The Sacred India Tarot Archive – 9 & 10 of Lotuses – Parvati Marries Siva

CONTINUING the Sacred India Tarot Archive, by Rohit Arya and Jane Adams;  with another rip-roaring chapter from the “Siva Purana”.  

In the Suit of Cups/Lotuses, we follow Siva and Parvati’s courtship into their marriage.  For a thousand years they resided on Kailas, behind the Himalayan range, to which all spiritual paths lead – through Badrinath, Nanda Devi, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Kamet (see recent posts on the Chakras.)

We left Parvati being pestered by sages in the forest, and particularly by her Intended, Lord Siva, who arrived in a funny mask, and bad-mouthed himself, to test her resolve.

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ardhanriswara ref 1 - Version 2

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From the Siva Purana – A Reminder:

Parvati listened, threw her head back laughing,  and said  “O excellent sages!  My tenacity cannot be affected.   Being born of a mountain, toughness is congenital to my body.   Pondering over this with your short intellect, you will please desist from preventing me.   When you glorify Vishnu as the abode of noble qualities or as a sportive deity, I do not contradict.   But Siva is Brahman, unchanging and without aberration.  He assumes shapes and forms for the welfare of His devotees.  He does not make a show of worldly lordship; therefore He assumes the attitude and behaviour of great Yogins.   O brahmins, the Lord is devoid of attributes,  unborn, free from illusion, of invisible movement, and a cosmic Being.  He does not shower His blessings on the ground of faith or caste.  I know Him truly.  O Brahmins, if Siva does not marry me,  I shall remain for ever a virgin.   Even if the sun were to rise in the west, even if the mountain Meru were to move;  even if the fire were to be cool,  and even if the lotus were to bloom on a rock at the top of a mountain,  my stubbornness cannot be nullified.   I am telling you the truth.”

After saying thus, and bowing to those sages,  the Daughter of the Himalayas stopped and recalled Siva with an unruffled mind.   The holy men blessed her and returned to Siva’s abode.

In brief, Siva Himself then appeared to her as a fraudulent Brahmacharyin,  and did His best also, to deflect her devotion.   And even as Parvati in utter weariness was about to brush him off,  He assumed His true form,  embraced her and said,  “Where will you go,  forsaking me?   You are not to be discarded again by me.   I am delighted.   From today I am your slave bought by your austerities.   I am sold to your beauty.   Even a moment appears like a Yuga.   Even in the three worlds I do not see a beloved like you.  O Parvati, in every way I am subservient to you!   Your desires are granted.   O beloved, come near me.   You are my wife.   I am your bridegroom.   I shall take you immediately to my abode on Mount Kailas.”

Kailas & Lake Manasarovar

Kailas & Lake Manasarovar

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From Rohit’s Book with the Deck:

“Joy pervades the Divine realms as Siva finally succumbs to love and marries Parvati.  All classes of living beings join the festivities led by the relieved devas. For Siva has promised them their deliverer – his son Skanda will be born, and he will kill the demon Tarakasura.  In his bliss he has even agreed to resurrect Kama, for as he comments wryly – “Am I too not under Kama’s sway now?” …

Sacred India Tarot 4 - Brahma, The Emperor

Sacred India Tarot 4 – Brahma, The Emperor

“The marriage of Siva and Parvati is the prototype for almost all Hindu weddings until today.  It is symbolically re-enacted in countless temples, while the Khandariya Manadeva temple in Khajuraho is one giant sculpture of the various stages of this Divine nuptial.  It has a resonance within the culture as an ode to supreme happiness that is simply not present in any other episode … Love should unite families, not disrupt the social fabric.  Even Siva the wild man, uncontrollable, bizarre, settles into the ritual order of the cosmos.  He becomes an example of Dharma.  To complete this reintegration into the social mainstream, the great god Brahma acts as the priest presiding over the ceremony. The accumulated powers of Yogic solitude will now be harnessed for the well-being of society and the world.”

