The Sacred India Tarot Archive: Creation of Siva Ace of Lotuses (Cups)


Blue Lotus Bud

Blue Lotus Bud

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The SITA Minor Arcana, by Rohit Arya and Jane Adams

In 2003, the Suit of Pentacles/Disks – the life of the Buddha – was followed by the Suit of Wands/Staves – the Ramayana – in the creation of the deck.  But the present re-creation  with the Archive, leads its own way.  Towards the end of the Buddha posts, came some unmistakable Sivaic signals – his Lotus should follow suit !

My artistic response to the Lotus of eastern sunrise … is where it becomes the Rose  – the glow of sunset in the west.




(2004) Rohit Arya’s Notes on the Suit of Cups/Lotuses

“This is the water suit.  Cups and the valentine hearts may not do for this Suit, as they have no resonance in Indian culture.  The lotus flower is the best symbol of the spiritual water element in India, so perhaps we should use that as our symbol.

“The basic story is the love between Siva and Parvati, as outlined in the comic-book (see later visual references.) I only have a reservation, that Siva not be represented as a jungle dwelling proto-Tarzan, but as a great Himalayan king, which was the norm in the great temples of India.  We need to show he is Siva, which basically means the elements of identification; the half moon in the hair, the trident, the snakes wandering over the body, remain constant, but otherwise the Elephanta sculptures, which depict a gorgeous and spectacular King should be kept in mind.

“Most of all, this means the jewels and crown should always be constant, even when he is meditating. The crown is actually a visual symbol for the extended chakras above the head, which begin about the hairline, and then proceed quite a way upward.

siva trimurti

Sadasiva siva trimurti at Elephanta

“I recently had a vision of Siva.  He was over seven feet tall, muscled like a puma or mountain lion, and tawny haired.  The face blazed with glory.  Surprisingly there were no snakes.

“The comic-book visuals will provide the basic story, but they should be drawn like the sculpture visuals.  The background should always be predominantly Himalayan with a lot of animals wandering in and out of the cards, as Siva is the Lord of Animals.  Just go wild here, with no restrictions, as animals have been compensated for being dumb brutes, with always being able to see Siva;  a vision that comes only with great effort to speaking humans.

Siva meditates - comicbook visual reference

Siva meditates – comicbook visual reference


Rohit’s Notes – Ace of Lotuses – Siva in Meditation

“He could be shown in the classic lotus pose of Yoga, atop a great white or blue lotus (no other colours.)  He has withdrawn into meditation because of the death of his first wife Sati, and he is seeking to heal from the trauma which is after all the core meaning of the card – healing.

Rose sivalinga

Rose sivalinga

“I thought that we could show him surrounded by great Yogis from many timelines, to emphasize his stature as the first Yogi and first Guru.  The Yogis I had in mind, were Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda, Babaji, Paramahamsa Yogananda, Ramana Maharshi, and Sai Baba of Shirdi.  We will send pictures of all these Yogis to you – they could be grouped in the ground around him, in a Himalayan setting.  

“The face can be modelled over the Elephanta sculpture with great profit:  the massive withdrawn inner calm of the central Sadashiva.  The Lakulisha figure may provide some ideas too.



Jane’s Notes

I was for a long time inspired by the works of Professor Stella Kramrisch on the Siva prototype.  The original Vedic form of the god Siva and his fiery derivatives, was Rudra the Roarer or Wild Hunter.  Rudra is the wildness behind all forms or rupa of Siva.

In her commentary to the Hymns of Rig Veda 10.61 and 1.71, Stella Kramrisch extemporised:  “In the lucid frenzy of the images of the Hymn, He arises and abides.  It is when time is about to begin.  In the dawn of the world, when the black cow of cosmic night lies with the ruddy cows of morning, two figures appear, the Father and the virgin daughter, his own daughter.  They are the two actors in the primordial scene.  The Father makes love to the daughter.  Suddenly he pulls back, his seed falls down to Earth, the place of sacrifice.

“In their concern, the gods created a poem, a Word of power (brahman) and out of this they gave shape to Vastospati, the guardian of the dwelling, the guardian of sacred order. Like a raging bull did the Father foam, running this way and that way and away with scant understanding.

“Like one rejected, she sped south … into cosmic night.  In spite of his mishap, or on account of it, soon the patter was heard on earth, of the progeny of the Father.  

“Creation is an act of violence that infringes upon the Uncreate, the undifferentiated wholeness that is before the beginning of things.  And yet another act of violence is hinted at, and this act is kept secret in these wild and portentous Mantras.  He – Rudra – is implied, for it is He who is invoked in this hymn:  He the most powerful, who with the arrow in his hand, hit the target.  The Father was made to pull back from the creative act that was to be prevented or undone by Him, yet lead to the existence of life on Earth.  Without revealing their source, sparks of meaning flare up in tense brevity in the Raudra Brahman.

