Where Karma dies in the seed – Perur Pateeshwara Shiva temple

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A kshetram so powerful in dissolving karma that the sacred tamarind tree has seeds that do not sprout. The Perur Shiva temple near Coimbatore city in Tamil Nadu has sculptural marvels and is an unknown treasure for yogis. The Shivalingam is svambhu and of a quality and vibrational energy that is distinct and somewhat strange until you realize what it is doing… stilling the constant movement of karmic potential.  This temple is called Melai Chidambaram or Chidambaram of the West and while it may not match the peerless kshetram of Chidambaram it is of immense value in itself.

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Elaborate carving everywhere though the current structure seems to be of late Nayak period… 17 century or so

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Part of the Sthala Purana, Kamadhenu the divine cow worshiped a Shiva lingam inside an anthill hoping to become the next Brahma. Why she wanted such a thankless job is never revealed in the story. Her calf, annoyed at being neglected kicked over the anthill. Kamadhenu was appalled at this act but Shiva being Shiva was deeply amused and granted her a slew of wishes plus bonus blessings for mere mortals who visit the site. Our temples are always generous in the matters.

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It is the Kanaga Sabhai, the hall of Nataraja that is the stunning aspect of this temple. I had thought that the Elephanta caves Shivas were the pinnacle of Shaivaite art but something was left in the toolbox yet and this miracle of sculpture emerged. 8 larger than life murtis, part of the stone itself… just astonishing… or they would be were they not locked up behind ugly cages now.

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This comfort with the unaesthetic and ugly is a strange aspect of modern Hindusim…

the Kanaga Sabhai was built in 34 years, from 1625 to 1649 by the architect Kambanarchari… under the patronage of the Nayak kings. it is a deeply symbolic structure… suffused with Shaivaite theology…

The Kanaga Sabhai has 36 Pillars representing the 36 tenets of Saiva Sidhanta. There are fifteen steps situated at three different levels. Each set of five steps represents the Panchakshara –  the five letters of the sacred Mantra of Shiva, “Om Na Ma Shivaya” The garbha griha of Nataraja has four pillars representing the four Vedas…Nine windows stand for the nine grahas or celestial objects of Hindu thought and also the nine dvaras or openings of the human body. As explained before the temple is deemed to be capable of granting liberation from karmic influence. It is interesting to note that the Dhayana lingam created by Jaggi Vasudev at the Isha foundation which is about 20 kms from Perur is also supposed to plant a seed of liberation within you, which dries up all other karmic seeds. Must be something about Coimbatore that helps to drop karma….

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Nrithya Ganapati, the dancing form

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Urdhava Tandava murti, an esoteric aspect of Nataraja and his 108 karanas

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One of the most brilliant interpretations of Bhadrakali ever seen

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Skanda of the six faces, his sixth face is inside the pillar

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Veerabhadra in his wrath at the Daksha Yagya

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Old illustration showing Veerabhadra and also a rare form of Agni Veerabahdra, the one one the right

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the pics are sourced from the net as permission to shoot is a huge huge pain

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Bhikshantana moorti… Shiva as the nude yogi…it is also Interestingly called the Sarva Loka vaseekara murti, the enchanter of all the Worlds

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19th or early 20th century photograph, of veerabhadra… it now needs protection in a cage, such is so called progress

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Gajasamhara murti, just extraordinary in its power

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A senseless practice that the ASI of Tami Nadu is addicted to , slathering all murtis in the name of protection and making them dreadfully ugly and even shapeless

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Another old illustration

The Great Gorakshanth is also supposed to have spent significant time at this temple. His spot is a grove and is unmistakable in its fierceness. I have said this many times before, but the yogis and temples of South India are beyond belief, they actually succeeded in making a kshetram of the whole land. Today the consecrated space has fragmented but even spots remain for those who are serious about their yoga…

Sarvam Shivamayam!

Sri Guru Rohit Arya is a Yogi , Author and Polymath, being a Spiritual Mentor, a writer, a corporate trainer, a mythologist and a vibrant speaker. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five European 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 was the Editor of The Leadership Review, and on the advisory panel of Indiayogi.com, the first spiritual portal in the country. Currently he is the Director of Pro-Factor, a leadership and change facilitation corporate training outfit. He has been an arts critic and socio-cultural commentator for over two decades. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga. He founded the Arya Yoga Sangha in 2013 and leads multiple meditation circles each week.

