Sacred India Tarot Archive – Creation of Seven and Eight of Wands

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Continuing this series on the Sacred India Tarot published by Yogi Impressions in November 2011.

The suit of Wands or Staves contain the soul of Agni, the sacred fire – where more so than in these two cards of destiny?

Their story is:  in the Seven of Staves, Sita the distrusted bride immerses herself in the flame which is purity itself;  in the Eight, she is liberated with her beloved as the Karmic bonds are released.  Who among us has not felt scorched with self doubt and then seen the skies open as life becomes simple again?

As Rohit has pointed out, the eight of each suit is an ‘end of Karma card’.  Then the seven of each suit portrays a matter of doubt:  a threshold through which the Dharma moves.  If I look through the four suits, each “seven” portrays an inward gesture or vulnerability to purify, and each ‘eight’ clears the slate.  I was not aware of this when I painted them.  It was Rohit’s work to perceive the archetypes and their speech, and to email to me, brief suggestions or pointers.  When I received these, the primary images took over and flowed, surprising both of us many a time. The deck has an elder Vedic soul. It is contacted and released through creative concentration. Thus the deck provides us with an astute psychological mirror.

Sequentially in the story, Sita tested herself through the flame after her safe return with Rama to India – but in the Mahabharatha as in other great epics, time is not linear but visionary.  Hearing bad council, Rama would suspect her of enforced infidelity with Ravana the King of Asuras he had rescued her from, and they suffered a second isolation from each other while this was sorted out.  Psychologically a man’s union with his inner beloved can be as fickle as the sea – especially when he believes he should stand alone. In the female psyche, this is mirrored.  In all of us the male and female interact – animus and anima – and set up mutual obstacles.

cycle of change tao

The suit of Wands/Staves denotes the play of sacred weapons;  the higher transformation of war games into the martial arts.

The tragedy implicit in the Seventh card, is the old, old story:  the woman is targeted.  Many of us bear this redemptive burden down the centuries.  Is it any wonder when we feel inexplicably tired?

SITA visual reference for 7 of wands 2

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Rohit’s Notes to Jane, 2003
“Card Seven is Sita Agni Parikasha – courage – she asks for it.

“It should be easy enough to show the fire ordeal she goes through to prove her innocence as seven logs of burning wood from which she emerges, held up by Agni lord of fire.  The 3 illustrations given should be of some help.  This is a dynamic and dramatic card, as everyone except Rama was appalled at what was happening.”

SITA visual reference for 7 of wands

Visual reference for Seven of Wands/Staves

From Rohit’s Book with the Deck
“Sita’s Trial by Fire.  Sita has been rescued.  In the ensuing celebrations over this fact, as well as Ravana’s death, one awful unspoken question hovers raptor-like over the minds of all.  Did Ravana forcibly molest her or did he not?  …  Rama knows there will never be any end to insinuation, slander and malice if this is not tackled expeditiously.  So he harrows Sita by giving voice to the collective suspicion – ‘Ravana could never have been so self-controlled.’

“Sita is outraged and furious.  In popular Indian imagination, Sita is all that is meek, timid and subservient to a husband.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The Sita of Valmiki’s Ramayana is a fire-brand intellectual, outspoken and fearless, and she is not going to tolerate sniggering speculation about her virtue.  She upbraids Rama for daring to speak so – the fault if any is in the abductor, not the woman.

Visual reference - Ravana king of Asuras abducts Sita

Visual reference – Ravana king of Asuras abducts Sita

“Provoked beyond endurance, Sita orders Laxmana to arrange a funeral pyre for her, as a life without dignity is worthless.  As the appalled audience watches this awe inspiring act of courage – a living Sita seated amidst flames – the gods intervene.  Agni god of fire rises from the flames with an unscathed Sita, and remonstrates with Rama for his conduct.  Rama wryly admits he manipulated matters thus, so that a public and miraculous vindication of Sita would silence all loose talk forever.  The issue is resolved – for now.

“Interpretation of the card:  Courage, decisive battle, defiance and reliance on the self.  Inner resources and resilience.  Do not back away.  Inner battles especially over ethical issues and temptation – perseverance through adversity:  taking responsibility.  Refusal to be intimidated or manipulated into restrictive roles.  Able to say ‘No’ without guilt.  

