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Monday, August 31, 2009

LALITHA SAHASRANAMAM 147-153


Nirāśrayā निराश्रया (147)
Āśraya means dependence (that to which anything is annexed or with which anything is closely connected or on which anything depends or rests).  Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.7) uses the word ‘anilayane’ meaning not resting on anything and free from modifications.  She does not depend on anything.  She being the Brahman does not depend upon anything and on the contrary, everything depends upon Her.  This nāma more or less conveys the same meaning conveyed in nāma 132.  Possibly, āśraya in this context could mean the gross body that supports the soul.  Since She is beyond soul (Brahman and soul are different.  Soul is called jīva), there is no question of Her gross body.  Since She is devoid of gross body, it connotes that She is the Brahman.
Chāndogya Upaniṣad (VIII.i.5) says, “The body may decay due to old age, but the space within (the Brahman) never decays.  Nor does it perish with the death of the body.  This is the real abode of the Brahman.  All our desires are concentrated in it.  It is the Self – free from all sins as well as from old age, death, bereavement, hunger and thirst. It is the cause of love of Truth and the cause of dedication to Truth.”
This nāma says that She is not dependent on anybody. 
Nitya-śuddhā नित्य-शुद्धा (148)
She is eternally pure.  Impurity is associated with the gross body and the embodiment of purity is within the impure gross body. Brahman is always pure as It is not subject to changes or modifications.  Impurity arises only if an object undergoes changes.
Nitya-buddhā नित्य-बुद्धा (149)
She is eternally wise.  Knowledge is gained by experience whereas being wise (jñāna) is inbuilt.  Knowledge is acquired from the wise.  Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (IV.iii.30) says ‘the knower’s function of knowing can never be lost, because it is imperishable.  But there is not that second thing separate from it which it can know’.   The Brahman is self illuminating intelligence.
Niravadhyā निरवध्या (150)
She is inviolable and without defects. Avadhyā means incapable of being transgressed or dishonoured.   Defects arise out of ignorance or ignorance is the cause of differentiating between defect and perfect.  There cannot be any defect in the Brahman as it is eternally pure.  Defects arise out of impurities such as desire, ego, etc.
Nirantarā निरन्तरा (151)
Antara has many meanings such as in the middle, inside, within, among, between, on the way, by the way, near, nearly, almost, in the meantime, now and then, for some time, between, during, without, etc. She is without such divisions.   Brahman will neither divide nor multiply, as He does not change.  It is permanent. 
Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.7) says “If he makes even a smallest discrimination from the Brahman, he is afraid of the Brahman” (discriminating self from the Brahman).  Here the fear means rebirth.  The point driven home is the omnipresent nature of the Brahman.  The Brahman within all living beings, be it a plant, an insect, an animal or a human is the same, irrespective of the gross form.   The time, distance and religion do not modify the Brahman.  But it is the ignorance that make one consider Brahman as someone different from what he perceives.
Niṣkāraṇā निष्कारणा (152)
She is without cause. Kāraṇa means that which is invariably antecedent to some product. She is beyond descendance yet another quality of the Brahman. But the universe descends from Her.
Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (VI.9) says “There is none in this world who is His master or who governs Him, and here is nothing by which He can be identified.  He is the cause of all.  He is also the lord of the jīva (soul), who is the lord of the sense organs.  No one is His creator and no one is His controller”.
She is invoked in Śrī Cakra by addressing Her as kāranānanda vigrahe (कारनानन्द विग्रहे).It means that She is the blissful elementary matter for manifestation of the universe. Therefore, She is the cause for the universe and there is no cause for Her.
Niṣkalaṅkā निष्कलङ्का (153)
She is without any stains.  Stains arise out of sins.   That is why those who do not commit sins are considered on par with God, as such persons are extremely rare to find.   Īśa upaniṣad (verse 8) uses two words to describe the Brahman without stains.  The first one is śuddham which means pure.  The other one is apāpaviddha meaning unblemished (no race of ignorance).  The Brahman is pure and unblemished.  The sense of dualism is the cause for sins.  These sins cause blemishes.  Blemishes could be of anything viz. anger, hatred, jealousy, etc.  These blemishes are responsible for not realising the Brahman within.  These are called stains and She is devoid of such stains.
{Further reading on sin: With ethicization, morally good or bad actions are systematically converted into religiously good or bad actions.  In as much as any social morality must punish those who commit wrong and reward those who conform, so must a religious morality.  Implicit in these notions of reward and punishment are such ideas as religious merit and sin.  That is the consequences of the rights and wrongs for which one is being rewarded or punished can br conceptualised for present purposes of merit or sin. Sin is directly related to one’s karmic account.}  

