Meditating on the Yoni
Shakti substantiates Shiva’s bliss, Tantra’s principal objective; hence, Tantrika resorts to Shiva for his procreative desire which is the source of joy, but to Shakti for all other potentials, even aspects of Shiva as Parabrahma – creation, preservation and dissolution. The Tantrika perceives her as multi-aspected, representing, besides female energy, abundance, multiplicity and power to create and destroy. Except in Buddhist tradition, in almost all schools of Tantra Shakti has a superior status. As Shakti manifested in ‘Yoni’, the worship of ‘Yoni’ is the foremost to the Tantrika.
A Fine Portrait of Ardhanarishvara (Shiva Shakti) with Their Vehicles
In Tantrika way the ‘sadhaka’, a product of Shiva’s desire to procreate and multiply, and hence, his microcosmic part, believes to attain the same state of bliss and joy as the Proto- Shiva, if he is able to magnify his mind and intellect with same enormity as did Shiva-Shakti in the myth. He begins by copulating as his first step. He believes that he is the cosmic male, his female counterpart, the cosmic female, and in their ultimate magnification, they are Shiva and Shakti; and, thus, their act of copulation represents the divine union of Shiva and Shakti on human level. He takes ‘yoni’ as the manifest form of Shakti, and ‘linga’, as Shiva’s, and discovers in the union of the two his means of attaining the ultimate bliss which revealed in the union of Shiva and Shakti.
While copulating, he commemorates the ‘Mantra’ to invoke the deity – Shakti, to manifest in the ‘yoni’ and elevate his act to the status of divine act. Manifest or unmanifest, commemoration of ‘mantra’ is parallel to ‘Nada’. Grabbed by heat of passion and ignorance it explodes, loud and inaudible, and rends the cosmos. After the passion quietens, self-awareness emerges and body-moves are regulated, the sound of the ‘Mantra’ reduces to the audible level. The universe is his stage which he realises through ‘yantra’ – a mystic diagram, wherein it manifests. The diagram – a ‘Mandala’, represents the universe, and through various motifs, its other aspects – Shiva-Shakti union, emergence of ‘seed’, multiplication of his procreative act … As his act of copulation magnifies into the divine union of Shiva and Shakti, so the mystic diagram begins revealing to him mysteries of cosmos – elemental, psychic, spiritual… Now it is no more a thing outside him. It is within him. He is one with the cosmos – an undivided whole.
Kundalini, the tool of kindling inherent energies in the Shiva-Shakti myth, is the essence of all Tantrika systems, and even Yoga and Vedic asceticism. Kundalini has been contemplated as dormant energy lying serpent-like coiled in the body. It is multi-million times more potent than body’s known energies, something like the assertion of modern sciences that talk of activating vast dormant areas of the brain which would release incalculable neurological capacities of man. Hence, once Kundalini is fully awakened the sadhaka’s consciousness and Cosmic Consciousness become one. Awakening of Kundalini is in the form of its ascent from ‘Muladhara’ to ‘Sahasrara-padma’.
The body is perceived as comprising six ‘chakras’, the dynamic Tattvik – elemental centres, namely, ‘Muladhara’, ‘Svadhisthana’, ‘Mani-pura’, ‘Anahata’, ‘Vishuddha’, and ‘Ajna’. Over all them is situated ‘Sahasrara-padma’ – the thousand-petalled lotus. ‘Muladhara’, an inverted triangular space situated in the midmost portion of the body, is like a young girl’s vagina in shape. It is described as a red lotus with four petals representing four forms of bliss : ‘Yogananda’ – Yoga bliss, ‘Paramananda’ – supreme bliss, ‘sahajananda’ – natural bliss, and ‘Virananda’ – heroic bliss. In the centre of the lotus is ‘Svayanbhu-Linga’. At the base of the ‘Linga’ is the Brahma-dvara – divine door, where the Devi Kundalini lies asleep. Here itself is the seat of creative desire which, when awakened, pricks Kundalini to awake. Thus, in Tantrika way with copulation begins the process of the awakening of Kundalini. Just above ‘Muladhara’ and below the navel is situated ‘Svadhisthana’, a six-petalled lotus. They represent six qualities or states of being, namely, credulity, suspicion, disdain, delusion or disinclination, false knowledge, and pitilessness. Around the navel is situated ‘Mani-pura’, a ten-petalled lotus representing ten virtues, namely, shame, fickleness, jealousy, desire, laziness, sadness, dullness, ignorance, aversion, and fear. During ‘sadhana’ or otherwise, the human mind generally inclines to stay in these three ‘chakras’. In true sense it is when the mind enters the fourth ‘Chakra’ – ‘Anahata’ that the journey towards ‘Sahasrara-padma’ begins. ‘Anahata’, a lotus with twelve petals representing hope, concern, endeavour, sense of mineness, arrogance, languor, conceit, discrimination, covetousness, duplicity, indecision, and regret, is situated in the region of heart. Its element is air and here ‘jivatma’ –self, appears like the flame of a lamp. Vishuddha chakra and Ajna are situated at throat level and in between the eye-brows respectively in the subtle body. In Vishuddha chakra the sadhaka is in direct touch and contact of godly glory. The ‘jivatma’ sheds its colours and transcending beyond the material existence dissolves in Parmatman. Here and in ‘Ajna’ it reaches the state of ‘samadhi’, a state of complete transcendence.