The videos of his talks on various subjects can be found here http://www.youtube.com/user/TheAryayogi

His blogs can be accessed here

https://aryayogi.wordpress.com/

http://actpersistintensify.wordpress.com/

http://creativeaye.wordpress.com/

http://zestandgrit.wordpress.com/

Shiva Shakti in the head

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The two hemispheres of the brain are in Yogic terms, controlled by the energy constructs we call Shiva and Shakti. This image demonstrates in visual expression what had been hitherto part of the oral tradition. It is a stunning image, and replete with Kundalini yoga symbolism. Since it has come into the public domain I will explain some of this ancient vidya or process. Not all of it. Some rahasayas, spiritual secrets have to be discovered through Shrama – toil! Those are the rules so I make no apologies for reticence. What is safe to reveal I will.

The left hemisphere controls the rational logical thinking aspect of the personality as well as more or less the right side of the body. It is mental and deductive, planning and hypothesizing. These are supposed to be masculine vibrations, in the sense of Yang, not gender roles. The right side of the brain is intuition and creativity, instinct, feeling, the sense of joy and wonder and the right side of the human frame. These are the feminine vibrations in the sense of Yin. So the traditional Yogic take on which impulse is dominant on a particular side of the brain was well grounded.

In symbolic terms this image is a dense and rich harvest of yogic communication. I do not know the artist to give credit where it is due but I suspect it is Harish Johari. The style and depth of knowledge seems to favor that conclusion. In astrological terms, the Sun controls the right eye, the Moon the left. Shiva is the Sun who is Shiva, “Akshayam param shivam” which can be read in both ways simultaneously. The sun like Shiva is the guru, the source of life which is literally as well as metaphorically true. The Moon has famously been the lord of emotion and hence Devi controls it and the left eye. Shiva wears the moon on his head – Chandrashekara – to symbolize his complete integration of emotions as well as to stress that his responses come from awareness, not instinct. Devi’s head naturally pulses with the Sun. Her power of impulse and instinct is not unaware; it is suffused with the shakti of evolving consciousness, it flows from the Source.

The left nostril connects to the Ida nadi or lunar channel for the Kundalini Shakti to flow. It is cooling, calming, intuitive and creative, traditionally known as feminine. Hence it is depicted as cool waves or water, which is pretty accurate as a sensation of breathing in thru that nostril once you are deep into kundalini or pranayama.  The right nostril connects to the Pingala nadi or solar channel and is fiery, energetic action oriented and masculine. The breaths flow like fire, generating heat and energy for action. As is clear from the imagery and all the teaching of the tradition, neither aspect can subsist independently or without active support from the other vibration. They are not separate, they cannot be separated either. Life is troubled when such futile attempts are made to privilege one side or the other.

The erect serpent at the center of the brows is the fully active Ajneya chakra. It is also one of the points where the Ida and Pingala cross each other forming a grand marma or spiritual junction of power. It is the highest point at which you can keep the kundalini energy in waking consciousness and also carry out your work physically. It also confers a lot of power and occult ability as well as wisdom. If the Kundalini rises higher then you go into deeper Samadhi, At this juncture waking and physical action consciousness, including talking and writing, cannot be maintained together. The inverted triangle at the forehead is the spiritual Yoni, the Matrix of creation of generation, distinct from the lower yoni that is controlled by the svadhishtan chakra and is the Eros impulse. When your kundalini rises to this point you can send a surge of energy into the world and what you wish is manifested. It is a process requiring great responsibility and it is fortunate it is beyond most people! Even to keep the energy at ajenya is fearsomely difficult. Even higher than that the kundalini rises to experience the blue pearl, Sun and Moon conjunct, about which I will hold my peace. It is important  – that is all I will say.

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Shiva is indeed the Purusha, Man Primal also known as aware consciousness while Devi is Prakriti, Woman as the Activating Force, the dynamic principle of the Universe, the unfolding action of life that takes place across the backdrop of Witness Consciousness that is Shiva. To be Integral which is the point of Yoga is to have both aspects function optimally, in harmony and as required rather than in simpleminded alternation or even lopsided dominance of any one side at a time. To live life privileging one side is to make an immense blunder.  The Ardhanarishwara, the Masculine- Feminine, Shiva and Shakti merged, united, Integral has always been the ultimate goal and aspiration of the Human Endeavor in the culture.     

Sarvam Shivamayam!

 Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath, being a writer, a corporate trainer, a mythologist and a vibrant speaker.  He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five European 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 was the Editor of The Leadership Review, and on the advisory panel of Indiayogi.com, the first spiritual portal in the country. Currently he is the Director of Pro-Factor, a leadership and change facilitation outfit. He has been an arts critic and socio-cultural commentator for over two decades. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga. He leads the Ka Sangha meditation group, as well as The Integral Space meditation circle each week.

Rohit Arya_ the Shiva lingam in the Centre of India

The Dighori temple in Madhya  Pradesh  has a Spatika  {white moonstone} Shiva lingam reputedly the largest such lingam in the world. It is situated at what seems to be the exact geographical centre of India, but its power is that of a yogi who created a sthala peetham, a ‘spiritual process in potential’ which can be accessed by those who share the karma and the lineage.

I stumbled upon this temple entirely by chance. I was in Pench Tiger reserve , facilitating a corporate workshop for people taking initiative in rural development and sustainability. Wishing to visit the actual sites where this quite remarkable work was going on I was told we would be taken to a village which is near this ‘famous’ Dighori temple. I had never heard of it.  Then I was told it was also famous for being the birthplace of one of the Shankaracharyas, heads of spiritual orders and about the only strained equivalent chaotic Hinduism has to a pontiff. There was still no flicker of response from me, a situation that seemed to pique and slightly offend my helpful fount of information. Then I was told  it is the largest Spatika lingam in the world and I perked up. Spatika is white moonstone crystal and an entire Shiva lingam made of that signified that some very advanced yogi had been at work. It is difficult to energize properly such a substance; it holds enormous spiritual reserves if done correctly, but the inherent fragility of the materiel makes it very brittle and prone to crack when the energizing process  is  powerful.  Spatika uses and enhances the Ida or lunar energies of the Kundalini Shakti predominantly to calm and strengthen the energies of the organism or indeed of the surrounding environment. A full scale Shiva lingam, temple size,instead of personal puja space, that would be something to see and experience. So we went.

The temple is situated between Seoni town, mentioned in the Jungle Book as home to Mowgli’s pack, and the city of Nagpur. There is a high scale of agriculture but the jungle is also present everywhere, in the backdrop at the limits of vision. Several times the road takes you through actual deciduous forests. They are not very good roads, a fact casually acknowledged by a cheerful sign – “If the bridge is under water, please do not use it!’  You have to turn left from the highway on the way to Nagpur when you leave Seoni to access Dighori temple. Electricity has reached here, and so has the occasional stretch of tar and concrete, but browsing unremarked amongst cattle and goats were nilghai, twisty horned antelopes! Only the ignoramuses from the city seemed to find that notable, but it only underscored the omnipresence of the forest, at the edges of consciousness, a molten subtext of the wild to the apparent myth of pastoral we found ourselves in. It was beautiful, and there were people, even at ten in the morning, displaying evidence they had no loos at home. The jarring it proceeds on urban sensibilities, and the completely oblivious acceptance showed by all was a mini-education about the problems facing this impossible country. In the manner popular now all over India there was a concrete archway at the beginning of the actual road leading to Dighori temple. Madhya Pradesh favours large serpents and tridents to signify we are in Shaivite country.

As we approached I began to feel, not a pull, not an attraction, but a distinct Force, a pulsing power. I have been a yogi for a while now and such places vibrate strongly with me. It was not unpleasant, but it was not comfortable either. The previous night, as I was about to do my final meditation routine and retire for the night I began to shiver uncontrollably till my teeth chattered. This was strange but I put it down to an unaccustomed hi-impact AC! Under the blanket my Manipura, the navel chakra basically exploded. No other words will suffice, just an eruption of heat and power. It spread all over my body but I felt more power was flowing to the chest and arms than the legs. These sort of weird experiences have become quite regular now and I do not pay much heed to them or get overly excited. As soon as the cold stopped I sat down to meditate and fell asleep! That was noteworthy, for I was still conscious and aware but I could also hear myself snoring. I was locked into position and  there was nothing much I could do except to let it play out. After almost 100 minutes I  really fell asleep and woke up quite stiff and cramped still in my sitting posture. Now as I approached the Dighori temple it was clear some sort of clearing had been done first.

