Sacred India Tarot Archive – the Royal Lotuses (2) – Kama & Rati

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Lord Siva on his Tao

Lord Siva on his Tao

Notes by Jane & Rohit on The Knight of Lotuses – Kamadeva

Kama is the deity of desire and lust.  His interaction with Lord Shiva was picturesque, to say the least, and is followed through cards 4, 5 and 10 of this suit – (see earlier posts in this series, under Categories in sidebar).

I cannot find Rohit’s notes to me for creating the Kama card.  Originally, the Knight of Lotuses was to be Pradayumna, who is now the King of the Suit.   The plan changed when I drew and sent to Rohit, two versions of Kama’s wife Rati.  The first one got promoted to the World Shakti in the Major Arcana.  The second one required a consort:  so Rohit commissioned a new Kama – naturally the Knight.

It was important also, to show that Kama was restored in full glory, following Siva and Parvati’s marriage.  During their yogic courtship, he was incinerated for his effrontery.

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Sacred India Tarot, 5 of Lotuses - Siva destroys Kama with his third eye

Sacred India Tarot, 5 of Lotuses – Siva destroys Kama with his third eye

You can see Parvati’s terror as the kundalini Shakti overshadows her.   This is a picture of the raw subconscious forces which our love-affaires and relationships arouse and “front”.

After Siva and Parvati settled down together on Mount Kailas, the story – like lines drawn on water – merges into the love-play of Kama and Rati in full bloom.

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photo credit kamadevan.webs.com

photo credit kamadevan.webs.com

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Rohit’s Notes on Kamadeva, from his book with the deck:

“…The power of desire is a prime moving force in the universe.  Without desire, there is no karma/action.  Unfortunately, the strongest desire is lust and, even more unfortunately, it is the easiest to inflame.  Kama shoots shafts that are burning flowers from his bow of sugarcane.  This odd imagery indicates the juicy, supple, sweet but unyielding and fiery nature of desire.  Flowers as we pretend not to know when we gift them romantically, are the sexual organs of plants.

Orchid

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Neither Kama nor his imagery is subtle about what is desired and in what measure.  It is the sheer irresponsibility of the pleasure principle, its wilful disdain for consequence of repetition, so long as it gets what it wants.  Hence he is named Gridhu – sharp lust!  

“As the Atharvaveda says, ‘The well directed arrows of Kama, winged with pain, barbed with longing, with desire for the shaft, pierce all hearts’.

“Yet the power of desire is a great good, being the force behind civilization and culture, the first impulse of creativity.”  (NB the identical creative/spiritual/sexual root).  “‘Kama was born the first, both the power to provoke and gratify desire.’  His name Iraja signifies his birth from cosmic waters.  His power to enkindle enthusiasm as well as passion names him Darpaka – the Inflamer!  He is called Samantaka – the power to destroy mental peace, to denote what happens when passions control one.  Desire as Kama fascinated the Indian mind for its many triumphs over the best of intentions.  

“This card in a reading … … Falling in love.  Potentially very promising and normally a fabulous future, but the shadow is very strong in this card … …  Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

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Jane’s Notes

Central to this theme, is the Lovers card in the deck.

Sacred India Tarot card 6 - The Lovers: Kaccha and Devvyani

Sacred India Tarot card 6

When lovers first meet, there seems to be no shadow at all!

This card tells the story of Kaccha a divine Prince, and Devvyani, daughter of the king of the demons.   The psychology is subtle.  Between them, the ‘sugar cane’ bow buds into almond blossom:  around them, flowers and orchids push through the ground.   Devvyani lures her suitor with nature’s feral beauty.  Kaccha’s face is modelled on J.Krishnamurti.  He wears on his brow the Akasha-Tejas Tattva – the colours of Saturn and Mars.   He has a passion to fulfil through sensual Earth, but points back to his original agenda or ‘master-plan’, to discover the secret and set souls free.

The card shows the cross-fertilizing and trading of divine and daemonic nectar, fire or energy – the fruit of which is tantrically sublimated in the higher plane.  A razor’s edge discriminates the currency through equal beauties but different densities of Earth and Heaven – below and above – gross and subtle.  There is a commitment, a renunciation and change of plane, through dying and being born again.  The dove in the genital armour is a phoenix, bird of light in the Alchymical Hierogamos.

If K married Devvyani and settled with the demons, the gods would never know the secret their existence depends on.  Devvyani tries to win back by love, what her father lost by a wager.  K was no fool, and he let her down with gentle remonstrance, and returned to his proper region, with the nectar.

You can look up the full story online, or read it in full, in Rohit’s book.

Each relationship is a potential crucible.  The shadow within, as it comes to light and manifests, may transform to love.  The profound Karmic forces of mutual attraction may mature into “right action”.   Hope stands at every beginning.

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Sacred India Tarot - Kama the Knight of Lotuses

Sacred India Tarot – Kama the Knight of Lotuses

Here is Kama in his glory – immersed in  female waters and roots of the blue lotus;  his seminal power erect in urdhvalinga, yogic bliss.   His candied bow is delicious as a seaside stick of Brighton rock.  The soles of his feet receive the power of the ground.   Desire in full fruit is Union:  Self-union, the union of the World and plant kingdom, the lover’s timeless embrace and sharp pull.   The Hebrew word for Union is identical numerically, to the word for Love. In the western Tarot, the symbol for the Lovers is ZAIN, a word meaning both phallus and Sword.  We all have known the sharpness.

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Correspondence 6 April 2005:  Rohit to Gautam –

(this shows the shuffling of places still going on in the deck.  Originally Kama and Rati were to be the King and Queen of the suit.  When the drawings appeared, some fresh thinking happened.)

Sacred India Tarot world Shakti, 21

Sacred India Tarot world Shakti, 21

“I think the Queen is the best card ever done till today, but it is probably a waste for Rati.  We could easily put this up as a (female) World card.  Rati is not so powerful, but we can rename this the Tripura Sundari – essence of feminine supremacy … The male World card could be the Nataraja, not the Ardhanariswara, so we will have two world cards which is okay, Hinduism is conflicted as to whether the ultimate form of God is male or female.  

“The Kama is magnificent, but I think it underlines my point that we have to make him the Knight, as a symbol of uncontrolled sexual and pleasure principle, while Pradyumna, currently Kama reborn, becomes the erotic impulse transferred, transformed into healing.  The switch is easily made.  No need to redo anything.”

(For Pradayumna, King of Lotuses, see next SITA post.  To see Siva Nataraja and Rudra cards, see Creation of the World Shakti & Natarajan and Siva Ace of Lotuses )

“I know this Tantric image, and it is the ultimate female shakti depicted there, so we can use it as one World, the Nataraja becomes the male World card, completing the journey of the Fool – Rudra, Siva and now Nataraja.

“I think Rati needs a somewhat more conventional treatment.  The Apsara with a bow is ideal, as per the Indiayogi image.

Apsara in Krishna temple

Apsara in Krishna temple

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“It will be a slight drag for Jane, but really her (Shakti) card is too powerful, there is also a Lingam which completes the Siva imagery which began in the Fool card.  I think Jane has reached an absolutely inspired vein in these last two cards, the Kama is actually the ithyphallic hunter-Siva who has dalliances with the wives of Rishis in the forest of reeds near Chidambaram.   I think Jane has to be troubled to draw the Queen once more, but it is her fault for being so brilliant !!!”

(NB – 2005 was a difficultyear for me – insomnia, some depression, exhausted and over-reacting to things.  I greatly delayed producing many of the cards.   The project however, was unconcerned it seems, and drew itself along with the available material.   Rohit says in his introduction to the deck, that he in India and I in the UK suffered everything the deck could throw at us in life.)

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preliminary sketch - Rati queen of lotuses

preliminary sketch – Rati queen of lotuses

Rohit’s Notes, 2004

p568309-Khajuraho-Kamadeva_and_Rati

“QUEEN OF LOTUSES – RATI;    In every way, the counterpart of Kama, down to the garlands and bow.  In her case you can dispense with the nipple precaution! She does have a greater capacity to endure faithfully as she waited cycles of time for Kama to be reborn as Pradyumna, son of Krishna. 

“The reference we provide is typical.  The joint picture of Rati and Kama used as reference for the Lovers card in the Major Arcana, may be consulted as reference, and can be used too.

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The Sacred India Tarot, Queen of Lotuses - Rati, wife of Kama

The Sacred India Tarot, Queen of Lotuses – Rati, wife of Kama

Rohit often mourns the fact that “God’s Frozen People” lost the natural state’s exuberant joy as depicted in the old Temples.    Blue lotuses surround Rati also, as she plays with her husband’s bow and lifts the serpent power as easily around herself as pulling away her sari.  No thought as yet of pregnancy, domesticity or the patter of little feet troubles her soul.

