Sacred India Tarot Archive – Creation of 9 and 10 of Staves/Wands

Sita 10 of staves detail

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aikido

Glancing through this series, I am reminded how the suit of Staves or Wands develops the astral weaponry of the suit of Swords/Arrows into a martial art, or dance form.  This seemed fairly straightforward in the early cards of this suit, but by the time I reach Nine and Ten, it feels like too much is manifesting all at once on the earthly plane;  a bundle of imagined responsibility, almost a shut-down.
Never have I felt less creative.

Let the bundle go and lighten up!  Rohit’s interpretative notes suggest this also, as do the original Rider-Waite illustrations I worked from.

The wands are miniature trees.  Take just one, and look up it;  dance with it …

looking up the oak

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NINE OF STAVES – from Rohit’s Notes, 2003

“Suspicion about Sita in Ayodhya ensures her banishment;  One of the meanings of this card is Authority and the burdens thereof.  Rama had assumed Kingship and did such a great job that it is still regarded as India’s golden age.  However, his sense of responsibility to public opinion caused him to banish Sita when slander had reached impossible levels. The king’s wife, like Caesar’s, had to be above suspicion.  What ought to be shown is Rama in all the splendour of his kingship having to take a decision to banish his wife, and never spending a happy moment since.  Sita need not even be present in the card;  this is Rama’s agony.”

poppy

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From Rohit Arya’s Book with the Deck

“Rama ruled over Ayodhya in a manner which has become synonymous in India with the Perfect Age; the rule of Rama is still invoked as an ideal to aspire towards.  Poverty was non-existent, and the people so content that Rama would wait every day at court for a person seeking justice!  In Rama the ancient dream – if a perfect king was found, the society would mirror his stature – found fulfilment.

“Yet there was one unhappy soul in this sea of contentment, and that was Rama.  For the old rumours about Sita and her virtue had begun again …  A perturbed Rama, for whom family reputation and the respect kings gained by example was paramount, gave in to public opinion.  He told Laxmana to abandon Sita in the forest near the ashram of Valmiki, so that she would be taken care of.  She was pregnant at the time, so Rama has been denounced ever since for being heartless.

Rider Waite 9 of Wands

Rider Waite 9 of Wands

“This tale is part of the Uttara Kanda of the Valmiki Ramayana, a segment long held by scholars to be spurious.  Nevertheless, the banishment of Sita has captured the imagination, and while it may not be true it is a (psychological) reality.  I also wanted one card to reflect the now traditional Rider-Waite imagery in Tarot, and when I read this sentence I could not resist it:  ‘Rama picked up a staff used during the yagna and, while leaning upon it, gave vent to his grief.’

“Interpretating the card:  Caution owing to vulnerability – face unjust criticism boldly.  Period of developing self awareness. The card of unsought and unwanted promotions and responsibilites;  wisdom and strength gained at great cost – inner resoluteness increases. Controlling oneself from misuse of power- realisation that one’s path is always going to be lonely.  Vigilant and alert attitude required.

“Shadow:  remembering past slights and fearing the future and that this new responsibility will turn out badly.  Being kicked upstairs.  Putting others first to the point of exhaustion. Feeling of, but not actual stagnation.  Tendency to retreat within, self absorbed, loner.  Old habits die hard.  Deferring to society’s norms.

“Are you fed up or exhausted with the current situation?  Why?
What can you do about it?”

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Sacred India Tarot, 9 of Staves - Rama's agony and suspicion of Sita

Sacred India Tarot, 9 of Staves – Rama’s agony and suspicion of Sita

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Jane’s Notes – 2015

In the Rider Waite deck, the Wands sprout small green shoots.  I could have included these in the above painting, but for some reason I left them bare.  Implicit in the rod or wand is its fertile potential.  Discover an undistracted sphere of authority or focus – then act on it.

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Lord Siva on his Tao

Lord Siva on his Tao

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Why is Sita’s banishment as Rohit says above, a “psychological reality”?

Perhaps one meaning is when our thoughts and grand ideas about things become brittle. When we trust, we walk on the water of life.  But when we think or listen to what ‘others’ say, we get heavy and sink.

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TEN OF STAVES – Rohit’s Notes, 2003

“Sita returns to earth’s womb, Rama is left alone.  The ten of wands has always a sense of oppression associated with it.  The card is liable to be complex as the brooding isolation that Rama feels is intensified here.  The earth has opened up to recover Sita, as she was unable to bear yet another demand for proof of innocence.  Rama has one more trauma to bear;  previously his wife was banished but alive in the forest, now he did not even have that straw to cling to.

“This event occurs at a great fire sacrifice, a Yagnya, so the positioning of the wands should not be too problematic.”

new year fire

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From Rohit’s book with the Deck, 2011

“The Earth receives Sita – Now Rama and his judgemental subjects are in trouble.  The king has to perform yagnas – Vedic fire sacrifices – as a vital part of his intermediary between the gods and humans.  By law, a ruler could not officiate at yagnas without his wife being present;  it rendered the whole ritual futile.  Rama however, had famously sworn to have only one wife. In a polygamous society, this was breathtaking and a new paradigm of ethical behaviour, rapidly emulated by an impressed world.

rider waite ten of wands

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“The fidelity that saw the citizens bask in the supremacy of their king, has now become a problem for the maintenance of the social fabric.  The very foundation of ritha – cosmic harmony  – rests upon the kings of the earth performing yagnas.  Here is Rama, supreme amongst men, unable to hold yagnas.  Sita is still alive, and Rama will never have any other spouse.  She is also still banished.  It is an intolerable impasse.  The self satisfied littleness of mind in Ayodhya has made them the laughing stock of the world – a society with no yagnas!

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“A desperate compromise is sought.  If Sita would agree to just one more ordeal by fire to prove her chastity … A distraught Sita, never doubting Rama’s unswerving love, nevertheless has had enough.  She calls upon Bhumidevi Gaia – the Earth Goddess who is her mother – to rescue her from this unceasing torment.  The earth swallows her while the very gods are appalled, witness to Rama’s utter desolation.

“In a reading:  Overwhelmed – too much of everything;  superabundance of talents, which have become burdensome.  Next set of challenges after success.  Drop some things, lighten the load … Period of intense concentration and focus cannot be maintained for long.  Loneliness at the top, but it is the top.

“Shadow: Oppression and taking on too much – terrible deadline pressures, and too eager to please.  Misuse of power, making unreasonable demands.   You cannot do so much. Accept it.  Let go of some things, delegate others, and forget the impossible and implausible.”

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Sacred India Tarot Ten of Staves - The earth receives Sita

Sacred India Tarot Ten of Staves – The earth receives Sita

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Jane’s Notes – 22 October 2003

Finished the Rama picture.  It is not being done according to the “maestro tempo”, but to the whim of my personal unfolding.  Each month or so, the India Tarot moves forward a jot or jolt, and from time to time produces a picture which is about my own discoveries.

In this one, Rama’s grief has sunk underworld with the fay and loyal Sita whom he unjustly suspected. She arises through his bones, watery, into the Fire of the Yagna Sacrifice – and from that same fire is sprouted the man in an orange sky of flame upon a violet crystal landscape.  She ascends through the sacrifice, and he grieves, he feels.  The bundle of ten red Wands crosses behind his upper spine and weighs upon his heart;  this is humanity having to learn by experience.  It is also the irrepressible arising of the dew, the spring waters, as the heart connection transfigures – the white around Rama and on the Wands.  The membrane between Rama and Sita is a turgid dark green, signifying impurities and jealousy in the desire nature.  But you can see that the pure waters are impacting up his lower spine by osmosis.

The earth in fact has opened like a lake, and She – like the lady of Shalott – rests within it.  The man looks elsewhere, he is speared and crossed through with his individuation, but has not yet glimpsed beyond his own container.

In the previous card, the Nine of Wands, he stands on guard with self righteous dignity, wearing a purple mantle;  this violet colour is now the rocky landscape in which he sits semi-naked.

For the Sacred India Tarot, their interpretation of the Wands is the Intellect.  In the Nine – I am now following the classic Rider-Waite designs – he grasps one of the Wands of a fence, to use it as a spear.  In the Ten, this one becomes the burden of the entire Ten which he believes he carries.

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Tree of Life with three Gunas, showing vedanta and western traditions

Tree of Life with three Gunas, showing vedanta and western traditions

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Kabbalistically, Ten of Wands is Malkuth of the suit – the nitty gritty reality – just as Nine of Wands is Yesod, the self image or cloak.  In fact, with the possible exception of Three of Wands (Ravanna rejecting wise counsel) for Binah/Understanding, all the Wands I have drawn work well in the ten Sefiroth of the Tree – about which I thought not at all, in the doing.  So ten are done – a whole Tree.  The Court cards are the four worlds, and will begin with the Page of Wands as the Ashwin solar twins – the divine healers.

On the other hand there are multiple levels to see in this Ten of Wands painting, for turning to “Stage 12 in Alchemy, Multiplication” I see that the upright and stationary wands in the Nine all have this transformative and incendiary potential into the orange sky light of the Ten.  So the Ten contains a great release potential.

woodlamp

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Correspondence/Feedback;  Rohit, December 2003

“The Nine of wands is remarkable, we have broken out of the cliche of Rama always with a bow.  This is what he must have really looked like, the power and authority he radiates is terrific.

“The Ten is also unusual and creative in conveying so many layers of story at one time.  There is Rama in the kingly posture that conveys his burden of kingship and responsibilities, the arrows that mark his nature and form rays around him in his role as a solar deity;  there is the lost Sita, sinking into the ground beneath him – that action cost him his moral footing though ethically it was an impeccable decision.  It is one of the most psychologically complex and layered cards Jane has done.”

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Sagittarian inscape

Sagittarian inscape

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altar 2

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

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   – (look in his Archives May 2012 and June 2012.) The deck is copyrighted (c) 2011 to the publishers, Yogi Impressions Books pvt, and available also on Amazon and internationally.

 

 

 

 

Jane Adams

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

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

All original 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/

Sacred India Tarot Archive – Creation of Staves 5 and 6: Ravana Falls

Continuing the Sacred India Tarot Archive by Jane Adams and Rohit Arya:

In thy valorous strength - rosicrucean emblem 2

In thy valorous strength – rosicrucean emblem 2

We all have our interior demons and resistances to fight:  and in the world out there, they are plain to see.  In the present era of Pluto (upheaval and transformation) moving through Capricorn (established institutions), nothing can be hidden any longer – all is visible, each shadow is upturned to the light.  Every hoary Karmic poison along the centuries erupts into a birth-bed for the new Dharma – a changed order of human values.  Pluto went into Capricorn in 2008 with a financial crash, and will enter Aquarius in 2023/24.

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It is interesting to note that in the Indian mythology, demons are rarely evil per se.  They are gifted forces of the mind and spirit.  They have a tendency to overrun their citadels and cause the chaos and self-doubt that every creative artist must navigate.  The Yoga Vasishta is filled with stories of powerful demons who attained enlightenment, humility and liberation through the intensity of their concentrated tapas – spiritual practice over the aeons.  Brahma the creator-god could refuse them nothing:  the demonic force has this potential for purity.  Therefore there was always a respectful interaction between the gods and the demons – see card 6 (above) in the Sacred India Tarot: the story of Kaccha and Devyani.   For the gods, the demonic energy is at source divine, and they cannot live without it.  The Greek word “daemon” is a creative spirit.

Rohit’s writing below, throws an interesting slant onto the demonic “bhakti” – the constant focus in the demon’s mind, on God as the foe, in due course liberates.

In the Ramayana, Ravana the demon King overreached himself by kidnapping Rama’s wife Sita;  in so doing, he put the cosmic balance out of order, and faced defeat.

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Visual reference for Kumbhakarna

Visual reference for Kumbhakarana

Rohit Arya’s Notes – 2003

Card Five – Kumbhakarana Falls.  Kumbhakarana is to be depicted as an enormous armoured giant, holding a huge club towering over Ravana and the rest of the battlefield.  He has four fiery arrows stuck in him which will lop off his legs from the knees and the arms from the elbows, while the fifth arrow fired by Rama is about to cut off his head.  The five wands could be depicted as five fiery arrows that Rama uses to kill the giant brother of Ravana.

From Rohit’s Book with the Deck:

Kumbhakarana, middle brother to Ravana and Vibheeshana, takes the field against Rama.  It is an action born of desperation, for the Rakshasa (demon) forces have been decimated in the preceding days … Kumbhakarana is the most gigantic warrior in the universe, a great intellectual and highly spiritually developed.  He shares Vibheeshana’s opinion that Ravana’s incompetent blundering has brought them to disaster, but war is upon them and he selflessly agrees to do his duty. 

He knows that Rama is God, but in his estimation nothing could be more honourable than to die for his country.  Death at Rama’s hands is guaranteed liberation, and Kumbhakarana is disgruntled with his unlucky life.  He has been tricked by the Devas into sleeping for six months at a stretch, awakening for only a day.  Ravana has untimely roused him, and his strength is not at its peak.  Nevertheless he unleashes carnage of a ghastly and terrifying nature that forces Rama himself to fight. 

This is a unique and startling form of Bhakti – devotion to God – called ‘vipareetha karani’, the path of opposition.  You literally fight with God, as the foe is ever present in the enemy’s mind.  This is a tamasic (inertia-inducing) form of meditation and constant awareness of the Divine.  It guarantees liberation, but at the cost of your life!  It is the rocket route to the Divine.  Kumbhakarana chooses this conflict-path to achieve what would otherwise take many lifetimes. 

Rama understands this, and is also pleased with his heroic loyalty to his people. 

This card signifies inner and outer growth:  a struggle and challenge confidently taken up – perhaps a group effort or sharing of creative endeavour.  Lessons that life teaches in battle.  Place spiritual priorities above mundane ones.  Patience is well rewarded, but lots of it is required.  Martial arts.  Focus on one thing and see it through.

Shadow:  Trying to take on more than you can handle – an inflated sense of power.  Blindly supporting and following the leader.  Confusion in thinking leads to flailing about:  quarrels and disputes, vainglorious boasting.  Overwork and strain impacts health – the card of the moonlighter!  Irritation with incompetence.  Wishful thinking and writers block.  Young children act up.

Your expectations are getting in the way of what is actually possible.  Are you competing or getting into an impossible situation?

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Jane’s Notes

There are parallels here with the Eight and the Nine of Arrows, where the great warrior king surrenders his life to Krishna, understanding that he will at last be liberated from his duty.

This great demon – Kumbhakarana – also had a duty: his loyalty to the Lord Ravana and the realm of the rakshasas.  His willingness to disable his own magnificence, to be Ravana’s fore-runner in defeat, and to agree to fight when not at the peak of his powers, is an astonishing and moving sight.  His hands holding weapons, appear to be raised in surrender.  The deep intelligence is in his eyes;  the out-thrust tongue is demonic like a gargoyle, yet also giving his all.

I painted Rama lightly armed, as befits a young David to this Goliath.  Accuracy of aim takes priority over displays of martial magnificence.  He shoots the demon in five places. The outline of Kumbhakarana’s human pentagram begins to collapse.

Rama aims at the third eye – the coup de grace.   I found it difficult to arrange the scenes in these long narrow cards compositionally:  yet the great demon on his mountain range suggests a different dimension of space and time.

Psychologically it is an extraordinary event to meet and engage with these forces in the soul.

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Sacred India Tarot - Five of Staves/Wands

Sacred India Tarot – Five of Staves/Wands

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Rohit Arya’s Notes – 2003

Card Six: Victory – Ravana Falls. This should be easy to depict, though one arrow should be clearly penetrating the navel of Ravana which was where he stored the elixir that renewed him each time he was wounded or had a head cut off. We need only Rama and Ravana in the card, though celebrating monkeys in the background might bring out the ‘Victory’ aspect of the card meaning.

visual reference for the fall of ravana

visual reference for the fall of ravana

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(respect for demons – yoga vasishta – tifareth 6 – danda – dharma – guru mantra)

From Rohit’s Book with the Deck
Ravana has destroyed the resources of his kingdom and sent all his generals and relatives to their death, but he is still intransigent about releasing Sita.  He is in thrall to his rapidly fraying reputation, still manifesting aplomb and insouciance in a cataclysmic situation.  He has assumed his most fearful form, convinced that the fame of his exploits combined with his horrible shape will dazzle and intimidate Rama – the yokel from the forests.

