Showing posts with label bhairava. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bhairava. Show all posts


When Blind Men Discovered The Elephant

It’s been a while now, having gone through books, having visited temples, having done my own dig to find out everything I can possibly know about Lord Shiva and the mysterious being He is. And yet He defies me, every time when I wonder what really defines Shivahood. There are not too many takers for this faith, not after people start to find out that the rules of this game are way more difficult than they originally thought. 

Shiva is not a person, He is not a father of two kids parked in Kailasa, no I don’t believe He is all of that. Shiva is a state, a state that if we achieve, we become like Shiva Himself, we achieve Shivahood. And this state is not easy to become for it asks of us the unthinkable. Now am not talking about giving up Maya or related desires and asking for advaita or renunciation. No, not that directly but yes at some point of maturity we will come to that automatically. The unthinkable is something far more precious than all the material comforts and love we have around us. It’s a disease, a virus that once taken root is completely impossible to remove - its Bias that stems out of Perception. 

Why have we formed so many religious groups and why does each religious group believe they are superior to the other mortal without even getting a glimpse of the Lord - In any form! Isn’t this the outcome of a disease plaguing us right at the conscience? We are like a group of blind men touching the parts of an elephant and calling it different names, worse still we believe that the part we are familiar with is way better and superior to others with absolutely no clue of the fact that these parts actually lead up to a greater wholesome truth, the complete elephant. 

Few great souls walked this earth and they were blessed by the divine to have characteristics of the Lord or blessed with divine vision to actually see and witness the nature of the Supreme. And these few great souls shared their experiences with us and pushed off. Now we are left with a set of simply divine experiences, layered by a whole set of complex man made rules and put into a hard shell of perception that cannot be broken. How do we ever crack this nut? 

How do we differentiate between that which is an illusion and that which is super real? We need to break the shell of perception that covers our mind. But we seem to be aiding it, now isn’t that the sign of complete ignorance. Where is our beloved God and where are we, when we have this deep gorge of ignorance gaping at us in the middle? Will we ever make it to the other side? 

Look at what we have brought ourselves to, apparently we are the most evolved species on this planet. Yes, it’s true, all evolved species head towards their own disaster and we are surely sticking by that rule. We don’t need a catastrophes for this, we are the catastrophe. Our bias is the catastrophe. Look what we made of ourselves, we are ready to fight, ready to kill, and ready to wage war and ready to be groomed as terrorists to fight for a school of thought by folks who have barely set eyes on the supreme. Seriously, what are their credentials? 

Has anyone in recent times seen God, then how can anyone stake claim to a school of thought, mine included! Let’s do what the holy texts say, let’s do what the supreme wanted us to do, let just try to be good people. I speak for Shivahood because I know it best. Shivahood simply says, be fearless and surrender and the Lord will take care of everything else. Do you know how difficult that is, to be fearless and surrender? 

We need to first know that we are fearful and that perception is the problem. We then need to identify which perception is an illusion because all the thoughts we have in our head are perceptions! So we need to stop thinking too much and start contemplating. Contemplation is the art of killing perceptions and replacing it with truth. 

Here are some examples:
I am going to die one day- is a truth.
I am going to live a long life - clear perception and wishful thinking. 
I am going to become rich - perception
I am going to have a happy family - perception
My faith is the best - perception. 

But between now and death, I have some time so what do I do with myself. I can build more perceptions or I can stick with the truth and work to make that final experience better. Building perceptions is a castle in the air with people pampering our ego and our constant fight to get recognition from everyone. So somewhere in all this noise we forgot the elephant and we decided we are the greatest. And we have politics and diplomacy to tighten every nut and bolt to make that perception so totally real!! Remember when we die, which could be tomorrow, we are history. We are not even going to be remembered like that speck of dust you couldn’t remove. 

Lord Shiva dances in the cremation ground for a reason, he is the Lord of destruction for a reason. He walks with the supremely learned and the ghosts for a reason. He is a final truth for a reason. 

The reason quite simply is - He trains us and tests us for that final moment, that moment of death. To be fearless and to surrender, to give up this body with grace and not hold on to it. To let go and accept the final Truth and celebrate it rather that cry about it. To be free in the world of the unknown. Shivahood is that strength that guides us through.


Vaital Deul - The art of conquering fear

Vaital Deul temple stands silent along the bustling streets of Bhubaneshwar, it is a contrast from the world we are in today and the world that once was. The landscape of the day has completely changed with buildings rising around this quaint ambiance but the image of this quiet locality must have been quite different during the old days. Vaital Deul, sharing its compound with Sisireshwar temple, would have been shrouded among dense forests with a possible pathway leading up to this shrine.