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Visual reference for Siva/Parvati

Visual reference for Siva/Parvati

Rohit’s Notes to Jane in 2004 – 9 of Lotuses:  Siva Marries Parvati

“The visual provided is almost self-explanatory.  Brahma is the priest performing the ceremony, so you might want to refer back to the Emperor card.  Also, please remember that nipples and pubic areas are to be carefully covered with drapery!”

Visual reference from comic book - the marriage of Siva & Parvati, and the gods petition Siva

Visual reference from comic book – the marriage of Siva & Parvati, and the gods petition Siva

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Jane’s Notes

How little they knew!  For the Dharma to bear fruit, an aeon of experiential bliss is required, while the world’s cosmic imbalance – the ravages of demon Taraka –  awaits resolution. In fact, Parvati was unable to conceive in the normal way.  Their odd shaped offspring, Skanda, Ganapati and others, would be born from drops of sweat, and from the friction of their inevitable quarrels.

Here is the finished card of their marriage ceremony.  As within a Vedic shrine, Brahma the Creator-god presides.  Parvati, the Daughter of the Mountain, and reincarnation of Siva’s earlier bride Sati, was born dark and comely, like Solomon’s queen.

Sacred India Tarot 9 of Lotuses - Brahma officiates the wedding of Siva and Parvati

Sacred India Tarot 9 of Lotuses – Brahma officiates the wedding of Siva and Parvati

Brahma is the first of the divine Trimurti – Creator, Sustainer, Destroyer.  The other two are Vishnu and Siva.  In Hinduism, Brahman is not Brahma.  Brahman is the One transcending every divine Face:  the un-named, ineffable and Immanent Presence, containing All.

As you may remember from previous Parvati posts, Brahma-Creator was impressed by Tarakasura’s demonic austerities – his powers of concentration – and unwisely granted him a boon of conditional immortality.  The one condition was for a son of Siva to destroy him.   Everyone knew this was impossible. Siva being a Yogi, had no interest in women.  So Tarakasura unchecked, meddled with the Universe, creating outrageous virtual technologies and reaping dismay in all beings.   This is an aspect of Brahma-Creator when it goes manic.

But the Great Yogi, meeting his elemental match in the Himalayan steadfastness of his future bride, at last bowed to Kama the god of Desire – whom his third eye had incinerated.

Sacred India Tarot - Kama god of desire

Sacred India Tarot – Kama god of desire

Sacred India Tarot - Siva incinerates Kama (5 Lotuses)

Sacred India Tarot – Siva incinerates Kama (5 Lotuses)

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Rohit’s Notes in 2004 – 10 of Lotuses:  Siva agrees to restore Kama

“The visual reference provides the template.  You could also use the Gangadhara Siva as further reference.  Basically it signifies a restoration of balance to the cosmos with the resurrection of the Eros principle which is Kama.  It completes the suit on a note of reconciliation and harmony.”

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Jane’s Notes

NB – we finally drew a brand new Siva Ardhanariswara for 10 of Lotuses, to embody this theme.  At one point, Rohit suggested I draw a little reconstituted Kama figure in the bottom corner somewhere.   This never got done;  but the restoring of Kama is adequately covered in the Royals of this Suit.  (See next post in this series.)

Sacred India Tarot World Shakti for card 21 - originally drawn for Queen of Lotuses

Sacred India Tarot World Shakti for card 21 – originally drawn for Queen of Lotuses

This is the first Queen of Lotuses – Rati, the wife of Kama – that I drew.  Her kundalini was considered so powerful that Rohit promoted her to World Shakti in the Major Arcana, and I drew a new Siva Natarajan for her consort in the World card.

Pradyumna the son of Krishna and Rukmini was originally intended as the Knight:  in the end re-shuffle, he became the King of the suit, and Kama himself the Knight.   I was then commissioned to draw a new sensual Rati for the Lotus Queen.