Sunday, August 30, 2009

VARMA POINTS AND KUNDALINI

This article is in continuation of the previous posting. There are two marma points called ‘krikatika’ one on each side of the neck. In majority of the cases, these two marma points need proper massaging. The energy gets blocked in this area due to bad postures. Regular neck exercises remove the energy congestion here. This congestion happens on two counts. One is the inappropriate position of holding the head while doing kundalini meditation, whether the head is kept straight or pushed towards front of the body. The correct posture is to keep the head slightly tilted backwards. Second reason is not keeping the spine straight. There should be no bend in your spine area while doing kundalini meditation. These two ‘krikatika’ marma points are situated at the meeting point between the neck and the head. This can be felt by their protrusion. Strong pressure can be used for massaging these points. Sesame oil with a few drops of eucalyptus oil can be used to lubricate this area for massaging. Treating these marma points remove all the blockades above the throat chakra and clears the path for kundalini to ascend without any difficulty to the third eye chakra. There are two very important marma points in the body, one at the ajna chakra and another at the orifice of the sahasrara. The first marma point is called ‘sthapani’ situated exactly between the two eye brows, just above the nasal bones. From Ajna chakra kundalini has to cross a few minor yet powerful chakras to reach sahsrara. Congestion of prana and blockades are often found in the ajna chakra, as this is directly related to mind. Partially activated ajna chakra or third eye gives more problems than a dormant ajna chakra. One’s spirituality comes under the control of kundalini at the ajna chakra. Further guidance is received by the sadhaka from higher planes. Therefore there should be no blockages anywhere from ajna chakra onwards. If any blockages are developed around ajna chakra, there will be health problems like stiff shoulders, pressure in the forehead area, pressure in the back head area, pressure in the eyes (glaucoma), etc. While meditating focus should be on this marma point. This marma point is the cause for developing concentration. This is well connected to the pituitary gland. Lubricate this portion as explained earlier and massage this area for about five to ten minutes with circular movements applying pressure. This will relieve all the congestions and blockades from ajna chakra to sahasrara. The most important marma point in a human body is called ‘adhipathi’ which is located in the top of the skull. This is connected to the most sacred pineal gland which is the cause for internal illumination during meditation. There is an orifice in this area through which cosmic spiritual energy is received. Congestion and blockage in this area will prevent the cosmic energy entering our body. There is specific oil by name ‘tullia narayana taila’ which is very beneficial for massaging this area. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to this taila which make a perfect combination for activating the crown chakra and also removing all congestions and blockades in sahasrara. Use only the index figure to massage this marma point. You can also use your palms by applying moderate pressure. Maximum pressure that is possible with the index finger can be used. Massage this area using circular movements for five to ten minutes. Due to kundalini meditation, heat will be generated in the body. Normally this heat will come down once the mediation is over. In case of heat not subsiding use ‘neela bringadhi tailam’ in this area instead of tullia Narayana taila. If you can spare ten minutes daily, you can massage the last two marma points, sthapanii and adhipathi before bath continuously for about 15 days. If you are not able to get the mentioned oils, you can use either sesame oil or almond oil with a few drops of eucalyptus oil. Basically, sesame and almond oils are called carrier oils and are used to avoid friction. Any aroma oil should not be used without a carrier oil as that will cause damage to the skin.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

CHAKRA BLOCKS AND MARMA POINTS

When kundalini starts its upward journey, it needs a totally purified path. If there are any blockades in its way, kundalini could not ascend through the central canal of the spinal cord. We have already discussed in detail about these issues in our series on kundalini. When kundalini meditation is practiced, we should also know the ways and means of removing any blockades. In most of the cases there will be blockades and the practitioner may not know how to remove the blockades. Let us now try to understand how to remove these blockades. We have already seen that a physical body is formed out of three gunas viz. satwa, rajo and tamo gunas. These three gunas are associated with the five basic elements, akash (ether), vayu (air), agni (fire), water and earth. These three gunas in association with these elements produce three types of doshas. The doshas can be explained as liquid bodily substances such as blood, etc. When these doshas are present in the prescribed proportion in a body, the health of the body remains excellent. When there is an imbalance in these doshas, the health of the body is affected causing imbalance in the energy level of the body. This imbalance is the main reason for blockages in the path of kundalini. These blockades are also called energy blockades and chakra blockades. These blockades can be removed by pressing and massaging marma points associated with the blockade. These marma points are also called varma points. Dealing with marma points is called marma therapy and any kind of disease can be cured by proper marma therapy. But let us confine ourselves with those marma points that could cause blockades in the higher chakras. Marma points are those where important nerves, blood vessels, ligaments intertwine each other. Most of the marma points are placed where there are cavities or orifices. These positions of the marma points enable them to co-ordinate between the external cosmic energy and internal energy generated by prana and its modifications such as apana etc. If marma points are affected, the movement of the prana from one chakra to another is also affected causing blockades. Such blockades are removed mostly by pranayama and certain yogic postures. This is the reason for doing certain breathing and stretching exercise . First let us find out the methods of removing the blockades in the heart chakra area. There are two marma points in the back and these marmas are called ‘brihati’. These are placed in the back of the body in both the shoulder blades almost at the lower end of the scapula. Half of the marma point is located in the scapula itself and another half in the muscular area. Apply some oil for lubrication (you can add a few drops of eucalyptus oil) and massage for around five minutes around these two marma points in circular motion by applying moderate pressure. After completing this, go to the front side of the body where there is ‘hridaya’ marma in the centre of the sternum. After lubricating this area, massage this marma point by applying very light pressure. Higher pressure should not be applied as this will affect the heart. Treating these two marma points (brihati and hridaya) will remove all the blockades in the heart chakra. (To be concluded)

