I have come across your writings today on the Net. Their level of insight, knowledge and articulation are a challenge but not prohibitively so. I just go slowly at it. I feel already a further crystallization of my philosophical thinking and exploring.. Some "aha!" moments already, which is always good.
I am resonanting with much of what you have shared.
My "path" leads through numerous woods with their fruits, including Taoism, Zen Buddhism, Theosophy and of late, Trika Shavistic thinking. Part of me felt a need of identity with one of these family of concepts, linked often. I always gravitated to the "heretics".
All of these have fruit but none were objectively IT. I came back to Essence and Form regularly. I early learnt the plain errors of dualistic thinking, knowing intuitively that if the label "God" meant anything like it was supposed too, it had to include Everything.The Fullness and the Gnosis - I will follow their footprints for a while - or have I finished my quest? I wouldnt ask that if what I read here wasn't striking deep chords.Thank you, and I will continue to read. I will purchase one of your books, haven't decided yet which might be best overall introduction to
this way of gnosis.
Peter Wilberg wrote:
Thank you for your 'thank you'. It was particularly reassuring to hear that my writings "are a challenge but not prohibitively so", and to hear from a reader who has the patience to "go slowly at it".
I noticed that your mail was sent via www.thenewgnosis.org but that you also mentioned Trika Shaivism as a recent interest.
So - just in case you aren't already aware of it - let me emphasise just how important the experiential and philosophical evolution of my own work from 'the new gnosis' to 'the new yoga' has been in recent years - the latter being a new reinterpretation and refinement of Trika Shaivism in the spirit of Acharya Abhinavagupta, one that has allowed me to distil the essence of my thought and practice through what I term 'The Awareness Principle'.
See www.thenewyoga.org and www.theawarenessprinciple.blogspot.com - as well as the 'New Yoga Publication' titles I have brought out in recent years.
These include 'The New Yoga - Tantric Wisdom for Today's World', 'The Awareness Principle - a radical new philosophy of life, science and religion', and 'Tantra Reborn - on the sensuality and sexuality of the soul body'. These are all available from Amazon, together with 'Heidegger Phenomenology and Indian Thought' - and within a few weeks or so a new book entitled 'Event Horizon - the Ultimate Metaphysics of Awareness'.
I would be most interested in your comments and feedback on any of these titles- and/or on any of the many essays on Shaivism listed and downloadable from the 'Archive page of www.thenewyoga.org
Thanks again for writing,
Acharya Peter Wilberg
Thank you for your reply. Yes, I found the Trika Shavistic philosophy a step forward in refinement of understanding these subtleties of existence. As with other Hindu related philosophy, I find the constant symbologies of "dieties " or deistic type references all the time, distracting. Probably my western culture intruding. Your further refinement with a more western type of explanation is very helpful, although transpersonal figurations are not to be denied and often need poetry and art to express them.
For the moment I have proceeded here - theawarenessprinciple.blogspot.com
How very good. I do go slowly more because of the richness of what you saying, rather than any real difficulty of understanding. It is so very stimulating, even exciting, to read these words of one who has so efficiently explored these realms.
The Big Bang model has always had hairs on it for me. I can't find it presently, but I encountered once a solid scientific disputation of its validity, based on distortions inherent in redshift, huge distances etc. Anyway your logical points about this idea are well noted.
The Awareness is in all as you say. It is interesting in this regard that the quantum physicists as they delved deeper and deeper found particles and their behaviours that somehow seemed 'aware'.cf the particle/wave aspects of light. One physicist said more than he realised when he, its reported, said 'the universe is appearing more and more like one great thought". Indeed.
They don't want to understand it, it is too awkward meaning the necessary upheaval and approach of thinking. All the stuff you are saying in that regard has me cheering. If at that primordial level of particles there is evidence of awareness, then the rest sort of follows. Its just the shape and forms that emerge, and continue to emerge. And as our awareness locus cottons on, we see more and more.
Some of your statements sent my mind whirring. Your answer about what is life and the will, the drive to become. This drive, this 'will' to ever become would seem to be a quality of the Awareness principle itself. Does it link to the three concepts of Will/Knowledge/Action encountered in Kasmir Shavism? And the whole Shiva/Shakti concept? I'll explore more myself to pursue these, you don't need to answer my queries, they are sort of rhetorical. But if I am right off track, a nudge in the right direction would be helpful.
What sent me whirring was how our exercise of awareness can be, is itself creative, attracting, reaching out, bring us into mysterious links with other creative loci of awareness. This best happens when we quieten our ego/body awareness down and open to the Great Awareness.Sorry Peter, I am going on a bit, so I will stop for the moment. There is enough to digest here at present.
I hope I am understanding you properly here.
As I further explore, I am in a field of great riches bestowed by your grace and the very grace of Shiva. I have never come close to such exposition. I apologise for my presumption, my ignorance, as I have so lightly dismissed things I was not fully cognizant of.
I honour you and all that you are doing. I read currently "On the True Meaning of Mantra" The Great Mantra becomes so full for me now, and much ignorance is being dispelled. I anticipate with eagerness how you incorporate the Murti and explicate what I have been too distracted by.
Your grounding of all this also in a true socialist expression for a needy world also awaits my exploration.
I think once again great movements are definitely upon us.
I shall stop raving, but I am greatly moved. I see that the older I get the less I know of this Greatness we are. One thinks one has closed doors but again they spring open, revealing a thousand doors behind.
I cannot read enough. This piece answers and resolves more of my confusions and thoughts that I mentioned in a recent email.
Please be patient with my over eager enthusiasms currently.
You are a now in my heart a blessed teacher to me. I thank you, I thank you. You have lifted a veil, I feel really genuinely free because at every turn I could see the limitations of human thought forms, and my own limited comprehension of deep matters and distractions by focuses of confusion. In one sweep so many are falling away. Your understanding is profound and truly, great Shiva is shining here.
I couldn't let myself go in true praise/worship for I could not let go of doubts and confusions. My way is becoming clearer now.
My very sincere inner questions about karma, about Shakti, about re-incarnation, about Kundilini and their conception and experience are now all falling into a more ordered clearer satisfying awareness, and having seen clearer, become more aware of the Awareness and the relation to all else is so immediately liberating.
I did not expect this revealing flooding of Shiva's grace. I was elsewhere.
I need to find a group of like-minded locally. It may be hard.
I myself feel blessed by your openness to the teachings of 'The New Yoga' and delighted by what they are bringing to you - and opening you to. I know from experience what this feels like, and have never felt shy of expressing it or being thankful for it. All great thinking comes out of a thanking. On the other hand, it is rare to feel and receive such a deep openness to and appreciation for the 'newness' of 'The New Yoga' and its heart - 'The Awareness Principle' - from someone who has not been taught by or received initiation from me directly. That is partly because there are still so many who sense in my work something too potentially overwhelming, philosophically deep or demanding - or simply too threatening to their existing understandings and practices and identifications to even delve into – rather than finding in their depth and newness a blessing and a liberation from limited and limiting understandings.
The fact that you were both ready and open to receive indicates to me that you had already made yourself into a truly qualified 'student' – an Adhikarin. What I appreciate and enjoy above all is the very joy of discovery and learning that comes through your letter - for that joy too, is something we share. So there is no shame in raving. For what is it that makes the tantras of Abhinava and his soul family or kula so special and beautiful if not a thoughtful 'raving' about Shiv rooted in a fundamental mood of blissful thankfulness. So thank you for writing again - and feel free to write to me, at any length, at any time and with any questions. It would also be nice to know a little bit more about your personal background. In the meantime, I will continue to meditate you - and give thanks to Shiv for us both in my next puja.
Of course, there is much, much more I could say and write in response to your words -about the "great movements" that are indeed "definitely upon us", on the trika of desire and will, knowledge and action - but there will be much time for that - and it will need time. What I will say now that you may be right about the hardness of finding a group of "like-minded". Locally of course there is Shankarananda and his ashram in Melbourne - but I fear he is one of those who fears to give The New Yoga deep meditation - for he has not bothered to delve into it at all, despite its having been drawn most directly to his attention. I believe it will take considerable time - several decades if not more - for The New Yoga to work its way into the world, even that of existing yoga schools drawing on the Trika tradition.
But then it took 10 centuries for Abhinavagupta's teaching, which was for the most part disseminated in a very small circle, to be rediscovered and taken seriously!!! That is not to say however, that you yourself cannot desire and intend to actively bring the knowledge expressed in my work to the attention of others with an interest in Trika Shaivism – including followers of other teachers - and in this way slowly but surely cultivate a circle, however small, of like-minded people to enjoy sharing the joy of your new insights and awareness with. Then again, though he is not exactly local - he lives in Adelaide - I'm sure Andrew Gara, my oldest friend and longest fellow-traveller on my journey would also be very happy to hear from you and talk with you at any time.
But again, I myself look forward to hearing more and more from you as you explore the "field of riches" that it can be our common joy to share in the name of Shiv, and in the spirit of Acharya Abhinavagupta - he who deliberately set about liberating people from the bonds of superficial, confused or second-hand knowledge with his "trident of wisdom" - see the 'Aphorisms' presentation on the site, which includes my most beloved quotations from him and other participants in kula. As for our soul family, although that will continue to grow slowly but surely in this world through patient dissemination of its wisdom, there are already quite a few more souls who, just by virtue of having been once seeded or confronted with its wisdom, will only be ready to become fully part of in the 'afterworld' - that multi-dimensional universe of awareness from which this knowing awareness springs, and from whence it will continue to flow - from the very heights of Shivaloka.
Om Namah Shivayah
Thank you for your warm welcome to the kula which I accept most gladly. And because of your agreement that I may very well find it difficult to link up with others who are open to this old/new understanding, your readiness and ability to have me correspond with you and your friend Andrew delights me. I will contact Andrew.
Let me tell you something of myself.
I'm 62 yo. married with three children and 7 grandchildren. I have walked
through the experiences of being, in turn,
a salesman in a small suburban store,
an insurance clerk, (not me!)
a customs officer, (5+ years)
a protestant minister (Churches of Christ) 10 + years including
a psychiatric nurse, my remaining and principal occupation. Specific area of expertise was as a Community Nurse, in Aged psychiatry.
I have been retired for a few years because of health issues. I have improved in my health since then.
I left the ministry partly due a shift in the courage of being able to admit to myself that I just didn't believe a lot of this stuff any more. It was too limited and intolerant. So I left and climbed down awkwardly from the pedestal that I had been put on. I then trained as a psychiatric nurse and my life moved on. But my spirit was confused and searching. I was never an atheist. I sort of "knew" that this thing called life and its emerging came about because of something much bigger and "IT" knew what it was doing. Whatever It was that brought an Einstein or a Beethoven or a Ghandi out of an accumulation of gases and dust knew a tad more than me! But "God" as I knew "him" didn't fit. It was TOO limited, too parochial. I think now my quest was for a "God" big enough to hold everything creation, dissolution, good bad success failure purity impurity, all the dichotomies within Itself, for really "It" had to or it was not "God".
Anyway my first breakthrough in my confused searching state came when I read "The Holographic Universe" by David Talbot, explaining quantum science and its implications. A lot started to fall into place then. I got the flavour of a "God" who was more immanent than we realised, and perhaps science had hold of "his" hem and didn't realise it. Atoms and particles which were more space than anything else. Time and space a continuum. Particles that seemed to have awareness. Matter equals energy and all that. I shifted postively in my search. I felt confirmed in my quest for a "faith" slowly being reconstructed, one that fitted emerging intuitions. I thunk a lot! The role of consciousness came to the fore, and the idea of it being "prior" formed unclearly.
And I started to read and look at other ways. I was attracted to the east, to Taoism and Buddhism and their conceptions. I attended a local Buddhist chapter once, and with this presentation I became aware that Buddhism can have its incorrect adherents, and saw serious manipulation by that particular teacher. Abuse of faith is a serious thing to me and I did not return. But Sunyata, and Madhyamika philosophy, opened my mind further to other ways of seeing. I liked the Taoist simplicity, but it lacked explanatory substance, probably due to the limitations of pictographic language. I explored the I Ching and wondered at its ability to open up my awareness and help me. Interesting book.
I had looked at some presentations of Hindu philosophy. I think I had a resistance to all the variety of presentation and the murtis, although I had no concept of murti then. The concept when I encountered it began to make it clearer. It could be an Indian culture thing that gets in the way for our culture particularly.
The concepts of non-dualism made sense. It was present in Taoism. Yin and Yang and their Harmony within the Tao. Taoism's wariness of being too definitive of the Divine seemed wise but they were a tad too "inscrutable."
Hindus saw a "Self" at the Heart of it All, the Buddhists saw an No-Self, an emptiness. They were both talking about the same "Thing" that some of each had encountered. I believed their encountering was real, human words and concepts seemed just couldn't "wrap It all up". Their differences left questions about the nature of religious "authority". An inner confrimation of one's self was involved and ultimately required.
Teachers in the Zen tradition (that was much influenced by Taoism), with their koans was interesting, but for me were too monastic and cultural, except for the ones like old Bankei who upturned their stereotyped religious concepts and the common people flocked to him as he simply kept telling them to open to the Unborn, that was there all the time. I'm sure he was onto it no doubt. They nearly chucked him out. Just cultural difference in explanation. I think now his "Unborn" was his name for Great Shiva.I have a soft spot for Bankei.
I won't go into my foray into Theosophy. Much good there, closely aligned with the Hindu path..
I returned anew to Hinduism and Advaita. Then I found www.swamij.com and Swami Jananeshvara Bharati and a good site for understanding more detail of Hindu philosphy and yoga. I hold him in great respect but I was still reserved about aspects I had questionings about.
I found and explored Kashmir Shaivism and found the writings of Acharya Abhinavagupta. I knew straight away that here was an advancement. Yes, the symbolism was there, the richness was there, AND the willingness to break conceptual traditions that were too binding and in it a freedom was apparent, but one that demanded full acknowledgement both of its depth of analysis of that good that had gone before, and its furthering logicality that seemed irrefutable to me. I liked irrefutable. Anything that to me appeared logically irrefutable was like a signpost along the way. Irrefutable meant "Here I see no questions".
This concept of Shiva was no BOXED GOD! Still some lack of clarity, but I knew I was closer. I listened to beautiful chants of Om Nama Shivaya. I kept returning on and off, and almost casually found your writings and site recently. And so, in Shiva's Grace, great clarity and relief has now come via you as I have expressed already. I think my confusion was because all these great sages had my respect but they were all expressing their particular concepts differently for their own time and culture.
I think my confusion was justified on reflection. They are not all the same. Some are just wrong on some things but talk with great certainty. Some are partial or blurry for our time.
A New Yoga is indeed needed.
I needed that final updated "translation", new for our time, and it came quietly, and as I read all about this Awareness, this Shiva that we ourselves and our life are, this his power shakti, this way of seeing re-incarnation (which was as I had thought it, but it didn't fit the "common understanding" - it so made it come alive for me Peter there and then, by your confirmation), all of this, it all fell into place.
There is much for me to learn and consolidate and I will focus on that. It is supportive having your help and your writings ready and I am grateful.
I could never express it as you have, and I will listen and read and "meditate you" (I like that expression, haven't encountered it), I am pausing during my day and quietening and meditating on Shiva who is right there in my very awareness, my greater awareness.
Acharya Abhinavagupta I think rewords in your words Peter. Praise to Shiva. Thanks to Shiva, this most Great One.
Om Namah Shivaya
Just to say thanks for sharing your personal story with me. Reading it, I was touched by the persistence with which you neither ceased your seeking and questioning nor simply made do with 'answers' or 'paths' that were not wholly adequate to both your innate and intuitive religiosity and your intellect. I was also moved by the spiritual courage and humility required for you to have "climbed down awkwardly from the pedestal" that you had been put on" as a Minister. What I found most lovely was to feel from your letters, how despite the importance you so rightly attach to "logically irrefutable", the devotional, feeling element of your religiosity has blossomed through a relation to Shiva. I am reminded of Utpaladeva - he who wrote the seemingly 'driest' and most abstractly 'logical' of all the Trika tantras - and yet was also the one to write the most humbly and humanly devotional poetry, poetry in which, paradoxically, he returns again and again to the importance of immanent devotional relational to Shiva, affirming it as higher than all the logical arguments and yogas that lead to it.
But back to you: for a more than ten-year long Christian Minister to have sought and found a path from the "boxed" Judaeo-Christian God to Shiva is a most encouraging affirmation of the futural potentiality of The New Yoga. For whether they know about it or not, through your life path you yourself have laid down footsteps of awareness that will, even unbeknownst to themselves, make it easier for others - from whatever of the many stepping stone on it that you mentioned - to follow you on that path. That said, since so many get stranded on one or other of those stones - whether Christiantity, Zen or Advaita - I think your story is deserving of a wider audience. You may or may not have an inclination to expand on it as your spiritual life-story, both for the sake of your children and grandchildren - and/or as a potential book, however small, which I would be delighted to publish. Even if not, perhaps you could simply give it some sort of introduction that would allow us to place it on The New Yoga website as something of great potential interest and affirmation to others who may find their way to it. Then again, you may or may not have noticed the 'Testimonials' section of the homepage (sanctimonious though the word may sound!) and also the 'bulletin board' to which there is a link at the very bottm of the page. I have just uploaded a new essay there, on to which Andrew has added comments and insights of his own, and in which your story could also find a home. I myself have already made a file of all your correspondence which, with your permission, I would like to share with other students of mine for their interest, precisely because they have come to The New Yoga from quite different individual starting points or along quite different routes. With such differences in mind, I am thinking of (re-)starting a new on-line 'blog' as medium for communication between all of the otherwise isolated and geographically distanced participants in our kula - and potential new ones.
Finally, let me say that I appreciate your "softspot" for Bankei. You will find resonances of his comprehensions in my recently added essay on Awareness, Paramshiva and 'The Dreaming'. 'Buddha-nature' and the 'Pure Land' as Pure Awareness (Paramshiva), an awareness that bears within its womb (the Great Mother) infinite unborn potentials that are never fully born - for even when born they bear within their own unborn potentials. I myself have a great love of Japan and similar softspots - both for the founders of Pure Land Buddhism and also Dogen. Then again I maintain a deep and abiding respect for many great thinkers and teachers, not least Martin Heidegger.
There is, as Heidegger recognised, a dialogue between Indo-European and Eastasian thought (and the languages of Japanese schools of Buddhism in particular) that remains an unfinished one - perhaps one that hasn't even begun, the conditions for it not yet being ripe. For in a very specific sense, I see 'The New Yoga' as a 'New Buddhism' - or rather as a true Buddhism. For retrospectivly one can see that many Buddhist sages were intuitively aiming in the right direction, but - like so many of their Hindu and Advaitic counterparts (past and present!) lacked and still lack an adequately "upgraded" conceptual language to 'hit the target'. Hence those few wiser and rarer Buddhists who truly 'spoke' could do so only through more poetic means. In contrast we have the example of the splendid spiritual and intellectual refreshment offered by Acharya Abhinavagupta - though we must not forget that both his work and 'Kashmir Shaivism' as such, themselves arose as part of a refreshing and renewing dialogue with Buddhist thinking - and in turn exerted significant influence on its development.
with warm regards,
I have been in contact with Andrew and became aware later of his diary.
Your site is so full and abundant I had not yet seen it. He was most helpful and gracious.
I share with you a spontaneous arising within me, to share and in sharing to learn.
Om Nama Shivaya.
I have been in contact with Andrew and became aware later of his diary. Your site is so full and abundant I had not yet seen it. He was most helpful and gracious.
I share with you a spontaneous arising within me, to share and in sharing to learn.
Om Nama Shivaya.
Your place of puja is beautiful and most honoring of Shiva.
Dwelling on spaciousness is most helpful to me, as it reminds me of That Great One. It is most helpful to expansion of inner Awareness.
Is it such that when we dwell in Shiva's awareness, the flow of Shiva's power is more enabled? But we cannot stop the power of Shiva, but perhaps change "the eternal dance".
The divine Awareness is always, with or without our recognition.
Recognition, it would seem, facilitates flow from others, even without them being aware. Doing whatever would seem appropriate for the moment, while offering that to the Divine Awareness, brings freedom. And in being freer, we enable a more creative becoming. This is so?
This Universe that arises in the Awareness of Shiva is stupendous beyond description.
Om Namah Shivaya.
Your second lesson on Akasha Yoga is most powerful and fruitful. The joint meaning of Akasha, "space" and "aether" I did not know. The aether that is its very self, Awareness. The "body" of Shiva. And I meditated in the way both the "Vijnanabhairavatantra", (a copy of this I have - it pushed me to explore further) and the Tibetan meditation described. I saw my akashic body, clear and radiant within the Great Aether of Awareness of Shiva. It was very real for the first time. I had no blockages, thanks to you, Acharya.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA!
It is the means whereby I hold the form I have within the Awareness of Shiva.
There is much more to be explored yet.
I will continue in your second lesson.
Thank you Acharya
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA.
As I read about Akasha Yoga. I find the concept of "entering" the soul space of another, as a "siddhi".
This psychical movement of awareness raises the question in me of the ethics of it. Does this siddhi get practiced without another's permission? Is it not an invasion, without that allowance. Does this show respect for other areas of awareness, the soul awareness of others? Is it "right" without permission?
Your question concerning the intiatory or Diksha Siddhi is an important one - and one which many have raised. Here I will seek to answer it in the briefest and most succinct terms possible:
1. It is important to be absolutely clear that guru's role in the exercise of this Siddhi is first of all - and in the most sensitive way - to sense, affirm and respect every element of the soul inwardness of the other.
2. Strictly speaking - in both the philosophically and ethical sense of this 'strictness' - the guru does not seek to channel 'his' or 'her' awareness into the soul body of the other but to imbue it with specific qualities arising from the ultimate depths and heights of the universal awareness.
3. Practically speaking, the siddhi CANNOT be exercised without the inner permission of another.
4. If that other, however, is bound to 'anavamala' - egoically protective and defensive of what they experience as 'their' soul, they will not ALLOW themselves to feel an influx of the divine soul or awareness. For precisely by virtue of needing to hold on to this sense of POSSESSING awareness and identity as private property they will indeed feel that influx as a sort of invasive and threatening intrusion, penetration or 'possession' perpetrated by the guru. As a result however, they will immediately and effectively block it, reject it, and vehemently refuse permission - or just feel nothing even when the Siddhi is exercised.
5. That refusal of permission must be respected - in all senses of the term must. For it CANNOT be overcome by force. For there is an INVIOLABLE core to each individual soul. 'Soul-rape' is just not POSSIBLE - unless, paradoxically, there is some reason why it is actually wished for unawares. (In this context, the guru with this Siddhi must be particularly careful in working with individuals with a history of sexual abuse - who might have a genuine but unaware NEED to feel this abuse psychically re-enacted in order bring it - or their rightful anger towards it - more into awareness.
5. Those who are inwardly OPEN to the influx of the divine awareness, on the other hand, will accept the exercise of the Siddhi like ducks taking to
water - experiencing it not as some form of intrusion but as an experience
of sublime and divine awareness-bliss of an order they have never experienced,and as a profound medium of 'core connection' with another human being -through the divine awareness.
6. Permission to guru cannot be granted or refused IN ADVANCE by individuals for a new experience of awareness of a sort that is as-yet wholly unknown to them.Yet out of FEAR of the unknown many will simply avoid, shy away from or steer well clear of very opportunity for such initiatory experiences - in this way refusing THEMSELVES permission for them.
7. It was for this reason that the notion of the 'Adhikarin' or 'qualified' student or recipient of initiation was emphasised in the Tradition. That is to say, the guru alone carries the responsibility of checking out in advance another person's openness and readiness for the exercise of this Siddhi, and bears the responsibility also for providing a framework of understanding that increases their openness and readiness - their degree of 'qualification'.
8. On a deeper level of awareness, we are constantly sensing and feeling the soul-inwardness of others. In doing so we are already touching that inwardness - in the same way that if we feel an object with our hands we are at the same time handling and touching it - more or less sensitively.
9. The Siddhi in question therefore, can be exercised not just as a powerful medium of tantra initation, but as a more deeply aware, sensitive and respectful mode of silent inner response to the soul inwardness of another - a form of silent and subtle inner soul communication with others (even at a distance) that is much MORE aware, sensitive and respectful than the highly reactive, insensitive and unaware ways in which people so often react in word or deed to what they are sensing or 'picking up' - unawares, in another person. Most people simply do not TAKE TIME TO BE AWARE of the soul inwardness of others but react only to their outward speech and actions.
10. The fundamental principle: Awareness, in principle, senses, feels and thereby also touches others - period. Your awareness of a particular other therefore invariably communicates TO that other and touches them. And yet it is the other who decides - FREELY - whether to be aware of and receive that inner communication and touch. The Siddhi is an advanced inner-bodily awareness of this principle - combined with a highly cultivated capacity to relate to others from that awarenesss through the medium of the soul body.
In the real world of course, physical and verbal violence, invasion and abuse take the place of deep soul-body intimacy and intercourse.
Hope this helps,
Thank you for your warm and confirming reply.
It has been my own private journey and it is good to share it with you.
I would be glad for it to be shared by yourself in any manner you see that would be helpful. I will write introductions etc, as you ask.I so agree with you Acharya, about other paths born, but still with unrealised potentials within them. It was part of the wobbly path I wandered along, seeing the good, the part, the good clarifying pointer, the rich varied symbols and conceptions within each mystic way, of all faiths. I could see where the Buddhist way of Voidness and No-Self was so well thought through, and I could see the way of Brahmin, with the unlimited, unbounded "Self", and which without defining boundaries was a form of no-form, no-self and one excellent article, which I can't find presently to forward, pointed out the very real similarity. And the connections, popped up everywhere, said in different cultural ways, Shamanism, Buddhism, Taoism, mystic Islam, Christianity, Judaism.Yes, and quantum physics.(I have not explored Western philosophers a great deal and am only now beginning to acquaint myself with Heidegger's thoughts. So far I confess I find his conceptual expression difficult, I much prefer yours, and there I will focus at present.)
The Vijnanabhairava, I came across in a Theosphy bookshop which I read and felt a distinct shift of understanding and advancement, and then your contemporary expression came before me by the grace of Shiva, the pointing so clearly of the thread that held all this together, The Great Awareness that is Shiva, in all of this and in everything. Even as I write this I feel an energy again of excitement go through me. All of this is Shiva! Om Namah Shivaya! I will ever respect these other paths and expressions and love their words that point to the Same One.
Your answer to my question about the ethical aspect of siddhis has been very helpful and so well explained. Thank you Acharya for the obvious time and effort you take.
I think also I have anxiety about the revealing of oneself, warts and all. I am aware of both light and shadow within myself.
Om Namah Shivaya
I continue to explore the many stimulating and teaching articles on your site, by yourself, Andrew and others.
I have recently been away to our simple caravan in the beautiful fern covered hills of Tarra Valley, in Eastern Victoria. It is here that I have many times of walking /darshan/, opening my awareness to /Shiv. /I also listen to some collections of lovely chanting of the Panchkshara Mantra, singing quietly along to it. It is very releasing now to be able to do so, with feeling and heart, as well as mind, to attend to Shiva, to open to That Great Aware One , within us and within all, who is our very being.
I have read your awarenesses on anger, Acharya. I have had to learn about suppressed anger in my walk and what you say is very true. "Getting angry" is about being unable to fully feel, live with anger, to be aware of it. And much religion suppresses/avoids both the strong passions of anger and sex, without approaching them in full awareness, and then with that maintained awareness, positively integrating them into our lives, enriching them. And much (not all) religion "gets angry" with its other-damning output because of its inability to openly feel and relate to anger itself. Much the same with its repressing sexual attitudes.
Is not anger a "power", a shakti of Shiv? Shiva is within All. Abiding aware in the Awareness of Shiv, bringing that anger before "him", allows me to see the greater connections of anger, and both its ways of destruction and empowering creation.
My times of anger were suppressed, frowned upon. I knew it was destructive to act it out, but also knew it was not good to suppress it. Suppressing leads to uncontrolled expression at times of stress. Far better to embrace and know and feel our anger within awareness, letting it empower our focussed, aware action.
Thank you Acharya. May your time with your visiting student be very fruitful and enjoyable.
Om Namah Shivaya.
Thanks for your wise reading of my article on 'anger awareness'. You are right of course. Anger is indeed a power or Shakti of Shiva - the Great Awareness. Just as, simply held and fully felt in awareness for as long as it is there (that which most people find most difficult) it is not only empowering of itself, but will in time transform itself into an awareness into its own right - for example new clarity concerning a called-for life decision, or a new deeper insight into someone or something connected with the anger. In this way anger is intrinsically creative - clearing the path for new creative actions and/or for the creative, anger-free communication of new insights, a new awareness. Thus it is that the creative power of anger is no different from its 'destructive' power - both serving to clear a path to overcome obstacles to aware action and communication.
I am delighted at the pleasure you are able to reap in listening to the Panchkshara mantra - and look forward to sharing the nature of my pleasure in and ways of listening to all the stotra. Which is the recording you listen to? I myself listen to 'Sacred Chants of Shiva' as sung by the Singers of the Art of Living.
Whilst listening to the Panchkshara in a recent Puja my recognitive awareness of the way the meaning of the mantram could be followed and felt simplified itself in a wonderful way - resonant of Bankei but also of Seth ("You are already dead and forever unborn").
1. OM - awareness of 'non-being' as the forever unborn and still potential nature of every-body and everything that exists. Meditatively looking inwards from the experienced existence or being of one's self and bodyhood and sensing through and beyond an inner womb of awareness to one's UNBORN nature and that of every person one knows that comes to mind (thus coming also to visualise and sense their bodily disconnection with the womb of their own Unborn nature or 'non-being').
2. NAMA(H) - awareness of everything that exists or has 'being'. Meditating with reverent adoration 'every-body' (thing or person) as something released from the womb of non-being and that now seems to exist - or experiences itself existing - as a separate being in the world, with its own name and form. Visualising and meditating people and places one knows or the whole teeming mass of continents and individualised consciousnesses that make up our world - in this state of seemingly separate being and existence.
3. SHIVAYA(H) - the pure air or aether of awareness (Va-Ya) pervading and embracing every-body and every-thing. The blissful experience a that aether felt as a cool breeze or pure awarenesss suffusing every atom of every thing and person that exists - whilst at the same time surrounding them as the aether of space - even if unbeknownst to themselves. Feeling one's 'own' body and self, name and form, as but one of countless expressions of that awareness, feeling it suffuse one's body like space – and in this way identifying with it rather than with one's unborn or bodily nature alone.
The meditative listening progression to the stotram is thus simplified from a fivefold to a threefold - (1) meditating the unborn nature or 'non-being' of one's body, self and that of all beings (2) meditating their being and apparent fully-bornness (3) being that transcendent, all-embracing awareness that is not itself a being.
Shiv is then that One who unites these three modes of awareness as one and as the fourth.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA
PS A teacher is only a teacher by virtue of being the best of students - having a deeper and greater ability to learn. Conversely, those students who reveal the most deeply felt learning can come to count themselves as teachers.I delight in the way you write, not 'just' as a student, but also in a language and from a capacity for deeply felt learning of a sort befitting a true teacher of awareness. Are you aware of this?
Dear Peter, Acharya
My wife Cheryl, I and my son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren had a happy and sweet time at our van. Last year was a heavy year, with my wife's mother ailing and eventually dying (92), so Cheryl had a very restorative time. There is great joy in watching the young ones growing and their innocence. This was unplanned and spontaneous. All arising within the Great One's Awareness. Om Namah Shivaya.
Some of the stotras (I am learning these new terms gradually, some of course I have encountered before), I enjoy, are first and my favourite, a very spacious and communal one by Ravi Shankar from the album "Mantra". It helps me also to "feel" the kula I am part of but physically distant from. I attach it, if you have not heard it. Another is by Jagjit Singh, from "Shiva - Dhuns and Bhajans".
I do not know yet the one you mention.
Having just arrived back I have yet to complete my profile, thank you for the clarification. I will do so shortly. Your recognition awareness of the Panchkshara is very enriching, and it will be brought to mind in my puja.