The temple has well maintained lawns and even a water tower. It is the middle of interior India so this is quite a disconcerting sight, a faux 15th century South Indian stone temple replicated in concrete and whitewashed, with these Trishulas all over. An aarti was going on, worship with chants and lamps, in which the armed policeman was enthusiastically participating. It was surely a violation of rules but his devotion was sincere. The din of the aarti – specifically designed so that inauspicious and negative comments though articulated will not be audible to the deity –  made all conversation moot. Also we had no time there, this was a bonus, an attempt at understanding the important markers of the cultural milieu. This is what I garnered from my brief time there.  These are a result of my Samyama, my mediation upon the subject. I offer no evidence per se I merely state this is what I feel is the significance of the temple. Photos of the lingam are not allowed.

The temple has been situated by a great yogi at the spot where he did his sadhana and attained his realization as did his gurus before him. From the clue in the name and the forest environment I understood they were Aghora yogis. Before he passed on he accumulated his knowledge, his experiences and his particular spiritual system into an energy package and deposited it inside the Spatika lingam. The lingam has seven copper bands around it which also means it has been created as a Master in pure energy form, each band representing one of the principal chakras and providing some material substance to embody otherwise uncontrollable energy. That is an ancient feature of all correctly created Shiva lingams, it functions at the energy level of a real guru and his chakras with none of the problems of dealing with his individual karma and human personality! Inside this Spatika lingam however he has created a sthala peetham,   a knowledge bank, a repository of his parampara or lineage and all their techniques. It can be accessed by somebody who is in the lineage and who has the require adhikara, the karmic deservedness or right. The ellipsoid form of the lingam the white crystal used – both hugely resistant to entropy at a spiritual level – ensured that the energy and the knowledge it carries will be stable for essentially millennia. I could not access it, it is not my path. But being in the Kundalini system I could recognize it and feel its incredible power.

Spataika works predominantly with the Ida or lunar channel of the Kundalini. The previous night I had a full blown episode of the Pingala or solar channel even though my Ida normally works even better than the Pingala. Some sort of balancing out was obviously in play, too much lunar input could have damaged my system so the Pingala activated in that quite unexpected manner and made me feel I was inside a volcano. The more I do Yoga the more astonished I am at how incredible the wisdom of the body is, specifically the energy sheath known as the pranmaya kosha. It remembers everything we have ever done, in every form of sadhana we have ever done, and insight and intuition are, as I have learnt, not mental process but purely body consciousness of the pranamaya kosha.  Whatever energy input I received from the spatika lingam is not at a conscious or verbal level; I just sensed it flow into me. The lingam  is so powerful they have a separate brass plated lingam to do abhishekam with and give charanamrita to drink from. That should tell you something. People who drink the water or milk used on the spatika are likely to have extraordinary reactions and it has wisely been avoided.

The clues are everywhere. The Nandi or bull vahana of Shiva has an extraordinary kundalini sarpam or snake emerging from his hump  – Anahata  – and reaching the Sahasrara between the horns. I will not say more here, I do not feel I have the right to reveal it as yet,  but those who can comprehend what is being communicated will grasp its full import. I have never seen this displayed in this public manner, that Nandi is unique in all India which abounds in peculiar Nandis, all displaying some aspect of yogic technique which can be achieved at the sacred spot they are in. The relative inaccessibility and obscurity of the temple also means that whatever process has been initiated by the founding yogi is working itself out in its own time. The temple is as close to the geographic centre as makes little difference but he has placed this white moonstone lingam over the solar plexus of the energy body of the land! Yogis never think small but this is indeed magnificent. In doing so he decided to consciously intervene in the evolution of the spiritual process of the land, which had become somewhat awry owing to the turbulent history it had endured. One day the person with the adhikara to access the parampara will land up there and then this temple will no longer remain obscure. Till then it is a peaceful little diversion. I am going back whenever I can. I may not be the one who can reach in but the Lingam has so many gifts; to access them takes time and I was barely there for ten minutes. Next time I am going to try and contact the Founding yogi and ask for his inputs and instructions. In the meantime I do my part in making this awesome place known to all serious yogis.

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

Rohit Arya_ 3 blocks to motivation in a spiritual process or sadhana

A spiritual process – called sadhana in Yoga – is a fine thing to have and sufficiently common for people to realize it is not easy. Most sadhana is simple, not easy, and as in all other aspects of life, one loses motivation rapidly. I offer what I think are the 3 prime reasons sadhana suffers and what can be done in integral response .

I had been thinking about the motivation problem elsewhere and have written about it on my blog about Work and Success. Great stuff – view here

http://actpersistintensify.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/rohit-arya-_the-3-leaks-to-motivation/

I was then faced with a challenge. If, as I hold, “All Life is Yoga”, then these leaks or blocks to motivation should not be peculiar to the work sphere alone.  A little thought showed me that I was making the mistake of compartmentalizing  life.. The  leaks hold with as much validity in sadhana perhaps even more so. Yet spiritual processes may have their characteristic issues so a further effort on my part may not be amiss.

