This last Monday I installed a 120-pound Shiva Lingham in the Gayatri Temple here in Beaverton. It was a gift from Josefina Polanco who has been coming to East Coast programs for a couple of years. It is Josefina's plan to open a temple in Colorado at the appropriate time. We wish her the best of success. May God bless all of her efforts to realize this goal. Several people attended the installation, even though it was in the middle of a work day. Tara Ma (Tonya Featherstone) assisted with the puja, doing abhisheka to other representations of Shiva that are also at the temple. We are so grateful to Tara Ma for leading the Friday night Gayatri Meditations at the temple while we are on the road. She and Dorine Olsson (Anapurna) and Ann Paes (Parvati) are pillars of the temple.
Please check out the information for the Gayatri Temple and the regional chanting groups in the lower right column. We have a new one this month in Hawaii.
Finally, I want to again offer my heartfelt appreciation for the prayers and good wishes all of you have offered on my behalf. I am recovering my stamina slowly, but we are off early tomorrow morning to Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, for a workshop. Again, the blessings I receive from God due to your kindness I will use to serve with the ways given to me. You are all a treasure for this earth.
I pray God attend your every need and pour forth so much blessing that you will wonder how you have the capacity to receive it all. Together, we will change the direction of prevailing energies on this planet. Our earthly home and her inhabitants will receive more Divine energy because of what we can do though our combines efforts. I have said it before and I say it again. I salute you
In Service with Prem,
Note from Satyabhama: We are getting a lot of bounces of this newsletter for people who have changed their email addresses. If you change your email address, please click on "Customer Mailing List" at sanskritmantra.com and follow the instructions to update. Thanks.
Shiva - The Consciousness Of The Universe
Shiva is consciousness: all pervading, all encompassing, all accomplishing consciousness. From simple awareness to cosmic consciousness, Shiva is consciousness in all its forms.
In the masculine trinity of the Eastern tradition, two of the three members of the trinity are represented as created "with form," while the third is not. We haveBrahma, the creator and Vishnu the bringer of divine protection. The third member of the trinity, Shiva, does not appear in any form at the beginning. That being which is sometimes called the Great Destroyer remains without form.
Story: The Search
Shortly after the creation of the cosmos, Brahma and Vishnu are traveling around the cosmos and see a pillar of light off in the distance. They go to investigate. When they arrive, they find a column of light that stretches off into the distance going both up and down with no end anywhere in sight. After a conversation, they decide that they will split up and each investigate the origins of a one of the ends of the pillar of light. Brahma goes in one direction, and Vishnu goes in the other.
After what would seem like an eternity to us, they meet back at the spot where they began. Vishnu states that as far as he went, there was no end to the pillar of light. Brahma says that he did find an end in his direction. Immediately after Brahma made this statement, the pillar changed into a blue figure with matted locks and a crescent moon on his forehead. The figure then charges Brahma with lying. Identifying himself as Shiva, the pillar of light that now has a form states that because ego is needed to create, Brahma has succumbed to this ego and told a falsehood. Shiva states that he extends infinitely in either direction, making it impossible to find either a beginning or an end. Shiva then utters a curse upon Brahma that because he lied he will not be observed in the traditional ceremonies propitiating the divine beings and principles. Thus, among the trinity Brahma is seldom worshipped as a central figure and has only one temple in India, but he is frequently remembered in more classical services and ceremonies.
"The Destroyer" Is A Misnomer
Often called the Great Destroyer, Shiva, as the consciousness of the universe, cannot destroy that of which he is a part. This common conception of Shiva as destroyer is quite incorrect. Shiva is several things simultaneously.
1. Shiva is "the great spiritualizer" of the universe, shown as Nataraja.
The symbol of Nataraja is familiar to many who have seen the figure dancing in a ring of flames. Nataraja, or he who dances with joy as consciousness, transcends the physical limits of this universe. One of the most prevalent icons of Shiva is a four-armed figure with wide shoulders and narrow waist that dances upon some hapless figures while surrounded by a circle of flames. The flames represent the dissolving physical universe. The figures on the bottom are those beings still in individual bodies who must endure the painful transformation process while still inhabiting a form. Shiva dances with joy because consciousness has overcome form and transcended the physical limitations of this universe. The narrow waist and broad shoulders, along with the four arms, show an androgynous being.
