The Sacrifice of Sannyasa – Part 2

The Execution of Sacrifice

My introduction yesterday to Tarapith was intense to say the least and as a result, when I came back after my day and tried to put myself to bed, it was just no use… there was no sleeping for me given the wedding reception and festivities that were taking place at the hotel (if you have never experienced an India Wedding – it is a must!) but more disturbing were the swelling undercurrents lapping my consciousness, spraying anxious mist all around my subtle system.

I was filled with a deep sense of powerful magic in the atmosphere of this place and I wasn’t sure it was all positive…I was scared.  I felt small, unready and ill-equipped to receive such powers should Ma bestow on me the requests I had ignorantly, arrogantly and out of pure egotistical naïve curiosity made in the past.  I knew now that I knew nothing – so now I just waited and prayed that I would be forgotten, unseen and ignored by the forces that I had previously sought or protected by those that knew I was nothing but a fool.

Aghori 1

As this knowledge dawned and I was left with the stark reality that if I didn’t want power, or magic or now even my own desires, which seemed stacked with short sightedness – then what did I want?  And it was with this question firmly and squarely in mind that exhaustion finally claimed my body and consciousness at 2am.

I woke at 5am to my alarm and began my Sadhana with the aim of going to morning puja at the temple but I fell asleep and re-awoke at 7.30am to really begin my day.

That mild feeling of fear, anxiety and uncertainty was still lingering and I was contemplating the wisdom in just skipping the magical maya of the temple today to stay at the hotel – read a book and keep it simple until I was due to leave that afternoon.  A part of me just wanted to stay cocooned in my ignorance, however I got an email asking that I give pranams to Ma from a most loved teacher and so I had to go!

I got myself ready with a prayer to receive and be – nothing … to be empty and witness only.  I didn’t want anything other than to love this fearsome mother of mine and be loved in return.  I plucked a wide open, beautiful, bountiful and generous flower (which was in stark contrast to how I was feeling but was hoping to invoke within me) which I have had a dream about in the past, and in the centre of this bloom placed a ring that has seen me through many chapters. I had intended to place a drop of my blood at the middle of the flower also but due to dehydration, my blood just wouldn’t flow.  It felt like my body refused to surrender its life force for my intentions.

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As I make my way to the temple, I notice a shift.  The sun is out, the mood all about it just lighter and softer.  I feel more like me again and comfortable within time and space.

I get to the temple and things move quickly – they flow.  I see the puja line but the gates are now closed.  I ask a pandit how I can offer puja to Ma and when the next session is but he walks me and my offering to the front of the line and there I got the full force of her darshan.  There is chaos, crowds, clamouring and cursing as I chant her mantras and offer my love and the pranams of my teacher, while all efforts are made at diversion and distraction from those surrounding her to keep things moving…and so I am finally squeezed out the side door into daylight and peaceful echos waft across my being of that past glorious moment.  It slowly settles into the cells like sun kissing my skin – and I know that I am loved.

I wonder where to go next – job done so to speak – when I see a rush of about 50 people moving to that strange area I saw yesterday with the variation of Shiva’s trishul but with only two forks…  I follow.  Shiva’s Trishul represents Creation, Preservation and Destruction and so I wonder about this motif/device having only two forks and its significance or purpose and instantly – I get the picture!

It was in the form of a Goat and this device was a Guillotine! This Goat was beautiful – a glossy dark coat covered a fully grown, healthy, vital male in his prime – really a sight of beauty and he looked happy enough at first.  He was bathed, fed, offered flowers/oblations and being sung mantras to but in an instant his instincts knew but as he tried to run he was now overpowered by that steely focused dominant humanity, and it sensed its demise.

This beautiful Alpha goat was picked up having his legs manually bound, screaming futile resistance – the sounds of a terrified animal using its voice as the only means to fight for its life, given its body was inhibited, is something I will never forget.  Oddly by now there were 4 small black kids (very young goats) now in the same area – bleating in confusion and fear at what was happening.  It seemed absolutely deconstructing to my mind – a form of terrorism for these kids, this goat and my human sensibilities to witness what was unfolding before me.  The goat was lifted up over the folks with his head one side and his body the other, as it continued to scream bloody ‘MURDER’, the man from behind pulled its legs/body which stretched its neck forcing the sounds of resistance to become thin and strained.  Its mouth was now closed shut in pain and finally, this beautiful purpose built hand crafted sword was swiftly and deftly descended through the body and the life of this offering.

Ma Sacrifice

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Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am quite tender and can’t stomach the suffering of other (particularly those ‘underdogs’), yet there I stood – frozen, silent and watching – not just the play of this sacrifice before my eyes but more interestingly, the expressions of my mind and body in connection to this experience.  I felt this goat – I felt it’s fear, the damage to it stretched vocal chords, the pranic release from its body and I was completely stilled by the experience.  The next thing I know, I am running after the pandit who has collected this goats blood so that he too can place it at my eyebrow centre…I become marked with this sacrifice and receive fully the life and death of experience.  Blood is now on MY head!

