Mysteries of Isis, part 8 – the Wholeness of Osiris

osiris isis

This  post continues the previous ones about Isis – to remind myself Who she is.  The next  post will conclude this series with Dion Fortune’s invocation of Isis as “the Sea Priestess”.

To label an aggressive militant virus loosely as “isis” is a misnomer, unconsciously perverting and undermining our human-ness and capacity to heal.  The women and girls are attacked, stoned, tortured or infected in that mindset, which mindlessly destroys ancient sacred places.

Our genetic vitality as men and women, stems from the archetypal wisdoms and mythologies of the ancient world.  Isis is – at our thoughtless peril – trampled, forgotten or abused. In the mirror of every culture, she  is what we truly are, the light and the shadow.  As the goddess of the Moon she rules the tides of our psychology;  as Gaia she is our Earth.

What can we do?

Recognise the daily corporate hypnosis under which we lie, under which we dream as slaves, accepting belief – and wake up.  It is better to see and be aware of the venom than to step right into it.  The problem is not in other lands, politics or ideologies – it starts HERE, with what we care about.

Remember who we are.  Find and grow from our roots, and be an example to our children.  Let it spread.  No frozen society out there can do it.  I and you are in HERE – the open reality we create.  Individual awakenings send ripples far and wide, and change things.

Here is another chapter from my “Arcanum Two” (1991, 2011):

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The sea near Tintagel

The sea near Tintagel

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September 1991 – The Wholeness of Osiris: Precession of the Equinox:
What are the scattered pieces, the fragments of Osiris?   Typhon, the god of titanic entropy or disorder, slew and scattered fourteen parts of Osiris the Law-giver up and down the black land.   Isis wept over, gathered and conceived from them the child HORUS, of herself and her womb-brother Osiris.

Plutarch – an initiate – tells of Horus’s battle with Typhon to avenge his father:
“We are … told that among the great numbers who were continually deserting from Typho’s party was his concubine Thueris.   A serpent pursuing her as she was coming over to Horus, was slain by her soldiers.        The memory of this action, they say, is still preserved in the cord which is thrown into the midst of their assemblies and then chopped into pieces.

Afterwards it came to a battle between them which lasted many days.   But victory at length inclined to Horus, Typhon himself being taken prisoner.   Isis however, to whose custody Typhon was committed, was so far from putting him to death that she even loosed his bonds and set him free.   This action of his mother so extremely incensed Horus that he laid hands upon her and pulled off the ensign of royalty which she wore on her head.   Thoth(Hermes/mercurial) clapped onto Isis instead a helmet made in the shape of an ox’s head.

“After this, Typhon publicly accused Horus of bastardy.   But with the help of Thoth the legitimacy of Horus was fully established by the judgement of the gods themselves.   After this there were two other battles fought between them, in both of which Typhon had the worst.   Furthermore, Isis is said to have kept company with Osiris after his death, and in consequence to have brought forth Harpocrates, who came into the world before his time and lame in his lower limbs.”

Apollo 2002

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In Plutarch’s account Horus was conceived before the fragmentation; he was conceived indeed in the mutual affection of Osiris and Isis as siblings in the womb of their mother before they were born.   And Horus became known to the Greeks as Apollo, the god or radiance of the Sun’s (physical) chariot.

What are those scattered fragments of Osiris?

When they are put back together he is brought to life.

Note this: he is brought to life, a life beyond the concept of beginning or ending with the fragments. Instantly it springs to being, and has always been.   It crosses the plane of fragmentary knowledge.

The fragments are perhaps the multiple and illusory costumes, lifetimes, of the body. The fragments are what remains of the Alexandrian Library – the wisdom of the ancient world. They arise among the disappearance of Self-knowledge into ignorance, into the pockets of spacetime called maya, or matter or “separate” incarnations.

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arcanum 9, hermit

The initiate, entering the cave of “sleep” emerges as a bird from a tiny opening deep in the heart lotus. The pocket of space and time falls away. The chamber of all the worlds – the whole of the Great Pyramid – is open to his flight of seeing.   He awakens from the trap of time.

The wholeness of OSIRIS is a dimension of which the visible shapes of his body or any of his parts are only sections in time and space across it, apparently disparate.

Apollo 2002 - 2

The reality of OSIRIS is a Great Circle; like a “lunar” or “solar” orbit of human cycles of life on earth towards Reintegration.   It abides beyond and within the visible spheres.   The visible bodies in the night are only allegories.   Osiris and Isis are a Mystery Play of reflected light whose phases, on the Moon, seek unity.   I wonder if this relates to the Great Circle (25,800 years) or precession of the equinox around the ages of history … his story?

The combined action of solar and lunar gravity causes the polar axis of earth to ‘wobble’ or describe a slow dance around itself.   This exposes the terrestrial magnetic field to subtle changes in alignment with the constellations.   The turning of a mystic dervish expresses this.

The rhythmic cycles of our local perception or Universe, the times for plants to grow and for human beings to awaken dormant strata to the light, seem to be governed by Osiris and his sister Isis from a plane transcending that of the zodiac (the planetary/psychological frame of reference.)   Neither of them represents solely the Sun (gold) or the Moon (silver).   Their mystery dance describes their cyclic relationship.   Osiris, known as the Sun of the Dead, appears as the Sun’s light upon phases (death and resurrection) of the Moon, particularly as it waxes.   But he derives from ‘RA’ or ‘PTAH’ of a primordial LIGHT.

The rhythmic breath of Osiris and Isis governs the solar System as a whole.   Perhaps they are analogous to the galaxy or, more locally, to the nodes of intersecting planetary orbits, the petals of the Great rose.   They dwell outside the measure of planetary time, while remaining inside cosmos, the Divine Circle inscribed by Thoth within atoms and stars.   The name of their son HORUS means ‘Time’ and also the eye of the eagle.   The higher the eagle flies the smaller appears the space-time context, and the larger is the view around it.

cross & pyramid

From the raised apex of the Pyramid which is its centre, an edifice can be viewed.   The plane of the base has four sides; at the point ‘above’, where they meet, they are simultaneous.   This raised point is simultaneously the length, breadth and depth of the world around.   It is the stance of rectitude, of truth. The fourth dimension cancels opinion and division, because as there is no separation between things, there are no ‘things’ themselves.

Eye of Ra

The Eye of RA, the primordial SUN, is this hieroglyph for the eagle HORUS, the Oudja“The Right Eye of the Supreme Being is the Sun, and his Left Eye is the Moon.”

In the old stories the left eye of Horus, wounded by Typnon/Seth is repaired by Thoth.   Thoth, Master of writing, of sciences and of time, has again and again to separate the two combatents, gather together the fragments of the hurt Eye and heal them into a unity greater than the sum of their parts.

The Emerald Tablet of Hermes states:
“Thou shalt separate earth from fire, the subtle from the gross,
with prudence, understanding and modesty.
The Great Action rises up from the earth to the heavens
and returns again to the earth,
taking into itself the power of the Above and the Below.
Thus you will obtain the glory of the Whole world.

In the organism of the whole, the left eye has all the adventures for it receives, it is YIN; and the right eye performs the synthesis for it gives, it is YANG.   Healers know intuitively that the ‘energy’ which cures fractions of the body and soul in mass, utilizes a ‘higher power’ of light beyond the small area of their differences.   Isis and Osiris are a profound and esoteric resonance of the solar and lunar pulse in nature; their mutually embracing TAO.

Creation etc

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The Great Circle and the Egg
In working with ISIS, the priestess of the Second arcanum, I feel like a ‘broken’ circle, which desires completion into a circuit.  Electrically the current propels this urge over a vaccuum to return to itself.   The divine Circle fell from the edgeless sphere into the elliptical distortion of a mental universe which oscillates between two poles.

This happens when the conjecturing mind pushes harder and harder at its own frontier.   It constructs hypotheses, wanting everything to “fit” and falls exhausted and dead into flat paper.   “So What?”   What is the good of writing symphonies about silence, if there is no silence here, if waves of irritation immediately arise when the telephone doesn’t work, when the water mains is turned off, when gadgets are all-important, when fatigue snaps?

The orbital rhythms of the planets are egg shaped.   Within them shines the perfect golden sphere of their birth, our yearning for them to be simply that.   They move around the Sun, carrying interior Suns.   Every feature of the visible universe is a dance of assymetry towards that unchanging ideal.   Within my door of perception, this moves and changes and becomes the creation of matter and time.   Re-cognition of ‘TWO’ catalyzes a movement towards ‘ONE’ which is ‘THREE’.   The flow of current, its friction into photons or ‘particle-waves’ of light, sets up the paradox of ‘movement’ with ‘not-movement’; a relativity.

Osiris and Thoth

In these explorations, I am driven by beauty. The aesthetic sense has its own limitations, because it wants to make things conform to it. The mind builds castles, and becomes over taxed. The truth, being beauty, has no expectation.   It is better to keep quiet, and to trust that truth is beauty, and needs no grandiose support or justification.   In the absence of these, I become still.

mid wales 4

When recognised, the testament to human beauty – a Bach cello suite, a Botticelli angel, the wind, the sea, the birds, the high pre-Cambrian moorland of mid Wales, and the colours of earth, water and autumn leaves – awakens again in its natural element.   With a scented rose in the garden, who needs to construct one in the firmament, out of sight?   And yet … those ones, those mansions in the subconscious, are special cultivations, seeds of wisdom. They bloom there undying … the garden for everyman to find.

Letter Gimel - wheatsheaf

Letter Gimel – wheatsheaf

small beit

The letters BEIT and GIMEL  echo but are not quite the same as the Firmament which is silence.

mid wales 2

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Gimel – and Into the Street
Going out now, late evening, into the street for groceries, I find – though very tired – an intense awareness of the field of space between me and each other person I see along the crowded pavement outside Waitrose.   The world is differentiated.   My eyesight retreats to within my spine. between the wings, and shows to me each person, each object, with clarity and without comment.  Even the existence of my uppity ego has clarity, without comment.

If I hope to travel into being ‘Not Two’, it makes good sense to know what the condition of ‘Two’ really is.   How can this be done without becoming lovingly interested in it?   How much of life is spent bundling along and totally unaware even of duality and separate objects and the space between us?   Those separate beings, mobile screens of history and inner-life, are comets who trail their births behind them, the invisible tale growing endlessly longer. They register within me with a sensation now of … something like hard diamonds.   Each one is this hard and shiny rock of light… like being a jeweller.   Who cut the first diamond?

Who cast the first stone?

“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone at her,” said Jesus scribbling vaguely on the ground when the elders all crowded indignantly round the repentant prostitute and asked what to do.

When I am out in the street like this, words, poems, riddles, fragments of koans come, to be stopped and written down.   They are traces, incomplete, of little fish sliding away, they are mischievous mercurial promptings, of the mind that will not rest.   They are like the voice which delivers an enigma between waking and sleep. It sounds like a perfect capsule for unremembered truth.

I did much free-wheeling with these promptings, for years encouraging and writing them down. They lead to my oracle, the inner ruler.   But if I become too enamoured of them, they no longer guide but exhaust me – the froth and foam, but not the water of life itself.

Mental metal-fatigue is a painful exercise.   What poetic fancies about Osiris and Isis can reach me here?   They seem now to be only a way to pass the time, with a risk of redundancy. They seem to be effluents of arrogant cardinals in the church.   What of my limited aesthetic of circles beyond the circles in the invisible sky, right now, when the birds have flown?   What on earth do I know about it?   They were pictures only in my mind, and now I cannot read.   Creative artists are bored children.

I feel it is up to each of us as we individuate, to discover mythology and follow it upstream in a way which is unique and meaningful.  The paths on a mountain are of infinite variety and relationship;  they connect and lead towards the peak which dissolves them all.

It is natural to be tired, and to let Isis, the oceanic subconscious, sink back into the tide:  to breathe in and out;  to sleep and wake.

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quantock trees

quantock trees

At home I read in a little book by Sundaresa Iyer:
“I am the Present ever present, so I am not newly discovered or obtained.   Only I have no delusion about myself.   I am unborn so death cannot affect me.   For me death does not mean the loss of a body, whether gross, subtle or causal.   To me death means only identifying the Self with the non-self.   This is intoxication, and this intoxication is Death.   So has Sri Ramana Maharshi taught.

“ … caught and drew his normal consciousness deeper and deeper inward into that in which nothing but Itself is seen or heard or known, in which there is not the shining of the sun, the moon or the stars, but which is all these and fullness Itself.

“Abidance in the Void is firmness.”

Ramana - my earliest complete sketch of him

Ramana – my earliest complete sketch of him

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The Mother of God
I have one more small point to investigate in the interest of these Horns of Isis. My diversions into malleable symbolic history are as satisfying as writing poetry.   As follows:

Hermes Trismegistus in Virgin of the World declares that:   “Over the earth and sea he reigns who nourishes all mortal creatures, the plants and fruitbearing trees and whose name is Zeus Serapis.”   This is Jupiter. This deity symbolises expansion and grace. In the psychological Tree of Life, Hesed is represented by Jupiter.

Tao Tree of Life 17 3 93

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I want to look briefly into the idea of the Apis bull, for I read in a scholarly book by the keeper of Egyptian antiquities at the British Museum, that the name “Serapis” is derived from Osiris-Apis.   Apis is a symbol of power and fertility, associated with the god PTAH. PTAH is the expression of primaeval creative power in the cycle of Osiris. Serapis was a Ptolomeic deity who acted as a bridge from Egyptian mystery to Greek philosophy.   He was a benign bearded and Jovian character, with a great interest in death and funerary ceremonial.

the mrs bs, bull & snake

The qualities of primaeval power and fertility were manifest in a bull calf born with special markings in Memphis.   He was kept in the Temple, venerated throughout his life as the apis bull and finally buried with royal pomp and splendour.   From the earth he came, took into himself the divinity of sky and was ploughed with it, back into earth. (“The Great Action rises up from the earth to the heavens and returns again to the earth, taking into itself the power of the Above and the Below”) The pharoahs would bow to this bull as a Great King – the archetype of their virile grace and favour.   “He nourishes all mortal creatures, the plants and fruit-bearing trees.”   He has the forces of growth.

