Hi, Gabriel Pradīpaka --wrongly-written Pradipaka-- once again. You have studied so far, in Tantric Ritual 1, the entire preparation for the Core of the Ritual known as Āvaraṇapūjā --wrongly-written Avaranapuja-- or "The Circular Worship". Every circuit is called a "cakra". The word "cakra" has many meanings such as "wheel, group, etc.". This time, it is used in the sense of wheel or circuit. Please, do not mistake it for "a center of energy in the subtle body", as it is not used so on this occasion. In this stage, you must perform a particular kind of adoration in circles, which I will explain to you step by step. This type of worship has many appellatives: "circular worship", "adoration in circles or circuits", etc. Note that the literal meaning of "Āvaraṇapūjā" is "Covering (āvaraṇa) Worship (pūjā)" in the sense of a worship in which you run circles around the Yantra, as if you would be wrapping it with an invisible paper made with Mantra-s and devotion. Well, this is a good analogy indeed!
Throughout nine circuits or cakra-s, you will go through every aspect of your manifestation, dear Śiva, right from "the worldly desires" up to "the essential I-consciousness". Each of the circuits is a kind of step in this beautiful stairway called Yajña. The goal behind Āvaraṇapūjā is as always "to realize that You are Śiva or the Absolute". When you realize that, you perceive the inherent unity in all and then a Supreme Delight arises from the depth of your own Self.
In turn, every circuit or step in the stairway of Yajña is formed from "little" steps which are represented in the Yantra by means of a vertex, a portal (the portals are the protuberances in each of the four edges of the big perimetrical square), a petal, a triangle, etc.
Along with the repetition of Mantra-s, in each of those "little" steps, you will move a "liṅga" throughout the whole cakra or circuit. The liṅga stands for pure Consciousness, that is, You Yourself. It is pure Consciousness or You that is moving through the various stages which form Your own Cosmic Body, since the Yantra is nothing but a representation of the universe. The universe is really Your Cosmic Body, dear Śiva. As you move the liṅga and repeat the Mantra-s, you are traveling through Your own Creative Manifestation, from the gross worldly desires up to the divine
I-consciousness, as I said before. As you advance in your circular worship, you will go near to the Center of all, Śiva, represented in the Yantra as the central point within a little triangle. The movement of the liṅga is symbolic of the movement of your own gazing after this universe around consisting of various objects being manifested and unmanifested constantly. Every worship in circles is simply a movement of your attention over the infinity of Your Universal Body. This is the meaning indeed. And now the first circuit or cakra, named Trailokyamohanacakra or "The wheel bewildering the three worlds".
In this first cakra o circuit, you have to move through the perimeter of the Yantra, touching one by one the four portals and the four vertexes with the liṅga. In each of these points you salute to a particular goddess and also to the venerable sandals of the Lord. But, what is the significance of this simple act? Listen:
The eight goddesses to whom you salute in the eight points referred to are eight powers or śakti-s really. Each of these śakti-s has a special function. Here you are a list of the goddess and their respective functions. The "function" is the "state" or "condition" that every śakti brings about in you, dear Śiva:
1. Brāhmī (worldly desires)
2. Māheśvarī (wrath)
3. Kaumārī (greed)
4. Vaiṣṇavī (fascination and infatuation)
5. Vārahī (obstinacy and false pride)
6. Indrāṇī (jealousy)
7. Cāmuṇḍā (mundane rewards)
8. Mahālakṣmī (deficiency and guilt)
I proceed now to analyze the secret meaning behind this aggregate of goddesses and functions:
1) Worldly desires: What are these desires? Although everything is essentially Śiva, there are various aspects in Him. At a certain level, of course, there is a difference: The worldly desires are those which do not lead you to the Highest Goal, while the spiritual desires are those which do lead you to the that Supreme Goal. And what is that Goal? It is simply to realize that you are not you (the limited person) but Śiva (the Supreme Self). It is the realization of the Absolute indeed after abandoning the identification with the limited role you are playing in this world. I said "abandoning the identification with the limited role" and not "abandoning the limited role". There is a subtle teaching in that. Tantricism does not encourage people to abandon all limited roles they are playing, but to abandon their identification with those roles. For example: "I am an engineer", "I am a lawyer", "I am a plumber", "I am a pilot", "I am a husband", "I am a wife", "I am a student", etc. Each of these roles is only a role... not myself.
