The Secret within the larger Secret was the fact that there was a third self connected with man and his two lower selves. The nature of this High Self (Aumakua) and the means of gaining its aid also belonged to the inner Secret.
In this the kahunas were very far ahead in their findings. They knew that they could never do more than guess at the fact of, or nature of Beings higher in the scale of consciousness than the High Selves.
Their guess was a traditional one. They guessed that the Higher Beings would be similar to the lower ones which they knew in man. They subscribed to the ancient axiom “As above, so below.” They may have originated it, for no other psycho-religionists seemed to have had definite and detailed knowledge of the three separate and independent spirits, which compose the man.
The kahunas knew man to be a triune being—one of three spirits—so they guessed that the gods and even the final highest and SUPREME BEING would be triune in nature. This idea may have originated with the kahunas or it may not, but it spread around the world and appears in Christianity and Brahmanism if not in the lore of the Great Spirit of the Amerindians.
Wherever the symbol of the triangle appears, it is safe to say that the secret of the triune nature of man and possibly of the gods was incorporated in the religion of the people. True, the real meaning of the three sides of the triangle representing the three selves of man, may have been lost or misunderstood, but the symbol was retained and revered. In Egypt the pyramids presented to the world four faces of triangular form. In Central America the triangle was known and used in religion.
Another ancient and widespread belief which was common to the kahunas and later religionists was that there had been a descent into physical matter of some of the CONSCIOUSNESS OF HIGHER BEINGS. This accounted for the creation of the earth and lower forms of life and gave rise to various versions of the “FALL” which are met in several religions. As a logical result of a belief in a “fall,” there followed the belief that all lower creatures, headed by man, were on their way back up the scale, slowly returning to Ultimate God.
Religions are filled with the intricacies of the descent and ascent, but because of his mental limitations, man of the middle self level can never do more than speculate. The ways of the High Self are unfathomable in a large part, and the ways of still higher beings are totally unfathomable. The various scriptures which have been supposed to have been given mankind by divine revelation, show in the things revealed the inventions of the middle self mind. No two of the revealed writings agree. THE ONLY THING OF WHICH WE CAN BE FAIRLY CERTAIN IS THAT THERE IS A HIGH SELF which can be approached to get aid in the problems of daily living.
In nearly all religions may be found some of the beliefs of the kahunas, even if warped to uselessness and stretched to fantastic lengths.
The kahunas knew that the spirits of man come back at least once to be born again in physical bodies. The low self comes back to be born as a middle self in another human body. Some spirits may return to be born again several times in a physical body, but the idea of endless incarnations of man as a single spirit in innumerable bodies is an example of stretching an original idea to absurd lengths. In Christianity and in the teaching of the Jews, Mohammedans and American Indians the idea of reincarnation is found only in vague reminders. In the latest of the “revealed” religions, that based on the new Oahspe Bible, no doctrine of reincarnation is to be found.
The same may be said in a way about the doctrine of Karma which has become such a millstone around the necks of religionists in India. The original idea seems to have been that when we hurt others we laid ourselves open to spirit attack, or we formed guilt complexes and because of them were cut off from direct contact with our own High Selves—resulting in various difficulties.
The Hindu idea of Karma resulted from stretching the simple original conception, even more than the reincarnation idea. With some logic it was taught that the “Law of Karma” began to function in the level of consciousness just below God-the-Unmanifest.
All beings lower than this Supreme had to be governed by the Law. To complete the logic of this absurd guess at conditions in such unthinkable levels of consciousness, the “Lords of Karma” were invented to execute the fine justice. They had to have endless helpers to watch each sentient being in the lower heavens and on earth to record his good and bad deeds. The records had to be written, and the writing demanded a book, which was invented in the form of invisible akasha where all records were kept and all things recorded to the last tick of time.
The Lords of Karma, as could be plainly seen, did not punish the wicked in the same incarnation in which the wickedness was performed. The wicked flourished very often as the green bay tree. This flaw in the scheme was covered up by inventing the idea that punishment was administered in some later incarnation.
The same idea of an ideal and absolutely balanced divine form of justice is to be found in the Old Testament, but no attempt was made to cover with reincarnation the flaw of the flourishing wicked man. Punishment in hell was fully as effective and made a fine contrast with the idea of a heaven for the good after death.
