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

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Blue Lotus Bud www.ebsquart.com

Blue Lotus Bud www.ebsquart.com

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The SITA Minor Arcana, by Rohit Arya and Jane Adams

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

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

Sivalinga

Sivalinga

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

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

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

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

siva trimurti

Sadasiva siva trimurti at Elephanta

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

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

Siva meditates - comicbook visual reference

Siva meditates – comicbook visual reference

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

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

Rose sivalinga

Rose sivalinga

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

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

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quantocks

Jane’s Notes

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

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

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

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

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

Rudra, wild Hunter

Rudra, wild Hunter

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

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

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

in wood

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

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

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Stella Kramrisch - ja 2012

Stella Kramrisch – ja 2012

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

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

Rudra wild Hunter Immerses

Rudra wild Hunter Immerses

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Kramrisch again, on STHANU:

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

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

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

From Presence of Siva by Stella Kramrisch

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

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

Lord Siva on his Tao

Lord Siva on his Tao

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

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

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Sacred India Tarot Siva Ace of Lotuses

Sacred India Tarot Siva Ace of Lotuses

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

Sacred India Tarot - wild card THE FOOL - Rudra Brahman

Sacred India Tarot – wild card THE FOOL – Rudra Brahman

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

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

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

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

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

Sacred India Tarot 21 Natarajan The World

Sacred India Tarot 21 Natarajan The World

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

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

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

Ashtavakra Gita

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

and the Sage who lives on Aruna hill:

Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi

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

The beauty of the Sage on his rock.

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

vedic vessel

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

Rohit Arya

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

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

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Jane Adams

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

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

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

Watching Krishnamurti (4) & Ramana : photos of coastal path and Arunachala

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K arrives for a  last talk at Saanen, carrying the questions

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Pwllderi caves

This post is the concluding part of my Coastal Path memoir in 1991 –  Krishnamurti and Ramana’s teachings, where land meets the sea.  (See my mid-August posts:  With Ramana and Krishnamurti on the Coastal PathOn the Coastal Path – Travellers’ Treasure;  and Parc y Meirw – the Field of the Dead.)

Pwllderi beach

For this post’s illustrations, I raided my daughter’s photo album!  She was 17.  She took her tent to Pwllderi and Strumble in 1994, and later on, she went to  Ramana Ashram on her own.  These are pre-digital snaps on her instamatic in mucky rucksack; yet her views say what I feel and see, and didn’t write.

Older photos are like paintings:  we use our imagination a bit more.

The conversation with Ramana and Krishnamurti by the sea and afterwards, was a catalyst.  From it unfolded later on, my involvement with Ramana Foundation UK, and editing the journal Self Enquiry.   Who could have known!    Different time frames converge here – 1991 on the coast at Pyllderi, ’93 /’94, journeys to India, and then today:  hindsight and some new drawings.

Pwllderi stones and low tide

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 26 August 1991

The soviet iron curtain fell.   A global tremor!

Ideology’s dead fruit fall at last from the great tree of Mother Russia.  Whatever next?  The soviet empire reached the classic three-score years and ten.  That child of the October Revolution, an ultra-material religion, held those continents of the world in irons, for the span of man – one lifetime.   It was made of human, of collective mind.  It came forth and was acquiesced to;  it created liberation here and suffering there, moved its economic ballast around, and fed on the fear of death.  Like the birth and death of all people, it will prolong the memory of those it grasped, and be irrelevant to those it did not.

An idea rises and falls with extraordinary power.  In the end, it is dust – It seems never to have been.  There flows forth from under its grip, a river;  and they call this river “the people”.   It reached a tide, a crest of maturity into which it must deliver itself …  into the world as a whole.

 

Pwllderi sea-weathers:  looking towards St  Davids head

Politics, moments of history, local convulsions, even those which inflict unspeakable pain upon whole populations, are tides of the sea … the pendulum.

J.Krishnamurti said “Get out of this field!”

The field of the world is the tide carrying back and forth our baggage – time, greed and political polarities.  Stirring up the excitement, makes the bath water in my tub surge up and down!   The feeling is turgid and complex.  It dims my ability to see.

But it is another thing, like seeing a phrase of music, or the way the wind lifts a branch, to watch in myself the field of the world, without comment or belief.

To suspend belief in any part of it, is to remain an open place.

From Pwyllderi dinosaur headland

If I wrap “the field” of any phenomenon or belief around me, it is like going into a house and shutting the door.  But if I in that moment look and listen, a deeper arena opens.  Then I have sight of the house, and other houses on the wind, like the ripples in a golden field of wheat.

Journalism has no place here, nor has any opinion.

But there might be love.  Love – the response to life – opens red poppies in the field, and sky-blue harebells.  Can I observe it impartially?  Can a scientist see beyond measuring his own condition?  How to see objectively, the world? – for it is me!   Upon the dual fulcrum of “I” and “It” strives division and diversion for a pastime.

The pastime is false to the deeper question.

The field is space for evolution … the journey ever into “I” dissolves the “…I”.

 

pwllderi heather: Strumble “lions’ paws”

As I am, in this way, humanity, what do “I” contribute?  A particle, a drop of water, contains the universe.  I have no sight or function that I know of.  I cannot see what I am.  There is no answer to the question that I am asking.  Deep into the silvery ocean depth, the essence of joy and sorrow, I dive towards the golden note of “let it … being”.  It unfolds space within space for ever.

The question mark is the curve of a dotted I turned upside down.   There is no departure, no isolation from what I call “the world”.   It is the same for hermit or politician.  There is a mysterious transcendence at the heart of it all.  To “get out of the field” is to dive deep into it, dissolving the outlines of my bondage.   I see the global landscape only from the point where I was born.  The energy bound into making a fuss, is conditional to my own security and to patch a fabric.  The balance of power, the stabilizing of hostilities among countries, the environmental crisis, the pain of famine, suicide and tyrants that people suffer on so great a scale – so rapidly communicated – the spillage of fuel and the parturition of conscience … all engender hopes and fears, which boil down honestly to my very local interest.   I want an answer to suit ME.

Such “answers” are formulations of belief.  They solidify collectively, and nourish the merry go round.  Or … bored with itself and dying, the answer drops away like dead skin cells.

The other side of the coin, I surrender to a strange reality:  the creation of an un-thought inward –  Who? – generates, but never entraps the adventure of living.  I drop away not into dead cells, but into being.

Again I seek ground!  Belief!  What is truth?  Who are you?

Vishnu-Siva, dance of Creation.  Krishnamurti sees Creation as divine destruction.

Pwllderi – volcanic rock near Strumble

Mrs B came to visit.  She saw on a wild life programme, a baby zebra who lost his parents and tribe. He stands by the water in his stripy coat with his big, dark baby eyes, about to die.  Then he lies down on his side quietly by the water, and he dies.  He is given to the land.  The vultures come, gathering in the sky, to swoop and feed and clean. My friend rejoiced suddenly in the co-existent beauty of creation/destruction, Vishnu-Siva …  we’d been talking of Krishnamurti, the way thought self-destructs to awaken.  I see in the baby zebra’s dark eyes, the vultures, the translation of innocence.   That is it.  Every new instant is innocent.

The vulture is the baby zebra.

Pwllderi looking south, strata change

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Krishnamurti sees, is, walks among the divine beauty of destruction, without intermediary or describing.  Vedanta calls it the cosmic dance.  K knows this without symbol or spiritual shelter.  It seems his hands are untied.

K at Saanen in 1985

But is the symbol a mere “Ah! Shelter at last!”?  Do those who intuit and understand the symbols really regard them as permanent?

The symbol is a musical key.  It is alive.  It is there not to ritualize, but to open perception into the Self.   My embodiment walking around, is a symbol.

K regards symbols and hieroglyphs – occult or divine – as crutches.  I think he doesn’t know, they are not truly used that way.  The wise use them – the way language comes to hand – as tools towards the timeless flower:  the Inner Revolution.   Eventually they are no longer needed to open the heart.  As they inspire and enkindle love – and love is gratitude for Life – K encountered that same benediction when he walked among mountains, trees and wild animals at dawn.  He wrote in his notebook.  It bathed his inner “process” in radiance.  He preferred to call it by no name;  for so many divine names had spawned him.  But he said it is sacred beyond thought or form.  Where he walked, he loved.

In K’s own private mystery, it is not by naming that he truly sees the world/himself.

K in 1953 with Rosalind Rajagopal’s granddaughter Tinka

This makes him seem to close the door just when the seeker sees it begin to open.   The door opens inward to his or her “meaning”.  K seems to speak from the other side of a river which the seeker is suddenly required to have crossed and “destroyed” already.

Yet, this courage of K to go it alone, to lodge his person in no sacred hill, but expose it to the worldly frets, frustrations and ignorance – the fluctuating mood and encounter of secular life – is an extraordinary spiritual sacrifice.

It is said that K had no ego.  Maybe so.  The interest the mind has in maintaining its province, did not in him exist.  He described it as “empty”, vacant, without memory, without the sense of things past.  As there was no past tense in his consciousness, there were no “answers”.   Yet he was passionate to reform education.

So what is an answer?   A kind of verb.  A doingness, a beingness, being still or in movement.   Many are the ideas which obscure the inexhaustible inner fact.

K is himself, being visible, a symbol.

 

pwllderi goats

Ramana is a symbol.

Invocation from his Forty Verses:

(1) Can there be a feeling "I" without that which exists always?  
    Free from thought it exists, the Inner being, the Heart.
    How then to know what is beyond the mind?    
    To know it is to abide firmly in the Heart.