Tantrik cults have ruled this temple for long and their main deity of worship has been Chamunda devi. While the exteriors of this temple are covered with innocent looking kanyas luring the passerby to these temples, what lies inside looks far more fearsome.

In Indian spiritualism, there is no room for feelings of fear or attachment. In fact our scriptures repeatedly advice us to get over these emotions over a period of time. These forms of Devi and Shiva, of Kali, Bhairava and Chamunda bring in feelings of fear when viewed by the ignorant eye, but to the aspirant who loves and views them in bhakti, the emotions reach a state of sublime that supersedes the average emotions that rule us. Its similar to the emotion of indescribable love a mother feels towards her potentially ugly baby as compare to the judgemental view an onlooker takes towards the same child. We have innumerable examples of Shiva and Shakti in Ghora rupa, displaying actions of gore like consumption of blood and mutilating the body of the sacrificed, living in formidable locations like the shamshan ghat and waking up in the night to be worshiped by their devotees. There must have been a meaning to all this.

Vaital Deul is one such potent example of a Shakti sthal converted to a hard core location for strict, deep rooted tantrik practices for the worship of the Mother, in one of her many forms. The temple itself has a silent aura of mysticism with a luring exterior of the most ravishing Kanyas. But when we step inside, the view changes everything. Shiva, the Durgas, Sapta Matrikas, Varaha, Ganesha form the pantheon that welcomes us, but with a difference. They appear far more scary than what we in "civilized society" are used to. It is almost a reflection of the Jewish Sabbat - the dance with Satan. While the imagery is dangerously close involving sexuality and potential blood rituals, the rules and beliefs are completely different.  

Hinduism depicts the vanquishing of evil in this imagery, where killing is incidental, but the method is explicit. These emaciated sculptures of Chamunda and Bhairava dance around with fire bowls, holding decapitated heads and a sickle for more blood coupled with scenes of copulation all in the name of victory. They scream out not just the destruction of evil but the path to higher super bliss through what appears to be bizarre rituals. But why are they bizarre? Its a method, like any other strong school of thought with its own set of beliefs, just more daring in areas sparingly visited.

Pure spiritualism has no room for bias, lack of bhakti, easy nirvana or just the mechanical art of worshiping a wish fulfilling tree to bear fruit. We have strong contradictions, seriously controversial rules that fight the battle of what pure faith really is. Conquest of fear, of attachment, of temptations and of discipline is the bottom line of all the rituals that build up Hindu spiritual art of worship. Be it the worship of Chamunda and Kala Bhairava or be it the worship of Shiva and Parvati, the mind has to be tamed and the methods could be varied to cross this ocean. To some the path is acceptable within the realm of society and to others the path blatantly addresses human nature in its many aspects.

Vaital Deul temple depicts Chamunda in her gory best, with dancing ghosts and goblins hitting the drums of victory around her. In the darkness of this small temple, with hardly any windows to bring in daylight, the appearance of the Goddess in the lamp light can trigger the emotion of fear and echo the thought of death in our heads for longer than we ever felt it. The thought here is not about death as much as it is about the eeriness of the ambiance that calls death upon us. Vaital Deul has been active in history with blood sacrifices more in the order of humans than lambs and other creatures. The aura of this temple can brings shivers to the mind and the only way a person can beat this creeping eeriness is vanquish the very emotion that encourages weakness out of its presence. Vaital Deul is a good example of a temple that creates the aura of gore and fear to make the onlooker realize their emotions and not fall prey to them. Its a classical test towards attaining higher bliss by inducing contemplation to conquer our mortal emotions.

The thought of contemplation now should ideally change from the fear and shock of the unknown to peace and bliss over the surprises the Supreme forces throw on us to make us realize how inadequate we are to proceed on our spiritual journey.


The Eternal Dream of Bliss

I sit here swinging between two worlds. I met her, a practicing tantric and what a wonderful woman she turned out to be. She unraveled her life, a life that appeared to be a part of me. She sang her way through, she is the ultimate romantic. Just watching her is a pleasure. Just listening to her sweet words is an experience. Being with her brings me this uncanny joy and excitement I have never felt before. She once knew the real meaning of Bhairava, she once practiced Tantra.

With her presence my whole imaginary world of the Gods sprung back to life. The Lord reappeared into this intoxicating space. He lured me to this world of magic, of divinity and of such amazing charm that one could lie there swollen with love, paralyzed and drowning in bliss.