In Christianity we find many things which did not come as a direct teaching of Jesus, and the origin of which is lost. The idea of the Lords of Karma is replaced by St. Peter as the keeper of the gate of Heaven, and by the Book of Life in which, in some indefinite manner, the angel recorders keep a record of each life.
Christianity is the nearest to the original kahuna lore of any of the great religions. In the rituals of the Church of Rome—the origin of the rituals being unknown—we find the counterparts of the kahuna rituals used in healing. The kahunas required a confession and used water which had been charged with vital force as a physical stimulus to accompany the spoken word of suggestion to “forgive” a patient or break down a guilt complex after amends for hurts to others had been made. In the Roman Church, after confession, holy water is used in the ritual of forgiveness with the spoken words of forgiveness, but the part played by both complex and suggestion has long since been forgotten. The penance done at the order of the priest before the rite of absolution or forgiveness is, however, quite in line with the older rite as a good physical stimulus, even if there are sins to be forgiven which do not consist of hurt to others.
The kahuna methods of exorcising obsessing or haunting spirits is still to be seen in a way in the rites of exorcism of the Church.
The kahuna belief in the High Self or Aumakua is well preserved in Christianity. Jesus, according to the records as they appear in the New Testament, prayed to his Father in Heaven when he wished divine aid in performing miracles. That is what the kahunas did, only with a method of praying in which there was more ritualistic action because of the various elements involved. In instructing his disciples, Jesus is reported as saying that they should also pray to the Divine Father, but stressed the fact that the prayer should be made in His name. This would be logical only if Jesus looked upon himself as a High Self. In any event, the matter is not one that will make the slightest difference in using a form of prayer to the High Self in obtaining aid in healing. Fire-walking is performed with the aid of the High Self, and that aid is obtained by men of a surprising variety of religions—none of whom, oddly enough, is Christian.
In India there is a hint in the Bhagavad Gita at the fact of the three spirits of man, but the High Self of the kahunas is confused with the “spirit of the Supreme,” which is of an entirely different level. (Judge translation, page 57: “Those who rest in me, knowing me to be the Adhibhûta, the Adhidaivata, and the Adhiyajña, know me at the time of death.”) Because it is considered the duty of each person to suffer and so live down his bad karma, no prayers are made by the majority of Hindus to gain aid from the Higher Beings in the matter of meeting the problems of daily life.
In Christianity there is a curious and almost unique mechanism to be seen in the vicarious atonement for sins. This doctrine is obscure in its origin, but closely resembles the kahuna belief that one can be forgiven for sins instead of suffering under a hard and fast law of karma to repay to the last iota. Jesus made the final and complete atonement for the sins of the world by his death on the cross, according to Christian beliefs. These sins of the world seem to include the sins of the newly born babes who are “born in sin”—a strange dogma at best. The Christian does not necessarily have to make restitution or amends in kind. In fact, he could not in case he had taken the name of God in vain, for his words could not be recalled. Logically, he would have to suffer in hell after death to make amends, but, according to the Christian plan of salvation, he may repent and get forgiveness from a priest or, better yet, by direct prayer appeal to God in the name of the great atoner, Jesus.
The kahunas, to repeat once more, knowing that the Higher Beings cannot be injured by the living man and so cannot be sinned against, recognize no such sin as that of using profanity. The one recognized sin is to hurt a fellow human being. For such a hurt amends must be made to the one hurt. In no other way can the evil-doer convince himself that he has balanced his account and is no longer guilty of that standard sin. If not convinced that he is no longer guilty, his guilt fixation held by his low self cannot be removed by the ritual cleansing or kala—forgiveness or restoration of the symbolic Light.
In this matter of forgiving the sin in Christianity and removing the guilt complex in the kahuna system, there is one point of great significance which must not be overlooked. It is the fact that the Christian believes that his sins are against God as well as against man, and that he must get forgiveness from God, even if not from those he has injured. In the kahuna practice, the Higher Being is not asked for forgiveness. It seems to have been taken for granted that the sinner had to make amends and bring about his own forgiveness by appealing to the one he had injured. This is startling in its logic to the average Christian to whom it has never occurred that the one and only place to get forgiven is from the individual sinned against. Under the kahuna system, the rational is seen of the Jewish and karmic demand for exact and full repayment for sins, with no evasion through repentance or vicarious atonement. However, the kahuna system is kept down to the size of the sin itself and is not expanded to include gods whose existence and nature are things at which we can only guess.