(2) They lose at once their "I" who, from fear of death 
    seek refuge in the Lord, conqueror of death.   
    Then by nature they are immortal.    
    What is to them, the thought of death?

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pwllderi rough sea

Looking outward, I see the surrounding furniture, and seek identity.   Let this collapse inward to centre, inward to this kind of “Am”.  From the core, a pulse – the attention –  emanates subtly outward.  First there was a fence around existence, and existence was that fence.  Then the attention is removed from the fence, to “here” within.   There is no fence.  There is a root – the ‘I-thought, creating the appearance of the world.

If you hold that feeling by the stem as it dissolves, you are led to the Source behind the beginning and beyond the appearance of time.

In Ramana’s experience, the Heart or seat of Self reflects the physical heart:  to the right of sternum can be found the spiritual pulse or sphurana.   To search and feel and focus into this tentative centre, is a kind of tickle, peculiarly restful.  It may be leaned back into.  It feels like a depth or centre of gravity into which I take a brief tumble.  The “In-tense” here is a query with no castle wall.

pwllderi rough sea 2

There is no wall around Ramana either.  There’s a contour suggesting a hill that all may enter and ascend.  There are in the hill, those caves of brilliance, his eyes, to delight in.  That is what “I am” in sky and earth, in shy fox and flowering heather.

Arunachala ’93

And there is a living veneration, which does not generate attachment or cultus.  Why?  because he said when dying:  “I” am with you always.   Where can “I” go?   His figure opens the way like a landscape by the sea.  The light plays around it … as over pre-historic rocks.

Ramana ashram ’94, by the Mother temple

These are beginning sort of things.

Till now I’ve found it difficult to “be still” regularly.  There are so many things to concentrate on.  There is  work in watering my garden in every direction, to keep refreshed.  There are so many places – like the one between the eyebrows? –words, tones and colours to resonate.  I need to nourish the vast symbolic wealth with my creativity.  All of them are doors opening, and all are potentially exhausting.  Anxiety stalks an over-prolific garden.

But concentration is not upon the fence, not upon things.

 

near Arunachala, to the west:  portal

Concentration is the flow, the breath of itself.

The best way then, is simple.  Ask only into the essence of being;  with no room nor need nor expectation.  The rest will follow or flow from that.  The Great Rose, or whatever else.

Doorstep mandala at dawn, Tiruvannamalai ’93

Dare I hope?  What solidarity of the ‘open’ way into the Self, how encouraging to have met, or be about to meet “the others”, some others who are doing it too!

Last week – I don’t remember my dreams very much, for the work with them is done – I dreamed I was in central India traveling.  There was something very real about that, and the people I met.

 

Pondicherry ‘94

There isn’t anything truly real about things in life, which continue to agonize, upset or pull me into spirals of imbalance.  From within their coils even, I see how illusory, how “maya” is the waning momentum of manufactured complaint, how absurd it all is.  This is indeed strange, for to lose my centre feels at present worse and more painful than ever, like an irrevocable back-sliding.   Yet, the trouble, acute at the time, is quickly forgotten, like the labour when giving birth and feeling stuck.   It is all in the mind, the carrier of the evanescent.   The mind is that valuable passenger to Alchemy.  Thus I live in the world, not on retreat.

“You can keep your head cool in solitude while your hands are busy in the workplace,” Ramana said.  From the Centre which is transparent flows (through mental prism) the rainbow Universe of colour and form.

 

Cows near Arunachala

I want nothing.

What a vast variety of curves, of hues of “I”, fragmented or whole, knowing or unknowing, refracted or reflected, sore or joyful:   individuals.

Pond near Arunachala

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Tonight I went to visit Princess Helen.  She wore a white gown.  The walls of her palace are white, and the furniture is thoughtful.  She kindles her oasis in the paintings she buys, in the extension she is building out into her garden, the Transcendental Meditation she does, the fine young Italian who services her, the deep impressions and sudden visions she relishes or is infuriated with … the uncompromising creation and destruction of her inner world week by week, and the spaces – palaces – she builds and furnishes for her clients to live in.  Just now she is developing a residence in Park Lane.

I found her pouting sultrily over a tall glass of dry Chablis.  She had been down to Soho and bought a dozen huge glass jars.  She filled them with Indian spices of unusual autumnal colour, like leaves in fall, for the Park Lane palace …  no not to eat! (a kilo jar of chilli powder?) but to feed the eye – look how beautiful they are, ochre and siena, and to lift up the lid and sniff?  Her clients are rather overwhelmed by these personal touches.  They do not understand the paintings Princess Helen chooses for their palaces, but they feel cared for.  We began to sniff the spices ourselves.  We took rather a long snort at the red chilli and both began to sneeze.

 

Ochre spice, sienna and white, near Arunachala

We had supper in a boat on her “river”, drank more Chablis and talked of this and that.

She began to wonder about the wide arena within which human pollution struggles with itself.  What movement in cosmos does this happen relative to, what kind of consciousness is being formed?  Do microcosmic terrestrial developments reflect such things?  She got quite carried away, and her eyes began to glow with the miraculous scent of Providence.  She got out some tasteful utensils from M&S – “there IS conscience in the business world!   Look how this is designed – and even this packaging for washing powder, it’s so neat and pretty, you could put it on a shelf – AND it’s recyclable, yes, it’s all changing so much, isn’t it?  And do you know,” she told me, “they said the other day, about the ozone hole you know?  they’re finding evidence that dust from volcanic eruptions is being “utilized” to heal and close it!   Think of that!   Isn’t it EXQUISITE?  – marrying volcanic lava from the earth-core to ion replacement in its aerial outer wrapping.   How exquisite, how IMMENSE it all is – the poetry of the checks and balances, we have no idea.  Don’t you think it’s beautiful? – alive it is, great organic creature maintaining itself, our human stuff and suffering on earth, just a scratch.”

 

ramana ashram monk

Be that as it may.  When the Buddha and his colleagues walked the earth, was there a hole in its skin, letting through rays of strange nature?  – the ageless wisdom warms up beds of strata deep, deep within, and people on top are scared.   What things seem to be, is never what they entirely are.

How immense it is.

As the body heals and renews itself every day, beautifully … the organic rhythms throughout a body like the Solar System  – or even a galaxy – are too vast for the scratchy inhabitants of the skin of one of its planets to comprehend.

Ramana ashram arunachala ‘94

But … a Buddha can see it.  A Buddha can see the interplay of cosmic livingness … including consciousness on other planets, whose forms our sensory spectrum cannot detect.  A Ramana can see it.  How?   Because they themselves are that.

And therefore so am I and you.

 

Paddy fields

Without doing more than hold up a daisy, or a smile of silence, the being testifies to Grace in which all “I” am healed and whole;  to a Grace beyond the bounds and toil of my knowledge of time.

..

**

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Another try, this time in charcoal`;  I want my drawings to loosen up, and to have authentic expressive distortions.  Ramana really is a mountain, or a late-Beethoven quartet:  the human grandeur and beauty beckons anew, as I approach.    Next, I shall try turning the photo round, and drawing him upside down.  That usually gives a truthful draughtsmanship.

**

And now, a few more Ashram impressions from 1994:

 

Friends: Bharati and Anna Kim

A torn tree of the soul:  Arunachala inner path

Pradakshina:  He wears His shawl

 and home.

By the way, she loved India and Siva – and “the guy who pours the ghee” (Sri Sundaram) – but is not a devotee.

**

..

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 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) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.

Parc y Meirw: The Field of the Dead

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Coastal Path 1991 Series – Part Three

This is a large post, which has been some time waiting.  It arose from within my  Coastal Path terrain.  It was a channeling.  It remained my major milestone, because after writing it all down, I found myself in a different place from when I began.  With it came some understanding with Ramana Maharshi’s astrology.   See also (river water, stone, nodes) my 18 July post “Portraits & Poems of Eclipse for Ramesh – a Revision

(1)  A Meditation on Eclipse

(2)  Ramana Maharshi’s Horoscope:  eclipse, darshan and mutual reception

**

(1) ON ECLIPSE August 1991

IT IS about 9.30 on an August evening in Pembrokeshire, South Wales, and darkness has gathered.  There is not time to reach the top of Carn Enoc, whose tump stands proud upon the dark round breast of the hill above me.  Carn Enoc is a rocky tumulus marking the central or half way point of the St Davids-to-Cardigan ley-line, and very very old.  Tonight I have to return to London.  My tent and belongings are stashed at a friendly snack-bar at the Harbour station in Fishguard, and this is my final expedition, pedaling up the dark Gwaun Valley – where they still keep the old calender: deep fissures in the landscape, unchanging –  to the open hillside.  The legs have had enough.  The bike lies on the grass by the hedge, for I have at last found an ancient site to “travel home about”!  A row of four giant standing stones broods along the hedge, two of them marking the gate posts.

This is the Stone Row of Parc y Meirw, the FIELD OF THE DEAD.

(The portal.  In the background, far left, are Fishguard Harbour and the distant hill near Pyllderi and Strumble Head.  Photo from http://www.megalithic.co.uk)

The sky has that strange radiance of early night that shimmers somewhere between violet and green, and the Moon has risen over the tense and sleeping field of grass, dazzling white and gold.  She is in her first Quarter at the end of Scorpio, so she is one-half of a seed.  “Harvest Moon!” I quote, as I greet each silent stone.