He has rested on his laurels so much that he cannot, dare not, recognise his slide into delusional ineptitude.

Rama is called the image or embodiment of Dharma.  Rama is beyond form so everybody projects their own ideal upon him.  Hence his chameleon-like appearance in the suit.  For Ravana, he is a meek, forest dwelling hermit – hence he appears so.

For all Ravana’s strength of belief, danda has descended upon him in the form of Rama’s astras.  Rama uses the Brahmastra – the deadliest arrow (speculated to be a nuclear weapon) created by Brahma.  Ravana wasn’t totally wrong in feeling invulnerable.  Only the final never-to-be-used weapon could vanquish him;  it was a small validation.

Rama sends Laxmana to hear the dying words of what was the Age’s mightiest king: “Do not put off till tomorrow the good you could do today.  I could have turned the oceans into sweet water and been hailed as a benefactor of humanity.  Now I die with tarnished glory as a kidnapper of the wives of others.”

It is an astonishing summation of wasted potential and opportunity.

In a card reading:  victory and success.  Triumph and recognition of one’s work;  public acclaim.  Vindication of one’s course of action – freedom from fears and anxieties.  Very good for students and intellectuals.  Period of unusual resilience and recuperative powers. Reaching the next level of skill or qualifications.  Aggressively seeking the limelight.

Shadow:  resting on past laurels – a legend in one’s own mind.  A conclusive victory eludes you.  Too proud to acknowledge one is losing it – “remember, Caesar, thou art mortal.”

Don’t let all this acclaim inflate you to absurd levels of self aggrandisement.  What new challenges do you need to take up?

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Sacred India Tarot - six of Staves/wands

Sacred India Tarot – six of Staves/wands

Jane’s Notes
The missile enters the dantien – the source of all Ravana’s delusional heads.  The dantien (below the navel) is our body’s gravitational and subtle centre:  through yoga and t’ai ch’i, it  can earth and quieten the mind’s electricity.  This card is like the Tower – to collapse walls of falsehood or belief.

The danda (see Rohit’s description above) is a sacred staff.  It is traditionally used by hermits and aryas, and placed in temples.  Throughout the suit of Staves/Wands, the danda plays a significant role, as conduit of power and authority.  Rohit mentions also the astra – the weapon by which Ravana was slain.  Astras are intense aerial vibrations:  a focused mantra is an astra – it commands the elements by force of sound and concentration.

See the Guru Mantra Bhashya in this blog, and Part 2 of the same, for the rich symbolism of danda and astra.

The danda lends its name to a game played in India:

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Correspondence – Rohit’s feedback on cards 5 and 6 of Staves

Wand 5 – The energy and power in this card is great, and the Kumbhakarana is perfect.  Rama needs some golden body armour and the moustache needs to go.  As a composition it perfectly conveys the sense of the card.  The monkey’s vantage point of the events on the card is a nice touch.

Wand 6 – Rama needs to be depicted in accordance with the rest of the suit, he has suddenly taken to wearing a dhoti, he has a moustache and no helmet or armour.  But the composition is fine, and the Ravana is a superb example of unrepentant defiance.

Correspondence – Jane: 
Re Rama – all the examples you sent me had him moustachio’d, and so do books here, so I thought that was the way he is traditionally represented;  with the possibility he might sometimes shave for Sita!  Or the fact that an epic such as this covers much spacetime – note that the buddha series also changes the physical features somewhat, according to his states of wisdom.  Anyway, we can adjust this detail if required.  I shall also add some body armour to the shooting of Ravana’s brother.

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The fall of Ravana and his brother remind me of another great bowman in our Sacred India Tarot Archive:

Sacred India Tarot card 16 - Siva Tripurantaka - the Tower.  With his arrow or astra, Siva pulverised three demon cities which were aligned for just a second, once every thousand years.

Sacred India Tarot card 16 – Siva Tripurantaka – the Tower. With his arrow or astra, Siva pulverised three demon cities which ravaged the universe but were aligned for just a second, once every thousand years.

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

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.

 

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 original 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/

Sacred India Tarot Archive – Creation of 9 and 10 of Arrows: Bheeshma Dies

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9 and 10 in the Suit of Swords/Arrows mark a dark nadir in the deck – an ultimate defeat in the Mahabharatha epic.  Letting this theme speak for itself, I will add to it the ancient concept of “Sword Form” as a martial art, converting aggression to power, grace and courtesy.

taichi sketch from Great River website

taichi sketch from Great River website

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Rohit’s Notes in 2004 – Bheeshma confronts Shikandi
“He is unable to fight back, because they are using Shikandi as a shield, a true nightmare for a warrior.  Krishna and Arjuna use Bheeshma’s chivalrous refusal to fight women to set Shikandi as a shield before them.  Arjuna can now shoot at will and there will be no retaliation.  (Bheeshma is aware that Shikandi was born a woman and changed gender through penance.)  On the field Bheeshma should be shown riddled with eight arrows and Arjuna about to release the ninth.  Arjuna too should be depicted in white or silver armour.

“Shikandi is usually depicted as an effeminate type, and played by comedians in movies, but in the actual text he is a great warrior in his own right, though he can be depicted as slightly smaller and less muscular than the other men.

“If there is space, then a thoughtful Krishna observing the consequences of his suggestion to use Shikandi as a shield can be included.  Arjuna should be shown in great trauma as he releases his arrow as Bheeshma was the person he loved and respected more than any other human being.  It is a ‘nightmare’ for him too, the meaning of the card, as his skills and ability make him the only person capable of killing Bheeshma, and duty does not allow him to refuse.”

SITA 9 of arrows. visual reference from comic book

SITA 9 of arrows. visual reference from comic book

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From Rohit’s book with the deck:
“Bheeshma faces his biggest nightmare – combat against a woman.  He would never descend to such an act, and prefers to desist from fighting …  He ceases combat and allows Arjuna the only feasible chance of striking him down. This masterstroke originated in the smiling wisdom of Krishna – quick to seize a legal advantage, and never mind its fundamental unfairness.  An outraged Ganga watches her invinicible son brought low by cynically exploiting what is noblest in his nature … 

“The poet Ved Vyasa says, ‘As the mother crab recognises with joy its childrens’ pincers tearing it apart, so too did Bheeshma mark out the deepest embedded arrows, saying: These belong to Arjuna!’

“When he finally falls, Bheeshma does not hit the ground.  So many arrows have pierced him, that they hold him aloft in a glorious warriors’ bier.  He does not die either;  his father’s boon keeping him alive until an auspicious moment arises to cast away the mortal shell.

“In a reading:  Nightmare.  Culmination of effort for good or bad, but it is over now.  Karmic repayment.  Sorrow and mental pain, but gaining of spiritual insight.  Need to show love to a suffering person, as Bheeshma does to Arjuna … Begin healing process or sadhana. Time heals all wounds, and wounds all heels … Brooding is infinite, action is what saves you.  What has emerged from the past to distress you?”

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Sacred India Tarot, 9 of Arrows

Sacred India Tarot, 9 of Arrows

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I think Krishna displays profound detachment, with the liberation of this tough old warrior from the drama.  Deep within us, through whatever turn of events, the One observes. When painting this card, I felt that Mother Ganga – her stream blocked by humankind’s epic War with Arrows – flows free at last, and comes into her own, from the depths to the heights.

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In my 2004 journal I found this – concerning 8, 9, 10 of Arrows: 
“Arrows restarted.  Bheeshma lets his sword fall, and offers his life to Krishna who spins the great Wheel of Dharma.  We live in such a time of longing for Vishnu to restore the Dharma … I did this rather profound drawing of the 8 of Arrows last night while watching TV  – the best ones often come so, unconsciously.  Wheel and sword:  surrender.  The next one – Nine of Arrows – will depict Bheeshma who cannot shoot Arjuna because of a woman warrior shield.  So at last the dammed-back feminine has returned to the manly Arrows, which is why I can continue.”

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china-taichi-chen-jun1l

24 February 2004 – The Sacred India Tarot Archetype transcends the Indian continent. Advanced play with swords here on earth, is a martial art.  It becomes graceful and precise.

For a few basic T’ai Chi principles … for it is a Yoga … I quote here from Han Returns to Earth by Barbara Brown, published last month by http://www.bodytao.co.uk . I shall review the book here, very soon.

Jack – a T’ai Chi teacher – instructs east-end youths with knives – after a street fight – to ‘up their game’ and start to learn a discipline:

“‘Raj and Skipper, please stand like me.  Right leg forward, left leg behind, shoulder-width apart, left foot angled 45 degrees.  Body facing squarely forward.’  Raj takes position, still glowering, shooting quick glances of reproach at Jack;  Skipper’s face is impassive as his body settles.  

“‘Now – watch me.  Shift your weight backwards and forwards so that we get the sense of right leg full, left leg empty.  Additionally, allow a sense of pushing from the floor, as if a coiled spring of energy rises from the floor into your right foot up the leg, through the Tan ti’en – and then as you shift weight, the energy, the spring, moves into the other leg.  Now the left leg is full.’
 “Jack is in the courteous, detached mode he adopts when teaching, fully absorbed.  ‘Okay – now from the left to the right.’  The three men move slowly and with increasing gravity backwards and forwards.
 “Satisfied, Jack calls a halt.  ‘That’s the first principle – the shifting of weight.  The second principle is the receiving of the weight and force of the other – and the third is to use the weight and aggression of the other to your advantage, by the dropping into the Tan t’ien and turning the waist.  With the turning of the waist comes the circulation of the hand – hence the term Pushing Hands.’  Jack stands opposite Skipper.  ‘Let me demonstrate.’

“The large, angry man stands opposite Jack.  Now a sickly smile hangs on his lips, his body is peppered with the resentment and unease.  He is bigger than Jack, stronger, broader.  He looks at Jack with disbelief.  He has heard about the capacity of this pale man, but he is new to the class and hasn’t seen it …  ‘Okay, Skipper,’ says Jack. ‘Raise your right hand about chest height … now, turn your hand and push against my arm as hard as you can.’
 “The smile turns into a willing grimace as Skipper puts all his aggression and tension into pushing the irritating man in front of him.  Jack receives the push.  After years of practice, he knows – don’t brace the arms, the upper body.  Keep it all soft, fluid.  Take the push down, receive it into the Tan t’ien, move it through as the weight shifts from forward leg to back leg, and then let the back leg and the central column of the torso drill themselves into the floor, earthed, powered by the energy they have received.  With a vivid corkscrew turn of the waist, and his right hand flipping to show the palm outward and guide Skipper’s body away from him, Jack releases charged-up energy and feels a rush as Skipper’s heavy weight spins past his right side.  Skipper is moving as if blasted by a powerful wave, juddering and bouncing.  Jack’s hand completes a half-circle and then snaps onto Skipper’s wrist, steadying him.  

“Panting, startled, Skipper rights himself and stares at Jack.  Jack looks at him and then bows to him.  ‘Thank you.’  Everyone watches, breath held, to see if Skipper will respond in kind.  An endless second passes.  Then – a very small bow – a mumbled thank you.”

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4 November 2004 – “The Ten of Swords (Arrows) marks a Completion, Malkuth in the western tradition.  The old King instructs the young in the art of government (Sacred India Tarot 8 of Lotuses, 8, 9 and 10 of Arrows were all done last weekend.)  Use the Sword for cutting ties that bind.”

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Rohit’s Notes  – Ten of Arrows:  
Bheeshma on the bed of arrows discoursing to Yudhishtara on Niti
“We would like to communicate a positive feel to a horrible end.  Normally the Ten of Arrows is a miserable card, but in keeping with India’s unique take on this sort of thing, this Ten of Arrows is slightly upbeat as from all this suffering and pain comes an opportuinity to convey the essence of the knowledge and wisdom gathered over a long life.  The arrows form the bed, and ten of them should be prominent, but basically he looks like a porcupine, so many shafts have penetrated him.

“From this bed he teaches Yudhishtara the art of government.  So Yudhishtara in a meditative attentive pose should be seated beside him.”

SITA 10 of arrows - visual reference

SITA 10 of arrows – visual reference

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Jane’s Notes 
As I painted this, I was aware that Bheeshma’s chakras are open – his spinal Kundalini “rests” along those pointed arrows – releasing his soul from the burden of war to the art and speech of wise government.  This is an unusual and positive “take”  on the desperate situation which this card normally depicts.  Bheeshma counsels and guides from the ground, the wise ruler who will succeed him.  As the seed goes into the ground and dies, the generational transmission is unbroken.

Sacred India Tarot 10 of Arrows - Bheeshma instructs Yudhishtara in the art of government

Sacred India Tarot 10 of Arrows – Bheeshma instructs Yudhishtara in the art of government

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Correspondence:  Jane to Rohit and Gautam
“As enclosed, thanks for your email.  I think it’s in keeping for the early Arrow cards to be rather introverted in tone, and to open out with the arrival of the feminine Shakti – after all, he dammed back the Ganga in the Ace ! – but we shall see, on completion. All best, Jane”

Rohit and Gautam to Jane
“Dear Jane, we like this card very much.  We especially like the Krishna, and is it Ganga watching from the sky?  The horror on Arjuna’s face at the ‘nightmare’ of what he’s doing is beautifully depicted.  No changes required.   Warm regards.”

And:  “Hi Jane, Arrows Ten is Ten on Ten!   Gautam and Rohit”

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Priestess, King of swords  and Fool, 1988

Priestess, King of swords and Fool, 1988

Jane’s Notes on Sword and Arrow Symbols – THIS IS ADDITIONAL

From my Journal during January 2014:  The fragment gleamed to me in an open, contemplative way, rather exposed and childlike.   It was existential, it was an awakened dream work, in an inner journey;  I retained always its pictorial essence.  Again it is the light on a bright sword, kept untarnished.  The sword seen only as a gleam, is for ever whole.  Bright sword is the Word.

Sword & Onion

The sword seen only as a gleam is yet a profound healing element, helping to transform areas of life and humanity beyond our ken.

Curious:  the YOD and the HEH.  The Yod is the sword-man:  the Heh is the lake.

These subtle details prompt me yet again to see the Play of the Swords in Beriah the Air element;  we human beings as we draw together, are drifts of that Weather.  We have faces, but  before we have faces, this is happening. So everything I see and am dismayed at in the world, has another Picture entirely from what is believed.

Truth comes together from far beyond our partial vision:  from beyond the belief system.

bota key 11

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Sani Saturn Jyotish, with oxen and raven

Sani Saturn Jyotish, with oxen and raven

The Tarot Key is 11:  Justice.  Equilibrium, the raised Sword.  There is actually a temple of wisdom there, a vaulted Cube.   I can go into it when I like.  The Hebrew letter is “LAM’D” – an uncoiled serpent, or ox goad, the Law which drives the strongest beast of the ancient world;  it ploughed the field and harnessed the Light:  here is Sani’s ox in Jyotish (Indian astrology).   Saturn’s T or TAV is upon the breast of the Queen of equilibrium, above the Karmic scales.   The sword held upright in Her right hand:  initiation.   Saturn is exalted in Libra.

Relationship is strong in the subtle kingdom;  it was difficult to adjust the lens of life to see and be it clearly.

Lenses are two – as in the Amber Spyglass. (His Dark Materials volume 3, by Philip Pullman.)
You bring them into alignment, and keep on doing so

And the lens itself is made from layer over layer of the amber sap to dry, bond and polish – like the making of magic Swords;  and that is why you can see through it, the Golden Dust  – the stellar current.

Avocado..

Moments spaced out, such as this, are human understanding.   All conditions.  See, I have an acorn, which glows psychedelically, like an avocado stone.  I have an amber lens, which forms layer on layer, sheath on sheath, a Sword Form in the martial art of life.   I have Master Han’s teaching on sweet respect and courtesy with each difficulty …   Ask Han a Question … With his questioners, the intimate is released.   Their wisdom-dance together is BREATHTAKING.

Tune in to this:  the collective needs this intimate way of sharing.   The diamond roots sent down into the under-soil, are the rose deep down inside the garden, a red little cavern of white-fire.  The violet delta system.  The venous network:  the invisible brilliance of our organs.

Himalaya - infrared satellite photo from Earth, a Journey through Time

Himalaya – infrared satellite photo from “Earth, a Journey through Time” (by Nicholas Cheetham, published by Quercus)

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But specifically, an exposed and open intimacy is homeopathic, an acupuncture needle of consciousness.   It is the hermit in the black dragon.   It starts to dislodge age-old Karmic carbons to break them up a little:  the lumpish Academic Protective Religious Gear habit that humans got themselves into.   It is an alchemical compound:  a chemistry.   Altering the chemistry in the black dragon, reaches and radiates profoundly into Life and humanity.