When you play a role and become fully identified with it, you lose energy. For instance: you are a lawyer and file a suit against someone. Afterward, during the trial, you get angry with the prosecutor because you feel he is lying or something, etc. You really lose a lot of energy in the process of becoming furious. Only your own anger is the cause for the loss of force in you. And this anger results from your identification with the role of being a lawyer. Neither the prosecutor nor the trial nor even God are guilty. Most people think that something or someone outside is making them lose energy, but this is not true. So, do not abandon all and go to the woods (in fact, if the human being keeps cutting trees there will be no forest to go. No, just abandon your identification with the limited role you happen to play right now. Some people attempt to change the role, but they continue to lose energy as it is not the role the real cause but their identification with it. No matter which profession, life style, etc. you may choose, you will keep losing force if you identify with that role. See my point? Good.
When you abandon identification with a limited role, all that energy which was wasted in anger, anxiety, fear, etc. is redirect toward the accomplishment of your Goal. For example, if you are a meditator, you can meditate much better with the help of that extra energy. If you are a devotee of the Lord, you can develop more love for the Godhead. If you are a scholar, you find it easier to learn abstruse scriptures in Sanskrit, hehe.
On the other hand, the spiritual desires are related to the Supreme Goal. They give rise to such questions as: Who am I?, What am I doing here?, What is this world?, What am I to do?, etc. In fact, the desire of realizing the Self is not considered to be a mere desire. It is the highest desire indeed.
2) Wrath: When a desire is not fulfilled, wrath emerges automatically. In turn, wrath clouds the intellect and consequently memory is lost. Therefore, wrath negatively affects your memory. The real problem does not lie in that you will not remember where the keys are but in that you will not remember what your Goal is in this lifetime. Most people you can see have lost their memory because of wrath. They wander about trying to find a little happiness in objects, other people, roles, etc., but they do not find anything because... there is nothing there. Their frequent wrath makes them forget about the Supreme Self who is the final Shelter for everybody. Bliss, full satisfaction and delight, etc. are all within you, not outside. Remember this... if wrath lets you do so.
When you forget that you are Śiva, you are certainly like a wrecked adrift in this ocean known as world. Wrath clouds your intellect and makes you think that something insignificant is tremendously valuable, and that something invaluable is of no worth. Wrath makes you see only the tree and not the entire forest. In other words, it makes you narrow-minded. There are many methods to deal with wrath. One of them is to abandon identification with anger by removing the I-sense from it. For example, when wrath comes to you, you generally feel: "I am angry". Well, if you use that method, you should strive no to become identified with it: "Anger has emerged in me, but I am a witness to it. My mind is angry, not me, etc". The point is to get rid of the identification with wrath by seeing it as a witness. This method is really good, but it is extremely difficult for some people. So, if you cannot use it, try a reformed version of the same previous method:
Consider wrath like the Supreme Goddess or Śakti (if you want to give it a personal form in your mind, go ahead). Then, address to Her like a passive devotee. By "passive" I mean that you must keep internally still while beholding how the anger arises and grows calm within you without manifesting itself outside. Your mouth has not uttered any horrible word and your face is full of peace. When you consider wrath to be the Śakti, it is easily overcome. When you add love and devotion to any method, you will notice that it becomes easier to do.
This method can be used with any of the other goddesses (Brāhmī --worldly desires--, Kaumārī --greed--, Vaiṣṇavī --fascination and infatuation--, etc.). However, if you want to defeat, eliminate and get rid of wrath at all costs, it will become stronger. Stubbornness is never the way to deal with those śakti-s. Instead, use humbleness and devotion and you will soon start reaping the fruits, no doubt.
3) Greed: When feeling greed, you identify yourself with a sense of possessing and getting hold of something. Note that avarice is not only related to objects and people, but also knowledge. For instance, if you acquire certain knowledge and proceed to retain it exceedingly, that very act of exceeding retention immediately manifests a contraction in the universe. As a result, if you merely keep accumulating knowledge without sharing it with others, this knowledge gradually will begin to suffocate you. Such is the effect of that contraction. Avarice is one of the main qualities of Ahaṅkāra or ego [tattva 15 --See "Inner psychic organ" link in Trika 5 (English)--], through which Ahaṅkāra attempts to accumulate power.
Ego (Gabriel, Anthony, Andrés... your name) is as a second person in you. This second person has strange thoughts and opinions from a spiritual viewpoint: e.g. wealth is power, knowledge is power, etc. So, he/she tries to accumulate wealth, knowledge, etc. Well, no doubt wealth is not Real Power because with money you only buy some things but not all things. For example, you cannot buy eternity. Death is upon all of us, but we just do not want to think about it. No one can bribe Yama, the Lord of Death.
