Sat-Cakra-Nirupana – 7

The Sahasrara

Verse 39

Layasthānaṁ vāyostadupari ca mahānādarūpam śivārdhaṁ
sirākāraṁ śāntaṁ varadamabhayaṁ śuddhabuddhiprakāśaṁ
Yadā yogī paśyed gurucaraṇayugāmbhōjasevāsuśīlas-
tadā vācāṁ siddhiḥ karakamalatale tasya bhūyāt sadaiva.

When the actions of the Yogi are, through the service of the Lotus feet of his Guru, in all respects good, then he will see above it (i.e., Ajna-cakra) the form of the Mahanada, and will ever hold in the Lotus of his hand the Siddhi of Speech. The Mahanada, which is the place of dissolution of Vayu is the half of Siva, and like the plough in shape, is tranquil and grants boons and dispels fear, and makes manifest pure Intelligence (Buddhi).

Half of Siva: the meaning is that Siva is Hakara; if the upper part of Ha is removed, the remaining portion of the letter has the form ofan Indian plough.

Mahanada = Maha-nada

Verse 40

Tadūrdhve śaṅkhinyā nivasati śikhare sūnyadeśe prakāśaṁ
visargādhaḥ padmaṁ daśaśatadalaṁ pūrņacandrātiśubhraṁ
Adhōvaktraṁ kāntam taruņaravikalākāntikiñjalkapuñjaṁ
ḷakārādyairvarņaiḥ pravilasitavapuḥ kevalānandarūpaṁ.

Above all these, in the vacant space wherein is Sankhini Nadi, and below Visarga is the Lotus of a thousand petals. This Lotus, lustrous and whiter than the full Moon, has its head turned downward. It charms. Its clustered filaments are tinged with the colour of the young Sun. Its body is luminous with the letters beginning with A, and it is the absolute bliss.

Vacant space: elsewhere called the parama-vyoma = supreme ether.

Lotus of a thousand petals = Sahasrara

Absolute bliss = kevalananda-rupam = lit., Brahman bliss

Verse 41

Samāste tasyāntaḥ śaśaparirahitaḥ śuddhasaṁpūrncandraḥ
sphurajjyotsnājalaḥ paramarasacayasnigdhasaṁtānahāsī.
Trikoņaṁ tasyāntah sphurati ca satataṁ vidyudākārarūpam
tadantahūanyaṁ tatsakala-suragaņaih sevitaṃ cātiguptaṁ.

Within it (Sahasrara) is the full Moon, without the mark of the hare, resplendent as in a clear sky. It sheds its rays in profusion, and is moist and cool like nectar. Inside it (Candra-mandala), constantly shining like lightning, is the Triangle and inside this, again, shines the Great Void which is served in secret by all the Suras.

Mark of the hare = the man in the moon.

Triangle = the A-ka-thadi triangle.

Great Void = sunya = bindu.

Suras = devas.

Verse 42

Suguptaṁ tadyatnādatiśayaparammoda-saṁtānarāśeḥ
paraṁ kandaṁ sūkṣmaṁ sakalāśaśikalasuddharūpaprakāśaṁ
Iha sthāne devaḥ paramaśivasamākhyānasiddhaḥ prasiddhaḥ
svarūpī sarvātmā rasavirasanutoऽiñānamohāndhahaṁsaḥ.

Well concealed, and attainable only by great effort, is that subtle Bindu (Sunya) which is the chief root of Liberation and which manifests the pure Nirvana-Kala with Ama-Kala. Here is the Deva who is known to all as Parama-Siva. He is the Brahman and the Atma of all beings. In Him are united both Rasa and Virasa, and He is the Sun which destroys the darkness of nescience and delusion.

Nirvana-Kala and Ama-Kala: There are seventeen Kalas (digits) of the moon, but the nectar-dropping Ama and the Nirvana-kala are only at this stage revealed.

Rasa and Virasa = the bliss of liberation and that arising from the union of Siva and Sakti.

Nescience = ajnana.

Delusion = moha.

Verse 43

Sudhādhārāsāraṁ niravadhi vimuñcannatitarām
yateḥ svātmajñānaṁ diśati bhagavān nirmalamateḥ.
Samaste sarveśaḥ sakalasukhasaṁtānalaharī
parivāko haṁsaḥ parama iti niāmnā paricitaḥ.

By shedding a constant and profuse stream of nectar-like essence, the Bhagavan instructs the Yati of pure mind in the knowledge by which he realizes the oneness of the Jivatma and the Paramatma. He pervades all things as their Lord, who is the ever-flowing and spreading current of all manner of bliss known by the name of Hamsah Parama (Parama-hamsah).

Yati = someone whose mind rests intently upon the Devata of his worship.