“Shadow – this can also be the card of the excuse maker – fatigue and fear of loss – giving in to others’ wishes – neglected talent.  Fear of failure or of being thought incompetent.   What do you really need to take a stand about, or what are you shirking from?  Are your values important, or ‘being liked’?   Clean up any clutter at home.”

Sacred India Tarot - Seven of Staves/Wands - Sita through the fire

Sacred India Tarot – Seven of Staves/Wands – Sita through the fire

Jane’s Notes:

Behind Sita, Agni the deity of the sacred fire seems to breathe on her gently like a bellows – to raise the power of the pure and liberating flame within her:  to open her wings of prana in the chrysalis.  In the next card she is the Shakti:  she flies.

In alchemical traditions, the transformative agent is the secret fire with the breath:  the cooking:  the warmth of the hen’s breast to hatch the egg.

I feel this suit thematically signifies woman’s truth and male doubt when he does not listen. We are both masculine and feminine. The creative combat of intuitive wisdom and the rational mind is played out daily within our psyche.

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Rohit’s Feedback – “The Seven – Sita in the flames with Agni – This is a superb card, mystical and melancholic, and the Agni is a very unusual interpretation of the god of fire. Perhaps the outlines of the seven wands need to be slightly stronger but in all other aspects it is beautiful. Most seven of wands are all about a huffing and puffing macho sort of courage, but this is courage with dignity and grace. Sita is absolutely wonderful.”

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Rohit did not send me a visual reference for the Pushpaka-Vimana, though he mentioned a ‘sculptural panel’, and that it is a conscious vehicle. Here is a link to an article about the vimanas or devic chariots that cut through time and space.

pushpakavimana

The above article on https://ancientaliens.wordpress.com/2010/11/12/vimanas is fascinating, reminding me of dreams I had in which I built a flying machine whose “engine” was fuelled by balance and intention. The archetype is deep within us, and in “His Dark Materials” Philip Pullman describes an Intention Craft which rises vertically, descends, hovers and travels laterally as thought – a remarkable depiction of the body of light in the western occult tradition.

vimana flyingobjects26_051

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Correspondence 2003 – Jane to Gautam (publisher) and Rohit (author)
(for Card 9 and the court cards, see next SITA posts)

“Dear Gautam – I do not understand your picture references for Cards 8 and 9.  8 should be the Vimana flight home to Ayodhya, and 9 should be Rama’s agony at banishing Sita; but the pictures you gave are of Sita being abducted and Jatayu fighting Rama, both marked 8.  Please clarify.  

“For the court cards, which documents are the photos of yourself and Rohit attached to?  I do not have the Skanda document you refer to, or the photos! Regards, Jane.”

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“Dear Jane, please find below, comments of Rohit:  ‘We do not have the exact visual reference for either of these cards, as neither in painting nor sculpture have the two incidents been clearly depicted.  The two pictures marked 8 have been provided to convey the impression of flight.  They are just triggers for the events to be depicted in card 8, they do not illustrate.   

‘For card number 9, there is no reference as such, as the event is both touchy and controversial in India and avoided by artists.  Please tell Jane she has free rein to depict it in any manner she chooses.’

“I will send our pictures via email.  Warm regards, Gautam.”

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Rohit’s Notes 22 September 2003 – Eight of Wands/Staves
“The Pushpaka-Vimana flight back home to Ayodhya (representing swiftness) – The Pushpaka Vimana was supposed to be composed of flowers or flower-bedecked, in blooms that would never fade.  It was an airplane of sorts, and there is a bewildering paragraph in the Valmiki Ramayana where Sita asks Rama why the stars are visible from the vimama, even though it is day.

“The answer given is that at such elevation the light of the sun fails, and we see the stars which are always present in the sky!  What we perhaps need is a feeling of flying over the ocean, or alternatively we could show the vimana flying over Ayohdhya which too is a spectacular city.  I like the touch in the sculptural panel of showing the vimana as an embodied form;  according to the texts, the vimana had consciousness and was a genuine personality in its own right.  The eight wands could perhaps be poles on the vimana like some sort of flying pavilion?

