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 3. april 2010

The Living Body Yantra

This week I had the great pleasure of arranging a retreat with Swami Ganeshananda. I also made some contributions to the retreat by holding a Kirtan workshop and a Yantra paining class. In the class we painted the simplified "Body" Yantra. I wanted to share this beautiful symbol of the Time-Breath process from the Kaula Nath tradition with the other students of Baba Ganeshji.

(Picture 1: One of the participant's painting of the Body Yantra)

At the time when I hooked up with Baba Ganeshji I had been working with the Body Yantra for a short time, but I think it might have been because of this work that I really understood the value of his Open Eyes Class, or formal Darshans.

The thing that I realized was that Baba Ganeshji was sitting infront of me as a living manifestation of the Body Yantra. In him I saw the interplay of Shiva and Shakti manifesting in a conscious living being.


(Picture 2: Baba Ganeshji in front of his teacher's shrine.)

Philosophically I know this to be true for every living being. We are all living manifestations of the Body Yantra. But to sit there and watch, seense, feel, experience and interact in a direct way with all that which is represented in the Body Yantra was something that had powerful impact on me. It also made me realize why all tantrika masters have stressed the importance of the spiritual teacher. It is not so much what the teacher says or do, but what he or she embodies and emits by their mere presence that is important. Baba Ganeshji is a loving, caring, easy to get along with person, but in Open Eyes Class he reveals his true state of spiritual presence, a presence that can be so powerful that it shocks your entire system and leaves you on the ground in a dazed and confused state of bliss and bewilderment.
Through this contact with a living "Kalachakra Yantra" many significant things has happened and a deep process of transformation and transmutation has started withing me. Through this contact I have had the fortune to experience that life is som much more than I ever could imagine (and I think that I have a quit vivid imagination :-), and that I still have som much to learn. It has humbeled me and I think that for a "jnana" yogi like me this is very healty. I have been locked in the notion of ultimate enlightenment, but through contact with Baba Ganeshji I understand that the process of growth is an unending unfolding. You can grow with an enlightened mind, or you can grow with an unconscious mind, but growth and unfoldment will continue no matter what. It is the wish and will of Adinath and Ma that this Chidvilasa continues and unfolds in its innumerable ways. This is the divine Leela!
Love from Visarganath

onsdag 17. juni 2009

Kundalini Yoga Meditation Practice

For the last few months I have intensely been practicing the kundalini yoga meditation practice I have learned from Swami Ganeshananda. I must say that my idea of kundalini yoga has changed drastically. Dadaji Mahendranath of our lineage spoke not much about the "raising" or "awakening" of the kundalini shakti. In fact, I think he at one point rejected kundalini yoga as a fraud. But I must say that from what I have learned from Swami Ganeshananda, kundalini yoga can be something very practical and useful.

I have myself been a ardent practitioner of Zazen Meditation, especially as taught by Thick Nat Hanh, Osho and the Kwan Um School of Zen, and I still am of the opinion that these are true, effective meditation practices. Also Dadaji Mahendranath gives a similar practice in his instructions for meditation.

But there is one fundamental aspect of the Kundalini Yoga Meditation Practice taught by Swami Ganeshananda that I have really come to appriciate. Something I in the beginning was suspicious of, since I have been of the opinion that everything that is added to just sitting silently is something that is besides the point.

Since my initiation into the Nath Sampradaya I have become more and more aware of the world as a play of energies, but learning the Kundalini Yoga Meditation has made me experience more and more the play of energies in myself. I feel I have developed in this short time a much stronger sensitivity as to how these energies play within myself.

I have aslo had a powerfull experience of the interplay of energies between to individuals that have really surprised me. I have always been suspicious of the jumping around, crying and fainting due to the shaktipat given by the teacher or guru. Now, I know beyond doubt, that these happenings are real. I was amazed when it happened to me, since I have been a sceptic to these events, but nevertheless they happened.
I feel enriched and healed by my experiences and have come to appreciate the value of the teacher or guru in a way that I never thought I would. This does not mean that I buy into the "guru buissiness" as a whole, but I definitely am more open. The flow of love and energy I feel between myself and Swami Ganeshananda is undeniable real, mysterious and wonderfull. I find it so amazing to relate with another individual in this way. He has his personality, which is very ordinary, friendly and accessable, and at the same time reveals a fathomless depth and presence of energy in his formal Darshans (called Open Eyes Class).
I do not feel these things contradictionary to the Kaula Nath Path, rather, I feel that Swami Ganeshananda embodies the essence of our individual path of Svecchachara. He never lays down any rigid rules or give commandments. everything he teaches he puts forward as a friend and fellow traveler. Even though he is a Sannyasi, he stays in the world, does his own thing and live according to his own heart and own intelligence. As his own teacher, Swami Rudrananda (Rudi), he is still a buissiness man, at the same time not attached to the riches he accumulate. His own home he offers as a center of yoga and meditation, and he is alwayas giving, never asking for anything. I feel that in Swami Ganeshananda I have found a teacher that embodies the qualities I seek as a nath.
- Visarganath

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





fredag 22. mai 2009

Silence...

I have been silent on this blog for a long time now. The reason for this is that in my non-virual life I have been very occupied with mundane work and spiritual work.

Some years ago I came in contact with a meditation teacher that is a direct disciple of the american maverick kundalini-yoga teacher Swami Rudrananda of New York. Last year I read that this meditation teacher had been initiated as a sannyasi and had became Swami Ganeshananda. On writing to him and congratulating him on his further deepening of his spiritual life we again reconnected.

Swami Ganeshananda teaches a simple and effective meditation technique that have really helped me in digesting the stresses of my daily life. This kundalini yoga practice is nothing like the more traditional practices given by Shyam Sundar Goswami, Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Shri Shri Anandamurti or the Sikh Yogi Bhajan. This technique is functions more in the line of the meditations of Shri Rajneesh Chandra Mohan (Osho). It starts with calming the body through relaxation and awareness of the breath. Then one connect the awareness with the subtle flow of breath inside the subtle body.

It has been amazing to see how such a simple technique has helped in releasing stress tensions and increased my power of presence. I have been practicing Sandhya Yoga Meditation for many years, both with yogik teachers and buddhist teachers, so the experience of meditation is not a new experience for me. What is new is how much faster I get into the state of meditation and how well I get established there through this technique. 

I must admit that I was a bit skeptic in the beginning, thinking that this technique was a bit "new age" but still I dedicated myself to a one month steady practice of it every morning and evening, as part of my regular Sadhana. And I am glad I did.

What I like about this technique is how natural it is to perform and that by performing it one does not get lost into all kinds of esoteric imagery but simply enters into a natural and easy state of meditation. The technique leads to a state of non-technique and in my book that is how it always should be. A technique is of little value if it leads you to more and more techniques. A technique should lead one to the natural state of being, strengthening ones awareness of awareness. 

As a nath yogi this Kundalini Yoga Meditation is in accordance with the path of Svecchachara. I also feel that it