The holy bull must be born of a mother, the sacred cow or Mother of Apis.   She was identified with Isis, as “Hathor”.  The burials in due season of these bulls of God with big throats and long pointed horns, and of their mothers, are very festive occasions.   When the full moon sets below the western horizon, the sun is rising in glory in the east.   And after the sun himself has set, the full moon is rising high and looking for her lord.

Two horns on the head of Isis are creation’s curve, the binary of two poles which carry the current.

taurus glyph copy

To Conclude:
In astrology, the moon is exalted – meaning that its power to respond is at its most benevolent and enduring – when it is travelling through the sign of “fixed earth” – TAURUS the Bull.

Tarot’s Hierophant – the High Priest, Arcanum 5 – is assigned to TAURUS, and the 6th letter, the VAV, meaning “hook” or “that which joins”.   Taurus governs the throat and ears – the faulty of inner hearing or intuition.

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Like a happy assonance for a poem, is the blend of Arcanum 2’s High Priestess, whose symbol is the Moon, with the power and fertility of the bull.   When the sun is in Taurus, leaves have burst their buds, the baby birds are hatched and hungry, and spring is in full flower.   Those born with the moon in Taurus often have intuitive “green fingers”.   There is a consistency in their sense of touch with “the plants and fruitbearing trees” in the garden by day or the tao by night.   They love nature and are strong and imaginative workers in their field.   They have the power of concentration.

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concentric sefiroth with seal of solomon

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Primrose_pin

So it is by way of thanksgiving to this exploration and enquiry with Isis, that I discover her to be beautifully earthed, and let her rest.   The Taurean glyph – the circle surmounted by a crescent — gives this work its cadence.

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bull bird copy

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30 I Ching Earth-receptive 2 & Gimel

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.

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Why does Isis have Horns?

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Arcanum 2 priestess

Part 7 in the ‘Mysteries of Isis’ –
Some early writings on Isis, from my “Arcanum Two”: 

25 September 1991 – The symbol for Taurus the Bull, ruled by Venus, is a circle crowned with a crescent – a pair of horns.  Why the horns? To explore this question is fruitful.

How does it feel?   The horns have sharp points.   They are a heavy head-dress. They give majesty to the Full Moon, and define the New Moon.   They are a garment of authority and they inspire fear. The horns of the Bull are antennae of the earth’s fecundity and riches.   To encounter suddenly in my life a blindfold soothsayer or white witch, crowned with archaic and savage horns and sitting so still, is startling.

taurus glyph

The horns are there to drive away or impale unwary or merely inquisitive trespassers into her subtle magnetic field. They make a repellant aura around her: a defense system.  The priestess is in myself.   What am I guarding?   What am I protecting?   Whom do I attack?

To look inward, into the well of God within atoms, is to create a surrounding “field” of space which reinterprets my material body.   As “I” collapse inward – like into a black hole – this field extends outward in all directions from the singularity.   It is the veil of the inner sanctuary.   In all the old legends the dragon or serpent is coiled around the golden fleece.   The hero must, in stepping over or neutralising the dragon, confront the storms around his own Cape Horn, and master the creative daemons that arise from his “unconscious” seeking consciousness.   His chaos must transmute to kosmos — the Greek word for harmony.   Only then, when the tumult dawns transformed in his being, might he behold the light of the golden fleece, by the gentle light of Isis – her moonbeam.

solis luna conjunctio

The hero in all these tales is the alchemist, and the adventure is trans-formation.   Tentatively I suggest that the lady Isis in her pure state, together with Thrice Great Hermes who flows and makes speech with metals, is the catalyst of this transformative process.   But I speak now personally …. I suppose I speak from many lifetimes.   They are all only this one.  For instance:  I sit down each day here to write, and I do not know what it will be, and the content may flow or not as the case may be, but I am almost invariably astonished.

pentacle 3,7,12 the mother letters

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In the classic The Golden Ass, Lucius Apuleius gives an allegorical account of his initiation.   Transformed into a donkey he had to suffer and witness the depth of human iniquity, and be beaten and abused by his inner discordancy, before the lady Isis rising from the midnight sea offered him the key to his release into human form   … he must eat the rose carried by the Great Hierophant during the procession the following day, of her Mysteries. In the vision of Apuleius, as she rose from the dark sea to instruct his still asinine form:

Her long thick hair fell in tapering ringlets on her lovely neck and was crowned with an intricate chaplet in which was woven every kind of flower.   Just above her brow shone a round disk, like a mirror or like the bright face of the moon, which told me who she was.   Vipers rising from the lefthand and righthand partings of her hair supported this disk, with ears of corn bristling beside them.   Her many coloured robe was of finest linen; part was glistening white, part crocus-yellow, part glowing red, and along the entire hem a woven bordure of flowers and fruit clung and swayed to the breeze.

“But what caught and held my eye more than anything else was the deep black lustre of her mantle.   She wore it slung across her body from the right hip to the left shoulden where it was caught in a knot resembling the boss of a shield;   but part of it hung in innumerable folds, the tasselled fringe quivered.   It was embroidered with glittering stars on the hem and everywhere else, and in the middle beamed a full and fiery Moon.”

Apuleius The Golden Ass

Her mantle of night is that of the visible universe, the stars and the spaces between.   The snakes that support her disk, besides echoing the pair of horns, suggest the caduceus of Hermes:

caduceus

Two serpents, the positive and negative polarity, entwine a staff of authority or directed power, and are held in equilibrium.   The equilibrium forms the circle of her disk.

The ears of corn in Apuleius’s description, remind me of Ceres.   Ceres is the ripe standing wheat of the earth, and the mother of Persephone who married the dark Underworld.   “Hades”, king of the Underworld, is derived from the Greek eidein, to see.

“The centre, the depths of this sphere (of the universe) is named Hades the invisible, because the centre of a sphere cannot be seen from without.   It appears visible only by means of those special forms whose images appear graven upon it, it shows itself only in effigy;   but in reality it is always invisible in itself.”

Trismegistus, The Virgin of the World

bull bird

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Ears of corn, or wheat, are the vessels of that sprouting grain of the inner world.   They are the visible allegory which is “graven upon its surface”.  I, dreaming twice in the last few nights about taking earplugs out, am perhaps being advised to hear; to be here, listen and hear.   For this is the way the priestess receives information … silently into the oracle or shell of her ears.   The oracle, coracle, is a celtic craft on the waters. The waters dance and play with reflections from the sky in crescents of light like fallen leaves or “boats of mine a-floating … Where will all come home?”[1]

She has her eyes closed because the instruction is to be still and hear, to be not taken in by the deception, the flickering screem of sensory sight.   To hear the unruffled depth of the settling water is to be the quietness of the water itself.

I drew the ears of earth (that is Ceres) with wheat growing in them, like little masts in a walnutshell boat.

Ceres & John 1987

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Burial and Hermetic Initiation – the Grain Sprouts
To be the awareness of the ears is to extend and receive the lateral sense of consciousness; the Capitols of the two pillars.   I am what rests between them, that which is, as it is.

From that alone comes forth what is relevant to the time.  Silence must receive its own information, before delivering it. Thus is truth.  Open the ears, the arms, of my Soul.  These horns are the ears or antennae of some creature of the deep.

The horns of Isis are the sense organ through which she receives the waves.   This is her focus of divination.   Between the horns is held, or hung, the equilibrated breath of her magnetic field.

tarot priestess 2003

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In the Masons’ craft, there is a ceremony of passing, from being an entered apprentice to receiving the degree of fellowcraft.   This represents work on the soul, or ability to listen, in the Middle Chamber.   The candidate must bear in time and maturity the fruit of his own work.   So upon acceptance he is given an ear of corn.

In this gesture there is a profound mystery, which lies in the ancient body of Egypt.   Isis is the dark earth or body receiving the golden grain of Osiris in the flood of the Nile river which spreads it to all parts of the black land.[2]. . When the waters ebb the grain sprouts.   This is the Child who is also the Father.   The land of upper, middle and lower Egypt was, in ancient times the head, thorax and abdomen of the subtle body.   These are parts of the embodied fragment of God which lay beneath heaven.

Like the lower arm of the letter BEIT, this fragment – like all the “fragments of hermetica” that survived the destroyed Alexandrian library – echoes but is not quite the same as the Firmament.   But from within the fragment (the rock, the tomb of forgotten awareness) can be resurrected the light of Osiris.  I am reminded of Thomas Browne again: We are somewhat more than ourselves in Sleep, and the Slumber of the Body seems to be but the Waking of the Soul.

Alchemist in Notre Dame - after Fulcanelli

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It seems that in most cases the slumber or apparent death of the body, (death of the world-orientation) was a pre-requisite to resurrecting the consciousness – the Spirit – outside and encircling the spacetime continuum.

The Egyptian Book of the Dead was written to guide those who, plunged by subtle arts into profound physical sleep, awoke to behold the Holy One.   The weighing of the Soul and all that followed, was not the sole prerogative of those who had reached the end of their earthly span.   Some who passed through the gates or pillars of “death”, returned re-born in the light of the Sun to bear witness (and keep the secret).   This idea was explored in some of Paul Brunton’s meditations in his Search in Secret Egypt.

The Sacred Books of Hermes are a collection of fragments and discourses written down in Alexandria just before or after the time of Christ.   In them seems to be reflected the essential wisdom of Thoth. Thoth is the ancient secretary to the gods. He has the head of an Ibis bird, and carries his pad and pencil.   The hieroglyph for AKH – Light, or the scribing of a light that pre-exists Creation – is in the form of an Ibis.   The crest and plumage of this bird is dark green and shot through with glittering metallic specks of light.   The root of AKH is Spirit, to shine, to irradiate.   The curve of the Ibis’s neck is like the uraeus or cobra, worn by Pharaoh as his “third eye” or pineal body*.  And it is not altogether unlike the neck of a swan.

swan beis

beis

The letter BEIT is a “neck” or channel of the current of speech.   Yes!   Speech is Hermes.   The neck through which the silvery river flows, is the lady Isis.   Isis and Hermes together are Thoth, the month of the harvest, the art of the priesthood. Isis’ womb-brother Osiris is then Self knowledge within the art, for he is the Sun.

Emerald table

The precious stone assigned to Hermes is emerald.   The Bible of spiritual alchemy “As above so below” was traditionally inscribed by him on the legendary Emerald Tablet which – says Eliphas Levi – contains all of Magic in a single page.  It was found by Alexander the Great in the depths of the Great Pyramid where priests in ancient times had concealed the tomb of Hermes.   In the time of the Romans the emperor Severus buried the Mysteries in Alexander’s tomb, and Diocletian destroyed all the books on alchemy.   Christianity dawned upon a devastated battlefield of esoteric knowledge, a burnt-out wound of the world, a Way swept clear.

*In this light, consider the ideas of modern physicists: “Light – the range of electro magnetic frequencies – precedes the the manifestation of luminous bodies. Radiant energy is held to be the basis of all things within the range of human perception.” (P.Foster Case).   The symbols and colours which picture the ancient-world mysteries are tools equivalent to the equations used in our day.

These inscriptions, burials and tombs are direct reference to language, its events and its veils. The esoteric language had to be veiled from temporal powers who would exploit or destroy it: yet perennially accessible to ‘those who knew’.

I feel the Hermetic cosmology – which has been handed down as an oral tradition, like the Kabbalah – has a Vedic antiquity.   There were originally four Sacred Books of Hermes.   These were subdivided into forty-two volumes, the same number as those of the Vedas which were carried from India into Egypt by the Yadava emigration (cf. Mrs Child: The Progress of Religious Ideas, 19th century). There are innumerable stories and conjectural confluences of this kind, behind the shadows we see on the wall.

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priestess 88

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But, more importantly, the Egyptian doctrine of initiation, that the Eye of God opens in the most profound “sleep” of the organic and astral body, corresponds to advaita or “Not Two” of the elder East and of Gautama. Ramana Maharshi said the SELF of God awakens in the Fourth state of consciousness – that of deepest physical “sleep” … and is always awake. The other three states of consciousness are: the physical world, dreaming, and normal sleep.   All three conform to the conditioned self-world view, a horizontal play on surfaces.   Awareness in the Fourth state alone is unchanging and infinite.

Awareness in the Fourth state intersects the worldview everywhere at each point vertically.   The worldviews of the three other states are sections across it, and thus illusory.   Our worldview has the measure (or maya) of rings of time across a living tree.   The presence of the Tree itself, its root, its many branches, the birds in the foliage, and seasonal colours and sound of the wind, is invisible to the cut surface spectrum.   To appreciate that a whole Tree exists NOW, above and below the surface, requires a radical leap in the inner life which till then was occupied with one ring after another of historical time.

The way is : I AM THE TREE ITSELF. I AM ROOT AND SHOOT.

Om

In both Western and Eastern traditions, pentacles and yantras combine the flat, diagrammatic plane of sacred geometry, with the vital dimension of which it is a talisman.   The solar system itself, apparently a disk of planetary orbits of time around the Sun, is a section across a living organism like a whole egg, or the petals of a rose without an outline … So it is also with the structure of the atom. Electrons around the nucleus are not things, or even points, but waves ensphering it.  Sages know this intuitively, which is why they say “All is well”; for they are That.   The human worldview, like music in the grooves of a flat disk, perceives what begins and ends, and must take the sage’s view on trust until the limited perception “dies”.

Nature is full of allegory:   the section across the tree: concentric ripples of sound, or over water: the vessel which rises from the potters’ wheel: the spiral of seasons and orbits.   The clean section across a tree is itself artificial, conforming to human tools. The faculty is specialised, and yet it still obeys the ripple form.