You are a fine and effective teacher and full of so much insight and unending willingness to share, thus I call you Acharya, not from excessive and dependent adulation but from respect and grateful acknowledgement. You are both Peter and Acharya to me.
Thank you for being you. It was lovely to read Karin's sharing on the site too, while I was away. How the development of awareness of the Great Awareness brings new potentials into being. Om Nama Shivaya.
I have been aware for some time that being aware is not just a static state. It enables. It brings to pass, brings into being. It is not at all surprising that the "observer" effect in quantum science has to be accounted for in the still somewhat baffled "new science", when discussing what is ultimately "real". And how our awareness of murtis and puja brings to pass the shakti powers of Shiva within our lives, greater awarenesses and recognitions and siddhas even. It works everywhere and within everything, and its recognition brings joy.
Yes, we all are both teacher and student in various ways, if we are aware of it. I am glad you are receiving something from me as we share. I see "connections" a lot, arising from my explorations. I do not have the academic depth and the sheer intelligence you possess, but it just takes me a bit more time. I obviously appreciate these gifts of yours. And we all have areas we have explored in depth and others have not yet. I have had precursors of my closeness to Shiva but did not recognise. I love open spaces, and spaciousness. I have found the symbolism within the triangle and number symbolism associated with them, enriching for years. From the birthing "Void" of zero to the completeness of 9, fitting nine triangles within one, this was a reflection of the SriYantra. I have always liked Hindu music and stotras, but was held back by misconceptions and the inability to break from cultural binds. You have released me to be able to give my heart as well as my mind again, Acharya and I thank you and Shiva thru you.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA
I have established my profile and blog "Recognising Shiva" and its linking to the portal of the New Yoga. I shall begin writing of my new but yet old journey of awareness there , with the principle aim of pointing others to a greater experience of Shiva Awareness and to your portal. I am well aware of much that specifically I have not yet taken in, and that magic journey never ends as further awareness piles upon awareness like a Divine fractal, endlessly arising from the dark womb of Mahadevi, the Great Mother. What I have found so releasing is a "language" that I can now "translate" in a much clearer and satisfying way than before. Your teaching has been most helpful.
I am currently studying the 4th lesson on Prana Yoga, full of riches. A few years ago I attended a ki course conducted by some Korean "masters". My encountering that group happened in a manner involving dreams of wider psychic awareness within me and contact via an Balinese wife of a doctor, via postcard of a most telling and meaningful nature, unknown to her at the time. In the picture of the postcard I enclose you will see a meditative centre I used at that time, with the clear prism in front.
The similarity is obvious, and a figure in my dream beckoning me a across a river to a rich mysterious forest, I later realised was her a darker lady with smaller stature. This lady I had only met briefly before, with no special connection, save through her husband, with whom I had shared an openeness to realities of mystery.He had given some different perspectives on healing from the scientific medical model and how some "psychiatric illnesses" were healed. Her postcard was inviting me to attend this group that she had encountered and all she knew was that I was open to such things. This encounter, like others is now seen much more clearly after you taught me so clearly about the Universal Awareness field that is Shiva. The very stilling and focus of awareness and the methods of enabling that flow and connection you describe brings about the active power of Shiva's shakti. I am reminded also of the non-doing/doing, the WuWei of the Taoist path.
My contact with these masters was an eventful and awareness expanding encounter over some two years. I withdrew eventually because of certain concerns I will not go into here. The experience of ki left me exploring its nature. I knew it was not an bio-energy as such, although it was talked about in those terms. Not a "thing" of any sort.and certainly not able to be measured by science, although its effects were quite apparent. I experienced them myself.
It was clearly connected to mind, but not just "placebo" effect, - a neat scientific label for real effects they cannot really explain in their limited reductionist paradigm.This is all explained clearly for me now as I explore The Awareness, Shiva, and the effects of his shakti as we attune our awareness to that greater field. The Great Mother is clearly being encountered also in quantum science in the very field of potentiality from which so-called "particles" pop in and out of existence in some sort of eternal vibration (Spanda) at the very base of existence, this they find even in a full vacuum, with supposedly nothing there, yet found to have enormous energy potential.
In these fields they are touching the very hem of Shiva/Shakti arising from the Great Womb of the dark and void great Mother.and they know it not.
I become flooded with the connections I see as I read. I will continue. I may be wrong in my perceptions and descriptions from the New Yoga understanding and am quiet open to correction Acharya. But my awareness and gestalts are strong I feel. There is a lot to take in.
My apologies for this delayed response to your letter - and to the wonderful profile and blog you have put up. The delay is because from time to time I receive visitors from abroad for a week or two of intensive and highly individualised one-to-one instruction and initiation into The New Yoga - including an introduction to Murti Darshan. During these periods I suspend all other work so as to devote awareness entirely to one individual. The sessions I give can last anything from 4 to 6 hours - before and after which I meditate the individual I am working with over many hours, and make copious notes of all that arises from awareness in doing so, which allow me to pre-meditate my next session.
Having taken 'time out' for a day however, I found myself eager to use the opportunity to finally, even if only briefly, respond to your profile and blog! To begin with, I'd like to express again my appreciation not only what you write but of your way of writing - which is both clear and fluid, wise and poetically feeling-full, as well as containing very clear and concise references and explanations of The Awareness Principle at the heart of The New Yoga. As for the term, 'The New Yoga', I thank you also for the particular awareness that this might even more appropriately have been called New Millennium Yoga. Inspired by this phrase, which came to and through you, I intend to explore in what ways it might still be possible to adopt this wording, if not as a domain name then at least on the homepage of the site. Wording is the worlding of awareness, just as everything in the world is a living word, symbol or mark (lingam) of awareness.
Of all the many wordings of Acharya Abhinavagupta, perhaps the ones that touched me were those that come right at the end of his comprehensive tantra on the Paratrisika-Vivarana:
"The Lord has set in motion the heart of the guru with compassion for lifting up those who have taken refuge at his feet. That glorious guru has set me on the path of truth. I have written this work after (fully) reflecting on the doctrine of Somananda, which has spontaneously entered my heart which shares that pure state of truth taught by my guru. Oh goddesses, full of streams of ardent delight rushing forth lavishly from you as move about freely in the domain of the hrdraya-bija, and acting as the upper sharp edge of the wisdom spike that is proficient in cutting asunder crores of my fetters, my mind, speech, and body, free of the reawakening of the fear of transmigration, are already surrendered at your feet...O goddesses, having your beautiful and ingenious continued existence in the hrdayabija, [and] assigning the position of a guru, it is you who have employed me in [this] act of exposition. Therefore forgive this capriciousness of my speech and mind.(!) In nineteen hundred (ways or verses) this Paratrisika has been explained. This will cut asunder the knots of doubts in all the Trika Shastra. This has been written by Abhinavagupta. The commentary on Paratrisika is completed."
I believe there is much in these words (and on the whole page from which they are culled - p272 of the Jaideva Singh translation) to meditate, for they not only give deep expression to the whole rationale and ethic of the New Yoga - indeed anticipate it at one point – but point also to dimensions of our relation to one another - and of our mutual relation to the Great Guru.
What touched me when I first read these words however, was Abhinavacharya's humble (but not in any way self-berating) appeal for forgiveness for his "capriciousness" of speech and mind. Upon reading that you were studying Lesson 4 of the Manual, I was reminded of that 'capriciousness' of speech and mind that still pervades my still far-from-finished Manual - and that still confronts me with the challenge (met in a new edition of The Awareness Principle ) of replacing every use of the expression 'I am aware of...' with the phrase 'There is an awareness of..."
I pray that time will be granted me to complete and overcome such immaturities of wording as can be found in all of my first writings on The New Yoga - however important and truthful these might be even without such further refinements of wording. In relation to your words, the same applies - albeit only to less than one word. I humbly suggest that in the final lines of the wonderful poem at the end of Recognising Shiva you consider simply removing an apostrophe and 's' and write: "Be, Be for That One Awareness" rather than "That One's Awareness" - for where awareness calls upon us for the most careful of wording (both in your words and, as indicated above) in mine - lies in not implying, through the genitive /'s/ that awareness is the property of any being or god, rather than God being (Sat) awareness as such (Chit), what you beautifully term the Great Awareness.
That said, I look forward with anticipation to further posts of yours, and with your permission will link your 'Recognising Shiva' blogspot directly to the larger photography of you on 'The New Yoga Webspace'. What I think would be a helpful addition for readers to both these further accounts of your journey and your current 'About Me' profile would be some reference, however brief or extended, to the transition you made from a monotheistic to a monistic religiosity. For whilst I affirm your acknowledgement of Judaeo-Christian and Islamic mysticisms - and see the affirming significance of this for those still attached to these traditional monotheisms -the monotheism/monism distinction might be no less important for them in coming to appreciate 'The One God' as what my early mentor Michael Kosok (himself now writing from the mystical perspective of Eastern Orthodox Christianity) calls 'The Singularity of Awareness'.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYAH
Thank you for your email and your guidance in it, that I understand and agree with. I am aware you have your work to do and know you will contact me when you are able.
In correcting these things we are refining our awareness itself. I stumble myself in the use of pronouns in reference to Shiva and the Divine Awareness. 'He', 'she' or 'it' can cause objectification or engendering implications, yet Shiva is all of these. The limits of our human comprehension and expression however should only lead us to seek to be precise as possible, without losing fluidity. I will amend the post and also fill out my journey from monotheism to monism, and the way of Awareness.
I must admit to a slight feeling of envy of Steve, for that time spent with you will be rich. May Shiva's light shine brightly during your time together. Namaste to Steve.
Sadly, we have had a most awful and awesome event happen here. Extreme heat (our hottest day ever recorded in Melbourne and environs, 116 degrees F, 47C), very strong winds and months of little rain have now ended in a most tragic loss of many lives and homes through bushfire. Our daughter-in-law's parents lost their home, of many hundreds. This part of Australia is one of the most prone to bushfire, with many historical large bushfire events have been dwarfed by this one, the worst in our history. The state and the nation are reeling from its effects, with much emotion by all, including our leaders. Some of these fires have been lit by arsonists. It appears there will be well over 200 people of all ages that have died most awfully.
My question, dear Acharya, is what is our most effective response within the awareness of Shiva to such events?
I will more fervently worship and meditate in awareness all these, and sadness, as with anger is to be brought to Awareness and allow the transforming energies of Shiva to be facilitated by my entering into awareness as fully as possible. Am I correct in this way of seeing it all?
Om Namah Shivaya.
First of all, my heartfelt sympathies to your daughter-in-law’s parents.
Of course, our feeling awareness must go out to all affected by the bushfires, as well as to those affected by tragic circumstances or catastrophes of this nature, whether in Australia, Zimbabwe or Gaza – to name, as we know - but a few. All the more important then, that in your letter you raise a supremely important question, one which few ‘Shaiva’ devotees or scholars bother to raise, let alone consider:
“What is our most effective response within the awareness of Shiva to such events?’
First of all we need to be firm in our understanding that all events, without exception have meaning. This in turn means they occur for no other reason than to trigger feelings and raise questions that in turn can give birth to a new and highly specific awareness of a sort hitherto lacking – either in the individual, the family group, society, the nation or on a global level.
This role of feelings, events and experiences – even of the most tragic sort - in giving birth to a new and highly specific awareness of something beyond them - is the true meaning of ‘karma’.
Thus a serious illness or death in a family may serve for the first time to raise questions amongst the afflicted or bereaved about the nature of life and of the life beyond death.
Events which affect many people at the same time, will have meaning (bear within them the seeds of a new awareness) on many different levels and in many different ways - individual, social and global. Thus whilst the personal meaning of the same event for different individual or families may be quite different, the multi-levelled ‘karmic’ meaning of such events lies in the role they are designed to serve in bringing a new and highly specific awareness not just to individuals or families, but to whole groups and communities – not to mention the world as a whole.
What we must beware (be-aware) of is the danger of people reacting to such tragic events in a way that actually trivialises their deeper meaning and hence their own suffering – for it seeks to find the most seemingly obvious ‘reasons’ for such events (in the case of bush- or forest fires for example, scapegoating the actions of a few arsonists). In this way karmic cycles – cycles of unaware actions and reactions - are sustained through resulting actions rather than being transformed into an awareness arising from and transcending the precipitating events.
Wherever the new and larger awareness pregnant in mass events as their true karmic meaning is blocked by psychological defences, enacted in the form of ‘knee jerk’ reactions by individuals and governments, or miscarried through the mass media, which seek to channel and focus mass emotions in the narrowest possible ways, an opportunity for expansion of awareness is missed.
In answer to your question then, my belief is that our most effective response – and way of helping others - lies in cultivating an awareness that embraces the largest possible picture of the overall context (personal, social and global) from and within which all events (from the most major and tragic to the most seemingly minor and insignificant) emerge.
The Great Awareness – Shiva – embraces all events – past, present and future, actual and potential. The Great Mother – Kali - is the womb of all events, the meaning of which in turn lies in their potential to give birth to an expanded awareness, one which embraces ‘the bigger picture. ‘Healing’ is the birth of new meaning – awareness – from even the worst or most tragic of events. As such, it can only arise from within awareness as such - pure awareness.
There are millions in every decade who choose - on a very deep level of awareness - to suffer for or even sacrifice their lives or those of their families to the destructive powers of Kali - to floods, fires, plagues, wars and other catastrophes – doing so precisely in order to play a part in raising global awareness - both of the larger ecological, political and economic context of those catastrophes and/or of their own insufferable and wholly deficient quality of life. There are others whose lack of awareness or sheer complacency in the face of the bigger picture of global suffering around the world rebounds on them when that suffering becomes local - close to home.
Many Hindus have traditionally been accused of ignorant passivity in the face of floods and other disasters – yet I recall one simple Indian women, herself forced to continue living on a frequently flooded plain, simply replying to an interviewer who put this point of view to her that whatever occurred was not simply accepted passively – but rather comprehended and accepted as an expression of the power and purposes of The Mother.
When every Australian (…and American, and Englishman etc. etc) who has suffered asks themselves what feeling awareness they spared to the 300 children killed in Gaza, to those starving in Zimbabwe, to the victims of genocide in Darfur etc. etc. and how much attention their media gave to those new questions and a new awareness will arise.
Just as awareness cannot be ‘privatised’, owned like a house, nor can suffering be ‘nationalised’. No lives or property lost in one country or by one nation - whether through war, starvation or natural catastrophe - are more important or valuable than those lost in another – however far away or remote. The awareness that this very comprehension constitutes is that which the suffering of all individuals, nations and peoples is there to awaken. In this sense there is no such thing as a meaningless suffering or ‘natural’ catastrophes, nor are the latter merely the work of ‘evil’ human beings whom we can scapegoat and punish in place of expanding our awareness to encompass the larger picture surrounding all events.
We are called upon to meditate in a way that lets Shiv’s feeling awareness flow through us to embrace all suffering human beings. We are also called upon to pray that each and every one of them might themselves come, in and through that very suffering to a new and expanded awareness of the larger picture – and to maintain that picture in the expanded space of pure awareness – reminding ourselves always that the pure awareness of suffering is itself something eternally distinct from and free of suffering.
Whenever structures of artificially con-structed cultural identities – personal, social or national – become too rigid and binding, the result is a spiritual desert – a climate of spiritual dearth and dryness from which fires of de-struction are eventually bound to arise and rage. Flame and fire too, are primary Shaktis of Shiva, leaving nothing but ash in their wake - but also offering humanity a wake-up call to awareness. And Shiva as, the tantras teach, is also that One who is both agent, action and its effects.
With such considerations in mind, my primary question is how, as global events and circumstances begin to come ‘closer to home’ for so many people, including ourselves, we can best exercise our responsibility for sharing the light and fire of awareness wisdom we have discovered with others close to us – and for the benefit of the wider communities and world in which we live?
You are of course right, Shiva is an I and a You, a He and a She, a We and an It - and in all senses of these words.
PS There is much wisdom on the relation of individual and collective awareness to ‘mass events’ and the connection also between emotional and physical climates to be found in a book entitled ‘The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events’ by Jane Roberts.
Thank you for your letter, which I will keep and reread many times. It was most helpful and instructive. My awareness increased, of how I respond to these events, and you have clearly shown the wider and better way of response. What you have said is so rich in truth. I want to explore the theme of karma more, in the sense that you have explained it. I see now how we can get caught up in karmic cycles, because of barriers to awareness that arise from within and without and that this too is all the journey of Shiv.How expanding our awareness delivers us from karmic cycles, and how a greater view, the view of the simple Indian lady, teaches us the response that delivers us to freedom and ever deeper meaning.
Yes, hopefully this community and nation will be bought to greater awareness beyond the superficial, and beyond its national borders. Australians can close our awareness to others in their immature nationalism (not always though, voices of wider awareness are raised) We can isolate ourselves from the wider world to which we belong. Our best response is to seek to attune more to the unbound Awareness in ourselves and others, the very grace of Shiv and from tragedy not only "unite" as Australians but as global human beings. This does not lessen the event in our lives; it enriches it with greater meaning as you have explained.
May I quote your words that at the last sentence brought deep emotion welling up from within me:
“Just as awareness cannot be ‘privatised’, owned like a house, nor can suffering be ‘nationalised’. No lives or property lost in one country or by one nation - whether through war, starvation or natural catastrophe - are more important or valuable than those lost in another – however far away or remote. The awareness that this very comprehension constitutes is that which the suffering of all individuals, nations and peoples is there to awaken. In this sense there is no such thing as a meaningless suffering or ‘natural’ catastrophes, nor are the latter merely the work of ‘evil’ human beings whom we can scapegoat and punish in place of expanding our awareness to encompass the larger picture surrounding all events.”
“We are called upon to meditate in a way that lets Shiv’s feeling awareness flow through us to embrace all suffering human beings.”
I will seek to find the book of Jane Roberts you mention. I have only explored Seth's writings slightly, but the taste of truth is strong there. That "awareness-unit" of Jane/Seth is most remarkable, one of the wonderful movements of Shiv.
Thank you again Peter, Your words comforted, challenged and taught all at once. You are truly Acharya. I will in turn seek to help others to see this greater awareness.
Om Namah Shivaya
Om Namah Shivaya
As I read your "Tantric Wisdom for Today's World" which is a wonderfully written and teaching book, and still reading same, I see that my thought of greater awareness "enabling" hidden potentials is active in flavour. Sort of like we are co-creators, simply by developing our awareness of Shiva.
I have encountered this thought before of course, but I was wondering if this "active" flavour is too overstated. By being more open to that Great Awareness, do we "enable" the coming forth of potentials? Is this the result of the Shakti energy of Shiva within us? I am wary of "otherising" Shiva, for we are Shiva, but our fuller awareness of being Shiva, of being open to that Great Awareness in the midst of our life appears to enable, to bring forth creative and mysterious shakti energies.
As for your question on Tantric Wisdom: "By being more open to that Great Awareness, do we "enable" the coming forth of potentials?" my answer is most certainly YES.
Awareness is first and foremost awareness of potentials. That very awareness of potentials is what automatically leads them to differentiate and take on clearer shape in awareness. A significant aspect of meditation lies simply in giving more time for potential thoughts, recollections, reflections, insights, choices, actions etc. to take shape in awareness. As a result more potential expressions of awareness - or deeper ones - emerge into awareness than would otherwise arise in our ordinary consciousness, with its limited time-space of awareness.
Yet without a 'subconscious' awareness of potentials not even ordinary 'consciousness' would be possible - indeed we would be totally INERT without it, since all actions and all actual contents of consciousness begin life as potential ones, even if only subconsciously.
The greater the time we grant to our felt awareness of latent, potential or still-pregnant thoughts and actions, intents and insights etc. the greater the range, clarity and intensity of the actual contents of consciousness that then arise and the greater our freedom in choosing which of these to express or embody in our words and deeds.
I am not sure if you have yet studied the page of 'Tantric Wisdom' entitled 'The Co-Creation of God and Man', but the understanding of this co-creativity is to me of the most profound, complex and understated dimensions of religious comprehension - hence my impulse to return to and refine it in my essay on 'Awareness, Paramshiva and The Dreaming', as well as in my latest book 'Event Horizon - Terror, Tantra and the Ultimate Metaphysics of Awareness'.
For one thing, if understood as identical with pure awareness, God creates whole worlds THROUGH every element of creation and THROUGH all creatures, since all things and beings are essentially but the outer form taken by specific field-patterns of awareness, each of which in turn shapes an entire perceptual world or patterned field of awareness.
Thus a shark is not just a creature in the world. Like all creatures, indeed all things, it exists in a unique perceptual world or 'environment' of its own - one shaped by the pattern and qualities of awareness that constitute what it essentially IS. Then again, each element of creation and each creature is constituted by an awareness of potentials unique to it, and is destined to actualise all of those potentials. Finally, the Great Awareness of which all elements of creation and all creatures are a part, and from which they emerge, is also that towards which they evolve.
Being inseparable from that Great Awareness they are that Awareness - they ARE God. Being distinct parts of that Awareness they are also and already 'gods'. A profound way of overcoming the tendency to "otherise" God as Shiva is to understand the very word God as a verb and not as a specific name or noun of any sort. This way we can resolve the paradox that Shiva is both a name for 'God' and the name of 'a god'.
Creation is the goddING of the absolute awareness (Anuttara) that is 'God'. Put simply, God 'gods' (verb). Indeed 'God' is that very 'godding' of itself. Conversely, gods - which include all elements of creation and all creatures - also 'God' (verb). For their destiny is to BECOME the Great Awareness itself, and thereby re-create it. This is the Great Cycle - eternally underway and yet at the same time eternally completed - whereby the Great Awareness recreates itself through its creatures.
There is much I am reading, and learning. Only sometimes comprehending becomes difficult trying to hold all within my consciousness at once. So I simply wander elsewhere amongst the riches. The full meaning of Tantra I am exploring now and its history and deep symbolising power within The Great Awareness. I have also found what seems a fine explanation of background and meanings of Kashmir Shaivism Tantra by Acharya Dharmanidhi Sarasvati., but I had some discomfort on visiting his site. I hope I am not being presumptuous but I feel you will probably not need for me to explain that. However the jewels of Shiva are never dimmed. I have also been reading Andrew's Diary and your exchanges with him. Both of your wisdom and grace are evident.
You stated this on 20th September 2007,
"...if you seek the meaning of life solely in some one 'thing' called
'enlightenment', there is no meaning to anything and you sap all meaning from life."
It immediately resonated with the story of one Zen master (whom you may well have been alluding to) who was asked "What is the meaning of Boddhisattva coming from the west. In the koan his answer was, "If there was meaning, who could be liberated?"That one has remained with me, as with a few of the others. I think it rang for me because that was what I had been doing for some time. Seeking, asking all about "meaning". It is one of the delightful plays of Shiva!
By screwing ourselves up good and tight, with great determination, " ...must have meaning, must find the meaning, must have meaning or its all meaningless!" - we miss the meaning we are literally swimming in - the Divine Awareness! I think I am seeing why some of the Masters laughed and laughed upon "enlightenment".
That Transcendent, Immanent One Aware
resting in That, so to speak, by effortless effort,
and meaningless meanings.
The fire in Shiva's half-opened, half closed eyes
flickers in bliss. He arises to dance,
dancing in our "own" awareness of that ever wonder,
the perfect resolution of all, of every two,
by the shakti power of the Yantra's Three.
Trika Shiva, Shivoham,
Trika Shiva, Shivoham.
Trika Shiva, Shivoham.
Keep well Acharya. Warm greetings to Karin.
Lovely to see your 'Recognising' blog expanding. I take particular delight in all your poetic karikas - which I feel deserve their own place on the blog.
I too found Acharya Dharmanidhi's summation of Trika Shaivism well-written, though many would see his view of it as drawing from Tibetan Buddhist or Bon tantra as the reverse of the truth.
As for the "discomfort" you referred to on visiting his site, you are certainly not being presumptious in relation to 'explaining' it. Quite the contrary - I myself feel it most important to further meditate and articulate the nature of the awareness this type of discomfort expresses and may lead us to - and by calling attention to the site you encouraged me to begin to do so.
As I sat re-reading and meditating your letter today, along with some pages of the Dharmanidhi site - and with other sites and organisations of a similar nature also in mind - these are the words that came to me:
initiation is not a formal 'ceremony' but an intimate spiritual intercourse
a kula is not a group or organisation with 'members' but a natural soul family
identity is not transcended in awareness by adoption of a new Indian name
'receiving' a mantra is no guarantee of coming to intimately know it from within
'visualisation' exercises are no substitute for direct bodily and feeling awareness (bhava)
no truly 'enlightened master would feel the need to proclaim their 'possession' of such enlightment or awareness - they would simply put it to use in the service of others
Awareness alone is the sole source of authentic authority - an authority that neither arises from, rests on nor requires 'authentification' - either through the trappings of traditional symbols, teachings and practices or through officially 'authorised' lineages of 'gurus' or 'masters'
if they know that initiation occurs through the most intimate, time- and awareness-demanding of one-to-one relationships, why do so many gurus prefer to spend their time giving countless 'courses' and 'workshops' to groups?
be wary of any teacher who has found and offers Answers, even true ones, but is not at the same time constantly living and meditating the vibration of ever new and ever-more profound Questions.
an unimaginable visualisation: Abhinavagupta inviting people to 'sign up' for courses and workshops - or needing them to formally recognise and commit themselves to him as their 'spiritual leader' !!!
if teaching is given by a guru in a small or mid-sized room or group, whence the need for the guru to elevate himself on a chair or dais - above even the eye-level of his cushioned students?
if you read a sentence that begins with the words 'Tantra teaches that....', you know you can stop reading - for Awareness alone and no word such as 'Tantra' is the true Teacher or Sat-Guru
if there is nothing at all that is sacrally, socially or philosophically challenging and thus 'transgressive' in a body of 'tantric' teaching, in what historical sense can it be said to be 'tantric' at all?
he who needs an organisationally graded or ranked hierarchy shows that he has not yet earned the highest spiritual rank - a dilemma running through the history of Tibetan and Zen Buddhism
'Californification' - an addiction to the symbols and trappings of truth and tradition at the expense of what they symbolise, and a need to attract a large following through such 'trap-pings'.
do not gauge a guru by the size or wealth of his organisation or the quantity of his or her students, courses or 'centres'
...the last reflection was inspired by an excellent piece on www.livingtantra.net - see www.livingtantra.net/2008/07/spiritual-math/
Thank you for your sharing of your awareness from my letter. I treasure your responses and find they are forming "my inimate spiritual intercourse" that is, as you explain more indicative of initiation than a specific ceremony. While ceremony is beautiful and meaningful when in context of that sort of spiritual intercourse, it can easily become a substitute. And as just a substitute it lacks the effort, time and attention to specific awareness and meditation between teacher and student, out of which both receive and give.
Out of eagerness, the extra reading of other Shaivite/Tantra sources can leave me with further confusion on particular topics, and your clarifications are very helpful. The site you sent me has such a different (and now familiar "flavour") to the one I mentioned to you. A very good and helpful statement. I will return to the site again.
I think putting my "karikas" together is a fine suggestion, which I will seek to implement as I acquaint myself.
May I quote back to you the words that particularly struck chords loudly for me:
"initiation is not a formal 'ceremony' but an intimate spiritual intercourse"_
" 'receiving' a mantra is no guarantee of coming to intimately know it
" if they know that initiation occurs through the most intimate, time- and awareness-demanding of one-to-one relationships, why do so many gurus prefer to spend their time giving countless 'courses' and 'workshops' to groups?"
"an unimaginable visualisation: Abhinavagupta inviting people to 'sign up' for courses and workshops - or needing them to formally recognise and commit themselves to him as their 'spiritual leader' !!!"
"if there is nothing at all that is sacrally, socially or philosophically challenging and thus 'transgressive' in a body of 'tantric' teaching, in what historical sense can it be said to be 'tantric' at all?
I am now becoming more aware how "transgressive" true tantra is, and explains my warming to the "heretics" of some paths, including dear Bankei.
Whatever our state,
or now or here,
the grace of Shiva occurs.
Fire of awareness illuminates it.
The eternal delight of Shiva
finding himself anew
in the shakti creative/dissolving manifesting
And thus he dances.
Many years ago I participated in an encounter group. It was dynamic, challenging and very growthful, particularly for me, run by a very aware and skilful facilitator. At this level even then the power of focussed awareness became apparent to me. By "stuff" being brought acceptingly, supportively but persistently to simple awareness, real human growth occurred. A true reflection of Shiva.
You may have read by now the 'good news' that Karinji has just reported on the Bulletin Board. It was a great new pleasure for me to hold a Satsang here in my home and shrine with two young British-born Indians, and to delight in their free and open-minded, yet idealistic and world-committed studies and activities, aims and spirit. I found them so different in this respect - and in their innate reverence and respect for the trans-personal dimension of life - from so many young non-Indians I have met or taught. For though the latter might fully appreciate all my teachings intellectually, and fully recognise also the value of the practices I instruct them in, in the end they seem simply too identified, by virtue of their specific culture, to their own purely personal psychology to use those teachings and practices fully. The result is that in the course of my work with them they are almost invariably drawn back into the narrow circles of their personal psychological and emotional 'issues' - however much I seek to widen their awareness beyond them (albeit without in anyway ignoring them or failing to address them). I was reminded also of how often what begins as a request on the part of an 'Anglo' for teaching and learning relationship with me ends up as a desperate call and need for Therapy - yet always at just that point when The Teaching itself could itself transcend and free them of that need!!!
When, on Tuesday I gave my talk to the Eastern Traditions Society at a University, I again sensed the non-Indians present as quite capable of intellectually grasping but in no way truly hearing - sensing and feeling - the liberation offered by a higher, trans-personal awareness. Whereas the Indians present - even if their English was too poor to fully grasp a philosophical discourse - were sensing and feeling what I was saying.
The remark you made in connection with Tamasic states is a wise one: "Why practice for and against when in all, Shiva is?" Quite so. Om Namah Shivaya. This is why my approach to Tamasic states or phases is, as soon as I become aware of them, to fully affirm them in and within awareness - thereby neither practicing 'against' them nor identifying with them but instead letting them tell me what and how to 'practice' - what they want me to do or not do - and letting them lead me - in their own time - to a deeper understanding of whatever it is that they themselves are a felt awareness of. For that is how I understand them - as necessary states and phases, like simple tiredness, that tell us we need to take a rest in our bodily awareness for a while, while inner insights are gestating in its womb. 'Slack' and 'dull' are pejorative words for this felt and natural need to take regular rests in awareness in this sense, and at regular intervals during the course of each and every day, in order that new insights can arise in awareness - rather than just relegating and postponing these rest intervals of awareness to the point where fatigue, slackness or dullness lead us to bed at night.
Tamas says - if you give me the restful, non-active and quiescent awareness time I ask for - if you let yourself sleep or 'slip' into me as an aware bodily state at any time - you may be assured that in my own good time, I will restore your Rajasic vitality, as well as granting you a new awareness that returns Sattvic light and calm to both your body and mind.
Recently I too was gifted by an impulse of the sort you described (going into the bookshop and finding Jaideva Singh). For having revisited the exoticindiaarts website I found, for the first time - and at timely time -that the second volume of Chatterjee's translation of the Sri Tantralokah was already available - covering Chapters 2,3 and 4. His English is so awful, even so wholly ungrammatical in parts, that my first reaction to Volume 1 (covering Chapter 1) would have been merely one of total dismay - were in not for the fact that awareness itself enables one to read between and behind the lines. Doing so with Volume 2 brought sheer bliss, revealing once again the divine sublimity and sheer poetic beauty of Acharya Abhinvagupta's prose - and, to use a word of yours, his sensual-intellectual "hyper-attunement" to what I call 'ecstatic paradoxicality'.
Once again I received a type of direct teaching from him, of a sort that answered some most intimately felt questions that I had been feeling, or else affirmed by own wordlessly sensed answers to them - whilst at the same time expressing in his own unique way certain comprehensions of exactly the sort my talk had just sought to give expression to (not to mention some highly specific elements of particular practices of awareness, and my experience of them, that I had not dreamt I would find reflected in the Great Acharya's own words).