From Rohit’s book with the deck: 

“Like all female consorts of male deities, Rati is regarded as the Shakti, the active and activating power of the god’s function.  Rati is regarded as sensuality and voluptuous  desire, a symbol of the sophisticated ethos that made possible the Kama Sutra, as well as the lesser known but superior Ananga Ranga.

“This is the vision of the aesthete as to what constitutes pleasure insofar as it applies to humans.  Yet. the throbbing, pulsing energy of sexual desire also has a spiritual function.  It is by transmuting the sexual drive into Ojas – spiritual fuel – that one gets the skill and power to tackle the higher reaches of sexuality. 

“The raised snake above the head is that irresistible sexual impulse catalysed into the longing for liberation.  It is a yogic triumph she has achieved here – to subvert the strongest downward dragging impulse, and make it a vehicle for spiritual transcendence. 

“Rati was punished with widowhood for Kama’s audacity in provoking Siva.  Yet she refused to abandon hope, and forced the gods to restore her foolish husband, with all the conceit drained out of him.  Knowing that Kama was going to be reborn as Pradyumna son of Krishna, destined to slay the demon Sambara, she took service at Sambara’s palace as a maid, and waited.  A giant fish in the kitchen when cut open, revealed an infant that Sambara had tried to kill by drowning.  Not recognising the child, Sambara’s fate decreed that he not only fail but that he bring up the son of Krishna as his own, with Rati’s help!  

“When the boy reached adulthood, Rati revealed his story to him, and the reborn Kama slew the demon.  Rati finally got a husband worthy of her.

“In a reading: … Potential for deep spiritual transformation … good healers and therapists … great decoder of the emotional web that exists between people….  But might become determined and insistent that all who meet them have problems so that they can ‘help’….  Everybody is not as intuitive as you are, so share your insight where it is appropriate.  Do not mistrust your feelings.”  (Copyright (c)The Sacred India Tarot to Yogi Impressions Books, 2011)

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Ananga Ranga 20 - the Roaring position

Ananga Ranga 20 – the Roaring position

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Correspondence 18-21 May 2005:  re Rati Queen of Lotuses

“Dear Gautam, did you receive Rati safely a few weeks ago?  I had asked you to ring me as our computer had crashed and none of your phone numbers worked either – please give me a contact number.  Anyway, up and running again now, but I shan’t be able to scan anything till the end of this week …   Regards, Jane

“Hi Jane, herewith feedback on Rati.  I did have some reservations re the eroticism of the illustration, though it is stunning.  Given below is Rohit’s feedback.  Warm regards, Gautam.”

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As published - with bra and pants!

As published – with bra and pants!

“Gautam, 
I am very willing to go with the image as it is, as Rati is not in any way important to the religious consciousness, and therefore will not have any potential to cause trouble.  We could add a little dhoti trouser type covering to lower limbs if we felt the need to reduce nakedness, but I think the card is absolutely terrific.  Another magnificent effort by Jane.  The lotuses have come out at a level that is somewhat frighteningly good.  Rohit.”

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Kailas

Kailas

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The Sacred India Tarot Archive, Major Arcana 0 – 14 can be found at http://aryayogi.wordpress.com    SITA Major Arcana 15 – 21 are on janeadamsart.wordpress.com also.   TO BE CONTINUED/

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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

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

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

aquariel link

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

 

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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cb-skaa_large_1

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: Creation of 8 of Lotuses – Siva Tests Parvati

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Mask

Mask

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Continuing the Sacred India Tarot Archive, by Rohit Arya and Jane Adams.  This post is quite a ragbag, because into it arrived two vintage Himalayan mountaineers:  Siva  tries on their faces to further tease Parvati, perhaps.  Or … an essay on India’s charm for we romantic Brits.

This post belongs with “Solomon” (23 March) which is over in Aquariel, my other blog.

While assembling Solomon and (to conclude) a gist of his Song, I thought of Parvati in her Himalayan forest, watering the trees and being visited by the wise.

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Rohit’s Notes (2004)Eight of Lotuses:  Siva Masks Himself

Lotuses 8 Visual reference  1

Lotuses 8 Visual reference 1

“Siva appears as a smug, self satisfied Brahmin, to test the poor girl, indulging in much abuse of his qualities, nature, life style and appearance.  Parvati responds with anger, as shown in the comic strip below.  This indicates both the Karma which kept them apart, and the fact that when such happens, the illusions which separate people no longer hold sway.  This is the only card where Siva is not shown in colossal stature, and he is not bejeweled or crowned.”

lotuses 8 reference 2

lotuses 8 reference 2

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Parvati pestered by sages - detail

Parvati pestered by sages – detail

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Jane’s Notes

As a Capricorn child, I am bound to identify with the Daughter of the Mountain. My love letter is to the universe, for all hearts to read.   Let it be!

Rahu Northnode ... after tasting the nectar

Rahu Northnode … after tasting the nectar.  The immortal gods severed Rahu’s head from his body, for daring to sip their elixir.  He leads the glorious Illusion through which “the Shepherd leads himself back to Himself” … “the One most fully present in His seeming absence” … “honour Him with integrity or He will swallow you whole” … “there is no where in heaven or hell where I AM not” … “I do not believe – I know” …  Rahu’s cosmic Love song is in this link.  (song of Rahu by Jeanette Kishori McKenzie)

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Here I am, Parvati by the Star pool, listening to Rahu, fishing away for Siva, and pestered by a sage or two !  

Why not take all the time it needs?  The sages who come along are interesting, and sometimes they pretend to be Siva for a while, which is fun.   Siva’s masque fits any of them.  He puts on a different face, pretending to be Rahu’s Head Exchange …   Siva the god of Love is a holy terror among the wives of sages !  Siva shines through Rahu.   Rudra is sometimes Rahu.   They seem to pass through one another.  None of them is really Siva.   This is the Glory and Freedom of Siva.

Rahu’s appearance presages Parvati’s future child with an elephant’s head – Ganesh.

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Parvati pestered  - Version 4

Wives of sages get left alone a lot in the forest.   Up the path through dark stems and columns of sunlight, who comes next?  What matted lean stranger, with loincloth, waterpot and glowing eyes?  Any day, the unexpected !   The call of strange birds, through Himalayan valleys:  the clambering rhododendron giant:  nocturnal mist lifts off the ground, as Surya begins His work for the day.

I think Parvati’s nectarous ecstasy was greater in her expectant Solitude, sleeping out at night and fasting on the ground, than in all the future days of her marriage with Siva on Kailas.   Of course they would  squabble, whenever they came off the peak.   That was the fractious energy field required to conceive their children, Skanda and Ganapati.

My loveliest experience in India, was not Gurus.  I didn’t really take to them, other than Ramana.  It was sitting in Ramanananda’s cottage the other side of Arunachala Hill: the tall medicinal herbs in his garden – all of them collected from sages’ samadhis –  the rocks in his fireplace, his watercolours of the Hill, his old put-put scooter and excellent idiomatic English.  Friar Tuck in horn rimmed specs and orange skirts welcomes staff-bearing kindred spirits.  He is busy raising funds to restore Annamalai Temple:  piles of paperwork perch precariously on pebbles, rudraksha beads and sacred ash.  Through his parlour, men and women sadhus potter and pass the timeless hour:  their laughing Vedic intellect, the Path to Liberation and the heat.

Ramanananda Saraswathi in 1993

Ramanananda Saraswathi in 1993

In modern India and the loosening of some of its brackets, an ancient freedom speaks as it always has. Off the beaten track, Ramananda’s caravan among wiry eucalyptus, catches what breeze it can.  He told me that in summer, if you throw an egg on the wall, it fries, and that he is not really a Swami, he is the Self.

The train stops again.  Through the wide windows, time and tall herbs pass by. In Siva’s fiery light, no caste or custom confines the eccentric delight of elder India.

Mira de Coux

Mira de Coux

It is also my friendship with Belgian Mira when she stayed with me for a short time in London; we laughed about our menfolk.   She like Parvati waited by the Ganga many many moons with cloth and waterpot, till Harilal Poonja returned along the path – her Siva whom she married:   their daughter Mukti.

FOR MIRA AND POONJA

With a ghee lamp   
butter from the cow is burned,   
leaving nor ash nor carbon.

With a ghee lamp   
the cow is burned; pure   
is Vedic light from the Sun she gives.

Fire, brave ship in water shining.   
Sun, bright fire in the sea.   
Water, deep peace of night.   