Awareness in the Fourth State alone unchanges. The disciple of life has no access to it through the normal senses, and so in its presence, he sleeps, he “dies”, it is night to him.

fool fence

In the ancient world, the physical catalepsy, through which the divine bird flew free of the mortal frame, is a conditional form of enlightenment.   Advaita teachings call it “nirvikalpa samadhi”: the bird flies free but then returns to ignorance.   The Sun is hid again in the night, and becomes a memory.   In unconditioned illumination, no catalepsy of the body is necessary.   The sage moves easily as air with his environment.   He or she is the SUN. In all their atoms, they are and know the source, as simply as the stars.

The idea is not the temporal histories and how they might all be filed together on the disk, but what the currencies of mysticism all have in common, free from time; for it is obvious that many rivers within one River flow … from the pregnant void of Source, to the ocean which is itSelf.   Here again, the human view is specialised, seeking in attainment, peace.

The inner Light has no past or future.   Maybe it is a musical chord of kalpas, ever present.

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Bull near the Sea

July 2011

The foregoing was an exploration, turning up from the subconscious field, spontaneous references to ears, hearing and speech.   The title, Why Does Isis Have Horns? delivered to me, the Taurus symbol … in which the Moon (High Priestess) is exalted.   This means, that when the Moon is going through Taurus, the tidal fertile function is supreme, in nature and humanity.

The Moon’s actual ruling sign is Cancer – the sensitive shoreline, the rhythm of the tides, the breath and endochrine system.   When the Moon is in the Earth-sign Taurus, the tide deposits the fruits of earth on fertile ground.

Taurus’s planetary ruler is Venus – attraction, affinity, passion, the laws of gravity.   With reference to hearing and speech, Taurus is assigned to the faculty of hearing, and to the throat – which I was not aware of, at the time of writing.

So sea birds follow the plough – the upturned furrows of earth – to feast.

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Seagulls and plough - woodcut by Tunnicliffe

Seagulls and plough – woodcut by Tunnicliffe

 

FOOTNOTES
[1] A Child’s Garden of Verses, R.L.Stevenson
[2] Ancient name for Egypt: KEMET, meaning black land – Alchemy – the Raven’s Wing

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**

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.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. 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 https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

Ganapati Muni’s Science of Mantra – Part Four

In this concluding post of the series, Ganapati Muni’s commentary elucidates the forms of Skanda and Indra which bear the mantra’s sound-wave, Sabda Brahman, seeing them realised in his spiritual brother and mentor, Ramana Maharshi of Arunachala.  See also the three preceding posts, and search “Puranas” on this blog for a racy account of the Skanda mythology.

Note: the god Skanda is also known as Kumara, Murugan (or Subrahmanya) and Krtikkai.

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the Muni on tiger skin photo xerox copy

Third Chapter:  The Vedic Mantra of Guha
by Ganapati Muni

We have commented upon the two Tantric Mantras of the master Ramana. Yet his Mantras are found even in the Veda. Amongst them, here is a clear cut Mantra of Bhagavan:

“Vrsa jajana vrsanam ranaya
tamu cinnari naryam sasuva.
Prayah senanir adha nrbhyo astinah
satva gavesanah sa dhrsruh.”

  • The seer is Vasishtha. The Deity is Indra and the metre is Trishtubh.
  • vrsa is “Rudra who is of the form of Sabda Brahman”. He is vrsa because “he pours down (varsati) the special knowledge”;
    vrsanam “the God who showers down flames ranavya for battle”.
    To wage war brings forth the meaning vrsa jajana – (Rudra)
  • Tamu –  the way God, u, is indeclinable (without inflexions) – suggests the loftiness of the Name with which it is closely associated
  • nari cit is the divine Force: cit is indeclinable, used to denote the indescribable.
    If nari is derived from nara, men, then the word nari (feminine) means the Kundalini sakti hidden in man. (*)
  • sasuva“is produced”. In what way ? Naryam“born amongst men” – are the leaders, or perfected beings.
FOOTNOTE -
* Nari is feminine (nari-kundalini)

SITA 2 of lotuses

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THIS IS THE TRANSLATION IN ESSENCE:

“Kundalini sakti in the body of perfected man produces for ‘battle’
Indra’s form within the fire of astra from Sabda Brahman.”

God, taking birth, “becomes the commander – senanih – of the armies of the Gods”.
The third and fourth lines of the verse conclude:

  • adha nrbhvo asti“and a helper to their leaders”
  • inah (means) svami“the Master”,  
  • satva “is the possessor of sat, of Truth”
  • gavesanah “seeking out”
  • sa “the acclaimed God”
  • dhrsruh, “assailer of all foes.”
Arunachala, inner path

Arunachala, inner path

To read here that Indra is being referred to and not Subrahmanya (Skanda), presents no problem. The ‘ordinary’ name for the fire of astra is Indra, and Kumara (Skanda) is the special name.

In what way ordinary? or special?   For instance, the common name for the sun is Light, but his special or personal name is Surya.

Indra denotes broadly, all ideas of multi-faceted strength.(18)

According to a thing’s true nature, each facet of it has separate specific or ‘special’ names.   In the Veda and the Brahmana it is well-known that Indra is the god of strength. The fire of astra is a powerful and mighty concept, for which, combined with supreme Lordship,  Indra’s name (as the ‘ordinary’) is appropriate. The commanding fire of astra is described specifically as Kumara.   There exists another reason beyond all this, which we shall submit later.

FOOTNOTE:
18 Indra denotes the strong lord, as in Mahendra, Kavindra, 
Munindra, etc.
Sacred India Tarot - Indra and Garuda

Sacred India Tarot – Indra and Garuda

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WHERE ‘ITIHASA’ IS APPROPRIATE

When the world was afflicted by powerful Asuras, the Gods begged and prayed to Brahma the Creative power for relief.   Brahma replied the young Kumara (Skanda) born of Rudra from Gauri would destroy the Asuras. Later Kama the god of lust was sent by the Gods to incline ascetic Rudra towards the idea of progeny. Kama was burnt up (by one look from Rudra’s third eye). Thereupon, the young Gauri did tapas. Attracted to the severity of her tapas (spiritual effort) Rudra married her. Uniting with her, he ejected his seed upwards. The seed took shelter successively in the fire, in the water and in the stalk of sara grass, and finally became the young one, Kumara.

Parvati(Gauri) and Siva with Ganapati and Skanda

Parvati(Gauri) and Siva with Bull Nandi and their children Ganapati and Skanda. Ganapati’s vehicle is the rat, and Skanda’s is the peacock.

In other words:   All human means were futile to conquer the Asura race (of demons) who devastated the world by the strength of their maya.   Here we should take the Asura race as a specific, or special human type; in the world of men the Kingdom of Asuras became perpetual.  (A problem cannot be solved with itself; the higher octave has to be called in.) The Gods gave astra, wisdom (*) to the seers, in order to destroy the Asuras. With the destruction of the Asuras, the Kingdom of the devotees of God became once more established on earth.

Sacred India Tarot Siva Ace of Lotuses

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Sacred India Tarot - Siva tests Parvati with a Mask - Version 3

This story is related by Itihasa in a covert manner. When the jiva does tapas, firstly kama, desire, is burnt by the glory of tapas.   We should not forget the fact, that the state of  tapas is  poised in the effulgence of Sabda Brahman.   Though desire is burnt up in its gross form, it prevails in the seed form, and impels the Kundalini sakti, called Gauri (or Parvati), to perform tapas.   About Kundalini being called Gauri, it is said in the Upanishad: “pita bhasatyanupama.” (19)     Gauri’s form of Kundalini is fairly wellknown in the Tantra. By her tapas, the Sabda Brahman manifests.

The whole purport is that the form of the Supreme Vak (pronunciation, divine speech) becomes capable of experiencing.   When Kundalini herself, reunited with Sabda Brahman, performs tapas, the sound vibration (energy) manifests.   It impels the energised sound in the sky, and becomes the astra.

The seed of Sabda Brahman is cultured in the fire of muladhara (root) and the nectar of the head (sahasrara) – these are said to be its consecutive sojourns in Agni and in Ganga. (20)

The manifestation in the stalk of sara grass has been described in the Second Chapter.

We have to take the Asuras as belonging to all times, not as born in a particular period.   Itihasa’s aim is to propound an all time truth.

FOOTNOTES: 
* - or Awareness

19 - Gauri, lit. "of golden yellow colour." The Narayana 
Upanishad says "Yellow, like an atom, she shines."

20 - In the subtle body, the centre at the base of the spine 
is muladhara and the centre at the top of the head is 
sahasrara. Muladhara is the seat of Fire, while sahasrara 
is the seat of the moon wherefrom the nectar flows.
 
As Ganga is the celestial river, she symbolises the nectar 
in sahasrara while Agni is the element in muladhara. The seed 
of the Sabda Brahman passes from muladhara to sahasrara, and 
has its sojourn in both centres before it manifests. 

This is the meaning of the Puranic story that Skanda is 
born from Agni as well as from the Ganga.
Gauri - Parvati - being pestered by sages

Gauri – Parvati – being pestered by sages

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WHO IS THE ASURA TARAKA?

Well, is it not to destroyTaraka that Skanda is born? Is Taraka a historical personage?

No. Yet, Tarakasura represents a truth. Taraka is death, one who (as the ferryman) takes across –   tarati – all men. (20A)   In both ways, Guha (in heart’s cave) conquers Death. By granting Self knowledge, he conquers death, the lack of awareness which causes samsara.   By the strength of the astra, he conquers death, the desire of his foes.   It is said in the Puranas that the Tripura Asuras are sons of this same Taraka.   The Tripura Asuras are none other than the three bonds. (21) Their father is lack of awareness.   That is, we fall from the Self into the body – into the idea (of being separate), of considering it as the self.

FOOTNOTE:
20A See also tara, goddess of time

21 The Three Bonds are the three pasas from which release is 
sought from Varuna by the Vedic Rishi. In the later Tantra, 
these take the form of the three granthi knots in the subtle 
body: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
Asura Lord (Demonic)

Asura Lord (Demonic)

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COMMANDER OF ARMIES

How do the words commander of armies in the Mantra signify ‘commander of armies of the gods?’   Indra, the King of Gods, becomes in this context their commander. This is made clear in another Mantra:

“Indra asem neta brha spatir      Let Indra be the leader. Let Brhaspati
dakshina yajnah pura etu somah           go in front, Dakshina, the sacrifice, and Soma
Devasenanam abhibhanjatinam     Let the Maruts march in the forefront
jayantinam maruto yatvagram.”    of the army of the Gods that demolish and conquer

Rig Veda X.103.8

This Mantra is mentioned in the chapter on astra. Also, the word ina in the Mantra became later on in the common parlance the word svami, (22) Master.

“Vavrajasim anadatir adabdha     He moved all round the seven mighty ones
divo yahvir avasana anagnah     of Heaven; undevouring, inviolate.
Sana yatra yuvatayah, sa yonir        neither were they clothed, nor were they naked;
Ekam garbham dadhire sapta vanih.”   here, young and eternal in one native land
the seven Voices held in their womb the one Child

Rig Veda III.1.6. (Sri Aurobindo’s translation)

Sapta vanih are the Seven metres* in Sanskrit poetry.   The birth of Agni as this Mantra is nothing other than the fire of astra.   This is revealed in the hymn of Agni in the sense of burning: but not with the idea of physical fire.

FOOTNOTES:
22 - Svami is one of the principle names of Skanda.

* - The seven metres represent also seven stars in the 
Pleiades constellation, the 'natural mothers' of the child 
Skanda.

Gauri Siva's bride was the daughter of the Himalaya. She is
also known as Parvati in the Puranic cycle. The river
Ganga, lit by the seven stars and the moon,"poured down"/
descended through Siva's matted dreadlocks in their love-play.
As stated earlier, neither the fire (Agni) nor the water 
(Ganga) could receive his seed. It finally came to rest
in the stalk of the mantric sara grass. From the mythology
we gain some idea of the elemental power of mantra. 
See previous post - Part Three.

Skanda as Muruganar and Krttikai (pleiades)

Skanda as Muruganar and Krttikai (pleiades

Another version of this tale is Siva's seduction of the 
wives of seven Rishis (seers) in the forest. Entering 
the heart of the fire (Agni) to which the women came to 
warm themselves,Siva impregnated them through their hair 
follicles, causing chaos in the ashram. The seed could
not be held by them, or by fire or by water, until it 
came to rest in the grass; then Gauri's breasts filled,
and the world rejoiced, unknowing as yet where the 
divine child with six heads lay.

skanda_upanishad

Ganapati Muni saw in his spiritual brother Ramana 
Maharshi, the effulgence of Skanda the warrior of light who
delivered us from Taraka. Ramana taught Self-enquiry which 
dismantles the mind and quests consciousness:  the "I ... I".
(J.A.)
 

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Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi

Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi

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COMMENTARY CONTINUED: ENQUIRY INTO THE PERSONALITY

Now we must say a word about the individualised Personality of the maya (23) form of Brahman with attributes, which is known as Subrahmanya.

We say that Indra alone is Guha’s form pertaining to the Gods. This is because Agni, the energy of sound-vibration is in the middle region; and Indra is the Lord of the middle region. This is proven in the Aranyaka when, referring to Indra, it closes with the words, Subrahmanyam, Subramanyam.

Indra’s Vedic fame as the War God, lends additional support.

What is Siva’s form among the Gods? It is Indra only. If it is said, that as father and son they are one and the same, this is correct. The only difference to note, is regarding the hidden Sabda Brahman and the manifest sound vibration. The relationship of father and son is mentioned to specify Siva and Subrahmanya (Skanda).