I don’t know if this was shock or acute observation, but I found myself sitting – starring – at this disembodied goat now lying lifeless.  I watched the last of its life leave through the eyes via rainbows and shades cast across its cornea which once absorbed life’s pictures, it was now only replaying its final screening.

The extinguishing of the Goats life brought me to such stillness that I was able to watch a flood of thoughts move through deep ravines of my mind – on the currents of questioning;

I wondered at the purpose of all this?  Does my beloved Ma really want this sort of activity offered in her name / in this way?  What is the symbolism of blood and why a goat?  Why were those kids made to witness this? If we are all dead anyway (according to the aghoris), should our sensibilities and conditioning just be gotten over and death/sacrifice should be celebrated? What is life & What is death? Who has the right to take life – we certainly can’t give it or save it often times?  If we can take an animals life, what is the difference were we to take a human life – do they not both suffer, desire to life and have a right to live…why can we as humans decide?  Why are we so immune to the suffering of others?  If God is in all beings, why did we just kill God for God? What would I like to offer Ma if not this?  What do I really want from her?  Who is she?  There is a myth that she also gave life to Shiva though her breast milk when he was dying from poison as an infant – so is there not the gentle, loving aspect of her nature which I can focus on and worship instead of the terrible?This path of tantra – the left or right and which side am I placed?  There is a deep cruelty to my nature along with a delicacy – what is that?

The symbolism of Tara standing on unconscious Shiva (Kali stands on him when he is dead) got me thinking about her followers.  Is her job to energise (Shakti) what is unconscious?  Is she attractive to those that are unconscious and deep in their dark, pashu (animal) instincts and nature? Or can the worship of Ma be done more symbolically?  Could I offer her the head of my ego for decapitation allowing the lifeforce (blood and prana) to flow freely in service to her for the journey across samsara rather than take a life which is not mine and cause suffering to it?

Ma aspects

After the torrential downpour of these thoughts subsided, I was able to walk home and decided to pay homage to the Madman Baba in the Smashan…to be an aghori is, now I understand, in a whole other spectrum of intensity and requires rigorous sacrifice of one’s own conditioned nature, very few are capable of.   It was a hive of activity today and at Baba’s temple, there is a male and female Aghori either side of the entrance like Rottweilers.  I offer dakshina in respect to his left-hand method while acknowledging that I am blessed to be walking the right-hand path.  There were more guillotines here, which I took a parikrama (encircling/circumventing) around, with a feeling of purnahuti (everything is one/whole & complete).  Shiva in the shape of a dog came barking over and stood beside me while I silenced.  When leaving the smashan and on my way out, the two Aghori ‘rottweilers’ came begging.  I offered them my hand and nothing more than a smile…we all laughed!

As I walked home, a migraine descended.  I was in an altered state of consciousness but one which is painful and isolating – not the one I had originally hoped for!  I am suffering due to resistance of what I have encountered – the ultimate sacrifice.  I don’t feel I have the right to take another’s life or offer anything other than myself to my maker and so the clarity of what is needed was seen.  I will place myself on the sacrificial altar surrendering the limbs of my desires, sufferings, hopes, fears, loves, roles and finally the head of my whole life, to the one who imagined me into existence.  What he does with this blood, prana, mind and whatever is left, is up to him, but he has it.  I don’t want to harm another, cause another’s suffering or resist who I am and what I am made of, instead I give all that I am back to the one who made me and hope that he can accept this offering and use it better than I ever did.

I anticipate at times there will be screams of pain, pleas for mercy and bestial resistance, but none the less the sacrifice will be made.  I have fear already before actually placing myself under the guillotines frame about the illusionary losses that I will have to surrender – a lover, a family, a ‘normal’ life, financial security, material stability, composed identity and the delicious escape of change on a whim – which I am so renowned for.  However this lower animal is now ready to liberate itself from mundane suffering toward divine ecstatic agonies.

I realise my spiritual family is in Saraswati Darshami and the right hand (dakshina marga) or Kaula  Tantra is my path, which is rich with vidya (knowledge), tapas (discipline) and rigorous Sadhana (practices), along with inspiring examples of devotees whose aims are based on liberation and expansion through love and light, not darkness and death.  With the grace of God and my parampara (linage of teachings and teachers) such as Swami Sivananda, my beloved Swami Satyananda,  Swami Niranjanananda, Swami Satyasangananda, I am sure I can harness my ferocity and faith to serve, love and give to all living beings.

Parampara

 

The Sacrifice of Sannyasa – Part 1

As I journey from one world to another, one aspect of myself to another and one life to another, there is an awareness of deep changes that have occurred.  A homecoming of sorts, an acceptance of my inner nature that for some time I have been resisting, fighting or running from due to the cost, sacrifice, implications and fear about the letting go, the how too’s and the correct way to do this new way of being ME.

While I would love to share some of the things that I experienced in the Ashram during my recent 2 month stay, I feel that this is actually a sacred place where what happens there is a very deep, intimately personal and a softly subtle experience that it defies language and defiles it somehow to even attempt to put into words or summarise such a sacred, vast and profound gift.