Fire is in the wood.   
Fire sleeps in the wood.   
Fire from the Sun   
is present in all beings. 

Let there be peace   
to all beings:  to rocks, plants,   
rivers, animals and people.   
Let there be peace. 

His soul is to her love released.   
In the flower childrens' fire,   
Master's body fell, was licked and torn,   
eaten, feasted. Let there be peace   
to all beings.

from Poems of Eclipse, 1999

 cow, dark & light

THE RIVER LADY

The wisdom of an elder, beautiful woman   
plays among the cows.   
The Daughter of the Mountain nomad   
knows not what'll happen next.

With her Master's zest   
she parries the prurient in the bud   
with deft shield   
and sword to tease and pierce. 

Because like Parvati, she by Ganges waited   
outside time, her spouse,   
an old, old river through her flows, a gravitas.   
A terrible compassion in her stands.   

Master's eyes are palpable   
in her round feminine face   
with wide laughter wrinkled -   
a soft river apple blooms.

Bhakti in the West is not well understood.   
The soul of bhakti is the effortless   
being taken;  Master's absence of effort.   
There is no lineage, no permission for the river.   

It overflows its banks, within my house.   
The room is filled with the river lady's 
way of hen partying   
here, with Master in our toes.

My thoughts are cradled in small sails   
the river takes to its own.   

They are brave little ships.   
They are butter, lit in paper boats.

from Poems of Eclipse 1999

butterlamp boat

The luminosity of Vedic India, the shining brown river, the Himalayan myths and legends,  the paradoxical political scene … remain bright and eternal in Parvati’s soul.   I feel the sound of the river and the old wrinkled stones and the sun’s heat even now.   I travel sitting still!   Waiting for Siva is the Himalaya in my soul:  the coming and going of this, is beauty.   Nobody need wait for Siva.   Siva is the perfume of all the whispering leaves.

oaks in treasure wood near Broomlands

I did not tread the shores of Mother Ganga in this lifetime, nor visit Badrinath.  The memory is planted from other lifetimes, who knows when or where ?   Badrinath where Ganga rises, and the mountain-girt sanctuary of Nanda Devi and the Valley of Flowers, are on the watershed, on the direct trail to Kailasa in the north, the shining peak.

himalayan forest

himalayan forest

Let Nanda Devi be my mantra !   She is the goddess of nanda, a male sanskrit word for joy.  In the 1930s, the Himalayan explorer Eric Shipton opened up the dark Rishi Ganga gorge to the secret flowering meadow and snows around Her beautiful high fang, till then inaccessible …    “Rishi” means “Sage”.  The Sages’ silence flows from there, and the mountains are devic beings.

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Eric Shipton

Eric Shipton

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Nanda Devi

Nanda Devi

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If my thoughts seem to stray, it is because Parvati and Siva invoke for me this landscape and its archetypal resonance.  Translating Parvati’s visions on an empty tum, to my inner world in England, I am inspired by the early Himalayan explorers  as they mapped the sacred trail among the high Ganga sources around Badrinath, seat of Vishnu.  I have their books and their old photos.  It is an INVOCATION :  to touch upon, and to marvel.  The trail crosses the watershed.  Its great peaks are Kamet and Nanda Devi, on the way to Kailas in Tibet.

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parvati suspicious

In the book with Sacred India Tarot deck, Rohit writes: 

“Siva, vanquished by Parvati’s great tapasya, and even greater love, still has a puckish desire to test her.  If she was not discouraged by indifference, perhaps she will be by disgust?  Appearing as a young Brahmin, he professes loud astonishment that she is wasting her life and beauty on that fellow Siva.  Is he any sort of goal for decent people?  His family and background is unknown, his ornaments are serpents, he lives in cemeteries with weird goblins, and he certainly has no money. 

“This is a peculiar form of Bhakti called Ninda-Stuthi – Abuse-Praise!  It is coded language for spiritual initiates.  Siva has no money because he is the lord of the world.  He lives in cemeteries because that is where every human ends up.  He has no family and is of uncertain background because He is the origin of the world, and so on. 

“‘He encompasses all things, though he is but one.  Whoever knows him, Siva the Auspicious, wins peace for ever.’

Svetasvarura Upanishad

Sacred India Tarot 7 of Lotuses/Cups:  Siva Tests Parvati

Sacred India Tarot 7 of Lotuses/Cups: Siva Tests Parvati

Rohit continues:  “While Parvati does understand this language, her great love for Siva made these contumelius epithets unbearable.  She began to objurgate this insolent man – scolding and rebuking sharply in a whirlwind of offended love.  “The stupid and envious always say malicious things about the Great Ones of the world.  What is beyond the limited understanding of shallow minds, is condemned.  To speak ill of great souls is a sin, to listen is to participate in that sin.’

The last bonds of impeding Karma snap at that moment, and Siva concedes defeat.  The devas are relieved.  Parvati has in her meditations, worked out their negative Karma too.”  

Finally, embedded in his interpretation, Rohit concludes, “This is an end-of-Karma card … Whatever goes at this time, let it go.  It has no more Karma with you.  Seek new horizons in life.”

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Kailas sacred mountain

Kailas sacred mountain, starlight

Looking for a picture in Frank Smythe’s The Valley of Flowers (Hodder & Straughton 1938) about his exploration near the Nanda Devi sanctuary, I discovered this marked paragraph:

“It was the first time I had travelled alone in the Himalayas, and the experience after the last two caravanserais to Mount Everest, was more than refreshing.  For the first time in my life, I was able to think. I do not mean to think objectively or analytically, but rather to surrender thought to my surroundings.  This is a power of which we know little in the west, but which is a basic of abstract thought in the east. 

“It is allowing the mind to receive rather than to seek impressions, and it is gained by expurgating extraneous thought.  It is then that the Eternal speaks;  that the mutations of the universe are apparent:  the very atmosphere is filled with life and song:  the hills are resolved from mere masses of snow, ice and rock into something living.  When this happens, the human mind escapes from the bondage of its own feeble imaginings, and becomes as one with its Creator. 

“My pen has run away with me.  It often did when recording my impressions in the Valley of Flowers, for it is impossible to continue along conventional channels when the country on either side is so fair … …  

“The silence was complete save for the light, almost imperceptible hiss of the burning logs.  Presently even that died, and the fire shrank to a heap of glowing embers.  The cold stole up behind me;  suddenly I was chilly, and my pipe was out.  A few minutes later I was warm in my eiderdown sleeping bag.  The last thing I saw before closing my eyes, was a bright star poised on a distant ridge, looking at me through the door of the tent.”

Frank Smythe

Frank Smythe

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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/Solomon Link

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

Sacred India Tarot Archive: 7 of Lotuses – Parvati waters Trees

heart pebble

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Rohit’s Notes 2003/4

“Seven of Lotuses is an interesting episode, because Parvati used to break her tapasya every day, to care for trees in her vicinity, and was criticized for being frivolous in so doing.  She quoted back a Vedic verse which says that the most sacred and meritorious of all acts is to serve trees!  This break was also part of her Sadhana.  

“The normal spirit associated with the Star card is what we are seeking here.  Trees near a lotus pond will do.”

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hawthorn & oak

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from Hermetic Tarot 1991

from Hermetic Tarot 1991

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Jane’s Notes:

Parvati waters trees!   In the Major Arcanum 17 image, she is mother naked, truth, and she pours from flasks of infinite supply, onto the ground and into the starry pool, seeking and being her knowledge.

With the same water of Life, Parvati in the Himalayan forest, replenishes the upward flowing sap and photosynthesis – the inverted root.  Each forest giant is Siva, and she moves among them like the dew;  the heat and smell and sweat of earth, the stirrings of insects and wild deer.   She dips her cloth in the water, and wraps it around her, to cool herself.

Parvati’s sadhana and service contained these tremendous contrasts:  the ultimate snows, the fiery dance of her Lord, and the lush grandeur of Himalayan valleys.

As Rohit has pointed out, after the terrible shock and humiliation of Kama being destroyed, her passion is like a little girl, convinced that a happy and magical outcome is in her power.  For is it not her destiny to be the Mother of the world?

As Mother Ganga descends from the Himalayan watershed, Sati reborn as Parvati is the consciousness:  and she awaits Him by the waters, with all the time in the world.