Two months later … October 1991

My guide-book, the Pembrokeshire Explorer, tells me that this row of stones is an astronomic tool for predicting solar and lunar eclipses, which it does with pin-point sensitivity.  It lines up with the summit of Mount Leinster 91 miles away over the sea in the Irish Wicklow hills.  When the Moon setting appears to slip down the righthand side of Mount Leinster, there will next day be here in South Wales a solar eclipse if it is near New moon, or a lunar eclipse if Full.

The priests who exercised this knowledge measured many other phenomena of the world.  It seems to me, this line of stones is positioned in precise angular relationship also to the tumuli on the hill of Enoc, for the fruit of other observations.

Enoch in the Old Testament was He who walked with God.  “And he was not, for the Lord took him.”  The Celtic version of this name is Enoc, or “cone” backwards.  Here’s a co-ordinate for inner reflection, because much Hermetic power is lodged in these syllables.  The stone circles in this country are felt to be contemporaneous with the Pyramids.   Their builders, as those in Egypt, tapped fields of magnetic energy in Earth, focused stellar and luminary observation with the infinite reach of the human spirit, and guarded these openings of the oracular sciences with rings of negative ions to keep away unwary fools.  For they worked in fields outside time.  The bulk of their activity is invisible in the temporal and historical context.   It enabled them to See.

If you are a druid or seer, and you step through the portal into the field of your profession, no outsider can perceive your tools or what they invoke;  because you enter the ‘standing’ current of the electro-magnetic field.  And if you are, say, an ancient Atlantean, you are wise to leave no tangible trace of your knowledge, for the structure of the atom is potentially lethal to those who are merely curious or hungry for power.  You enter the field of operations where Time is not.  The work is an intimate relationship with the local climate, as with planets of the Solar universe which encircle their nucleus.  When each phase of this work is done, you “close down:” to ensure no unlawful spillage.  You keep away trespassers with rings of repellent power – it sends them to sleep.

It is thought that the magi of ancient times practiced a technology which integrated static electricity with  the prana or breath of Oriental teaching.  With it they could influence the relative weight of quarried stone, so as to transport its mass to a sacred site.  The laser focus of the spirit, entering the heart of the electro-magnetic field, can alter and manipulate its relative densities.  The prana is vital cosmic current, as intercepted by each individual organism.  That is to say, the prana breathes the individual, not the other way round.  My outbreath is the inhalation of cosmic prana;  and when I breathe in, the ALL exhales into me and gives me life.   Thus JHVH breathed out into clay to form ADAM:  this word means Earth.

And so I seem to see these great stones transported substantially – though with token physical effort and organization – upon a cushion of this vital prana or cosmic breath, like a modern hovercraft, or a floating raft of logs to roll it down the river.  Dark blue stones from the Preseli Hills near here were transported to Wiltshire, to build Stone Henge.

Various experiments have demonstrated that a person in a state of deep concentration becomes physically less dense – that is, actually lighter.  If he or she sits in a chair, four friends with a spontaneous concert of will, can easily raise him up with their fingertips – this I have tried, and seen for myself.  The relationship between gravity and the vital current is less predictable than it seems.  A meditator rises.  Isn’t it astonishing how lightly our physical body can be taken upstairs, a pair of lovers flip positions,  a gesture flow like water through an arm, a dancer through one small equilibrating movement?  Only the molecular substance of flesh, fluid, muscle, is inert – or death to the dance within the atom.

The forgotten yet simple skill could enter the dense gravitational field of stone, and let “I’ become its vital sub-atomic current;  here we have a concentration of material which, when conscious, changes its weight.  The stone may be made to move with the living coordinate.

Dattatreya, the Guru of Nature, the elements, and every day  

So also, we have sculpture, the forms and presences of the gods.  We have the Gothic cathedrals of the Templars, in which mass converts to light.  The density, the groundweight of the flying buttresses to each side, maintains the opening of the ogive or soaring arch, taut as a musical string.  Feel the vault of Chartres, how it opens upward like the bud of a flower.  The buttresses and pillars are guylines.  They peg its soaring tabernacle to earth.  The Masonic science of the arch does not lean-to upon itself.  It keeps the art of light, of birth, just opening outward, like the bud, like fingertips in prayer which touch.  The gravitational pull is inverted:  stone is pulled heavenwards, like the way our spine lifts in the Alexander technique.  And so you go in, and you open your eyes from the ground.

This is an example of how the gross weight of stone converts to consciousness – a temple which cannot decay or fall.  The cathedrals were built along the same principles as the stone circles – using pegs and lengths of string to mark out interlacing circles and their vesica pisces.  The Master gave the architect a sacred blueprint.  Solomon’s wisdom entered the rock.

 Seven branch Star

Old tales around more ancient stone circles are told:  at Rollright, some of the stones from the circle of silence “travel” down to the stream at dead of night, to drink.  Water and stone.  Moses struck the rock with his staff of authority (priesthood, the meaning of Aaron) and the water of life came forth.  This water is consciousness.  The staff is the Rod.  During the initiation of Moses, JHVH said to him “What is that in your hand?”  Moses replied, “a rod”.  And JHVH said “Cast it upon the ground.”  So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses fled from it.  But JHVH said to Moses “Put out your hand and take it by the tail.”  So he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a ROD in his hand.

Polarity –  triple staff/caduceus

 The rod, in Tarot (a spelling of Torah, the Law) sprouts and becomes the Suit of Wands.

 Polarity – Mercury, staff, mandorla

The Serpent power or kundalini, of Yoga, is likewise the vital current through Earth’s ley-lines or subtle conduits.  It runs through the meridians of acupuncture in ancient medicine.  It is called in many cultures, the Dragon which encircles and defends the gold or the Grail, and has to be tamed and subdued.  Every site of sacred power, every mound, tower or ring of stones along a ley-line, is an outlet of the Dragon.  Legends of the saints who did battle with Dragons, are tales of those who were learning to master their own raw unconscious.  They learned to spear the visionary ego at every outlet of sacred science.

(The root of this word “science”, is knowledge.  Self knowledge.  When dogmatic, it becomes an organised religion, whatever the white coat it wears may believe.)

Polarity – Nodal ourobouros

 The same Serpent power is the ascending and descending Node of the Moon.   At these antipodeal points north and south of the Equator, the lunar orbit around Earth intersects Earth’s orbit around the Sun.  The Nodes are known as the Dragons Head (north of equator) and Tail (south).   Their position on the ecliptic moves clockwise or “retrograde” around the zodiac, taking just over eighteen-and-a-half years to complete a full circle.  The Serpent in a circle devours its own tail.  If you are able to take your Dragon by the tail – the tension which is coiled up in old habits and reaction – and let that river of power straighten … you flow with your Dragon’s Head or ascending Node, to create new fields of reality.  You may be used like Moses, as an instrument.  Your destiny may materialize in or as a tide of history.  Or, to use another analogy, an old wound may heal.  The healer’s art, like the priestly chrism or power, taps into this Nodal electricity.

In yoga, the serpent – encompassing a dimension beyond that discussed – is coiled at the base of the subtle spine at the root chakra, like a wheel.   She is led to rise, straighten and open through five intermediary chakras or wheels up the subtle spine, to the “wheel” of the thousand petalled Lotus at the Crown.  The Eastern snake is thus charmed up through seven  chakras of the body.  The coiled serpent at the base of the spine – our plant stem – is the root, deep in dark earth.  When it is purified and naturally uncoils like a fern in spring, the “white” current flows without impediment, like a laser beam.

Chakra

The word chakra means “wheel”.  The chakras are waves which emanate concentrically from their subtle centre.  Karma – the inertia-momentum of action – is similarly a centrifugal coagulation of an impulse around itself.  The impulse traveling outward cools, forming the ego, I-story or crust of the world.  The hub of the wheel is motionless, around which all spins, all radiates, all consolidates and changes.  The hub of the wheel is its heart, its secret fire – magma in the roots and veins of Earth.

Solar eclipse takes place when the New Moon is conjunct to the Sun along a precise alignment of lunar and terrestrial orbital paths.   The Moon’s disk which is normally effaced during this moment in the greater light, then moves across the face of the Sun, cutting off its light.  For a short time, a small portion on the day-time hemisphere of Earth then experiences partial or total eclipse – darkness.

Rahu northnode 2. ( For earlier version of these two drawings, see my post “Sacred India Tarot :  Creation of Chandra the Moon, 18 August”)

Lunar eclipse happens when the Full Moon is in opposition to the Sun along a precise alignment of lunar and terrestrial orbital paths.  The Moon is then exactly the other side of the Earth.  The Dragon as Earth’s own shadow eats or extinguishes the light of the illumined full Moon at night.

 Ketu northnode 2

To our “two eyes” of Earth, the indescribable vast discrepancy in the actual size and distance between the two lights, appears as two “pennies” the same size in the sky … whose periods regulate our life.   Isis and Osiris, in long ago Egypt, portray the cycles and the phases of the light, as Earth’s axis tilts around the sun.

Only an act of inward imagination can begin to differentiate the star – its size, depth and unending radiant centre – from the mirror of its cool earthbound satellite.  Our coinage is the surface or apparent measure of things.  The root of the Sanskrit word maya is ma – to measure:  the skill or art of measuring the immeasurable, thus an impossible feat.

