Rohit Arya on The Path of Opposition to attain Liberation

Yoga, being what the Japanese call sugoi – both awesome and weird at the same time – has explored all possible methods to reach God or attain liberation. The strangest however is to pick a fight with God and get him to kill you! Called the path of Vipareetha Karani – oppositional action – or the Krodha Marga – the Wrath Path –  it is a peculiar wrinkle in the yogic scroll. Yet it is also consistent with Yoga’s central thesis, all paths, all actions lead to liberation if performed with awareness.

The common examples for this strange path do not rouse confidence in being able to repeat such actions. For the teachers usually fall back upon mythology and cite the usual suspects – Jaya and Vijaya. These worthies were the doorkeepers of Vaikunta – Vishnu’s heaven – and one day they offended some Rishis, who are enlightened sages and also have very touchy temperaments judging by all the evidence! Jaya and Vijaya were cursed to be cast out of heaven and be born multiple times in the three worlds. Birth in such worlds means the accumulation of karma and possible devolution of the soul, forgetting God and the true nature of the Self – i.e. become like the rest of us – so this was serious. Upon consulting Vishnu as to the catastrophe which had visited them, He gave them a mitigating  offer. Many lifetimes as good souls devoted to Him, or 3 incarnations as terrible demons, who would be killed each time by Vishnu. Naturally they choose to become demons.

The late Aghori master, Vimalananda  had a theory that there is nothing so fortunate as being cursed by a Rishi. They are Powers who have evolved even beyond the gods, the devas, so being noticed by them, being acted upon by their Shakti, as in a curse, will always end up well for you. In the interim it may seem like a torrid time, but the conclusion proves you have rapidly evolved! This seems to hold good. Jaya and Vijaya kept incarnating as beings who literally ruled the Universe for a time overwhelming the gods! Such power, glory, wealth luxury and success had never been attained by living beings ever before or since. It is a little hard to feel sorry for them. These are aspirational stories at this point of the 21st.

The first round they incarnate as the Asura brothers Hirnayaksha and Hiranyakashipu and have to be taken out by Vishnu in his Varaha{Boar} and Narasimha{Man-Lion} avatars. They completely dominate the universe before their ends. The second round is as the Rakshasha brothers Ravana and Kumbhakarna and this time Rama has to finish them. As usual they rule the universe in unparalleled splendor before the end. The third time they do not get so much power, they are the somewhat nonentities of the Mahabharatha, Shishupala and Dantavakara, who are only unrelated humans under demonic spirit possession, but still rich and powerful Kings until Krishna puts them down.

Given that in each incarnation the Jaya persona tries to steal Vishnu’s spouse – Hiranyaksha spirits away Bhudevi the Earth goddess, Ravana steals Sita who is her incarnation, and not wanting a repeat Krishna runs away with Rukmini before she could be forcibly married to Shishupala – given this scenario, one wonders what the original sin was. Making eyes at the wife of the boss, who just happens to be the support of the Universe, the rishis seemed to know something. I am just saying. It is merely a theory, and more psychologically consistent. The Hiranyakahsipu/Kumbhakarna/Dantavakra who was Vijaya never had this trouble with desire for another man’s wife – in fact he was always famously happily married and after his stint as Prahalada’s father and being torn apart on the Lap of Narasimha, he spent the next incarnation basically in Yogic trance,{mistaken as sleep} as Kumbhakarna, and Dantavakra, we never know why or what, he is just quietly and efficiently killed by Krishna when he tries to assassinate him.

So these are not hopeful stories for mere mortals. Such a path may be apt for supernatural beings but how is it relevant to us? Ramakrishana was the first to say that the anger they had against Vishnu concentrated their awareness upon nothing but him. Even great devotees did not have such single minded unwavering focus upon God! To be remembered is what God wishes and he rewards that, though the nasty acts they performed have to be paid for with a violent death and collapse of their empires. The Sufis hold similar ideas, one famous poem beginning, “I shall learn devotion from Shaitan…” In their myths, God invited the angels to pay respect to Adam after creating him but Iblis or Shaitan, – Satan- refused to do so. The theologians hold it was his pride; he was a being of Fire, while Adam was merely of Earth, a denser, more trapped level of consciousness.