Rudra, wild Hunter

Rudra, wild Hunter

“A Hymn to Agni (RV 1.71 sheds light on His nature whose name the Raudra Brahman witholds.  This hymn celebrates Agni, who had prepared the seed for Father Heaven.  But when Agni noticed the lust of the Father for his daughter, this hunter crept along, then boldly shot his arrow at the Father just when he was quenching his desire in his daughter.  The Hunter had aimed at the creative act itself.  Father Heaven shed his seed.  It fell to earth.  Agni, the Fire, brought to life the Father’s progeny, the benevolent host of immaculate Fire-youths.

“Fire is a hunter.  The flame creeps along, lashes out, it hits the victim with its dart.  The arrow of Agni strikes the Father in his passionate embrace of the daughter.  But Agni’s heat had also ripened the seed of the Father.  Foaming in hot fury when he is struck by the fiery arrow, the Father spills his seed on the Earth, the site of sacrifice, where it will sprout in the splendour of the immaculate and benevolent Fire-youths, the host of the Angirases, Agni’s priests.

“The ambiguity of Agni is the ambiguity of fire itself, which both sustains and destroys life.  But inasmuch as the Father is the object of this ambiguity, Agni is the name of the hunter who is but a mask of Him whose name is withheld, and to whom the gods, the celestial intelligence, in compassionate insight, gave shape as Vastospati, the Guardian of the Dwelling (Vastu), of divine Law. They carved this shape out of the poem (brahman) while they created it.  

in wood

“By their wording of the sacred Mantra, His shape arose in its metre, and the vision took form in the rhythm of … this wild fierce hymn of the god whose name it hides, while he is seen as he arises in his unfathomable nature and paradoxical shape as guardian of sacred order, Lord of Vastu.  The mystery of Creation in this simultaneity of manifestations, begins with a fateful shot, the wound it inflicts on the Father, the loss of his seed, its fall to Earth, and the birth of the poem and of mankind to be.”

From The Presence of Siva by Stella Kramrisch, Princeton University 1981


Stella Kramrisch - ja 2012

Stella Kramrisch – ja 2012


Siva is a later generation of the Rudra aeon.  He holds within his Yoga, the primordial Fires of Earth.  In further cycles of the myth, Lord Siva plunges into the feminine Waters, and there remains for another aeon, inseminating all which would come forth as life – the vegetable, animal and human Kingdoms, the unbroken Consciousness.

In other versions of the mythos, Siva’s immersion was a thousand-year Ardhanariswara with his bride Parvati on Mount Kailas.  From their blissful union was destined the child Skanda or Sanatkumar, who alone could defeat the cosmic demon Taraka.  The gods at first  despaired, as the timeless couple, being Yogis, spilled no seed until tricked into doing so.

Rudra wild Hunter Immerses

Rudra wild Hunter Immerses


Kramrisch again, on STHANU:

“Time will not prolong the lives of men;  it will not defer their death.  It will bring them back again into a new youth, and a life resonant with their past.  In time, their life will be ready for death – and rebirth.  STHANU is the motionless pillar of all being.  Sthanu out of the quiescence of his stance, prevailed on Brahma Creator.  Death and birth thenceforth came to be interwoven in the pattern of time, due to Sthanu’s compassion for creatures.  The paradox of the motionless ascetic withdrawn from the world, yet moved by pity for its creatures, is resolved by a form of time that carries quiescence in its structure.  This is STHANU … 

“…When Rudra entered the waters, he was like that great wondrous presence that strode in creative fervour on the crest of the sea.  That mighty presence was a consecrated celibate, as Rudra is, young and ardent.  Absorbed in creative fervour, he stood in the sea, in the ocean.  He shone on the earth.  He glowed with utmost inner exertion, the heat of creation.  … He created life, though not through procreation.  He plunged into the water, where the plants derived their nourishment from his presence.  They pass it on to man.  Rudra is ‘the food of living beings everywhere’.  The Great God severed his linga in fury.  Rudra who is wrath and fire, prevailed over Rudra the Lord of Yoga.  The severed linga retained the ambivalence of his two natures.  It fell into the earth, then rose in space, went to the akasa, where it stood as the endless fire-pillar whose beginning and end neither Vishnu nor Brahma could reach. 

“To the command of Brahma to create mortals, Rudra the Lord of Yoga responded in two ways.  In total introversion he turned into a motionless pillar.  He became Sthanu.  And he plunged into the waters to practice asceticism, and he remained submerged for innumerable years.  The glow of his ascetic energy irradiated the waters, and the plants began their life in them.  Like the numinous being, the brahmacharin shining in a shaft of sunlight had entered their glistening plane.”