Light is our protection.  When the light is eaten up by an approaching shadow, a hole or opening of darkness is created in the psyche.  At this time, some signal enters through a blind eye and takes root.  It seems the magnetic field of Earth is particularly vulnerable or sensitive at these fluid points where the planes of our sun and moon may merge.  It loses during eclipse, a screen.  An unpredictable cosmic current or ray may enter this nodal channel, engendering a clairvoyance of darkness or of unknown quantity.  And so, open to sinister interpretation, the eclipse would often portend flood, invasion or plague.

Cosmos

Eclipse may equally prophesy the coming – like a thief in the night – of a saviour or Kingdom of righteousness.  Light has a subtle and furtive way of creeping up on the disciple.  The zen method disorients his three-dimensional habit or view of the world by means of koans or mental paradox – “to hear the sound of one hand clapping”.  Wisdom does come like a thief in the night.  It is not a parade of visions or anything to boast about.  Wisdom removes vainglory.

An accurate prediction of an eclipse issues a warning to citizens and farmers and kings to see to their psychic and physical defenses and make sure there is some reserve in the granary.  But an initiate receives a visiting card – an increment of Reality abiding beyond the known co-ordinates of space and time.

Orbits 1988

 An image of this arises as I write –  a convexity which is actually a concavity.  Something which appears to be solid, yields infinite and vertiginous space.  A wall of darkness is a channel.  The river may be read to flow in both or all directions.  The planes of the worlds dissolve.  The matrix of reality fragments, like torn shreds of paper on which a story is written.  And through the floating and faded static of those white shreds with black signs, appears the unknown field of yet some Being other.  Time on a clock ticks regularly.  But sometimes it seems each tick stops around itself.  Then everything bursts into a slow motion sneeze.  There is no end.  No beginning:  and thus no progression.  The shreds of white paper with the pattern of the writing breaking apart, were a molecular skin or surface to watery element immeasurably deep, and this molecular lattice is flaking away …  like the skin of a snake.

Chronos in rings and DNA, 1988

 Snake.  Water and Stone.

Look into the eyes and stillness of the snake.

Look into a river flowing by.

The strange solid fluence of the water is a wall of itself.

What is this, but a flow of stone?

 kundalini shakti, 1988

The nature of flowing water is a very great mystery to me, looking into it, placing my hand down into it.  The whole river, the wall of it cold, metallic, sings every shining living contour of stone over stones.

The song and substance never ends and never begins.

Yet everything can be dropped into it.

A path of gravity or falling object, cross-sections one instant of Time through the wholeness of the river which is timeless – the fourth dimension.  Our world, our story, our vortex, is a minuscule fraction of the river, an instant.

Lovers at Buckland Filleigh

River through woodland.  River through countries.

River, dark and secret, dark brown is the river, golden is the sand;  and put your ear to the ground.

Where does the snake “really” begin or end?

You cannot say, for the snake is not his head or tail, but the ripple along all his atoms over the earth.

Now take him by the tail.  How that ripple writhes the whiplash, body and soul!

Yet I AM the body of this snake, straight and true, for I wrestled the Angel, and became the source.

I am then always, all ways.

To use an old expression, we flip as “Heads and Tails” for destiny, the currency of sun and moon on the back of our hand which is earth.  The Dragon describes a circle of 18.6 years around the zodiacal ecliptic.  At his tail south of equator, he depletes his vital force;  and at his head north of equator in the antipodeal or complementary zodiac sign, he restores it.  Head to tail is a flow of nectar nourished by the earth:  union.  The Dragon’s Head is “turned towards” the sun or source-light.  The Tail is empowered by the akasic residues or past-life memory – that is, reflected or lunar light.

Dinosaur egg

In the old lore, the Dragon bites and eats up the Sun and Moon.  This dragon of the earth is a black hole in the sky.  And they must make much noise with the beating of drums and shouting and dancing, to frighten him away and let the maidenly lights come free.  When there is no eclipse, the plane of Moon’s terriestrial orbit tilts across Earth’s solar orbit.  Where the planes intersect is called the Node, north and south of the equator.

At a time of potential eclipse, the lunar orbit merges and comes to rest upon that of Earth’s own journey around the Sun.  Sun, Moon and Earth lie then along one identical plane.  The teaching seems to be of non-differentiation:  Unicity:  the underlying circling of all things.  Those things which are different have melted or emerged into those which are the same thing.  The resonance of the worlds is one note upon a string.  But like the monitor of a failed heart, it registers no blip, no pulse.

Circumpunct

This, to the life of the personal mind, which thrives on the differences of all notes, orbital planes and operatics in relation to one another, is DEATH.  It is anathema.  It is very frightening.  The sky is livid.  We don’t want this unity, this expiry, this harmony of silence.  So we must sing and dance and put on the electrodes, perform an intensive-care of disturbance and distraction, wake it up, get it moving, jolt.  Frighten away that intensely transcendent and all enveloping existence consciousness, inimical to the local livelihood of life.  Move the electric spark.  Move it.

And the body re-emerges and fights on.

Yes:  for our light is our life’s wavelength, its spark of warmth and sentience.  Earth is the blanket which shrouds the light;  the shadow of Earth.

**

Out here in the Field of the Dead, upon the whitened grass, the Node where orbital planes cross and incite eachother, is the Dragon’s quiver:  the friction of ascending and descending current.  So also do violent ascending currents of warm air colliding with banked droplets of water release thunder and lightning, opening the heavens.  In an aeon of falling rain in our planet’s “pre-history”, here’s a glimpse of the origin of life.  Organic life comes forth in the rub of it, a spark of Genesis into the clay.

O angel

Rainbows.  Consider now rainbows, how they are made;  the crock at the end of the rainbow, ungrasped.  Clay is the vessel.  Gold grows there through the coloured prism of rain and sun.  So long as we seek it over there, so long it lightly laughs and mirages us.

Snake.  Water.  Stone.

Stone is the metal of living Earth, polarized to her magnetic field.

When a homeopathic remedy or essence is repeatedly diluted, its molecular substance dissolves to an atomic potency – like the dissolution of the I-thought into the Self.  Ramana Maharshi said:  “All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop.”

So it is with the magnetic property of stone.  The blood of stone is her metallic vein; an ore extracted from Earth has a measurable pulse or current.  But in stone as a whole, non specialized, the current is diluted to quintessence – to a subtle trace.

The soul of humankind might enter the soul of Stone, if attuned to the quanta of its auric field.  There could be a fluid exchange of relative densities for certain concentrated purposes.  I somehow feel this is so, and is a forgotten art.  From the core of stone’s atomic lattice, there emanates like a flower’s scent, a wave.  Like the blood of a snake the heart of stone becomes warm in sunlight, and seems to pulsate like an egg.  This intuits throughout our subatomic world an unobstructed intercourse of all things – a potency.  Eclipse of Sun or Moon in the Field of the Dead, is a key to this understanding.  It affects subliminally the polar bias in the stone.  The worlds, the elements, may enter one another at this time.  “Oh, ye are Men of Stone!”

Loaves and Fishes

Water conducts electricity.  If you are damp the shock is greater.  Water conducts the current between the lights, male and female.  The Snake is a coil of copper wire.  The copper-serpent has minimal resistance to the flow of ions or current.  It is coiled tightly around a magnet to amplify the positive and negative polarity, and generate power.  It coils around the rock.  An electro magnetic wave is like a concentric ripple traveling through water into which a pebble or leaf is dropped;  like rings of time around the golden core of a tree.   Travelling in every direction from source, a round-wave harnessed into a two-way cable or filament manifests as heat, as sound …  or as a body (with all our history!)  In the vein, that wave registers the pulsation of the poles.  It spirals through transformers condensing the charge.  The “resistor” is thrown into high relief and specialization in a series of interactions.  Voltage channeled along a high-tension conduit is converted into available gross energy, such as speech.  (See my 21 August post, Odds and Logs, near the drawing of Dakshinamurti.)

Electro magnet ’88

Yet I sense that the power which has not been harnessed, but quietly emanates and flowers is, though subtle, infinitely greater.  It  encountered no “resistors” to slow it down into manifestation.  It has no sheath, cable or garment.  The multiple conduits in the biological, mental and industrialized world are of a very different order from the emanation pure in Spirit.  But it requires a refined and purified perception to realize this.

The stone is still and compact, a composition of space.  The atomic lattice is dense, and yet infinitely spacious:  it is.  It has a primordial emanation.

It is like one who sits very quiet, very awake, very still.  At Eclipse.

In esoteric parlance, evolutionary souls form an astral “copper serpent” or subtle collective body – a powerful tool or symbol of redemption.  Moses revealed it through the Rod to the children of Israel.  Jesus – JHShVH – surrendered himself on a cross of four elements – JHVH – and was resurrected from the tomb of rock, through this medium.  It comes to the aid of awakening between incarnations, and thus between all the lines of life;  and every time our thought falls silent.  There are and have been always bodhisattvas who offer or train their body to channel the Copper-serpent.  They gave to it their vital force, not mere lip-service or worship.   They recognize the cross, the lamb of God and the tomb which opened like a mother’s thighs, as the process here and how, spiritually and psychologically, unfolds.

Copper is the metal which is ruled by Venus.  In the highest spectrum, this is Love.

 **

 In the Beginning … (granite rocks from St Agnes, Isles of Scilly) 

So here I stand at night in this Field of Death.

I am opening to sky and tall grey stones, and dance a little because I am happy or moved, but otherwise unaware that such a stream of ideas is storing itself to later flow through my recall of being here, when I start to write it down.