Visual reference from the cartoon-book, for Seven of Lotuses

Visual reference from the cartoon-book, for Seven of Lotuses

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Indeed, the tapas and self-starvation of the young Daughter of the Himalaya Mountains, richly nourished her daydreams – which every Indian Princess has – of family life with Lord Siva and their children Skanda and Ganapati, on Mount Kailas …

Postcard - Parvati, Siva & family in Kailas

Postcard – Parvati, Siva & family in Kailas

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… the blissful marital bed of eternal, yogic snows …

Kailas - sacred mountain

Kailas – sacred mountain

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A  Kabbalist experience of the Self, yet Sivaic …

Something similar to this (below) may have shone through Parvati’s dreams. Just such a moment influences an entire life.   We all have them;  but do we notice them?

1991:  “I dreamed I or someone had an injury, a toxic swelling on the left leg, near the ankle.  The person lay on, or was part of a piece of furniture or framework, in a garden out of doors, and suffered from a lack of equilibrium.  With my growing interest in healing, a strange knowledge entered me.   I lifted this swollen point or part of space.  I let it collide with a point of vitality which I brought to meet it over the wooden frame, from the other side.  From the marrying spilled an incandescent throbbing.  It was not of my body;  it was the air:  the point everywhere, of Reality.    For those endless instants, I knew and I am the infinite Source.

“Nothing can end or destroy the Source, the seamless thrill of being.   A mountain range, a Himalaya of crystal light sparkles in the nucleus of every atom and in my hinterland.  It calls me.  It is an ancient Song which I cannot lose.   It will be always, as it always has been, home and living with my grandmother.  It has no beginning.

simikot kailas manasarovar, www.adventuregeotreks.com

simikot kailas manasarovar, http://www.adventuregeotreks.com

“It is as it fades, my uttermost and lingering refreshment.   It is the truth.  It flowered, it happened in the air.  And the sick leg was naturally being cured.

“I” …    How can I lose, or be lost?   It is imperishably simple.

“The creative act collides the particles.  It explodes their unsought energy.   Their interaction is more profoundly alive than any sum of the parts.   It is at position or motion.  It moves as a wave of light.  The hidden languages of adepts were built on verbs – motion – and not upon nouns – position.

“The interaction or “change” appears anywhere, at any moment over the cosmic lattice.

moon circumpunct

“In the ripple effect even a thousand light years distant, the mysterious brother or sister particle concurs.  It answers the continuum, through the veil of time and space.  An electron’s observable behaviours are pieces in cross-section of Reality.   An electron is a charged unit of life or change.  The quanta vanish and reappear beyond the Script of Light, in every place of time.  The living being is beyond sight and touch;  yet I breathe it through my nose.  Fragmentary planes across the limbs, appear in our elemental lattice – we add them together to make a sum or experiment for prediction.  But when they touch, the bucket’s bottom drops out.  A few parts of the electron memory and the way it feels, return through the veil.  The whole of I is this for ever.   The three-dimensional lattice is my dream, outlining the shadow.   The living being is in the wheels Ezekiel saw in the desert near Tel Aviv.

“Ezekiel recounted four simultaneous likenesses (to lion, eagle, angel, bull) in four directions squared through space at the speed of light.  On the chariot, four spherical wheels, one for each creature ‘went in any of their four directions without turning as they went … and when the living creatures rose from the earth the wheels rose … for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.’  Above this was a boundless crystal firmament – their point.  In this stood still  ‘the likeness of the Glory of the LORD ‘  –  axis of all the worlds.

“In the I-dot of each grain of space, I am the echo of that crystalline brightness Ezekiel calls ‘of a gleaming chrysolite‘ – my age old peaks, the mountains.

“Crystal is pure composition.  Handling or friction of crystals releases the current.  Crystal in the minerals and geological strata of Earth resembles the  Angelic Laws.  Crystalline and unadorned is this.”

sun circumpunct

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Here now is the completed card:   Parvati waters the Trees.

Sacred India Tarot - 7 Lotuses

Sacred India Tarot – 7 Lotuses

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The aura Omkara around Parvati recalls the green Kundalini in 2 of Lotuses,  as she fell at the feet of the sage Narada who brought her the news.

Correspondence Jane to Gautam & Rohit – 31 October 2004:  “As enclosed – and  thanks for sending Garuda images.”

Rohit to Jane:   “Both the eight” (see next SITA post) “and the seven are cards that leave us no room for comment.  They are terrific and beautiful.  It was a very pleasant surprise to see Kailas in the 8, as Gautam was going to send you a picture reference of the same to incorporate somewhere in the suit.  I think that we should switch characters of Kama and Pradyumna for King and Knight, as Pradyumna is the healed person, and Kama is still immature.”

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Mt Kailas over manasarovar, www.trekearth.com

Mt Kailas over manasarovar, http://www.trekearth.com

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GALLERY:  the young girl’s elemental romance

Sacred India Tarot Natarajan world detail

vedic vessel

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For other Sacred India Tarot posts, look under Recent Posts, Categories in side bar, 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.

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Jane Adams

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

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

Aquariel Link

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

Sacred India Tarot Archive: Creation of 6 of Lotuses – Parvati begins Tapasya

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What account of Parvati waiting for Siva could do justice, without the cosmic carnival behind it?  This post is based largely on Stella Kramrisch’s writings, and a precis of some chapters of the Siva Puranas.

A few of the illustrations are details from the King and Queen of the Suit of Arrows.  In fact I worked on the Suit of Arrows and the Suit of Lotuses concurrently.  The Lotuses gave me some light relief from the sorrows of King Bheeshma in the Mahabharat !

The Kramrisch account refers to the Himalayas along the North:  suggesting a magnetic alignment to the Pole Star, in Siva’s abode where He dances.  Our planetary core is the spiritual lode star itself:  realising this, walk tall.

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Goddess Annapurna, the fruits of earth

Goddess Annapurna, the fruits of earth

Rohit Arya’s Notes: 

“The visual reference in the comic book is self explanatory.  In trying to win favour with God in such a manner, there is something childlike which is the core flavour of the card.  It is a trust and belief that everything will come out right, that only small children and great souls possess – an irrational optimism that triumphs over petty reality.”

visual reference for Parvati's tapas

visual reference for Parvati’s tapas

Jane’s Notes

After Lord Siva’s shattering awakening of her Kundalini – he burnt the impudent Kama, god of lust, to ashes with one glance of his third eye, and then left the grove – the young Princess had to grow up faster than Nature would intend.  To do so, she left her Himalayan Father and his court, abandoned society and retreated into essential Nature – the depth of the forest, the stones, the water, the creatures and the trees.

The young girl was spiritually and erotically romantic.   As a virgin she had served and worshipped Siva, who showed her some favour … she pictured her future husband;  their marriage.   Then the fury blew it all apart.  Parvati, not to be outdone, took sannyas.  She slept on the ground, and stubbornly imagined her Lord.  She had grown up with all the  stories.   She lived alone.   Year by year, she realised the fairy tales as they unfolded in the wilderness;   she grew to maturity.

Not surprisingly, other holy vagabonds heard of her, and were curious:

Parvati being pestered by Sages

Parvati being pestered by Sages

Behind Parvati are Siva and her own father – the King of the Himalaya.  Above the Himalayan range is the Pleiades constellation, from whose seven stars the Sivaic cosmology fell as a lightning flash, splitting the mountain, to flow as Mother Ganga through Lord Siva’s matted moon-struck hair:  thus she dreamed;  here are the tales she told …

Dhaulagiri, 1950

Dhaulagiri, 1950 – photo by Marcel Ichac

The Mountain, the Stars and the River
extracts from The Presence of Siva by Stella Kramrisch

“THE FAMILY of Pãrvatï, in which the Great Goddess was incarnated as the daughter of Parvata,  consisted of Menä the Woman,  her father Parvata the Mountain ;  and her curvaceous sister Kutilã,  who in the heaven of Brahma turned into the overflowing celestial waters and became Ganga (the Ganges).   The other sister, Raginï – whose redness completed the triple colour scheme of the three gunas – became absorbed in the constellation of the Krttikas,  the Pleiades.

“Parvata the Mountain was old as the rocks and the Rig Veda.   There he was invoked together with the Waters, the Rivers, and Heaven and Earth, and with Indra, Savitri and other gods. Beyond this, the Mountain formed an essential part in the cosmogony that has Indra (god of the thunder) for its hero.  In that myth, the Mountain was a figure that stood for the intangibly high ambience that enclosed the world, closed it off from spaces of shimmering light toward which its slopes were rising.  The Mountain enclosed the world and closed off the infinite regions of light in the beyond, above its impenetrable extent – the region of the sun before it ever shone on earth.

