bhAgavata hR^idaya

As we approach the month of Margashira and eagerly wait to recite the glories of vAtapurAdhIsha by singing the mellifluous hymns of shrImannArAyaNIyam, the racing mind has already entered the limits of gurupavanapura.

The heart of the parama bhAgavata Sri Narayana Bhattathiri sees in Shankara a parama vaiShNava for Shankara is a crystal mirror that reflects one’s own belief system, retaining always the light of kevalAdvaita:

shrIsha~Nkaro.api bhagavAn sakaleShu tAvat
tvAmeva mAnayati yo nahi pakShapAtI |
tvanniShThameva sa hi nAmasahasrakAdi
vyAkhyad bhavatstutiparashcha gatiM gato.ante || 5 ||

O Lord, Jagadguru Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada is regarded widely as unbiased and equally respectful towards all saguNa mUrtis of Brahman. But it seems to me that it is your form as mahaviShNu that he is more attached to. He wrote commentaries on viShNu sahasranAma, on bhagavdgItA and not on shiva sahasranAma or shiva gItA. While he could have commented on many such works referring to shiva shivaparatayA) as parama puruSha, he chose to sing praises of shrImannArAyaNa even in works that refer to concepts beyond the saguNa mUrti. Traditionally, it is also believed that the final composition of sha~Nkara was shrImatpAdAdikesha stuti that celebrates the divya ma~NgaLa svarUpa of the parama puruSha. These suggest that Thou Lord were his iShTa mUrti.

Like every bhakta who sees his iShTa as the Supreme, Bhattathiri sees shrIhari as the paramotkR^iShTa mUrti and states his reasoning for the same:

vR^ikabhR^igumunimohinyambarIShAdivR^itte-
Shvapi tava hi mahattvaM sarvasharvAdijaitram |
sthitamiha paramatman niShkalArvAgabhinnaM
kimapi yadavabhAtaM taddhi rUpaM tavaiva ||

Dear Lord! From various purANic episodes such as those of vR^ikAsura, bhR^igu, ambarISha etc., your atishaya mAhAtmya that transcends the glory of other forms such as sadAshiva becomes easily evident. We have also studied episodes such as indrayAga, nandaharaNa, bAlAnayana etc., where your mAhatmya has been described as transcending that of deities such as indra, varuNa, yama, anala, brahma and others. The reason such a statement can be made is because Thou verily are the Brahman without attributes who shines in forms such as brahmA and sha~Nkara.

The same is stated in bhAgavata as below:

sattvaM rajastama iti prakR^iterguNAstaiH
yuktaH paraH puruSha eka ihAsya dhatte |
sthityAdaye hariviri~nchihareti saMj~nAH
shreyAMsi tatra khalu sattvatanornR^iNAM syuH || [1, 2, 23]

But don’t we have similar statements about other forms like mahAdeva such as the one below:

evameko mahAdevo mAyayA guNarUpayA |
nAmarUpakriyabhedaiH bhinnavat pratibhAsate ||

Bhattathiri replies thus:

mUrtitrayeshvarasadAshivapa~nchakaM yat
prAhuH parAtmavapureva sadAshivo.asmin |
tatreshvarastu sa vikuNThapadastvameva
tritvaM punarbhajasi satyapade tribhAge ||

The shaivas describe the Supreme as Paramashiva or Sadashiva, who is panchAtmaka, embodying the five forms namely brahmA, hari, rudra, mahesha and sadAshiva. But you have been saluted as viShNuM pa~nchAtmakaM vande in bhAgavata and viShNu purANa indicating your abhedatva from the Supreme Vastu that the shaivas call sadAshiva. It is Your Supreme form that manifests as the triad in satyAdi lokas.

While this does establish the fact that Thou are Supreme, is not shiva keshavAbheda stated repeatedly and variously:

ahaM tvaM sarvago deva tvamevAhaM janArdana |
AvayorantaraM nAsti shabdairarthairjagatpate || [harivamshe]

The bhAgavata hR^idaya of Bhattathiri is immediately equipped with an answer to this argument:

tatrApi sAttvikatanuM tava viShNumAhuH
dhAtA tu sattvaviralo rajasaiva pUrNaH |
sattvotkaTatvamapi chaste tamovikAra-
cheShTAdikaM cha tava sha~NkaranAmni mUrtau ||

Among the three forms of the Supreme, it is the mUrti of mahaviShNu that is described as shuddhasattvamayI:

rAjaso bhagavAn brahmA sAttviko viShNuruchyate |
IShattamoguNo rudraH sR^ijatyavati hantyajaH ||

But has not the worship of mahAdeva been prescribed for all, by statements such as the one below:

ambikApatirIshAna upAsyo guNamUrtibhiH |
IshvaraH paramAtmaiko mAyayA sa tridhA sthitaH ||

Now Bhattathiri begins to explain his stand:

taM cha trimUrtyatigataM parapUrushaM tvAM
sharvAtmanApi khalu sarvamayatvahetoH |
shamsantyupAsanavidhau tadapi svavastu
tvadrUpamityatidR^iDhaM bahu naH pramANam ||

But Lord, you are the Supreme that is beyond the three guNAtmaka mUrtis that the shaivas describe as shiva. There is ample scriptural proof that sharva is thy aspect.

