Sat-Cakra-Nirupana – 5

The Visuddha Cakra

Verse 28

Viśuddhākhyaṁ kaṇṭhe sarasijamamalaṁ dhūmadhūmrāvabhāsaṁ
svaraiḥ sarvaiḥ śoṇairdalaparilasitairdīpitaṁ dīptabuddheḥ
Samāste pūrneneduprathitatamanabhomaṇḍalaṁ vṛttarūpaṁ
himacchayanāgopari lasitatanoh suklavarnambarasya

In the throat is the Lotus called Visuddha, which is pure and of a smoky purple hue. All the (sixteen) shining vowels on its (sixteen) petals, of a crimson hue, are distinctly visible to him whose mind (Buddhi) is illumined. In the pericarp of this lotus there is the Ethereal Region, circular in shape, and white like the full Moon. On an elephant white as snow is seated the Bija of Ambara, who is white of colour.

Moon = Mantra = here, “ham”

Ambara = the Ethereal Region

Verse 29

Bhujaiḥ pāśābhītyaṅkuśavaralasitaiḥ śobhitāṅgasya tasya
manoraṅke nityaṁ nivasati girijābhinnadeho himābhaḥ
Triṇetraḥ pañcāsyo lalitadaśabhujo vyāghracaramāmbaraḍhyaḥ
sadāpūrvo devaḥ siva iti ca samākhyānasiddhaḥ prasiddhaḥ

Of his Four arms, two hold the noose and goad, and the other two make the gestures of granting boons and dispelling fear. These add to His beauty. In His lap there ever dwells the great snow-white Deva, three-eyed and five-faced, with ten beautiful arms, and clothed in a tiger’s skin. His body is united with that of Girija, and He is known by what His name, Sadha-Siva, signifies.

Noose = pasa

Goad = Ankusa

Gestures = mudras

Girija = mountain-born

Sada-Siva = ever-beneficent

Verse 30

Sudhāsindhoḥ suddha nivasati kamale sākinī pītavastrā
śaram cāpaṁ pāśam sṛṇimapi dadhatí hastapadmaīścaturbhíḥ
Sudh|mśoḥ saṁpūrṇaṁ śaśaparirahitaṁ maṇdalaṁ karṇikāyāṁ
mahāmokşadvāraṁ śriyambhimataśīlasya śuddhendriyasya.

Purer than the Ocean of Nectar is the Sakti Sakini who dwells in this Lotus. Her raiment is yellow, and in Her four lotus-hands She carries the bow, the arrow, the noose, and the goad. The whole region of the Moon without the mark of the hare is in the pericarp of this Lotus. This (region) is the gateway of great Liberation for him who desires the wealth of Yoga and whose senses are pure and controlled.

Mark of the hare = man in the moon.

Verse 31

Iha sthāne cittam niravadhi vinidhāyātmasampūrṇayogaḥ
kavirvāgamī jñānī sa bhavati nitarāṁ sādakaḥ śāntacetāḥ
Tríkālānāṁ darśī sakalahitakaro rogaśokapramuktaś-
ciramjīvī jīvī niravadhivipadāṁ dhvaṁsahaṁsaprakāśaḥ.

He who has attained complete knowledge of the Atma (Brahman) becomes by constantly concentrating his mind (Citta) on this Lotus a great Sage, eloquent and wise, and enjoys uninterrupted peace of mind. He sees the three periods, and becomes the benefactor of all, free from disease and sorrows and long-lived, and, like Hamsa, the destroyer of endless dangers.

Sage = kavi

Three periods = past, present, and future.

Verse 31a

Iha Sthne cittaṁ niravadhi nidhāyāttapavano
yadi kruddho yogī calayati samastaṁ tribhuvanaṁ
Na ca brahmā vişṇur na ca hariharo naiva khamaṇī-
stadīyaṁ sāmarthyaṁ śamayatumalaṁ nāpi gaṇapaḥ.

The Yogi, his mind constantly fixed on this Lotus, his breath controlled by Kumbhaka, is in his wrath able to move all the three worlds. Neither Brahma nor Visnu, neither Hari-Hara nor Surya nor Ganapa is able to control his power (resist him).

The translator has numbered this verse “31a” because it does not appear in the texts used by two of the three commentators on whom he relies.

Kumbhaka = retention of breath in pranayama

Ganapa = Ganesa

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