What I can say, is that I am at home in myself and with my beloved Guru now more than ever and long only to be of genuine and total service in this life.  There is a story of Radhe and Krishna (an Indian Goddesses and God) in which Radhe gets jealous of Krishna’s preoccupation and devotion to his flute / murali.  When she asks him why he loves his flute more than her, he says that the flute is empty and therefore can channel God.  When we are full or have content (desires, opinions, etc.) , then we obstruct the flow of divine grace that is our essential nature…and so I now desperately long only to be that empty vessel which can be played by the creator of creators who makes music from madness and beauty from bumbling fools!

Radha&Krishna

 

 

The foundations of Sacrifice

While I no longer wish to share the profound love experienced within the Ashram I would like to share what I learnt as I ventured out to the nearby temple of my Ishta Devata – Tara Ma known as Tarapith or Tarapeeth (depending on where you are from in India).  I undertook a very strong sadhana last time I left India (chanting her Bija Mantra – OM HRIM STRIM HUM PHAT – I Million times in 108 days…not recommended kids if you want to stay sane!) in the hope that she would awaken within my life and she did, in quite a powerful way.  So I wanted to go and say thanks!  To spend time in her home – her Shakti Peeth – which legend says is where her Third Eye (a powerful intuitive/wisdom centre) fell to earth.

I was there over two days but in some ways it felt like a lifetime in an ancient powerful parallel universe.  While I was there and totally present – I was somehow kind of in a suspended haze of protective observation…it was most peculiar and didn’t really recognise myself, my thoughts or my actions/ reactions.  I was suspended and thankfully so as it turned out.

I arrive on Ekadashi which is known to be a particularly challenging astrological period each month and so felt it fortuitous that I was spending the day in her seat.  I left bereft from the ashram – absolutely devastated to be leaving literally the love of my life and felt the comfort of Mother Nature as she mourned my loss with her bleak, wet and dense mood.

The ride was beautiful but treacherous as the sky and near vision was cloaked with Shivas foggy lila.  Each revelation was a scene of expression from his imagination that would magnetize misty particles into matter and form for a moment before splitting like atoms into that eternal space of dissolution.

I arrive at this village and as cautioned before leaving the ashram by a fellow yogi, this is an Indian town – not a place where foreigners often go and this is glaringly obvious.  For the whole two days I was the only unicorn in the village –

  • and this was not just because of my skin colour,
  • nor me being a female and travelling alone,
  • nor the fact of not having hair
  • nor that I am a baby sannyasi floating around in bright yellow,
  • or even that I was comfortable in my skin even though I clearly didn’t belong there,

but there was something else….a subtle vibration that arrested people’s attention and held me in suspense within the fabric of their imagination or awareness.  As I walk the streets without an aim to see the temple straight away (just wanted to get a feel for the place), I navigate the attention and puddles with equal deliberation and caution.  The only time I engage is with the children as I skip, dance and slide over the puddles, who support my lightness with their amusement – a welcome spaciousness in the otherwise dense atmosphere.

Eventually I get to the temple where I find many sub-sthals where the Puja of Ma is taking place – there is chanting, havan, abhishek, along with many pandits offering blessings to families, wedding parties, babies and the whole social stratum.   Additionally there is a small temple for Shiva with a Lingham being worshiped and a strange area that has what looks to be a variation of Shiva’s Trishul (trident) buried into the ground.  This has only two prongs and is covered in sindor with a pit either side…I have no idea what this is and there is currently nothing happening here so I move on.

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The main Temple that houses Ma is closed for lunch and will reopen again later and so I take in the different sights, sounds, and practises going on.  I am lost in my own practice, as I watch a havan, of chanting the Bija Mantra with each swaha offering a squeeze of the crystal lingam nestled within my yoni, at which point the Devi I am sitting next to (and by now have been for some time…I have noticed that people eventually lose interest if I just sit still for a while and get on with my practice) asks me for money to eat (obviously through body language given we are neither fluent in each other’s tongue).  I give her some money and think nothing of it – her energy was lovely and she was as lost in her practice as I was in mine.  A few moments later another Mataji (older lady/mother type) comes along begging for money and I realize my mistake – I stop it there.  When all of a sudden this Devi who was the recipient of my dakshina reappears with her darshan!  She holds a pot of sindur (the red colour used to paint the bindi on foreheads and the hairline/feet of married women) and kneels down to paint my feet.  I am now a married woman with a single bindu/chakra at the centre of my feet – just like Ma x

She then barks fiercely at everyone to leave me alone and so I get to continue with my practice and be within the temple walls in peace.

Feet

 

 

The colour and play of this place is a pure theatre of everyday life.  I witness an Aghori who picks through the ashes of the Havan to consume any morsels of Prasad of which he has found a roasted banana and devours it with gentle and delicate appreciation.  My eyes then catch the temple sevak who is cloaked in the guise of a simpleton who shuffles and hovels around cleaning up after the rituals yet there is an air of clarity, purity, precision and grace in his service which parts the curtain of illusion and informs me that he is anything but ‘simple’… small but lasting impressions to behold and told.