To prove his point, Bhattathiri resorts to the example of Adi Shanakara, described verily as the Shankara, and the knower of All:

mUrtitrayAtigamuvAcha cha mantrashAstra-
syAdau kalAyasuShamaM sakaleshvaraM tvAm |
dhyAnaM cha niShkalamasau praNave khalUktvA
tvAmeva tatra sakalaM nijagAda nAnyam ||

The Great Guru composed a treatise on Mantra Shastra named prapa~nchasAra. He commences the work with the stuti of Thy mUrti:

svaniShpattiM cha kR^ityaM cha te vichintya samAvidan |
vaktAramajamavyaktamarUpaM mAyinaM vibhum ||
mUrtyAbhAsena dugdhAbdhau jhaShasha~NkhasmAkule |
marutsa~NghaTTanotkIrNalaharIkaNashItale ||
shayitaM shAr~NgiNaM sharvashauripadmabhuvastathA |

X X X

taM dR^iShTvA taralatmAno vidhyadhokShajasha~NkarAH |
atishThannitikartavyamUDhAstatrAbravIdajaH ||
svAmin prasIda vishvesha ke vayaM kena bhavitAH |
kiM mUlAH kiM kriyAH sarvamasmabhyaM vaktumarhasi ||

Thus, Adi Acharya has described Thou residing in mahAvikuNTha as transcending the mUrtitraya. Further, after describing niShkala praNavopAsanA for the uttamAdhikArin, shrImadAcharya, when dealing with the saguNa dhyAna for shuddha praNava, describes Thy form and not of others. He declares the mantra to be sarvamantrasamavAyI in line with the shAstras and the devatA of this mantra as paramAtmAkhyastathA devatA:

viShNuM bhAsvatkirITA~NgadavalayayugAkalpahArodarA~Nghri-
shronIbhUShaM savakShomaNimakaramahAkuNDalAmaNDitA~Ngam |
hastodyacchakrasha~NkhAmbujagadamamalaM pItakausheyamAshA
vidyotadbhAsamudyaddinakarasadR^ishaM padmasaMsthaM namAmi ||

Does he not state thus, dear Lord, that Thou indeed are the Truth beyond the Trinity as also the special significance of Thy mUrti named shrImannArAyaNa?

Sri Bhattathiri views a personality such as mAdhava vidyAraNya (described here as shivapara probably due to his association with Hakkaraya, Harihara and others) asserting the Supremacy of shrImannArayaNa in his work purANasAra (with which we shall deal shortly in a separate thread):

yadbrAhmakalpa iha bhAgavatadvitIya-
skandhoditaM vapuranAvR^itamIsha dhAtre |
tasyaiva nAma harisharvamukhaM jagAda
shrImAdhavaH shivaparo.api purANasAre ||

Note: Alternatively, Bhattathiri here could be referring to the work purANasAra as shivapara rather than shrIvidyAraNya and this interpretation seems to be more logical.

But has not vyAsa declared the pracChannatva of viShNu’s tAmo guNa by describing his sattva as merely vyApArika:

goptA viShNustamomUrtiH vyApAreNa tu sAttvikaH ||

Bhattathiri responds thus:

ye svaprakR^ityanuguNAM girishaM bhajante
teShAM phalaM hi dR^iDhayaiva tadIyabhaktyA |
vyAso hi tena kR^itavAnadhikArihetoH
skAndAdikeShu tava hAnivacho.arthavAdaiH ||

Dear Lord, has the following not been told in the shAstra:

yasyecChA jAyate yasmin taM devaM sa samAshrayet ||

Based on ones inclination that arises out of vAsanA, one should worship the desired mUrti of the Supreme.

Based on that, for those whose adhikAra is in the worship of girisha, vyAsa has made such statements that seemingly deprecate you and elevate the mAhAtmya of Shambhu. When the Antarya of bAdarAyaNa is understood, it becomes clear that such statements are mere arthavAda.

There are three forms of arthavAda:

1. bhUtArthakIrtiH:
2. anuvAda
3. viruddhavAda

The statements belonging to the category described above are merely viruddhavAda (pramANAntaraviruddhArthakathanam) and their objective is not to deprecate nArAyaNa but rather to describe the glory of the upAsanA of girisha to tadadhikArins.