In turn, knowledge is not power at all in spite of the popular belief. Knowledge "in action" is power, not mere knowledge. For example: you may acquire knowledge of how to meditate properly according to Trika system, but while you do not actually practice meditation, you will not "understand" how to meditate as taught by Trika. Thus, "Knowledge in action" is synonymous with "Understanding". When you understand something, you have some power in your hand, not before. Now a "worldly" example: you can theoretically learn how to drive a car, but when you place your hands on the steering wheel and go out... my God, you crash into a bus. I am exaggerating, of course. Joking apart, the final teaching is "theory" alone is not power. You need "practice". When you practice, you use in the real world the theory you have learnt and consequently you come to "understand" how to do something in a proper manner.
All egos must learn the following: they are not the Real Owners of wealth, knowledge, understanding, etc. Śiva is. Even though He has become all egos, none of them can contain Him. And this Śiva is You, the Real You. When the ego (Gabriel, John, your name) in you thinks he/she is the owner of something, an inharmony results from that greedy attitude. Abandon that pure idiocy and realize your inherent divinity. Become one with Śiva and be forever happy. Śiva is the Highest Power. When Śiva moves his big toe an entire galaxy is destroyed; and when He sleeps, the whole universe is dissolved in His own Self again. When such a great Being as Him lives in you as You, what is the point of your running after other apparent sources of power? Meditate on Him and realize that you are not you but Him. Therefore, salute to the goddess greed with respect, considering her as the Supreme Śakti and be free from her forever.
4) Fascination and infatuation: The goddess Vaiṣṇavī has to do with imagination. Your fantasies are bewildering and thus you fall prey to them. Reality is different from your fantasies indeed, but somehow your ego forces you to live in dreaming despite your eyes be widely open. The extremely dangerous imaginations are not those in which you imagine to be a World War II hero, or a tough guy driving a sumptuous car, or a femme fatale with a long row of men awaiting to kiss you. No, these forms of imagination are certainly harmful but not tremendously dangerous.
The real problem lies in those imaginations which force you to consider yourself to be a limited being that lives a handful of years and that all the time tries to attain true happiness with likewise limited objects and people. These very forms of imagination make you think that everything and everyone is not Śiva, and consequently you feel separation and lack of unity in all. In fact, you imagine that there is a manifest universe out there which is different from You, Śiva. Also, you imagine that space and time are related to Your Existence, dear Self, and that your mind is affecting You somehow. All this is pure imagination indeed, but how real it appears to be!
Look at your present life and be sincere: Are you truly happy? You have lots of thoughts, various strong emotions, attitudes, opinions, etc... but when did some of these things give you real happiness? Except you are an enlightened person, you are probably experiencing fascination and infatuation and their progeny known as unhappiness, sorrow, pain and so on. So much technology, so much sophistication, so many opinions, such a big family... but you are not happy. What a joke! The way out to get rid of all that unhappiness is as follows: pay respect to the goddess fascination and infatuation, and ask her to leave you alone once and for all. If you are humble enough when requesting her to do that, you will get the Sublime Peace which is derived from getting rid of fascination and infatuation.
5) Obstinacy and false pride: Obstinacy is not will. Obstinacy is one of the qualities of ego. It goes against true wisdom. Obstinacy is like a blinded ram that charges in one direction, and keeps doing so for a long distance. On the contrary, wisdom is flexibility. In this ocean known as the world, the waves are now and then very high and powerful. For that reason, one must be like a skillful navigator who veers over and over again so that his sailboat does not sink and ultimately arrives in port. Wisdom is full of the understanding of the way in which Śakti is moving at a given moment. It is never a blind charge. Sometimes, because of the magnitude of a sea storm, the sailboat might possibly have to go, for a certain distance, in the opposite direction to which it should go. It does so because it would not be "wise" to directly face some high waves. Obstinacy is a contraction in one's own Universal Body, it is a goddess who is to be worshipped. When properly adored, that goddess is expanded and turned into pure wisdom.
False pride is based upon ego, and is, in fact, one of its most important features. The foundations of ego are "I am one way or the other". The phrase "one way or the other" is added to the original "I am" due to the contraction and conditioning one assumes. This goddess called false pride gives you an erroneous notion about your own spiritual nature by causing you to believe that you are what you are not, and that you are not what you really are... what a mess!
When one is dependent on false pride, he is always in a restless condition, since many things might destroy that illusory "one way or the other". It is as if one is wearing lots of coats and thus he is unable to go through the door. As he cannot go through the door due to his coats, he cannot also go to a different room. Likewise, a person with false pride is too "thick" and cannot go to a different state of consciousness. In fact, you cannot even move comfortably in the only room or state you are confined.