There are many dogs in Tarapith – all over India actually, but I notice many more of them here.  They nearly equal the number of people.  I go outside the temple grounds and stand on the entrance stairs just to take a breather when I see a dog that is a replica for a very special one I befriended in Rikhia – I called him Satyam.  I look at this dog and he looks at me through the same eyes as Satyam.  I say his name and he comes and sits beside me…just as Satyam would.  I look at him and his white markings now have an odd blue tinge and I comment that he looks like Shiva and should perhaps call him such in Tarapith to which he nudges me and so this same soul was now in the guise of Shiva!  I know it sounds a little farfetched and fanciful but this stuff really does happen in this mystical magical place!

Shiva_Satyam

 

Now, I head back into the temple walls and I see there a dying female dog with her concerned beloved anxiously hovering in circles about his inability to ease his loves surging suffering.  She is in a very bad way and she has made her way to one of the alters where moments earlier a havan was taking place.  Her sensitivity is palpable – she can feel every itch, twitch, twist and pain that courses across her skin and within her frame and rawly expresses her sensory impressions.  I begin to sing to Ma in the hope that she will soothe the suffering, bathe her in peace and help her cross the ocean of samsara quickly.

With this experience dawned my first lesson;

The experience of suffering is felt through the senses only – the sense organs and the mind at play is what we call suffering.  I have heard, read and thought about this before but never really got it until that poor wretch so clearly reflected my raw yet damaged intense sensual nature.  If only we could detach and settle into a much higher or greater experience of ourselves – our true Selves, then suffering or physical distress may occur but we could be at peace…a deep and infinate peace.  It is our resistance to our experiences, our sensory input which preoccupies and provides a state of suffering for us. And just like that both teachers in DOG/GOD form,  got up and left the temple. 

Finally the main temple where Tara Ma’s Murti is housed opens and there is a rush…I watch and see how things are done.  When all the lines have been established and gates closed, I find a place where I catch my first distant glimpse of her and am chilled by her presence.  My skin comes alive, my blood quivers and a tear rolls down my cheek.  She is beautifully still in her powerful reflective radiance.  A sight to behold and imprinted within the layers of my being.

Ma

 

Finally I amble away from the temple in an exhausted but contented state, thinking I will return tomorrow in the hope to come closer to my Ishta, but trust her to provide me what I need when I am ready.  I come across the smashan (graveyard – which is synonyms with Tara and Varma Marga (of left-hand tantra of which Aghoris are the followers/disciples) where the famous Mad Baba lived many years ago and is still worshiped today.  There is lots of activity – pandits are perfoming havans, wild women are cursing and laughing hysterically, dogs are barking and fighting over food and the arrival of a fresh corpse carried by 4 friends.   He will be burnt and often times, what remains the aghoris will consume.

As I see and think this, I am caught by the awareness that I don’t have a problem with death but rather gets me thinking about consciousness and where it does go after it leaves the body.  What is this life and what is this death?  How do our karmas trap us (like the suffering of that dog and my neurotic nature) and what is released and what stays when ‘death’ occurs?

As I walk back to the hotel, now oblivious to any attention I am attracting, and feeling blessed for this incredible life of mine, I feed two little puppies some butter biscuits who are very young and starving at which point I feel very proud of myself for giving them a chance to grow!

And just like that – Tara knocked me on my ass with the ferocious intensity she is so famous for in the form of a second lesson;

A little way up the road, I see a little puppy (just like the one I had just so proudly fed) in the middle of the road with what looks to be her mother standing over, grooming her.  Yet as I draw closer, I realise that the puppy is dead – I now assume – that its mother is grieving and trying to lick it back to life.  However like cogs in a wheel of consciousness, reality finally clicks into place and revealed the raw truth.  The puppy is dead having been hit by a car, its brains and entrails are spewing out like a smorgasbord on the muddy earth beneath and the ‘mother’…which I am not sure was the relationship to this pup, was licking the blood and eating the fresh morsels on offer whilst savagely growling at other ravenous canine onlookers, obviously keen to keep this fresh piece of meat to itself.

I go up to them both and look – really look at the reality before me. 

This is life and this is death. 

This is Shiva and Ma at play

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As I continue back to the hotel, I feel fine and strangely ok given the intensity of the day but then slowly the ripples of intensity start crashing against my sensibilities – and I feel raw, sensitive, exposed, afraid and crave comfort.  As tough as I want to be, as fierce as I sometimes am, this little soul has far too much conditioning… I am no Aghori.

This was day one….which laid the strong foundations for the big lessons in sacrifice I was to encounter the following day.

The way I see it…

I have been asked a lot lately, “What is going on at Mangrove (Ashram)?” , “How can you be living there given all that has happened?”, “What are your plans?” and the most frequent – “What is a guru?  Who is Satyananda? and What type of Yoga do you teach?”  /…

Phew – so many questions and until recently I haven’t wanted to answer any of them for fear of upsetting those who were still undergoing their ‘process’ of grief and not feeling a need to assert my position or defend my beloved Guru.  I had been quietly going about my business, sharing my opinions with a select few when I felt it was timely or important to do so and seeking support from even fewer due to the unique and seemingly isolated position I have taken.

