Inner Seed Of Human Evolution"Some scholars and mystics have claimed that there is a common base to all mystical experience: 'All mystics', said Saint-Martin, 'speak the same language and come from the same country.' Throughout recorded history men and women known as mystics have experienced a certainty about the nature of reality, about the place of human beings and other sentient creatures in that reality, and a perspective on everyday mundane life, that seems to bear a remarkable similarity from culture to culture, from century to another. It is as if they experience that the soul, the Higher Self, in communion with the Absolute, God, Divinity, can be a greater, higher, more inward reality than the personality living in the living world."- Jean Hardy
(Photo taken during a puja at
Robert McNeil's home in Val David,
What then is this moksa or liberation or salvation that all the scriptures promise?
According to Mircea Eliade, the"spiritual freedom experienced by those who are released from the fetters of desires and attachments to worldly things is called Liberation, (Skt. moksha). It is an inner experience of freedom that can be present regardless of the person's external circumstances: the saint is free even in prison, while people with all worldly opportunities and unlimited wealth may be caught in dire bondage. The Christian scriptures speak of a comparable experience of Christian liberty that gives the believer an unlimited sense of freedom to live according to the spirit of Christ independent of external custom or constraint. Naturally, people should have the opportunity to realize the fruits of their spiritual liberation in a free society; inner freedom engenders and is completed through external freedom."3
Liberation from suffering is the goal of all Indian philosophies and techniques of meditation. No knowledge has any value if it does not pursue the salvation of man. The Svetasvatara Up. 1.12 states that except for the Eternal that resides in the Self , nothing else is worth knowing. According to Chandogya Upanishad 7.25.2"The Self, indeed, is below. It is above. It is behind. It is before. It is to the south. It is to the north. The Self, indeed, is all this. Verily, he who sees this, reflects on this, and understands this delights in the Self, sports with the Self, rejoices in the Self, revels in the Self. Even while living in the body he becomes a self-ruler. He wields unlimited freedom in all the worlds. But those who think differently from this have others for their rulers; they live in perishable worlds. They have no freedom at all in the worlds."
"Salvation involves transcending the human condition ... it employs images of deliverance from bonds and of tearing the veil, or of awakening, remembering, and so forth ... only one Being — brahman — exists, and when the sage, by meditation of yogic type, experientially grasps his own atman, he awakens in the light and the bliss of an eternal present."4
And why are many unaware of this Primordial Mother who grants final liberation from mundane earthly existence? Prof. Norman Brown of the University of Pennsylvania is of the opinion that the"reason why we do not hear of her sooner doubtless is that the Great Mother Goddess is not Aryan in origin and was late in getting Brahmanic recognition. She is quite different from any of the female deities in the Rig Veda ... The Great Mother Goddess is widely worshipped in India today in non-Aryan circles."
In ancient Middle Eastern religions the Great Mother Goddess was"The great symbol of the earth's fertility. She was worshipped under many names and attributes. Similar figures have been known in every part of the world. Essentially she was represented as the creative force in all nature, The Mother of all things, responsible particularly for the periodic renewal of life... . Although the Great Mother was the dominant figure in ancient Middle Eastern religions, she was also worshiped in Greece, Rome, and W Asia. In Phrygia and Lydia she was known as Cybele; among the Babylonians and Assyrians she was identified as Ishtar; in Syria and Palestine she appeared as Astarte; among the Egyptians she was called Isis; in Greece she was variously worshiped as Gaea, Hera, Rhea, Aphrodite, and Demeter; and in Rome she was identified as Maia, Ops, Tellus, and Ceres. Even this listing, however, is by no means complete. Many attributes of the Virgin Mary make her the Christian equivalent of the Great Mother, particularly in her great beneficence, in her double image as mother and virgin, and in her son, who is God and who dies and is resurrected."5
The Great Mother Goddess's human and maternal qualities continue to define Her for most of her devotees to this day. In human relationships, the love between mother and child is usually considered the purest and strongest. In the same way, the love between The Mother Goddess and her human children is considered the closest and most tender of relationships.
