Friday, January 16, 2009

Ma Bagalamukhi

The shakti sidhi of Ma Bagalamukhi is the energy that "stops" and the energy that "nails", and these works can be of particular importance to the shamshan sadhak. This Vidya would work not only with the disturbances(ignorance, attachments, doubts, fears..etc.) within the sadhak, but also against any invasive energies/entities. (While the larger view makes no distinction with regard to inner and outer, for the purposes of expedience, it is most instructive to speak in these terms.) In some traditions, the sadhak makes a protective circle(kilana) while doing certain works, but some sadhaks who have confidence in the Vidya of Ma Bagala do not create that space. This is because the particular energies have been assimilated sufficiently to create a "standing current" of protection. The Kaula is always subjugating by the natural expression of one's Being and moving in victory.

Subjugation is of differing sorts, but the Kaula has subjugated the tendencies within that are sometimes called demons. The demons are represented in the great battle that the Goddess has with the forces of ego, ignorance, and attachment(this battle can be read in the Chandi Path/Durga Saptashati). The victory of the Tantric is the victory of the Goddess, and when That becomes the fabric of the sadhaks being; that aspect of subjugation would express itself on the environment(which becomes a part of the pitha of the Kaula). This form of subjugation would be in service to the highest principles of Truth, and in most regards would not carry any focused intention(ie. it is spontaneous). Sometimes if there is a very intrusive energy, the tantric will place some intention behind a specific subjugation. In these cases, the energy/entity would get what is coming to it, and there are many stories in Tantric lore(both Kaula and Vajrayana) of the Tantric subjugating a entity that is causing troubles. Yet even in these cases, it usually turns out well for the entity because they are being subjugated by the highest Reality. These energies usually turn into protectors, both of the sadhak and the path.

Unless one is really clear on matters, any work of intentional subjugation would create problems, and for the sadhak who has the highest goals of Realization these acts should be avoided. These works include the trapping of entities, making some person become bound to you, and other works that are for selfish gains. The aspect of "trapping" would be represented in the "Kilaya" siddhi, and before embarking on nailing down any entities, put the nail in the ignorance within. The process of the inner Bali offering first stops the ego from hiding(stambhaya), then nails it down(kilaya), and then with the knife of Truth....HUM. A nice offering for Ma...

The aspect of Kilaya(or Kilak) is neither "good" nor "bad", and has many variations within the Tantric path. For some mula mantras, there is a part of the mantra that is the Kilaka, and this would be the quality of the mantra that "nails or pins" the energy to the essence of the sadhak. Sometimes a curse is in the form of a Kilaya, and certain mantras act as the utkilana(removal of the nail/pin). (This would be the case for the Durga Shaptashati for example) For Yogis, there are said to be certain blocks within the central pathway which are like metaphysical kilayas, and it is my view that the consciousness itself has a kilak placed on it so that it identifies with the body.

I write on certain aspects that some feel shouldn't be publicly discussed, this is mainly due to the problems of someone misunderstanding something or using some information for their own purposes. In my view, what I say can only be "used" by someone who has done the works(and maybe I turn things in a way that opens up other possibilities for their own work) or as a source of interest/inspiration to begin the Tantric process. Moreover, I feel strongly that there is a misconception that Tantra is all about some secret or another. Many feel that if they just get some "secret" mantra or a "secret" sadhana that then they will be alright. A sadhak is successful on the path by doing the works that are given and being consistent in their sadhana. It is through doing the works that any "secret" would even be applicable or usable. A Tantric could tell someone the whole process of how to trap a entity, and it would not matter. It would take about five years of real sadhana to get any power to nail, and one would have to have the subtlety of mind/perception to see/feel the various aspects of the process.

There is a book about a British lady who became a Tibetan Buddhist monk and became a Vajrayana sadhak(book is called Cave in the Snow), and she was kind of annoyed that she was not getting the real esoteric teachings. She had befriended some wandering Yogis and expressed her frustration to them, so they asked her what she had learned and what sadhanas she had gotten. She told them, and they said..."well, that is exactly the sadhanas that we have, and the only difference is that we actually practice them with full attention"(paraphrasing, not a direct quote from the book).
Tame Pashus and Subjugate Demons,
Jai Ma!