It will be seen that the Huna system was definite and detailed, logical, and right to the point. It was simple and satisfactory because of a fuller knowledge of the complex and the low self which harbors the complex.
Another angle of the atonement for sin is to be seen in the part played by sin in preventing normal contact between the low self and the High Self of one guilty of a sin. Since the kahunas held that one cannot injure the High Self in any way, and that the High Self has no part in cutting off the line of contact between itself and the low self, it follows that the low self, because of its sense of guilt which it shares with the middle self, feels shame and is like a naughty child which avoids the presence of its parents because of its sense of guilt and shame.
It is thought that the low self has no sense of right and wrong of its own, being an animal self still. It gets whatever idea it has in such matters from the middle self, whose reasoning power makes it possible for it to know right from wrong. Because the low self is taught to accept blindly the decision of the middle self as to the right and wrong of any and all actions, it tends to develop fixations of guilt in a rather surprising fashion. Once a decision is reached as to the right or wrong of an action by the middle self, and that decision is given as a thought form to the low self for safe keeping, the fixation process is almost automatic. This is because the low self has been present and has sensed the solid physical action which caused the hurt to the one injured. This is a physical stimulus of a solid tangible kind and when it has been observed by the low self, it has the effect of fixing the guilt sense immediately, rendering it a complex of much gravity. To drain off this complex it is necessary to convince the middle self that amends have been made before there can be hope of getting the low self to let go of its fixed belief.
If a Christian or other religionist believes that he can sin against God, and perform harmless acts which he believes to be sins, such as the failure to attend mass or the use of profanity, the fixation is not so important for the reason that it has not been accompanied by such a direct physical stimulus. In such cases a vague and general method of making amends is found in fasting and other forms of self denial. As such things are excellent physical stimuli, they work well indeed in clearing up the lesser guilt fixations caused by the breaking of dogmatic religious commands. It is for a very good and practical reason that fasting and prayer have continued down the years to be the most used rite of all in seeking forgiveness for sins.
The sins of omission are generally the ones treated through fasting and other powerful but indirect physical stimuli by the kahunas. To be less than kind, to neglect one’s duty, or to fail in any way which leaves one feeling ashamed, tends to form a guilt complex. Often such guilt complexes are present without our knowing it.
The low self is the “conscience,” once it has received from the middle self a training in what is right and wrong. This training is usually received in childhood at the instigation of watchful parents. Spankings do much to fix beliefs in right and wrong in the low self before the age of six. When one is smitten by his conscience, it is an emotional reaction, not a logical one. Of course it may be both, if the middle self agrees that it is doing wrong. This vital fact is well illustrated by the peculiar morality of the savage head hunters. They would consider it a great sin to take the head of a friend, but an act of great virtue to take the head of an enemy. Conscience is NOT a God-given instinctive something. It is simply the natural emotional reaction of a low self which has been taught that certain things are right and others wrong.
Only the middle self can sin. The animals in the jungle eat each other without sinning. The low self is an animal even if associated with a middle self, and it is also incapable of sinning.
As has been explained earlier, the contact between the High Self and the lower man is through the low self and along the connecting cord of invisible shadowy body substance derived from the shadowy body of the low self. If the low self is convinced that the man has been guilty of a wrong act, it feels shame and refuses to contact the High Self in the regular telepathic way across the connecting cord. Thus prayers are not delivered to the High Self. Its aid is not requested—and, under the law that man must be allowed to be a free agent in most things—no aid or guidance is given. The result is that the man blunders and gets into trouble. The kahunas spoke of this as a BLOCKING OF THE PATH. The “path,” the “way,” and the “light” are all symbol words indicating the connection between the low self and the High Self. The kahuna words la and ala translate into these three words. The same use of these words as symbols is found in India and in Christianity, but with less direct and definite meanings.
Because it is confusing to try to consider the teachings of many religions at the same time and to compare them with the lore of the kahunas, it is better to compare the kahuna beliefs with the basic activities found underlying religions.
The first thing to examine is the basic human urge to look to a “god” of some kind for help, or to try to appease the god if he seems to be angry and visits mankind with plagues and disasters.
