Tag Archives: self

The Self: A Tantric & Astrological Perspective

The individual experient also, in whom citi or consciousness is contracted has the universe (as his body) in a contracted form. …. Then he unfolds Himself in the totality of manifestations viz., principles (tattvas), worlds (bhuvanas), entities (bhaavas) and their respective experients that are only a solidified form of Cit-rasa [the juice universal consciousness].” (Pratyabhijnaahrdayam: The Secret of Self Recognition. Trans. Jaideva Singh. Sutra 4)

The 12 signs beginning from Aries are respectively the head, face, arms, heart, stomach, hips, space below the navel, the private parts, thighs, knees, ankles and feet of Kalapurusha.” (Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra. Trans. Girish Chand Sharma. 4-4)

The Sun is the soul of Kalapurusha; the Moon, his mind; Mars, his strength; Mercury, his speech; Jupiter, his knowledge and happiness; Venus, his sexual love; and Saturn, his misery.” (Jataka Desh Marga. Trans. S.S. Sareen. Shloka 34)

Maayaa is the lack of discernment of the principles beginning with Kalaa.”

The principles (that obscure the individual soul) form a group that ranges from Kalaa to Earth. (They are called) “principles” tattva because the entire universe is pervaded by them. Kalaa is said to be (the individual soul’s) limited power of action.” (Aphorisms of Shiva. Trans. Mark Dyczkowsky. 3/3)

I started off studying western philosophy, psychology, logic and rhetoric before moving on to study grammar, writing and French. You can say I opted for the classical Humanities. Kung-Fu practice eventually led me to Buddhism, which I studied for a number of years. Shortly after coming to India, I found myself dissatisfied with Buddhism and found my way to Sankya and then to Yoga and Vedanta. At some point, I began to feel Jyotish astrology needed to be learned and that prediction must be possible (as of course it is). At about the same time I started serious Jyotish studies, I began looking into Kashmiri Shaivism; what they call idealistic oneness; everything is consciousness. The whole universe is just light. They have many names for this consciousness, but many call it Shiva. Shiva is the whole in which everything exists. Jyotish is the science of light just like Tantra is the science of freedom (svatantria). Light in Tantra is energy, Shakti. In Tantra the various rays of light represent various powers of Shakti, just as in Jyotish the various light rays emitted by the planets are the powers of the universe.

In both systems, the focus is on light energy, which is the powers of consciousness. In astrology the planets are laid out in the chart as being situated in the body of Kaala Purusha, each house representing a body part with the position of the planets acting to measure out his various powers. This is Kaala Purusa, ones measure of time, rather then Kalaa (relating to the above quote) which is ones measure of activity.

If I understand all of this correctly, Kal Purusha is Shakti just below the level of maya, but still above the other 24 Tattvas. A blank chart would represent maya before it has been measured out. The astrologer reads what has been measured out. This is why astrologer get so much flack for focusing so much on the karmas. Of course as an astrologer and tantric I can see how all of this has been chosen by universal consciousness.

Meanwhile we are all down here looking at our physical life focusing on all this maya as it’s been measured out to us and wondering why like this. We want some change. We want to get what we want. We want enjoyment and peace and riches (whatever that word might mean to you). We want everything that is of this world and we want it for ourselves and those people who are extensions of ourselves, but strangers and people very different from ourselves, who cares! The truth is, most of us want to live out of self interest rather than for the interest of the universe, and we want power to pursue that self interest. As a species, we have done very well at collecting awesome powers to deploy in our interest, and in the mean time, we are destroying the earth for everyone else who will come after us. In fact, we are destroying ourselves by following our self interest. This is maya!

We are able to pollute the world and build awesome weapons that kill because everything is just objects. Objects come and go without sentiment, though there may be some attachment. Of course everyone has something or someone who is much more than just on object. The love we have for our children is much more than objectification. Our relationship with our children is not objective but personal. Most people cannot act to harm their children, in fact, most will sacrifice themselves for their children’s welfare. This at least would represent the common humanistic feeling. But what if we start to extend this feeling of oneness, yoking together our fate not only with our children, but with everyone, and then perhaps we take that a step further and feel ourselves intimately yolked with all of nature. We are all one after all. If the river is our daughter, how can we pour chemicals down her throat? If the earth is our son, how can we smear him in hot tar and ruthlessly mine his organs? The more we can cultivate this sense of love and oneness with all that is in the universe, the more of our base desires we are willing to sacrifice not only for our own interest, but for the interest of the whole.