Monday, January 5, 2009

On Aghora and Aghoris

Aghora represents a form of Tantric sadhana where the sadhak strips bear of all personal identity and comes into the confidence of Bhairava. To do this, the sadhak puts everything on the line, and faces directly into the raw aspects of power. This path represents a homa, whereby the sadhak casts himself into the flames, and becomes that fire. There can be no half stepping in this path or this fire will burn. The Aghori disposition is one of intensity and ferocity, and all works on this path must be seen through to completion. In that regard the Aghora sadhak must be a true Hatha Yogi, with the meaning of Hatha being "forceful". In the mad sincerity, the Aghori imposes himself upon Reality and the subtle forces that move in That. Since nobody likes to be imposed upon, it is likely that there will be obstacles thrown up and that one will face forces that intend to scare and dissuade. Since everybody cannot help but like one who perseveres with a true heart of sincerity, the Aghori comes through into Victory. Most of what are commonly called Aghora sadhanas are of the Vamamarga and many take place within the Shamshana; so Aghoris are often called Shamshan Sadhaks. Aghoris are not only uncompromising in sadhana, but are often uncompromising in various interactions. The later quality makes it difficult to "deal" with the Aghori unless one is coming from a very sincere and crisp awareness. Because these sadhaks often do not care about anything but the fundamental, they are often disinclined to act the conventional "spiritual" role. Moreover, they may play on others notions of holiness and "what spirituality should look and sound like".

The term Aghora and interest in Aghoris seems to have become more popular in recent times. The was some fascination during the British colonial period in India by English "scholars", and the accounts that they provide are very amusing. There is the classical pompousness and superiority mixed with Christian holy disgust. Many of the mistaken notions brought by these British scholars have become conventional wisdom, not only for other anthropologists, but by the people who have some interest in the path. This happened mainly because the people who told the public about the various practices were outsiders, so they could only use their own frames of reference in determining why a certain practice was done. Without the knowledge of the subtle inner dynamics of the Tantrics, the observer could only make assessments that conformed to the "values" which were understood in their consensus reality approach. So instead of the understanding the subtle process, the public is given the only explanations which make any sense for wild and taboo breaking behaviors. This explanation is that the main purpose for certain acts Is to break taboos and transgress societal norms. This would qualify as a rather trivial interpretation from the perspective of the initiate. Yet, it is this kind of triviality which seems to hold sway over those that are interested in the works of Aghora. It should be said that the Aghoris themselves often play into some of these wrong notions with their mischievousness and/or utter disregard of how they are perceived by others.

Without the real works of Tantra, any "Aghora-like" endeavor would only be to serve the notions of transgression etc. and would not have the depth of the actual path. I've nothing against someone who has some hangups transcending them, but to place this sort of psychological approach at the level of Tantra seems to diminish the profundity of the work. One should also not take the "wildness" associated with the Aghori as a model of contrived behavior, as any wildness would be more effect(than premeditated "cause") and would be a spontaneous expression of the assimilated energies of the Ishta. From the true Aghoris that I've had contact, this "wild" quality is more at the subtle level, and is not ALWAYS indicative of behavior. This means that many Kaulas are rational and are quite capable of "normal" exchange. Some of the people who call themselves Aghoris and show themselves off, are a lower form of sadhak. They are not Khepas(divinely mad), they are simply pagalas(conventionally crazy). Some of these people just take on the associate behaviors and garb of Aghoris, and act like idiots while extorting money from people who they scare. Many have not transcended disgust in the realization of One Taste, but are just disgusting.

