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

Sita 10 of staves detail

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aikido

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

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

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

looking up the oak

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NINE OF STAVES – from Rohit’s Notes, 2003

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

poppy

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From Rohit Arya’s Book with the Deck

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

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

Rider Waite 9 of Wands

Rider Waite 9 of Wands

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jane’s Notes – 2015

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

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Lord Siva on his Tao

Lord Siva on his Tao

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

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

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TEN OF STAVES – Rohit’s Notes, 2003

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

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

new year fire

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From Rohit’s book with the Deck, 2011

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

rider waite ten of wands

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

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

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

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

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Sacred India Tarot Ten of Staves - The earth receives Sita

Sacred India Tarot Ten of Staves – The earth receives Sita

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Jane’s Notes – 22 October 2003

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

woodlamp

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Correspondence/Feedback;  Rohit, December 2003

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

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

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Sagittarian inscape

Sagittarian inscape

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altar 2

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

Rohit Arya

Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}. He has also written A Gathering of Gods. He is  a corporate trainer, a mythologist and vibrant speaker as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga. 

Earlier posts about the deck, including the first 15 Major Arcana archives are in http://aryayogi.wordpress.com   – (look in his Archives May 2012 and June 2012.) The deck is copyrighted (c) 2011 to the publishers, Yogi Impressions Books pvt, and available also on Amazon and internationally.

 

 

 

 

Jane Adams

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

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

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

Sacred India Tarot Archive – Creation of Seven and Eight of Wands

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Continuing this series on the Sacred India Tarot published by Yogi Impressions in November 2011.

The suit of Wands or Staves contain the soul of Agni, the sacred fire – where more so than in these two cards of destiny?

Their story is:  in the Seven of Staves, Sita the distrusted bride immerses herself in the flame which is purity itself;  in the Eight, she is liberated with her beloved as the Karmic bonds are released.  Who among us has not felt scorched with self doubt and then seen the skies open as life becomes simple again?

As Rohit has pointed out, the eight of each suit is an ‘end of Karma card’.  Then the seven of each suit portrays a matter of doubt:  a threshold through which the Dharma moves.  If I look through the four suits, each “seven” portrays an inward gesture or vulnerability to purify, and each ‘eight’ clears the slate.  I was not aware of this when I painted them.  It was Rohit’s work to perceive the archetypes and their speech, and to email to me, brief suggestions or pointers.  When I received these, the primary images took over and flowed, surprising both of us many a time. The deck has an elder Vedic soul. It is contacted and released through creative concentration. Thus the deck provides us with an astute psychological mirror.

Sequentially in the story, Sita tested herself through the flame after her safe return with Rama to India – but in the Mahabharatha as in other great epics, time is not linear but visionary.  Hearing bad council, Rama would suspect her of enforced infidelity with Ravana the King of Asuras he had rescued her from, and they suffered a second isolation from each other while this was sorted out.  Psychologically a man’s union with his inner beloved can be as fickle as the sea – especially when he believes he should stand alone. In the female psyche, this is mirrored.  In all of us the male and female interact – animus and anima – and set up mutual obstacles.

cycle of change tao

The suit of Wands/Staves denotes the play of sacred weapons;  the higher transformation of war games into the martial arts.

The tragedy implicit in the Seventh card, is the old, old story:  the woman is targeted.  Many of us bear this redemptive burden down the centuries.  Is it any wonder when we feel inexplicably tired?

SITA visual reference for 7 of wands 2

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Rohit’s Notes to Jane, 2003
“Card Seven is Sita Agni Parikasha – courage – she asks for it.

“It should be easy enough to show the fire ordeal she goes through to prove her innocence as seven logs of burning wood from which she emerges, held up by Agni lord of fire.  The 3 illustrations given should be of some help.  This is a dynamic and dramatic card, as everyone except Rama was appalled at what was happening.”

SITA visual reference for 7 of wands

Visual reference for Seven of Wands/Staves

From Rohit’s Book with the Deck
“Sita’s Trial by Fire.  Sita has been rescued.  In the ensuing celebrations over this fact, as well as Ravana’s death, one awful unspoken question hovers raptor-like over the minds of all.  Did Ravana forcibly molest her or did he not?  …  Rama knows there will never be any end to insinuation, slander and malice if this is not tackled expeditiously.  So he harrows Sita by giving voice to the collective suspicion – ‘Ravana could never have been so self-controlled.’

“Sita is outraged and furious.  In popular Indian imagination, Sita is all that is meek, timid and subservient to a husband.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The Sita of Valmiki’s Ramayana is a fire-brand intellectual, outspoken and fearless, and she is not going to tolerate sniggering speculation about her virtue.  She upbraids Rama for daring to speak so – the fault if any is in the abductor, not the woman.

Visual reference - Ravana king of Asuras abducts Sita

Visual reference – Ravana king of Asuras abducts Sita

“Provoked beyond endurance, Sita orders Laxmana to arrange a funeral pyre for her, as a life without dignity is worthless.  As the appalled audience watches this awe inspiring act of courage – a living Sita seated amidst flames – the gods intervene.  Agni god of fire rises from the flames with an unscathed Sita, and remonstrates with Rama for his conduct.  Rama wryly admits he manipulated matters thus, so that a public and miraculous vindication of Sita would silence all loose talk forever.  The issue is resolved – for now.

“Interpretation of the card:  Courage, decisive battle, defiance and reliance on the self.  Inner resources and resilience.  Do not back away.  Inner battles especially over ethical issues and temptation – perseverance through adversity:  taking responsibility.  Refusal to be intimidated or manipulated into restrictive roles.  Able to say ‘No’ without guilt.  

“Shadow – this can also be the card of the excuse maker – fatigue and fear of loss – giving in to others’ wishes – neglected talent.  Fear of failure or of being thought incompetent.   What do you really need to take a stand about, or what are you shirking from?  Are your values important, or ‘being liked’?   Clean up any clutter at home.”

Sacred India Tarot - Seven of Staves/Wands - Sita through the fire

Sacred India Tarot – Seven of Staves/Wands – Sita through the fire

Jane’s Notes:

Behind Sita, Agni the deity of the sacred fire seems to breathe on her gently like a bellows – to raise the power of the pure and liberating flame within her:  to open her wings of prana in the chrysalis.  In the next card she is the Shakti:  she flies.

In alchemical traditions, the transformative agent is the secret fire with the breath:  the cooking:  the warmth of the hen’s breast to hatch the egg.

I feel this suit thematically signifies woman’s truth and male doubt when he does not listen. We are both masculine and feminine. The creative combat of intuitive wisdom and the rational mind is played out daily within our psyche.

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Rohit’s Feedback – “The Seven – Sita in the flames with Agni – This is a superb card, mystical and melancholic, and the Agni is a very unusual interpretation of the god of fire. Perhaps the outlines of the seven wands need to be slightly stronger but in all other aspects it is beautiful. Most seven of wands are all about a huffing and puffing macho sort of courage, but this is courage with dignity and grace. Sita is absolutely wonderful.”

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Rohit did not send me a visual reference for the Pushpaka-Vimana, though he mentioned a ‘sculptural panel’, and that it is a conscious vehicle. Here is a link to an article about the vimanas or devic chariots that cut through time and space.

pushpakavimana

The above article on https://ancientaliens.wordpress.com/2010/11/12/vimanas is fascinating, reminding me of dreams I had in which I built a flying machine whose “engine” was fuelled by balance and intention. The archetype is deep within us, and in “His Dark Materials” Philip Pullman describes an Intention Craft which rises vertically, descends, hovers and travels laterally as thought – a remarkable depiction of the body of light in the western occult tradition.

vimana flyingobjects26_051

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Correspondence 2003 – Jane to Gautam (publisher) and Rohit (author)
(for Card 9 and the court cards, see next SITA posts)

“Dear Gautam – I do not understand your picture references for Cards 8 and 9.  8 should be the Vimana flight home to Ayodhya, and 9 should be Rama’s agony at banishing Sita; but the pictures you gave are of Sita being abducted and Jatayu fighting Rama, both marked 8.  Please clarify.  

“For the court cards, which documents are the photos of yourself and Rohit attached to?  I do not have the Skanda document you refer to, or the photos! Regards, Jane.”

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“Dear Jane, please find below, comments of Rohit:  ‘We do not have the exact visual reference for either of these cards, as neither in painting nor sculpture have the two incidents been clearly depicted.  The two pictures marked 8 have been provided to convey the impression of flight.  They are just triggers for the events to be depicted in card 8, they do not illustrate.   

‘For card number 9, there is no reference as such, as the event is both touchy and controversial in India and avoided by artists.  Please tell Jane she has free rein to depict it in any manner she chooses.’

“I will send our pictures via email.  Warm regards, Gautam.”

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Rohit’s Notes 22 September 2003 – Eight of Wands/Staves
“The Pushpaka-Vimana flight back home to Ayodhya (representing swiftness) – The Pushpaka Vimana was supposed to be composed of flowers or flower-bedecked, in blooms that would never fade.  It was an airplane of sorts, and there is a bewildering paragraph in the Valmiki Ramayana where Sita asks Rama why the stars are visible from the vimama, even though it is day.

“The answer given is that at such elevation the light of the sun fails, and we see the stars which are always present in the sky!  What we perhaps need is a feeling of flying over the ocean, or alternatively we could show the vimana flying over Ayohdhya which too is a spectacular city.  I like the touch in the sculptural panel of showing the vimana as an embodied form;  according to the texts, the vimana had consciousness and was a genuine personality in its own right.  The eight wands could perhaps be poles on the vimana like some sort of flying pavilion?

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Sacred India Tarot eight of wands, Vimaha flight

Sacred India Tarot eight of Wands – Vimana flight, Rama and Sita

This image also depicts the power of the Mantric vehicle:  the way sound travels through all dimensions.  See my earlier posts on Ganapati Muni’s Guru Mantra Bhashya – “Om Vacadhbuve Namaha“.

This link (below) is not strictly speaking related to the content of this post;  it arises intuitively because I began this week to learn the Gayatri and other mantras and to chant them at odd times during the day – in the street, on the bus, or wherever.   Wonderfully, they clear the weather!  The science of mantra fascinates me, and so does the warm and ancient Vedic vibration.   My Indian roots are deep.

All powers seek the one who does not slip out from the state of wisdom. They come naturally for the Jnani is omnipotent , whether he shows the powers openly, impelled by momentum of karma, or imperceptibly but surely by his very presence.