What is Ganapati’s form among the Gods? It is Indra only. If it is said, that as brothers Ganapati and Subrahmanya are one and the same, this is correct. The only difference to note, is that regarding the perfected mantra within, and the astra Agni impelled by it. The fraternal relationship demonstrates that first the mantra is born from Sabda Brahman; then the astra Agni.     Through the concept of Ganapati, we explain Brihaspati and Brahmanaspati. (24)

What is lightning’s form pertaining to the Gods?   It is Indra only.   Here he has a unique quality. Indra is named as the deity of Lightning.

storm in devon:daily mail

There are other great conceptual facets in the middle region, with Indra as their deity. They are not mentioned here, as we would have to go into a lot of detail.

FOOTNOTES:
23 Maya - form - the form that we measure out of the 
immeasurable

24 Ganapati, Brihaspati and Brahmanaspati - all three names 
denote the same Godhead in the Veda of the famous Rik 
"Gananam tva ganapatim lawamake ..." 

Brishaspati - Lord of the letters; Brahmanaspati - Lord of 
the Mantras. Brahma means both letter and mantra in the veda. 
Ganapati Lord of tantra, and these two names, denote the 
same Godhead.

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doorstep pattern tiru j&d7

Doorstep chalk pattern at dawn in Tiruvannamalai

 

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THE APPROPRIATENESS OF THE DIFFERENT DESCENTS

By means of whichever portion of energy the Lord Indra descends into awareness, the descent bears that specific or personal Name.  

Indra’s descent as a portion of the lightning bears his own name. His descent as a portion of Sabda Brahman is named Rudra. His descent as the force of Tantra is known by the name Ganapati, and his descent as a portion of sound vibration is called Skanda. Ganapati and Subrahmanya (Skanda) are brothers, and they are interdependent.

We have briefly interpreted the three great Mantras of the Master. We shall develop the conceptual truth of Skanda in our Devata mimamsa. (25)

FOOTNOTES
25 - Another of Vasishtha Ganapati Muni's works, where he 
unravels the significances of the Deities

Thus Ends the Third Chapter.

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Thus ends the Commentary on the Mantras of the Master,
a work of Ganapati Vasishtha, son of Narasimha
and disciple of Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi

shankara gives the vedas copy

The Closing Verse

“Munina srimukhe simhe dive suryendusangame
Suryoparagasamaye bhasyam etadudiritam.”

“In the month Sravana of the year Srimukha
on a new Moon day, at the time of Solar eclipse,
this Commentary was given out by the Muni.”

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Muni & family copy 2

APPENDIX TO THE COMMENTARY

1).   Subrahmanya is the one who is born of the auspicious Brahman, that is, Sabda Brahman.

2).   By this we have explained the name Brahma garbha (from the womb of Brahma)

Vide Amara: “Subrahmanya brahma-garbha svami saravanodbhavah”.

3).   Kumara, eternal child. He is born, finishes the work and again vanishes. Again manifests at the time of work. Therefore, he is called the eternal child. In the Veda, in the Hymn to Indra, is mentioned arbhako na kumarakah26 . Also,sadyo jajnano nirinati saturn’.27

4).   By this we have explained the name sanat kumara – sanat always; kumara, young one.

5).   Sanatsujatah also in the same way. sanat, always; sujatah, well born.

6).   Sanandana samanah equal nandanah, son (giver of happiness) to Rudra along with Ganapati.

7).   Sanakeh, eternal.

Thus these four names denote one and the same person. Perhaps because of their different manifestations, it appears they were mentioned as four (28) .

26 The youth like a little child

27 Born at once, he demolishes the foes.

28 The four disciples of Shiva as Dakshinamurti: Sanaka, 
Sanandana, Sanatkumara and Sanatsujata. Etymologically they 
have the same meaning and denote one and the same principle.
(See also Sanatanadharma)

Muni on wall copy

Here the Commentary and Appendix by the Muni ends.

We express our grateful thanks to Sri K.Natesan of Ramanasramam for making this rare manuscript available to us, and for his help with the text.   Ganapati Muni’s Commentary on the Mantra of the Master, was recently published by Ramanasramam, along with the first translation into English of Kapali Sastri’s sanskrit Commentary on the Ramana Gita.   Material from this has been utilised for the present work.

For the benefit of English readers, the language and presentation of the Guru Mantra Bhashya text have been slightly adjusted, and translations of Vedic Mantras, that were provided as footnotes, are now incorporated in the text, for easier reference..

J.A. Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK 2002

Arunachala village children

Arunachala village children

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**

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.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. 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 https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

 

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Ganapati Muni’s Science of Mantra – Part One

Vedic goddess

Vedic goddess

Here’s a four-part post series for scholars!

I haven’t studied the layered meanings in Sanskrit.  But I learnt a few sacred Names and phrases along the way;  I hear the chanting and smell the sandal paste;  the syllables are long musical frequencies;  from in between them, emerge the tantras.  Tantra is the art of touch throughout the universe.  Needing to touch base with some of my Indian and Vedic threads, I turned to Ganapati Muni’s analysis of his mantric science.  I prepared this text in the 1990s from Sri K Natesan’s translation, for the Ramana Foundation Journal Self Enquiry.  Sri Natesan – a “grandchild” in the Muni’s sacred lineage – checked it for mistakes.

In the text the secret known to knowers of truth is mentioned:  when we truly know that we do not know – we begin.

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“Guru Mantra Bhashyam”   by Ganapati Muni

Introduced and Translated by S.Sankaranarayanan
Adapted for English readers by J.A., with the help of Sri K.Natesan at Ramana Ashram

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The Muni

The Muni

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The eighteenth chapter of Sri Ramana Gita contains a series of verses which describe the characteristics of Ramana Maharshi. Amongst them, the tenth verse enunciates in the style of the Tantra, the Mantra by which the Maharshi has to be invoked.

Ganapati Vasishta Muni valued this Mantra very highly. When disciples approached Ramana Maharshi for elucidation on the Mantra, he directed them to the Muni. So Vasishta Muni decided to write a commentary on the 10th verse of the eighteenth chapter of Sri Ramana Gita for the benefit of aspirants. The Guru-mantra-Bhashyam was written in sanskrit and it was published along with the Text and Sri Kapali Shastriar’s Prakasha Bhashye (Commentary) of Sri Ramana Gita.

Considering the importance of the work and the wealth of spiritual insights it unfolds, a free translation in English of the whole commentary and Appendix to the Commentary is provided here, in four parts. Footnotes explain certain terms and concepts occurring in the commentary.

Meeting

Meeting

Ramana and Ganapati were spiritual brothers – Ramana the silent jnani or Realised One and Ganapati the tantric philosopher and poet.  Ramana was regarded as the embodiment of Skanda or Kumar:  Ganesh and Skanda are the sons born to Siva and Parvati. When the two wild young sages sat together in the caves of Siva’s hill Arunachala, Ramana taught Ganapati that the root of the mantra and of the breath are one and the same, to dissolve into Self enquiry.  Ganapati’s outpouring of verses to the Mother brought their ageless Saivite brotherhood into the 20th century.

Skanda and Ganapati

skanda and ganapati

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Some years ago, Alan Jacobs and I wrote 55 sonnets on the Ramana Gita English version; the sonnet form was chosen, to interact imaginatively with the formal Sanskrit text, and as a spiritual practice. Here below, to provide the setting, is a sonnet based on verses 8 – 11 of Chapter Eighteen, Ramana Gita (see below). It contains our interpretation of the Mantra OM VACADHBUVE RAMANA.

butterlamp - Version 2

In Praise of Ramana:   Three

FROM grasping freed, his peace
in quantum abyss unheeding
restores our alchemy. He pilots the seas.
Ganapati child at breasts of Parvati feeding,
cried “Mother’s mine!” In her lap, Kumar his brother
replied, “Never mind, for mine is Father!
I rest in his right heart, he kisses my head!”

Give glory, elephant child, to He whose lance
in Kumar’s hand pierced hill to the heart, ‘tis said.
Boon bringer, pour poem from His holy glance
by Vedic vessel whence emerges Word
by power of Fire as mystic Sword.

Without a staff, our song you uphold –
ferryman, defend everyman from demon gold!

butterlamp boat

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     THE VERSES FROM ‘RAMANA GITA’ CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

v.8     Free from infatuation, greed, distracting thought and envy, he is ever blissful. He is ever active, helping others to cross the sea of Becoming, regardless of reward.

v.9   When Ganapati saying ‘Mother is mine’ sat on the lap of Parvati, Kumara retorted ‘Never mind, Father is mine,” and got on to Siva’s lap and was kissed by him on the head.   Of this Kumara who pierced (with his lance) the Krauncha Hill, Ramana is a glorious manifestation.

v.10     He is the mystic import of the mantra ‘OM VACHADBHUVE NAMAH.

v.11     An ascetic without danda , yet is he Dandapani.   He is Taraka for crossing the sea of suffering, yet is he the foe of Taraka.

NOTE - Danda is a "Staff"or wand, yet Dandapani is the staff 
holder - even one who no longer uses it.  
The word Taraka means Deliverer, but "Taraka" was also the 
great demon Taraka who almost destroyed the universe. 
These are typical Sanskrit word-plays.

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Sacred India Tarot - laws of Manu as the Hierophant - Ganapati the scribe near Arunachala

Sacred India Tarot – laws of Manu as the Hierophant – Ganapati the scribe near Arunachala

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THE COMMENTARY ON THE MANTRA OF THE MASTER

“Om Vacadbhuve Namah Nahasyam”-
“Salutation to the Fire of Brahman whence emerges the word”

First Chapter: Pronouncing the Mantra
VERSE TEN, Chapter 18, RAMANA GITA

Vedådi påkadamanottara kacchapesair                 “He is the secret sense
Yuktair dharadhara susuptyamaresvaraisca           of the group of words arrived at
Suksmamrtayug amrtena saha pranatya                 by uttering the following Sampannasabda patalasya nahasyam artham*      Om Va ca dbhu, ve and Namah”

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  • Vedadih “the beginning of the Veda”, or Pranama OMKARA (1)
    –Pakadamanat “from the destroyer of Paka Asura”, that is, Indra bija, whose letter is la
    –Uttarah the letter next to it alphabetically, that is VA ; pakadamanottara kacchapesah —the bija (2) of Rudra in His form as Lord of the tortoise Kurmesa” that is, the letter CA.
    With these letters OM   VA CA, – Dharadharah, the bija of the Mountain,
    the letter DA.
    Susuptih   the sakti power of deep sleep, whose bija is the letter BHA.
    –Amare-Isvarah “the Lord (Isvara) of the immortals” (Amara, deathless) – Rudra dwells in this Name, his seed-letter U ; therefore DBHU.   Yuktaih, “union” (at the beginning of the line) joins this with the letter DBHU.
    –Suksmamrta, whose Sakti’s bija is the letter E ;   Yuk joined to amrtena, (nectar) whose seedletter is the watery VA, form the letter VE.
    –Pranatya, (Salutation) unites with the suffix namah (3.) The Sampanna sabda patalasya group of words forms the secret of the mantra OM VACADBHUVE NAMAH NAHASYAM. This can be known only to the knowers of Truth.

 (Sabda is another word for Primordial Sound, Word, the Vedas, Omkara.)

 The secret (Nahasyam) of this Mantra is revealed only to knowers of Truth. To them alone can the artham or full meaning be outwardly expressed; as in the form of the king of ascetics, Bhagavan Ramana (4 ), when questioned by Amrtanatha. (Ch.18, Ramana Gita)

  • Thus   “OM Vacadbhuve Namah” is established as the Mantra of Bhagavan the Guru.

..

Sri Kapali Shastri - a disciple of the Muni - in the 1930s

Sri Kapali Shastri – a disciple of the Muni – in the 1930s

Kapali Sastri’s Commentary on this verse in the Ramana Gita, states in brief:

“By joining all these letters we arrive at the group of letters OM VACADBHUVE NAMAH.   This group of letters forms the Mantra. Its secret sense, known to the learned, expresses the meaning   “RAMANA WHO IS THE FORM OF THE DEITY INVOKED BY THIS MANTRA”.

Who is God, expressed in this Mantra ? Subrahmanya.   How so ? ‘Om Vachadbhuve Namah’ – Omkara is the supreme Brahman.   The word is indeclinable, and so it will make sense with all the case endings.   Vacadbhu, the field that creates, releases the Word, the Fire.   The fire became the word and entered the mouth.   So explains the scripture.   Born from the god who presides over speech is Vacadbhu, born from Fire, Kumara. Salutation to Him.

“This is not physical fire, but the effulgence of the word. In order to drive this home, in the Mantra, Agni is denoted by the word ‘vacat’.   It is the tradition of the Tantra Shastra to expound the Mantra by using words of similar sense.   Following this, the Master (Ganapati Muni) has expounded the Mantra of Subrahmanya.   The author of this work, our Master has been praising the Maharshi, as one born out of a portion of Kumara.   And so the essence of the Mantra is said to be Ramana.”

Kapali Shastri

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FOOTNOTES - PRONOUNCING THE MANTRA:
* - Sri K Natesan states: "The literal translation is given here.
In Tantra Shastra (science) the mantras are not mentioned plainly 
and directly. There is a way of symbolic expression for which a 
working knowledge of their terminology is needed."

1 - pranava the letter OM:  the primordial sound from which the 
Veda, the word of revelation, has sprung

2 - The Tantra talkes about bijakshava, SEED LETTERS which contain
in a potential form what they would be manifesting. The SEED LETTER
is fixed for each Deity.  For example Indra's SEED LETTER is la. 
By convention, each SEED LETTER is connoted by one or more names.
The Bhija-nighantu, the Dictionary of seed-letters, 
gives the corresponding names.

3 - Pranati, bowing down, which is expressed by the word namah 

4 - This verse is one of twenty four verses in praise of the
Maharshi, at the end of which the questioner Amrtanatha addresses
him.
K Natesan & Vamadeva Shastri

K Natesan & Vamadeva Shastri (David Frawley)

 ..