There are different paths where the Tantric may take on the term Aghori. Of the lineage that is particular to the title, there is the Shri Kina Ram Aghori lineage that has its main Ashram(Krim Kund) in Varanasi. Otherwise, the sadhak would most likely come out of the Vamamarga(Kaulamarga) Shakta tradition or possibly the Nath tradition. There are also those of the Naga tradition(and some other renounciate traditions) who may be called Aghoris. Presently, the term Aghori seems more to indicate the types of sadhana that the Tantric does and/or an acknowledgement of some measure of success in those sadhanas. The Aghora sadhak is most closely associated with wearing the black cloth(sometimes those of Shakta origin would keep the red cloth) or in the case of some no cloth(digambara/sky clad). The forehead marks and/or the greeting the Tantric uses can help in distinguishing the origins. The greeting from a Sanyasa may be "Om namo Narayanaya", while from a Shakta it would be "Jai Ma"; Nath's have their greetings(Alak), and some Aghoris just use the mantra "Bom" as greeting. Within the Kaula marga, there are also mudras which would be particular to a certain Kaula(family/lineage stream).

Many peoples modern knowledge of Aghora seems to stem from the books published by Robert Svoboda. While the books are of good quality, they hardy qualify as the "Aghori bible" that some make them out to be. The third book(Karma) is more likely to create an Agoraphobic than an Aghori, and all the books are actually quite conservative. Certain aspects(of Aghora) are discussed but it seems that the message always comes back to "but that's not for you" and that it is better/safer to just "worship" as apparently a Bhakta. It seems that there is also the potential to create fear and doubt in a sadhak within those books. This attitude is oft expressed by revealing that if the sadhak makes some error than "they are finished". One must perform certain works with confidence and should not be worried that one slip of decorum ruin them. I have another problem with the book, which I find hard to express. It has to do with creating a "perspective" of relating with the subtle in a way that seems not only overly materially concrete but in many ways overly dualistic. I view aspects of subtlety concretely, but it really depends upon areas of "perception" when relating to these things(and informing perspective). So there is either a different "space" or a profoundly different(than normal) perception if some Deity is engaged. Both the energy and information are highly "internal" and there is a tacit understanding of a high frequency. Regarding some Deity standing in front of you and chatting with you, without the understanding of this creates a false promise/expectation, and the sadhak may "miss" a "specialized" presence if they are waiting to have tea with their Ishta. There is also the obvious problem with the books from the academic perspective, and that is that there is no certainty of identity for our Aghori. The teacher is said to be deceased, real name(either given name or initiated name) is not provided, nor any photo "evidence". So maybe it is Castanadas "Don Juan" who was speaking for all we know. My intuition says that it was a real person, with whom the author had intimate contact. The author admits to the propensity for exaggeration(both in India and for teachers), and I would take him at his word on this. One is given the view of "supermen", and it would be unrealistic to expect to shoot fire from your ass or live 1,000 years.
Jai Ma!

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Work and Success in Tantric Vidya

The Tantric work is a results oriented path, but one must do the work. It is surprising that many who just want to do "their own thing" often chose to call their spiritual approach tantric. I could think of many other spiritual terms(and indeed no spiritual term seems imperative) which would give greater "freedom" than "tantra". This is because of all paths, tantra is uncompromising about doing the work, and at the tradition level is highly structured and formulaic. I suppose that many, of less serious aims, like to identify as tantric because of the life embracing elements which for some means that they have "spiritual cover" for the banalities and indulgences of their lives. The Kaula brings the Awareness and Energy (as assimilated and expressed in the Tantric work) to bear upon the external environment, and it is through those realized "terms" that the life process is embraced. When the life flow reaches a level of accord(or absorption) with the Ishta then "ones" actions/interactions, even if conventionally considered of a "mundane" quality, become profound and a true embodied expression of the "art" of Tantra. But again, this process comes from the sadhak doing the actual work of Tantra, and without this work, any "taking up" of presumed tantric postures, attitudes, and iconography will remain a contrivance at the level of fetish.

Having received the diksha and sadhana from a qualified source, there are certain suggestions that will help the sadhak move nicely on the path. Most fundamental is consistency, which often takes the form of deciding what sadhana one will do and how much will be done, and not deviating from this. Inherent in this is an even more vital principle than just what is provided by the sadhana itself. This is the establishment of Will and the principle of integrity to that Will(and integrity to ones Word). It is very important to the establishment of the profound dignity of the Deities that one is "becoming", and that one feels that one has this integrity of aim. The establishment of unshakable Will is the ground for real power. Having this integrity will also make the sadhak take him/herself seriously. If the person does not establish Will and integrity(all grounded in sincerity of course), then it will be difficult to take oneself seriously(and therefore one cannot take oneself as Ishta seriously). One has to conquer the voice within that knows that you are "just an asshole". While we often view self deprecation, and its associated quality of "not taking oneself seriously" as endearing; for the purposes of Tantra this quality "as a reality" must be destroyed. Then one can break on themselves and others in a true spirit of "lightness" and playfulness(actually the energy of the Deities will often have these playful aspects) if this is consistent with ones "flavor".