Even though this false pride is a very weak foundation, one insists on building the house called "his life" on it. This is so because the goddess false pride has not been worshipped in an adequate manner. She is not pleased, she does not rest where she should, that is, in one's own Self. With this act of salutation, you surrender yourself completely to her, and she surrenders herself completely to you in return. The result is harmony and cessation of that false pride.
6) Jealousy: Jealousies are based on the notion of "I and mine". In other words, they are based upon possession. And possession is directly linked to fear. Thus, jealousy produces a constant state of dread. One is afraid of losing what he "thinks" he possesses. However, that he claims to possess is fleeting and ephemeral as it is always being manifested and unmanifested. Inasmuch as one does not realize this simple fact, inasmuch as one does not perceive that continuous manifestation and unmanifestation of what he thinks he has, one enters a condition full of restlessness and fear. When one realizes that he is Śiva, and consequently that he possesses the entire universe, so, what is the point of trying to appropriate this or that little piece or fragment?
Your manifest universe is now composed of all that is perceived, the rest of universe is totally unmanifested. On one hand, if that person making you apparently jealous is not manifested, what is the point of being jealous? He or she is devoid of any manifest form, since you (the only Self of the universe) are not giving him/her one. On the other hand, if that person is currently manifest, what is the point of being jealous? He or she has an ephemeral manifest form that will be unmanifested at any moment. As a matter of fact, one does not feel jealousy about the external person, since he/she appears and disappears the whole time, but about the internal person, the mental person who lasts for more time in a manifest form.
This mental person about whom you are jealous, is a śakti or power. In the same way, the feeling of possession and jealousy are also śakti-s. These śakti-s must be appeased through devotion, their fire must be extinguished through the nectar of love. There is no other way. The act of wanting to control them by force makes them stronger. Therefore, when you salute them, do it with all your heart.
7) Mundane rewards: One has the right to action alone, never to the fruits, Bhagavadgītā states. The mundane or worldly rewards are the fleeting fruits offered by most actions, while the divine rewards are the eternal fruits offered by a special kind of actions. In fact, it is not the action which bears fruits but the attitude with which it is done. If you do an action, which is apparently mundane, with an attitude of service and surrender (i.e. with a divine attitude), that action bears fruits of the same nature, that is, it bears divine fruits. This means that if you have a "divine" attitude, regardless the kind of action you are doing, the results are similar in nature. Anyway, do not indulge in horrible actions with a divine attitude, please.
You can enjoy mundane rewards resulting from a particular action, but you should never become attached to them, because they are fleeting. They are external rewards, while the divine rewards are "mostly" internal. The former is related to "objects", but the latter is related to the subject or Self (You). As this Self is everlasting, the divine rewards are also everlasting. So, praise and worship the goddess known as mundane rewards so that you may remain detached from her, so that you may never suffer from the disease called "expectation regarding the fruits of your own actions". This is the meaning.
8) Deficiency and guilt: This deity is not only the embodiment of one's own deficiency and guilt, but she also makes one think that they belong to him. Since you are the Supreme Self, constantly fixed in the Highest State, how can you then have deficiencies and guilts? When you dwell beyond time, how can you feel guilty about something that occurred in the past? When you consider yourself to be the psychophysical apparatus, awareness of deficiency and guilt floods you, as in this field there is much room for error. However, if you consider yourself to be Śiva, how can error exist in you then? Only "bhāva" (sentiment, attitude) is responsible for the kind of life you lead. If you have Ahaṅkārabhāva (ego-sense), you will feel full of faults and defects, but if you have Śivabhāva (Śiva-sense), you will discover that you have no faults or defects. All depends on your viewpoint. Thus, for this goddess called "deficiency and guilt" to give you the adequate viewpoint, you salute her with great reverence.
In short, all these eight goddesses are aspects in which you manifest yourself, they are forms assumed by your Self-consciousness. What does it mean? It means the following:
"The entire universal manifestation, all that is right now around you, mind, senses, ego, intellect, etc., are here because You are also here. It is your Self-consciousness or Śakti appearing in the form of 'I am' which allows all to keep existing. Without 'I am', there is no experience, since when you express 'I am going to do this, I am going to do that', it is 'I am' what comes first. Why? Because without 'I am' the remaining part of the sentence (i.e. 'going to do...') makes no sense. Hence, all that is perceived by you, right now, is nothing but an extension of your Self-consciousness. It is only a form you assume for your own delight."