Finally, Bhattathiri submits to the feet of Lord thus:

yatki~nchidapyaviduShA.api vibho mayoktaM
tanmantra shAstra vachanAdyabhidR^ishTameva |
vyAsoktisAramaya bhAgavatopagIta
kleshAn vidhUya kuru bhaktibharaM parAtman ||

O Lord, whatever I have stated here, ignorant as I am, is not svayaM kalpita but instead the words of great men such as vyAsa and sha~Nkara and statements from mantra shAstra and purANa. Their words are to be accepted as pramANa for various reasons apart from the fact that there is shAstra pramANa for what they have stated. They are recognized as men of wide learning and as knowers of various modes including those dealing with shivAdi svarupas. And more importantly, they are qualified to comment on the Antarya of various shAstra vAkyas because of their realization of the Supreme Tattva which pervades Agama and nigama as the core essence. And my practice of gurUpadiShTa mantra shAstra has, through direct experience, confirmed these statements. Please accept my namana, dispel my ailments and instill in me firm devotion to Thy Lotus Feet.

********************************************
vyAdhUta-kesarasaTA-vikarAlavaktraM
hastAgra-visphurita-sha~NkhagadAsichakram |
AviShkR^itaM sapadi yena nR^isiMharUpaM
nArAyaNaM tamapi vishvasR^ijaM namAmi ||

Nitya Karma

[Query] What is the need for a yogi practicing pranayama and kriya to do sandhyavandanam?

Here is what gurumUrti skanda says:

shrautasmArtAni karmANi phalaM necChan samAcharet |
shastaH sa yogI viprendra akriyAdyogamAshritAt ||
yogaprAptyai mahAbAho hetuH karmaiva me matam ||

Karma can be given up by the one who has attained yoga. Yoga is described by brahmaNya as the realization of the unity of jIva and shiva through anAvaraNa, and not merely a few kriyas, praNotthApana or related phenomena [evaM yogashcha sannyAsau samAnaphaladAyinau ityAdi]. He further states the need for niShkAma karma till the point of attainment of Yoga. Thus, practice of prANAyAma or kriyA does not negate the necessity for anuShThAna of nitya karma.

Thiruppugazh - ThirutthaNigai

arahara sivanari ayanivar paravimun
aRumuga saravaNabhavanE endru

anudhina mozhithara asurargaL keda ayil
anal ena ezhavidum athi veerA

paripura kamalama dhadiyiNai adiyavar
uLamadhil uRa aruL murugEsA

bagavathi varai magaL umai thara varu guha
paramana dhiru sevi kaLikUra

urai seyum oru mozhi piraNava mudivadhai
urai tharu gurupara uyarvAya

ulagaman alagila uyirgaLum imaiyavar
avargaLu muRuvara munivOrum

paravi mun anudhina manamagizh uRavaNi
paNi thigazh thaNigaiyil uRaivOnE

pagartharu kuRamagaL tharu amai vanidhaiyum
irupudai uRavaru perumALE.

The Trinity comprising of shiva, viShNu and brahma prostrate before You, praying everyday by singing your praises, “Shanmukha, Saravanabhava”

Oh Great Warrior! You throw your fiery spear to destroy those with demonic qualities.

Muruga! By your Grace, your devotees behold in esteem Thy lotus feet that wear the anklets of valor, in their devoted hearts.

Oh Guha, You are the son of Bhagavati, the great daughter of Mount HimavAn.

Oh Shiva Gurunatha! Shiva’s both ears were filled with joy when You interpreted to him the meaning of the secretive Pranava Mantra cherished by all.

All those countless animate beings in this world, along with Devas and Sages, bow before you and blissfully worship you everyday.

You reside at lovely ThirutthaNigai (Tiruttani) where you were worshipped by the Great Serpent Vasuki to free himself of his afflictions after Amrita Manthana.

O Great Lord! The famous damsel of Kuravas, Shreevalli and the maiden Devayani who was reared under the Karpaga tree, flank You on both sides as icChA shakti and j~nAna shakti.

Sankatmochan

Finally, the bloody scene seems to be approaching conclusion. But what really is disturbing is the media menace. Can someone ask Barkha Dutt to Shut UP? She goes on talking and talking and talking nonsense and her motive clearly is to build Brand Barkha and not report without bias. A lot of Twitter activity was controlled early on to prevent transmitting information to the still battling terrorists but the news channels are still continuing to shell out every bit details of what is happening at the three sites, live. The Commando chief has already repeated thrice that the operations are being hampered on this account for the terrorists seem to be closely following such information to understand every move of the Indian Forces. Every big name in global media, be it NY Times, or Time or Fox, has been making fun of the dire lack of responsibility on the part of the Indian media. And what is further disturbing is the way they are trying to interview the victims and the kin of the deceased. They have also declared the completion of the sanitization operations by themselves several times since yesterday. But they have succeeded in what they wanted to: increase TRP.

We have already begun to hear the oft repeated quote of “Not All Muslims are terrorists” but not one person representing the Muslim community from India, be it an Imam or heads of the pseudo-intellectua, has yet condemned the attack. If one observes the sentiment on various blogs, there are many who make comments such as the ones below:

“The terrorists are not real Muslims”.

“We cannot blame Islam for everything. We need to examine the reason for all this, which lies in the rapes and murders of Muslims in Kashmir”.

There really appears to be no true remorse on the part of this community, like always. But we need to wait and watch if Sonia and her band can continue to favor them in the same way that Congress had historically done, nurturing home grown terrorism with love, as though they were Rajiv, Rahul and Priyanka.

