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6. Ardra Nakshatra

6. Ardra Nakshatra: (6° 40’ – 20° 00’ Gemini)

Star of sorrow with the power to make gains through effort. Rudra is the presiding deity and Rahu is the ruling planet. The main symbols are a diamond, a teardrop and a human head. The female dog is the sexual creative animal of Ardra.

Key Themes

Ardra people are hard, cutting, stormy, expansive, moist, wet, fresh, green living. They like to live in the jungle, the forest, surrounded by wilderness and wild animals; this could be the urban jungle. They won’t be comfortable with suburban life unless it gives them plenty of opportunity to walk on the wild side. They have very sharp animalistic instincts; all their senses are sharp; almost primitive. They will likely have strong tribal or group affiliations with Rahu characters: outcastes, criminals, shadowy, foreign and unusual people.


They like to be in nature, they often have pets or work with animals. Hunters, foragers, trappers, trainers, rodeo cowboys are often found with placements in Ardra. But any kind of job that offers field work: biologists, field engineers, weather experts, trekking guides, survivalists, storm chasers…. In the city it could make police officers (doing undercover or investigative work), social workers, medical response, or other humanistic work in areas where things can quickly get out of hand. They are often connected to the drug scene somehow. They like it when their animalistic instincts get triggered and seem to put themselves into some extreme and intense situations and they may be prone to addiction.. They might be adrenaline junkies, thrill seekers, provocateurs, who love to feel the rush of adrenaline and other intense hormones.
Music and dance (especially trance or tribal) are usually important to Ardra people. They love instinctive physical body based behaviours; swaying, surging, gyrating, pulsating movement. They mesmerize others with seductive gestures and animal magnetism. They can draw people into walking the wild side. Their lifestyle typically keeps them very physically fit even if sometimes malnourished and they do not participate directly in any kind of exercise regime (though they often will). Their careers are often physically intensive and demand sharp instincts: manual labourers, dancers, acrobats, dare devils, always living on the edge.
Ardra natives are often involved in things that are socially taboo. They tend to have a strong hunger for sex, drugs and rock’n’roll and will not hesitate to break the bounds of decency. They can be very provocative, wild, (self) destructive people: drug dealers, bartenders, cheats, thieves, or any kind of illicit sales or service. Poverty, rough living, and some kind of exploitation are common with this placement.


Tribalistic beliefs involving animal spirits like shamanism, tantra, Wicca, witchcraft or blood sacrifice can be practiced or taught here. Sex, drugs and alcohol can be used in a ritualistic way as well. They may practice some kind of touch healing, may administer drugs (or poisons) for healing purposes, such as homeopaths or allopaths, and they will often espouse some kind of tribal philosophy. They are sometimes found as teachers, instructors, counsellors or writers. As is common for all the Gemini placements, they often enjoy mental gymnastics, word games, card games, strategy games. Ardra may also have an affinity for electricity, technology, science fiction and on-line gaming.
They are often not easy people to be around and they are known to be irritable, ungrateful troublemakers. They might be easily excited and easily carried away. They will take on any appearance to get what they want. They tend to lack sincerity; except intensity, their intensity is sincere.
They need some kind of release. It’s imperative that they don’t try to restrain the beast. They need some outlet to lose themselves, to lose their mind. This nakshatra puts me in mind of the lady followers of Bacchus who would lose themselves in ecstasy, drink and dance. Not only that, but the whole thing was cloaked so that no man, no husband would know what they were up to. and since the ladies themselves were so inebriated, they could not themselves clearly remember what happened. Rahu’s ownership throws his dark smoky oily cloak over this person.
There is a sense not only of storms, but drafts, rough drafts, winds, that kind of unexpected windiness that seizes an epileptic. The chill you get walking through a cemetery at night or living on the cremation grounds. Ardra is the shiver that runs down your spine. He represents the loop-hole. He may allow his people to cheat death, but he will leave his mark mentally or physically. In a similar manner, they are likely to be “free-will” advocates to who will in the end be forced to submit to a higher power (this also relates with them being represented by the female dog who might go out looking for it, but ultimately she has to submit). There can be a strong current or repentance, but this is likely to flow in circles rather than affecting any kind of meaningful change. They seek personal empowerment, but in some way God reminds them who is ultimately in control.


Ardra can be deeply spiritual in a tribalistic way. Tantra is represented throughout, but aghori tantra, left hand path, sex tantra, black magic, dark devil worship, heterodox practices involving drugs, alcohol, sex, and other forbidden substances, ayahuasca, magic mushrooms, trance drumming or chanting, vision questing all come under the purview of Ardra. Many Ardra natives are left-handed or ambidextrous.

Planets in Ardra

Ascendant (birth times may not be confirmed): Madonna (1), Sex Pistols (1), Sarah Bernhardt (1), Hannah Arendt

Sun: They draw everyone’s attention to their wild nature. They’re proud of it and express themselves in a unique or unusual way. Theri father may have been isolated. They have this peculiar way of shining a light on everything that’s wrong with society. They might be accused of following conspiracy theories. The “official version” of events might differ from the truth. The Sun, representing ultimate truth, is immersed in the dark story clouds of Gemini where he makes things even more hot and steamy. And they like it this way, such climates, whether natural or artificial will trigger their creativity. Ardra will diminish and diffuse their light, they are truely diamonds in the rough.
George Orwell (1), Clarence Thomas (1), Johnny Gottselig (1), Kris Kristofferson (1), Meryl Streep (1), Carol Hemingway (1), Jean-Paul Sartre (1), Korean War (1), WW I (2), Hermann Oberth (2), Princess Diana (3), Pamala Anderson (3), Joel Cran (3), Liv Tyler (3), Night of the Long Knives (3), Herman Hesse (4), Allysa Koch (4), Julian Assange (4), King Henry VIII (4), Canada (4)

Moon: This whole article offers a description of the moon here. Ardra and the storm is a fairly regular and almost predictable event for these natives. Their mother was likely unsettled and they experienced gaps in their care as children. They may feel somewhat undeserving and for this reason tend towards self sabotage to prove themselves correct.
George Orwell (1), Boy George (1), Turkey (1), Frank Costello (1), Bhimrao Ambedkar (1), Pence (2), William of Cambridge (2), Almas (2), Kenny Rogers (2), Kurt Cobain (2), Canada (3), Tom Waits (3), John D Rockefeller (3), Michael Jordan (3), Jian Ghomeshi (3), Stephen Wolfram (3) (mathematician), Sai Baba (3), Willie Nelson (4), Dave Chappelle (4), Issac Newton (4)

Mars: They will move like a beast, they will use covert and unusual means to attack. They may disguise themselves to cross borders. They can be very aggressive and will stand up and fight for what they believe in. They usually know how to use a gun, but perhaps they have chosen fire juggling instead; and more broadly speaking they find an unusual use of fire and steel. This is not a great position for Mars though because Ardra is too humid; Mars and Sun both just add heat to the humidity. They might use their body to make smoke signals. Some of the hockey players on the list would use fake moves to outwit the defence. Their action might be at odds with their intent. Or perhaps what they are doing is not actually what it looks like.
Wayne Gretzky (1), Derek Chauvin (1), Cicero (1), Warren Buffet (1), India (1), Sid Vicious (2), Sex Pistols (1), Brett Hull (2), Osama Bin Laden (2) William Burroughs (3), Shakespeare (3), John Calvin (3), Ingrid Bergman (3), Malcom X (3), Mikhail Bakunin (4), Jean-Claude Van Damme (4), Jiddu Krishnamurti (4), Arther Schopenhauer (4), Robin Williams (4)

Mercury: Communication about chaotic events, rogues, plots. There will be some kind of life narrative of things getting out of hand. Good position for surveillance and security, therapeutics dealing with post traumatic stress disorders or the ardent paparazzi. They will have really wild stories and take time to analyse and study unusual and violent events. They are usually good with their hands and may be able to perform some “slight of hand” tricks, card tricks, and other various circus of parlour games.
Princess Diana (1), Thomas Clarence (1), Harrison Ford (1), Conor McGregor (1), Johnny Gottselig (1) (Hockey player/coach), Wilber Cohen (1), Natalie Portman (2), Steven Crowder (3), Trump (3), Angela Merkel (3), Paul Gauguin (3), Rembrandt (3), Boy George (4), Liv Tyler (4), Woody Harrelson (4), Alice Bailey (4), Jian Ghomeshi (4)

Venus: They all love the image of the lone wolf. They have a love for the unusual. They are often a one man show, or perhaps they merely project such an image: tough and wild. They usually value the wilderness and wild animals and seek some kind of compromise with it. They might love hunting, tracking and they might like to role play with their partners. Or maybe it’s just them who like to play the “wild-man” role. Men will often have a wife on the wildside, and both sexes may seek dangerous methods to gain pleasure. They might get off on adrenaline to such a degree as to seem suicidal. They will choose to dissent or stand alone based on their values. .
Hiroshima (1), Brett Hull (1), Martin Sheen (1), Steven Crowder (1), Barack Obama (1), King Carl Gustaf XVI (1), Dave Toschi (1), Mick Foley (1), USA (2), Israel (2), Thomas Clarence (2), Edward Smyth-Osbourn (2) (NATO Commander), Natalie Partman (2), Dustin Hoffman (2), Elizabeth Hurley (2), Clint Eastwood (3), Napoleon Bonaparte (3), Josef Haller (3), Karl Wolff (3), Jean-Paul Palomeros (4), Oonagh Shanley – Toffolo (4) (Princess Diana’s healer)