But then that's not the first time this has happened - or I wouldn't be writing to you about it now! Nor does it foreclose my resolve to seek a Sanskritist who can help me word my own wordless understandings of both the Shiva-Sutra and Tantraloka, by simply giving me a word-for-word transliteration of these tantras through which to come, from awareness to new English wordings for them. Nevertheless it is indeed a paradox that for me, the very awkwardness if not outright ungrammaticality and apparent incomprehensibility of parts of Chatterjee's translation actually make me more open to the exquisitely refined and hyper-tuned awareness that Abhinava expresses than all those 'tighter', 'cleaner' and 'clearer' translations of the sort that can be found in the many varied and quite contrasting translations of the Shiva Sutras, Spanda Karikas and other tantras.
I was most glad and intrigued to read of what you are gaining through your "dream portal". My sense is also that you have been sensing awareness beings in their true "awareness form" in a way that indeed transcends the dreaming of pseudo-physical forms. That is certainly a siddhi - and in my view a very significant one. For it is one that can, with a few additional hints, be applied to sensing the true awareness form of particular human beings - the form, motions and and tonal-textural qualities of their 'soul body'. Practicing this siddhi in the waking state is what I have termed in my writings "soul-body sensing" - something that can be practiced at a distance and at any time (and not just close up through 'Tantric Pair Meditation'.
Finally, how kind of you to offer to send me a small gift - and how timely given that my birthday is coming up next Friday, the 27th March!!
PS Were I to ask anyone and everyone with an interest in The New Yoga for a 'big' gift - not just for me but for all that we share in common - it would simply be that they write and submit a review of one or two of the New Yoga books to Amazon!
That said, let me stress that our correspondence, in and of itself, is and continues to be a great gift to me.
I myself had an awake or 'lucid dream' last night - awakened by the vision of two moons - one with thick, golden-black radiating inner stripes like those of a tiger, and the other like an abstract and asymmetric blue line-drawing of a moon, with a few small asymmetric geometric symbols inside it. I leave you with the poem I made of it:
Lucid Dream of Two Moons
Yellow Lotus and Blue Lotus
Sun Moon and Blue moon
Full Moon and New Moon
Surya and Chandra.
Let us drink from
Our twin cups of
Soma, the elixir
That is SHIVA
Much is happening. It is very good. I am very pleased for your work's sake and for the sake of the recognition of Shiva. And I have read Karinjis bulletin and to the formal use of the term New Millenium Yoga, following my somewhat oblique suggestion. I simply hope it is helpful. Thank you and to Karin for the acknowledgement.
The Indian culture is subtly and constantly at odds with our scientific western excessive literality that unfortunately somewhat looks down upon one of its great birthplaces and which, of all cultures, is so respectful of science itself. I too have encountered the different accepting and more gracious openness from those of Indian background. But then some younger are becoming out of touch with the greatness of their own culture as they become beguiled. It is really good that acknowledgement of The New Yoga is coming from these wider representatives. I am so glad. How I would have enjoyed the Satsang.
I intuitively knew many years ago that a life truly open to the transpersonal has the greater advantage in the "handling" of one's own psychological and emotional "issues". It is too easy for those of western culture to transfer these issues and connect them too strongly to the spiritual search. What then happens is they become a blockage and a distraction, when it would be best to acknowledge but leave them to the natural secondary healing that comes as one opens to the Transcendent and the awareness that leads to the healing Light itself. Brief periods of frustration can arise until one accepts the path is different for all, each at their own stage and way of doing it. The challenge of enabling recognition in the most difficult of circumstances makes every small advance a significant one. And one of those significant moments may be the key, ironically, as in therapy.
I thank you for your comments on siddhis I may be encountering. I believe I am and have at times in my life, but I have learnt along the way to accept them as part of a much greater picture, and to be held in proper perspective. I wish to explore further my "dream portal" and learn better discernment and acquaintance, so as to continue grow in active, effective awareness of Shiva in all.
The hints you refer to intrigue me.
I am gradually acquainting some of those in my life with what has happened for me. Because it is not something that are aquainted with, I do it very gradually and without much ballyhoo. Let a more effective life and awareness speak. My Shiva and my acharya they are now becoming acquainted with. Om Namah Shivaya.
As you share your encounter with Chaterjee's translation, I am reminded strangely of the I Ching, which does contain treasure. It is on the surface a Chinese divining book, full of cryptic sentences and deep wisdom, based upon the totally chance throwing of coins to find ones "oracle". It is the very totally chance aspect that rids the mind of any interfering rationality in its approach. Then the chance reading finds its own gestalt more easily in one's awareness. (The Great Context of Shiva shines previous jewels more brightly now!)
It can be the same sort of thing with what you have here. His poor gammar and expression confronts, confounds at surface. But for the aware one, the ecstatic paradoxicality emerges. Something happens that lessens the often veiling "rationalities", that helps bring inner clarity. Om Namah Shivaya.
Your seeking of a Sankritist to aid in transliteration for your deep refelection I seek too, to be answered.
There is much for me to learn about and words and concepts associated with the path we follow. I have now acqauinted myself with the Gunas, a concept that hadn't "grabbed" me previously but now does. It was Shiva Awareness, Field of Qualities and Meaning that gave the key context of understanding, as with so many things now. Thank you for your further revealing as you talk naturally about them.
Thank you for your lovely poem Acharya. As I form my own way of puja, my favourite time is at my van in nature-filled Gippsland, fresh ferny forest and hills and Tarra River below, sitting around an open fire outside, watching the moon cross the starry sky above. I listen to Shiva chants and see That One all around and see him in the moon, full or empty or half, like his third eye. I place libations on the fire as I have seen in Indian Shiva worship vids and give my heart. I had a thought of you Peter, sitting there too, thinking how you would like it.
And I would be probably ecstatic, sharing with Acharya there. Dreams. May Shiva's light shine in you, on you, beyond you.
Let us drink from
Our twin cups of
Soma, the elixir
That is SHIVA
I have just started to read your sixth lesson on mudra. As usually happens I am not far in and my awareness soul is again alerted to the clear resonace of truth. I was reading the various quotations scrolling down and came to that which I had not yet read the author, but recognised immediately your words. As I read your defining and explaining of mudra, I became aware of my posture. It was slouched in my chair as I read the computer screen. I have had a tiring day. I then sat up straight deliberately upon reading your words, realising then and there what you were saying. I immediately became aware of the difference of my posture to the whole act that was happening. My posture, now consciously a mudra indeed immediately "sealed" a new mood or disposition to my activity. A most immediate lesson.
I find the wonderful interconnections between various Hindu murtis and gods enable all sorts of ways of approach to puja. Rudra, Agni and Shiva have connected often in the writings and the fire is indicative itself of Shiva's illumination and warmth of grace, as it also indicative of cleansing of old destroyed and new sown in the ashes, the ashes so indicative in Shiva puja.I wrote this sitting around the fire.
Thus it was
as I sat the fire,
sat the fire of Rudra
The partial silver moon
like Shiva's eye,
and with that same eye
Eye of Shiva.
The dancing flames
the passive ash
answer the half moon
in the dark night.
Without the grace
of concealing, I thought,
Whence the grace-joy
The synchronicities of life are fascinating. Shiva as Awareness we all share in, like a living dream, is the only apparent origin of these synchronicities. The reductionist scientific influence creates obstacles of conception. Synchroncities appear to be either incidents to alert us, by the grace of Shiva, even if simply that there is more going on in life than our fixed suppositions tell us, or as a form of confirmation or direction.
At the very edges of human comprehension for me, and for others I expect, is the matter of time and space.These, as you are aware, are related to mental perception, and the works of Einstein and the quantum physicists, including Bohm,refer to the very plasticity of these, that were once seen as seemingly unchangeable aspects of existence, the time-space continuum. Even more so when the validity of time and space ignoring psychic events is accepted.
The quantum physicists tell us that in that quantum dimension, all events that have ever happened bear a never lost quantum connection in the "quantum field". We know that that field is the Awareness Field that we honour and relate to as Shiva in its personal dimension. The Hindu sages tell us of the Akashic "record". I am not fully studied on this concept yet but it appears to me to be the all-holding Shiva awareness of events, inclusive of all times and all possibilities, that are Shakti - manifested. Those resonances that are realised are as infinite ripples in That One's Ocean of Awareness, that are never "lost" and indeed I see now can be accessible either by grace and seeming chance, or by self-tuning siddhis, arising within the prepared life. I recall my readings also of the transpersonal psychologist, Stanislav Grof in this regard. Jane Roberts and the entity of Seth are of the same order.
There have been a very few times in my life, often at times of personal crisis, when I, by the grace of Shiva, glimpsed the lifting of the veil of time/space dimension. At those times, I barely grasped conceptually, if I even did that, this wholeness of everything happening "NOW" in what I now call and you have clarified so wonderfully for me as the Awareness "Field" of Shiva.I see this also directly related to re-incarnation concepts. You explained that in a way that echoed with my prior musings. That was that it is too simplistic to say we as one "being" jump from life to life. We are possibly a number of aspects within one "self", and you have referred to our many "selves" or aspects, which itself is a reflection of the aspects of Shiva and the many murtis of God. Of course in this conception, there no doubt times when a consistent entity may almost wholly continue the journey. But it may equally be that we can be a resonating mix of aspects of "selves", each learning, exploring different life aspects within this one current life journey.
Units, aspects of awareness exploring experienceing, within one's "self-mix" and within outer equally complex interacting parts of the Greater Awareness. And the significant others in our lives, have aspects of themselves we have encountered in awareness before ouir present life.
It seems I am fascinated by the way Shiva with his shakti works. I think it is because it is a work of great wonder and most perfected when I glimpse its entirety. I recall right now that I AM Shiva, as we all are, beholding the ever revealing glory, like some wondrous never-ending Mandelbrot of grace and love refined, resonating, self-creating, self-balancing, self-dissolving Great Drama, beheld in what is perhaps the very meaning of bliss.
I may be incorrect and share these thoughts with you for further light.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYAH
OM NAMAH SHIVAYAH.
Thank you for sharing your reflections on reincarnation and synchronicity.
You are right - as individual selves we ourselves bound an awareness field containing countless aspects or qualities of awareness, actual and potential. These not only link us through resonance with other selves in other lives but with aspects of others, both in this life and others. And yes, there are "no doubt times when a consistent entitiy may almost wholly continue the journey. But it may equally be that we can be a resonating mix of aspects of "selves", each learning, exploring different life aspects within this one current life journey." Indeed this 'mix; may so transform - bringing with it new ways of feeling ourselves and letting new faces of the self to come to the fore - that the 'self' we experience today may not in any way be the 'same' self experienced one decade, one month or even one week ago - but rather the incarnation of a new 'self' within this life, a new gestalt of soul qualities or a new dominant soul mood or quality of awareness.
In that sense we can be said to both reincarnate within a given life and not to re-incarnate at all - for ultimately, it is not selves but combinations or gestalts of soul qualities - more or less 'consistent' - that incarnate as experienced selves.
One of my oldest mantra when teaching others to overcome rigid ego-identity, and instead experience the glorious mutability and multiplicity of the experienced self is: let awareness of what you feel and the way you experience yourself at any given time, or in any given situation. transform itself into a different experience of WHO you are.
Awareness as such of course, is the experiencing self, capable - unlike the egoic 'I' - of embracing and embodying countless different experienced selves and the soul qualities of which they are composed. So yes again, the relation of the experiencing self to experienced selves is indeed the very same relation uniting the Absolute Awareness or 'God' - Mahadev - with its countless Mahatma and their Murti - the gods or "entities" as Seth describes them.
As for 'synchronicity', I believe this pervades life far more that most people believe or are aware of. For as you recognise in your letter, all events, at whatever 'point' in time they may seem to occur - whether in our everyday lives, in social history, or in planetary and cosmic time - are actually occurring simultaneously or 'synchronously', constantly emerging from and within that over-arching time-space of awareness, spanning all of time, that is the temporo-spatial aspect of the Great Awareness, symbolised by Kali and the Kalachakra. All events and experiences are constantly coming into being like pieces of a vast jigsaw puzzle, not one at a time but synchronously. And like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, they each form part of and therefore point to or offer clues to the larger picture of which they are part.
There are therefore always hidden 'synchronistic' connections between these pieces - whether or not they occur synchronously or 'diachronically' - at the same time or separated by apparent intervals of time. Thus the seemingly disparate events and experiences of our lives - and those of others - that unfold, linearly or 'diachronically' in the course of any given day, week, month or year etc. will - if we create a meditative time-space in which to let them re-occur to us in awareness - reveal countless, seemingly 'co-incidential' connections. These allow us to perceive what these events essentially mean - their place in a larger life picture or a larger part of that picture.
That is why it is no surprise that the 'coincidentally' related events you have described did not need to occur in the sense defined by Jung's concept of 'synchronicity' - at the same time - to be understood as 'synchronous'.
Synchronicity is not an odd case of meaningfully related events occurring at the same co-incidental point in linear time. On the contrary, the entire notion and experience of linear time itself - is but one dimension of synchronicity understand as the simultanteous co-presencing of all events in a field time-space of awareness. Linear time on the other hand, is but a modeof perception of events created by a type focal awareness which restricts us to perceiving different emergent elements or events in field - different pieces of the jigsaw picture - sequentially.
That picture itself is not fixed but in constant flux and transformation. Therefore the more we can experience awareness, not just as a larger field in a purely spatial sense, but one with the specific character of an over-arching and all-embracing time-space, the more events and experiences -past and future - we can embrace within its "spacious present" (Seth). Using sitting meditation to both recall daily events in a feeling way from awareness, but also anticipate and intend future events with greater awareness allows Shiv's freedom to become our freedom, the freedom to freely re-perceive and re-shape both future and past events from and within Awareness.
Our immediate present is constantly pervaded by anticipatory awareness of possible events as well as a residual bodily awareness of events recently experienced, and pregnant with possible future events and actions. Sitting meditation - not least in the form of the New Yoga 'Foundation Meditation' - allows clear visions of the future to take shape through and as what Heidegger called "the arrival of what has been" - not just through mental recollection but through meditative, feeling recollection of the day, week, month or year.
What I have long wanted to say and write more about is 'The Supreme Yoga' - one implied but as yet unnamed in my Manual because it is the essence of them all. That is 'The Yoga of Time' (kala) understood as the simultaneous co-presencing of all events in time-space. The path of 'The New Yoga' begins with time - the simple but decisive act of granting ourselves, in the course of each minute, hour and day (and above all, through allowing intervals of quiescent awareness between every activity or event ) more time to be aware. By giving ourselves this time to be aware, we can then pass to being that very awareness - experiencing it firstly as an all-surrounding space of co-presence, the sky of Shiva that embraces the entire universe and all bodies within - and then experiencing this very expanse of cosmic space as an expansive time-space of awareness.
It is by assuming the very nature of this expansive field or time-space of awareness that all life events, past and future, actual and potential, can be experienced as elements of a "free awareness field" (Jane Roberts), one in which we ourselves can - through knowledge (jnana) and intent (iccha) - freely play with, enrich and ensure an auspicious outcome to every action or interaction involved in a coming event - as well as actually altering the nature of past events in a way that makes them part of a new, more satisfactory and auspicious picture.
This is truly svatantrya - assuming the freedom of Shiva by becoming Shiva, and exercising the power of his triple Shaktis in the spacious womb of time-space, the Goddess that enfolds the cosmic aether of both space (akash) and time (kala).
Note however that the notion of an 'Akashic Record' was one invented by 19th century Theosophists and carried forward in Rudolf Steiner's 'Anthroposophy'. Yet the very notion of a 'record' is a false one, implying as it does that the cosmic aether or time-space of awareness in someway 'records' or 'represents' events in time, rather than being the living medium of their on-going emergence and transformation. What is referred to as a type of clairvoyant or psychic 'reading' of the 'Akashic Record' therefore, is that siddhi which enables a direct attunement to the on-going and living reality of past events, civilisations etc., and not some mere imprint or 'record' of them.
Thus even the kula or 'spiritual family' of Acharya Abhinavagupta is no mere set of historical figures whose life and work can be relegated to the long-gone past and regarded as fixed and unchangeable. In attuning to what for us appears only as a 'past' reality (or its 'record') we are actually attuning to what for them is their own on-going and living present - one from they in turn can also attune to our living present and consciousness.
Om Namah Shivayah
I am aware of being spiritually alone at present. I feel the real need to physically be sharing Shiva puja with others. I am thinking of attending satsang at a local ashram, and chanting times sometime, once at least to assess, how I might fit in there.
What do you think Acharya? I know you have reservations about its guru that you have expressed. I am aware that he will not have the full strength and freedom of your own understanding (so liberating for me), but he appears to be a respected teacher.
I would be plainly clear about my fruitful relationship with you and The New Yoga, and direct him to my site. His response I expect will be accepting, and if not that will bring to awareness something else.
Om Namah Shivaya
I can perfectly understand how you might enjoy the company of like-hearted and like-spirited people through participation in your local yoga community and its events, and how this might alleviate your sense of spiritual aloneness. So if this proves to be the case please do not let any of my reservations stand in your way but go for it - or, as you yourself suggest, at least attend a single satsang and see what sense you get of how you might fit in with and benefit from participation in the Shiva Yoga community. After all, it is unusual to say the least to actually have an ashram in one's vicinity to avail oneself of. Last but not least, you might not only receive benefit and spiritual companionship from the ashram members and followers of its guru, but also have things of great importance to give to and share with them.
So please trust me when I say that though the reservations that I have about this guru do still hold, I do not see any reason for them standing in your way. Rather the contrary. Indeed it may be positively helpful for you in taking the first steps towards participation in his community, and exploring the potential benefits of this both for yourself and others, for me to explain these reservations more fully.
To sum up my own view is not easy, but I will try. There is no doubt that this guru is a respected teacher. He is also a good writer, and though I see it as having certain important limitations, I personally would have no hesitation in referring and recommending his book as an excellent and highly readable 'beginner's introduction to Kashmir Shaivism'. Nor would I have any hesitation stocking it for sale if I myself ran an ashram bookshop. Sadly I do not think this feeling would be reciprocated in relation to my own books. And though I would still dearly love to have an experience that would prove me wrong, up till now my experience has been that not a single well-know or 'respected' scholar or teacher of Kashmir Shaivism has or would give my work any serious attention or study at all - or if so only in private and without ever mentioning my name or referring to my books in public.
The reason for this is not because these 'respected' scholars and teachers are not deserving of respect - all who promote the tradition and dharma of Shaivism (and this guru has and continues to do much to do so) are deserving. For me, the reason lies deeper. The reason for the reluctance of respected scholar and teachers to delve into my work and writings is spelled out in all my books themselves - where I write that the aim of my work and writings is to DO exactly what Abhinavagupta did in his time – to 'approach' (abhi) the tradition ANEW (nava). To simply preserve and pass on a set of traditional scriptures, teachings and practices - even those of
Abhinavagupta - does in my mind contradict the very name and spirit of Acharya Abhinavagupta himself, and the nature and aim of his life work.
Unlike those who come to me and my work without an established and respected public face to sustain as a scholar or teacher, the more deserving of respect a scholar or teacher may be by virtue of their often life-long study and/or practice of a tradition - in its traditional forms - the more challenging it is, paradoxically, for them to come to terms with the mere existence of teachings and practices that derive from this tradition, and yet approach it in a radically new way, presenting it in new more refined conceptual terms, disclosing its essence in new and yet clearer light - and offering ways of experiencing and embodying the dharma of that tradition that are themselves of a different order and nature.
From this perspective I have no particular reservations about
the guru you mention per se, for he is but one example of this paradox. Yet whilst I respect his major book, viewing a video of him hold forth however, is something I myself found deeply disappointing. I did not see a 'satguru' in any way. For a
satguru is a teacher who visibly embodies and emanates the truths he teaches in the very act of teaching them, a teacher with embodied presence and radiance - one whose very voice can clearly be heard to be speaking from and not just about different exalted truths and states of consciousness.
Instead I saw and heard a man speaking from his head alone, indeed from the 'top of his head' in the worst sense - not from spatial heights of awareness rising from the sahasraha, but in a casual, unaware way. I did not see a man speaking meditatively and with true modesty but calculatively -seducing his audience with a casual, jokey informality that is calculated to warm his audience to him through a false modesty, one that (arrogantly) requires him to affirm to them that "'I'm an enlightened guru - but, hey folks, I'm also just a plain, ordinary limited human being like you'". I also saw a man speaking with neither poetry nor precision.
What I did not see is a man speaking with his whole body and whole self or soul (or even simply making deep personal eye contact with members of his audience. I see and hear a man able to speak from no deeper place in his soul and no deeper place in his
body than his throat. I certainly did not see or hear a man speaking with the voice of the Chaitanyatman, however much he might talk about it. Instead I saw a bounded male body sitting 'in' space and talking 'about'this and that - not a tangible and divine spaciousness of awareness embodying in and as that man, and perfectly articulating itself in his speech and body language. I heard a man talking, but I do not hear him saying anything of note whatsoever - let alone things of depth - but instead sharing spiritual banalities and cliches.
These are cutting observations, I know. And yet I feel bound to share them with you, not least because - to be quite honest - I myself would be embarrassed to speak about sacred matters and truths in the manner that he does. Yet even these harsh observations do not mean he is not a respected teacher or deserving of respect for doing simply what he does in all the different ways that he is - and is not capable - of. Yet the question remains as to why and how someone who is clearly not a satguru comes to command respect? One basic reason is worldly success as a spiritual teacher. By this I mean having the power to attract a multiplicity of people purely
through all the usual symbolic trappings of 'guru-ism' - the raised dais, the robes, the music and chanting, the multiple satsanga and 'intensives' and, not least, the 'authority' of a self-proclaimed lineage – along with which goes the assumed ability (not given much credence by its recipients) to transmit 'Shaktipat'.
I wrote about such matters in my letter of 5th March, adding also that "if there is nothing at all that is sacrally, socially or philosophically challenging and thus'transgressive' in a body of 'tantric' teaching, in what historical sense can it be said to be 'tantric' at all?" In this sense I see this guru as a Shaivite but not a Tantrika with nothing transgressively thought-challenging in his words. I noted also that he admits to no direct experience of Kulamarga and Kaula tantra. In contrast, I see his teacher Muktananda as a teacher who came to Shiva as a Tantrika, albeit one with a strong and enduringly Shakta nature and orientation - hence the strong and continuing emphasis both in his writing, and in the Siddha Yoga sect that he spawned, on Kundalinishakti.
In India itself, everyone knows that any self-proclaimed guru or wandering saddhu can be a fake or fraudster, a sexual abuser or a spiritually ignorant beggar, a self-seeking trickster or manipulator, a monk or madman - and/or an imparter of divine truths. People judge for themselves - and judge very differently according to what they believe or do not believe, what they are actually seeking - and what they are not actually or truly seeking. The symbolic 'trappings' are everywhere - and hence nothing special in themselves. They are simply there to meet whatever the many different personal needs are that people bring to them.
In the West it is different. The symbolic material trappings count for more - and are taken as marks of spiritual and not just worldly and commercial 'success'. That is 'The American Way' - which so gurus practice in or have exported from the States. This way is not my way, and nor is it the Kashmiri way, the Indian way, the
Indo-European way or the specifically Indo-Germanic way which finds
expression in my work. That said, one thing did count for me positively in my assessment.of this guru. That is the fact that everywhere he goes he takes his Shiva Murti.
For returning to the genuine issue of spiritual aloneness of devotee of Shiva living in a Western culture however, I should say that if there is one practice that for me personally is guaranteed - each and everytime - to entirely eliminate the last and least trace of spiritual aloneness it is puja. By this I mean puja practiced as murti darshan - doing the 'foundation meditation' of The New Yoga in front of and in resonance with a Shiv-murti.
That is why I, whilst I can entirely understand your desire
for spiritually like-minded company - the meaning of satsanga - in order to overcome a sense of spiritual aloneness, the need to practice puja with others to overcome this sense of spiritual aloneness is wholly foreign to me - indeed a contradiction in terms. And yet I am sure you already have a sense what I am saying here. Why I am saying it to you now it is just to emphasise that a deepened and more aware approach to the possibilities opened up by the daily practice of the most intimately private puja - can do more to overcome a sense of spiritual aloneness that any group puja, and that the latter - however valid in itself - is and can be no substitute for the former.
Irrespective of the potential benefits of your engagements with the ashram therefore, I would be most happy to advise you personally on approaches to reaping the full benefits of private Shiv puja - including the possibility it opens up for an almost immediate experience of Shaktipat (and an almost immediate attainment of Shivattva) the very first time it is properly practiced. In regards what constitutes 'properly', there are many different aspects to be considered, but the one that is of supreme and foundational significance is the choice of the murti itself - that is to say, the excellence of its craftsmanship as manifest in the sensed power and perfection of its form and bearing and the qualities of awareness it
materialises and makes manifest through its look and through its looks. These are what enable the 'proper seeing' of the deity that is the meaning of 'darshan' including the exchange of looks through the mutual gaze that brings one to identity with it.
If I had more time, I would have made a journal of my own experiences and written a whole book on the inner process than can be allowed to unfold through puja as murti darshan bearing in mind that far too many Hindus, Eastern and Western, still see the deity murti as a mere sacred symbol, and puja as a mere set of tokenistic gestures and rituals. Or else they replace a deity murti with pictures or photographs of 'respected' gurus. Not that there is anything wrong with such pictures or photographs - with any pictures, symbols or photographs - so long as they are placed alongside the deity murti itself rather than substituting for it.
I hope this clarifies further my reservations, which make me all the more interested in what your experience if and when you engage with this local ashram community.
Let me know how things go!
Your emails are my satsanga. Everyone that I have received from you, has power within it to move me. I say this truly and from my heart. Yet while I feel this, and express it, I don't want to "guru-ise" nor do I want to gush devotion, but I now understand what it is when someone finds a true teacher.
I could understand respect of teachers but the warmth of attachment I could not. Now I think I do.
Every word is so precise and pure in its cutting, yet caring power. I am truly indebted to you. I do not at all feel dependent upon you, but rather thankful for every opportunity that Shiv, brings forth in good time through you.
I looked at the video and was reminded. The genre, has its like in other religious traditions, even my old Christian one, just the trappings are different. I acknowledge his study and knowledge, but I get no sense of that which even at distance I have experienced from you.
I felt some sadness that he and others like him, respected and "true" to the tradition as they are, (but not true with the courage and depth of yourself) cannot see what needs to be seen, if others than non-transgressive nice middle class folks, are to be gripped with the ever fuller life-enabling Awareness. It seems
Abhinavagupta's and all the sages' paths anyway, has a certain aloneness about it, for not all can either see it and/ or walk it, for its inner challenge of gut-wrenching honesty that real Awareness awakens. The fire of Shiva burns with truth. And while I might flinch I do get tired, so tired of surface bullshit. I do not say that disrespectfully and I ever seek avoid the trap of "for" and "against" for Shiva and his Shakti is everywhere and in all.
There is much good to be had and I will attend, and with a major intent to discover my own Shiva Murti, if hopefully there is one there for me. I say flinch because I am seeing clearer my own lack. My own lack of application, discipline, and failure so far to accompany my devotion to Shiv with good steady practice. I think this is behind my searching for puja with others, more than loneliness, the seeking of props to my own lack of application, which I have just been experiencing, and which I refer to in my latest blog post. But I also have realised the protective power of the mantra., in keeping me aware of Shiva. But more is required, as is courage, which I also see, having been re-reading your introduction to "Tantric Wisdom for Today's World" and feel some trepidation, the trepidation that comes with the real seeing of truth, truth that changes, and truth that makes ritual come alive, and the truth of seeing the Ever More, the Great. I am faced with feeling unworthy at times of being a true follower.
There is still much to learn. My follow through is not as good as it should be, never has been. I have an undisciplined self, alongside my other "selves", not having example or encouragement from a childhood of neglect, which didn't help, but not as an excuse. When this self is to the fore, I am eager one moment and then find I have neglected, been distracted. [I have just had a most significant awareness, a connection... I often carry on about the "surface bullshit" going on around, the media, whatever, and yet there is this self in me that can be the same, that is also part of this whole "resonance". I think I am then projecting my own stuff on this issue. That's why I get so upset with it, I am upset with this self.]
Yes, I have my books and my learning, and now my devotion to Shiv, which is not surface, but if not accompanied with a seriousness of application, deprecates with the taint of bullshit. Indeed, your emails are a true satsang for me.
Om Namah Shivaya
But I know not to be despondent or occupy myself with guilt, playing "for" and "against" with myself. That is not the way at all. But recognition is. I have been at times too easy with myself, the "doing" of "not-doing" misapplied or misunderstood. This is the ground substance of our soul , of "selves", that is to be transformed in good time and really time is not the issue - it is the ever ongoing work and experience of Shiva's Shakti. This is the ongoing work of Recognition. And I also know that the most embracing and yet simplest answer is to continue to return focus to That One, the Unborn, the Centre of life and ever renewal, true puja. This is who and what ultimately heals all our "errors" and hurts, as you have said before.
The mantra and the murti are indeed very important and I have yet to really experience the fuller knowledge of that. I do need my Shiva murti and I will seek carefully for the one that speaks Shiv to me. It will come to me, rather than I to it, I believe - it already is calling from this correspondence of Awareness. Thank you Acharya, your email has given me a new and renewed perspective.
As I read and realise the "more" I have an associated awareness to that I have been describing. I feel a certain anxiety to step into the greater that I believe you will guide me to know more of. Its no longer an idea alongside other ideas. I am stepping into truly sacred ground and I know my own shortcomings, my dependencies and my weaknesses. I have strengths too I know that, good strengths and wisdom and compassion too. But where I see before me, there are greater purer "beings" and states. I ask myself now am I ready? Should I be preparing myself better for this new journey into greater awareness? Should I be abstaining in various ways, or just be my normal everyday incomplete self. I have found my search's true "end", but there is no "end" in Shiva so now the further expansion. It is, as you say an ever infinite journey of actualising potentials. Yes, spiritual courage is involved.
Thank you for your offer of guidance and I will most certainly accept that gratefully for I surely need it.
May Shiva continue shining in you Acharya.
Om Namah Shivaya.
Thank you for your letter - itself so carefully worded and so full of warmth, honesty and poetry. Yes indeed. "The fire of Shiva burns with truth" - and that truth and fire are nothing if not innately transformative.
There is much more I could and will write in time in response to many significant elements of your letter.
This is just a short note I felt it important to write straightaway, offering as it does some initial practical considerations with regards to choosing your Shiv Murti. I see this as
important because Shiva Puja and Murti Darshan is itself an enormous and decisive act of the sort that you described in your letter as "stepping into sacred ground", and fitting also to you as a way of uniting 'practice' with the naturally devotional inclination of your personal religiosity and relation to Shiv.
My main practical suggestion is simply a caution not to choose a Nataraj or dancing Shiva for Puja. In my view an appropriate Murti for Puja should be in seated position, perfectly upright in posture - above all the head, which should not be tilted in the least, but upright and face on, allowing face to face and eye to eye resonance. Then there are its eyes, which, with a little trick of awareness, should be capable of being seen both as fully closed in deep meditation and as wide open - even if the murti's eyes are closed one should be able to see the 'lids' themselves as if they themselves were fully open eyes! Finally, size matters! Hugeness is not important but I would suggest a minimum of eight inches height.
Our correspondence on this matter has begun to inspire me with ideas for more detailed writing about the various accessories and the outer and inner 'how to' of preparing for and outwardly engaging in Shiv Puja, as well as its deeper nature and boons. The key is an embodied recognition of the unity of inner and outer elements, processes and acts of awareness.
As regards the outer elements - besides a suitable place for installing the murti, candle or oil lamps, a mirror to place behind the murti and a rudraksh mala (again of the right type), a fitting piece of clothing worn only for private Puja is something important for me to have (see the colourful, sleeveless Indian jacket visible in the image of me on the back covers of my books). Besides bathing or at least mouth washing, I also make a tilak mark on my forehead in the male way - a vertical horizontal stripe to distinguish it from the traditional small bindu of the ethnic Indian
married woman in the West.
