Monday, December 30, 2013

Pradosha Mahatmyam

From Shiva Purana

Kailasa shaila bhuvane thri jaga janithreem,
Gowreedha nivesye kanakanchitha rathna peete,
Nrutham vidhthu mabhi vanchithi Soolapanau,
Deva Pradosha samaye anubhajanthi sarve. 

During the time of Pradosha,
The Lord who holds the trident,
Makes Goddess Gowri,
Who is the mother of all the three worlds,
Sit on a golden seat inlaid with precious gems,
And prepares to dance himself,
And all the devas sing his praise at this time.
Vagdevi drutha vallaakee sathamukho
venum dhadhan padmaja,
Sthallo nidhra karo ramaa bhagawathi,
geya prayogaanvithaa,
Vishnu saandra mrudanga vaadana patur
devas samanthath sthithaa,
Sevanthe thamara pradosha samaye
devam mrudaaneepathim. 

The goddess of Knowledge plays Veena,
The hundred faced Indra plays the flute,
The Brahma who was born in a lotus keeps time,
The Goddess Lakshmi starts to sing,
The God Vishnu plays the drum with ease,
And all the devas stand all round in service,
And pray Lord Shiva during the time of pradosha.
Gandarwa Yaksha patha goraga siddha saadhya.
Vidhyadaraamaraapsaraso ganaascha,
Yeanyethi loka nilaya saha bhootha varga,
Prapthe pradosha samaye hara parswa samstha.

When the time of Pradosha arrives,
Gandarwas, Yakshas, birds, snakes, saints,
Vidhyadaras, devas, the celestial dancers, Bhoothas,
And all the beings in the three worlds,
Come and stand near The Lord Shiva.
Atha pradoshe shiva eka eva,
Poojyodhananye hari padmajadhya,
Thasmin mahese vidhinejyamane,
Sarve praseedanthi suradhi natha. 

So at the time of Pradosha,
There is need to worship only Shiva,
Instead of Vishnu , Brahma and others,
For the proper worship of Lord Shiva then,
Would give the effect of worshipping all gods.
Lokanahooya sarvaan vividha damarukair gora samsara magnan,
Dathwaabheetham dayalu pranatha bhava

haram kunchitham vaama bhaagam,
Uddruthyedham vimukherayanamithi

karadarshayan prathyayartham,
Bibradwanhim sabhaayaam kalaathi

natanam ya shivo na sa paayal. 
Let us be protected by that dancing Shiva,
Who uses the various sounds of the shaking drum,
To call all those people drowned in the fearful life,
Who indicates protection to them using his right hand held down, Who lifts his left leg capable of killing all sorrows, to those who fall at his feet, Who indicates the path of salvation by his left hand held up, and Who shows that all this is true by carrying fire in the other left hand,
Sathyam braveemi, paraloka hitham braveemi,
Saaram braveemi upanishadyadhyam braveemi,
Samsaramuthbanamasar vaapya jantho,
Saroyameeswarapadhamburuhasya seva. 

I tell the truth,
I tell what is good for the other world,
I tell the views of the Upanishads,
For every insignificant animal that is born,
The only meaningful thing is the service to God.

Translated by P. R. Ramachander


Friday, December 27, 2013

To study the self

To study the Buddha way is to study the self.
To study the self is to forget the self.
To forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things [i.e., everything].
To be enlightened by the ten thousand things is to free one’s body and mind, and those of others.
---by Dogen Zenji

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Before You

By Sharafuddin Maneri

Before your Unique Being, there is neither old nor new:
Everything is nothing, nothing at all! Yet He is what He is.
How then can we remain separate from You?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

They Know You Not

By François Fénelon

They know you not, my God, who regard you as an all-powerful Being, separate from themselves, giving laws to all nature, and creator of everything that we see; they know you only in part! They do not know that which is most marvellous and which concerns your rational creatures most closely! To know that you are the God of my heart, that you do there what pleases you: this it is that elevates and affects me! When I am good, it is because you make me so; not only do you turn my heart as you please, but you give me a heart like your own! It is yourself that you love in me; you are the life of my soul as my soul is the life of my body; you are more intimately present to me than I am to myself; this I, to which I am so attached and which I have so ardently loved, ought to be strange to me in comparison with you; you are the bestower of it; without you it never would have been; and so it is that you desire I should love you better than it.
O incomprehensible power of my Creator! O rights of the Creator over the creature which the creature will never sufficiently comprehend! O prodigy of love which God alone could perform! God interposes himself as it were, between me and myself; he separates me from myself; he desires to be nearer to me by his pure love than I am to myself. He would have me look upon this "me" as a stranger; he would have me escape from its walls, sacrifice it whole to him, returning it absolutely and unconditionally to him from whom I received it. What I am ought certainly to be less precious to me than he by whom I am.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Vinayagar Agaval

By Avaiyar

The anklets on the red lotus feet
of the cool baby elephant
sing many songs.
The golden waist chain and fine skirts
resting upon his rainbow waist
beautifully shining.

His weighty tusk!

His elephant face
and the auspicious orange mark
is easy to perceive.

Five hands, goad and noose,
his body of deep blue
has made my breast its home.

His hanging mouth,
four sets of shoulders,
three eyes,
and three musk trails...

His two ears,
with golden hair shining,
and three threads intertwined
upon his glowing breast...

He is the true knowledge:
Turiya, the Sleepless Sleep,
goes beyond
the word's meaning.

has stood personified
as the Wish-fulfilling Tree!
As the Bull Elephant!

He who rides the mouse
sniffs out the three fruits.
I begged him,
"Take me now...
as your servant!"

He appeared as a mother
and showered his grace upon me.
Cleaved from me
the confusion that...
"Once born, I shan't die."

Thus the pristine
and primal letters five
shall unite with me.
Shall came and enter my heart.

Assuming the Guru's guise
and keeping a sacred foot
upon this Earth,
he establishes life's meaning.

He joyously bestowed the grace
of the Path of No-Suffering.

Wielding his tusk as a weapon,
he weeds out
the cruel fruits of action.

My ears devour his teaching
without ever being filled.

He reveals the insatiable
Clarity of Wisdom.
The means to master the five senses.