From Presence of Siva by Stella Kramrisch

The foregoing are fragments only from the depth of Kramrisch’s translation.  Siva/Rudra was a Yogi, and his Reality transcends time and manifestation.  He had no desire to generate Life:  yet by his in-tense, Life proliferated … no matter how He pruned his own vine.

The tale echoes the formation of our planet, by fire-seed and then the oceans.

Lord Siva on his Tao

Lord Siva on his Tao

The plant soul is pure, less individualised than those in the animal kingdom.  Brahma is the Puranic form of Prajapati, the Vedic Creator Father.  The immersion of Rudra’s fiery seed in the feminine waters harbingers the yogic intercourse/stillness of Siva and Parvati together as Ardhanariswara – Lord whose half is Woman – lasting a thousand years.  The daily Vedic chanting at Ramanasramam includes as it did in Ramana’s lifetime, the NANAKAM, the Hymn to Bhagavan Rudra.

Mythology has no rigid defining line.  Stories change a little with each generation of the telling, and through different angles of vision, as water flows into itself.


Sacred India Tarot Siva Ace of Lotuses

Sacred India Tarot Siva Ace of Lotuses

Here is the finished card.  In the end, there was only room in the composition, for four of the assembled Sages whom Rohit had in mind:  Anandamayi, Sai Baba of Sirdi, Ramana and Ramakrishna.  But this is appropriate, because Lord Rudra in The Fool card is accompanied by four dogs, representing the 4 Vedas.

Sacred India Tarot - wild card THE FOOL - Rudra Brahman

Sacred India Tarot – wild card THE FOOL – Rudra Brahman


I am the boundless ocean
This way and that, 
the wind blowing where it will,
drives the ship of the world. 
But I am not shaken.


I am the unbounded deep 
in whom the waves 
of all the worlds 
naturally rise and fall. 
But I do not rise or fall.

I am the infinite deep 
in whom all the worlds 
appear to rise. 


Beyond all form, 
for ever still, 
even so am I. 

I am not in the world. 
The world is not in me. 

Sacred India Tarot 21 Natarajan The World

Sacred India Tarot 21 Natarajan The World

I am pure.
I am unbounded,
free from attachment, 
free from desire, 
even so am I.


Oh how wonderful ! 
I am awareness itself, 
no less. 
The world is a magic show! 


But in me 
there is nothing to embrace, 
and nothing to turn away.

Ashtavakra Gita


So here, for aide-memoire is Siva Natarajan:  the wildness and the serenity …

and the Sage who lives on Aruna hill:

Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi

Reflect on Ramana’s eyes.   He is of the Skanda Siva lineage. They are immeasurably profound, soft and penetrating, and invade nobody.   They are the eyes of the Self.  Their invitation is eternally devoid of agenda.   The Master’s Eye !

The beauty of the Sage on his rock.

Touch base: Siva Ace of Lotuses.  The power of Love, the power of Law.   Gravity.  They are one and the same.  Respectful is their expression.

vedic vessel




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

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

7 thoughts on “The Sacred India Tarot Archive: Creation of Siva Ace of Lotuses (Cups)

  1. Absolutely breathtaking pictures and drawings especially the ” Finished card ! ”

    I totally agree about Ramana`s eyes I always feel that the two eyes differ . In one, there is eternal joy, in the other, a sadness is reflected. To look into them is to be transported .

    I find the Rudra story and Sthanu opening lines very powerful . THey resonated deeply within .
    my being .

  2. Sthanu as the stillness inherent in earthly rotations and motions – the pillar – much stirred me also when I first read Kramrisch’s Presence of Siva. So many of our anglo saxon words beginning with ST, like Stand, Static, Stalwart … have this concept of the sanskrit. David Frawley wrote about it in his Wisdom of the Ancient Seers: “The Sanskrit root STHA, meaning to stand, to be, to endure, to stop or be still, be stable … stick, staff, stamen, stadium, step, steer, stallion, stoic, stagnant …” and on and on, through all the hues and tones.

    The marvel of anyone’s pair of eyes is that each is a little different. They are assymetrical, they dialogue. A painting of someone comes alive, when this is shown. Ramana’s have this extraordinary depth of silent speech.

  3. Pingback: Sacred India Tarot Archive: Creation of 2, 3, 4, 5 of Lotuses/Cups – Siva & Parvati | janeadamsart

  4. Pingback: Creation of the Sacred India Tarot Archive – The Royal Lotuses (1) | janeadamsart

  5. Pingback: The Mythology behind Ramana’s Thirty Verses | janeadamsart

  6. Pingback: Sacred India Tarot Archive – the Royal Lotuses (2) – Kama & Rati | janeadamsart

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