The Great Primordial Mother teaches us that pain, sorrow, decay, death, and destruction are not overcome by denying them or explaining them away. Pain and sorrow are woven into the texture of our lives and to deny them is futile. For us to realize the fullness of our being, we must accept this dimension of existence. Her gift is freedom, the freedom of a child to revel in this moment. The Adi Shakti is worshipped not because she protects them from the way things really are but because she reveals to them their mortality and thus releases them to act fully and freely, releases them from the blinding, binding web of maya (illusion) that keeps humanity in endless cycles of death, decay and delusion.
But before we proceed further, a question: What is Kundalini?"Long rumored to be among the most rare of human experiences, in the past several decades, the incidence of reported Kundalini awakening has been on the increase worldwide. Kundalini awakening manifests on multiple levels."Brought up through the body, this power promotes healing and longevity," writes transpersonal psychologist Ralph Metzner;"raised to the throat and head, it stimulates creativity and intuition."... The radical restructuring of the psyche catalyzed by Kundalini leads to a state which Metzner says"has been variously referred to as mystical experience, ecstasy, cosmic consciousness, oceanic feeling, oneness, transcendence, union with God, nirvana, satori, liberation, peak experience, and by other names."...
In his book The Soul's Journey, Lawrence Edwards, Ph.D.—a transpersonal psychologist who has experienced Kundalini—writes: "Even within the most bound forms of the physical realm the full power and presence of God, of Divine Consciousness, are present. The release of that bound energy is like the release of the potential energy bound in matter that suddenly results in the extraordinary power and light of nuclear reactions. The awakening of the Kundalini is the release of the bound Power and Light of God present within the human form."
Particularly in New Age circles, Kundalini proponents hold out promises of bliss, inner peace, mystical odysseys, psychic power and self-transcendence. While this is true, the journey also entails what transpersonal psychologist Bonnie Greenwell, Ph.D., describes as.".. elements of human transformation that uproot us to the core, and cause us to 'know' that we have been touched by powers greater than ourselves."6
Daniel Coleman in The Meditative Mind states that Kundalini"Is a huge reserve of spiritual energy located at the base of the spine. When aroused, Kundalini travels up the spine through six centers, or"chakras," reaching the seventh at the top of the head ... Most people much of the time are motivated by mental states in which these first three chakras are active. Kundalini yoga aims to bring this energy up to the higher chakras, just as Kabbalah seeks to raise consciousness to higher planes ... When it reaches his seventh chakra and stabilizes there, he feels a state of intense ecstasy and union with God. He is considered liberated, free of bondage to those habits and acts stemming from the lower chakras by which most men are bound."7
According to J. G. Beltzer, kundalini is"A concentrated field of intelligent, cosmic invisible energy absolutely vital to life; beginning in the base of the spine as a man or woman begins to evolve in their first incarnation; fed by the chakras along the spine and by the cosmic energy entering through the feet from the Earth; as wisdom is earned in each incarnation, this electromagnetic, ultrapotent energy moves slowly upward through the spine; it is directed by the speed of the soul mind as the soul-mind meets the requirements of each chakra, according to the needs and thinking of the individual; eventually this energy is unspiralled through the medulla oblongata, pituitary gland, pineal gland and through the crown chakra to unite with the silver cord; one will ascend to the higher realms to finish evolutionary cycle; kundalini is feminine polarity in nature."8
AUSPICIOUS AND TERRIBLE FORMS
"Another important feature of Mahadevi mythology and theology is the insistence that she assumes both benign and terrible forms. Most texts extolling the Devi are preoccupied with her benign and auspicious forms, but many texts affirm that she has several manifestations that are dreadful, dangerous, or bloodthirsty. In the Devi-bhagavata-purana (7.33.21-56), in a passage reminiscent of the scene in the Bhagavad-gita when Arjuna asks to see Krsna's cosmic form, the gods ask the Devi for a glimpse of her universal form. She obliges, and the gods are stunned and terrified by what they behold. She assumes a form having thousands of heads, eyes, and feet. Her entire body blazes with fierce, destructive flames, and her teeth make horrible grinding noises. Her eyes blaze with flames brighter than millions of suns, and the gods tremble as they see her consume the universes. They plead with her to resume her gentle form, which she does, reappearing as a beautiful woman with a soft and gentle body and a smiling face. The Kurma-purana describes the Devi, who is identified primarily with Parvati, as showing her cosmic form to Himavat. She blazes brightly, has dreadful teeth, wears a tiger skin, is armed with many weapons, and is of terrible form. When Himavat trembles with fear at her sight, she changes her appearance, presenting herself to him in her beautiful, tranquil, approachable form (11.67-73, 214-217). The Mahanirvana-tantra describes her as drenched in blood from grinding up the world at the time of dissolution; the next verse says that she protects all beings, dispels fear, and grants blessings (13.9-10).