He has sweetly graced me
with joyous compassion.

He proclaimed
that single thought
which shrinks
the delusionary power of the senses.

Putting an end
to this birth
and the next,
he has removed darkness,
and graced me with all
the four stages of mukti.

He cuts off the delusion
of the three impurities.

With one mantra
he showed how
the Nine Openings
and the Five Sense Doors
can be shut...

This is the Ankusha 
of the six chakras:

Without stopping...
Standing firmly...
Let idle chatter be discarded.

He announced the letter
of the Idylla and Pingala
and showed that the end
of the Circle's Edge
is in the skull.

The snake hangs
on the pillar
that is the junction
of the three realms.

He helped me realize
it's tongue.

In the Kundalini
one joins the silence...

It breaks open...
and the mantra that rises up
comes out
because of his teaching.

The rising flame,
breaking out of Muladhara,
is caused to rise
by the wind.

Born of the single thought
which he has taught.

He related...
The state of drinking Amrita,
The movements of the Sun,
& the character of
The One Who Favors the Lily (the Moon).

He revealed
the 8+8 facets
of Vishudha Chakra
along with all the qualities
of my bodies wheels.

He sweetly graced me
with the ability to contemplate
the six faces gross
and the four faces subtle.

He enabled me to perceive
the subtle body,
and gain the darshan
of the Eight States.

He has revealed
within my mind
the Skull's Gate,
and given the sweet grace
of being established in mukti.

He made me know myself.
He showered me with grace.
He pulled out past karma...
by its root.

Without a single word or thought
my mind is one with him.

He has concentrated my mind,
clarified my intellect,
and said,
"Light and Darkness
share a common place."

He presses me down
into the grace giving ecstasy.

In my ear
he renders limitless bliss.

He has weeded out all difficulty
and shown the path of grace.

He has revealed Sada Shiva
within the sound.
He has revealed the Shiva Lingam
within the mind.

And he has revealed that...
The smaller than the smallest,
The larger that the largest,
stands within
like ripe sugarcane.

He made me understand
the role of the ash
smeared on the brows
of the devotees merged in truth,
with whom
he made me

He made both heart and mind
achieve the state of knowing
the precious meaning
of the Five Letters.

Having given to me
the True Nature of All Existence...

I am ruled
by the wise Vinayagar...

at whose feet
I take refuge.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Heart of the Dance

Any symbol is unable to capture it in describing the One who transcends all. But it is a incredibly perfect symbol. Perfect and of Perfection. The wonderful symbiosis of the depth of stillness and whirling motion is a paradox of Eternity and Time. Shiva is Kala that means time, but also Shiva is Mahakala - Eternity. His eternal dance manifests itself everywhere and in all, from the movement of the planets to the constitution of our cells, molecules and atoms but in the centre is an absolute and unchanging calmness. And where is this centre? How can we to reach it? Really, how it's possible for that being, lying at His feet? That jiva is separated from Him or all is Shiva-leela here? Whatever that may appear to us as separate parts of one image is but an illusion that arises because of our experience of duality. And in our subtle vestures we can hear the rhythm of Shiva's cosmic dance and find what seemed a conflict resolved not into static form but into perpetual motion, streaming out ceaselessly with no limit from the still point at the very centre of the heart.  And ananda tandava, the cosmic dance expressing His divine totality, is danced within every human heart. What is this awesome mystery that is taking place within us? Who can express it in words? I cannot, therefore I just repeat my picture only.

 We move and change in Shiva's dance. But the things which change are not our real life. Within us there is another body, another beauty. It belongs to that heart of Light which never changes. May God give us an opportunity to opening the way to the dance's central point, to Truth.