Tiredness

Bodhidharma was a South Indian prince who took Buddhism to China. The new monks were full of enthusiasm for the new faith but they simply could not sit long enough to mediate.  Bodhidharma taught them a variation of his martial art tradition, Kalaripayattu, the oldest known martial art in the world and still practiced in India, to condition themselves – and also defend themselves from brigands and villains who thought non-violent monks were a gift from heaven. This became Wu Shu, better known as Kung Fu and most magnificently kept alive in Shaolin. But the core issue remains. Most mediation styles require if not effort, at least endurance, for the benefits and grace to kick in. This is one of the most common reasons people fail in sadhana. They say they have no time but actually they get weary long before any dramatic changes occur internally. I speak feelingly, and from personal experience.

Hatha Yoga in fact was invented and designed to correct postural flaws and lack of stamina, the two major impediments to practising yoga proper which is mediation.   In actual fact the asanas or postures arose in meditation as a response to needs of the students; the current approach is to reverse the process but that is a matter for another time. Most people take about ten minutes merely to settle down into a simulacrum of stillness at the physical level. The mind takes considerably longer. At about the 25 or 30 minute mark, both physical and mental processes tend to slow down but the body, habituated to inertia over lifetimes has an inner mechanism that activates approximately around the 41 minute mark. Up to the 48th minute you are in profound discomfort. If you can tough it out to the 50 minute the body usually relaxes and settles into a deep state of grace and flow, but most people are in such agony and they feel so completely wasted that the posture breaks, the mind screams even more than the joints and you ‘fail’. After a few such disheartening episodes, you lose motivation and decide meditation or sadhana is not for me.

Those who practice pranayama may face this problem even more acutely. So much tiredness is released from the stored up inertia within the muscle memory that you think you are tiring yourself instead of releasing weakness. The body is a vital component of success in spiritual process, contrary to the usual belief, so having an instrument that is capable of rigour and stamina is paramount. Absolute stillness requires absolute fitness! An interesting aspect of mediation is that long practice – I am talking years now, not months and at least half an hour a day – causes the body to recalibrate itself into its ideal weight and fitness levels. Significant and even dramatic healing may occur. This requires a commitment to the long haul however, and people are usually too fatigued to stay the course.

Boredom

Till you get to the grace of the still mind, mediation and spiritual processes seem like the most futile waste of time ever designed by a mocking fiend. Since there is nothing to do, and we are all conditioned to believe that not doing is a moral blemish, meditation feels profoundly unnatural at first and above all it is boring. Yes I know you will find endless paeans to the joy and bliss and high of mediation – they are all by people who got to the other side and have now forgotten how bored out of their skulls they were initially.  Unlike boredom in other domains, boredom in sadhana is particularly difficult as you cannot distract yourself, do something different, or employ any of the tricks that work! Boredom in sadhana is brutal because what you are bored with is yourself. This is not a pleasant or a popular realization and is a dangerous cross roads in the path. People prefer to abandon the path rather than accept they may be mistaken about their splendid uniqueness in the world .

There is only you… that is the harrowing part of this. You have to stay with it, accept it, even forgive it if need be, but you are what you are and until you comprehend that and integrate it there is no way forward. Once done, naturally, infuriatingly, boredom ceases! To stay put however requires that you do not get tired. If you are tired as well as bored, the chances of breaking through to any sort of insight or accomplishment go down drastically. The only real help here is faith, and the example of those who have gone before you. They got past it, so will you, if only you stay the course.

Frustration

Frustration flows from thwarted desire. Mediation is supposed to reduce desires but in many cases it merely hones a keener edge to the desire. You seek virtue, but very often people seek excitement. They want grand and significant experiences, especially if others they know are reporting such things. They want to progress faster than they seem to be accomplishing at present. In sadhana, breakthroughs happen in leaps or jumps… they are not accretions which can be visibly measured, incremental measures of gratifying comparison.  The energy builds up, pools and collects itself and then bursts out, explodes to the next level, including the previous level now transcended. It usually happens at a time that is most inconvenient from a personal perspective also!