I am astonished with what I am learning today, of the Sword Form in the tao martial art.  I sometimes saw Barbara practice with her wooden sword.  Since October also, posting the Swords in the Sita Archive:  life was challenging and delicate to negotiate.   From the start, I knew the Suit of Swords is, in Hebrew, Beriah, Air, World of Creation.

avocado stone '94 j&d11

On Earth those blades of light are misunderstood.  They orchestrate great fields of Karmic weather pattern and their real gesture is beauty.   But they are sharp, like light through the trees, and we project onto them our fear, our clouds, our resistance, our wars, and so they appear to us dark and wounding … until we learn to forge our very own Sword of Light (through plunge of fire and water) layer by layer from Life itself.   Love, Light and Life.

In my life, the drawing near … is a gesture of the Sword form:  just about now, it begins to integrate fully. That is an interesting word!

bottic.mercury sketch

It always was so:  but I had to recreate the lens to see it.  Then through the lens, a deep past is perceived:   the resonance.  The lens, bringing two slides together, springs into life:  three dimensionally.   I saw last night on telly, Flinders Petrie do this (in the 19th century) with his magic photo box.   Basically, there are two identical pictures, and a hole for each eye to look through.  The left and right eye “slide” the pictures together, and suddenly I am in the full room with human-ness  – the depth of field.

The depth of field is an unknown PERCEPTION, and this may be practiced by looking at the depth of space and perspective between any two objects:  a chair and the chest of drawers:   my feet and a book lying open over there:   a swirl of leaves and their tree trunk.   This PERCEPTION when practiced, regulates our human endeavours and intimacies, for it slows down the desperate blind monkey. Just look at the space between … the things.  See between the thoughts, which all are constructed on A-Ka-Sha, interior space.

Ask?

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portrait of the artist

portrait of the artist

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

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

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

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

 

Dive into Yoga

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Joy Ganesh - 7 January 1992

Joy Ganesh – 7 January 1992

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sivalinga

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

Grand Cardinal Cross 04.14am gmt, 23 April 2014

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

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Hermes Trismegistus detail - caduceus ida pingala - 2003

Hermes Trismegistus detail – caduceus ida pingala – 2003

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hermes in the sea, from the Book of Roob

Hermes in the sea, from the Book of Roob

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

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

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

Near Exeter in south devon - photo from the daily mail

Near Exeter in south devon – photo from the daily mail

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

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

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

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/I

Sacred India Tarot Archive – Creation of 5 and 6 of Arrows: & January 2014 New Moon

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Rippling

Rippling – the winds back and forth

Continuing the account of Rohit and my collaboration on the Sacred India Tarot – this project took 9 years overall.  Rohit in India would meditate on each card and email to me his thoughts, together with a visual reference from a comic book or from Indian art itself.   Because of the deck’s universal Archetypes, he and Gautam the publisher determined in 2000 to try and find an artist overseas, rather than a more traditional style.  That is why the deck is painted in a way which is of essence, rather than of standard Indian culture.

They decided to commission me, when Gautam “by chance” saw my drawings of the Jyotish deities, at a business lunch on a visit to England.   There are no accidents.  I “just happened” to bring these drawings along to the meeting – I was accompanying Alan Jacobs.   They were discussing the “art style” book on Ramesh Balsekar, which Gautam was publishing in Mumbai.

The Sacred India Tarot is an unusual project, bridging east and western alchemies.  Rohit is a polymath, an accomplished yogi and a student of Jung’s work.  I had been to India a couple of times, as a student of Ramana, Self enquiry and Siva.   I was impressed with the way Rohit’s Tarot of Indian mythology flowed and fitted so beautifully with the familiar western Archetypes.

As the work went on, Rohit would send me what was on his mind.  As I put pencil to paper, details and symbolisms would rise spontaneously into the picture, which surprised me, and astonished Rohit, who had not thought of them.   This was due to the Yin Yang cross-fertilizing of our cultural backgrounds, and to our mutual flexibility.  It was very rich indeed.   It was a classic example of the creative Magician-Priestess interaction, in the esoteric Tarot psychology.  The male Magician delivers ideas:  the self conscious.  The female Priestess processes and re-presents them, coloured by previous input – the subconscious is “perfectly amenable to suggestion”!   A well balanced interplay of this kind, invokes the Collective archetypes and their story – a bridging of nations, cultures, art and ideas.

We had to create these cards with our life texture, which was often difficult and challenging during this period.  2004/5, when I drew the Suit of Arrows/Swords, was stormy and dense for me.  Rohit also suffered a rocking boat at times.   Simultaneously while drawing the Sacred India Tarot, I began to study full time, the Builders of the Adytum Tarot correspondence course.   I did not draw the Indian deck in BOTA colour language (which is based on specific tonal resonance), but the imagery and understanding were enriched.  The boundaries are fluid and yet distinct.

Rohit is a brilliant and entertaining speaker and teacher.  He has held many courses on the Sacred India Tarot, and on all aspects of Yoga and the Sanatana Dharma.   Here is a link to his work on Youtube:

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and see also … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx7PjENSQG4 – “On the yogic saying Naveenam Naveenam Shanneh Shanneh” – which is the video I originally pasted here.

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Rohit’s Notes
Five of Arrows – Bheeshma resigns throne and sex life

“To allay the apprehensions of the fisherman, Bheeshma renounces the throne and promises to remain a nitya-brahmachari, eternally celibate, so that no children of his will contest the throne with the offspring of his stepmother (the fisher girl his father wants to marry.) This is a personal defeat, but a Cosmic Victory for it is now that the gods themselves give him his new and true name of BHEESHMA – the One of the Terrible Vow.

SITA 5 of Arrows - visual reference from comic book

SITA 5 of Arrows – visual reference from comic book

“His shaken father grants him boons of an extraordinarily prolonged life, as well as invinicibility, with death able to approach only when Bheeshma himself decides it.  Bheeshma could be shown in full armour, holding up five arrows in his hand to take his terrible vow.  The gods are showering flowers upon him from the heavens, awed at his renunciation, while a divine voice booms out his new name.

The fisherman and his daughter can be shown cowering before the sheer force of personality that emanates from the young prince.  It is a very Hindu thought – at the moment of your greatest defeat, is also your greatest victory.

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Sacred India Tarot - the Five of Arrows

Sacred India Tarot – the Five of Arrows

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Interlude – A Sword Under the Ice and Earth

New year's moon Grand Cross astrology

New year’s moon Grand Cross astrology – drawing by JA on 3 January 2014

On New Year’s Day at about 11.30am GMT, we got this gift – a Capricorn New Moon on the Sun, formed an arrow-head with Pluto and Mercury …  and a Grand Cross of Swords.

Jupiter is the Archer (Sagittarius ruler) in Cancer 4th House.  He aims his arrow straight into Capricorn.  Uranus is opposite Mars along the Ascendent axis – the strung bow. The Ascendent is the axis of action, and the Midheaven is the axis of Will.  It is wonderful; the new-moon Sun was almost at the Midheaven.   Our fingers … arrows … point to the moon.

flickriver.com photos jackandjo 4378319759

flickriver.com photos jackandjo 4378319759

Strictly speaking for this Indian-themed post, I should try to compose this chart in Jyotish – with Jupiter as Guru, Mars as Mangala, Mercury as Budhi, and so on.  But here I am in London, a western Capricorn, with my resolutions for now.   The 1 January 2014 chart is an esoteric preview of the coming Grand Cardinal Cross which will manifest on 22 April this year.   For all of us who are sensitive to it, what is unfolding here and now, is likely to bear fruit;  we move in harmony with it.  After the winter Solstice, the new Yang begins to rise through the ground.  I feel at this time, still deeply retired from society, and begin to clean my house and rearrange my cupboards and files.  This is slow, because the downloads – like the Capricorn new moon – continue to arrive, most days.

A cross inside a circle is a symbol of Earth, and of the Hebrew letter TAV:  fulfillment of a design.  You see the angles are not yet exact:  as with a pendulum, Jupiter and Mars will oscillate during the intervening three months, until they fall into the 13th degree of their Signs, together with Uranus and Pluto.

The April Grand Cross occurs at the midpoint of the solar and lunar eclipse fortnight.  Watch the end of February for pointers to the precision.

plant with bokeh

There is not space in this post, to ponder events which impact all of us differently in our depth.  As Peter writes in A View From the Other Side, whatever we planted in 2013, will germinate.

All I can do for now, is draw the Mandala it suggests, and let it speak visually.

I am a huge fan of J.K.Rowling and Harry Potter.  I have read all the books many times, and am half way through The Deathly Hallows again – my favourite.  In the movie on TV this Xmas, I was deeply struck by the Sword of Gryffindor deep under the ice, which Harry dives for:    it shines up through the pond in the winter woods.   Why!   The Sword, forged by mountain goblins, bears the Law of Deliverance.   The Air Suit of Swords/Arrows in our Sacred India Tarot IS that same deliverance of the light through the dark:  the Santanana Dharma through the Mahabharat … as in every “deep fix” within our personal life.  As I wrote in earlier Arrows posts, the Sword of Deliverance operates outside Time – the World of Creation – and manifests sharply on the ground.

So I assembled from google images, this small mosaic:

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Gryffindor_sword_lake_scene-300x209

I love the aspect-angles in this photo

I love the aspect-angles in this photo

Ice painting - idiotic-hat.blogspot.co.uk/2009_01_01_archive.html

Ice painting –  http://idiotic-hat.blogspot.co.uk/2009_01_01_archive.html

I found this photo in http://phoenixweasley.wordpress.com  – a very interesting site.  Hermione after leaving her parents, walks away towards the spire of St Judes in Hampstead Garden Suburb.  It is a dramatic setting:  the architect was Edwin Lutyens.

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The January Grand Cross reminds me of the early pencilled Mandala by Jung, for his Red Book:  it suggests a grand crossing of the Lunar Nodes, for he drew – intuitively or with the knowledge – the glyph of the rising and falling node of his life change.  He was about 37 – just beginning his second Nodal cycle.  (The cycle is 18 and a half years.)

jung's red book, the 1st mandala sketch

jung’s red book, the 1st mandala sketch

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Sacred India Tarot Five of Arrows – Bheeshma’s Renunciation – suggests the point at which the Destiny is greater than the man.  He is no longer of the breeding stock, but serves a higher Order.  The Destiny falls from Heaven as light … as swords of sunlight, or of flowers.  Renouncing his sword of life, he receives the sword of the Spiritual King.

Here now is a working image for the Six of Arrows.  Though he has no children of his own, the older Bheeshma heads a lineage.  His view of the life-scape, and the responsibilities of his individuation,  extend far beyond his personal sphere.   He is aware of the future and of the past, as a Great Circle, seamlessly.

SITA 6 of Arrows - visual reference from comic book

SITA 6 of Arrows – visual reference from comic book

Rohit’s Notes
Six of Arrows – Bheeshma’s years of guardianship of the Kurus

“I suppose the best way to convey the passage of time as well as change – a journey in many stages even when one is unmoving (as the Six represents) – is perhaps a white haired white bearded but still formidable Bheeshma looking out over the palace balcony where the young princes are being trained in archery by Drona.

“We need a sense of receding horizon:  the young people move into the future that he is striving so hard to safeguard.  The six arrows are easily depicted, if we select five young men to represent the Pandavas, and Drona the Guru – all of them on the point of releasing their shafts.  They need not be depicted in great detail even;  a sort of blurry vision through the mists of early morning, as they are practicing, would be fine also.   It would also tie in with the Air suit very well.”

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Sacred India Tarot Six of Arrows

Sacred India Tarot Six of Arrows

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Correspondence, Rohit and Gautam to Jane, July 2004
“The atmosphere is very broody, and suits the Bheeshma character well.  There are a couple of points though.  Bheeshma is perhaps not muscular enough, he looks like a Bruce Lee type of strong man.  To pull on his kind of bow would require muscular overdevelopment – like Conan the Barbarian in Marvel Comics.  This was mentioned in the instructions for card 1.

“Gautam explained that there was some reason for not representing the suit in the dance form of Indonesia or Bali.  That is a great pity, because I really wanted to give an international flavour to the pack, not regiment it or limit to merely Indian forms of representation.  The epics too are really international stories, intellectual property of the world, and Indonesia-Bali has some of the best Hindu art in the world, which was why I was keen on it.

“The Prince looks, I don’t know, slightly financially strapped.  Could we add some plate armour or jewels to his chest or arms, so that the inherent splendour of what he was going to give up comes out stronger?  This looks austere.  The Buddha suit was perfect in conveying the level of luxury he enjoyed.

“But overall as I have said, the psychological accuracy and impact of the suit till now, is remarkable.”

“Rohit”

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The reason was, that during that year I FELT AUSTERE.   My marriage was about to come to an end, and I couldn’t relate to big muscles or research the ornamental extravaganzas of the Balinese mode !   In my sense of the Swords/Arrows, life was stripped down to the truth, pared to the bone in a way:  I could not add to it, or adorn.

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“Dear Jane, here is Rohit’s feedback for the Six of Arrows. The conceptual power of this card is good.  The sense of years passing and Bheesma brooding over the Kurus is terrific.  But he is still too thin and he still has less armour.  He needs to look more muscular.  The old man got stronger as the years went by, as is common with martial artists.”

“Warm regards, Gautam.”

In Rohit’s book with the deck, he comments (in summary):
“Spiritually, Five of Arrows represents the sacrifices and struggles necessary to break through to higher levels of awareness … a phase of reorganization and reorienting one’s priorities … be careful what you pray for – you might get it!

“The name of the gateway in Six of Arrows is ‘Earned Success’.  The card for great reward after enormous effort and patience.  Moving away from troubled times.  Work has to be maintained at fever pitch to ensure the continuance of rewards.  Indomitable spirit, that does not give way to setbacks, however crushing.  Release of tension, like an arrow from a bow.

“Do not run away from yourself.  ‘Quo Vadis’ – where are you going in life?  in your personal and professional work?  Are you doing enough?  Are you patient enough? 

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Here is stated the key to the Action of the Arrows/Swords with destiny – act with it, and be patient!   A truly Capricornian philosophy.  Goats climb into the sky but keep their hooves on the ground.

tumblr_myopprOQFC1s030vgo1_500

Wishing us all, a productive pasture and garden of all the Worlds, for 2014 !

Peace, joy, a kind heart through the gate;  and blessings.

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ocean-seagull-Josh-Blash-10-18-2013-Rye-NH-e1388406612861

ocean seagull at moonrise, photo by Josh Blash

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

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.

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.

aquariel link

All original 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/

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Creation of the Sacred India Tarot Archive – The Royal Lotuses (1)

Aniruddha & Usha - photo credit Wikipedia

Aniruddha & Usha – photo credit Wikipedia

Another love-story among Siva’s meditations …

Sacred India Tarot 3 of lotuses - Version 2

Rohit’s Notes:  Aniruddha the Son of Pradayumna

“This is yet another Krishna clone, except for his extreme youth.  He was only sixteen when he heard the thousand armed King Bana had a daughter who had fallen in love with him.  He set off to win her, getting into all sorts of trouble from which he had to be rescued by Krishna and Pradayumna.  The volatile impetuous nature of extreme youth and extreme emotional susceptibility is what is sought to be conveyed here.  A very young Krishna type, hurtling along a river bank in a chariot, with a beautiful girl alongside him, would capture the card.”

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Rohit’s Notes in The Sacred India Tarot book: 

“The Dwara reveals:  Aniruddha, grandson of Krishna and son of Pradhymna, is the archetypal dashing romantic hero.  He was a favourite of the royal palace at Dwaraka, and consequently he developed extreme confidence and panache.  Being abundantly talented and able, his high opinion of himself was not entirely unwarranted.  By the age of seventeeen, he was already one of the most desirable matrimonial catches of ancient India.  Usha the daughter of the neighbouring King Bana, seemed especially susceptible to his glamour, without even having seen him.

That was superfluous, as she had dreamt of him and got her friend to draw his accurate likeness! 

“The helpful friend inflamed Aniruddha with accounts of Usha’s fathomless love and certain languishing decline, if she did not soon wed him. 

