tirsdag 11. mai 2010

Shri Krishna as Kali


(From Shri Lokanath Maharajaji's website http://www.shivashakti.com/)

O daughter of the snow-capped mountain! That Ananga whose bow is of flowers, whose bow string is of a row of bees, who has five arrows, who has as his feudatory Vasanta, and the Malaya breeze as his chariot, he, even though thus equipped, having obtained some grace from thy side glance, conquers all this world single-handed - Saundaryalahari, 6

In places in the tantrik tradition, the Krishna avatar of Vishnu is often identified with Kali. This reaches a peak in the Tantrarajatantra, where it is said that having already charmed the world of men as herself, Lalita took a male form as Krishna and then proceeded to enchant women. In this work, Krishna has six forms, identified with the six senses (including Mind). They are Kamaraja Gopala, Manmatha Gopala, Kandarpa Gopala, Makaraketana Gopala and Manobhava Gopala. Their meditation images (dhyana according to the same work, describes them as being like dawn, with six arms, holding flute, noose, goad, sugar cane bow and a bowl of curds. These are the five arrows of Lalita and the bow and here Krishna is identified with Kameshvara, the Indian god of love, who is otherwise called Ananga, and, like Cupid, is armed with a bow.

The Kalivilasa Tantra, a Bengali work, states Krishna was born as the son of Devi who was golden (Gauri) and turned black when he was excited by passion. In the Todala Tantra, each of the ten Mahavidyas, forms of the supreme Goddess, has her own male counterpart and here Krishna is said to be the spouse of Kali. There are many images of Krishna in India which show him as black. An Indian commentator to the hymn to Kali called Karpuradistotra, goes further and says that there is a connection between the bija mantra of Kali which is Krim, Krishna and Christ. Whatever the truth of that identification, it is certain that to many ordinary folk in India, Krishna and Christ do have a resonance. Often you will see contemporary images of Krishna and Christ together in the inside of houses. Krishna (and his tantrika counterpart Kameshvara) are moved by love (prem).

In the Brihat Tantra Sara, a large compilation of tantrik rites, Krishna appears as a fully-flowered tantrika devata, with his own yantra, gayatri, mantra and puja or ritual which uses this yantra (click on this image for full size yantra). In the hexagon in the centre of the yantra, the following words appear: Krishnaya Govindaya Klim sadhya Gopijanavallabhaya Svaha. In the corners of the hexagon are the bija mantras Hrim and Shrim. Outside the hexagon is the Krisna mantra which runs: Klim Krishnaya Namah. In the petals of the yantra is a longer mantra Namah Kamadevaya Sarvajanapriyaya Sarvajansammohanaya Jvala Prajvala Sarvajanasya Hridayamavamsham Kurukura Svaha. Around the eight petals are the Matrikas or letters of the Sanskrit alphabet while in the angles of the protecting wall are bija mantras Hrim and Shrim, once more.

Although commonly associated with Shaivite and Shakta concerns, in reality there is no sectarianism in the tradition. In many of the texts of the tradition, it is stated that it is only a fool who makes any distinction between the two. The forms of Vishnu, however, often have a more emotional tinge to them than those of Shiva, who can be portrayed as a highly terrifying figure. Trailokyamohana Vishnu, for example, in the Prapanchasara Tantra, is meditated upon as in the middle of a garden of Aeon Trees, scented with flowers and musical from the sound of bees, with his shakti Shri Lakshmi. She is bathed in sweat from her passion for him while around them both are the women of the household, all pierced by the arrows of Kama, god of sexuality, all shameless with their passion.

Artwork is © Jan Bailey, 1996-2006. Translations are © Mike Magee 1996-2006. Questions or comments to mike.magee@btinternet.com

Maha Mantra, Shakta Style

Adesh! Adesh!

Just want to share these thoughts:

A good friend of mine participated in the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Teacher Training Program a couple of years ago. In her training manual I came upon a very interesting mantra that is very similar to the Vaishnava Maha Mantra Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare!

It goes like this: Shiva Durga Shiva Durga Durga Durga Shiva Shiva Shiva Kali Shiva Kali Kali Kali Shiva Shiva!

I have always enjoyd the rhythm of the Vaishnava Maha Mantra, and after reading Rolf A. Jacobsens explanation of Krishna and Rama, I have also chanted this mantra with great joy.