Chidambareswara Stotram

Krupa samaudram, sumukham, trinethram,
Jadadaharam, Parvathi vama bhagam,
Sada shivam, rudramanantha roopam,
Chidambaresam hrudhi bhavayami. 1
I meditate on that Lord of Chidambaram,
Who is the ocean of mercy,
Who has a pleasant mien,
Who has three eyes,
Who has matted locks,
Who keeps Parvathy on his left side,
Who is ever peaceful,
And who is limitless and angry.
Vachamatheetham phani bhooshanangam,
Ganesa thatham dhanadasya mithram,
Kandarpa nasam, Kamlothpalaksham,
Chidambaresam hrudhi bhavayami. 2
I meditate on that Lord of Chidambaram,
Who is beyond words,
Who wears the serpent as ornament,
Who is the father of Ganesa,
Who is the friend of Kubhera,
Who destroys pride,
And who has eyes like the lotus flower.
Ramesavandhyam rajathadrinatham,
Sri vamadevam bhava dukhanasam,
Rakshakaram rakshasa peedithanam,
Chidambaresam hrudhi bhavayami. 3
I meditate on that Lord of Chidambaram,
Who is worshipped by Lord Vishnu,
Who is the lord of the silver mountain,
Who judges and awards punishments,
Who destroys the sorrow of the future,
And who protects those troubled by rakshasas.
Devathidevam jagadeka nadam.
Devesa vandyam sasi ganda choodam,
Gowri sametham krutha vigna daksham,
Chidambaresam hrudhi bhavayami. 4
I meditate on that Lord of Chidambaram,
Who is the lord of all devas.
Who is the one lord of the universe,
Who is worshipped by Indra,
Who wears the crescent of the moon,
Who is with goddess Gowri,
And who stopped the yaga of Daksha.
Vedanthavedhyam, Sura vairi vignam,
Shubhapradam bhakthimadantharanam,
Kaalanthakam sri karuna kadaksham,
Chidambaresam hrudhi bhavayami. 5
I meditate on that Lord of Chidambaram,
Who is the ultimate end of Vedas,
Who destroys enemies of devas,
Who blesses with good his devotees,
Who killed the god of death,
And who has a merciful look.
Hemadri chapam trigunathmabhavam,
Guhathmajam vyagrapureesamadhyam,
Smasana vasam, vrusha vaha nadam,
Chidambaresam hrudhi bhavayami. 6
I meditate on that Lord of Chidambaram,
Who made the golden mountain as his bow,
Who is the soul principle of three qualities,
Who is the father of Lord Subhramanya,
Who is the lord of the town of tiger,
Who lives in cremation ground,
And who rides on a bull.
Adhyantha soonyam tripurarimeesam,
Nandeesa mukhya sthuti vaibhavadyam,
Samastha devai pari poojithamgrim,
Chidambaresam hrudhi bhavayami. 7
I meditate on that Lord of Chidambaram,
Who is nothing from beginning to end,
Who is the god of the enemies of the three cities,
Who is the chief, worshipped by lord Nandi,
And who is again and again worshipped by all devas.
Thameva bhantham, hyanubhoothi sarvam,
Anekaroopam paramarthamekham,
Pinakapanim bhava nasa hethum,
Chidambaresam hrudhi bhavayami. 8
I meditate on that Lord of Chidambaram,
Who is with in himself the end,
Who is all that is to happen,
Who has several forms,
Who is the only truth,
Who holds the bow called Pinaka,
And who is the reason for destruction in future.
Visweswaram nithyamananthamadhyam,
Trilochanam chandrakalavathamsam,
Pathim pasoonam hrudhi sannivishtam,
Chidambaresam hrudhi bhavayami. 9
I meditate on that Lord of Chidambaram,
Who is the lord of the universe,
Who is stable from beginning to end,
Who has three eyes,
Who wears the crescent of the moon,
Who lives in the mind of beings as their lord.
Viswadhikam vishnumukhairupasyam,
Trilochanam pancha mukham prasannam,
Umapathim papaharam prasantham,
Chidambaresam hrudhi bhavayami. 10
I meditate on that Lord of Chidambaram,
Who is more than the universe,
Who is present in the face of Vishnu,
Who has three eyes,
Who has five faces which are having a pleasant look,
Who is the lord of Goddess Uma,
And who destroys sins and is ever peaceful.
Karpoora gathram kamaneeya nethram,
Kamasari mithram kamalendu vakthram,
Kandarpa gathram kamalesa mithram,
Chidambaresam hrudhi bhavayami. 11
I meditate on that Lord of Chidambaram,
Whose body shines like burning camphor,
Who has very pretty eyes,
Who is the friend of the enemy of Kamsa,
Who has a lotus and moon like face,
Who has a very strong and zestful body,
And who is the friend of Lord Brahma.
Visalanethram paripoornagathram,
Gowri kalathram haridambaresam,
Kubhera mithram jagatha pavithram,
Chidambaresam hrudhi bhavayami. 12
I meditate on that Lord of Chidambaram,
Who has very broad eyes,
Who has a complete body,
Who is the consort of Gowri,
Who is the god of Lord Vishnu,
Who is the friend of Khubera,
And who makes the world holy.
Kalyana murthim kanakadri chapam,
Kantha samakrantha nijardha deham,
Kapardhinam kamaripum purarim,
Chidambaresam hrudhi bhavayami. 13
I meditate on that Lord of Chidambaram,
Who is the God of good,
Who makes the golden mountain as his bow,
Who has given and shares his body with his wife,
Who is the God with matted locks,
Who is the enemy of the lord of love,
And who is the destroyer of the cities.
Kalpantha kalahitha chanda nrutham,
Samastha vedantha vacho nigoodam,
Ayugma nethram, girija sahayam,
Chidambaresam hrudhi bhavayami. 14
I meditate on that Lord of Chidambaram,
Who at time of deluge dances the dance of destruction,
Who is not understood by all the philosophies,
Who has odd number of eyes,
And who helps the daughter of the mountain.
Digambaram,sankha sithalpahasam,
Kapalinam soolinam aprameyam,
Nagathmaja vakthra payoja sooryam,
Chidambaresam hrudhi bhavayami. 15
I meditate on that Lord of Chidambaram,
Who wears the directions as apparel,
Who laughs mildly like a conch,
Who carries a skull,
Who is armed with a trident,
And who is beyond description.
Sadshivam sad purushair anekai,
Sadarchitham samasirassu geetham,
Vaiyagra charmambara mugra meesam,
Chidambaresam hrudhi bhavayami. 16
I meditate on that Lord of Chidambaram,
Who is always peaceful,
Who is always worshipped by many good people,
Who likes the songs of Sama Veda,
And who is the terrible god who wears a tiger hide.

Chidambarasya sthavanam padedhya,
Pradosha kaleshu puman cha dhanya,
Bhogaan asesham anubhooya bhooya,
Sayujyamapyethi chidambarasya.
That blessed gentleman,
Who reads this prayer of Chidambara,
During the time of pradosha,
Will enjoy fully all the pleasures of this world,
And in the end attain the presence of the lord of Chidambara.
Translated by P. R. Ramachander


Thursday, December 12, 2013

To Explain Love

By Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi

A true lover is proved such by his pain of heart;
No sickness is there like sickness of heart.
The lover's ailment is different from all ailments;
Love is the astrolabe of God's mysteries.
A lover may hanker after this love or that love,
But at the last he is drawn to the King of love.
However much we describe and explain love,
When we fall in love we are ashamed of our words.
Explanation by the tongue makes most things clear,
But love unexplained is clearer.
When pen hasted to write,
On reaching the subject of love it split in twain.
When the discourse touched on the matter of love,
Pen was broken and paper torn.
In explaining it Reason sticks fast, as an ass in mire;
Naught but Love itself can explain love and lovers!
None but the sun can display the sun,
If you would see it displayed, turn not away from it.
Shadows, indeed, may indicate the sun's presence,
But only the sun displays the light of life.
Shadows induce slumber, like evening talks,
But when the sun arises the 'moon is split asunder.'
In the world there is naught so wondrous as the sun,
But the Sun of the soul sets not and has no yesterday.
Though the material sun is unique and single,
We can conceive similar suns like to it.
But the Sun of the soul, beyond this firmament,
No like thereof is seen in concrete or abstract.
Where is there room in conception for His essence,
So that similitudes of Him should be conceivable?