..

The Detailed Commentary by Ganapati Muni now Continues :

If we are asked:   is not this mantra, the famous one of Skanda, mentioned in Tantric works like Saradatilaka? we say it is only the mantra of our guru, Bhagavan. It is known that Bhagavan Ramana, the Master, is avatara, descent of effulgence from the original guru, Skanda the Godhead, another of whose names is Sanat kumara(5)

Ramana sat in silence, then asked the Muni - "Did you write down all I spoke?"

Ramana sat in silence, then asked the Muni – “Did you write down all I spoke?”

THE BODY OF THE MANTRA

This great mantra is originally of six letters as vacadbhuve namah. It becomes a mantra of seven letters with the pranava which is usually employed by certain Tantrics at the beginning of all mantras.   Just as the five-lettered namah shivayah becomes six letters with the Omkara, so also here.   All godheads have four forms. One pertains to the spirit, the other to the physical, another to the gods and the last to the form of the mantra.

Elsewhere we find this vedic piece:

Vacam astapadim aham navasraktim rtasprsam       “Around Indra I create the body
Indrat paritanvam name                            of the Word with eight steps and nine parts
                                                                                 close in touch with the Right Law.”

(Rig Veda VIII 65.12)

By this Rik, the Rishi says that he creates the body of Indra, in the form of mantraThe Tantrics also say this:

Derike manavabhrantim                                   “To inferno he goes who mistakes
pratimasu silamatim                                        the guru for a man,
Mantresvaksarabhuddhim                          the idol in the temple for a piece of stone
ca kurvano nirayam vrajet.                                 and the mantra for a group of letters.”

 

Here the popular parlance that Gayatri is the Deity of the most famous Mantra, Tat Savitah serves as evidence. (6)   Gayatri is the Mantra itself alone,  not ‘a woman’; (this word indicates the name of a metre –  the feminine sakti as the name or vessel).   What does this establish?   that the body of God Guha in the form of mantra has six letters.   In this view that the body is formed by the Mantra, six letters become the six faces of the Lord.

Likewise, the five letters in the Panchakshara Mantra of the Supreme Shiva — NAMAH SHIVAYA — are his five faces. This is the same as the saying of the Mimamsakas:   that the Deity is formed by the Mantra.

vedic vessel

vedic vessel

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 THE GENERAL MEANING OF THE MANTRA

  • Om to the One in the form of Brahman. As the word OM is indeclinable, it keeps the same syntax with all cases. As acclaimed in the Upanishads, the letter OM denotes Brahman.
  • Vacadbhuva – Vacatah “from one who speaks”, creates statements.   This is derived from Agni (god of sacred fire) in whose subtle form is the inner sense of ‘word’.
  • Bhu born, to Him Namah, salutation. It is well known that Skanda was born from Fire, Agni.
Agni

Agni

..

TO BE CONTINUED.

FOOTNOTES: GANAPATI'S COMMENTARY CONTINUES ...
5 - Chandogya Upanishad (7:26:2) equates Sanatkumara with Skanda,
and says that he takes ashore across the (ocean of) ignorance, 
the pure soul with constant awareness.

6 - "Tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dimah
Dhiyo yo nah pracodayat" -
"We meditate upon that excellent splendour
of the Lord Savitr.  May he activate our thoughts."

7 - Badarayana is the author of the Brahma sutras.  This Sutra
IV.1.5 says that symbols are to be regarded as Brahman, and 
not vice versa.  An inferior object has to be looked upon as
symbolic of the superior.

..

Ramana Maharshi

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..

..

**

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.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. 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 https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Resonance between Two Models – Leonard Cohen & Ramesh Balsekar

Ramesh 1

Read more of this conversation Part Two

During my visit to Ramesh in Mumbai, in early 1999, I witnessed the following conversation with Leonard Cohen, and bought the tape.
After I got home, I made this transcript:

Ramesh – You live in a Zen monastery, I am told?

Leonard – That’s correct, yes.

For how long, three or four years?

I’ve been associated with this institution for about thirty years – and about four and a half years ago, I was ordained as a monk.

I see. I see. Would you say it is a pretty stiff discipline?

It’s – very rigorous.

But you like it?

Not particularly, no.

Well that is honest. So what I would like to ask is this: the understanding before you came here, and what I talk about – how does it compare?

It was the resonance between the two models, yours and my teachers’, that led me to study your books with some diligence. And because of the experiences I received from your books, and because of the advanced stage of my Teacher and yourself, I felt it would be appropriate to come and sit with you.

leonard cohen 1

I see. But you used the word ‘resonance’. Can you explain that a little bit, Leonard?

I found that during some of the rigorous retreats that we’re subjected to, I would find myself opening one of your books, specifically The Final Truth; and I would find that your writing would illuminate the discourses of our Master, and vice versa. It became urgent that I …

A similar thing happened to me. When I was with my – Nisargadatta Maharaj. You know Wei Wu Wei?

Yes, Sir.

..

..

Particularly one book which a friend of mine gave me twenty years ago, which I knew was a treasure, but I couldn’t understand it – I kept it aside. So that was what used to be – what Maharaj said, and what was said in the book – amazing. …   You’ve been here for ten days!

Yes, Sir.

But you’ve been so silent!

Ramesh talks at home

I’ve been sipping at the nectar. It’s very delicious to be here.   On the intellectual level, your model becomes clearer and clear to me – your conceptual presentation – and so does my old Teacher’s. On the experiential level, I feel the weakening of certain proprietorial feelings about doership.

That is a very good word!   Proprietorial – me, mine!   I see. Now, this weakening – how do you mean this weakening, when did it start?   Did it start thirty years ago? Is that what you are saying?

I couldn’t characterize this seeking as spiritual. It was a kind of urgent …

You mean what started thirty years ago was not really spiritual?

No Sir.

I see. I see.

I don’t know if it is today. The description seems to pale in the urgency of the actual search, which is for peace.

Yes. Yes.

And you know, over the years, especially anyone who hangs around a Zendo meditation hall, is going to get a lot of free samples, as you put it. If you sit for long hours every day, and are subjected to sleeplessness and protein deficiency, you’re going to start having experiences that are interesting. It was a hunger for those experiences that kept me around, because I NEEDED those experiences.

YES! The HUNGER for those experiences. Yes! So?

leonard cohen 2

I forget where we were. I’m sorry.

You said, experiences happened, and there was a hunger for those experiences.

There was a hunger to maximize, to continue, a greed to … a greed for those kinds of experiences develops. Which is what happens in monasteries.

I entirely agree, yes. There is a greed for those experiences.

Very much so. And I must say that my old Teacher puts little value on those experiences.

I see. In fact, did he WARN you against them?

Warns you, and BEATS YOU, against them!

With his stick? On your shoulder?

Yes Sir. We are not encouraged to take these hallucinations seriously.

But how effective are those beatings, Leonard?

Not effective at all. I’ve seen them more effective in the case of other monks than they were in this case. So I respect the system; it’s a rigorous system based on a very useable model, but it wortks for some and does not work for others.

Quite right. I see. And what you’ve been hearing for ten days, has it made some difference, do you think?

Sweet!

leonard cohen 3

Some difference in this greed?   Can you explain that a little bit, please Leonard?

Your emphasis on the disidentification with the sense of doership, is crucial to the weakening of – the modification of that greed.   And by the grace of this activity, I have experienced …

You have tried it, during the last ten days?   I see.

Yes. Of course, greed arises. The hunger arises, legitimately, and without my bidding. The greed for peace, for equanimity, for balance, arises spontaneously. But I feel that somehow I don’t have any leverage on the apparatus. Somehow there is a sweetening of the whole experience.

I see. You see, what happens is – Wayne and I had a very brief talk a couple of days ago; we were both walking on the roof. He made a point that while certain practices bringing about these free samples, inflate the ego, could these practices also not inflate the ego to an extent where it bursts? Which is one way for the annihilation of the ego.

..

That is a very excellent characterisation of this kind of practice.

I see. That is what it is supposed to do. But I told Wayne, the explosion will happen if that is the will of God, and if it is the will of God, that that bodymind organism follow THAT PATH. … … Ramana Maharshi used the words “Who am I” because in English there is a marvellous distinction between ‘I’ and ‘me’, but in the Tamil language and most other languages I am told, this distinction is not there. So when Ramana Maharshi said, “Find out who am I”, he really meant, “Who is this me I’m so concerned about?”

Ramana Arunachala III

 ..

If this process starts, it is the will of God. And if this process reaches a certain depth – every step is God’s will and the destiny of that body-mind organism – the actual arising of this question is there a me, out of DEEPEST FRUSTRATION, is what is perhaps called THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL   In the time lag between the arising of the question and the arising of an answer, the deepest frustration is the dark night of the soul. And the dark night of the soul awakens you into the answer: “There never has been a ‘me’. There is thinking, but no thinker. There is doing, but no doer.”   The thinker, the doer, the experiencer, comes later, and becomes proud, or has a feeling of guilt.   Thinking happens. A thought arises and leads to some action. And later on, the individual ego doer comes in and says “I had a brilliant idea which I put into practice, and now I am Bill Gates, making five hundred dollars every second.” That is how thought occurs. But the one who says ‘I thought’ comes later. And it was God’s will and the destiny of the mindbody organism that that should happen. Albert Einstein in his total humility, has gone on record as saying the equation came to him from outside.

I think that’s the experience of every artist and mind worker.

Yes. Nureyev the ballet dancer has said, “Nureyev dances best when Nureyev isn’t there.”   And the same thing is said by I suppose, any artist in whatever field … …   Bhagavad Gita says this: “Out of thousands of people there is one seeker. Out of the many seekers, there is ONLY ONE who knows me in principle.” … … Many Gurus, unfortunately, tie down their disciples, saying “Now you have come to me. You wanted to be initiated. Now our relationship is life-long.” You see? But to me, that is ridiculous. You initiated him, but who sent him to you?   That Source certainly has the right to send that disciple somewhere else!   Who is this Guru, to bind him for life?

In the Zen tradition as you know, monks went from one Master to another, in search of different aspects of the teaching. I don’t feel I am betraying my Teacher by being here.

leonard cohen 4

Yes. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here. In fact, Wayne told me, you told your Teacher.

Yes. He asked me to cook him one last meal. Because I’m his cook.

And what is his favourite dish?

Uh – salmon teriyaki.

Oh. Well, that’s – that’s my favourite dish too. I mean, the particular dish you mention, I don’t know what it is, but … salmon.

It’s just marinated in soy sauce and saki, ginger, pepper, for a certain period of time, and then battered.

So is cooking one of your talents?

It’s not a talent, it’s a duty. I cook for the old man.

So it is your duty to cook salmon for your Guru.

That is correct.

And it is the Guru’s duty to eat it, whatever way you cook it!

He is very cavalier with his duties.

I see. Yes. YES. So, Leonard, is he likely to ask you when you go back, what did you learn?

My understanding, he will discern exactly. I think the issue more urgent, is whether I stay there or not.

Yes. But if he does ask you – which is not impossible, is it? – what would you say, Leonard?

Well, we have – I would try to convey to him in the terms that – but he doesn’t speak English.

Ramesh Balsekar 14 feb 13_0001

So you speak Japanese?

No. He speaks very very little English. I speak very little Japanese. But we’ve been studying together and drinking together for a long time.

What is his favourite drink?

I tried to introduce him to vintage French wine, which I consider a refined beverage, but he insists on drinking saki.

If you ask me, I’d prefer Scotch or sherry.

I agree with you. He did – he was very discerning about cognac.

Yes.

He liked cognac, and he established masculine and feminine qualities to the different brands. For instance he thought Remy Martin had a feminine expression, while Courvoisier had a masculine expression. None of these designations were taken too seriously after the third or fourth drink.

You see, that is the whole point, Leonard. The whole business is taken far too seriously. That is the ridiculous thing about it. There’s nothing serious about it, because there’s no seeker!   And who is serious about it? – the seeker!   You see? The seeking goes on, on its own course. So, if this question were asked you Leonard, is there a specific point which you learned from Ramesh – which is NOT what you had earlier – what would you say?   I don’t want to suggest an answer …

I would probably gasho to him. (Bows deeply)   And depending on the truth of the moment, whether I could step aside from the understanding and let the understanding communicate itself …

The answer is, “I don’t know”.   Is that what you meant?

It’s correct.

Then that is absolutely correct: “I don’t know what answer will come out.”

ramesh listening

He has, you know, the Japanese rigour.   So he would question, he would listen carefully to my saying “I don’t know”. Because “I don’t know” is the answer to many koans.

No no. What I’m saying is: “I don’t know” is your answer to me. … …   Must be a pretty hard life there?

I’m given many privileges that the younger monks don’t have, because I have a family and obligations, so although I’m not free from the general form, which is very early waking up and long hours in the meditation hall and lots of work, I’m allowed to go down, into the city from time to time, to take care of my affairs and see my children.

Yes. I see. Yes. You have a family?

I have two children.

Two children. I see. And a wife?

I never married.

I see. So the two children are grown up?

They’re in their middle twenties.

Oh I see. But they’re on their own then, yes? – You have to help them?

They’re on their own, but I feel I can be of use to them. It’s difficult raising children in America. It’s a difficult manoevring and navigating through a lot of dangerous waters. So I’ve tried to stay close to them through some very difficult periods. A child growing up in America with money.

They have their own money?

No, I mean, in a comfortable surrounding.

..

monkeys 2

..

Yes. What is your relationship with your children? What advice do you give them – depending on the circumstances? The point is, how does one raise one’s children with the total acceptance that each child has its own destiny? Each child is programmed in a unique way. And yet you have to do your duty, as a father. What has been your experience, Leonard? Was it interesting?

My experience is to rely on instinct at the moment, and discard principles I myself received from my own parents, which were quite effective in their own way. I find for instance, that that the way I did it, or the way it was revealed to me –

Do they live on their own?