SITA Indra & Garuda detail

“When Indra cleft the Mountain, the light of heaven flowed down to earth.  Parvata the Mountain, keeping the light of heaven imprisoned, had been its guardian.   In this respect Parvata, though inactive, was akin to the archers Rudra and Krsanu, who by their actions intended to keep in its integrity the state ante principium, before creation.   In the myth of Indra which pervades the Rg Veda, the Uncreate was a pleroma of light closed off by the Mountain ;  Indra brought it to the world.   The pleroma of the Uncreate held the elixir and essence of Life – soma, the elixir, and semen, the seed.   Vrtra, the serpent, had lain coiled around the cosmic mountain.

“Vrtra was killed by Indra and fell to the bottom into the abyss.  Indra shattered the mountain,  released the streams to flow to the sea and freed the sun to shine in this world.   But Indra’s first act of creation was not yet complete, for the sun became engulfed in darkness in the cave at rock bottom,  whence it had to be liberated,  and let out to rise in the spring of the world.

vedic vessel

“Parvata was the rock bottom in the depths, as well as the dome on high,  the firmament,  the sky,  that had kept imprisoned the light and waters of life.

“In the creation myth of Indra, the figures of the Mountain and of Vrtra the Serpent coiled around it, correspond to those of Rudra and Krsanu,  the archers.   The Mountain was cleft.  Dead Vrtra fell to its bottom, becoming the Serpent of the Deep.  The shining rivers of light and life flowed down from heaven to the earth, and their waters filled the ocean.

“The sun, having shown its face on high, had yet to be liberated from the cave deep in the mountain where it had been kept imprisoned by demons.   Now Dawn could come forth, and the sun could rise and set going the world of time.  Like Vrtra the Serpent, Rudra and Krsanu also failed to keep in its integrity the state ante principium,  before creation.   Their arrows could not arrest the flowing to earth of Soma, the elixir of life,  and the semen that Prajapati shed into creation.   They had been in the Uncreate, described as a region of ineffable light that Parvata and Vrtra had held unspent.

Annapurna, 1950

Annapurna, 1950 – photo by Marcel Ichac

“The pre-cosmic power of the Mountain had to yield the streams of flowing light of which the celestial Ganga (also called Kutilä) became the mythical image.   Her sister Ragini, the “red”, Dawn or Twilight,  had been her fellow prisoner.   Her figure, of indistinct contour in this myth, became merged with the Pleiades,  the Krttikas,  stars fixed in the firmament —  the Mountain —  becoming visible at the waning of the red evening twilight.

“Though liberated from the rock or Mountain, neither of these two daughters of Parvata was deemed adequate in her austerities to qualify as the future, potential mother of Siva’s son (the slayer of the demon Taraka)  although in the mythical universe of Siva,  Ganga as well as the Krttikas (Pleiades) cooperated in the birth of Siva’s son Skanda.

“The bond that was to be forged between Siva and Pãrvatï links the Mountain — a figure of the precosmic state as imaged in the myth of Indra – with the cosmic presence of Siva.   The third and youngest daughter of Lord Parvata was Pãrvatï  the bride-to-be of Siva.

“Within creation itself, and in later Indian myth, the Mountain was seen rising from the centre of the world into the regions where the gods are at home.   Mount Meru, the cosmic mountain, carried the hierarchy of beings.   Under the name of one of its peaks as cosmic axis, Mount Mandara functioned in the Churning of the Ocean.

Dhaulagiri 2, 1950

Dhaulagiri 2, 1950 – photo by Gaston Rebuffat

“The Mountain in the cosmos of Indian myth was the centre of that cosmos.  On its heights in heaven dwelled the great gods,  in cities, palaces and caves,  enlivened by the presence of lesser celestials who moved about at will or rested on its slopes.   Siva dwelled in Kailasa and also favoured Mount Mandara.   These mythic sites on high, envisioned from the earth,  were assigned to the north,  to the Himalayan altitudes.   Cosmically and symbolically, the north signified the region of the pole star.   Mythically, the Himalayan region was its proxy on earth.

“The King of these mountains was Parvata.   Parvata-rãja brought to his anthropomorphic representation his precosmic past.   From him issued Ganga the celestial river whose other name is Kutilä – who flooded the heaven of Brahma.   Thence she flowed on earth, vivifying and bringing into this world her significance from before creation.   When Parvata was forced open and had to let the flowing light from beyond into the world of man from the uncharted regions of transcendency – the inviolate and inexhaustible plenum – Parvata’s eldest daughter the twilight or Dawn (the Father’s Daughter) merged with the Krttikas (Pleiades, or seven celestial Sages).   It is natural that a daughter of the Mountain should merge with the Pleiades constellation, for in creation the Mountain had its cosmic figure as the night sky,  where the light from beyond was seen shining forth in the shape of stars.

Ganga & sage

Ganga & sage

“Ganga, the elder daughter of Parvata the Mountain,  from whose stony dome of ancient heaven in the world of later myth she flooded the heaven of Brahma,  was to occupy the highest position on Siva’s body.   For a long while he held her captive in his hair on her precipitous descent from heaven.   Had Siva not supported her on his mighty head, she would have crashed down to earth,  shattered it,  and flown into the netherworld.   He sheltered her in the matted skeins of his hair, and let her flow on to fulfill her mission,  flowing in heaven,  on earth, and the netherworld,  thrice herself.   She came from the apex of heaven to the moon, and flooded the creative heaven of Brahma.   She came down from heaven into the netherworld in order to redeem sixty thousand ruthless sons of King Sagara. …   …

Sacred India Tarot 14 - Mother Ganga

Sacred India Tarot 14 – Mother Ganga

“… To prevent the earth being split by the impact of her fall, Siva caught the turbulent Ganga like a garland of pearls on his forehead.   She who had thought by raging whirlpools to press Siva down into the netherworld could not find an outlet from the meshes of his hair, and floated on them like a flower.   She at last reached the earth.  Her waters flooded the ashes of the sons of Sagara,  flowed into the seas and filled the ocean.

“Impetuous Ganga, “who was as beautiful as the rays of the moon”, not having been found capable by Brahma to bear the seed of Siva,  insisted she was capable,  that she would make the head of Siva bow down by her austerities.   Brahma cursed her to become all water, and she inundated Brahma’s heaven.   Though she wanted to bear Siva’s son, she resented her initial humiliation.  She wanted to show herself superior to Siva, who had the power to support her on his head and imprison her in his hair.   She was violent in her turbulence.   She would crush Siva so that pieces of his bones, like small bits of conch shells, would be mixed with her water, and Nandin would have to search for them.   She was intensely desirous of Siva, determined to hold him within her aquaeous body, having broken him up all together.   But he caught and held her in his hair.   There, he carried her on his head like an ornament, or let her glide like a mermaid along the waves of his hair when he danced.   “As beautiful as the rays of the moon”, she found herself close to the crescent moon that graced Siva’s brow.   Its thin sickle showed it to be waning, for the gods had drunk its Soma nectar.   Ganga, released from Siva’s hair, found her way to the sons of Sagara, dead and burned to ashes.   She purified them by her water, and they ascended to heaven.   Death associations decorate Siva’s head.

“This mission the sacred river Ganges fulfills to this day.   Ganga went through all the levels of the cosmos and of inner experience.   Wanting to bear Siva’s son, she also wanted to crush Siva.   Fierce and proud, this river goddess fulfilled her mission when first she flooded with her waves the ashes of the Sagara sons.  From that time on her work never ceased.   The water of the sacred river Ganges brings release to the dying who seek it, and she brings joy to the living.

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Sacred India Tarot dark queen

“Pãrvatï, the youngest daughter of the Mountain and of the Woman Menä – whose name is shared by Apsaras, seductive nymphs arisen from the spray of the cosmic ocean at its churning – from before her birth was destined for the surpassing task, beyond her control,  which her sisters could not fulfill by themselves :  to become the mother of Siva’s son.   For this purpose, the goddess Night,  her starry eyes closed,  had entered Menä’s womb and infused night’s darkness into the embryo.   She enveloped the embryo until birh.   The goddess Night painted in Menä’s womb the embryo with her darkness (tamas).

“In this way, the Great Goddess – Siva’s earlier consort Sati – cooperated with Brahma and entered her second incarnation, now as the daughter of the Mountain and Menä    Only a supergod born of Siva would be able to destroy the demon Taraka.   Pãrvatï was a full incarnation of the Great Goddess –  who had previously been incarnated in Sati, to win the love of Siva.   Now she fixed herself in the mind of Lord Mountain when he made love with Menä.   She had taken this form in answer to the prayer of the gods that she again become the wife of Siva.   The Great Goddess, the eternal prakrti*, remembered herself as his first wife Sati,  who had cast off her body in anger at her father Daksa’s disrespect for Siva.   Before her yoga fire engulfed her however, Sati had told Daksa that she could be found at any time,  any place,  in every being;  there was nothing in the universe in which she could not be found.