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A WEEKEND THAT CHANGED IT ALL

I have never been shy about bearing all, disclosing, living transparently and openly regardless of the cost and as I have been a lone wolf – have never needed others to approve or disapprove of my being.  However I surprisingly seem to have ‘sided’ with tradition, institution and loyalty over my previous solo self-interests.

Over the weekend at Mangrove Yoga (formerly known as Mangrove Yoga Ashram and before that Satyananda Yoga Ashram) there was a gathering of ‘visionaries’ who were invited to share their energy, ideas and skill in taking mangrove into the future – post Royal Commission.  The repeated catchphrase was ‘Transparency’ and that this was the only thing that was needed during the weekend and would be upheld to move forward – THIS I CAN DO!   It was demanded of India through a letter that was sent and responded to which was shared with the group and it was requested that all participants during the weekend share their positions with each other – NO PROBLEM!

Not surprising – it was a mixed group.  There were old school Sannyasa (each of whom have spent from 20-40 years in India living the Yogic Lifestyle under direct instruction of a Guru) who uphold the cultural and traditional values of our lineage.  There were those on the equal and opposite end of the spectrum who demanded the removal of tradition and stated that it was ‘impossible to continue’ a relationship with India given what has happened and everything along a sliding scale in between.  It was clear how divergent and passionate people were about their positions and that the work of Yoga or unifying these polarities would take some real skill….if at all possible!

We were segmented into small groups and I found myself in a group where my position was hostilely challenged…that my opinion was said to be flawed, impossible, selfish and ignorant! I was hoping for transparency and respect however the second was sorely lacking in this exchange and many others I saw throughout the day.  The facilitation was ‘led through a coloured lens’ and if a divergent position was offered, it was quickly redirected, diminished or rephrased to suit the agreed narrative by those behind the scenes.  If anyone stated their opinion and if it fell in the minority or at the extreme end of the spectrum, there were rude outbursts of protest at the ‘ignorance, denial and outdated’ views offered.  This was the very accusation laid at the feet of Guru and Tradition yet we were perpetuating the same cultural malaise in the name of change….?

 

SPIRITUAL POLITICS

As a lone wolf, I had never been involved or wanted to be involved in institutions or ‘traditions’  as they seemed fraught with egos, politics and the sticky substances of humanity that attract our worst friends to live by our sides!   Swami Niranjanananda mentioned repeatedly about our ‘five friends’ who are our seductive yet greatest obstacles to leading a high quality  life – they were Passion(KAAM), Greed(LOBH), Attachment(MOH), Anger(KRODTH) &  Ego(MAD) which are ever present  – especially  on a spiritual path and within institutions in crisis.

This lone wolf however has finally been drawn into commenting, as when I put all my resistance about ‘organisations’ aside – what I do want to uphold and personally hold dear are the teachings and the amazing life of my Guru.  The need to preserve them, share them and ensure they are accessible for all future generations.  This knowledge was nearly lost to all of us and through my Guru – Satyananda – who (was a Vendantin…not a Yogi) applied his incredible mind to   understanding the science of Yoga.  He was able to offer appropriate practices along with personally demonstrate their transformational potential not just in his own exceptional life but also through the lives of his closest disciples…some of whom were present at this meeting and it showed.

 

THE PAST COLOURED FUTURE

I was a child and adult of sexual abuse and now I have a guru who has been accused of perpetrating sexual abuse of minors – the irony is not lost on me and I have had to do the real and hard work of finding a way to hold space for that gap…I have had to find union within myself – to LIVE YOGA/ UNION – not just talk about it.

I personally have no issue with my or any guru having sex with ‘of age’ women even if they are his students/ disciples.  Let each and every adult make their own choices free from other people or societies judgments.  Though, I did experience firsthand how this opinion is contentious by those that think I should condemn it, deplore it and demand it never happen again as it is illegal (as I was so clearly informed) , but my views are my views – right or wrong and I am happy to let others have theirs !

I never needed my Guru to be celibate and probably wouldn’t have connected with him had he not had a ‘sexual nature’ … though all of this is secondary to my position.   I believe rampant sexual abuse of minors took place repeatedly, violently and horrifically within the ashram during the 1980s and there is no way to dispute that.  However what I am able to do because I have been a victim, because I resolutely love my Guru (regardless of his actions – my love does not depend on him pleasing me or failing me) and because his message was bigger than either of our stories, is to encourage and remind us to LIVE YOGA!

 

THE WORK OF YOGA

To practice Yoga when we need it most – and we need it now!!!

I believe we need to seek union in polarised situations and believe it possible to find a point of genuine, authentic and transformational Yoga (union) which is a place of love, acceptance and healing for all involved.  For Yoga not to be lip service or a lifestyle or even a connection to a ‘club of like-minded people’ but  individuals stepping up in crisis, working hard (ashram), applying the practices, techniques, attitudes and inclusive belief that we can  stitch together fragments, shards and threads of all our diverse lives into a masterpiece in the modern age… A demonstration on how Yoga can become the culture of tomorrow…and it is our JOB/DUTY as Yogis!