He breaks out of his stony shackles; he dances the wild dance of love. He awakens in me this strange frenzy that is waiting to just burst out of my contained human self. I am wild, I am free. I am that which you do not see. I am the eternal Bhairavi locked in this human temple for this life.

In this mystical realm, where all the Gods and celestial beings live, where charm and beauty are beyond the unthinkable, where intellect is pure and of superior nature, where the language of speech is that within the mind and where the essence of life is pure energy and love. There are no secrets, there is no good or bad, this is my world, the
celestial land of the dancing Gods.

Nataraja dances gracefully, his long locks sway in gentle waves in the wind. Parvati seated in divine charm, a golden glow that surrounds her envelopes my heart. Chamunda and Kali bring out their wilderness, such depth in their beauty, such warmth in their eyes, such power in their being I have never seen or felt.

Is this the real worship in my heart, are these the silent depths I ache to see, is this that mystical world I want to be a part of... O Divine Lord, how much longer do I wait to have a glimpse of your divine feet? To be a part of divine land, to take a dip every day at the Ganges, to feel the cold of the mountains, to breathe the silence of the cave, to bathe in the tranquility of life and to view the very Lord every day...Ah! What a life, what an eternal moment of joy.

My eternal home, by a small shrine made for the Lord, by a small kund that holds water so pure, by the walls of towering mountains. To live on sacred ground surrounded by Shiva lingams, to live under the shadow of the divine Trishula, to be a part of that charming archaic world in stone, to smell the pure air and listen to the reverberation of the temple bell echo around the hill side... what a life.

Photo courtesy:
James G. Lochtefeld


The essence of Shiva Bhairava

Look up to the bright sky and train your eyes to see the brightness in it, you will notice the faint clouds that glow even brighter in that light. Look up to the sun for a few seconds and maintain the gaze even in the brightness, you will notice it is round and glowing even more. Keep silent and close all your sense faculties and kill all the noise around you and you will realize the primordial sound OM grows within you.
This is Bhairava, This is Shiva, This is prana.

Prana, as beautifully described in the Vigyana Bhairava Tantra, is not the breath that goes in and out, but the eternal space that can be felt between any two breaths. Prana is not the air we breathe but it is the energy or life that is generated by the constant vibration between any two breaths. This is where OM is felt.
This is defined as Bhairava, This is defined as Shiva, This is Prana.

The human self is described most poetically; we are but a lotus plant, whose stem is blue on the outside and red on the inside. We are but a lotus plant whose stem is the channel through which Shakti flows upwards to meet her Shiva at the seat of consciousness. We are but a lotus plant immersed in the waters of Maya but enlightened at the epitome of our consciousness - the thousand petal form.
This consciousness is Bhairava, this feeling of bliss is Shiva.

When your senses shiver and your mind becomes still, and when you quiver, feel this bliss. When you practice love in the ritual of union feel the quivering of your senses like the wind in the leaves. You will feel ecstatic love. At the start of this union, be in the fire of this energy released by intimate sensual pleasure. Merge into Shakti, burn in this space but avoid the ashes in the end. Feel your substance, your bones, your flesh and your blood saturated with cosmic energy.
This is Bhairavam this is Shiva, this is supreme bliss

There is beauty in the emptiness of space devoid of trees, hills or dwellings. There is poetry in the fire of life that burns all illusion to death. I see the entire world burn as a blazing inferno and when all turns to ash, I feel this space that envelopes me, I feel the entire universe dissolving into subtler form until it merges into pure consciousness.
This is Bhairava, Thihs is Shiva, This is prana.

Waves are born in the ocean and dissolve in the ocean itself, flames are born out of fire and dissolve in this fire of life. The sun appears in the sky and fades into the sky itself. The self rises in the realm of knowledge and energy and slowly being deprived of it, dissolves into itself revealing to us our true being.
This essence of subtle life is Bhairava, is Shiva, is Prana.


Mysticism in the Sri Chakra Puja

Mysticism is an ocean of unexplainable phenomenon... well what can I say about it, except that the ingredients are different, the rules are different, the results are different and the acceptance of it makes the world look very different.

Rahasya is a beautiful word. It describes the law of the divine system of the Gods, and the inner meaning and powers and the benefits there of. The power of the Sri Chakra is one such rahasya. Puja is a beautiful system which defines the rules of adoration with the elements of sound, divine geometry that is interwoven with the very being of the worshiper. The art of Yantra Puja, brings a balance between the energies that surround the outer world around the devotee and that of the inner world within them.