Sacred India Tarot, Kama's wife Rati, detail

Sacred India Tarot, Kama’s wife Rati, detail

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Further Correspondence:  Rohit and Gautam to Jane, re Lotuses 10

20 October 2004 – “… 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.  The figure standing by the bull is perfect to use. 

Ardhanariswara

Ardhanariswara

“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.

31 October 2004 – “I think we should switch characters of Kama and Pradyumna for King and Knight of Lotuses, as Pradyumna is the healed person, and Kama is still immature.” 

“With regard, Rohit.”

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Ardhanariswara in Elephanta cave

Ardhanariswara in Elephanta cave

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Jane’s Notes

“Ardhanariswara” means “the Lord whose half is Woman” – the ultimate reconciliation:  the Great Work of alchemy:  a humane maturity.   Siva the solitary Yogi, Rudra the Wild Hunter, now basks in feminine beauty all down his left side:  she is seamless with his masculine power – the ultimate bliss, and union of the polarities.

The Bull Nandi is Siva’s vehicle and contact with the Earth.

The beautiful image above, is in the Elephanta cave on an island near Mumbai;  and here below is the finished Sacred India Tarot card Ten of Lotuses … as in The Chakras on the Tree of Life.  (and their sequel)

Sacred India Tarot 10 of Lotuses - Siva Ardhanariswara

Sacred India Tarot 10 of Lotuses – Siva Ardhanariswara

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Correspondence circa November 2005 – Gautam and Rohit

“Hi Jane, 
“Herewith feedback from Rohit.  I was away in Ramana Ashram and Puttapurthi for a few days.  We loved the card, but Rohit had a few points.  Warm regards, Gautam.

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“Gautam – The pic is as usual great, but there is no Kama in it, so how do we know he is going to be restored to life – no gods either, as in the picture reference we sent, where they are pleading with him to restore Kama.

“It is a really good, even spectacular picture, but for once in this suit it has missed this point.  Maybe some sort of ghostly Kama re-materializing in a corner would do the trick?  I mean it could stand on its own, most Ten of Cups are boring and static.  This card at least looks beautiful and dynamic, but some thematic unity perhaps?

“I do not understand what Jane says about the colours as they seem okay, maybe they look even better in the original artwork.  Too much blue, is it?

“Rohit.”

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“Dear Gautam and Rohit
Yes, you had given me the visual reference of the gods begging Siva to reinstate Kama;  but you then wrote an email replacing this idea with Ardhanariswara ! – which I took literally.  In my view, the Ardhanariswara incorporates the restoration of Kama and harmony to the universe, and the gods begging for it in the same composition would already have been given it!  so their plea would be a bit superfluous.  

“It is very difficult indeed to squash additional history into these narrow oblong frames, compositionally – one needs the panorama.  So let me know what you think.  Perhaps I could reduce the existing Ardhanariswara in size, and have a bit along the bottom with the gods in it, rather like as in the Ace.

“The colour  – you are getting an electric blue which is OK but in the original this same blue includes violets, indigos, greys and dark and light.  Otherwise the colour balance is good.

Yantra Siva Shakti

Yantra Siva Shakti

“The Yantra I sometimes use is I think, one of the Mother Goddess ones, and shorthand for the Sri Chakra:  two shakti triangles descend through one ascending Siva triangle.  I have a reference to it here, I will find the book and look it up for you.

“Jane.”

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Ardhanariswara in Elephanta

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From the “Siva Purana” –  Part Two:  A Tale From the Marriage

HER age long weariness subsided.   When the fruit is realised, the exertion during the process of undertaking, perishes.   A wedding in every realm took place upon Kailas; the vast army of the mountains and the gods on coming together shone like the Eastern and Western oceans joined;  and when they met,  the Lord Siva and His sky-piercing father-in-law considered themselves blessed.   And thanks to the trident-bearing Siva’s nectarine glance, Kama emerged from the ashes, a comely, wonder-inspiring body with splendid dress and features, and Kama’s wife Ratti ceased her lamentations and rejoiced.