“The young man sets off without even bothering to inform his family.  Usha and Aniruddha get married by the Gandharva ceremony – a marriage without the consent of parents, and solemnised by an exchange of garlands – for they are in a hurry to enjoy connubial bliss. 

desire..

Sacred India Tarot 4 of lotuses version 1 - Version 3

“When Bana comes to know his only daughter is hiding a young man in her room, he quite justifiably flares up.  The happy couple flee precipitously, but Bana, blessed with supernatural powers by Siva – a thousand arms being the least of them – overtakes them.  Aniruddha puts up a decent fight but is outclassed and taken prisoner.  Krishna and his father have to rescue him and reconcile Bana to the situation. 

“Bana has no real objections, once he cools down, but this heedless haste and dazzling disregard of the social proprieties makes his wrath excusable, as Krishna kindly points out to the young couple.” 

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Lord Krishna

Lord Krishna

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SITA The Chariot - detail

Sacred India Tarot Archive, The Chariot – detail

Jane’s Notes

The god Krishna, in the Vishnu lineage, enters the Sivaic Lotus Suit here, much as Vishnu and Siva interact among the snowy peaks and passes of Himalayan Garhwal – sources of the upper Ganges.  Krishna’s divine task is “to restore the Dharma” –  he descended with the forces of order through the epic chaos of civil war in the Mahabharatha.  Vishnu sustains Cosmic law.  Other offshoots of the Vishnu Archetype include Gautama Buddha and Yeshua son of Miriam.

Krishna was Aniruddha’s grandfather.  The elder generation are brought in as mediators:  the parents were too close to the emotional situation and “the done thing”, for clear sight.

Rohit’s interpretation of this card goes on to discriminate genuine new stages of emotional growth from muddled or scatter-brained romance … in other words, truth from delusion.  “Love or romance comes unasked into life.” Neither of the ardent young couple in the chariot are looking where they are going – they have eyes only for each other!  (See below)

Yet they are instruments of destiny, as they intuited before they even met.   The headlong force of destiny is captured in the river which flows down the valley from the mountains.  They awaken within the Lotus bud of the gods.

The marriage of Siva and Parvati in the Suit of Lotuses, eroticized the landscape on Earth among princes and fair maids.  A powerful mutual attraction generates much Karma and Drama, and rocks the boat – a task for the gods to sort out, indeed!

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The Sacred India Tarot - Page of Lotuses:  Aniruddha the son of Pradayumna

The Sacred India Tarot – Page of Lotuses: Aniruddha the son of Pradayumna – the completed card.

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What is the message here?  What Consciousness, or elixir, through the flow of events?

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Sketch of Stella Kramrisch - JA 2012

Sketch of Stella Kramrisch – JA 2012

Rudra Plunges into the Waters
by Prof. Stella Kramrisch, Princeton University Press 1981

A Commentary on texts from the Mahabharat,  Rig Veda  and Linga Purana. Here are some further extracts from Chapter Six of Stella Kramrisch’s scholarly and visionary work, The Presence of Siva.  (See in this series, Creation of Sacred India Tarot Archive – Ace of Lotuses and 6 of Lotuses).  Raudra Brahman,  or RUDRA the Wild Hunter,  was the original Vedic form of the god Siva and his fiery derivatives.  “He Emerges from the Poem of Ancient Power”.  A profound and paradoxical cosmic philosophy is reflected in Kramrisch’s cyclical style.

Rudra is primaeval.  The Presence standing behind the Myths of Siva, is woven through the stories of Siva and Parvati’s courtship in Sacred India Tarot’s Suit of Lotuses.

Tao and Time - Child Rudra-Siva

On Tao and Time – Child Rudra-Siva

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“TIME HAD been the antagonist of Rudra, who was at the very beginning the hunter and avenger.   But for this, the arrow of the hunter would have struck its target as soon as Rudra had noticed the Father’s behaviour.   The union of Father and daughter would have been prevented, and no seed would have been shed.

“In another sense, time cooperated with Agni-Rudra,  who had prepared the seed – its purpose being to be shed –  whereas time antagonized Rudra.   Time interposed itself between the intention of the hunter and his target, and made the arrow hit the target at the most vulnerable moment,  so that some of the seed was spilled and fell down to the earth.   Rudra, guardian of the Uncreate,  partakes of its timelessness,  but insofar as he played his part,  time itself meted out his actions.   Time carried his arrow at its own speed.   The guardians of the timeless Uncreate were overtaken by the delaying action of time.

“The transition from the Uncreate into creation, from timelessness into time,  is a danger zone.   The wound that Rudra inflicted causes havoc among the gods – from aeon to aeon.   But when Brahma was about to consume in a holocaust the cosmos he had created, the moment had come for Rudra to confront time and to infuse it with his being.

“Although time does not appear as a persona in the myth of the creation of death, its presence lurks in the urgency of the fire of total extinction born of Brahma’s wrath.

pebbles, somerset beach

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“STHANU the motionless pillar, moved – although quiescent – by pity for the creatures of Brahma threatened by total extinction,  begs him to grant them renewed life and the activity arising out of and alternating with death and quiescence.   For them, time will not end with death:  they will return after a period of quiescence in a new birth.   Time will carry them through repeated births and deaths to the end of the aeon.   Rudra’s time is a form of the Great God’s compassion for all creatures.

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[STHANU is the motionless pillar of all being.  Sthanu out of the quiescence of his stance, prevailed on Brahma the Creator of time and space.   Death and rebirth thenceforth came to be interwoven in the pattern of time, due to Sthanu’s compassion for creatures.]   

STHANU gives death its place in the renewal of life, a transpersonal life carrying the here and now in indefinite repetition to quiescence and a new beginning,  until the Great God absorbs in his dance of annihilation the uncounted rhythms he has released.  Charged by Brahma to create living beings, Rudra created immortals of deathless vitality before he turned into a motionless pillar,  self-contained in stillness.

Vastospati as Jyotish Guru;  Swan of Brahma

Vastospati as Jyotish Guru; Swan of Brahma

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“According to another tradition however, the Great Yogi carried out Brahma’s command to create living beings by plunging into the water and then by castrating himself when asked to produce creatures.   Saying at first that he was unable to produce creatures, Rudra plunged into the water.   He practiced tapas, austere in creative fervour,  over a long time.   Rudra, deeply immersed in the water,  was absorbed in the task to which he had responded according to his yogic nature,  believing that one without fervent austerities is not able to create creatures.   Full of expectation, Creator Brahma waited all that time.   Nothing happened, and Brahma turned to another being whose name was Daksa.   Brahma made Daksa the creator of all living beings.   Seeing Rudra immersed in the waters, Daksa his substitute created living creatures.   As soon as they were born, they ran toward him.   They were hungry and wanted to devour him.   Daksa turned to Brahma to protect him and to assign food for them.   Brahma gave the living creatures herbs and plants, and gave the weaker creatures as food for the stronger.   Brahma, the Puranic version of Prajapati the Father,  in creating Daksa, recreated himself.

“At last Rudra rose from the waters and saw the living creation.   At the sight he became angry, tore out his phallus and caused it to fall into the ground,  since no purpose would be served by it.   By his ardent exertion he had diffused his splendour into the waters, created the plants and healing herbs for all creatures.   The plants would multiply like those whose food they were to be.  Without them, the living beings would have died.   Cheerless and in rage, Rudra went to the foot of Mount Mujavat to practice asceticism.

“Rudra the Wild Hunter is Agni, Fire.   He plunged into the waters where life was generated by his heat, by the fervour of his asceticism.   The waters are Agni’s resting place, his secret refuge when he – like Rudra – is charged at the sacrifice with an onerous task to perform.   His flight from the sacrifice into the flowing waters is a withdrawal from action, a merging of himself in himself.

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Rudra Immerses

Rudra Immerses

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“Agni hides in the waters, but at other times he is seen,  a shaft of light from on high speeding to the shiny plane and resting there,  the pillar of heaven glowing like the sun.   It is the leg of the sun.   With its one foot it steps out of the beyond.  Thus its name is Aja Ekapad, the uncreate One-Foot.   The light from on high plunges into the waters – as Rudra did – and shines forth,  vibrating from the body of Rudra in solar and lunar rays.   Agni and the uncreate One-Foot merge the images of their light with that of Rudra.   Rudra, who is the very self of yoga,  is often described in terms of effulgent light.   Light is the progenitive power.   Bathed by the water, Rudra the young ascetic kindles the water with his creative fervour (tapas)  and life stirs.  Plants grow from the contact.   The plants will be the food of living creatures moving about on earth.

“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.

Primrose Path - 1987

Primrose Path – 1987

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“These are likenesses of Rudra.   They are identical with him.   Agni and the uncreate One-Foot are cosmic figures.   The world of man however, lends the human figure to the consecrated celibate, a student who fervently exerts himself in mastering,  transmuting and transcending the psycho-physical body.  Rudra had sprung from the wrath of the Creator,  from the fury of his frustration.   … Though he was Brahma’s mind-born ascetic son, he accepted the paternal mandate and 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 the living beings everywhere.”

Stella Kramrisch,
“The Presence of Siva” – Princeton University Press 1981

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• 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 Ardhanarisvara,  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.   English translation is available in booklet form from Ramanasramam.

• 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.

J.A.


* See Ace of Lotuses:  for the mythology of the Father,  the Dawn,  and Rudra’s arrow  – He comes from the Poem of Ancient Power.

Sivalinga on Arunachala inner path

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

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.

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 original 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/

Sacred India Tarot Archive – Buddha Rupa: Creation of Page, Knight, Queen, King of Pentacles

Protected by Copyscape Web Plagiarism Scanner

Concluding the Suit of Disks: the Buddha’s Life and Teaching
by Rohit Arya and Jane Adams.  This post includes Rohit’s essay on Kirtimukha

Sacred India Tarot buddha Kubera Yaksha

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A Lens ...

A Lens …

Sacred India Tarot buddha Hariti wife of Kubera

In sanskrit, the rupa is an image of the divine.  Some traditions allow no images.  Other traditions allow that our whole lives are Image-ination.  The rupa may be a portrait, or it may be an impression engraved on the collective subconscious.  This post reflects on some ripened imprints of the Buddha’s teaching, pictorially.  Buddhist meditation is practical, methodical and based on psychology.  We need a working view of our own asuras – the demonic energies in our subconscious – which also drive us to realisation.  Light and shadow work together.

Rohit’s Notes (2003) 

“Page – Rahula, the son and disciple of Buddha … OR Ananda, cousin and closest disciple.

“This is a difficult choice, as both fit well.  The picture we have is of Buddha giving his son his ‘inheritance’ – the begging bowl.  Ananda was inseparable from Buddha while he was alive, and seems to have been a very earnest and slightly stupid young man – the only one in the crowd of monks around Buddha, who did not attain to the final realisation. 

visual reference for Page of disks

visual reference for Page of disks

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“Maybe we can cheat a little, drop the wife of Buddha from the composition, make Ananda a young man instead of a boy, but retain the difference in size between him and the Buddha.  

“That was an artistic convention, to depict the immense difference between Buddha and all other mortals, but in Ananda’s case, it was especially true.  By doing this juggling around, we maintain the power of the original image, which is one of the best known from the Ajanta murals – as well as cast Ananda in the role of the page.”

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“(from the book with the deck) – In a reading: a young person of great potential.  Whether it will manifest is another matter, but at present the potential is immense.  Dainty and finicky personalities;  sometimes visionary and psychic people, in contrast to the practical, grounded, unimaginative personality.

“Alternatively(shadow) – Unresolved personal issues: chronic bachelors of either sex, and in extreme cases, learning disabilities.   Slow and steady progress should pay off in the long run – diligent and plodding. … The special insight of this card is: ‘the situation you are in will teach you a lot, but experience, not wealth, may be your only gain.'”

Jane’s Notes (2013)

This is one of my favourites of this suit – the teasing expression of the Master, as he holds the bowl a little beyond the disciple’s sight, to enable him to grow.  It makes life the more “interesting”.

Sacred India Tarot, Page of Disks/Pentacles

Sacred India Tarot, Page of Disks/Pentacles

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Knight of Disks/Pentacles

In terms of the Buddha-Rupa or Image, the two following images show Rohit’s earlier concept :

Visual reference 1 for Buddha Knight

Visual reference 1 for Buddha Knight

The nobility of the chivalric warrior – the best of the Kshetra caste of Guardians …

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Boddhisattva – the Buddha in the making …

Visual reference 2, Buddha Knight

Visual reference 2, Buddha Knight – the Avalokiteswara

“This picture gives some idea of the elegant nature of the concept.  This is the Buddha – there are many Buddhas – who has given up his chance for final liberation, and is working to help all living beings achieve it.  Only then will he enter the final Nirvana.”

Before I began to sketch this out, a Stop Press arrived from Rohit:  “The Knight as Kirtimukha, the Face of Glory! – regard the previous suggestions as cancelled!”

“The important thing to realise, is that Kirtimukha is the Green Man of India, or to be precise, the Green Man as India experienced him.  He is usually found above sculptures of gods forming an arch of vegetation, which erupt from his mouth and flow from his hair, usually from the Crown chakra.

Green man door bell (Wikipedia)

Green man door bell (Wikipedia)

“Even houses have him over the front door, even in the heart of a city like Bombay.  He is tropical vegetation run riot in all his representations;  so ideally his very face should be composed of twigs and leaves and creepers and so on, with no real human flesh tone.

“Kirtimukha is always just a face, with no body and even no neck.  He could be depicted as some sort of ‘vegetation sun’ at high noon, over a fertile and lush landscape.  Alternatively, he could be forming an arch or bower of vegetation over a meditating Buddha.

“That the Knight should be Kirtimukha and not a Bodhisattva, came to me in a dream!” 

fired clay mask by Walter Storey - www.in-between.org.uk

fired clay mask by Walter Storey – www.in-between.org.uk

Gautam the publisher commented:  “I would substitute the Knight of pentacles with Kirtimukha, for the very good reason that he is the Green Man as viewed in the Indian cultural prism.  That is one of the archetypal planetary energies, and we need them in alignment with us.  The Green Man exists in all cultures so we cannot afford to leave him out of our pack.”

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Jane’s Notes, 2013

by Katherine Soutar, dancing cat designs

by Katherine Soutar, dancing cat designs

The Buddha during the throes of his Enlightenment, kept firm contact with Nature:  his hand was held to Earth.  So we depict the Knight centering the Earth energy.  Without a mastery of the telluric pulse, Guardians and Bodhisattva ideals are not much help.  The telluric pulse – the Earth – represents likewise, our subconscious, and the cellular memory within it, of the ancient animal, vegetable and lizard kingdoms – reaching even into the record of the rocks;  the aeons of our planet’s fiery cooling to become a forest grower.  The Knight in this revelation represents aspects of the Buddha’s conscious memory – the Tathagatha who was, is now, and will be.

Kirthimukha, the Green Man, the face of glory, is the threshold guardian on all temples.  Earth is female, vegetation is male, this he is.   He is a luminal being between the edge of ordinary and Awakened consciousness.  He is a filter of negativity, and deflects worldly impulses.

Kirthimukha is a forgiveness koan, forgiveness with the Judgement.

Ivy and Oak

Ivy and Oak at Buckland Filleigh

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Rohit’s Notes – (from the book with the deck):

“The Buddha is haloed by Kirthimukha, one of the earliest manifestations of the Divine in nature known to India. 

“The Kirthimukha is a protector deity, a threshold guardian belonging to one of the two oldest groups of Cthonic deities in India:  the Yakshas from the word Yakshamam – we shall protect.  The other group is the Nagas – serpent energies of the earth.  These are easily the oldest and perhaps original gods of India, predating the Vedas.  Even the Buddha was at birth taken to the shrine of his clan’s guardian Yaksha – Sakha Vardhana. Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism had to totally assimilate Yakshas and Nagas before they gained wide acceptance. 

“Kirthimukha is the male aspect of nature, for while the earth is female, vegetation is masculine.  … Europe knew him as Dionysius, then the Green Man or John Barleycorn, while the Sufi mystics still experience him as Khwaja Khidur – a gigantic being, a spiritual initiator and mentor, whose footsteps sprout vegetation…  the special meaning of this card is forgiveness.  Let go of grudges and hate, and let time take care of the rest.” 

(cf Ace of Disks/Pentacles in this series, the Buddha’s birth.  The babe walked at once, spouting lotuses.)

