Today’s Sketches of Robert, Ramana and Ramesh

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Robert and seek

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From transcript “The Method of Freedom”

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butterlamp

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Ramana & Arunachala children

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

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

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

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

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Ramesh talks at home

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

Ramesh was rarely still.  He quivered like a racehorse:

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

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

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

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

From a conversation with Lawrence Bentley

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butterlamp boat

A butterlamp at dawn

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

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

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

More Sketches of Ramana & Advaitins

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From the mountain which is a humanity, rivers flow, sculpting ridges, valleys and relationships.  The young Ramana scampered all over the mountain like a goat.  As he grew old, he became its teacher.

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Mani and Sundaram greet visitors at Ramanasramam

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3 Sunyata - a Danish devotee

Sunyata, (Emanuel Sorensen) a Danish sadhu, with his Tibetan dog Sri Cho Chu Wuj.  He wrote:

“In this life play I have not been in quest of Guru, God, Truth, Grace, Salvation, nirvana, or power lust.  I had no ambition to be different from what I am.

“Blessedly, I had escaped headucation, and was free of any imposed knowledge. I had no property.

“I did not marry. I did not belong to any cliques or creed. I was not attracted to their magnetism.

“I felt all is within our Self.  I had nothing to assert or resent.  Nor had I anything to boast about or regret.

I was fully contented.
I had joy in that which is.”

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Catherine Ingram on her first teaching visit to London.  Poonjaji of Lucknow liberated her strong Buddhist practice to “dialogue the dharma” around the world, watching storms in the clear sky.   We don’t run from the pain and breaking heart of life.   We witness and keep quiet with it, hearing it speak, seeking the true, as it begins to flow and the cloud dissolves.   “Let our words” said she, like a Taoist – “be well placed stones.”

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Isaac Shapiro, another of Poonjaji’s earlier Western messengers:  Satsang, company of the wise and merry in the Self.

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Papaji:  Peace

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Harilal Poonja

This is how I imagine him as a young man.  I didn’t meet Papaji, but knew some of his messengers.   The three volumes of “Nothing Ever Happened” which he dictated to David Godman, narrate his long and adventurous life as a yogi, siddha and modern master.  In his travels he helped countless people to become aware of ‘the impersonal reality that underlies the world and all phenomenal experiences”.  Often he was a “mystery man”, appearing on the mountain, on a train or in the jungle.  Young westerners adored him, and he as a bhakta couldn’t help falling in love with their Self.  His diaries explore the guru disciple relationship.

Ramana with Poonjaji and a devotee

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It is amazing how much the Advaita people like to talk.

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Mouni Sadhu from the western occult tradition, visits Ramana “In Days of Great Peace”.

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Spreading the good news – V.Ganesan, founder-editor (with Arthur Osborne) of Ramanasramam Journal The Mountain Path

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This is Ranjit Maharaj of Mumbai;  he and Nisargadatta Maharaj (Ramesh’s teacher) were initiates from another old Advaita lineage, which flowed fruitfully alongside Ramana and the Hill.  I have many drawings of Ranjit, because once I was commissioned by some of his devotees in America, to do a portrait of him … and none of my efforts to draw their beloved guru were successful in their eyes.

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Ramesh Talks

Sketches from life of Ramesh Balekar – these appeared in an earlier post, I think;  certainly the one on the right.   But they speak well enough, here.

 Out of a pile of newsletters fell Ramesh’s devotee Wayne, the other day …

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and here are Douglas and Catherine Harding built open for each other, exchanging billets-doux of the Obvious.

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From Papaji’s “stable” – Bernardo (Satyananda) enjoying a good meal at Osho Leela in Dorset, and …

Neelam, who gave him a name to sign his letters with.

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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.

A Robert Adams Transcript

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Thank you, Hamish McLean for sending me this transcript today.

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“Not everyone needs a guru. A guru can be a tree, a mountain, a lake, a flower.

“You’ve heard this before, but let me explain it. When a tree becomes your guru, the tree is no longer an ordinary tree. It’s you. You are identifying with the essence of the tree, which is consciousness. You’re not seeing the tree as a tree. It’s the beauty of the tree or the mountain, or the lake, or whatever, that first attracts you. But if you just see the tree as a tree, you’ll be disappointed, for the leaves drop off, bugs attack it, people chop it down. Yet if you identify with that tree, spontaneously, intelligently, that tree becomes you, and the essence of the beauty is the essence of your beauty. In that respect the tree is your guru.