I register my surroundings, the Moon in the clear sky, a possible relation of the site to Carn Enoc itself, and the vague hearsay that this line of Stones was used to measure the eclipse.  That is all.  This sounded interesting, and drew me here to get a feel of it.  I have no idea what I am investigating, if anything;  I am simply pleased to be here, it was a tiring bike ride up the Gwaun valley, and perhaps “they” will tell me something if I am quiet for a few moments and put my ear to them, each one.

The Pembrokeshire Explorer mentions an old folk tale of the Ladi Wen – the White Lady.  She wandered white about these fields at night.  For thousands of years it was enough to know that she would kill any fool who strayed near the plain grey giants.  “She wanders far and wide in her monthly journeying about the sky;  wayward, she returns to her original resting place only once every 18.6 years.”

The great stones rise like sentinels from a banked hedge.  There are four of them, and they are rather curiously squared-off.  I did not stay for very long, but I put my ear to three of them for a moment.  The place is remote, with a narrow lane running by the field.  Before farmland tamed and desensitized it, this could have been a place of power that strings of generations might shun.  The contour is broad and bleak.  The half-moon sheds a Scorpionic witch’s intensity over the entranced field.  The slopes fall away into the steep dark dells of the Gwaun valley where (I’m told) they still keep the old Roman calender.  And the eye is drawn upwards and along the skyline to the stark tumulus of Carn Enoc about a mile away.

“Enoch walked with God;  and he was not, for God took him.”  (Genesis Chapter 5)

Then Enoch (whom some say is Thoth, the  higher Mind of Egypt) dissolved into the plane of God.  His hill here is used to measure the eclipse.

 A Capricorn glyph – a hermetic Divinity

**

..

(2) RAMANA’S HOROSCOPE

“One who sits very quiet, awake and still. At eclipse.”

“His face is like the face of water, always changing, yet always the same. It is amazing how swiftly it moves from gentleness to rock-like grandeur, from laughter to compassion.  So complete does each successive aspect live, that one feels it is not one man’s face, but the face of mankind.”

Arthur Osborne

(See “Visit  to Arunachala 1993”, 22 June 2012 post)

17 October 1991

I did not know, during my visit to the Field of the Dead – (the Book of Unity?) – that I was about to hear a lesson about the solar and lunar ecliptic plane particularly relevant to my discovery of the teaching.  After I got back to London, I found out that when Ramana Maharshi was born, his Sun and Moon, in Capricorn and Cancer respectively, lay along the lunar Nodes.

This looked most interesting, and was further emphasized by his axis of Will or Midheaven in the same place.  I was enchanted to see this, being a new devotee, and myself a solar Capricorn and lunar Cancer.

I’m slow to comprehend things, and only today – more than a month later – the penny drops.  I have not investigated the geometry of eclipse before.  But as I wrote all this yesterday, (see previous pages) I vaguely remembered seeing something.  On a hunch I got out Ramana’s horoscope, to check.

(This is of course, a western or “tropical” chart – Earth’s orbit around the sun, within the Solar System – and identified with seasonal archetypes.  The Indian Jyotish zodiac is projected upon the actual constellations and their archetypes, outside the Solar System.  Due to precession of the equinox over the last few thousand years,  a 26-degree gap widens.  In Jyotish, Ramana is  in Sagittarius, with his planets placed accordingly.  In practice, the two systems differ in emphasis and cultural nuance, but the character reading adds up to the same.  It is like two sides of the same leaf, which appear different.)

**

I saw, in the light of what I had just discovered and learned, that in his astrological map there is no differentiation between the plane of the lunar orbit and that of the sun.  His birth (during the annual festival of the Sight of Shiva on 30 December at 1 am 1879) took place at a time when ALL THREE PLANES OF CONSCIOUSNESS – the Trinity or tripura of Earth, Sun, Moon – were dissolved into One:  what he called the Self.

This is the divinity which lies – like the staff – along the Midheaven axis of his birth and realization.

Only a few of the major aspects are shown here.  There is a remarkable beauty in the Venus/Mars opposition.  Venus and Mars-with-Pluto are in each other’s signs.  This is called a Mutual Receptivity, and as they are in the signs where they are weak (antipodeal to the signs which they rule), conventional astrologers shake their heads.  But who was Ramana?   Was the way he abandoned his family and married the Hill, auspicious? – particularly in the Indian culture, where each generation of a family risks the curse of an unproductive sadhu?   But look – the precision of the interplay suggests the intensity of Ramana’s darshan, his expressive eyes, and the Siva Ardhanarishvara – a vibrant marriage of male and female – in his silent presence.

No music could express it better.  See Arthur Osborne’s description of his facial features, on the previous page.  Libra – the sign inviting reconciliation, relationship-of-opposites and harmony – rises.  The Midheaven axis and lunar nodes with Sun and Moon, passes through Capricorn and Cancer, the polarity of the Family of Man:  old age and the child.  There is an archetypal theme of nativity.  The light is seeded in the darkest hour of night, at the lowest point of the year.  As the moment of alignment to the ecliptic plane passes its peak, this child of exceptional promise is born.

 Siva Ardhanisvara – Lord whose half is Woman:  copyright (c)The Sacred India Tarot by Rohit Arya & Jane Adams, Yogi Impressions Books, 2011

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The Moon when Ramana was born, was full, and about to wane.  When they were carrying Shiva into the temple in the darkest hour of night, the little boy was born nearby.  At that moment, with 21 degrees Libra rising (western tropical astrology), the root and flower of the Midheaven melted into those merged lunar and solar planes.  Whether or not the moon itself came into earth’s shadow at that time, the ecliptic planes were unified, quiet and still.  The realization flooded the boy at age sixteen, with an intense encounter and journey through the field of the dead – the death of the personal mind into a pure, unpersoned livingness of “I,  I” everywhere.  He lay down on the floor in deadly fear, and “died” in full consciousness, remaining awake and aware.

Young Ramana

 On another occasion, about sixteen years later in 1912, a devotee was with him.  They were returning to Virupaksha Cave on the hill Arunachala after a bath.  Near a place called Tortoise Rock, death again  dissolved all the planes:

“The landscape in front of me disappeared as a bright white curtain was drawn across my vision and shut it out.  I could distinctly see the gradual process.  There was a stage when  I could still see a part of the landscape clearly while the rest was covered by the advancing curtain.  It was like drawing a slide across one’s view in a stereoscope.  I stopped walking  lest I should fall.  When it cleared, I walked on.  When darkness and faintness came over me a second time, I leaned against a rock until it cleared.  The third time it happened, I felt it safer to sit, so I sat down near the rock.  Then  the bright white curtain completely shut off my vision, the head was swimming and the circulation and breathing stopped.  The skin turned a livid blue.  It was the regular death hue, and it got darker and darker.  Vasudeva Sastri took me to be dead and held me in his arms and began to weep aloud and lament my death.

 “I could distinctly feel his clasp and his shivering, and hear his words of lamentation, and understand their meaning.  I also saw the discoloration of my skin and felt the stoppage of circulation and breathing, and the increased chilliness of the extremities of this body.  My usual current of awareness still continued.  I was not in the least afraid, and felt no sadness at the condition of the body.  I had sat down near the rock in my usual posture and closed my eyes, and was not leaning against the rock.   The body, left without circulation or respiration, still maintained that position.  This state continued for some ten or fifteen minutes.  Then a shock passed suddenly through the body and circulation revived with tremendous force, and breathing also, and the body perspired from every pore.  The colour of life reappeared on the skin.  I then opened my eyes and got up and said ‘Let’s go.’  We reached Virupaksha Cave without any further trouble.  This was the only fit I had in which both circulation and respiration stopped.”

 “Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self knowledge”, by Arthur Osborne

 After this happened, in his thirty-third year – (and malnourishment could have been a contributing factor, but the soul’s response was pre-emptive) – Ramana Maharshi began to enter the physical world fully, to speak, to cook, to build, to bind notebooks and to participate in the life and work of his devotees.  His sahaja Samadhi was by now in truth unchanging and unconditional.

AFTERWORD – Who is interested in eclipses?

When I was small, my mother woke me one night and carried me to a window to see an eclipse of the Moon.  “It is very beautiful,” I said. “Can I go back to bed now.”  In the morning, they talked of the eclipse.  I was very angry, why didn’t they wake me up and show me?   I had slept so deep, there was no trace of this event on my conscious mind.

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Here is a picture I painted at school, of my family on holiday:

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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 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) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.

Portrait Gallery (2) of Ramana & Devotees

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Ramana on a walk

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… and when he was very old

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… and when he was very young

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… and rather frail with the Light that trembled in his lamp

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… and along comes Robert

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… and Catherine Ingram, whose Dharma Dialogues watch the storm in the clear sky.

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This is another sketch of Annamalai Swami. (See my earlier post, Visit to Arunachala 1993)

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… and here, Annamalai and Ramana are at work, building the Ashram.

Annamalai’s book Living by the Words of Bhagavan as told to David Godman, caused quite a stir, in 1994.  It describes, with a bricklayer’s honesty, the atmosphere of ferment around the sage, in those early days.   It brilliantly observes the psychology of Ashram – any Ashram – and contains some very beautiful teaching.

Now, some other builders:

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Skanda and Ganapati – Ramana and Ganapati Muni play their mythological roles as spiritual brothers in Siva’s lap …

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… and then enjoy themselves in the tank.

 Ganapati’s devotees called him “Nayana” – Little Father.  Ganapati Muni could breathe a mantra into a devotee’s whiskery ear, in such a way that it remained, unending, like the sea.  His Sanskrit poetry of Ramana’s teaching and early dialogues with devotees, became the “Ramana Gita”.