Jupiter: Will experience a lot of intense moments. Allows us to surrender to the forces that are beyond our control. Guru and teacher figures may have a tribal background or come from a marginalized community. Children may run wild or have some Ardra type debilitation; the same goes for a woman’s husband. It can be a good placement for a busy executive with lots of different meetings, appointments. Strange signals seem to be permissive. This is very much the brahma checking out his own daughter. They will likely change their beliefs several times in their life and theri principles will be inconsistently applied.
Mario Lemieux (1), Patrick Roy (1), J Edgar Hoover (1), Emmanuel Macron (1), Almas (2), Neil Armstrong (3), Jiddu Krishnamurti (2), Harrison Ford (3), USA (3), Jackie Robertson (3), Ramakrishna (3), Wyatt Earp (4), Marcel Proust (4), 9/11 (4), Rupert Murdoch (4), Angela Merkel (4), Ram Das (4), George Soros (4), William Shatner (4), Maidan Revolution Ukraine (4), Hannah Arendt (4) Robert Yeats (4) (Geologist working on earthquakes)

Saturn: Not good for the eldest brother. Some kind of obsessive compulsive behaviour is common. This can be a pretty brutal placement. This Saturn can give a feeling of responsibility for animals or animalistic behaviour and wilderness. It suggests dementia in old age, possibly a mad scientist figure. They may be afraid of boogie men waiting to jump out from every shadow. They will likely belong to some kind of extremist group, somewhat dangerous fringe group, forbidden sex organization, religious cult, black magic, militia, or gang, They will work closely with the wildlife wether human or animal. The wild animal inside of themselves may be repressed or held back (though Mars, Rahu or Ketu influence can release it with explosive, toxic, or deadly results. You could say that they take it upon themselves to be Rudra in defense of the innocent, of course such a role also involves the 12 years of penance that Rudra Aghore Bhairava had to complete.

When Ketu influences Saturn in Ardra he brings in a sense of randomness and an apathy for the jungle. They can be good at mantra or repetition that brings trance. They typically practice and train the same movements over and over again. They can be good at meditation and spend much time alone. They are more akin to a survivalist than a yogi but they might be very good at using the body. They will typically use hard work and effort to get what they want, but what they want might not be possible so they have to keep up the pressure and resort to cruelty or deceit. This is very much the lone wolf whose responsibility and commitments might never be known; a ghost.
On the other hand, it’s a combination that, in an otherwise “civilized chart,” can cause a person to suddenly get lost in the wilderness, take a wrong turn downtown and end up in the wrong neighbourhood, or perhaps they have a whole period of life where they had taken a wrong turn. Likewise, wildlife might just show up at the door, criminals might come out of nowhere. There may be fear of the dark.

Saturn Ardra 1st house (Saturn rules 8th & 9th): They are associated with some kind of social revolution. They represent the underrepresented and seek change for the masses. They espouse innovative revolutionary theories. These people are often tall, dark and mysterious. They may not maintain their health or appearance. DH Lawrence became known as the “Savage Pilgrim” in the later part of life. They tend to make a lot of enemies and experience persecution. They are themselves the underdog; the whipping boy. They are hard workers capable of enduring hardship. They are usually working class or farm labourers. Jacques Fresco also has this placement. Although both of these fellows had to face great hardship in life, Mercury’s strong placement in both cases kept them from the obscurity one would expect from such difficult circumstances. Fresco’s exchange between Mercury and Saturn has given him the wisdom of numbers in order to come up with an economic theory to help those less fortunate.

Saturn in Ardra 3rd house (Saturn rules 10th & 11th): We can usually see third house placements fairly clearly in a person since it relates to their personal narrative. They are usually a wild child, shameless mentality and will sink to any depth to get what they want. They might engineer a killer storm or some kind or commotion that quickly gets out of hand. There can be an autistic effect with this placement, somewhat antisocial or stunted in their ability to deal with the public. Their communication often comes across as harsh, cruel and out of place. Working and hobbies involving technology, communications, media, electricity, messaging, signalling. Nerve damage in the upper spine affecting the arms cannot be ruled out here either. They could be a butcher, someone working with dangerous implements. This position has a negative effect on the elder brother who may get caught up in some kind of storm and killed and the native with this placement may live feeling some guilt for the event. One’s own achievements are likely to be attributed to another (though one might also kick up a storm over this. Might be known for their cold stormy mentality, especially when they don’t get what they want.

Saturn in Ardra 6th house (Saturn rules 1st & 2nd): Close connections with pets and animals. In service to those who have no mind either from drugs or mental illness. With ketu they can get into some really dirty service to the least fortunate without being attached to it. They are no virtue signaller in this topic, they get in there and do the work without attachment to the outcome.

Saturn in Ardra 8th (Saturn rules 3rd & 4th) is more difficult for us to see because of the secretive nature of the 8th house it’s unlikely to be talked about or acknowledged; however we can usually intuit it. This placement can bring a a lot of guilt about sex as they seek to restrain their urge for guilty pleasures. Sex might also accompany some kind of chaos. They have a lot of fear of the unknown. They often have some belief in black magic and can easily be fooled by sorcerers and witches. They will face many hard storms. One of the parents, caretakers or elders is likely to be brutal and there is a good opportunity for a gangland or junky lifestyle. If this 8th house Saturn gets an aspect from Mars or Rahu they could become criminally dangerous. Ketu randomised everything so god only knows what these folks get into, it could be intense, or they might merely be accident prone or randomly self destructive. On the other hand, they might be completely incapable of understanding their own responsibility and inherently incapable of fulfilling their commitments.

Saturn in Ardra 10th house (Saturn rules 5th & 6th): Leader of thieves or criminals. May work in the wilderness hunting, fishing, training, providing unusual, taboo or criminal services. They typically spend a lot of their time alone in isolation for their work and way of life. They can be especially libertarian and Rahu influence can easily lead to criminality as they take the law into their own hands.
Dave Chappelle (1), Rose McGowan (1), Eric Clapton (2), Tony Esposito (2), Mia Farrow (2), Michel Arth (3) (black magic child killer), Nikola Tesla (3), D.H. Lawrence (3), Lauren Haris (3) (Group of Seven Artist), Rajiv Gandhi (3), Bill Ayers (3) (Radical Communist), Robert Hand (4) (Astrologer), David Gilbert (4) (Radical Communist), Jacque Fresco (4) (Venus Project), Drew Barrymore (4) ,George Soros (4)

Rahu: Masters of disguise. The most unusual or exotic pets, weapons or arms. Will likely often have some strange curiosity or cutting edge technology at hand (all the better if it’s a little bit dangerous or unpredictable). A unique walking stick may be seen. Ketu is likely to be in Mula oblivious to the chaos that might be caused around them or the broader effects of their actions. They can be especially selfish without thinking beyond the needs of their own kind, their group of tribal affiliation. However , they are likely to be let down by this group at certain intervals. They may put these Ardra outcasts on a pedestal only to have their illusions shattered.
Edward Smyth-Osbourn (1), Diane Keaton (1), Sandra Bullock (1), Marcel Proust (1), 9/11 (1), Brett Hull (1), Pope Benedict XVI (1), Courtney Love (1), Jawaharlal Nehru (2), Anne Hathaway (2), Nigel Farage (2), Tony Esposito (2), Sai Baba (3), Hiroshima (3), Martin Heidegger (3), William of Cambridge (4), Michelle Obama (4), Brad Pitt (4), Calamity Jane (4), Thich That Hanh (4), Julius Caesar (4), Jeff Bezos (4), Otto Von Bismark (4), Michel Arth (4) (black magic child killer)

Ketu: Impropriety knows no limits. They take it for granted that life is a wild jungle and they will certainly have some ghosts in the closet. In some ways Ardra is like the junk drawer; the only thing that holds Ardra folk together is that they don’t belong anywhere else.Since Rahu and Ketu always work together there is a good chance that Rahu will be stealing the show with the chaotic consequences while the ardra instigator along with all the details are buried in the myst. It’s hard to know who these people really are because of all the inconsistencies in their story. And a wild tale it is certain to be. You could say that they can grow numb to the lying, cheating and backbiting that goes on all around them.
Bruce Willis (1), Jen Child Tofino (1), Robert Redford (1), Buddy Holly (1), Kris Kristofferson (2), Dave Chappelle (2), Cecil Edward Bingham (2) (WW I Commander), Rose McGowan (2), Arthus Schlesinger Jr (2), Steve Jobs (2), Denis Hopper (2), Anthony Kennedy (2), Antonin Scalia (3), Adam Gorey (3), Al Capone (3), Stephanie Pierce (3), Valerie Solanas (3) (militant lesbian who killed Andy Warhol), Henry Ford II (3), Alice Bailey (3), John F Kennedy (4) Shakespeare (4), Phil Donahue (4), Stephane Abrail (4)

Qualities of Ardra

Butcher, Kama, Human, Rajas – Tamas -Satvic, Vata, Sharp, Upward, Balanced, Female, Water element, Destructive energy, Sage Pulanhu, West

Butcher: Harsh activities like, killing, cutting, working with flesh and blood, or with taboo functions of the human body.

Kama: They are motivated to fulfill their hopes & desires; to enjoy life and love, making friends and social connections, and to indulge in the pleasures of life. Planets that have some natural social talent will do well here while the others will show their awkwardness for easy enjoyment.

Human: Ardra is all too human, capable of compassion but easily succumbs to the human condition and finds it difficult to rise up and consistently do what they know to be right. They are not completely selfish and will easily defend the weak. They often know what is right, they just don’t always follow it.

