Namaste, Divine Brothers and Sisters,
Since we sent out the stack for helping the Gulf, the well has been capped, and the oil is disappearing. Of course, there were thousands of people praying and chanting. So together, we all have had a powerful effect. There is still a lot to be done, so don't stop now. But I salute your efforts, as well as the efforts of all the others who prayed and chanted in their own way.
As always, I pray for your success and welfare everywhere I go. At Far Horizons this year, we did a Lakshmi Yajna/Fire Ceremony and you were all in my prayers. You go with us everywhere, I am I am grateful to have you all in our lives.
We have a whirlwind late Summer and Fall and I hope to see many of you in person. Until then, keep on chanting!.
With Gratitude, In Love And Service,
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 "Update Profile/Email Address" at the bottom of this newsletter and follow the instructions to update. Please note most employers block newsletters, so use another email address. Thanks.
Shiva: The Consciousness of the Universe
In the masculine trinity of the Vedic tradition, two of the three members of the trinity are represented as created "with form," while the third is not. Among the masculine trinity of Brahma Vishnu and Shiva, 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 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 first 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 charges Brahma with lying. Identifying himself as Shiva, the pillar of light that now has assumed a form states that because ego is needed to create, Brahma has succumbed to 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, but he is frequently remembered in more classical services and ceremonies. His only temple is in Pushkara, Rajastan, India and is said to be one of the most powerful pilgrimage spots on the planet.
"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 not quite correct or complete. Shiva is several things simultaneously.
1. Shiva Is The Great Spiritualizer Of The Universe. As a conscious and continually evolving entity, 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. Our and 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 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 energy 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 Is the Self-aware And Spiritually Potent Holy Spirit. In the story told above, 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 is Shiva in his androgynous yet formless aspect.
3. Nataraja: 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.
4. Yoni-Lingham. The icon of Shiva used in most traditional Hindu ceremonies is a flat circular shaped stone or metal beneath a post standing up in the center. Even a cursory look at the object 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.
It is astounding to observe that throughout the many branches of Shaivism, a nearly exclusive worship of this object as male is practiced. Yet it is clearly both masculine and feminine. The only reasonable answer is that the consciousness aspect of Shiva, which is the masculine aspect, is that being propitiated through song and ceremony. When the power aspect is the focus of worship, an icon from the feminine trinity is used.
5. 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 combined in Yub-Yum 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.
In Hinduism, another name for Shiva is Mahakala or Lord of Time. The Kula branch of Shaivist doctrine found in Northern India, contains understanding of an esoteric chakra that is referred to as the Kalachakra, or sometimes the Lalani Chakra. In some texts the qualities as well as the number and form of petals on the chakras are clearly delineated.
Although the mechanism is somewhat different, the overall approach to becoming a Siddha, or perfected being, is strikingly similar to the effects of the Shiva mantra below.
To be continued next month.
|Mantras of the Month|
Om Ha Ksa Ma La Va Ra Yam Swaha
Om Namah Shivaya
We offer a number of pujas and fire ceremonies which may be done on your behalf for various purposes. You will find a list of them here:
If you wish to have a puja performed for you, purchase it online, and one of the priests will contact you to make arrangements with you as to which puja or fire ceremony/yajna you want and when.
Certified Priests and Pujari
Sri Savitri Devi and Maheshwara,Sanatana Dharma Satsang Certified Priests, are available for pujas and fire ceremonies in absentia. Please click here for further details: Pujas in absentia.
Mahavir has been certified by Sanatana Dharma Satsang as a Pujari for 9 years. He is available to do pujas or yajnas in Brooklyn or at your location in the New York City area on a donation basis. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bharata/Bill Barry, a Certified Priest who lives in Massachusetts, is available for pujas and yajnas in his area. Please contact him 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
Ancient Power of Sanskrit Mantra and Ceremony, Volumes I, II & III CD-sets now recorded and available.
True Stories of Spiritual Power
Dr. Wright's Clean Out Technique - guided pranayama
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.
Other Mantra Therapy CDs in the series:
Healing Intensives 1,2;
Restoration of Dharma & Peace
Mantra, Path to Spiritual & Material Attainment - a 15-hour workshop on 14 CDs
Rama & Sita Workshop, Co-Starring Hanuman - 20 CDs.
2010 Schedule of Workshops
We will be doing workshops in the following places:
August - Charleston, SC; Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
September - Lansing, MI, Chicago, IL; MA: Boston & Kripalu;
October - Keene, NH; Asheville, NC; CANADA: Calgary, Red Deer
November - Sherman, TX
December - INDIA
January - Austin, TX, Los Angeles, CA
2010 information: http://sanskritmantra.com/schedule.shtm
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Cochrane, Alberta, Canada
Los Angeles, CAAtma Jyoti Chanting Group, Contact Jagadamba, Certified Mantra Instructor: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monthly Puja and Chanting
Contact Sri Savitri Devi, Certified Priest, at email@example.com
Contact Sara Minnis:
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.
Volume I and Volume II, 7-CD sets are now for sale at our online store for $65 each
Volume III, 20-CD set, is now for sale. $150