Friday, August 28, 2009

LALITHA SAHASRANAMAM 143-146


Nirupaplavā निरुपप्लवा (143)
She is perdurable, yet another quality of the Brahman.  The same meaning is conveyed in nāma 180.
There is another interpretation, which says that She produces ambrosia that spreads to the 72000 nerves in human body. This refers to Her subtlest Kuṇḍalinī form.  When Kuṇḍalinī reaches sahasrāra, it produces ambrosia that drips through the throat and spreads throughout the nervous system.  This nāma is split into nir (the word nir has many meanings and in this context, it means body) + upa (approaching) + plavā (dripping). This means that when Kuṇḍalinī approaches sahasrāra the ambrosia starts dripping into the body system.
Nitya-muktā नित्य-मुक्ता (144)
She is eternally free, another quality of the Brahman.  To realise the Brahman, one has to be free from bondage.
Nirvikārā निर्विकारा (145)
She is devoid of modifications (vikāra means modification).  Brahman does not change.  There are two aspects of creation viz. puruṣa and prakṛtīPuruṣa is the Supreme consciousness that is free of bondage, full of knowledge and creative power. This can be interpreted as the divine or active principles from the minute portions of which the universe was formed. If one has the power to create, he has to possess the requisite knowledge for creation.  If creator does not possess sufficient knowledge, his creation goes haywire.  Puruṣa is not associated with body, senses and mind.  It does not undergo modification but constantly witnessing those countless modifications that happens around it.  Prakṛtī is opposite of puruṣa.  It is the root cause of creation and undergoes changes continuously.  It is associated with three gunas.  When puruṣa and prakṛtī conjoin, universe is created. 
Devoid of changes here mean with regard to twenty three tattva-s.  They are mahat [It is a product of prakṛti. It the great principle, of buddhi, the Intellect, or the intellectual principle. According to the Sāṃkhya philosophy the second of the twenty three principles produced from prakṛti and so called as the great source of ahaṃkāra, (ego) self-consciousness and manas, the mind], ego and five tanmātra-s (sound, taste, smell, light and touch).  These seven are called cause.  Five organs of perception, five organs of action, five basic elements and mind make the balance sixteen.  These sixteen are called action.  Therefore prakṛti is made up of cause and action and puruṣa is devoid of this.  But for creation both puruṣa and prakṛti are required.  This points out to Śiva-Śaktī union. 
But, in this nāma She is addressed as puruṣa, the Brahman. Puruṣa and prakṛti are discussed in detail in later nāma-s.
Niṣprapañcā निष्प्रपञ्चा (146)
Prapañca means expansion, development or manifestation.  She is without such attributes.  Since the Brahman is ādhi (the first) and anādhi (without parentage) it does not have any control and does not require any modifications or changes.  This is because the Brahman is complete or full which is called pūrṇam.  Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad (verse 7) says ‘total cessation of the world as such, the embodiment of peace (here word śāntam is used. Refer nāma 141 ‘śāntā’), the total of all that is good (word ‘śivam’ is used here), one without a second (this is because of  ādhi and anādhi), the fourth state (turya state, the other three being, sleep, dream and deep sleep stages which are called jākrat, svapna, suṣupti).  Think this turya as the Self and this is to be realized’.  The Brahman is beyond the three stages and can be realized only in the turya or the fourth state.  This state is the embodiment of peace and all that is good.  These stages are discussed in detail from nāma 257.
All these interpretations go to indicate the nirguṇa Brahman.  This nāma means that She is without any expansion as the Brahman will never undergo changes or modifications.  