Siva took Parvati to a delightful, brilliant, and isolated place on Kailas, and told her,  “I am reminding you: If you remember your previous birth, speak out.  In my divine sport, you are always my beloved.”   Making a wonderful bed conducive to good sexual pleasure, rendered smooth and fragrant with flowers and sandal paste, and auspiciously supplemented with objects of enjoyment, Lord Siva, the bestower of honour,  indulged in dalliance with Parvati for a thousand years.   In that divine sport, at the mere contact with Parvati,  Siva lapsed in trance ;  she also,  and neither knew the day nor the night.

When Siva, following the worldly way, began to enjoy his pleasures,  a great length of time passed by as though it was a mere moment in their awareness.   And the gods gathered together gloomily, and their spokesman Brahma petitioned Vishnu: “It is for the fulfillment of our task that Lord Siva, leader of Yogins, free from aberrations, the unsullied,  revelling and resting in His own Self,  has married.   No son is born to Him.  We do not know the reason.  How is it that the lord of gods is delaying the action?”

Maithuna in Khajuraho - photo credit http://trailsntrials.in

Maithuna in Khajuraho – photo credit http://trailsntrials.in

Vishnu replied  “O, Creator of the Universe, there is nothing to worry about.   All will be well.   O Lord of gods, seek refuge in the great Lord Siva.   Those who dedicate their minds to Him joyously and devoutly have nothing to fear from any quarter.   The interruption to amorous dalliance will take place at the proper time, not now,  O Brahma.   Any task carried out at the proper time is crowned with success, not otherwise.   If the enjoyment is desired by Siva, who can stop him?   When another thousand years are completed, He will desist,  out of His will.   If anyone separates the copulated pair by tricky expedient, he will suffer the pangs of separation from his wife and sons in every birth,  and fall from perfect wisdom.   O gods, Siva’s act of enjoyment will extend to a thousand years of celestial calculation.  After that period is over, you can go there and do such things as will necessitate the fall of the semen on the ground.   The son of the Lord named Skanda will be born of that.   O Brahma, return to your abode.”

After saying this, the Lord of Lakshmi went back to his harem.   But on account of the dalliance of Siva and Parvati,  the Earth quaked with the weight along with Sesa the serpent chief and Kacchapa the tortoise,  who support Her.   And the cosmic air, the support of everything, was stunned.  The three worlds were acutely terrified and agitated.   Vishnu was again petitioned by the depressed gods; this time He took them all to Kailas.  Siva’s attendants would not at first let them in.   “How should they know what Siva, the great Lord, is doing in Parvati’s apartment? He has been there for many years.”   But Vishnu, the favourite deity,  went to the doorway of their apartment.  The tumultuous cry of the heaven-dwellers distressed by the demon Taraka, mingled with the sound of his eulogy to Siva, as he wept bitterly.

Hearing this, the great Lord, expert in Yogic theory,  yet free from lust,  did not emit his semen, as he feared to offend Parvati,  but came to the door where the distressed gods were gathered.   Siva cannot resist His devotees.   They begged Him,  “O Lord, carry out the task of the gods.   O great Lord, save the gods.  Slay Taraka and other demons, and take pity on us!”

Siva replied,  “O Vishnu, O Brahma, O gods, you are the goal of everybody’s mind.   What happens necessarily must happen.   Nothing can stop it.  It already happened.   Now, O gods, listen to what is relevant to the context.   Let him who will, pick up this discharged semen.”   After saying this, He let it fall on the ground.   Urged by the gods, Agni, the Vedic god of the fire offerings,  became a dove and swallowed it with his beak.   Meantime, Parvati arrived, saw what had happened, and blazed with fury.   She scolded Vishnu and the gods:

“Hi, Hi, O gods, you are wicked and selfish,  and you give pain to others.   For the sake of realising your self-interests, you all seduced the Lord and spoilt my pleasure.  I have become a barren woman.   Ye gods, after offending me, none can be happy!   Hence, O wicked heaven dwellers, you will suffer.   Let your wives be utterly barren.   And you, Agni, be the devourer of everything,  and let your soul be afflicted.   You are a fool, a rogue.   You do not know Siva’s fundamental principles.  You have come forward to carry out the task of the gods.  It is neither proper nor beneficent to you, to have eaten up Siva’s seed.”

