The Vertical Eye
The Vertical Eye
By Neeti Tandon
"There is no eye equal to wisdom, no darkness equal to ignorance, no power equal to the power of the spirit, and no terror equal to the poverty of consciousness" - Talmud of Immanuel
Vision is perhaps the greatest gift to humans. The term vision is not merely restricted to the 'act of seeing' but also implies perception and interpretation by the brain. Vision, therefore implies the faculty of sufficient knowledge to interpret things in the right perspective. For example, initially though a baby can see all objects but cannot identify them due to lack of understanding. Gradually the learning process enables him/her to perceive, identify and visualize things. What we see with the eyes is passed on as electrical signals to the brain and it is the interpretation by the brain that is more important. Similarly, a developed mind has the eye of Inner consciousness or 'The Vertical Eye', which enables us to see within. It symbolizes a vision of ones own self and surroundings. For true vision, the inner eye also needs to be developed through awareness, consciousness and understanding of our inner self.
The Logo for SPIC MACAY, the 'Vertical eye' has perhaps been derived from the Third Eye of Lord Shiva, which symbolises the inner strength and awakening. As a new and enthusiastic Spicmacayite I was inquisitive about the logo and its significance. So far my awareness about the Third Eye of Lord Shiva was limited to the fact that whenever the Vertical eye opens it brings destruction to the world. It is said that across the third eye in Shiva's forehead are three stripes of ash, signifying the destruction caused. Relating the third eye, SPIC MACAY logo to destruction was ironical and definitely unacceptable.
Study and guidance from seniors made me realize that it was in fact my ignorance regarding our culture and mythology that I was unable to see beyond this irony. In the great Hindu Epic-Mahabharata, the legend of how Shiva got his third eye is narrated as follows. One day his beautiful consort Parvati, stealthily went behind Lord Shiva and playfully placed her hands over his eyes. Suddenly darkness engulfed the whole world and all beings trembled in great fear as the lord of the universe had closed his eyes. Suddenly a massive tongue of flame leapt from the forehead of Shiva; a third eye had appeared there to give light to the world.
In 'Sri Shiva Tattva' this eye is described as The Frontal Eye or Eye of Fire, it is the eye of Higher perception. It looks mainly inward but whenever it looks outward, it burns all that appears before it. It is from the glance of the third eye that periodical destruction takes place in the universe.
This tale from the Mahabharata undoubtedly reflects SPIC MACAY's ethos, and convinced me slightly but I still remained sceptical. I could not completely justify the destruction caused by the same Eye that we say is meant to light the world? Through further enquiry I realised that there was more to the Third Eye than just mythological tales and also found my clarifications.
The Vertical Eye, also called the Agna Chakra according to Psychedelic Yoga or Buddhi -The sixth yogic chakra is the focus of energies for our body. A stronger Agna Chakra provides a sense of direction to these energies. The Third Eye metaphorically symbolizes the totality of our Inner senses. The word Rishi means a seer, who sees the Great Beyond through the 'Third Eye'. He sees in to all the causes behind all the effects, manifested in our particular plane of Being. Hence Acquisition of the Third Eye is the singular goal of all Advanced souls.
We usually experience our past lives/future by activating our Third Eye or Agna Chakra, which represents Enlightenment. Experiencing our past lives and dropping the past and reaching a higher understanding is a giant step towards ones Enlightenment. Buddha had experienced 643 past lives before his enlightenment and told as Jataka Tales.
Another example is that of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva according to Hindu mythology is the 'Destroyer' whose purpose is to destroy in order recreate. The focussed energy through the vertical eye is therefore used for destructive purposes also but it would be incorrect to say that the vertical eye is the cause for destruction. The purpose or use of the focussed energy is equally important but has to be defined separately. Lord Shiva's vertical eye is, therefore the perfect example of inner strength, awakening and focus of energy, which is so strong that it can enlighten the world and destroy it as well. The Agna Chakra is the means of enlightenment and focus of energy, which would be useful in achieving one's sole purpose in life.
The Physiological impact of the Agna centre is to energize the pineal gland which when open, becomes the organ of clairvoyance and higher vision, scientific reasoning, will and philosophical thought. The sixth centre having its seat in the region between the eyebrow sand is related to our life force. It is linked with the pituitary gland and the sub-cortical areas of the brain. This centre controls the sensual activities. The 'Third Eye' is an addition to the sensual perceptions and abilities. Hence, it is called the intellectual point to control the senses. Development of the chakra awakens the ability to see and regulate astral and mental forces on the super-physical level.
If you divide the brain into three parts, the front part is the intellectual part, having control over the sense organs. The middle part is the lobe of wisdom, the function of which is to increase and transform human material consciousness to God consciousness. The rear part is the lobe of universal secrets. It is also connected with the Pineal gland and, therefore, the universal secrets are revealed. Strengthening the Agna chakra shall hence lead to enlightenment through activation of the pineal gland.
It is also interesting to note that the Great Indian Forehead Decoration of 'Bindis' also have significance that can be related to the Agna Chakra. The area between the eyebrows, where Bindis are placed, known as the 'gna' meaning 'command', is the seat of concealed wisdom. It is the centre point wherein all experience is gathered in a concentrated manner. According to the tantric cult, when during meditation the latent energy ('kundalini') rises from the base of the spine towards the head, this 'gna' is the probable outlet for this potent energy. The red 'kumkum' between the eyebrows is said to retain energy in the human body and control various levels of concentration also symbolising auspiciousness and good fortune."
The Vertical Eye
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