Monday, October 25, 2010

Vira Bhava

The accomplished Tantric is often said to move on the Viramarga (path of heroes) which requires Vira Bhava (the pure mood/feeling of the hero). There seems to be some confusion about what exactly Vira Bhava is, what it means, and how it manifests. Often, it is associated with fierce and wrathful aspects that are also frequently misunderstood. A true vira bhava contains all of the bhavas, and the "heroic" manifestation is always in service to the highest principles. Therefore, it is important to understand the true aims and spontaneous intentions behind the bhava in order to have the proper perspective. The Kaula moves and acts for the benefit and liberation of All and it is only when ones heart breaks open in a magnanimous gesture of love and compassion that the True vira bhava can be understood. Without this, any chest beating, lip bumping, wild man routine, just doesn't measure up to the heart of the Vira. These people are just blow hard bullies, and Viras are the bully of the bullies.

The bhava of the Kaula is the bhava of the Ishta. This is speaking about an actuality of experience/realization and should not be used as a justification or defense for self delusion and conceit. We are only speaking about matters in real terms, and cannot account for the multiple means of deceit. So ones bhava and the Ishta Devatas bhava should become One, just as the sadhak and Ishta become One. Bhava is not just a "mood" in the typical sense, but rather a more subtle and unified phenomenon. The fierce or wrathful bhava is provoked by the heart which cannot bear suffering and the wisdom which refuses to capitulate. The bhava mirrors the wrathful aspect of the Deity, and this bhava is not invoked "against" anyone, but rather in service to them -- to the True nature within. It is only from the perspective of the ego (and the various tangents therefrom) that the manifestation appears terrible or worrisome. For many, the wrathful manifestation represents the most compassionate form, as the action which springs forth is ruthlessly efficient and precise.

The Vira bhava to be complete cannot only include fierce bhavas; the sadhak must assimilate all of the bhavas to be truly rounded, and thus to truly embody the Ishta. One must have a sweet bhava which is so tender that it is a naked vulnerability, and a true hero must be willing to stand in this vulnerability. It is not heroic to always impose oneself forcefully, but it is often heroic to take a beating (in subtle terms) and not move from that sweetness. There are playful bhavas which are very important to the humorous and skillful interaction with the world (and the Ishta). There are untouched bhava that are timelessly incorruptible; there are childlike bhavas which are stainless simplicity; there are sensual bhavas which invoke Kama herself ; there are crazy bhavas which break paradigms ; there are bhavas that hide other bhavas… there are too many bhavas to list and bhavas that defy definition. The life of the Vira becomes a bhava, and only then does Vira bhava truly manifest. The true bhava is always heart breaking in it purity and any action which springs therefrom is faultless and without stain.

One is properly introduced to bhava by the Guru and by the Devata. The Guru introduces the devata and the devata introduces their energy and awareness. The Guru exposes the sadhak to the bhavas via the "back door", and the recognition of it depends upon the persons openness and perception. However, whether recognized or not, the sadhak has been exposed to the bhava and like the bija, it remains an active potential. While the Guru can certainly convey information, what is conveyed subtly via inner mudras and bhava is where the true work lies. One should reach an accord with the Guru whereby the transference of the real information takes place. This is more profound than any question and/or answer that can be provided with words. The Guru is the Bhava, the Ishta, and the timeless Vira....I bow to That.

Vira sadhana is the spiritual discipline of the hero. Many assume that the sadhana is referred to in this way because it is fast and dangerous, and while there are certainly many challenges, without the vira bhava, it is not vira sadhana. The bhava of the vira makes it vira sadhana both in terms of perspective (which is large) and the uncompromising intensity which is invoked. To one with vira bhava, vira sadhana is no problem, nor are any of the challenges that arise. "I will bear anything for love, and there is nowhere that I will not go". The Vira is perpetually tenacious, persistent, and vigilant to such a degree that the subtle embodying elements of the perfected state must respond. Belief is for believers, while conviction springs forth from the unbreakable Will which accepts neither defeat nor compromise. Jai Ho!