Tamasic: function thru the body and material world in a spiritually dark way. Rajas – Tamas -Satvic

Vata: Air + Ether = Cold, dry, light, moving, subtle, clear, hard, pervasive, rough

  • Flighty, spiritual, thin
  • Disturbed by bitter (Mars), astringent (Saturn), pungent (Sun).
  • Pacified by sweet (Jupiter) & sour (Venus)

Tikshna/Daruna: Sharp/Hard, dreadful, ferocious, bitter. Skilled at acts of aggression, torture, cruelty, murder, punishment, mesmerising, casting out demons, tearing apart, breaking alliances, break (or train) and animal, break someones will, completing extremely difficult tasks that require planning and focus. Incantation, tantra, black magic, divorce, sadhana or hatha yoga (hard practice). Mars here with Saturn’s aspect can be very dangerous.

Upward Facing: Looking up, optimism, good for gardening, planting, growing, expanding, building upwards, looking towards the future. Planets like Jupiter and Moon can do very well here, but Saturn usually causes problems.

Functions in a Balanced Way Here we find the balanced approach.

Female: Like a teenage girl: Green, fresh, moist. Works well with feminine planets and females, but males with this placement will have a more difficult time.

Water: heavy, cold, movable, fluid, moist, liquid, soft & hard, clear

  • Earth + Water = Cooperation
  • Water does not co-operate with Air and impedes Fire
  • Fire does not co-operate with Earth and impedes Water
  • Air does not co-operate with Water and impedes Earth .

Destructive energy: This nakshatra is focused on tearing things down, endings, and losses of all kinds. Clearing away obstacles to progress.

Sage Pulahu: Helped create the wildlife as well as many of the mythical beasts. Since his children were so poorly behaved he adopted Agastya’s son, Drudhasya. He was an ardent worshiper of Shiva. When King Bharata renounced his kingdom he went to Sage Pulahu’s ashram for refuge.

West: Things in the westerly direction can be auspicious for this nakshatra. It also trains strength when placed in the westen quadrant of the kundali.

Auspicious activities:

Physically intensive activities that allow them to connect with their animal instincts. They love to feel like part of the group even if it means declaring tribal war or conducting guerrilla warfare. It’s a good day for destructive activities, unlearning old habits, forgetting the past, seeking redemption, clearing the land, risking your life, spending time with animals or going into the wilderness. It’s a good time to get into a bad situation. Practice left-hand tantra, become more aware of your body and your senses; let go of your mind. Do intense practice, dance like a wild-man, do mantra until you fall into a trance, practice visualization meditation. All forms of pranayama can be practiced here as well.

Health:

Top and back of the head

At the top and back of the brain are located the somatosensory cortex, the parietal lobe, and the occipital lobe. These areas of the brain have a lot to do with how we perceive the world and our place in it.

A) The Somatosensory Cortex processes all the bodily tactile sensations including touch, pressure, vibration, temperature, itches, tickles and pains. Three major functions are: 1) proprioception: awareness of position and movement of the body, 2) exteroception: awareness of things other than the body, and 3) interoception: sense of the internal state of the body. The Saiva yogi’s can see how this connects with the high state of awareness sought by these individuals.

B) The Parietal lobe gives you a sense of ‘me’. It figures out the messages you receive from the five senses of sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste. This part of the brain tells you what is part of the body and what is part of the outside world; not the body). It really conjures up the duality of gemini. The two main functions are to integrate sensory information to form our perception, and, by placing ourselves in the centre of a spatial coordinate system, to understand our place in the world.
Damage to the parietal lobe may result in: “Gerstmann’s Syndrome,” right – left confusion, aphasia (difficulty writing), acalculia (difficulty with mathematics), anosognosia (deficient self awareness, they may not even be aware of a significant disability). More severe damage can cause Balint’s Syndrome where one is unable to control the gaze or integrate components of a visual scene. Damage on the left side affects verbal memory and the ability to recall strings of numbers. Damage on the right side can significantly alter a person’s personality.
A couple simple tests for parietal lobe function are the Kimura Box test (apraxia) and the Two-point Discrimination test (somatosensory test: tests one ability to distinguish two separate points of touch on the skin. Should be able to distinguish 5mm apart)

C) The Occipital Lobe interprets the information from our eyes and allows us to make sense out of it. Has some role in memory and basic conceptualization of the world around us. Facial recognition, familiarity of places and objects. When there is damage to the occipital lobe one may experience full or partial blindness, or some specific part of vision may be impaired (colour blindness, spatial relations ect). Anton’s Disease, they lose their vision without being aware of it and may not even accept proof if offered. Riddoch syndrome: they can only see moving objects. Stationary objects form and colour are not part of their perceptive field. Epilepsy relating to the occipital lobe usually involves occipital seizures, photosensitivity seizures. Flashes of light or a multiplicity of colour may trigger the seizure.
Some less dramatic effects of occipital lobe damage are difficulty recognising everyday objects; trouble understanding basic colours, shapes, sizes; difficulty recognising familiar faces; difficulty balancing, moving or standing; changes in depth perception; difficulty detection moving objects; difficulty reading or writing due to trouble recognising the words.

Dyslexia is partly related to both the parietal lobe is involved in word analysis and decoding, while the occipital lobe is related more to the ability to automatically access whole words and read skillfully and fluently.

Tears: Three Types

  1. Basal tears: protein rich antibacterial tears that moisten and maintain the eye every time we blink.
  2. Reflex tears: triggered by irritants (such as wind smoke or onions) to flush out the eye.
  3. Emotional tears: Accompanied by a release of endorphins and oxytocin which acts as a self soothing mechanism. The endorphins numb the body and the oxytocin gives us a feeling of calm, peace and security. Activates the parasympathetic nervous system helping us to relax. Not only this, it also serves as a “cry for help” to rally others to our aid. It also seems likely that crying felps to remove toxins and stress hormones from the body that also aids in stress reduction.

This kind of crying happens when we feel some kind of emotional overload and we are unable to cope: joy, sadness, surprise, hope, whatever it is is just too much for us to process. So we break down and ask the world for connection; to come and save us; have pity on us; to hug us and tell us everything is gonna be ok. It triggers short term human bonding and social connection. Like a rallying cry calling all the troops to band together. (Ardra represents the rallying cry while Mula is the troops bound together.) Tears often neutralize aggression.
After a big storm everything stays heavy and soggy for a while, it takes some time for the renewal to begin and flowers to bloom again. The endorphins numb the emotion and awareness becomes heightened and typically the oxytocin would kick in to help us feel the calm security of acceptance and connection. But for ardra acceptance doesn’t last, it’s like letting a friend sleep on the couch after they had a fight with the wife. You become a part of the family and they welcome you with open arms…. But after the third day or the third time in a month then it’s time to move on.
Those who never cry (or never cry out for help) are more isolated, withdrawn while feeling less connected to the world around them. They also typically experience more negative aggressive feelings, like rage, anger and disgust, than people who cry. Saturn is known to give particularly difficult results in Arda.

Other physical or mental distinctions related to Ardra
In more common language, we often find Ardra people get attacked by the wind in some way, something can come along and fry their nervous system at any time, they are prone to other windy diseases like coughs, colds, asthma, TB, allergies (aberrations to the immune system), skin sensitivities, addictions, compulsions, and phobias. They are prone to addiction, fighting, violence, domestic abuse and other conditions that are common to poor or marginalized people. They are known for their blood shot: hangover, lack of sleep, pink eye, ganja, trauma lines.
Several hormones related to the desire, addiction, anger, and release are represented in Ardra. Dopamine is a key hormone in addictive behaviour, Endorphins are often released when we are in pain, fear, intense moments. Their job is to numb the pain and it feels great. Oxytocin is ultimately what we crave, the feeling of connection, safety, security, comfort and acceptance. Adrenaline and norepinephrine relate with the fight or flight reactions but also act to increase the release experienced by sexual pleasure as it peaks just before ejaculation. Many people associate it with the pineal gland. There is also a cranial nerve that runs from the nasal region to the septal nucleus of the brain which is involved with the release of testosterone and Estrogen. Its involved with desire, sexual appetite.
Ardra are typically addicted to the rush of endorphins typically followed by a crash. Sex, intense excersise, extreme sports, risk taking, and the various addictions all have their associated risks and threaten different parts of the body.

Gods & Symbols of Ardra

Rudra:

A fierce form of Shiva who is sometimes said to be the son of Bhumi (earth) & Svarga (heaven). He wears a garland of skulls, his body is covered in the ash from the cremation fires, and he wanders everywhere. He is often described as a powerful archer, a hunter, the lord of beast & storms. His name translates as the Howler.
The vayus are his vehicle as he is like prana itself riding upon the forces of prana vayu (outward moving force), apana vayu (downward moving force), vyana vayu (spirals outward), samana vayu (spirals inward), udana vayu (upward rising force). And perhaps also naga, kurma, devdatta, krikalam dhananjaya.


11 Rudras are often considered to relate with the five organs of action, the 5 organs of perception and the mind which controls the others. They can also refer to the 10 prana vayus plus the vital force of prana itself. The names of the 11 Rudra’s are: Nirriti, Shambu, Aparajita, Mrigravyadha, Kapardi, Dahana, Khara, Ahirabrodhya, Kapali, Pingala, Senani.
It was Rudra who shot Prajapati in the thigh with an arrow to keep him from catching his daughter who he was lusting after. It was Rudra who chopped off Brahma’s head for lying and Ganesha’s head for opposing him at the gates of his own home,
“I bow to you Rudra, who is terrible, eminent, and extremely strong; who is the highest Lord. The one who is ever unborn and whole and has the brightness of a million suns. The one who holds a trident in his hand; the weapon that uproots the bondage of the three gunas: sattva, rajas, tamas. I bow to you, the husband of Bhavani devi, who can be attained by devotion.” (from the Rudrashtakam)

Teardrop / Raindrop:

After Sati immolated herself and Shiva was raging around India with her body and crying, the tears that fell from his eyes for the Rudraksha trees. Tears cleans our anger, our sorrow and the plain in our hearts. Storms clean away what is dead and of no use while nourishing fresh growth.