 

IN SUMMARY

I abhor abuse, I love my Guru, I will practice and share the teachings and story of Satyananda Yoga always while personally living in the tradition of Sannyasa as demonstrated so beautifully by my beloved inspiring

 Paramahamsa Satyananda Saraswati

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This is my choice, This is my work and My goal is Yoga (UNION)

OM TAT SAT

Naming the Nidhis

lord-kubera

It has been a while and don’t really have anything insightful to add but thought I would share what I have been thinking, working on and exploring of late…

I am staying with a friend who I have known for decades.  We met when I was young and wild and become lovers for a very brief time.  It ended and we remained friends.  Last night we reminisced about who I was, how I am now and the inspiration that this has provided him (along with sharing all the ways that I adore him and his growing family … )

He asked about my guru which many people have been doing lately as I guess it is an unusual phenomena and there is concern that I am relinquishing my power to another entity though I don’t see it this way.  At a time where people are throwing away their outer guru for an inner powerful one (which I believe is part of the evolutionary process), I feel the need to draw nearer to him, to learn from him and reflect back his stellar qualities – to voice his value, contribution and impact on my life… I am still a young fledgling and happy to be so.

A post in my facebook feed today had this about my guru;

Guru is not a social necessity. He is not a status symbol like a car or a house in the country which can be discarded the moment something better comes along. He is not a dustbin or a wastebasket into which all negativity and neurosis can be thrown. He is the pure effulgent spirit, the dispeller of darkness, the epitome of what each individual should aspire to be. His domain is the spirit, and it is to guide us into this realm that he appears in our lives. Once the link with Guru is established, time cannot change it nor death eradicate it. It is a permanent union. Guru stays with you life after life.

https://youtu.be/YwaidxFh2XU

My Guru – Swami Satyananda Saraswati found me after a long and arduous search for someone who could understand, accept and love me as I was, how I will be and help me get there.  He is me and I am him…albeit in individual expressions.  He has said of himself that he was not a very nice person in his youth and lately some of these karmas have been revealed, yet I am the same and so I know that he is the one to guide me from my inner darkness to my light.  He has shown himself to be ever present for me, generous, wise and loving (though not always soft) and demonstrated so clearly in his later life what this practice and knowledge, when applied appropriately, can achieve.  He transformed his rough and ready yet potentially rich nature into a loving light which continues to emit radiance for many daily.

He was not perfect yet perfect for me x  I have never needed perfect …

A friend mentioned that my name as given by his spiritual daughter (Swami Satsangi) is very fitting and perhaps given he is not here physically to guide me, having taken Mahasamadhi, then maybe this is my work in preparation for his return. That perhaps this time, could be used to establish myself within my power using my name to awaken my nidhis and express them clearly.  He advised that the nine treasures which others can see in me, I am blind to within my nature and need to work at cultivating, embodying and owning these inherent qualities;

http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Nau_Nidh

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nidhi

mahapadma “great lotus flower”

Sahasra..the abode of the divine eternal atman through which the individual has an experience of life

http://www.adishakti.org/subtle_system/sahasrara_chakra.htm

padma “lotus flower”

Lives untouched in muddy waters, a thing of beauty grown from the darkest places.

https://www.lotussculpture.com/my_articles_lotus.htm

shankha “conch”

It is said to be the first sound of OM and a symbol of purity, brilliance and auspiciousness which is used by Vishnu (preserver) and Shiva (destruction).  It is sounded before a battle to wake up/invoke the worlds and call to the subtle forces to wage wars which will preserve or destroy dharma or adharma respectively.

http://www.boldsky.com/yoga-spirituality/faith-mysticism/2014/significance-of-conch-shell-in-hinduism-039699.html

makara “crocodile”

Swadhisthan – the hidden beast within the ocean of desires.  The reptilian survival instinct which is fierce like Kali yet gentle with her weapons towards loved ones.  Crocodiles are deep, ancient and rich with insight yet challenged in a modern world and evoke fear.

http://www.whats-your-sign.com/symbolic-alligator-meaning-and-crocodile-meaning.html

kachchhapa “tortoise”

Patanjali used the symbolism of the tortoise to explain Pratyahara or sense withdrawal.  That when the senses retract from external stimulus and one is protected within the shell of the soul the inner exploration can begin.   Additionally they are symbols of good luck, divinity, wisdom and knowledge.

http://www.khandro.net/animal_tortoise.htm

kumud “a particular precious stone”

It is related to Cinnabar (Quartz) which encourages transformation from small self to true self and is associated with magic and manifestation.  Quicksilver (liquid mercury) is extracted from cinnabar and is also part of this nidhi.  It is a highly reflective, fast, ‘alive’, malleable and fluid until it sets at which point it becomes brittle as it doesn’t like to bind itself to itself in a fixed form and resists bonding with others.  Additionally it is highly poisonous if misused.

http://themagicofcrystals.com/#/cinnabar-quartz

http://www.indepthinfo.com/mercury/quicksilver.shtml

kunda “jasmine”