“Therefore a guru in the human form is a being whose words in the silence you feel in your heart. And just like the tree, the essence of the guru is your essence. There is only one. Therefore when a student is sincere in their spiritual practice, when they put that first before anything else, when they continue to work on themselves, automatically the guru within yourself, the essence within yourself, like a magnet, will attract and pull you to a guru outside of yourself, which is really yourself, that can cause you to rise higher and become liberated. You’ve got to stop seeing yourself as a human being. You’ve got to catch yourself. Whenever you think something is wrong, someone has hurt you, someone hasrubbed you the wrong way, when things do not go right at your job or at home, do not be like the ordinary person and react to it. And do not believe that if you do not react, things will get worse.

“I cannot tell you enough that every situation that happens to you is necessary for your growth. There are no mistakes. Everything that you’ve been through, everything that you’re going through, is absolutely necessary for your spiritual growth. If it does not look kosher to you, realize it’s your mind reacting. It’s your ego reacting. And the way to handle it, is to just observe.

“Do not get involved by arguing, fighting, trying to change things.  Just observe. If you can observe without getting excited, then you’ve passed that test and you will not have to repeat it. But if you get angry, you get upset, you want to get even, you’re always thinking about it, and you have hate and animosity, even though you move away from that situation, you will meet that situation again, and again, and again, until you learn not to react to it.

“The universe is a university to educate the soul. Before we can go any higher and awaken, we have to have these little realizations where we begin to feel that there is nothing wrong. There is absolutely no thing wrong. All the good of the universe is yours. There is absolutely nothing wrong, nothing. If you can only live in the moment and feel what I’m saying, everything in this world, in this universe will become you. That’s why people like Jesus and others have been able to say, “All that I have is yours,” meaning that consciousness is bliss, and bliss is expressing itself as the world, as the universe, as yourself. Live in that bliss. Refuse to acknowledge anything else.

“It appears that if you do not acknowledge something, something will go wrong in your life. But you are not made for something to go wrong in your life. There is absolutely nothing wrong anywhere, so how can anything go wrong in your life. Even those of you who believe God is running the show, God couldn’t be good and bad, or there would be a capricious universe in which we live. The moon would crash into the sun, wheat would grow one time and roses would grow another time from the same seed, when we live in a capricious universe.

“There are not two powers here. There is one power and you can call that God. It is all-pervading. If it is all-pervading, and there is no place where it is not, how can there be a problem? For in order to be a problem there has to be God and something else. But all you’ve got to do is a little meditation, and you will see that there is only God as everything and there is no room for God AND anything else.”

Robert Adams ♥

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I wonder what your grand cross is.   Mine yesterday, was a long, footloose summer walk in the Chess Valley flower-meadows outside London …  and a x on my phone, as a squabble with a friend cleared up.

From a path along the woods, I saw the river below, full of recent rain and almost spilling its banks over the fields;  then it thunders down a little weir.  Inside the weir I guess, there is an extra little door to let the pressure through.

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From Homer Rows, 2004

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How to Draw the Sri Chakra Yantra

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This is my article about the Sri Chakra Yantra, and how to draw one for ourselves.  It first appeared in “Self Enquiry”, a number of years ago.   Readers of The Sacred India Tarot will note, that the back of the cards carries this design, white on ochre gold, the colour of Sannyas on the traveller’s path.

I refer you also to http://aryayogi.wordpress.com – Rohit’s essay on The Symbolism of the Sri Chakra Yantra – you will find it in his May archive.

The Sri Chakra Yantra with its divine flowering of masculine and feminine energy, is a crucial agent in the creative process.   The Siva Sakti blend acts rather like Ganesha does, to facilitate beginnings.   The Self Enquiry Journal (Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK) carried this Yantra as its logo.   The Yantra appears in two of the Sacred India Tarot cards:

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Tarot card 3 The Empress – Lakshmi   Here, the Yantra as her throne, extends through the landscape, her inter-connected golden net of prosperity.

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Tarot card 18 The Moon – Chandra.    The Yantra in this enigmatic image appears like a tree section:   it is also the Path of Life, which this threshold deity guards.    Classic western Tarot decks show a winding path between two towers, to the distant Mountain.   The 18th Arcanum conducts an unbroken stream of embodiment, from the earliest forms of life, to Consciousness, through the aeons.

Prefacing “How to Draw the Sri Chakra Yantra” are two of my earlier poems and an article by Krishna Bhikshu, which was published in The Mountain Path in 1965.