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Now comes Rohit’s liberating tale – The Story of Kirtimukha – a fascinating cosmic psychology.  It is timely, because this BUDDHA series will be followed by the Suit of Cups/Lotuses – the Story of Siva and Parvati.   The websites of the asura images, are well worth a visit, also.

“IN MANY INDIAN TEMPLES, you will find over the main gate, or over the door frame of the inner sanctum, a monstrous disembodied head glaring or grinning down at you.  This is the Kirtimukha, face of glory.  Our myth seeks to explain how this seeming incongruity came to occupy this respected position:

AsuraLord from https://mythoughtsbornfromfire.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/asura/

AsuraLord from https://mythoughtsbornfromfire  – NB, this site contains other good illustrations

“In the Indian mythological system, the asuras (demons) are cousins of the gods, and indeed are created from the same cosmic material.  They are demonic however, because they identify the Self with the body.  All their cosmic power is perverted in finding ever fresher ways to satisfy the material consciousness.  That gets them in self-destructive trouble over the long term, though in the short term they create some trouble of their own.

“This situation actually works for the good of all sentient beings in the universe, as the asuras are infinitely more powerful than the ‘gods’ – a situation that the Norse divinities knew only too well – and if they were more disciplined or wise, they could have taken over heaven on a permanent basis.  As it is, the asuras are always a chaotic force in the evolving universe. 

“One such asura suddenly got it into his mind that since he was the strongest being in the universe, he deserved the most beautiful woman existing.  This sort of logic is typical asura, but for them to think is to act.  He turned up at the abode of Siva the great God himself, and peremptorily demanded possession of Siva’s wife Parvati.  Now Parvati is the Great Goddess, and this was stupidity on a scale that even the asura should have quailed at. 

“Siva being pure consciousness, merely projected back at the asura a crystallization of his own insatiable desires.  This new entity was far worse than anything the asura had seen.  It was the living manifestation of a raw hunger, a world devouring flame that needed more, ever more, and was still left empty.  The immensity of his own endless desire was now in front, and the asura turned and ran.  The new demon chased him, intent on eating him up, devastating and devouring all that was between him and his prey.  Peril breeds perspective, and the asura realised that his only hope was Siva.  According to Indian mythology, you cannot refuse to grant quarter and protection if it is asked for.  So now Siva had one suitably chastened asura on his hands – as well as an enormous problem that seemed determined to eat up the universe.

“The Hunger was accepting of Siva’s mercy, but he had a problem.  ‘What do I eat now?‘  He was brought into being to solve a crisis, and now his own existence was jeopardised – which reflected poorly on the God.  Siva came up with the sort of Trickster solution so beloved of India – ‘Why don’t you eat yourself?’

“A god’s word is worth following, even if it seems senseless and destructive, and with faith in the Lord the demon did just that.  He began to chomp and champ away, beginning with his toes and working upward in a grim straight line that never wavered, never doubted and never ceased to masticate.  Finally he came to the neck and that was it – he could no longer contort himself to provide any room to bite. 

“Siva laughed, the earth shaking peal of pure joy that Kalidasa said was the Himalayas – the frozen laughter of Siva. 

“This episode was a grimly humorous illumination on the nature of life.  Life feeds on life, no matter how monstrous that may seem at first glance.  Desire forms a perfect feedback loop that ends up eating even what is desired.  This concept was known to the Sumerians as Ourobouros, the serpent eating its tail.  Life feeds on Life.  It is wildly exhilerating and liberating to realise and accept this concept, but it seems monstrous to those who have not had the experience.

16 kekuli serpent

“Siva named the Hunger Kirtimukha, the immortal face of glory.  He is seen above the doors of all temples.  Siva who is Constant Awareness, wants you to be aware of the real nature of the universe, to accept it.

“A philosophy of life and spirituality that will not acknowledge the dark side is only a milk and water religion after all, not really nourishing in the long run.  To live in the world, is to be aware of that constant hunger, and as always Siva or god is the only way in which you can transcend it. 

“To recognise Kirtimukha is to grow up, to have an adult understanding and acceptance of the universe, not a child’s fantasy.  In Jungian terms, Kirtimukha is a visibilization, a personification of the Shadow (or some aspects of it).  Kirtimukha is thus a threshold guardian to maturity, to the deepening of experience which is called wisdom.”

Vajrapani

Tibetan-Buddhist Wrathful deity Vajrapani

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Here is the finished card – Kirtimukha, the Face of Glory

Sacred India Tarot Knight of Disks - Buddha Kartimukha

Sacred India Tarot Knight of Disks – Buddha Kartimukha

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We arrive at archetypes of the Buddha which depict his Taurean nature, at home in the physical elements.  He tried the traditional path of starvation, but it had no relevance to the Great Middle Way which is central to his teaching.  Suffering is the result of imbalances and extremes of desire, to either side.   Physically the Buddha must have been well toned, with a beautiful opulence in his skin, in the way he walked, and in his bearing.  The quality is celebrated in the Court cards of this suit.  He was also – as are all great Sages – at home in the feminine side of his nature, as in the male.  There is something of the androgyne, or ardhanariswara in the manifestations of sacred Wisdom and Understanding.

This study is Siva Ardhanariswara, Lord whose half is Woman – with Siva’s vehicle, the white bull Nandi – but it serves as well here:  there are very few depictions in Indian art.

Ardhanariswara, ja 1993

Ardhanariswara, ja 1993

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Rohit’s feedback – 18 July 2003

I have no real observation I need to add onto the Page card, as it is very beautiful and astonishingly similar to the Ajanta tempura painting in original – except that I like what Jane has done in giving Rahula a little beard.  At that adolescent age that is exactly what young men do, experiment with fuzz in order to feel more mature. 

The Knight card captures what I had in mind very well.  An interesting point about the Kirtimukha archetype only recently came into my knowledge.  All over India, the Kirtimukha is a threshold guardian placed above the doorway of the shrine.  In the state of Maharashtra however, he is always placed on the central position of the last step before you step into the shrine or on the lower wooden frame of the threshold.  I was not aware of this when I first wrote to Jane, but it is common in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain temples all over this particular state.  It is an interesting difference, but we shall stick to the larger viewpoint about the Kirthimukha that prevails all over India.”

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The Queen of Disks/Pentacles is Hariti, wife of the great Yaksha Kubera.

A Yaksha is a tree spirit, a spiritual organism of nature.  Hariti was Kubera’s Shakti or fertility.  She was taught a lesson by Buddha, for stealing children: she never had enough, it seems.

Rohit’s Notes 2003

“The picture we send should be an adequate reference.  She is certainly slightly thick and stumpy around the waist, to depict the fertile earth energies.  But do not make her too fat.

(from Rohit’s book with the deck:) “Hariti had a superabundance of maternal and nurturing energy.  She had a hundred children of her own, but they were not enough to satisfy these desires.  She began to kidnap children in a peculiar display of avarice.  Popular apprehension held that she was eating them, but actually she kept them entertained in a never never land as companions for her children.  The parents of the lost children appealed to Buddha to intervene.  He concealed Hariti’s youngest child who is her favourite, and waited till she was frantic with fear and worry, to return the child with the old admonishment to do unto others … Hariti was appointed the guardian of small children from that day on, so all ended well. 

“Hariti represents a peculiar strand of malefic-beneficent earth mother deities known to India as the Matrikas.  They are guardians of boundaries of cities or villages, and can still be seen in that role today, in shrines on the outskirts of villages …  The Yakshas and Yakshis of India were both the oldest and its most popular gods, and they have inspired some of its greatest art.  There is always an exuberant feeling to Yaksha energy, which remains in the defining characteristics of the goddesses still worshipped.”

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Queen of disks reference

Queen of disks reference

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Buddhism at one time spread wider in the world than any other faith.  The Law of Compassion and Deliverance moves harmoniously with the root principles of Hinduism, Japanese Shinto, the Tantras and the Chinese Tao.

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Sacred India Tarot Queen of Disks - Buddha Hariti, wife of Kubera

Sacred India Tarot Queen of Disks – Buddha Hariti, wife of Kubera

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Reflection

Peace includes every turbulation of the ocean.    This series on the Buddha began with a blue flower, and flows into the sea.  I saw a TV programme last night about the colour blue – from Picasso’s blue period, through an artist who threw himself into the sky for the love of the Blue, to the “Earth Rise” photograph in 1968, taken from the Moon’s atmosphere.

Earth Rise zr28z

Blue is the colour of the Beyond.  Yet blue is the colour of our Home, and closer than our breath.  In Tarot, blue is the tonal vibration of the feminine-subconscious.  Blue is first sight of the Sea.

For me, the wish fulfilling Blue Jewel is the Buddha’s colour … dive into it.

convolvulus - Version 2

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Visual reference, buddha king of disks

Visual reference, buddha king of disks

King of Disks/Pentacles: Rohit’s Notes 2003

“The King is Kubera the Yaksha, again an earth energy.  The two options we send should be adequate.  I prefer the fatter version for it ties in with the Pregnant Male attributes of some deities, proto ardhanariswara so to speak. Kubera is claimed by the Hindus and Buddhists as well as the Jains, and worshipped by all of them, even today!

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(From the book with the deck) “Kubera has been the actual god of wealth worshipped in India for over two thousand years, in unbroken continuity.  For most of that time India was a very rich country, so he did well by his people.  Kubera is one of the Lokapalas – world guardians – as well as a Digapala, guardian of the quadrant: in his instance, the North … he is known as Vaishravana in Tibet … The pregnant male is a way of saying that he was a dual concept god, possessing both male and female energies.  Iin Buddhist and Jain representations he normally guards the shrines of Enlightened beings.  At the Ajanta caves, relief sculptures of Kubera and his consort are found outside almost all cave temples to the Buddha.

“Insight of the card:  What can you teach others from your experience?”

Visual reference, buddha king of disks

Visual reference, buddha king of disks

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Sacred India Tarot Buddha Kubera Yaksha, King of disks

Sacred India Tarot Buddha Kubera Yaksha, King of disks

The King of Disks by contrast has a fiery red earth tone – the illumined male. This composition suggests a “double decker” mode of life.  The little king inside the wheel is the servant to the greater.  He believes he ‘does it all’.  The Greater King encompassing him, whom he rarely perceives, and who Turns the Wheel, is his Allowance and grace.

Life is like a red double decker bus.  Dealing with persons in the world and in my lower mind, the view is limited to the coffin sides:  to conditioned viewpoints, angles and edges.  But when I am on the upper deck – which is of course open, like a London tourist bus – those ideas are not sufficient for the living Truth perceived.  I see over the roof-tops, I see all the landmarks, I am in the sky and I am amazed.   Both views hold.  They are the way we are embodied.  To perceive from the upper deck, is to experience a life-situation COMPLETELY, with the Buddha’s compass … a “Long Thought” for the journey.  The knack is to become a good bus-conductor, up and down the stairs.  Passengers get on and off.

Wheel rolling King

Discriminate rightly, the personality and the Self – as in the Buddha King.  Such is double decker.  The wheel rolling King is all around the wheel and in its centre.

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14 Arcana

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Rohit’s Feedback 18 July, 19 August 2003

The Queen is in many ways the most gorgeous card in the entire suit, and there is nothing I can say about it.  The concept is just dazzling in its beauty.  The belly of the Yakshas does not denote fat and flab, but the fact that they are turgid with the creative and generative power of the Prana.  The abdominal cavity is the only place in the body that can accommodate extra prana, hence the swollen belly of yogis who live on about as much food as an ant.

5 Arcana

The King –  like the Queen of Pentacles, this card too is tremendously beautiful and vibrant.  The framing within the body of the Buddha is a wonderful touch, while the elephant looks delightful.  

“In all sculptural representations of the Kubera Yaksha that have survived, there is usually a piece that has been vandalized.  This would be a citron or matulinga fruit, rich in seeds, symbol of  inexhaustible bounty, which would have been broken off or filed away as a talisman.  The famous image of Siva in the Elephanta cave sculptures, described in Stella Kramrisch’s ‘The Presence of Siva’ has a similar fruit.  Looking at the picture I realised Kubera’s hands are empty.  Instead of the fruit, we could place the geometric Kuber Yantra instead, though it would be a six-pointed star, the prime symbol of the Yaksha deities in India.  That would communicate the point of wealth as well as being a breakthrough in his depiction.  

“The visual reference for the Yantra we are sending you.  What we need is merely the central six pointed star, with the concentric circles of lotuses around it, a simple outline practically.  Keeping it as a circular figure would be best, instead of bounding it within the square of the metal of the yantra.   In all other respects, the card is perfect.”

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It appears that alas, this addition to the deck got overlooked – except maybe the yantra on the elephant’s head.  However,  I would be disinclined to furnish the Consciousness implied in Buddha’s open hands, with any objects.  His gesture allows space, and all being.

So here is a nice round fruit – a Kuber Yantra for the archive:

kuber yantra

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and finally …

Tibetan Dakini

This portrait of a Tibetan Dakini was commissioned in 2003 – my exact copy of someone else’s painting.  I do not remember the name of the original artist.

The next Sacred India Tarot Archive posts will cover the Suit of Cups/Lotuses – the courtship and marriage of Siva and Parvati.

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

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.

 

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/

Jyotish – Drawings of the Vedic Astrology Deities

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Jyotish means “the science of Light”.  This term is applied to Indian astrology, and particularly to its Vedic pantheon.  The science of Light is rooted in Earth’s relationship to the constellations.  Our western astrology, due to the precession of the equinox over the millenia, is not aligned with the constellations.  It has shifted about 23 degrees from them, so far.  It interprets the Zodiac signs as phases – segments of the arc –  of Earth’s journey around the Sun.

Both approaches however, deliver profound experiential insights.

In 1998, I was asked by Andrew Foss, president of the British Association for Vedic Astrology, to draw for him a set of the grahas, or planetary deities.

Six months later, Andrew’s mentor David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri) of the Vedic Institute in New Mexico, commissioned from me another set of the grahas, to illustrate his book The Astrology of the Seers.

On both occasions I sat down to draw the gods consecutively, one each day of the week, Sunday through Saturday, and the North and South Nodes:  Rahu and Ketu.

Here are both sets, with accompanying notes.   The first set was drawn for Andrew who is now about to publish them in his own book; they are his copyright, and here is his link: http://www.LearnVedicAstrology.com <http://www.LearnVedicAstrology.com>
http://www.VedicSoftware.com <http://www.VedicSoftware.com
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The 20 sketches of the grahas became an inspirational basis for The Sacred India Tarot.

Firstly, Ganesh.  No enterprise begins without invoking the auspicious creativity of the Elephant God, a son of Siva:

Copyright (c) Andew Foss 1998/2014

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Copyright (c) Andew Foss 1998/2014

Sunday

Notes on Surya:  Vishnu means “the one that pervades”.  Thus the Surya – SUN – resonance.

As well as his benevolence, Surya’s is a destructive, cleansing, Self-willing power.  In Indian culture, he is drought, fire and death as well as truth and creativity.  In Egyptian initiations, it was said “Osiris is a Dark God.”  To grow, we must confront.

The Sun is the power of light (Jyotish) – the translation onto the negative-film of the material plane.  The real Light appears as darkness on our retina.

Surya’s beauty has an awesome simplicity – a pitiless and denuded dharma.  He is wheel-rolling.  In Surya, all orbits and revolutions turn at different angles to one another, merely to hint at the Whole dimension of his mandala.  The black in his yantra suggests the corona, and sunspots:  solar flares and magnetic bursts.

His yantra here, is tilted.  His force arises out of its centre on a different plane.  He has a superb innocence. Aruna the Dawn drives his chariot, but It could be as well be Krishna; because Surya is akin to the Vishnu archetype, the Sustainer, the all pervading.

Light is generated in Surya, to every direction and field of space.  Nothing reflects or is reflected.  It is all Self creating.  There is no polarization or “effect” in the intoxicating nucleus of the Oneness.

In Jyotish, a Sun ruled personality may lack sensitivity to others, and is also not very impressionable in the astral field, i.e. does not have occult “experiences” – particularly if Earth and Saturn are strong in the chart.

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Copyright (c) Andew Foss 1998/2014

Monday

Chandra, the deity of the Moon, is also SOMA, the nectar of the gods.

Fluidity, receptivity, clouds, sea, an infinite series of crescents, reflected light …  let us form a vessel;  attunement, watery, childlike – a polarized light is drawn across the heavens.