Regard these people who are stuck in a cycle of ignorance and suffering. They don't know any better and yet at the heart they are consciousness itself. Regard yourself; refuse to compromise your highest wisdom; refuse to just move along with the typical current; refuse to be ignored by the universe. Become a thorn in the side of Reality until it reveals itself, and refuse to accept less than everything; refuse to give less than everything. Refuse the suffering of others. Are you willing to bear the blue throat by drinking the poison and offering the nectar? Are you willing to drink the blood of the demon and bear the skulls? It is a big responsibility. Where are the heroes? Step up! Quit wasting will be wasting you. Enough! Let the sentiment build into a scream which shakes the fabric of manifest existence. Enough! Roar back and let the universe shake.

I bow to the heart of the Vira!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

No Problem

OM punamadah purnamadam purnat purnamudacyate purnasya purnamadaya prnamevava shisyate (That is perfect, this is perfect. From the perfect, the perfect manifests. If you take the perfect from the perfect, then only the perfect remains.)

For many, Tantra represents the "problem" business, but for those seeking entry, it should be regarded as the "no problem" business. One must come to the mature insight that "problem" is largely a state of mind, rather then a set of circumstances. Ones "problems" are in no way unique, and neither the circumstances nor the individual are "special". Everybody faces difficulties and challenges ("life" is not just out to get or stick it to "you"), and wise people have a perspective that doesn't allow for the indulgences which seek or exacerbate drama. There is no denying that life is a rough game and people can face very difficult situations; however, many of the "problems" that people have are simple petty concerns and self created. People tend court various interpersonal dramas because it is "exciting" and then complain about the "problems" it creates. People also tend to have expectations, and expectations always lead to "problem".

Greater than the mindset of "problem" or "no problem", is the realization of inherent perfection which is really NO PROBLEMS. To realize a perfection of "No Problem", one needs to be a devotee of what is (rather than what should be). The state of "problem" is a full stop with many tangents of entanglement, while "no problem" is an open door with infinite possibilities of subtle realization and depth. It is a very important to differentiate the realization that there is never a "problem" from a contrived "no problem" approach. The later approach is no better than some "conceive it, believe it, achieve it" fantasy (for example The Secret) which only solidifies the "problem" (dual) state. Most Tantric sadhaks fail (suffer from boredom, have trouble with attention, sleepiness etc.) because of wrong view and not because of wrong action. Many take the problem and process view; an approach that says "I am doing the sadhana" and "someday I may perfect it". This is falacy. Correct view is that one must do the work of the Ishta Devata (and all that entails) with the "NO Problem" view. This means that the work is done AS all/only consciousness and already in a state of Perfection. One sits as the Perfection, and One is a perpetual imminence which is not subject to procedure. Sit on the throne as Perfection, and let the subtle processes catch up; if not then they may be disgarded/ignored because as the Perfect Nature "I" am not concerned with them (this just a gross expression of the the inner mudra or bhava assumed) The question may arise "what if one cannot intuit the Perfect Nature?", and the answer is that one is not ready for the Vidya; or if they are already involved then they should "fake it". (One "fakes" being a jackass all the time, so why not "fake" ones true nature.) One teacher expressed a sentiment that comes from the Lankavatara Sutra which says that the True Nature is not greater when realized, nor less when not. If one investigates this and really understands the implication, then one is left with "no problem".

The question certainly comes (as it did to me recently), what about all the suffering, greed, and barbarism (war, murder, rape, torture etc.)? These are all certainly terrible situations which call to the compassionate heart, yet these actions also take place within the landscape of perfection and "no problem". (The Truth is not greater for ones compassion, nor less great because of the barbarism.) The arising of any response toward the witnessing of these actions (or taking action) is also not a problem, and shouldn't be made into one. One either takes action (i.e. does something) or they do not; there is no point to create a problem mentally in either situation which is simply energetic inefficiency at best, and at worst leads to the same mentality as those "perpetrators". There is infinite room for energetic expressions within the "no problem" view, so we are speaking more to the inner actualities than the specific forms (for example: it is often said that aggression perpetuates itself, but aggression [via naked wrathful expression] can also be very efficient and required). Tantrics are a bit unique because they are willing to meddle (i.e. bring to bear), but the meddling takes place with the realized view that recognizes "no problem"; this should be meddling without entanglement. If an action is taken, then it should lack expectation and the fruits of the action should be renounced; if the action was taken with the correct view, then there is nothing to renounce.