            TWO POEMS:  June 1989

Goat/Crab Landfall

Sometimes my dear
though stepping on golden land 
I have still 
the sea in my ear. 

Come forth, comes answer: 
Go into the land, come sea-legs; 
mind not the morrow, nor yester 
year, O jesters, but
step forth 
walk in the land of flowers and mountains 
feasting your eyes, my dear 
about you.  

One step 
two step, like 
a teddy bear, remember? 
The scale of Ursa Major has 
no fear.  Up into the place of meeting 
and piano in the palm 
of your hand, my dear. 

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And the second poem ...

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   Approach

There is a point of 
light in my heart, to rest 
in the core of being 
the stem, deep beyond measure. 

Look only within 
to see and be. 
The point of the
infinite deep 
is drawing "I"in. 

My flower face is drawn in the heart 
of a body of God, 
indivisible the stem 
as into a well. 

In my green stalk 
of the watery world, 
the silent star, a point so bright, 
indivisibly, infinitesimally 
pulls me in. 

My 
daisy crystal fire 
in boundless vibrant 
darkness, cannot see; 
she is.

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Introduction to Sri Chakra Yantra

In a 1965 issue ofThe Mountain Path”(Ramanasramam journal), Krishna Bickshu wrote:

“Out of the Bindhu or causal state, are manifested light and sound, which appear on a formal plane as form and name.  The whole process of manifestation is dependent on and governed by the shakti who is 1) Consciousness, 2) Desire and 3) Action.  Action (3) is the combined result of the first two, and is represented as the apex of the triangle of which they form the base.

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“Although one says ‘base’ and ‘apex’, the triangle is usually inverted, with its apex pointing downwards.  It represents the descent of the Divine into the manifested world.  The sadhaka or aspirant is represented by another triangle with its apex pointing upward.  The two triangles interpenetrate.  In the heart of them is the Bindhu or point.

“All the geometrical figures used in the Sri Chakra are variants of circles and triangles.  A Bindhu surrounded by a triangle in a circle can represent the entire Creation.  But all the manifestations of power have to be realized in the completed Yantra.  The original shakti manifests at each node(crossing-point) of the triangle as three different shaktis, or three primary forms of the Divine Mother.  Each of them has various aspects which are then manifested in the larger triangles. 

“The powers of the shakti are legion.  Cosmically each larger triangle represents a wider and grosser manifestation.  The tantric texts give the names of presiding deities at each of the nodes of each of these triangles.  In sadhana however, the order is reversed.  For the individual, what is in seed form in the first upright triangle has to be expanded by his practice into the larger triangles which represent wider powers latent in him.  These finally lead the aspirant back into the amplitude of power, consciousness and peace, which is the essential nature of the Divine Mother.  The mind becoming one-pointed, merges into the indescribable Beyond, which is the Mother.

“It is taught that the cosmos is in three stages: causal, subtle and gross.  For one of tantric temperament, all this is richly symbolized.  For the advaitin (follower of non-duality) this is not necessary.  The ultimate result is the same for both.

“Sri Ramana, prescribing Self enquiry, also instituted this type of temple worship for those who are helped by it.  The beneficent power he brought into earth is induced into the Sri Chakra sanctified by his touch.  Those drawn to the more elaborate path may continue then to receive his grace, as well as those who practise Self enquiry alone. 

At the installation in the Mother Temple, Ramana took great interest, personally added details to the forms of the Chakra (etched in a piece of granite two feet square upon a gold plate) and supervised the entire Temple construction.  He inspected each stone for the workmen to eliminate defects, and at every stage of the work he was the final authority on form, on the ritual to be adopted, and on the deities to be worshipped.  Before the ceremony, he stood for some five or ten minutes with both hands placed on the Sri Chakra in blessing. 

“After the installation, Major Chadwick who had stood at his side throughout, said “How magnificent this is:  such pujas should be performed regularly.”  Ramana replied, “Yes, but who will see to it?”  So Major Chadwick undertook to establish the Sri Chakra pujas six times a month.  He remarks, “The explanation for this unusual show of interest by Bhagavan is probably to be found in the necessity for the Shakti always to accompany Siva.  It is not enough to have Siva alone.”

 

 

On the Method:   The Ocean of Beauty

On 19 April 1937, a respectable gentleman asked Ramana about the Sri Chakra.