The foundation of Vedic Astrology has 27 Lunar Mansions and 108 segment/divisions (27 times the 4 lunar quarters).   The fast mover around the constellational field, absorbs every resonance, and determines the constellar imprint at birth, for a lifetime’s cycles.   In India, the Moon is the central significator, more so than the Sun.  Indian and Western astrology have varying cultural and climatic nuances, and a different “harmonic” chart structure, but interpretation brings forth the same principles, like different sides of the same leaf.

The grahas or gods are all represented as male – even the Moon and Venus.  This is because it is taken for granted in Indian metaphysics, that every god has his Shakti or feminine half, and cannot operate without her.  So some of them are profoundly androgenous.

Chandra carries a mace and a white night lily.  Chandra’s complexion is silvery white.  His mystic vehicle is drawn by a young antelope;  the three wheels are lunar-phase Yantras.  The ten horses are the seminal energy of Brahma’s child Atri, spilt in all the 10 directions (damsels) and received by earth.

Chandra expresses the love of children, of the young in all the Universe.  Light giver, boon bringer, he touches surfaces, moving the lunar tide.

Chandra is “the son of Varuna (the winds) Lord of the Oceans, from which the Moon rises.”  During the waning half of the month, (moonth) 36,000 gods feed on his nectar and exhaust him.  During the waxing half, Surya feeds him with the water of the Oceans, and he regains strength and fullness.

A Lunar ruled personality is highly sensitive, receptive, yielding:  susceptible also to shadow persuasions and deception.

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Copyright (c) Andew Foss 1998/2014

Tuesday

Mangala, Mars, is the son of Earth.  That is why he does well in Capricorn.  For all his energy and drive, he represents aspects of the tamas-guna – i.e. enclosure, systems, the trained warrior, control and obedience, skill.  The tamas-guna gives form to the fiery, centrifugal rajas-guna.  (See Tree of Life, Three Gunas, at the end of this post.)

Mangala’s spear, club and the demon-destroying Skanda on peacock, are the spirit of war and of self defense.   The negative side of this is:  wilful destroyer, tamas-inertia, road rage (chaotic or cold), ignorance.   Note his sensual facial features:  fire in earth.  Mangala carries his Shakti on his lap.  His hands gesture “freedom from fear”.  The Shakti is also the spear.  The feminine Shakti is the Kundalini of which Mars when in his exaltation, is Lord.

Big muscular body, but also stillness.  The alert spear is at rest:  law-sustainer, the balance which is sattva-guna.  The red energy is kept still and quiet.

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Copyright (c) Andew Foss 1998/2014

Wednesday

Budha, Mercury.  Intelligence is budha, a faculty which quicksilvers the mind, but is not the mind, it is the Universe. Sweet mischievous winged one, hears the speech of birds, blesses, delivers, playful chameleon, has lived as a woman – the son/seed of Chandra(moon) and Tara, goddess of the Word.  Thus Budha’s Ardhanariswara curve, his sensitive androgenous grace.

Budha’s vehicle is a Lion with an elephant’s trunk – rather a surprise.  The Lion is the king of beasts.  The Elephant is the remover of obstacles, and very Indian.  The Lion is the power of grace, and the Elephant – who grows SLOWLY – is the power of speech and memory.

Budha’s aura is gold.  He is like Hermetic gold, clear, sparkling and childlike.  The most adaptable and amenable of archetypes, he can take on also the colouring and power of the asuras – demons.  He carries a short sword and a Tara Yantra shield.

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Copyright (c) Andew Foss 1998/2014

Thursday

Guru:  Jupiter:  Brhaspati is the protector of the hymnology of the Vedas – teacher of the science of Light – controller of the Sun and Moon.

His western counterpart is Jove, or Zeus.  Brahma is his tutelary deity.  He holds rosary, mendicants’ staff, sacred water-pot, and his gesture disposes boons.  Auspicious, except when reversing.

He has a yellow-white complexion, and sits on a golden lotus.  His hair and beard are matted, and he wears an antelope skin.  He is the preceptor of the Gods.  Eight horses – or lotus petals, the directions of space – pull his chariot.  The Great Swan is Paramahansa. In Vedic symbolism, the swan churns nectarine Light from the dark water – the cream from the milk.

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Copyright (c) Andew Foss 1998/2014

Friday

Sukra:  Venus.  An androgynous figure.  “Sukra” means “white”.  The preceptor of the demons was Kavi – he brought destroyed asuras back to life.  Bull Nandi found this out, and told his Master, Siva, who ordered Kavi before him, and gobbled him up.  Inside Siva’s stomach, Kavi sang hymns in Siva’s praise.  Pleased, Siva let him out through his penis, and told him (Kavi) he is his own Son, now called Sukra the white.

Like the Nilakunta/Kalakunta story, an atomic homeopathy comes into play:  the transformation of the demonic at the root, by Siva

This tale of alchemic transmutation has strong resonances with the mythology of Uranus and Aphrodite.  Uranus engendered so many Titans (cosmic demons), that he was castrated by Chronos (Saturn) by order of their mother, Gaia.  His organ fell into the sea where it burst into a great froth, out of which emerged Aphrodite, goddess of love … comely as in Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, brought to shore.   No wonder, many believe she’s the cause of all the trouble.

In the Solar system, Venus and Uranus both rotate around their axes at right angles to the rest of the planetary universe.

Sukra/Venus had agreed earlier to be the preceptor of Demons, because he had feelings of envy and ill will towards Bhraspati (Jupiter), the preceptor of Gods.  The Vedic psychology is as precise and informed in its symbolism of dark and light, as any Jungian analysis.  The demonic vitality, when regulated, becomes an auspicious servant.

Sukra/Venus enjoys white flowers, and to ride a red lotus;  favours water, carries a water-pot, staff, rosary and boon-bestowing gesture, like Jupiter.  The tutelary deity is Indra;  the vehicle is pulled by the 8 white horses of the sea.

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Copyright (c) Andew Foss 1998/2014

Saturday

Sani – Saturn – has a dark complexion, and carries lance, dart, spear and bow.  Sanaischava was the second son – the firstborn was Manu, scribe of the Laws – of the shadow wife of Surya.  Surya’s actual wife (Samjna) couldn’t bear Surya’s brilliant Light, so she left her shadow-replica for Surya to conceive with.

Sani keeps his head bent, for fear of causing injury to living beings.  This is because once upon a time, being engaged in austerities, he failed to notice his lovely wife – who cursed him henceforth, that whatever he looked at, would be destroyed.  So when the Gods persuaded him to visit Siva and Parvati and their new baby Ganapati (Ganesh), he kept his head bent, and wouldn’t look.

(Some say that he did look, and that is why Ganesh has an elephant head.   In general the Vedic Divine behaviour has much in common with Olympus.)

But if Sani averted his gaze, he lost the ability to behold good fortune and the removal of obstacles, and grew gloomy.  So he has a sadness, a darkness in his heart about the intolerable brightness of Surya;  and a compassion with the living beings – the burden of their Dharma.

Sani’s tutelary deities are Prajapati, Lord of Creatures and their Procreation, and Yama the Lord of Death.  His ornaments are a very dark sapphire – the colour nila.  His ikon is black iron installed on a pedestal the shape of an arrow.  Sani is slow moving, and tends to be lame.  He has the face of the Sun, but rides a crow.  He is a philosopher of the wheels within wheels which themselves are turning.

David Frawley’s book says Sani’s Vedic vehicle is an Ox.  So I gave him a pair, yoked and slow moving.  Sani has musicians’ hands.  Saturn is the musical discipline, the harmony of the spheres, the subtle intelligence, or cosmic intellect.

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Copyright (c) Andew Foss 1998/2014

Sunday/Monday

Rahu, the upturned glyph, is the Dragons’ Head with a serpent body.  Rahu is a wide ranging break-dancer, with a passion for manifestation and reverse modes.  He chases the Sun and Moon to eat them, but whenever this begins to occur, there is a strange resonance of alignment along the ecliptic planes:  the Oneness, the silence in all the Universe … which Rahu dreads.

Paradoxically, Rahu’s dark path around the petals of the Light, cancels every difference.

Rahu most resembles Uranus.  Vedic astrology, with galactic archetypes to deal with, as well as planets, dispenses with Uranus, Neptune, Pluto.  As with Uranus, Rahu’s multi-dimensioned visit apparently breaks apart the known world, manifesting and destroying islands of aggrandizement … to reveal, as in Holst’s The Planets: Nothing.  Ringing silence.  Or Magic!   Rahu’s energy field is a clash of cymbals.

His vehicle is a Lion and eight trotting horses, as black as beetles.  He occludes and occultates the Sun:  thus his power to promote illusion, magic and worldly gain, political tyranny and wealth … which break apart.  He is pure Hollywood glitz.  On a sundial, the principle of Time the all-devourer, faces the Sun:  Rahu is the shadow the Sun throws behind Time.  He carries sword, shield, spear, gesture of protection and gesture of boon disposal.  He is worshipped by black flowers, and his face is tiger like.  His tutelary deities are Kala – great Time – and Sarpa, the Serpent queen.   Kala is another name for Yama, Lord of Death.

[NB:  The KaLAs (accent on second A) are fractions of the Moon’s orbit.  The Nitya Shaktis are 16 moon digits around the cycle of its waxing and waning.

KaLA is a manifestation (through the unfolding of Sri Chakra Yantra) of material force, along with sound (Nada).  See also the similar root words: KaLA meaning root;  KALI yuga, materiality, and KALAKUNTA, the great black demon churned up with the gods’ ambrosial butter, which Siva swallowed and turned peacock blue in his throat. 

So KaLA suggests “materiality” and also “part or fraction” – which is what the materiality-projection turns out to be.  KaLA is said (in Sri Chakra Yantra writings) to limit the infinite power of Siva who is formless.  KaLA forms and separates. 

KAla is the god of Time, carrying noose and cudgel.  This also limits and materializes.]

In Rahu’s story, he was an Asura – a great Demon.  He pretended to be a god, and came to drink Soma with them in their revels.  Surya and Chandra (Sun and Moon) detected him, and reported him to Vishnu, who cut off his head with his Discus.  But Rahu’s mouth had already tasted Soma and become immortal;  so Brahma had to reluctantly make him into a planet.  Rahu is hungry for ever, for the bliss.  He pursues the sun and moon during the period of eclipse.  Rahu, the North node, is a point of intersection of the orbits of moon around earth and earth around sun;  this point travels counter-clockwise around the zodiac.  It makes a complete circuit every 18.6 years.

Rahu rules the constellations Ardra, Svati and Satabhishak.  His nature is feminine-absorbing, with Jupiter and Venus influences.  He is exalted in Gemini, rules Virgo, is harmony in Libra, discord in Aries, detrimental in Pisces, and falls in Sagittarius – the story of his life.  He “contributes to worldly prosperity”.

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Copyright (c) Andew Foss 1998/2014

Tuesday

KETU – the Moon’s South Node – is the body chopped away from the Asura – from the serpent who tasted nectar, and remained for ever addicted.

Ketu favours spiritual development, Yoga and “the party is over”.  Ketu is what got left behind Rahu’s binge, and is the situation of most of us.   Rahu assists the general razzmatazz, but Ketu is much smaller than that giant head, and his tendency is to concentrate and distil, rather than to expand.  Core-wise, he isn’t interested in externals.

Ketu is exalted in Sagittarius, rules Pisces, is harmony in Aries and discordant in Libra, causes grave detriment in Virgo and falls in Gemini.  In some representations he is two-armed, with his left hand on his knee.

In the centre of the wheel is stillness.  The tail end of the dragon seeks stillness.  I feel blindfold with this KETU.  I cannot see, he is a great mystery, and there isn’t much to read about him.  He rides on Pigeons.  His ikon is banner shaped.  His tutelary deities are Brahma and Chitragupta.  Chitragupta is an attendant of Yama.  Thus:  the Creator and the Destroyer are his guardian angels.  He winnows out the excess.  His head is deformed, and his complexion and ornaments are ashy.  NAM YAR – who am i?

David Frawley’s book explains: RAHU is the shadow of the Moon; KETU is the shadow of the Sun.  Ketu is contractive, centripetal, like Saturn.   Ketu tends to use up one’s vitality – overwork and isolation, but … the most wonderful insight from past lives, aligned with Mercury.  KETU means “a flag”.  He boosts all the planetary powers.  He is most like Pluto – trans-formative, the Light of the dark.

“Rahu and Ketu indicate the factors which block out the light of the great luminaries.”

In this general context, I am reminded of a classic photo of the world’s second highest mountain – taken on the Duke of Abruzzi’s expedition to the Karakorum in 1909:  K2, known locally as “Ketu”, as seen from the Baltoro Glacier:

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Here are now the second sequence of the Grahas, six months later – without notes, as published in David Frawley’s book, The Astrology of the Seers.  It gave me an opportunity to develop all the ideas:

Copyright (c) David Frawley 2000

Sunday, Surya

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Copyright (c) David Frawley 2000

Monday, Chandra

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Copyright (c) David Frawley 2000

Tuesday, Mangala

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Copyright (c) David Frawley 2000

Wednesday, Budha

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Copyright (c) David Frawley 2000

Thursday, Guru

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Copyright (c) David Frawley 2000

Friday, Sukra

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Copyright (c) David Frawley 2000

Saturday, Sani

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Copyright (c) David Frawley 2000

Rahu, Northnode

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Copyright (c) David Frawley 2000

Ketu, Southnode

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Dattatreya, the Guru of Life

Dattatreya, at the finale of this sequence, complements Ganesh at the beginning.  Dattatreya is the Guru of those who no longer walk holding the hands of someone more grown up.  Dattatreya is the unconditional preceptor through nature and through every situation in life:  puja to the sacred art of Life.

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Bridging principles of Kabbalah and Vedanta:  Tree of Life,  Four Worlds and Three Gunas

NB – for contemporary and wonderfully accessible teachings on Vedic Astrology (Jyotish), look up or google The Vedic Institute (David Frawley), British Association of Vedic Astrologers (BAVA – Andrew Foss), and Komila Sutton, who writes and lectures brilliantly.  Andrew developed a Vedic-astrology software which is friendly to western tropical chart users.

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TO VIEW SLIDES, click on any image and wait for gallery to upload

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

 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.

Sacred India Tarot Archive – Rohit Arya’s Essay on the Buddha



Buddha mudra behind a Hebrew Tree of Life

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(In the Sacred India Tarot Archive series, we completed last month 
our posts on creating the 22 Major Arcana.  We now continue 
along these lines, with the four suits (56 cards) of the Minor 
Arcana. In this deck, the traditional Pentacles, Wands, Swords 
and Cups are respectively, Disks, Staves, Arrows and Lotuses. 
The suit of Pentacles is "Earth", and tells the story of Buddha's 
life and supremely practical teaching.  The other suits are tales
from the Ramayana, the Mahabharatha, and the wedding of 
Siva and Parvati.

Here is Rohit's introductory life-story of the Buddha.  The next 
post in the S.I.T.A. series will detail the remaining Grace card 
of the deck - Blessings of Babaji.  (The other Grace card is 
Ganesh, see Major Arcana.)  We shall then proceed through the 
suit of Disks, about one a week.

Seeking images to accompany Rohit's writing of the Buddha, a sky 
blue colour filled my mind, as of old.  For me, the TATHAGATHA - 
a beautiful name for the Buddha - has this radiance of the Endless
One:  jewel in the lotus.  "Tathagatha means one who has attained 
reality...  Tathagatha is further explained as True Nature, that 
which is immutable, immovable, and beyond all concepts and 
distinctions."  Buddha, a Taurean, earthed that light in nature, 
in rocks, flowing water and humanity, and does so to this day.)

J.A. 25.10.12

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Buddha nature

“The Life of Buddha – the Most Popular Story in the World” by Rohit Arya

The sheer volume of numbers who are aware of the Buddha, make the title of this essay a foregone conclusion.  For Buddhism was the dominant faith of Asia for a clear millennium, and it still holds a significant position there.  It is not normally realized that a great many countries which are Islamic now, were once strongholds of the Buddhist faith, especially Afghanistan and Iraq: the former famous for the now vanished Bamiyam monoliths, the latter for the finest monasteries the world has ever known, till medieval Europe.