I’ve read that this can come in many forms: as love for a child, a parent, or a lover. Vedanta perhaps prefers the steady patient love of mother and child, while Tantra goes in for the exhilaration of lovers. The rapid bubbling of passion that brings us to climax, followed by repose (anticipation, achievement, satisfaction). So, each of us develop our powers to achieve our ends while forgetting that the two are not separate. As the old saying goes, “fighting for peace is like fucking for chastity.” The means and the end are not separate, the tree is in the seed. Nurturing the seed is akin to developing the power we need to achieve our ends in life; of course some seeds get planted in more fertile ground than others. And this is why, in a cosmology like tantra (the science of freedom, I might remind you), past lives are necessary. Perhaps it is at this level of Kal Purusha (below maya, yet still above the other tattwas) that we choose our parents, as well as our time and place of birth. We chose it all so that we might have this experience of human life that each of us are having. This is why I say that the choice of this life must still happen at the levels below maya, because obviously there are still attachments to time, space and the rest. Such speculation on higher consciousness is obviously best left to the rishis.

Meanwhile, the Tantric vision of Kundalini has been much in vogue in the west as people seek to balance their chakras and rise their Kundalini energy for base to crown in order to attain some kind of enlightenment. Meanwhile, the astrology chart is known as Kundali which is a map representing the various powers and energies that we have taken on in this lifetime in order to complete our desires. Self knowledge allows us to use our various powers in order to achieve the best results for fulfilling the goals we have in this lifetime and thus obtaining a deeper level of satisfaction. The rise of Kundalini, I believe is nothing more than the rise of self awareness that allows us find greater balance in our ability to give to and receive from the universe without expecting too much (leading to disappointment) or too little (leading too great surprise). Of course, when the sense of oneness is properly cultivated, self awareness is the same as universal awareness.

As the great oracle in Delphi recommended “Know thyself,” and take peace.

Note: If you have any questions or comments please contact me as I am welcome to exploring errors of knowledge or judgement that are so difficult to avoid in such highly conjectural articles. I welcome all questions related to the topics of my articles as questions only force me to seek greater understanding of such misunderstood topics.


I realized something the other day. For a man on a spiritual path, it was a solid realization like running into a wall. The realization came about thru practical analysis of my will and desire as well as thru acknowledging my fears.

By mind and by impulse we want many things in life, but we only follow some of these mental promptings. We can know our true desires by the path we consistently follow. This is why people generally begin to know themselves better in middle age; we have some history to help guide us into the future. We begin many things only to have them fade away, other things that we do just seem to be a natural part of who we are. If we look close at the things that have faded from our lives, we can often relate them somehow to the more consistent path we are on.

Most of the time, most of us take action with hopes of some beneficial reaction. We give money, we get candy. We give our time and energy to work because we want money. We put our time and energy into meditation because we want peace. We want something in return for our expenditures of time, money and energy. But the truth is that most of us don’t know what we want and we wouldn’t know how to get it if we did. In the mean time our actions are often counter productive to attaining the higher goals of our life.

In our actions is everything: knowledge of ourselves, our abilities, our desires, and even our luck. But we have to look at our past actions without judgement or attachment to really recognize ourselves.

“Loose yourself and you will realize that there was no self to loose.”

This is a powerful spiritual statement. Loose yourself. Detach from your ego. Cease identifying with all your ideas of you. Imagine this scenario for a moment. Imagine yourself on some other path; perhaps the path of some rickshaw walla in India or some simple beggar in Canada. Some whole new you in some radically different situation with a radically new direction inn life. It’s quite an uncomfortable thought: disappearing from friends and family, not striving for name or fame or wealth or relations or anything at all.

I can honestly say that I’m not ready to give up on my ‘self.’ I have been cultivating myself and following this particular path of destiny for almost 38 years, I’m not particularly ready to throw it all away. This is the first wall I hit in my spiritual path. Or perhaps it’s more of a door that has opened in my spiritual life. I can never really tell. What I do know is that I’m happy with my life and direction. I don’t want to lose myself.

My sense of self is what it is. I’m not frightened or in conflict by what is inside me. It will all come to the surface when the time is right: the bliss, the pain, the fear and the courage. It will all dissipate too when the time is right.

The philosophical path I’m on started to become noticeable to me in my early twenties. Young and full of hope and optimism I began studying philosophy. Most people laugh at such idealism and remind one that there is no money in philosophy. Philosophers laugh at such people because there is no humanity in money. But they were right, I don’t think I’ve ever made a single penny with philosophy. But I have come much closer to humanity.