Human head:

The human head or a human skull has always been a symbol of our mortality. It’s also associated with the mind and the ego and silencing these two can be like copping off our own head.The aghori baba of modern times are descendants of the Kapalikas (the “skull carriers”). Bhairava, the fierce form of shiva who chopped the heads off Brahman and Ganesha. Two separate stories have him separating Brahma from one of his heads. Once was for a conspiracy and lie shared with the Kataki flower about the limitations of lord Shiva, and the other time was to punish him for his sexual obsession with his own daughter. He famously took Ganesha’s head at their first meeting when Shiva returned from Kailasa to find the strange boy at the door of his own house guardian Shakti ma. Indra struck Trishras with his thunderbolt and had a wood cutter chop off his three heads. Samhara Kali holds a head in her left hand and wears a mala of human head. Chinnamasta chops off her own head to feed her attendants.

Diamond:

Diamonds are very hard, sharp, cutting, & brilliant. Astrologically they are ruled over by Venus and they are said to help maintain relationship harmony, overcome weakness and control anger. Diamonds should only be purchased on Fridays when Venus is transiting Taurus, Libra or Pisces; never when Venus is in Virgo.
Early diamonds can only be cut with another diamond so it was very late before they were able to cut them into the beautiful specimens we see today. Despite their relative ugliness when uncut they were determined to have magical properties. They are formed from an intense amount of heat and pressure and time. They used to believe that diamonds were formed from lightning striking stone.
The demon Balasur defeated Indra and the gods, but due to a boon the gods were able to kill him tied to a stake as the sacrificial animal for their yajya. His arms became all the gems of the world and as the gods of so many realms fought over them, stole them and fled, the gems were scattered all over India. Indra was able to escape with the diamonds. Diamonds were set into the eyes of gods who were sculpted from stone.
Wearing a diamond brings relief from snakes, fire, poison, tigers and all kinds of enemies. A lovely refraction of light from a diamond blesses the wearer with wealth, food grain, and good children. Diamonds can even help a king conquer the world. But diamonds should not be worn by women as it will bring unhappiness and prevent them from having a son.
The five flavors are said to have come out of a diamond. Insanity could be prevented by folding a diamond loosely in the right hand. Holding it too tightly could cause seizures. Beneficial for stomach problems, depression, infections, memory loss, skin disease, & nightmares when placed in the appropriate location of the body.

Stars of Ardra:

The bow and arms of Orion
Betelgeuse: The abode of Lord Shiva (Orion is the form he took to avenge Brahma’s daughter.
Brightest star in the constellation Orion (10th brightest in the whole sky) and the largest of all the known stars; relatively cool as well. Means “shoulder of the giant.” It’s in the middle part of the constellation Orion. Having been ejected from Orion it’s moving at a speed of 30 km/sec. This creates a “bow shock” over 4 lightyears wide. It rotates fairly slowly.
Sirius: The “Dog Star”
Brightest star in the constellation Canis Major, which the Greeks considered to be the dog or the hunter Orion. It marks the dog days of summer between July 3 and August 11 when the sun rises with Sirius. He brings oppressive heat, drought, dryness to the land and to men.

Tree of Ardra

Long-pepper: Piper Longum – Pipli
A flowering vine that is somewhat hotter than black pepper. Native of India. Grows all across the hotter parts of Northern India.
According to Ayurveda its properties are pungent, very hot, sweet, light & piercing. It’s antibacterial, diuretic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, anthelmintic, analgesic, carminative, expectorant, and thermogenic. It balances kapha and vata. It’s good for the respiratory system: chronic bronchitis, respiratory infections, asthma, cough and kapha complaints. It invigorates digestion and is used for stomach ache, constipation, diarrhea, cholera, chronic dysentery or worms, chronic malaria, and herpes. It slows blood clotting so not to be used in high amounts with bleeding disorders or two weeks before surgery. It has aphrodisiac and rejuvenating properties.
Some of the Ayurvedic formulas that use long pepper are: Kaas Har Churna, Digestion Support, Chandraprabha Vati, Kaishore Guggul, Mahashankh Vati

Agarwood / Eagle-wood:
A fragrant, dark resinous wood prised for the arome it gives off due to a mold that sometimes infects the heartwood of Aquilaria trees. The resin that builds up inside the tree dramatically increases in mass and density. Aquilaria trees are endangered; first grade agarwood is one of the most expensive raw materials in the world at $100 – $100 000/kg. Most aquilaria trees grow in North East India, Myanmar, Cambodia.
The oil that is extracted is commonly known as Oud (or aguru) and is highly valued for its aphrodisiac properties as well as for its spiritual cultural value. It’s especially popular in Turkey and the Arab world these days. Oud oil can be distilled from agarwood using steam. 70kg of wood yields about 20ml of oil. 150 chemical compounds are found in it.
The fragrance is “oriental-woody,” “very soft fruity floral,” the smoke has a hint of “sweet balsamic,” “shades of vanilla and musk,” and amber. Others describe it as the fat of the wood; a deep dark animalistic even manure like odour, an “exhilarating and spiritually elevating” fragrance. Myths say that Oud is like a rebellious bachelor who begins flowering after he’s married. It’s said to be astringent & bitter. Writing material is still made of its bark in some places
The Vedas tell us that the eight sought after fragrances are: agarwood, turmeric, red and white sandalwood, saffron, camphor, cow spleen, musk (from the deers musk gland).

Sexual / Creative Animal

Female Dog (pairs with Mula)
The old phrase, “like a bitch in heat,” comes to mind: Ardra can be ardently passionate.
She goes into heat 1 – 3 times per year beginning when she is about 6 months old (though this varies considerably by breed). In the proestrus stage, estrogen floods her body, her vulva swells and she releases a bloody vaginal discharge. She becomes increasingly restless, she plays “bow and show” submissive behavior toward males. As ovulation approaches, urination will increase along with licking the vulva; males will become even more attracted to her. She will stand to be sniffed by them but will crouch and growl if they try to mount her. As she moves to the estrus stage, courtship and mate selection will begin. It’s believed that she will be involved in some kind of selective process, but if there are no other males around she will take any that are offered to her. She typically selects a male from her pack or one she has known. However, during her first heat she will not let other pups from her litter sniff, lick or mount her unless he persists for more than 30 minutes. She won’t let unfamiliar males mount her. Typically a dominant female will mate with a dominant male, and the submissive ones will mate amongst themselves.
Pre-mating behaviors include seeking out males, barking & howling, restlessness and wandering off. By the time estrus begins she will have as many as eight males following her. Less time will be spent eating as she will be busy sniffing the male urine. If the males don’t seem interested she will eventually begin to rub up against them and eventually lift her tail and present her vulva to him, which typically gets their attention. While the male mounts, she will stand quietly with her tail to the side. Once the sperm is deposited she will try to get away from “the tie” by pulling or throwing the male off balance, twisting and turning and even rolling over (possibly due to clitoral stimulation). Excessive salivation is also common. If “the tie” doesn’t work she can get very sexually aggressive with the male. She may want to mate once or twice a day for 2 – 5 days. Since she can have multiple litters each year she is often either pregnant or caring for pups.

Pada Rulers of Ardra

Rahu: Overreaching, inconsistent, fascination, excitable, taboo, shadowy, smoky, oily, polluted, rotten, illusions. Opportunistic, privilege seeker, imposters, those who intensify passion and desire, agents-provocateur, charlatans, masters of smoke and oil, overly ambitious, head without a body, insatiable desires, fears, phobias, serpents, grandparents, unusual, boundary breaking, Technology, outside the box, Deformity. Friend of Jupiter, Venus, Saturn.Enemy of Sun, Moon, Mars.

Gemini: Twins, neighbourly, chatty, communicative, informative, messaging, changeable, multi-tasking, adaptable, curious, youthful, quick, arms, weapons, hands, shoulders, upper chest, the way we reach out to the world, hobbies, efforts, mentality, younger siblings, groups, teams, associations, meetings, commerce, reports, scheduling, planning, short travels, the commute, the neighbourhood, advertising, announcements, hand crafts, instruction, training, trade guilds, collaborators in conversation, hearing, self narrative, courage, valour, appetite, media productions, technical training, tool use

Gemini + Rahu:
Ambitious gestures, overreach, unusual messages, taboo communications, smoky, commercial business, irregular signals, ambitious self narrative, false courage, cloudy, oily places on the edge of town, outsiders, gypsy caravans, tribal affiliations, gives ambitious communication, smoke signals, double meanings. Almost always adversarial to elite power structure.
The Rahu Mercury combination makes them good improve storytellers, they may relate to the truth underlying myths better than they do to the history of facts. They are masters of the mixed message, the innuendo, the double entendre. It suggests crossed wires somewhere bringing confusion: dyslexia, epilepsy, nervous disorder, learning disorder, vision problems, colour blindness, left-handedness.

Pada 1 (Gemini + Rahu + Sagittarius):

Puts me in mind of another roadside attraction. Broad, open-minded people, travellers, global vision, teachers, intellectuals. They cloak their wisdom in humour. They will often take a stand on principle or for the underdog.

