08 March, 2014

Shiva Trilochana - the Three-eyed One

"Shiva is Trilochana, the three-eyed One. The third eye is the eye of wisdom. The other two represent love and justice." (Swami Tejomayananda)
Photo from Hubble spacecraft

"Every subatomic particle is an energy dance; pulsating process of creation and destruction... without end... For the modern physicists, then Shiva's dance is the dance of subatomic matter." (Fritjof Capra)

"Shiva is the ultimate outlaw. You can't worship him, but you are welcome to join the gang...

"Shiva has such an impossible character; all contradictions included. In acceptance of this character one will have no issue with anyone in the world including oneself. The idea is to show divinity as all inclusive, no one against the other, as in identifying good and bad we also divide the world and make the ultimate union unattainable...

When we say 'Shiva', there are two fundamental aspects that we are referring to. The word 'Shiva' literally means 'that which is not'. Today, science is proving to us that everything comes from nothing and goes back to nothing. The basis of existence and the fundamental quality of the cosmos is vast nothingness... At another level, when we say 'Shiva', we are referring to the Adiyogi or first yogi, who is the bases of yogic science. Yoga does not mean standing on your head or holding your breath. Yoga is the science and technology to know the essential nature of how this life is created and how it can be taken to its ultimate possibility...

This being who is a yogi and that non-being which is the basis of existence are the same, because a yogi is someone who has experienced the ultimate union -- who has experienced existence as himself. To contain the existence within you even for a moment as an experience, you have to be that nothingness. Something can never hold everything. Only nothingness can hold everything. When we talk about Shiva as 'that which is not', and Shiva as a yogi, in a way they are synonymous, yet they are two different aspects. India is a dialectical culture, so we shift from one aspect to another effortlessly..."

--Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev

From The Speaking Tree, The Times of India

13 January, 2014

10 Yamas & 10 Niyamas

Happy new year!

I thought I would share an updated version of the Yamas-Niyamas which I was happy to see included compassion, faith, patience and generosity. The yamas and niyamas are the ethical foundation of Yoga. In Patanjali's Yogasutras (which is an important study for many a yoga teacher), the list is 5 of each, but in the much older Varuha Upanishads, Gorakshanatha's Hatha Yoga Pradipika and Tirumular's Tirumantiram there are 10 of each referred to.

The 10 Yamas - ethical restraints

1) Ahimsa - "Non-injury": Not harming others by thought word or deed.
2) Satya - "Truthfulness": Refraining from lying and betraying promises.
3) Asteya - "Nonstealing": Neither stealing, nor coveting, nor entering into debt.
4) Brahmacharya - "Divine conduct": Controlling lust by remaining celibate when single, leading to faithfulness in marriage. The proper use of sexual energy.
5) Kshama - "Patience": Restraining intolerance with people and impatience with circumstances.
6) Dhriti - "Steadfastness": Overcoming non-perseverance, fear, indecision and changeability.
7) Daya - "Compassion": Conquering callous, cruel and insensitive feelings toward all other beings.
8) Arjava - "Honesty, straightforwardness": Renouncing deception and wrong-doing.
9) Mitahara - "Moderate appetite": Neither eating too much nor consuming meat, fish, fowl, eggs.
10) Saucha - "Purity": Avoiding impurity in body, mind and speech.

The 10 Niyamas - ethical practices

1) Hri - "Remorse": Being modest and showing shame for misdeeds.
2) Santosha - "Contentment": Seeking joy and serenity in life.
3) Dana - "Giving": Giving generously without thought of reward.
4) Astikya - "Faith": Believing firmly in God, Gods, guru and the path to enlightenment.
5) Isvarapujana -"Worship of the Lord": The cultivation of devotion through daily worship and meditation.
6) Siddhanta sravana - "Scriptural listening": Studying the teachings and listening to the wise of one's lineage.
7) Mati - "Cognition": Developing a spiritual will and intellect with the guru's guidance.
8) Vrata - "Sacred vows": Fulfilling religious vows, rules and observances faithfully.
9) Japa - "Recitation": Chanting mantras daily.
10) Tapas - "Austerity": Performing sadhana, penance, tapas and sacrifice.

In Patanjali's more recent work, his list of yamas include ahimsa, satya, asteya, brahmacharya and aparigraha (non-covetousness), and his list of niyamas include saucha, santosha, tapas, svadhyaya (self-reflection, scriptural study), Isvarapranidhana (worship).

For the most part, I have kept the language found in Dancing with Siva, written by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami in 1996, which reflects more purely than I could the culture and time in which the original works were written -- or, at least the culture.

Ann Moradian

22 December, 2013

Happy Holiday Season!

Photo © Ann Moradian 2012.

The days begin to lengthen again, today.
Light your candles. Warm your heart-fire. Hibernate if you can.
And enjoy the magic of each moment that is life!