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6.30.2009

Abhaya - Fear not! The Lone Message of Shiva Nataraja

Fear not!
The hand stays still promising peace and tranquility in ones life when the Bhakta submits to
the great Lord.

Fear not!
For this is when the Bhakta surrenders.


Fear not!
It is the single thought that echoes in the mind when one stares up to the Lord in humility.


Fear not!
Rings the thunderous sounds of creation as the damaru vibrates in the static air


Fear not!
Burns the fire of destruction as it eats into my being and destroys my ego, my past, my
karma

Fear not!
Stands the beautiful snake upright with a jewelled forehead graceful and alert


Fear not!
Is the feeling of freedom and bliss when I hear the sound of mantras echo within the temple
walls

Fear not!
Is the feeling of awakening mysticism as I watch the great Lord raise his feet in Tandava


Fear not!
Are the words heard as my heart melts in his being and I look on to savor the beauty of his being


Fear not!
Is the joy in my heart as I stand back and wonder about this magical world of grace that is so subtle, so alive, so secretive, so true


Fear not!
Is the feeling of tranquility that descends on me even during the times when I am very
troubled

Fear not!
The grace in that mudra is the source of courage to want to face life no matter how tough it gets


Fear not!
Is the detachment I feel from all my myseries, no matter how deep and intense they are


Fear not!
Is the only solution to my earthly problems


Fear not!
Is pure love that I feel towards the Lord hoping that he will release me from this bondage


Fear not!
Triggers the feeling of envy as I stare up and look at that form of Apasmara that is blessed to have the Lord dance on his back


Fear not!
Is the aura of divinity I see on the Lord's face as he blesses me in silence


The form of Nataraja, the vigor in his body, the grace in his being and the bliss that he grants us to observe him dance can be an unforgetable experience when we realize the value of this performance. He has danced to the pleasure of his devotees in 4 sabhas across south india. He danced for them to see with rapture, the life that erupts from within. He has danced to bring home a point, that which we in mundane terms call the dance of bliss and destruciton but we have no idea of its intensity.

What is this dance, what is this vigor, what is this grace and what is this energy that defines in silent language the very power of opening the 3rd eye, the charm of the Ganges, the stance of gajasura shiva? This leaves me dancing within my heart to have just felt his presence around me as he stands there in bronze within the shrine chamber decked in flowers!

I look up to him and wonder, even apasmara purusha felt his dance, felt the force and has the blessing of the Lord forever standing on his back. Yet my heart aches and I struggle to get this divine glimpse of the Lord.

6.21.2009

Supreme consciousness - The experience of Lord Shiva

Lost in the surrounding din my little mind tried hard to keep the internal silence intact. Words, sounds and all the wasted energy continued to pierce through the walls of my defenses to cut into this silent world I called my own. Moving from event to event, across people of various backgrounds I happened to make interesting conversation with a couple of them.

These people were regular folk who had found their happiness in the little things they did. Yet they caught the essence of Shiva when they described him in what they had read in poetry, in dance, in abhinaya,in music... Listening to them and observing them was a totally overwhelming experience...Why? Their description captured Lord Shiva and my emotions jumped more with every word and action that expressed itself.

In their expression I looked on, to hear the primordial sound echo across the floor as they recited a few verses. In their action I could hear the damaru play aloud echoing the sound of OM, bringing its all encompassing presence into my mind and soul. In their actions lived Shiva in his divine movements as they depicted the deer, the gajasamhara, the taming of the snake, the opening of the third eye, the grand nataraja, the fire bowl of enlightenment furiously burning on, and abhaya, that single message of Fear not.

He was there, present in their thoughts, in their movements, in their actions and in the life that twinkled in their eyes as they described him. This is bhakti, shivahood and the presence of Shiva makes the heart melt when they look into the middle of thin air and shake the imaginary damaru, through the art of Bharata or make the sound through the verses of Manikyavachakar... There is Shiva coming alive in front of him.

It is beautiful to see his character appearing as they paint him through their abhinaya, as they bring forth the awakening third eye, sway around to show the flying jata mukuta, moving in grace to show the beauty of gangadhara shiva, showing the swift aggression in tying the tiger skin around his waist. Isnt this just the beauty of lord Shiva that makes tears well up in my eyes. At this moment, all the world stops, its the perfect getaway from the din.

This is probably a step closer to the experience of feeling Shiva consciousness, when the heart skips a beat and the tears roll out and bliss engulfs us and we identify Shiva in the movements of an unassuming soul who just danced a few steps around to describe him or just recited a few verses as they explain the same bliss that they felt.

Jatatavee gala jjala pravaha pavitha sthale|
Gale avalabhya lambithaam bhujanga thunga malikaam||
Dama ddama dama ddama ninnadava damarvayam|
Chakara chanda thandavam thanothu na shiva shivam||

From the forest of his matted lock, water flows and wets his neck,
On which hangs the greatest of snake like a garland,
And his drum incessantly plays damat, damat, damat, damat,
And Shiva is engaged in the very vigorous manly dance,
To bless and shower, prosperity on all of us.