Source: Sri Ramana Gita by Ganapati Muni

Om Vacadbhuve Namah
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya’

With the energy in this Karma-clearing card, 8 of Staves, I see the principle not only in mantra and sound and healing, but in the quality of relationships and what we try to communicate to one another.

From Journal, September 2003 – “I began Eight of Wands yesterday.  I have not drawn an oriental vehicle, but a living Being, an outlined gandharva or angel, in whose lap Sita and Rama are transported across the sea to their home.  I realised while on this, that what is happening in the world today, is the same as in the Ramayana or the Bhagavad Gita.  A vast mythological archetype is in action, destroying the father of lies again.  Be gold, go bold, and seize and receive this actual perception.  It trembles truth.”

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Rohit’s Feedback 10 December 2003 – “The Eight is the most original interpretation of the pushpaka I have yet seen.  It conveys that Hanuman carrying Rama subtext as well as showing the swift flight back home.”

sun yantra

sun yantra

From Rohit’s Book with the Deck:

“… The trip from Lanka in the time left, is feasible only by Pushpak Vimara, a flying craft seized by Rama from Kubera, god of wealth.  This machine was a curious mixture of science and magic, having human form as well as being a wood and metal craft capable of expanding infinitely, with aisles and window seats!  Its fuel was kept in vats on flight, and was an amalgam of wine, honey, mercury and herbal concoctions – a veritable environmentalist’s dream!

“The aerial route described in the Ramayana is similar to the now defunct Colombo to Allahabad air service.  It took nine hours to make the trip to Ayodhya, so the speed was quite good if not spectacular … Ancient Indians were fabulous astronomers, and there is nothing peculiar in Rama’s knowledge when he answers Sita that at such heights the rays of the sun do not penetrate and veil the stars, therefore they are visible in the daylight – but the sheer incongruity of such a perspective in the midst of Wordsworthian lyricism is striking. The swift, even giddy atmosphere such a flight would generate, was what the poet captured.

“In a reading – … Things happen sooner than planned for or anticipated, but that is for the best … ideas and work tumble out – increase in vital forces – spiritual breakthroughs and out of body experiences;  transcendence of limitations.  All Eights are end-of-karma cards, so it also means giving up unproductive and unprofitable activities.  

“Or: (shadow) act in haste and repent at leisure, especially when it comes to marriage.  Future shock and disproportionate reaction to events – a station wagon trying to be a Ferrari.  Pay careful attention to all documents, agreements etc, as the hasty nature of the energy may cause serious blunders or omissions.

“The insight of the card: You have abundant energy.  Now set some clear goals and focus this drive to achieving them, before it fritters away in interesting distractions.

photo by giorgos tsamakdas

photo by giorgos tsamakdas

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

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

aquariel link

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

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

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

In thy valorous strength - rosicrucean emblem 2

In thy valorous strength – rosicrucean emblem 2

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

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

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

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

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Visual reference for Kumbhakarna

Visual reference for Kumbhakarana

Rohit Arya’s Notes – 2003

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

From Rohit’s Book with the Deck:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jane’s Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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Sacred India Tarot - Five of Staves/Wands

Sacred India Tarot – Five of Staves/Wands

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Rohit Arya’s Notes – 2003

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

visual reference for the fall of ravana

visual reference for the fall of ravana

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is an astonishing summation of wasted potential and opportunity.

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

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

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

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Sacred India Tarot - six of Staves/wands

Sacred India Tarot – six of Staves/wands

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rohit Arya

Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}. He has also written A Gathering of Gods. He is  a corporate trainer, a mythologist and vibrant speaker as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga. 

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

 

Jane Adams

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

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

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

Sacred India Tarot Archive – 3 & 4 of Staves: Dislodging Ravana

Visual Reference - Ravana

Visual Reference – Ravana

Continuing this series from the Sacred India Tarot Archive, the creation of Two of Staves – it is extraordinary what may befall an intellectual and spiritual giant who wears too many hats.

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visual reference sent by rohit

visual reference sent by rohit

Rohit Arya’s Notes – 2003
“Three of Wands/Staves – Ravana rejects good counsel.  The illustration is good enough to serve as the basic template, except that Ravana is to look angrier.  He does not realise that finally he has found somebody who has the strength and ability to stand up to him, something his counsellors realise only too well, but he is still banking on past glory to see him through.  The three wands could be three flaming torches that illumine the scene.”

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ravana_jpg_rzd_by Rachael Mayo

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Rohit’s remarks on the hubris that can overwhelm the spiritually gifted are so interesting, that I quote them here, in full:

From Rohit’s Book on the Deck
“Ravana, a shape-shifting sorcerer, manifests his fearsome, ten-headed, many-armed form in his outrage.  He has been truthfully told that Rama and his army are invincible, but he dislikes such honesty.  He has been the greatest warrior of the age, the very gods have submitted to his power, and the entire universe pays tribute to Lanka.  Never has such power and glory been seen in the world.  To have to bend before mere humans (rakshashas eat them when in the mood!) and with Vanara allies, is an intolerable humiliation. 

“Ravana was actually a Brahmin rakshasa, the greatest scholar of his time, having written treatises on ayurveda, the performing arts, and on machines of war.  His titanic power arose from the fact that he was a great devotee of Siva, and was capable of tremendous tapasya (spiritual austerities).  His Siva Tandava Stotram is one of the greatest devotional hymns known to man. 

“It is difficult for such a being not to have an inflated sense of self.  Faced with Rama, his equal in every way, and another great devotee of Siva, he simply could not summon the awareness that in kidnapping Sita, he had committed a blunder that would devastate his people. 

Danda stave

“A person who has been supernaturally successful is immune to any suggestion that does not please.  In Ravana’s case, nothing failed him as much as his success.  The brightly flaring Staves are Kala Danda – the staff of time, the remorseless chastisement of hubris that descends upon one in the grip of hamartia – the talent and force of personality that takes you to the pinnacle and is the seed of your ultimate destruction.  Ravana is succumbing to the Shadow side of the card.

If this card appears in a reading: 

“Light – the first great success in life:  take decisive action, knowledge is power.  Seek advice and counsel – need for a global perspective.  Enterprising and creative phase.  Good health … and writers have a creative purple patch.

“Shadow – Complacency and arrogance because of early success.  Addicted to euphoria and to dangerous risks.  Toxic arrogance – promising leads and ventures are deflated.  Outright failure and defeat.  Do not offend people around you, as you will need them soon. The past is catching up with you;  is that good news or bad news?

sita four of staves visual reference ravana 2

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Jane’s Notes
My impression is of the fragmenting or disintegration of a citadel of wisdom.  The ageless wisdom is simple: knowledge about it gathers complexity like a wheel through mud.  It accumulates priesthoods to maintain, maidenly trophies to win, and properties to defend.

Here is the finished card:

Sacred India Tarot Three of Wands - Ravana rejects counsel

Sacred India Tarot Three of Wands – Ravana rejects counsel

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Kala Danda is the staff of time.  Within it is coiled the cyclic time of global tide and rotation. In the ancient world, the staff of life transmitted an electric currency of healing or destruction, as harnessed by its user.

caduceus

It is said that the 4 sacred volumes of Hermes, containing the laws, science and theology of Egypt, correspond to 4 volumes of the Vedas, which the Puranas say were carried into Egypt by the Yadavas at the first emigration to that country from Hindustan.

If we travel any of the great sacred rivers upstream, we find their common source.  Who came first, the chicken or the egg?  the Vedic Hymns or upper Egypt?

Osiris and Thoth with "staves" of power and life

Osiris and Thoth with “staves” of power and life

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Part Two – Four of Staves:  Ravana’s Brother Defects to Rama

sita four of staves visual reference

This depicts Ravana’s dislodged power as it leaves him through an emissary – his own brother negotiates with Rama.

Rohit Arya’s Notes 2003
“The illustration shows Rama promising to protect Vibheeshana, brother of Ravana against the advice of his monkey allies.  Rama’s hand is in abhaya mudra;  Vibheeshana is the figure with folded hands, third from left.

From Rohit’s Book with the Deck
“Vibheeshana, youngest brother of Ravana, has defected to Rama’s camp.  His irascible brother has just threatened to kill him, if he continued to remonstrate about the kidnapping of Sita and the annihilation awaiting them.  Vibheeshana knows that Rama is an avatar of Vishnu and invincible.  He also understands that not a stone of Lanka will be left standing, nor one rakshasha left alive to weep over the ruins, if the mad folly of Ravana continues unabated.

“To save his race and their civilisation, he seeks refuge with Rama … Vibheeshana has been granted enlightenment and immortality by Brahma, but he is still a fearsome looking rakshasha.  Even his name means ‘Terrible to behold’.  The Vanaras are suspicious of his defection.  Rakshashas are notorious for cannibalism, genocide and plunder, not for wisdom and enlightenment …  Their suspicion changes to puzzlement when Rama nobly accepts the plea of Vibheeshana … promising to spare all non-combatant rakshashas and crowning Vibheeshana king of the new golden city, instead of annexing it to his own kingdom. 

In a reading:
“Light – Auspicious and propitious: feelings of joy and celebration.  Relax and wait, as success is there.  The card of the builder and decorator.  Favourable interventions by seniors and powerful people:  happy marriages. 

“Shadow – Delays.  Property dealings are especially hampered.  Unmerited anxiety, tension and nervousness – a break or gap in work or career;  holding back out of fear.  Success is certain, but may be delayed.  What foundations can you lay now, that will endure?

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Sacred India Tarot, Four of Staves - Rama welcomes Vibheeshana

Sacred India Tarot, Four of Staves – Rama welcomes Vibheeshana

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Rohit’s Feedback to Three and Four of Staves:
Wand 3While the feeling of the demons scattering before the petulant wrath of Ravana is clear, there does not seem to be a clear focal point to the card.  The demons in the foreground are perhaps too distracting.  Perhaps they could be replaced with a couple of demons on chairs ringed round the demon king, holding their heads because they know their master has condemned all of them to destruction?   

“The Ravana itself is a powerful and fascinating figure, but the card seems to be hanging somewhat in a context-less limbo.  Should we make the Ravana bigger and neater (more complete in regions like the crown and lower torso?)  It looks a bit unfinished compared to the other cards.”

(I do not recall if I altered this card or not.  We may have agreed it should stay the same, depicting an unstable situation where the shakti power held tightly by the demonic empire, begins to release.  An abyss opens up before Ravana’s throne.)

