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 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.