A contact with the god must be made, and a spoken prayer or request for attention is made, as “Oh, hear our prayer!” As prayers were either not heard or not given attention, the suppliant resorted to various aids to prayer. The American Indians in our Southwest made elaborate sand paintings to symbolize the thing desired in prayer. Jews and Christians fasted as an adjunct to prayer. There were cleansing rites which were supposed to make man sufficiently spotless to be acceptable before the god in prayer.
This cleansing process grew to be an elaborate ritual in most religions. Dogmas developed to teach that a man guilty of sins could not make his prayers heard unless he was first “forgiven” and ritually cleansed. Because the prayers of the good men got scarcely better answers than those of the wicked, there was a hunt for sins of which a good man might be guilty. The sins of omission, and the “original sins” were invented.
In the process of obtaining forgiveness for all forms of sin, and for the general purpose of pleasing the gods and thus gaining their favors, OFFERINGS were made. Such offerings were common in the dawn of history. Fruits, flowers, foods, sacrificial animals, and even human sacrifices were used. Altars were erected as the place of sacrifice, and priests were appointed to officiate in making both offerings and prayers.
When the gods were appeased and the floods and plagues or individual difficulties ceased, there were thank-offerings, but these played a small part in the general scheme.
At the time of death, and the departure of the (almost universally recognized) soul or souls of the man from the body, prayers and sacrifices were made by the living for the happiness and comfort of the departed in the “other world.” The wicked might go to a hell, or the average run of men might go to a place of temporary punishment. A deathbed ritual of prayer was commonly performed by a priest in as widely separated places as the Western seats of Christianity and the inner fastnesses of Tibet.
There nearly always arose a doctrine of a “chosen people” in the course of development of religions. The Jews were such a chosen people. The convert to Christianity became one of the chosen because he accepted Jesus as the focal point of his religious beliefs and depended upon an initiation into the ranks of the chosen through baptism, confirmation and various similar rites, the end being to attain “salvation.”
All the “salvations” were more or less alike in religions. All need of being “saved” arose from a dogmatic belief that man in his normal state was lacking in some way or ways. He might have been “born in sin,” or he might have been from a tribe which was not of any one “chosen” people. In India where there was no vicarious atonement and resulting salvation through a belief in a “savior,” the way of salvation was long and difficult. It led through thousands of incarnations while karma was being lived down.
Nearly all religions eventually developed to the point where there was a dogmatic belief that a special building or place was necessary for proper prayer to the gods. From the altar and shrine grew the church and the temple. While the primary purpose of religion was to appease the gods or gain answers to prayer from them, there was also an idealistic concept frequently present in the belief that praise and worship of the gods was necessary. The primitives danced to entertain the god. They fed the god with burnt offerings and blood sacrifices—blood long being considered a probable source from which the god might derive sustenance (in Christianity the “blood of the Lamb” was necessary to appease God and get Him to allow a vicarious atonement for the sins of the world, etc., etc.).
Dogmas multiplied and priesthoods flourished as each religion grew older. In the eternal search for a means of getting an answer to prayers from a god, most illogical and surprising practices developed. Flagellation, castration, abhorrence of all normal sex relations, circumcision to prevent masturbation—the list is very long. In India the austerities practiced were and are surprising. The teaching of Christianity that one should “sell all and give to the poor, then follow me,” has never produced a great effect in individual action except as one became a monk or nun, but in India the beggar’s bowl and yellow robes are taken outside the monastery as well as by members of monastic orders.
Here and there may be seen religious dogmas combined with rites of purification which touch on the realm of high magic. In Ceylon a rite of purification depends upon the ability of the individual to pass the stern test of the fire-walk. (I have described this rite as seen by the Englishman in Burma and filmed, and whose motion pictures I saw. Some of the candidates walked the fire successfully, and others failed painfully or fatally.)
The Science of Psychology and the Science of Psychism are not a part of religion. Religion has to do with reverence for gods or with the fear and worship given them. As soon as we ask favors of the gods through prayers and additional rites, we enter the field of magic, which is not pure religion. “Religion,” to quote again from Professor Paul Tillich of Columbia University, “is the relation to something ultimate, unconditioned, transcendent. The religious attitude is consciousness of dependence, surrender, acceptance.… Magic is the exercise of immanent power; religion is the subjection to the transcendent power.… And even then, the distinction is permanently endangered from two sides. First, there is the necessity that the transcendent manifests itself concretely, and, thereupon, these concrete manifestations become for the religious imagination magic powers. And secondly, there is the natural desire of man to gain power over the divine, thus making it an object of magical practices.”
