Articles by Sri Rajen Vakil
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|Article 77 - Shivaratri
Sri Rajen Vakil
Our whole effort is to raise our levels of consciousness. To fight against the seduction, the hypnosis of life. To fight against mechanicalness.
The word Shiva means ‘the auspicious one’, translated from kshati paapam. That is, to reduce sin or mechanicalness. Kshati means to sharpen, to cut away at something. That which cuts away at sin, at negativity. Shiva is the destroyer, the destroyer of negativity.
All living beings aim to fulfill four needs of life. One, is the search for food (ahar); second, the search for security because they are victims of fear (bhai); third, the need for sleep (nindra) to rejuvenate themselves and fourth, the search for a mate (maithun).
These are the four basic urges of all life. Only man has the possibility to transform these urges. The jeeva takes on a physical form in order to transform these urges into something higher; the transformation of Jeeva into Shiva.
The first of the urges, Ahar (food) is of three kinds - Physical food, air food and impressions food. The transformation of these three lifts the state of consciousness to that of Shiva. The second is transformation of fear. To hold and separate from fear. To rise above it. The transformation of fear leads to an inner state called Rudra. The literal meaning of the word Rudra is anger. All anger is rooted in fear, fear that some desire will not be fulfilled. This fear passes through eleven stages, the final stage being Shiva, the leader of the rudras. Worrying is a deep fear and we love to worry. If one worry goes, another takes its place. ‘What is going to happen tomorrow?’ is the deepest cause of our constant inner chatter. Fear does not allow us to live in the present, we live in the tomorrow. Rudra also comes from the root ‘to cry’. We cry and complain all the time. There must be a transformation of this psychological fear.
Then comes the transformation of sleep or nindra. We spend one third of our lives sleeping. Transformation of sleep creates in us a state called Shankar, which has its root in sham karoti. To bring peace, tranquility and harmony. To calm down.
There are many kinds of sleep. One is physical sleep which our bodies need. But the real sleep is the psychological sleep in which we live all 24 hours. We just live in a state of daydreaming. Not for a moment are we awake. Even young children live in dreams. No one teaches us how to be free of dreaming. To be free of dreaming is the state of Shankar. Then every moment we are relaxed, enjoying the beauty of life.
The final transformation is that of maithun, sex energy. This leads to an inner state called Bhairava. Bhairava means the one who has gone beyond fear. The protector. We are all prone to excitement. In excitement, we lose energy and fall into the deeper hypnosis of life. Once we transform sex energy, we can never be excited again. Our attention and consciousness is now protected.
Thus, Shiva is the transformation of these four passions or urges of life.
Every month, the 13th night of the dark fortnight (when the moon is waning) is called Shivaratri. The 13th night is the last night we can see the moon as a thin crescent line, two days before the New Moon or Amavasya.
The moon represents the mind. The mind is the cause of bondage. The night when the power or grip of the mind over the soul, through sadhana or hard, conscious effort, is reduced to a small fragment is when consciousness descends. We cannot obliterate the mind completely, we need it to relate in life. But we free ourselves of its grip and power so we are no longer its slave.
The 13th night of the dark fortnight in the month of Magha is called MahaShivaratri. The month of Magha is the prelude to spring. The old starts to die and the new is born. It is time for the ego to die and the soul to be reborn. Magha is also the month of the demons or asuras. These are the deep negative patterns that lie in our mind. So, MahaShivaratri signifies the destruction of our deep negative patterns, the demons in our mind.
The month Magha is called Maha and that is why this night is called MahaShivaratri. Maha also means huge. It is the great day when we are free of the mind and all its deep patterns. Maha also means the collection of all our memory of all our lives. Thus, by reducing the power of the mind to a thin crescent line, we are able to be free from the slavery of memory. Memory is our biggest bondage and freedom from memory is Moksha or enlightenment.
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|Article 76 - Cosmic Sex Energy|
Many a time, we wake up in the mornings in a semi-awake state or what is generally referred to as a half-dream state. Our attention is divided into two parts. On the one hand, our five senses are working and we have a kind of awareness of our surroundings. On the other, we also see what is happening in us and could be aware of a dream at the same time. We are experiencing two worlds simultaneously. It is a very beautiful and blissful state to be in and if we learn to control and consciously extend it, we can experience the joy and happiness of this state every day.
Simply breathing to the three-step rhythm in this state opens up many channels of energy. It is as if the whole cosmos is pulsating in this rhythm and by breathing to it, there is a union of our being and cosmic energy. It enters through a space between the two eyebrows, the area the Taoists call the jade palace.