The West hardly paid attention to the monstrous killing of the Indian Sons till date but the current situation will naturally attract more attention due to the alleged targeting of Brits and Americans. I think the death of two members of the American Synchronicity Foundation has now been confirmed. An acquaintance, who holds an important position with the Virginia based Synchronicity foundation led by Charles Cannon (known to many of us as Brother Charles), a disciple of Svami Muktananda, mentioned of calls from the Top brass from Obama’s kennel and also of expected visits. Whatever that may be, the geopolitical situation in the sub-continent is bound to change, considering the global attention to this sad incident. I would at least hope that this breaks the continuum of inaction that has prevailed right from the time of Independence.

The intelligence agencies are pointing fingers at our “friendly” neighbor but is it going to be easy for Sonia Inc. to evade public anger by pointing fingers towards Pakistan? The Common man understands the role of Pakistan in the current attack and every other similar attack in the past, but is that going to make him pardon the government for doing nothing in the interest of the nation? While we criticize Narendra Modi and Co at times, they seem to represent better hope than Sonia and Co, who, I am sure, are viewing the current happenings solely in terms of the oncoming elections. Even at this point, it is astonishing to note the way in which Congress and Co., and also the media, is blaming Advani or Modi and not Shivaraj Patil, who turned up well-dressed with a rose on his coat to monitor the situation at Mumbai!

Can we afford to continue to assert that terrorism is generic and ignore its religious affiliation? Can we continue to pretend that all religious groups commit violence of the same level to appear sensitive or secular? Can we continue to distinguish the radical elements of Islam from the so-called moderate ones, who never act but continue to silently shield the former and grant them some sort of legitimacy? Can we ignore that fact that while there are millions of supposedly good, peaceful Muslims, Islam indeed is producing magnitudes of order more of these radicals than every other religion? Can we pardon the government by granting it the excuse of unfamiliarity and terming this Mumbai’s 9/11, when such 9/11s have been occurring repeatedly? Can we believe that a person who is truly a Muslim can also be moderate at the same time?

And like always, the debates that are going to happen will offer testimony to this urban anecdote: Cheeseburgers are consistent with child abuse, if you torture correlation enough and eliminate specificity.

namAmyunmatta bhairavam

kAnchI kShetra darshanam

namastripurabhairavyai

There is a traditional way to have thec darshana of bhagavatI shrIvidyA parameshvarI at kAnchI. Although I was told not to reveal this procedure, I do not sense any such prohibition from Her.

One should always try to visit the three main shrines of shrI kAmAkshI, shrI ekAmreshvara and shrI varadarAja, in that order, which is the order of their appearance in kAnchI as also the order in which the latter two attained the grace of the Supreme parAshakti. Even before that, one should begin with the very first gaNapati shrine that was installed in kAnchI maNDala which is located right at the turn to kAmAkshI temple (it is called shamkhapANi gaNesha). The fifth most important temple would be the kumAra koShTha.

If time permits, one should visit the shrines of aShTabhuja nArAyaNa, vAmana/trivikrama (Ulagalandha Perumal), kailAsanAtha, dIpaprakAsha Perumal, pANDava dUta Perumal and kacChapeshvara. The Upanishad brahmendra Matham which hosts a rAma yantra as also agastyeshwara and hayagriveshwara lingas to celebrate the spot of upadesha of shrI lalitA sahasranAma and trishatI, are also of great significance. There is a peculiar shrine dedicated to chitragupta frequented generally by dvijetaras.