After cursing the fire thus, Parvati the Daughter of the Himalayas, returned to her apartment along with Siva, dissatisfied as she was.

[Now, O Sage, listen to this story of the birth of Guha.  “Guha” means the Cave of the Heart.   Better known as Karttikeya or Skanda, he was born in a thicket, in a forest, out of the semen of Siva,  without the intervention of Parvati,  and fostered by the Pleiades constellation (Krttikas).   When grown into a youth, he became the Commander-in-Chief of Siva’s army,  and fought and slew the Demon Taraka.   As he killed (mara) the evil (ku) Asura or Demon, he became known as kumara.]

O Sage, hear now the details of His birth.  The gods are wont to partake of the offerings of food consigned to Agni, the sacred fire, in accordance with the Vedic text.   Hence, the gods became pregnant.   Unable to endure within them the force of the semen, they became afflicted,  overwhelmed and scorched.   They had already lost their wits with Parvati’s curse.   In this terrible state, again they sought refuge in Siva.   With palms humbly joined in reverence, they beseeched Him,  “O great Lord,  consort of Parvati,  what has happened now?   Your magical power cannot be transgressed.   We have become pregnant and also scorched by your seed.   O Siva, take pity on us.   Remove our miserable plight!”

Siva in Rishikesh

Siva in Rishikesh

ON HEARING their eulogy, Siva came at once to the threshold,  and on hearing these pitiful words,  laughed and replied with His usual sympathy to His devotees, “O Vishnu, O Brahma, O gods, all of you listen carefully.   You will be happy.   At my behest, you shall vomit this virile semen of mine.”

Accepting this command with bent head, Vishnu and the other gods immediately vomited it out, after recollecting Siva as the Imperishable. Siva’s seed, lustrous and golden in colour, as it fell on the ground,  seemed to touch the heaven, huge as a mountain ;   and Vishnu and the other gods were relieved.   Only Agni was not happy.  The distressed Fire deity eulogised Siva with palms joined, and piteously spoke:   “O Lord of gods,  I am a stupid and deluded servant of yours.  Forgive me my fault.   Please remove my burning sensation – O Lord, benefactor and sympathetic to the distressed!”

Siva said delightedly,  “It was improper of you to swallow my semen.  Hence your sin became formidable at my bidding,  and the burning sensation was not cured.   Now that you have sought refuge in me, you will be happy, I am pleased with you.   All your misery will dissolve.   Deposit that semen carefully, in the womb of some good woman.   You will become happy and particularly relieved of the burning sensation.”

On hearing this, Agni replied,  “O Lord Siva, this splendour of yours is inaccessible and unbearable.   No woman in the three worlds except Parvati, can hold it in her womb.”  Then Narada, the great Sage and Messenger of the gods, counselled him:  “O Agni, listen to my words to dispel and relieve you of your burning sensation.   They will yield great pleasure and ward off your pains.   Take recourse to the following expedient, by Siva’s will.   O Agni, deposit this semen of Siva in the bodies of the ladies who take their morning baths in the mouth of Magha river!”

kamasutra image, Khajuraho

kamasutra image, Khajuraho

IT SO HAPPENED that the wives of the Seven Celestial Sages came to a certain spot, desirous to take their early morning bath in the mouth of Magha,  together with other rites and observances.   After the bath, six of them were distressed by chilliness,  and wished to warm themselves by the fire.   The Sage Arundhati of good conduct and knowledge, saw they were deluded by Siva’s magical art, and tried to dissuade them.   But the six ladies stubbornly insisted on going by the fire to ward off their chill.    Immediately, the semen particles entered their bodies through the pores and hair-follicles, O sage!   The Fire was relieved of that burning sensation.   And vanishing at once from the scene,  Agni in the form of a flame, went back happily to his region,  mentally remembering Your good Self, O Sage,  and Siva.

butterlamp - Version 2

O AUSPICIOUS One, all the women became pregnant,  and badly distressed by that burning sensation.   They went home, and O dear, the husbands on seeing the plight of their wives were outraged.   Consulting one another, they discarded them;  and there was chaos in the ashram.   And in this miserable state, the six ladies felt very distressed indeed.