Many epithets in the Lalita-sahasranama emphasize the Devi's graciousness, and her physical appearance from head to toe is described as surpassingly beautiful (13-51). Other names, however, suggest a destructive side to her nature: she who is seated on a throne of five corpses (Pancapretasanasina), 249), the terrible one (Bhairavi, 276), she who destroys (Samharini, 268), she who has flaming tusks (Damstrojjvala, 488), she who is a great devourer (Mahagrasa, 752), she who is a great eater (Mahasana, 753), and she who is wrathful (Pracanda, 827). The Devi is also referred to by names that suggest her thirst for intoxicants: she who is drunk with the wine of dates (Varunimadavihvala, 333), she whose eyes roll about from drinking wine (Madaghurnitaraktaksi, 432), and she who is fond of wine (Madhuprita, 510). Other names suggest that the Devi is mad: she who is mad, or drunk (Matta, 576), or causes madness or bewilderment, she who bewilders all (Sarvamohini, 703).
The Aryastava, hymn to the Devi in the Harivamsa, similarly juxtaposes the Devi's auspicious and terrible characters. She is said to be success itself (siddhi), life (jivanam), victory (vijaya), mercy, nourishment and many other auspicious things. She is also described as the night of death (Kalaratri), she who is fond of violence and quarrelling (Kalahapriya), she who is death (Nistha), she who is fond of offerings of meat and wine (Suramangsabalipriya).
Before reflecting on the meaning of the juxtaposition of the Devi's auspicious and terrifying aspects, it may be helpful to clarify what the two facets of the Devi are. The Devi's auspicious aspect is manifest in several of the goddesses we have already discussed: Laksmi, Parvati, Sati, and Prthivi. In these and other forms she displays positive roles: fertility, the protection and establishment of dharmic order, cultural creativity, wifely duty, and material abundance. Three other roles are also important in connection with the Devi's auspicious forms: (1) her role as granter of wisdom, learning, and liberation, (2) her role as the embodiment of female beauty and the exciter of desire, and (3) her role as the source of food and nourishment.
In the Aryastava she is called liberation (mukti), she who speaks of the knowledge of brahman, and she who is the knowledge of brahman. A hymn addressed to the Devi in the Mahabharata calls her liberation and knowledge of brahman as well as mother of the Vedas. Another hymn of the Mahabharata calls her intelligence and knowledge and says she destroys ignorance and all of mankind's fetters. In the Lalita-sahasranama she is called she who is great intelligence (Mahabuddhi, 223), she whose form is a mass of knowledge (Vijnanabhanarupini, 253), she who is wisdom itself (Prajnatmika, 261), she who releases creatures from bondage (Pasupasavimocini, 354), she who removes darkness (Tamopaha, 361), intelligence (Mati, 445), she who removes bonds (Bandhamocani, 546), knowledge (Vidya, 549), she who is knowledge of the atman (Atmavidya, 583), she who is great and auspicious knowledge (Mahavidya and Srividya, 584 and 585), she whose form is the guru (Gurumurti, 603), she who bestows knowledge (Jnanada, 643), she who gives salvation (Muktida, 736), she who bestows heaven and liberation (Svargapavargada, 764), she whose form is truth, wisdom, and bliss (Satyajnananandarupini, 791), she who brings peace to people consumed by birth, death, and decrepitude (Janmamrtyujarataptajanavisrantidayini, 851), she who removes all misfortune (Sarvapadivinivarini, 913), and she who is the lamp that dispels the darkness of ignorance (Ajnanadhvantadipika, 993).