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Sacred India Tarot eight of wands, Vimaha flight

Sacred India Tarot eight of Wands – Vimana flight, Rama and Sita

This image also depicts the power of the Mantric vehicle:  the way sound travels through all dimensions.  See my earlier posts on Ganapati Muni’s Guru Mantra Bhashya – “Om Vacadhbuve Namaha“.

This link (below) is not strictly speaking related to the content of this post;  it arises intuitively because I began this week to learn the Gayatri and other mantras and to chant them at odd times during the day – in the street, on the bus, or wherever.   Wonderfully, they clear the weather!  The science of mantra fascinates me, and so does the warm and ancient Vedic vibration.   My Indian roots are deep.

All powers seek the one who does not slip out from the state of wisdom. They come naturally for the Jnani is omnipotent , whether he shows the powers openly, impelled by momentum of karma, or imperceptibly but surely by his very presence.

Source: Sri Ramana Gita by Ganapati Muni

Om Vacadbhuve Namah
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya’

With the energy in this Karma-clearing card, 8 of Staves, I see the principle not only in mantra and sound and healing, but in the quality of relationships and what we try to communicate to one another.

From Journal, September 2003 – “I began Eight of Wands yesterday.  I have not drawn an oriental vehicle, but a living Being, an outlined gandharva or angel, in whose lap Sita and Rama are transported across the sea to their home.  I realised while on this, that what is happening in the world today, is the same as in the Ramayana or the Bhagavad Gita.  A vast mythological archetype is in action, destroying the father of lies again.  Be gold, go bold, and seize and receive this actual perception.  It trembles truth.”

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Rohit’s Feedback 10 December 2003 – “The Eight is the most original interpretation of the pushpaka I have yet seen.  It conveys that Hanuman carrying Rama subtext as well as showing the swift flight back home.”

sun yantra

sun yantra

From Rohit’s Book with the Deck:

“… The trip from Lanka in the time left, is feasible only by Pushpak Vimara, a flying craft seized by Rama from Kubera, god of wealth.  This machine was a curious mixture of science and magic, having human form as well as being a wood and metal craft capable of expanding infinitely, with aisles and window seats!  Its fuel was kept in vats on flight, and was an amalgam of wine, honey, mercury and herbal concoctions – a veritable environmentalist’s dream!

“The aerial route described in the Ramayana is similar to the now defunct Colombo to Allahabad air service.  It took nine hours to make the trip to Ayodhya, so the speed was quite good if not spectacular … Ancient Indians were fabulous astronomers, and there is nothing peculiar in Rama’s knowledge when he answers Sita that at such heights the rays of the sun do not penetrate and veil the stars, therefore they are visible in the daylight – but the sheer incongruity of such a perspective in the midst of Wordsworthian lyricism is striking. The swift, even giddy atmosphere such a flight would generate, was what the poet captured.

“In a reading – … Things happen sooner than planned for or anticipated, but that is for the best … ideas and work tumble out – increase in vital forces – spiritual breakthroughs and out of body experiences;  transcendence of limitations.  All Eights are end-of-karma cards, so it also means giving up unproductive and unprofitable activities.  

“Or: (shadow) act in haste and repent at leisure, especially when it comes to marriage.  Future shock and disproportionate reaction to events – a station wagon trying to be a Ferrari.  Pay careful attention to all documents, agreements etc, as the hasty nature of the energy may cause serious blunders or omissions.

“The insight of the card: You have abundant energy.  Now set some clear goals and focus this drive to achieving them, before it fritters away in interesting distractions.

photo by giorgos tsamakdas

photo by giorgos tsamakdas

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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 Three

by the fire '94 j&d11

CONTINUED FROM PART TWO – the “Guru Mantra Commentary” by Ganapati Muni (see previous post.)

Mantric language is cyclic, rhythmic, primordial. Whether we know any Sanskrit or not, the vibration grows through a commitment of the syllables to archetypal visual images. This passage develops the ASTRAGNI or weapon within the mantra.  In my understanding, only a pure intention may access the metaphysical power of the Word:  otherwise it rebounds.