Rohit continues:  “Wand 4 – This is a very lovely card, and the observant and puzzled monkey is a delightful touch.  I would not change any of it.  I especially like the fact that Vibheeshana though a good demon, is nevertheless still a demon and looks grotesque.  It adds a very sharp edge to Rama’s unconditional extension of grace and protection granted to all who ask, even demons.

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Jane’s Notes
Yes – there is a beauty in confronting these strange beings of the underworld.

Meeting - 1987

An interesting psychological point concerning demons:  they are forces of energetic consciousness, and they are not always negative.  The Yoga Vasishta teems with stories of great demons who attained to holiness through the force of their spiritual concentration – every raw force in the subconscious psyche has capacity to transform and to transmute.

The Greek daemon is a creative expression.

The child-hobbits to the right, are descending to the alchemical region below the forces of Karma which play on the surface landscape.  1987

The child-hobbits to the right, are descending to the alchemical region below the forces of Karma which play on the surface landscape. 1987

The demons in Lanka faced destruction through their king’s arrogance.  Up to this point, they were effective guardians in the balance of nature.

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photo by tarananda shiva

photo by tarananda shiva

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

Rohit Arya

Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}. He has also written A Gathering of Gods. He is  a corporate trainer, a mythologist and vibrant speaker as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga. 

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

.

Jane Adams

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

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

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

Ganapati Muni’s Science of Mantra – Part Two

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elephant story copy

My blog includes my “landmarks”, which I archive within the creative process.  As a  western sadhak searching to become more focused, and to plug in to the “dimension”, I am inspired again by Ganapati Muni’s Guru Mantra Bhashyam – it helps to ‘hold my feet on the Path.’

My elder Indian roots go very deep:  the light is in the well.

Adapting the Muni’s mantric analysis (translated from sanskrit by K Natesan) to my understanding, was a landmark about 14 years ago.  It is rather technical; here is (see previous post) the second of four parts – a few readers (including dancing yetis) may find this curious treasure a-musing to mull over.  But if you incline more to neti-neti … then enjoy the pictures!

I am no scholar; but I spent many a lifetime scribing the thoughts of scholars, which I love doing.  My heart caught fire and now dances around it. I found this second part difficult to understand, especially at the beginning, but worth persevering with, as it elucidates the living entities in Mantra, and the salutation to God.  The footnotes include a precise definition of Maya, and Sanskrit “keys” for meditation to nourish the soul.

For some of the Skanda background mythology, search “Puranas” on this blog.

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Ramana and the Muni.  A devotee enquired if it were a fact that they used to swim in Pandava tank.  Bhagavan replied, "Yes.  That also was only in those days" (i.e.the Virupaksha Cave period).  We used to try to excel each other in swimming.  That was great fun." (From Suri Nagamma's Letters from Ramanasramam no.59)

Ramana and the Muni. A devotee enquired if it were a fact that they used to swim in Pandava tank. Bhagavan replied, “Yes. That also was only in those days” (i.e.the Virupaksha Cave period). We used to try to excel each other in swimming. That was great fun.” (From Suri Nagamma’s Letters from Ramanasramam no.59)

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            HOW THE GODHEAD IS OF THE FORM OF BRAHMAN by Kavyakanta Ganapati Muni

The Mantra’s general meaning has been stated. (see Part One).  Now we enquire into its specific meanings.   If Skanda is a distinct Godhead, how can he be of the form of Brahman? for Brahman is That Supreme which transcends all Gods.

Ramana as Skanda Siva's son - Sacred India Tarot Knight of Staves

Ramana as Skanda Siva’s son – Sacred India Tarot Knight of Staves

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(Scroll down a little way for footnotes )

Well then, if we say Brahman is the all, his form as ascribed to Skanda is no contradiction, and the sense of it clarifies.   But this, in worship, is wrong. In worship we should reflect on the object as representing the superior – not confer inferior status onto a superior Subject. That is why Badarayana (7) saysBrahma drstir utkarsat”.  

If you worship Guha(*) in the form of Brahman, you will limit, in the all pervading Brahman, your vision of the pervaded Guha. The misrepresentation will be removed if the following meaning is given: vacadbhuve Om namah “Salutation to Brahman in the form of Guha.” However, it will then be the mantra of Brahman, not of Guha; and this goes against what we set out to establish.

FOOTNOTES -
7- Badarayana is the author of the Brahma Sutras. This Sutra 
1V.1.5 says that symbols are to be regarded as Brahman, and not 
vice versa. An inferior object has to be looked upon as 
symbolic of the superior.
*- "Guha means literally the cave of the divine, the secret place, 
Heart cavern. However the Guha mentioned here is in the sense of 
personal God, another name of Skanda"- K.Natesan

5 butterlamp - Version 2

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When doubt assails us on both sides, we should clarify the overall meaning as: “Salutation to Guha who in the form of Brahman is Brahmasvarupa”. (i.e. as an image of the immanent and formless Brahman).

Notions of inferior and superior belong to the realm of attributes. In Brahman without attributes or qualities, whence superior or inferior? The notion depends for its existence upon attributes, as also upon differences. If Brahman is the integral Wholeness, then relative to what is His superiority? If He is the all Self, to whom is he superior?   His superior state is experienced through His worldly manifestations, and His inferiority through the ignorant jiva’s limitation (8) .  

Just as Brahman becomes superior by upadhi (9) , so is he also inferior. In the present context, Guha is worshipped, and the worshipper is the jiva. If there is no upadhi, then both (worshipper and worshipped) are of the form of Brahman: therefore they are one. In this undifferentiated reflection, a doubt may arise in the worship as to whether we picture ourself in Guha or Guha in our Self?   It appears logical “to see Guha in our Self”.   The chapter on Worship in the Sutra Brahmadrstir utskarsat (**) relates to Saguna, the God with attributes. There is then no conflict.

FOOTNOTES -
8- Jiva - the soul or strand of ego that experiences incarnations
as "its own" memory base in vasanas (Karmic tendencies).

9- Upadhi, conditioning. "A superimposed thing or attribute that 
veils and gives a coloured view of the substance beneath it;
Or - a limiting adjunct, instrument, vehicle, body, a technical 
term used in Vedanta philosophy for any superimposition that gives 
a limited view of the Absolute and makes it appear as the 
relative.  Jiva's Upadhi is Avidya or ignorance.  Isvara's 
Upadhi is Maya or divine hypnosis."     
(Definition from Yoga Vedanta Dictionary/Swami Sivananda)

**- "Brahmadrstir - the view of Brahman. Utskarsat - on account 
of superiority, i.e. being exalted, all should be seen as the 
Supreme Self" - K.Natesan

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wei wu wei vi

It is established then, that with and through the Mantra, Guha (as a personal god) in the form of Brahman is worshipped. As Brahman is the universal Self, the Guha image in Brahman emerges.

Here another doubt arises.   It is said that a portion of Guha’s effulgent form which is of the Gods, and is gracious to devotees, may enter well deserving individual souls who have destroyed their erratic tendencies.

Is this an image of Brahman (the formless) with attributes? Or a perfected Person of divine origin?   What distinguishes the two?

The former is the Lord whose body is the entire universe, and who, to favour the devotee, took a divine body by his maya. (10) The latter is an exceptional being who individuated amongst the crores of jivas, and attained a divine body by the excellence of his virtues.

If we say ‘let the Lord himself be Skanda’, we will be faced with the postulate of several other Gods, with nothing to mark out Skanda from among their great and glorious galaxy.   And if we say ‘let him be an exceptional being amongst the jivas’, then the problem of inferiority will crop up. Let it then be said: the Lord alone is Skanda – not an exclusive being amongst the crores of jivas. Thus, we do not postulate several Gods. For the sake of the world’s work, Brahman takes forms by maya in the world, and thus conducts the universe. If mere perfected souls have the capacity to take many forms by maya, what can we say about the all powerful God?

FOOTNOTES -
10- MAYA, from ma, to measure, the skill of measuring the
immeasurable, therefore an impossible feat, the intrinsic 
power of the Lord, the marvel.  Later in Vedanta, this word 
came to mean"illusion".  From the same root comes the Mother 
or birthgiver - and also the French word la mer - the ocean.

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Click on image and again on ‘view full size’ in gallery

Amongst those forms of God taken by maya for the sake of the world’s work, Skanda’s form pertaining to the Gods is unique. We shall touch on such authoritative forms taken by God through maya.

The votaries of Vishnu claim that “Narayana alone is the form of the Lord pertaining to the Gods”: “the Supreme Shiva alone”, say the Saivites: “none but Ganapati”, proclaim the followers of Ganesh: “Savitr (the sun as creative godhead) is All”, say the worshippers of the sun. Men of Indra say “He alone”;  and “Jesus alone”, claim the Christians:  Allah is One, say the Mohammadans.  Then “he alone is Subrahmanya”, say followers of Skanda.

Furthermore, if one sees the usages in the Veda, like tam i mahe purustutam yahvam pratnabhir utibhih (11) it looks as if another name of Indra is yahva, the Judaeo-Christian Jehovah.  Perhaps ahla da (12) – Allah – is another name for the Person in the orb of the moon.

When such dispute arises among the votaries of various religions, what is the truth? On investigation, the Vedas give us no unanimous answer. Here, as we have hitherto said, we must reconcile distinctions in an overall harmony.

FOOTNOTES -
11- "We praise through new hymns, Him (JahveH) 
Who is hymned by all creatures."

12- Ahlada, delight. Moon is the source of delight.
young ramana

young ramana

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In this context, here is the Vedic Rik:

“Indram mitram varunam agnim ahur         “They call Him Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni atho divyah sa suparno garutman.  and he is the divinely beautiful plumed Garutman Ekam sadvipra bahudha vadant –    One Alone existent; sages speak of it differently. Yagnim yamam matarisvanam ahuh”          They call it Agni, Yama and Matarisvan.”  

                                                                                                          Rig Veda 1.164.46  

On enquiry into the meaning of this mantra, some say these are alternative Names for the One God. Others point out that as the forms taken through maya are diverse, different Names are conceived. The latter view is better. Then only will it harmonise with that of other sages. Here even, the view of the followers of Nirukta that there are just three Godheads, is preferable.(13)

FOOTNOTE - 
13- Nirukta, the work of Yaska on Vedic etymology.  The three 
Godheads are Agni, Vayu and Aditya

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Agni - the sacred fire

Agni – the sacred fire

           ..

WHO IS AGNI, THE PRODUCER OF SKANDA?