Ramana replied, “It has a deep significance.  There are 43 corners with sacred syllables in them.  Its worship is a method for concentration of mind.  The mind is wont to move externally.  It must be checked and turned within.  Its habit is to dwell on names and forms, for all external objects possess name and form.  Such names and forms are therefore made symbolic mental conceptions so as to divert the mind from external objects and make it dwell within itself.  The idols, mantras and yantras are all meant to give food to the mind in its introvert state so that it may later become capable of concentration, after which the superb state is attained automatically.”

(Talks with Ramana Maharshi, p.380)

Shankara wrote a long love-poem on the Sri Chakra, entitled Saundarya Lahari – “the Ocean of Beauty”.  To receive the full benefit of a sacred symbol or yantra, it can be helpful to draw it, and earth its components into one’s being.

What follows is an initial exploration along these lines.

The Sri Chakra Yantra seems to have been given through a celestial comprehension beyond any mathematical agent of the human understanding.  Contemplation discovers an exquisitely asymmetric equilibrium of movement and stillness – a musical note being tuned.  No manifestation in the universe quite accords with our logic or the bound laws of arithmetic.  Everything is a movement towards and into perfection.

In the Sri Chakra, nine interwoven triangles come to meet each other in a dance which is not symmetrical, but wondrously balanced.  This dance is an expression, or shakti, of the central point:  the Bindhu, the formless focus –purusha – of being.  The point is primordially Siva.  The flaring outward from the point to form a triangle is the projected universe or shakti power:  his consort Parvati.  From each point in the triangle, a movement flows out to meet its self.

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In tantric scripture, the triangle – particularly with the apex pointing downward – symbolizes the female, the womb.  The Sri Chakra is worshipped as a manifestation of the Mother who both proceeds from and gives birth to, the formless source.  However, the Sri Chakra is constructed from a dual movement or marriage of ascending and descending triangles.  For general purposes, the ascending or realizing power can be regarded as masculine, and the descending or manifesting power as feminine.  Likewise, we see the ascent of our spiritual practice, through the descent of grace:  its fruits.

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Construction

The Inner Circle of the Sri Chakra, to draw it, consists of :

One Vertical Diameter, divided into 48 equal parts

(2 millimetres each, seems to be a good measurement to use.)

Nine Cords, or horizontal divisions of this vertical line, marked at 6, 12, 17, 20, 23, 27, 30, 36, 42 parts, working from the top down.  Number these 1 – 9 inside the Circle, and let them, as a grid of pencil lines, cross the vertical diameter at an exact right angle.

Five shakti triangles pointing downward, their inverted “baselines” at 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 of the nine.  (This is the female yoni).

One Bindhu point at the Circle’s centre.

This is purusha, the unborn, undying source.

Four Siva triangles pointing upward, their baselines at 6,  7,  8,  9 (This is the male linga).

In this construction, it helps to draw first the Triangles upon baselines 3 and 7.

These – the one descending, the other ascending – are the largest pair.  Encompassing the whole universe, they are the only ones to touch circumference.  They provide the framework for the remaining seven triangles to intersect one another accurately.  These are constructed on baselines 1,  8,  2,  4,  5,  9,  in that order, referring to the illustration for the apexes, and adjusting the intersections by using one’s eyes.  These points or nodes, intersecting three lines, are called marmans.

It is interesting in this context, to note that each key of a piano is tuned to resonate three strings.  There is a natural correspondence with the law of three in all cosmologies, including the play of three gunas in Advaita Vedanta.  It seems that sattva – as purity of sound – emerges from the attunement in relation to each other, of rajas and tamasRajas expands, is fiery and whirls:  tamas contracts and is dark and dense.  Tamas is the inertia momentum inherent in any creative process.  Without tamas, rajas could never come to form.  Excess to either side becomes toxic:  but their dynamic equilibrium is harmony.   The same principle, applied to Yin and Yang, is Tao.

To continue the musical analogy:  the keyboard of a piano is tuned not to mechanically exact intervals – which would produce an actual dissonance – but centrifugally:  from each octave, to its higher and lower registers, in mutual relationship and approximation. In fact, an exact physical symmetry is discordant in subtle plane harmony.  The earthly expression of the subtle plane is a Tao – a dance towards unity.  So the Sri Chakra is a living organism on strings which are tuned and pulled taut, to resonate.

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Do not strive to draw exact intersections or marmans at baseline 5, for it is actually off-centre.  The inmost shakti (or womb) triangle on it, pointing downwards, embraces the central mystery of the Bindhu point.   You will also find you need to pull and tug your lines a bit, through the three-way intersections to get them all in place;  it is like weaving a rug with uneven threads to pull tight.  This is not a mechanical process:  but you will if you have measured carefully, get a good approximation, which ‘sings’ as a unified structure.  When the Yantra is completed and inked in, erase the 9 working pencilled divisions across the Circle.