LALAITHA SAHASRANAMAM 139-142


Nirguṇā निर्गुणा (139)
She is unconditioned with guṇa-s.  Guṇa is of three types sattva, rajas and tamas.  These guṇa-s are responsible for the formation of gross body and originate from prakṛtī (the source of objectivity) which is also known as māyā.  Since She does not have a gross body, She is called nirguṇa.  The Brahman alone is without guṇa-s, as Brahman does not have a gross form.  Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (VI.11) says ‘ekah devaḥ’ God is one without a second.  Though devaḥ also means luminous, here it  means only the Brahman as Brahman alone is self illuminating.  After identifying the Brahman, the Upaniṣad talks about the qualities of the Brahman.  It says ‘without attributes and unconditioned’.  All these confirm Her as the Brahman. 
[Further reading on guṇa-sGuṇa can be interpreted as constituent qualities. There are three kinds of guṇa -s.  They are sattva, rajas and tamasSattva guṇa means quality of purity and knowledge.  Rajo guṇa means activity and passion.  Tamo guṇa means inertia and ignorance.  The Brahman is the embodiment of sattva guṇa, whereas the empirical souls are associated with more of other two guṇa-sPrakṛtī is the primordial, unmanifested, and the most subtle metaphysical principle that has the potentiality to manifest into an enormous empirical universe. In the process of creation, the universe remains in a potential state within prakṛtī, so long as the three guṇa-s remain undisturbed. When the equilibrium of the guṇa-s is disturbed, prakṛtī begins to unfold Her metaphysical categories causing the process of creation.]
Niṣkalā निष्कला (140)
She is without bodily parts.  This nāma is an extension of the previous one.  Because of being nirguṇa, She is niṣkalāKalā means parts.  Brahman has no parts in literal sense.
 Kṛṣṇa gives more clarity on these two nāma-s.  He says “the living entities in this conditioned world are my eternal fragmental parts.  Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with six senses that include mind” (Bhagavad Gīta X).
This is beautifully explained in Vijñāna Bhairava (verse 146) thus: “Unswerving buddhi (intellect) without any image or support constitutes meditation.  Concentration on an imaginative representation of the divine with bodily parts is not meditation.”  This is possible only with knowledge.
Brahma Sūtra also says (II.iii.43) “The individual souls are parts of the Brahman because of the mention that they are different.”  The individual is a part only apparently, for the part-less Brahman can have no part in literal sense.
Thus it is amply made clear that the Brahman is without form and meditation with form is not a meditation on the Brahman.  Chādogya Upaniṣad (VIII.vii.1) further explains the Brahman as “free from sin, old age, death, sorrow, hunger and thirst.  It is the cause of desire for truth and commitment to Truth.  This Self has to be sought for and thoroughly known.”
Śantā शन्ता (141)
The absence of negation is to be noticed in this nāma.   Prefix niṣ or nir means negation of the quality mentioned in that nāma.   For Example kalā means parts and niṣ-kalā means without parts.  This nāma means that She is calm and tranquil. 
The saying of Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad VI.19 referred in nāma 133 is also applicable to this nāma.  All these qualities of the Brahman are cited by Vāc Devi-s in this Sahasranāma.  One more quality of the Brahman, the tranquillity is described here.  Please remember that we are now discussing the qualities of nirguṇa Brahman (the Brahman without form and attributes).  To make us understand nirguṇa Brahman better, certain qualities are negated and certain other qualities are affirmed in Upaniṣads as well as in this Sahasranāma.
When one is bound by the clutches of bondage, there cannot be any tranquillity.  Tranquillity is considered as an essential quality for self-realization.
Niṣkāmā निष्कामा (142)
She is without desire.  This is the reason for the previous nāma.  When one has desires, he cannot have tranquil mind. There is no question for any desire for nirguṇa Brahman, the Absolute.  Brahman cannot have any desires and this has been confirmed in earlier nāma-s.  These nāma-s are in line with Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (II.iii.6) which says ‘neti neti’ meaning not this, not this.  The Upaniṣad is zeroing on the Brahman by negating many known qualities.  Finally this verse says ‘satyasya satya meaning “The Truth of truth”.  It has identified truth as one of the qualities of the Brahman. The same Upaniṣad further elucidates the Brahman (V.i). “That (the Brahman) is infinite and this (universe) is infinite.  The infinite proceeds from infinite.  Then, taking the infinitude of the infinite (universe), it remains as the infinite (the Brahman) alone.”  The original verse goes like this:
पूर्णमदः पूण्नमिदम् पूर्णात्पूर्णमुदच्यते।पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते॥

Pūrṇamadaḥ pūṇnamidam pūrṇātpūrṇamudacyate|
Pūrṇasya pūrṇamādāya pūrṇamevāvaśiṣyate||

This nāma is in confirmation of Her Brahmanic status. During the course of this Sahasranāma, one can find a number of such affirmations.   

Thursday, August 27, 2009

MANTRA FOR YOU

Spiritual advancement in most of us is not to the expected level because we pray to too many deities with too many mantras and slokas. For example for education we go to one deity, to get relief from health issues we go to another deity, for marriage to some other deity. The net result is that we lose focus on all the deities. This custom is more predominant in the case of planetary afflictions in horoscopes. All the horoscopes will have some affliction or other. Your karmas are reflected in horoscope. Only certain afflictions of the planets can be removed by remedial measures. Though simple and inexpensive remedies are available, people resort to remedies by spending money beyond their capacities. Ultimately, the desired result is not achieved. There is a concept called Ishta Devata or the form of a deity that you like most. This deity can be identified from a horoscope based on ‘atmakaraka’ planet. This deity helps you to advance spiritually. There is another concept called Dharma Devata. This is also to be identified from atmakaraka planet. The Dharma Devata helps you to achieve your goals and ambitions. But your mind set is more important than identifying your favourite deity from your horoscope. Suppose you have a liking for Vishnu, irrespective of your horoscope identifying Shiva as your Ishta Devata or Dharma Devata, you have to worship only Vishnu to get quick results. If you believe that Vishnu will solve all your problems, He will certainly do that. You need not run from one place to another to ward off the evil effects of planets. The best thing to advance spiritually and also to get rid of any difficulties that you may have is to chant a suitable mantra of your Ishta Devata or Dharma Devata or your most loved deity. There are plenty of mantras for all the deities. Most of these mantras will not fructify, unless some modifications are made in the mantra. Let us assume that your Ishta Devata is Lord Ganesha. His bijakshara is ‘Gam’. Let us also assume that in your horoscope Moon and Saturn are afflicted. In order to get rid of the evil effects of these two planets, you have to propitiate them. Each planet has its own bijakshras. We have already discussed about atma bijam in our earlier postings fructification of mantras in three parts. Let us assume that your atma bijam is ‘vam’. Now a mantra is to be formulated for your exclusive use. All mantras begin with OM. So the first letter is OM. Second will be your atma bija ‘vam’. Third is your Ishta Devata bija ‘Gam’. Then bijaksharas of afflicted planets are to be added. For Moon it is ‘som’ and for Saturn it is ‘sham’. Now the mantra will be Om-vam-gam-som-sham. All such mantras should end with ‘namaha’. So this is to be added at the end. But the atma bija ‘vam’ in its original form ‘vam’ may not work well. If a modification is made by adding ‘ram’ and making atma bija as ‘vreem’ the atma bija will bestow all prosperity. This atma bija is to be placed both at the beginning and at the end of the mantra. This is called encasing the mantra that gives potency to the whole mantra. The complete mantra will now be ‘Om-vreem-gam-som-sham-vreem-namaha’. You have to recite this mantra mentally visualizing your Ishta Devata. There are no restrictions on timing of recitation, number of times of recitation, etc. The more you recite, the mantra will have more potency and if infused to your deity, that deity will be with you all the time. Over a period of time you will be chanting this mantra unconsciously. No other remedies are required. You will never face difficulties in your life, subject to your karmas. Procedures for infusing life and removing curse to mantras are to be strictly followed. This has been discussed in the postings referred earlier.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