Before entering the mukhya dvAra of shrI kAmAkAshI temple, an upAsaka performs Achamana with tattvatraya, mAtrikA nyAsa and ShoDashAkSharI nyAsa. As soon as he enters the shrine, on the right, to the top, he worships the bhairava with kAlabhairava aShTAdashAkSharI. As he steps into the mukhya maNTapa, he recites the dharaNI varAha mantra thrice before placing his foot into the maNTapa. While he enters the mukhya prAkAra, he worships mahAgaNapati to the right with his mUla mantra and displays danta, pAsha, laDDukAdi sapta mudrAs. To the left, he worships nAga subrahmaNya with skanda dvAdashAkSharI and displays shakti, mayUrAdi ShaNmudrAs. He then proceeds to the shrine devoted to sha~Nkara bhagavatpAda and recites gurupAdukA traya, dakShiNAmUrti mantra and seeks anujna from dakShiNAmUrti, displaying sumukhAdi pancha mudrAs. He then proceeds to the shrine of durvAsA and worships Parameshwara by reciting Yuga Guru pAdukA and ratnAdi shaiva pAdukAs as also the aShTa pAshupata mantras. After seeking permission from the great Guru while displaying gokhurAdi pancha mudrAs, one has the darshana of shrIvidyA parameshvarI in gAyatrI maNTapam. Based on the time of the day, one recites yathA shakti bAlA, panchadashI or bhairavI vidyAs followed by mUla vidyA (mahAShoDashI, parAShoDashI etc.), displaying dasha mahAmudrAs. After seeing ambA’s mangaLa nIrAjana, one contemplates on mahApAdukA and loses bheda buddhi for a while. One should then accept kunkuma prasAda and apply the same to arUpa lakShmI while contemplating on the forms of sthUla and sUkShma kAmakalA mantras. He should then worship heramba located within kAmakoShTha with his mUla mantra. The upAsaka should have punardarshana of shrIvidyA parameshvarI and worship Lords gaNDabheruNDa nR^isiMha and mAyAvAmana in her karNa tATa~Nkas by reciting their mantras and displaying vanamAlA, chakra, shamkhAdi dvAtrimshanmudrAs. He should then worship nArAyaNa (azhagar) with rAjagopAla mahAmantra and display veNvAdi sapta mudrAs. This is followed by visits to the shrines of rAjashyAmalA, mahAvArAhI and annapUrNA, while reciting their mUla mantras and displaying appropriate mudrAs such as vINA, shuka etc. One should then worship utsava kAmAkShI with parA mantra and contemplate on devI hR^idaya vidyA. Finally, one should worship shAstA with the mantra of kalyANa shAstr and display khaDga, pAsha, karavAla and other mudrAs. I heard from many elderly upAsakas that offering Palada Pradhaman to the Lord here was a practice in olden days but that does not seem to be existent any more. One can then sit in front of the Utsava mUrti and recite sahasranAma, trishatI, stavaratna, shakti mahimnaH and aryA shataka, based on the availability of time. It is also advisable to visit the shrine of kAlI (known as Adi kAmAkShI) and worship bhagavatI kAlI with three mantras, dakShiNA kAlI, kAmakalA kAlI and kAlasamkarShiNI displaying muNDa, kAlakarNyAdi mudrAs. This marks the closure of the journey.

While it has been stated mantravashyAstu devatAH, that does not apply to the sAmrAjnI of devatas. rahasya sahasranAma states bhaktipriyA and bhaktivashyA and any act devoid of bhakti cannot please paradevatA. One can refer to the works of madhusUdana sarasvatI to see how a brilliant mImAmsaka accounts for bhakti and its indispensability.

Sacrifice

[Query] What is the importance of sacrifice in sadhana?

The culmination of sAdhanA is sacrificing everything including one’s individuality into the collective whole. A divine spark of light that appeared thrice on this earth to teach premA bhakti says the following during the incarnation named mIrA bai:

bhaya chodya bandhu chodhya chodya saga bhuya sadhu sang baith baith loklaaj khoya

This is how she attained the Lord. This is especially true in a metaphoric sense for those into shAkta upAsanA.

tArA and bagaLA

[Query] Please help me clear these doubts. What is the correct beeja in tara mantra *** or ***?
What is the correct beeja in baglamukhi mantra *** or ***?
Who is the seer for kali mantra?
Who is the seer for tara mantra?

These specifics are best understood from one’s Guru as he alone can impart the technicalities of sampradAya. When we say sampradAya it involves various things like mantra, nyAsa, yantra etc. which are specifically chipped in based on years of experience and fitted into the sampradAya, aided by shAstra pramANa. If one picks one thing from here and another thing from elsewhere, the synchrony is lost in the big picture and the resulting energetic effect is simply that of chaos. For example, a lineage that uses hayagrIva as the R^iShi for panchadashI, uses a certain form of parA bIja in bAlA, sR^iShTi krama in nyAsas, a certain form of shrIchakra, does away with tripura bhairavI, uses specific mudrAs for guruvandana etc. Such peculiarities are of great significance as they result in a bigger energetic portrait of the entire practice at a higher level and any element that does not fit into this picture brings about imbalance. Hence the importance of sampradAya. That said, here are some general answers. I edited your queries to remove the bIjas.

Various tantras recount the story of vasiShTha cursing bhagavatI tArA and then visiting mahAchIna etc. Some explicitly describe his conversation with tathAgata and some describe a vision of tArA. In either case, he is described to have been instructed into the path of mahAchInAchAra that some leftist tantras like to describe as superior to kaulAdyAchAras (kaulikAdibhiradR^iShTA etc.). The cure for the curse is the evolution of the vadhU bIja that incorporates somakalA into the original trotala bIja. Without this modification, tArA manu is said to be powerless in kali yuga. While it is an entire other topic as to how tArA came into the Hindu pantheon, vadhU bIja seems to be popularly used by upAsakas rather than trotala. However, while speaking to some upAsakas from Bengal, I was surprised to see many of them using trotala. One among them pointed out to some tantras that did not speak of the curse or of vadhU bIja and explained that those tantras were followed by them. Some saw vadhU bIja and the story of the curse as well as of chInAchAra as Buddhist influence. Some others accepted the story of the curse but pointed out that the mantra modified to use vadhU bIja was effective only for the practitioners of chInAchAra and not for the rest and also that the modification was taught only to those following this AchAra. Again, I remember seeing an interesting statement in tArA paTala of rudrayAmaLa where the practice of chInAchAra is described as effective only within a geographical area termed as mahAchIna (roughly Tibet) and that only adds to the confusion. In tArA pITha however, the mantra used includes the vadhU bIja. We use vadhU bIja in our version of the mantra as well.