According to this understanding Rama symbolizes the aspect of pure divine awareness, while Krishna symbolizes the perfect manifestation of the divine in human form. So chanting the Vaishnava Maha Mantra bear for me the meaning: Force of the divine, manifesting as the multi-faceted being Krishna, Force of the divine manifesting as the light of pure awareness.

The Shiva Durga Shiva Kali mantra is even more significant for the tantrik yogi. Shiva is the divine masculine state of pure awareness, Durga the divine feminine in Her creative and powerful aspect, and Kali the divine feminine in her destructive aspect of eternal time-space.

Chanting Shiva Durga Shiva Durga Durga Durga Shiva Shiva Shiva Kali Shiva Kali Kali Kali Shiva Shiva my mind get tuned into the tantrik concept of ultimate reality. Shiva is the eternal omnipresent awareness of the Self, Durga is the eternal unfolding of creative Shakti (and Kundalini in the individual), and Kali, the great mother, the eternal time-space where in all is unfolding.

Jai Kali Ma!

Love from :nath

lørdag 6. juni 2009

Sri Lalita Puja

Adesh!
The Will to Love is the Law to Live!

Just wanted to write something so that you know that I am still alive :-)

Lately I have been deepening my practical application of the principles that I learned as my initiation into the Nath Sampradaya. Even though my practice have been in the spirit of Shaktopaya (Jnana Yoga), I still maintain my practice of performing pujas and rituals that I learned as part of my Anavopaya (Kriya Yoga) practice. It is very important to have a solid foundation in Bhakti Sadhana (Devotional Practice) in order to have the trust needed to start with Vira Sadhana (Heroic Practice).

This spring my daughter and I have been performing pujas to Sri Lalita in order to greet Her and creative powers.My daughter is a very good pujari, and my heart was overflowing with joy when she was singing the mantras, sprinkling the altar and presenting the offering. It is a very nice thing to do together. As Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh says (ore something like this, giving the same point :-): "When you are able to tell your child the deepest truths, then you can say that they are a integral part of you". This is my way of trying to share something I hold to be both true and important: reverence for life and total trust in existence.

Love from Visarganath





søndag 11. januar 2009

Spiriual and Mundane Personae

[This was originally posted on another mailing list but a friend a mine told me he had benefitted from reading it, so therefor I also post it here. I also publish the question my post was an answer to but have kept no names.]

Is it possible to lead a dedicated spiritual life without messing up dmask of our everyday persona ? if so, how can this be achieved ? is adeliberate split personality i.e. worldly & spiritual, deterimentalfor spiritual growth?

Svecchachara! 

The Will to Love is the Law to Live ;-) 

I think the discussion "Spiritual & Mundane Personae" is an interesting one. I think many on the path to self-ralization, or Self-actualization, has encountered this question. 

As for myself, I think we operate with multiple personalities on a daily basis. At least I do. 

Personae means mask, and I have many of them. I have the mask of the son in relation to my parents. I have the mask of the father in relation to my daughter. I have the mask of the lover in relation to my ladyfriend. I have the mask of the professional in relation to work. 

I do not think that wearing mask is bad in itself. It is only natural. They arise spontaniously when we enter different sets of social interaction. 

I think Karl König (famous for working with mentally disabeled people) once said that the main difficulty for the mentally disabled is that they only operate through one mask all the time, and that it is this that make social interacting so difficult for them. 

Roberto Assagioli - the founder and developer of Psychosynthesis - also acknowledge that individuals operate with multiple personalities in a healthy way. 

So, in relation to social interacting, masks are a necesary tool and asset. 

But masks are masks, and every good actor knowns this. What is important is that we remember our Self in every acticity, behind every mask. We have to be rooted in our fundamental I-feeling when wear our masks and engages in "mundane" activities (but one could argue that there is no real difference between the spiritual and mundane. The Kaulas of Kashmir holds this notion: there is no difference. All is Chaitanya, (universal God-consciousness). We just have to remember to NOT IDENTIFY ourselves with the masks and keep the rememberance that the Self is the Divine Actor. We have to practice what Gurdjieff calls Constant Self-Rememberance. 

Also, I find the suggestions of the Nandinathas very helpful in this regard. The Hawaiian Naths say that one choulddivide ones awareness two thirds on the inner world and one third on the outer world. In this way one is always aware on how one reacts and responds in relation to the outer world. One also becomes aware on which mask one wears, or which personality one emits. 