My daughter lives in my apartment, and I live on the mountain, and my son lives around the corner.

And you provide the money for them, or do they work?

They work. They work hard.

And they earn their own living then?

Yes, Sir.   But they grew up in a privileged environment. They didn’t have to work. They didn’t have to struggle.

They didn’t have to earn and learn?

No, they didn’t have to earn and learn, and not only that, but  they were exposed to things very early in their lives, as many American kids are. I had been through that myself. So I was able to react in a way that was unconventional. But having understood something  …

From personal experience?

From personal experience, I established a connection with the child on the basis of that common experience, rather than on a principle of right or wrong.

wei wu wei vi

Quite right. Yes. It worked?

And fortunately, it seemed to work.

Oh? I see. In other words, you talked to your children not like a father to a son or daughter, but as one person who has experience of what they are experiencing.

Yes Sir, that’s correct; not only that, but having taken that course, it’s enabled a real usable friendship to develop.

Yes! Yes! In fact the relationship itself must have taken a beautiful turn.

It has! My daughter says, like “You’re really cool, Dad.”

That is the highest compliment, isn’t it. Cool. And the curious part of it is, this word is really the definition of the traditional word ananda. The traditional word ananda is translated as “bliss”. But my objection to the word “bliss” is, it raises expectations in the seeker.

It’s a tyranny.

Calm. Cool. Well, this is a great compliment from your daughter!

It was, it was.

..

Wei wu wei ii

..

You are cool, Dad. And what about your son? What do they do?

My daughter runs a store for antique deco furniture. She goes to England and buys furniture and brings it back and sells it. She got a job with an antique dealer two years ago, who apprenticed her. And my son has just put out his first record with a big record company.

Oh well! So he inherited your talent for music?

Well, I don’t have much talent for music, but he has. People who know my work will, er … I have a kind of croaking delivery. But he actually is very musical.

What you are saying is, your son is better than you are – were.

He has strengths that are much more apparent!

And you have told him that?   So he must ALSO have said “Dad, you’re cool.”

He has.

The son being praised by the father. So you have a very good relationship with your children!

Thank God, I do.

wei wu wei v

..

Again, God’s grace. You know what I say about God’s grace and God’s will? We use the word God’s grace when something nice happens. When something not so nice happens, and we know we can do nothing about it, we put our head down and say God’s will. So now, if somebody asks you Leonard, “how do you live your life?” – you are about sixtyish?

Getting to be sixty-five.

I see. How do you live your life? Does living your life present a problem? What would be your answer, from personal experience? Is living your life now, with this understanding, a difficult thing?

Well, if it is – and it’s been the experience of this being, that things come with difficulty rather than with ease – so I think the perspective on that programming is changing.

I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get that. Things come difficult?

Yes, for instance I’m a song writer by profession …

You still write?

Yes Sir. And I’ve always found that I write one word at a time. With sweat and difficulty.

Like pulling out teeth.

It’s like pulling teeth, and it takes a great effort. I’ve written some decent songs, and people ask me about song writing, you know, they say “How do you write a good song?” And I always say, “If I knew where the good songs came from, I would go there more often.” I don’t know where they come from. I know that I have to sit at my desk or in my café or wherever it is, and sweat over it. Other song writers greater than I – and I’ve had this conversation with them – will give me completely different information. They’ll say, like “I wrote it in the back of the taxi cab” – you know, a great song. So it seems to be my experience, that things are difficult in just the way this programming works.

That is correct.

ramesh for cover

So the understanding now is, that this programming, unless it is the will of God to change the programming, is going to be as it is, but I don’t have to get involved in the programming. I can work at my desk as I’ve always done, but without that additional tyranny of disapproval of the method; because this is the method that …

… is supposed to be for you

… is supposed to be for me.

I tell you how I understand it. What you are saying is this: writing a song comes easy for some people. They can write one in a taxicab. For you it becomes much more difficult. But what you are saying, I think, is, that there is no wish that you could do what that other fellow is doing. Isn’t that right?

No. There is no wish.

Wei wu wei iii

That’s the whole point. You have accepted the way YOU write your songs, and you have accepted the way someone else is able to write the songs.

And deeper than that, Sir, there is – I’ve always had a sense of this – this perception of this bodymind orgasm – organism … !

The American pronunciation!

… has been that there is a background of anguish, of mental anguish, that does not seem to respond to any methods that I impose on it. So as that understanding deepens, I try less to impose any methods; and although the chatter and the activity of the mind continues, it doesn’t seem to have its poisonous sting.

Say that again, please? The chattering of the mind goes on?

The chattering of the mind, and the alleged anguish of the mind continues to operate sometimes in degrees of intensity that make one gasp or cry for help …

YES!

But with this understanding that is dawning, it seems that I am less willing to criticize or impose.

I see. Again, the same thing. You write the songs the way YOU are programmed to write, but there is no wishing that YOU could do what some others can. Doesn’t the same thing apply here? Isn’t that what you are saying?

Yes Sir. (Bows deeply). Yes, Sir.

Exactly the same thing. The chattering of the mind happens, but there is no wish that the chattering of the mind should become less. Isn’t that what you are saying? So whatever happens is accepted. Alright, there IS the chattering of the mind! It is the nature of the mind to chatter. It is the nature of the monkey to moan. So you let the monkey moan – the way he wants to! Therefore, the chattering of the mind may be there, but there’s no anguish. Is that what you are saying – as I think you are?

play monkeys

..

It is. But even if there is anguish …

You mean, accept even that anguish is acceptance? Quite correct. Even if the anguish does happen, even if the involvement does happen, acceptance of it means “the cutting off of the involvement, when it is accepted.”

Correct.

So, even the involvement has to be accepted. Involvement happens – oh, alright, so it is happening …   Thank you very much, Leonard. That is exactly what I was hoping I’d get from you. (Obeisance).

First published in Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK Journal
“Self Enquiry”, summer 1999

ravens

Read more of this conversation in PART TWO

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**

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.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. 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 https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

Nilakantha and the Golden Constellation

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Sacred India Tarot - Ramana as Skanda son of Siva

Sacred India Tarot – Ramana as Skanda son of Siva

Tensions are imagination trapped in illusory codes. The tension appears to have the power to materialise, but it has no substance after the thought.   Whenever I get through a bit of rotten concrete I turn and see how weak it is. The human lower mind is powered mostly by negative apprehensions. This is why it became embedded in our psyche and expectation, that we have no power to see above the hedges or to change direction – no power of Magic.

There is a huge gulf between general human bedtime, and the real human nature to draw together the stars and move with them consciously, joyfully.   The power and the dawn and the history of Magic is simply … this! to take up my bed and walk.

The tapestry is the stars and the Great Heaven:  quantum unity. This theme of the tapestry is mirrored back to me from persons I move with, this week: things they say. My tiny thread-loop in the tapestry stands in the lane at night and looks up at the sky.

murmuration by jchip84

Starling murmuration by jchip84

Back in history, some priests got hold of Magic and began to manipulate aspects of it with a tendency which grew and grew.   For a while they had power and the passwords to re-shape people and environment beguilingly.   It concealed from them, the Power.   They lost sight and lived inside dark glasses to write history. Tension bred and grew, which obscures and fragments the Power.   The political world is ruled by Tension, which manifests nowadays all our yesterdays.   But I see the Power and I see the monster in the waves.   The Power is hauling it up and out to be seen.   Tension appears eternal (so does hell) but in due course it breaks and self destroys. It dismantles.  It is rotten concrete whose reinforcing wires get rusted and snap.

The Tension which obscures the Power is separative.   By “separative” I do not mean the sword-tip which parts the elements to live with and enhance each other, like brush strokes of colour.   “Separative” is the dreary default dream-like notion that I am an isolated object, and therefore powerless, a frightened wage slave, reading only the headlines.

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Robert and seek

The Power which dissolves the Tension, is “all there is”.   There is as Robert used to say – the power that knows the way.   I need only turn toward it voluntarily, and see.   This is metanoia: a word meaning ‘repent’, in the sense of ‘turn around to face the light’.   Whenever and wherever this happens in the world, those stars come out and form a constellation linking oceans: a golden net.

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I just came across this, in Katie Spero’s blog Let Yourself Learn: – together with a golden mountain and what happens when the subtle thread to your friend strengthens over the ocean:

“When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer
in his absence as the mountain to the climber
is clearer from the plain.”

Kahlil Gibran

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Siva - Rudra the Wild Hunter

Siva – Rudra the Wild Hunter

A Story – adapted from Alan Jacobs’ “Myths of Siva: Siva Nilakantha”

“Once upon a time the Gods in heaven and Demons in Hell formed a parliament. To create ambrosia, they planned to churn the Milky Way as if to make butter.  They tore great Mount Mandarva from its roots, for a churning stick; Vasuki, snake of the world became the rope.  

“As they whirled and stirred the celestial ocean, to their horror there rose to the surface, a hideous black oil-slick – Kalakuntha, the world’s poison:  Time itself.  The Gods and Devils in terror like smart young ladies seeing a mouse, appealed to Lord Siva. 

“Siva dipped his hands in the sea. Drinking the poison to the last drop, he held it in his lily  throat which – as if kissed by a serpent – turned a sinister peacock blue.   Now named Nilakantha, Blue-throated One, he retired to his cave in Mount Kailas.  All the sages and rishis made their pilgrimage.

kailas and manasarovar

kailas and manasarovar

 

“Ramana on Siva’s hill Arunachala says, ‘When the selfish thought returns to the Self, Self-awareness shines, distilled and pure:  the elixir of health and wholeness, ever enduring.’

ramana sketch

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“Mixing too much with the world, I swallowed poisons  churned up by confusing my activities, good and bad.   With a deep exhalation, I cleanse my body.   Drawing in fresh prana, I use that attention to dive within and find in my heart’s cave, Siva Nilakantha … ever illumining those who, from dreaded Kalakuntha, call upon His transmutation.”

Alan Jacobs 1993

 

“Within a cavern of  man’s trackless spirit
is thrown an image so intensely fair
that the adventurous thoughts that wander near it
worship, and as they kneel, tremble and wear
the splendour of its presence, and the light
penetrates their dreamlike frame
’till they become charged with the strength of flame.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Siva - Rudra Immerses

Siva – Rudra Immerses

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Gene Keys Golden Path Program

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.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. 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 https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

Dive into Yoga

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Joy Ganesh - 7 January 1992

Joy Ganesh – 7 January 1992

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Woe betide those who live by way of examples!   Life is not with them.  If you live according to an example, you thus live the life of that example, but who should live your own life if not yourself?   So live yourselves. The signposts have fallen, unblazed truth is before us.  Do not be greedy to gobble up the fruits of foreign fields.  Do you not know that you yourselves are the fertile acre which bears everything that avails you?”

This is from an early page in Jung’s Red Book:  Philemon speaks.  The archetype resonates with that which moved J.Krishnamurti when he said, “Be the disciple of your own understanding”  and “Truth is a pathless land.”   It is the same!

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I dreamt somewhere in the night – I think it was a dream, because the flavour is around – of intensely loving my child to whom I gave birth … straight into my arms as mother, that miracle feeling.  It was in Finchley Road near Swiss cottage, and there was a car with the door open.    In-carnation?   Chariots of life.

multi tasking in 2013.  That is Olivier Messiaen on my mac, playing the organ

My kitchen, a month ago. That is Olivier Messiaen on my mac, playing the organ

All day yesterday, I threw out a big pile of card, paper, old jam-jars and mountboards I will never use –  reducing the congestion in my kitchen by half.  There is room now I think, to store a vacuum cleaner!  Dealing with the remaining old glass sheets from picture framing days, is difficult.  Might take it down to the bins when they are empty, and smash the big pieces into them.  The glass is old – it has drooped and no longer cuts well.   The place looks only slightly different – but feels different, with stuff cleared off shelves – rehoused or junked – and room in all its cavities, to breathe.  

During this I listened with great enjoyment to Rohit’s Yoga lectures on You Tube.   He is an absolute cork, on the state of India nowadays.  Fascinating Vedic wisdoms come bounding out of his laughter, depth and fluid gestures.  He is like Ganapati Muni, in trying to restore and regenerate balanced values in society.  He feels that Aurobindo is the alchemist of the new spirituality and the wide-world access to it today.  I love being among Indian sages – their truth, wit and kundalini.

I don’t remember in which video he talked of the breath and so on, but here is a link to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_yiN9Nh9eY – on Siva Lingam.   More can be seen in the link in last week’s post, Sacred India Tarot Archive – 5 & 6 of Arrows

I much like what Rohit says, that our spine is the axis of the Earth.  And the feminine matrix of the embryo, and Mercury!

Sivalinga

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Astrology:  The inner beauty of the 23 April Grand Cross is as Real as the tensions around it.   My guidance is to act with it, and be patient.   It is a whopper Seventh wave for me, on my Jupiter Cancer-to-13 Capricorn opposition this year;  and transiting my natal chart significantly …  Swim, do what is needed, enjoy and hold the surfboard firmly.  Keep things simple.  I feel the wave begin to swell … from the December trough.

Grand Cardinal Cross 04.14am gmt, 23 April 2014

Grand Cardinal Cross 04.14am gmt, 23 April 2014 in London.  This chart has the Houses around the outer wheel, and I coloured them and the Zodiac signs in the Tarot Key spectrum (12 tones). (For more information about this method, search “Colour Wheel” in this blog.)

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Hermes Trismegistus detail - caduceus ida pingala - 2003

Hermes Trismegistus detail – caduceus ida pingala – 2003

Rohit’s main message (to me), is to remember to breathe.  He said meditation and breath must combine.  Meditation by itself gives a power complex to the ego, and nothing changes.  The Yogi breath by itself changes nothing – so Earth and Sky must meet.  Rohit does Kriyas.   Kundalini requires the serpents of breath and meditation to entwine – caduceus – wand – for Her transformative expression.