Once the association of the devotee starts with the Sri Chakra, the central Bindu of the Yantra maps with the center of the devotee's own inner being. The center of the Universe that are centered around this mandala represent the energies of the psycho physical constitution of the devotee concentrated within. This is the journey of all the forces that are currently diffused to be concentrated towards the center of the being. From here on, with little or no attachment they begin their journey to the center of their own universe. This universe is defined by the same concept that pronounces the journey one makes from the entrance of the temple right up to its main sanctum in its structure, or the movement from the outskirts of a great ancient kingdom to its inner palaces or from the outside world of Maya to the inner realm that lies dormant within oneself.

In this realm, two things play a strong role, that of consciousness and that of energy, both of which are available to the devotee in abundance. Consciousness is the "Shiva" element within the mind of the devotee while energy is the "Shakti" element. When a devotee settles down to Yantra Puja, and gets into the state of divine dialog with the Sri Chakra, they begin to give up the external world around them and start to drift towards the realm of the inside. From here on, what appears to the outside world as "peace of mind" actually is the starting of a whole new life that is defined by the very Yantra that they worship, within which divinity has been brought to reside.

The Yantra is the very nature of the worshiper and breathes life giving energy into the realm of the worshiper thereby bringing harmony and wealth and prosperity as perceived by the outer world. But in the mind of the devotee what matters is the mysterious world of which they have now become a part. Here the rules are different. There is no transaction, there is just divine love, faith, surrender, cause and effect. Here there are just states to be in and each state has its own characteristics. Here society and order have no room. This is the inner realm of the being, of the self where only divine reality matters.

In this world, the Yantra becomes and active player, the life giving source of all energy and with every passing worship it makes the devotee stronger in their zest for life and for death. Life and death appear like two parts of the same reality, life being one state that transits into another that is death. The mind experiences a lot more magic, unexplained and yet spectacular. The signs are all over the devotee's mind. Its a moment of awakening when the devotee realizes that ancient symbolism was not really a creation of man's imagination, it was a gift of the Gods that got left behind as visual proof, the source and logic of which is still being rediscovered. In this state Lord Shiva and Goddess Tripura Sundari are more real that the people who are part of one's external reality.

The Sri Chakra begins to breathe life into the devotee's world. The gates to heaven open in all the four cardinal directions, the 16 petals of time bloom and all the stars begin to let go their clutches, their influence on the devotee's life. The great guardians open their inner gates and the attendant yoginis come alive to dance and worship the great goddess within. The inner world awakens, each divine being in their respective Koshas, display the extravaganza of their nature, waking up this inner world, of beauty and divinity to the devotee. This is the divine realm, of silence and pure sound, of light and powerful energy that awaken within the physical mass of the human mind. At last, the inner world comes into divine reality, the four great pillars of life, of direction signified by Brahma[North East], Vishnu [South East], Rudra [South West] and Isana [North West].

This journey is powerful, different and once its started there is no going back. In the language of spiritualism this is termed as realization, an irreversible process within the mind. At the center of this experience is the Anugraha form of the Goddess, that of Sadashiva and Kameshwari represented by the color white and that of color red. This is believed to be at the peak of Mount Meru, at the sacred uppermost peak within the human being at the Sahasrara Chakra. This world is illumined by the subtle beauty of the crescent moon, by the brilliance of the sun and by the burning desire of agni within the mind of the devotee. This is divine union a smaller representation of which in the outer world is the miracle of child birth in our reality.

To the divine parent I pray
Who reside on my fore
Who awaken the crescent moon of my being
Who are at the epicenter of my Bindu
Who breathe life into me
And produce the sacred sounds of divine life at the Nada
I pray to you, O divine parent,
Bless me with a life
Complete with my earthly duties fulfilled
And lead me back home
To the divine realm of your world
In this hope I continue to live
To catch a glimpse of thee
From within the limits of my finite self.

Related Posts:
Bindu Visarga - A drop of moon on the crown of Tripura Sundari
Maya, an Integral part of Shakti

Sri Chakra Yantra - From Sri Nagar to Ujjain
Chandra Yoga - The moon light, a drop of immortality


Shakti Peetha, Chamundeshwari - Chamundi Hill, Mysore

Chamundi Hill, read the board as the car took the right to ascend the hill that overlooks the little town of Mysore. Civilization has since grown and is slowly replacing old world charm with new. As the car turns through hair pin bends, the mind looks over the landscape in anticipation of the Goddess, who has since resided here, ever since the previous yuga when Shakti destroyed herself and her hair fell here on this sacred ground.

My mind lingers over the twists and turns in my life that made me come and visit the Goddess Chamundeshwari again. She brings an aura along with herself, that of shakti, of silence, of a slight uneasiness that over powers the mind. There is a mixed emotion to want to realize what great powers are preserved here which have now crystallized into a small temple for Chamundeshwari devi.