Huna may be called a science rather than a religion because it has almost nothing of religion (as defined above by a Professor of Philosophical Theology) in it. The High Self is not a god. It is the third spirit or part of the man. It is no more divine than is the low self or the middle self. It is simply a step advanced in our mental powers and creative abilities. It is older and wiser and is parental in its attitude. It falls under the science of psychology as certainly as do the low and middle (or subconscious and conscious) selves.
In presenting this report on Huna, I have elected to call Huna a psycho-religious system for the reason that it includes so much that has always been considered a part of religion. However, I consider Huna a science in the strictest sense of the word. The kahunas knew nothing about gods—Beings higher, perhaps, than the High Self. They had no way of sensing such Beings. They admitted freely that it was probable that there were such Beings, but were honest in saying that they were convinced that the human mind would never be able to do more than imagine them—invent them in terms of lower humans.
In other words, the basic urge of older religions to appease gods or gain favors from them (religion plus magic) is replaced in Huna by the purely magical operation of prayer to the High Self for the purpose of gaining favors in the way of healing or bettering our circumstances through a change in the predictable future.
Through the High Self an appeal was made by the kahunas to the spirits able to control wind and weather, also to spirits in control of lower forms of life. (Pacts made in this manner prevented sharks in Hawaiian waters from attacking human beings—or at least that is the claim made by the kahunas of yesterday. In any event, the same breed of sharks that attacks men in other places is harmless in Hawaiian waters.)
Instead of feeding the gods with blood and burnt offerings, the kahunas understood the secret that lay behind the externals of all sacrifice. The High Self, in order to produce results in the physical plane must draw from the physical body of the earthy man sufficient vital force or mana to use in the work.
The custom of building temples or shrines to aid in contacting the gods was not practiced by the genuine kahunas, although the spurious kahunas of later times built temples of stone and offered sacrifices in vain efforts to get magical results.
The true kahunas needed no temples or shrines. They knew how to send the telepathic message to the High Self at will, regardless of place or conditions. They used no altar symbols, no incense or other mechanisms. (These things were reserved for use as physical stimuli to impress the low self when suggestion was being given for various purposes.)
The various rites used in religions to insure the dying a survival in spirit form and a certain amount of happiness as a spirit, were unknown to the kahunas. They had no place in their matter-of-fact science for dogmas which would demand a “salvation.” Their teaching was simply that all people should know that the spirits of men survived death and that the memories and complexes of physical life were carried over into the spirit life, making it advisable for the individual to rid himself of guilt complexes before death. (This may have given rise in ancient times to the non-kahuna practices aimed at preparing man for a better life after physical death.)
The kahunas believed that after death there was a continuation of growth and progression, the low self reincarnating as a middle self in due time and the middle self eventually rising to the level of the High Selves, first learning to watch over lesser forms of life, and in the end becoming the “utterly truthworthy parental spirit” or High Self of a low and middle self incarnated in the physical., Not a great deal was known about this process of growth and progression, so little was taught about it except as a part of the speculative doctrines of Huna. The graduation, so to speak, of the low self to the level of a middle self is accomplished after death during a period of inactivity resembling a long sleep. One is reminded of the worm which becomes a pupa, is inactive for a time, and then bursts forth a butterfly.
The most important preparation for death must be done by the individual. He must reduce his guilt complexes to the minimum and free himself of dogmatic religious beliefs which will hinder him after he becomes a spirit. It is not necessary to spend more than a few months on the spirit plane before continuing the growth process, providing one knows the ropes as did the kahunas. Knowing Huna is knowing the ropes.
All we can take with us at the time of death is knowledge, and it should be the first duty of each of us to accumulate the correct “take-withable” knowledge by a careful study of the psycho-religions and the discarding of beliefs which cannot be substantiated.
It should be held in mind that no two inspired or revealed religions agree, and that teachings obtained from the departed through mediums show a similar disagreement. There may be one correct revealed religion and one correct teaching from a spirit or a spirit group, or there may be a partial truth in all such sources of information.
At present we have before us only one basic and practical criterion by which to measure such material, and that is Huna. I say this, because Huna worked. It made fire-walking practical. It made mental healing practical, also instant healing through the aid of the High Self. It made practical the system of gaining the aid of the High Self in changing the circumstances and future of the individual.