So, as long as we live under the rules of Maya's Leela, why not participate in her play? And as long as one have a body one will be under the influence of the the three gunas, the five elements and multiple personalities. 

One could say that all "normal" people are kind of schizophrenic. Only the individual who recognizes the operations of the different personalities can be said to be really healthy. As I understand it, being as master of oneself and ones ways of functioning, is what is ment by being a "Lord" or "Lady" 

Love from Visarganath 

Reflections on The Right-Hand and Left-Hand Paths

If you was to tell someone that you practice the left-hand path of tantrika, you may experience to encounter some raised eyebrows. It is common both in the east and west that we view the left-hand paths as something dark, sinister and evil, and if one is to reach salvation, one better stick to the right hand path.

This is actually not the case in the tantrika tradition. At least not according to the Kaula Nathas. It is true that there exists some individuals practicing tantrika for their own benefit and gain only, but this would be true for any tradition, left or right. 

The Kaula Nathast uses theses expressions in relation to practice, not in relation to the goal. The uniting goal of every Kaula Nath is the realization of true peace, true freedom and true happiness, and I guess this goes for most yogis and humans in general.

In India the right-hand path and left-hand path are called Dakshinachara and Vamachara, respectively.

Dakshinachara is what is most commonly practiced, both in the east and west. A follower of the Dakshinachara goes to the temple, says his or her prayers, read the scriptures and follows the priests rules and regulations. In this case, most hindus, christians, muslims and jews must be said to be followinging the Dakshinachara. Indian yogis and tantrikas approves of this path, but since it does not require much effort it is said to take many lifetimes to complete.

The Vamachara is not so commonly practiced, either in the east or west. The practitioner of Vamachara is one wants to experience for him- or herself, who experiements and reflects over this existence in a more active way. There are similar people also here in the west, for instance the gnostic christians, the muslim sufis and the cabbalistic jews. These were all mystics who experimented with the laws of nature, who sought to reveal the hidden mysteries and who arranged situations where they could experience the deeper secrets of life for themselves.

The Kaula Naths fits into this latter category of Vamacharins. We seek also the deeper and hidden truth of this existence, and we do it by applying many different means. We use pujas or kriyas (forms of rituals and exercises), mantras (sound), yantras (geometrical "machines") and tantras (treatisies on topics related to tantrika practices). We also apply a certain degree of magick in order to make our progress faster.

Many misunderstand "tantra" to be some kind of sexual gymnastics for achieving prolonged orgasms and a better sex life. But this kind of "Californian Tantra" is not what real tantrika is about. It is true that sex is given a central place in the tantrika tradition, but there is a great difference between how sex is viewed in tantrika and how it is viewed by the "californians".

If you look around you, you will see that sex has a great presence in existence. Sex is the force that lies behind all creation, and it is the force that makes nature display Her great beauty and creativity. This kind of kind of sex is a force, it is not sexual. It is importand to understand that tantrikas understand sex as a natural force of nature. The sexuality we se displayed everywhere in our western culture is a creation of the mind. This sexuality is an intellectualization of the sex force, but has little to do with with the natural force itself that the tantrikas seek to understand.

Tantrikas are natural people and if you look at their symbols it is almost always directly related to nature and Her processes. Shiva and Shakti; Man and Woman; Stars and Planets; Life and Death; Animals and Plants, (and the list goes on).

These are symbols of nature and the tantrikas tries to dive deep into them through ritual and practice in order to understand the deeper realities behind them. Not to become the greatest scientists or the greatest magicians, but in order to understand life and what we are part of. It is all part of the most ancient questions man has ever asked: who am I? Where did I come from? Where to will I go? What is the meaning of all this?

As a Kaula Nath I use ritual settings to create situations where I can experiment with the forces of life through symbolic representations. These forms can be anthropomorphic gods and goddesses, geometrical structures or inner and outer sounds. Through rituals I experiment with these forces and enliven them within my own being. One of the yogis in our lineage said that the most important faculties in man is Imagination, Insight and Intuition. It is through these three "Super Faculties" we as human beings can engage in the ritual practices of our mystical nature and benefit from them. But they always has to be worked on in direct relations to our own lives.

Last year I did much work on Kali Ma in relation to the death of my zen teacher. He died of heart failure and at the funeral I discovered that my relationship with death was not so clear and easy as I initially thought.

