Monthly Archives: April 2013

Ramprasad Sen: Shakta Poet

The Bengal poet Ramprasad wrote exquisite verses to Queen of the Universe, expressing the intense devotion and longing he felt for the Beautiful One. His words express the pure flow of bhakti. Reading them, once can feel the depth of emotion on a pure, visceral level of being.
kalima
A few samples from his work follow:  Read more of this post
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Awakening mantras

Devi

The twelfth chapter of the Chandi Path (more fully called the Devi Mahatmayam or Durga Saptashapti) elucidates the many benefits deriving from the joy of celebrating the Great Goddess in her form of Durga. Holding that Devi in your heart and approaching her with love, she naturally bestows her grace and blessings. Let the Goddess herself be your guide and guru, inviting her into your heart.

It also may be used to consecrate and activate mantras that may need to be “woken up” or blessed by the Goddess herself. Be certain that you approach her with love and a pure motivation, and that your use of the mantra is in accord with True Will. In this day and age, when self proclaimed gurus abound and the vidya is becoming increasingly popular and diffused from the point of origin (the Goddess herself!), it certainly does not hurt to reconnect to the source behind the mantra, and allow that great Shakti to irradiate it with life, love, and power. Read more of this post

Jai Kali, Shunya Vasini Devi!

Victory to Kali, the Goddess Who Dwells in the Void!

your black eyes
are eternities
pulling me into you
honey nectar
liquid starlight
giving all

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there is nothing in the universe more beautiful than you

Jai Kali, Shunya Vasini Devi!

Tantrik Thelema in South India

Founded in 1905 by Dr. T. R. Sanjivi in Tinnevelly, South India with “the sole purpose of educating people to culture the light that is latent in one and all,” the Latent Light Culture and its inner order The Holy Order of Krishna teach practical yoga methods based of an esoteric and initiated interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita.

The  founding material of the organization from the 1920’s is attributed to the mysterious author “Bhikshu”, and contains a strong influence of Thelema and the writings of Aleister Crowley mixed in with the initiated tantrik teachings of the Gita.

A few excerpts:

“Act Thou, therefore, when opportunity confronts you; responding to it, meeting it bravely, utilising it, actively. ‘Do what thou wilt’, say the Masters, ‘Shalt be the whole of the Law,’ of Dharma of Karma — only he who doeth is the Karmi; he who wills to do and doeth is the Karma Yogi; the Deed is the Karma, his future, his Destiny the harvest of his Thoughts and Acts. Your Deed is the expression of your will, the will in you; say then to yourself ‘I Will’ and Act. So acting shalt thou not sin, says the Lord Krishna.”

“In this then shall be the Ordinanace (Sastra) for you Karma Yogi, in the dictum of ‘Do what thou wilt’ which shalt be for thee the whole of the law, teaching you comprehensively what to do, what to avoid, this the only ordinance; ‘do what thou wilt, then do nothing else’; we shall repeat it constantly, without end, that you may be unified of will, that in all your act you may bring all the universe that is of you, that in your act the whole of you and not the puny portion of you miscalled ‘I’ at the threshold, at the outer gate of consciousness, may act, and impress itself on the even that anyhow must be.”

Karma Yoga, 1928

“The first and greatest of all priveledges is to have accepted the Law of the Gita: Yatha Ichchhasi Tatha Kuru (Do What Thou Wilt) – to have become free and independent and to have destroyed all fear, whether of custom, faith, of other men and of death itself. “Fear not at all, fear neither men, nor fates, nor gods, nor anything. Money fear not, nor the laughter of the frivolous folk nor any other power in heaven, upon the earth or under the earth.”

– From the  grade paper of the First Degree of the Holy Order of Krishna.

This is the group that originally produced the celebrated tantrik commentary on the Ananda Lahari that was referenced by several of the works of Kenneth Grant in his Typhonian Trilogies.

Sadly the organization today seems to shy away from the more esoteric traditions that it was founded on, although the grade papers still show influences of Thelema. Deeper material such as the ritual magic of the Sri Vidya encoded into the Ananda Lahari (the Wave of Bliss, which consists of the first 41 verses of the Soundarya Lahari) is mixed in with a new spiritual interpretation of the Gita.

the gift of bhava

Reflecting on the idea of the usual roles between sadhaka and Devi reversing themselves (see my earlier post), it brought to mind the manifestations of bhava that occur in devotees of the Goddess (often arising from bhakti). This is very much a type of possession, where the Devi experiences through the body and senses of the individual.

June McDaniels excellent study Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls: Popular Goddess Worship in West Bengal is highly recommended in this regard. An excerpt:

One form of spontaneous possession is found more frequently in practitioners of tantra and bhakti yoga. This is colloquially called bhava, short for devabhava (a general term for divine state or state of unity with a deity) or bhavavesha (the state of being overwhelmed or possessed by bhava). Bhava combines possession and devotional love, allowing the possessed person to retain consciousness in the midst of the goddess’s power and presence. It shows intense love of a deity, and a person’s humility and willingness to submit to the goddess.