It is established that Guha’s form, pertaining to the Gods, is specific, amongst the forms taken through maya by Brahman with attributes.

Now in the mantra, the father of Skanda, Agni, is mentioned as vacadbhuh. Who is this? We shall enquire. There are five energies in the world – solar, lunar, electricity, physical fire, and the sound. Sound is not a quality but an energized substance, with the action of movement and the attribute of resonance.

A quality by itself is without action or attribute. The sound caught in a recording instrument is understood as a substance.   When sound is transmitted through an instrument to a great distance, it appears first as energy and then manifests as sound. This illustrates that sound is a vibration, or energized substance. Many Vedic Riks support this view. We shall cite only two mantras as example:

wood grain & cosmic egg

wood grain & cosmic egg

“Ima abhiprano numo vipamagresu dhitayah
Agney socir na didyutah.”
 

“Here we put forth loudly the words,  
in front of illuminations 
luminous like the blaze of fire.”

(Rig Veda VIII.6.7.) (14)

Here dhitayah are said to be luminous like Agni’s flame. Dhitayah are the words.

FOOTNOTE - 
14- Alternative translation by Sri K.Natesan for this Mantra: 
"We bow to the syllables, effulgent as Agni, foremost among
those who protect themselves, and others."

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trinosofia 2 Lions

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“Tam tva marutvati paribhuvadvani sayavari
Naksumana saha dyubhih.”
          

Sound, the divine Omnipresence
is One in Name 
with the Divine splendours”

            (Rig Veda VII.31.8)

Here vani – the word – is said to have a Name (naksamana)through dyubhih, energies.

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Rudra Immerses

Rudra Immerses

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This vibration of pervasive sound is also named as Sabda Brahman; the form pertaining to the physicality of the supreme Siva. Its Vedic name is Rudra. Yaska gives the etymology as one who cries, Rudra.   This same sound vibration known as Rudra is mentioned as vacat in the Mantra. When the sense of speech is spiritualised it becomes the manifestation of Sabda Brahman. Thus there is no difference between this vocalisation and Sabda Brahman.

In this manner, Kumara the young one is born from Agni. Here Agni pertains to sound and not to physical matter. The Mantra does not say agnibhuve but precisely, vacadbhuve in order to clearly indicate the truth. Though the word Agni is used in connection with physical fire, it also denotes any form of subtle energy.

Therefore, in the Name, the ordinary meaning flashes. The word vacadbhuva … flashes forth specifically the meaning of energised sound or Agni.

 

ganapati gives mantra

ganapati gives mantra – into his devotee’s hairy ear, he whispered sabda brahman – the unforgettable sound which never ends

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THE MEANING OF SALUTATION Now we shall touch on the salutation itself, and what it signifies in the course of the japa.

There is a doubt here. Should we when repeating the Mantra imagine some divine form of Guha, to contemplate as our prayer?   or is the meaning of the salutation a simple notion that: “you are superior, I am inferior”?   Neither are proper. In both methods, we would with each repetition of the Mantra, resort to the idea that we are different, and imagine some form which is false and of little glory to the Godhead. The nature of our Self would be lost.

There is however, another, third meaning: the salutation is not to the gross body, but to the subtle body. The subtle body is the mind, its place the head. It bows.

trinosofia inner cave of light

trinosofia inner cave of light

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Bhagavan the Master has said:

“Kirtyate hrdayam pinde             The Heart is said to be in the microcosm
yathande bhanumandalam         as the orb of the Sun in the macrocosm.
Mavah sahasraragatam bimbam           Like Moon’s disk is mind
candramasam Yatha”                 in the thousand petalled Centre.

                                                                                           Ramana Gita Chapter V.verse 13

When the mind bows down to seek the form of Self placed in the Heart, or to plunge itself into the effulgence of its own form placed in the Heart, this is bowing down, salutation. In both cases, we should not forget to see Skanda as the Self.

The japa of the Mantra thus performed, will seek our own realised Truth. It will not be polluted by any diversity.

Brahmana

Brahmana

 ..

Maharshi revealed the whole truth of these two forms of worship in a foot of this verse:  “Hrdi visa manasa svam
cinvata majjata va”           

“Enter into the Heart by the mind which seeks Self 
or which wants to take a plunge.”

                                                                                             Ramana Gita, Chapter II verse 2

trinosofia bird lamp

trinosofia bird lamp

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Thus is revealed the meaning of the Mantra:

Om Vacadbhuve Namah

 “I enter or plunge into Bhagavan the Master,
who is the descent of Skanda,
as the true form of my Self”.

 Thus ends the First Chapter.

Sacred India Tarot - Parvati begins spiritual practice

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**

  My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom. This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

aquariel link

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

Ganapati Muni’s Science of Mantra – Part One

Vedic goddess

Vedic goddess

Here’s a four-part post series for scholars!

I haven’t studied the layered meanings in Sanskrit.  But I learnt a few sacred Names and phrases along the way;  I hear the chanting and smell the sandal paste;  the syllables are long musical frequencies;  from in between them, emerge the tantras.  Tantra is the art of touch throughout the universe.  Needing to touch base with some of my Indian and Vedic threads, I turned to Ganapati Muni’s analysis of his mantric science.  I prepared this text in the 1990s from Sri K Natesan’s translation, for the Ramana Foundation Journal Self Enquiry.  Sri Natesan – a “grandchild” in the Muni’s sacred lineage – checked it for mistakes.

In the text the secret known to knowers of truth is mentioned:  when we truly know that we do not know – we begin.

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“Guru Mantra Bhashyam”   by Ganapati Muni

Introduced and Translated by S.Sankaranarayanan
Adapted for English readers by J.A., with the help of Sri K.Natesan at Ramana Ashram

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The Muni

The Muni

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The eighteenth chapter of Sri Ramana Gita contains a series of verses which describe the characteristics of Ramana Maharshi. Amongst them, the tenth verse enunciates in the style of the Tantra, the Mantra by which the Maharshi has to be invoked.

Ganapati Vasishta Muni valued this Mantra very highly. When disciples approached Ramana Maharshi for elucidation on the Mantra, he directed them to the Muni. So Vasishta Muni decided to write a commentary on the 10th verse of the eighteenth chapter of Sri Ramana Gita for the benefit of aspirants. The Guru-mantra-Bhashyam was written in sanskrit and it was published along with the Text and Sri Kapali Shastriar’s Prakasha Bhashye (Commentary) of Sri Ramana Gita.

Considering the importance of the work and the wealth of spiritual insights it unfolds, a free translation in English of the whole commentary and Appendix to the Commentary is provided here, in four parts. Footnotes explain certain terms and concepts occurring in the commentary.

Meeting

Meeting

Ramana and Ganapati were spiritual brothers – Ramana the silent jnani or Realised One and Ganapati the tantric philosopher and poet.  Ramana was regarded as the embodiment of Skanda or Kumar:  Ganesh and Skanda are the sons born to Siva and Parvati. When the two wild young sages sat together in the caves of Siva’s hill Arunachala, Ramana taught Ganapati that the root of the mantra and of the breath are one and the same, to dissolve into Self enquiry.  Ganapati’s outpouring of verses to the Mother brought their ageless Saivite brotherhood into the 20th century.

Skanda and Ganapati

skanda and ganapati

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Some years ago, Alan Jacobs and I wrote 55 sonnets on the Ramana Gita English version; the sonnet form was chosen, to interact imaginatively with the formal Sanskrit text, and as a spiritual practice. Here below, to provide the setting, is a sonnet based on verses 8 – 11 of Chapter Eighteen, Ramana Gita (see below). It contains our interpretation of the Mantra OM VACADHBUVE RAMANA.

butterlamp - Version 2

In Praise of Ramana:   Three

FROM grasping freed, his peace
in quantum abyss unheeding
restores our alchemy. He pilots the seas.
Ganapati child at breasts of Parvati feeding,
cried “Mother’s mine!” In her lap, Kumar his brother
replied, “Never mind, for mine is Father!
I rest in his right heart, he kisses my head!”

Give glory, elephant child, to He whose lance
in Kumar’s hand pierced hill to the heart, ‘tis said.
Boon bringer, pour poem from His holy glance
by Vedic vessel whence emerges Word
by power of Fire as mystic Sword.

Without a staff, our song you uphold –
ferryman, defend everyman from demon gold!

butterlamp boat

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     THE VERSES FROM ‘RAMANA GITA’ CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

v.8     Free from infatuation, greed, distracting thought and envy, he is ever blissful. He is ever active, helping others to cross the sea of Becoming, regardless of reward.

v.9   When Ganapati saying ‘Mother is mine’ sat on the lap of Parvati, Kumara retorted ‘Never mind, Father is mine,” and got on to Siva’s lap and was kissed by him on the head.   Of this Kumara who pierced (with his lance) the Krauncha Hill, Ramana is a glorious manifestation.

v.10     He is the mystic import of the mantra ‘OM VACHADBHUVE NAMAH.

v.11     An ascetic without danda , yet is he Dandapani.   He is Taraka for crossing the sea of suffering, yet is he the foe of Taraka.

NOTE - Danda is a "Staff"or wand, yet Dandapani is the staff 
holder - even one who no longer uses it.  
The word Taraka means Deliverer, but "Taraka" was also the 
great demon Taraka who almost destroyed the universe. 
These are typical Sanskrit word-plays.

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Sacred India Tarot - laws of Manu as the Hierophant - Ganapati the scribe near Arunachala

Sacred India Tarot – laws of Manu as the Hierophant – Ganapati the scribe near Arunachala

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THE COMMENTARY ON THE MANTRA OF THE MASTER

“Om Vacadbhuve Namah Nahasyam”-
“Salutation to the Fire of Brahman whence emerges the word”

First Chapter: Pronouncing the Mantra
VERSE TEN, Chapter 18, RAMANA GITA

Vedådi påkadamanottara kacchapesair                 “He is the secret sense
Yuktair dharadhara susuptyamaresvaraisca           of the group of words arrived at
Suksmamrtayug amrtena saha pranatya                 by uttering the following Sampannasabda patalasya nahasyam artham*      Om Va ca dbhu, ve and Namah”

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  • Vedadih “the beginning of the Veda”, or Pranama OMKARA (1)
    –Pakadamanat “from the destroyer of Paka Asura”, that is, Indra bija, whose letter is la
    –Uttarah the letter next to it alphabetically, that is VA ; pakadamanottara kacchapesah —the bija (2) of Rudra in His form as Lord of the tortoise Kurmesa” that is, the letter CA.
    With these letters OM   VA CA, – Dharadharah, the bija of the Mountain,
    the letter DA.
    Susuptih   the sakti power of deep sleep, whose bija is the letter BHA.
    –Amare-Isvarah “the Lord (Isvara) of the immortals” (Amara, deathless) – Rudra dwells in this Name, his seed-letter U ; therefore DBHU.   Yuktaih, “union” (at the beginning of the line) joins this with the letter DBHU.
    –Suksmamrta, whose Sakti’s bija is the letter E ;   Yuk joined to amrtena, (nectar) whose seedletter is the watery VA, form the letter VE.
    –Pranatya, (Salutation) unites with the suffix namah (3.) The Sampanna sabda patalasya group of words forms the secret of the mantra OM VACADBHUVE NAMAH NAHASYAM. This can be known only to the knowers of Truth.