The Rishis wives were driven hither and thither, and at last managed to cast off the irritant semen in the form of a foetus on the top of Himalaya Mountain;  they were then relieved of their terrible burning sensation.   But unable to bear that seed of Siva, trembling with earthquakes, lava and avalanches of melting snow, the Himalaya range was scorched, cracked open and hurled it into the Ganga river.  And O great Sage, Mother Ganga rose up in enormous waves,  and deposited Lord Siva’s intolerable semen in the forest of Sara grass by the banks.

The semen that fell transformed to a handsome good-featured baby boy, glowing with glory and splendour,  lying among the reeds;   and the myriad inhabitants of the three worlds felt an unknown increase of pleasure within them.   O great Sage, on the sixth day of the bright half of the lunar month of Margasirsa, and with six faces, Siva’s son was born in the world.   At that moment, upon their mountain in Kailasa,  the Daughter of the Himalayas and the Lord Siva knew great joy, and rivers of milk exuded from Parvati’s breasts.  On reaching that place in the Sara grass, everyone felt very happy.   An auspiciousness blossomed throughout the three worlds, pleasing to the good,  and obstacles occurred to the wicked,  and particularly to the demons.   The sky throbbed with a mysterious sound of the Dundubhi drum.   Showers of flowers fell on the boy.  And O excellent Sage, there was great delight to Visnu and the gods, and jubilation everywhere.

Extract from Siva Purana

Kamadeva

Kamadeva with his sugarcane bow

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THIS PARABLE has been culled directly from the Siva Purana which goes into much greater detail as to Parvati’s austerities, the betrothal and the wedding, the birth of the elephant headed Ganapati, etc.   The symbolism concerning the Pleiades constellation,  light from which split the core of Himalaya mountain,  and created “the river” and the elements,  is rich, racy and of multiple depth,  as the Puranas draw on yet deeper strata of Vedic material.  (It is commemorated in the greatest festival in Southern India,  Deepam, the Festival of Lights,  which takes place when the full Moon is in the Pleiades – November/December – and during which beacons are lit at the top of Arunachala and in Ramana Ashram itself.)   The relationship between the Sara grass, the flame and the mantric language is touched upon in the Guru Mantra Bhashya of Ganapati Muni. (A translation of this is available on request.)

Siva is the Puranic incarnation of the Wild Hunter, Rudra, and Parvati was Rudra’s erstwhile consort, Sati.   The fire of their yogic lovemaking, a still point (sthanu) in a turning world was immersed for aeons in the waters of primordial awareness,  from which innumerable forms of life proliferated.  

A rewarding and visionary study of these archetypal themes can be found in Prof.Stella Kramrisch’s Presence of Siva (published by Princeton in the USA,)  which skilfully and sensitively orchestrates together Vedic and Puranic strands of a recurring mythos  — Rudra-Siva and his fiery progeny.

The discovery of Ramana Maharshi as the archetypal Skanda or Kumara – the warrior who immobilizes the demon of the mind by Self-enquiry – is touched upon philosophically in the Ramana Gita, by his spiritual “brother”,  Ganapati Muni.  The Muni’s Forty Verses in Praise of Ramana appraise him thus: 

Sacred India Tarot - Ramana as Skanda (Knight of Staves/Wands)

Sacred India Tarot – Ramana as Skanda (Knight of Staves/Wands)

“WHO HAD,  in foregone times,
pierced through Krauncha hill, 

foregoing the joy of being fondled
on his mother Parvati’s lap, 

that he might incarnate in human shape as Ramana 
to pierce the dark
that densely encircles man on Mother Earth 

whose heart now floods with joy on account of Him!”