Is known as the queen of the night.  She symbolises feminine sweetness and beauty along with deep affection, happiness and elegance. Additionally there are many healing benefit s of these flowers which the Chinese and Indians have used for centuries…usually around ‘women issues’

https://taniamarieartist.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/jasmine-in-the-air-symbolism-and-sanctuary/

nila “sapphire”

Ajna chakra, Meditation, clarity and Intuition, Protection from evil during ritual

http://meanings.crystalsandjewelry.com/sapphire/

kharva “dwarf”

Earthy, hardworking, generous and humble, though often also cunning, selfish and desirous.  The basic qualities of human experience and the ignorance of ‘man’.

http://www.theosophytrust.org/707-dwarf

And so I will begin a Sadhana of working with these in my own way, finding a way to express them within the fabric of my being as I wait for my beloved to return and find me either in this life or the next or next or next x

guru yoni

Hari Om Tat Sat

TAT TVAM ASI – I am that

Neurons-seizures

I want to write…but what to say?

How do I string a sutra from all these loose lines of life?

I can say that I am changed but not always I feel, for the better.  Sometimes I feel more fragile, exposed and unstable than ever before yet conversely stronger, wiser and more determined though in unusual ways.

Within the last month I have explored my divinity with the support of my beloved Guru and his disciples only to be returned to a world of weighted humanity in the throws of ignorance and fear.  I wobbled and stumbled through the darkness clutching at slivers of light cast by my beloved only to be flung to the floor as a rag doll, tossed about by seizures from a master puppeteer – leaving me broken, messy and aware that I am far from home.

This has unravelled me – upset a fine balance and exposed just how flawed and displaced I am.  I am neither here nor there, neither this nor that, not human nor divine and ultimately only lost to the experiences as they descend.  I feel used and self-abused, criticized yet praised for the same quality, full yet empty, pure yet muddied, ruthless yet kind…the polarities are widening and increasing.

The work of Yoga is to bring balance and union, yet this is far from my state.

Someone asked recently – So who is Atmanidhi?’  To which I replied ‘I don’t know!’

‘Doesn’t she matter?’  To which I answered – ‘I don’t think so – Not really.  The experiences matter but not the experiencer’…

Or have I got this all wrong?

The only thing I KNOW is that I have heard the invitation and have secured a date with my beloved on our birthday where we will celebrate Union together, and I pray that he brings me close to him once again.  Enveloping me in his light, love, laughter and grace – where all opposites cease and I am rendered helpless in his loving embrace.

2014-12-23 15.28.55

I don’t know if the path for me is solo and I am to walk alone, trusting my guidance within or are my lessons which are so difficult, learned only in community – from others?  There seems so much noise and surety on the outer world … everyone seems so convinced of their way, yet these often conflict with the inner unique view which arises from within me.

I see the change, I see the same.

I am clearer than ever before, I am more of a mess than I have ever encountered.

I am more subtle yet more reactive

I am tossed about by events, people and me and yet I am also deeply still

I am that

I am that

I am that…

Mine the Gap

mind the gap

There has been so many landscapes that I have encountered recently both internally and externally and the theme of ‘Mind the Gap’ which you hear on the tube in London to ‘be careful’ of the space between objects seems to be echoing in my head.  However only recently, this has changed to ‘Mine the Gap’ as an indicator that the gap between things may not be a place to fear but could actually be where wisdom, treasures and growth lay.

It started with a practice of TarpanVidya (which means ancestral knowledge) and I was contemplating the qualities possessed by my parents, their parents etc and found that indeed this territory is vast, divergent and I am composed of much of these polarities along with my own inherent qualities.  Then a recent discussion about Yoga and how ultimately it is union or bringing together/narrowing between the poles of nature – both the outer and inner qualities – again this replicated and confirmed the first impulse.

Due to my intensity and diversity (OR the 2 poles in which the space between, is what I call my life) I guess this is why Psychologists and Psychiatrists have been wanting to label me with BI (2) Polar.  I scare myself sometimes and particularly worry those loved ones around me who seem to want me to narrow or fall into a shorter bandwidth and so I sought some more mental treatment – but this time from a Dr who is also a Yogi and so he is less inclined to label some of the more unusual experiences I have encountered and challenges I face with being flawed but merely the opportunity to ‘mine the gap’.

Last week someone said to me that they felt that at times I was ‘super human’ and blew their minds with what I know but at other times I seem like a ‘half wit’ who doesn’t seem to get the most basic of things…..I told him we should go with ‘half wit’ as that seems to fit more easily on my nature!!!  I feel that God made me as I am and while I am an unusual creature, I am sure this was his intention and so I should just get to the bottom of how to explore me without harming others….unless!