Sun: George Orwell (1), Clarence Thomas (1), Johnny Gottselig (1), Kris Kristofferson (1), Meryl Streep (1), Carol Hemingway (1), Jean-Paul Sartre (1), Korean War (1)

Moon: George Orwell (1), Boy George (1), Turkey (1), Frank Costello (1), Bhimrao Ambedkar (1)

Mars: Wayne Gretzky (1), Derek Chauvin (1), Cicero (1), Warren Buffet (1), India (1)

Mercury: Princess Diana (1), Harrison Ford (1), Conor McGregor (1), Johnny Gottselig (1) (Hockey player/coach)

Venus: Hiroshima (1), Brett Hull (1), Martin Sheen (1), Steven Crowder (1), Barack Obama (1), King Carl Gustaf XVI (1), Dave Toschi (1), Mick Foley (1)

Jupiter: Mario Lemieux (1), Patrick Roy (1), J Edgar Hoover (1), Emmanuel Macron (1)

Saturn: Dave Chappelle (1), Rose McGowan (1)

Rahu: Edward Smyth-Osbourn (1), Diane Keaton (1), Sandra Bullock (1), Marcel Proust (1), 9/11 (1), Brett Hull (1), Pope Benedict XVI (1), Courtney Love (1)

Ketu: Bruce Willis (1), Jen Child Tofino (1), Robert Redford (1), Buddy Holly (1)

Pada 2 (Gemini + Rahu + Capricorn)

They will take the law into their own hands some way. They will go rogue. They almost always have a side job. Their main career might just be a front for the side job: the bartender who sells drugs, the labourer who uses the bosses tools for side jobs. As social workers or nurses they might cut corners to clear the red tape so they can help their clients. They can also be vigilante, . . They are typically good at cutting corners of finding the legal loopholes allowing them to work as lawyers or social workers who support taking the law into one’s own hands. They can be good at arranging music or choreographing dance. Life can be an uphill battle as luck does not often seem to be on their side.

Sun: WW I (2), Hermann Oberth (2)

Moon: Pence (2), William of Cambridge (2), Almas (2), Kenny Rogers (2), Kurt Cobain (2)

Mars: heavy drug or alcohol use. Aggressive use of arms and aggressive gestures that the purpose of which might not be clear. Provocateurs who seem to be acting against their own people
Sid Vicious (2), Sex Pistols (1), Brett Hull (2), Osama Bin Laden (2)

Mercury: Natalie Portman (2)

Venus: USA (2), Israel (2), Clarence Thomas (2), Edward Smyth-Osbourn (2) (NATO Commander), Natalie Partman (2), Dustin Hoffman (2), Elizabeth Hurley (2)

Jupiter: Almas (2), Neil Armstrong (3), Jiddu Krishnamurti (2),

Saturn: Eric Clapton (2), Tony Esposito (2), Mia Farrow (2)

Rahu: Jawaharlal Nehru (2), Anne Hathaway (2), Nigel Farage (2), Tony Esposito (2)

Ketu: Kris Kristofferson (2), Dave Chappelle (2), Cecil Edward Bingham (2) (WW I Commander), Rose McGowan (2), Arthus Schlesinger Jr (2), Steve Jobs (2), Denis Hopper (2), Anthony Kennedy (2)

Pada 3 (Gemini + Rahu + Aquarius)

A vulgar nature but are well connected and often quite intelligent. They do well in technical fields, science, and research. Regardless of how successful they might be they are still associated with the marginalized and labouring classes and will likely see many rises and falls in life as they can be unpredictable and often get in over their head. They tend to attract partners who are broad minded, creative and intelligent. The cheerful optimism they bring to Ardra’s life can be like a shining beacon of hope. Separations and break-ups can be devastating.

Sun: Princess Diana (3), Pamala Anderson (3), Joel Cran (3), Liv Tyler (3), Night of the Long Knives (3

Moon: Canada (3), Tom Waits (3), John D Rockefeller (3), Michael Jordan (3), Jian Ghomeshi (3), Stephen Wolfram (3) (mathematician), Sai Baba (3)

Mars: William Burroughs (3), Shakespeare (3), John Calvin (3), Ingrid Bergman (3), Malcom X (3)

Mercury: Steven Crowder (3), Trump (3), Angela Merkel (3), Paul Gauguin (3)

Venus: Clint Eastwood (3), Napoleon Bonaparte (3), Josef Haller (3), Karl Wolff (3)

Jupiter: Harrison Ford (3), USA (3), Jackie Robertson (3), Ramakrishna (3),

Saturn: Michel Arth (3) (black magic child killer), Nikola Tesla (3), D.H. Lawrence (3), Lauren Haris (3) (Group of Seven Artist), Rajiv Gandhi (3), Bill Ayers (3) (Radical Communist),

Rahu: Sai Baba (3), Hiroshima (3), Martin Heidegger (3),

Ketu: Antonin Scalia (3), Adam Gorey (3), Al Capone (3), Stephanie Pierce (3), Valerie Solanas (3) (militant lesbian who killed Andy Warhol), Henry Ford II (3), Alice Bailey (3)

Pada 4 (Gemini + Rahu + Pisces)

Pushkara Navamsha. Their talents go unrecognised by their own people so they find so foreign connections to help lift them up; otherwise they will spend their time alone and isolated. They retain a strong connection with the underdog and will go out of their way to support them against the odds. They are dreamers: their education is frequently disrupted, personal relationships bring much suffering. They could get involved with spirituality or healing work to help those less fortunate. Oftentimes they turn their attention to animals, street dogs, and the like.

Sun: Herman Hesse (4), Allysa Koch (4), Julian Assange (4), King Henry VIII (4), Canada (4)

Moon: Willie Nelson (4), Dave Chappelle (4), Issac Newton (4)

Mars: Mikhail Bakunin (4), Jean-Claude Van Damme (4), Jiddu Krishnamurti (4), Arther Schopenhauer (4), Robin Williams (4)

Mercury: Boy George (4), Liv Tyler (4), Woody Harrelson (4)

Venus: Jean-Paul Palomeros (4), Oonagh Shanley – Toffolo (4) (Princess Diana’s healer)

Jupiter: Wyatt Earp (4), Marcel Proust (4), 9/11 (4), Rupert Murdoch (4), Angela Merkel (4), Ram Das (4), George Soros (4), William Shatner (4), Maidan Revolution Ukraine (4), Hannah Arendt (4) Robert Yeats (4) (Geologist working on earthquakes)

Saturn: Robert Hand (4) (Astrologer), David Gilbert (4) (Radical Communist), Jacque Fresco (4) (Venus Project), Drew Barrymore (4) ,George Soros (4)

Rahu: William of Cambridge (4), Michelle Obama (4), Brad Pitt (4), Calamity Jane (4), Thich That Hanh (4), Julius Caesar (4), Jeff Bezos (4), Otto Von Bismark (4), Michel Arth (4) (black magic child killer),

Ketu: John F Kennedy (4) Shakespeare (4), Phil Donahue (4), Stephane Abrail (4)

Tattwa: A foundation of Indian Philosophy

“Detached from the outer show, he sees the inner essence and recognizes that life is merely the spontaneous acting out of the roll consciousness has assumed in the drama of universal manifestation.” — Aphorisms of Shiva; Dyczkowski

When we look into this philosophical or metaphysical questions of, “who am I?” or “what is knowledge?” and “How do I know what I know?,” or “What is reality?” we often turn towards categories to understand. We break the problem down and we look at ourselves from different perspectives. We see the typical parts of the self that we identify with: I am this body, these emotions, this intellect, this vital force, I am this breath; to say nothing of the host of external identifiers by family, nation, race, religion. Certainly we are all of these things and many more; but we’re much more even than that.

The tattva are a central component of the traditional sciences and philosophies of India. They are mentioned in the Yoga Suttras & the Bhagavad Gita, and one of the core differences between Tantra and Vedanta is the inclusion of 11 extra tattva in the former. It’s also a core concept for ayurvedic or jyotisha understanding of reality.

The tattva are components of reality and show us the course thru which each of the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, ether) follows though our lives to unfold reality through each of our senses and inner faculties of the mind. The tattvas represent both subject and object as well as all of the elements that lie between the subject and object. In short, the tattva are the elements of existence.

Different schools of philosophy have different perspectives of how the tattva fit together and relate with each other but ultimately they all agree that there is a subject, and object, and something that connects the two, and that the tattva make up the basic components of that three part reality.

Two of the most popular grouping of tattva suggest that there are either 25 or 36 tattva though quite often they also refer to the five mahabhuta (earth, water, fire, air, ether)primary elements alone as the tattva.

From these five, they also list the organs of knowledge (the abilities of the senses) as well the elements of the senses. Hearing and sound, touch and feeling, seeing and form, tasting and flavour, smelling and odour. Each of these represent a certain aspect of reality. They also list five ways that our body interacts with the world are also considered elements of our existence: speaking, grabbing or holding, moving in space, procreating and excreting waste.

Raising our awareness to more subtle heights we find our sense of individuality and uniqueness (ahamkara), we can witness our mind weighing options as an indeterminate knower. Its from here that our sense typically reach out to the world in order to determine and define knowledge and our individuality. Many modern people call this “excersising our free will.”

It’s at this level of existence where we find out minds fluxuating, vibrating, moving and changing. The manas and the ahamkara are the areas Patanjali brings our awareness to. For meditation, and to still the vibtations of the mind we are advised to follow the inward course of the tattva rather than the normal outward course thru the senses.

As we continue moving our awarness inward we will come to the buddhi the highest faculty of knowledge that just seems to know things. This is the silent knower who doesn’t argue because it doesn’t have to; the buddhi just knows. The buddhi is always endowed with truth; not necessarily the highest truth, but certainly what is true for the individual soul.This is one of the key differences between the buddhi and the manas. The manas is always seeking truth, usually from the outside world, while the buddhi silently knows the truth emanating from the individual soul.