Bhava is a tangible gift of the goddess, for as She manifests in the devotee they experience the divine bliss of Her presence in their very body.  As the Shakta poet Ramprasad wrote, “Whoever gazes upon this radiant blackness falls eternally in love.”

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om mahakalyai ca vidmahe smasana vasinyai ca dhimahi tanno kali pracodayat
(“Om we contemplate on the Great Goddess who takes away Darkness, we contemplate She Who Resides in the Cremation Grounds, may that Goddess direct!”)

Jai Kali Maa!

Maa Kali

A wonderful image of the Great Goddess from Deepika Suman photography:

Be sure to check out her excellent photography blog

The Goddess of Infinite Space and Infinite Stars

Nuit

April 8, 9 and 10 are important milestones in the tradition of Thelema, marking the grounding of Liber AL vel Legis, the Book of the Law. This book is the first great Western Tantra, ushering in a new era of awakened consciousness for those that choose to consciously step forward into the morning light of the New Aeon.

As for the veracity of such “modern” writings, I am reminded of a quote from Sir John Woodroffe from his commentary to the Anandalahari:

The Tantras however appear and disappear according as they are revealed or withdrawn. Their authority does not depend on the fact that they were published to men on a particular date but on the Siddhi to which they lead; that is, the actual result flowing from them. This result proves the authority of the Tantra even though it were revealed yesterday.

The rewards of working with this direct path to realization are manifold and unique to every individual that comes to know and fulfill the True Will.

May all sentient beings, boundless as the sky, have Real Peace, Real Freedom and Real Happiness!

Black Night

DeviHer eyes are black
and infinity stares into me from them
Her red lips are parted in a smile,
showing her brilliant white teeth
and her red tongue hanging out with intoxication
of celestial love
I am drunk on you
before even first tasting the patra
I am drunk on your love
the blood from your lips
is honey in my mouth
warm and coruscating though every part of my body
my heart is a burning ground
where I love you
I give myself to you completely
your name is ecstasy to me
every syllable, every letter
drips nectar into my soul
in union with you
everything is Bliss
the doorway to that radiant Night
the mirror of that infinite kiss
releases lies of separation
take my head, Kali!
drink deep my blood that I may be with you
this bliss is an outer garment
a play a dance a song
of your radiant eternal night

Seeing the Kumari

When I was in Nepal ready to embark for the Everest Circuit Trek my flight from Kathmandu to Lukla airstrip  got delayed by one day due to poor visibility on the mountain. I took that day to walk around Kathmandu and in particular explore Durbar Square. Little did I know I was walking right into the festival of  Indra Jatra and the Kumari.

Read more of this post

I am Her murti

Jai KaliGenerally speaking, the sadhaka will be placing life into the murti on the shrine with prana pratishta after a series of ritual acts of purifying and energizing your body. The elements are purified and activated with bhuta shuddhi. The energetic levels are equilibrated with pranayama. Mantras and accompanying mudras are given. Light, incense, water, flowers, the very Self is presented as offering. The divine aspect is projected out with the breath into the statue, often onto a flower either physical or visualized; the cold statue becomes divinized, the Goddess is present, and worshipped accordingly.

That is not what is happening.  Read more of this post

chaos and passion

Bhairava, a fierce form of Shiva. Kathmandu, Nepal

June McDaniel’s The Madness of Saints: Ecstatic Religion in Bengal gives a detailed explanation of the contrast between the traditional and formal approach of the right hand path, and the truly bacchanalian and chaotic spontanaity of the left hand:

The path of progression is associated with Jame’s lysis or gradual approach. It emphasizes order and harmony, and the divine is reached by self-control and obedience. The god is most present in the greatest purity — of self, of place, of statue. Such purity involved loyalty to lineage and tradition, acceptance of hierarchy and authority, and ritual worship and practice.  Ecstasy is attained by faith and learning, by acceptance of dharma, and avoidance of siddhis (powers) and self-glorification. Such a path  is yogic and devotional, and called in Bengal sastriya dharma, the path of scriptural injunctions.

The path of breakthrough is associated with Jame’s crisis, or abrupt change. It emphasizes chaos and passion, and the divine is reached by unpredictable visions and revelations. The presence of deity is not determined by ritual purity — the god may be found in pure situations, but also at the burning ground, at the toilet, in blood and sexuality, in possessions and ordeals. Initiation and lineage do not determine  experience — often there is a “jumping” of gurus — where different gurus are followed at different times. The criterion of status is neither yogic knowledge nor ritual skill, bur rather bhava, the ecstatic state that comes with experience of the divine. Such states are called sahaja (natural and spontaneous) or svabhavika (unique to particular individual). The path is more generally called asastriya, or not according to the scriptures.

While these two general approaches apply to the work as a whole, it is also interesting to note that in the tantrik sadhana and specifically with the ritual of panchatattva, both are combined. There is a lineage of instruction and ritual technique, which if persisted in deeply will transform into spontaneity  and unpredictability. In this sense, the tantras have encoded into them the essence of developing spontaneous creativity as well as providing the means to forge the link to the true Guru. Tantra, followed sincerely and with all that one is, is a fast and direct path of realization that is unique to every person, while still growing out of known forms and traditions of lineage.