Sat-Cakra-Nirupana – 3

The Manipura Cakra

Verse 19

Tasyordhve nābhimūle daśadalalasite pūrṇameghaprakāśe
nīlāmbhojaprakāśairrupahitajaṭhare dādipāntaiḥ sacandraiḥ
Dhāyedvaisvānarauṇamihirasamaṁ maṇḍalam tat trikoṇaṁ
tadbāhye svastikāvyaistribhirabhilasitaṁ tatra vahneḥ svabījam.

Above it [the Svadhisthana], and at the root of the navel, is the shining Lotus of ten petals, of the colour of heavy-laden rain-clouds. Within it are the letters Da to Pha, of the colour of the blue lotus with the Nada and Bindu above them. Meditate there on the region of Fire, triangular in form and shining like the rising sun. Outside it are three Svastika marks, and within, the Bija of Vahni himself.

Bija of Vahni = Ram, the seed-mantra of Fire.

Verse 20

Dyāyenmeşādhirūdham navatapanaibhaṁ vedabāhūjvalāṇgaṁ
tatkroḍe rudramūrtiirnivasatī satataṁ suddhasindūrarāgaḥ
Bhasmāliptāṅgabhūşābharaṇasitavapurvṛddhārūpī triṇetro
lokānāmişṭadātābhayalsitakaraḥ sṛşṭstisaṁhārakarī.

Meditate upon Him (Fire) seated on a ram, four-armed, radiant like the rising sun. In His lap ever dwells Rudra, who is of a pure vermilion hue. He (Rudra) is white with the ashes with which He is smeared; of an ancient aspect and three-eyed, His hands are placed in the attitude of granting boons and of dispelling fear. He is the destroyer of creation.

His hands are placed in the vara and abhaya mudras.

Verse 21

Atrāste lākinī sā sakalaśubhakarī vedabāhūjjvalāṅgī
śyāmā pītāmbarādyairvividhaviracanālaṁkṛta mattacittā
Dhyātvaitannābhipadmaṁ parabhavati nitarāṁ saṁhṛtau pālane vā
vāṇī tasyānanābje nivasati satataṁ jñānasaṁdohalakşmiḥ.

Here abides Lakini, the benefactress of all. She is four-armed, of radiant body, is dark (of complexion), clothed in yellow raiment and decked with various ornaments, and exalted with the drinking of ambrosia. By meditating on this Navel Lotus the power to destroy and create (the world) is acquired. Vani with all the wealth of knowledge ever abides in the lotus of His face.

Vani = Sarasvati, Devi of Speech

About Sunday morning

Sunday Morning Contemplation is informed by Eastern and Western contemplative traditions. The first, lectio divina has its origins in 6th century Europe. It unfolds in four steps or stages: reading (lectio), reflecting (meditatio), responding (oratio), and silent abiding (contemplatio). Our Eastern inspiration come from the Indian Upanishads (800-200 BCE), where contemplative practice consists of three steps or stages: listening (śravana), reflecting (manana), and meditating (nididhyāsana or dhyāna). Our contemplative practice on Sundays embraces both approaches, and each contemplation will be based on a reading from either tradition.

The texts and teachers I have chosen played a significant role in my life and I believe have much to offer. I will read presellected texts, slowly, with pauses between verses or quotes. The readings will be accompanied by soothing background music. To lessen distraction, I suggest participants close their eyes and listen. However, the screen will display the text so that people can choose to read along or mute the sound and read on their own. If there is time remaining after the contemplative period, participants can choose to either leave or stay for a short discussion.

As a preface to the reading, I will provide a 10-15 minute introduction to the text. When relevant, I’ll review facts about the author/teacher’s life. I will also present a brief explanation of the terms and language encountered in the reading.

Finally, when the contemplation is over, all texts read will be available online to read and/or download at any time on the website.

What I mean by
The Symbolic Life

This website makes liberal use of classical Indian visual art and refers mostly to traditional Indian texts (for example, the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras) in the courses, seminars, and discussions on offer. However, I am not presenting lessons in Hinduism; in fact, teaching mainstream Hinduism is neither my area of interest nor expertise. Rather, my interest in Yoga and Tantra is grounded in the concrete situation in which we find ourselves, in the places where we arrive and from which we depart. Beginning in the here and now, we will explore the underlying meaning of the symbols, stories, images, philosophies, and techniques found in Indian philosophical texts and practice, in light of our world and our current circumstance. We will excavate the meaning of the aphorisms and teaching stories; the symbolic figures of gods, people, and nature; and the sometimes terse, sometimes poetic, philosophy of the texts. Thus, in referring to the Symbolic Life of Yoga and Tantra, I mean not just the symbols themselves, but the rich explication of life that the symbols represent.

Our lived, concrete situation is wonderfully captured in the Sanskrit word loka, whose ancient meaning is “the world.”  The root meaning of both the Sanskrit loka and the English locate (and local, locale, and location) is identical. In the ancient Indian mind, the world is where we are located, in our current circumstance. Thus, the meaning of the symbols of Yoga and Tantra can occur only in the now, in the places where we find ourselves, and not in any imagined ancient and/or foreign world.

To emphasize our place of origin and return, I use the terms “archetypal” and “symbolic” quite frequently. Archetypal meaning is associated with the universal and collective aspects of human experience—what we intimately share with all others regardless of culture or era or epoch—while symbolic language forms a bridge between the realms of the universal with the culturally specific and local. Symbols are the scaffolding upon which human beings build a world and imbue it with meaning.

Think for a moment of pain and pleasure, sorrow and joy, hatred and love, and greed and generosity—universal experiences that ancient Indian thinkers called the dvandva-s. This Sanskrit term is a combination of two words, or rather, one word spoken twice: the word dva (meaning the same as the English “two”) duplicated. Dvandva is commonly translated as “the pair of opposites” or literally “the two-twos” (dvadva). The ancients who coined this compact symbol gave voice to an archetypal human experience that can be further unpacked to reveal deep insights into the human condition. Once we gain an understanding of the various symbols of Yoga and Tantra, we can further excavate their meaning and the archetypes they convey, and thus gain access to, in a practical and meaningful way, the vision of life experienced by the sages. These insights are available to us and are still relevant today, as are the resilient and adaptable techniques and forms of practice that can help us lead richer and more fulfilling lives