Apart from my breath going slow and deep when I am writing, the rest of the time I forget about it, and it gets jerky, unconscious.   Rohit said, if you breathe right, you are never breathless, however many stairs you run up.  Yes I know this:  when the Spirit is in me.

I have a resistance to formal hatha yoga.  But I accord absolutely, that the breath rhythm regulates the thoughts and bio-pulses.  That is what Ramana told the Muni.  Therefore, THIS:  YOGA RECALLS THE ROOT OF BREATH AND MINDFULNESS THROUGHOUT THE DAY, IN ALL THAT i DO.   Another of Rohit’s themes is that Yoga isn’t restricted to asana, Yoga is the way you live and flow your life.   Yoga is union.   The highest teaching is to mind the breath lightly, like a horse on gentle rein.

To breathe right, is to value life.   To breathe consciously is to value life.
Remember this.

I remember also, there are parallel ongoing worlds.  A hundred years ago, when Europe was absorbed in its carnage, and Jung began the Red Book Medicine, Ramana Maharshi and Ganapati Muni were doing their Gita on an Indian hill.   This is as powerful a generative cycle to this day, as Sarajevo.   So look to that!   I have an inner picture now, of them in the cave;  and of the Muni composing hundreds of Sanskrit verses to the Mother, in white heat, from the power of his brother Ramana’s silence.   Sky and earth around them crackle.  Upon which atom do I put my money?  What Reality to identify, nourish and co-create?

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By the way, the concept of the Generative Cycle is old Chinese:  the way it works with and through the Destructive Cycle – arrangements of the five elements – in all of life:  the movement, the in and out breath of the Tao.

figure of eight - the 5 elements in their mutual conquest cycles

figure of eight – the 5 elements in their mutual conquest cycles

On the breath:  when it is synchronised, the diaphragm is open and invites …  like the bare wet sand invites the salty wave.  There is this inbuilt opening, attuned.    On the other hand, when I suddenly remember I haven’t breathed for several hours, and try to, it is “shut”!   It is out of synch.

I cannot impose or order the breath – it is disrespectful to life, to expect it to conform.   Love has to be here …  which tingles very slightly in my shoulders and upper seaweed sacs of the lungs.   The whole area is like those plants and creatures underwater, always floating and in soft movement.   Relax:  locating tiny tension, let it fall, like water off a duck’s feathers.  Behold and be the inner floating world.

When thought is sattvic and deep and subtle, the breath – when remembered! – combines with it as the ocean …  as the twined staff of Hermes.  Then creativity comes.

Hermes in the sea, from the Book of Roob

Hermes in the sea, from the Book of Roob

Look at Hermes walking in the sea.   When thought is sattvic, deep, subtle and inviting, it dwells within its savour, its own cosmic sexuality.   What is sexuality?  The flow of the waves into and through each other, generating exquisite pleasure:   the human root of Consciousness.

Start with what you like:  position your surfboard, and move with that creaming wave.   If thine Eye be single, fill your body with Light.

The wave is like sound.   It ripples out concentrically as Light, through all matters and dark mosaics of the world.   The breath at such moments, requires no energy beyond its need.    It is gentle, like a child asleep:  the inner sea is calm.   At such moments, I have no stress that I am the doer.   I am the vessel:  “not my will, but Thine”.   And it is Ramana’s Self enquiry.   Who?

Near Exeter in south devon - photo from the daily mail

Near Exeter in south devon – photo from the daily mail

He said to Ganapati Muni, watch the root whence breath and thought arise:  this is tapas (practice).  He said – and I cannot find the exact quote – he said relax and mind the breath gently, like a rider does his horse.   No hassle.

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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.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. 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 https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/I

Human Landscape – a Holy Task of Self-Enquiry

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theatre arunachala j&d8

Following on my last post – a portrait of Alan Jacobs –  I abridge here a chapter we wrote together on “Diving into the Heart”.  This practice is at the core of Alan’s sadhana and devotion to Ramana Maharshi. The chapter appeared in a booklet we published in 1994, called The Holy Task.  After that …  another portrait gallery.

“In the inmost core, the Heart 
shines as Brahman alone 
as I … I, the Self aware. 
Enter deep into the Heart 
by search for Self, or diving deep, 
of with breath under check – 
thus abide ever in Atman.”

Ramana Maharshi in “Ramana Gita” by Ganapati Muni

This metrical verse that Ramana Maharshi himself translated from the Sanskrit original into English, is considered by many devotees to be the essence of his teaching.

Self-enquiry does not mean an endless analysis of the non-Self or personality, but a direct probing into the nature of Reality.  The actions and identifications of the personal ego are impartially witnessed, observed, noticed by normal self awareness, when we are not too carried away by external objects and events.

For those in the great majority – if we are honest with ourselves – who have not the strength of attention to hold the I thought in its source and investigate its movement, or who are riveted by the cares of the world, Ramana gave us a great aid:  the control of breath or pranayama.

In verses 28, 29 and 30 of the Forty Verses, he states,

butterlamp

As in a well of water deep, 
dive deep with Reason cleaving sharp. 
With speech, mind and breath restrained, 
exploring thus … discover the real source of ego-self. 

The mind through calm in deep plunge enquires.
That alone is real quest for the Self. 
“This I am” – “mine is not this” – 
these ideas help forward the quest.  

Get at the Heart within by search. 
the personal bows its head and falls. 
Then flashes forth another “I” … 
not personal, but the Self supreme.”

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The paradox of Self enquiry is that it is intimately transpersonal.  I substituted ‘personal’ for the word ‘ego’ which has variable interpretations.

Ardhanariswara

Ardhanariswara

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Alan extracted a technique based on a practice somewhat similar which he found in The Technique of Maha Yoga by N.R.Narayana Aiyar.  It is advisable to ground this practice in a working knowledge of pranayama (the science of breath), physiology, and one’s own innate capacity.

Sit on the floor, kneeling or at ease.  Take in a deep inhalation for four or eight counts (as Ramana explains in Self Enquiry), then hold the breath for another four, while turning inward. On the full retention, take the normal focus of concentration which is say, between the eyebrows, and implant it in the spiritual Heart centre just to the right side within the chest, mirroring the physical heart.  This is what Ramana experienced, and how he indicated it:  “Nam Yar – I, who?”   Visualise him inside, and feel this question.

Let it penetrate deeply through the veiling of the mind – which varies in resistance according to the play of the Gunas – into the innermost flame which shines in the cave of the Heart eternally.  It is one’s own, yet universal.  Allow the intuition of this source or beingness, to generate itself as I AM.  Or let go and discover it in the receptivity of the stillness itself.

We may find that the diver is “I” but the receptivity is “Amness”.

wave break

After the maximum penetration attained – perhaps four to eight counts –  release the breath gently; exhale.  The movement of the breath and the birth of thought are linked.  Restraint of the one quietens the other.  It might be said that prana is that essence of the indrawn and outgoing breath which becomes our awareness.

This practice may be repeated, depending on the practitioner, as often and wherever he or she wishes.  It will vary in depth and intensity, but no effort is in vain.  The power of concentration related to the harnessed breath will increase, and gradually over a period of time, awaken a subtle vibrance or sphurana within the chest and centre spine, a little to the right.  Though the Spiritual heart has no physical location, this area through Ramana’s own experience – and our own – serves as its point of support in the bodymind.   Continual practice benefits the nervous system overall, acting as an anchor for Self-remembering, and an instrument of change.

As a byproduct of diving into the Self, there may be a few observable changes in one’s attitudes and innate tendencies.  It is a radical procedure, bypassing the mental circus.

On exhalation, one lets go of the world, of darkness, fret and ignorance, like so many old clothes.  On inhaling deeply, it may be with some sacred silent image, a mantra sound, or any loved symbol of the Self.  On the retention, dive inward by letting the thought-world float away downstream from here;  immerse for a moment as if underwater, in being.  A sense of urgency may be brought to “who am I?” by thinking of one’s death.

clear sand exhale

The retention or kumbakha may also be practiced after exhaling and before inhaling, as the Technique of Maha Yoga suggests.  In this case, the analogy is with the tide going out;  an open sandy beach cleansed of impurities, before the incoming wave of inhalation.  In both methods, the root of the breath is watched, as it swells from ‘no where’.  We may dive into fullness, as into emptiness.  “The mind through calm in deep plunge, enquires.”

What does “to dive into the Self” mean?  It is to abide, to be calm and concept free, to be not drawn forth, yet present.  Ramana told Ganapati Muni, “Find out wherefrom this ‘I’ springs forth, and merge at its source, this is tapas.  Find out wherefrom the sound of the Mantra in japa (repetition of the divine Name) rises up, and merge there;  this is tapas.”   Nothing more.

Results should not be sought, for these are of the mind’s own machination.  When the inner and outer guru are ready, some direct understanding may occur, as a descent of grace strong enough to control the wandering thought, or as a pull from within – a lessening of interest in one’s worries, a tendency to bathe in the mystery of the Source;  to trust.

Our minds are very rajas, accustomed to straying outwards for many lifetimes.  Gradually as the inner guru pulls us from within, an alert dispassion develops.  We need to get to know and hear this inner guru!  It is a purifying process:  there may be some nervous “churning” as kundalini wakes, and the notion that the vasanas are increasing in strength.  Like silt stirred up from the river bed, ALL must come out to be impartially witnessed, in the light of awareness:  the worst along with the best.  Grace is given.

pearl fishers

At this stage, in Alan’s experience, to dive into the Self is beneficial and therapeutic.  It opens the way to an intenser God-love, or bhakti.  One should never strain in this act, nor let it be a mechanical chore.  Ramana’s general recommendation was to watch the natural breath without involvement, and to let the diving into the Heart happen of its own accord.  Sattvic or receptive moods encourage it;  as does the urgency of one’s death – “to love life, to do service and to die consciously”.  Our tiny effort mirrors the effortless and unimaginable power of the guru within.   The inner guru dispels the darkness, primordially.

We should also be properly informed first, about our physical and spiritual anatomy, and the science of kundalini.  There is no point in practising anything without a genuine interest in how it works.

bhagavan Ramana

Use strength without strain.  It is a non-verbal gesture inward, of enquiry and discrimination.  Paradoxically, the strength of the mind leads it to turn inward and surrender its own notions, like wheat to be harvested;  the grain to be bread.  “Who is this ‘me’ I’m so concerned about?”

When thoughts stray outward, impelled by preference, fear and political tendency, the mind is weak because it is unfocused.  A radical means is needed to pierce the veil of life.  In some persons, whose devotional calling is strong, the breath spontaneously slows and stills as they enquire;  without the pranayama.

We all have specific vasanas or inherited tendencies, for inner work and witnessing.  The nervous system – the network of nadis – must be gradually and systematically purified before the mental engine and all its predilections can safely approach its Source.  The diving is a preparatory and cleansing sadhana;  Atman the Self in due course takes over, and grips the mind, melting it into the heart;  one’s centre of being.

The inner guru pulls the outer circumstances of life in towards the Centre, gradually highlighting aids and techniques which help the quest;  and also the time for them to disappear.

Alan practiced diving and plunging as described, for some years.  He can honestly say that it helps his all round understanding.  It undermines the verbal or conceptual level towards a fuller Self surrender, and deeper insights into the teaching.  Ramana’s key  unlocked his prison.

inhale

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I have not practiced it for a long time, and it is about time I did!   However, the diving happens in many ways.  The secret is to engage an ancient Mantra or sound, with the living breath, instead of just repeating it verbally, or expecting it to do some magic for you.  The secret is to embody it and take it with you to pay the bills.

The resonance enters blood and bone, and returns transposed;  it is Alchemy.  For instance:  the sanskrit “SO (inhale) HAM” (exhale).   I remember doing this while hiking along the trails in Sedona;  Robert Adams taught it.   In Kabbalah, we inhale and exhale similarly the syllables of Angels and names of JHVH.   We bring them into our pranic being.

A long time ago, I linked the Tetragrammaton (JHVH) to the four lines of the tsarets Prayer of the Heart, and breathed them in and out.   I remember doing this on the puffer-train from Exeter to Barnstaple – a very beautiful winding valley.

But it takes practice and commitment, and these I have to say, I have lacked, in recent years.  I get overwhelmed by my local troubles.  The sign of an untrained and unfocused psyche is when she tries to push the sides of the train.

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GALLERY – more memories!

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When creating new Life – any spiritual practice – it needs to be given patience, love, attention, time and space.  Nothing grows in just a weekend.   Vera Moore, my old piano teacher, would have her students wrap each note like a baby in a shawl, and re-discover it with that tactile tenderness.

So I am glad to recall now, what Alan and I practiced together, and teased each other about, and argued and muddled along with.  Added to that, is the full palette of life, aging and … the way my understanding ripens since that time.   And his.  A lifetime is a parabola – a curve of manifestation:  Malkuth.

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holy men of tamil nadu

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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.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2013. 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 https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

The Mythology behind Ramana’s Thirty Verses

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The material for my next Sacred India Tarot Archive post  contains a reflection on Ramana Maharshi’s Thirty Verses.  I feel it should be given on its own, then followed by the Knight and Queen of Lotuses in the Tarot archive, as originally planned.

The Sanskrit title for the 30 Verses was “Upadesa Saram“.  This means “The Quintessence of Instruction.”  It draws near to the ineffable.  At the same time, it raises the bar in a practical way, for tackling any situation where we have wined and dined out and become a little noisy.    Meditation is Life:  our body and breath are Earth’s gravity.

