Tag Archives: shakti

I am Shiva this world is Shakti

When we say that our true self is Shiva, we are not talking about this self that is body, mind; limiter and ceaselessly changing. This I who is Shiva is the unchanging universal soul which is being expressed not just in this body, but in all bodies as an individual soul. This “I” is the eternal subject. We cannot change what is not subject to change; we cannot purify that which is already pure. There is light, we can see, we are and we exist; this is only subject to acceptance, not change. This topic is hardly even amenable to contemplation. If we can’t even imagine it, it’s best we don’t even consider changing it.

Everything outside of the scope of the Shiva soul is Shakti: our mind and body and all that can be perceived by the senses at any moment. This is the eternal other. Many of us would like to change this. We think we are the body and have control over our body and mind and seek to make changes here, but the truth is that we are all fools. This coming together of soul (Shiva), body and mind (Shakti) is the divine play that we are advised to approach as a witness. This is the field of karma; the interplay between subject and object. We have no freedom here.

But where are we free? Where can we affect change?

In our relationship between the subject and object; in the way we relate not only to the world, but to our own bodies. How do we use what we have to reach out to the world?! This starts with how we relate without own body, our own mind.

We are born from a mother and a father. We had and have no control over this time and place we find ourselves. Even our will is the will of god. If I trace back the origin of this yoga or astrology I practice, or even this writing I am doing now, it all comes back to a will, an innate propensity towards these things. In other words, I didn’t do anything to have any of this; it was freely given to me at birth (all the benefits and all the defects).

This is one of the primary mistakes that most western yogis are making. They think they are the yogi and they pat themselves on the back for the good job they are doing. They do not accept the gift of their body and physical conditioning; they think they are the architect. Small “i” with small minds; they have not even begun to imagine what truth might be. They go around saying how blessed they are without recognizing that every sentient being is equally blessed. They base their blessing on the ever changing material reality; their blessing is not likely to get them thru bad weather as they begin to ask why such a curse. ‘To be’ is to be blessed; to not recognize this is the curse.

When we focus on our relationships with things there is little outward change to be recognized, but inside we will feel it just like we feel anger or sadness or frustration; we will feel peace; we will feel the blessing of existence in every moment thru good times and bad. And this is the sort of change people are really looking for; this is the sort of change that changes everything.

 

 

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.

Everything is Perfect as Passive Acceptance of Karma

Om poornamadah poornamidam poornaat poornam-udachyate poornasya poornamaadaaya poornamevaavashishsyate

Om Shanti… Shanti… Shanti…..

~Upanishad~

 It’s not unusual to hear the new age refrain that “this is perfect, and that is perfect, everything is god so everything is perfect just as it is.” On one hand, who can argue with this? Who can argue with the deeper wisdom of Mother Nature who brings us both our joy and our suffering; our life and our death? But if we are just to accept our karma and accept our lives as they are then life becomes rather futile and we ultimately lack responsibility for change. If God and nature are responsible, we are then free of responsibility; it doesn’t matter what we do because even the damage and destruction we cause are as natural as tsunamis and earthquakes. But this is not freedom.

Some might look to such an argument to ease their guilty conscience, but it does little to advance the cause of freedom. Some say that since everything is perfect by Nature we might as well work for personal gain. Those we hurt along the way are just receiving the karmic retribution they had coming to them anyways. This is faulty logic.

Mother Nature might hide our free will behind the bounty she provides, but she does not bind us to her contract. The trick that we’re all looking for in our yoga practice, is just the trick that allows us to relate with and exercise our free will. We want to gain power over our own lives so that we become active self-directed agents of our lives rather than passive performers of karma and duty being swept along by nature. Such passive acceptance of karma and the ways of Nature keep people bound to their karma unable to either command or change their lives. This has nothing to do with Tantra.

An Individual who, (though) desirous of doing various things,(but) incapable of doing then due to his innate impurity(experiences) the supreme state when the disruption (of his false ego) ceases.”

~Spandakarika~

Shiva Tantra (Kashmiri Shaivism) teaches the path of consciousness freedom rather than the path of power that so easily binds. It’s said that at the heart of the matter, we have free choice, but in order to really exercise this freedom we have to associate ourselves with Shiva consciousness, the agent of our action. From perspective of deep consciousness, we can know our true nature and act with freedom, recognising that there are choices beyond the typical karmic pathways.

When we act for gain, we associate with those things that provide delight for the mind, the body and the senses; there is no delight in these things for Shiva consciousness. Sensory delights come from outside of our selves and are largely karmically driven. When we follow these karmic pathways, our lives become so predictable that marketteers and psychologists can easily plot our patterns even without the use of astrology. The world of karma is filled with winners and losers. For every bit of gain we make, someone (or something) has had to loose.

A Shaivist knows there can be no gain because they deposit everything into the pool of consciousness rather than use it as is. Everything seems to dissolve into this pool, so we think it is of no use. But if we learn to relate with this consciousness then we can actively make choices in our lives.

Shiva Tantra teaches us how to rise above our karma and the futility of fate. Karma is only binding as long as we maintain our awareness of it and focus only on the actions that that serve somehow to increase our own personal karma. Freedom comes when become aware of the well-head of karma; the pool of consciousness; Shiva.

Knowing and Overcoming Karma

At first glance Tantra and Astrology appear to be at odds with each other: astrology confirms the hand of destiny while Tantra confirms the freedom of our will. An astrological birth chart is none other than a map of how we are bound in our human condition. Tantra is the map of how to overcome the bounds of the human condition.

The very nature of Vedic Astrology is to look into the intricacies of exactly how we are individually bound by our karma and desires, our communities and even how we expend it all. The Vedic birth chart is said to be the body of Kala Parusha, kala means time, while Parusha indicates an individual soul. As an embodied soul in time we are subject to the veils of maya and the physical realities of karma.

Such is life. This is why they say to let go of it all and remain in the moment. The karma you are here to experience will happen with or without your worry or plan. Tantra teaches us to shift our awareness away from the objects of our lives and focus instead on the awareness itself.

This is where purity comes in. We have to wash away the impurities of our senses. Objectivity is the main impurity. This subject-object relationship we have with the world: us and them, me and you. The objects basically just muddle up the purer experience of just being aware of seeing.

When we start seeing in this way we start seeing things as really are. Almost every eastern philosophy has a different way of explaining this, Tantra often says that they are incomplete and would lead only to inertia. Tantra fills everything with divinity of consciousness rather than relegating it to mere illusion while setting divinity apart from the reality we experience in a day to day way.

There are 36 elements in the Tantric worldview. Beginning with the five gross elements of earth air fire and water the elements get subtler and subtler: objects sounds, gunas (the famous elements of Ayurveda), thoughts, mind, memories, kinetic and potential energy. Tantra teaches us to experience these subtler and subtler energies.

An astrology could be said to be a chart of how these subtle energies are working in our lives. From a karmic point of view there is little we can do. But by working with the subtler energies Tantra teaches many ways we can use these energies as the naturally manifest in objects to improve our lives and get what we want.

In the material world we are bound by the laws of karma; the spiritual world is quite a different matter once we learn how see that it’s essentially a spiritual world we are living in; we begin to see how we are absolutely free.