LALITHA SAHASRANAMAM 133-138


Nirañjanā निरञ्जना (133)
Añjanā means a black paste (eye liner or collyrium) that is applied to eyes of women.  Hanuman’s mother’s name is Añjanā. “Añjanā nandanaṁ vīraṁ” says a verse.  When añjanā is applied to eyes, they look beautiful.  Her eyes look beautiful without añjanā is the textual meaning.  But añjanā also means ignorance as ignorance is always compared to darkness and knowledge to light.  Nir means without.  She is without ignorance.  Vāc Devi-s would not have coined this nāma to mean that She is without ignorance.  Ignorance and knowledge are associated with human and not with the Divine Mother as She is the embodiment of knowledge.   Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (VI.19) gives answer to this argument.  It Says ‘niṣkalaṁ, niṣkriyam, śāntam, niravadyaṁ, niranjanaṁ”. This means that Brahman has ‘no form, no action, no attachment, above reproach and without any blemish’.  It also says niranjanaṁ which means without any blemish.  Therefore it is to be inferred that Lalitāmbikā is the Brahman.   This nāma says that Her formless (nirguṇa Brahman) form is without any blemishes. Please refer nāma 354 for further details. 
In Kuṇḍalinī meditation, when one reaches ājñā cakra, one will be able to see light.  In the initial stages, this light may have some blemishes and these blemishes vanish along with the practice. This is called Her blemish less form, as Kuṇḍalinī is Her subtlest form.
Nirlepā निर्लेपा (134)
She is without attachments.  Lepā means stain or pollution which is impure.  Attachment is caused by bondage and bondage is the result of karma-s.  Karma-s arise out of actions.  She is beyond karma-s arising out of actions.  This could be interpreted in two ways.  She is attached to Her devotees.  Many devotees are able to manifest Her in their bodies.  In such situations, She becomes one with the bodies of Her devotees.  The karma-s of such devotees do not affect Her.  In fact, if a devotee has such an opportunity, he is absolved of all his karma-s.  This is because of the fact that the divine energy can enter into a body, provided that body is suitable in all respects (such as strength, internal and external purity) to withstand the potency of divine energy.  Some ancient scriptures point out that the body of a devotee becomes pure by merely acquiring knowledge about Her. 
The second interpretation is in line with what Kṛṣṇa says (Bhagavad Gīta V.10) ‘One who performs duty without attachment, surrendering the result to the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action’.  Kṛṣṇa also says ‘There is no work that affects me nor do I aspire for the fruits of action’ (Bhagavad Gīta IV.14).   Lalitāmbikā perfectly fits this explanation.  She performs Her action as directed by Her Lord Śiva, hence karma-s arising out of such actions do not affect Her.  This is the case of yogi-s also.  Yogi-s perform worldly duties, perform rituals, sacrifices, external worships, etc but they surrender the results unto God, either good or bad arising out of such actions.  The attire does not make a yogi.  Only thoughts and actions make a perfect yogi.  If one acquires complete knowledge about the Brahman and remain with the Brahman, karma-s do not affect him. 
Nirmalā निर्मला (135)
Mala means dirt arising out of impure matter, where the afflicted mental state of an empirical individual is disabled by his own impurity causing attachment to actions viz saṁsāra.  She is without such dirt.  In the last nāma impurity arising out of mind was discussed and in this nāma impurities arising out of matter is being discussed.  It is to be recalled that mind and matter is ŚaktīMala is a sense of imperfection that leads to ignorance about the soul and hampers the free expression of the Supreme Self.  This ignorance is caused by ego which is called mala or ānava-mala.  
This nāma says that if one gets out of attachments towards matter by dissolving his ego, knowledge is attained.  Presence of mala causes avidyā (ignorance) which leads to confusion, dirt and darkness.  This darkness can be dispelled by meditating on Her, thereby acquiring knowledge. 
It is interesting to note that all the nāma-s that talk about nirguṇa Brahman either directly or indirectly refer to meditation. 
{Further reading on mala: Mala is known as innate ignorance that conceals the true nature of the Self.  It is mere consciousness of the supposed imperfection and limitation which is responsible for the rise of countless individual selves.  It is the instrumental cause of the impurity or mala.  One’s karmic account is the main cause for the level of innate ignorance. This ignorance is of two types, internal and external.  One is due to the revival of old vasānā-s (impressions) and another one arises from the contact of a certain sense with a certain external object.  Again intellectual ignorance is different from spiritual ignorance.  Intellectual ignorance is dependent upon the connection of the individual self with the body, with which it co-exists. But, in the case of spiritual ignorance, it is independent of intellectual ignorance. It is due to this difference, liberation cannot be attained only by intellectual knowledge. Liberation can be obtained only with the combination of intellectual knowledge and spiritual knowledge.} 
Nityā नित्या (136)
Nitya means eternal and without changes.  As nirguṇa Brahman is being discussed, one of the qualities of the Brahman is explained here.   Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (IV.v.14) describes the Brahman as “the Self is indeed immutable and indestructible”.  Brahman is beyond changes and exists everywhere, omnipresent.
Nitya-s are the fifteen deities representing fifteen lunar days.  They are worshipped while worshipping Śrī Cakra.  Each of these deities has mūla mantra and is capable of giving different siddhi-s.
{Further reading on Nitya-s:  Nitya is said to be the highest object of worship and the ultimate philosophical principle in kula system.  The world kula stands for Śaktī.  Apart from the fifteen nitya-s, sixteenth nitya is Lalitāmbikā Herself, who is also known as Mahā Tripurasundarī.  Out of these nitya-s, the last three nitya-s are more concerned with internal worship. There are nine tantra-s that deal with these nitya-s.  It is also said that the power of Śaktī is known as nitya.]
Nirākārā निराकारा (137)
She is formless. Ākāra means form, figure, shape, etc. This is an important aspect of nirguṇa Brahman (nirguṇa means devoid of all qualities or properties).  The qualities of the formless Brahman are being described one after another. 
Nirākulā निराकुला (138)
She is without agitation.  Ākulā means confounded, confused, agitated, flurried, or disordered. Nir negates all that is meant by ākulā. This means that She is not agitated, not confused etc.  She is the cause for these attributes, but She is not affected by these attributes. 
Though She is associated with ignorance or avidyā, still she is not agitated.  She is associated with ignorance means She is the cause of avidyā.  When She is in the form of māyā or illusion, She causes ignorance.  Māyā prevents the sādhāka to acquire knowledge.  This nāma means that even though ignorance is caused by Her, She is not agitated by this ignorance. 