(Skanda, the son of Siva and Parvati, is famed in the Puranas to have pierced this hill and broken it to pieces.)

“Salutations to the One
who has transcended all qualities, 

the astute celibate,  the one with human habilments, 
the Master and Slayer of Tarakasura!

“Here is no divine peacock that can bear you; 
no Ganges you can bathe in;  no nectar of mother’s milk 
from Parvati’s breasts,  no celestial choir of vina-players to sing to you;

“Oh!  Pounder of Krauncha hill! 
How is it that you yet abide in Arunagiri?”

Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni
from  Forty Verses in Praise of Ramana

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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. 

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

 

Jane Adams

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

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

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

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

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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/

Sacred India Tarot Archive: Creation of World Shakti & Nataraja

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The Sacred India Tarot Archive, by Rohit Arya and Jane Adams

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ardhanariswara at elephanta, mumbai

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Rohit’s Notes:  Autumn 2003

“The World – Nataraja but as Ardhanirishwara.

“This is an easy card in the sense that we need only the classic Nataraja dancing figure as shown in the illustration.  The dwarf under the feet of the dancing god should NOT be left out, it is a vital part of the process.  The choice of Nataraja as Ardhanarishvara is to indicate the completion of the Fool’s journey to a transcendence beyond the roles and attitudes of gender. 

“What I would like in the arch of flame that surrounds the Nataraja, is to turn it around into Ourobouros The Serpent of Time, eating its own tail.  It is also called the Worm of Time, or the Dragon of Time.  Ideally I would like a dragon-like snake around the Ardhanariswara, but it should clearly be made of flames.  The picture we send you should be of some help in creating this flame circle round the dancing god.

 

nataraja serpent dragon ref

“The background can be the consistent cosmic background we have used in all the other cards.  This card should be kept simple, as the archetypal imagery is so powerful, we need nothing else.”

 

nataraja ref

Jane’s Notes:  September 2012

This card dictated its own evolution.   We ended up eventually, with TWO World cards – Siva Natarajan and World Shakti.

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first Natarajan Ardhanariswara

Jane’s Notes:  2010

The deck’s first version of the World had Nataraja Ardhanariswara (Lord whose half is Woman) inside the dragon Ourobouros, and dancing on a demon.  The illustration was somewhat cramped.  It lacked space, and none of us were very pleased with it.  Later on, an Ardhanariswara occurred spontaneously in the Minor Arcana, in the Lotuses suit (Cups).

In 2005, when completing the Suit of Lotuses, I painted the Queen of Lotuses, Rati the wife of Kama, as we planned.  But Rohit and Gautam decided to upgrade this exciting Kundalini goddess to the World Shakti Herself, and to commission a new Rati for the suit of Lotuses.

As a result, we have a male AND a female “World” – Siva and his Shakti.

Shakti is the Sri Chakra Yantra herself, centred on the linga sarira around which is coiled the World Serpent.  The design was inspired by an 18th century tantric ritual painting.

ritual painting 18th century ref

In the palms of her hands are yonis which look like seeds.  The serpents emerging from behind her breasts are the Sun and Moon – ida and pingala.  The kundalini force, wrapped three and a half times around the Siva Lingam, is just awakening;  the lotuses are a fountain of life, and so are the daisies.

World Shakti

What is expressed here, is the male vertical penetrating the female horizontal plane, timelessly;  the living combination of chakra (wheel or mandala) with the uprising sap of the tree of life.  Egg and sperm … the one crosses the other;  they are unity.

Here also is the mystery of prakriti – the substratum of all manifestation:  the ‘lattice’ of our world, in Solomon’s Song.

In the Western deck, the World card is traditionally and mysteriously hermaphrodite, being a return to the Bride dancing within the atom – the rotations of our world.