 (Sabda is another word for Primordial Sound, Word, the Vedas, Omkara.)

 The secret (Nahasyam) of this Mantra is revealed only to knowers of Truth. To them alone can the artham or full meaning be outwardly expressed; as in the form of the king of ascetics, Bhagavan Ramana (4 ), when questioned by Amrtanatha. (Ch.18, Ramana Gita)

  • Thus   “OM Vacadbhuve Namah” is established as the Mantra of Bhagavan the Guru.

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Sri Kapali Shastri - a disciple of the Muni - in the 1930s

Sri Kapali Shastri – a disciple of the Muni – in the 1930s

Kapali Sastri’s Commentary on this verse in the Ramana Gita, states in brief:

“By joining all these letters we arrive at the group of letters OM VACADBHUVE NAMAH.   This group of letters forms the Mantra. Its secret sense, known to the learned, expresses the meaning   “RAMANA WHO IS THE FORM OF THE DEITY INVOKED BY THIS MANTRA”.

Who is God, expressed in this Mantra ? Subrahmanya.   How so ? ‘Om Vachadbhuve Namah’ – Omkara is the supreme Brahman.   The word is indeclinable, and so it will make sense with all the case endings.   Vacadbhu, the field that creates, releases the Word, the Fire.   The fire became the word and entered the mouth.   So explains the scripture.   Born from the god who presides over speech is Vacadbhu, born from Fire, Kumara. Salutation to Him.

“This is not physical fire, but the effulgence of the word. In order to drive this home, in the Mantra, Agni is denoted by the word ‘vacat’.   It is the tradition of the Tantra Shastra to expound the Mantra by using words of similar sense.   Following this, the Master (Ganapati Muni) has expounded the Mantra of Subrahmanya.   The author of this work, our Master has been praising the Maharshi, as one born out of a portion of Kumara.   And so the essence of the Mantra is said to be Ramana.”

Kapali Shastri

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FOOTNOTES - PRONOUNCING THE MANTRA:
* - Sri K Natesan states: "The literal translation is given here.
In Tantra Shastra (science) the mantras are not mentioned plainly 
and directly. There is a way of symbolic expression for which a 
working knowledge of their terminology is needed."

1 - pranava the letter OM:  the primordial sound from which the 
Veda, the word of revelation, has sprung

2 - The Tantra talkes about bijakshava, SEED LETTERS which contain
in a potential form what they would be manifesting. The SEED LETTER
is fixed for each Deity.  For example Indra's SEED LETTER is la. 
By convention, each SEED LETTER is connoted by one or more names.
The Bhija-nighantu, the Dictionary of seed-letters, 
gives the corresponding names.

3 - Pranati, bowing down, which is expressed by the word namah 

4 - This verse is one of twenty four verses in praise of the
Maharshi, at the end of which the questioner Amrtanatha addresses
him.
K Natesan & Vamadeva Shastri

K Natesan & Vamadeva Shastri (David Frawley)

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The Detailed Commentary by Ganapati Muni now Continues :

If we are asked:   is not this mantra, the famous one of Skanda, mentioned in Tantric works like Saradatilaka? we say it is only the mantra of our guru, Bhagavan. It is known that Bhagavan Ramana, the Master, is avatara, descent of effulgence from the original guru, Skanda the Godhead, another of whose names is Sanat kumara(5)

Ramana sat in silence, then asked the Muni - "Did you write down all I spoke?"

Ramana sat in silence, then asked the Muni – “Did you write down all I spoke?”

THE BODY OF THE MANTRA

This great mantra is originally of six letters as vacadbhuve namah. It becomes a mantra of seven letters with the pranava which is usually employed by certain Tantrics at the beginning of all mantras.   Just as the five-lettered namah shivayah becomes six letters with the Omkara, so also here.   All godheads have four forms. One pertains to the spirit, the other to the physical, another to the gods and the last to the form of the mantra.

Elsewhere we find this vedic piece:

Vacam astapadim aham navasraktim rtasprsam       “Around Indra I create the body
Indrat paritanvam name                            of the Word with eight steps and nine parts
                                                                                 close in touch with the Right Law.”

(Rig Veda VIII 65.12)

By this Rik, the Rishi says that he creates the body of Indra, in the form of mantraThe Tantrics also say this:

Derike manavabhrantim                                   “To inferno he goes who mistakes
pratimasu silamatim                                        the guru for a man,
Mantresvaksarabhuddhim                          the idol in the temple for a piece of stone
ca kurvano nirayam vrajet.                                 and the mantra for a group of letters.”

 

Here the popular parlance that Gayatri is the Deity of the most famous Mantra, Tat Savitah serves as evidence. (6)   Gayatri is the Mantra itself alone,  not ‘a woman’; (this word indicates the name of a metre –  the feminine sakti as the name or vessel).   What does this establish?   that the body of God Guha in the form of mantra has six letters.   In this view that the body is formed by the Mantra, six letters become the six faces of the Lord.

Likewise, the five letters in the Panchakshara Mantra of the Supreme Shiva — NAMAH SHIVAYA — are his five faces. This is the same as the saying of the Mimamsakas:   that the Deity is formed by the Mantra.

vedic vessel

vedic vessel

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 THE GENERAL MEANING OF THE MANTRA

  • Om to the One in the form of Brahman. As the word OM is indeclinable, it keeps the same syntax with all cases. As acclaimed in the Upanishads, the letter OM denotes Brahman.
  • Vacadbhuva – Vacatah “from one who speaks”, creates statements.   This is derived from Agni (god of sacred fire) in whose subtle form is the inner sense of ‘word’.
  • Bhu born, to Him Namah, salutation. It is well known that Skanda was born from Fire, Agni.
Agni

Agni

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TO BE CONTINUED.

FOOTNOTES: GANAPATI'S COMMENTARY CONTINUES ...
5 - Chandogya Upanishad (7:26:2) equates Sanatkumara with Skanda,
and says that he takes ashore across the (ocean of) ignorance, 
the pure soul with constant awareness.

6 - "Tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dimah
Dhiyo yo nah pracodayat" -
"We meditate upon that excellent splendour
of the Lord Savitr.  May he activate our thoughts."

7 - Badarayana is the author of the Brahma sutras.  This Sutra
IV.1.5 says that symbols are to be regarded as Brahman, and 
not vice versa.  An inferior object has to be looked upon as
symbolic of the superior.

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Ramana Maharshi

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**

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

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

aquariel link

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nilakantha and the Golden Constellation

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Sacred India Tarot - Ramana as Skanda son of Siva

Sacred India Tarot – Ramana as Skanda son of Siva

Tensions are imagination trapped in illusory codes. The tension appears to have the power to materialise, but it has no substance after the thought.   Whenever I get through a bit of rotten concrete I turn and see how weak it is. The human lower mind is powered mostly by negative apprehensions. This is why it became embedded in our psyche and expectation, that we have no power to see above the hedges or to change direction – no power of Magic.

There is a huge gulf between general human bedtime, and the real human nature to draw together the stars and move with them consciously, joyfully.   The power and the dawn and the history of Magic is simply … this! to take up my bed and walk.

The tapestry is the stars and the Great Heaven:  quantum unity. This theme of the tapestry is mirrored back to me from persons I move with, this week: things they say. My tiny thread-loop in the tapestry stands in the lane at night and looks up at the sky.

murmuration by jchip84

Starling murmuration by jchip84

Back in history, some priests got hold of Magic and began to manipulate aspects of it with a tendency which grew and grew.   For a while they had power and the passwords to re-shape people and environment beguilingly.   It concealed from them, the Power.   They lost sight and lived inside dark glasses to write history. Tension bred and grew, which obscures and fragments the Power.   The political world is ruled by Tension, which manifests nowadays all our yesterdays.   But I see the Power and I see the monster in the waves.   The Power is hauling it up and out to be seen.   Tension appears eternal (so does hell) but in due course it breaks and self destroys. It dismantles.  It is rotten concrete whose reinforcing wires get rusted and snap.

The Tension which obscures the Power is separative.   By “separative” I do not mean the sword-tip which parts the elements to live with and enhance each other, like brush strokes of colour.   “Separative” is the dreary default dream-like notion that I am an isolated object, and therefore powerless, a frightened wage slave, reading only the headlines.

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Robert and seek

The Power which dissolves the Tension, is “all there is”.   There is as Robert used to say – the power that knows the way.   I need only turn toward it voluntarily, and see.   This is metanoia: a word meaning ‘repent’, in the sense of ‘turn around to face the light’.   Whenever and wherever this happens in the world, those stars come out and form a constellation linking oceans: a golden net.

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I just came across this, in Katie Spero’s blog Let Yourself Learn: – together with a golden mountain and what happens when the subtle thread to your friend strengthens over the ocean:

“When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer
in his absence as the mountain to the climber
is clearer from the plain.”

Kahlil Gibran

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Siva - Rudra the Wild Hunter

Siva – Rudra the Wild Hunter

A Story – adapted from Alan Jacobs’ “Myths of Siva: Siva Nilakantha”

“Once upon a time the Gods in heaven and Demons in Hell formed a parliament. To create ambrosia, they planned to churn the Milky Way as if to make butter.  They tore great Mount Mandarva from its roots, for a churning stick; Vasuki, snake of the world became the rope.  

“As they whirled and stirred the celestial ocean, to their horror there rose to the surface, a hideous black oil-slick – Kalakuntha, the world’s poison:  Time itself.  The Gods and Devils in terror like smart young ladies seeing a mouse, appealed to Lord Siva. 