Way in Which You Are Not

By Saint John of the Cross

Desire its possession in nothing,
To come to the knowledge of all
Desire the knowledge of nothing.
To come to possess all
Desire the possession of nothing.
To arrive at being all
Desire to be nothing.
To come to the pleasure you have not
You must go by a way in which you enjoy not.
To come to the knowledge you have not
You must go by a way in which you know not.
To come to the possession you have not
You must go by a way in which you possess not.
To come to be what you are not
You must go by a way in which you are not.
When you turn toward something
You cease to cast yourself upon the all,
For to go from the all to the all
You must possess it without wanting anything.
In this nakedness the spirit finds its rest,
for when it covets nothing
nothing raises it up and nothing weighs it down,
because it stands in the centre of its humility.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Torii - Gates without Doors

Torii is a gate that marks the entrance to a Shinto shrine precinct. But they are not really "gates" at all, as they rarely stand within a fence or wall and have no doors to open or close. The purpose of the gate is to divide our world and the spirit world. They represent invisible barriers between an inner world that is clean, pure, and bright and an outer world that is spiritually polluted and morally uncertain. Thus, they are powerful symbols of the way that Japanese organize the world, associating the inner with the sacred and the outer with the profane. Shinto shrines supposedly don’t actually exist in this world. They do, but they don’t. The shrine grounds exist on a place that overlaps with the spirit world. Torii gates mark the symbolic entrance to this area. To pass through a torii gate is to enter a sacred realm.
The archways similar to the torii are in many parts of Asia -- in China, Korea, Thailand, and India. For example, the torana at Sanchi.
 The torii of Japan, however, are more than just the symbols of milestones on the road. They are part of the temple or shrine and everything that these signify. They are gateways of awakening  and the first stage in purification. At many shrines, the site is marked by a progression of torii gates, sometimes placed so closely together that they create a tunnel-like effect. Passing through these gates, there is a magical sense of deepening spirituality: a cleansing of outer pollution and a growing awareness of inner purity. As Tennyson wrote:
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.

Photo by Bill McIntyre

Monday, December 9, 2013

Shiva Nama Malyashtakam

Garland of names of Shiva

Hey Chandrachooda, madanaththaka soola pane,
Sthano gireesa, girijeesa, mahesa shambho,
Bhoothesa, bheethi bhaya soodhana mamanadham,
Samsara dukha gahana jagadeesha raksha. 1

Please save me from the deep sorrow of life, Oh Lord of the universe, Who wears the moon, Who killed god of love, Who holds the trident, Who is stable, Who is the lord of mountain, Who is the consort of Girija,
Who is the greatest god, Who is Shambhu, Who is lord of bhoothas, Who is exterminator of fear and is my Lord.
Hey Parvathi hrudaya vallabha Chandra moule,
Bhoothadhipa pramadhanadha gireesachapa,
Hey Vamadeva bhava Rudra pinakapane,
Samsara dukha gahana Jagadeesha raksha. 2

Please save me from the deep sorrow of life, Oh Lord of the universe, Who is lord of the heart of Parvathi, Who wears the crescent, Who is the chief of bhoothas, who is lord of Pramadhas, Who holds the mountain as his bow, who is the giver of suitable rewards, Who is the lord who is angry and who holds the bow called Pinaka.
Hey Neelakanda vrushbhadwaja pancha vakthra,
Lokesa seshavalaya pramadhesa sarva,
Hey durjate pasupathe girijapathe maam,
Samsara dukha gahana Jagadeesha raksha. 3

Please save me from the deep sorrow of life, Oh Lord of the universe, Who has a blue neck, who has bull in his flag, who has five throats, Who is the lord of the word, who is encircled by a snake, Who is the chief of Pramadhas, who is Shiva, Who has unkempt hair, who is the lord of all beings and Lord of Girija.
Hey Viswanatha, shiva shankara deva deva,
Gangadhara pramadhanayaka nandikesa,
Baneswarandhakaripo, hara loka nadha,
Samsara dukha gahana Jagadeesha raksha. 4

Please save me from the deep sorrow of life, Oh Lord of the universe, Who is peaceful, Who is Shankara, Who is God of gods, Who carries Ganga, Who is the chief of pramadhas, Who is lord of Nandi, Who is the enemy of Baneswara and Andhakasura, Who is the destroyer and who is lord of the world.
Varanasi purapathe, manikarnikesa,
Veeresa dakshamakhakala vibho ganesa,
Sarvagna sarva hrudayaika nivasa nadha,
Samsara dukha gahana Jagadeesha raksha. 5

Please save me from the deep sorrow of life, Oh Lord of the universe, Who is the Lord of the city of Varanasi, Who is the lord of Manikarnika, Who is the Lord of warriors, Who destroyed the yagna of Daksha, Who is the mighty, Who is the chief of Bhootha ganas, Who is all knowing and the Lord who lives in everybody’s mind.
Sriman maheswara krupamaya, hey dayalo,
Hey vyomakesa sithikanda ganathinadha,
Basmanga raga nrukapala kapalamala,
Samsara dukha gahana Jagadeesha raksha. 6

Please save me from the deep sorrow of life, Oh Lord of the universe, Who is the greatest lord, Who is full of mercy, Who is kind, Who has sky as hair, who has blue neck, Who is chief of ganas, Who is coated all over by ash and who wears a garland of skulls.
Kailasa sailavinivasa, vrushakape, hey,
Mruthyunjaya trinayana, trijanan nivasa,
Narayanapriya madhapaha shakthinadha,
Samsara dukha gahana Jagadeesha raksha. 7

Please save me from the deep sorrow of life, Oh Lord of the universe, Who lives on mount Kailasa, Who rides on the bull, Who has won over death, Who has three eyes, Who lives in all the three worlds, Who is the friend of Narayana, Who destroys pride and Who is the consort of Shakti.
Viswesa viswabhavanajitha viswaroopa,
Viswathmaka tribhuvanaika gunabhivesa,
Hey Viswabandhu karunamaya dheena bandho,
Samsara dukha gahana Jagadeesha raksha. 8

Please save me from the deep sorrow of life, Oh Lord of the universe, Who is king of universe, Who lives in the entire world, Who cannot be defeated, Who is the form of universe, Who is the soul of universe, Who spreads in all three worlds, Who is the friend of the universe, Who is full of mercy and friend of the oppressed.