YANTRA AND MANTRA
Power of Mantra And Yantra
’Yantra’ and ’Mantra’ are two instruments of transformation in Tantra ’sadhana’.
Practicals of Yantras
’Yantra’, a term composed of two syllables ’yan’ meaning ’to regulate’, and ’tra’ meaning ’to protect’, is broadly the means by which the ’sadhaka’ regulates his energies and also protects them. ’Yantra’ is usually a mystic psycho-cosmo-diagram, broadly a ’Mandala’.
A graphic design Mandala symbolises the entire phenomenal world of which universe – macrocosm, and man or ‘sadhaka’ – microcosm, are the essential components. In its basic configuration a ’Mandala’ is a circle which has universal protective significance. A dot in the centre forming its axis is the ’bindu’ which is the seed, symbolising the union of Shiva-Shakti, emergence of seed and thereby the Creation. The dot represents the deity enshrining the axis of the cosmos, which the ’Mandala’ represents. The circle around represents the dynamic consciousness of the Creator. Of as great essence are the upright and inverted triangles representing male and female principles. In the multiplicity of upright and inverted triangles reveals operative plurality of the creative process, which by representing the Shiva-Shakti union reveals oneness of many. The outlying squares represent the physical world bound in four directions. In Buddhist Tantra, such square represents ’Sacred Palace’ which is also the ’Palace of Purity’. The ‘yantra’, when meditated on it, becomes the tool of transformation, projection, concentration and integration, and the sadhaka’s consciousness which finds expression in it, transcends beyond both – the sadhaka and the instrument. In any case, the ‘yantra’, like the deity-idol, when meditated on, leads the seeking mind to the axis of the universe where the deity enshrines and then withdraws leaving the ‘sadhaka’ to have a direct discourse with the deity.
‘Mantra’ – sacred syllable, spell, or incantation, is divine power clothed in sound. As clothes are inner, upper, and the uppermost, Tantra identifies three kinds of sounds : ‘Sphota’ – the transcendental, inaudible, defined as ‘unstruck sound’; ‘Nada’ – the supersonic sound; and, ‘Dhwani’ – the audible sound. The ‘Mantra’ wears all three kinds of sounds, that is, recited loud, or commemorated unspoken within, the ‘Mantra’ charges with divine energy all sounds and thereby ‘Vayu’– air, the vehicle of sound. As ‘Vayu’ is life within and beyond, which the ‘Mantra’ charges with divine energy, the ‘sadhaka’, by using ‘Mantra’ as his divine instrument, emerges as better-prepared for the final attainment, that is, kindling of ‘Kundalini Shakti’.
Practicals of Mantras & Tantras
The term ‘Mantra’ is made of two syllables : ‘Man’ and ‘Tra’, the former meaning ‘mind’ or ‘speech’, and the latter ‘to guide’ or ‘to protect’, that is, ‘Mantra’ guides and protects the mind and speech. The ‘Mantra’ is an articulated word. A ‘Mantra’ may have more words, but not occurring in grammatical sequence forming a sentence. Each word is a ‘Mantra’ having esoteric properties, sometimes being the atomized pith of a full doctrine, scripture, or even a series of them.
Om - The Cosmic Sound
Without being communicable in terms of meaning, this ‘word’ connects the ‘sadhaka’ with the Brahmanda’, deity, or the object meditated on. Usually ‘Mantras’ are divine names preceded by ‘Bijaksharas’, the letters which are indeclinable seed-sounds. ‘AUM’, the monosyllabic ‘Bijamantra’, which by its three sounds A U M symbolises God’s three aspects – creation, preservation and destruction, is the source of all ‘Mantras’.
Similarly, all ‘Mantras’ end with, or have intermittent ‘Anushvaras’, a phonetic sound transcribed as a ‘dot’ – ‘bindu’, which is in Tantra the symbol of Shiva-Shakti, creative process, seed, and the creation. Thus, every ‘Mantra’ constantly draws its power from the Timeless Shiva and Shakti. Other monosyllabic ‘bija-mantras’ are ‘hrim’, ‘shrim’, ‘krim’, and ‘klim’. ‘Hrim’ is the ‘bijamantra’ of Bhuvaneshvari representing female energy; ‘krim’, of Kali representing the power to create and destroy; ‘shrim’, of Lakshmi, representing abundance and multiplicity; and, ‘klim’, of procreative desire of Shiva as Kama representing joy and bliss. ‘Mantras’ are sometimes classified as male, female and neuter, the male ending with ‘hum’ or ‘phat’, female, with ‘svaha’, and neuter, with ‘namah’.
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