What I did was that I engaged in a kind of meditative dialouge with Kali Ma. I did much mantra japa with her mantra Krim Kalikaye Namaha. This mantra I repeated during everyday activities and as I did so I ideated how everything that I saw around me one day would turn into ashes. The people around me, buildings, the earth itself and the whole of cosmos, everything. What this led to was some insights that was of great importance and value to me.

One of the insights was that I understood that death itself is a fiction. There is no death. Yes, people will disappear but the Life Stream itself will never end. I saw that out of the dead new life was sprouting continuously. I realized that the very soil I was walking, this "creamtion ground", was the ashes of my ancestors (on a collective level, including humans, animals, plants and minerals). But this "ashes of the dead" was at the same time the womb of the living. It was only my attachment to form that made me think that there is such a thing as death. In reality there is only a continuous stream of life, shifting shapes and expressions through time and space.  This made we at ease with the fact that I too one day will have to give up my form. I am a father and realized that in order to let my daughter experience this magic and wonderful place called earth, I need to make space for her to live. I need to give up my form so that the new generations have space to live.

Fore some this might sound like a depressive outlook on life, but for me it had the opposite effect. I realized the importance of being present in the Now and rejoice in everything that is happening. And even though I knew this truth from before, it got a stronger emergency for me after the Kali Bhakti Sadhana.

Tantrikas do acknowledge the reality of dual existence as we experience it here and now, at the same time they never forget the universal perspective that we are All One, Shiva-Shakti.

onsdag 31. desember 2008

The Trika Shaivism of Kashmir (From ikashmir.net)

The religious practices of Hindus of Kashmir (popularly known as KashmiriGanpatyar Temple Pandits) revolve around the worship of Shiva and Shakti. All other deities (gods and goddesses) of the traditional Hindu pantheon are worshipped as various manifestations of Shiva and Shakti. Shiva is the Supreme Lord of the universe and Shakti, the Universal Mother Goddess, is his eternal companion. Bhairavas and Ganas are also his divine companions and they are also worshipped with him on important festivals, such as Shivaratri. There are numerous Shiva shrines in Kashmir, such as Amareshvara, Vijayeshvara, Sureshvara, Harsheshvara, Mahaadeva, Bhuteshvara, Haramukheshvara. The shrines dedicated to Shakti are Tripurasundari, Trisandhyaa, Jvaalaamukhi, Shailaputri, Shaarikaa, Shaarada, Rajni, and Khirbhavaani.

The religious philosophy of Kashmiri Hindus is rooted in Kashmiri Shaivism, a school of Shiva philosophy that originated near Kailasha in Himalayas around 400 AD. The first teacher of this school was Tryambakaditya, a disciple of sage Durvasas. Sangamaditya, the sixteenth descendent in the line of Tryambakaditya, later settled in Kashmir valley around 800 AD. His fourth descendent, Somananda, extracted the principles of monistic Shiva philosophy from the scriptures and incorporated them in his own work, Shivadrishti, which is the first philosophical treatise on Kashmiri Shaivism. Later a galaxy of illumined sages, such as Vasugupta, Kallata, Utapaladeva, and Abinavagupta further refined this philosophy. The philosophy of Kashmiri Shaivism is generally called Trika Shastra, since it is a philosophy of the Triad: Shiva, Shakti, and Nara (the bound individual self). The literature of the Trika System of Kashmir comprises of three categories: the Agama Shastra, the Spanda Shastra, and the Pratyabhijna Shastra.

Kashmiri Shaivism, also known as Pratyabhijna (meaning "recognition") school of Shaivism, adopts a purely monistic metaphysical position. It considers the Supreme Lord, called Shiva or Maheshvara, as the Supreme Reality, which is innermost as well as transcendent. As a conscious and active principle, the individual self (atman) is identical with the Supreme Lord. Due to the influence of maya (ignorance) the individual self forgets its divine nature, becomes liable to limitation and bondage, and thinks itself to be different from the Supreme Lord. Thus one's mukti (spiritual freedom) lies in one's clear recognition (Pratyabhijna) of one's identity with the Supreme Lord. In Kashmiri Shaivism we find a type of religious thought which synthesizes pluralism, dualism, and the Buddhist doctrine of Shunya, and develops a nondualist philosophy which is sweet, sublime and constructive. This philosophy is closer to the theism of the Bhagvad Gita than to the nihilism of Buddha.

