Tag Archives: bhakti

I am yours

Radiant Queen of the Universe! Thank you for your countless love and blessings, washing over samsara like lush monsoon rains, filling me with your vitality and rejuvenating like fresh Himalayan snows.

My every thought, word, deed for you. The blood pumping through my veins, the rhythm of life, is yours. Every breath, every glance, every touch, is yours.

This world is your playground where you dance endlessly. Let my heart beat always be the rhythm of your dance.

Victory to the Goddess! Jai Kalika Devi!
Devi

Advertisements

new moon

cremation ghats at pashupatinath

 

O Kali, Thou art fond of cremation grounds;
so I have turned my heart into one
That thou, a resident of cremation grounds,
may dance there unceasingly.
O Mother! I have no other fond desire in my heart;
fire of a funeral pyre is burning there;
O Mother! I have preserved the ashes of dead bodies all around
that Thou may come.
O Mother! Keeping Shiva, conqueror of Death, under Thy feet,
Come, dancing to the tune of music;
Prasada waits With his eyes closed

Ramprasad Sen

Kali

crimson blossoms

Jai Kali

Who is this astonishing feminine presence
dancing in the universal field of battle?
Truly naked, eternally sixteen,
with magnificent dignity she stands
on the breast of Absolute Reality
that assumes the aspect of snow-white Shiva,
his body also naked truth
as he sleeps in supernal contemplation

All blood ever shed in sacrifice or conflict
streams down her brilliant black limbs
like crimson blossoms floating on dark waters.
Her face is diamond bright, clearer than the full moon.
Infinite wisdom energy pulsates
through her mysterious blackness.
Her powerful wisdom laughter
awakens and heals,
flowing in wave after wave of sweet nectar.

This poet is overwhelmed,
singing with tears of rapture:
“Those who long for conscious union with reality
should meditate with constancy
on the dark blue lotus feet of Kali,
enshrined in the secret heart of humanity,
ensuring the liberation of all finite beings
from the illusion of finitude.”

Ramprasad Sen (as translated by Lex Hixon in Mother of the Goddess)

radiant black storm clouds

Another poem from the Shakta poet Ramprasad Sen. His words never fail to evoke Her presence, and I am only reading translations. I can only imagine how the original would stir the soul and shatter any false illusions of separation between us. You want to look into Her eyes? Feel Her breath? Hear Her sweet laughter? Let the poet evoke Her before you, in all of Her majestic glory.

Peacock

Radiant black storm clouds
expand acros the sky of pure awareness.
The peacock of my mind reveals its brilliant colors,
dancing in the bliss of holy expectation.
Kali’s wisdom thunder rumbles
with her power that can level mountains.
The fiery tracery of lightning flashes
forms her wonderful smile of ecstasy.

The lover of Ma Kali gazes intently,
tears pouring down like monsoon rain.
Only these most precious drops
can quench the thirst of the heart,
that rare winging creature
who drinks only from limitless sky,
never from limited pools or streams.
To be born in this body composed of common clay
is a heavy burden for the soaring soul.
To incarnate again and again
across this vast planetary realm
can never slake our burning thirst for reality.

Proclaims the liberated one
who sings this gnostic hymn:
“No more birth from the womb of the matter,
only emanation from the Divine Mother.”

Read a larger collection of Ramprasad in translation from Lex Hinton’s excellent work Mother of the Universe: Visions of the Goddess and Tantric Songs of Enlightenment.

Ramprasad Sen: Shakta Poet

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

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

8npwj6caea07ho8r.D.0.KALI_MAA(1)

there is nothing in the universe more beautiful than you

Jai Kali, Shunya Vasini Devi!

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.”

155986135_d5b9f3e183

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

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

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.

Jai Maa!

P1040346[8]Victory to that Great Goddess! Jai Maa!

 

Waves of Bliss

Oh Mother, may all my speech, howsoever idle, be recitation of Mantra; may all the actions with my hand be the making of ritual gesture ; may all my walking be the pacing around Thy image in worship ; may all my eating and other functions be Homa rites; may the act of my lying down be prostration before Thee; may all my pleasures be an offering to the great self. Whatsoever I do may it be counted for the worship of Thee. –Anandalahari, v.27

Tripurasundari

I invoke the devi Tripurasundari, mahavidya of Lalita

Goddess of Beauty and Play and Love and Joy!

Let us invoke the sweet smelling one!

Naked, with fiery green eyes and golden skin, hair aflame in crimson light

Her arms granting boons and dispelling all fear.

Her naked body marked with blood and ash,

Her heart aflame with passion and fire!

Aom!  I salute the beautiful one of three worlds!

Jai Devi! Jai Tripurasundari!

Obeiassance to the Lotus eyed one of sweet nectars, Jai Pankajakshi![1]

Aom!  With incense of sandal I salute Thee!  Jai Devi!

Aom!  With lights I salute Thee!  Jai Istadevi![2]

Aom!  With water I salute Thee!  Jai Sarvagata![3]

Be favourable to me, oh blossom honey of light!

Grant thine aid unto me, that I may come to rest

in your sweet smelling presence, Jai Shrimati![4]

With sandalpaste, ash, sindur and water I am marked

to your devotions, oh Vibhutidevi![5]

With the bijamantra HRIM I invoke Thee!

AOM HRIM HRIM HRIM!

Jai Tripurasundari!  Jai Lalita!  Jai Devi!

Oh, Mandayanti[6], grant me Thy grace!  Give me of Thy milk to drink!

Oh, Jayesvari[7], inform me with Thy blood kissess!

Let Thy brilliant light shine through me, fullfilling me of Thy divine embrace!

Jai Sadhya!  Jai Sadhwi!  Jai Sara!  Jai Savitri![8] Aom!

Aom nama Tripurasundari!

Aom HRIM HRIM HRIM!

Jai Istadevi!

Aom!


[1] (Pankaja “mud born, lotus” + akshi “eye”) The lotus eyed.

[2] One’s chosen goddess (“beloved goddess.”)

[3] (sarva “all” + gata “having gone”) Having pervaded all, having reached everywhere.

[4] (shri “beauty, light, wealth” + mati “having”) Having beauty and fortune, the beautiful.

[5] Glory, might, wealth.  Consecrated ash used by devotees of Shiva.  Also the 6th of Lalitas 108 names.

[6] Delighting, rejoicing.

[7] (jaya “victorious” + iswara “sovereign goddess”).  The victorious goddess.

[8] Sadhya, “the attainable,” a name of Lalita.  Sadhwi, “the virtuous.”  Sara, “the Essence.”  Savitri, the consort of the Sun.

[March 1998]