Such goddesses or powers (śakti-s) must not be fought against, as this behavior leads to nowhere. It would be like fighting against one's own foot or hand. No, they are to be saluted with respect and love, realizing that they are different aspects of your Śakti. You must surrender yourself to them with all your heart. If you do not do so, those goddesses will bring about contraction and conditioning. It is as if such goddesses, when they are not properly worshipped and contemplated, would get angry and manifest a whole host of limitations. For that reason, the first circuit has as the chief object praising the śakti-s or powers which are mostly rejected by everyone, so that none of them will interfere the ceremony. One has to become conscious of them at first, and see them as they are really: spontaneous natural manifestations of one's Self. There is no difference here.
If you have this state of consciousness, the śakti-s or powers that caused you affliction before, now give you Bliss. They do so because the natural essence of Śakti is Bliss, Supreme Joy or Ānanda. Therefore, in each of the eight "points" of the first circuit, you salute a particular goddess or power, that is, one of the manifestations of your own Self, by realizing that You are them. This is the secret.
Now, I go deep into the Yantra by moving over the sixteen-petalled lotus. In each of these petals, you salute a particular goddess or śakti, one of the forms you assume in this divine play known as the world. Having saluted her, you become conscious of breath. Breath represents the two pādukā-s or sandals of the inner Guru or Master (You). These sandals let this inner Guru "walk". In other words, the two sandals of inhalation and exhalation allow you to exist in this body. This is the sense.
The sixteen goddesses or deities are related to the following aspects:
1. Carnal desire
4. Sound, pattern sound and power of hearing
5. Touch, pattern touch and power of touching
6. Color, pattern color and power of seeing
7. Taste, pattern taste and power of tasting
8. Smell, pattern smell and power of smelling
10. Firmness, strength, courage
14. Individual soul
Now, I am going to make clear only "some" of the previous terms:
2) Intellect: It is a particular manifestation of your Self-consciousness which allows you to give the things a name. The name is in itself something abstract and as intangible as the object denoted by it. Intellect takes charge of managing these abstract concepts. Without the operation of the intellect right now, you would still be able to perceive all around, but you could name nothing.
Intellect has a predominantly sattvic nature, that is, one which is pure, harmonious and full of knowledge. It is like a mirror reflecting Self's beauty. If this mirror is clear, the reflection will also be clear. However, should it be dim due to limitations, the respective reflection will look distorted. The notion "Deho'ham" (I am the body) is one of the results of such a distorted reflection. Those limitating notions arise on account of the intellect becoming dim or clouded. Wrath is the principle cause for the aforesaid mirror known as intellect not to work adequately. It clouds the intellect and brings about loss of memory.
Again, wrath is born from the desires that are not fulfilled. The goddess "wrath" along with the goddess "worldly desires" have already been worshipped and saluted in the last circuit. As these goddesses are already pleased, they are changed into pure Bliss. So, intellect assumes clarity (Sattva), which is its essential nature. The other two Guṇa-s (Rajas and Tamas) had so far dimmed the crystal called intellect, but when worshipped in the form of the abovementioned goddess, they minimize their activity, thus letting Sattva shine like a gem over the specular surface of the fourteenth tattva (i.e. Buddhi or intellect). This is the sense.
3) Ego: It is "I am one way or the other". Originally, "I am" is with no predicate, but through ego you assume various types of predicates (e.g. "beautiful, ugly, fat, thin, wealthy, poor, etc.). Ego is neither mind (Manas) nor intellect (Buddhi), but rather that which produces the thoughts forming the mind. If you try to stop the mind, you will notice a sort of internal pressure that attempts to manifest thoughts again. This internal pressure is ego.
Why does it work in that manner? Ego needs to manifest thoughts in order that mind may come into existence. Through the mind, the physical universe can then come into existence too. Without this constant pressure performed by ego, there would no wakefulness. When you go to bed, that pressure decreases and the entire physical gross universe is changed into a subtler reality (i.e. dreams). When the internal pressure is finally stopped, you rest on the state of deep sleep, in which the universe appears as a dark void.
In spite of all these changes, something undergoes no change: Self-consciousness or "I am". This Consciousness (You) continues to be a Witness to the various mutations, whether in the waking, dream or deep sleep states. Meditate in this Witness, who is your inner Self.
4-5-6-7-8) Sound... and power of smelling: Your universe consists of different sounds, touches (tactile sensations), colors, tastes and smells. To differentiate them, the mind uses five patterns as reference (patter sound, touch, color, taste and smell). For instance, by comparing different sounds to the pattern sound, you come to perceive the differences between them all. The same thing is true in respect of the remaining four patterns. These patterns are known as Tanmātra-s or subtle elements.
