Sacred India Tarot Archive: 8,9,10 of Pentacles – Buddha’s Teaching & Mahanirvana

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Continuing the series following the creative process of The Sacred India Tarot Archive by Rohit Arya and Jane Adams –

water falls in arizona


Rohit’s Notes 2003 on SITA 8 of Disks – the Angulimala episode.  

“… A forest path with the calm and smiling upright Buddha being threatened by a wild looking bandit who is wearing a garland of human fingers.  He brandishes a sword, and he wants Buddha’s finger to complete his collection. Angulimala is physically exhausted from chasing after the Buddha and somehow never managing to catch up with him.  Buddha converts him and even leads him to enlightenment, but that lies some time after our scene!

“… We would like to see the Buddha as he is always shown, the long sari like robe he is depicted in. Angulimala –  the finger necklace he wears round his neck, is core; and a sort of wild desperation, a recklessness that only comes upon those who were once good and respectable. The two figures are likely to take up all the space, so compositionally I don’t think we can squeeze in any background details. The entire drama plays out in a forest….”


Jane’s Notes – Angulimala was an unhinged sadhu who collected the fingers of celebrated sages and wore them in a mala around his neck.   Naturally he sought the ultimate trophy.  The Buddha however, smiling like the Mona Lisa, contrived to walk always just ahead of the violent sadhu’s effort and out of reach.

We have a saying here:  “to walk just one mile an hour quicker than the incoming tide, is to be in the world but not of it;  to carry the Great Work;  to remain awake.”

When Angulimala’s consumerist greed for enlightenment was all played out, he surrendered and became a devotee of the Great Middle Way.   This story is a vivid example of the accelerated Karmas in the vicinity of a Perfected One.  The noble Buddha Nature is Tathagatha of the cosmic aeons.   No “individual” dream can grasp this, until it starts to dissolve into Individuation of the Whole.

Sacred India Tarot - the story of Buddha and Angulimala

Sacred India Tarot – the story of Buddha and Angulimala


Correspondence:  Rohit to Gautam Sachdeva, 2003

“The Eight card should have been a very difficult card to draw, but Jane has solved all compositional problems by completely eliminating all background clutter, and just keeping the two principals before us.  The contrast between the man of violence lost in his rage, and the calm of the One who is Awake, is remarkable.

“The turban by the way, is very accurate for the time period.  I especially love the touch of the orange robe that Angulimala is wearing, presaging his conversion and salvation as a monk.

“I said it before, and I will say it again, I am not going to get between Jane and her stream of inspiration with the clutter of irrelevant instruction. She is doing a great job with what I am telling her, and this pack is going to be an all time classic, not just in Tarot, but also in the field of Indian mythology.”

Visual reference for the teaching of "Sangha"

A visual reference for the teaching of “Sangha” – also for the original conception of Knight of Disks, a picture of Boddhisattva, the Buddha in the Making.  However, Rohit later substituted the Face of Glory, Indian mythology’s Green Man, for Knight of Disks.  The Green Man accorded better with Buddha’s temperament, well earthed in the nature kingdom.  See the next post, in this series.


Correspondence:  Jane to Gautam – May 2003 

“Dear Gautam, we just seen Nikki (Gautam’s sister) for tea, and thank you very much for the beautiful copper Sri Chakra in its protective case, and the leaflet with it.  For me this is a most serendipitous gift, connecting directly with some work I’ve been doing.  I am very touched.  Nikki told me also how these Sri Chakras are “charged”, and gave us news of Yogi Impressions’ spiritual portal.  Thank you also for the bank draft of 100 …

“I have done two more pentacles, and will try to send them to you tomorrow, or at least over the weekend.  I am pleased with them. 

“The four court cards will soon be done.  Please send illustrations and notes for the next Suit as soon as you can.  God willing, the minor arcana will be complete at the end of this year.  With warm regards to yourself and Rohit, and to your mother – Jane.”

Copper Sri Yantra Chakra.  An auspicious gift, as its energy field is particularly earthing or the cosmic lattice.  Copper is the non-resistant metal of Venus and of electricity.

Copper Sri Yantra Chakra. An auspicious gift, as its energy field is particularly earthing of the cosmic lattice. Copper is the non-resistant metal of Venus and of electricity.   It is another version of the Wheel which symbolizes the Buddha’s noble teaching.



Suit of Pentacles/Disks: Creating Card 9 – Sangha and the Flower Sermon

Wildflower at Nether Stowey

Wildflower in my mother’s garden at Nether Stowey

The story of the Buddha’s Flower sermon is well known.  Here are Rohit’s Notes for Card Nine: 

“Nine – the silent transmission to Kashyapa of Zen, and the firm foundation of the Sangha. The Buddha is on the left of the card, a body of monks facing him, with one particularly intelligent face being Kashyapa.  He smiles, as he has just understood Buddha’s transmission of Zen by holding up a single flower in his right hand.”

snowdrop buddha


And here is the card:

The Sacred India Tarot - the Sermon of the Flower

The Sacred India Tarot – the Sermon of the Flower

Jane’s Notes: – Sangha is “the community of the wise.”  Rohit and Gautam asked me to put Ramesh Balsekar’s features on “Kashyapa who had the understanding”.  They both knew Ramesh well, and admired his teaching.  The object was for The Sacred India Tarot to touch upon and honour the teaching in all its forms, in the universal field.   As it is not a good portrait of Ramesh, I include here, two of my drawings of him in bhakti mode:  his Buddha nature.