The Sufis say however that he was standing for a deeper principle out of his devotion – one should bow only before God! They even go to the extent of saying that he sustains himself in his exile with the memory of God’s banishing word – “GO!” These are deep waters indeed, but Goethe has his Mephistopheles present himself as,

Ein Teil von jener Kraft,
Die stets das Böse will und stets das Gute schafft.

Part of that power which would
Do evil constantly and constantly does good.

––Mephistopheles, lines 1335–6.

So the Vipareetha Karani seems to be an intuitive understanding of mystics.

The incomparable Ramana also spoke about this ‘God wants your attention’ trope. He began by saying that it is very dangerous to curse or abuse or wish ill upon anybody, but especially spiritual people. If you abuse an enlightened man then any negative residual karma within him attaches itself to you, delighted to have a chance to manifest, instead of withering away! If you wish to gripe and grumble and be harsh then do so with God – he only wants you to be aware of him and the sheer intensity of your communication will be taken note of, not your childish behavior! This is hugely hopeful. It also indicates the unique relationship Hindus have with their gods, you can love them and also abuse them. Fear is practically nonexistent. Tantra has an incredible saying in it – “To worship a God you must become a God.” You must raise your internal energies and consciousness until it vibrates at the exact frequency of the energy being called a deva. Then you are transformed by en-theos, the god within. Of course, self -delusion is a danger. So is derailment because power has come into your hands. But as these stories show, the universe has a mechanism to fix that, it is called Karma. Every living thing in the universe is subject; there is no injustice in the end.

Jaggi Vasudev is a great proponent of ‘Intensity’ and he says it is understandable that for most people being angry is their highest experience of Intensity. Many yogis deliberately cultivate this fiery side of their nature, it transforms the inner systems and leads to liberation. So the point of the Vipareetha Karanai is not to become a cosmic gangster, but to Intensify oneself until the Universe has no choice but to give you what you want. The so-called wrath path, the Krodha Marga is therefore one of Consistent Intensity. Great rishis have terrible tempers as a byproduct of their intensity, but their fundamental nature is compassion. The Golden brothers, {Hiranya means golden}, did spectacular penance, actually Tapasya which means “to raise the internal heat” tapasya  described as being beyond the capabilities of the gods, unprecedented. So too with Ravana and Kumbhakarna.

Ravana is probably the most accomplished person in all mythology; he wrote books on medicine, music and dance, invented the Rudra Veena, was a full Master of Vedic lore, and also wrote the Shiva Tandava Strotram, which may be the most popular devotional hymn ever written for Shiva and is a masterpiece of Yoga, being basically a necklace of bija mantra initiations. The best conclusion to puja for Shiva is supposed to be the recital of the Shiva Tandava Strotram. It is only in India that such things are possible!

Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on Tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}. He has also written A Gathering of Gods. He is  a corporate trainer, a mythologist and vibrant speaker as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga

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2 thoughts on “Rohit Arya on The Path of Opposition to attain Liberation

  1. “Aspirational stories for the 21st” – yes. We encounter difficulties and emergencies which force us to concentrate and find what the real values are. Everywhere there are these apparent hurdles – bureaucracy, sabre rattling, pollution, addiction and so on.
    In YOGA VASISHTA, great demons and asuras became Rishis or Sages because of their incredible ability to concentrate – their one pointedness. Brahma couldnt resist them in the end, the creative power they generated was so strong, it self-purified. Their appearance vanished into little pins of rock or fire – pure emanation. The pure emanation dissolves always to what works which is true. It’s like the aeons of elemental conflict on Earth before life was seeded into it. All the mythologies have titans.
    I love your pictures of the wrathful intense Rishi, and the demon leading a sheep. “To intensify yourself till the universe has no choice but to give u what u want” … well, many of those wise men were terrific demons at first. Even Ramana, in his other lives – look at the intensity of his teenage tapas. The demonic is energy, and in greek it is the daemon or creative. In Kabbalah, the word “Wrath” RGVZ, actually means Vibration. It is much mistranslated in the Bible. Vibration is those layers of yogic frequency. When we are not equal to them, they can feel intensely disruptive or wrathful. Thus in Tibet, the wrathful and the joyous deities, equally.

  2. That is the famous Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev of Isha Yoga. Awesome guy,he is one of India’s most influential and popular yogis today. Your points are all really good. Asuras and devas were made of the same cosmic materiel, asuras just wanted power. But so many breakthroughs in yoga were made by their intensity…. all comes back to Rudra, the secret foundation of the Vedas, of the universe

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