There is much more I could say and write - and/or talk through with you regarding different 'accessories'. Of course, these things too, of course, could be regarded as 'trappings'. And yet there is a difference. For one thing they are reserved for very special occasion - not public events but very private Shiv Puja. Nor are these trappings there to impress or entrap others with their glamour, but purely as ways of inwardly preparing oneself for and giving expression to the experience of an encounter with that One gleaming Other who is most special to us, and is at the same time our most essential Self. On the very few occasions I have engaged in Shiv Puja with others present, it has been clear to them that I am doing so only to give them some glimpse of the inner process through the outer - and of what they themselves can do and come to experience more deeply and intimately in private.
The Murti shown in the photo attached is the one installed in my most private shrine and murti, facing the window in my personal study and in such a way as to also give me a view of the sky. It is used for my daily Puja as opposed to the weekly Puja I conduct in my mandir shrine. This Shiv appears more severe, but believe me when I say he can also smile warmly and knowingly, and at times radiate delight.
I do Puja sitting before this Shiv once or twice a day but always before going to bed. Puja with this Shiv is accompanied either by sounds from an electronic instrument producing sampled tanpura sound, or else chants to Shiva sung in the Vedica manner from a CD called 'Rudram' and another called Shiv Shamho. In the Mandir Shrine pictured on my site on the other hand, I use only the CD entitled 'Sacred Chants of Shiva' - an award-winning recording sung by the Singers of the Art of Living.
I have sent you an illustration of the Shiv murti and shrine I have in my study.
The eyes are the most important aspect of any Murti. Do you see them as open or closed???
Notice particularly the multiple dimensions of sacral spatiality - the trident pointing upwards like an antenna towards and receptive to the sky of Shiva. The palm hand facing and emanating towards my abdominal centre of awareness – giving a sense of centredness - the hand holding the ring pointing to yet lower depths of awareness,. giving a sense of profound groundedness. Unbounded upper and lower spaces of awareness, above my head and below my feet, are pointed to and united by identification with the murti – and can almost instantly giving a sense of an infinite sphere of awareness surrounding my body.
This relates to the principal guidance I give to anyone about to engage in Puja: "The Shiv you see manifest in the Murti is inseparable from the Shiv that is all around you as infinite space extending in all direction, a space of awareness that is just as much manifest as your body and that every object around you as it is in the body of the Murti - whose eyes radiate the
infinite light of that awareness."
When I first did Puja with this Murti, I came to feel its eyes as "shining with the light of a thousand Suns" - in fact these very words came to me as a hearing or shruti from this Shiv , along with the experience of their reality.
I say ‘this’ Shiv, for I believe that Shiva is both One and Many in more than one way - specifically that there are 'awareness beings' dwelling in the very highest plane of awareness -Shivaloka - that have the character of Shivs (plural) and that sustain entire universes with the outpouring light of their Shakti.
Thank for your guidance on Shiva puja and the selection of my Shiv
Murti. I thank you too for sharing the photo of your private Shiv Murti. Perhaps I should not be surprised that my response to your murti was immediate and positive, to say the least. The strength, the diginity, the inner light shining from it and the immediate connection with awareness, with its well-considered setting, makes it one of, if not the most powerful Shiva murtis I have encountered thus far on my short Shiva journey. It is also very aesthetic and delightful to behold. I see delight rather than severity, perhaps something of the ascetic's devotion to the path, and of the depth and greater awareness of the whole matter of life. And yet it does not arouse any sense in me of forbidding delight. The flowing symbolic outpouring of the Ganges above balances and completes any notes of severity. It is a most wonderful Shiva murti. It, and its setting, reveals your own depth of awareness, Acharya.
I see Shiv's eyes both open or closed without difficulty,according to my focus.
I immediately went cyber searching for something of the same order, but felt it may be difficult. After a number of hours I realised, there was some on the site you mentioned and another that had some fine murtis, none I have found closely approach the combination of qualities you suggest as important. While worthy of their price, some were beyond my resources currently also.
But by the grace of Shiv, as I maintain awareness on my quest, I will encounter the Shiv murti for me. It will come, but I am beginning to think it may take some time, through force of circumstance. I will be pleasantly surprised if I am able to do so at the ashram bookshop.
In the interim, would it be acceptable for me to frame a picture of your murti and use that, in a suitable setting? I know it is not the same as a sculptured murti, though we know images are murti too, and you may advise to have a physical murti only, though less in the qualities sought. It is your private murti and I respect that, and it would be for my private puja alone. I will be led by your advice.
I think it would be more than "acceptable" for you to frame a picture of my murti and use it in a suitable setting. Indeed I think it is an excellent idea. Besides enabling us to share experiences of meditating this Shiv - he would also provide a channel that brings us inwardly closer in awareness through our Puja. In the light of your suggestion, I have made a couple of fresh photographs of my study murti - without my paraphernalia in the foreground. For you will want to have your own candle holders, mirror, rudraksh, lingam stone etc.
The darker of the two photographs is one I took last night. Looking at it I was surprised by the visibility and intense gaze of the apparent pupils of the murti's eyes. And though I found it more difficult than with the first photo I sent you to see its eyes as closed, it was extraordinary to note that when I adopted the position I do at the end of my Puja - which is not sitting in front of but kneeling beneath it, touching its ring hand, and looking up at its head - very close up to mine and slightly from the left-hand side - then I did see in the photograph, as I always do with my actual murti, the eyes as closed in profound meditation.
The second photo I am sending I took this morning and am equally pleased with in many respects. I have sent you also the original website image of my Bhairava. I leave it entirely up to you which you wish to use. I have also sent a little extra 'side helping' (though 'little' is hardly the word) for a most wonderful powerful Bhairavi murti you might wish to find a place for.
The other murti you found on sale and sent me an image of is one of many I have come across that is indeed OK - "acceptable" - but no more. There are also aspects of the murti that I like, but it lacks the detailing - and certainly the powerful presence and immense Shakti of the Bhairava in my study. That is not to say that one cannot find wavelengths of attunement to a reasonable murti of the sort you found. For through Puja itself, one can turn even such a murti into a satisfactory medium for amplifying and enjoying the qualities of awareness its own particular form embodies.
Some further thoughts on your last letter as promised - though nothing that your own wisdom will not recognise:
A "true follower" (and true teacher) is in my view precisely one who recognises that "there is still more to learn". As I may have remarked before, taking my cue from the words of Martin Heidegger, a teacher IS a teacher only by virtue of their powerful capabilities as learners - and as ever-deeper followers of the path of truth.
Put in simple terms - who needs followers - or teachers - who 'know it all' -who do not derive their principal delight from learning more and discover, by the grace of Shiva, ever-new things to study, experience, master and teach). For as you /
so rightly say, "...there is no end to Shiva."
Our world is a nursery school, and all the knowledge we can gain in it is just preparation for the infinitely diverse adventures of consciousness and unlimited forms of Leela we can delight in when we complete our last life on this plane.
"Where I see before me, there are greater, purer 'beings' and states."
Thank goodness! That means wherever any of us go with our awareness, in this life and beyond, we can always be assured of finding teachers on higher planes, with yet greater awareness, purity and power. I long for the Mahasamadhi of returning to the world of my Guru - of my Mahatma, and of its Mahatma.
"Should I be abstaining in various ways?" Nobody has actually ever asked me that question. I can only say what I myself abstain from. One thing I make a discipline of abstaining from or renouncing is superficial talk and superficial relating of any sort - though I exclude humour from this category. I also abstain from wasting any minute of any day in unaware action or talk. Even if circumstances require a certain amount of 'small talk', I take them as a challenge to not lose my awareness in it, but actively work to preserve or cultivate a deeper level of connectedness to myself and others through it - albeit also keeping it to a minimum. I seek always to abstain from acting or speak in haste, thus depriving me of the time to be, act and speak from awareness - just as I renounce relinquishing to any pressure that prompts me to just go 'from one thing or to another', one focus of awareness to another - without granting myself an interval of awareness time in which to meditatively enjoy the fruits of one action, interaction or focus of awareness - and choose what I do next from a widened, 'field' awareness of time.
I abstain from seeking to share with others things they cannot understand or appreciate, and instead use them to better understand the other. Finally (and here your words speak with wisdom) I abstain from "the taint of bullshit" - either by not dwelling on it or simply by not letting it, in your terms, "deprecate" the truth of my inner learning, knowing and being.
What I do not abstain from? Meat, wine (though my alcholol tolerance is alcohol (though in very small quantities since I a have a low tolerance for it), love making (though I abstain from ejaculation), caffeine - and tobacco. The last surprises many people. But then my belief is that people die at a given time for their own good inner reasons, not from 'causes' beyond their control such as inhaling carcinogens.
Your question about abstinence however, allowed a new insight to arise in me from awareness. This is that we can consider life in terms of four 'caste' levels and their corresponding aspects of self:
The Brahmin in us approaches life in this world from a place of transcendent/ awareness.
The Kshatriya or warrior in us recognises that life in this world involves an element of ‘struggle’ - and that this is something we cannot simply abstain from -the message of the Gita.
The Vaishya or trader in us acknowledges the element of everyday ‘commerce’with the world and other people. The Shudra in us recognises the unavoidability and sacredness of simple /everyday tasks/ such as cleaning and tidying rooms and washing dishes - for such activities are not impure but acts of inner as well as outer purification. It recognises too the importance of creativity - artisanship - in hallowing the divine.
And the 'Dalit' in us? Perhaps that is our immanent, eternal and 'untouchable' core, and yet also the centre from which we can most deeply connect with and touch the core of others - albeit a core they themselves may fear to touch or be touched by.
Good, I shall proceed to form my puja setting with a picture of this
wonderful Shiv Murti. Thank you for the extra photos, including the also powerful Bharavi image. The further exploration of the shakti, feminine birthing, nurturing, manifesting Mother image awaits me also. You are much familiar with some that is quite new to me, and I hasten to "catch up". But I think its best I simply absorb and acquaint with delight on the ever path.
An awareness arose today as the word "idol" resonated within me. It is a term used freely also alongside "murti" on the sites I visited. We are "idolising" in its deepest sense – bringing to the centre of our awareness, devotion and connection that which we see as the greatest we can imagine and seek to express. And in so doing enabling "awareness energies" within life, and I believe not just our own. I am much reminded of Buddhist Tibetan Tantric practice, which did not fully resonate with my inner path, in contrast to my recent and growing encounter with the Trika Shaivite way, via your self. A murti and the practice of puja, arises within its relevent context and completes it. This way of Shiva is completing for me.
I also noticed the lack of detail in the murti I sent, but it approached some of the qualities you mentioned, posture in particular. As I looked at it however, as an extra comment, I creatively digitally changed its lighting and/or colouring emphasis, with sometimes evocative effect. I mention this as I believe it to be pregnant also with imaging possibilities, undertaken with the same respectful and affectionate attitude you show in approaching your own murti. I will continue to be open to more and better physical murti to arise. But for a framed image, your Shiv murti will be difficult to surpass.
It begins to be much clearer as to how true Tantric puja displaces any sort of aloneness or separateness by connecting so closely with That One who connects all and is All. The connection and sharing of your Murti, Acharya, in our puja, occurred to me also, and it shall indeed. I am deeply pleased, and grateful. I also detect some inner excitement, as I explore greater levels and knowledge arising within my Shiv puja, with your good guidance.
Om Nama Shivaya.
I have found, on my exploring of the paths, the frequent mention of practices of abstinence and "purifying". This poses both a correct aspect in my mind, but also a problematic one. You allude to it in your answer. As with other practices, the outer can replace the more significant inner meaning and awareness attitude. The inner development of awareness and responsiveness is pre-eminent. Yet like murtis, the outer can assist the inner. So discrimination in any application of the concept would appear to be important. The further problem that can arise is the unnecessary and inappropriate separating of that which, as Abhinavagupta and other Shaivite sages have taught us, can all be means of Shiva awareness, the truest non-duality. My first and rich encountering of this was in the Vijnanabhairava, by Jaideva Singh. I haven't abstained from meat, or drink, or sex. And I have eaten and drunk and made love, (or differently and less fulfillingly) "had sex" at times to excess, in the past, and the outcome is plain for anyone aware of excess and its problems, which is essentially of getting out of balance, and becoming excessively distracted from the more helpful and growthful. The inculcation of guilt by some religious paths is nothing but unhelpful amd unhealthful. Compassionate and patient teaching is more appropriate.
It would appear to be right before approaching in puja, appropriate "inner" setting takes place, that may be seen as a form of "purifying". This word like "God" has some attitudinal and understanding problems for the less aware I think and can create unnecessary obstacles. (As an aside, sometime, I am interested in your reasons for non-ejaculation, which I have encountered on the Taoist path and wonder if the reasoning is similar.)
The very normality of all of our life, with its dependencies etc.appears also a real means of connection with those who are cut off from the pursuit of deeper awareness sometimes by excessive "be-pure-before-you-approach" ideas.
This matter of abstinence arose when I had a flood of awareness of the journey, with some attached anxiety, which is now dissolving.
Thank you for further clarifying. I will "abstain" and "purify" in ways that I will relate to its inner meanings, without obsession.
It has never (yet) been my custom as a teacher to suggest a second Sanskritic or neo-Sanksritic name for a student.
Yet since you address me as Acharya, and aware of our inner connection, for some time a wish has been growing to address you with a name that is more respectful of and resonant with your higher awareness and identity - thus acknowledging both our existing inner existing connection through Shiv (and also the new level of connection that would be symbolised by doing Puja with a common Ishta Devata).
I do not feel it appropriate for me choose an inner name for you - but would be happy for you to suggest one, perhaps meditating it through Puja itself, and preparing to receive an inner name for your Chaitanya from Awareness - Shiv - himself.
An inner name came to me many decades ago in the course of a most powerful early experiment in Tantric Pair Meditation with Karinji - indeed in the very process of becoming and embodying and personifying its consciousness.
Forever Unborn, and already 'dead'
Dwelling in that Awareness which
Transcends all identities, all births and
All deaths, all lives and all works.
Being no-One, and being the All-One,
How are we to name who speaks, and
To whom we speak - if not by alluding
To that Self with Recognition, letting
It resound through the very sounds of
It's name - rich in the ancient and
Soundless resonances that it
I have been preparing my Shiva shrine with one of the pictures of your
When it is fully finished I will send you a picture of it. I have just enjoyed puja, and becoming more attentive to it, seeking daily time, aware in the Great Awareness of Shiva.
My next intention is to visit the local ashram, at a suitable time soon. In that regard, I will review our correspondence that you sent and forward it with any suggested amendments, also soon.
I am finding myself more quieter within, more reflective and developing a steadier hold on present awareness. The Panchakshara is my awareness rudder, negotiating safely the inner and outer turbulences, but more practice is needful.
I meditated before Shiva this matter of a name, and I am moved by your suggestion of this. As I meditated it seemed too quick, but it was clear and without any feeling of doubt or confusion.
The name Nandi came to me, but also the thought of that word as a seed word of something to be completed in some appropriate Sanskrit conjugation by yourself, a name jointly formed in honour of Shiva within. The image of myself holding the reins of Nandi, not riding him, but his attendant. Or is it the Nandi in me? All this began to breed meaning in me, but is it too much? Is it too quick? It was a natural formation in my awareness as I sat before Shiva., that's all I can say.
The karika at the end "Forever Unborn" I liked very much. The word "sublime" comes to me.
Being no-One, and being the All-One,
How are we to name who speaks, and
To whom we speak...
Thank you Acharya.
My warm greetings to Karinji.
Wonderful that you are preparing your shrine. I had a sense that you were doing so with patience and care – but was also very much looking forward to you sending me a picture of it!
Reading your letter I noted also and with interest how attuned your awareness was to the karika I sent you - for the particular section of it you liked and actually cited was the initial or ‘seed’ karika, initially ending directly with a question mark.
Being no-One, and being the All-One
How are we to name who speaks, and
To whom we speak?
As for names, I felt your suggestion to jointly conjugate (jug/yoga) your received name - Nandi - was a very congruent and honoring one. The fact that the name you received came to you so quickly and spontaneously is something I take as a good sign. The name itself felt right to me - and for you.
So I straightaway opened myself to receiving a Sanskrit conjugation – you will have already seen the conjugated name that resulted. The mān has a long ‘a’ sound and has the basic meaning of ‘to honor or respect’. This too, felt right in relation to your honoring nature - as well as adding a resonances of fullness and inner strength appropriate to both you as a ‘man’ (sic) and the bull Nandi himself – the most honoring devotee of Shiv.
If you feel the name is appropriate and with your permission, I will perform a rite of Namakarana Samskara for you.
As for the Panchakshara, that is itself an honouring of course, though I very much liked also the way you described it as a ‘rudder’.
– and with warm greetings also from Karinji
Dear Acharya (Rajmu),
I will gladly adopt the "inner" name of Nandimān that you have meditated
and conjugated. Thank you. It is an honourable name and I will seek to
always honour it and Shiva with it.
It has rich meanings and connections of all sorts, the more I am acquainted with it. I would be delighted for you to perform a Namakarana Samskara for me. This is a significant ceremony as I read about it, but I would like to also know your own awarenesses in your experience of this ceremony, and I am sure you would do that. It has important significances from a Hindu perspective, as I am reading about it. As you have used it in addressing me now, I will not wait til the Namakarana
Samskara to use it also, in happy anticipation.
My delay in response is due to distractions, and I wanted a good space,as I always do when corresponding with you, to reply. I am sorry I disappointed you in not sending the picture of my shrine, which you are eager to see. I am making adjustments to my room and getting a mirror properly set up. I have also just noticed, as I was thinking of sending an interim picture, in daylight there are some imperfections in the printing I hadn't noticed at night. I want to correct that.
Thank you for the gifts you are forwarding to me. They will be well used. Again I anticipate them with great pleasure and gratitude. I will use my Rudraksh mala, gift of my esteemed Acharya, as you do.
I became aware of an aspect of the Panchakshara the other day. The consonant 'n' is formed, with the tongue, inside the mouth, inner and unseen, the consonant 'm" is formed, outer and seen, with the lips. Within and without we honour Shiva, who is also concealed and revealed.
Om Nama Shivaya
I have yet to fix up the slight misprinting at base of my Shiv picture. I have decided to send some pics now as I don't want to delay further, my sharing of what I have done thus far.
I have been meditating and offering puja to Shiva regularly and to date, late in the night, when it is quiet and without distraction. The misprinting then is not noticeable.
Taking the pics was difficult with reflections, which are not there with a physical murti. Again at nighttime it is not a problem.
You will notice my puja items at the moment. On the left is a clear glass of water, and next to it a receptacle holding a small amount of sea salt. The various meanings and awarenesses that can arise from such items I need hardly to explain to you. At the beginning of my puja I reflect on the greater meanings of these items in relation to the Great Ocean of Awareness and thus to Shiva, placing the salt in the water and dissolving it. I then take a sip of that. and commence my Shiva puja, marking my forehead in the male manner. On the right is a finely crafted metal cup (contrasting with the clear light glass cup) containing my version of nectar. It contains milk, turmeric, sweetened with some honey. This is an offering with connections to healing, protection, nurturing, amd gratitude for the many auspiscious gifts that are brought to us within the life of Shiva.. Turmeric has much meaning and health benefits in India as you know. Turmeric and milk is given by Indian mother's at the first sign of a cold to their children. A highly benficial plant of blessing. It is drunk after puja and is regarded as having "absorbed" the vibrations of puja also.
I light the three candles, the middle one last, and also the incense and commence puja. Prior to this I will spin the Rudaksha that you are sending me. I am improving a simple Shiva lingam I am making from two rocks, one flat the other standing upright upon it. I intend to fasten them to each for stability and mark them in the Shaivite way.
There is much transformation going on in me now. There is an awareness of increasing stability within, yet a sense of lightness. Insights about relationships and myself are flowing.
I am beginning to be more focussed. I am discarding things unnecessary and that which I was holding onto, but without real purpose, or moving forward with. One thing I notice is a growing direction to write more. I have never written a book, but have felt the urge and I need to learn the path to publication. I may find a course here that is suitable. I also need to learn more and make contact with the local ashram. The moment is now right I feel.
I hope all good things are occurring for the work. Shiva's light is indeed within you and upon you. I am aware of some unsureness as to whether and when to address you as Rajmu, Acharya.
In gratitude and respect.
I have just received your letter and accompanying pictures of your shrine. How fine!
The two cups, salt-in-water ritual and 'nectar' are wonderful creative elements.
I was also happy to read what you wrote about yourself - of the transformations going on within you and, not least, the growing inclination to write. I have no doubt you are most gifted in this direction, and think of the great value for others of the fruits that this gift could bring forth. (Not to mention the fact that Karinji could format a book of yours as a New Yoga publication and have it up on sale via Amazon in weeks). I would love to hear more of what sense you might already have of the nature of your book.
As for the Namakarana Samskara, to me this is not, as some see and practice it today - notably the Himalayan Academy and Kauai Monastery - a type of 'counter-conversional' process or ceremony to do with letters of renunciation or vows of affiliation to any creed or credo (downloadable and payable for on-line!). Such an approach seems to me to be an entrapment in the trappings of institutionalised 'religion', quite literally substituting one church for another. This is the so-called 'Saiva Siddhanta Church', which claims and seeks to represent Shaivism as a whole at the highest levels of 'inter-faith' dialogue - yet does so precisely through such terms as 'Church', together with the type of institutionalised trappings and formalism we have already discussed.
Yet if this is not what the Namakarana Samskara is or should be all about what then? In what way can it be "approached anew" but thereby also in a more originary and inward way.
For me, the meaning of the Namakarana Samskara lies in the deeper meaning of names and of the 'new' name as such, which I understand as a most powerful mantra of a very specific sort.
When I wrote of it as an "inner name" this was not to imply that it is or would be 'wrong' to outwardly announce it and call oneself by it, any more than it is wrong to call myself or be addressed 'Acharya'. And I did indeed let you know what I feel as my 'inner' or 'true name' - Rajmu (pronounced Rāzhmu). Yet that was for a very different reason - a way for you to inwardly sense the individualised character of my inner soul nature in a way that neither a given name like 'Peter' nor any title such as 'Acharya' allows for. The mantric nature of names such as Rajmu and Nandimān has to me to do with the recognition that as Jiva we are each a uniquely individualised part or 'portion' of Shiva - inseparable from the latter not despite but through our individuality. A significant recognition of 'The New Yoga' is that individuality is no spiritual aberration or limitation - no mala- and not at all the same as egoic separation and appropriation of experiencing (anavamala). Shiv takes delight - indeed fulfils himself - by individuating himself in the cores of beings - even whilst at the same time eternally transcending all names and all individual identities.
The role of the 'inner name' as a mantra is that its very sound and sounds do something rather than merely representing or symbolising something. Their felt inner senses and resonances serve to give the Jiva itself - in its individuality - a new inwardly felt sense of self, one that arises from and reinforces a new configuration of the soul body and a new organisation of its patterned soul qualities or 'samskaras'. The inwardly felt sound of the name brings the outward persona of the Jiva closer to the chaitanyatman or 'awareness self' allowing the Jiva to personify its pure and wholly trans-personal awareness in an even more truly individual or personal way.
This is my explicitly new teaching on the Namakarana Samskara, made clear so that you should fully understand my understanding of it. So yes, whilst addressing me as Acharya, see if you can meditatively sense me with your body as an individual soul - through the inner senses and resonances of the name Rajmu.
I speak of both 'senses' and 'resonances' with the assurance that you will sense and resonate with what I mean (though there is much in 'Tantric Wisdom' in particular the sections dealing with sound and mantra as a relation of 'morphic resonance' between outer bodily form (morphe/rupa) and felt inner resonance (resonance/dhvani). The new name therefore is not just a mantra but mudra - for we can let it find expression as a whole-body bearing or posture arising from within - from a sense of self tuned and coloured by a new basic inner feeling tone or dhvani).
A fundamental aspect of my teaching on the mysteries of sound, speech and language - which has the longest history of all my teachings - is that the senses of words as words are expressions of their inner resonances as sounds, resonances that link them inwardly with the diverse senses of other words containing the same sound or sounds. Then again, a given word or name may contain, through its sounds, hidden words within words, and senses within senses.
The name Nandimān for example contains the very same "concealed" /n/ and "revealed" /m/ consonants that you referred to in connection with the sounds of the Panchakshara. It also overtly and covertly contains many words with diverse given senses, not just nand (to rejoice) and mān but also mā, and - halving the long or doubled 'a' - both nama itself (to pay homage), nadi, nada and da - to give.
As for its sounds, its transliterated pronunciation is 'Nundimaan'. In this way it combines the short 'a' (pronounced like the English 'u' and 'o' as in 'cut' and 'come') which is the quintessential vowel of Shiva as Anuttara - with the long 'aa' (as in the English 'far' or 'Ah') that is its Shakti. Then there are its imaginal, mythological and metaphorical senses - above all Nandi the bull - which itself has metaphorical resonances of a calm but strong and embodied fullness of both knowing and being.
Karinji and some others we know also have much experience together with both creating and translating words and names through a pure language of sound - often writing entire stretches of sound in this unknown language of sound (in essence the universal language behind all languages). We then translated these sound words or sound poems (both our own and each others) into English - both from wordlessly felt bodily senses and resonances and senses and resonances with hidden 'English' words contained within it.
Through this I came to understand that the value of any foreign language word or name is that it lends itself to giving more awareness to the diverse senses and resonances belonging to its sounds - something we rarely do with words or names so familiar to us in our native language and culture.
A valuable and often most surprising exercise I have done many times with others is to take either a foreign word or name or else to spontaneously create a so-called 'nonsense' word or invented name, and, then, by just exploring its hidden native-language senses and feeling its inner resonances, to meditatively 'translating' that one word or name into an entire English sentence - one that poetically interweaves both the senses and resonances of the foreign name.
You might be surprised what poetry emerges if you try this experiment of translating the single name Nandimān into an entire English word-string or 'sutra'....
All of which brings me to the Sankalpa of the Namakarana Samskara I had in mind, its intent, and thus to its nature - less a formal ceremony than a meditation, conducted during a puja sitting held with the sole intent of both deepening in myself - and imparting to you - my own inner and intensified soul-body sense of the 'soul' or 'spirit' of Nandimān. Yet in so far as the Sankalpa of 'feeling the name' in is one I feel you have already deeply and warmly received, the Samskara has, in this sense, already begun. Its completion is but the embodiment of the Sankalpa with which it was first conjugated.
To 'mean' something means also intend it. The 'meaning' of any sacred name, word, look or utterance, mantra or mudra, rite or symbol does not lie in its sense or reference alone but is rooted in its innermost, divine intent - its Sankalpa. That is why seeking for, coming to a clear sense of, strengthening and thereby initiating the very process of realising such intents or Sankalpas - both for oneself and others - is a very frequent and important element of Puja for me. Rubbing a solid but smallish lingam stone of any shape and made of any precious gem between two hands is for me the mudra that goes together with this intensification, transmission and anticipatory realisation of a Sankkalpa.
This is one of many things we might discuss in relation to Puja and Murti Darshan when we speak - at which time I also look forward with great eagerness and interest to hearing of your own accumulating experiences of them in your newly established shrine!
In the meantime, it would perhaps also be helpful for both of us if you could 'let form' and let me know your strongest Sankalpa for talk - how you would most desire to make use of it.
Would it perhaps also be possible to send me a photo of you yourself sitting at your shrine? That would be of great value in my meditative support for your Namakarana Samskara.
Thank you for your email. Your caring and prolific attention to all, and the work for Shiv is, to say the least, quite remarkable and ever appreciated by me and I am sure others.
I am now reading more of the posts on the New Yoga Bulletin Board. Your excellent address to the Organising Committee of the Tantra Union taught me much and I hope was well-received at the time. So much is on the BB, as in your emails and there is much arising in my awareness from it. Very consolidating.
I will share first what I have encountered in dreaming overnight, as it is fresh in my mind. Then the other awarenesses that have arisen in puja. A significant dream, prior to awakening. Many of my significant dreams are often before I awaken, something of which I have just become aware. It is as though the timing is to assist me to remember and take them with me into my waking world more easily. The essence was of myself travelling on a journey with others, the "others" became clearer as the context of the dream became clearer. There were two paths, a bifurcation. One path veering off to the right and heading for some "coast", the other leading ahead into jungle type terrain. This path had risk and difficulty associated with it. I remember having to be aware of snakes. Its the "being aware" rather than fear that I associate with snakes. [In this regard, to expand, I am not personally afraid of snakes, I find them fascinating creatures, and have encountered them a number of times, twice closely, accidently, without resultant harm. I could digress with one remarkable account but will refrain here. I do treat them with respect, and practice distinct awareness on any walks, for, as you may know, many common Australian snakes are highly venomous]
In the dream it was a path the others and I had traversed before partially and had turned back to our current position of the bifurcation, and I was asked to return on the others behalf along that difficult track to get something they had forgotten. But on return they had moved on and I was left behind with a small few, (possibly indicating family). Yet the thought emerged that they had taken the wrong direction, and the correct one was straight ahead into the unknown harder terrain I had just returned from, trying to rescue what they had forgotten. But in seeking to be kind and supportive of them I had disadvantaged myself seriously in some way. As I was waking, the meanings emerged, that these "others" were my friends. Other meanings, I expect will already be forming in your awareness.
I have dreamt of the mysterious jungle before. You may remember the story, dream and picture and the doctor's wife, an account I shared with you earlier. The jungle has spiritual significance for me, it is clear. So has the meaning of snakes, although in the dream it was not a major element, but associated with the jungle path and being aware. Snakes and Shiva too, enter my awareness. Because of the inner transformations happening, I am being faced with disappointing some friends by refraining more from their wishes/needs in our relationship. I am a supportive, loyal and giving person, and have acquiesced with their distracting personal needs/pursuits, as one does with friends to varying degrees. But too much "going along with things" has kept me from the path I seek, I see now. That path they know of, as my friends, but only very partially appreciate it and its significance. Transformations, Acharya. I am not severing, but changes are going to occur that they will not appreciate. I also see that they are more than just "my friends", they are in Awareness, all those who know less of anavamala, and the Freeing . A sadness emerges now, but I remember all is Shiva experiencing on the eternal journey of increasing Recognition. The dream is quite confirmatory and clarifying. It has distinctly arisen from my Murti Darshan prior to retiring.
My Murti Darshan brought other awarenesses in relation to your guidance in your email. Also incidentally, as I attended upon Shiv , the first awareness was the distraction of excessive fussing. I am glad you liked my creative rituals, which has only lately appeared to be an aspect of a very religious and busy self of mine. I hold it in affection, but must be aware of it too. I have found too much can involve unnecessary distraction to central Shiv awareness and I will modify further till all is in balance. This was further confirmed in awareness as one of my side candles leaked from a crack on the side and wax went everywhere. All is Awareness, and Shiva speaks. Shiv also can lovingly spice awarenesses with humour at times, it appears. One doesn't necessarily need to create meanings in side rituals, meanings are in everything within Shiv Awareness, even as Abhinavagupta is speaking anew in you, in your correction of emphasis.
Not so incidentally, but right now I see, co-incidentally this all has a relation to your teaching about other approaches to Namakarana Samskara, and the substitution of deeper awareness with outer ritual. This is always a line that ritual and religion walks, sometimes in error leaning to the easier carrying out of rituals, which has in the history of numerous religions, led away from real encounter with the truth they are intended to embody. (Paths, and leading away from arises again.) I totally agree with your emphasis on always the prior meaning that the ritual is meant to serve, rather than distract from, or dilute. To this end, lighter on ritual, more on Awareness, and real response to it. Each act of Tantric ritual, it appears to me, should seek to be rich in embodying awareness and "prove" its heightening of experiential connection to Shiv. To acknowledge deep Awareness and respond is much harder, and paradoxically lesser excess ritual can make clearer awareness easier, and more inducive of advancement. Om Namah Shivaya.