Translated by P. R. Ramachander

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Bhavana Upanishad

Bhavanopanishad is one among the minor Upanishads listed under the category of Shaktha Upanishads viz. the Upanishads that delineate the tantric outlook and attempt to reconcile that with the Vedic approach. But it is a major text in the Sri Vidya - Sri Chakra tradition; and, brings out, very crisply, the symbolism of Sri Chakra and its upasana. The main purport of Bhavanopanishad is to establish a relation between structures of the human body and Sri Chakra. The Sri Chakra, in turn, is regarded as a projection of the essential characters of the universe. But the external worship here is a means and not an end.

Om. Peace and good fortune be to those who hear this!
1. Shri Guru is Shakti from whom all the elements are created.
2. Of this (Shakti) the body, with its nine orifices, is the form.
3. The Shri Cakra is of ninefold form.
4. Varahi is the father-form. Kurukulla, the mother, is the receiver of offerings. [The yantra is made up of four upward pointing triangles and five downward pointing triangles. Varahi, the devi with a sow's head, is father and contributes 12 kalas (4 x 3). Kurukulla, the menstruating devi, is mother and contributes 15 kalas (5 x 3). Together they give birth to an individual.]
5. The aims of mankind are the (4) oceans. [Dharma, artha, kama and moksha; doing what is right, acquiring wealth, sexuality and liberation.]
6. The body is the island of nine gems.(Chile, blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow, semen; skin and hair ) 
7. Skin first, then the seven bodily elements and hair (are the nine). [Indian medicine says the human body is created from the
dhatus (bodily elements).]
8. Resolutions are the wish-fulfilling trees, Shakti the grove of  aeon trees.
9. The tastes sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, astringent and salty are the six seasons. [6 tastes in Tantra, 6 seasons in India]
10. Knowledge is the offering, the known is the oblation, the knower is the sacrificer. The meditation on knowledge-known-knower and on their non-difference is the worship offered to the Shri Cakra.
11. Fate, love, and the other sentiments are Anima and so forth (the other siddhis). [The upanishad begins to describe the 9 circles of the Shri Yantra. The Siddhi Shaktis are on the outermost line]
12. The nine adharas are the Mudra Shaktis. [The nine chakras. Innermost line of the enclosing square of the yantra.] 
13. Earth, water, fire, air, aether, ear, skin, eye, tongue, nose, speech, hands, feet, anus, penis, and mind's wavering are the sixteen Shaktis, Kamakarshini being the first. [The 16 petals.] 
14. Speech, holding, moving, excreting, generating, rejecting acceptance and apathy are the eight (entities) such as the flower of love, etc.
15. Alambusa, kuhu, visvodara, varana, hastijihva, yasovati, payasvini, gandhari, pusa, sankhini, sarasvati, ida, pingala and susumna – these fourteen arteries are the fourteen powers such as the all-exciting, etc.
16. The five vital breaths and the five minor breaths are the ten divinities of the outer spokes, (styled) Sarvasiddhiprada, etc.
17. The digestive fire becomes fivefold through distinctions based on its association with this pre-eminent breath. (They are) what ejects, what cooks, what dries, what burns and what inundates.
18. Owing to the prominence of the minor breath, these (fires) in the human body come to be styled as the corroder, the ejector, the agitator, the yawner and the deluder. They promote the digestion of the fivefold food: eaten, chewed, sucked, licked and imbibed.
19. The ten aspects of Fire are the ten divinities of the inner spokes, Sarvajna, etc.
20. The qualities of cold, heat, pleasure, pain, desire, sattva, rajas and tamas are the eight powers, vasini, etc.
21. The five, rudimentary sound, etc., are the flowery shafts.
22. Mind is the bow made of sugarcane.
23. Attachment is the cord (that binds).
24. Aversion is the hook.
25. The unmanifest, the Great, and the principle of Egoism are the divinities of the inner triangle: Kameshvari, Vajreshvari and Bhagamalini.
26. Absolute awareness, verily, is Kameshvara.
27. The supreme divinity, Lalita, is one’s own blissful Self.
28. Of all this the distinctive apprehension is the red glow.
29. Perfection (ensues from) exclusive concentration of the mind.
30. In the performance of meditation consist (various acts of) respectful service.
31. The act of oblation is the merger in the Self of distinctions like I, Thou, Existence, non-Existence, the sense of duty and its negation, and the obligation worship.
32. Assuagement is the thought of identity of (all) objects of imagination.
33. The view of time’s transformation into the fifteen days (of the half lunar month) points to the fifteen eternal (divinities).
34. Thus meditating for three instants, or two, or even for a single instant, one becomes liberated while living; one is styled the Siva-Yogin.
35. Meditations on the inner wheel have been discussed (here) following the tenets of Saktaism.
36. Whoso knows thus is a student of the Atharvasiras.
Om ! Gods ! With ears let us hear what is good;
Adorable ones ! With eyes let us see what is good.
With steady limbs, with bodies, praising,
Let us enjoy the life allotted by the gods.
May Indra, of wide renown, grant us well-being;
May Pusan, and all-gods, grant us well-being.
May Tarksya, of unhampered movement, grant us well-being.
May Brihaspati grant us well-being.
Om ! Peace ! Peace ! Peace !

Here ends the Bhavanopanishad, included in the Atharva-Veda.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Dasaratha Shani Stotra

From Padma Purana

Dhyaathwa Saraswatim Devim Gananatham Vinayakam.
Raja Dasharathah sthothram Saureridhamathakaroth.
Namo Neela mayukhaya Neelothpala nibhaya cha,
Namo Nirmaansa dehaaya Deergha shmashru jataaya cha,
Namo Vishaala nethraaya Shushkodhara bhayaanaka
Namah parushagathraya sthularomaaya Vai namah
Namo nithyam Kshudhaarthaaya Nithyathapthaya Vai namah
Namah Kaalaagni rupaaya Krthaanthaka namoshthuthe,
Nameste Kotaraakshaaya Durnireekshyaaya Vai namah
Namo Ghoraaya Raudraaya Bheeshanaaya Karaaline
Namaste Sarva bhakshaaya Valeemukha namosthuthe
Surya putra namestesthu bhaskare bhaya dhayaka
Adho-drushte namasthubhyam vapuhshyaama namosthuthe
Namo Manda-gathe thubhyam nisthrinshaaya namo namah
Thapasa dagdha-dehaya nithyam yogarathaya cha
Namesthe gyaana nethraya kashyapathmaja sunave
Thushto dadasi Vai raajyam rushto harasi Thathkshanaath
Devaasura manushyaashcha pasupakshisareesrpaah
Thvaya vilokithaah saure dainyamaashu Vrjanti cha
Brahmaa shakro yamashchaiva rishayah saptha-tharakaah
Rajya bhrashtaashcha t’e sarve thava drishtyaa vilokithaah
Deshaa nagara graamaa dweepashechai vaadrayasththaa
Raudra Dhrushtyaa t’u ye drushtaah
Kshayam gacchanti thath kshanaath
Prasaadam Kuru me saure varaartheham thavaashrithah
Saure kshamasvaaparaadham sarvabhutha hithaayacha

Friday, December 6, 2013

Do You Love?