The optimal attitude to maintain I have explained in the other blog. I quote parts of it here –   “To work you have the right, but not the fruits thereof” Karmanye vaadika raste, maphaleshu kadachana. Now I do not imagine that Krishna would be against success, his entire life was argument enough against that. Nevertheless this was his prescription for integral action.   It is easy enough to say it teaches optimal functioning. If you are always looking at the fruit, the result, you are distracted from performing skilfully the action which will enable you to achieve that fruit. Yes of course.

The deeper wisdom of this too popular verse conveys is that outcomes cannot be controlled as we would desire.  When I grasped this it caused an internal explosion.  Let me hasten to add I have no patience with fatalism – the Niyati outlook, it is all kismet, in the stars. I believe in and practice Orenda, which is the Huron word for the Sanskrit term Purushartha. It implies, in both traditions,  invoking the power of the human will against the aspect of destiny that is ranged against you. It is the awakening of personal strength to alter what the insistence of prarabdha, activated karma, is trying to dole out to you. The direction of fate need not be your docile path. You can consciously intervene. I am Aghora – we refuse to accept the hand that karma has dealt us, but, and this is vital, the result of our response need not be what we desire. It could be, indeed very often it is, better than that we desired!

Yet and I cannot overstate the case, the leaps, the take-off, they occur unexpectedly and suddenly but only because there has been a steady input of sadhana or spiritual process over  time. The wait is part of the process sometimes as the organism may not be ready for a premature awakening, especially in the Kundalini systems of yoga.  Frustration in such a scenario is therefore avidya, ignorance of the process you have entered into. These supposedly arid periods are of vital significance and import; not to know that is tragic; to grumble about it is futile; to abandon practice is idiocy.

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 the Editor of The Leadership Review, a corporate trainer, as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga

Rohit Arya _ Sacred India Tarot first workshop

The workshop was held on April 21 2012 at The World Trade Centre in Mumbai at the Sunflower hall on the 30th floor. Yogi Impressions are the publishers of the Sacred India Tarot. This is my first attempt at a photo essay type blog

Just before the workshop began, posing with some of the prints from the Sacred India Tarot deck

You can see the Ace Lotuses{cups} the meditating five faced Shiva, and the two bonus grace cards provided in the deck Ganapati and Mahaavatar Babaji

all set

I have never stood next to a poster which was displaying my work before! It is  a great feeling…

My publisher – and great friend – Gautam Sachdeva. He is an author of spiritual books too! This was the poster outside the session room

The camera was acting up so I froze up a bit but still we got a really great shot.

The Wild Card – the Zero card of the Major Arcana… here Rudra Shiva

The Empress – Mahalaxmi

A long shot of the audience during the session – this is the Emperor

The tremendous power that is known as Mahakali. These magnificent illustrations are by an English lady called Jane Ada

The Masculine aspect of the World Card in the Sacred India Tarot is the Ananda Tandava Murthi, the Bliss Dancer better known as Shiva Nataraja. Both Death and World cards are depicted with a Masculine and Feminine aspect, and with two bonus cards they make up a total of 82 cards in the deck!

The Feminine aspect of the World, the Mahashakti. I look suitably eerie and Tantrik here!

After the session with my Guru, Santos Sachdeva, author of the unbelievably awesome Kundalini Trilogy books on meditation. The hat is my trademark!

Iti .. i.e. Finis!

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 the Editor of The Leadership Review, a corporate trainer, as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga

Rohit Arya _ Shiva, the Bliss Dancer

Dance is an exuberant leap of life towards its source.Just as a tree bursts out of its nourishing soil to seek the sun, so too does the dancer seek out the creative source.

This need not be a conscious process.

It need not be a decision, a desire, a demand, or a destination.

It just needs to be dance.

The child sways to music long before it can talk. Or walk.

The soul never forgets how to dance, though minds and bodies may be ashamed of it.

To dance is to affirm life.

Which means that to dance is to risk.

Risk is not popular; systems that eliminate it are.

With dance you risk – ridicule, unwelcome self-awareness.

But also at risk is stagnant thought and depressing plainness.

When dancing, no one is ordinary.

A system of dance should not be confused with dance and dancing.

“We cannot dance”, means we don’t know a system.

So long as we can move, we can dance.

If this means something to observers, fine. If it means nothing, even better.

Does it mean something to you, something beyond the hotch-potch of clichés and assumptions and social conditioning of what dance is and what it should do?

Don’t enter a state of hot air about “Transcendental experience” and ” Being one with the universe”. A dancer has no time to think and feel such things – dancers are too busy dancing. Dance is not a vehicle for personal expression; dance is about your personality interacting with the world. Hence the importance of dance in cultures across the world, its primacy in ritual and magic.