As our awareness of this state increases and we become more adept at using it, a certain inner vision opens up. We learn to consciously create certain experiences. Two experiences which are highly orgasmic are those of flying in the air and dying. To be able to induce your own death, to go to the point of death and come back is like experiencing a cosmic orgasm.
The shape of our mouth is such that the mouth with the palate represents a temple and the tongue is the idol or statue in the temple. If we look at it another way, the tongue represents the male organ and the mouth the female. That is the linga of Shiva and the yoni of Shakti.
In Mantra Yoga, we create waves of sound vibrations in different parts of the mouth and tongue. As the vibrations rise, a very powerful circle of energy is created in the tongue, the area around the palette and back to the tongue. As we repeat the mantra, there is a continuous circling of energy, the intensity increasing with each round. At a certain point, the tongue and mouth fuse to become one. Shiva and Shakti have merged in a cosmic union.
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|Article 75 - Power of Nostalgia|
Nostalgia is a soft, sentimental feeling about a past experience or event. In Greek, it means homecoming. If we meet a friend after a gap of several years, there is an inner thrill, a joy that fills our being. Very often, listening to old songs thrills us with a feeling of romantic nostalgia. For a student of spirituality, the right use of nostalgia can become a very important tool and technique to move into higher levels of consciousness and sensitivity. Metaphorically speaking, we are all searching for that long lost friend whom we have lost and forgotten eons ago. A slight glimpse of his face or just a touch fills our being with a thrill we have never experienced before. The height of the spiritual experience is the feeling of nostalgia. As if after thousands of years, we are meeting our friend again. Yes the experience of enlightenment is nostalgic. We have so many memories which, when relived, evoke a state of nostalgia. The five senses are always in the present moment and so when we relive (not daydream) those memories, we are living them in the now with deep sensitivity and feeling in the five senses. This brings on a deep nostalgic experience. Holding that state is dharana and expanding it in time is dhyana. Once Krishna left Vrindavan and Radha, he never returned. All Radha had left was the pain of separation called ‘viraha’ and the memories of Krishna. She worked upon these and brought about a total transmutation in her being to merge and sublimate into Krishna. She would relive each of her memories with Krishna, expanding and intensifying their sensitivities and dissolving into a state of nostalgia. Gurdjieff calls this self-remembering. A point came when she was no more and the Presence of the long lost friend was Always. She had merged into that infinity called Krishna.
The Bhagwad Gita we have today is not the one Krishna told Arjuna but the one Sanjay recounted to the blind king Dhritrashtra. In his last slokas, Sanjay relates how, by just remembering Sri Krishna’s words, his being is filled with joy and ecstasy. Yes, nostalgia transformed Sanjay and can become the key to our upliftment too.
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|Article 74 - Sex Energy|
There are three kinds of sex energy - prenatal, biological and cosmic. Prenatal sex energy is what we are born with. This is a very powerful energy, free of excitement and of limited quantity. The first law active in a newborn is that s/he is attracted to the pleasant and rejects the painful. In yoga, this is known as ‘raag’ and ‘dvesha’, and this law is a function of sex energy i.e. it needs a certain quantity to be active. As we grow, we waste this very valuable energy in the expression of negative emotions and normal reactions of life. Sometimes, during a half-sleep state in the early morning, we can feel the presence of this prenatal sex energy. We feel aroused but there is no excitement which has led to that arousal; we may be all alone. If we allow our minds to start thinking exciting thoughts, this energy will be lost. Yoga, especially Taoist yoga, gives very special techniques to conserve this energy once aroused. If it can be conserved, it helps the student of yoga rise above the normal excitements of life and reach a state of peace and equanimity. Biological sex energy fully expresses itself at puberty. It is very difficult to control as it is easily excited. It makes us passionate and is the basic energy that drives us to fulfil our desires. That is why it is called ‘kaam’. Wrong methods to control and suppress this energy can lead to both physical and psychological pathology. This energy can only be transformed by working on its negative manifestations, which is basically irritation and anger. We waste this energy all the time, in our thoughts, emotions and reactions. It is the basic creative energy and like a stick with two ends - at one end is divinity or creation and on the other, lust and excitement. In the Mahabharata, Draupadi represents biological sex energy. On one side, excitement or Dushshana is pulling off her sari and on the other, divinity or Krishna keeps giving more. To climb the ladder of this energy is kundalini yoga, which a student can only learn from his teacher. About cosmic sex energy we will talk some other day.