* Prakrti —  Causal matter — subtle substratum of the molecular and mental universe — sakti

“Yet Siva could not find her, or peace anywhere.   He made a garland of her bones.  Like one who was not a god, he wailed aloud; like a lover disordered by the pain of separation.   Although the Supreme Lord by his power of illusion had taken upon himself madness and pain, yet he is really unaltered, undistressed and unconquered.  Through any change in form whatever, he is untainted by maya.   What use has he for love and delusion?

effigy

“In the meantime, the demon Taraka oppressed the gods,  laid waste the celestial world, and invaded the sky-high mountain.   No one, no god, had been able to subdue Taraka (demon of the reactive mind) for he was a great ascetic, and thus had won the boon from Brahma:  Taraka would be defeated by an infant seven days old;  but his slayer was not yet born.   The slayer of Taraka was to be born as Siva’s son.

“In due course, the Great Goddess as Pãrvatï was born from Menä, and cried like any newborn child.   Although the little girl played with balls and dolls, the knowledge of her previous birth soon came to her.   She had privileges of birth similar to those of Sati, together with all the knowledge of the world of the gods (who acted like human beings)  which Sati had not acquired in her short life.   Her family lineage however was different from that of Sati’s.   Daksa was a son of Brahma the Creator, whereas Parvata’s original state lay far back,  before the rule of the gods began,  and before the Asuras,  the Titans,  had become demons.

“One feature that these two incarnations of the Great Goddess had in common was the darkness in their complexion,  which they largely owed to the goddess Night,  whose name Sati’s mother had borne,  and who in person, had entered Menä’s womb.   On her father’s side, Pãrvatï was heir to the hardness of the Mountain ;  she inherited the firmness of the rock.  This was not any rock, not even the rock of ages,  but that all-embracing rock which, in the myth of Indra, (before Siva’s Vedic aeon as Rudra, the Wild Archer) had held within it the cosmos-to-be.  This possessive Mountain had kept within itself the flowing light of the godhead.   When the Mountain was shattered by Indra, the sun’s rays and the flowing rivers were set free.

“According to Brahma’s plan, Pãrvatï would practice austerities in order to be united with Siva in marriage;  the conjoint energies would be formidable.  Even so, the destruction of the demon Taraka seemed improbable.   Their conjoint tapas had to be made even stronger.   To this purpose, the Goddess Night was to interrupt their love-making by a quarrel between them.  Siva would chide Pãrvatï’s dark colour in jest.   Pãrvatï would be annoyed and leave him to perform austerities in order to rid herself of her darkness.   Siva too would practice tapas.  After this interruption, heightening their energies and desire, the son born of their union would destroy the demon.

“Thus Brahma instructed the goddess Night to work on their increase of sexual power by two means:  tapas or interruption, and quarrel.  His concern was now not to create mortals, but the survival and creativity of the gods.   In the plan of Brahma, the asceticism of the gods was meant to be subservient to their role as the future parents of the son who would save the world.   A new god was needed, more powerful than Taraka,  more powerful than any god.   He did not yet exist, and could be born only from the union of Siva and Pãrvatï – a supergod to defeat an invincible demon.”

Extracts from The Presence of Siva by Stella Kramrisch
published by Princeton University

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annika detail 2 copy

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The Birth of Skanda:  Part One
A Story from the Rudrasamhita in the Siva Purana (Excerpts, as abridged and published in Self Enquiry December 2000)   The Puranas are of more recent vintage than the Vedas and Upanishads. They record the cosmology of the gods as it impinged on human history.

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“ONCE UPON a time, O sage,  a monstrous demon ravaged the Universe from end to end.  His name was “Taraka or “Tarakasura”, meaning “hyper-reactive mind”,  and he was the unconquered King of the Triple World.  The gods were powerless to prevent his arrogance and ambition, for this reason:  by concentrating the power of his thought through penance and austerities, he had forced Brahma the Creator himself to promise him any boon that he should demand.

sages telling

“These austerities included the following:   (1) He stood on one foot, holding the other and both hands up towards heaven,  with his eyes fixed on the sun.   (2)  He stood on one great toe.   (3) He took only water as sustenance, and lived similarly on air.   (4) He had himself successively drowned in water,  and buried in earth and consumed by fire,  but continued his devotions.  (5)  He stood on his head.   (6) He hung on a tree by his hands.   (7)  He bore the weight of his body on one hand.  (8) He hung on a tree with his head downwards.

“Such merit was irresistible, O Sage!.   Indra and a host of demi-gods, alarmed lest their sovereignty be usurped through the potency of this penance, besieged Brahma for consolation.   Brahma told them that although unable to resist such sadhana and austerities, he would,  after rewarding it with the boon demanded,  devise a method of rendering it ultimately inoffensive to them.

“What was Taraka’s demand?  It was this:  He should be unrivalled in strength.   No hand should slay him but that of a son of Lord Siva.   Everyone knew that Siva the ascetic had not the slightest interest in procreation.   For some aeons, the worlds endured and groaned with Asuric chaos.   The Sun in dread gave no heat, and the Moon in terror remained always at full.    The Winds blew as he dictated; in short,  Taraka usurped the entire management of the Universe.

Sacred India Tarot 4 of lotuses version 1

“Every divine ingenuity was taxed, to arrange the marriage whence should arise the deliverer of the world, because Siva could not be influenced with the passion of love.  At length, Indra persuaded Kama, the deity of Lust,  to lie in ambush,  and contrived that Parvati, the Daughter of the Himalayas, should be seen by the yogic Siva while engaged in the amiable and graceful act of gathering flowers, wherewith to decorate His image.   Kama settled himself in the bushes, accompanied by his wife Ratti (Desire) and his bosom friend Vasantu (the Spring)  and, taking careful aim, launched an arrow straight into Siva’s third Eye.

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Sacred India Tarot, 5 of Lotuses

“O Sage!   The deity, enraged at having his devotions interrupted, reduced Kama to ashes by a beam of fire from that same organ; and a wonderfully loud sound arose, covering the whole firmament.   Parvati was terrified, and returned into the Himalayas, along with her maids.  There she dwelt in deep distress, remembering the various gestures and movements of Siva, and muttering to herself ever and anon – “Siva,  Siva.   Fie upon my beauty.   Fie on my birth and activity.”

“Whereupon, Parvati returned to the grove where Lord Siva had performed penance, built an altar, cleaned the ground, and embarked on a sadhana of her own.   In the summer she kept a perpetually blazing fire all round, and remaining within, continued to mutter His name.   In the rainy season she sat on the bare rock and let herself be drenched.   During the winter, and in snowfall,  and at night,  she remained partly submerged in water,  observing fast.   She bore every extreme of Nature with equanimity; and, clad in barks of trees, wearing matted hair,  and eager in the meditation of Siva,  she impressed and surpassed even sages.

Parvati pestered - detail

“Thus passed three thousand years.   Through her penance, trees bore fruit,  flowers of variegated colour blossomed there,  lions and cows prone to amorous passions, ceased to harass one another, cats and mice became friends, and the entire forest became comparable to Siva’s abode on Mount Kailas.

“During this epoque, her father,  the Lord Himalaya visited her and tried to persuade his dear daughter not to exhaust herself.   Of what avail was Siva, by whom Kama had been reduced to ashes?   Why try to catch the moon in the sky?    Come home!    But she replied,  ‘O father, O mother, O kinsmen,  with my penance alone here itself,  I shall bring Him who burnt Kama and the mountainous forest.   He is favourably disposed to His devotees.   All of you please go to your abodes.   You need not be anxious over this.’    And her family returned to geological time, praising her.

“By now, as a result of her penance,  the Universe itself was becoming scorched.   The gods conferred with Vishnu, and although very nervous,  approached Siva themselves, to inform him of what was going on.   They found Him in His cave, effulgent and seated in the yogic posture.  Vishnu respectfully aroused Him from His trance and told Him.  ‘O Lord Siva, the demon Taraka will be killed only by your Self-begotten son,  and not otherwise.    Ponder this, and take pity on us.   Obeisance, O great Lord,  to you.   O Lord, redeem the gods from the misery brought about by Taraka.   Hence, O Lord Siva, Parvati shall be accepted by you and grasped with your right hand.  Accept her hand as offered in marriage by the Lord of the Mountains.  She is full of noble attributes.’

goddess driving tritons, 1957

goddess driving tritons, 1957

“Siva replied,  ‘If goddess Parvati, the most beautiful lady, were to be accepted by me, she will resuscitate Kama on account of the marriage.  Then all the gods, sages and ascetics will become lusty and incompetent in the great path of Yoga.  A great favour to the gods was done by me, when Kama was burnt.   Everyone’s meditation used to be spoiled by this stubborn archer.   Kama leads to hell, lust to anger,  anger to delusion, and delusion destroys penance.   Anger and lust shall be eschewed by you, the best of gods.   My words shall be heeded by you all, and not otherwise.’    Whereupon, He entered into His own features,  and He,  the Lord of great enjoyment and protection,  became engrossed in  supreme bliss.