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Ramana with Arunachala's children, including Ganesan, Sundaram and Mani

Ramana with Arunachala’s children, including his nephews Sundaram, Mani and Ganesan

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The Mythology Context of Ramana’s “Thirty Verses”
first published in the Ramana Foundation UK Journal “SELF ENQUIRY” April 2001

MY EARLIER SITA post, (9 and 10 of Lotuses) includes “The Birth of Skanda” – a colourful Puranic account of Siva and Parvati’s yogic courtship and marriage, leading to the birth of their son Skanda,  who, it was fortold,  alone had the power to destroy the demon of the reactive mind, Taraka asura.  

agni

It will be recalled that Agni, the god of sacred Fire and sacrificial offerings, had been tricked into swallowing Siva’s semen, which burned intolerably within him.   He was advised by Siva to go to a certain pine forest on the banks of the river Magha, where dwelt seven ascetic Rishis and their wives:  the wives would receive the fiery seed,  relieving Agni to return to his natural flame state,  and enable the saviour to be born.

This story, like a crystal, is retold from numerous different facets.   In one of these, it is Siva Himself who visits the unsuspecting ladies, and who, chastising their husbands for their sterile ascetic practices,  gives them the teaching on the laws of Karma which, in our day, we find in Ramana’s Thirty Verses on the Quintessence of Instruction (Upadesa Saram).    The poet Muruganar, when writing this legend in Tamil verse, on coming to the instruction given by Siva to the Rishis, asked Ramana – as Siva incarnate –  to write it for him,   Here first is the setting, and then the Thirty Verses :

CERTAIN ASCETICS in the Pine Forest had obtained great powers by their prayers and sacrifices.  In order to conserve these, their hearts had to be permanently pure, as well as the hearts of their wives.   Siva heard about the beauty of the womenfolk, and resolved to seduce them.   Taking the form of a beautiful young beggar, he invited Vishnu to dress up as a voluptuous woman and accompany him on this prank.    Vishnu went first, to arouse the ascetics.  He excited all of them out of their minds.   They abandoned their sacrifices and ran after the siren as moths fly about the light they see in the night.
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Meanwhile Siva made his appearance among the resinous pine trees, half naked, dishevelled, with begging bowl.   The women abandoned their housework and ran after him, half undressed, begging him to remain there with them.   Siva slipped away into the shadows, and they followed him.

The Rishis began to notice that their rituals became less effective, and their powers were no longer what they had been.   They conferred among themselves.  They suspected the handsome beggar who disordered their wives, was none other than Siva,  and that she who seduced themselves was Vishnu in disguise.    They were enraged.   They conjured up an elephant and a tiger by magic rites, and sent them against Siva.   Siva slew the creatures easily, and took the elephant’s skin for a robe and the tiger’s for a wrap.   They tried likewise in vain, a disembodied head, a giant, a brace of writhing serpents, and fire.   Finally they sent all the waning power of their prayers and tapas against him.   These forces came forth like a mass of fire, beat against Siva’s genitals, and detached them from his body.   Siva, full of indignation, made to burn up the entire earth with his genitals, but Vishnu took shape as the female organs, receiving those of Siva,  and prevented general conflagration.

Moved by the prayers of the Rishis – for Siva is never indifferent to His devotees – he consented to hold his fire, and to give them “The Quintessence of Instruction”.

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cosmic egg - Version 2

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In the closed Hindu universe, described as an egg, nothing is ever lost.  Things are transferred, reborn or transmuted.   The law of karma – literally, “action” – is based on this world-view.  The sum of one’s past actions is embodied in the force of karma, which is considered a discrete, transferable quantity.   One Upanishad describes a mystic view of the sexual act, and then concludes,  “The man who practices intercourse in awareness of this view, takes to himself the good karma of the woman.   He who does it ignorantly, loses his good karma to her.”

Briefly, a host of nuances concerning the fertility of the inner life and creativity, the generative power of thoughts, and the sterility of those who cling to the letter alone, are touched on here.   In the Pine Forest, Siva had excited the women and infuriated their husbands, but he didn’t actually do anything.   He was chaste, and made others believe him to be a lecher, a false ascetic in reverse.   He served as a mirror.   He chastised the Rishis for their dishonesty and barren self-seeking rituals;  he awakened their real nature to them.

Researched from Wendy O’Flaherty’s book Siva the Erotic Ascetic

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ramana with newspaper

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                  THE THIRTY VERSES by Ramana Maharshi

ACTION yields fruit,  for so the Lord ordains it.
How can action be the Lord?   It is insentient.

The fruit of action passes.   But the act leaves behind the seed of further acts 
leading to an endless ocean of reaction :   not to liberation.

A disinterested act, surrendered to the Lord 
purifies the mind and points to liberation.

This is certain:  worship, praise and meditation, 
being work of body, speech and mind,  are steps for orderly ascent.

Ether,  fire,  air,  water,  earth,  Sun,  Moon  and living beings –
worship of these, regarded all  as forms of life,  is perfect worship of the Lord.

Better than hymns of praise is repetition of the Name ;  better quiet than loud; 
but best of all is silent meditation – reflective in the mind.

Better than spells of meditation is one continuous current 
steady as a stream or downward flow of oil.

Better than viewing Him as Other – indeed the noblest attitude of all – 
is to hold Him as the ‘I’ within – the very ‘I’.

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Ramana 7.7.13

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Abidance in pure being,  transcending thought through love intense 
is the very essence of supreme devotion.

Absorbtion in the heart of being,  whence we sprang, 
is the path of action,  of devotedness,  union,  and of knowledge.

Restraint of breath controls the mind like a bird caught in the net. 
This gentle regulation helps absorbtion in the heart.

Mind and breath (as thought and action) like two branches forking out 
both spring from a single root.

Absorbtion is of two kinds:  submergence and destruction. 
Mind submerged again arises:  mind dead revives no more.

With even breath,  and thought restrained, 
the mind turned one-way inward,  fades and dies.

Mind extinct,  the mighty Seer to his natural being returns 
and has no action to perform.

Wisdom turns away the mind from outer things 
to behold its own effulgent form.

When unceasingly it scans itself,  there’s nothing there. 
For everyone this direct path is open.

Thoughts alone make up the mind,  and of all thoughts,  the ‘I’ is root. 
What we call ‘mind’ is but the notion ‘I’.

When we turn within and search whence this thought of ‘I’ arises, 
the shamed ‘I’ vanishes —  and wisdom’s quest begins.

Where this ‘I’ notion faded,  now as I,  as I,  arises here 
the One,  the very Self,  the infinite.

Of the notion ‘I’,  the permanency is That.  For even in deep sleep 
where we have no sense of ‘I’,  we do not cease to be.

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Five faces of Arunachala Siva

Five faces of Arunachala Siva … the “i – i ?”

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Body,  sense,  mind,  breath,  sleep – all insentient and unreal – 
cannot be I,   I, who am the Real !

For knowing That which is,  there is no other knower. 
Hence being is awareness;  and we are all awareness.

In the nature of their being,  creature, and creator are in substance One.
They differ only in adjuncts and awareness.

To free oneself of attributes is to see the Lord, 
for He shines ever as the pure Self.

To know the Self is to be the Self,  for it is non dual.
Knowing thus,  one abides as That.

That is true knowledge which transcends both knowledge and ignorance,
for in pure knowingness,  is no object known,

Our nature known,  we abide as being with no beginning and no end
in unbroken consciousness and peace.

Abiding in peace beyond bondage and release 
is steadfastness in service of the Lord.

All ego gone,  in peace as That alone 
is penance good for growth,  sings Ramana
“who sports in the Self”.

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A NOTE BY ARTHUR OSBORNE:  “The Tamil poet Muruganar wanted to write 100 verses on this theme, but he could not readily proceed beyond 70 verses.  It then occurred to him that Ramana was the proper person to write the verses relating to Siva’s instruction.  He therefore begged Ramana to compose them, and Ramana accordingly composed 30 Tamil verses.  They were subsequently translated by Ramana into Telugu and into Malayalam.  He himself later translated them into Sanskrit;  the Sanskrit version known as Upadesa Saram (the Essence of Instruction) was daily chanted before him, together with the Vedas, and continues to be chanted as a scripture before his shrine.  He grades the various paths to Liberation in order of efficiency and excellence, showing that the best is Self-enquiry.”

Arthur Osborne, founder-editor of Ramanasramam journal The Mountain Path

Arthur Osborne, founder-editor of Ramanasramam journal The Mountain Path

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The relationship of Siva, Lord of the Dance, and seed of fire, with Agni,  god of the sacramental fire itself,  is explored with great subtlety in various streams of the mythological delta.   In some of these stories, Agni becomes the servant, object or representation of Siva’s will.   The fire both creates and destroys.   Arunachala is primordially a “Hill of Fire”,  and the Temple there,  among those dedicated to the elements in Southern India Saivism,  represents fire.   The Deepam Festival of Lights in the winter season is the biggest of the regional festivals.   The flame is rekindled at the summit and at the root of Arunachala, amid general celebratory pilgrimage.   Siva’s ancient Vedic form was as Rudra, the Wild Hunter,  the fiery Archer, who interrupted the coitus of the Father Creator with the Dawn  (He Emerges from the Poem of Ancient Power).

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Agni

Agni – Skanda

The interplay of these currents across the sleep of spacetime awakens paradoxical archetypes of awareness.   They resonate like rhythmic chants of a kind, or music.   The opposites tasting one another, in mutual annihilation give birth.   Ramana, a child of these traditions, points to the fiery heart within us:  our warmth and love of being.

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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.

aquariel link

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 https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

Today’s Sketches of Robert, Ramana and Ramesh

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Robert and seek

I discovered last night this beautiful photo on the web, to draw from:  Robert & Seek.  The photo is on a blog called http://itisnotreal.com

Robert’s parkinsons’ whisper, slightly nasal, and wide uncluttered eyes…

“Who am I? … I’m teaching you today a combination of bhakta and jnana.  Bhakta and Jnana – Devotion and Wisdom.  Think of your Heart centre in the right side of your chest and see the form of the deity that you love dearly. The form may be of Krishna, Jesus, Ramana, Moses, Mohammed or a Guru.  Inhale, say Lord – or Hari – exhale, say the name of the One you love and desire.

This is called using Name and Form.  It is an ancient tradition. 

If you are an atheist and don’t want to see anyone’s form, you can see LIGHT, pure light, in your Heart.  And you can chant to yourself, something like this:  “I am an open channel for the manifestation of all Good …”  Whatever your practice is, this is what you can do.  But you’ve got to do this, you’ve got to follow this, make it happen.

Then … “Who is the ‘I’ beyond this image?  Who is the ‘I’ that is seeing Christ, seeing Ramana?  Who is the ‘I’ that’s observing all these things?

“Who am I?”   Never answer that question!  Just pose the question to yourself … who am I?    … who am I? 

You will notice the thoughts will not come through again.  The thoughts have stopped.  You will no longer be bombarded by thoughts! like you were before.  For thinking of the Sage within your Self, has calmed you down tremendously.  Who am I … ?

If thoughts invade you again, go back to Ramana Maharshi in your heart.  Or Christ, or whoever.  See the image, (breathe in Hari,) repeat the Name.  Hari Ramana!   Hari Ramana! 

Then go back again to “Who am I?” … “Who am I?”

When approximately an hour has passed, get up and go about your business.  You will find that during the day something very interesting has happened to you.  You are filled with peace!  You’ve entered a different dimension.  Things that used to make you angry will stop.  Things that made you depressed, lonely, upset – have gone away.  You will feel fulfilment.  Do the same thing before you go to sleep.”

From transcript “The Method of Freedom”

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butterlamp

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Ramana & Arunachala children

The photo for this drawing was another “find” – this time on facebook – (Eraaramesh, thank you!)     Ramana and the little brothers and sisters … nephews?   I seem to recognise them.

A “revisit to India” is long due.  Drawing this, recaptured for me the luscious sights, sounds, smells and faces of Tamil Nadu – those waggling heads. Wonderful feeling.

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Not like a boat’s sail wide outspread 
and worn away by wind and weather, 
but like the humble anchor sunk 
in the vast ocean’s depth, the mind 
should plunge and settle in the heart 
of wisdom.

Garland of Guru’s Sayings by Muruganar
(Ramana’s conversations  set to verse.)

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Ramesh talks at home

Ramesh Balsekar talks at home, Sindula Building in Mumbai – his crowded lofty living-room.  I hear the sparrows and crows, and over the rooftops, the sea can just be seen.  He looks rather pensive in this sketch.  I would like to have got him more sharp and “pouncy” – his teaching style is like a falcon.   However, there were these inward moments also, particularly when the lady sitting next to him sang the bhajans at the end of a vigorous morning.  He closed his eyes then, and slowly tapped the rhythm.

Ramesh was rarely still.  He quivered like a racehorse:

“My concept is, that no action is anyone’s action … The input is:  God sends you a thought, over which you have no control … the brain reacts to that input and brings out an output, strictly according to the programming.  And that output over which Lawrence has no control, Lawrence says is HIS ACTION.  You see?  … From that deepest possible source, which is the Source itself, the question will arise:  If Lawrence doesn’t do any action, WHO IS LAWRENCE?  WHO AM I?  

“But the big difference is, that it is not the intellect which asks the question.  The question ARISES from personal experience that Lawrence doesn’t do anything.  Lawrence doesn’t act – therefore who is Lawrence?  Then the question arises FROM THE VERY DEPTHS OF YOUR BEING, into which Ramana asks you to dive – ‘If I don’t do any actions, who am I?’ 

“And then again, if it is God’s will or grace, and the destiny of that bodymind organism, FROM that very Source from which the question arose, will arise the answer:  there really is no Lawrence.  There never has been any Lawrence, other than the name given to this bodymind organism.  You see?  And as far as my concept goes, that is the only sadhana or effort necessary.  That is my interpretation of Ramana Maharshi’s query “who am I?” 

That is my answer, Lawrence, to the question, the burning question which everybody has:  How do I go about this Self enquiry, if this Self enquiry is not a mantra and not an intellectual question?

From a conversation with Lawrence Bentley

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butterlamp boat

A butterlamp at dawn

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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 https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/