In Part Two, we bowed to Guru in the heart’s cave. Here in Part Three, the repeated sounding of vacadhbu,  agni, sara, sastra encircle and warm up my path of awe.  I do not know.  Unconfined to the mind, the resonance is received afresh;  I begin again to ascend the mountain at dawn.

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Second Chapter: The Enunciation of the Second Mantra

The Muni continues:
In this second chapter, we shall comment on another Tantric mantra of Bhagavan. Here is its verse of enunciation: (No English translation available)

“Sukham krsanuh kilalam
murdhanyascanunasikah
Nidra vari ca vikhyato
Namo mantro vadadbhuvah.”

The letter sa, Sukham happiness;   the letter ra krsanuh, fire; the letter na kilalam, water; the letter va murdhanyah anunasikah;   the letter na nidra, cerebral nasal;   the letter bha vari, sleep;   the letter va, water.(**)

1. Happiness sa
2. Fire ra
3. Water va
4. Cerebral nasal  na
5. Sleep bha
6. Water va

6 point star cube

When these six letters are read together they become sa ra va na bha wa. – “One who is born from the forest of sara”. As there are six letters in this Mantra also, like before, we understand by this the six faces of Skanda. (*)

FOOTNOTES - 
**- Sri Sankaranarayanan’s translation of this paragraph 
was ambiguous, and K.Natesan apparently overlooked my query 
about it. I have arranged it as best I can, and would welcome the 
advice of an educated Sanskrit reader. J.A.
*- The child Skanda (Kumara)- seed of Agni in the wives of Seven 
Rishis who warmed themselves by the fire - could not be carried 
by wives (goddesses of Krttika the Pleiades constellation) or 
Himalaya mountain or Ganga river, so it fell in a bed of reeds 
(grass). Six parts of the seed joined in this birthplace as one
six headed child; Siva's wife Parvati filled with milk and the 
universe rejoiced - for this child of Siva (through the inter-
mediary of Agni) was destined to defeat the demon of the 
reactive mind, Taraka. 
Skanda's older brother was Ganapati.

Note from Wendy O’Flaherty: ‘Siva the Erotic Ascetic’

ramana embryo

ramana embryo

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THE MEANING OF THE SECOND MANTRA:    Saravanabhawa

“One who is born from the forest of sara, a kind of grass”. ASTRAGNI : (astra, missile or weapon invoked with a mantra, agni, sacred fire) – this means “fire of guided missile”. Here, a physical fire born from igniting grass, is not what is meant. If it were, it would not be vacadbhu – born out of the sound vibration (energy). 

The story that the effulgent seed of Rudra placed in the stalk of grass became Kumara, has some deep truth behind it:   Rudra is full of sound. His effulgent seed is the fire born by focussing the perfected astra mantra of a great yogi accomplished in the lore of the astras. It acquires the form of sara, grows, and slays its enemies.

“Vidma sarasya pitaram parjanyam – “We know the father of the SARA,
bhuridhayasam   – Parjanya, liberal nourisher,
Vidmo svasya mataram – we know his mother Prithvi,
prthivim bhurivarpasam. – earth with her manifold designs.

Jyake pari nona masmanam tonvan krdhi – O, Bowstring, bend thyself around us,
Virur variyo ratirapa dvesarasya krdhi.” – make my body stone.
Firm in thy strength, drive far away malignities and hateful things.”    

Aghawa Samkita II. 1. 2.

poppy and wild oat

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visual reference, bow-arrow

Sara described in the above two Mantras is a special kind of grass, not an arrow made of bamboo or metal.   This is indicated by saying that its mother and father are the earth and the rain God.   If we say that bamboo also, being a tree, can deserve to be the son of the earth and the rain God, the fourth Mantra in that same chapter, removes any doubt :

Yatha dyam ca prthivim cantas tiethati tejanam
evarogam casravam cantas tisthatu munja it. 

Just as the sharp point stands
between earth and heaven, 

let the munja grass stand between wellbeing and illness.