Recently I have encountered a person who has created a ‘myth or legend’ around themselves which I am really intrigued by and it is so powerful that they are able to harness ambassadors to uphold their iconoclast status.  I am not saying that they are not special, gifted or different – it takes one to know one – but I am just saying the form of assertion they can inspire in others is quite impressive and also very scary particularly when threats are issued.   I am a nobody who is just trying to figure my stuff out – I have been labelled many things over the years some of which are true and some of which I dispute but never have I rallied troops to enforce my position.  So I was left in what to do with the gap?  Between the person I see, the legend/myth they perpetuate and also the feelings of their foot soldiers?  I am convinced that somewhere in there is the truth and a place of wisdom, growth and perhaps even treasures…for us all.

And much like all good things I am shown just how it is done.

Yesterday was the ‘final’ day for submissions at the Royal Commission and as I had a day off and was in town decided to attend the hearing… it was quite something!  I saw many arguments, pleas and attempts to evoke a certain outcome from the Commissioners’ findings but what I was most impressed by were the very things that others found distasteful, as it wasn’t deemed polite.

During these proceedings some parties have been very silent, and at times just provided a few statements or cross examinations but  yesterday a few of them spoke.  I found them to finally be stating the obvious – addressing the white elephant in the room that others had never named or highlighted so clearly.  This was done eloquently, unapologetically, powerfully, a little humorously and ultimately with a great sense of soberness.

And so I was instructed that at times a seemingly toothless tiger must bear its fangs and remind those around them of its inherent, inborn gifts and strengths which should not be wielded without consideration but not denied when appropriate either.

So in mining the gap between one version of truth and another, between myth and reality, between insecurities and inherent strengths, between division and reconciliation, between all polarities within ourselves and in the wider world around us, I have come to see that this is our work, this is our life and perhaps somewhere in there is indeed that single pure undivided true reality where union (Yoga) really exists.

 mine the gap

OM TAT SAT

Opportunity comes Crashing!

crash

 I had just come to the end of a very profound time of my life….and was waiting for a door to open to show me where to go.

Since coming back from India, I had felt the sands of stability, security and external safety shift endlessly from underneath me.  Whenever I had tried to create, confirm or control something, life would serve me up an evasive response.  Whether that was a job to earn a living, the love of a man or teaching my beloved Yoga – all came to naught.  And so I wandered like a nomad with my belongings in the back of my car, driving from place to place trying to find ‘my’ place.

During this time I was undertaking the Tara Bija Mantra, 1 Million times in 100 days– which is a very powerful Sadhana and which I am only coming to feel its immensity now that it has finished, which incidentally coincided with the completion of my next Yogic Studies module which focused on the subtle and powerful practices and philosophies of the diverse and ancient system.

As it all came to a head, there were tears about a chapter coming to an end and a sense of mild anxiety about ‘what next’.  I had no home, vague plans and nothing concrete even given my best efforts at construction!  I knew the big MASTER Plan but the intermediate steps were illusive and confusing.  The course finished and I gave myself a day to rest where I could decompress and decided to get a head start about a future plan.  This meant that I had to drive about 15 minutes to where internet connection is possible and check to see if there were any open doors!  Nada, Zip, Neit, Nein – Not a single shred of opportunity.

As I felt a little deflated about my efforts, I turned to the all-pervading grace which had loved, nurtured, healed and revealed itself to me over the last few weeks  and asked – what do I do?  Where am I to go?  QLD, NSW, VIC – where is there a job and ease of lifestyle so that I can study, invest in me and my projects?  I called out to the heavens – “Please show me where to go and what to do?  I am lost.  Open a door and I will walk through – without preference or question”.  Within minutes I got the answer…

As I was swerving around on the slippery wet road in my car that had lost traction and control, which led to it spiralling unendingly toward a guard rail then coming to halt in a ditch, I was calm.  Everything slowed and I was saying to myself with an intense knowing that ‘It’s OK’….I knew the car may not be but I knew deep down that I would be.  And so as everything came to still and there were little pains waking within my body, I started the car and tried to drive out of the ditch.  I was stuck.  I got out, walked around the car and saw what damage had been done…. Punctured oil tank, smashed in front side and rear side, twisted back wheel and a total write off!

Not surprisingly, the car behind me was going to the ashram and so I jumped out of mine, into theirs and off we go back to the ashram and I start feeling and thinking about what had just happened and then I just started laughing at how truth came crashing into my life.

I now have NOTHING!  No money, no assets, no income and no status and yet I know where I have to be.  My understanding is that cars represent how you move in the world and mine just brought me to a screeching holt.  I was trying to make plans,  to create and yet I physically can’t go anywhere and it seems that I am to stay here within the ashram.  I had these thoughts before but reasoned myself out of them and yet here I am, right where I need to be.  I arrive back to the ashram to find that there is an afternoon meeting about the Royal Commission and how we are going to be dealing with Sexual Abuse within our spiritual culture and found the clarity of purpose sublime.

Om Pond

I am but an instrument and while I didn’t listen to the subtle queues and had to be ‘taken out’ to follow the right road – I am now on it.  I am a little tender physically, empty of external resources, humbled by realising that I was not driving well and unsure of how my ‘master plan’ will go now that I am here, yet I know I am right where I need to be.

For how long?  I don’t know!  But I guess, once another door opens or opportunity comes crashing into my world, I will take that and keep moving, in faith, towards myself x