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Kapali Shastri – the Muni’s student, a great Tantric scholar and scribe, who lived at Aurobindo’s Ashram, and journeyed to and fro – writes it all down

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And here are the lineage holders – K Natesan and Vamadeva Shastri (David Frawley).

The late K Natesan translated and preserved the Muni’s Sanskrit poetry, many of these works still unpublished.  The heritage combines Self-enquiry, Vedic wisdom, Ayurvedic medicine, Jyotish (the astrology of Light), Aurobindo’s teaching, meditation and yoga –  in every branch of life.   The disciplines are interwoven and integral.  It was the Muni’s burning desire to re-awaken India’s Vedic heritage, to cast off the abuses much of it had fallen into.

Vamadeva Shastri studied with Natesan and with M.P.Pandit (whose teacher was Kapali Shastri) and brought it back to New Mexico.  It thrives in his translations of the Vedic Hymns and on http://www.vedanet.com – the American Institute of Vedic Studies.  He published many books on Yoga and the roots of Mantra and the Vedic civilization.   A western acharya – a rarity, as recognized by the wisdom holders in India – he is one of those who help to restore the Sanatana Dharma.  Taking root, the oak in the acorn seed takes its time to grow.    It is interesting how the  pioneering initiative is and has been reflected back, by a Westerner.   Ramana lived in a cave, but became known through the quintessential comedy of east and west, within the well of Self-enquiry.

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Francis Lucille (2)

A French diplomat and musician:  his teacher was Jean Klein.  One day, the Gayatri Mantra opened the door …

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Papaji

Poonja (Papaji) traveled all over India as a yogi and stayed with Ramana.  He loved and played with Krishna also, round the other side of the Hill.  As he grew old, seekers from the west settled to him like bees to the flower.   In Lucknow, he took care of Osho’s children.   He said “Keep quiet” and “Let there be peace to all beings.”   With him, Catherine Ingram (above) released her Buddhist training into the meeting place of the Self.  The teaching is a flow of being, whatever the form.

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Ramana drinks wisdom

And here is Ramana on a hot day.

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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 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) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.

More Portraits of Ramana Maharshi and Devotees (1)

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Archive:  these sketches and portraits were published in the Ramana Maharshi Foundation Journal, Self Enquiry in the years 1993-2003

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Ramana with Squirrel

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Ganapati meets Ramana

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Ramana and a Verse by Muruganar

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The poet Muruganar

The Tamil poet Muruganar listened  and transcribed each day, Ramana’s words to verse.  These beautiful poems and meditations are published in Garland of Guru’s Sayings and  Guru Vachana Malai.  Like Talks and Day by Day with Bhagavan, they are an accurate companion to Ramana’s daily conversations, silence and presence in the Ashram.    

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T.K.Sundaresa Iyer

Another great devotee and scholar:  author of reminiscences “At the Feet of Bhagavan

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Western devotees with Ganesan

Some of the long term residents of Ramanasramam during the 1950s/60s.

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V.Ganesan

Co-editor, with Arthur Osborne, of the Ashram Journal The Mountain Path.   Ganesan has traveled, taught, shared stories and made friendships all over the world, and now lives quietly near Arunachala.

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Arthur Osborne

Arthur Osborne, a poet, and initially a follower of Rene Guenon, came to Ramana in about 1942, following his internment in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp.  He made the Ashram his home, and brought up his children there.  During those early and more rural decades at Ramanasramam, many vivid personalities thrived – a pioneering atmosphere, an empire being built, but in a different way.   Osborne founded and published the Ashram Journal The Mountain Path:  a vivid chronicle of Ramana’s teaching and devotees, amid the life and mythology around Arunachala.  It contains beautiful restored photographs from the archives, and enjoys a global circulation.

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Ramana visits Major Chadwick

As chronicled in A Sadhu’s Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi …

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Douglas Harding: First Person cosmic egg

Douglas’s experiments sprang to life again, during his visits to Tiru.

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Papa Ramdas

Another great devotee and much loved Master in southern India, whose liberation bore fruit in Ramana’s presence.

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Frank Humphreys arrives to lunch

“Everyone comes to him as a book … from him, God radiated terrifically … “  Perhaps Ramana’s first Western visitor:  Frank Humphreys was a policeman serving in India, and a Theosophist.  His reminiscences of his discovery are another early gem.  Ramana suggested that people should do Self-enquiry while practicing their own faith and culture with sincerity:  on his return to the UK,  Humphreys became a Catholic monk.   Behind Ramana, Ganapati Muni enjoyes the perennial Anglo-Indian comedy.

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Ramana Arunachala

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To be Continued …

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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 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) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.

Visit to Arunachala 1993


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Visit to Arunachala  1993

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Day One

In a mud village at the foot of Arunachala, the setting sun is glistening pink sky in a silver tank.  Boys are fishing.  Sound of music – the strident shrill horns of buses and lorries.  “Hal-lo!” – the radiant smile of children in Tamil Nadu, bowling hoops in red earth alleys.

When I arrived in Ramanasramam last night, it was bundled up like a wounded buffalo in the back of a taxi.  I had fallen ill early that morning in the train approaching Madras, with sickness, cramps and dehydration.   My body was an alien disaster – my teenage daughter was embarrassed and concerned:  Mum going to pieces when abroad.  My first night here was an agony of weakness in an inhospitable room of stone, far away from everything.   I had looked forward to it so much.   It was a nightmare.

Very slow and cautious recovery during the day.

In the mid afternoon, I ventured out and into the Ashram, and up the path towards Skandashram a little way.  The warm stones to my bare feet, and the lithe smiles of twig-like dark children began to heal and open my cells again like a plant.  I began to recognize and understand where I was.  With wonderful relief the pain went away.

My first time in India.   India!

During a visit to the Temple’s flowering stillness, and sitting in the Old Hall in Ramana’s presence, and doing pradakshina around the chanting of the Vedas, I understood that my bodymind had been thoroughly squeezed, wrung of all its juices like a pressed mango, in obligatory fast, and could now like an empty sponge, open to take in this experience fresh and clean.  There is now, after barely a day here, and after the grim gallows grimace of yesterday, a quiet happiness.   Arunachala stone is of roses and fire.  The sun is steadily hot with a fresh breeze.  There is everywhere a tender growth of green.  Young trees are planted on the dry slopes in protective cairns of stones.  In the spaces of Ashram – the word means, I think, ‘shelter’ or ‘spiritual refuge’ – sphurana is vibrant, ringing within my thoughts.    It is good to feel Bhagavan’s smile, wisdom and tenderness percolate softly, powerfully, through the matter.  It says to me, “Have no worries.  Hand them all over.”  Living and washing and eating off the ground gets to feel very good as it becomes accustomed.  Leaf plate stitched concentrically, rice and yellow food, fingers, hot milk, banana.

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The only thing I can say about today, is the pressure of peace, an inner intensity that slowly infiltrates, and is kindled in the Maharshi’s presence like a river of fire, deep and strong in the stem.  It is often imperceptible;  but the reminded awareness may tap this Source.  Sitting in the Old Hall is best.  The path of light up the Hill.  The russet granite rocks illumined.  The thin, dark limber legs descending;  they bear white-toothed smiles and eyes that gaze slowly, openly into mine, straight and fearless as Bhagavan’s from the same earth.  During the Vedic chanting, I did pradakshina of his mahasamadhi shrine, with the members of our Satsang at home in mind, their faces.  This helped me to concentrate.  The chanting of the Vedas is cosmic, like the sound and deep of the sea.

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Day Four

India is something to embrace very gently, all the time.  Climbing Arunachala mountain – rose-fire stone, garlanded with lemon-grass;  repeating Arunachala Siva whenever my mind quietened, my bare feet were not separate from the ground.  The stones of the path, the rocky foot-holds and spills of sharp grass coming to meet them, flow into the soles as the whole surface of Arunachala is their friend, the friend of my body to receive.   There are moments of non-doership, watching those feet.   This thought is Siva climbing, dancing upon the steep path of pilgrims.  The climb to a holy place, is up the benevolent body of the Great Lord.   All of the racket of the town Tiruvannamalai below, floats up to meet and merge with the Divine in His silence.

On the summit, in the smell of burnt ghee over the blackened rock, there is a tremendous wind, and a veil of cloud.  The whiteness parts to reveal spurs of the Mountain in breathtaking beauty, which fall away into space, into His sun-shot hazy dance-floor, sheer below.   Parvati peak is very near, and shining.  A community of monkeys up here maintains a pecking order for Prasad.

At Skandashram on the way down, the stream is full, because there has been rain.  Like hot buffaloes, my daughter and I thrust our salt-doll heads and sweat into the water in bliss.  Then in cool wet clothes I went into the dark holy shrine to sit.  A fire lit up in my heart, here in Bhagavan’s mountain home among the falling water, whose sound is everywhere.   I felt moved to tears, coming out, with the stature and abundance of this day – really beyond speech.

Some of the high contours of the Mountain form a strange echo chamber or ear.  It takes all the noise of life and turns it into a song whose note rings a hymn of sages, somewhere in the upper slopes.

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Day Five

In the Old Hall, I begin to make a discovery;  to bathe in the inner Current.  Light from the window by Bhagavan’s sofa falls on the floor, on polished flags of stone, dark grey and white.   A silvery stream beginningless of the Self, is generated here, like a mountain spring.   There is a brightness, there is repose, there is no thing, there is the deep.  My I-thought is a worry-fly.  It buzzes around and over the surface of the current of awareness.