Ramesh Balsekar, bhakti

Ramesh Balsekar, bhakti

Ramesh used to say that there is no Guru, until a devotee recognises him as such.  The Guru – dispeller of darkness – is created in a special spark of recognition:  the understanding, which passes between the two.  Wisdom is in dialogue:  wisdom is the relationship.


Ramesh at Rest

Ramesh at Rest

I remember when I drew this one, that Ramesh’s facial features flowered like a mandala.  The penciled lines and folds below his eyes, radiate as rivers and the ripples do.



Suit of Pentacles/Disks:  Creating Card Ten – the Buddha’s Maha-Nirvana

Rohit’s Notes in 2003: – “The Great Nirvana.  The texts mention again and again that the Buddha lay on his right side like a lion, and taught his disciples before breathing his last.  A somewhat crowded composition, as all his monks were crowding around him.  The picture is a stylistic rendering of the great moment.”

Disks buddha 10, ref


Sacred India Tarot - Buddha's Maha-Nirvana

Sacred India Tarot – Buddha’s Maha-Nirvana

This was in some ways, my favourite of the suit.  Drawing this, brought me a feeling of great serenity.  I understood that the troublous “10” of each Suit, is in fact its full manifestation during a moment of transition:  the transformation we often dread.  Transformation is the movement of eternal Life.

Transformation is BARDO in the Tibetan book of the dead.

Sacred India Tarot 10 of Arrows

For a quick preview on this topic, the SITA Ten of Arrows/Swords – sometimes considered the most destructive of the deck – shows the dying Bhishma transmitting the Laws of wise Kingship to his heir, Yudhishtara.  He achieves his true Dharma at last.   It is a point of change.  The whole of his chakra spine, pierced by ten arrows as he lies dying in his BARDO, awakes.

Wisdom is a conversation, never a monolog.

This story is from the Mahabharath.


Correspondence: Rohit to Gautam – July 2003

“Feedback for Jane on Pentacles last cards … I really have nothing much to add about any of the cards as they are exactly what we need for the packs.  They are excellent work in no uncertain terms.  The Nine card may need to be flipped transversally, so that the Buddha is handing over the flower with his right hand instead of the left one, as that is regarded as culturally suspect.  But the composition itself is perfect, and any imaging system on any computer can easily do what we requre, so there is no problem there.”

(Jane: I seem to have managed to change his hands with the flower, myself.  I don’t recall doing this.)

“In the Ten card, I particularly like the addition of the turbaned man, as the death of the Buddha was a great loss to the common people as well as the monastic community too.  The serene withdrawal on the face, is remarkable.” 


Tree tao


Thus far, the creative process of those three Pentacles.

Wisdom is a conversation, as revealed in cards 9 and 10.  Awakened conversation is pragmatic and down-to-earth, never a mere “blissing out”.   Awakening participates in the universal Transmission … which never began, never ends, and is all ways.

In my next post after this one, I would like to share extracts from a Buddha awakening in my journal, early 1988.  There are sometimes glimpses into the transpersonal.   I had planned to attach it to 8,9,10 of Pentacles, but there is more of it than I thought, and even after editing and pruning, it is a bit long.

Here is something from it, experientially, which stays in my memory:

The Cosmic Note, February 1988  … a feel of space having been cleared as on a windy day, in relation to him as to everyone else.  My bad Karma has always expressed itself in terms of jealousy, isolation and the discomfort of ego’s performances.  Ego there is, but not jealousy.  The freedom is implied, to move around and be real. 

Splendid dream … which I cannot describe, as it was in another level altogether, but was in terms of being the actual Law of Life in the line-movement and shade of a drawing.  As I half woke, I heard a most extraordinary and wonderful note or cosmic tone, of the Universal Eternity.  It was outside time.  It rested and passed and faded like the long-resonating song of a bell.  

This turned out to be a passing lorry – every sound in all the worlds is the primordial atomic OM, and liberates for ever.  

Another vehicle or two gave a remnant of this imprint, or Voice, as did long tides of bliss in my being-body, but I was rapidly surfacing, so it was for an unending moment only.  How good.  Surely I will find it for ever.


Do readers sometimes hear music of this kind, in their dreams?  Is this a common occurrence?  Please comment below, if you have.   The music or tonal integrity seems to arrive fully formed, from a spectrum far beyond my capacity.

21 musical j&d6..



For other Sacred India Tarot posts, look under Recent Posts, or Archive of All Posts in the title bar.

Rohit Arya

Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}. He has also written A Gathering of Gods. He is  a corporate trainer, a mythologist and vibrant speaker as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga. 

Earlier posts about the deck, including the first 15 Major Arcana archives are in   The deck is copyrighted (c) 2011 to the publishers, Yogi Impressions Books pvt, and available also on Amazon and internationally.


Jane Adams

My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address

1 thought on “Sacred India Tarot Archive: 8,9,10 of Pentacles – Buddha’s Teaching & Mahanirvana

  1. Enthralling , and b eautifully scripted in a simple style . It evokes the spirit and setiting of the drama that unfolded . The opening forest scene is one of utter beauty and peace . Thank you Jane !

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