Verse 44

Śivasthānam śaivāḥ paramapuruṣaṁ vaiṣņavagaņā
lapantīti prāyo hariharapadam kecidapare.
Pabaṁ devyā devicaraņayugalāṁbhojarasikā
munīndrā apyanye prakṛtipuruṣasthānamamalaṁ.

The Saivas call it the abode of Siva; the Vaisnavas call it Parama Purusa; others again, call it the place of Hari-Hara. Those who are filled with a passion for the Lotus feet of the Devi call it the excellent abode of the Devi; and other great sages (Munis) call it the pure place of Prakrti-Purusa.

Saivas = worshippers of Siva.

Vaisnavas = worshippers of Visnu.

Hari-Hara = Visnu and Shiva.

Devi = Sakti.

Prakriti-Purusa = Sakti-Siva.

Verse 45

Idam sthānam jñātva niyatanijacitto naravaro
na bhūyāt saṁsāre punarapi na baddhastribhuvane.
Samagrā saktiḥ syānniya mamanasastasya krtinaḥ
sadā kartuṁ hartuṁ khagatirapi vāņi suvimalā.

That most excellent of men who has controlled his mind and known this place is never again born in the Wandering, as there is nothing in the three worlds which binds him. His mind being controlled and his aim achieved, he possesses complete power to do all which he wishes, and to prevent that which is contrary to his will. He ever moves towards the Brahman. His speech, whether in prose or verse, is ever pure and sweet.

Mind = citta.

Wandering = samsara.

Brahman = lit. kha, which could also mean “air” or “ether.”

Verse 46

Atrāste śiśūsuryasodarakalā candrasya sā sodaśī
śuddhā nirajasūkşmatantuśatadhābhāgaikararūpā parā.

Here is the excellent (supreme) sixteenth Kala of the Moon. She is pure, and resembles (in colour) the young Sun. She is as thin as the hundredth part of a fibre in the stalk of a lotus. She is lustrous and soft like ten million lightning flashes, and is down-turned. From Her, whose source is the Brahman, flows copiously the continuous stream of nectar (or, She is the receptacle of the stream of excellent nectar which comes from the blissful union of Para and Parâ).

Para and Parâ = bindu-rupa Siva and Sakti.

Verse 47

Nirvāṇākhyakalā parā paratparā sāste tadantargatā
keśāgrasya sahasradhā vibhajitasyaikāmśarūpā satī.
Bhutānāmadhidaivataṁ bhagavati nityaprabodhodayā
candrārdhāngasamānabhaṇguravatī sarvārkatulyaprabhā

Inside it (Ama-kala) is Nirvana-kala, more excellent than the excellent. She is as subtle as the thousandth part of the end of a hair, and of the shape of the crescent moon. She is the ever-existent Bhagavati, who is the Devata who pervades all beings. She grants divine knowledge, and is as lustrous as the light of all the suns shining at one and the same time.

Verse 48

Etasyā madhyadeśe vilasati paramāpūrvanirvāṇaśaktiḥ
kotyādityaprakāśā tribhuvanajananī koṭibhāgaikarūpā.
Keśāgrasyātisūkşmā niravadhi vigalapremadhārādharā sā
sarveşam jīvabhūtā munimanasi mudā tattvabhodhaṁ vahanti

Within its middle space (i.e., middle of the Nirvana-kala) shines the Supreme and Primordial Nirvana-Sakti; She is lustrous like ten million suns, and is the Mother of the three worlds. She is extremely subtle, and like unto the ten-millionth part of the end of a hair. She contains within Her the constantly flowing stream of gladness, and is the life of all beings. She graciously carries the knowledge of the Truth (Tattva) to the mind of the sages.

Nirvana-Sakti = Samanapada or Samani Sakti.

Stream of gladness = Prema.

Verse 49

Tasyā madhyātarāle śivapadamamalaṁ śāśvataṁ yogigamyaṁ
nityānandābhidhānam sakalasukhamayaṁ śuddhabhodhasvarūpaṁ.
Kecidbrahmābhidhānaṁ padmiti sudhiyo vaişṇavaṁ tallapanti
keciddhaṁsakhyametatkimapi sukṛitno mokşamātma-prabodhaṁ

Within Her is the everlasting place called the abode of Siva, which is free from Maya, attainable only by Yogis, and known by the name of Nityananda. It is replete with every form of bliss, and is pure knowledge itself. Some call it the Brahman; others call it Hamsa. Wise men describe it as the abode of Visnu, and righteous men speak of it as the ineffable place of knowledge of the Atma, or the place of Liberation.

Abode of Siva = Siva-padam = state of Siva.

Pure knowledge itself = suddha-bodha-svarupam.

Righteous men = sukrtinah.

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