This is the next day as I write further. During my puja, and last night, I have spent time, bringing before Our Great Awareness the namimg you have taught about, most of it new in its depth, to me. My religious self, can trip up on the surface matters you explain and I can more clearly see now the richer significances and understanding, truly Tantric. Your inner name and mine I brought before Shiv the other night, at different points, avoiding inner discursive thought. At one point, and unrelated to my focus at that point in puja, I distinctly experienced a sense of your presence, I expect it was your soul body, and my body surface had a sort of identification with yours briefly, but it was not as if you were within, but rather just a sort of an aligning of body surfaces or form. I then sensed or imaged, as if you were standing behind with your hands upon my shoulders. I smiled in acceptance. It was a truly affirming moment. Previously I would have dismissed such phenomenon as my imagination and " suggestibility", my Western science influenced thinking. Now with the understandings you are showing me, I attend to these awarenesses closely and let them emerge in fullness. Many of my doubts, haltings and confusions of my previous journey I realise now were arising from this Western scientific thinking (WST) "blockage". I respect it but it does portray itself as All, and finding it hard to step back from its dualistic thinking. Its quantum findings are slowly leading it to the Awareness truth. I am much clearer now about the nature of Shiv-Awareness , and encountering rapidly its deep riches, and of the true nature of Tantra. I am aware of a thought, that I check with you, that in approaching Tantra, care however is needed, and good teaching is the means of learning discrimination as to the source and nature of these awarenesses that come to us. Its a still froming understanding, but very real now, and this student in me is learning, learning. Thank you Acharya. And thank you, and your soul body for your "presence".
I had real senses of the "regalness' inherent in your name, and of high office. There is indeed a "king" in you Acharya. There were senses of compassion and softness too, but with a very balanced and real strength. There is the sense of wisdom and mystery, the sort of mystery associated with the deep teachings of Tantra. There is an echoing sense, that goes back a very long way. Your name resonated in me with Raj, and with the "Mu" of zen, and the No-self. I had some tears at the end of your email, and I have now, as I fully realise firstly the inner affirming of what my mantra/name means and its "calling forth" of that which is higher and better in this life and in me and my own soul of many selves. It is as if our soul is bringing all these many selves along with it, integrating them all and seeking completion for them. The tears also are about your name resonances and what I recognize and did embryonically at the beginning, that I am associating with a high person of great stature and purpose, even a sort of re-enfleshment of Abinhavagupta himself, and one who has a selfless level of seeking the better for others, is deeply honest and very courageous and strong. I honour you Acharya, I honour you deeply.
Having re-read your email, all the significances of naming, resonances and mantra all weaved together, become clearer and remind me of that of it which I have encountered before, but now very real and rich. The concept of resonance is one I myself have found and held onto as a real way of understanding the nature and process of what I now know as Anuttara, Shiva and Shakti. I now even further see the real power and expression within Sound, which is itself a great and powerful mudra. This is what I have only glancingly encountered before and realise now, I was stepping over gems. And this has emerged in my awareness as a likely fruitful core of your call to me. This is a means, with some inherent limitations, hopefully not too limiting, by which we can really share about and in sound with its greater meanings and connection. My strongest Sankalpa is to experience Sound together in some way over the phone at some point, as well as share about its deeper meanings, within the time available. I will be happy to be guided by you on that and the Sankalpa that has formed. In the interin I intend to explore my "inner" name and its resonances further in the manner you suggest.
There is more ever-arising, but I will now send what I have written and share further later.
I have seen that there is the challenge of seeing ourselves, of being aware of that which we are, made a challenge simply by being that same Awareness, similar to trying to discover that which we are, by examining ourselves, through the same eyes with which we are looking. This known to the Ages. This sort of attempt is coloured and amplified by the Western analytical approach. The harder we try, seeking to grab hold of, cling to Awareness to examine it, the quicker it disappears. It becomes an "It",separate from us, and we flounder in duality. What are we to do? Two things have occurred to me, in explaining my understanding and experiencing of this.
Stop trying. Let go. Sink into that Ocean of Awareness that you are, become aware of simply being aware, as you have taught. "There is an Awareness...", as a mantra. By expanding our localised awareness, we come to know its greater dimensions. And thus the Recognition of a totally different order arises, and presents itSelf. One becomes the seer, the seen, and the process of seeing at once, not linearly. Now. Always now, the eternal present of the Great Awareness, that we know as Shiva. We stop trying. We let go. This leads to Nirvana, its very meaning. With this also arises another thought about this challenge of becoming aware of one's own nature. Murti Darshan, as you have taught me, OM NAMAH SHIVAYA, is one of the major Tantric approaches to the experience of one's own nature. Awareness, resonating and embodied, becomes mirrored as it were, in the beloved Murti. By attendance upon the sacred representation of Awareness, Shiva, that has emerged from within the awareness field of the accumulated myriads of devotees, their dream of Lord Shiva, as it were, resonates at another level with us. This enables a door through which the Great Awareness ever discovers Itself anew, and thus the repeated analogy of the mirror, that many different paths have expressed.
When attending upon Shiva in murti form , we are looking at Our Self. Shakti manifestation of potentiality, bringing to birth, ever creating anew from within this same Awareness is also this very process being described. By the power of his shakti, Shiva becomes aware of himself. Thus you have taught anew, and thus the sages have taught, and seeing it, Recognising it, Re-cognising one's true Self is attainable by numerous means, as the Vijnanabhairava explains. These means are not about "trying" or "clinging" to some teaching or method, but rather about the opposite, about NOT trying, NOT clinging, and talks of space between the breaths, and simply remaining quiescent, attending unto Awareness in precisely the same way we simply attend upon, wait before our Shiva murti in puja. The potentialities of Shiva-Shakti are watered and seeded by Awareness attending. Am Iin order here, Acharya?
Truly, there need be no effort or ‘trying’ demanded in order to be, abide or dwell in awareness - just as no effort or trying is required for us to be, abide or dwell in space. Similarly it usually requires no ‘trying’ to see whatever there is to be seen before us – unless we are blindfolded. Then all we need do is not to try to see despite the blindfold but to remove it. In the case of awareness it is not a question of removing an obstruction to seeing or hearing things. Instead the challenge to venture removing an obstruction to sensing, not a sensing of any ‘thing’ but a bodily SENSING of awareness itself - as the very space and time within which we see hear, feel and think things. Then the empty space around us and around things is itself experienced AS pure awareness, just as every period or interval of ‘empty time’ - before, between and around all of our everyday activities and experiencing – is experienced as a pregnant time-space of awareness.
“The body as a whole is a sense organ of the soul.” Whilst for most people it is second nature to see and hear, for most of mankind it has long since ceased to be second nature to be so aware of their bodies as a whole that they once again become an awareness - a ‘sense organ of the soul’ – thus allowing them to sense space and time themselves as a time-space OF awareness.
The great yogis recognised that the first step on the road to recovering and cultivating this whole body sensing and awareness was to cultivate awareness of breathing, and in that way come to experience it as a breathing OF awareness - with and through our whole body, and though all our senses.
For the tantrika, our capacity and desire to see and hear, feel and touch is not a blindfold to ultimate reality. Desire and sensory experiencing need no ‘blowing out’ or ‘exitinguishing’ (the root meaning of ‘nirvana’). From the perspective of The New Yoga what is needed is not to remove but to add something to our sensory and bodily experiencing – that pure awareness of experiencing that finds expression in the mantram: ‘There is an awareness of…’, for example ‘There is an awareness of seeing or hearing this or that, sensing or feeling this or that, thinking this or that. Just as there is also an awareness of that ‘I’ which claims these dimensions of experiencing as ‘mine’ and as its ‘own’ - rather than recognising them as present or arising expressions of awareness as such. This is the egoic ‘I” whose mantram is the very word ‘I’ – with which it says to itself ‘I see and hear this or that’, ‘I think and feel this or that’ etc. And though that ‘I’ can urge itself to ‘stop trying’ or to ‘let go’ etc. we know from the limitations of Zen ‘disciplines’ that this itself is too much trying.
Truly speaking, all that is required is not that this ‘I’ stops trying and instead lets go but that there simply be an awareness of this very ‘I’, and an awareness also of its trying or not letting go. It is no urging or act of the egoic ‘I’ but a simple awareness of that ‘I’ that releases us – effortlessly - from the grip of its grasping and effortful trying.
Anupaya, the ‘path of no means’, is in essence the simple recognition that the egoic ‘I’ cannot by any means of its own, however skilful, free itself of Anavamala (belief in the ‘I-ness’, ‘my-nesss’ or mineness’ of experiencing) thus attaining an awakened awareness. What The New Yoga adds however, is that the simple awareness of that ‘I’, of its I-ings, myings and tryings and of its mantra – the word ‘I’ itself - is enough to do so. ‘Letting go’ then, is no activity of the ego or ‘I’. It is nothing more or less than an awareness of ego. For the awareness of ego, being distinct from ego, is what in and of itself frees us from the grip of the ego and of its grabbing and grasping.
Once again then, we are returned to the basic mantra ‘There is an awareness of…” in this case in the form: ‘There is an awareness of an ‘I’ that is trying, mying, ‘I’-ing or ‘I-dentifying’ with its experiencing’.
Yet even recognising the significance of this mantra, we cannot escape a basic paradox. This is the paradox that abiding in the pure awareness of experiencing, what we attain is itself a mode of experiencing, albeit a higher mode of experiencing - a sensual-transcendental experiencing of awareness as such (for example as space and time, light and bliss, the god or the goddess). Similarly, even abiding in the pure awareness of thoughts arising, what we attain are themselves thoughts – albeit higher thoughts of the sort that do not merely reflect our experiencing but arise from and grant recognition to pure awareness. That is why the mantram ‘There is an awareness of….’ needs constant ‘reflexive’ iteration or ‘re-iteration’ - a repeated ‘stepping back’ into awareness - not just from ordinary dimensions of experiencing but also from higher experiences of pure awareness itself. We need not only to be able to say ‘There is an awareness of experiencing this or that’ but also ‘There is now an awareness of experiencing pure awareness itself – for example as space and time, as air and light, as the form and gaze of Shiva - or as one’s own form and gaze reflected in a mirror.
This principle of ‘reflexive’ iteration or ‘re-iteration’ of the mantram ‘There is an awareness of…’ allows us also to overcome all difficulties experienced in identifying with pure awareness, and that without any trying. For as soon as we are aware of such a difficulty, what forces us to identity with it or even to ‘try’ to overcome it – rather than just recognising that ‘There is an awareness of difficulty’ – thus identifying with the pure awareness of the difficulty, rather than with the difficulty itself. Awareness can easily becomes second nature to us, simply by repeatedly stepping back into it from each and every dimension of our thinking and experiencing, even the most transcendental or problematic.
I have defined the essence of The New Yoga as a path that takes us “from a new awareness of experiencing to a new experience of awareness”. This path leads also to the experiencing of pure awareness as one’s very Self - yet not just in its transcendental dimension - as Shiv - but also in its most intimate and immanent dimensions of individuality, themselves a unique expression or Shakti of Shiv.
Truly, “when attending upon Shiva in murti form, we are looking at our Self”. Conversely, yet no less truly, when attending upon ourselves or another in murti form – as a bodily form or image – we are looking at an individualised expression or Shakti of Shiva. Hence also the significance of our innermost, most individual names as well as that of Shiv himself.
Truly, “ON NAMAH SHIVAYA is one of the major tantric approaches to the experience of one’s own nature.” That nature has two distinct but inseparable aspects however - firstly that Self whose nature is nothing but pure awareness (the Chaitanya or Para-atman) and secondly, one’s “own nature” in its individuality. This aspect of “own nature” or “individuality” is not of course a nature owned by the ego. Instead it is one of countless individual natures, forms and faces borne from, belonging to and ‘owned’ by the Divine Awareness ‘itself’. The most dangerous and potentially damaging confusion transcended by The New Yoga is the confusion between release from the grip of the ego on the one hand, and any sort of sacrifice of individuality on the other. Since we are each individualised portions of the divine awareness, to sacrifice our individuality is a sacrifice of our very divinity, no less a sacrifice than the sacrifice of awareness to its objects and to objectification.
Truly, awareness cannot be reduced to an ‘It’ in the sense of some object, for its essence its pure and absolute subjectivity. Yet the German expression for ‘There is…’ is ‘Es gibt…”, meaning is ‘IT gives…”. The English language says ‘There is…’. The German language says ‘It gives…’. This ‘giving’ is echoed in the other major mantram of The New Yoga: meditation understood as “Giving time to be aware…”. Who or what however, is the giver, if not ‘It’ – that which freely gives or grants itself to us as the open field of awareness that we experience as time and space.
Recognising this ‘It’ gives the phrase ‘Giving time to be aware…’ a different and far deeper sense. This deeper sense was first explored and indicated by Martin Heidegger in his ‘Conversations on a Country Path’, and is at the same time intuitively suggested by your words: “…attending unto awareness in precisely the same way we simply attend upon, wait before our Shiva murti in puja”. Here the two phrases ‘attending upon’ and ‘waiting before’ unite to hint at this deeper sense of ‘giving time to be aware’, namely as a patient ‘WAITING UPON’ awareness. ‘Waiting upon’ awareness is no mere waiting ‘for’ something - something of which we are already aware - but rather an openness to a NEW experience of awareness and to new ‘awarenesses’.
‘IT’ is that open field of awareness, sensed by us as the time-space within and upon which we await. ‘It’ is also that which first holds opens that time-space and that whhich is in constant ATTENDANCE to every being and possibility it holds within it.
The verbs ‘attend to’ or ‘tend to’ have also a specific sense of to ‘wait upon’ - in the sense of serving and giving service to. ‘Waiting upon It’ – ‘Waiting Upon Awareness’ - we open ourselves to receive the gift of all that can newly arise and come to awareness within it, together with all the ways in which that Awareness can itself (‘its-self’) be seen and heard, thought and thanked, sensed and served.
Truly therefore, “the potentialities of awareness are watered and seeded by Awareness attending” – waiting upon us in the same way that we in turn are called upon to wait upon It. Murti Darshan is that waiting ‘before’ and in the face of Shiv which offers us the most sacred time-space to wait upon awareness Itself, thus letting ourselves be waited upon and gifted by It. The ‘It’ itself is that of which there is ‘non-higher’ - thus named in the tantras by the term ‘Anuttara’.
Om Namah Shivaya
Let me return to our phone call and the reflections on it you shared in your letter. I was charmed and entranced by your description of the chakras not just as localised resonances but as small 'body gods' - further evidence of your capacity for what Heidegger would have called 'poetic thinking'. In reflecting on our call myself during a following meditation two things occurred to me in this connection.
The first was a desire to know more of what you yourself recall of our call, despite not having recorded it, and in particular your recall of the clues I offered to an intimate inner-bodily sensing of each of the sounds of Nandimaan. The second was a sense that arose through once again meditating your murti of the potential value it might hold for you to seek to centre your awareness in the muladhara region - and specifically in the coccyx. My feeling was that the very process of doing so may be one that could very quickly enhance an inward bodily sense of your outer murti, as both pictured and embodied with full presence.
It was interesting in this connection that you wrote of "small" body-gods, since for me, for the bindu point within the coccyx is indeed small - albeit in the very specific and extreme sense of being an 'infinitely distant centre' or 'centre at infinity' - yet one which, paradoxically, leads into a dimension of infinite interiority and infinite potentiality or power that belongs to no small god at all - but rather Kali herself. Sensing and centering your awareness in that infinitely 'small' or inward centre, whilst at the same time sustaining an awareness of your entire pelvic bowl or Kunda is an experiment I would therefore recommend to you.
There are reason for this connected not only with my sense your soul-body , but also with particular tantric experiments I have conducted in the past with others on a number of occasions using tantric pair meditation. These involved feeling the inwardness of the root chakra quite literally as a the root or tail - one which is felt as rootig ever downwards below the ground, as if spirally in and down towards the very centre of the earth and its fiery core. I have written a paper in which I describe these tantric or 'soul-scientific' experiments, the powerful experiences and images they evoked in all who participated in them - and also the connection they helped me to understand between the tantric understanding of Kundalinishakti and the source of embodied vitality known as 'Vril' in German esoteric societies ('Vril' itself being a word whose component sounds resonate with Sanskrit terms such as virya and their reflection in English words such as 'live' and 'virile'). If you wish I can send you this still unpublished soul-scientific and tantric research paper.
Shortly I will also be uploading to the site a new essay (attached) entitled 'Beyond Lineages and Geo-Cultural Genealogies'. This offers a spiritual perspective on the sources of the New Yoga, and also on the connection between Indian spiritual philosophies and what I see as their reincarnation in lineages of 19th and 20th century German thought and esotericism - from which you are aware that I also have drawn in forging The New Yoga.
I realise that our phone call, your reading of Tantric Wisdom, and our continuing correspondence, both direct and via the bulletin board, may be giving you much to ponder and meditate - as will this letter itself, and the essay attached. So take your time. My sense however is of an unspoken fullness accumulating in our relationship - a fullness both of questions and of both spiritual and practical possibilities which could bear significant spiritual and practical fruit. That is why, despite the need for time to let this fullness gestate in awareness, I felt I wished write to you now in acknowledgement of it, and to share my sense of some of its different elements - not least in relation to our call and in response your last letter.
with best wishes,
Thank you for another full, instructive and seeding letter. Let me mention the attached essay, as I have just finished reading it. An inner excitement arose, an inner cheering arose as the sentences passed by me. You write so well, Acharya and so insightfully and so courageously challenging of the status quo, and with the full force of an inspired intellect in its deepest meaning. I don't know if its "correct" or not, but I am very proud that you are my Acharya. To use an Australian vernacular, bloody marvellous!
Again your insights that emerge from your attending upon Awareness bear the heart and truth of our tradition and our sages, not because you speak from some external annointed lineage but from the very same inner experience of awareness of those sages who themselves are no "past ones" either. How true, how true, it is that in this field above all, we must break with the processes of confirmation by the often less aware and most worldy copying of being formally okayed, rather than by the awareness experience of that very Awareness tradition.Indeed the authenticity is more greatly confirmed in the manner you suggest. Let whoever judge that and say it is not real and give reasons, if verification be needed.. If one states that this way is the way of a particular tradition, that is verified by the very Logos that is emerging from awareness. A saying of Yeshua comes to mind, "You shall know them by their fruits". As you have so eloquently expressed, and which is at the very heart of our true most ancient origins, the Vedic sages, the ever expanding discoveries of The Great Awareness, SHIVA are not and should never be imprisoned in the past by power-holding tradition. This is the way of Tantra as you have taught me and which I have seen. No true Tantric of Awareness will ever entirely "toe the line", for fear that that the new emerging potentialities of Shiva-Shakti be delayed, for its greatest potential for its time, is attained by its timeliness and its inherent newness. A fine statement, noble Rajmu. I would like to read anything you feel would be helpful, so send what you feel is good, particularly the unfinished tantric research paper you mention, of which I am very interested.
And the auspicious connections with your particular heritage (and my own Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, and Nordic ones) become clearer. I ventured into Heidegger a bit last week. Apparently he got a bit caught up in the Nazi movement, but really, he was not alone. I often smile at those who condemn and think, "you weren't there, how would you have responded, like so many other ordinary human beings, to that unnatural, cleverly distorted and and dangerous time?". But if Awareness relied upon our purity of whatever sort to be expressed, free grace and auspiciousness become themselves nullified. Such is not the nature of Shiva.
My reflections upon our talk and the inner meanings of my conjugated name left very real impressions.As I have meditated the name since, the awareness may merge somewhat with our call and what I have encountered. no matter. N - connection to my intuitive centre marked by my tilak, even felt physically, an awareness of myself as a person of inner knowledge and even mystery, my devotion to Shiva; a, uh - strength, solidity, even a sense of finality, or certainty; m - heart, compassion, outgoing, giving, expanding, a singing of the soul. This sound of m is an important one and has been before we met. It "collects me, it centres me, it returns me to the heart, but not just my own heart. The caring sound of the Great Mother within, the closing of the OM, the sound of the Mahadeva. Awareness of all the vibrations that at a deep level pass between one and others. And it is not concealed in nature; aa - manhood, dignity,and like a call to my own higher shakti creativity within, strange that connectiion of shakti and manhood, it echoes my bisexual nature. This aa is rich, it even has echoes of my ah of wonderment at the nature of Reality, the tapping into the inner bliss. And the completing, confirming closing, fulfilling n. This not all Acharya (I note an absence of the d and i, and there is a certain vagueness still), I feel I have not done justice to all the subtleties of your expression in the call,forgive me. The bull, now older and wiser, can also be a bit dense sometimes.
I will write further soon, as you say, there is much arising in awareness. I also will explore in the manner you suggest the experiencing of the mulahadra, the kunda, the bindu and its connection to Kali. Thank you for these significant pointings on the path, Acharya.
Om Namah Shivaya.
With regard to the particular practice recommendation I gave you, please do not seek for or await too much at once. I fear I may have over-fuelled your imagination and over-seeded your awareness with references to too many distinct dimensions of the muladhara - in particular the pelvic Kunda bowl as a whole and 'Tail to the Core of Earth'. So I would like to take cues from your own words to redress this - in particular your references not trying too hard, and also and (again) to those "small 'body gods' " (I am still enchanted by that expression).
A central understanding of chakra in The New Yoga is as centres or 'loci' of awareness. A locus of awareness, however, is something distinct - in principle - from a focus of awareness. The cultivation of chakra awareness therefore is essentially a movement that begins with making the chakra a focus of bodily awareness - but has as its most fundamental intent the aim of coming to feel it as a true centre or locus of awareness.
With regards to the bindu in the coccyx, I suggest, that to begin with you seek to be aware of it as just that - a literally infinitesimal point or dot.The first stage is therefore to seek to centre awareness in it. Yet if this centering of awareness in the muladhara is go beyond just attending to or 'focussing' on it, and instead lead to an experience of it as an independent centre or locus of awareness in its own right - the most helpful advice I can give is to think of that bindu precisely as a 'small body-god' - in other words as an awareness in its own right. It is then just a question of giving time to sense how identifying with the awareness that is this particular chakra or 'body-god' - that of the muladhara bindu alone - in turn begins to alter and transform your sense of your self and body as a whole - from top to toe, altering its inner bearing in ways that may lead you to adjust your body posture and expression as a whole (quite literally bodying a sense of 'up-right-ness'), and giving you a different sense too, of all your other chakra. For all of the chakra can be experienced in a qualitatively distinct way from the particular centre or locus of awareness that each of them is - from the awareness of each of the body-gods that they are.
If there is an awareness of feelings of "sexual arousal" (and I would actually suggest you allow such feelings to arise particularly during puja) this is a very good sign. The important thing is to simply abide in and be the awareness that is the source of these feelings - that infinitesimal bindu and body-god in the muladhara that can be sensed in in the coccyx. The sexual sensations are probably likely to become more intense through experiencing the muladhara as 'The Tail to the Core of the Earth'. But even without introducing this dimension to the practice, if sexual sensations are felt - and if you allow them to be sensed as just marginally rising up the spine itself - all the better. Yet even without the experience of any sexual sensations whatsoever, the significance of the bindu/body-god in the muladhara has for me another special benefit. This is that of facilitating the identification with an all-round space surrounding our bodies - one extends outwards to an infinitely distant circumference of the cosmos - by offering that vast space of awareness a infinitely distant centre or inwardness through and within the muladhara bindu.
That said, the value of the flashing forth of distinct but interrelated awarenesses that you already experience in your puja cannot be understated. For through it we not only gain valuable insight but experience the essence of creativity itself as spontaneous flashing-forth and arising-from-awareness.
Finally, just some elements of the 'mantric alphabet' (Matrika) for you, oriented around the sounds of Nandimaan, and based on a recognition that clusters of words sharing a common sound or sounds also share a common dimensions of wordless meaning or sense belonging. Below I offer a few 'word clusters' that can help in cultivating your felt sense of these sound 'senses'. Of course it is vital to realise unlike most languages, including Sanksrit, English - is not a language with phonetic spelling. Hence (and most confusingly for people whose native languages have phonetic scripts!) English can use completely letters or letter sequences to spell what same sound in the 'phonemic alphabet' - whether vowel or consonant. I cannot keep count the number of associations of chakras with specific vowel sounds which do nothing but show the total ignorance of the author regarding phonetics - for example treating the 'A' sound in 'lane' as if it were a single vowel, when in reality it is a double-vowel of diphthong (e+i), just as is the 'I' sound in 'fine' (a+i).
But here then, to refresh and reclarify your memory, is a mini-alphabet of Nandimaan:
a - the short 'a' spelled unphonetically in English with others vowels such wonder, love, up - yet can be sensed (silently sounded in the heart or hrdraya) as imbuing awareness with a felt sense of wonder, upliftedness, love etc. It is also is the first 'a' in anuttara.
aa - the long 'a' which is spelled and can be sensed through the sense of such English words Ah! Aha, marvel', far, star, arch etc.
i - short, as in and with the senses of the words in, immanent, within, give and live.
m - womb, amnion, mother, muse, music, meditate, warmth, permeate, merge, meld, emanate, manifest. magic, hum, OM etc. etc. - 'the hum and murmur of our being and its all permeating warmth'
n - knowing, nose, gnosis, jnana, netra, mana, na, nir- etc.
d - down, under, grounded, solid - not to mention rod, and lloyd !!!
In this context see also pages 185-188 of Tantric Wisdom for Today's World - which is a short condensation, in the context of The New Yoga of a quite an extensive book on the inner meaning of individual speech sounds I wrote many years ago - now much in need of revision.
Thank you for the further explaining of the Matrika, and its exposition using my jointly conjugated name. It has helped seal, or seat, as it were my understanding of the wider application of the phonemic alphabet as an expanded reflection of the Matrika of Sanskrit. It is helpful for me to review like this our call, which was manifold in its various levels. I was concentrating on the awareness that arose, and the insights that you were bringing to awareness, which was quite "dynamic" in nature. But the details of phonemic connection and the actual process had either eluded my memory or needed the further explanation. Thus it is fortunate and instructive that you have encouraged this review. I am more aware now of the phonemic connection, for as you say, English, unlike other languages, is not always clearly phonetically represented in its spelling. The Matrika becomes a greater awareness enabling mudra now, with this understanding of the base phonemics that occur in all the languages of man, not just in rich and deep language of Sanskrit, the most brilliant "garment" of the Matrika, which I am still exploring and
probably will for the rest of this sojourn.
Your further guidance on chakra awareness, and the Muladhara will be followed. I am affirmed that my poetic reference to "small body gods" has validity of reference, particularly in the light of some of your own awarenesses about "gods" and "godding" The difference between a foci and a loci of Awareness in relation to chakras also helps in understanding them more clearly. I continue to refer to and learn from "Tantric Wisdom".
I haven't yet managed to get down to the Ashram, but will. It is a fair drive from here. It is not my priority currently, but it is not forgotten. Andrew certainly sounded most unimpressed. But graciousness is a good reply to the honourable Swami, whose Awareness as a teacher appears to need further development for increased effectiveness in sharing the depths of Shiva.
Thank you again Acharya. May you and Karinji continue to effectively further the work of Shiva. Karinji's recent post was very appreciated, as was yours.
I have written the essay that follows for posting on my blog. I want to represent New Yoga and the Trika Shaivite path in a helpful and correct manner. This post contains more philosophy explanation than usual, and sharing of awareness in an expanding field of dreaming. Would you kindly read it and guide me if there are any unhelpful misconceptions.I don't want to do this usually, but want ensure good foundation here.
My further meditations on my conjugated name, after your further explanation of Matrika, has been also fruitful. The awareness phonemic resoundings within me, revealed the same and extra affirmations or gestalts, as to the fuller richer phonemic connections and awareness within Nandimaan.Each these words emerging, had connections and meanings for me that I can explain further. I was formerly, bounded by thinking the meanings must all be similar from the same phoneme, and the phoneme should be initial. I do not now think so, in the rich field of the matrika. Am I right in this? Phonemes also appear to have context of an individuated self and parts of self, and also of a dialectical variant, for instance some spelt English phonemes, may differ as in Oxford, American, or Australian English, the phoneme itself being the same, however.
N - knowing, gnosis, inner, now, new
a - utter, as in completely, and as in speak, up, uh(?), or the "uh" grunt of effort, under
d - sudden, definite, distinctly, death, do, did, done, duh, dad,
door, dear, deem, dome, deep, Rod
i - it, his, writ, fit, hit, Chit, inner, is
m - man, reflective "mmm?", humming, the "mmm" of enjoyment, major, magnificent, melody, "mmm" of assent, approval, immer, most, maybe, mystic, magical, musical, the "mmm" of nursing a child to sleep, my, mother, Matrika, woman, Om.
aa - ahaa! of discovery, start, marvelous, heart, art, "aah" of
satisfaction, or pleasure, but also the ah! of pain, but as you point
out in Tantric Wisdom, inflected and said differently, revealing the
further rich and varied birthing potentials of the Matrika.
I meditate your inner name, Acharya,
R - regal, real, robust, rising, reaching, revealing, the re prefix with its connection of "again", in re-newing, re-cognising, re-awakening, re-incarnation.
a - the ah of care, the ah of reflection, the cautionary wait of being sure, before expression,. the ah of satisfaction, and the ah of expansion and expandedness, with wide open arms, Shivaya.
j - jewel, gem, just, Raj, refuge, age, as in an age of history.
m - Matrika, Ma Kali, magnificent, , a deep sounding resonating
reflective "mmm", and the "mmm" of pleasure, major, Om, woman, mane (of a lion), Mu of zen.
u - Mu, an "ooooh" of quiet singing to oneself, with a note of constancy and elongation, going on and on, "tut" - the German "do" and the English "do" too. Yes and "too" itself, there is always more. And of course "loom" (a meaning of 'tantra')of course, and "new".
To my awareness, these are all, Rajmu.
Thank you Acharya.
Since recognizing Shiva in ways beyond I had ever before, via the sharings of Acharya Peter Wilberg, my experience of the nature of dreaming is expanding. It is one of the three states of awareness, referred to in much yogic philosophy, as well as having much focus in other mystic paths. The concept of dreaming is often used in seeking to describe aspects of the nature of Reality.
I will digress for a moment about this term Reality. It is a term as I understand it, that is used in philosophical circles to refer to that which is finally and irreducibly the nature, source and ground of All, that includes Being and Non-Being, the Manifested and the Potential. In Trika Shaivism, and the New Yoga, a newly expressed and newly experienced awareness arising from that great path, this final and irreducible Reality is Awareness, known and experienced in its both manifested and potential nature.
The foundational sutra of this path is Sutra 1 of the Shiva Sutras:
Caitanyamatma – “Awareness is the Nature of the Self”
Atma has, as in many Sanskrit words, I am finding, more flavours than one. It is the term used to refer to the Self, and can, according to Jaideva Singh, also mean "nature". The above important sutra can be translated into English as "Awareness is the Nature", "Awareness is the Self", or in the manner above, to include both aspects of the word inherent.
Caitanya is sometimes translated as "consciousness". As Acharya Peter Wilberg explains, in English this has the possibly confusing and common reference to some implied content of which one is conscious of. It is an often used English equivalent and one that for a long time I had personal difficulty in application to understanding the nature of Reality. When I encountered the extensive and coherent use of the word "Awareness" (primordial and distinct from any content) in Peter Wilberg's teachings, it became as a key to Recognition for me. It may be no surprise then that I much prefer its use, and believe it to be a more correct term to describe in English, the meaning of the core Sanskrit word "caitanaya", even though I am on an early path, in acquainting myself with Sanskrit.*
"Awareness is the nature of the Self" would appear to be one of the most profound philosophical sentences ever translated from the ancient and philosphically profound language of Sanskrit, a sacred language, to another, English, the language currently becoming universal as a means of common communication around the planet.
That was some digression, but I hope its significance in relation to dreaming becomes clear.
Dreaming is a state of Awareness, dreaming is Awareness.
Dreaming is a connection to the field of Awareness.
Dreaming reveals both the qualities of manifestation and potentialty, that are inherent in Awareness.
We refer and relate to the Awareness Self in Trika Shaivism in the historically and richly expressive awareness- manifested personification of SHIVA. The birth ground of the infinite potentialities awaiting Awareness and the power and process by which they are manifested to Awareness, is referred to as Shakti, or in specific manifestions of that power as “shaktis”. In relation to dreaming specifically, “shaktis” bring forth manifestion from potential into awareness.