Between the first century BC and the fifth century AD, Buddhism was unchallenged over Asia, with only pockets of the Confucian, Hindu and Zoroastrian beliefs holding out.  That makes the Buddha life story the most well known to all humanity, and in sheer numbers who religiously repeat it, it remains the most popular story told even today.

Before we begin recounting this tale however, one fact needs to be brought out.  The Buddha was not a prince.  That was romancing by later biographers, who could not conceive of anybody other than royalty doing such marvelous things.

Also, there was a caste agenda in place by then.  Buddhism was a Kshatriya response to a Brahmin hegemony financed by Vaisya support, and they needed a prince to be the mythical spokesman for the new faith.

The Buddha’s father was the head of a Janapada, a republican state, kingdoms merely having begun to emerge, and no real empire in place in society.  He was undoubtedly a privileged young man, but not a prince.  Since this narrative will deal with the mythic aspects of the life as popularly understood, we will go along with the prince fiction, but the historical Buddha is not the Buddha of invented memory.

Stream, sunlight, teaching

He was born according to tradition as well as history, in the year 563 BC, son of Suddhodana, belonging to the Kshatriya tribe of the Sakyas, in Kapilavastu near the border of modern Nepal.  His name was Siddhartha Gautama, the latter being his family name.  His birth was attended by the usual portents that seem to grace the descent of a great Master, notably some dreams that his mother had, that the child she was carrying would be unthinkably exceptional.

The baby was supposed to have been born while his mother laboured standing up, so that his feet touched the ground;  and the Buddha is supposed to have been the only human infant who could walk immediately upon birth, as befitted a future world saviour.  The astrologers gathered around, predicted that the boy would become an emperor if he could be persuaded to reigh.  It was more likely however, that he would renounce the world as soon as he was aware of the reality of suffering.

The mother died seven days after the birth of the super child.  A human frame cannot endure the incredible strain of bringing forth a Saviour for very long.  Suddhodana married his wife’s sister Mahaprajapati, and for once we are spared the evil stepmother routine in myth, as the lady dearly loved the young child.  The doting father was not going to have his son turn to renunciation, so he began a celebrated social-control experiment.  He shut his son up in a great palace, surrounded by high walls that kept the unpleasant reality of the world out of sight, and hopefully out of mind. The young man was immersed in wine, women and song; and that his constitution as well as his mind survived such paternal solicitude, is one of the greater miracles known to humanity.

Dharma stone

Siddhartha became the finest young warrior in the land, as well as a formidable scholar and in true epic fashion he wins the hand of his cousin Yashodara after a contest of skill in which he wipes the field of all comers at all contests, except curiously, sword play!  The ancient and enduring Indian disdain for close quarters fighting, which would be its eventual downfall, is here clearly reflected.  The hero could not do something so uncouth and dreadfully sweaty as fight well with a sword, even if he was the greatest warrior who ever lived.  The marriage was blissfully happy, and the king thought he had covered all the bases.  Siddhartha would become a world conqueror.

Then disaster struck, for the young man suddenly had an unwonted curiosity to see the world outside his magnificent prison.  The legend goes, that the gods despairing of him achieving his incarnate mission, promoted his mind with such strange whim.  In collusion with a famous confidante and charioteer, Chana, the young man slipped out and encountered the Four Sights, doddering Old Age, Sickness, a Dead man and finally an Ascetic who somehow seemed to have arisen above these inevitable and implacable miseries.  Later versions claim that in each case it was the god Indra who had assumed these forms to rouse him from his pleasure blinded ignorance.

Wood portal

A little digression would not be amiss here.  Many miracles would be attributed to the man later, but his appalled reaction to the sight of suffering has never got its due as the most important of all the miracles.  For we all know Sakya princes who live gilded cage existences, and it is a bitter psychological truth, that they are not particularly distressed when confronted by other people’s suffering.  They do not have either the experience or the mental concepts to make sense of suffering, looking upon it as something strange and quite unnecessary. “Why don’t they eat cake?” is not a cruel question, but a devastating confession of ignorance, of genuine puzzlement.  Siddhartha’s great leap of self transcendence was the realization that this sick person was like him, not “one of them”.  Somehow he preserved his sense of humanness against all the luxury that was stifling him.

The Four Sights could have been viewed as a freak show, the royal equivalent of slumming, a novel curiosity that amused, but did not touch in any way.  His feeling of despair at the general hopelessness of the human condition, is what should have been most exclaimed over.  In spite of genetics, environment and the prevailing zeitgeist, his spirit flared up when confronted with a moral challenge.

Back home, he became prone to brooding over the generally depressing nature of human existence – decay and pain and death, with an occasional narcotic experience of “pleasure” or “success” to numb the mind from the awful truth.

At this juncture, he was told his wife had given birth to a son, usually a matter of great joy to an Indian father.  It was the last straw.  “Yet another fetter has been born,” he moaned, inadvertently naming the son Rahula, a chain or fetter.   That night, he abandoned his new born son and wife, determined to seek out the secret to overcoming human suffering and sorrow.  It is an act known as the Great Renunciation.  He was 29 years old.

He took to the road, in an India that was an incredible intellectual adventure at the time.  Freethinking and speculation was at a peak never before achieved, or equaled after.  Mahavira the great Jain Master was his contemporary, though the two never met, in what is one of Destiny’s greatest oversights.  Originality of thought was matched by pugnacious championing of belief, and the young man soaked it all up.  However, while he was willing to learn from all, he was usually only too evidently the intellectual superior.  He used to learn, and then move on.  Tradition ascribes to him the discipleship of Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta, both Brahmin sannyasis.  He seems to have accepted the need for a belief system, good conduct and the practice of meditation, though he was not convinced they had the answer.

Austerities

In no time, he had accumulated five disciples himself, and they underwent severe austerities in the forest of Urevala.  Siddhartha tried to gain the knowledge of salvation through terrible fasting and overextended meditation.  The result was he became a living skeleton, and his mind began to lose its sharpness too.  So severely had he subjected his body to austerity, that when he stroked his skin his body hair would fall off, having no flesh in which to root themselves!  He even experimented with eating his own excretions, but he soon realized that this was no way forward.  Always intellectually courageous and integrated, he abandoned the path of self torture as well as the gigantic reputation for holiness it had given him.  His disciples left him, huffing with disgust at such backsliding.

Once his health had recovered, he recalled a mystical experience he had in his youth, and determined to pursue that line.  In the famous spot of Gaya, he sat under a Peepal tree, determined not to budge until he had cracked the secret of overcoming suffering and death.  His formidable will kept him there for forty days and nights, when Mara the Evil One, realizing his days of unchallenged dominance over Life was over, assaulted him with terrors and temptations.  The latter always meant impossibly voluptuous beautiful girls, and was regarded culturally as the greater threat to saintliness.

“Blue Lotus”

Siddhartha was unmoved by either fear or pleasure, as his Realisation was now complete.  The desperate Mara than accused him of the subtlest sin of all – egoism – the true feeling of having triumphed over fear and temptation.  Siddhartha merely touched the earth with two fingers and asked it to bear withness if a “person” was present there.  The earth announced that she did not bear on herself any human, there was only the Tathagatha, the Realised One, and ergo no human attributes.  This was the final victory, and the moment he entered into Nirvana, as well as the state known as the Buddha.  (“Buddha” is actually a way of being, a condition, not a title.)

Law of Life

The Buddha stayed in his seat for another forty days, unsure if his subtle and refined doctrine of transcending pain and suffering should be communicated to an uncomprehending world.  Finally, he resolved to risk the inevitable errors of the many for the sake of the few who would understand and profit from the new learning.  He went to Sarnath, a famous deer park, where his disgruntled disciples were living.  They saw him approaching, and resolved to ignore the apostle in their ascetic pride, but his transformed personality compelled them to offer him respect against their wills.  To them he preached his first sermon in the great event known as “Setting into Motion the Wheel of the Law”.  The Buddha was forty years old, and he had another forty two years of preaching ahead of him.

Law of Life, with Dharma wheel

Having been somewhat of an extremist himself in his striving, he named his new doctrine the Middle Path, or Arya Marga, the Noble Way.  His first sermon contains all the key elements of the Megatharian structure that would become Buddhist theology.  They are the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.

The Truths are devastatingly simple.

Existence is unhappiness.

Unhappiness is caused by desire/craving.

Desire can be overcome.

It is overcome by following the Noble Eight-fold Path

… … which are

Right Understanding, Right Purpose/aspiration, Right Speech, Right Conduct, Right Vocation, Right Effort, Right Awareness/Alertness, and Right Concentration.

The need for chastity, truthfulness and nonviolence were core components of this.

Like a snowdrop

Buddha rapidly became one of the most influential figures in the country.  Even his skeptical family fell under his influence, and the whole country saw a mass movement of renunciation.  He used to wander the land attended by his nephew and favourite Ananda, a petulant weak-willed sort, and therefore under his special care.  Ananda’s recollections of his conversations with the Tathagatha made him an invaluable biographical source once the Buddha was dead, and he was much referred to in the settling of theological disputes. 

The Buddha did not care, much to the disappointment of more than a few of the faithful, for miracles and magic, but only in finding the shortest way to end suffering and attain Nirvana.  In a land where spirituality was automatically equated with the ability to work miracles, He stood out as a beacon for rationality and reason.

This may seem strange in a country which produced the Upanishads, but they were a rearguard action against a country that demanded magic, or a reasonable facsimile of it, from holy men.

The Buddha therefore is not only India’s foremost religious figure, he is also first in demanding a grounded view of life, which may yet be his major contribution.

We all know the famous story of Gautami, who had come to him with her dead child, and the usual hopes of resurrecting miracles.  Was he not the Tathagatha, the Ford-Crosser and the most famous holy man of the age?  Ergo miracles were expected.  He did perform one, by assuring her the child could indeed be bought back to life, if she got him some mustard seeds from a house in which death had not occurred.  The many wanderings within the city brought the distraught mother to her senses, as she realized that spiritual giants can offer another sort of immortal life, not the impossible one she was asking for.  He had no greater miracle to offer than the realization of the inevitable truth – suffering exists and can only be transcended, not avoided.

Snowdrop (JA 1969)

At another time he was told of a great feat of levitation that a holy man had performed, sending his begging bowl sliding up a flag post till it reached the top.  The reporters were evidently expecting a greater feat of supernatural prowess to be exhibited as an answer to their silent reproach – it was embarrassing to be the disciples of a guru who was not doing magic!  The Buddha merely said, in an elegant, celebrated squelch, “Such is not conducive to the cessation of desires and the attainment of Nirvana.”

His most famous conversion was that of the bandit and killer Angulimala, “Finger Garland”, an interesting type who used to keep count of his victims by cutting off a finger and adding it to his grisly garland.  Kings were his disciples too, most famously the king of Magadha, Bimbisara.  His son Ajatashatru slew him when the restraining presence of the Buddha was not there, but he repented and publicly confessed his crime to the Buddha the next time he visited. (Ajatashatru was too great a king for anyone to work up much indignation at his parricide, and in any case succession was usually decided by displays of such vigour.  It was, in a sense, expected behaviour.)  Royal patronage all over the country made the Buddhist stock rise very high indeed.

Sanatana Dharma

The Mahaparinirvana, the great and final Nirvana of the Buddha’s long life finally came when he was over eighty.  Never in his mission had he ever asked people to be anything other than sensible and intelligent in their spiritual approach.  “As the wise test gold by burning, cutting and rubbing on the touchstone, so are you to accept my words after examining them, not out of regard for me.”

He held fast to this doctrine, even on his deathbed.  His final sickness, incidentally, was brought on by his eating badly cooked pork at the house of a poor disciple he did not have the heart to refuse when invited.  The Buddha ate what was available, vegetarianism was a preference not an absolute fetish.  Three times he was ready to let the body go, but each time he was interrupted by somebody desiring instruction, and he held his Nirvana back, “lying on his side like a lion and instructing.”

Then he spoke to the disciples, “What need for the Tathagatha?  Become lamps unto yourselves.  The Buddha is a state, not a person.  Enter therein.  Decay is inherent in all component things.  Therefore work out your salvation with diligence.”

He died then, but the history of mankind had been for ever altered.

 flower sermon

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Ah, so!  Rohit’s writing of the Buddha, has stirred up voices and feelings in me, about the Buddha’s presence and footways in those ancient times, and his teaching.  It smooths my brow, restoring afresh the wonderful blue flower … Vishnu Krishna prototype!  Enjoy walking with this through the SITA suit of pentacles … the peace.

His brilliant 350 page book The Sacred India Tarot, which accompanies the deck, is unique and covers the full terrain, including mythology, yoga and interpretation – available from bookstores, ebooks, and on Amazon.  Visit the Sacred India Tarot website (published by Yogi Impressions) or on facebook.

The deck took us about nine years to create by correspondence.  The first 14 cards’ process work, plus Ganesh and Kali, are on Rohit’s blog http://aryayogi.wordpress.com which contains his other illumining essays on the subject.

Due to technical problems in India during the summer, I took over the archive, and The Major Arcana 15-21 process work was put up on both blogs.

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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

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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 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.

 

Watching Krishnamurti (2): Brockwood ’74 Continued – Part Two

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Perhaps few of us would tackle spiritual Reality, were it not for its underside – the pain when we are unable to be in relationship now:  with what is.  The passion of “the speaker” illumined for an instant, the blindingly obvious.   Then we must find it for ourselves, chipping away beyond thought.  Only life can do that:  life and the chisel of decades from within.   For a young person with insight, this is peculiarly painful.  We are a work that is incomplete.

I find it valuable here, to honour the pain.  We all know it.   It is as crucial to spiritual growth as “the understanding” and “the creativity” when the sun comes out.  Some of us wail into our notebooks;  wisdom may come to this focus, as to any;  here is a little of my workshop of the wailing.   What follows is, in essence, a fairly typical “ashram” or guru-bhakti story:

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Image

Krishnamurti portrait, 2nd version

“Can the mind remain with sorrow,  AS SORROW,  not rationalise or run away from it?   Can it remain motionless with this feeling we call sorrow?   I hope you are doing this as the speaker is talking about it;  otherwise it is no fun at all.

 “Is there an action which is not based on an action?   Action based on an idea is time.   There is an inadequacy,  a lack of complete identification,  and therefore a conflict between the idea and the action.   What is seeing?   The act of looking brings its own order.   Looking at the fact of sorrow.   Look at that feeling,  without a single image about yourself,  or interpretation.   This requires tremendous attention, concern,  discipline.   This seeing then,  is the acting in which there is no time.   The moment there is time,  there is conflict.

 “If I act according to an idea or ideal,  I am insane!   Of course I am!   Real action at any level of our life is not the future according to an idea,  but seeing,  without the image of oneself.   That is instant action.   If you listen,  that very act of listening itself,  is an entire action.

 “Our entire moral structure is based on our pleasure and fear,  which is immoral …

J.Krisnamurti, Brockwood gathering, September 1974

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September 1974

Today is the back slipping of my heart.  Don’t know what to do with it, this body.  All cells a-dancing in a question mark of wanting.   (But started a painting of Krish. which is very like him, and re-drew the portraits of two lads from Yorkshire.  Hungry, and now listening to Liszt …

Tomorrow, to Brockwood again for a second weekend.  Shall I see Daniel again there?  “Shall we meet in London this week?” he asked.  “No,” I said, “I’ve got things to do.”  Truth was that, and also how to manage seeing him with regards Akiva;  and in any case there was that “there’s all the time in the world” feeling, even though he’s off to Israel in ten days.  I feel at such times, almost bewildered, contained, basking in and trying to digest the present, no plans to be made.   But oh, on Tuesday night, I cried.  And still it rains, with an endless wet whisper.

A gust of wind rocks all the people on the platform back like a wave.  In South London the train rides among the chimneys.  I love the way he cleaves me with that deep tender thrust of his, and fills me up, sweet pain.

Doing my best to steer away, with the company of other people, thoughts of this human being, whom I don’t want to load with my ludicrous heart-storm.  Heart-storm destroys the ability to relate to him, or be friends.   What a lot of insane energy is spent, trying to materialize things in the mind.

I don’t want to be addicted to his comings and goings.  I want to enjoy the full tapestry, all the people, all my self.  When there is no thinking, there’s no problem, like when you wake from sleep.

And desperately anxious about hypothetical exchanges with Asher, re my going away again this weekend – we are still living together, right up till the time he goes off to India – what if he wants to come too?

As I keep trying to grasp, there is no problem until the problem is invented.  There is in truth, no problem anywhere – just situations.