Photo by Zong Ye Quek
A lover asked his beloved,
Do you love yourself more
than you love me?
The beloved replied,
I have died to myself
and I live for you.

I've disappeared from myself
and my attributes.
I am present only for you.
I have forgotten all my learning,
but from knowing you
I have become a scholar.

I have lost all my strength,
but from your power
I am able.
If I love myself
I love you.
If I love you
I love myself.
By Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tara Prayer

Oṃ Tāre Tuttāre Ture Svāhā

Due to this merit may I soon
Attain the enlightened state of Guru Tara
That I may be able to liberate
All sentient beings from their suffering.

O compassionate and venerable subduer,
May the infinite beings, including myself,
Soon purify the two obscurations and complete both collections
So that we may attain full enlightenment.

For all of our lives, until I reach this stage,
May I know the happiness of humans and gods.
So that I may become fully omniscient,
Please pacify quickly all obstacles, interferences,
Obstructions, epidemics, diseases and so forth,
The various causes of untimely death,
Bad dreams and omens, the eight fears and other afflictions
And make it so that they no longer exist.

May the mundane and supramundane collections
Of all excellence, auspicious qualities and happiness
Increase and develop and may all wishes
Be fulfilled naturally and effortlessly, without an exception.

May I strive to realize and increase the sacred Dharma,
Accomplishing your stage and beholding your sublime face.
May my understanding of emptiness and the precious altruistic intention
Increase like the moon waxing full.

May I be reborn from an extremely beautiful and holy lotus
In the joyous and noble mandala of the conqueror.BR> May I attain whatever prophecy I receive
In the presence of Amitabha, Buddha of Infinite Light.

O deity, whom I have accomplished from previous lives
The enlightening influence of the three-time Buddhas,
Blue-green, one face and two arms, the swift pacifier,
O mother, holding an utpala flower, may you be auspicious!

Whatever your body, O Mother of Conquerors,
Whatever your retinue, life span and pure land,
Whatever your name most noble and holy,
May I and all others attain only these.

By the force of these praises and requests made to you,
May all disease, poverty, fighting and quarrels be calmed,
May the precious Dharma and everything auspicious increase
Throughout the world and directions where I and all others dwell.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Sun Must Come

By Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

Since Love has made ruins of my heart
The sun must come and illumine them.
Such generosity has broken me with shame:
The King prayed for me, and granted me His prayer:
How many times, just to calm me, did He show His face?
I said, "I saw His Face," but it was only a veil.
He charred a universe through the flaming-out of this veil.
O my God! How could such a King ever be unveiled?
Love reared in front of me, and I followed Him.
He turned and seized me like an eagle --
What a blessing it was to be His prey!
I plunged into a sea of ecstasy, and fled all pain.
If anguish is not delicious meat for you,
It is because you have never tasted this wine.
The Prophets accept all agony and trust it
For the water has never feared the fire.

Defects and Love

By François Fénelon

 "Do not be concerned about your defects. Love without ceasing, and you shall be much forgiven, because you have loved much (Luke 7:47). We are apt to seek the delights and selfish supports of love, rather than love itself. We deceive ourselves, even in supposing we are endeavouring to love, when we are only trying to see that we love. We are more occupied with the love, says St. Francis of Sales, than with the Well-beloved. If He were our only object, we should be all taken up with Him; but when we are employed in obtaining an assurance of his love, we are still in a measure busy with self. Our defects, regarded in peace and in the spirit of love, are instantly consumed by love itself; but considered in the light of self, they make us restless, and interrupt the presence of God and the exercise of perfect love. The chagrin we feel at our own defects, is ordinarily a greater fault than the original defect itself. You are wholly taken up with the less of the two faults, like a person whom I have just seen, who, after reading the life of one of the saints, was so enraged at his own comparative imperfection, that he entirely abandoned the idea of living a devoted life."

To Enter The Door - 4

To Enter The Door -1, 2, 3
Some well-known Sufi verses on my favourite theme.

Salih, Sufi Saint of Qazwin
"When you come upon the door and see it locked, 
start knocking on it, and the door will open."

Hazrat Rabiya Adawi of Basra
"O Salih, what are you talking about?
When was the door ever locked?
It was open all along."

Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi
"I have lived on the lip of insanity,
wanting to know reasons, knocking on a door.
It opens.
I've been knocking from the inside!

"Sometimes you hear a voice through the door
calling you, as fish out of water
hear the waves, or a hunting falcon
hears the drum's Come back. Come back.
This turning toward what you deeply love
saves you. Read the book of your life,
which has been given you.
A voice comes to your soul saying,
Lift your foot. Cross over.
Move into emptiness of question
and answer the question."

Traditional Sufi Teaching
Someone knocked on the door.
'Who is it?', asked a voice from inside.
'It is me, O Lord, please let me in', said the seeker.
'No, there is only room for one in here, go away',
replied the voice from inside.
Again there was knocking on the door,
'Who is it?', asked the voice from inside once again.
'It is You', said the seeker.
The door opened and the seeker could enter this time.