JA’s hermetic Tarot 21, The World (1991)

Correspondence:  Rohit to Gautam – 6 April 2005

“Gautam – 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 World card.  Rati is not so powerful, but we can rename this the Tripura Sundari – the essence of feminine supremacy, the female World card.  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 … … (correspondence continues regarding the Knight and Queen of Lotuses) …

“… it is the ultimate female Shakti depicted there, so we use it as one World, the Nataraja becomes the male World card, completing the journey of the Fool Rudra Siva – now Nataraja. 

“It will be a slight drag for Jane, but really this card is too powerful, there is also a lingam which completes the Siva imagery which began the Fool card.  I think Jane has reached an 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.

   (Minor Arcana -Kama, the god of desire)

“I think Jane has to be troubled to draw the Queen once more, but it is her own fault for being so brilliant.

“This feminine Shakti is the best card till now, perhaps the new Nataraja will match it.  Let her draw a Nataraja as she deems fit;  I am certain something amazing will emerge, and that will be our second World card.  Perhaps she could incorporate a Mahamritunjaya yantra in it, but beyond that I do not want to make any suggestions while she is in such an inspired state.   Rohit.”

ardhanariswara ref: sculptures

As the Sacred India Tarot has a male and female death, similarly we continue to break new ground with a male and female World.

Shakti’s consort is Nataraja.  So our new Nataraja – Lord of the Dance – was done a considerable time later than the other Major Arcana – almost the final painting in the whole project.  His face is indrawn to bliss of the newborn, like a sustained orgasm.  Like Rudra, the divine prototype through The Fool card in Sacred India Tarot, he holds aloft the drum and the flame, which infinitely open and close our kalpa – (aeon) – with a cymbal crash.

Natarajan

His other pair of arms bestow blessing and protection.  In his lower right palm are the red and white triangles of the Sri Chakra Yantra.  His left hand points inward, balancing his stance.  His body is smooth and ageless, empowered by the emanations from planetary Kundalini and the cosmic yab-yum yantra created by his lower body.

This Yantra is – I think – of Bagalamukhi: the hypnotic power of the Goddess.  It is a six-point star of Siva and Sakti triangles, with an added Shakti-feminine triangle.

David Frawley writes of Bagalamukhi:  “A very beautiful woman walking by can make a man stop and lose his breath.  The cosmic feminine power has a capacity to stun, stop or paralyse.  These are aspects of the Goddess Bagalamukhi … Bagala means literally a rope or bridle – Mukhi means ‘face’.   Bagala is a Goddess of speech, and as such is related to Tara and regarded as a form of her.  When sound becomes manifest as light, Tara becomes Bagala.  When the brilliant light of speech comes forth, then Tara gains the effulgence of Bagala and causes all things to become still.  Bagala is thus the stunning radiance that comes forth from the Divine Word and puts the human or egoistic word to rest. … … What is our Self nature?  What is the I Am in itself once divested of all transient identifications with which we confuse it?  Such enquiry will bring the mind to rest.”

From Tantric Yoga and the Wisdom Goddesses

In the deck itself, you may notice the serpent foreground is replaced by the traditional demon which was in the earlier design:  Siva makes the personal ego his dance floor.   In the new Natarajan however, the serpent power IS Siva’s laid back rotational ecstasy.  They turn perhaps in opposite directions like the figure of eight:  an electron’s double rotation through manifest and virtual states.

Note:  the World Serpent was introduced to the deck through Vishnu, the Magician.

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Correspondence:  Rohit to Gautam – 16 April 2005

“The World is now a stunning card … What is there to say?  It is as good as the female World, the kundalini snakes add an inspired touch to this composition.  I think this card is a genuine achievement.  I am deliriously happy.  Rohit.”

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The Sacred India Tarot Archive, cards 0 – 14 can be found at http://aryayogi.wordpress.com    SITA cards 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 my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books) – along with many other creations in house.  

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