LALITHA SAHASRANAMAM 129-133


Śaraccandranibhānanā शरच्चन्द्रनिभानना (129)
Her face appears like the moon in spring season.  Śarad means second half of October, November and first half of December.  In a natural horoscope, each rāśi represents a solar month.  Two solar months make a ṛtu and six ṛtu-s make a year.  During śarad ṛtu (autumn or fall season) the moon appears brighter and without blemishes.  Please refer nāma 133 also.
Śātodarī शातोदरी (130)
She has thin waist.  These two nāma-s (129 and 130) are connected to Her kāmakalā form, the details of which will be discussed in kāmakalā rūpā (nāma 322) .
Śantimatī शन्तिमती (131)
She is never harsh to Her devotees.  She tolerates certain acts of Her devotees that are not considered appropriate.  Śanti means peace.  She appears peaceful and tolerates only certain acts of Her devotees.  She too has a tolerance level.  Once that level is crossed by Her devotees, She does not hesitate to initiate corrective measures.  The corrective measures are carried out through Her ministers like Aśvārūdā or Vārāhi Devi-s. 
With this nāma, Her act of benediction ends.  Nāma-s 132 to 155 discuss Her as Nirguṇa Brahman or Her formless form.  Worshipping Her as Nirguṇa (without attributes or qualities) form is considered as an important aspect of worship and the result of such worship is described in nāma-s 156 to 195.  It is also interesting to note that Vāc Devi-s have chosen to discuss her nirguṇa worship first and saguṇa (with attributes) worship later (196-248).
Nirādhārā निराधारा (132)
She is without support.  She does not depend upon anybody.  Chāndogya Upaniṣad (VII.24.1) asks “That which is infinite is immortal and that which is finite is mortal.  It rests on its own power – or not even on that power (as it depends on nothing else, not even its own power). This is known as nirādhārā.
Śaktī is worshipped both internally and externally; but internal worship leads to quicker realisation.   External worship is further divided into two categories- Vedic and Tantric.  Internal worship is also divided into two categories, one is with form and another is without form.   Worshipping Her internally without attributing any form is considered to yield desired results leading to quicker realisation of the Self.
The pure form of consciousness is Śaktī. Śiva Sūtra (1.1.) says caitanymātmā.  This means that pure consciousness is Ātma. Only by worshipping Her, detachment from saṁsāra becomes possible, which ultimately leads to liberation.
Nirañjanā निरञ्जना (133)
Añjanā means a black paste (eye liner or collyrium) that is applied to eyes of women.  Hanuman’s mother’s name is Añjanā. “Añjanā nandanaṁ vīraṁ” says a verse.  When añjanā is applied to eyes, they look beautiful.  Her eyes look beautiful without añjanā is the textual meaning.  But añjanā also means ignorance as ignorance is always compared to darkness and knowledge to light.  Nir means without.  She is without ignorance.  Vāc Devi-s would not have coined this nāma to mean that She is without ignorance.  Ignorance and knowledge are associated with human and not with the Divine Mother as She is the embodiment of knowledge.   Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (VI.19) gives answer to this argument.  It Says ‘niṣkalaṁ, niṣkriyam, śāntam, niravadyaṁ, niranjanaṁ”. This means that Brahman has ‘no form, no action, no attachment, above reproach and without any blemish’.  It also says niranjanaṁ which means without any blemish.  Therefore it is to be inferred that Lalitāmbikā is the Brahman.   This nāma says that Her formless (nirguṇa Brahman) form is without any blemishes. Please refer nāma 354 for further details. 
In Kuṇḍalinī meditation, when one reaches ājñā cakra, one will be able to see light.  In the initial stages, this light may have some blemishes and these blemishes vanish along with the practice. This is called Her blemish less form, as Kuṇḍalinī is Her subtlest form.