For the Rose and the Fire are One

Breaking through – For the Rose and the Fire are One

Here by the word munja he deduces the aforesaid sara.   Munja is a type of grass and not bamboo. How could fragile grass be capable of killing enemies without relating to astra, the fire warming the word which an accomplished Mantra fills ? (15)

“Isikam jaratim stva
tilpinjam dandanam nadam
Tamindra idhmam
krtva yamasyagvim niradadhan

He sought the grass, Isika
tilpinja, nada and dandana.
He enriched Indra’s fuel
and the fire of Yama.

Athawa Samhita XII.2.54.

sphere of arrows ja

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Isika, Tilpivja, nada are types of grass. Dandanum might be of bamboo. Amongst them isika is a synonym for the sara grass.   Here by the word Indra, the Jiva is meant. As the Veda says: “Rupam Rupam pratirupo babhuva.”16.  He, the perfected Person knows the astra. He bound the isika grass into faggots, and nourished the sages around the fire of Yama, Kala, Time.   This means he expanded and increased that which stood in the sky as the fire of Time.

Time is not different from sound. The sound resonates subtly in the sky and cultures everything.

FOOTNOTES 
15- ASTRA from the root AS - to throw; a missile, usually of grass
or any fragile material backed up by a powerful Mantra, 
though astra is loosely translated as an arrow.
Sastra(scriptures) is an arrow, while astra is a weapon backed up 
by the Mantra. 
Here the Mantra is significant, and not the material used as a 
weapon.

16- "He put his image in every form."
Frank Humphries, Ramana and the Muni

Frank Humphries, Ramana and the Muni

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That is why we have said in our Indra Gita:

“Sadvyapakasaktim pranam kathayanti
Vyaktetarasabdam kalam ganayanti.” (17) 

“The pervading force of Existence they call Prana ;
and they reckon as Time the unmanifest Sound.”

FOOTNOTE -
17- Indra Gita is one of the compositions of Ganapati Muni
and is included in Gitamala.

 photo of the muni copy

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There itself it has been said that Kala, Time, is known by the name of Yama and Rudra.

“Rudram vidureka netarbahulilam
Prahur yamam anye kayam tava kalam.”

“O, Leader, some know you as Rudra of many sports ;
Others call thy body Time, Yama.”

Rudra who is the Sabda Brahman and Time factor pervades the sky. His effulgence impelled by the fire of Mantra becomes the Agni, named astra in the form of sara. This Agni is the Lord, the Commander-in-Chief of the armies, the destroyer of Asuras, the accomplisher of the Divine Purpose. The word isu is formed only from the word isika. The ancients employ the word isvastra to denote astra.

“Isvastram esam devatvam paritranam satamiva
Bhayam vai manuso bhavah parivado satamiva.”       

“Their astra denoted divinity.
It bore divine protection to good people.
Fear is their human aspect to the wicked.”

SITA ace arrows Bhishma blocks the Ganga - Version 4

By esam (*) the Kshatriyas (warriors) are covered. Also the primary name for astra is only isikastra. (See Ramayana and Mahabharata). Though the word sara meant astra, later on by derivative significance, it came to denote the arrow. The word sara is a pointer to the other “faggot bundles” (weapons) of astra.   Principally, the usage is the form “from out of the forest of sara”, saravanabhava.

FOOTNOTE - 
* esam, a Sanskrit word for prowess (footnote supplied by 
K.Natesan)

Bhagavan coaxes a devotee

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THE APPROPRIATENESS OF SKANDA AS THE GURU?

If “Skanda” had these attributes alone, he would be a War God, not the Guru Causal. Yet being the God of war does not deter him from being the Guru Causal. In fact, it helps. The one who manifests the fire of astra, destroying foes, is our inner illumination. He burns away the ties that bind, and reveals the shore beyond darkness.

An effulgence  of sound is inner knowing. By this alone, the Brahmin attains a vision of the Divine.

By the effulgence alone, the Kshatriya (warrior) masters the divine astra. The effulgence is the Brahmanhood of Brahman;  the kingship of the Warrior caste.

And thus ends the Second Chapter.

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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/

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.
.

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.

..

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”.

 ..

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.

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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/