The individual soul is essentially a combination of the purusha and prakriti. The individual soul, purusha, differs from the individual ego, ahamkara, in that it recognizes the connection between our “thisness” (idam) and that’s “thatness” (aham). The individual ego is that which disconnects our thisness from thats thatness. So, as we continue on our inward journey we do not loose ourselves but rather reconnect to that greater self and the universal purpose for our existence.

However, even when we are living from our ego, blind to the inherent interconnectedness, we are none the less also completing our universal soul quest; nothing can ever knock us from this path. The difference being that the ego has to struggle greatly with the vibrations of the mind always seeking knowedge but never gaining satisfaction. The mind is just vibrating from one thing to the next, from subject to object and back again without finding the source from which both of these emanate.

Once we know we are connected, once we realize our true nature, there is no question, no vibration between this and that; there is just the free and natural flow of karma without trying to hold onto this karma or rejecting that karma.

You will find a list of the tattva with explanations below

36 Tattvas of Tantra
Macrocosmic Universe: ParamaShiva: the great ultimate is said to be beyond the tattva. Tantra specifically, and most other branches of Indian thought usually have some little bit left over in their accounting of reality. There is always some residue which cannot be explained; something which is beyond explanation.

36. Shiva tattva: This is the entire universe in the form of illumination. In the process of manifestation of the world, Shiva performs five crutial functions. Since Shiva tattva is the tread that connects all the tattva, we could say that Shiva performs these five functions thru each tattva as well as to the whole system. Shiva is often identified as Prakash, the light of consciousness while Shakti is Vimarsha, cognitive awareness

  1. Nigraha: the act of self limitation or contraction. Concealment of his true nature.
  2. Srsti: Creation. The act of self manifestation as the world.
  3. Sthiti: Preservation of the manifest world.
  4. Samhara: Destruction, absorption or withdrawal of worldly manifestation
  5. Anugraha: Grace; revelation of his true nature

Pure Elements: the next four elements are elements of the Tantric goddess Usma, who is the embodiment of the internal heating and swelling of creativity.

35. Shakti: Shivas power which is not different from Shiva. This is Shivas power to conceal himself from himself. Shiva is the one who emanates and shakti is what is emanated; the being and the becoming. Shakti has 5 primary modes of expression. The first two are said to be his nature while the following three are the powers thru which he makes his nature known or manifest. Shakti has the experience of aham (thatness).

  1. Cit-shakti: conscious force
  2. Ananda-shakti: power as bliss
  3. Iccha-shakti: power as will
  4. Jnana-shakti: power as knowledge
  5. Kriya-shakti: spontaneous action as power

34. Sadashiva: the universe laying submerged and void within the self experience of the experiencer. Experience of aham (thatness)-idam (thisness)

33. Ishvara: self experience as “I” (aham) and an experience of the universe as a separate object with “thisness” (idam) shining unequally distinct within the self experience. Experience of idam-idam

32. Sadavidya: experience of aham-aham/idam-idam


Vidya Tattvas: these are the tattvas which bind us to our bodily existence.

31. Maya:
Three kinds of defilements:

  1. Aanava mala (mula mala: root impurity): The impurity of individuality, occurring at the first moment of manifestation of the universe as Shiva begins to contract. Shiva’s true power becomes “obscured by the notions of existence and non-existence…” (Aphorisms p15) This impurity begins to take hold as soon as he descends to sadashiva tattva. Two kinds of anavamala: a) veils knowledge of divine awareness, but freedom of action remains intact (for those existents which exist below prakriti) b) leaves knowledge of divine awareness, but veils ability to act freely (those staying above maya tattva).
  2. Maayiiya mala: maya and the five kanchukas. Makes oblivious to real nature. Robs all sign of divinity. Veils only those below Prakriti.
  3. Karma mala: Provides us with physical body. Collective residual impressions from past lives. Once karma mala defiles Shiva in his descent, embodies individuals are created, known as sakalas. There are four kinds of karma: a) Sanchita: accumulated over many lifetimes. b) Prarabha: Created in this current life c) Kriyamana: freedom to change our current life situation. d) Agama: free will to set an intention for future action.

Five Kanchukas:

The kanchukas are sometimes called the five sisters of Mayadevi are like five cloaks worn by Shiva in order to mask his true nature from himself. It’s essentially thru the kanchukas that the all powerful is capable of making a stone so large that even he cannot lift it. He does this by masking his true nature from himself. Once conscious force individualizes itself thru anavamala and maya, it takes on five more cloaks in order to transform each of the five divine powers into five limited individual powers belonging to the individual soul. From this perspective we could say that maya is actually the core of our innermost individual micro-soul; from her we seek out our mega-soul for redemption.

30. Kalaa: Contracted kriya shakti. Limits Shiva’s power and creative abilities so that one cannot do everything. Limits omnipotence and the power of agency.

29. Vidya: Contracted jnana shakti. Limits Shiva’s knowledge so that one cannot know everything. Limits omniscience.

28. Raga: Contracted iccha shakti. Limits Shiva’s sense of fullness and gives craving, desire and attachment.

27. Kaala: Contracted ananda shakti. Limits Shiva in time and space making us subject to change, death and decay.

26. Niyati: Contracted cit shakti. Limits Shiva thru cause and effect, the necessity that one thing follows another.

As Shiva makes himself into an individual in order to express his freedom, he scales back, contracts, or limits his universal power thru maya and the five kanchukas (Mayadevi and her five sisters). This leads to two main kinds of impurity (mala).

1. Paurusa ajnana: innate ignorance regarding the self. We dont know who we really are.

2. Bauddha ajnana: Ignorance of buddhi. We don’t even don’t know that this knowledge is actually inside of ourselves.

Asuddha vikalpas are the ideas, thought constructs, irrational psychological responses that make us think we are this body. Replacing ajnana (incorrect knowledge) with jnana (pure knowledge) is one of the main goals of Kashmiri Shaivism & philosophical and spiritual practice generally.


Atma Tattvas: The microcosmic mirror of the subtle macrocosm described above begins here. What follows are the traits of individuals with limited powers who are distinct from other individuals with limited powers.

25. Purusha: This is the individual soul; the individual subject mirroring the universal subject.

24. Prakriti: Prakriti provides Purusha with everything he needs for enjoyment. The physical body, karmendriyas, jnanaindriyas and the rest of the next 23 tattva. The three gunas (sattvic, tamas, rajas) constitute prakriti. Possessing gunas is a property of being the object of experience which depends on an experiencer. Three modes of activity of shakti are mirrored in prakriti in their limited form: will, knowledge & activity (iccha, governed by rajas; jnana, governed by sattva; and kriya, governed by tamas).
Instruments of cognition:

Also called the Antarkarana/Inner Instrument or Chitta/consciousness of the individual

23. Buddhi – Intelligence/Discrimination. Sattvic
Buddhi is the abode of prana-shakti. From here it flows thru the different parts of the body via the nadis. Locus of every experience. It is considered the contracted power of jnana shakti and thus it’s a sattvic element. Righteousness is said to reside here in the form of our conscious

Five kinds of pranavayu: 1. Prana (moves outward as do the sense organs) 2. Aapana (moves downward as with elimination) 3. Udaana (upwards as with speech) 4. Vyaana (expansion in all directions as does the movement of our limbs), 5. Samaana: (Inwards as when we meditation turning our awareness inward to a center point).

22. Ahamkara – Ego/ I-maker. Rajas.

This is where the ego connects with objective activity attributing the source of thoughts and actions to oneself (ones own limited being). This is the principle of individuality cut off from the higher tattva

21. Manas – Mind. Tamas. This is the place where thoughts are created and weighed against each other. Instrument of rationality. Supervises and controls the karmindriya, jnanendriyas, and tanmatras.
Jnana Indriyas 16 – 20: the sense faculties for knowledge. Representing the sattvic functions of the mind (manas).

20. Sense of hearing: function of the ear.

19. Sense of touch: function of the skin.

18. Sense of seeing: function of the eyes.

17. Sense of taste: Function of the tongue.

16. Sense of smell: Function of the nose.
Karma Indriyas 11 – 15: Organs of action. Representing the rajasic functions of the mind (manas).

15. Power of speech: Functions thru the mouth and vocal cords

14. Power to grasp objects: Functions thru the hands, arms and fingers

13. Locomotion: functions thru the legs and feet.

12. Power of procreation: functions thru internal and external sex organs.

11. Excretion: functions thru the excretory organs of the pelvic bowl especially the anus.
Tanmatras 6 – 10: the five subtle elements. Representing the tamasic functions of the mind (manas).

These are the objects of the sense. The sound itself. The feel of what is touched, the form of what is seen, the flavor of what is tasted, and the odour that is smelled. Tantra suggests that sounds evolves from hearing, and form evolves from sight. This is how the world is projected from within.

10. Sound:

9. Touch/Feel

8. Form

7. Taste/Flavour

6. Odour
Mahabhuta 1 – 5: the primary elements

5. Ether: Expansive, space, emptiness, vacuum. This tattva is not itself manifest, but is the supports the other tattva by providing space for their existence. Symbolized the unseeable, unknowable spirit which both transcends reality and is immanent in reality; permeating every aspect of all that is knowable and not. Relates with the vissudhi chakra.

4. Air: Movement and mobility, dry subtle, rising. It can easily penetrate everywhere (filling the void of space). We recognize it most distinctly in our breath and it is the vehicle for prana, vital energy. Relates with the Anahata chakra.

3. Fire: Transformation, hot, sharp, dynamic. Represents the masculine principle of dynamism, extroversion, passion and aggression. Also relates to the digestive fire and the intellectual fire. Relates with the Manipura chakra and thus with prakash, divine illumination.

2. Water: Fluid, liquid, cool. Represents the feminine principle and is passive and can assume any form. Water purifies and dissolves, and it relates with sexuality and birth. Relates to Svadhisthana chakra and thus represents the flow of linear time.