SITA Siva ace

“The gods in dismay, petitioned Siva’s steward,  the Bull Nandin – ‘What shall we do now?  Siva has become detached and has gone on meditation.’  Nandin advised them to eulogise Him with respect and piteous request, and to appeal to His compassion.   They all cried so loudly, that He,  the great Lord,  ceased His meditation,  due to His fondness for them,  and asked them what they wanted.   The whole tale came out.    And He laughed, and replied, in brief:   ‘Marriage is not a proper thing for men.   Marriage is a great fetter.  Anyone bound with nooses of iron and timber can secure release, but one bound with nooses of women never frees himself.   Although I know and realise this, although I have the wisdom,  yet I shall accede to your request and make it fruitful;  for I am definitely subservient to my devotees.   Hence, I may do anything.   I am known all over the three worlds as one who performs ill-fitting things.   What is the use of talking?   I know the sufferings you undergo from the demon Taraka.  I shall remove them.  Although I am not interested at all in dalliance, I shall marry Parvati for begetting a son.   Off you go, all of you, to your respective abodes, and be without fear.   I shall achieve your task.   Have no anxiety.’

“When Brahma, Vishnu and the sages had all gone, Siva meditated upon His own soul stationed in Himself as Atman, free from illusion and obsessions.  Thus He became aware of Parvati’s state, and wondered at that.   It distracted Him from contemplation.   A deity subservient to His devotees cannot be otherwise.   He summoned the Seven Celestial Sages,  Vasishta and others,  and commissioned them to go to the Daughter of the Himalayas and test her resolve.

more sages

“Seven wise, sweet and holy men appeared in Parvati’s grove by the bank of the river, and enchanted her with their discourse.   They also told her that He for whose sake she was performing this elaborate sadhana was a perpetually indifferent person of no emotional disturbance, an enemy to innocent lust,  that he had an inauspicious body, and no shame, home or pedigree, was naked and ill-featured, and only associated with ghosts, goblins and corpses – in short,  a rogue and a ne’er-do-well who had led all her dedication astray …

To Be Continued

crows and flower

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Sacred India Tarot 6 of Lotuses - Parvati begins her spiritual practice

Sacred India Tarot 6 of Lotuses – Parvati begins her spiritual practice

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Correspondence October 2004:  

“Dear Jane,
“Herewith our feedback on Lotus 6.   Regards, Gautam.”

“Dear Gautam,
“this card is tremendous and of course the serpent of the Kundalini is active.  The sheer power generated from tapasya is conveyed very well.  Jane should be left in peace as she has hit a rare vein of connection with Purusha and Prakriti.

“In fact, given how she seems connected to Siva at the moment, perhaps she should take a shot at the major arcana World card again – a great dancing Nataraja in a cosmic outer-space background.  This especially so as Ardhanariswara is going to be covered in this suit, and we can bring The Fool (Rudra Siva) to completion as Nataraja. 

“There are a few representations of the tapasya of Parvati in south Indian temples, but nothing like this.    With regard, Rohit.”

Sacred India Tarot Rudra

Sacred India Tarot Rudra

Sacred India Tarot Natarajan

Sacred India Tarot Natarajan

Early Nataraja

Early Nataraja

naga serpent gods

naga serpent gods

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For other Sacred India Tarot posts, look under Recent Posts,
or in the Category, or in 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.

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Jane Adams

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

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

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

Sacred India Tarot Archive: Creation of 2, 3, 4, 5 of Lotuses/Cups – Siva & Parvati

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Blue Lotus by Bahman Farzad

Blue Lotus by Bahman Farzad

Protected by Copyscape Web Plagiarism Scanner

These four cards cover the early stages in Siva and Parvati’s courtship.  To subdue Tarakasura – a demonic force in the Universe – the Dharma required Siva to sire a son.  As an ascetic Yogi, he had to be beguiled.   On her part, Parvati, Daughter of the Himalaya, would undergo intense spiritual practices to match him energetically.   The suit of Lotuses or Cups unifies the male and feminine natures:  the Lord recognises and honours his half who is Woman.

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Rohit’s Notes 2004 – “Two of Lotuses – Narada announces Parvati’s Destiny.  The visual reference in the comic strip is clear enough, though we could have Parvati offering two lotuses at the feet of the divine sage.  

“Upon learning that she was destined to marry Siva, Parvati in typical Indian style, falls in love with him!  This is romance Indian style, which is the message of the card. There could be a great face of Siva hanging semi transparently in the background, between the sage and the girl.”

Visual reference, for 2 of Lotuses - Parvati receives Narada's news

Visual reference, for 2 of Lotuses – Parvati receives Narada’s news

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Jane’s Notes – The visual references I was given, were in a comic-strip picture book called Tales of the Mother Goddess.  The courtship of Siva and Parvati can be viewed romantically or cosmically.

“In the Hindu pantheon, Siva represents the supreme Consciousness as well as the male principle which acquires the power to create and destroy the elements only in conjunction with Shakti, the female principle.  Thus Siva’s consort is the manifestation of the supreme Consciousness, and that was why Vishnu and others were keen to see Siva married to Sati. 

“Sati was reborn as Parvati, who wooed and won Siva, never to be separated from him again.

Tales of the Mother Goddess

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In the elder mythos, Sati did away with herself because her father did not show Siva/Rudra sufficient respect.  Siva the ascetic plunged into the waters of life for an aeon and unwittingly fathered the vegetable kingdom and the teeming seeds of life.   In time, these harboured asuric tendencies or demons.  They rose against the divine upholders of cosmic Law.  Only a son of Siva could subdue these, his earlier offspring – but he was immersed in Yoga.  The gods’ efforts to beguile him into taking a bride, make a long and racy tale.

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Here, the great sage Narada brings to Parvati the message of her destiny:  intuiting the invisible, she worships the visible, or rupa – the bearer of the tidings.

Sacred India Tarot 2 of Lotuses

Sacred India Tarot 2 of Lotuses

Correspondence, Rohit to Gautam, 18 October 2004

“Dear Gautam, I love the first two cards.  I LOVE THEM.  They are perfect.  Such a Siva has never been seen before, and such a Narada too. Parvati looks tremendous also.  We are doing so well with this.  Jane has hit an inspired vein and I just do not want to give any sort of instructions.  The three yogis with Siva is a superlative touch, and the jaunty Ramana Maharshi brings an aspect of joy to the card that is beautiful. 

(See earlier post, SITA Ace of Lotuses for the first card – this also contains some extracts from Stella Kramrisch’s work on Rudra).

“If we continue like this, we will have the best suit of the pack, including the Pentacles.

“The little Kundalini snake activating over Parvati when it is announced that Siva is fated to be her husband, is a magnificent touch, Shakti rising, ascending to meet Siva.  Jane is to be commended for it, it is a spiritual touch that I had overlooked, but she intuitively sensed. 

“I love these cards… I am a hard core Siva fanatic, but they are still tremendous.  

“Rohit.”

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Rohit’s Notes for 3 of Lotuses – The Bliss of Service

“Parvati and her friends serving Siva.  In the Indian context, the greatest happiness comes from serving a great person, and the boost to one’s self image and self worth is incalculable, indeed incomprehensible if not actually Indian. 

“The entire comic-strip page can be used as a reference.  Offerings of lotus flowers to Siva are the obvious way to get them in, but if you feel they are better off elsewhere in the card, please feel free.

Visual reference for 3 of Lotuses

Visual reference for 3 of Lotuses

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Sacred India Tarot - 3 of Lotuses: the Bliss of Service

Sacred India Tarot – 3 of Lotuses

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Siva and his attendants.  Above the Himalaya is a core Siva Shakti Yantra.  The ascending triangle is Siva, unity.  The two descending yoni triangles are Shakti, duality, multiplicity.  The bliss of service is in following the Higher Law, and realising one’s natural state.

Correspondence – Gautam to Jane, 20 October 2004

Dear Jane – feedback as under: 

“This card is very good too.  It is a terrific card, but who is Parvati, the one with the fan or the one doing puja?  Both are equally good candidates.  