As we approach the entrance, I look at the steps leading up into a smaller entrance. Silver covers the doors, and transforms this whole ambiance into a totally different world. Goddesses of all kinds descend down onto the doors and bless the visiting Bhaktas, this is a theatrical moment as one walks in and the cool air breezing through the walls wakes us up to a heavenly world of beautiful Goddesses echoing the realm of Shakti Peetha. This Shakti peetha echoes of ancient cult practices, of vermilion kumkum smeared across the Goddess forehead and that of the fresh offering lying in waiting - that of an animal, of man, of me.

I closed my eyes and thought deep, I feel I have been here as I descended towards the balipeetha. The power of the Goddess beckons, and I swoon to its tune placing my head over the Balipeetha in complete surrender. Inscribed with the Goddess's feet in the center, this broad stone has felt the knife edge and has been bathed in blood, my blood. Blood flowed loose here, with human sacrifices that might sound chilling but when I place my head here, it doesn't feel wrong anymore! I am here to sacrifice myself, this life, this breath at the feet of the Goddess. What better death can I wish for as I lay my head here for the Goddess to severe and hold in her hand, as my blood flow down as an offering in her cup that she holds in her left hand. My mind I place here for her to control, to take as I merge into her!

As darkness took over I lay here, long ago, my head resting on this sacred stone at this small temple, the walls echoed with mantra bathing my being. As the fire in every oil lamp lit up this little temple, the Goddess residing at its center, descended to my side. Chamunda, in her original wild and untamed form came close and gently towards me, emaciated and present as the consort to Bhairava now sat close by and looks at me with loving eyes. As I lay across this Balipeetha I turned in to look at the Goddess within, the same Chamunda Devi put on a very tamed and warm exterior, decked in flowers and jewelery.

Among the bellowing flames that rise, the Goddess is invoked in sacred syllables that bring her power alive. As the holy water is sprinkled over me and my forehead is anointed with holy vermilion, I breathe slowly listening to the sacred words go by.

Lankayam Shankari devi, Kamakshi Kanchika pure|
Pradyumne Shrinkhala devi, Chamunda Krouncha pattane||

Invoking the Shaktis, Goddess Shankari Devi in Lanka, Kamakshi in Kanchipuram, Goddess Shrinkhala in Pradyumna and Chamunda Devi in Chamundi Hill...

The mind sinks into itself, the water trickles down my spine purifying me the sacrificial offering, and the oil lamps light up my face as the incense forms a gentle cloud of dancing celestial world around me. As I look up to the Mother dressed in a garland of skulls, the sweet notes of a conversation pierce the silence of the night.

Sanaischara Uvacha|

Bhagawan deva devesa krupaya thwam jagat prabho|
vamsakhya kavacham broohi mahyam sishyaya|
they anagha yasya prabhavath devesa Vamso vrudhir jayathe||

Oh God, Oh God of Gods, Oh Lord of the universe, please be kind and reveal that Armour to this faultless disciple of yours, which deals about family and by the power of which, the family will grow.

Soorya Uvacha|

Kantam rakshathu Chamunda hrudayam rakshathachiva|
Eesani cha bhujou raksheth kukshim nabhim cha kalika||

Let my neck be protected by Chamunda Devi
Let my heart be protected be her consort Bhairava Shiva
Let my arms be protected by Isana
Let my belly and navel be protected by Kalika Mata

I look up as the mantras rise, I stare up to the axe that waits, I look up to the Mother who holds me covered in vermilion, fearsome to all but warm and pleasant to me, a beautiful garland of skulls she wears, a garland of which I shall soon be a part. Oh Mother of Parasurama, Oh divine form of Kali, Oh divine daughter of the sage Mathanga, Oh Shambhavi divine consort of Lord Shiva, I give up my life to you, I offer my blood to you, I offer my breath to you. I merge into you.

With the rising tempo that echoes among these walls, this theatrical world creates this illusion as I pass from this world to the next. The shining tip of the axe lets loose and the Mother awakens my soul, as it rises up from this sacred stone, this sacred bed of mine, this balipeetha.

This Balipeetha stands here today, silent and cold. It was once my bed, it was once wet with my blood, on it long ago lay my corpse, on this stony bed my life was an offering. Am here I stand, wondering why, wondering what, wondering how.

Related topics:
A night with Nava Shakti - Chamunda
Chaunsath Yogini temple
The killing of Mahishasura on Vijayadasami
Ekapada Shiva - The one legged Shiva

Photo courtesy:

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