The five Tanmātra-s are the minimal quantity of sound, touch, color, taste and smell which could be perceived by the respective senses. Beyond Tanmātra-s, in other words, beyond that minimal quantity of sensory material, the senses stop their activities.
Jñānendriya-s or the powers behind each of the senses are five in number: the powers of hearing, touching, seeing, tasting and smelling. They are the energies or śakti-s flowing through the five organs of sense (ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose). Therefore, they are not the organs themselves, but the powers circulating through them. That is why, if your eyes stop working for some reason, the power of seeing (Cakṣurindriya) moves toward another organ (e.g. ears or skin). Enough of this. See here (go to "Sāṅkhya" there) for more information on Tanmātra-s and Jñānendriya-s, and their realization.
9) Mind: Intellect, ego and mind form a group called "Antaḥkaraṇa" (inner psychic organ). The mind (Manas) rules over the senses, by focusing them on particular objects. The mind is nothing but the thoughts emerging continuously. It is not something existing apart from thoughts, but the thoughts themselves.
Manas or mind controls the Jñānendriya-s or Powers of perception by making them focus on a specific object at a given moment and not on other objects. Even though there are many things to see, touch and so on, Manas selects only a few or even only one every moment. In other words, it makes clear or distinct only a narrow band out of the wide band of manifestation. Such is its nature.
It is predominantly tamasic. Tamas or Tamoguṇa is a contraction of Kriyāśakti (absolute Power of action). Therefore, the mind is very active, but its operation proceeds in the dark of Tamas. How is this activity in the dark proved? How conscious are you of all thoughts arising in you? Think of it. You will probably conclude that the vast majority of them passes without being noticed at all. Moreover, they are mostly without rhyme or reason. Predominance of Tamas in Manas (mind) is responsible for that. Without the sattvic light of Buddhi (intellect), the mind would lead oneself to more and more decay. When one attains the state of a "sthitaprajña" (one whose intellect is firm), the mind becomes quite and acquires Wisdom since the mirror known as Buddhi or intellect reflects Reality of the Self perfectly. Jñānayoga (Yoga of Knowledge) works directly on Buddhi (tattva 14) so that it can become "sthitá" or firm. When it gets firm through a scriptural study, mind also does. This is the purport.
So, Manas (mind) shines forth after the manifestation of Ahaṅkāra (ego-sense) and is the instrument used by the latter to build and control the various powers (indriya-s) flowing through the senses. The entire process works duly under the guidance of Śakti, the Supreme Power. In turn, Śiva (You) is a mere unaffected Witness to the previous display of intellect, ego and mind. He is not affected by them at all.
12-16) Name and body: The sensation of having a certain name and body is brought about by two goddesses or powers. Śiva (You), the Nameless Self, takes a name in order to be able to participate in the universal drama. In this stage made of one's own essential Self, Śiva plays multiple roles, i.e. He acts as various characters. Although Śiva is the only actor, He plays the roles of all characters in each of the scenes of this drama. And, even though Śiva do not have a physical body of His essentially, takes the form of manifold bodies just for the sake of delight. And that Śiva is You. Look around: So many creatures and objects, but all that is one Self alone, You. It is difficult to understand, I know, as your śakti-s or powers constantly attempt to conceal the Truth. Anyway, this is only an appearance, because your nature is completely revealed. Well, if you do not understand me yet, take it easy. You will understand it in due course. Abhinavagupta, the great sage, explains perfectly that process by which you become all in this universe, in his Tantrāloka (13.103-104). He says:
देवः स्वतन्त्रश्चिद्रूपः प्रकाशात्मा स्वभावतो रूपप्रच्छादनक्रीडायोगादणुरनेककः।
स स्वयं कल्पिताकारविकल्पात्मककर्मभिर्बध्नात्यात्मानमेवेह स्वातन्त्र्यादिति वर्णितम्।
स्वातन्त्र्यमहिमैवाया देवस्य यदसौ पुनः स्वं रूपं परिशुद्धं सत्स्पृशत्यप्यणुतामयः॥
Devaḥ svatantraścidrūpaḥ prakāśātmā svabhāvato rūpapracchādanakriḍāyogādanuranekakaḥ|
Sa svayaṁ kalpitākāravikalpātmakakarmabhirbadhnātyātmānameveha svātantryāditi varṇitam|
Svātantryamahimaivāyā devasya yadasau punaḥ svaṁ rūpaṁ pariśuddhaṁ satspṛśatyapyanutāmayaḥ||