I walked around the Song of the Gods – the Vedas – a few times, too.  The ground walks these feet.  Here in this land, all is softness.  All is interwoven, even hardnesses lose their nature.  The actual life of the Ashram is this silver stream.  It plays among the silent beings that come and go, that sit or stand, that bring their burdens.  Within all conversations and encounters, is the truth of silence, slow waves of earth, of water – no solidity is here.   In this place … just listen – to the sounds of water, the monkeys, the wailing peacocks and priests.   Immerse;  receive the blessing.

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Now it is afternoon, and am resting from the heat, with my feet in a waterfall upstream from the Sadhus’ colony.  This is a sylvan valley under the Hill and to the west.  There is only the abundant sound of the water, gold shadows of ripples that cross the sand.  Sivaic beetles are dancing.  A spindly flock of tiny black baby goats, fleshless, come to drink.  Hot clear sun, fresh breeze, a mountain stream in a rocky meadow, green grasses bright – this is any place in the world.

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Ganapati Muni as Manu, the Hierophant

The Sacred India Tarot copyright (c) Yogi Impressions Books 2011

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In the evening, the Path of Peace – the climb to Skandashram and seeing the sunset – is a causeway.  If I let the ground flow into my bare feet and hear Arunachala Siva within, He might do the walking for me.   Hand over the feet to Him.   How loose and supple the body glides with them.  The rose-subtle radiance of the evening sky illumines the path of broad stones with a secret fire which glows and is immanent in everything.   It is not flame, but the essence of life, Divinity’s spark.   Far above, the mountain sings as one Song all the discordant notes offered up to Him from the town.  He receives them in His throat, and transforms them to a musical vibration, an echoing sphurana, an OM.

The secret fire which makes the stones glow rose-orange in the twilight after the sun has set, is Siva.

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Day Six

The I-thought is a banana being fed to monkeys and beggars.  Follow this bright banana to its stalk on the stem, and stay there for as long as possible …

Frantically floundering about in the Old Hall, trying to be quiet with Bhagavan, and stop worrying about small and colourful transactions in the market place in town, and about whether my new clothes will fit or shrink.  A new world of acquaintance takes shape simultaneously where the sacred Mountain interfaces the profane, the dusty, tumultuous and exuberant world of the street, the grass-roots education.  We immerse, we SWIM downtown with the crowd, the exuberant tide of life, like ducks.

When we arrived here, it was totally foreign, I couldn’t understand any of the shops, hadn’t any proper clothes, felt naked, laughed at, and sore.

The art of not being the doer must be the key to … everything?  Be not the doer, but the door.

Today was our first pradakshina around the mountain.   The beauty of it all sang inside me, especially to see Parvati peak enthroned in grace with her Lord, around the North faces.   Exuberant and light hearted are the namastes, with all the enchanting children, naughty old crones, cows, boys demanding school-pens, and raucously squawking little auto-rickshaws along the path.  Their bulb horns are the ego, danced upon by Siva.  Aaoh Ow! they cry out … for miles around the mountain.   Meeting and receiving  all this, eye to eye, look and be seen, isn’t Bhagavan’s grace the indifferentiation which – in the highest sense – is love?   The laughter is deeply moved along the joyful road.   We strayed off it, into stretches of quiet country inland to the Mountain, and picked up many stones, red, white and black for the Three Gunas.  Around the rocky flanks of Parvati, water-courses glisten in the sun, like milk.

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Day Seven

The Maharshi’s current of peace is strong in the morning, a ringing in my heart where he plays the instrument, a river, an intimation of an in-looking sweetness, mysterious and awesome.  Being near the well, I can dwell a little more in the silent, simple music.   I don’t need to greet everyone or maintain conversational grimaces, among the rich green trees, the birds, brilliant peacocks and limber monkeys … the quiet white stone, where Tamil peasants squat and drink their breakfast out of cans.  There are not many flies in the fresh air by the Hall.  I am a peasant with a load of cattle seeking oasis.

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Day Eight

Utter paradox:  the unholy racket, discord and commerce jostles up to the utterly pure flame of the Hill and shatters its peace with cinema music, like piglets to the sow;   the rapture with the Hill remains unchanged under all that desecration.   Thought for the day:  Remember everything which occurs is truly His grace.  Then love is the door, which opens.

The Munchkin Man (he’s from the States) tells me the soil in these parts is exhausted of minerals and trace elements.  After a few days, I feel my body weight disappearing, even with my enormous appetite for the delicious vegetarian sambars.   My substance collapses into the inner vestal flame of Bhagavan’s grace – the vichara or Self enquiry. The Indian climate, allied to the discreet power of his presence here, is a tropical blossom which folds around, embraces and drains me of inessentials.   It is enough to be not doing, but sitting about.  You can lie on the hard ground.  The warmth coming into body and bones, cushions it.   There are no edges, no surfaces other than this friend.  You can make a palace wherever you are.  For the last few days I have a bad, tickly cough.  Last night I got up, went out and did a few surya namaskayas and stretches under the clear stars, with slow breaths.   The consciousness reached beyond the scratchiness.  The cough settled, and let me sleep.

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Day Ten

On pradakshina before dawn:   Ramana who sports in the Self, used to roam wild on the hill like a goat.   They took him and shut him up in an Ashram.

Siva Arunachala Majesty abides in peace under siege of urban cacophony and some local entrepreneurial piranha.  You can’t get away from the noise of thought, of the plains.  You can at moments praise, pray and wonder at His silhouette of power and grace before dawn, with His Queen, Parvati.   The divinities are bathed each instant with milky offerings of the NOW, destroying clouds and vapours – oh Great Ones of Grace, denuded, manifesting dignity and perfection – they unchangingly are changed.  The profane and tinsel tide of superstition and commerce inundates but touches them not.   Oh, silver grey unformed Self at dawn unborn – Arunachaleswara preserves in mouna – silently – His purity.

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This afternoon, Sri Annamalai Swami, who lives in a white house at Palakottu, the Sadhus’ colony by the water, gave darshan to a group of people.   He is a realized being.  To sit in his presence, realizes this.  The mind, turning inward and hearing the song of birds outdoors, becomes one pointed, intense and quiet.   He is good, gentle and peaceful.   Later he answered some questions, pickled in vintage Advaita.  The mind is to be absorbed into the heart – he points to his sternum just to the right of centre – the body comes and goes (the wheel of births) – the Self alone is constant.   And he spoke a great deal about the Snake and the Rope.

His eyes are soft and filmy, downward turned.  It seemed to me, they met mine for an instant, a burning light went into my inner sight through the sockets, and I rejoiced in the smile of this beautiful being who sports in the Self.   I felt, for much of the time, “thank you” in fullness to him and Bhagavan, and happy.  Bhagavan hugged him when he was young, and he ‘never recovered’ from it.    Beautiful, childlike, grave, stick-like old man, brown-golden, with a kind twinkle, a soft husky voice and abrupt, precise gestures.   The space where he sits leaves a current of delicious repose, and no need to belong to any sort of club of followers.

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Day Eleven

The darshan of Swamiji Annamalai feels very satvic the morning after.  On waking, the busy cacophony of India is an all embracing marvel.  In my heart, a tender caress opens to it all, on the extraordinary comfort of my hard bed.  Walking up through Ashram at dawn, I greet Lord Arunachala, mighty with some silvery potency;  it is all my friend.  Something turns my I-thought to water, sinking inward to clearly reflect, like the wide well in the courtyard, the soft veined centres of leaves.  There is a transparency unmoving.  A watery veil that is fathomless, shimmers in here.

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We hired big pushbikes, and rode to visit Sri Ramanananda Saraswathi, who lives near Adi-Annamalai on the other side of the mountain.  His house is terracotta, the colour of the earth.  His garden is a busy green forest of lively shrubs and trees from the mahasamadhis of sages and saints.   Ramanananda is a warm welcome of delight, rather stout with a monkish fringe and horn-rimmed spectacles, a lover of Bhagavan deep in the Mountain, a voluble repository of  Sivaic legend and the secret life of plants.   To his house arrive Sadhus like sailors, men and women in ochre, who smile and make jokes;  they discuss the science and psychology of awakening – I sit among the angels.   The house is like a ship.  The trees outside sway past it, in the breeze.  In Ramanananda’s fireplace shrine are many stones from the Mountain and a portrait of Bhagavan’s feet on a tiger skin;  on the wall are Ramanananda’s watercolours of Arunachala.  The Higher Power gave him the job of raising money to restore Adi-Annamalai Temple, so his hermitage is now an office.   He said “it is good to take in the Mountain so intimately, through your open feet.   Did you see the way He glows at night? …”  and he recounted many legends and medicines.   “Realising the Self,” he said, wagging his head “ is an egg being hatched.  A hen sits on it to warm it, a tortoise thinks of it, and a fish eyes it.  These are initiations by touch, by silence and by look.   Arunachala is immaculate.  He is indifferent to the flies and bits of time and the world …”   And he smiles.

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We rode our bikes away from the road, along earth paths into spaces of deepest rural India … towards strange hazy mountain ranges, and lumpy rock projections that encircle Siva’s mountain.  Red glowing earth, crystal stones, soft green grass and coconut palms.  There is no where to go, beause it is every where … the Self-landscape, timelessly.  So entranced, we wander deeper into it.   Over it, the Mountain Natarajan danced with such awesome grace and beauty that the silence, vibrant with the colours of this land, made my heart roar, and my knees feel weak.    In the changeless, uncitied, terracotta dance-floor of the god, the smile with peasants, children, goats and cows, is huge.   In a special prayer to Lord Arunachaleswara in His glory, my question crystallizing is – “what is your will?   How do you want me to be?”