Shakti is depicted as the feminine, Shiva as the male aspect, but unlike the Western imaging, the patriarchical understandings of the "active" male, and "passive" female qualities is reversed, and more in the line of birthing, where the female mother is the very active bringing out of potential into manifestation and the male stands aside in care and wonderment at the manifestation, but neverthless without whom (Awareness) nothing could be.
And so within the limitations of all language in describing the Ineffable, we refer to Shiva-Shakti, to describe the richest "inner" aspect of the Great Awareness, Shiva, or more accuartely in the Trika Shaivite Tattvas as Paramashiva. This is the reason sometimes for Shiva being depicted in a transgender manner, or in other Shaivite paths with the female consort of Parvati. The whole of this inspired imagery is immensely "birthing", particularly within various Tantric understandings, as is well known.
Last night was the impetus for this post. I encountered qualities of dreaming awareness, in the process of being disturbed by a passing slightly noisy vehicle. In the half light of waking, the connection with the dreaming awareness can remain fruitfully strong. These are some reflections from that half waking experience.
The noise itself that awoken me revealed the constant movement and interplay of Awareness. It had a vibrational quality like the noise. All of this awareness, came not as some sort of inner dissertation but, all at once, suddenly so to speak. But to describe it, I must expand here. What was present-ed and the receiving was the All-Awareness. Was "I" the one receiving the awareness, or was "I" the truth discerned? On reflection, it was all Awareness, and any "I" was all of it, or none of it, from another perspective.. The "helping" that arises in dreaming, is the lessening of the waking I-That split, leading to a stirring of our fixed conceptions of what "is" or what "is not"., and the relation between. The New Yoga, in its statement of The Awareness Principle reveals anew the truth that Acharya Abhinavagupta stated, " "The being of all things that are recognised in awareness in turn depends on awareness." Subjectivity and phenomenon and the ultimate sheer intimacy between them, are what constitutes manifestation within Awareness. All is Awareness itself. “Awareness is the nature of the Self.”
The quality of all-at-onceness, or of timelessness as described by others, was apparent in my half wake/half asleep connection. This quality presents itself often as the experience of extended ‘time’ in dreaming, wherein as has been shown by dreaming research, actual time has been brief. It also presents itself as something being realised or understood all-at-once, rather than linearly. In this regard, I remember accounts of profound and complex solutions to mathematical, chemical and physical problems coming in dreamform to physicists and others.
This is powerful manifesting shakti indeed, unto our inner Shiva.
The other quality was that of boundedness and yet wider connectedness within the dream awareness field. The dream appeared to me to not be linear but “pocketed” as it were, as a whole, bounded as a “form” or “entity” of manifestation within awareness, yet was itself not separate from that wider field of Awareness. It is similar to ourselves as individuated expressions of awareness, within the Great Awareness, Shiva. It is diffficult to describe, but it is, as if, the dream is being birthed as an entirety and can be in a period of gestation of clarity, the “dream form” becoming clearer and more connected in meaning with development of one’s own awareness, outside of the dreaming state. This is not necessarily with the same content form, which can have delightful variation and evolution, so to speak. But the inner meaning connections and awarenesses of that dream form remain. For those experienceing undeveloped or “blocked” states of awareness, this may present itself as a static, same-presenting dream or indeed of nightmare form.
But in all of these dream experiences, one important outcome is a developing of our Awareness, even from the disturbing or shock aspect of a nightmare, itself full of meanings.
It is clear that many divine physical murtis have the same representative dreamlike qualities of meanings. And that this dream field of awareness, is like our own life journey of Awareness, developing, changing, ever birthing of newer and growing meanings. From my reading also, this field has connections to much deeper and greater embracing archetypal “forms”, “gods” or “entities”, yet to be further differentiated.
We are, in reality “walking with Shiva”, and experiencing the reality of his powerful ever birthing Shakti in our dreaming. This very important field of Awareness is not to be underestimated in our pursuit of well-being, growth, and the dissolution of ignorance, ajnana.
* Correct Sanskrit representation in English is done with various schemes. Sanskrit is a rich language and for its better appreciation I direct readers to the many Internet sites for its fuller appreciation of pronounciation and representation. My intent is to convey the meaning in English here, rather than its correct pronounciation or form in Sanskrit. I represent the Sanskrit simplistically here.
Let me say how glad I am at the simple fact that you are challenging yourself with writing in a more philosophical language. For the fact is that 'The Awareness Principle', as a new expression of Shaiva Advaita, is inseparable from the philosophical language in which it is itself worded and expressed.
I am also glad you have asked me to check for any "unhelpful misconceptions" - which I see as nothing more than part of my basic job - namely to take anything you write as an opportunity to offer you in return further, yet-more clarifying teachings. Yet this is above all important in considering the philosophical wordings needed to offer others a clear understanding of Awareness.
I see Chaitanyatma as one of the two or three "most profound philosophical sentences ever translated from the ancient and philosophically profound language of Sanskrit...".
Another is the one oft-quoted in my writings that comes from Sri Abhinavagupta himself: "The being of all things that are recognised in awareness in turn depends on awareness."
In a recent essay of mine I emphasise how this single statement represents the most explicit expression of a decisive turn in Hindu thought from a Vedantic 'onto-theology' of Being and Non-Being to an 'epistemo-theology' - one based on asking how it is that we can know of the existence of any thing or being, world or universe at all.
The answer of course, is through Awareness of it. This makes awareness as such into an apodictic or a priori 'first principle' of Reality. The first principle of 'The Awareness Principle' is that Awareness as such is the first principle of Reality. Where misconceptions of this understanding can arise is when Awareness or 'subjectivity' is still taken (as it always has been in the West) as something that is necessarily the property of a subject, or else as a relation of some subject to a world of 'objects'.
The Awareness Principle is a philosophy of absolute subjectivity in which there is no longer any place for 'objects', no need for conceiving awareness as something requiring a subject or subject-object relation. Think here of the very important message your own piece seeks to put over - that dreaming has the nature of an awareness field. As a field of awareness or subjectivity, everything emergent in that field must necessarily have the character of being itself a shape or form of that very subjectivity or awareness - in other words a subject, subjectivity or awareness in its own right. Awareness in other words, far from assuming the pre-existence of a subject or subjects is what first gives rise to individualised or localised subjects. I prefer the term 'subjectivity' or awareness rather than 'subject' however, since 'subject' suggests a type of punctiform or point-like ego or 'I'. Yet the main point remains - since dream 'objects' are essentially emergent aspect and shapes of a field of subjectivity or awareness, and since the very experience of these 'objects' is itself essentially subjective in character, whence the need to think or refer to them as 'objects' at all - rather than as subjectively experienced forms taken by the field of dreaming subjectivity or awareness itself - each of these differentiated forms being no mere object but a distinct subjectivity or awareness in its own right!
You hint at this yourself when you describe "both subject and object and the interaction between them" as "manifestation within Awareness" [my stress]. The Awareness Principle draws further conclusions from this Shaivist recognition of a sort that can finally render the very notion of 'objects' of consciousness, and the whole subject-object discourse philosophically redundant. Instead it draws on the language of 'phenomenology' and speaks instead of (subjectively experienced 'phenomena' of all sort - all arising from and coming to light within the potentialities latent in any field of awareness.
Note by the way that the Greek phainesthai, from which the term 'phenomenon' derives, has the same root verbal of 'being in the light' - the light of awareness). But I think also of a significant experience you described - that of the "vibrational quality" felt in connection with the "half-wake/half asleep connection" that you referred to. In this context, think here of a baby or very young infant (in-fans or 'non-speaker') lying half-awake in a cot. The infant does not name in words or even hear the sound of a bird singing or a car going by as a the sound of some distant 'subject' or 'object' - as 'a bird singing' or as 'a car going by' - but instead experiences those sounds as what I have termed a type of "inner vibrational touch", sensed exquisitely within their own felt body. In doing so the infant knows more than all philosophers put together - knows that what we think of as 'the bird' as nothing but vibration - the very embodiment of the sounds echoed of its singing, just as what we think of as 'a car' as a materialisation of the very "vibrational qualities" that 're-sound' in the sound of its passing by. The infant does not so much 'hear' these sounds as inwardly resonate - in most sensual, subtle and tactile bodily way - with their "vibrational qualities",as felt from within.
If there are any specific sentences in your piece which I see as bearing unnecessary conceptions therefore, it is therefore the following two:
"For manifestation in awareness, there must be a 'subject' that experiences awareness. And to experience what within awareness, some form or object is required, for differentiation."
Of course I know what you mean! But in philosophy it is forms of wording that are paramount - for it is within these that assumptions or misconceptions so often lie hidden - not least the age-old assumption that awareness presupposes subjects and/or objects of awareness. Yet - as the whole thrust of your piece shows you have clearly intuited - it is above all the nature dreaming awareness (neglected in som much philosphical literature on 'mind', 'cognition' etc.) that reveals both the all-embracing field character of subjectivity or awareness, and also the possibility of a type of objectless experiencing - by which I mean one in which there is no hard and fast boundary between the subjective experience of any particular dream event, figure, form or phenomenon and the self-experience of the dreamer. For everyone recognises that the entire dream and everything in it - and not just the 'dreamer' as 'subject' - has a fundamentally subjective character. What they do not wish to recognise is that the same applies to waking reality - except that here the illusion of a subject separate and apart from its objects in maintained - the illusion that defines the 'ego'.
Both the dreamt self and its apparent 'objects' are dreamings of the subjective awareness field itself - what I term 'subjectivities' or 'awarenessess'. The true dreaming self is thus not the ego, waking self or even the the dreamt self - it is the very field of dreaming awareness itself out of which all dream experiencing arises. Were the dreamt self to seek in an egoic way and as an egoic 'subject' to distance itself from and 'objectify' a particular subjectively experienced dream phenomenon, the dream itself would instantly collapse. One trigger for awakening from a dream is the return to egoic subjectivity (being 'a subject') and a type of objectifying thinking. This is also what makes dream recall such a subtle process. For the instant we begin to turn dream images into mere objects of thought or perception from the position of the waking ego or subject separate and apart from them - rather than staying within a "half-dreaming" subjectivity and letting the dream's images re-emerge within it - those image cease to arise and our recall is blocked!
A central precept of The Awareness Principle I hope these comments will help you to appreciate the wording of more deeply is the one that asserts that:
Awareness cannot - in principle - be reduced to the property or product - or relation - of any 'subject' or 'object', any self or thing, being or body that there is an awareness of.
This precept is in accord with both Shiva Sutras 1.1 and with the radical statement of Abhinavagupta that I re-cited.
It is in accord with SS 1.1 because if we are then to speak of any self or subject - rather than adopting the 'no-self' philosophy of Buddhism - we must understand that the essential nature of that self nothing but awareness as such - not an awareness which that self or subject 'has' but an awareness which that self or subject is.
The precept is also in accord with Abhinavagupta because when he states that: "The being of all things that are recognised in awareness in turn depends on awareness" this can be extended and paraphrased as saying "the being of all selves that are recognised in awareness in turn depends on awareness".
This brings us to another central precept of The Awareness Principle, namely:
Awareness cannot - in principle - be the property of any self we aware of or "recognise in awareness" - except of course that self which is nothing but that very awareness (Chaitanyatma).
For the further evolution of your philosophical language it may be helpful for you to re-read those sections of my book 'The Awareness Principle' which do nothing but spell out in different ways and over a series of consecutive pages its multiple precepts. Then (amongs several others) there is also my essay entitled 'Beyond the Religion of 'Objective Science'.
Now, and this may seem rather unfair given what I have just had to say about 'objects' of consciousness, I would also like to consider the statement of yours that:
"Awareness....does not require any content to 'be'."
On the most fundamental level (as explained in my essay on Awareness, Paramshiva and 'The Dreaming') this statement is profoundly true, since the timeless starting point of all that 'is' is precisely a primordial Awareness of Non-Being, understood as the Great Mother or Paramshakti - that womb of infinite, still unformed potentialities of awareness from which alone all things and beings first come to be.
Yet the very light of awareness in and through which they come to do so constitutes itself the primordial Awareness of Being that is Paramshiva - an awareness which gradually differentiates itself in the form of countless fields or planes of awareness (loka or worlds) and the countless beings and phenomena which constitute their 'contents'. As it does so however, the primordial awareness itself only "requires no content" in that it remains forever distinct from and thus transcendent of all its contents. At the same time however, it is inseparable from them.
That very boundary state or 'edge' of inseparable distinction is the exquisite and ecstatic bliss or ananda that unites sat and chit - satchitananda constituting the eternal and ongoing state of erotic contact uniting Shiva and Shakti. For just like the surface skin contact between two bodies enjoined in sexual embrace, sat-chit is a boundary state of inseparable distinction - one that both conjoins and distinguishes them. Just like two lovers, if they were to merge into completely undifferentiated unity lacking all distinction the very bliss of that contact would be lost, as it would also be if they merely existed as separate beings or 'subjects' in no contact with one another.
Another phrase in your piece I found most interesting and inviting of comment was where you wrote of a quality of "boundedness and yet wider connectedness within the dream awareness field" and of the "pocketed" nature of dreams. This connects to you earlier reference to dreaming as "a connection to the field of Awareness." Putting them together the first thought I felt I wished to share in response was that there are indeed fields-within-fields and pockets-within-pockets of awareness.
Identifying with the aware inwardness of anything that is - even a single atom - we experience its awareness that it is as a vast awareness field, itself filled with futher "pockets" of awareness (manifest as the phenomena present or emerging within that field). Through their 'pocketed' phenomena, fields of awareness open up and into further fields - thus acting as connecting portals to them. The very process of dreaming - of a dream situation unfolding or transforming - comes about through of the awareness 'pocketed' in a particular dream phenomenon transforming the entire field of dream experiencing, and/or or leading into another such field - another completely different dream or dream environment.
As bounded fields of awareness in themselves, "pockets" of awareness in turn containing further inner phenomena or pockets, entering which also take us ever more inward fields and ever-more inward pockets - a process leading us towards the absolute bindu point that I described in my earlier mail as a 'centre at infinity' of all fields and all pockets of awareness.
The very term "pocket" is a wonderful and excellent one - allowing us to think of pockets of awareness as the subjective equivalent and true essence both of so-called particles of matter and so-called 'quanta' or 'packets' of energy, and also in contrast to, yet also present within and containing their own fields of awareness. In retrospect there has long been a vague awareness of missing a naming word for this particulate or Shakti counterpart to 'planes' or 'fields of awareness'!!!
So you see, your philosophical discoursing is not just correct or incorrect, well-conceived or misconceived. For through such words as 'pockets' it also introduces a language of its own - one that is highly suggestive, intuitive and creative - in this case scientifically creative in the deepest and truest sense, furthering The Science of Awareness.
Last but not least, that very night in which you "encountered qualities of dreaming awareness in the process of being disturbed by a passing, slightly noisy vehicle" and realised that "In the half light of waking, the connection with the dreaming awareness can remain fruitfully strong" was co-incident in a most extraordinary way, revealing a connection between our pockets and fields of awareness. For in what I intuitively feel sure was the same 'time' corresponding to your experience in my time zone, I found myself entering and enjoying a long and sustained state of awareness-bliss, one uniting a 'dreamlike' field awareness with the most intensely awake experience of sensual bliss. This state lasted for about one and a half hours. The first hour was experienced sitting at a table by the windown in a restaurant near the sea front here in Whitstable. The last half hour was spent walking -"walking with Shiva" - whilst at the same time continuing to experience all things around me in space - 'material' and bodily - as inwardly felt qualities of dreaming awareness, yet sharpened to the point of almost orgasmic waking intensity by their erotic points and surfaces of contact with the surrounding space - the Shiva-field of pure awareness in which specific sights and sounds each embodied their own most specific form and qualities of awareness, their Shakti nature.
Where words often fail me is in describing such intense experiences of awareness as have come to me over the years and decades. For here, as in my experiences of inter-personal soul-body intercourse or maithuna it was the sensual intensity of the experience that was paramount, together with its sheer duration on the one hand and its dream- or trance-like character on the other. At yet it also was an experience of maithuna - not between me and another but between Shiva and Shakti as such, between pure awareness and its multiple manifestations and embodiments. This tantric intercourse was sensed as something going on all around me - at the triangular cornices of roofs, through the inner vibration touch of young children's voices, even just watching particular people eat and talk.
The episode began with a rather odd experience I have had many times - that of falling into a type of extraordinary blissful trance or 'swoon' merely by watching a particular person eat. The experience happens rarely because it doesn't happen just by watching anyone eat. I know immediately if the person is of this particular type and yet know not why (for they can differ totally in age, gender, class and manner). I can only hazard the hypothesis that I am sensing a particular quality of awareness bliss present in their physical soul - perhaps as a heightened activity of the 'parasympathetic' nervous system -albeit one clearly unbeknownst to the person themselves, for the persons that induce the 'swoon' give no sign of enjoying their food more than anyone else.
The connection with sound, felt as "inner vibrational touch" was most important in this experience of awareness-bliss. Thus the sound of a feisty little girl's voice felt was within me as vibrating with unique intensity of tonal qualities which seemed to touch me with the entire power of The Mother (whilst in contrast, her biological mother, also present, felt totally dead and lacking in Shakti). Then there was the calm demeanour of a middle-aged but man sitting at the table next to ours, who, though not in any way fat, felt as if he embodyied a most mellow, full and rounded soul-bodily calmness and quiescence - yet with a core of vitally within totally absent in his wife and revealed only by some hidden spark in his occasionally darting eyes and shifts of expression. The animated facial expressions of a woman talking at a table outside the window next to which we were sitting, evoked - each time I looked at her face - a lightning flash opening of a vast spacious expanse of pure awareness space around her seemingly compact and bounded body. The rather plain electric ceiling lights of the restaurant - though it was still evening light outside - were sensed as streaming the most intense rays of light-bliss-vitality into my eyes. Walking home, the triangular roof angles and vertex of a most plain and boring warehouse-type building were sensed as exquisite ecstasies - like lightning conductors of Shakti. The seemingly countless shale tiles of another building with a large roof surface - all the tiles slightly separated from one another without mortar visible - I heard as a chorus of Shaktis. The topmost part of a fur tree - leaning inward slightly toward a row of similar trees - was sensed as its laughter. The rough textures of brick, stone and tarmac felt as gritty textures of awareness. And then the sky with its swifts, swirling and swooping in the evening light. Not birds flying though space - but space flying through birds! And Shiva as the sky and the emptiness of space itself - a pure awareness freely embracing the most diverse sensorium of buildings and bodies - and in an 'electrically' charged, divine-erotic contact with each and every thing and body in space. No ugliness at all in this 'sensorium' - even the grey-metal aggregate silo that is the 'eye-sore' in our harbour, there to receive and funnel gravel along steeply inclining conveyor belts from the ships that transport it there. Instead feeling, as this very body, the very 'mettle' of its soul - as texture of its metal.
And so on.... Yet having already spoken of sensed electrical charge, I must just add that as we finally arrived at our home (the whole episode felt timeless in itself) the large and strangely metal structure that is an electrical 'sub-station' transformer right by one side of our house - appeared quite literally as a deity murti - indeed as the inner powerhouse of the house itself. And connecting to a particular box type structure that formed part of it, I beheld a row of thick electrical connectors inserted firmly into corresponding row of sockets as a series of Shiva-linga and Shakti-yoni - and both saw and felt in them an extrordinarily powerful 'powerflow' between Shiva and Shakti - occurring in front of my very eyes.
God, as Awareness - as Shiva - is truly Everything. Everything, truly, is a particular manifest or embodied awareness - a Shakti. And everything too is a murti - a material idol or materialisation of divinity -charged with the divine contact and intercourse of Shiva and Shakti, and revealing the singular and divine reality that is Shiva-Shakti.
Om Paramshiva Namaha!
Om Paramshakti Namaha!
Ha! Ha! Mahadev!!!
Thank you for your instructive and clarifying response, in reference to my proposed post. Thank you greatly also for the sharing of your precious samadhi experience, to which I will return shortly.
But I will first speak of my further reflections arising from your comments. I now realize, as you have indicated a number of times, my intuitive understandings often precede my initial ability or knowledge to fully express them succinctly, but I indeed have a good teacher, and the reason I sent the post for review. The language of philosophy needs to be as precise as we can make it, yet seeking to avoid abstruseness that loses the reader. It is a challenge, as well as a responsibilty to express as well as we can, these subtleties of awareness and phenomenon.
In seeking to express the inner process and relationships of Shiva-Shakti, and the greater Tattva of Paramashiva, and all the others, one learns by applying, by doing, accompanied by intention, and gracious feedback from fine teachers. I have reviewed and sought to express more clearly the post, which I include. I trust it is clearer, not perfect, but clearer. And I have learnt more in the whole process. Thank you. If I receive no futher clarification of the post, I will post it in a few days.
As you recounted your samadhi experience, that occurred at about the same time as my own dream journeying, my eyes filled with tears, tears of joy really. Your description is as clear as anyone could make it, of an experience that I think is very difficult to express. I have never encountered that sort of length to date, but briefly in the past I have glimpsed this samadhi elevation, the view where All is filled with transcendent meaning and appearance, and no doubts remain, bliss the answer. My tears have a longing in them, a longing to know this taste of bliss further.
I will share an awareness that came to me, as I continued to reflect on your experience. I thought of the odd manner of its introduction, its precursor, or sign, that arises - observing others eating, not at all always, but as you explain with some particular but as yet unknown connection or reference. Ma Kali came to mind, the One who "eats" time (and one I am yet to fully acquaint) and the one also you have such a strong awareness and experience of. In this respect, to me it is not surprising that such a "timeless" experience be introduced, triggered or "announced" in such a manner, and that there is no specific person gender, age connection apparent. The very experience is global and
embraces all. I smile greatly for you.
Om Paramshiva Namaha!
Om Paramshakti Namaha!
Ha! Ha! Mahadev!!!
Thank you for your wise and insightful awareness linking my experience of observing certain people eating with Kali "as the One who 'eats' time" and noting that therefore "...it is not surprising that such a "timeless" experience be introduced, triggered or "announced" in such a manner, and that there is no specific person gender, age connection apparent."
I enjoyed re-reading your forthcoming post, and particularly liked the analogy between Shakti as the birthing mother and Shiva as the male standing aside in care and wonderment - literally making space for The Mother to manifest.
I also noted with interest the connection you made between types of dream manifestation and physical murtis. Having recently had a quite long and intellectually intense discussion with a highly intelligent and knowledgeable Buddhist scholar of the Mahamudra school, I find myself once again meditating the relation of Buddhist and Hindu Tantra, in particular the relation of Buddhist and Hindu approaches to 'puja' - understood within Tantric Buddhism as 'deity yoga' - and indeed seen as the most advanced form of yoga, rather than the most elementary or populist.
For the Buddhists however, deity yoga seems less a form of worship than a mere 'technique', one based on the yogin's 'own' mental projection and identification with a particular god-images rather than on experiencing the murti as a knowing and aware 'projection' of the divine as such - manifesting itself in bodily form (as in dreams) precisely so as to make possible an intimately personal and embodied communion between worshipper and worshipped, one in which both know themselves and each other as embodiments of a singular divine and trans-personal awareness.
The embodied, inter-subjective, personal and relational dimensions of this supreme, trans-personal awareness seem generally under-emphasised in the Buddhist literature, as is also the understanding of relationship - both to other human beings and to the divine - as an end in itself and no mere technical method or 'means to an end'. I have also seen how looseness of language leads to some teacher of 'Mind-Only' Buddhism tending to solipsism and speaking or 'your mind' or 'my mind' - despite their philosophy of 'no-self'!
These are some initial thoughts which this letter has given me a welcome opportunity to begin to formulate - but which I hope to develop and refine further. For my discussion with the Buddhist scholar had resonances of an ancient dialogue. He himself recognised the debt owed to the sages of Kashmir Shaivism by the Buddhist Mahasiddhas and the Mahamudra school - which are indeed resonant in many respects. I began to perceive the two traditions as a head with two faces, united but facing in opposite different directions, with each expressing a qualitatively different relation to and experience of pure awareness, one echoed in subtle but deeply significant differences of language and terminology.
I feel a new opportunity and desire to use The Awareness Principle to clarify these historic but still evident similarities-in-difference and differences-in-similarity.
It would be very fruitful indeed, it would appear to me for you to pursue this difference-similarity of the two paths. You have again succinctly expressed the issue, that I fully comprehend and agree with from the position of Kasmiri Shaivism. They are so close in so many respects,( as thus far I have comprehended both}, particularly in regard to the Tantric traditions.
I have encountered some papers in the past, one in particular that examined in a short but convincing statement of the issue of Atman and Anatman and how it appeared as if the same experience was being described but from different perpectives, and different language and perhaps from different levels of Awareness "phenomenon".
Unfortunately, I can't find the paper yet but will keep looking. I remember its principle point was the ultimate nature of the Annutara, from the Buddhist Mahamudra viewpoint was, as you know, empty or void of defining attributes, a non-Self, - but that when pressed they deny it is a nihilistic concept and finally speak of a Void that is a Plenum, a Potentiality. The writer compared the Hindu concept of Brahman, which I understand from our path's point of view, is descibed as the Anuttara, and how it is described by the Hindu scholars, as having Selfhood, but also ultimately, as indefinable and without boundary, (Void, Empty, but not at all nihilistic) yet expressed from that Great Potential, the Great "Mother" as Atman.
It was this very point that was critical for me in deciding or following either of these two great paths of scholarly understanding. Madyamika Buddhism, its Tantric expression in Tibetan Tantra and in Zen. Anuttara kept bothering me. Whatever "It" was, Its phenomenal experience, Its highest living expression in man, Its mirroring reflection, was via SELVES, how could IT be less? How could relationship, the essence of growth and evolving, be other than relationship of our "selves" with that GREAT SELF. This was how I conceived it before you enabled the great step forward into Recognition of Shiva, and That One's Awareness, our awareness. Om Namah Shivaya.
Can we put a boundary on Awareness, can we ultimately define it? Of course not. Yourself, Abhinavagupta, and all the Hindu or Buddhist sages can with their wonderful skills and awareness seek to point it out, as best and as clearly as possible, but Grace alone finally brings recognition, as it must. It can appear as a Void, and the reference to space as a means to Awareness underlines this, but experientially, phenomenally, it is a Self recognition, the Aha, the Final Gestalt!This is how it has has appeared to me. Kindly guide me in any unhelpful lack of precision in description or conception.
Sri Abhinavagupta's bringing together of the Tattvas I have seen now, is greatly signiifcant in this regard, in elucidating the levels of differentiation. My acqauintance with them is still growing.I note quite coincidentally,(as appears to be happening frequently at present) that in my post I asked you to review, a similar blurring of reference occurred. I think I was conceiving of Awareness at one point, as Anuttara, prior to differentiation, which was not appropriate for the "level" of awareness I was trying to describe and about which you guided me.
Your wonderful ability to express and cohere these concepts strikes me frequently. If these two paths were to re-cognize each other more embracingly, it is Acharyas like yourself that would enable it further. So I can only express full agreement with any sankalpa that may be forming in this relation.
I also was wondering about my experience of the Matrika that I shared, of your and my inner names. Particularly the thought of it not necessarily being an initial phoneme that enables a wider awareness. I wondered if I was stepping beyond what was "correct" in this. However I felt a definite and appreciative freeing within, as I followed my awarenesses and inner connections and recognitions.
Attached are the first, still unproofed fruits of my dialogue with the learned Buddhist - now addressing several aspect of Buddhism in the light of The Awareness Principle.
A new essay entitled ‘Dependent Origination’, Mahamudra and Deity Yoga – Aspects of Buddhism in the Light of ‘The Awareness Principle’.
Far from comprehensive in any way, but already delving deeper than I have ever done into the divergence of the two paths. Given what you wrote concerning the intimate significance of this theme for you, and my own profound interest in it, it will be most interesting for me to see what you read in it - what the most significant wordings in it are that communicate to you, and/or clarify questions for you.
Do please also share with me any questions it may still seem to you to leave unresolved - or any parts of it that are in any way unclear to you or raise new questions.
"Can we put a boundary on Awareness, can we ultimately define it?" Whence the need to do so? It is after all the most primordial reality already known, without words, to all beings - namely that primordial awareness of being without which they would not know themselves or any other being to be in the first place.
I think my piece on Buddhism will offer ample enough to meditate in itself!!! But in response to your last letter I have also taken the opportunity to send you also some further material (mainly derived from Seth and Rudolf Steiner) on sound and sounds for your perusal - thinking particularly of one pertinent citation it contains from Rudolf Steiner (see below) regarding following all the successive sounds in a word.
This points in a significant way to my understanding and experience of mantric utterance as 'slowed speech', with each and every sound in a word so sustained and elongated in its silent utterance and in-vocation that it is experienced as a mantra and mudra in its own right - altering the entire quality of our awareness and the entire shape of our soul body simply by silently mouthing it and miming it. Then too, the ever-so-slow and incrememental transition from one mouth shape and sound to another can come to be experienced as a transition from one tone of feeling to another, one distinct face of the soul or Mahatma to another, one inner bearing of the soul body to another - and one innate quality of awareness or divine tattva to another...
Rudolf Steiner: "If we follow the successive sounds as they occur in a single word, entering into the real nature of this word as it originally arose out of the whole being of man, then we can experience all possible shades of feeling, the ecstasy of joy, the depths of despair; we can experience the ascending and descending of the whole scale of human emotions, the whole scale of perception of external things."
In the Buddhist doctrine of Dependent Origination, I was always felt uneasy about the seeming non sequitor of emptiness of identity in their conclusions, incorrectly concluded from the important fact of definitional and actual interrelationship. Your statements express and elicit in me the further resolving and clarification of that uneasiness. And the concept of sunyata has rich but not final tones to be acknowledged, - "the character of spacious and luminous emptiness recognised in Buddhism – these being transcendental qualities of awareness as such."
My own explorations show a distinct variabilty of the Buddhists' own interpretation of this doctrine, and you refer to the possible cause - the "pervasive looseness of language and lack of clear differentiation in the use of even such basic terms such as ‘mind’, ‘consciousness’, ‘awareness’ and ‘experiencing’". (As I read on, you gave some clear and telling examples of this problem. They unfortunately, often stumble over themselves, a clear indication to me of a difficulty in the doctrine itself, as expressed. The difficulties dissolve as fog in the sun, with the your much clearer Recognition enabling perception of the Mahamudra.
Anyway, I understand Buddhists generally to mean that because everything is interdependent, and nothing is finally definable as an entity in itself alone, it is therefore "empty" of Identity. But I ask, and as you correctly argue, is there no experiential selfhood (+A)a selfhood that in its richness is precisely fulfilled by its life context, its (-A). We are in essence(+/-A).
They are , in a sense, correct about separable identity, but trapped, as it were by the inseparateness of the equation. If we are defined as an identity by our relationship with everything else, we cannot be finally "separated out" to a distinct bounded identity, which is a fine answer perhaps to the Western scientific method in its excessive surety of separate things, but it is not an answer to the rich understanding of interelationship in the experience of selfhood. Because something cannot be defined exactly, because its boundaries are blurred, (a very quantum quality also) because it cannot be separated out, does not at all mean that there is not a fully interelational, /experiential/ self at whatever level of differentiated phenomenon of selfhood we are talking about, unto the Great Awareness Self of Shiva. Indeed,"Identity is not nullified by interrelation. It is defined, enriched, and fulfilled by interelation, taking "the form of a specific potentiality of awareness – a potential form, shape and pattern of awareness imbued with individual tonalities and qualities of awareness."
The following summary statement in relation to meditation has further clarified it for me, and I will use it in sharing with others.
"One of the principal purposes of Practices of Awareness that stem from The Awareness Principle is to remove the long-standing misconception that meditation is about focusing or ‘concentration’ – rather than restoring and resting in a spacious and expansive field of de-centred awareness - one that does not concentrate on or lose itself in any fixed focus or centre of awareness."