God (devaḥ), the independent One (svatantraḥ), whose form (rūpaḥ) is Consciousness (cit) (and) whose essence (ātmā) is Prakāśa --i.e. the Supreme Light-- (prakāśa), by His own nature (sva-bhāvataḥ) (and also) in consequence of (yogāt) the Play (krīdā) of concealing (pracchādana) (His) essential form (rūpaḥ), (shines forth) as the many (anekakaḥ) finite beings --atomic-- (aṇuḥ). Certainly (eva), He (saḥ) Himself (svayam) ties (badhnāti) Himself (ātmānam) here (iha) as a result of His Absolute Freedom (svātantryāt). (He does so) by means of actions (karmabhiḥ) based (ātmaka) on thoughts (vikalpa) about invented --i.e. fabricated or artificial-- (kalpita) forms (ākāra). This is what is declared (about it) (iti varṇitam). Such (evāyā) is the greatness (mahimā) of God's (devasya) Freedom (svātantrya) that (yad), though (api) (He) has become (mayaḥ) the finite condition (aṇutā), He (asau) touches --i.e. gets in touch with-- (spṛśati) His own (svam) true (sat) essence (rūpam) again (punar), which is completely pure (pariśuddham)||
In short: the Supreme Self Himself (You), the very Light of Consciousness, by His own Will and in consequence of the divine Play of concealing Himself, shines forth as the many finite beings. You ties Yourself right now due to Your inherent Freedom, through of actions based on thoughts about artificial or invented things. Do not you believe me? Observe your thoughts now. All of them are mostly based on invented things. For instance: "My body is not beautiful"... and then you run after many things in order to beautify it. But, what is a beautiful body after all? If you think about it, you will realize that the current concept of a beautiful body is an invent as well as it was the previous concept and it will be the future one. The vast majority of actions arises from the mind and its thoughts whose base is an invent. Thus, your ego, which is based on all those fabricated concepts is an invent too. Quite a bad news, hehe.
However, such is Your greatness that, even though you became the finite reality, can touch again Your extremely pure essential nature, i.e. you can get in touch with your true Self once again. This is the meaning of what was said by the eminent master.
The main obstacle, as it were, in your way toward the acquisition of True Knowledge, is this notion of "deho'ham" - "I am the body". By body, I mean "the physical or gross body", of course. This false conviction arises from the limitations you manifest. Thus, the Supreme Self, whose body is the whole universe, begins to think He is this miserable body, which is always prone to disease, pain and death. This is quite a madness. I would call it "the madness of God", hehe.
Nonetheless, such a God's madness is necessary, along with that of having a name, so that the subsequent processes may be carried out. Without that divine madness there would no universe... and this would be better in my opinion, that is, it would be better that no universe was manifest here... at least in this form. But, what the heck!, it is here anyway, hehe.
So, when you move over these petals (12 and 16 in the current circuit) known as name and body, you attempt to realize the entire universe to be Your own body. To accomplish that, you salute those śakti-s or powers (goddesses) with great respect and devotion, because they are the ones who can bring this superior state of consciousness within your reach.
14) Individual soul: In your experience of unity, an apparent contraction or limitation emerges all of a sudden. As a result of this contraction, the notion of residing in a particular body, space and time, is developed accordingly in you. Such a notion is called "individual soul". It is also knows as "aṇu" or finite being (read the above Abhinavagupta's stanza). "Puruṣa" or "jīva" are its other appellatives (See tattva 12 in the Tattvic Chart).
From the seed of this individual soul arises the creeper of intellect, ego, mind and senses, whose final fruit is the physical universe. As an individual soul, you are wrapped up by limitations which apparently prevent you from realizing You are the Absolute. In turn, they also prevent you from identifying yourself with the gross matter (Mahābhūta-s or the gross elements, see Tattvic Chart for more information). Therefore, the individual soul remains suspended between the Highest Self and the material universe... between heaven and earth, as it were. You can verify this fact right now. Note how you are neither able to become identified with the external objects around up to the point of being one of them, nor realize your unity with the Supreme Self. You are right in the middle (of course, if you are the embodiment of Abhinavagupta on the earth, you will be able to do that easily... I am talking about "normal" people, of course, hehe). And this is your condition as individual soul.
You Yourself, the Sublime God, by playing the role of individual soul, act as one who is neither able to realize his essential nature nor become the gross objects. As you move over the fourteenth petal, you should come to understand that state of individual soul to be a mere role you are playing and not Your real essence. This is the purport.
What is next? The third circuit.