Prayer to Joy

By Rabindranath Tagore

We tend to divide joy from work. Our day of work is not our day of joy - for that we require a holiday; for, miserable that we are, we cannot find our holiday in our work. The river finds its holiday in its onward flow, the fire in its outburst of flame, the scent of the flower in its permeation of the atmosphere; but in our everyday work there is no such holiday for us. It is because we do not let ourselves go, because we do not give ourselves joyously and entirely up to it, that our work overpowers us.
O Giver of Thyself! At the vision of thee as joy let our souls flame up to thee as the fire, flow on to thee as the river, permeate thy being as the fragrance of the flower. Give us strength to love, to love fully, our life in its joys and sorrows, in its gains and losses, in its rise and fall. Let us have strength enough fully to see and hear thy universe and to work with full vigour therein. Let us fully live the life thou hast given us, let us bravely take and bravely give. This is our prayer to thee. Let us once for all dislodge from our minds the feeble fancy that would make out thy joy to be a thing apart from action, thin, formless, and unsustained. Wherever the peasant tills the hard earth, there does thy joy gush out in the green of the corn, wherever man… smoothes the stony ground and clears for himself a homestead, there does thy joy enfold it in orderliness and peace.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Recognition - Pratyabhijna

One of philosophical systems of Kashmir Shaivism is Pratyabhijna which literally means to recognize one's own self once again. Etymologically, Pratyabhijna is formed from prati (something once known, now appearing as forgotten), abhi (immediate) and jna (to know). So, the meaning is direct knowledge of one's self, recognition. It represents a mental act by which one realizes and re-unites with the original state i.e. universal consciousness. According to this philosophy, the individual self (atman) is identical with the Supreme Lord but due to the influence of maya (ignorance), it forgets its divine nature, becomes liable to limitation and bondage, and thinks itself to be different from the Supreme Lord. The central thesis is that everything is Shiva, absolute consciousness, and it is possible to re-cognize our essential nature of Shivahood. In this system, the Ultimate Reality voluntarily descends to the level of the Jiva or empirical individual who, in turn, becomes duty bound to ascend and recognize himself as Shiva. Thus, the slave (pashu - the human condition) becomes the master (pati - the divine condition). He is jeevan mukhta. He experiences Shivahood right in the world as a living and existing individual. One of the central texts on this theme - Pratyabhijna Hrdayam - says what you are, what you have forgotten, and how to remember.
Pratybhijjna is to cognise oneself as Shiva as that is the stuff of one's being. Though, I think that any practice can't yield this result without its blessing. After all, only He cognises his original reality. And the Self in us (being a spark of the divine) is the pivot of our life. As Lalleshwari‎ wrote:
Don‪'‬t speak of Hindu or Musulman
‏If you are wise‪,‬ know yourself
‏That is the recognition of the true Friend ‪.‬


Pratyabhijna Hrdayam

It is a key text of Kashmir Shaivism called Pratyabhijna Hrdayam ("The Heart of Recognition"), written by the sage Kshemaraja in the eleventh century. The sutras move from a description of the all-encompassing truth of reality, through an explanation of why we suffer and how to be free.

1 Chiti hi svatantra visva siddhi hethuhu
The independent (svatantrā) Śakti or Supreme Power (citiḥ) (is) the cause (hetuḥ) of manifestation, maintenance and dissolution (siddhi)1 of the universe (viśva)
2 Sva icchaya sva bhittau visvam unmilay-ati
Through Her own (sva) Will (Power) - icchā, She unfolds (unmīlayati) the universe (viśvam) on Her own (sva) Canvas
3 Tan nana anu-rupa grah-ya grah-aka bhedat
That, i.e. "the universe", is multiple (nānā) because of the differentiation (bhedāt) of (reciprocally) adapted (anurūpa) objects or knowables (grāhya) (and) experients or subjects (grāhaka)
4 Chiti sankoch-atma chetano'pi sankuch-ita visva-maya-ha
The individual experient (cetanaḥ), in whom there is contraction (saṅkoca-ātmā) of Citi (citi), also (api) has the universe as his body (viśva-mayaḥ), but in a contracted way (saṅkucita)
5 Chitireva chetana pada-davarudha chetya  sankoch-ini chittam
It is Citi (citiḥ) alone (eva) (who), by descending (avarūḍhā) from the stage (padāt) of pure Consciousness (cetana), contracts Herself (saṅkocinī) (assuming the form of) the object or knowable (cetya); (and it is also Citi who) becomes the mind (cittam).
6 Tan mayo maya pramata
The limited experient (pramātā) ruled by Māyā consists of that , i.e. "of citta or mind".
7 Sa cha eko dvi rupas tri mayas chatur atma sapta panch-aka sva-bhavaha
Also being one, that takes the form of duality, the three delusions (states of being awake, dreaming, and deep-sleep), four selves, and seven fives, the five senses (vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell),  the five organs of action (hands, feet, tongue, excretory and sexual organs), the fivefold action (see below),
the five pranas or energy-flows: breath-flow/respiration, downward-flow/excretion, distributive-flow/ igestion+assimilation, diffuse-flow/holding-together, ascending-flow/sexual energy;
the five coverings of the self: the physical covering: the body, the vital covering: the pranas and action, the mental covering: the mind and senses, the covering of intellect: faculties of insight and decision and the sense of doership;
the covering of bliss: enjoyment, happiness, deep sleep;
the five powers of the self: those of self-awareness, bliss, will or desire, knowledge, and action or creation;
the five elements (states of matter): earth(solid), water (liquid), air (gas), fire(plasma) and ether.
8 Tad bhumikaha sarva darsana sthitaayaha
 The positions (sthitayaḥ)1 of all (sarva) philosophical systems (darśana) (are only various) roles (bhūmikāḥ) (played) by that (Self or Consciousness).
9 Chid-vat tachchakti sankochat mala-vritaha samsari
That, i.e. "the Self", who is full of Consciousness (cit-vat), (becomes) the transmigratory soul (saṁsārī) covered (avṛtaḥ) by Mala due to (His) contraction (saṅkocāt) of Śakti or Power.
10 Tatha-api tad-vat pancha krityani karoti
Even so, one does the five actions, like that does (namely: creation, sustenance, destruction, concealment, and grace).
11 Abhasana rakti vimarsana  bija-vasthapana vilapana-tastani
Another interpretation (of the five actions) is manifestation, relishing, experiencing as self, settling of the seed, and dissolution.
12 Tada-pari-jnane sva-sakti-bhir vya-mohitata samsari-tvam
To fail to know that these are one's own powers is to be a self-deluded, suffering human.
13 Tat pari jnane chittam eva antar mukhi bhavena chetana para-dhyarohat chiti-hi
When consciousness itself fully knows that by means of an inward facing attitude, fully concentrated consciousness becomes nothing but pure Consciousness.
14 Chiti-van-hi ravaroha-pada icchanno'pi matraya meyendhanam plushyati.
The fire of consciousness burns up the forms covering the lower states by its mere will.
15 Bala -labhe visvam atma-sat karoti
Attaining this power, the truth that the world is the Self is done [known].
16 Chid-ananda labhe deha-adi-shu mana-esh-va-api
cha-aik-atmya prati-patti dardhyam jiv-an mukti-hi
Attaining the bliss of consciousness, the mind, even in the body or anything, has mastery: each experience is one with the self; this, stably, is nothing but liberation during life.
17 madhya vikasat chid-ananda labhaha
Through the unfoldment or development (vikāsāt) of the middle (state) (madhya), (there is) acquisition (lābhaḥ) of the Bliss (ānanda) of Absolute Consciousness (cit).
18 vikalpa kshaya sakti sankocha vikasa 
vaha-cche-dady-anta koti nibhalanadaya iha-upaya-ha
The means are dissolution of thoughts, retention of energies, stillness (of breath-energies), fixing the intention of breathing at the end-space twelve fingers out.
19 Samadhi samskarava-ti vyutthane bhuyo bhuyas
chid-aik-ya-marsan-nitya-udita samadhi labhaha
Repeatedly examining the oneness of consciousness while filled with the after-effects of samadhi, samadhi is attained.
20 Tada prakasha -ananda saara maha mantra virya-atma-ka
purna-aham-ta vesat sada sarva sarga samhara  
kari nija sam-vid devata chakra-isvara-ata 
praptir-bhav-atiti Sivam
Then (tadā), as a result of entering (veśāt) in the Perfect (pūrṇa) I-consciousness (ahantā), which is essentially (sāra) Light (prakāśa) (and) Bliss (ānanda), (and whose) nature (ātmaka) (consists of) the power (vīrya) of the Great (mahā) Mantra, there is (bhavati) always (sadā) acquisition or obtainment (prāptiḥ) of sovereignty or supremacy (īśvaratā) over the group (cakra) of deities (devatā) of one's own (nija) Consciousness (saṁvid), which brings about (kāri) all (sarva) manifestations (sarga) (and) dissolutions (saṁhāra) (of the universe). Thus, all is of the nature of Shiva.
by Kshemaraja, student of Abhinavagupta