BLISS, SAMADHI AND KUNDALINI

The kundalini energy before its union with the static energy is divided into two types of energies, kinetic and dynamic energies. The movement of kundalini in the spinal cord is kinetic energy and when this kinetic energy manifests into action, it is called dynamic energy. Kundalini unites with the static energy, only in the form of dynamic energy. Therefore, it is imperative that kundalini in the form of kinetic energy is less potent than its dynamic form. All the siddhis can be attained only when kundalini remains in its kinetic form. When it manifests into dynamic form it does not care about its primordial stage and its sole aim is to unite with the static energy, which attracts kundalini like a magnet attracting a nail. Unless and until, the kundalini is transformed into dynamic form it cannot enter the sahasrara. When the union of powerful dynamic energy and the ever existing pure static energy which is also known as pure consciousness takes place, bliss is realized that ultimately leads to the stage of samadhi. This process confirms our earlier discussions under the label kundalini in this blog. When dynamic kundalini unites with static consciousness at the sahasrara, the potency of the kundalini is reduced. This means kundalini does not act in the same way as it has acted earlier, because it is now under the grip and control of the highest level of consciousness. This consciousness is connected to the cosmos through an orifice in the sahasrara. At this stage the consciousness is filled with divine energy. This divine energy is called pure consciousness because of its connection to higher planes. This is called Shiva and that is why Shiva is always called pure. The dynamic nature of the kundalini gets depleted when united with static energy and you feel the result of this union in your thoughts and actions that undergoes changes. You now become less attached to worldly affairs. These changes take you forward in spirituality as a result of which you realize the bliss and the ultimate samadhi.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

KINETIC KUNDALINI ENERGY

The liberation can be attained by different means and kundalini arousal is one among them. Kundalini is always considered as feminine kinetic energy and posited in the centre of our body, the perineum. It is not necessary that one can attain liberation only by meditation be it kundalini meditation or any other form of meditation. The precondition for liberation is devotion. When your mind is well tuned towards God, without much effort you start realizing yourself which is another condition for final liberation. The important difference between kundalini meditation and other types of God realization is the union of Shakthi and Shiva in the former, which is not the case in the latter. You need to have the highest level of concentration in the case of kundalini meditation as you have to move your consciousness from one chakra to another. On the contrary, in other methods you need to have more knowledge and intellect. In such cases dhyan slokas and mantras play an important role. You visualize the deity with the aid of dhyan verse and over a period of time you strongly establish your contact with the deity by infusing the potency of the mantras and making the deity very powerful. At one stage, this deity will help you whenever you need its help. A very personal and strong bondage is established between you and the deity. In the case of kundalini meditation, you have to arouse the kinetic energy at the perineum by certain bhandhas and mudras. Arousal of kundalini is also linked to your karmas. Unless you have a clean karmic account, irrespective of your efforts kundalini will not ascend. If you are able to unite the feminine kinetic kundalini energy with the masculine static Supreme Consciousness, you become a creator yourself. When kundalini ascends from one chakra to another, she confers super human powers or siddhis. These siddhis may be misused by a person with a bad karmic account. As God acts as per the law of karmas which is also called the law of the Lord, kundalini will not rise when there is a bad karmic account. After all kundalini is the Supreme Shakthi and She acts as per your karmas. Unless this kinetic energy unites with the static energy, the kinetic energy is known and recognized as a separate entity. The kinetic energy as an individual entity is extraordinarily powerful and could cause extensive damage, both within you and outside. But when the kinetic energy unites with the static energy, the potency of the kinetic energy comes down drastically, as after the union, it cannot function independently and controlled by the static energy. Shakthi comes under the control of Her own Creator. There are two stages to this union. One is gross and another is subtle and the former leading to the latter. Gross union is the merger of two forms viz. Shakthi and Shiva that is visualised. This described in detail in Lalitha Sahasranamam 98 In the subtle form of union, the active and dormant principles of consciousness that are represented by Shakthi and Shiva merge to form the Supreme consciousness. There is no visualization here and thus the union is complete and total. There is nothing beyond this. If you are able to reach this stage, there is no more birth for you as you stand liberated.