Similarly, both forms of the bIja are used in the upAsanA of bagalAmukhI as well. The addition of vahni to the bagalA bIja is described as adding vIrya to the mantra and we subscribe to this view. The order in which the prthvI and vahni bIjas are to be pronounced is really what one needs to pay attention to.

There are various forms of kAlI as well as tArA. For dakShiNA kAlI, most tantras describe mahAkAla as R^iShi. Some describe the R^iShi as mahAkAlI as well. We are taught to use durvAsA as the R^iShi. For tArA, vasishtha, brahmA etc. are the seers. For the mantra taught to us as mukhya mantra among tArA manus, called vidyArAjnI, the seer is brahmA.

Aghora Trilogy

[Query] Last few days I read the two parts of the book aghora. Though the aghori speaks of talking to shankaracharya, he also abuses him. Why did he disrespect shankaracharya?

The Aghora trilogy should be treated as Spiritual fiction rather than ascribing historical or factual importance to it. Does one think so deeply when reading Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings, Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy, or Eric Lustbader’s Ninja series? The Aghora series need to be treated no differently. Also, as Svaboda himself agrees, Vimalananda is a larger than life character who exaggerates everything. While the skeleton of Vimalananda’s character might have been inspired by a true person (which incidentally is the case), his personality however is simply far-fetched. His experience with Shava Sadhana and various other narrated tales, if observed carefully, are reconstructed folklore. I am surprised you take such books seriously when these days, people refuse to even consider works like mAdhavIya sha~Nkara vijaya!

Also, Robert Svaboda, the author of the trilogy, wrote to me earlier seeking some information regarding a certain Siddha Purusha both of us are familiar with. In the course of conversation, he clarified that Vimalananda’s opinion about Shankara were simply his and stated that he (Svaboda) did not subscribe to the same. He also mentioned about the exaggeration part and also pointed out to the parts where the Aghori speaks of Shankara as an incarnation, as having Siddhis and as conversing with Amba and Shiva. While an aghori’s certificate shall do nothing to affect Shankara’s status in the hearts of the wise, these clarifications do reflect the true sentiments of the author or of his created character. If Robert is reading these archives, which he was sometime ago, we hope he shares more of his opinion with us. We however do need to give Robert credit for retaining his own thinking as the trend these days is to blindly adopt every belief of the preceptor, without any analysis or experimentation by oneself. That simply is not Guru Bhakti.

Moreover, a careful observation of the three books shows a marked anti-brahminical sentiment throughout, exhibited by the central character Vimalananda, who was a probably a vaishya by birth. As Shankara is popularly associated with Brahmanas, his anger gets directed as Shankara at times as well. Also, he states that he is a follower of Pushti marga and naturally shuns mAyAvAda and its preceptor, shankara. Of course I fail to understand how shAkta tantra or shaiva tantra is acceptable to puShTi mArga or even closer to it than advaita. There are never technical discussions about the teachings of shankara but his criticism of the achArya is generally based on popular tales associated with shankara. Though the book repeatedly tries to project Vimalananda as a scholar, there is no testimony to this aspect of his anywhere. It does not take a vidvAn like Brahmasri Mani Dravida Shastrigal to counter his criticism of AchArya (shAstrigal by the way has an enchanting explanation for the parakAya pravesha episode and his knowledge of advaita shAstra pours out there like gangA pravAha) for the book is aimed at entertaining a class of people, and we should simply let it do just that!

Battle with Buddha

[Query] Which purana describes the story of buddha’s battle with maa durga?

No purANa describes such a story. Some Buddhist Tantras (especially the yoginI tantras) have borrowed wholeheartedly from Hindu Tantras. Similarly, the medieval, so-called Hindu Tantras have borrowed from Buddhist Tantras. This exchange has happened from both sides but both like to see themselves as the source. While Kashmiri Shaivaites see the influence of their Tantras in every nook and corner of the Buddhist Pantheon, sometimes quite outrageously for they have the benefit of their counterparts being unfamiliar with Hindu Tantras, the Buddhist scholars do the same, but with greater dignity most of the time. Authors such as Jayadratha and others portray Buddha and Buddhist deities as false gods; Buddhist works adopt a similar tone to demean various Hindu deities. One can refer to the works of brilliant scholars such as Geshe Rinchen, Reginald etc., who have comfortably disproved the flawed theories of others such as Alexis Sanderson who seek to establish Hindu Tantra as the single most source of a class of Buddhist Tantras. A brilliant team of scholars backed by H H Dalai Lama is currently engaged in bringing out a series of publications on Buddhist Tantras (especially those dear to vajrayana or mantrayana sects) and if I can go by the short preview I have seen, they are fantastic. Coming back to our story, in this nok jhok that took place, some cults in Kashmir created works that they named Tantras and came up with characters like tathAgatamardinI (durgA) and sugatasamhAriNI (kAlI). I even saw an idol of one such form being sold at an emporium at San Francisco. There is also a hymn dedicated to this form of durgA with bad Chandas that claims to be a part of rudrayAmaLa, which obviously is untrue. A Kashmiri upAsaka who gave me this copy explained the term sugata as sugatAsura who assumed the form of Buddha and resorted to himsA. He was accompanied by Vajravarahi (the stava does not refer to his manifestation as samvara however, who is vajravArAhi’s consort), who is also an important Hindu deity worshipped not only by nAtha yogis following matsyendra but also by upAsakas of vArAhI in saurAShTra. Then Mother supposedly assumed this form of sugatamardinI to destroy him. The gentleman was not sure about the origin of this tale though. This hardly seemed logical for the stotra is abundant with names of Bodhisattvas described as tathAgata’s army and various popular Buddhist concepts made fun of. Apart from such works, there seems to be no description of battle involving the Buddha described as the ninth avatAra of shrImannArAyaNa.