“Siva dipped his hands in the sea. Drinking the poison to the last drop, he held it in his lily  throat which – as if kissed by a serpent – turned a sinister peacock blue.   Now named Nilakantha, Blue-throated One, he retired to his cave in Mount Kailas.  All the sages and rishis made their pilgrimage.

kailas and manasarovar

kailas and manasarovar

 

“Ramana on Siva’s hill Arunachala says, ‘When the selfish thought returns to the Self, Self-awareness shines, distilled and pure:  the elixir of health and wholeness, ever enduring.’

ramana sketch

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“Mixing too much with the world, I swallowed poisons  churned up by confusing my activities, good and bad.   With a deep exhalation, I cleanse my body.   Drawing in fresh prana, I use that attention to dive within and find in my heart’s cave, Siva Nilakantha … ever illumining those who, from dreaded Kalakuntha, call upon His transmutation.”

Alan Jacobs 1993

 

“Within a cavern of  man’s trackless spirit
is thrown an image so intensely fair
that the adventurous thoughts that wander near it
worship, and as they kneel, tremble and wear
the splendour of its presence, and the light
penetrates their dreamlike frame
’till they become charged with the strength of flame.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Siva - Rudra Immerses

Siva – Rudra Immerses

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**

Gene Keys Golden Path Program

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

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

aquariel link

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

Sacred India Tarot Archive – the Suit of Staves – Ace

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The Sacred India Tarot bridges Indian yoga and mythology with western esoteric schools.

Tarot key 1 - the Magus - belongs here, to open a new Suit - the Suit of Wands.  His is the Intelligence of Transparency.  With the Wand in his right, he conducts the divine current.  His left hand indicates the garden.  In front of him are the tools for the Work.

Tarot key 1 – the Magus – belongs here, to open a new Suit – the Suit of Wands. His is the Intelligence of Transparency. With the Wand in his right, he conducts the divine current. His left hand indicates the garden. In front of him are the tools for the Work.

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SITA Sacred India Tarot 8 staves

Jane’s Notes – More than a decade has passed since Rohit and I worked on this suit.  Reviewing it, I see the essence of the Wands – the Staves in Indian mythology – as a warrior’s dance.  The action is martial but it moves with grace – for instance the wonderful episode which carries Rama and Sita across the sea to freedom and the homeland:  an End-of Karma card, as with the Eights in the other three Suits.

There is also the gesture of the multi-dimensional Ashwin Twins, children of the Sun – as they reach a long hand to the struggling mariner in the high seas.   We created a rare depiction of this stupendous and health giving deity.

SITA Sacred India Tarot Ashwins page of Staves -

We began to touch upon the martial art as a dance form, towards the end of the Suit of Arrows in this Archive (See Archive of all Posts, or use the Search button).  Returning through the Wands/Staves, the form and its focus matures, giving Rama the power to pierce the formidable Ravannah King of Demons.

There is an old Buddhist teaching:  the well placed stone.  Not how many stones you throw – but which one, and where it lands – in conversation and in dance, as well as in battle:  the Art of Life, the great middle way.

In the Indian sense, these pebbles are lingum, the Sign.

lingum

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Rohit’s Notes (2003)

“I have selected for this Suit of Wands, the Yuddha Kanda – the section of the Ramayana dealing with the battle to recover Sita from captivity in Lanka and its aftermath from the Ramayana.  We cannot deliver the whole epic in one Suit, but we can distil some essence from this archetypal chapter.  A Gnostic book I read says that, as well as their more traditional meaning as the Fire Suit, the Wands represent the air and the intellect, just as we suppose the Swords to do.  So we get multiple layers of meaning here.

“The Ramayana and Mahabharatha are not just India’s epics;  they are the national epics also of Java, Bali, Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand.  I would like to show by hinting at those costume styles, that Indian mythology like the Tarot, transcends local contexts and has universal relevance.  The Balinese look is spectacular, as this illustration shows.

“I like the tunic clad bearded Ravana;  it shows a sense of virile power instead of being grossly ugly and repulsive as most representations of Ravana are.  Perhaps the demons should be shown in this style all through?”

sundarakanda-chapter10

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Rohit’s Notes (2003): The story goes:  Rama in alliance with Sugriva king of the monkeys, and with Hanuman’s assistance, attacks Lanka where his wife Sita is held captive by the King of the Demons, Ravana.  Rama slays Ravana and rescues Sita who then undergoes an ordeal of fire in order to clear herself of the suspicion of infidelity.  At a later stage, Rama becomes imperilled by doubt, loses his trust in the feminine and banishes her to the forest where she meets the sage Valmiki.  Valmiki is the traditional author of the Ramayana and its seer.  In the forest, Sita gives birth to Rama’s two sons, but after having to again protest her innocence, asks to be received by the earth, which swallows her up.

Sita and the Earth

“Like Krishna in the Suit of Arrows, Rama is an avatar of Vishnu the Sustainer.  The poem is immensely popular in India, setting prototypes of a harmonious and just kingdom, conjugal love, filial and fraternal love.  Everything is designed for harmony which after being disrupted is at last regained.”

Jane’s Notes:
Significantly, this story is a multi-level parable.  For instance, Rama attains the ideal of wise government and conjugal happiness, but “loses” the plot when he drops to a lower level of the mind and its advisors.  The prototypes are self-sustaining, eternally.  They bide their time while the human reascends to their timeless horizon.  The woman, received into the earth, is the earth’s wisdom which births us.  All ideas which battle to the contrary, are time drawn out in fantasy.  This suit of Staves depicts some of the psychological uplifts and downdraughts between the Worlds.

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Rohit’s Notes – “Ace of Staves – Building the Stone Bridge over the Sea to Lanka – representing creative endeavour”

“We need to have a scene of frantic activity with a bridge of stone receding into the horizon over the sea, monkeys clambering about helping in the construction, and so on.  Rama, Laxmana and Hanuman can be shown supervising the operation.  This is not very popular as a scene in art, so we have only this vague reference to offer.  Please feel free to use your imagination.

SITA staves visual reference stone bridge

“The scene of Sagara the ocean offering to help Rama may also be used as a reference.  The Single wand could be a fiery flaming arrow that Rama holds and threatens to release into the ocean to dry it up, so that the building of the bridge is not hampered.  Perhaps it would be best to combine Sagara before Rama and bridge-building as one composite scene.  The bow held in Rama’s hand in the sculpture panel does look remarkably like a wand anyway!”

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Jane’s Notes – An observation:  The immense labour in building up a causeway of stones in the sea, to access the higher dharma dimension.  This is our human way, committed to our real relationships as well to sadhana and all creative endeavours – the sweat of our brow, the fruit of our lives.   Interestingly when Rama returns with Sita, they are borne effortlessly by the dimension attained through Ravana’s defeat !  (See 8 of Staves, pictured above.)

The initial work itself reminds me of this painting:

Rubicon 63 - Building a Jetty 1986:  the beginning of the process, with all its friends and backers and a salutary shipwreck nearby!

Rubicon 63 – Building a Jetty 1986: the beginning of the process, with all its friends and backers and a salutary shipwreck nearby.  This was about relationships, the ache and hunger of the soul for connection.  The island the jetty is being built from looks like a mushroom cloud, but was based on the Alet headland near St Malo in Brittany.

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Rohit’s Notes – from the Book with the Deck
“The impossible is suddenly prosaic reality:  a bridge has been built upon the ocean.  The demon king Ravana was secure in his island fortress of Lanka – the city of gold bounded by the impassable sea.  Ravana who has kept the kidnapped Sita wife of Rama prisoner in Lanka, is shockingly confronted with the unbelievable news and unthinkable consequences.

“… The Ace of Staves sears away the illusions and delusions dear to the heart;  it forces a creative and ultimately more integral response to the challenge of life.  If one persists in the old ways, the consequences are swift and harsh as one of Rama’s weapons.  This colossal feat was accomplished with the help of his great brother Laxmana and his simian-like Vanara allies – magical creatures of equal, if not greater accomplishment than humans … Such unorthodox brilliance in the swift use of resources, the sheer chutzpah of conception and execution, is typical of the Staves energy…   The Staves are only apparently disruptive, and integrate the churned situation at a higher level of consciousness. 

“In a reading:  Situations unfold at bewildering speed.  Vision and visionaries:  energy, fiery and swift;  resiliance and enduring courage, stimulating thinkers.   Shadow:  low creative energy, or misapplication – frustration and delays, over-commitment at all levels, sexual imbroglios.  There is no need to take on the world.  Are you running away with yourself and your enthusiasm?  Conversely, what is the strangest, weirdest thing you could do to get this done?

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Here is the finished card:

Sacred India Tarot - the Ace of Staves

Sacred India Tarot – the Ace of Staves

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Correspondence – Rohit to Jane
“Ace of Wands – There is nothing significant I would like to change in this card as it has a very unusual other worldly element to it.  Supernatural events are manifestly taking place as we look.  The monkey in the picture can be safely regarded as Sugriva or any one of the innumerable simian hordes who supported Rama.  When portraying Hanuman he should be white in colour as he was an albino monkey, very handsome and muscular with warrior’s helm and holding a mace or even hammer. (See Sacred India Tarot, Knight of Arrows in this series.) The hammer might be a strange choice but I have actually seen pictures of him holding one, and it would be a refreshing change to the normal depiction of Hanuman.

“A very small point that did not occur to me until I saw it.  Rama is shown with Vaishantha forehead markings, in acknowledgement of his being an avatar Vishnu, but he was personally a devotee of Siva, having in fact just established the famous Rameshwaram Siva temple by the Ocean before the events of this card.  It would make a good point about tolerance and the peculiar Hindu genius to meld and assimilate, if Rama was shown with Shaiva markings on the forehead.  I never thought about this point as I did not anticipate any such depiction, but now that it has emerged, it will significantly deepen the spiritual and cultural aspects of the suit.  In all other respects, the card is perfect.”

Shaivite Tilak Hindu Shiva Devotee

Unfortunately I do not seem to have taken this on board for the finished card;  all the better to mention the detail here.

Shaivite-M

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

Rohit Arya
Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}. He has also written A Gathering of Gods. He is a corporate trainer, a mythologist and vibrant speaker as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga.
Earlier posts about the deck, including the first 15 Major Arcana archives are in http://aryayogi.wordpress.com The deck is copyrighted (c) 2011 to the publishers, Yogi Impressions Books pvt, and available also on Amazon and internationally.

Jane Adams
My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.
This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books).

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

Sacred India Tarot Archive: Arrows Queen & King – Draupadi and Garuda

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Shape shifter - Eagle King (2002)

Shape shifter – Eagle King (2002)

With the Queen and King of Swords (Arrows), this suit transmutes to its creative realm of power and grace – Indra’s thunder and Draupadi’s forest magic.