Monday, August 24, 2009

LALITHA SAHASRANAMAM 124-128


Śarvāṇī शर्वाणी (124)
Śiva has eight cosmic forms that correspond to the five basic elements (akāś, air, fire, water and earth), soul, sun and moon (Liṅga Purāṇa I.28.15-17).  Bhīma form is akāś, Ugra-wind, Rudra-fire, Bhava-water, Śarva-earth, Paśupatī-soul, Īśāna-sun and Mahādeva-moon.  Śarva form of Śiva represents water element and Śarva’s wife is Śarvānī.  Their son is Mars, one of the nine planets referred in astrology.
{Further reading on planetary propitiation: For performing remedies for the afflicted planets, one has to thoroughly study the afflicted planet/s and perform propitiation accordingly.  The ill effects of the planets will not be totally eradicated by merely performing rituals or visiting certain specified temples. The day and time of the propitiating ritual to be performed   is to be fixed taking into account the star lord and its sub lord.  For example, in a horoscope planet Mars is afflicted, performing remedies on a Tuesday may not be correct.   The appropriate day would be the day connected to the star lord or sub lord of planet Mars.  Poor feeding and animal feeding are very important in eradicating the evil effects of a planet. The ideal thing would be to go to orphanages and feed them personally.  Satiated hunger expressed in their faces is capable of eradicating any type of planetary afflictions.  Mantra japa is another useful way to ward off the evil effects of planets.  Planetary propitiation should be done in person and not through someone else. Planets are incapable of causing any afflictions to those who repose unshakable faith in God}
Śarmadāyinī शर्मदायिनी (125)
Śarma means happiness.  She confers happiness on Her devotees.  Conferring happiness is Her habit as She is the Divine Mother. 
Please refer nāma-s 192, 953 and 968 which convey the same meaning. 
Śāṃkarī शांकरी (126)
Wife of Śaṇkarā, a form of Śiva, is known as ŚāṃkarīŚam means happiness and karā means doer.  Therefore Śaṇkarā is known to give happiness and his wife Śāṇakarī has the same quality.  Śiva and Śaktī do not have any difference in qualities between them. That is why Śiva and Pārvatī are said to be father and mother of the universe. 
Śrīkarī श्रीकरी (127)
Śrī means all types of prosperity.  It also means wealth, happiness, beauty, attraction, auspiciousness, etc.  Since She is the embodiment of all these qualities and also endows these qualities on Her devotees, She is known as Śrīkarī.     Viṣṇu Sahasranāma 611 is Śrīkarā which means the giver of wealth to His devotees.   In fact, there is no difference between Viṣṇu and LalitāmbikāViṣṇu is also known for auspiciousness etc.  There is brother- sister relationship and Viṣṇu is elder to Lalitāmbikā.   Other nāma-s in this Lalitā Sahasranāma confirm this. They are 267. Govinda rūpinī, 298. Nārāyanī, 893. Viṣṇu-rūpinī, etc.  Śrīkarā’s sister is Śrīkarī
Sādhvī साध्वी (128)
She is chaste (please refer nāma 709).  When someone has huge wealth he is called Lakṣmī pati, meaning husband of Lakṣmī, Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu. Pati is generally used to refer husband of a woman.  In ancient Sanskrit pati was used to mean a good sign, good fortune, prosperity, success, happiness Lakṣmī resides in the chest of ViśnuLalitāmbikā and Śiva are attached to each other so deeply, the one without the other cannot even carry out their duties. 
Saundarya Laharī (verse 96) explains this nāma. “Oh! Foremost among the chaste! How many are the poets who do not court Brahma’s wife (meaning knowledge).  Who does not become the lord of Lakṣmī with only some riches? But, except Śiva nobody can attain you.” The interpreters intend to say that nobody can claim Lalitāmbikā like other Gods and Goddesses as She is beyond comparison with them.  The problem in the interpretation arises with the Sanskrit word ‘pati’ which generally means husband.  But there are other meanings for this word such as master, lord, owner, possessor etc.   Therefore pati in this context does not mean husband but refers to a person who owns wealth or who has knowledge and wisdom, or who has mastered the art of speech. This verse is a poetic parlance. 
 Lalitāmbikā is called as chaste because, She always remains with Śiva.  She considers Śiva as pati deva which means a wife who regards her husband as divine.  This is the right explanation for this nāma as She was created by Śiva and therefore She considers Śiva as Her divine husband. ‘Pati vedanaḥ’ means ŚivaVedanaḥ means perception or knowledge and pati vedanaḥ means possessor of knowledge.