Incidently, I was explaining to Joann, a friend of mine, to whom I have indicated the New Yoga site, your understanding of awareness, and I must have been doing a fruitful work, as she said,"Yes that sounds like Heidegger", whom I had not mentioned at all. She had encountered him on her university studies years ago, under a fine lecturer apparently. I was pleased, though my grasp of Heidegger is still embryonic in terms of his terminology etc, but apparently not in terms of his meaning. I'm learning and explaining Heidegger and I don't realise it, thanks to you.
Your third section, outlining the differences of approach between Deity Yoga and Murti Darshan has much and "stretches" me. The explaining and comprehending of this most subtle and deep tantric experience, which you have introduced me to, is where I find my questions in trying to consolidate my learning here I experience its reality, to convey this embodied encountering and understanding is still difficult. It is not projection of "mind", it is not our awareness field, we are speaking of, we do not possess it.
Let me talk of images and physical murti, our own shared murti of Shiva. Om Namah Shivaya.
1. It is one of the finest murtis, as I have expressed before. What if it is not, as some I have seen as I have looked around? The fineness of the representation, or lack of it, or difference of it,what does this say about awareness embodiment, how is it to be understood?
2. If one is focussed on an image of someone in meditation, is this an equal form of awareness embodiment? You have helped me to see , and I practice, looking at my own image in the mirror, sometimes after being before the Shiva murti, practice awareness of Shiv in presenting in the image of myself in my awareness. This has manifested powerful shakti at times. Ultimately I understand, this leads to the Recognition of Shiva and the Great Seal, inherent in all we experience.How correct is this understanding? ( I think I answer my own question here.)
3. Awareness is everything, everything is an awareness. Does whatever we open our awareness to, greater or lesser in nature, enable shakti manifesting, of that greater or lesser? Does this impinge upon what we open our awareness too, do we need to be careful about our awareness space that we in part enable and bring about?
I will read and study next the article "Sources for a New Yoga of Sound".
You are absolutely right and make a good point when you write that the Buddhists:
"...are , in a sense, correct about separable identity, but trapped, as it were by the inseparateness of the equation. If we are defined as an identity by our relationship with everything else, we cannot be finally "separated out" to a distinct bounded identity, which is a fine answer perhaps to the Western scientific method in its excessive surety of separate things, but it is not an answer to the rich understanding of interelationship in the experience of selfhood. Because something cannot be defined exactly, because its boundaries are blurred, (a very quantum quality also) because it cannot be separated out, does not at all mean that there is not a fully interelational, /experiential/ self at whatever level of differentiated phenomenon of selfhood we are talking about, unto the Great Awareness Self of Shiva."
Thank you for taking the care to formulate the three interesting questions you shared regarding murti, and awareness embodiments and spaces in general.
Below are some considerations that came into mind in response:
Response to Question 1:
Just as there are of course more or less well or poorly constructed buildings and cars, sentences and philosophies, books - and indeed human bodies - so there are also more or less well or poorly constructed murti. That does not mean they are not all awareness embodiments - shaktis. It means only that the awareness embodied in them is at the same time in some way confined or distorted by them, and/or that they are an inadequate reflection and recognition of awareness. A lack of refinement in a murti reflects a confinement of the awareness out of which it was crafted. In this very specific sense only, an awareness embodiment can, paradoxically, embody a lack of awareness. With respect to a murti, this lack can, to different degrees, be made up for by the awareness with it is approached and through which it is beheld. Yet the greater the degree of independently heightened awareness with which a murti needs to be approached to make up for its lack of refinement in representation, the lesser its actual role in murti darshan as a vehicle through which of the highest, greatest and most refined awareness can itself embody itself and flow towards us.
Response to Question 2:
In question one you already distinguish between "lack" on the one hand and "difference" on the other. This is an important distinction in relation to you question 2. Through the reflected image of one's face and eyes in a mirror one can come to perceive in them felt differences in one's self and body as a whole, as an 'awareness embodiment'. Thus the eyes may shine more brightly with awareness, reveal greater or lesser depths of awareness, a greater or lesser spaciousness and expansiveness of the awareness one experiences as one's body, and a greater or less degree of embodiment of the awareness that one is (both as an individual portion of the Great Awareness and as the Chaitanyatman - that Self that knows itself as an expression and portion of that great and deep awareness). Here too we are talking of 'difference' in terms of degrees, depths or intensities of awareness and the embodiment thereof. Yet there are differences of another sort also - though not mutually exclusive - which have to do with individuality and individual differences. These come to expression primarily in meditating a physical or mental image of someone else - with the intent to let the awareness that one is flow into and inhabit that image, assuming its shape, thus coming feel its 'difference' - its highly individual qualities of awareness. In the process one may also come to inwardly sense regions of a person's body which reveal difference in the form of lack - whether a lack awareness per se, a lacking quality or intensity of awareness or, again, a lacking degree of embodiment of awareness as such. Thus awareness may be seen and sensed as more or less fully present and embodied in a person, and as coming more or less to the fore - quite literally - in their face and eyes. If you look at a person's eyes the very 'I' that looks out through them may sensed as lying some distance behind them. This gives the eyes a dead, glazed or simply neutral look to the eyes, but even highly and seemingly vital eyes can conceal the 'I'. Letting awaresss flow into a person's body as a whole one may sense a gradual diminution of intensity of awareness from the head downwards - often felt by the person themselves as as black hole or sense of emptiness in the belly region, or an unwillingness to let awareness go down into their abdominal space - or further. They may also be more or less present at the surface or forefront of their face. Many 'wear' their face as a mask Persona, their awareness lying behind it to a certain degree - even an gaugable distance of inches. I often have to encourage people to bring their awareness to the forefront of their facial skin surface.I also have to teach them quite literally to feel their own eyes (rather than just looking out through and seeing with them). Only in this way can they come to really feel themselves in their eyes rather than behind them. I then also have to teach people to let their awareness stream out through and from their eyes towards another - the streaming awareness light of the gaze. Conversely, it may take me several minutes intense gazing into the pupil of a single eye of a person (often the right eye) for my own awareness gaze to penetrate it deeply enought to seek out and find the 'I' that is hiding behind that eye - even whilst looking out through it!
Response to Question 3:
You express two questions here. In response to the first ("Does whatever we open our awareness too, greater or lesser in nature, enable shakti manifesting...?) my answer is absolutely affirmative.
Anything we deeply open our body to an awareness of - or let our inner bodily awareness flow into - will reveal itself as an extrordinary awareness embodiment in its own right. Just coming to feel
one particular sensory quality of a thing such as its shape, texture or unique colour tone - for example its particular tone or hue of red or of blue - will reveal that very colour tone and hue
as a most profound quality of awareness. Indeed just holding the mental image of a particular colour hue before one's mind eye, as if painting the inner surface of one's forehead with it and beholding it
with one inner or third eye, can take one into the colourless but aware insideness of that colour, allowing one to experience it as the expression of a completely different colouration of awareness. If lets this colouration of awareness flood and pervade one's inwardly felt body, it can transform our entire awareness of both body and self. The same of course, applies to sounds, shapes and textures. But colours in particular are literally portals to different planes of awareness.
This brings me to the second part of your third question: "Does this impinge on what we open our awareness too, do we need to be careful about our awareness space that in part enable and bring about?" Again my answer is affirmative. But careful doesn't have to mean cautious or avoidant. True, there are many things - for example many places, buildings and even human beings on the street - whom I would not dream of opening my awareness to or entering the awareness space of. In fact I guard myself against doing so. On the other hand, were the same human being whose confined, distorted or poorly embodied or misshapen awareness I immediately recognise on the street to come to me for help or healing, I would have no hesitation in doing quite the opposite - allowing myself to fully open myself to and enter their awareness space and shape, and to fully feel from within the very imperfections or ugly 'impurities' of awareness that I see from the outside - precisely in order to embrace and transform them with a different awareness. This is the healing application of tantric pair meditation. Similarly, we can actively impart new, clearer or more refined qualities of awareness to a space or place, thus clearing or freeing it of residual impurities. Just as a room can be cleared of a smell or bad air so can it be cleared of a residual bad atmosphere, one tainted by the limitations or distortions of awareness embodied by those who dwell or dwelled in it. Be clear however, that when I speak in terms of 'impurities', I am not talking of anything innately bad or evil. A garbage bin can smell bad - indeed 'stink to hell' - but that does not mean it is 'bad' or comes from hell! That said, the whole question of good and evil, heaven and hell is another question in its own right. I have addressed this question in its metaphysical fundamentals in my book on 'Terror, Tantra and the Ultimate Metaphysics of Awareness'. To be sure, there is no such thing as intrinsic evil. Yet just as there are many places on earth or even in one's locality that one would not choose to go - except for a very good reason, and with the necessary guarding awareness - so there are also planes of awareness one would not choose to enter without such a very aware intent and purpose. This was understood by early shamans as it was indeed by the Christian Church - albeit in a way often distorted or rendered impure by notions of intrinsic evil.
Hope this is helpful.
Thank you for your reply to my questions.
In your response to my first question, about murtis of varying lesser
quality, you said,
."...the awareness embodied in them is at the same time in some way confined or distorted by them, and/or that they are an inadequate reflection and recognition of awareness. A lack of refinement in a murti reflects a confinement of the awareness out of which it was crafted.
This has stirred my thought further, if I may expand my reflection again on the question. If I behold a rough-looking murti indeed, unrefined,and poorly executed, the murti remains a form of equally poorly-formed sankalpa of the artisan/devotee. As such it appears that it will not be as great or as helpful means (upaya) or mudra in bringing about or sealing Recognition, as the more inspired creation.
However, as the small powerstation next to your home, not even intended as a murti, became a deep and rich shakti form of awareness for you - anything can become as Shiva-shakti for us. Paradoxically it appears, that greater the Recognition, the less refined upaya is actually needed (though not seeking the rough expression, particularly for puja), and the everything that is an awareness, becomes similar to the experiences and means described in the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, as also in your teaching of the New Yoga.
My awareness is equal and the same, whether I am beholding a most wonderful, or a most wretched murti creation, or even one that was not intended.
"There is an awareness of refined beauty of fine and devout craftsmanship", "There is an awareness of roughness and poor execution".
Is it more the lesser or greater enabling of the shakti power of manifestation of meaning for us?
It appears the refined form will allow or enable the powers inherent in Awareness to flow more effectively and helpfully, but the grace of Shiva can yet bring to Recognition from a stone, or no stone at all. I also think of the Awarenesses you received from the writer you mentioned recently, that slaughtered the English tongue in translation and wrote most poorly.
Shiva is indeed the Concealed and the Revealed One, with the movements of his shakti manifesting.
Further, the murti and our selection of it, is too a refelection of our own sankalpa to honor and adore and be with That One, with the highest flow of inherent and free shakti power that we help enable with our murti choice, so in our daily puja, we may draw most easily to Shiva's side and await Him. I still search for a physical murti, one through whom Shiva will continue to expand awareness for me, hopefully clearly and often. This would appear to be through both my, and the artisan/devotee's conjoined sankalpa, as happens also with my iconic form of your own shared and loved physical murti.
Om Nama Shivaya!
Thank you for your further reflections and questions. You are right to raise them, for there are always questions within questions - and in any 'answers'!
In principle I agree with all you write. My intent was only to emphasise the state of independently heightened or intensified awareness needed to perceive
Shiva in the form of a poorly crafted murti. If Shiva freely grants us such an intensified state of awareness - one that can brings out the Shakti even of a poor murti, or as you point out, any 'thing' (like the electricity sub-station) that is one thing.
Yet if the form of a murti is so much in resonance with His nature and transcendental qualities of awareness that, conversely He can independently shine through that murti - then I believe the ideal purpose and potential of the murti in the darshan is more adequately fulfilled - precisely that of providing a reliable means and a channel for Shiva to bring about a state of expanded and intensified awareness.
For me intensities of awareness bestowed by Shiva are "the lesser or greater enabling of the shakti power of manifestation..." you refer to.
"My awareness is equal and the same, whether I am beholding a most wonderful, or a most wretched murti creation."
I cannot say this is true for me. I have use the word intensity of awareness with intent in this letter - since though awareness is of course always
"equal and the same" in the sense of being One, for me it is certainly not equal and the same in terms of both intensity and specific
Thus my darshan with the no less artful but very different murti in our mandir has invariably a wholly different quality and qualitative intensit to my darshan with the murti in my study. The difference in their respective forms allows very different transcendental qualities of awareness to be experienced - in a highly intensified manner - through them.
That is why I conduct mandir darshan less regularly - but also tend to give it more time and ritual preparation - and always accompany it with recorded songs (The Sacred Chants of Shiva sung by the Singers of the Art of Living) than lend it a particularly conducive sonic and mantric atmosphere.
For some time there's been an awareness of wanting to ask you whether you have or already make of use the potentials made possible by musical and/or sung
accompaniment to your own murti darshan.
So I was glad to find that the CD's I had so much wished you to enjoy and appreciate as accompaniments too and intensifiers of murti darshan are now more easily available than when I first sought to look them up on the web.
Below are links to two that I occasionally use with my study murti - in particular the first, for its powerful and ancient resonances, though I have a sense you personally will also will love sections of the second one too, which is very different - and includes stretches of beautifully spoken Sanskrit.
Rudram - Vedic Chants in Praise of Lord Shiva with Ghanam rendering (see details attached)
Shiv Shambho (artist Pandit Jasraj)
I was delighted also to find a web-page allowing a full length 'play' of the 'Sacred Chants of Shiva' - albeit, unfortunately in reverse order to the CD itself, which I think is a pity since I find the initial and relatively short 'stotra' as a perfect 'build up' to the relatively very long Om Namah Shivaya chant. Yet since you could hook up your computer to external speakers no CD would be needed - and you may be perfectly happy to listen to the songs in the order they play on the webpage.
Coming back to your last letter, you relate our discussion about murti to Shiva's concealment, his revelation in concealment and concealment in revelation. To me this aspect of the Shaiva tantras raises and offers clues to the whole of question of the place of unawareness (or lesser more limited awareness) the world, and its non-dual relation to awareness. How can this relation be explicated in a clear way?
Below is part of another letter I wrote recently in which I gave a response to the following question relating to the awareness/unawareness issue:
Question: "Shiva and Shakti both are dancing within us, as our being, how then am I able to feel that it is possible to hinder awareness of their glorious dance? Is it that when we are not aware of shiva-shakti united within our individualised being, that the power of creativity is not thoroughly active? I can't believe that this is true, still to be aware and to be unaware, is such a tremendous difference. If Shiva-Shakti creativity is hindered by men's delusion, is the answer to be again found in the assumption that we are separated performers, where we as persons intrude the awareness of the glorious dance of Shiva-Shakti, positioning us as a obstructive third actor, receiver, giver? I wonder, if all individual souls were in full awareness, away from the mental delusion of being separate actors, possessors, fully residing, roaming in free extensive light, rather than ruling, grabbing, holding onto, exploiting and intentionally egocentrically destroying natures beauty the very space we live in - would mother earth be cleared, moving itself to long-yearned shift of awareness?"
"There are profound questions here, which again, go to the very heart of Kashmir Shaivist understandings of Shiva and Shiva-Shakti. Here some reflections: If an actor did not, through their acting engage in loving identification and embodiment with each part or ‘person’ they perform or personify on stage, how could those personae be brought to life, and how could both the awareness – and unawareness – of those personae be revealed? Outside their theatrical life, actors too of course are persons – they have off-stage as well as on-stage personae. Shiva alone is the ultimate actor – the sole true acting self – as opposed to any acted self or person. Yet like the actor’s creativity, how could Shiva’s creativity (as the acting self) manifest itself were he not, like an actor, to give life to countless parts and persons, not only actual persons but all the still potential persons yearning for actualisation within the womb of the potential - and the unique potential qualities of awareness they each personify?
Persons are not obstructive third actors or performers which hinder awareness through delusion. They are those creatively acted or performed selves by which the ultimate and divine acting self – Shiva – freely acts and lives out the creative potentials of the awareness that He is. True, an acted self takes on a life of its own, with its own unique potentials and with its own limitations of awareness. If it did not take on this life of its own how could beings be free and autonomous Shaktis of Shiva? And if they did not possess unique individual limitations of awareness how could they give birth to new and unique potentialities of awareness by the life process of overcoming those limitations?
The Shaiva tantras recognised the significance of Shiva's self-concealment and self-limitation in all things as well as his manifestation in all things. For it Awareness were not concealed, confined or limited by limited form and identity, neither could it overcome and transcend the limitations of form and identity. Life itself is this very process of awareness both creatively expressing and limiting or concealing itself through form and identity, precisely in order to expand itself - to both transform identity, and to give birth to new, potential forms and identities. Thus form and identity as such are therefore not limitations or hindrances to the creative expansion of awareness – to the dance of Shiva-Shakti. That is why, if all individual souls on the stage of this world were “in full awareness” they would know themselves not as single identities but as multiple identities or ‘multipersons’ - yet at the same time knowing each and all of their identities as expressions of the singular awareness that is Shiva. God and awareness are always more than what already is because the realm of potential reality (including potential persons) always holds more, and in the same way that empty space is always more than what it embraces and contains, and yet is precisely that which makes space for them to be - as formed and thereby limited and concealed manifestations of itself (each revealing qualities latent in the apparent emptiness of pure awareness."
This is just a beginning in newly addressing this question of awareness/unawareness, but I am pleased to have made that beginning, and would also be pleased to receive any further reflections and questions it raises in you.
Thank you for your further expansion on "intensities of Awareness".
My statement about Awareness being "equal and the same" before whatever murti, was poorly expressed as to my thought context, and was meant in the sense you went on to explain. I was seeking to underline the priority of awareness, -"there is an awareness of..., ugliness,beauty, etc.". It was the better and clearer expression that I was exploring, rather than any questioning of the awarenesses that you shared.Let me rewrite a statement (using some of your own helpful words also) in order to be clearer (hopefully) and more precise:
The greater a murti, with its devout craftmanship and expression, (and other puja "mudras" in music , setting, etc)is in resonance with the nature and transcendental qualities of Awareness, Shiva, then greater is the ideal purpose and potential of the murti in Murti Darshan fulfilled, with more flowing Shakti manifestation and raised in-tensity in the jiva's awareness.This does not mean that intensities of awareness do not occur outside Murti Darshan, or even with a poorer murti, but these moments arise more from a heightened and expanded inner awareness, rather than via a more accessible, "channelled", resonating, craftmanship or external setting. When intense awareness in lesser settings is experienced, as in samadhi. it is usually within such a one as who has expanded their own awareness with regular devout resonance with Shiva Awareness, and Murti Darshan itself.
Thank you Acharya, for the links to the music gifts. I have also subscribed to the sender of them on YouTube. I have begun listening to them and even though not in puja, the shakti being expressed in them is very strong indeed. I will explore for an English translation. But simply as divine sound and vibration, Shiva-Shakti is revealed in the chanting. I will eagerly explore them. As your gift did not arrive, I have just begun to expand my musical puja contributions. I have been using my own limited collection in puja, some of which I shared with you. Your links are most timely.
I have been seeking steadily a murti, and found a store up north near my sister's who lives some hours away. It was created by two gay men, one of whom is a practicing Buddhist. Much Buddhist wares, which I have encountered a lot, but also a good collection of Hindu puja items and resources. There were some Shiva statues and Nataraj forms but none had the requisite resonance in me, unfortunately. However, I was able to buy a mala, beads with Aum painted on them, but not of rudaksha seed. I think it would it be good to continue to seek a rudaksha one, but I am not clear about the level of importance of the rudaksha form of mala. The prior thing, it would seem, is to use whatever mala one has, in regular puja. You are most kind to offer me your other murti, and I will like to see it. If there is no "resonance", I know you will understand my quest. But, who knows with the One of surprises? It may be the very murti for me.
Reflections on The Acting and Acted Self....
This sharing reads almost poetically for me. The subtleties are described and delineated in a manner worthy only of a great Acharya.
“...They are those creatively acted or performed selves by which the ultimate and divine acting self – Shiva – freely acts and lives out the creative potentials of the awareness that He is. True, an acted self takes on a life of its own, with its own unique potentials and with its own limitations of awareness. *If it did not take on this life of its own how could beings be free and autonomous Shaktis of Shiva?* *And if they did not possess unique individual limitations of awareness how could they give birth to new and unique potentialities of awareness by the life process of overcoming those limitations?"
And it brought forth in me.....
Within this Great Arena, for anything to become a phenomenon of experience, a certain limited duality must be a necessary and completing aspect of the Fullness of Parama-Shiva / Parama-Shakti, for in the same manner of your own sharing, how can the experience of Triumph occur, without Brother Struggle - who else will know the Sweet Mother of Relief, other than those that have been trodden upon? How can the Awareness experience, in so many different settings and ways and journeys of sacrificial good and real love and compassion be tested and be shown stronger, if the very evil it triumphs over and learns from, and wins over - if that darkness was not? If sickness never was, we would never know healing, and perhaps the experience of death itself would be threatened, so often anounced in the setting of illness. If danger and enemies never were, would the experience of threat, of fear, of courage, of sacrifice or victory be so real? For the discovery and experience of Qualia and Meanings within Awareness all this must be, or as Abhinavagupta reminds us, "Shiva would be something like an empty jar."
The Trika Shaivite way allows the full existence of very really experienced phenomena in Awareness, it does not lessen Shakti's birthing of so many dark and light potentials, born in real freedom, with the Great Ultimate Dialectic resolved again and again and again in Shiva-Shakti's Self Recognition,in now upon now upon now.
The Drama, Lila, Dreaming, Maya seems so extraordinarily solid, lasting and final. But it all /is/ actually and ultimately Shiva-Shakti's drama, play, dreaming, and not at all so solid, so lasting and final as we so mistakenly thought. And The Ever Source, The Great Awareness, somehow dances it together, Shiva-Shakti - it is that same Awareness within that links unseen, the impure and the pure, the light, and the dark it needs to shine, angels, demons, and all the rest. And the Bliss? Is it not, at least in part, the seeing of it altogether, not one hair or thing out of place and absolutely needed, and ultimately fulfilling of meanings, in The Great Natural Perfection, (as described by our brothers, the Buddhists) something that can only be approached in great sacred music, the harmony and sounds of Eternity, or deep samadhi. Om Namah Shivaya
Something close to this probably wanting description, answers questions for me, of the Dark and the Light manifesting in Awareness.
I read as a young man for the first time, and for a period of about two weeks of the humanity debasing awfulness of the Holocaust. I lapsed into a period of depression. I eventually came out of it by forcefully reminding myself that this was not all or the last thing about humanity, it was an abberration. But the mark of it never left me, for I am a sensitive man and man's cruelty to man still effects me deeply, when I hear accounts of cruelty and dispassionate slaughter of innocents. Any answers to the problem of the dark had to pass this test. How would my faith whatever it be, stand up, or explain, in that time, for me as a young German, or a young Jew? (The issue is too easily transferred to the inhumanities of today as well.)
Finally, I believe I would be ready, with the light and grace of Shiva.
A lot of my extended reflecting on darkness and light arises from such as this, Acharya.
So glad you are enjoying the music and appreciating their strong Shakti! I think particularly of the Rudram Vedic Chants, whereas the Sacred Chants of Shiva have for me a sublime Rasa of Shiva.
Thank you also for your poetic resonations. I particularly loved your sentence on Bliss - "...not one hair or thing out of place...".
The whole piece (ignoring the references to my sharings) had, like much of
your writing, resonances of Somananda. Here a sample from the latter:
"He assumes the forms of Pure Wisdom, the Wisdom Lords, the Mantras and the Mantra Lords ... Assuming bodies suitable to place, and conceptual latencies suitable to bodies, He himself is taken for each of the forms assumed. The bodies of the workers of evil, suffering torment and experiencing the fruits of their evil, dwelling in the depths in the oceans of hell...These the Supreme Lord assumes out of playfulness...His inbeing is subsistent everywhere...Thus the Siva nature abides in all things equally. The distinctions of higher and lower states have been ascribed to it by the credulous. In this way, the Siva principle, innately diversified, through the vibrations of impulse, not by credulity, is everlasting and infinite. And because it so persists, reality belongs to its manifold forms too."
You refer also to the Holocaust, ask "How would my faith whatever it be, stand up, or explain, in that time, for me as a young German, or a young Jew?" and answer "Finally, I believe I would be ready, with the light and grace of Shiva." Having been born of a most gentle non-Jewish German father, himself active in the anti-Nazi resistance before making it to England, and a German-Jewish mother send over to England with one suitcase in 1939, I grew up in atmosphere of German-speaking refugees and survivors permeated by the miasma of the Holocaust. Not having had a Jewish upbringing or Barmitzvah, feeling no connection to any faith, certainly not Christianity, and by virtue of my German father not being able - like all my Jewish schoolfriends - to identify with their Anglo-Jewish Germanophobia (of which I myself was a victim at school) I made it my mission to understanding the meaning of and reasons for the Holocaust - not just the suffering of the Jews but the historical roots of Nazism. I now recognise in retrospect that by only by choosing a family which left me with no clear sense of personal identity - whether English, German or Jewish - and in a post-war culture which the very idea of the 'German Jew' was now as much scorned and derided by Jews as it had been by the Nazis - was a choice perfectly designed to lead me on the path towards transcendence of identity through Awareness, yet in a way deeply cognisant of both history and suffering humanity. This was thanks in large part to the DIALECTICAL 'advaita' of Karl Marx who showed himself in his early philosophical writings to be as far from being a crude anti-religious materialist as can be imagined - indeed was in certain respects deeply tantric in his thinking, understanding that matter itself needs to be understood subjectively - from the perspective of active SENSUAL experiencing and activity.
I have written to Devi, welcoming her to the Kula, and sharing our similar discovery in some ways, of the New Yoga and your good teaching and gracious enabling in Shiva…
Her reply was additionally revealing of the flow of Shiva-Shakti within her and Recognition. It is most warming.
Her poetic way of sharing is full of Shakti, and in good time, her way of sharing in Awareness, will, I am sure, touch others, as it does me. I will continue to correspond with her, sharing any Karikas, that arise in me. I have sent her the site where I found my murti, with thanks to Karinji, which she asked for. I encouraged her to wait on Shiva to bring her own Murti to her, as she looks...
From my letter to Karinji, thanking for her direction to my Shiva murti:
“It is the one, and in my awareness an intention is arising, that I am to "complete" it, participate in its creation, with the craftsman,and it will be a journey of love. Shiva's "third eye" will open for me. The symbols of Damaru and Trishula are strong in the "hidden" arms, in which I will be reminded of the deeper trivalent teachings and riches of the Trika and all the Tantric wonders of Sounds and Creation. Shiva's Hand of giving, blessing and calming is truly beautiful to me. The Kamandalu Shiva holds, already has called forth in me an awareness, a learning. What it was for the craftsman I know not, but for my awareness it becomes an water container (not a mendicants begging bowl, as referred to by some), a kamandalu, the bowl that carries the Great Ascetics water, symbolising the water of life, the Amrita, the precious nectar, which is the Awareness, which is both His and Ours as He offers it to us. It is his one simple and great possession. It is subtle, but to the fore. Here great Shiva is presented with a more formal Buddhistic rasa. This will be suitably stabilising for me, but to remind of the freer and more Hindu presentation of dear Shiva, the regular use of the holy powder of Turmeric will be used in adornment, each time I approach in Puja.Om Namah Shivaya.”
My holiday was lovely, but not conducive to puja unfortunately, because of circumstances, although I had my murti icon with me. The Mantra kept me close however within, and also "There is An Awareness." I look forward to Murti Darshan this evening. One special moment however did occur for me. I was looking at all the fine and different plant life of subtropical Cairns where we were holidaying, so rich and varied. I love plants and botany. The return to the Awareness of Shiva within, saw all this at one particular moment as the varied and wonderful manifestation of Shakti and all the plant shaktis before me, in a most immediate manner. Everything is an Awareness truly. It made that moment more rich and blissful still, as "I" was the "channel" of Shiva's Awareness before me, but I also was the shakti- the particular "way of seeing" that is just me, that was presenting before Shiva's awareness.
I have just become aware as I write, that these plants also have sounds, that next time I must listen for within. As I recall now, I was holding to the visual awareness, but I am sure now there were plants that hummed deeply and those that sang lightly. How I must practice this inner sound awareness. Om Namah Shivaya.
I am seeking more of the writings of Somanada, and any links etc that you might have I would appreciate. We do indeed appear to have an affinity in expression.
Much has been happening here for the holiday, and haven't been able to get space to say how much your account touched me, of you family and upbringing and all the painful issues that arose for you. How amazing the Field of Awareness is! Great Shiv! I ask the very question about what I would do as a young German or a young Jew and unbeknownst to me you have been both, separately in a sense, with all the things you faced.
I also was gentile with Jewish relatives, and had a sort of tearful bar mitzvah, and was deeply effected by the Holocaust, but in a different way, as I have expressed. And it led to your own transcendence of identity as it were, and ultimately to the path of The New Yoga you have brought forth in honour of the Greatest Identity of All. And all this almost incidental to what brought me to the new Yoga and to Shiva's feet. These things have a further confirmatory flavour to me. May Shiva take every pain and continue to transform it for all who have lost or never knew their identity. If I may, I reach out in my awareness, I embrace you in Shiva's heart, Peter, Acharya.Om Namah Shivaya. I have had some further correspondence with Devi and she has a full poetic heart and inner sensitivity that is most honouring.
I had a most lovely time two nights ago with Shiva, both in my icon Murti, and my self murti. Seeing one self as a murti of Shiv is most powerful, and it seemd as if my own face was changing in my inner awareness, into many flashes and changes of faces passing, momentary but real. It reminded me of my many selves, either in this awareness incarnation or in others. The Shiva music you directed me too is so very full of shakti, and as I let myself go into the sounds, which I am so much more aware of now, my connection with Shiva becomes stronger, clearer. I am feeling the impulse to explore and to learn other mantras, particularly at present, the Gayatri Mantra.
I continue to bring my awareness to my Mahamudra in meditation. It presents as "quiet" at present, but...I had a dream the other night, it was an intimate sensual (but not sexual) dream, about a very alluring darker skinned beautiful male, (I do not ever have erotic type dreams about darker skinned males) and later in the day a sudden awareness gave me a start as to who it may represent/be and I am not sure what to make of it. Or perhaps I do and I feel, I don't know what? It sounds quite adolescent, but is also sort of obvious, can one "fall in love" with Shiv?" Words like projection come to me, but I don't trust them, not now. Shiva and his Awareness is so real. The answer is yes, one can fall in love with Shiva, with all ones heart, without reserve, but it is almost too much to take in. I am laughing/crying at myself and it all.
I need your words on this one, Acharya. The Tantric way is so deep and wonderful indeed.
Cairns sounds wonderful - and your experience of the plant life even more so. I am most interested in the inner sound dimension you sensed. This was also quite synchronous, a lovely local man with some background in mantra yoga and Gurdieff's teachings having written and come to see me recently, and this specifically about his own long-standing experience of inner sound - nada independent of mantra. As for Somananda, I will ask Karinji to make a pdf copy of a short extract from his writings I have in a very old book of mine (Hindu Theology: A Reader by Jose Pereira) and forward it to you.
Karinji and I would dearly love to take a holiday again, and have been in need of one for some years. Unfortunately, dependent as we are now financially on keeping two rooms rented out to lodgers to maintain our house with its temple and therapy room our first priority is to secure reliable long-term tenants - for yet again one of the rooms is untenanted.
Thank you for your heartfelt embrace of my references to German and Jewish identities and the Holocaust. I in turn, am most curious that you described yourself as a "gentile" with Jewish relatives and yet also of a "tearful bar mitvah"? How did this come about? My own mother being Jewish of course I was no gentile in Jewish terms and yet had neither a bar mitzvah, nor, due to my father's refusal, was I even circumcised (for which I remain forever grateful!) My mother was a very 'Jewish' mother' - and yet far more than that. On my return from the US in 1975, flushed from a long stay with my erstwhile mentor - Michael Kosok - and with the profound message of the Seth books by Jane Roberts which I passed on to her, her own much deeper gnosis was released. As a result, though on the one hand she remained proud of her Jewish roots, on the other hand he surrounded herself with Egyptian iconography - and yet in her innermost core mistrusted all rigid identifications and inwardly transcended them.