1. Earth: All of the tattva are fully manifest in earth. It is the most dense, the heaviest, the most solid and grounded of the tattva. Related with Mother Earth principle of patience, creativity, sustenance; as well as the lunar principle of progression, rhythm and change. It’s often said that Shiva loves this tattva the most because this is the limit of his contraction. In it’s relationship with muladhara chakra this is the residence of kundalini.


The connection between the primary elements and the tattva looks something like this.

Ether – Sound – Speech – Hearing — Jupiter — Prana — HAM — Crystal Clear disk — Eyebrows to top of head — Cit — Om hraum sadashivaya akashadhipataye shantyateetakalatmane, hum fhut swaha

Air – Touch – Grasping – Touch — Saturn –– Apana YAM — Six sided/six circles smokey grey or grey blue — Heart to Eyebrows — Ananda — Om hraim ishanaya vayuvydhipataye shantikalatmane, hum fhut swaha

Fire – Form – Locomotion – Sight — Mars — Vyana RAM — Red Triangle — Navel to Heart — Iccha — Om hrum rudrya tejodhipataye vidyakalatmane, hum fhut swaha

Water – Taste – Procreation – Taste — Venus — Udana– VAM — White Crescent moon — knees to navel — Jnana — Om hrim vishnave jaladhipataye pratisthakalatmane, hum fhut swaha

Earth – Odour – Excretion – Smell — Mercury — Samana — Anus — Dhananjaaya: remains in the corpse until it’s burned — LAM — Yellow Square — Feet to knees — Kriya — Om hraum brahmane prithvidhipataye nivrittikalatmane, hum fhut swaha

Photo from Tantra Illuminated by Christopher Wallis

The Shaivist conception of these tattva has Shiva constantly evolving and devolving thru the tattva. Shiva is the eternal subject, the first illuminator, the first enjoyer. His movement thru the tattva an expression of his joy. This movement has many names (spanda, wave, force and it shows his movement from Shiva tattva to earth and back to Shiva tattva. The process of creation and destruction going on continually. But even this is not as it seems. Most of us would assume destruction is happening as Shiva makes his way back to himself, but actually earth will be the first to die. Being fully manifest puts us most solidly in the world of death, sorrow and suffering. This is where all this fire and brimstone of kali and Shiva’s burning ghats comes from.

So, when we turn our attention, thus identifying with the body (the earth), we will surely only know suffering, change, confusion and lack of control. When we turn our attention, and thus our personal identification inwards we limit that suffering step by step. Getting past the mind and the emotional being is one of the greatest hurdles. Only matched by the struggle a young yogi will go thru to get past their ego (ahamkara).

The ego is an important topic for discussion in tantra. Shiva is essentially a supreme egoity; the self of all selves. The purusha is ones individual soul; this is certainly a big part of who we are. And then we have the ahamkara which is who we think we are. These are like three levels of ego: The ahamkara is the ego which is cut off from inner truths; it only sees what is on the surface. The purusha is that ego which understands our connection to the universal. People who strongly identify with their individual soul approach life as an instrument of the divine. This is the beginning of saintliness. But only one who has fully realized their divine nature as all of this whole universe will experience Shiva’s true freedom (svatantriya).

This is a little like saying that there is more than one truth, though they might each seem to be incompatible with the other truths. A big part of our job as yogis is to assimilate such contradictory truths and ultimately experience the illumination of this world thru each lens. It’s not that the world of this body and these sensual desires is not true, but it represents a limited truth; a tamasic, impure truth. The truth of our individual soul is quite another level of truth which represents a rajasic truth, which manages to be both pure and impure. Only the highest truth is truly pure and sattvic, but this does not negate the others. Shiva is fully present in each of the tattva. His illumination shines from everywhere. From whichever perspective we take, we can recognize Shiva and realize ourselves as that infinite being of all being.


Short Bibliography

The Advaita Saiva Philosophy of Kashmir, by Debarata Sensharma

The Philosophical and Practical Aspects of Kashmiri Saivism, By Pandit

Tantra Illuminated, by Christopher Wallis

Aphorisms of Shiva, translated by Mark Dyczkowski

Tattwa Shuddhi, by S. Saraswati (Bihar School)

Vedic Remedies in Astrology, Sanjay Rath

Painting of “Sri Yantra” by Tania Satori (used with permission) see tania_vaculty on Instagram.

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.

 

 

Healing from Within

I was about 9 years old when I was walking thru a frozen forest, shouldered my pellet gun, and discovered the great transformative silence of death as a chickadee fell from the branch.  In 2003, my father was killed in a work accident. Later in life I came to live and practice in a holy place between the cremation grounds of Varanasi, India; the chosen abode of Lord Shiva. When my grandfather passed away, we shared our fear of death and brought peace to the whole family. That light and purity of a new born baby also shines in the eyes of those who burn for that final release from the wheels of time. All of our lives we seek the flavour that will quench our thirst, but eventually, we thirst for the most unthinkable mystery; death.

The movement of the breath is controlled by the Great Spirit in the Sky of Consciousness and it comes and goes; starts and stops only by that ultimate grace. The power of Great Spirit is raw and pure when we go thru the great transformations of birth and death. Between these two great moments lie all the smaller cycles of the breath and the days and the seasons and so much more that we can experience fully and deeply as we experience that great birth and death of the body. This is the experience of reality.

Yoga and spirituality suggest we can experience a deeper reality  if we look at life beyond our individual experience and experience life in relation to the universal expression of consciousness; of spirit; of spanda; Shiva’s self expression thru his powers; his Shaktis. We are so much more than these limited bodies and the experiences we have in this lifetime; we are intimately connected to the whole span of time and everything that has and will exist. We are not just a part of this universe, we are this universe. The truth is so mindbogglingly beautiful and wonderful that we can only experience it as that…… astonishing beauty, dazzling amazement and wonder. We’ve all felt this as some time in our lives. This is the experience of reality,

There is little difference between letting go of our egos so that we can transform ourselves in this life, or doing so so that we can prepare for the next life. In either case, we want to turn our awareness towards the truth of who we really are here and now releasing ourselves from the past and the future; releasing ourselves from our own stories. Each time we transform ourselves we seek to reach a higher consciousness; we want that positive growth which which will benefit not only ourselves, but our families and communities and the universe as a whole. It’s that universal connection and experience of non-difference that we seek, but which remains, for most of us, just out of reach. Like a shy damsel, ultimate reality casts only the most fleeting glimpse from the corner of her eye. And this is were we must also seek out that ultimate reality: in those dark corners of our mind and along the edges of our breath and our thoughts and between all things which seem distinct.

Between you and me is some chemistry which brings us into perfect and blissful union because it allows both of us to taste the ripened fruits of our individual karma while contributing, each in our own special way, to the collective karma that ties us all together. We call activity karma when we experience it a force of limitation that separates; but when we experience activity as a force of freedom and play arising and falling away from the same place, bringing everything together, activity is then called Kriya (the spontaneous activity of one who experiences life as universal agency (the actor) and preceiving subjectivity (the witness)).  This is the experience of life; reality; divinity.  ​

We are all on this path of healing together. Together we will grow and evolve; find the courage to face our fears and overcome the false limitations we put on ourselves. To do this we practice being open and honest to the reality of the moment while applying our most sincere efforts to whatever activity is at hand. This sincerity is especially important for healing and spirituality, since it provides us with the impulse and the will to gather the necessary knowledge and put it into a meaningful action. Tapping into this personal sincerity for healing is what we mean by healing from within.

Prana: The Most Essential Quality

What is Prana Vayu?

hanuman, bhima, madhva

Prana is life force or vital essence. Vayu is air and movement. Pranavayu is the movement of vital energy. Western Yogis have been talking about prana for many years already and it’s a relatively common term now. Modern Sanskrit scholars now tell us that we may have misunderstood the meaning of this word (see Wallis or Dyczkowski for confirmation).

Yoga teachers will commonly cue student to “inhale the prana” and “to visualize prana coming down into the body to give it energy. Ayurveda has followed with this classification of prana being a downward movement connected with the inhalation. Prana vayu is actually a bit of an awkward arrangement of terms since anything with prana moves and anything that moves has prana. This means we can refer to all five movements of the prana vayus as movements of ‘prana;’ we can also drop the use of prana and just call these movements the vayus.

What modern scholars tell us is that the word ‘prana’ actually refers to the upward outward movement of our exhalation rather than the downward inward movement of our inhalations. The implications of this research is just starting get filtered down to us ordinary yogi and even very respected Ayurveda Institutes have still not taken the time to consider their own teachings and understanding of this topic.

I have written elsewhere about the ignorance of the colonial mindset so I won’t talk about it here. Most ordinary yogis in the west are so far removed from the yogic scriptures that such finely tuned understanding of the terms they use is of little importance. The larger institutes and colleges are typically more concerned with reputation and profits they have little incentive to seek after the truth. It almost seem to be a kind of “little mans syndrome” of academia. Only the the great scholars care about such things and nobody listens to them since we can find the (wrong) definition of of prana anywhere on google.

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So, getting back to exhalation which is connected with prana vayu. When we exhale, our vital force goes out thru our breath and the five senses to illuminate the world much like the Sun as it follows it’s daytime course thru the heavens. It’s rises with the beginning of our exhalation and moves thru the sky (of consciousness) until setting in the 12 finger space above the crown of the head to give way to the movement of the moon which rises full when the sun sets. This is where the exhalation has ended. As we inhale to passively and graciously receive the gift of life one nitya (goddess) leaves the Moon and enters into our bodies to nourish us and give life to the soul (the Sun) thru the body until she is herself drained of life, dark and dry as the Sun gains exaltation begins to penetrate the cold darkness of death with heat of life and the illumination of consciousness.