Sit in the forest and hear the rainfall: the swords of the sunlight, reaching earth.  Throughout the suit of Arrows which express the Laws of Heaven, we lived, accepted and illumined our Shadow.  As often said before in this series, the Arrow turns into a Wand – a staff of authority – powered by eagles’ feather.

caduceus, staff of hermes

Rohit’s Notes – 2004 “Some things about Draupadi are very clear.  She was fantastically intelligent, very beautiful and a very tough cookie.  She was also in all the descriptions rather voluptuous, and – we need to be very careful about this – her skin was black.  

“In fact, her first name was Krishnaa – the feminine of Krishna –  and it means the same thing: Black.  She had extremely long unbounded hair.  She is like the Queen of pentacles, but without the softness;  a more intense, slightly angry expression, as her temper was famous, and holding a bow and arrow as she also practiced archery.  Her dark skin is essential;  for too long, India has depicted her with peaches and cream.  She should be clad in sky blue clothing.  She had a peculiar preference to stand and dispute matters with her husbands the Pandava princes instead of sitting down.  So she should be standing upright, perhaps leaning on her bow.”

Vedic bow and arrow

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Jane’s Notes – This Queen is liberated from prejudice and cruelty to the feminine.  She is no copy or competitor of the male.   She stands in her strength and knowledge, having loved her men, carried their children and won her battles.  She has in her the hidden force of the forest, the earth and the stars.   Her consort is the Eagles’ strength and vision, riding the skies and watching the rivers.

This woman bears fruit, wherever she is not demonised by civil wars, religious dogma and the media.  The shadow of sexual ignorance, inflation and persecution is still a core wound of our world today, in every form of waste and tribal conflict.  But the liberated core eros, the rose of life in men and women, is human evolution … and wide like an eagle to the sky, it opens wings.

Look within my mind, when it is closed.   Whose battle standard do I blindly follow?  Whom am I taught, by political Spin, to hate? – where do I vote with the herd, without knowing?   The Spin-word is interesting, implying the random placement of a gaming wheel.  I borrow my opinions from other opinions, and put my stake on them.

This woman has no stake, but truth.   Do you dare?

SITA visual reference - Draupadi

SITA visual reference – Draupadi

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Rohit’s Notes – from his Book with the Deck: “One of the greatest and saddest women in Indian myth is Draupadi – the dark beauty – the daughter born of Divine fire to King Drupada.  She is one of the five exemplars of chaste, wifely devotion (the original meaning of Siva’s first wife Sati) and yet her Karma caused her to simultaneously have five brothers as husbands. 

Sacred India Tarot - Krishna in Mahabharatha

Sacred India Tarot – Krishna in Mahabharatha – Detail

“In an age of polygamy, rife with hatred and jealousy, Draupadi was universally acclaimed for not only living in peace with her husbands and their co-wives, but for having gained their overwhelming love and respect too.  For everyone she was the pinnacle. 

“The inspiring eloquence that characterised her speech gave her the best lines in the Mahabaratha epic.  Her best friend and only intellectual equal of the day was the god Krishna.  Draupadi was as great a warrior as her husband Arjuna, as wise as his eldest brother Yudhistara, as tempestuous and generous as the middle brother Bhima, as versed in statecraft and the arts as the youngest twins, her husbands Nakula and Sahadeva, and yet left doubting if any of them really loved her.

“She was also the most beautiful woman of her time, and her great spiritual powers had rendered her eternally youthful.  The epitomy of grace under pressure, she would not however, forgive and forget lightly.  Every injury and slight had to be avenged, preferably in blood, and crossing her was normally a death sentence.  Yet she could display a calm mercy when everybody was seething for blood; her most magnificent moment being sparing the life of her childrens’ murderer.

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“In a reading:  Hugely talented and capable people … having tasted sorrow, they prefer to go it alone.   Independent action and thought … Extremely charming and persuasive but … very combative on behalf of those they like, of for issues they believe in … Cannot be manipulated or emotionally blackmailed.

“Shadow – neglectful in relationships, especially of children …   Intolerant and troubled.  Detached misleading flirtation which lands other persons in hot water.  Divorce, separated, widowed, multiple relationships or the energy thereof … Cold fury if crossed.  Dangerous enemy.   Are you trying to do everything by yourself?   Unlucky in love?  Do you need to manifest your strength and not depend on others?”

I drew these two Queens (and many others) when I was about eight years old.

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SACRED INDIA TAROT – Queen Draupadi of Arrows is a wild dark huntress, like Diana in the west – a formidable encounter for any unprepared male. Note the snake around the sinuous tree. The publishers of the deck requested she wear pantaloons, respecting the conventions in contemporary Indian art; but here is the original drawing.

Sacred India Tarot - Queen Draupadi of Arrows

Sacred India Tarot – Queen Draupadi of Arrows

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Through the Royals in the Suit of Arrows, a shape-shifting occurs, as the animal kingdom – the animal soul – becomes integrated and uplifted into human consciousness.   Hanuman the Knight  embodies the simian intelligence, loyalty and strength – our ancient vital thread in the gene pool.

Garuda the King has an eagle’s face and wings.

Eagle King shape shift 2

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As a friend of mine wrote:  “the dung of the eagle flies higher than we do.  The dung of the ox falls deeper than we do.”  We ignore or disrespect our elder animal nature at our peril.  We know very little of our ancient Friend.  We try to make a pet of it.

In Pullman’s His Dark Materials, each human (rightly) was companioned by his or her animal daemon, furred or feathered:  our essential gravity..

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Rohit’s Notes (2004)  “I am prepared to go with Garuda instead of Yudhishtara (original choice).  The two Kings of the Air could be Garuda and Indra, both atmospheric AIR signs, which is after all the suit of arrows.  The illustrations depicting Garuda and Indra could be used as a base, though Indra should probably be shown in profile.

SITA visual reference from comic book - Indra & Garuda

SITA visual reference from comic book – Indra & Garuda

Correspondence – Rohit “Gautam, we need a picture of a vajra, the thingie that is on top of our meditation bell.  I will try and bring pictures with me.  Do a search of Tibetan vajras on the net.  Garuda articles and the Garudra Indra picture from the comic we have scanned already so that is no problem.  Take a picture of your Garuda and send it to Jane.

Tibetan Vajra

Tibetan Vajra

 “Indra’s Vajra could be drawn in a somewhat Tibetan style.  Garuda could be shown conventionally, but the colours should be carefully maintained.  Golden body, white eagle face and blood red wings characterise him.  Indra can be clad in the white silver and blue to depict his role as Lord of the sky and winds and rain.

“I prefer to go with this option, because we get Indra who was after all a major player in the Vedic faith into the pack, and we also get Garuda in, and he is the ‘Michael’ archetype as seen by Indian eyes.”

Shape shifter - Eagle king 3.  These shape shifters had an Egyptian archetype in mind, but serve as well to develop the concept of Garuda.

Shape shifter – Eagle king 3. These shape shifters when I drew them, had an Egyptian archetype in mind, but serve as well to develop the concept of Garuda.

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From Rohit Arya’s Book with the Deck:  “Garuda the senior servant of Vishnu, and Hanuman the junior servant, are the strongest of the strong powers in the universe.  However, both these great beings have dedicated their lives to service instead of using their powers to rule over the cosmos … 

“Garuda the cosmic Eagle was the child of the rishi Kashyapa.  Between his mother Vinata and her co-wife Kadru, mother of serpents, there was sufficient bad blood and malice for Vinata to become Kadru’s slave.  To ransom her, Garuda undertook the forcible removal of amrit – elixir of immortality and source of the power of the devas.  This brought him into reluctant conflict with the Indra, King of the Devas.  Indra chose discretion as the better part of valour, and made an ally of Garuda, craftily blessing him with eternal rights over snakes as his food!

“Garuda’s strength is so megatherian, that one single feather of his wings can hold up a planet.  Behind the titanic roaring of his wings can be heard the eternal hymns of the Vedas.  His unblinking eyes denote his conquest of sleep, and his infallible gaze penetrates all.  His aura blazes like the fires of cosmic destruction.  Repeating his name thrice keeps snakes away at night … 

In a reading:  Mentors and guides. Wise and knowledgeable about human nature.  Powerful analytical mind and … unexpected sense of humour.   More head than heart.  Intolerance of restrictions and conventionality … Good at romance, but it doesn’t interest him!  Values respect over likeability, knowledge over feelings, lofty ideals.  Fierce warriors if need be.

Shadow:  Easily bored and mind scatters itself … Exaggerated lone-wolf attitudes – don’t involve me.  Fine judgement becomes judging others … the fearsome mind is a weapon used to wound.

“People would like you, even love you, if you gave them a chance.  Unbend and relax a little.  Sometimes the most intelligent thing may be to listen to your heart.”

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Durga shoots buffalo king

Durga shoots buffalo king Mahisha.

Among hunter communities of the Pandyan lands, whenever the community experienced hardships, they used to choose a young girl from among their clan, decorated her like Durga, and worshiped her as Mahishasura-mardhini, the one who killed Mahisha, the buffalo.  One of the decorative features of this girl was that an eye was painted on her forehead.  (Reference: http://frontiers-of-anthropology.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/guest-blogger-jayasree-is-vedic.html )

I include this snippet, because the Eagle’s ascent through Garuda IS the opening of the third eye, as seen in the sketches and in the finished painting below.

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In the end, I chose to let Indra be Garuda’s “celestial background”.  Garuda is Master of the skies and Indra is the lightning flash.

SACRED INDIA TAROT – The King of Arrows:  Garuda is half an eagle. His human face is a double eagle, as in alchemy. The eagle’s vision flies as high as the serpents travel deep.

Guided by Indra’s Lightning, Garuda is a great ruler. He balances Planet Earth lightly on a feather, raises his arrow like the Queen of Justice in the west, and contains his Yogic ojas – the male seed. Before him, the Caducean pair of serpents rest on the ground, entwined.

Sacred India Tarot - King Garuda of Arrows

Sacred India Tarot – King Garuda of Arrows

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Correspondence:  Gautam and Rohit to Jane – 2 March 2005 “Hi Jane, herewith Rohit’s feedback.  Warm regards, Gautam.”