In many ways the Devi assumes the role and displays the characteristics of Sarasvati as the granter of wisdom and learning. She is associated with practical knowledge and civilization in general. The Devi in this aspect is not a goddess revealed in nature but a goddess associated with culture. Her association with spiritual knowledge, wisdom, and liberation also makes the point that the Devi transcends the world she creates, that she not only underlies the world and its creator but is the means to transcend the world, which is the ultimate spiritual goal in Hinduism.
Hindu goddesses: visions of the divine feminine in the Hindu religious tradition
David R. Kinsley, University of California Press; 1 edition (July 19, 1988) , Pages 139-41
"The Kundalini, the residual Divine Power, resides in the triangular bone in the base of the spine. It is the germinating Power of the seed of your being. This seed sprouts through Sahaja Yoga. I am like the Gardener who pours some water on the seeds, which He had planted in His garden. At first, only a few flowers come up, but at the time of the blossoming the phenomenon of en masse Self-Realization is manifested. This Divine Love that I pour is your own right for this is the culminating point of the human evolution which has been promised in the scriptures."
Shri Mata Devi
(Mata [1 st]: 'Sacred Mother'—She is a Mother who not only gives every good thing that a loving mother gives to her child but also the Highest Knowledge, the Brahma Vidya to Her devotees.)
"All religions have promised Inner Silence when you reach the state of Self-Realization, the inner miracle of the subtle awareness and not gross jugglery. The Gita says that you become the witness of the Play of Divine. Many modern thinkers are also talking about the new awareness. We hear of many prophecies made by ancient and modern writers about the evolution of a new race of super human beings of unique awareness.
These are no more empty words. Through the discovery of Sahaja Yoga it is possible to achieve the transformation of the human consciousness to higher planes promised by the various seers."
Sri Janma-mrtyu-jara-tapta-jana-visranti-dayani Devi
(Janma-mrtyu-jara-tapta-jana-visranti-dayani (851st): To those devotees who are consumed by the evils of life, death, and old age, She is the harbinger of peace and solace by endowing them with true knowledge of their selves.)
"If doctrine is not related to human experience it will inevitably become marginal in the lives of believers. Further, doctrine must be able to evoke religious experience in a way that opens up the individual to the ever present gracious mystery of God. A sign of sound doctrine is its ability to communicate some aspect of the inexhaustible reality of God. A close interplay should obtain between theological doctrine and religious experience....
There can be no divine revelation without the response of faith which receives it, and there can be no faith without the grace of God's revelation which draws forth faith in us... . revelation, if it is to be genuine, involves a process of conversion for the recipient. Contact with God changes the individual...
The revelation of God to us is always addressed to human self-consciousness and as such draws human self-consciousness out of its lonely estrangement into a new liberating communion with God... . It is only in and through the revelation of God that we become truly conscious of ourselves, our origin and our destiny."
Lane, The Experience of God, p. 21-34
"We find ourselves, I believe, in the midst of the most massive shift of perspective that humankind has ever known. We are living in a time — and I see this all over the world — in which our very nature is in transition. The scope of change is calling for patterns and potentials in the human brain that, as far as I know, were never needed before. Knowings that were relegated to the unconscious are becoming conscious, and experiences that belonged to extraordinary reality are becoming ordinary.
Our potentials are no longer limited by place and culture. In this developing hybrid world, capacities and perspectives that were once nurtured in separate societies are now available to the entire human family. To me this is a stupendous happening as important as the discovery of new continents during the time of the great sea journeys. For the first time in human history, because of communication, the genius of the human race is available for everyone to harvest.
I think the holistic movement has become more global in its concerns. And I think the threshold of the millennium has, if anything, accelerated and intensified the need to recognize that we are stewards in this biological and evolutionary process and, by God, we'd better be up to the task."