This is also the meaning of pranayama (prana + ayama): the life force which defeats death bringing life to the sense, allowing them to move. Prana brings movement and warmth to whatever is inert, cold and dead. (I have also seen the opposite interpretation (prana + yama) suggesting that we do the breathing practices in order to still the breath, slow all the vital functions, an ultimately ride the breath to the heavens leaving the duality of earthly existence behind. Of course we continue on with our life, but without attachment, free of the limitations of the three gunas and they individual vital breath. One moves instead in perfect harmony with the universal flow of consciousness.

Kal Bhairava takes over for Yama in Varanasi.

When we exhale prana, that life force which was given to us by god, reaches out to the world through our senses to colour and flavour the objects with whatever flavour we might crave; whatever we have inside of ourselves at the moment reaches out to the world to create a counterpart. When we inhale and bring back all of that sensory material we generally forget that we have just created it, so we react. We forget that we always get back whatever we give. As long as we have forgotten this fundamental rule we will suffer from our karma; once we learn it, life becomes a spontaneous play whatever might be your circumstances.

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“The vital breath is essentially a state of consciousness which manifests as the movement of two breaths; prana and apana (exhale and inhale).” This is a major theme of Tantra: that one thing appears to be two separate things; or, as is the case in waking life, as a multiplicity of distinct objects. As we look at things more and more closely and understand them for their subtleties rather than accepting them at face value, they begin to merge together as though they were never separate. As it says in the Stanzas on Vibration:

“Whatever else may exist apart from you, if subjected to sound reflection, simply disappears like the fables palace of celestial musicians and you alone, changeless remain….” Stanza 10 goes on to say that , “then the soul realizes that his true nature (dharma) is universal agency and perceiving subjectivity, and so he knows and does whatever he desires.” ~Stanzas on Vibration~

In yoga we often talk about the body, mind and soul. We can think of this as three worlds or three layer of our being. The vayus live in the intermediate region of our highest intelligence but they move between the heaven and earth; the soul and the body; the subject and the object. Vayu is Air and Ether, which allows it pervade and move between all 36 tattva.

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The prana vayus are known as the vehicle of Rudra, an ancient name for lord Shiva that means “the Howler.” Rudra is known as the “Lord of Beasts.” He is often associated with the 11 Mahurts which signifies his rulership of the mind and the 10 indriyas (5 sensory and 5 motor functions).

There are 5 Prana-vayu (movements of essential vital force), the sacred spaces associated with them. I have described them both in Tantric terms as well as in terms of Ayurveda

  1. Prana: Represented by the Sun. Prana is moving when we exhale; this is a movement upward & outward from the body, when the vital force of the senses reach out to their object. This is the expression of our life force to penetrate the world and forever leaving our mark up it (which will come back to us again thru the 5 fold cycle of the vayus). Prana also represent what we give to the world. Many people who belong to traditional cultures will begin a deep breath with an exhalation whereas modern people are much more likely to inhale straight away when told to take a deep breath. In the later Tantras, this movement became associated with the pingala channel of the nadi system.

  2. Apaana: Represented by the Moon. Apana vayu is the inward & downward movement which first comes to us thru the crown of our head in the form of grace or shaktipat as we receive the gift of life. In Ayurveda it’s the downward movement that aids elimination. and moved down the body Ayurveda they say move downward and outward. Like for the elimination of bodily waste. In later Tantras this became associated with the Ida channel of the nadis system.

  3. Samaana: According to Ayurveda it moves inwards spinning towards a centre point like meditation. In the waking and dream state, prana-apana is active, however in states of deep-sleep samaana balances the inhalation and exhalation. They call it the equinox; “the equalising breath.”

  4. Udaana: The Ascending breath. This is the central channel; the shushumna. This is the upwards rising force. According to Ayurveda, it also moves outwards like speech.

  5. Vyaana: expansion in all directions radiating from the navel outward in all directions. Often considered as the nadis energy system similar to the meridians of Chinese Medicine.

What is the most essential quality?

The first story

The Trio Brahma vishnu mahesh cute picturesOnce upon a time all of the organs and functions of the body got into a debate about who was most essential. Many were praising the the way the skeletal system gave shape and standing to the body, or how the blood carried nutrients to maintain the body, others marveled the how the heart pumped blood and how the lung found it’s own way to pump air, then pranavayu came along and everyone silent, for they knew that without the warmth of prana and the movement of the vayus that all life would stop. The hearth would not beat, the blood would pool and go stagnant, and the breath stops; the body becomes cold and inert.

The second story

Once upon a time, the Gods entered into a timeless argument over who was most powerful and essential for the functioning of life and this universe. Shiva happened to be moving about rather than sitting peacefully upon the peak of Mount Kailash. Something always seemed to be happening whenever Shiva was moving about. When Shiva came across this childish argument he sought to quell it by simply pointing out that none were as powerful as him and they should all just go home and forget this pettiness. Of course some of the big gods who were standing around took offense to this; namely Brahma, the creator, and Vishnu, the preserver. To their protests, Shiva merely revealed his true form as a mystical shaft (lingam) of light and said, “see if you can find where I end.”

shiva1The two who remained standing there laughed at the challenge and quickly set off in opposite directions to find those loose ends, finish off the argument, and, for once, make Shiva look live the fool; because after all, everything has to come to an end. But after eons searching thru the vastness of Shiva’s light they finally decided to meet back in Kashi where it all began. When they got there, Vishnu immediately fell to his feet to offer his most respectful pranam to Shiva. But Brahma, who, despite his capacity for creation, has no eye for consequences, lied and said that he had found an end. It was just over the horizon not so far and it had only taken so long to return because he had decided to rest there for a while and fell asleep.

Almost nothing enrages Shiva like arrogance and upon this insult all of his his most fearsome aspects rose to the surface and with an upsurge of impulse he chopped of one of Brahma’s five heads. The greatest crimes in India are those that go against pure knowledge and wisdom; they call this killing a Brahmin. Even the Gods are subject to karma so this fierce form of Shiva, whom they call Bhairava, took up the skull and walked the four corners of India for the next 12 years. This is the version of Shiva most emulated by modern Naga babas and Aghore: naked, fearsome to behold, covered in the ashes of the funeral pyre where he makes his bed. Every part of his external image brings fear and revulsion. But if we take the time to get to know a true aghore we will get to know and over come our own fears. For that’s the social role of the Aghore, to show us that this is the worst it can get; this is our greatest fear; but actually, it’s not so bad.

Aghore
Aghore

After 12 years of wandering like this, Bharava returned to Kashi, and not far from the train station washed himself in a small pond. All of his impurities (malas) dropped away along with the skull which had been his companion for 12 years. He once again brought balance to the three gunas within himself, overcoming their excess and deficiencies freeing himself from the wheel of time and the cycle of cause and effect. In short, even the most fearsome evil was able to overcome the inner turmoil of self and social recrimination and realize himself as that same light of the universe that is in all things without distinction of good or bad or any of the other opposites.

Head Chopping in Hinduism

Ravan tapasya
Ravana offering his own head to Shiva.

In Kashi, whenever Shiva takes this fierce form and starts chopping off heads they call him Bhairava and have given him a rather bureaucratic job of welcoming and signing in all the pilgrims to give them access to the spiritual vision necessary “to cross the river that is so hard to cross.” You could say that he does this by metaphorically chopping off their heads. This head chopping metaphor is a relatively common one in Hinduism. Shiva chopped Ganesh’s head in Ujjain. They have built their own Bhairava temple there to commemorate the great event. Of course it was a little bloody and gruesome, but due to that Ganesha received blessings from all of the gods and was given guardianship over the directions. Kali is also famous for her necklace (mala) of heads. Ravana, the main antagonist of the Ramayana was given his great powers by Shiva when he cut off his own head in offering to Shiva. My teacher once told me that “only Ravana can cut off his own head and get away with it.” Due to his great power of penance his head grew back every time. Ravana was actually said to have ten heads due to the vastness of his knowledge and wisdom. All of this suggests that a jnana yogi needs to acquire, by penance and blessing, knowledge which faces in all ten directions.

kali maIn Jyotish we also have the story of Rahu and Ketu, the north and south nodes. This all happened in the very beginning when the gods and demons (the bureaucrats and bohemians) figured out that they had to work together to retrieve the elixir of immortality by churning the ocean of milk; pretty much all the divine being had to help in some way. In their greed to get the amrit, they didn’t think much about the side effects which was the creation of the physical universe and it’s cycles. Laxmi and Kamadenu came from this churning as did some great toxins that Shiva was able to swallow to save everyone. When the amrit arose and they were getting ready to pass it around a beautiful dancing girl appeared, seductive and scantily dressed. This was a ploy by the gods who knew the demons could be easily distracted by their senses. From the start, they never intended to share the amrit with the demons from. Swarbhanu was watching and saw all of this happening so he disguised himself as one of the gods and lined up with them for the amrit while the rest of the demons were being pushed to the back of the line. But just as Swarbhanu was taking a drink Sun and the Moon alerted Vishnu who swiftly cut off his head, but it was too late, the amrit had made it down his throat and both halves of him were immortal. The called the head Rahu and the body Ketu and gave them an abode in the starry heavens with the planets. The continue their vendetta against Sun and Moon whom they’ve never forgiven. At the time of the eclipse they get their chance to exact revenge thru various methods of disruption. Rahu brings intense desire while Ketu brings an almost equal intensity to his ambivalence. While Rahu brings our focus to the material world an ensures that the wheel of karma keeps turning; Ketu cuts us from our material ambitions allowing us to surrender to what is.

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