Sat-Cakra-Nirupana – 6

The Ajna Cakra

Verse 32

Ājñanāmāmbujaṁ taddhimakarasadṛśam dhyānadhāmaprakāśaṁ
hakşābhyāṁ vai kalābhyāṁ parilasitavapurnetrapatraṁ suśubhraṁ
Tanmadhye hākinī sā śaśisamadhavalā vaktraşaṭkaṁ dadhānā
vidyāṁ mudrāṁ kapālaṁ ḍamarujapavaṭīṁ bibhrtī śuddhacittā

The Lotus named Ajna is like the Moon, (beautifully white). On its two petals are the letters Ha and Ksa, which are also white and enhance its beauty. It shines with the glory of Dhyana. Inside it is the Sakti Hakini, whose six faces are like so many moons. She has six arms, in one of which She holds a book; two others are lifted up in the gestures of dispelling fear and granting boons, and with the rest She holds a skull, a small drum, and a rosary. Her mind is pure (Suddha-Citta).

Ajna = lit., command

holds a book: the meaning is that she is making the mudra called vidya or pustaka, not that she is actually holding a book

Small drum = damaru

Verse 33

Etatpadmāntarāle nivasati ca manaḥ sūkşmarūpaṁ prasiddhaṁ
yonau tatkaraṇikāyāmitaśivapadaṁ liṅgacihṇaprakāśaṁ
Vidyunmālāvilāsaṁ paramakulapadaṁ brahmasūtraprabhodaṁ
vedānāmādibījaṁ sthiratarahṛdayaścintayettatkrameṇa

Within this Lotus dwells the subtle mind (Manas). It is well-known. Inside the Yoni in the pericarp is the Siva called Itara, in His phallic form. He here shines like a chain of lightning flashes. The first Bija of the Vedas, which is the abode of the most excellent Sakti and which by its lustre makes visible the Brahma-sutra, is also there. The Sadhaka with steady mind should meditate upon these according to the order (prescribed).

Itara = that which enables one to cross Lala.

First bija of the Vedas = Om.

Brahma-sutra = the nadi-citrini.

Verse 34

Dhyānātmā sādhakendro bhavati prapure śighragāmī munindraḥ
sarvajñah sarvadarśī sakalahitakarah sarvaśāstrarthavettā
Advaitācāravādī vilasati paramāpūrvasiddhipraśiddho
dīrghāyuḥ soऽpi kartā tribhuvanabhavane saṁhṛtau pālane ca

The excellent Sadhaka, whose Atma is nothing but a meditation on this Lotus, is able quickly to enter another’s body at will, and becomes the most excellent among Munis, and all-knowing and all-seeing. He becomes the benefactor of all, and versed in all the Sastras. He realizes his unity with the Brahman and acquires excellent and unknown powers. Full of fame and long-lived, he ever becomes the Creator, Destroyer, and Preserver, of the three worlds.

Another’s body = para-pura; may also mean “another’s house.”

Powers = siddhi.

Verse 35

Tadantaścakreऽsminnivasati satataṁ śuddhabuddhyantarātmā
Pradīpābhajyotiḥ praṇavaviracanārūpavarnaprākaśah
Tadūrdve candrārdhastadupari vilasadbindurūpī makāra
stadūrdhve nādoऽsau baladhavalasudhādhārasaṁtanahāsī

Within the triangle in this Cakra ever dwells the combination of letters which form the Pranava. It is the inner Atma as pure mind (Buddhi), and resembles a flame in its radiance. Above it is the half (crescent) moon, and above this, again, is Ma-kara, shining in its form of Bindu. Above this is Nada, whose whiteness equals that of Balarama and diffuses the rays of the Moon.

Pranava = the word “Om.”

Combination of letters = A and U, i.e., the vowels in the word “aum.”

Ma-kara = the letter M in its bindu form in candra-bindu.

Nada = the half-moon symbol.

Verse 36

Iha sthāne līne susukhasādhane cetasi puraṁ
nirālambām badhvā paramagurusevāsuviditāṁ
Tadabhyāsād yōgī pavanasuhṛdāṁ paśyati kaṇāṅ
tatastanmadhyāntaḥ pravilasítarūpānapi sadā

When the Yogi closes the house which hangs without support, the knowledge whereof he has gained by the service of Parama-guru, and when the Cetas by repeated practice becomes dissolved in this place which is the abode of uninterrupted bliss, he then sees within the middle of and in the space above (the triangle) sparks of fire distinctly shining.

Closes the house = make the yoni-mudra, which detaches the inner self (antah-pur) and mind (manas) from the empirical world.

Verse 37

JvaladdIpākāraṁ tadanu ca navīnārkabahulaprakāśaṁ
jyotirvā gaganadharaṇīmadhyamilitaṁ
Iha sthāne sākşad bhavati bhagavāṅ pūrṇavibhavosvyayaḥ
sākşi vaḥneḥ śaśimihirayormaṇdala iva

He then also sees the Light which is in the form of a flaming lamp. It is lustrous like the clearly shining morning sun, and glows between the Sky and the Earth. It is here that the Bhagavan manifests Himself in the fullness of His might. He knows no decay, and witnesseth all, and is here as He is in the region of Fire, Moon, and Sun.

Light = jyotih.

Sky = gagana = empty space above Sankhini-nadi.

Earth = dharani = dhara-mandala in the muladhara.

Region of Fire, Moon, and Sun = the triangle on Manipitha within the A-ka-tha triangle.

Verse 38

Iha sthāne vişṇoratulaparamāmodamadhure
samāropya prāṇaṁ pramuditamanāḥ prāṇanidhane
Paraṁ nityaṁ devaṁ puruşamajamādyaṁ trijagatāṁ
purāṇaṁ yogīndraḥ praviśati ca vedāntaviditaṁ

This is the incomparable and delightful abode of Visnu. The excellent Yogi at the time of death joyfully places his vital breath (Prana) here and enters (after death) that Supreme, Eternal, Birthless, Primeval Deva, the Purusa, who was before the three worlds, and who is known by the Vedanta.

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