Jata kataha sambhramabrama nillimpa nirjari|
Vilola veechi vallari viraja mana moordhani||
Dhaga dhaga daga jjwala lalata patta pavake|
Kishora Chandra shekare rathi prathi kshanam mama||

The celestial river agitatedly moving through his matted hair,
Which makes his head shine with those soft waves,
And his forehead shining like a brilliant fire-daga daga,
And the crescent of moon which is an ornament to his head,
Makes my mind love him each and every second.

Shiva echoes all around us, Shiva purifies the thoughts in our minds, Shiva brings us peace and an unnatural blissful excitement that can reduce all other miseries in our lives to nothing. This is the state of constant equilibruim that I hope to achieve some day as life passes me by. This is probably the slow but sure way to the highest realm of Satya Loka.

Courtesy:
Shiva Thandava Stotram
By Ravana
Translated by P. R. Ramachander

6.09.2009

Journey to the Center of Supreme Consciousness - Celestial World

Mythology makes regular references to various levels of consciousness, specially those that range between the super gods and mere mortals like us. The references closest to reality that we know is that of the Shiddhars but the range of celestial beings is far bigger than that.

The word Celestial brings to mind a certain kind of imagery, one where they are magical, excessively beautiful and charming, glowing and emitting their own light, blessed with the ability to fly faster than the speed of light (maybe) and of superior intelligence and brilliance that gives them the power to attract others tremendously towards them.

These celestials come with the unique ability to fly great distances in far less time and with a telepathic intelligence that makes them far more inspiring. Hanuman, Garuda, Kinnaras, Gandharvas, Apsaras, and Adithis belong to this realm and they recide in Kimpurusha Loka.


Indian art and mythology as depicted in the scriptures brings this world out most beautifully. Ancient stories have referenced strong ties of love across strata of consciousness. In some cases the mortal prince falls for the beautiful apsara longs for her presence and she over hears him while she is flying by in the sky. Her act of reciprocating is by carving her feelings into a beetle leaf and tossing it into his realm and it simply floats to the ground, scaling levels of consciousness before it lands near him for him to pick up and realize she has acknowledged his love.


In reverse cases beautiful princesses have been described as being shy and coy in their bridal finery as they were visited by a passing Gandharva who fell to their mortal charm and beauty. Having spent tender moments with him through the night, she awaits his presence in her chamber every night hoping to translate this into a mortal/celestial wedlock.



In other references hybrids have been given a special place in religious scriptures across religions like Hinduism, Christianity, Egyptian, Greek and Assyrian to name a few. Cupids play an important role and so does the sphinx. Hanuman and Garuda belong to this hybrid world and come with supreme human and spiritual qualities.


So what makes these mystical creatures so important and why are they referenced in such vast scale? This for now at least solves our question about their existence and the level of consciousness they belong to.
Indian temples across all styles of architecture - Dravida, Nagara, Vesara and Bhumija, have made it a point to elaborately sculpt the exteriors of temple walls with these celestial beings. The various levels of the temple walls indicate the various strata of consciousness. The bottom belongs to animals and is by far most insignificant followed by mortals, kings men and depiction of regular life. This is followed by intellects(Sages) and river goddesses who occupy the brackets of various pillars. Celestials are mostly used as space fillers around the main iconographical deity housed within these niches. The great Gods occupy the center in all the niches with the celestial beings flying and pouring flowers and singing over head.

With such rich depiction on our ancient temple walls, with such meticulous effort put in to motivate us and pass the knowledge forward to the coming generations, these temples stand as an open book revealing one of the greatest secrets of Hinduism - that is the value of self evolution. Why then is it so difficult for you and me to understand and appreciate this, realizing this truth and wanting to be a part of it? We currently stay happily sucked into our realm of worldly role play!


We need to care to step into this real world that we call imagination, and as the Vishnudharmottara indicates that it takes imagination or divya drishti to catch these sparks of enlightened experience, we need to realize the true potential of the mind. What a completely different world it will be if we were able to see celestials flying across our skies in all their purity, dancing and singing, dressed in flowers and celestial ornaments, draped in clothes that glowed in their brilliance like a hundred suns together, emitting light beyond our imagination and descending to have a conversation with us in a divine telepathic language where sound has a different meaning altogether. And at the end they fly away leaving no trace of a shadow or a foot print behind.


What miserable state of worldly blindness are we in that we complete do not tune our minds into this frequency. This is just a hint to indicate that the world we belong to is so vastly different from the world our mind is capable if tuning into to achieve greater heights of spiritual evolution. The world of the celestials is one such example of magic, mysticism and superior power we can hope to achieve if we contemplate hard enough to discover this world our forefathers left for us to discover.