Kashmiri Shaivism is free from restrictions of caste, creed, and gender. Any devout aspirant can have access to both the theory and practice of this philosophy. In Kashmiri Shaivism, practice of religion is considered more important than theological debates and discussions. Kashmiri Shaivism does not advocate a life of renunciation (Sannyasahood) or profession of monks, but recommends an active householder's life with daily practice of worship, yoga and meditation. The use of outward symbols, such as yellow and orange robes, matted hair, and ashes are prohibited. Worldly enjoyment as a goal of worldly life is recognized and respected, but a spiritual path aimed at harmonizing bhukti (worldly enjoyment) and mukti (liberation) is advocated. Kashmiri Shaivism does not advocate suppression of one's emotions and instincts, but provides a spiritual path aimed at their sublimation towards the ultimate goal of spiritual freedom.


Bansi Pandit


onsdag 10. desember 2008

Self-Inquiry and Self-Observation - The Two Wings of Self-Discovery

Self-Inquiry (vichara) and Self-Observation (vidarshan) are the two wings that lifts a Kaula Nath to the hights of Self-recognition.

Self-Inquiry

The Path of Self-Inquiry is clearly outlined and explained by Shree Ramana Maharshi and are used by many contemporary teachers. Basically it consists of asking the question "Who am I?". Who is this that experience this life of pain and delight, suffering and joy? Who is it that reads this text? Who is it that wonder who it is that reads this text?

Shree Ramana Maharsi says that all these questions leads back to the one I-thought, or rather, the I-feeling underlaying them all, the feeling of I AM. The first idea that arises in a conscious being is the thought I AM. Then we relate this I AM to our surrounding: I AM a man, I AM a woman, I AM a son, I AM a mother, I AM a master, I AM a slave, etc. I AM is the first thought arising out of the depths of our being.

If we manage to stay with this I AM, without the other, and passes through the gateless gate of "I", we will reach the state of AM-ness, as Osho puts it. This state of AM-ness is what the Sahajiyas calls sahaja - the natural state, and what Zen people calls Tathata - Suchness, and Kaula Nathas calls Svecchachara - doing one's own will. When we have discovered the source of the I, and reached beyond it, into the depths of pure, boundless AM-ness, free from all notions and ideas of the mind, we become truly free.

This inquiry into the true nature of our being is the heart of meditation. It is what meditation is all about - to reach the inner center of consciousness and discover the one consciousness underlying all.

Self-Observation

But for the unenlightened and struggling Kaula Nath this dive into the core of being can seem almost impossible. It is here where the practice of self-observation comes in. Osho has explained that in his path of meditation one has to work with both the core of meditation and the circumferense of meditation.

In self-observation we do not do anything in particular other than to just watch what is happening, just being a witness. In working with the circumferense of meditation (the body, thoughts and emotions) we have first to watch and become familar with their spontanious and natural activities. In this watching of the body, thoughts and emotions we will discover two important things: one, that all these activities goes on even without us interfering with it. Even if I am not conscious about my body digesting the food and rebuilding itself, it will do so. Even if I am not participating in the continous stream of thoughts, it will go on by itself. And the same is with the emotions.

With this insight one discovers that all this - body, thoughts and emotions - are like objects that I am aware of, they are not me. I have a body, but I am not the body. I have thoughts but I am not my thoughts. I have emotions but I am not my emotions. But if I am not my body, thoughts and emotions, who am I then? Who am I?

Here we reach back to the first practice of self-inquiry.

In my own life I find these practices of great benefit and importance. As a Kaula Nath I try to make every situation into a learning situation for going deeper into my consciousness and being.

Having been a Swami of the Neo-Sannyas Movement for many years, I find great inspiration in these words of Osho:

“I would like my sannyasins to live life in its totality, but with an absolute condition, categorical condition: and that condition is awareness, meditation. Go first deep into meditation, so you can cleanse your unconscious of all poisonous seeds, so there is nothing to be corrupted and there is nothing inside you which power can bring forth. And then do whatsoever you feel like doing.”

Osho, The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 6. Number 40

I think the Swamis of The Neo-Sannyas Movement and the Kaula Nathas share many common features, though they differ in that where the former is based on magick and mastery the latter is based on devotion and surrender. Both paths are good though, and combining the two can make a healthy breed.

(From the notebooks of Visarganath, april 2008)