In relation to Jewish relatives, she stuck to her guns in terms of her marriage to a non-Jew - and had nothing but scorn for Zionism and for unthinking Jewish attitudes and orthodoxies of all sorts, including that of her son-in-law, my sister's first husband. Then again she must have been one of the first landladies of the 1950's to happily give lodgings to 'coloureds' - including two Indians, one of whom was a Brahmin married to an Austrian and already with young children, the other also a Brahmin (I remember well his attempt to tearing up a thick telephone directory in fury at his Pakistani co-lodger during the troubles after the partition!) But my mother saw all her lodgers as human beings and friends, and not as tenants, and many remained friends even after leaving.
Thank you also for sharing your dream. Yes of course one can fall in love with the Great Awareness's living personification of Itself as Shiva. I have often had this experience of love for the wisdom, grace and beauty of Shiva during Mandir Puja - aided also by the special bhakti of the female vocalist who sings 'The Sacred Chants of Shiva'. As for your dream, all subjective experience is valid - period - and not least when it comes to experiencing an embodiment and personification of the Absolute Subjectivity.
The beauty of Trika Shaivism, if properly conceived through the framework of The Awareness Principle, is precisely that it allows for a loving personal relation to Divinity - and yet does so without the Vaishnavist and Christian-Krishnaist confusion of reducing the Divine to a person - or to an entity or identity, being or self of any sort. The Ultimate Universal and Divine Awareness is not an Awareness belonging to any entity or identity, being or self. In this sense It is indeed a subjectivity that is not the possession of any subject or self. Yet neither is It something purely impersonal or totally lacking in all dimensions of self. How can it be - since It is precisely that which personifies and selves itself in and as all beings, human and divine. There is no awareness that is mine, yours or even His - Shiva's. There is only that Great Awareness which knowingly Shivas Itself. Who or what is 'Shiva'? That Awareness (Anuttara/Paramashiva) which alone, knowingly personifies, embodies and communicates Itself as and through Lord Shiva.
The Awareness Principle breaks the bounds and bonds of all previous attempts to articulate this understanding - Hindu, Christian and Buddhist. This principle is what makes 'The New Yoga' NEW. It does so in particular through the recognition that since 'self' is essentially awareness of self, that awareness that cannot - in principle - be rooted in any self, even a 'great self' or 'witnessing self'. In this sense the non-self nature of the ultimate (An-atman) is in no way opposed to but inseparable from its self-nature (Atman). For Anatman, understood as a totally self- or subject-less awareness('absolute subjectivity') is the very source and condition of Atman - every self being an individualisation or 'selving' of this self-less awareness. The Great Awareness as such is not rooted in or reducible to any identity or Self, great or small. And yet the Great Awareness is the source of all selves, great and small.
How can we not love that which is the source of our selfhood and personhood, not least if It selves and personifies itself in the form of a beautifully embodied deity? In this way The Awareness Principle alone also transcends the false dualism of Judaeo-Christian theism or 'deism' and Buddhist philosophical a-theism, as well as allowing us to understand more clearly the inner truth of polytheism, pantheism and 'panentheism'.
The contradictory logic of Buddhist philosophy comes out most clearly in Nagarjuna, who explicitly rejects the reality of everything that does not have the character of 'thingness'.
Love, like awareness is 'no-thing' or a 'non-thing', yet for Nagarjuna whatever is a 'non-thing' has no reality whatsoever.
Hence the entire Mahayana doctrine of ultimate reality as Absolute Emptiness rather than Absolute Awareness - a doctrine maintained even in the Yogachara school, which like Nagarjuna, and for all its talk of a 'store consciousness' still sees 'consciousness' itself as the mere by-product of an interaction between the sense organs and their objects, knowers and knowns - and as something which is itself to be ultimately transcended in 'enlightenment' - not by an Absolute Awareness but by an Absolute Emptiness.
Nagarjuna, like other Mahayana philosophers, rejects the reality of both things and non-things. They reject the concepts of both existence and non-existence, being and non-being - yet fail to conceive even the possibility of any ultimate reality transcending them - transcending being and non-being, existence and non-existence, things and non-things, self and no-self. The result is a through-and-through negative metaphysics of EMPTINESS rather than a positive metaphysics of AWARENESS. Hence the supreme importance of The Awareness Principle - which affirms both being and non-being, existence or actuality and non-existence of potentiality, the born and the unborn.
The paradox is that Buddhist philosophy, whilst forever seeking - in principle - to go beyond the concepts of existence and non-existence, being and non-being, self and no-self, nevertheless remains confined precisely by these very concepts - leaving it ultimately EMPTY. Why? Because, like Western philosophy, it starts with concepts of Being and Non-Being - rather with what - in principle – already precedes and therefore also transcends them - namely AWARENESS of being and non-being.
The Buddhist argument for Anatman is cogent on one specific and important level. For just as I argue that the experienced self is an individualised but ever-changing constellations of diverse qualities of awareness or 'qualia' (sensual and transcendental) the Buddhists argue that the self is 'nothing but' an ever-changing patterns of skandhas - the different elements of experiencing as such. Yet rather than distinguishing all elements of experiencing - including the experienced self - from the pure awareness of experiencing and the pure awareness of self ('The Fundamental Distinction' central to The Awareness Principle) they again replace this recognition of Awareness itself as the ultimate experiencer with a belief in the ultimate emptiness or irreality of both experience and experiencer. Neither, like Western phenomenology, does Buddhist 'phenomenalism' even introduce a distinction between awareness as such (pure awareness) and its contents, thus identifying it with consciousness of something and seeing consciousness itself as a phenomenon like any other - in need of transcending through Emptiness.
This however leaves them in the same position of the Advaita Vedantins in relation to explaining Maya. For the Buddhists are likewise unable to explain the very existence of the skandhas as elements of phenomenal experiencing (maya). In contrast, The Awareness Principle offers us a way of understanding the nature of sensual and phenomenal experiencing, of Maya and of the Skandhas, in a wholly new way - not as illusion born of ignorance but as the actualisation within awareness, of countless potential forms and qualities of awareness - Shaktis.
In this sense we are all Shaktis of Shiva - a recognition one-sidedly taken up by Vaishnavism with its cult of male worshippers feminising themselves so as to become lovers of Krishna. Yet we are all also Shiva - pure awareness. Hence the profound image of Shiva as the androgynous Ardhanarisvara - which I had been meditating around the time of your dream. Hence also the power of meditating one's own outer image as a sensual murti of Shiva - which I am so glad you have tasted, since for me this facilitates a most profound inner sense of that which can truly be called Self or Atman - in the specific sense of Para-Atman, that most inward or 'core' self which transcends all aspects of its individual identity - even whilst embracing and bodying them forth.
Your email is most steadying, as I have been aware of "catching up" again, with a sense of trying to hold onto, digest, a number of things (not necessarily new, but deeper) at once. "Catching up" may appear a strange term, for as you describe in depth the relation of the Awareness Principle to Mahayana Buddhism, Nagarjuna and the Sunyata concept, I have little difficulty understanding and deeply appreciating your articulation of the important differentiations between the two paths.I am well acquainted with these philosophical profundities, and I have not to date encountered such a clarifying and powerful argueing of the matter. Thank you. With philosophy, as with languages (and philosophy is a "language"), I comprehend and take in, much better than I am able to articulate and express readily. You have mentioned recently your intention to pursue this important theme of the Sunyata and Anatman understanding in Mahayana Buddhism, and its relation to our path. Its importance cannot be underestimated. All such clarifications, dialogues and presentations, and particularly your own cogent and powerful response, should have the greatest airing possible and in the most fruitful arena(s), it would appear to me. How that might emerge I know not, but I can only lend my own great encouragement to all sankalpas that are emerging for you in this regard.
My own Jewish connections were not directly by blood, but by a constant involvement via my dear aunt Judy, my mother's closest sister or Aunty Jude as we called her, who was like a second mum to me. She married my Uncle Sam, a Jewish jazz musician. Throughout my growing years, right through we saw, Aunty Jude, Uncle Sass, as we affectionately knew him, sometimes weekly, sometimes fortnightly, often visiting them at their home. In the early days Uncle Sass's mother was around too, a fairly typical European Jewish mother, (smiling to myself) as I remember her. Uncle Sass was not overtly religious. They had a friend Uncle Tommy as I knew him, also Jewish, and not overtly religious. He was constantly a close companion to them and I also saw him regularly. He would call me his "Shem", "favourite son", as he would repeatedly explain to me. He was my nominated "godfather", I think only in a family nominated sense. My family in which alcohol dependence unfortunately played a big role, was not religious (of Anglican background), indeed my father was distinctly derisory. They all liked their beer, and all smoked fairly heavily, with resultant cancer/vascular health problems later, from which they all died, some too early.
My "Bar Mitzvah" consisted of these two childless Jewish men, separately on two occasions, taking me aside in all seriousness and "tearfully" (thus my reference) giving me gifts and seeking to explain to me what it was about, the becoming of a man. I sort of understood it and accepted it with as much decorum as a 13 year old can muster.. But that was it. Later when I was a minister, I jointly led Uncle Sass's funeral in a liberal Jewish funeral ceremony. I stll have his prayer shawl and ornately bound prayer book.
Let me list those things I mentioned, that are simultaneously arising;
- the finding and now just arrived Shiva murti I have been seeking. This is a moment for me indeed.
- understanding a deeper, intimate, almost romantic or adoring relation to the Great Awareness, personified in Shiva. Thank you for the expansion and explaining you have given, helping me to orientate myself amidst a powerful sensing. I am by nature a romantic man, and here is another aspect or self within that has lain somewhat dormant, lacking an appropriate environment for its expression for a number of years. So in my karikas, my dreams, my puja, let this adoring heart find expression again, and who better than with Shiva, who personifies the deep, beautiful, varied and most wonderful Awareness Body of All, The One, unsurpassed, within whose arms our lives lay.
- the further and growing recognition of others about me, of my transformative encounter with yourself, the New Yoga and Trika Shaivism. One friend has been somewhat unsettled by it, which I expected. Others are noticing growing tendency of a changed "demeanor of awareness", not excessive, but nevertheless quieter, seeking the Awareness in more of my nows. I am practicing. This does not mean a lesser participation in the life that is about me, but richer, and more fruitful. I am seeing a friend of my daughter, helping him with his struggles to overcome years of substance dependence. This arose directly from meditating of him in puja.
-I am so caught up in my new awarenesses, I tend to jump excitedly around within at times, this writng, that book, Sanskrit, matrika, mantras, sounds, all so rich and full of potentials and shaktis. This is not helpful - understandable, but not helpful. I am seeking greater discipline within, more precision of focus and expression. Returning to awareness and giving time is required.
-I have not forgotten either your sharing of awareness in our phone call, the possibilty of beginning a small reading sharing group on the New Yoga and Trika Shaivism. It is not the time at present, but it is not forgotten, the seed is laying dormant, awaiting.
Thank you for your intention to send me more on Somananda. You see, all the great Trika Shaivte sages and there writings are arising too and I have taken in so far precious little of them, in content anyway. The most important I HAVE taken in however, the Great Awareness.
Om Namah Shivaya!
Life has become fuller and richer, with good challenges arising Acharya.
Thank you. Now to prepare myself to open my newly arrived Shiva murti.
I am exploring the "Seth Material" further. The following I found at
this site: http://www.the-office.com/seth/
"Seth details a philosophy of conscious creation. This philosophy
* Physical reality arises from consciousness, not the other way around.
* We create our own reality.
* We are not at the mercy of a disjointed deity or subconscious.
* We are multi-dimensional beings; more than our physical bodies.
* Time and space are dimensional “illusions” we jointly create and by which we tacitly agree to abide.
* At the core of our being, we reside in a realm in which time and space do not exist.
* We are, in essence, creative spiritual beings having an earthly experience.
* The fate of each of us is in our own hands.
* We have multiple, perhaps infinite, life experiences. Problems not faced in this life will be faced in another.
* We cannot blame God, society, or our parents for “misfortunes,” since before this physical life we chose the circumstances into which we would be born and the challenges that could best bring about our development.
* We form physical matter as effortlessly and unselfconsciously as we breathe.
* Telepathically, we are all aware of the mass ideas from which we form our overall conception of physical reality."
Do you think this is correct summary of the Seth contribution to The Awareness Principle? May this "Seth novice" ask what you have felt is the most confirming or revealing aspect of his writings(via or merged with the Jane awareness)?
I could not help but smile inwardly when I received your last mail. Yet knowing you as I do, I should not have been surprised to find you ‘scenting’ out Seth - and thereby following the trail of something of immense and inestimable significance to myself and to The New Yoga.
Your question about the SETH contribution to The Awareness Principle and what for me, are the most “confirming” or “revealing” aspects of his writing would require a whole book to answer – yet it also offers me an opportunity to share, albeit in brief, some very important understandings. For one thing, I see the vast body of writings - amounting to more than 40 large published volumes - mostly stemming from Seth but also including many written directly by Jane Roberts through their inspiration - as equivalent in stature to the Kashmiri Shaivist Tantras. For me they also offered keys to understanding the latter – and vice versa. Without reading and re-reading, studying and re-studying the Seth books for decades, and without learning from Seth’s ground-breaking, articulate and iconoclastic revelations, there simply would be no such thing as ‘The New Yoga’ or ‘The Awareness Principle’ – for these are essentially a unique creative synthesis of the jnana of the Shaiva tantras and the gnosis of the Seth books.
This synthesis was made possible by my erstwhile mentor, Michael Kosok. For it was his writings that first brought Andrew Gara and I together, Michael who first introduced me to Seth in 1975, and his philosophy - together with my own initiation into the thinking of Martin Heidegger - that decisively contributed to this synthesis, albeit a synthesis that for me was not only philosophical but experiential from the start, and even before.
This is the reason why I cite Seth in my books, most often in my latest book - Event Horizon – which includes extracts from Seth’s account of ‘creation’ (presented in a book called ‘The Seth Material’) and deals at length with its relation to that of the Shaiva tantras. It is also why I cite Michael Kosok in the first pages of The Awareness Principle, and also cite from Jane Robert’s book entitled ‘The Afterlife Journal of an American Philosopher’ – in particular the description of and from that afterlife by William James (see ‘The Light of Awareness in the Afterlife’ in Tantric Wisdom for Today’s World).
The summary of Seth on the site you refer to an in your mail is absolutely correct in all respects - but nowhere near comprehensive. That is the problem. For despite selling her books in millions (in particular ‘Seth Speaks’) Andrew and I have, for decades, been baffled and appalled by just how little even the most avid and convinced of Seth’s many readers could make of so much – and that so superficially (for the most part concentrating entirely on the single mantram ‘You create your own reality’ and turning it into a parody of simplistic New-Age style ‘positive thinking’). As for what I myself see as the most important aspects of Seth’s writings (or rather his speech – which Jane herself was only able to read through her husband’s transcriptions of it as it came through her in trance) that is another matter entirely - one which, as I say, could fill an entire book. Nevertheless I will seek to make a beginning – both for you, for others (perhaps via the bulletin board) and simply ‘for the record’ as regards the nature and history of my work. What follows then, is a short summary of what I have drawn from Seth:
1. My understanding of the essence of health - as “value fulfilment” – stems from Seth, just as my understanding that illness expresses meanings and not ‘causes’ unites insights drawn principally from both Heidegger and Seth.
2. The understanding that seemingly material ‘things’ are just as much symbols (linga) as words are. In terms of The Awareness Principle they are the living experiential ‘vocabulary’ of awareness, given form through a basic alphabet (matrika) and what Seth describes as inner light and sound – which I understand of course as the inner light and sound of awareness.
3. The fundamental understanding that whilst not a person, God is nothing purely impersonal either. How could he be, Seth asks rhetorically - since that vast consciousness that He is is itself the source of our personhood, immanent within it.
4. In a section of ‘The Seth Material’ entitled ‘The Agony of All That Is’ he introduces the paradoxical idea that “There is non-being”, yet that this is not a Buddhist void of nothingness (empty even of consciousness) but instead a realm of infinite potentialities - at first dimly sensed in the consciousness of ‘All That Is’ (Seth’s term for ‘God’) and then gradually differentiating and multiplying in his dreams as infinite potential individuals and worlds – all yearning for actualisation. From Seth therefore, I also drew the understanding of ‘non-being’ as merely the non-actual, which does not exclude the reality of all that is potential.
5. Seth does indeed emphasise that we have ‘infinite life experiences’ and that our journey of consciousness is unending. Our infinite lives include not only reincarnational existences (which he for the first time presents as simultaneous incarnations of a common ‘entity’ or ‘oversoul’), but also ‘counterpart’ incarnations living in the same time era, as well as countless parallel lives, lived in parallel worlds. A young physicist brought this idea of parallel worlds to Niels Bohr and was dismissed out of hand. Since then, the idea has been popularised in a number of movies and sci-fi series – recognising that for every decision we take between more than one choice, there is a self that chooses differently. For us that self which chose differently is just a road we could have taken, a life we could have lived. For all our ‘parallel’ selves it is the other way round – ours is the ‘imaginary’ life it could have led, the self it could have become, and/or the world it could have ended up living in.
6. Time is not a line leading from earlier to later, past to future. A tree’s roots do not seek out that ‘earlier’ tree from whose seed it grew, but grow down into the soil from which all trees arise – and grow upwards and outwards towards the light which gives them life and that enables the seed or sapling to become a tree. The physicists have it, according to Seth, exactly the wrong way round and so do philosophers (except Heidegger), psychologists, and historians - including scholars of philosophy and of the tantras. For the fact that light from the outermost edges of the universe takes ‘light years’ to reach us does not mean it gives us a picture of the distant past of the cosmos. Instead the further outward we travel in space - physically ‘or’ in awareness –the more we move towards the future. Just as a sapling roots both down into the soil and towards the very light which enables it to grow into a tree - only thus becoming what it can be - and just as a child grows towards what it could or wants to be in the future – so are all ‘origins’ essentially futural and not ‘rooted’ in the past. The New Yoga is itself rooted in the same soul and soil from which Kashmir Shaivism itself grew, which was not from just its own ‘earlier’ sources but from their soil, and towards what could unfold from that soil and in a light streaming ‘backwards’ from the future.
7. According to Seth, time has an ‘inside’ as well as a before and after. In my terms, it has the character of circles within circles (chakra) or spheres within spheres of a time-space which embraces multiple pasts, presents and futures. All ‘time-lines’ from past to future are but multiple possible lines followed on the surface of a time-sphere. Yet every point or period of time on such a surface line is also linked inwardly to every other through the centre of the time sphere – its bindu. Ultimately all points and periods in time arise from its withinness and not from earlier or even later points and periods. Thus all Mondays and all 4pms - pictured as petals of a lotus or points on a circle or chakra - are more closely connected with one another than they are with all Sundays or Tuesdays, all 3pms and 5pms – arising as they do from a common inner centre of a time-circle, sphere or ‘lotus’. The ultimate ‘future’ therefore is not the end of any line of time followed on the surface of a time-circle or sphere. For a circle has no beginning or end. Instead the essence of futurity as such is an ultimate circumference, circle or sphere of time-space as such, understood as a circumference of awareness - and its manifestation as the luminous starry centres or ‘galactic gods’ closest to that circumference. Not only is the attempt to determine a point in time at which time itself began – with a ‘Big Bang’ – pure logical nonsense. The very attempt to do so by seeking light from ever-further edges of the known universe gets it the wrong way round. For if we understand time as a sphere of time-space (rather than as ‘lines’ of ‘space-time’) then the ultimate cosmic circumference is when it all ‘began’ (the expanding time-womb of Ma Kali) and not the result of a ‘Big Bang’!
8. Thus it is that whilst I have described The Awareness Principle and its Practice -The New Yoga - as a ‘reincarnation’ of the soul of Kashmir Shaivism, from my neo-Sethian perspective it is more accurate to say that they are that towards which Kashmir Shaivism itself was growing and striving. The Awareness Principle and The New Yoga are themselves evolving and unfolding in and towards the bright light of a still unforeseeable way of thinking and being, one belonging to a civilisation that is already a reality – not in some long-gone past argued over by archaeologists of the Indus Valley, or fantasised as a long-lost continent of the past - but a possible or ‘probable’ future of humanity. Similarly, what Heidegger called ‘The Last God’, is the ‘earliest’ god only in the essential sense of being that god, which - by virtue of being the first to set out - is the latest or last to fully arrive. Shiva, as the ‘earliest’ god, is in essence this ‘Last God’ - a god of the future. This is where Shaivism and Seth converge in the words of Martin Heidegger for whom the last god is:
“the totally other over and against gods who have been, especially over and against the Christian god … The last is that which not only needs the longest fore-runnership but also itself is … the deepest beginning …not the end but the other beginning of immeasurable possibilities for our history…Preparation for the appearing of the last god is the utmost venture … All heretofore ‘cults’ and ‘churches’ and such things cannot at all become the essential preparation…”
9. For us all as individuals, the future we prepare for is of course…death. Heidegger too, spoke of ‘being towards death’ as the most authentic mode of being. Yet nowhere but in ‘Seth Speaks’ have I read what appears to me as the most accurate account of the death experience, and of the choices and further paths of development of awareness and being that lies beyond it. What I see Seth adding most to both the Shaiva tradition in particular and Hindu/Buddhist philosophy in general then, is a glimpse – in some detail - of the eternal life of the soul after its final incarnation and the larger worlds of awareness it can then explore. For in the multi-dimensional universe of awareness within which Seth describes himself as existing, there are countless planes of awareness, and countless types consciousnesses many of which - unlike his - have never taken physical or human form. Our earthly physical plane then, is no starting point for our development as ‘souls’, nor is it the centre of this multi-dimensional universe of awareness – but merely one minor plane within it. According to Seth it is essentially a type of nursery school in which basic truths, ethical and metaphysical, must be learned before those souls who incarnate within the physical plane and in human form can pass on to the Greater Life of Awareness - embarking on yet greater Journeys of Awareness and fulfilling potentials of awareness impossible to realise within the physical plane. Central to this Greater Life and Journey of Awareness is an expansion of awareness, aided by discarnate teachers, that allows the individualised awareness or ‘soul’ who has left the reincarnational cycle to (a) embrace an ever-greater multiplicity of selves or identities within it, (b) freely mix and merge its identities with those of others (c) explore new planes of awareness and (d) playfully weave and create – like an artist - whole new worlds of awareness.
10. Alternatively, according to Seth the soul may decide to train as a teacher or healer for those still bound to the physical plane. This requires a background experience of many lives in which intimate knowledge of the diverse cultural, social, scientific and religious symbol systems of different eras and civilisations has been acquired – so that these ‘native’ symbol-systems can then be awarefully and artfully deployed as a medium for the communication of truths transcending them – not least the recognition of non-physical realms and dimensions of awareness. Such teachers have always existed, and may operate either from those non-physical realms or through deliberately chosen incarnations as teachers. All the great ‘Mahasiddhas’ and ‘Boddhisatvas’, as well as many great artistic or philosophical geniuses, have trained or served as such teachers – and/or teacher trainers – in this specific sense. Seth himself explains how painters such as Michelangelo used accepted religious symbols in a way that subtly challenged and transcended the framework within which they were understood by the Church at the time. Whole teachings have been presented to humanity by such teachers - either explicitly, as philosophical treatises or tantras, and/or else in the form of art works (for example musical works or literary ‘fiction’ - including ‘science fiction’. To me one of the greatest ‘spiritual teachers’ of the 19th century was not a philosopher or yogin but the composer Anton Bruckner (formally and in his outer personage a devout Catholic). For his symphonies were and are teachings of the most profound character, just as were - and are - the operas of Richard Wagner. And it was Seth’s concept of feeling tone – understood as innate sensual tonalities of awareness - that was most crucial in helping me to understand and articulate my experience of the awareness-nature of many things – not just of music itself, but also of mantra, of ‘non-being’ as realm of manifestation-potential, and my experience of ‘tantric pair meditation’. For it was through the inborn gifts I cultivated and applied through it that I recalled what has always been closest to my heart - the nature of the direct wordless communication of awareness that I had already become accustomed to in the ‘life between lives’. That is also why for me personally the most important “confirmation” of the Seth books lay in recalling the truth that the ‘afterlife’ is not a mere interlude between physical incarnations nor is leaving the reincarnational cycle a matter of attaining some ultimate state of total identification with the Great Awareness - one lacking all further potential-manifestation or Shakti. Instead what we think as a ‘life between lives or the life ‘beyond transmigration’ is but a portal to The Greater Life and Journey of Awareness’ – a journey that can take us into countless new worlds of awareness, allow us to encounter the higher consciousnesses that inhabit them, offer ever-richer and more intense experiences of awareness and open up ever broader horizons of awareness – up to and including that ultimate circumference or ‘Event Horizon’ of awareness, of which there is nothing higher - Anuttara.
I could go on and on…as I say this is just an introduction to what unaware and untrained ‘Seth fans’ have been wholly unable to grasp from their reading of the Seth books. Suffice it to say that I understand myself as a teacher in the sense described above – and understand this life as the final incarnate stage of my training – a life in which I have succeeded in recalling, mastering and interweaving sufficient symbol-systems - past and present - to forge a new one of the sort so much needed for the future of humanity.
Beyond this life, words will once again cease to be my principal medium of learning and teaching, as they have already long ceased to be in the practice of puja – not to mention the gifts I employ in the new forms of tantric pair meditation I have evolved and their use for healing, teaching and initiation. I look forward to death first of all as an opportunity to engage in fully free and playful Lila – to revel in once again revealing the many currently invisible forms and faces of my awareness body, whilst inwardly communicating with others in the way I love most - through quasi-musical tonalities of awareness and their countless sensual qualities and dimensions. I also know in advance - and from experience already attained in this life - that I will be able, if I choose, to let my awareness flow into the soul bodies of those still physically incarnate, and thus in some way also re-body myself through them without the need of further incarnations myself.
Nandimaan – I have shared in this letter some very deep and ‘esoteric’ personal and trans-personal understandings with you in answer to your question about Seth. These in may raise yet further significant questions for you – and others. Feel free to ask them.
Should you yourself wish to embark on reading some Seth, I would strongly recommend you start with any chapters of the book entitled ‘Seth Speaks’ - but ignoring all the unnecessary notes and comments interspersed in it by Jane’s husband Robert Butts.
Your Seth response is a most profound and esoteric sharing, of which I am fully appreciative, and, as often happens, taken aback in sheer admiration of your ability to hold, integrate and express "all this". The dimensions of Awareness are infinite, unbounded, and the futural analogy of a tree and its roots, so apt. The humour of the scientific conceptual inversion of the nature of the so-called "Big Bang" is not
lost on me. This profound futural conception is new and quite shifting in one's learnt perpectives. I have few questions about the "mechanics" of the Seth events. Interesting speculations may ensue, but ultimately Awareness is everything, and the most significant indicator of the inherent worth of the Seth writings, however they have emerged in the Awareness, has been the profound and coherent meanings emerging from them. I have only to date explored a little, but have always been quite
respectful of such content as I have read. Your expanding relating of some of Seth's sharings is indeed a taster for more reading, and questions. I am also more aware of the significant place they have had in the development of the New Yoga.. When we begin as time-space bounded entities to seek to comprehend or express the fuller meanings and "dimensions" of that same time-space we are at our "outer limits".
I have found some of the words of Seth very helpful in trying to comprehend the nature of time and non-embodied awareness. So much exploring, Acharya, it never ends. I have, needless to say, never been plagued by the problems of boredom. All so very profound and wondrous.
Your opening of my eyes to the centrality of Awareness in understanding, and its inner and outer personifying and embodying in Shiva-Shakti, leaves open doors of exploration and wonderment without bound. This open-ended quality is a rasa of newness that resonates with the "new" re-expressions of Abhinavagupta and of Bankei, The New Yoga brings expansion, a further spreading of the roots.
Too often, as we know, traditions of practice and understanding can limit for fear of loss of the central message. This betrays a certain lack of trust and vision of the power of the central message to sustain and grow. It is inherent that the roots should continue to spread to new ground as well as maintain their connection with the great tree from which they spread. Rather than limit this spreading, tradition's role should be that of a means of comparison of inner integrity and resonating soundness of the new and evolving sweet fruit. Pardoxicaly, rigid sameness of form has often bought the death that was so feared in the same imposition of traditional rigidity. Shiva is Freedom.
I am deeply interested in the Matrika currently also, and I note how much of Seth relates to sound and vibrational conception. The shaktis of the Matrika are becoming quite apparent for me. The Matrika is a divine and sacred Reality indeed, all of it so interrelated and powerful. I continue to read, re-read and digest "Tantric Wisdom", in this regard also.
The Honours Thesis on Tantric Sound (att'd, link:Tantric Sound(http://hdl.handle.net/1811/36188>) by Kathleen Wilson I have just found, appears to be a good clarifying statement of the Matrika detail that Abhinavagupta refers too. It closes with comparisons to parts of Tantric Buddhism, and to quantum physics. Ernest Bohm is referred to, with his somewhat scientifically transgressive conceptions of the meaning of quantum findings. I was impressed and influenced by his understanding and analogies, when I encountered him in my quantum explorations a few years ago. How intriguing, but not too surprising, to encounter him again in the context of the Matrika. Kathleen Wilson also refers to Ortega, whom I have noted you also acknowledge and make reference too, and quite rightly. His good writngs await.
Om Namah Shivaya.
Thank you Acharya,
Thank you for the new pictures of your mandir murti during puja. They span the distance. Your Shiva murtis are so very alive. May ask what it is hanging around
Shiva's neck? Is that the Repository? I am not acquainted with this term.
My Shiva "smiled" in awareness, after my first puja. Shiva as light,transforms Shiva as murti.I chanted last night the Panchaksara in deeper tone. I experienced, as I
was chanting it very quietly and deeply a whole body inner resonating, deep humming, with the words that amplified within, and merging with the Shiva music.
It was moments of bliss.
Om Namah Shivaya.
The smile on the face of the murti - most auspicious.
And you are so right. Shiva as light - both 'physical' lighting and the
corresponding light quality of awareness - transforms Shiva as murti.
Hanging round my Shiva murti's neck is a single five-faced Rudraksh bead - of the sort (except of a larger size) that are strung to create Rudraksh mala.
No this is not the 'Repository' in the sense of Maya Devi - which maybe is more like a Shaiva equivalent of the Buddhist 'storehouse consciousness'. It is not clear what word the translator used it for - but what is clear is she herself explicitly identifies with the foundational reality of Sat-Chit-Andanda - which is indeed that in, and as which, all reposes.
PS would be interested to know which Shiva music you used.
The music I am using is that to which you referred me "Divine Chants of Shiva".
I have found these chants ones that connect me most strongly with the whole atmosphere and meaning of the Matrika. My puja has been further transformed by this music. The connection of the Sanskrit phonemes and their overall meaning construction was previously unknown to me. There is more to be learnt, much more.
My times of Murti Darshan are being quite extended, and my awareness is transforming. I am able to at last have a means by which the profound and awesome, and yet utterly intimate Reality may be approached with Heart and Mind. I am "moving around" in the Awareness more. I gaze upon and adore Shiva, and all the meaning connections, and sometimes am more clearly experiencing synchronously his external form in the murti echoing with my "own" awareness, which is That One's Great Awareness too. These are sublime moments. My Shiva murti transforms in beauty in
ways that refelct not only it, but the awareness in the light of the candles, and my own perceptive awareness, heightened and carressed by the music and my own inner chanting. OM has become rich with Shiva too. The Great OM is not new to me, and its deep resonances are most fitting "door" or hidden enveloping "temple" for Shiva puja.
My chanting resonates most beautifully with OM, OM, OM, SHIVAYA NAMAH, SHIVAYA
NAMAH, SHIVAYA NAMAH at each bead. At other times I simply sit and reflect before Shiva, or bring those I seek good and help for, in specific chanting linking at the end of each chant to their whispered name and form in my memory. You have been thus meditated also Acharya. I note as if in passing, subtle good changes in my everyday demeanour and relating. It is all wonderfully auspicious, the very Grace of Shiva.
I really will get around to writing more dear Acharya, but, at the moment, I am a man in the throes of a new love. Warm greetings to Karinji and others of the Kula.
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