Expectation is the mother of all "problem" since expectations generally are not in line with Reality (What IS). One can have a high standard, but ones sharp Awareness (NO Problems) should vigilantly cut the seeds of expectation. The sadhana should be done without expectation because one sits as completion. What obstacle could arise? If Shiva and Kali come before you and tell you that you fucked up, still don't move from this completion. "I have (Big I) already won, you just may not know it yet" should be the sentiment even as it applies to ones own inner processes. If "problem" people attempt to entangle you in their delusions, then become a cold blooded assassin; there is no end to it otherwise, and while they likely will not get the point, they certainly will not get it by stroking their ignorance.

The majority of correspondence that we receive is related to some "problem". We are not talking about life or death, but mainly material concerns about making some poor sap their spouse, making more money (better job), or taking action against those who have wronged them (usually family members). The person is usually quite desperate to solve that "problem", and one can only think what they could be if the energy and urgency were put toward self discovery instead. The perspective is always small however because they are unable to step back from the drama of their life. One can look at anothers problem with great dispassion; when it comes to themselves, they loose this view. Can we not see that the master is "I" and it is the direct relation that person or event has to this that determines its importance? His Mom dies, "shit happens." Your Mom dies, it is "Truly terrible...God must hate us." A teacher once said that you can either embrace All of it or None of it, but you must do so completely. In Tantra, we go a step further and do both (through the mudra of Union).

The spiritually inclined are often more naive and superstitious in ways that don't except "What IS" (Reality). It can be a rough world we live in, so one should understand this and except it. If the tendency arises to change things, then this should also be excepted, but not naively. Everyone who passes through takes their lumps, and spirituality does not exempt one from this. Moreover, every difficulty that arises is not some sign that you have failed; rather it is just the common condition of life. One on the path may have to endure more challenges and obstacles, and while peace (in so far as it shines from the natural state) is a good condition for deeper reflection, it is not the goal itself. One should be willing to take war and an ass kicking (over peace) if that leads to Truth. One should not blame divine forces for difficulties and this tendency shows a lack of understanding about the way life moves. To blame the Devata (or Guru, etc.) is to view them as entities and to view oneself as a separate entity. Devata is not personal entity and the ethic (i.e. laws) of the movement of embodiment cannot simply be viewed from the human model (sentiment, ethic etc.). Much misunderstanding of certain rituals is precisely because people cannot see there way past human centric ethics and human sentimental perspectives. It is important to lose the impulses of the naive and superstitious, in order to truly come into the very raw state of No Problem. There are no special exemptions from the harshness of life, so one needs to come to a mature understanding. It is the view that meets these challenges that determine whether it is a "problem" or no problem.

Everything is already done. The nature of time itself is impossible to pin down, and the nature that is Perfection is all pervasive. People don't see "no problem" because it is too close; once it is realized, one sees that it has always been so.

Jai Ma! (edited by Jayanta... Photo of Jagu Baba Aghori by Kohinoor Roy)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fearlessness Humor

To be free from fear is a great relief and one usually doesn't realize the weight that was being carried until it is gone. Being fearless does not mean that the response of anxiety or primal responses of physiology cease, but rather that one meets those responses without fear. Moreover, when the subject in the experiential equation is realized to be transparent, any phenomenon which arises lacks a place to "land". It is also realized that any object that arises is also transparent, and it is the transcendence of the subject and object relation which opens the pathway of true fearlessness. This does not make one ignorant nor naive to the workings of material existence, nor beholden to the semantic boxes (as dogmas) which express this wisdom. So there remains a pragmatic relationship to the rules and realities (i.e. laws) of this manifest life.