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Day Thirteen – Winter Solstice

I told them I wanted to go round the Hill by the ‘Inner Path’ that Swami Ramanananda told me about.  Today a guide was provided to take me along it.  We set out, about 7.30am.  The air after rain was clear, pearly bright and green, with a soft wind and views of the jagged mountains in the distance, all cleansed.   I followed my guide over a sylvan silent landscape of thorns, conifers, goat paths, and small streams.   He spoke no English, and we understood one another very well.  We smiled joyfully at the beauty of the Mountain in the morning.  Siva was veiled in His white headcloth.  The air was sheer song.  We climbed a col or spur by a rocky, steep path, following telegraph poles;  the feeling of the young Bhagavan and his friends scrambling about all over the Hill and having fun, was very strong and fiery indeed.    Over the other side, in a fragrant silence far from the road, we hugged the Hill through moorland and glades of feathery trees.  Parvati appeared overhead.  For a while, she became a great linga herself, concealing her Lord with her prakriti or magic veil, while she merged with Him.   Then, around her as we walked, Siva Himself unveiled, resplendently.  We visited and worshipped at many secret shrines of sacred ground along the way, and rubbed our faces in dust, vermilion and white ash.

Towards the far side of this sacred ampitheatre, we visited a yellow temple, which sprawled on the slopes like a lion.  It was filled with blazing aspects of Brahman as Kali, ancient and crumbling.   Into its innermost dark shrine we slowly entered.   We shared again puja, the power and potency of the inner cavern.   In the chamber of cool rock, of flame and black ghee and vermillion, lived stone sculptures of Siva and of Parvati – their marriage – which stunned me with their power – the silent furnace of their blessing.

We returned along the back streets of Tiruvannamalai, where they lap the Hill, and up the steep stairway to Skandashram, via the flambent dark oasis of Virupaksha Cave.  Here again I knelt in gratitude, cleansed.  Stone blocks are removed from my being, to let in light, all that ash and earth and strength, face to the ground, the sweetness.

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Day Fourteen

Very tired today.  Rain and mud the day before, make a maelstrom of dust and exhaust fumes today.  Swimming into town isn’t any fun now, in that thick dirty gritty air.  Lord Siva’s mountain is shrouded in weather, wreathed in inky veils.  Is He swallowing the poison of the world, holding it all in His throat?

Out in the great open spaces on our bikes the other day, my splendid girl announced that Lord Siva is quite a guy – perhaps it’s time for a change – adjust the life style, change her colour code and untangle her hair.   When she washed it, it blew around her into a soft reddish cloud, to her dismay.   “May I come here again next year?”  – she loves to watch the animal life.   Tales and myths of Lord Siva, bedtime stories on the road …

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Day Sixteen

Yesterday, she came with me to see Annamalai Swami, who gave another darshan.  Annamalai has soft, intense, enquiring eyes which gaze upon no thing.  If they meet yours, you are cleansed.  He has an endearing way of rocking or shaking his head or hands, in an impish Tamil cadence, as the Being looks out – “No no – no questions yet!” with a droll half-smile, a kind and tender nod.   We bow down one by one to the Self all seeing, unseeing, seated in the temperance of a form, skeletal brown legs folded like winter leaves, puckered dark workmans’ hands, the nobility of that frail investigating head, the adorable Child inward.

At dawn today, we went on the Hill, climbed to a good flat rock and settled down in the morning hush to wait for sunrise, and discuss Self realization.   I am delighted with her quick understanding of the philosophy, but it is too early;  she hasn’t yet lived and suffered the idea, or made it her own.  The eastern sky was ablush through a milk-white haze of promise over the silver land.   Looking up, you receive the blazing, colourless jewel of the morning sky.   We talked of the teachings and the play of the 3 Gunas and the sage we visited yesterday.  She said he seemed to look at her a few times, but it was very uncomfortable sitting in that hot room with so many people.  We looked down onto Ramana Ashram, the cupolas of the Mother Temple in a cradle of lush forest.  Suddenly a delicate rose pink arc of the sun appeared from absolutely nowhere, subtly, out of the white haze;  it hung over the tank of the town, seemingly in mid-distance.   It is the way the Lord speaks.  It grew in intensity to a little sphere, brilliant pink, sadhu orange, glowing and utterly still – almost close enough to touch.  All the world moved around and beneath it like a mirage in the Absolute Reality.   We saw what we had just discussed – the bindhu Point of Self with world in paradox, strange anomaly juxtaposed.   The morning sun hung in mid-air outside, yet deep inside time and space, and gave us darshan of His being.   We stood-under Maya, the shimmering screen of the world around Him – the watery book of changes.  After a little while He fired too bright for us to see.   We went down the hill to breakfast.

I began to glimpse, when we were with Annamalai yesterday, that there is nothing in this room but the Self – no independent states, individuals, objects or thoughts.  And so the judging habit is persuaded to get lost.

Far out in the timeless, placeless land again, on a bike ride, there is the radiant slow smile of children ‘without a head’ among emerald paddy fields, nutty palms and ragged warts of igneous rock.   Lord Arunachala in the distance, a stupendous silver being, dances pradakshina around Himself.  His ridges, his contours of power and grace, flow ever to the right.   With titanic beauty, He swirls:   Lord of the Dance.

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Tomorrow, Christmas Day, is the birthday of another being who realized the Self in Bhagavan’s presence – Sri Lakshmana Swami.  This morning, he gave a public darshan in the open porch of his house.  Balloons and glittering birthday greetings fluttered in the wind.   Before he appeared, there was darshan of the entire peak of Arunachala bathed in bright sunlight from top to bottom, framed in his porch.

Then Lakshmana came out and sat down, in front of the Presence.  He focuses and amplifies it.  His dark face has the nobility of great paintings, poetry or music.   His white whiskers frame an impish pleasure, and his eyes are everywhere mobile, snagging no identity.   Again, the flow of gratitude for this being who allows us to see Him and share His seeing;  who helps me to glimpse what it may have been like to live with Ramana every day.   The Being is beauty;   and all we crave and love is beauty.   I am trying to receive this insight not as an individual, but as the vibrance of the same Tree.   The darshan lasted half an hour.  At the end, cooked beans were distributed as Prasad;  he stood up suddenly and went in.    My daughter liked him best;   something in her moved, with him.

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On Christmas day in the morning – at 8am – here we are standing on the top of Arunachala again in a gale, and blackening our bare feet with greasy burnt ghee, with sun and sky space all around.   The current is very strong.   There is nothing to do about it.

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On Arunachala rocks today at sunrise – the orange welcome of the sun shimmers up through a sky of silver and aquarelle, to the profane, happy uproar of the town;  seed of life swims in the ocean, fireseed in the Motherwater kindling.   Gleaming jewel-bright – too bright now to see.

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Day Twenty

Because Arunachala in winter has young growth of lemon grass – a tangy citrus fragrance, perhaps like Ramana’s own – it is at dawn ahush with baby green among the silver grey note of the Self.  The Indian landscape before dawn is an open, sleeping creature, intense as it lightens and silvers.  An old man totters raggedly up the road with a saucer of glowing embers to incense the Ashram.  Long before light, a woman, graceful and spare in her movement, draws today’s Mandala on her earthen doorstep with white chalk powdered through her fingers.   At Palakottu, the Sadhus’ colony, Mandalas are already born on the ground like stars at night;  sadhus lie sleeping in the porch, in bundles of ochre cloth, some of them already stirring, squatting, talk-talk.

Among the trees gleams the dark still water of the tank or square pond by Sri Annamalai Swami’s white house, with moonlight rising full over the silvered peak.  Behind Annamalai’s window there glows a little light, a motionless spark in his room.   Walking the path by his house, by the water, by the chirping song of frogs and crickets, I am in the vicinity of a Self realized sage, in whom all is the Self, all is Love.  I sit as still as I can, to share the boundless dew.   What an extraordinary boon, to stand so near, to be lit up and burnt in that invisible flame.   Does He know a questing I-thought hovers near, in the cool coal of the night?    Is he other than the river of Ramana who sports in my Self?   Somewhere in that house with the little lamp, the Divine rests, never asleep.    The night is a glowing coal in motionless water, the moon almost full.  Earth and cool sharp stones and soft dust to the tentative soles of my feet;   before dawn, the vibrant stars are drawn on the dark ground.

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I was shown the rocks where Bhagavan used sometimes to sit – my favorite photo of him, with kettle and walking stick – and here the questing root in my stem sinks deep and plants itself.   In the golden light after sunrise, the warmth of the rock, the red earth and tender green grasses, the inner entity – sphurana – silently roars, consuming my heart in a substance-solvent transparency.   It melts to unsounded clear water, the morning, the view, the landscape He contemplated often – the unbounded substratum from which things appear.   I turn inwardly into a lake, perceiving the surfaces of the world and their vivid beauty.   Depth, unformed without end, gives birth to fields, trees, rocks, people, troubles and sound, with immaculate purity.

My I-thought buzzes with various ideas over this watery knowledge.   Losing substance, losing that which thinks, it sinks into brief moments of unfeatured clarity, and is less willing to fabricate Time.  The Lord Mountain swirls enrapt in His Divine Being, Natarajan.   Fortunate they, who are born in Him.

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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 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) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.