SLOKA 8 FROM DANCING WITH SIVA
WHAT IS THE MAGIC AND POWER OF SHAKTISM?
Shaktism reveres the Supreme as the Divine Mother, Shakti or Devi, in Her many forms, both gentle and fierce. Shaktas use mantra, tantra, yantra, yoga and puja to invoke cosmic forces and awaken the kundalini power. Aum.
While worship of the Divine Mother extends beyond the pale of history, Shakta Hinduism arose as an organized sect in India around the fifth century. Today it has four expressions–devotional, folk-shamanic, yogic and universalist–all invoking the fierce power of Kali or Durga, or the benign grace of Parvati or Ambika. Shakta devotionalists use puja rites, especially to the Shri Chakra yantra, to establish intimacy with the Goddess. Shamanic Shaktism employs magic, trance mediumship, firewalking and animal sacrifice for healing, fertility, prophecy and power. Shakta yogis seek to awaken the sleeping Goddess Kundalini and unite her with Siva in the sahasrara chakra. Shakta universalists follow the reformed Vedantic tradition exemplified by Shri Ramakrishna. ”Left-hand” tantric rites transcend traditional ethical codes. Shaktism is chiefly advaitic, defining the soul’s destiny as complete identity with the Unmanifest, Siva. Central scriptures are the Vedas, Shakta Agamas and Puranas. The Devi Gita extols, ”We bow down to the universal soul of all. Above and below and in all four directions, Mother of the universe, we bow.” Aum Chandikayai Namah.
LESSON 163 FROM LIVING WITH SIVA
SEEKING THE BEST MATCH
In arranging a marriage, the families consult astrologers regularly until a match is found. Sometimes the boy and girl are allowed to get to know each other long before they are aware that a marriage is being arranged for them. Of course, if they do not get along well, the matter is dropped and the search is on again. If one match is not agreeable, another is sought. The inner-world devas also help to arrange the best matches. Most traditional astrologers have one or more devas assisting them to provide knowledge from the akashic records and insight into the planetary powers that impel karmas.
Astrological compatibility is also sought for and acquired between the girl and her prospective mother-in-law. The results are taken especially seriously if they will be living in the same home, because in this case the bride will be under the guidance of the mother-in-law and may spend more time with her than with her own husband. In marrying the son, she becomes the daughter of his mother.
Once a potential spouse is selected, discreet, informal inquiries are made by a relative or friend. If the response is encouraging, the girl’s father meets with and presents a proposal to the boy’s father. In some communities it is the boy’s father who presents the proposal. In these modern times, with the worldwide diaspora of Hindus from India and other countries, the fathers must take an aggressive role in helping their sons and daughters become well settled in life. If fathers do not fulfill this obligation, it becomes the duty of the mothers. This pattern differs from the tradition of well-settled village communities where only the father of the girl makes the overtures. In today’s widely dispersed global Hindu village, it becomes everyone’s duty to help in the task of matchmaking for the next generation.
Once the union has been tentatively agreed upon, the families gather at the girl’s home to get further acquainted and allow them to meet and discuss their potential life together. Of course, mutual attraction and full consent of the couple are crucial. After all the input from the community is in place, it is the couple themselves who must make the final decision whether to spend their life together, based on their own personal sensibilities and judgments. They do have the right to say no. In recent years, we have found that an excellent way for a young prospective couple to gradually get to know each other before committing to marriage is through correspondence by e-mail over a period of several months. The first and the last important factor for a good match is that the boy and girl must be happy and comfortable in each other’s company.
SUTRA 163 OF THE NANDINATHA SUTRAS
TITHING’S MANY BLESSINGS
Siva’s close devotees delight in the unfailing law that by tithing freely and wholeheartedly, with a consciousness of plenty, they become receptive to God’s blessings and draw to them abundance and happy experiences. Aum.
LESSON 163 FROM MERGING WITH SIVA
THE MIND’S THREE PHASES
The totality of the mind is vast and complicated. However, it is helpful to look at the entirety of the mind in three basic phases: the instinctive, the intellectual and the intuitive. The instinctive mind is easy to become aware of and experience. It includes the impulses of our physical body, our cravings, our desires, our digestive system, and our emotional mechanism that works through the physical body. The systems of elimination and blood circulation and the regulation of the heartbeat are all within the instinctive mind. This phase of mind functions automatically, or instinctively. It is as much alive in the animal kingdom as among humans.
Man alone develops the intellectual mind and is responsible for its composition as he lives along through life. This phase is a mixture of man’s instinctive desires and cravings coupled with the knowledge he has gained from others and from his own intuitive discoveries. Within man’s intellect, he organizes a vast amount of knowledge that begins to accumulate from a very early age. Ninety percent of this knowledge deals with the externality of the world and mind itself. The intellect can consume most of man’s time through an incarnation, and usually does, lifetime after lifetime.
The intuitive, or superconscious, phase is even more complex, more organized, more refined than the instinctive or intellectual phases. It is mystically known as the mind of light, for when one is in this state of mind, he may see light within his head, and sometimes throughout the entirety of his physical body, if his inner sight is developed enough. Otherwise, he just begins to feel good all over, as actinic energy permeates his nervous system. When intuitive flashes come, he knows the next thing to be done in a creative activity. This is the superconscious area of the mind. When man is extremely perceptive, tremendously creative and knowledge seems to come to him from the inside of himself spontaneously, he is a superconscious being.
Instinctive is a word that some may understand and others take offense at. Don’t. It only means ”natural or innate,” naming the drives and impulses that order the animal world and the physical and lower astral aspects of humans. For example, self-preservation, procreation, hunger and thirst, as well as the emotions of greed, hatred, anger, fear, lust and jealousy, are all instinctive forces. They are very real in animals and humans alike. When the mind functions instinctively, it is controlled by the habit impressions made in the subconscious during its journey through the experiences of life. Instinctive also means that the driving force comes from the sexual nature. The nature is turned in that direction subconsciously, even though the conscious mind may not be cognizant of the fact. It also means that in the event of an emergency, the animal nature would take over completely, being jarred loose from lack of what I term ”mind-control,” or from what might be called self-control.