For a long while I turned my back on my own philosophical foundation and sought to identify myself as someone with more fiscal hope in life. Admittedly I didn’t raise the bar of fiscal hope very high. I changed my studies to writing and began identify as such. Later I dropped writing and dove into acrylics and canvas only to later switch to photography. I knew I’d never be an artist but I did have some small success in these areas.

The thing is, I never liked being identified as a construction worker; it was too base for my intellectual pride. I enjoyed the outside work, the hard labour, and the easy comradery with the crews, I just didn’t like the identification. The most humiliating question a person could ask was, “What do you do for a living?” Once the hours and the labour and the lifestyle started deteriorating my body, I knew I had to get out.

My luck took me to India eight years ago. I immersed myself in the various aspects of yoga: the asanas healed my body, the meditation helped me find calm, the lifestyle changed my own permanent behaviour so that many bad habits dropped away naturally and the philosophy and astrology have richly fed my mind. I began to see my own new lifestyle practices boom in the marketplace and I thought perhaps luck was leading me out of construction. Yoga and philosophy and holistics have simply become a part of my life; but the market place has not. It’s a dirty place this marketplace. Much dirtier than the shit smeared streets of Varanasi and the petty corruption that is part of my life here.

I’m not one to sell myself to the masses. To be honest, I don’t think I have much appeal for the masses. Perhaps it’s the years of construction that instilled such practicality in me. Working with people who were generally quick to accept but slow to judge makes me too honest and practical for the marketplace. In absence of office politics and mutual friendships honesty can flourish.

I don’t try to sell people their hopes and dreams. Everyone has to take care of that for themselves. I won’t hyperbolize my skills and knowledge and I won’t speak, practice or  teach beyond my own knowledge and experience just to impress. And I’ll do my best not to repeat in my own words something someone else has said with crystal clarity. This is why I have not written a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita despite several suggestions that I do so; all I can do is complicate and already clear and simple translation.

I was thinking about my own social identity when the ideas about the separations between internal and external came to me; the spiritual and the physical you could say. I often struggle with my social identity, and struggle with this struggle as well. I feel l like I know myself quite well, I’ve stretched myself beyond many limitation and recognise some of the ones that continue to hold me back (social identity being one of them). I’m comfortable with my contradictions and I know that my true self goes beyond words. I suspect it’s the social media aspect of identity that causes the most turmoil, but it’s the same when I’m asked by some new person what I do. What do I do?

I do so much, but yet I do so little and on the outside it seems to change so much month to month, year to years. Inside, these changes are small things, I know my path even though I can’t describe it. My path is an spiritual one until I come sit at my computer to use it as entrance into into the marketplace. What you’re reading is the only publicity I have. But in doing so I have to create an identity that I know only scratches the surface of what I’ve actually done while not even scratching the surface of who I really am. It causes me untold misery.

My desire to enter the market place of yoga and esoteric practice is not fed by a desire for money or fame, but merely to remain independent in my spiritual practice. My fierce independence and wandering ways have been both a spiritual blessing as well as a curse. If I could submit to an ashram or some such thing I could have an easy spiritual living, but this is not a long term solution for me. Neither, any longer, are my short bouts of construction work. The only next step I can envision in my physical as well as spiritual evolution is sharing some of my knowledge of yoga and healing and other esoteric subjects. The other problem I face is that many of the practices in these fields demand a kind of secrecy. They’re custom made for the time and place I find myself in and taking them out of that place and putting them into the marketplace or some blog post depreciates their value.

But as long as we go into society, we must identify as something. Our clothes and hair style and even the places we go are clues to our identity. In my case, I write and blog and have desire to bring my knowledge into the marketplace somehow. It’s perhaps this need to identify as something that is the dirtiest part of the marketplace. Or perhaps it’s just my own desire to be a part of it that I find so repugnant.

I have several identities actually. There my internal spiritual true identity. The one those I see in the course of the day experience; this one too arising quite naturally, and then there’s the one’s that are haphazardly crafted on line thru Facebook and WordPress and social media. I try to keep the online identity as close to reality as possible, but you know how it goes, you just can’t describe a full person in a sound bites. Internal identities are expansive while the external ones contract and limit.

And this is one of my greatest fears, that my online identity will not be authentic, but of course it won’t, it’s only a couple kilobytes.