“I do not think Siva has ever been depicted with such majesty and grandeur, outside of our temple sculptures before.  Please forward this point to Jane.  Hindus do not cover their heads when praying or worshipping, except the punjabis, and that is the sikh-islamist influence.  The head is normally left bare, you actually take off whatever headgear you have.  It does not seriously affect the Three of Lotuses, but it might be worth noting for future cards.

“Rohit” 

Correspondence – Jane to Gautam and Rohit:  “Yes, glad you have this.  I think Parvati is the one doing arati, as she is still ‘veiled’ to him.  Point taken re head coverings for following cards!  Regards, J.  Hope you like 4.”

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Rohit’s Notes for 4 of Lotuses, October 2004

Rohit's notes, 4 of Lotuses

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Visual reference for 4 of Lotuses

Visual reference for 4 of Lotuses

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Sketch for 4 of lotuses

Sketch for 4 of lotuses

Jane’s Notes – Here below, is the published version of the card:  Siva was deep in meditation; Kama the god of desire aroused him at that point, to the earthly beauty of Parvati, the dark daughter of Himavat, the Mountain.  Kama depicts a state of urdhvalinga, his erect phallus indrawn yogically.

Compositionally, I had always a problem with the long narrow cards, how to compress into them the wide landscape of cause and effect.   With Siva, cause and effect, time and space, are simultaneous.

Sacred India Tarot, 4 of Lotuses - Kama's Arrow

Sacred India Tarot, 4 of Lotuses – Kama’s Arrow

However, there was an earlier version! – as the correspondence shows:

From Gautam (20 October 2004)“Dear Jane, herewith feedback from Rohit.  You seem to be on a roll!   Warm regards …”

From Rohit – Dear Gautam and Jane, we cannot use the pic of Kama in Lotus Four as he is depicted, as the phallus points straight at Siva.  Some joker or other is bound to take offence.  Otherwise it is a fantastic card, and captures the essence of what I sought to convey.  This is great work.  But we need the phallus painted over.  The rest of the card stays unchanged.”

Original version, Sacred India Tarot 4 of Lotuses

Original version, Sacred India Tarot 4 of Lotuses

Kama transmits to Siva by eye and by arousal, the image of lust, as he pierces Siva’s heart with the arrow.  In the published version, Kama looks at Parvati, conniving-ly.  Either way, his psychic proximity to Siva is seductive at that moment.   The god – awakened into the earthly kingdom from his blissful crest – responded as in Card 5.

The yogic linga flame in front of Lord Siva is a combination of Akasha-Tejas tattva (the Saturn and Mars chakras whose equilibrium enters the heart centre) with the triple-line mark of Siva’s devotees.   As in the elder Rudra mantras, Siva sustains the bliss for aeons, until precipitated into an involuntary creation-destruction cycle by Kama’s wiles and Parvati’s beauty.

Parvati is subliminally aware of the Lord’s sudden focus upon her.  Her accelerated awakening to womanhood goaded her to a long period of spiritual austerities, to match the nature of her beloved.

The monkeys in the tree are the chat-line of every age:  the outraged prurient press.

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What followed?  here is the romantic view of the event …

Visual reference, 5 of Lotuses

Visual reference, 5 of Lotuses

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Siva slays Andhaka, Elephanta caves

Siva slays Andhaka, Elephanta caves

Rohit’s Notes 2004“The Andhaka Asura Vadha Siva sculpture in the Elephanta caves, is just perfect.  You can reproduce it ad verbatim, with merely a blaze of light coming out of the third eye and falling upon ashes of what used to be Kama, the god of love.  Parvati is shocked and devastated at what has happened.  Rati has fainted away in a corner.  It is a scene of heartbreak and desolation.  The particular sculpture captures the wrath of God better than anything else I have seen, so it is most apt, especially as it is a wrath against Andhaka – the darkness of desire which Kama was trying to awaken in Siva.”

Jane’s Notes(Rati was Kama’s wife) … and here is the cosmic event itself:

Sacred India Tarot, 5 of Lotuses - Siva destroys Kama

Sacred India Tarot, 5 of Lotuses – Siva destroys Kama

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Correspondence from Rohit – “…Card number five is equally beautiful.  I was expecting a more wrathful Siva, but I think that Jane’s interpretation of a calm Siva slapping down such effrontery is terrific.  The Kama and Rati angle are marvellous, and so is the shock on Parvati’s face.  I wouldn’t change a single thing in it.

“In card number 10, Siva agrees to restore Kama, I want an ARDHANARISWARA, which we can scan from the Presence of Siva book.  In the case of the card, the reconciliation and restoration of eros to life can happen only by an integrated male and female energy – in short, the Ardhanariswara (Lord whose half is Woman).  The figure standing by the bull is perfect to use.

ardhanariswara at elephanta, www.flickriver.com

“I want to get this across to Jane now, because the speed at which she is hurtling along, we might have the card ready before we can talk to her.  

“I also want Jane to do a Dattatreya.  I do not know where we will use it, but it certainly has some scope in the pack, perhaps as a bonus.

“With regard, Rohit.”

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Here, in the Sacred India Tarot book with the deck, is Rohit’s resume of the four cards: 

“Narada’s proclamation is actually a diksha – spiritual initiation.  Narada is the guru here, who arouses the dormant spiritual fire personified in the serpent of the Kundalini, and fans it into a mighty blaze that will consume all karma.  For while marrying Siva may be her destiny, it does not mean Purushartha – human purpose – is not necessary or that there will be no obstacles.  All spiritual rewards come only after effort, and what is at stake here is the future of the world.  Parvati will be required to rise to heights she cannot currently comprehend.  She is the Mahashakti, great active power of the universe, to Siva’s role as All pervading Consciousness.  Of all the methods of attaining a spiritual goal, bhakti or divine Love is the swiftest.  Narada speaking with characteristic eloquence and cunning, has managed to imprint Siva in Parvati’s heart.  She will have no other husband.

sri chakra

“Reasoning that proximity is a prerequisite to awakening passion, the Mountain King offers to send his daughter and her friends to aid and assist Siva in his sadhana and his daily rituals of worship.  Lost in his immense meditation, Siva Chandrashekara (the Moon crested) wears the universal lunar symbol of marking time, to signify his conquest of Kaala or Time.  In this spiritual state, he inhabits a zone outside of Time and can barely distinguish between male and female – seeing only the in-dwelling soul which has no qualities.  He has no objections to such service which, for Parvati and her friends, is a wonderful experience.  Out of him flows a blessing to Parvati that she gain a husband fully worthy of her, who will never love another.  Yet Mahadeva, his consciousness turned inwards, continues to be oblivious to what is obvious to everyone else.  The gods, still exiled from their heaven, writhe in agony.

“… Kama quakes with fear.  Then he sees Parvati’s incomparable beauty, and his confidence comes flooding back.  All that lives is in thrall to Kamadeva – why should Siva be any different?  Kama shoots his burning arrow of desire into Siva’s heart.  He has made a calamitous blunder.

“… For an infinitesimal second, desire flares within Siva.  This snaps his unbroken flow of meditation and makes visible the Atma Lingam – the Soul Lingam that is his inner reality, and is also the Primal Ellipsoid, the first vibratory form that emerges from Primal Sound (pranava or om), to set Creation in motion.  The Atma Lingam being manifest and distinct from Siva even for a mere moment, is for him a fall from Pure Consciousness to the chaos of thought.  (But) the devas have outsmarted themselves.  The power of desire could not overwhelm Awareness.

“Siva erupts with the essence of incandescent rage.  Kama’s shabby little trick provoked the opening of Siva’s dreaded third eye – the Ajneya Chakra, seat of viveka, discrimination.  The frightening, paradoxically calm wrath of utter clarity, blasts and devastates Kama in fire.  This is not rage any more – it is Divine retribution for insolence … Only being grounded in Consciousness can vanquish desire.  This form of Siva is known as Kaala Agni Rudra – the howling fire that devours time – a triumphal moment in the evolution of Consciousness.

“Kama’s wife Rati faints in shock and terror … Siva is the kindest God, but trying to provoke lust in him was like dancing on volcanoes.   Parvati is appalled and awed – she was about to utilize Siva’s blessing for a husband, and instead of love she gets this hurricane of anger.  Siva is splendidly unperturbed about the chaos he has just caused, and he vanishes from the sight of all created beings, to resume his meditation.  Parvati is left heartbroken and humiliated in front of the world.   Of Kama who used to boast he was the god with most power over life, there is naught left but ashes.”

Rohit Arya

66 Siva

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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.

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Jane Adams

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

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

 

Aquariel Link

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

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

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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/