Image

Tree conference, Brittany 1987

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It is Friday morning, and the sun is out.  Night of dreams.  Phone rang and it was Daniel.  We arrange to meet at the Theosophical bookshop … but we don’t know at what time, because the pips ran out and he had to catch a train!

Today or tomorrow?  Both are aspects of eternity.  There is a terrific discipline with Daniel, like clear waters.  Dreamed last night about Yorkshire and my father, and curious drifting creeks of land and sea.  And dreamed I was kissing Daniel who was in his sleeping bag, and he was very vague as to if or when we would ever meet again, and I was trying to keep my cool.

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So strange a thought pierces sometimes the clouds.  It is about Krishnamurti giving talks at Brockwood, and sleeping in the house.  Around him coasts a profusion of individual dramas – pain and personal turning points – of which my own is but one flighty little cell of anguish, among it all.  Rather macabre!  Why does K attract all that, like a magnet?   What happens around him stings.  “The observer is the observed.”  How far does that go?  That phrase reverberates from my childhood, from the searching of my father’s path.

WHAT, through the dim opening in my clouds … observes?  “Whom” does it observe?   Krishnamurti is the hub of a wheel turning around him.

I only grasped for a moment, that I suffer a fragment of what preoccupies all and everyone on a revolution of that wheel.  There was some comfort seeing this.  But such comfort was immediately removed from my hand and I “see” it no more.

Every individual at Brockwood is the messenger of his or her absorbent and urgent tapestry of life;  each alone, and insoluble.   Poor K – sitting in the middle of all those bees – would-be’s – that buzz around him!   “If only one could just concentrate on Krish…”  – on the entirety of the garden, the open walks in the wet windy woods.  What a feast is lost through fear and anxiety and the complicated management of this.

Image

Buoyant boats, Brittany 1987

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“What is the problem in relationship?    (Thunder outside – tent rattles)   Attachment?  detachment?  and so on.   Attachment to WHAT?   Do, please go with me!   Attachment to what?   I’m attached to YOU –  my wife, my father, my mother, my sister, my – wife,  my girlfriend -whatever it is.   God, I’m glad I haven’t got any of those.    Thank God!   (laughter)   Sorry!    Don’t impose them on me please!   Heh!

 “Attached to what?   Dominating what?   Jealous of what?    Attached to what?

“Attached to the image that I have built about her and she has built about me,  out of her loneliness,  out of –  whatever it is.   You follow all this?   Please,  watch it!   because we are going to –  we are showing that a problem that arises in human relations can be dissolved INSTANTLY.   Not carried over.   The carrying over is the INSANITY.

 “What is the mind attached to,  when it says “I am attached to my wife”?   “my house” – whatever –  attached?   (Thunder)   Attached to the image I have built about her?   Am I attached to HER –  please listen! –  or to HIM?   or to the IMAGE I have built about her or him?    Obviously,  to the image!   I can’t be attached to the person,  because the person is living!   moving!   has its own desires,  its own ambitions,  its own problems,  its own – pettiness,  its own –  shallowness,  its own –  emptiness.   But I am attached to the image that I have built about her.   And that image becomes MUCH more important than her.  (Croaks)

 “Can my mind be free from building images?   You understand?  (Pleads)   because then I’ve ended the problem.   Are you moving with me?    Can the mind empty its images about her?   She’s hurt me,  by word, by gesture,  by some – act.   The hurt is to the image I have about myself.   And I am attached to that image and to the hurt.   And that is non-relationship –  which is insanity!   I am living according to an image I have built about her,  about myself.   An IMAGE –  you understand? –  which is an idea ;   and therefore has nothing whatever to do with relationship.  

 “So can the mind never build an image?   Which means —  be aware at the moment of hurt.  

“If you have no image,  you won’t be hurt.   It’s only when I have an image about myself that I can do something about it,  kick it around.   But if I have no image about myself,  you can’t kick it around.   So can the mind be free of image building –  which is the ideation?   which is the same thing in other words –  so that everything that the man or the woman does is instantly perceived and dissolved,  so that there is no image at all,  which means every incident is over for the next moment, and the mind is young,  fresh  and innocent.”

K, Brockwood 1974

**

Brockwood.  Hearing Krishnamurti speak again, I dived into my little capsule of pain, and have only just climbed out.  Capsule is all it is.  It exists, but it isn’t ALL, unless you choose to have it so.

DON’T RUN AWAY TO I-DON’T-KNOW!

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Squall approaches, Brittany 1986

**

It is a bit of a cult around here.  Daniel and his friends bubble around the hot pot of Krishnamurti talk and Krishnamurti tapes (so do I at times, just to keep with it) like a gang of schoolboys.  I’ll go home tomorrow.  As to Daniel – I haven’t said an honest word to him all day.  End of affair.  Too much romanticism and starry nights on my part.  All bullshit.  He’s more than a fraction “precious”.  I mistrust every word I say.  Must learn not to invest emotions, or imagine what our kids could look like.   Leave him be.

There is no fact in suffering.  The fact is a circumstance that causes suffering, but the suffering itself is phantom!  a mind storm!   To cling to what happened, and declare it responsible for what I am feeling now, is to live in unreality.  So what do I bloody well do about what I’m feeling now?  If there is just the fact, there is no pain.  Pain’s a waste of time – to rub sand into a wound, just to exist.

The quality of open attention which is living, is fouled up by the intrusion of my injured self, its smallness, the way it picks away at all the idiotic, tense and embarrassing things I have said and been, and at every nuance of rejection.   That little injured self … is all I know;  that is what is meant by having to die to oneself!   I’m not afraid of my body dying.  I’m afraid of the death of my state of consciousness which in all its labyrinth is so essential to me, but so meaningless when applied to being with others;  to the world, in short.

Recognise no authority.  No person.  Become aware of the moment, the total pulse, and put the other thing away, the thing which through its hurt, recognizes my existence … and what is that false flat existence but a dream?  There are only the facts – as I heard over and over again as a child.  They are plain enough to see.  But I do not find it interesting enough just to see them, I cling to this Hollywood drama about them.   One has to be so tuned in, to recognize and strip bare without comment or commentary all those fleeting escape runs back to fantasy and what-if – within the quick of their instant.

Don’t-run-away-to-i-don’t-know!

And it isn’t a goal to seek to achieve.  If it is, it sends me right back into the falsehood.  It has to be the right action by WHAT IS.  To act as NOW, shrivels the monstrous shadows my memory prompts from the stage wings.

Keep the door open!  (Daniel said.)   “Keep the door open!”

There is in fact, no door.

The reality I want is health.  I want an active, not a passive condition.

See it, when the phantom comes billowing like a huge wave, a monster of importance with black patches all over it, just let it come, and SEE it.  It cannot withstand those Medusa eyes of truth.  It is no longer there.  And the future isn’t even here yet!

And there’s no value either in glorifying the insight which helped me to see.

The cross is no longer with us.  There is but one Way.

**

“Now,  without stress or strain,  can you be aware of yourself?   Can you watch yourself?   Can you watch the content of your own mind —  the beliefs, the national feeling,  the pettiness,  the shallowness,  the desires,  the anxieties,  fears —  all that is a part of your consciousness —  identification with a country,  with a name,  with a property, and so on,  so on.   And the hurts which one has received from childhood.   Now.   Are you aware of all this content?   And content makes up consciousness.   Without the content there is no so called consciousness!   Right?    Let me put it briefly.   Meditation is the emptying of the mind of its content,  as its consciousness,  and going beyond.   We will discuss and talk about meditation some other time.”

K, Brockwood 1974

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A Meadow in West Hampstead

**

I have so strong an urge to keep him with me, by whatever means.  The state of “in-love” is a self engendered state of fear.  At the beginning it is not there.  There is encounter, the ebb and flow.  It develops through absence and threat of ‘losing’.  I make of him an emotional possession though nobody owns him.  From that point on, the relationship is false.

He, seeing this, will not be drawn into even a compassionate involvement.  Owning and being owned by no one, he is clear.  Friend to not just one, but everyone, he has no frontiers.  It is worthless to give time, company, body, talk, into a vacuum.  There is no filling, ever, of my vacuum “from outside”.

I went through many gates of anger, bitterness.  Every time I saw Daniel around the grounds of the house, it was agony.  He has time, space for everybody.  He is deeply and humanely involved in the Krishnamurti set-up and all its relationships, questions and internecine events.  Why shut himself away with one sorrow, from the tapestry?   Ah … but what I am seeing, and this breaks my heart, is what I wanted to be, when I first came here.  I wanted to be a free agent, a celebrant at the feast.

Then I am robbed of my self.  I stand outside the window, I am lost.  It is no longer my garden.  I spent the day alone, and very hurt.   Krishnamurti talked about suffering, this morning.

I went off afterwards and cried at the senseless conundrum of it all.  Towards the end of the day, I understood it was my craving and dishonesty which made relationship with Daniel impossible.  So I sought him no more.  No more did I clamber around fields and through woodlands and strain my eyes through knots of people.  Finis.

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Cloud fortress

**

I spent the evening sitting in the crowd around the bright fire near the kitchen tent.  Out in the wind, which still blew great gusts, sparks flew in the intense darkness, and the flames lit up our faces as we tried to warm ourselves for the night.  I knew an extraordinary articulacy and fluidity with the people of that moment – a superficial skating, a temporary reprieve from the blow.  Perhaps my dreams of flying are pain relief?

I know this. When I suffer, but have decided to bed the pain into the embers, the words flow.  Always.  Talking.  Writing.  Manic perceptions and comedy.  Like blood.

Why is The Speaker such a talker?  Why is there this tremendous sound and activity around him?  Why, he is fire, fire, fire.

Something burns him.

I come face to face with the deep, unutterable shame of my personal being.  I become alien:  the Outside, looking in.  It lacerates whatever form it takes – right up through the core.  It is because Daniel is joy and I am not.  We are camped among scruffy trees and bushes.

I did not know whether or not to expect him in my tent that night.  When I went in, I found his sleeping bag there, with mine.  Earlier I decided to sever all connection, but then this seemed just a pose, and I decided to accept whatever happened.  At about 11.30 he arrived, I was in bed and still feeling cold.  We talked unsuccessfully, and had sex even more unsuccessfully, from the communication point of view.  At last there was no more pretence or theatre.   I took the lid off and let him see what went on, not just its noise, but my actual unspeakable problem.  He gave to this an attention which was total and uncompromisingly loving, his arms around me, listening.

Since then, when we talked – moments snatched from the river in which he flowed – he reiterated this attention, the urgency of “now” – to “stay with this thing no more!  Keep the door open and always go through it – do not close it round yourself.  When you feel it shutting, even just a bit, put your foot in it, your hand in it, push it, push on and through, that same door is habit when it closes, and truth when it opens, but you must work at it, every moment.   This is emergency!   NOTHING is more important than to open the egg.  Nothing to defend!  Keep watch.  Listen.  What is it?

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Sky, Brittany

Daniel is very young, younger even than me.  Various entanglements of wine, woman and song, which I needn’t talk about here, advised him to steer his course clear of the romantic monogamous envelope, and from the pollution of possessing.  His wing is down also.  He is very young, with the ruthlessness of a growing tree.

You smile with the no-nonsense joy that is verily your own.  When I am with you, I am self-critical.  But I don’t want to be.  At moments, a terrific pulse connected us, and other moments disconnected it;  and other moments still – like now – we lay together talking.  There’s a light in your eyes, in the night’s damp pallor;  and you held me to you with much warmth in the morning, and there was no need for me to try to flop about and try to kiss you, try to be a seductive siren.

But I wanted to stay in his arms – fact or figuratively – all day. Only on the face of it, could I accept he must come and go.  As soon as we left the tent, the old grief flooded back, winding its envelope around me – the senseless, paralytic jealousy whenever I saw him with someone else.  Do you know why?  It’s because he looks like an insider;  and I want to be one of “them”.

I want to be seen by everyone he knows, being cherished and claimed.  This is the pathos of my snobbery to this imaginary prince.

Knowing there is no other way.

To go around with Daniel all day, would be having him.  And what is the having of that gentle beauty and hard truth for my own, to separate from the rest of the garden?   Illusion!  Illusion and therefore rot.   He has the clarity to stay out of the scenario, even when, as he said, there were times during the day when I looked so lost and empty he wanted to go up and hug and comfort me, and almost did.  We had agreed on something.

And once when I’d been walking everywhere looking for him, I came back from somewhere and found him, he’d been looking for me too, because someone was going to take a photograph of us all together, the inner circle of this camp, and he couldn’t find me, so I wasn’t in it, and I could have been.  Perhaps … when the next Krishnamurti bulletin comes out, it’ll have the photo in it, and I shall be able to see Daniel in it, among the people?

Something to hold.

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Two boats, seascape

I never knew what to say to his eyes.  My mouth was nervous.  And in a dark place, a barn perhaps, sheltering from the rain with some others, I looked at him and thought, “you’re not so handsome really.  Your arms are under developed.  You’re not really manly …” and other nit picking things.   He was off to France that evening, and then to Israel.  Were it to continue, there could be no truth.  Michelle – the woman with whom he shares the tent and some travelling – and I, we spoke sometimes in a brittle way, and I watched her closely.  I sensed in her a feeling which was worn out, but maybe that was me.  She’s his travelling companion.  My jealousy, what’s it like for her?  She has a son, Louis, in his early teens.  She has shaggy hair, and she lives in the warmth of Daniel’s world.  I went up to London on the train with her, Louis, Daniel and several other people from the field.   Daniel and I shared more insights.  He was committed to bathe our encounter in as healing a light as he could summon up – which stripped me further of my hopes and left me humble and lame.    The lameness and exhaustion brought back in its turn more of that false hope in him as my comforter.  He told me I am too sexually self-conscious.  “It’s the way you put your eyes on me and dwell on it, just like that.  You know, you’re just FULL of feminine wiles and devices, you are!   What am I to do?”

He stood for a long time as I found my way through the ticket machines, seeing me off with love, or whatever it is that shines steadily in his eyes.  He gave me a book he carried with him for a long time – Kazantzakis’ Travels in Greece.  He said it could be a portrait of himself – he has a way of being a hero – and he chuckles disparagingly with his own weaknesses, flinging them often away as the ruthless young sapling does, to grow, to wander and be alive.  “Write to me,” he said “the address in Israel, it’ll find me.  Write me lots of letters!”

That is the way he comforts, and it is genuine, it is Consciousness to Life.  Life is devastated by the increment of Consciousness.

Does Michelle look weary?  Has she been through all this – was she still …? Yes … so he told me earlier, how much she too wants to hold him with her, some ligaments of their own hold them close, he cannot leave her, but nor is he “with” her only.  “With her, you see,” he had told me “it is a little different.  She has a son of her own.  She needs a kind of protecting, Louis needs it, I need it, I suppose.”

For that night, for him, Michelle and Louis, the boat, the crossing, the luggage, the trains, the clash and confusion of conveyences.  For me … home to face Asher as if nothing had happened.

In the Kazantzakis book are many passages he marked.  I turn the pages, a little dazed. Here are a few:

**

“Whoever has a field, says Buddha, thinks of the field, dreams of the field, becomes the field.  Only he who has nothing can be free.”

“The sternest emotion, the most daring fantasy in order to live – or better still, in order to be born –requires a body.  The creator discovers the body only by looking about him, how the light plays, how the mountains stand immobile … The quality and resistance of matter – marble or granite or mud – determine not only his methods but his heart as well.  There is no closed impassable barrier between artist and landscape.  The landscape penetrates the artist’s body through its five portals and fashions his senses;  and as it fashions them, a likeness is formed in their image.”

 .

“Only through struggle and selection would some few bodies achieve the lofty victory of the flower.”

“We have no more than a single instant at our disposal;  let us make eternity of that instant – there is no other immortality.”

 .

“The timeless Greek landscape, cut to the measure of men, flooded with light.  At each instant, it is slightly altered, even while remaining the same;  it shimmers, flourishing its beauty, regenerates itself, and so does not tire you.”

 .

“Auntie Lenio, he said, died day before yesterday.  Our hearts constricted.  We sensed that a word had perished;  perished, and now no one could place it in a verse and render it immortal.”

“Socrates would never go fishing for the soul in today’s gymnasiums.”

 “Quickly I left, mocking my heart, which was ready once more to break.”

**

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Harbour ‘86

**

**

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.