The beauty of fully engaging with the Tantra Vidya is that everything falls into place. There are tons of challenges on the path and a sadhak takes his/her lumps, but if one is persistent in the sadhana then certain "qualities" such as fearlessness arise. This means that fearlessness arises without contemplating, contrivance, or any aspiring towards. Often, the more psychological approach just leads to a dog chasing its tail or never ending "complexity" (which may be mistaken for subtlety). So the tantric approach is much more interested in result then in belaboring reasons, whys, and wherefores. Never the less, it can be instructive and lead to transmutation to meet fear (or other emotion, trauma, etc.) in the light of naked awareness. In this sadhana, one does not engage in the "story" surrounding a reaction but only the energy undefined. If this "meeting" takes place fully then the energy may reveal itself to be liberated (or continually liberated as it arises).

Fear can either be approached via the meditation which transcends subject/object or via naked engagement with the energy of the root fears. The root fears can take many conceptual images, but they seem to mainly boil down to two aspects which encompass many tangents. Firstly and most obviously is issues surrounding Death, Impermanence, and the many implications inherent in these Truths. (One can read the blog post entitled "Yama's Gate" for more on this subject). There is also a root fear which may be related to Death and Impermanence, but is sort of has its "own place" and is difficult to pin down. It can best be described as a deep and fundamental feeling/anxiety that "something is wrong" or "I've done something wrong". The feeling/anxiety is "prior" to any specific "wrong" or specific something "I've done wrong", so it is a nagging suspicion. It is a useful exercise to see if this lurks and to bring it to the light of Reality. If it remains uncovered, then one will never have full confidence, will continue to harbor doubt, and may sabotage the highest aims of the heart. The undifferentiated consciousness which is the undivided true awareness assumes kilakas (nail/pins) in order to manifest as apparent individuated entity and getting in touch with these root "issues" lets one "see" where these nails "reside". Meeting these "places" in pure awareness acts as an utkilak (utkilana)which releases the trapped energy/awareness. Those who have encountered this kind of grace feel the release of burden and a wave of joy.

While the root fears remain implicit in the various manifestations of other fears, a large percentage (of "other fears") can be labeled social fears. Of course there are many different elements (situational or otherwise) which can be pointed to, but fundamentally they boil down to the need to be liked or being concerned how others view you (or a particular aspect/action). Most people claim that they don't care how other view them, but it usually contains the hint of a defensive affirmation. To truly be fearless in this regard is to open the potential for skillful action, so it is a mature realization rather then that of a hurt pouting fourteen year old. While this type of social fearlessness cannot just be affirmed, there is a level of deep intention which can certainly have effect. It is particularly instructive to pay attention to ones own projections, as one who doesn't project toward others is not inclined to assume or be fearful of others projections toward themselves. Mainly, people are too busy thinking about themselves and how other view them to be thinking much on you anyway. One should also examine thought to the degree that it is recognized to be transient and without substance. One cannot remain afraid of thought ("theirs" or "others") when this awareness becomes firm. Aghoris sometimes go to the extremes when defeating the impulse by intentionally courting disfavor, yet the actuality of the view matters more than any means. Not caring how others view you does not mean that you cannot care about them, nor does it impede compassionate action. Indeed, compassionate action is limited by concern over appearance. Is one willing to take skillful action which will make them look bad?

To engage fearlessly in this life is to engage with humor. One cannot engage with the magnitude of Reality without coming to humor, nor can one just engaged with that vastness without realizing the humor of peoples hang ups and pettiness (including their "own" when it presents). To move on this earth in fearless humor is to move with suppleness and skill. To embody the Ishta Devata is to become fearless and to engage with the pitha of life expression is humor. To succeed in the Vidya one must be deadly serious, and to be deadly serious one must have a sense of humor. The humor of Tantrics has an edge like a razor blade, and the fearless demonstration of it is a display of innate victory.