The New World Age

The idea model is complete in its outlines from particle to cosmos, but nevertheless, what remains significantly outside understanding is the process by which the nature of the present-at-hand will transform itself at the onset of a major shift of epochs. Certain themes that we associate with nonordinary reality or concrescent precursors have yet to be connected with the events since March 1971. The speech-become-visible phenomenon has played no real part in experiences since that time; yet it was just that feature, the outstanding peculiarity of tryptamine ecstasy, that led us to the Amazon originally. Triggering a flood of shared mental imagery might be accomplished via vocally modulated audial phenomena that would illuminate hologramatic images of the imagination modulated vibration from ionic tryptamines, especially serotonin, metabolizing in vivo, perhaps in the pineal gland. We suggest that charge transfer involving such tryptamine ions may be the chemical analogs or the reflection in physical matter of ongoing processes of thought and idea formation. A major shift of epochs might allow these audio-holograms to become telepathically shared or to condense and appear as light or even matter. Up to now we have often opposed light and matter, the latter being associated with mass and often with electricity, while the former always appears free from inertia and charge. But if these two fundamental entities of the physical world appear to oppose one another, they are none the less related because they are both special forms of energy. In principle, therefore, there is nothing against the view that energy, while always conserving itself, can pass from the material to the luminous form and vice versa. We know today that it is actually so; this fact breaks down the barrier which seemed to separate light and matter and, to complete the enumeration of the fundamental properties which assure light a privileged place amongst the physical entities, we can now add that light is, in short, the most refined form of matter.

The notion of concrescence signifies an abyss of ambiguity, for once the monadic hierarchy enters the short epochs preceding oncrescence, the normal limitations of three dimensions will be obviated. In the last 2 1/4 hours of the duration of space-time, all of the cycles must, in some sense, be repeated several times. What the last epochs of time will be like, as all things are gathered and focused toward concrescence, remains mysterious. We do not yet know whether the cycle of time we are studying is time caused by the submolecular energy exchanges in living macromolecules, and thus a biological phenomenon. We speculate that quantum-mechanical constraints have configured life and imposed boundary conditions on it, and that DNA is configured as it is because it reflects some quantummechanical or astrophysical organizing principle that makes no discrimination between the organic and the inorganic but is as responsible for the nature of nonorganic processes as it is for the manner in which the cell or the mind is organized. If this is not the case, and the waveform applies exclusively to DNA-based organisms, then this would return the problem of the origin of the inanimate universe to the cosmologists, and thus fail in its attempt to serve as a general theory of systems. The correlation of the mechanics of the wave to solar processes, lunar movements, and equinoctial precession argues that to suppose this a systems theory of biological processes exclusively is to make an unnecessarily limiting distinction. Since the wave maps variables reflected in the organization of the psyche, it naturally has heuristic potential as a mnemonic engine. Surveying and intensifying one’s understanding concerning these retrogressing time cycles is like a preliminary course in atemporal navigation.

The standing wave-hierarchy contains everything now in the state called active imagination; presumably, it will exist some time in the future as the state called objective, or shared, reality. Comprehension of this unity in a particular or dynamic manner, rather than the quiescent and static total comprehension of the entire information field represented as some kind of enstasis, is a way of seeing, a shamanic path, and is accomplished through application of right method to the unitary information field. Anyone using the quantified frames of the hierarchy, especially when applying them to history or to the lunar year, should note that numbers rest on lines that designate days ; yet there are dawn lines, and the day lying between two position numbers is a day that runs from dawn to dawn. The idea that days begin and end at dawn is third century and Gnostic, according to Jonas; later, it was carried over by Manichaeans. We adhere to this idea because during the experiment in March 1971, it was clear that, as far as daily energy cycles in the environment are concerned, dawn and, secondarily, dusk are the moments of the opening of the crack between the worlds.