Movement has its own language which language is usually inadequate to clearly express.

Dance with wit, with idiosycracy, with crankiness even.

Don’t dance in other people’s minds.

Not even in your own mind.

If the body is true, the mind and soul follow. So does the world.

For the world, Jagat comes from Ja – that which is born and Gat – movement.

Jagat is that which is born out of movement.

Dance is movement at its best and its purest – at its worst and ugliest – hence dance expresses the world peculiarly well.

Hindu mythology captued the essence of this insight most magnificently in the Ananda Tandava Murthi better known as the Nataraja, king of dance. But Ananda Tandava means the ‘Bliss Dance’ and Shiva is therefore The Bliss Dancer. The Lord of the World, Vishvanatha  Shiva is also the all-pervading consciousness. The World is thus the Dance of Bliss which is Shiva.

“Dancing gods must come” said Nietzche, unconsciously echoing the Nataraja who is also Nrityashila – habituated to dance. For Shiva like all dancers, not only expresses the personal view of the world but embodies it in the physical form.

Another great form of movement,  the martial arts, shares these insights with dance.

Without humility, there is no pride.

Without ignorance, there is no learning.

Without fear, there is no courage.

To dance is not just about art or craft or skill or dedication and achievement.

It is about the appetite to dare, to be exuberant, and to be yourself.

To dance is to make this moment, now, worth living.

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 the Editor of The Leadership Review, a corporate trainer, as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga

Rohit Arya on The Secret of Arunachalam

Before I had actually been to the Sacred Hill of Arunachalam, I had been told it is akin to a magnet. Once it gets hold of your mind it never really leaves. Now I can testify to the truth of this. In one of my blog posts this month of December 2011 I had written about Samyama, how it awakened and what I have learnt about Arunachalam as a consequence. Yet I find that Samyama has deepened as a result of the contact with the Agni Lingam that is the Hill. I have had many new insights about Arunachalam, all of which may seem strange, and none of which I can prove per se. I do not wish to do so; I merely state herein what I have come to realize about Arunachalam. It may of use to other spiritual seekers, but I feel it is important to get all of this down on record. {Samyama is a peculiar ability of Yoga in that knowledge of a subject is vouchsafed to you when you put your attention upon the subject; sometime when your mind touches the subject or you view something, the knowledge about that surfaces in the mind. My blog post on Samyama has details} I am also avoiding all the usual mythology about the hill which is easily accessible. These are my insights from Samyama.

Arunachalam has been described in the Puranas as the oldest hill on earth. This is true. The one overwhelming experience about the Hill is that it is alive and immeasurably old. The earth is four and a half billion years old. The rocks in South India are unique in that they exist on perhaps the only place on the planet which was not under water at some time or other. Many of them are easily 450 million years old. The Arunachalam area however is dated at 2.6 billion years! Arunachalam is a giant crystal so as to speak and one of the properties of that substance, as yogis know, is that it can be infused with consciousness to a quite amazing degree. Mythologically the Hill was described to be originally made of diamond. In this case the Hill ‘awakened’ into a rudimentary consciousness, and since it was both stable and still it began to evolve at a clip that in yogic terms was quite rapid, though we are talking millions of years here. Not being an organic body sometimes has advantages for consciousness, as the traps and pitfalls of desire and karma acted upon are bypassed. Arunachalam in that sense is the first enlightened energy, not exactly being, on the planet.

Today that energy has coalesced into a being or divine form called Dakshinamurthi, the South facing Silent Teacher form of Shiva. It is instructive that South Indian Yogis have always found this form of Shiva easy to access: it hardly known in other parts of the country.   Arunachalam is a fully realized Master of Masters, with all the active chakras, and none of the human limitations. Just to make matters even more complex as human and divine Yogis were magnetically drawn to this most ancient and powerful Shiva Lingam they left their impress upon it. The Lingam means a sign, a signifier, in this case of Pure Auspicious Consciousness.{Later tantric byways made the lingam a synonym for the male organ but that is irrelevant here} The heart of the crystal mountain is the fire within the earth’s crust hence it’s obvious form as the Fire Tattva. The many yogis who left their impress here also realized the Masculine and Feminine concordance of the Divine, hence the hill is also an Ardhanarishwara lingam, half male half female, the West side supposedly the female side. The Akandashram cave on Arunachalam is also backed by a giant Ardhnarishwara yantra. But the Fire of the Hill is the light of illumination, the inner guru that is present in all, and is the infallible source of wisdom. The Fire is beyond comprehension, category or conclusions.
 