“Gautam, the Garuda with the Indra looking over his shoulder is fantastic.  The Draupadi is very good too – as good – though she will need a dhoti-trouser instead of the mini she is currently wearing. Otherwise she will be confused with tribal Rakshasee Hidambas, mother of Ghatkolkacha, son of Bheema.  Like with Durga, the dhoti-trouser look is best, both authentic as well as uncontroversial.  Also, people will not buy a poster of a Draupadi in a mini skirt.  But the way she has been captured – this is the real Draupadi.  

“Fantastic cards.   Rohit.”

female golden eagle returns to nest.  www.nickdunlop.com

female golden eagle returns to nest. http://www.nickdunlop.com

I like to see this great Mother come back as she always does, to nest and feed her little King.  Garuda, Indra and Draupadi – may You go forth, and may our heart and eye and mind remain wide open to Your blessing and freedom.

Vedic Hymns to Indra

In the ascending slope of the mountains,
in the confluence of the streams,
by the Goddess-understanding the sage was born.

Hence being conscious at the summit
he looks down upon the sea
from which vibrating, he stirs.

Then they see the morning light
of the primordial seed when beyond Heaven
it is enkindled.

The imperious hawk, the song bird taking the stalk,
the joyous delight from the beyond, brought the Soma.
Godlike, the bird grasped it firmly,
which he had received from the highest heaven.

The hawk took the Soma he received
through a thousand times ten thousand effusions.
Thus the Goddess of bountiful intelligence abandoned the ungiving;
in the ecstasy of Soma she in wisdom
abandoned the foolish.

“The knowledge of the Self is the hawk or eagle, the bird of the Sun, the free spirit.  It carries the highest bliss, which it effuses infinitely.  The Goddess of bountiful intelligence is the consort or mind of Indra, our own soul that is released through this knowledge of the Divine I am, the I am All …”

Translation and commentary by David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri) “Wisdom of the Ancient Seers” Motilal Banarssidas, Delhi, 1994)

Indra

Indra

The Sacred India Tarot Archive series in this blog will conclude with the Suit of Wands (Staves) – episodes from the Ramayana epic, including the crossing to Sri Lanka to liberate Sita from the demon Ravanna.

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

Rohit Arya

Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}. He has also written A Gathering of Gods. He is  a corporate trainer, a mythologist and vibrant speaker as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga. 

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

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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 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 – the Page of Arrows and Hanuman

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Caduceus, Hermes Trismegistus

Continuing the Archive of the deck, by Jane Adams and Rohit Arya.

It is nearly four months since my last SITA post. To recap:  Through the Royal Page, Knight, Queen and King, the Swords/Arrows of Karma transform to the coming suit of Staves – the Rods or Wands.

The Wand or Stave is actually the Caduceus, serpent twined – the authority by which Moses struck water from the rock.

The implication is: we enter an agreement with our Inner Ruler, to integrate our destiny.

The transfer of the power in Mahabharath, occurs through the 10 of Swords, when King Bheeshma dying, instructs Yudishtara in the art and laws of government. All mythologies bear the human tale, including precognition and betrayals.

In the 10 of Swords, the old King’s “overwhelming” transmutes to Consciousness, as the blades enter his awakened Kundalini spine: the feeling is no longer pain. It yields. Knowledge awakes when tension against it drops. The snakes enter me. I enter the snakes. We flower, as the room is opened.

This is initiation:  peace. I now discover, the Royals – Page, Knight, Queen and King of Arrows – are all of a piece with these perceptions.

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SACRED INDIA TAROT - Pages of Arrows

SACRED INDIA TAROT – Pages of Arrows

The Pages move together in alert reconciliation. They are Archers, but the truce between them is a Sword.

This card recalls the 2 of Arrows, where the young Bheeshma in training to become a warrior, fights with his teacher.  The Pages seem to usher in a new age, where divisions turn into co-operatives.

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Rohit Arya’s Notes (2004)
“It is interesting that we have another twin set for the Pages.” (See the Pages of Staves, which were done earlier). “Nakula and Sahadeva are the nearly invisible members of the Mahabharatha, sons of the Ashwins, our Pages of Wands.  Yet both of them were very intelligent and capable, true Renaissance men, skillful, adept, wise, eloquent.  Sahadeva was widely held to be the most intelligent of all men once Bheeshma died, and Nakula was always the most handsome man on planet earth. 

“They were, as befits children of the Ashwins, great horsemen too, so they should be depicted astride steeds.  Like all pages their potential was never fully visible, though their gift of the gab and diplomatic skills served Yudishtara (their elder brother) well, when he became King.  Both of them were also archers, though they preferred the sword.  That automatically ensured their lower status in bow-crazy India.

Rohit’s book continues:  “Being universally liked, handsome and the youngest, they suffered the fate of favourite children in India – they were pampered and indulged till they almost became useless.  It is reflective of their vigorous characters, that they still turned out to be such renaissance men.

“Interpretation:  Skillful people – dexterous and creative, with supple imaginations.  News about legal matters or government.   Silver tongued speakers … they are not taken in or fooled by glitter or honey tongued words.  Precocious young people of high intelligence:  internet friendships.  Ability to convey blunt truths without offending people.  

Shadow:  – the born spy and gossip, snoopy and sneaky for one’s personal pleasure. Stir up fuss in seeking to reconcile … anonymous letters.  Confidence tricksters.   Act decisively upon information, instead of nattering away.  Read all documents and contracts carefully.  What information do you lack?”

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I cannot find any of our letters regarding this card, but here is a visual reference Rohit sent me for the next one, the Knight – Hanuman:

SITA visual reference - Hanuman

SITA visual reference – Hanuman

Rohit’s Notes (2004):
“The depiction is comprehensive in the given visual, and needs only an arrow in one of his hands, as well as changing the colour of his fur to pure white, as that is the accurate colour of Hanuman. A somewhat wiser expression on his face might not be amiss: in the picture he looks strained.  Hanuman is present in the Mahabharatha too” (the Arrows theme) ” and it is too good an opportunity to pass up, to give him a full card to himself.

“This is the Vishwarupam – the Universal Form – and powerful enough to need only minor tinkering.  A sense of winds howling through, depicted in flapping flags, would be nice if it can be managed, but it is not absolutely necessary.”

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and feedback to the finished card (below):
“Dear Jane, The Hanuman looks slightly ancient, but as he is immortal that is understandable.  He looks like the Colossus of Rhodes, and it is a great touch.  However, while it is a very different Hanuman, a wise ancient warrior, to a few we showed the card, they did not realise it is Hanuman.  Do you think we need the standard face?

 Do let us have your views, as we like the card as it is, but the ‘recognition’ factor is (not) there.  Rest of the card is perfect except, perhaps making him look a bit more muscular?

“Regards, Gautam and Rohit”

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Jane’s Notes – 2014
I do not now remember what alterations I made, if any.   This is one of my favourite cards of the deck.  He steps from land to land, faithful to the cause, and trusting in his giant intelligence.  Indeed he has a venerable air.   Most depictions of Hanuman are considerably more youthful …

SACRED INDIA TAROT - Knight of Arrows - Hanuman

SACRED INDIA TAROT – Knight of Arrows – Hanuman

With him, we transit from the Suit of Arrows (Mahabharath) to the Suit of Wands/Staves – the great Ramayana epic.

Hanuman the monkey god – crossing the sea from southern India to jewelled Lanka to help Rama rescue Sita – carries a rosebud and displays great mental and intellectual energy. He is of a par with the agile chessboard Knight’s lateral thinking, where everyone else travels in straight lines. The mind is our wonderful servant; but let him not become the dark dwarf. The dwarves in the underworld play the market with cunning, but do not release their treasure.

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Rohit writes – (in his book with the deck): “Hanuman, son of Vayu – the wind god – as a young boy he was a holy terror, but grew up to become the exemplar of self-restraint, wisdom and judicious application of strength.  He has supreme siddhis – supernatural powers – but his greatest asset is his astuteness.  He is the ideal devotee of Rama, eternally celibate ad immortal.

“Hanuman is an incarnation of Siva in his Rudra aspect:  storms and lightning herald his approach to mortal eyes.  He is not a monkey but a Vanara, a mythical race with simian attributes belonging to a superior culture and civilisation.”

(It is that elder nobility which I sought to portray in my painting of him.)

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child siva snake - art work for a Self-enquiry workshop, 1994

child siva dragon lion camel – art work for a Self-enquiry workshop, 1994

“… Hanuman is worshipped as the saviour from troubles.  Knowing fully well the imbroglios that whims and wilfulness land a person in, Hanuman compassionately forgives and aids humans.  

“The flag of victory signifies his invinciibility:  the arrow, his unerring and penetrative insight.  The axe compassionately cuts away the tree of delusion.  The conch represents prana – the vital breath (and its shared root with thought) which he has mastered.  The flower is the self, surrendered at the feet of God.  One hand is hidden, as we may never presume to know all about immortal things.

visual reference, bow-arrow 

“The card shows him in his Vishvarupa – the universal form, the strength of wisdom pervading all quarters.

“Interpretation:  The born warrior, especially in noble causes.  Unexpected connections with new sets of people, become important in life.  Extremely astute – sees through people and their pretences instantly.  A tireless champion and fighter against injustice and for the weak.  Laser sharp minds, but emotionally oblivious sometimes.  Steadfast work towards goals.  

“Shadow:  Fighting for its own sake, because one can win – impulsive and breathtaking rashness.  Does not suffer fools gladly, and sees fools everywhere:  too clever by half.  Anger conceals low self image … wastes energy in cranky causes … toxic anger … all aspects connected with breathing are impacted. 

“Yoking yourself to a cause greater than your personal benefit, has immense spiritual rewards and makes you grow psychologically.  Always act forcefully and in awareness.”

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And finally …

Sacred India Tarot, Major Arcana 8 - Varuna

Sacred India Tarot, Major Arcana 8 – Varuna as “Justice”

I did not know till now, that Varuna, the Vedic god of the winds, of prana and of cosmic equilibrium, was Hanuman’s father.  Recently I have felt a subtle energy with this card.

(Actually – see Comments below – this is my error.  Hanuman is the son of Vayu of the winds – not Varuna.) 

I felt “the Inner Ruler”:  the staff of the skies.

At source … in our dawn, all Ways were one.  The Vedic Seers were and are universal; they sat under trees, saw the planets, wrote their Hymns and raised their families.  Their faces are like clouds which form in the sky.  When I painted this Varuna, back in 2002, an old Egyptian Master came through the veil into his features, and made this contact with me.

I felt the connection like a plucked string.  It was startling.

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

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

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

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