Thursday, June 15, 2006

More on Raagasvaroopapasadhyaa

Sri gurubhyo namaha.
Taking the thread of our previous discussion further, I would like to point out a couple of details with respect to the symbols used commonly in Hinduism.
As most of us would know, most of our Hindu deities (both male and female) are often portrayed with manifested attributes - like the mudras in the hands (abhaya- giving refuge to those who surrender, vara- giving boons to those who seek, etc), and other weapons that co relate to different characteristics of that particular deity. You would have noticed that quite a lot of the deities are depicted as holding (the weapons of) the pasa (noose) and angusha (elephant goad). Many justifications and explanations are given by followers of the different sects comprising Hinduism, about the meaning behind these two symbols. Here I wish to discuss them briefly....(in a manner that is suitable and supportive of my view, of course!)
Pasam (noose) - the very word noose (because of our negative associations as to its meaning and use) makes us think of something that binds in the negative way. Like the pasakayaru used by Yama when he comes to collect the soul of the person at the end of his life. It is perceived to be something that is used to catch (often irreversibly) like cowboys using the lasso to catch the cows when rounding them up to be penned. We are already afraid of the noose as we connect it to something that binds us, thus taking away the individual's freedom. But the real intent behind the use of the noose as a symbol is far from that. The pasam that is held by the various gods and goddesses is to be understood in likeness to the ''tether'' rather than the noose. The pasam corresponds to certain emotions (those of lust,desire,hunger,shyness, etc) that exhibit tendencies to keep us attached - attached to life, this world, our individual perception of it etc. This attachment allows for the continuity of this endless ocean of samsara - existence. These emotions also give rise in our minds and hearts the feeling of being safe, protected, cared for,wanted etc. Something that gives us a sense of connectedness and security (even though a false one) instead of the 'true' consciousness which is detached and quite bereft of any kind of emotion. Thus the pasam in the hands of the deities has to be understood as a boon. A manifestation of the infinite compassion (love) of God - manifested for the sole reason of comforting and protecting the devotee. Like the cowherd ties the cows in the night with a tether - he does not have any hatred towards the cows, he is not punishing them by tying them down. Infact, he ties them with a view to protect them from the dangerous animals of the night and even to an extent to protect it from its own helplessness and innocence (some say ignorance). Similarly, She exercises the use of the pasam to 'bind' those innocent jivas to help them cope with this incredibly bewildering cycle of existence. That is, the bonds of family, love, society, religion etc will be the tethers that will let the jiva operate only within a limited radius, and thus ease the level of responsibility the jiva has to take on for its own wellbeing and spiritual growth(until the jiva is ready for assuming such responsibility). It most certainly is not a noose with which to punish the transgressors - for in Her eyes all differences disappear, all are one. She only gives what we have asked Her for. No rewards and no punishments.
Angusham - (Elephant Goad) : This is also another of the most frequently used symbols. It corresponds to the emotion of anger/hatred. The shruthi explains : wrath is the elephant hook. It can be understood as follows - The jiva as we saw above is kept 'bound' by the different emotions until it is ready to be 'free' (or ready to understand its essential nature of freedom which was its nature even when it was 'perceived' to have been bound - but that's for another day!). This state of freedom is achievable when the emotion of anger/hatred is conquered. Meaning, She 'ties' the jiva on the one hand with the pasam while it is Her again who severs those very 'bonds' with the goad in the other hand(at the appropriate stage)! At a stage when pure Love is isolated and concentrated in the being after the due elimination of other impurities (attaching to that love as a result of one's vaasana and karma) - much like the process of clarification whereby the clean and pure ghee is separated from all the other constituent impurities
* Compare this to the above for additional context for paasa-
Paa - thirst , asa - hunger. This limitation of hunger and thirst belong only to the 'pasu' (literally cattle) type of person. That is, those that are devoid of the conviction/realization of non - separation (abhedajnayana). Such 'ignorant' persons are termed pasus because they possess the desire on eating and drinking only. Refer to the Shruthi which says '' the pasus understand only hunger and thirst, they do not speak of the known (Brahman), they do not see the known, they do not know the future, nor this nor the other world.''.


Anonymous said...

Well said!

In Lalitha sahasranamam , when they are describing the chakras , why do they start with Visuddhi instead of either muladhara or the sahasranama?

- K

mooligai sidhan said...

The description in Lalitha sahasranama (which you mention) is not mainly of the chakras - it is the praise of Devi through the sixty two names which fall under the seven Yogini's. The yogini's are the shaktis that preside over the seven chakras and each of these yoginis have crores of shaktis under them. The order of description of the yoginis is from Vishuddhi as these are constructed according to the yogininyaasa that is done before the japa of mantras - the names begin with the aksharas da,ra,la,ka,sa,ha and ya in order of placing during nyasa.
The yoginis represent alchemical processes that happen inside the human body (like digestion of fats,production of shukla or sperm,absorption of proteins etc)which is why there is description of different types of foods (which are liked by each yogini)and the dhatu (like flesh,skin,bone,blood,etc) that each of these preside over.
Hope this is sufficient info for now before progressing deeper into the secrets of Sri Vidya:)

K said...

I understood they were praises to Devi and her attributes at each chakra level but cant understand why they would make a jump from Muladhara to Ajna.
When you chant the aforesaid mantras you get into the bhava and are activating the chakras.
Here i thought they were breaking all rules with regard to the kundalini flow.

mooligai sidhan said...

The different sections of the sahasranama are useable in different ways (for different effects/results/siddhi's)in a manner thats quite independant of the whole sahasranama.
The section of the sahasranama dealing with the awakening and upward progression and the subsequent absorption of the sadhaka in samadhi is as follows :-
from name 90(kulaamrutaikarasika) till the name 111(bisatantutaniiyasi). These names deal with the detailed description of the devi as kundalini, the nature of that shakti, its charecteristics, its ascension through the chakras and its piercing (bhedana)of the granthis, its reaching the sahasrara and the subsequent downward flow of nectar throughout the body etc. The complete kundalini process.
However, the name which describe the yoginis and their positions have nothing to do with kundalini yoga per se - the order of those names are the same as the yogini nyasa (a type of 'nyasa' purificatory process which is done by the placing of certain bijas in a particular order on particular parts of the body). So it begins with visuddhi chakra and then after going down till muladhara, goes once again to ajnya and sahasrara - that is the order of the bijas of the dakinis&c and the order of the dhatus and their inter relation with each other. More detailed discussion on this would need a few days blogging - not to mention a lot of experiential knowledge of kundalini and the different chakras and dhatus, a lots of herb.