Contemplation

Notice also, from the centre outwards, a radiating movement.  This is revealed in:  43 small triangles (or ‘corners’).  Their outward-pointing apexes make four concentric circles around the first triangle in the centre (apex 6, below the Bindhu, and baseline 5, just above it.)  The inner circuit around this has 8 triangles.  The second and third circles each contain 10.  The fourth which is outermost, contains 14.

These four circles correspond to the Four Worlds of Kabbalah in the western tradition.

Upon the horizontal frame of the Yantra are strung nine “cords”.

They form a vertical movement – the interpenetrating triangles, shakti (downward pointing) with Siva (upward).  The coming-to-meet motion, or love-knot of the Yantra, through its nine horizontal strands, suggests the Unseen Weaver’s warp and weft: the universal play of the three gunas – Rajas, tamas and satvic – through the Divine tapestry.

The Bindhu at the heart of the marriage, is clear, formless source.  The Bindhu point is the potency of all energy, the essence of any movement of mind before it begins to sing.  From it, is generated the prakrti (primal world-stuff).  This radiating or concentric movement, pervades all atoms of time and space simultaneously.  Upon it, the fabric is projected into existence like a standwave;  a pattern or vibrancy.

The radiant movement echoes, if seen cross-sectionally, the rings of a cut tree –  the sun’s action over the years.  But osmosis – the tree’s “invisible” realization – is root and shoot, the growth, seasons, branches and foliage upstanding, and lifts away from the world’s flat plane.  It crosses the orbital rings.  It encompasses what was, is now and is to be.

The world whose surfaces we perceive with our sensory spectrum, cross-sections Reality, like a slice across the tree.  The radiant movement of Sri Chakra should be sensed not only as a mandala or wheel, but as encompassing and extending all directions:   a hologram.

The marriage of  9 interwoven triangles is consummated over a horizontal web.

The concentric movement of the 43 “corners” suggests a dimension perpendicular to the triple depth of our world – being at once horizontal as vertical, inward as outward, immanent, all-Present.

If the interwoven triangles suggest the dual nature of Ishvara (the transcendent Divinity), the irradiating triangles through the tapestry imply the immanent Brahman, embraced in all beings as their One Self.  The “Ishvara” triangles descend as grace.  The upward movement is an illumined aspirant’s readiness.

If followed sequentially, the downward and upward movement in the Sri Chakra leads the aspirant inward to his or her core, to contemplate infinite peace in “Brahman”.  At this point the aspirant attunes to the “spirit-level” of the human soul, which is mostly obscured, but here and there awakened;  for the meditative focus touches universal verities.  The upward and downward triads dive into one another.   The Bindhu glows.

An exact harmonic in the subtle plane marks an inexact resonance in the world of our senses – rather as the perfect orbital Circle of platonic philosophy translates to ellipses in our physical solar system.  Through molecular stresses in the biosphere, there is a gap.  Within the gap we discover love.  The love-necessity is the Mother;  the cosmos flowing out to be reabsorbed in and as the Son.   Gravity is this cosmic connectivity.

This paradox – accessible to contemplation, but beyond the powers of ordinary thinking – occurs in all revealed cosmologies.  Physical science is able to perceive the expansion of the galaxies from an initial point:  Vedic, Buddhist and Kabbalist sources speak in their own ways of the kalpas – the breathing in and out, of God, over inconceivable spaces of time.

The Sri Chakra, whose installation in the Mother Temple was meticulously supervised and blessed by Ramana Maharshi (who was not otherwise interested in religious trappings) delicately evokes the mysterious “interval” which out-stretches the aspirant in life, and awakens a path of enquiry, surrender and grace.

Two concentric circles surround the Yantra.  The inner, consisting of eight lotus petals, represents centrifugal force.  The outer circle is centripetal formation, containing and defining the force;  it has sixteen petals.

Outside these, and outside the three concentric rings which circumscribe them, is formed, as in all classical Mandala construction, the Square with four gates – the world of the senses and of nature  – which surrounds the abode of the Divine.

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This essay on the Sri Chakra Yantra was first drafted in about 1994.  The method to construct and draw it, was found in Shankara’s “Saundarya Lahari – The Ocean of Beauty”

Article & Illustrations copyright(c)Jane Adams 1994-2012