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Desert Fathers

The Desert Fathers (abba) and Mothers (amma) were Christian hermits, ascetics, and monks who lived mainly in the Scetes desert of Egypt beginning around the third century AD.

Abba Zeno said, "If you want God to hear your prayer quickly, then before you pray for anything else, even your own soul, when you stand and stretch out your hands towards God, you must pray with all your heart for your enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that you ask."

A hermit said, "Take care to be silent. Empty your mind. Attend to your meditation in the fear of God, whether you are resting or at work. If you do this, you will not fear the attacks of the demons."

Abba Moses, "Sit in thy cell and thy cell will teach thee all."

Abba Agathon said, "A man who is angry, even if he were to raise the dead, is not acceptable to God."

Somebody asked Anthony, 'What shall I do in order to please God?' He replied, 'Do what I tell you, which is this: wherever you go, keep God in mind; whatever you do, follow the example of Holy Scripture; wherever you are, stay there and do not move away in a hurry. If you keep to these guide-lines, you will be saved.'"

Abbot Pastor, "If someone does evil to you, you should do good to him, so that by your good work you may drive out his malice."

Abba Isidore said, "If you fast regularly, do not be inflated with  pride, but if you think highly of yourself because of it, then you had better eat meat. It is better for a man to eat meat than to be inflated with pride and to glorify himself."

Dorotheos of Gaza: "It is no great thing not to judge, and to be sympathetic to someone who is in trouble and falls down before you, but it is a great thing not to judge or to strike back when someone, on account of his own passions, speaks against you. Likewise, it is a great thing not to disagree when someone else is honored more than you are."

A brother came to see Abba Poemen and said to him, "Abba, I have many  thoughts and they put me in danger." The old man led him outside and said to him, "Expand your chest and do not breathe in." He said, "I cannot do that." Then the old man said to him, "If you cannot do that, no more can you prevent thoughts from arising, but you can resist them."

It happened that as Abba Arsenius was sitting in his cell that he was harassed by demons. His servants, on their return, stood outside his cell and heard him praying to God in these words, "O God, do not leave me. I have done nothing good in your sight, but according to your goodness, let me now make a beginning of good.'"

The Cloud of Unknowing

Written by an Anonymous English monk during the late fourteenth century. The book counsels a student to seek God not through knowledge, but through intense contemplation, motivated by love, what involves spiritual union with God through the heart.

"[In the work of contemplation] take care that nothing is active in your mind or in your will but only God. Try to strike down all your knowing and feeling of everything less than God, and tread everything down far beneath the cloud of forgetting. Then you will understand that in this work you are not only to forget all creatures besides yourself, along with their deeds (and your own deeds as well); but in this work you are also to forget both yourself and even the things you have done for the sake of God. For it is the way of those who have perfect love that they not only love the things they love more than they love themselves, but also, in some sense, that they hate themselves for the sake of what they love.

This is what you are to do with yourself. You shall loathe and be impatient with everything that is active in your mind and in your will unless it is God. Anything else, whatever it may be, will come between you and your God. It is no wonder, then, that you should loathe and hate to think of yourself, for you always feel sin as a foul stinking lump of some kind, intruding between you and your God. And this lump is nothing else than yourself. For you must realise that sin is identified with yourself: it is inseparable from you..

Destroy therefore all your knowing and feeling of every kind of creature, and especially of yourself. Your thinking and feeling of all other creatures depends on your awareness of yourself, for when you have overcome that, all other creatures can easily be forgotten. If you will take the trouble to test it, you will find that when all other things and activities have been forgotten (even your own) there still remains between you and God the stark awareness of your own existence. And this awareness, too, must go, before you experience contemplation in its perfection."