

Of course, it will be very strengthening and encouraging if the body is viewed with sacredness. It was so sacred that the main gods resided there or even merged with their bodies. Thus the body is no longer seen as a shame but as the light of glory itself– for The Highest One has been established there. The body will not feel small anymore if the universe itself is the body.

The Pangiwa’s mantras are intended to strengthen the ego. A weak ego is a source of trouble. A fragile ego will pretend to be strong so that others (and themselves) do not recognize his weakness. For this reason, many people act recklessly to be perceived as such and such by others. If the ego is strong, he can comfortably stand on his own feet without being quickly dropped by the views and judgments of others. Man will always live with his ego, with his ahangkara, whether he lives with a weak ego or a strong ego.

Pangiwa offers a way of strengthening the ego, making it more capable of living life, and achieving more things in life, so that life becomes more fulfilling. Of course, the “left path” like this can be dangerous. On the edge of this path lies the abyss of arrogance, and we can fall there anytime. Perhaps it is for this reason that Pangiwa’s manuscripts always warn their adepts to have strong foundations of purity and tapa­-bratha (self-controls and restraints), as well as a qualified teacher to guide them all the way.

Because the mantra of the Pangiwa explicitly expresses “arrogancies,” the trap of arrogance widens. For example, there are sentences like, “The gods worship me, mankind worship me, the bhutas worship me, and the entire cosmos is subject to me.” However, such lines may be more beneficial than constantly reminding ourselves, “I am a weak and helpless human being, who will never achieve or become anything in my life.”

Hubris and arrogance are other signs of a fragile ego. Because the ego feels unworthy, weak, and unable to look at itself comfortably, it demands others to admire it. 

Suppose Pangiwa’s practice of cosmicizing and dinivizing the body is carried out continuously. In that case, the ego’s weakness that makes it arrogant will gradually disappear. And a person who already feels enough with themselves will not beg from others anymore. Even they will give a genuine appreciation out of their full of (healthy) self-love.

Although not precisely the same, the principle of instilling the impression of majesty in oneself is also carried out by Tāntrikas in Tibet and India. In Tibet, this practice is known as Deity Yoga, a meditation practice that imagines the self as a deity (gods, yoginisyidams) and absorbs the power and wisdom of the respective deity.

Other mystical teachings in Bali concerned with cosmicizing and divinizing the body are called Daśākṣara and Kanda Mpat Dewa. The character of those teachings is “softer” than that of Pangiwa. In Daśākṣara, it is akṣara (sacred syllables) who is enshrined in the body, while in Kanda Mpat, it is the Gods who are enshrined in various organs. The core ideas of those teachings are the same to a certain degree. But there are minor differences, for example, regarding goals of the practice that meet the different purposes of the adepts. We will explore these subjects on other occasions.

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