The Sanskrit word Adhara - meaning "support" or even "vehicle of Consciousness" - or adhar for short, is used to refer here to the embodied psychophysical being, as opposed to the higher spiritual nature. It includes the gross body and the various subtle bodies, the emotional and mental being, the subconscious, the aura, the ego, the samskaras or vasanas of past lives; in fact anything and everything that distinguishes each of us both from the rest of the universe and from our own intrinsic inner or higher Divine nature.
The adhar is what the Higher Self or Evolving Divine Soul uses as the means of evolution and growth to perfection, as well as its expression in the material world. It is also the base matter or object of spiritual transformation and transmutation. The Divine Self or True Nature in all its aspects is already completely of the nature of the Divine. But the adhar, the way that the Divine Soul acts in the world, is of the nature of imperfection, ignorance, sefishness, and fear. But even so, it can become perfect, which is one possible yoga or spiritual path; the yoga of integral transformation.
For many, especially those of inferior development, the adhar lacks integrity, and is easily pushed from its equilibrium. For those who live only in their outer being, this isn't even an issue; the adhar is quitre adequate for the task of day to day life. Here, its weakness is simply part of human nature, as explain by phrases like "I'm only human" (hence, imperfect), and not to be condemned. Of course it is good to work on oneself, and strengthen the adhar, and help guide its (that is, one's own) march to perfection of godhood (whether the transcendent and only partial godhood of heaven or nirvana, or the far greater immanent godhood of supramentalisation). This working on oneself; on one's adhar, is what is called Spirituality.
The situation is different when one encounters a powerful spiritual or transpersonal presence, or has a sudden opening to the subtle, the astral, or the spiritual worlds, and the experience of the Intermediate Zone. If the adhar is grounded and stable, and the Divine Center is in control, there is no harm, and in fact the opposite; great progress is made.
But if the adhar is weak, in that the person is self-centered, unable to defer pleasure, with little discipline or self-control, and a fragile but hypersensitive ego, then there is trouble. The personality may lose its equilibrium and be be swallowed up in the stronger reality or presence, or narcissistically identify with it (a phenomenon known as inflation).
A combination of these two factors - subtle or spiritual current or descent on the one hand, and a weak adhar or vehicle on the other, results in the dangerous phenomenon of the charismatic intermediate zone guru. Very often (although not always!) this so-called guru takes the form of an abusive personality, the abusiveness is due to simple lower human ugliness, but also at times to the weak adhar being appropriated by adverse forces. But because of the huge degree of ignorance most people have of authentic spirituality, this abusive and manipulative behaviour is rationalised as enlightened "crazy wisdom", or as "tests" or "lila" or the Master's "fiery love". All these explanations prove nothing but the stupidity and gullibility of most devotees, many of which themselves would have serious issues of low self esteem and the need for humiliation, hence they are attracted to such figures.
Or the person in question may simply go insane, develop a paranoid psychosis, because teh adhar cannot resist the rush of astral suggestions. Modern psychiatry really has no understanding of these subtle forces; it is very good with giving out drugs and understanding chemical imbalances in the brain, but it cannot understand the occult roots of psychosis, or why many schizophrenics have what are essentially spiritual and cosmological visions. This is not to say that psychosis should go schizophrenia, but simply to offer an additional, complementary, perspective.
But if the adhar is strong, and stable, and surrendered to the Divine, and under the guidance of the Higher Self, then things progress from strength to strength. The adhar receives and can hold the descent of subtle, astral, and spiritual light, surrenders and is strengthened and grows further, eventually becoming the outer form of an authentic Adept, Master, or Sadguru, or even the vehicle of an avatar. In this, the essential human personality is not lost, but contributes to the and helps define the way the Divine or Universal Self relates to and brinbgs salvation to other beings still suffering in the world. The true Guru or Avatar perfectly combines the Divine and Human elements.
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