When you move to the third circuit (an eight-petalled lotus) you come a little closer to the core of the Yantra. Through this third circuit, you are going to become conscious of eight goddesses. These are related to:
1. Power of speaking
2. Power of handling
3. Power of locomotion
4. Power of excreting
5. Power of sexual activity and restfulness
I proceed to explain each of them in detail:
1-2-3-4-5) Power of speaking... and power of sexual activity and restfulness: They are the five Karmendriya-s or Powers (indriya) of action (karma) (see Tattvic Chart for more information). These indriya-s arise due to the ego's will, which needs them to be able to participate in the universal drama. The Jñānendriya-s or Powers of perception (powers of hearing, feeling by touch, seeing, tasting and smelling; see Tattvic Chart as well) are not enough, as the Karmendriya-s are necessary so that ego can get into the cosmic movie called "the world". Therefore, you salute now those five deities by looking upon them as different emanations of the Supreme Śakti who rests in the core of your own Self. This is the purport.
6-7-8) Aversion, attachment and indifference: This group of three deities gives you three different sensations. A sensation of aversion or rejection in respect of some things, a sensation of attachment regarding other things, and a sensation of indifference with reference to the rest. Indifference is not impartial, i.e. it is not the same thing as "detachment", because it always flows into aversion or attachment in the end, while detachment flows into joy and freedom.
You are in the middle of that pendulous motion that affects all the manifest universe: indifference »» aversion, indifference »» attachment, attachment »» aversion, aversion »» attachment, and so forth. Now your mind is going toward one of them, then toward the other, etc. These movements makes no sense but the divine entertainment, hehe. If you cannot see them in your own mind, you can behold them in other people: Where are the vast majority of them going? The answer: Nowhere. They are always so occupied with so many activities... but all that leads nowhere really. Only a person who attempts to realize his own essential nature "goes" somewhere indeed. The rest are merely playing with a variety of toys, from those used by the children (e.g. a ball) to the ones used by the adults (e.g. to have power). Of course, some adult people also play with balls, hehe.
It is not that a wise person does not perform any activities, as this is impossible, but he is different in that he do not consider all that to be the goal of life. He may be a great scientist but he does not consider science as the core of his life, or he may be a great sportsman but sport is not the goal of his life, and so on. His goal is to attain to Self-consciousness. In other words, he wants to find out who he is really. The aforesaid toys may be lost or stolen, but Self-consciousness is constantly here. Since this Self-consciousness cannot be lost or stolen, any person who bases his life on That is much less vulnerable to the sudden "jokes" of this world (e.g. someone stole your money, a relative passed away, a terrible disease, etc.). Again, a person whose goal in life is merely playing with those toys, is vulnerable to those "jokes" in proportion to how attached he is regarding his toys.
For example, a person whose main goal in life is to be famous, is highly vulnerable. Why? Because there will be always people criticizing and harassing him, or even something worse, as other people are running after the same goal too. Besides, fame is so ephemeral that he will be bound to work so hard in order to continue being famous. And these actions which he will have to do to be "at the top" will not be without their respective fruits, which will ultimately bring about just pain. And this pain will produce more vulnerability in him. Well, a never-ending story. If this world were to be the highest world among the celestial ones, the efforts performed by that person might be somehow justified... but it is not, as you know. A wise person does not behave as the majority of people at all. He is always inquiring into his real nature and trying to discard the erroneous notions induced by his own ignorance. He considers his life and inherent activities as a kind of bridge to the attainment of Self-consciousness. And yes, he may be funny too, but he is not "childish". There is a difference here. Such a person is quite a blessing indeed, and a truly "adult" person, in my opinion. The rest are like kids in comparison with him.
As a matter of fact, the Self (the real You, not your childish ego, hehe) is always in His Supreme State whether He is in the wise or in the ignorant. A good way to meditate is trying to perceive that Self who is a mere Witness to the activities of aversion, attachment and indifference. He is at the root of all the thoughts. He is not identified with the mind and its contents. He is Your real nature and goal in this life. There is a word: "Virama" (Stop!). Attachment implies "taking", aversion "rejecting" and indifference "something tending to either". All these are activities and produce their respective fruits in the form of pleasure and pain... stop!... attempt to realize That which is a mere Witness in you. That is not performing any activity. He is a silent spectator to the mental agitation. And That is You. Easy!
Now, as you move over the last three petals of this third circuit, you salute the three goddesses or powers known as aversion, attachment and indifference so that you may get rid of them. And getting rid of them is the same thing as realizing That which is a mere Witness to their activities.
See you on the next three circuits.
This document was conceived by Gabriel Pradīpaka, one of the two founders of this site, and spiritual guru conversant with Sanskrit language and Trika philosophy.
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