The overall tableau is designed to represent Shiva dancing as the cosmos is destroyed. Hence, Shiva is most commonly understood as the god of destruction: The Great Destroyer. This is one of the most commonly misunderstood icons and ideas in the entire Vedic Pantheon, because Shiva represents the consciousness of the universe continually evolving. The level of consciousness of all matter is slowly and inexorably increasing as time passes. Humans and other sentient species help the process as some of their number achieve enlightenment, Christ consciousness, Buddhahood, saguna and nirguna realization, and liberation. Their advance quickens the entire process. Ultimately a point is reached where the form of the universe can no longer contain the level of consciousness being achieved. When this happens, the universe undergoes a change of state that appears, from the outside, to be destructive, but it is not. It is transcendent, which is why Shiva is dancing. Far from a gloating figure who dances in glee as the universe dissolves in shudders of cataclysm, rather Shiva's dance is one of joy as the consciousness of the universe itself outgrows the form that was created to contain it.
Here is an a good analogy that aids in seeing the process as a whole. As ice begins to accumulate heat, no visible outward sign is apparent. Suddenly, however, a point is reached where the form of the ice can no longer contain the accumulated heat, and it begins to melt. To an uninformed outside observer, it appears that the ice is being destroyed , but we know that the molecules of water are not affected. They are still there. However, the state of their apparent existence has changed. If the process of heat accumulation continues, the water molecules undergo another change of state into steam. In that process, the water molecules appear to be destroyed. But as we know from the distillation process, the destruction is only apparent. The water molecules reappear as if by magic under cooler circumstances. Similarly, the universe accumulates consciousness until it can no longer be contained within the form.
2. Shiva-Shakti as the self-aware and spiritually potent Holy Spirit.
In the story told about Brahma, Shiva is first seen as a pillar of light. That light is spiritual energy coursing through the "spine" of the universe and in our own spine. That light is power in its most stainless and pure aspect white to the point of being impossible to look at, and conscious in the same sense that "enlightenment" represents one peak in the range of human spiritual development. Power and consciousness, existing everywhere, is one way of viewing the Holy Spirit. Able to manifest at any time and anywhere, but especially active when working with an Avatar, Prophet, Master or True Guru, the Holy Spirit can be viewed as Shiva in his androgynous yet formless aspect. But there is another explanation of the Holy Spirit that is discussed when we in the topic of the Avatars of Vishnu.
3. Yoni Lingham is the icon of Shiva used in most traditional Hindu ceremonies. Made in a flat circular shape and composed of stone or metal with a post standing up in the center, even a cursory examination clearly shows something looking quite similar to the female labial genitalia surrounding a phallic symbol. This is androgyny in its most clear and basic context.
4. Tibetan Approach To Shiva Is Through Kalachakra. The masculine trinity of traditional Hinduism is not observed in Tibet. The anthropomorphized principles found there are completely different, deriving from both Buddhism and the Bonpo religion that preceded it in the region. But the consciousness aspect of Shiva, with all its feminine power conjoined, an androgynous form, is found in Kalachakra - The Wheel of Time. In Sanskrit Kala means time and Chakra means wheel, so the derivation is not in question.
The mantra for Kalachakra is: Om Ha Ksa Ma La Va Ra Yam Swaha
Although the mechanism is somewhat different, the overall approach to becoming a Siddha, or perfected being is quite similar to the effects of the Shiva mantra Om Namah Shivaya.
5. In Us: Little Spirit, Big Spirit
Shiva is consciousness that is evolved and evolving. Since time is a concept of the finite mind, that to which we are evolving is already attained. In a paradoxical way clear to true mystics, we have already reached the object of our search, the goal of our evolution. The "here and now" is just the process of its unfolding. In this process, Shiva beckons through the spine connecting the Kundalini to the top of the head, and beyond. Shiva is The light of the Antahkarana, Sutratma, the golden thread or pillar of light, the silver chord, or the pillar of light in the spine in the evolving individual. Our infinite human individual spirit is part of the Holy Spirit that exists throughout the universe in all of its dimensions and parts.
Shiva Is Not Mentioned In The Vedas
Given Shiva's wide recognition in the West among spiritual groups, it is surprising that his name does not appear in the Vedas. The only similar being mentioned there is Rudra, or "he who dries up the sorrows." In another context Rudra is called "the howler" because he knows both the separation from the Divine and the Union with it in the highest sense.