Codirector of the Foundation for Mind Research in Pomona, NY,
New Age November/December 1999
"Some scholars and mystics have claimed that there is a common base to all mystical experience: 'All mystics', said Saint-Martin, 'speak the same language and come from the same country.' Throughout recorded history men and women known as mystics have experienced a certainty about the nature of reality, about the place of human beings and other sentient creatures in that reality, and a perspective on everyday mundane life, that seems to bear a remarkable similarity from culture to culture, from century to another. It is as if they experience that the soul, the Higher Self, in communion with the Absolute, God, Divinity, can be a greater, higher, more inward reality than the personality living in the living world. The greater reality suffuses the lesser and alters it beyond recognition. 'The infinite shines through the finite and makes it more and not less real.' This is not a doctrine, a dogma learned through a church or established religion, but a personal experience, an inner knowing, which lies at the root of all religious doctrines and is prior to them."
Jean Hardy, A Psychology with a Soul
Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., 1987, p. 109
" "Adi Shakti"means"The First Energy." According to the Hindu tradition, the only major religious tradition in the world in which Goddess worship has survived to the present day, Feminine Divinity is associated with creation, manifestation and power: In other words, Life itself....
She manifests through the five tattvas or elements of earth, water, fire, air and space, and the seven chakras of the universal psychic body as depicted within the Hindu Tantras, which add to the five elements the qualities of space and time. This evolution culminates in a fully embodied conscious awareness which gives rise to the illusory nature of the phenomenal and dualistic world. Therefore the evolution of the Goddess depicted here represents, on another level, the ongoing physical, mental, and spiritual unfolding of consciousness within every man and woman."
Roxanne K. Gupta, Ph.D,
Adi Shakti: Dawn of the First Goddess
"within the ancient world, the serpent (like its larger cousin, the dragon) had long been representative of the adept, of his powers of immortality and"divine"knowledge. Every culture of antiquity with the exception of the Christian revered this symbol. Christianity elected to forget the brazen serpent of Moses (Numbers 21:7-9), which God instructed the patriarch to make so that those who had been bitten by snakes might look upon the brass serpent and live. Jesus himself implied the great wisdom and prudence symbolized by the serpent when he said," Be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as doves" (Matthew 10:16.) In fact, throughout archaic literature, the usual mythological association of the serpent is not with deceit and corruption, as in Genesis, but with physical and spiritual well-being and enlightenment."
Rosalyn L. Bruyere, Wheels of Light
"The Bible speaks of the Second Coming of Christ, of a millennium of peace that comes when Jesus returns anew and all of us join together universally. The time is at hand. Christ is coming, but not physically, spiritually. The Bible spoke in many metaphors. The Spirit of Christ is what comes now in our souls, in our awakened spirituality. The cosmic inner Christ is coming. It is time to realize that we are all the"children of God," and that the"Son of God"came to show us the way to unite with that divine universal spirit."
Walter Mercado, Beyond The Horizon: Visions of the New Millennium
A Time Warner Company, 1997 p. 108
1. Maharajni [2nd]: The Great Empress. In this name the second act of Her, 'Sthiti' is indicated. 'Yena Jatani Jivanti': By whom all creatures live — Taittiriya Upanisad 3.1. She, who rules the entire Universe and, is its law and its execution. Every law or truth that man discovers is just a glimpse of that great will or law of that Great Empress. Sri Lalita Sahasranama, C. Suryanarayana Murthy, Associated Advertisers and Printers, 1989
2. Sarvaruna [50th]: From head to foot She is faultlessly beautiful. Sri Lalita Sahasranama, C. Suryanarayana Murthy, Associated Advertisers and Printers, 1989
3. Mircea Eliade, A History of Religious Ideas 2, The University of Chicago Press, 1985, p. 52.
4. World Scripture, International Religious Foundation, Paragon House Publishing, 1995, p. 377
5. Great Mother Goddess [http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia.html]
6. El Collie, http://members.aol.com
7. Daniel Coleman, The Meditative Mind, G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1988, p. 77-78
8. June G. Beltzer, Ph.D., The Donning International Encyclopedic Psychic Dictionary, p. 343
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