In fact, after March 4, 1971, and until we left La Chorrera, the time of the onset of maximum self-revelation of ingressing novelty was quite literally concurrent with the sunrise, beginning at the crack of dawn each morning. This moment on our scale is the end of one day and the beginning of another. We believe that the importance of the dawn moment is rooted in the relationship between light and living organisms. That such circadian or daily cycles of light-induced metabolic fluctuations exist is well documented. Research has shown that 5HT (serotonin) in the pineal gland is light synchronized. 5HT is the very metabolite that may allow us the experience of self-reflecting consciousness. This idea clarifies at the neurohumoral level the intuitive connection felt by all peoples between the rising of the sun and the differentiation of the self out of unstructured chaos; indeed, the connection may be one of cause and effect.

Pineal serotonin fluctuates, rising and falling in a daily rhythm. Its persistence after blinding suggested that this rhythm is endogenous but synchronized by light and dark. Like melatonin, its levels in the pineal seemed to respond to light entering through the eyes, transmitted as nerve messages along the inferior accessory optic tract. But unlike melatonin, its increases and decreases were not explained by enzyme activity. The story was evidently more complex and interesting than anyone had forecast, for pineal serotonin seemed to follow an endogenous, circadian rhythm that was entrained by light and darkness in a manner not thoroughly understood.

Thus, our understanding is that a maximum density of novel connection occurs at dawn in any cycle large enough to encompass at least one dawn moment. This assertion might be investigated using the methods of evaluation that J. B. Rhine developed to evaluate psychic phenomena. A group tested only at the propitious moment each day might be easily compared with a different group examined daily at a different time or with a group whose testing had taken no account of the time the test was administered.

The nearness of a major concrescence to our own time seems a selfevident fact, implicit in the excesses of all sorts that characterize the history of the twentieth century. Two methods for computing possible dates of a future concrescence have been found suggestive. The first is simple and involves simply propagating 67-plus “year cycles and their subsets forward in time, with various shifts in the alignment of the scales. The software implementation of the wave, Timewave Zero, allows any date to be studied, and appropriate computer programs could be written to search among many dates for a best fit of quantified historical data to the quantified wave-hierarchy. The problem with this, and all approaches of this sort, lies in finding a method of quantifying historical data.

The second approach to a search of possible dates for future concrescence is more subtle and takes account of the precession of the equinoxes. Because of the precession, the solstice and equinoctial nodes precess or move backward against the background of the fixed stars that comprise the zodiac. In a 26,000-year zodiacal great year, the solstice and equinoctial nodes move through the entire zodiac. It is a coincidence then that in our own time, the winter solstice is placed in the constellation Sagittarius, only about 3° from the galactic center, which, also coincidentally is within 2° of the ecliptic. Because the winter solstice node is precessing, it is moving closer and closer to the point on the ecliptic where it will eclipse the galactic center. This will occur sometime in the next two hundred years. It is difficult to be more accurate, since the term galactic center is ambiguous. A degree covers a large area in space, and the galaxy may be presumed to have a gravitational center, a radio center, and a spatial center. Nevertheless, we suggest that the transition from one zodiacal era of approximately twenty-two hundred years duration to the next may be hinged on the conjunction of the solstice node and the galactic center. It is useful to examine winter solstices on which solar eclipses will occur over the next two hundred years, during which the earth’s solstice node will be slowly transiting the area of the galactic center. When this is done the most likely helical rising of the galactic center with the solstice sun occurs on December 21, 2012. The eclipse of the galactic center by the solstice sun might be an event unusual enough to signal an onset of concrescence. If a causal connection were shown, it would implicate the galaxy itself as a major formative influence upon the structure of the molecules that maintain and define life. That such a situation would have noticeable effects on life on earth is totally speculative. However, ideas of such an archetypal nature do not arise except upon a basis of biological organization.

The relation of a time of renewal to the conjunction of the solstice nodes and the galactic center has been noted by others: Considering the fact that the crossroads of ecliptic and Galaxy are crisis-resistant, that is, not concerned with the Precession, the reader may want to know why the Mangaians thought they could go to heaven only on the two solstitial days. Because, in order to change trains comfortably, the constellations that serve as gates to the Milky Way must stand upon the earth, meaning that they must rise helically either at the equinoxes or at the solstices. The Galaxy is a very broad highway, but even so there must have been some bitter millennia when neither gate was directly available any longer, the one hanging in midair, the other having turned into a submarine entrance.

Sagittarius and Gemini still mark the solstices in the closing years of the Age of Pisces. Next comes Aquarius. The ancients, no doubt, would have considered the troubles of these our times, the overpopulation, the working iniquity in secret, as an inevitable prelude to a new tilting, a new world-age.

- By Terence McKenna

Note: Half an hour before the winter solstice of December 21, 2012, the sun will rise at La Chorrera (730 west, 43′ south) in a position that will eclipse the galactic center. The rising sun is caught in the crosshairs of the intersection of the plane of the ecliptic with the ecliptical plane of our galaxy.

Niranjan, you asked me about Arunachala and Machu Picchu. Here is some food for thought. Don’t ask me for more :-)