Sat-Cakra-Nirupana – 4

The Anahata Cakra

Verse 22

Tasyordhve hṛdi paṅkajaṁ sulalitaṁ bandhūkakantyujjvalaṁ
ādyairdvādaśavarṇakairupahitaṁ sīndūrarāganvitaiḥ
Nāṁnāṇāhatasamjñakaṁ surataruṁ vācchātiriktapradaṁ
vāyormaṇdalamatra dhūmasadṛśaṁ şatkoṇaśobhānvitaṁ

Above that, in the heart, is the charming Lotus of the shining colour of the Bandhuka flower, with the twelve letters beginning with Ka, of the colour of vermilion, placed therein. It is known by its name of Anahata, and is like the celestial wishing-tree, bestowing even more than (the supplicant’s) desire. The Region of Vayu, beautiful and with six corners, which is like unto the smoke in colour, is here.

The bandhuka flower, Pentapetes phoenicia, sometimes known as scarlet marrow.

With six corners = lit., sat-kona = interlacing triangles.

Verse 23

Tanmadhye pavanākşaraṁ ca madhuraṁ dhūmāvalīdhūsaraṁ
dhyayetpāṇicatuştayena lasitaṁ kṛşnādhirūḍhaṁ paraṁ
Tanmadhye karuṇānidnamamalaṁ haṁsābhamiśabhidhaṁ
pāṇibhyāmabhayaṁ varaṁ ca vidadhallokatrayāṇāmapi

Meditate within it on the sweet and excellent Pavana Bija, grey as a mass of smoke, with four arms, and seated on a black antelope. And within it also (meditate) upon the Abode of Mercy, the Stainless Lord who is lustrous like the Sun, and whose two hands make the gestures which grant boons and dispel the fears of the three worlds.

Pavana Bija = Vayu whose bija is yam

Stainless Lord = Hamsa, the Sun

Verse 24

Atrāste khalu kākinī navataḍitpītā triṇetrā śubhā
sarvālaṁkaraṇānvitā hītakari saṁyagjnānāṁ mudā
hastaiḥ pāśakapālaśobhanavarān saṁbibhrati cābhyaṁ
mattā pūrṇasudhārasārdrahṛdayā kaṅkālamālādharā

Here dwells Kakini, who in colour is yellow like unto new lightning, exhilirated and auspicious; three-eyed and the benefactress of all. She wears all kinds of ornaments, and in Her four hands She carries the noose and the skull, and makes the sign of blessing and the sign which dispels fear. Her heart is softened with the drinking of nectar.

New lightning = highly visible lightning before rain falls heavily

Verse 25

vidyutkotisamānakomalavapuḥ sāste tadantargataḥ
Baṇākhyaḥ śivalinṅgakoऽpi kanakākārāṅgarāgojjvalo
maulau sūkşma-vibheda-yuṅ maṇiriva prollāsalakşmyālayaḥ

The Sakti whose tender body is like ten million flashes of lightning is in the pericarp of this Lotus in the form of a tiangle (Trikona). Inside the triangle is the Siva-Linga known by the name of Bana. This Linga is like shining gold, and on his head is an orifice minute as that in a gem. He is the resplendent abode of Laksmi.

Trikona: when Sakti takes the form of a triangle, the head points down.

Verse 26

Dhyayedyo hṛdi paṅkajaṁ surataruṁ śarvasya pīthālayaṁ
devasyānila-hīna-dīpa-kalikā-haṁsena saṁ-śobhitaṁ
Bhānormaṇdala-maṇditāntara-lasat kiñjalka-śobhādharaṁ
vācāmīśvara īśavaroऽpi jagatāṁ rakşavināśe kşamaḥ

He who meditates on this Heart Lotus becomes (like) the Lord of Speech, and (like) Isvara he is able to protect and destroy the worlds. This Lotus, is like the celestial wishing-tree, the abode and seat of Sarva. It is beautified by the Hamsa, which is like unto the steady tapering flame of a lamp in a windless place. The filaments which surround and adorn its pericarp, illumined by the solar region, charm.

Lord of Speech = Brhaspati, the guru of the devas

Sarva = Maha-deva, Siva.

Hamsa = here, the Jivatma

The second sentence is reproduced accurately here from the printed original despite its defective syntax.

Verse 27

Yogīśo bhavati priyātpriyatamaḥ kāntākulasyāniśaṁ
jñānīśoऽpi kṛti jitendriyagaṇo dhyānāvadhānakşamaḥ
Gadyaiḥ padyapadādibhiśca satataṁ kavyāmbhudhārāvaho
lakşmiraṅgaṇadaivataḥ parapure śaktaḥ praveştuṁ kşaṇāt.

Foremost among Yogis, he ever is dearer than the dearest to women, He is pre-eminently wise and full of noble deeds. His senses are completely under control. His mind in its intense concentration is engrossed in thoughts of the Brahman. His inspired speech flows like a stream of (clear) water. He is like the Devata who is the beloved of Laksmi and he is able at will to enter another’s body.

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