Shiva appears in print much later, in other scriptures such as the Shiva Purana where it is written that Shiva has five functions:
·Embodiment of consciousness
·Emancipation or release
See Ancient Power of Sanskrit Mantra & Ceremony, 2nd Ed, Vol. I.
Om Namah Shivaya (Or the protective form: Om Shrim Klim Namah Shivaya)
Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra
Om Haum Joom Saha
Om Bhur Bhuvaha Swaha
Om Trayam-bakam Yajamahe Sughan-dhim Pushti Vardanam
Urvar-ukamiva Bandhanan Mrityor Mukshiya Mamritat
Swaha Bhuvaha Bhur Om Saha Joom Haum Om
O three-eyed Shiva who is fragrant, bless me with health and immortality, and sever me from the clutches of death, even as we separate a cucumber from its creeper.
|Certified Priests and Pujari|
Maheshwara and Sri Savitri Devi, Sanatana Dharma
Satsang Certified Priests, are available for pujas and fireceremonies in absentia. Please click here for further details: Pujas in absentia.
Mahavir has been certified by Sanatana Dharma Satsang as a Pujari for 7 years. He is available to do puja in Brooklyn or at your location in New York City area on a donation basis. He can be reached at email@example.com
The works of Thomas Ashley-Farrand (Namadeva Acharya) give unprecedented, detailed instruction in how to empower yourself using the techniques of the ancient sages and rishis. He and Satyabhama have been given the mission by their Gurus Sadguru Sant Keshavadas and Guru Rama Mata to bring these teachings to everyone.
To that end, he has written and recorded a number of works, and he travels to North America and the UK to teach workshops. Bi-annually, we lead a Pilgrimage Tour of India's Holy Places, visiting with the Shankaracharayas at Kanchi Math, Guru Mata at Vishwa Shanti Ashram, and doing fire ceremonies in the Himalayas, among the highlights of the trip.
We have founded a religious organization, Sanatana Dharma Satsang, which has opened a Gayatri Temple in Beaverton, Oregon. Plans are in the works to found temples with residential communities in Oregon, New Mexico, and other locations. The link to it is in the right column.
These works are offered in a spirit of service. We sincerely hope that they will further you on your path.
Prem & Shanti,
Satyabhama (Margalo Ashley-Farrand)
Saraswati Publications, LLC
Video Quick LinksIndia Video
Visit with SatGuru Mata at Vishwa Shanti Ashram and Pujas
India Video HD
Piercing the Knots-Granthis CD - A Mantra
& Visualization Meditation to release the Kundalini
Mantra Therapy for Prosperity CD - Help with blocks to prosperity and mantras to bring it in
Ancient Power of Sanskrit Mantra and Ceremony, Volume I & II CDs now recorded and available
Mantra, Path to Spiritual & Material Attainment - a 15-hour workshop on 14 CDs
Rama & Sita Workshop, Co-Starring Hanuman - approx. 15 CDs.
2009-10 Schedule of Workshops
We will be doing workshops in the following places:
November - CANADA: Waterloo, Ontario
December - Austin, TX
January - Los Angeles, CA; Puerto Rico
April - London, England
June - CANADA: British Columbia - 2 worshops
2009 information: http://sanskritmantra.com/schedule.shtml
Cochrane, Alberta, Canada Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Los Angeles, CA
Jyoti Atma Chanting Group, Contact Jagadamba, Certified Mantra Instructor, at
Contact Mary Huddleston, Certified Mantra Instructor, at email@example.comSt. Louis, MO
Contact Nita Turnage and Craig Hamby,
Certified Mantra Instructors, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Bill Barry, Certified Mantra Instructor, at
Contact Don Campbell and Chris Walsh, Certified Mantra Instructors, at
The Ancient Power of Sanskrit Mantra and Ceremony Recordings
The Ancient Power of Sanskrit Mantra and Ceremony, 2nd. Ed., is now being revised to simplify pronunciation.
As promised some time ago, material to be chanted is being recorded by Namadeva
to be sold in CD sets of 7 or more CDs.
Volume I and Volume II 7-CD sets are now for sale at our online store for $65 each.
Volume III, which will be more than 7 CDs, will be ready in late 2009.