If Kailasha where Shiva resides, Aruanchalam is his ‘heart’ so as to speak. It is older than Kailasha that much is sure, but as I said earlier Kailasha seems to have emerged onto this reality from another dimension to speed up evolution in all planes, not just the visible one. I don’t know if this makes sense or not but I know exactly what the difference is between them, these two sacred Giris or mountains. Kailasha is the knowledge base, the potential, the possibilities, the catalyst, the future of consciousness as it evolves. Arunachalam is the Witness, the Fire, Kaala Agni Rudra, the First and the Last, the base of Being. Like I said, words fail. Many places claim to be the Omphalos, the Navel of the World and they are right for there is something of value at each of those sacred spots. But Arunachala,, Aruna – Achala , The Red-Unmoving, The Red-Unshakable, this is the ancient heart of the world.
There are approximately 1920 Siddha shrines, mostly invisible, all over the Hill and its periphery. Siddhas are beings who are greater than the gods, evolved to a stage that is beyond belief and they have left their energy signatures or ‘booster packets’ all over the place. Those who have the Adhikara, the karmic right, having earned it with sadhana, can access the energy. Entire spiritual lineages or paramparas can be reconstructed from Arunachalam. There are also many paramparas which have not yet begun, waiting for those with the Adhikara to discover them and put them to use in teaching – if they want to deal with the karma! While crisscrossing the hill there were several times when I felt the energy change distinctly. Since to be near the Hill is to get a perpetual blast of inrushing energy I did not think much of it but now, in Samyama, the realization dawns that they were places of karmic linkage with me, teachers and paramparas in alignment with me.
My parampara for this round is the Eight Spiritual Breaths but Samyama is teaching me that sometimes you have more than one option in your set of skills. Masters may choose to transmit a parampara which can then be taught to somebody else with greater Adhikara than the person first receiving the transmission. Weird but then Yogis have always been a law unto themselves!! The parampara can thus be revitalized. In my meditation I had received a Sanskrit saying “Shariram Parampara Vahanam” – the Body is the vehicle of transmission of Parampara. I now realize that a Parampara can also use you as a bus service till it gets to the person who has the Rnanubandhana and Adhikara to develop it or revive it! You may also receive input that you don’t use in this lifetime. Since the input is not to your mind but to your pranamaya kosha you will carry it easily across multiple lives till the need comes to utilize and access it. I think I was being given such input but I was too dense to see it at the time.
The Siddha shrines are all covered in the Girivallam, the sacred circuit round the hill. This is matter of great good fortune. To do puja for four hours is usually not possible but since the circuit takes four hours for most people, that is four hours of puja to an Agni Lingam right there. It is an immense achievement. As to the number 1920, why not a round 2000, all I have to say is that to evolve into being a Siddha is not easy even in a time frame of 2.6 billion years. Just 80 more to achieve the magic number of 2000, which will be an immense tipping point for humanity but as we are currently constituted it is not going to be easy or soon. The Hill always has a Master in residence, sometimes more, usually not embodied. But a Siddha is another level of reality or rather Unreality and not easy to come by. Even Arunachalam finds that particular miracle to be a slow possibility.
Dakshinamurthi Shiva is physically present here, under or near a miraculous Banyan tree which is visible and invisible according to receptivity. I have not been able to understand more at this stage. The hill is very traditional in outlook so vairagya, world weariness and renunciation is activated almost as a default. That has been the trend for a thousand years now and the Integral view of spiritualizing life in all aspects is an older, somewhat covered over aspect of the Hill. If you stick to it, you can access that layer. It must not be forgotten that almost all the Vedic rishis were family men with great roles to play in the world. The magnetic pull of the Hill is impossible to describe, it grabs hold of you and I finally understand the famous words of the Yoga Sutras Yoga Chitta Vriddhi Nirodaha – Yoga is the cessation of the modifications of the mind. An unbelievable quietude and stillness takes possession of the mind when Arunachalam is remembered. In my case it seems to be cleansing accumulated sorrow and grief over many rounds, the mind body organism is one mass of pain that is slowly leaving the being, replacing it with Presence. It is terrible, but it is great. Like the Sacred Hill you rely only on your Self.

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}  published in the last quarter of 2011. He has also written A Gathering of Gods due at the same time. He is the Editor of The Leadership Review, a corporate trainer, as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga