Tag Archives: shiva

India: holding her own

I was asked to write a few words about India to help sooth some of the hearts that are missing Mother India’s expansive embrace. India is an impossible country that will easily defy anything I say about her. Those of you who have met Mother India know her more surely than my words, while those who have not had such a pleasure of meeting her may find my words hollow and empty. The best I can do is cobbling together a few popular prayers to help invoke her presence. Actually, I admit that it’s probably best to keep silent on the matter of India since my words can only lead you away from who is really India. I know that the moment I put my fingers to the keys I will miss the point. Even before that moment, the point is missed on the arising of the first syllable in my mind. Never the less, I will order those syllables and present them here to add a little spice to your memories and imaginings of India.

Om Sri Ganesha Namaha…. Remove the maya and the impurities from my mind so that I can know the truth of this matter. Om Namo Narmada…. Remove the maya and impurities from my senses so that I can see the truth of this matter. Om mataji… thank you for this maya and impurity, without which there could be no experience, no knowledge, no sight. Om Vishnu Om Vishnu Om Vishnu…. Thank you for your dedicated management of the 3 gunas. Om Namah Shivaya…. When all else fails we know Shiva will take care of things. 

AUM

 India is like this prayer of mine: she’s made of a bunch of parts that seem to fit together and then given her own meaning by everyone who comes along. But no one can understand her any more than they can understand this prayer; despite the confusion, she leaves you with a nice feeling. I recently watched a three hour video on “how to correctly recite Om” and it left me feeling much more confused about the topic, but somehow more confident to approach it. India is a little like this.

Everyone loves Ganesha. If India changed their tourist motto to “come meet Ganesha,” many more people would flock to the country. But perhaps this is why they don’t use this motto; with Ganesha’s blessing we might scurry in like the charming rats so often pictured with Ganesha to come knaw on a sweetened ball grain that is India, and then what would become of India?

Ganesha can be said to be the pleasure loving side of our minds. And the rat beside him, always knawing on something, just like the mind chewing on the sweetness of our mental impression. The pair of them only serves as distraction, and it’s said that you can plead, appease, or command the removal of their obstruction, as you wish. But before we move on, it’s advised we deal with this pleasure loving side of us that is attached to the sweet fruits of our senses.

Narmada pilgrimage can be said to be a remedy for such attachments. There are numerous remedies of course, but Narmada is a special pilgrimage lasting over three and a half years. Devotees begin with nothing but faith and a song. It sometimes seems as though this is all India has as well: faith and a song. It’s hard to even imagine the kinds of peace and compassion she has inspired though Gandhi and Teresa are testaments to this inspiration. The Narmada pilgrimage is followed by all kinds of people: the poor and landless, criminals in hiding or those seeking some gain, itinerants who are too lazy to get a job and enjoy the simple life by Narmada, and of course the many others singing with devotion the songs of love for their mother/sister/daughter/lover Narmada. Her devotees are Bhaktis spreading peace and love and the fruits of their action. The Sufis and Hare Krishnas follow a similar path sometimes become as wild and natural and loving as a fawn in the forest.

The common word for crazy in India is pagal. This word assumes a degree of satisfaction in ones own mental state. This is why they don’t generally disturb crazy people here, they might not be acting up to society standards but if they’re not hurting anyone, leave them, they’re pagal, and usually happier than the rest of us. And the rest of us could possibly learn something from such satisfaction. Although pagal is certainly distinct from enlightened, there is certainly some connection on an individual basis.

After a few trips to India, she will certainly make you pagal. You feel enlightenment fill your heart and you stop caring for anything else, though in the process you will such feel a great bursting of love as well as your personal boundaries. You become so open and loving and compassionate and so completely pagal friends and family will certainly recognize your pagalness when you get home. Armed with the words of Krishna Murtri or Osho you will expound on the insanities of your friends and families and societies. This is likely only the first sign that enlightenment is possible for you, you may have tapped into your source, but without any control you’re certainly only pagal.

For our madness of India we need Mataji. If there’s anyone we can rely on to keep things real, it’s Mataji. Ask and you shall receive comes from Mataji. Openness and vulnerability and leaving your lives in the hands of fate is one side of things; the other side of things is to complete our own desires. Open and vulnerable without any direction is wonderful place from where to discover your own direction, but it will lead also to a lot of following other peoples direction and being used to complete their own desires without concern for yours. I believe this is largely why most scriptures advise being in a spiritual community for doing practice: so that you will be in safe hands. But of course we know also that spiritual communities are just as likely to be corrupt as the rest of society (especially where sex, wealth, power, fame, or reputation are involved).

Most of us have only one spiritual community to lean on for comfort and protection, she goes by various names, but she is known as the ground we walk on, the water we drink, the air we breath, the fire in our bellies, and the ground for all of these things. She is Mataji, the great mother who provides everything we could ever want or need. She is also known as Shakti because she provides the power for our senses, our action and our mind. There is no spiritual community greater than the one provided by Mataji.

Walking the streets of India is often an exercise in our faith in the spiritual community of Mataji. When you look at this country and put your mind to the things going on around here you will surely stumble into a less satisfied state of pagal; you’ll want to change everything. But if you just take a couple deep breaths, turn off the mind and start walking everything opens up and it becomes easy to navigate the crowds on the streets as well as the crowds of thoughts in the mind. This is trusts in Mataji, and I surely need her help to get through this article. Trust and write….. trust and walk…. Trust and move forward in life…. Just let time do its work.

Om Vishnu Om Vishnu Om Vishnu…. Vishnu is the sustainer and the preserver of things. Those nice thoughts that rise up, to form nice sentences and ideas that find their way to action shaping the whole world as well as your own inner world are sustained beyond the original moment of inner vibration by Vishnu. Vishnu is the humble labourer taking the three qualities of nature, the purity, the impurity and the action that is always mixing the two, and reshaping the world moment to moment according to the natural laws of Mataji.

When we walk the streets of India, we cannot forget these three qualities of Mataji, which are so expertly operated by Vishnu. The quality of purity (sattwik), which gets the whites white in the Ganges and does not leave dead pilgrims strewn along her banks after drinking the nectar from her flow. What is it about purity that allows us to look past the garbage and the feces and the smells of all of this and tell all our friends how beautiful and uplifting India can be? It’s a tricky one this purity. The quality of impurity, on the other hand, is simple, lazy and inert. We know garbage is nothing like this, but rocks are, which, by simple logic, could make garbage more pure than rocks. But of course simple logic doesn’t work in a country that insists on the reality of even the most wildly imagined thoughts. And since no one around here seems to be keeping it real except the poorest of the poor it can be nice know that Vishnu is always doing his part to keep things in some kind of strange balance.

But for all the comfort and security offered by the likes of Mataji and Vishnu there’s only one man we can always turn to for peace, and that’s Shiva. Some call him the Destroyer, but that’s such a crass name for someone who reabsorbs our every thought into his cooling waters. He’s the one taking all the thoughts, ideas, actions and even sensations away from our conscious experience. He lets us look from one thing to another while completely forgetting about the other thing. So when you’re done reading this article and move on with your day forgetting all about this experience, you can thank Shiva for his graceful way of bringing everything to some end.

And with that said, I pray that this shabby prayer of mine coupled with the shabby explanation will complete my duty to write about this shabby country. On the one hand India seems to be just hanging on by some small corner of a brick, while on the other hand it feels as though it will persist long after the shinny buildings of the west have crumbled, and just by one small corner of a brick holding everything up. You can’t even imagine it could do that, but here it is before you, the impossible, incredible India…. starring Ganesha. 🙂

Humble blessing from Shiva City Varanasi

Om Namah Shivaya

My humble blessings from Shiva City Varanasi.

Om Namah Shivaya

Everything is Perfect as Passive Acceptance of Karma

Om poornamadah poornamidam poornaat poornam-udachyate poornasya poornamaadaaya poornamevaavashishsyate

Om Shanti… Shanti… Shanti…..

~Upanishad~

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

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

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

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

~Spandakarika~

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

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

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

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

City of Light: (The Second Part) Still Very Reasonable

Dear Friends,

This is the second part of the city of light as I see it. You will notice that the main conflict that began the story comes to a very unceremonious end here. I’ll get to it. In the mean time, notice how much fresh conflict (competing dualities) have arisen because of what was really only a minor annoyance. By now, all shit is hitting the fan; that is to say that time and space have begun their reign of terror.

The third part will be out very soon. Thank you for reading.

City of Light: (The Second Part) Still Very Reasonable

They honeymooned in infinity and planned their new life together. Miss Mountain, as she became known, had insisted on moving off the mountaintop and finding someplace more civilized to raise their family. She certainly wasn’t going to allow her children to be raised by the cliff-hopping goats, and something still had to be done about the power monger who was making everyone’s life difficult. If they didn’t have a son everyone was going to leave and then even the timeless world would be void, and no one wanted that.

The problem was that Miss Mountain was just a simple village girl from the hills and the Destroyer was much friskier and much more experienced than she could handle. The sex was great, this goes without saying since the Destroyer was known far and wide as a master of Tantra and the destroyer had to be milked for many, too many hours before he could release his seed. This left Mrs. Mountain exhausted and fully satisfied, but still without a son.

It was rumoured that the Destroyer was holding back his seed because he believed Mrs. Mountain to be too frail for childbirth. Eventually, Miss Mountain had to tell the destroyer about the need for him to have a son to rid everyone of nuisance that had been making timelessness intolerable. He was annoyed at having been used for such a petty purpose, but he consented with several conditions. He knew when he opened his eyes and came down from the mountain that there would not only be many unintended consequences, but that the motivations for waking him could not have been a straight forward coincidence. He knew better than anyone that a long chain of invisible causes preceded everything that could ever happen. Some suspected that he say it all coming but preferred to play it dumb.

Now that the plan was out, the Destroyer set about at once to deposit his seed.

Some say he had an affair with the beautiful woman everyone knew as Miss River, and others say he merely brought his seed to her. The Destroyer stuck by his strange story that he’d thrown his seed in the fire (he was known to have done stranger things). Miss Mountain herself was never sure what exactly happened. In any case, a boy was born in the forest and everyone said it belonged to the Destroyer. For the first time that anyone could remember, it was the mothers identity that was in question, and no the father. Some people even suspected that Mrs. Mountain herself was the mother, but she seemed to be cultivating a strong jealousy for Miss River.

The boy was sent to be raised by six sisters. He grew quickly and fulfilled his destiny bringing a kind of peace to timelessness. (more on this coming soon)

But by now everything had changed. Ever since the Destroyer’s honeymoon strange things had begun to happen, the most notable of which was the beginning of time and the space that came with it.

No one knew how it happened. It almost seemed like it was always there. No one thought to blame the creator for the mess since he was still doing things on the sly. By the time anyone noticed anything, the Sustainer was usually looking after it, and he almost never started anything because he knew it would just mean more work for him. Besides, everyone liked the Sustainer and never gave him any grief. They liked that he never pulled any surprises and they knew exactly what to expect from him. He kinda kept things going.

There certainly would have been hell to pay if anyone from before time now found themselves subject to its ravages, but this wasn’t the case so no one really cared. Besides it was really neat that so many thing that had only been possibilities before were now becoming reality. And there were so many realities that no one could keep up, and sometimes people still got confused about the difference between a reality and a possibility. Some said you could tell the difference because reality shone much more radiantly than possibility; actual existence seemed to make everything more beautiful. None the less the possibilities for time and space seemed endless and that was in itself a thing of beauty.

Possibility itself now seemed to change its nature. Whereas before when there was just possibility, anything might be possible, but now possibility found itself confined by time-space* (see technical note below). The possibilities of any given moment were entirely dependent on the situation of time and space during the moment immediately preceding the moment of possibilities. The curious thing was that although this seemed to limit the possibilities, the possibilities remained endless none-the-less.

One particularly strange possibility became a reality. The City of Light, which had been around since even before timelessness, found itself a small plot of land on the earth. People said that it was on the earth, but not of the earth. It was here that the Destroyer decided to settle down with his new wife. They both loved their new home. The Destroyer still, however, preferred to be left alone so he took up residence at the place where all the people affected by time went to burn their dead bodies. It was a despicable place of fire and morning and only partially charred flesh that the dogs would over fight over. No one visited him much, but he was staying just a little to close to the River tramps abode for Miss Mountain’s comfort. To keep her own mind off this possibility of infidelity that loomed over her marriage and, hopefully, to keep the Destroyer in check, she busied herself to such a degree around the city that it seemed as though she was everywhere at once. After some time, people started to believe that she had become the city herself.

And what a strange city it was. Streams ran in every direction with water so pure and fresh that people began to believe it was enchanted (although it wasn’t yet as enchanted as it would soon become).

[Technical note: To those who were here before time, time and space appeared at the same time so they often consider them to be one thing; like two heads of the same creature. It was only to those who came after time that the two seem to be different. And even today this distinction will cause to people to raise their voice. For the remainder of the story the author will attempt to appease those who came before by referring to time-space rather than time & space.]

City of Light: The Reasonable Explanation (first part)

Dear Friends,

I started writing this story a couple years ago as I plunged into the myths and stories of India. The basis of this story comes to me from the ancient stories of India via Diana Eck’s book of the same name: Kashi: City of Light. At times I’ve wondered if I was merely plagiarising the ancient stories of this land, but then I realised that every story is a retelling. Woven thru this story is the mythical history as well as the actual history, the philosophy, and the pervading culture of the land.

This is an early draft of the first part. Another 3 or 4 parts similarly summarily edited. I still have many side stories to fit into this part which, inshalla, will be coming soon. But for now I offer you this fort your reading pleasure.

The City of Light: the reasonable explanation

Before the beginning, and before the days of time and existence, when there were only possibilities which had not yet been realised, a kind of potential energy, one man sat at the highest point of possibility and looked out over it all. He sat in perfect peace.

Some say he was born before time and will live long after time has come to an end. Many don’t believe that he lived at all, but even these people now know him as the Destroyer. They say he was given this name because he did not arrive at his peace peacefully, and he was certainly a good one for settling matters once and for all.

But his peaceful state was soon to be broken by a plot concocted by the man who became known as the Creator; a foolish sort of man who was always resentful of the destroyer. In all fairness, the creator set things in motion before he really knew what was happening, and then things just started taking on a life of their own. Even before time and space there was passion and intrigue.

What happened was that the creator created some guy and didn’t tell the Sustainer. Since everyone generally saw all the possibilities, they assumed this guy was just another possibility and didn’t pay it much attention. Then all of a sudden the guy started causing trouble with his rude manners. When they tried to stop him, they couldn’t, he’d gained all kinds of strange powers thru possibility, and quite frankly, he was getting on everyone’s nerves.

They knew the destroyer could probably do something about it, but he was on the mountaintop doing…. well, nobody really knew what he was doing. Some said he was just sitting there barely breathing, other swore that he wasn’t breathing at all. Some said just sitting by him brought peace; others said that going near him was frightening and that terrifying dreams persist. In any case, everyone knew that he didn’t give a hoot about any of the others; he was perfectly happy. Most thought it best he stay that way for whenever he woke up, everything seemed to change.

Many didn’t think the Destroyer was the right guy for the job, besides, he was so chilled out that it was unlikely even a beautiful woman would rouse him from his slumber, after all it was the death of his last wife that brought him to the solitude of the mountain top. And even if some woman did rouse him, then he’d be off honeymooning and building a family that he just wouldn’t have what it takes to take care of the ill mannered miscreant. Besides, he probably wouldn’t do it anyways. It was the Creator who came upon the idea of getting Sivas son to take care of the guy. He would have all the destroyer’s power, and at a young age he would want to prove himself.

The problem was, the destroyer didn’t have a son, and no one could imagine that any woman in her right mind would want to freeze her butt off on a mountaintop wooing him into making one with her.

But in times of possibility, everything is possible and one such woman just happened to come along.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

They called her Miss Mountain. Many thought that just by the name alone she was destined for the job. Her family was horrified, to say the least, when she offered herself. She came from a good family after all and the Destroyer was know to have kiinda let himself go over the years, to say the least once again (I’m not here to ruin anyone’s reputation after all). Time was still immaterial so no one knew how long it had been since he washed his hair. And when he wasn’t up on the mountain giving everyone the silent treatment he was hanging around the worst kind of people (dead or alive)

Anyways, after she signed up for the project it was like everything happened all at once. The Destroyer soon opened his eyes and saw the new girl. She didn’t react at first. She just ignored him in her way. She wanted to build up his sense of wonder before she stoked the fires of his desire. She didn’t want him to think her being there had anything to do with him. It’s a girls right to wander; or rather putter around a mountaintop if the inclination so suits her.  She just hung about like Mother Nature herself, doing nothing to make herself conspicuous. All would be lost if he knew her ulterior motive.

Wonder did began to arise in him. He watched her for some clue as to who she was and where she came from; a nature so different from his own, yet she too was attracted to this same mountaintop. And there was something familiar about her. She seemed to be at once a reflection of himself, while there was also something about her that reminded him of his past wife.

She didn’t let on that she noticed any of this, but of course she could sense his growing interest, but interest was merely the next step beyond wonder. She left him wondering with growing interest. She knew how a wondering imagining mind could inflate anything and if she was going to make babies with this guy his wonder would have to grow to the next step. And sure enough, desire soon began to arise in him.

The next thing any one knew, they were married. The great bachelor of possibility became the husband of a personification of Mother Nature herself. Together they would make possibilities become reality. And sure enough things started happening fast.