Now if the serious Tantric(having now taking him/herself serious in consistent work and integrity) has associations(friends etc.) where that associate projects a certain image of the person which is energetically binding(as patterns are) and inconsistent with ones true nature(that the sadhak seeks to properly internalize and express), then one should drop the associate like a bad habit. Once one has some power, they can impose it on the patterns of relations, but one would likely be unable to do this at the start. In case this is unclear, I am suggesting that you not associate with old friends much. (This represents my view, which is admittedly uncompromising, so one shouldn't be put off of Tantra if they don't want to do the work using my standards.) Either way though, even if you still hang with the friends, at a certain level of the work, either they will begin to see you properly or you will find it untenable to be around them. In general, the sadhak should give no identity for others to grasp and "pin down". If the sadhak is a "dead man" already then this would be the case anyway.

My advice for success in Tantra, at least initially, is to not talk about your work or spirituality at all. Be a secret sadhak through and through, and really come into your own heart and sincerity. This approach will avoid distraction and "spiritual materialism". Come into "identity" with the Ishta and Pitha, and not an identity as a "spiritual" person or whatever appealing concept of individualized specialness one would indulge. There will certainly be a uniqueness to the expression of the Ishta and your life, but don't "express" this until it is largely a spontaneous expression. Let the seeds grow. Let the energy work for you, instead of blowing it in orgasmic displays of "love" etc. Be frugal and let things be firm before expressing things and talking much. Besides the living current which transmits, gives confidence, and protects that is inherent in the traditional lineage based Tantra; there is also a means of accountability which would preclude one from publicly engaging before one is ready.

There is really no moral code or prescribed ways of being(or not being/or not doing) for the Kaulas other than following the dictates of power. This means being sensitive to where power is gained and where power is lost. The sadhak of subtle intellect would avoid those actions/behaviors/engagements/attitudes where they feel a loss of power. There is no concrete "form" that this would take, and this would not be concerned with the various conventions of moral code, or even common sense rationality. In my experience, the loss of power(wrong action) has more to do with the attitudes behind a certain behavior then the behavior itself. This means that the expression of profanity can be in accord, while an expression of "love, compassion, and bliss" can be a "wrong action". What all this means to the new sadhak is that they should be conscious of the close and organic feelings of where power is gained and lost. As one progresses, things become very clear and one gets what is called the "instant karma" effect, whereby it becomes bodily evident when one has "stepped in it".

The one thing that I have noticed from my associations with some aspiring Tantrics is that many lack the commitment and seriousness for success. Tantra is an advanced form of spiritual sadhana, and the potential sadhak should be progressed to a certain level of maturity and subtlety. While most claim that they are serious and sincere, when ANYTHING is asked of them they often balk. There is no willingness for any inconvenience let alone sacrifice. While the successful Kaula gives up the very life breath to This, many are not willing to give up anything, and often put "conditions" on the various courses they would take. I cannot relate to this, as the fire is consuming in the sadhak, and one must jump like a tiger upon every opportunity that presents itself. Nothing is owed to you.....Please internalize this...nothing is owed to you. And just because one want to know something doesn't mean that it should be given to you forthwith. If you want to be a true Kaula then there must be a true investment of time, patience, and determination. There must be the investment of your life. May your very life be the bali offering to the Mother that consumes flesh and blood.

In Summary of the "tips"
1.Find a dynamic and living stream of blessing which removes obstructions.
2.Decide (the Guru helps decide) what is to be done and how much it is to be done and do not deviate.
3.Break all ties that energetically bind one to past or burdensome identity and identity patterns.
4.Don't talk about your work
5.Become sensitive to what actions/behaviors/attitudes weaken you.

Jai Ma!