Soma and Agni

Fire by Shan Sheehan

Agni is the cosmic fire described in the ancient Rig Veda. It is the first word of the first verse, the force that causes the world to come into being, the outward stroke. Agni has also been associated with the light of consciousness and the sense of sight. It is the digestive fire. It is sometimes represented by the sun and with the masculine. Soma or nectar is the softener and refiner, it is the ocean of the Divine Mother’s milk that draws us within, the inward stroke. The moon is sometimes called soma, and it’s affiliated with the feminine. … Continue Reading…

The Power of Mantra

Tibetan Buddhist Prayer Wheel by Jay Galvin

Back on Transcending, I explored right mantra for a meditation practice. I’ve also talked about the language of mantra and how they’re often used. Yet there is a much deeper understanding about mantra that’s largely been lost. But first, some background. People talk today about choosing mantras like they’d choose a chocolate. On Transcending I mentioned the importance of proper instruction so the seed is properly planted and we can connect with the tradition of masters for long-term support. To understand this more, we can go back to fundamentals. Consciousness arises from three fundamental Divine qualities: alertness, liveliness and intelligence. … Continue Reading…

Awareness of Becoming

Becoming! by Janice Marie Foote

A reader asked me to comment further about the field of becoming where manifestation first begins. From the larger context of this blog, there is pure Divinity, the source of the source. The afterglow of Divinity is Brahman. In Brahman, the first Shakti’s express as alertness, liveliness, and intelligence. When liveliness stirs alertness, it becomes conscious, then becomes self-aware and self-interactive. Alive self-aware consciousness is often considered the source. It is the beginning of becoming and the first kosha or “sheath.” It’s self-interaction creates the subtle space of creation. But this space of consciousness is still too abstract for manifestation. … Continue Reading…

Roles of a Teacher

Teacher by Valerie Everett

By role of a teacher here, I mean the role they play in our spiritual journey rather than how they may position or present themselves as a teacher. A true teaching emphasizes practical application and direct experience, with the understanding to support that. If it’s just philosophy, it may only make the mind stronger. Understanding should be to serve the path, not be the path. (Yes, Gyani‘s have an emphasis on understanding, but direct experience is still the core path. Otherwise, it’s just mind.) For someone to have the role of a spiritual teacher for us, there is what I … Continue Reading…

Bhedābheda Vedānta

Vedanta Temple Bell by Ray Sawhill

Vedanta means the end of the Veda or final knowledge and is the last of the 6 systems of Indian Philosophy (Yoga is the 4th). We also know these systems as the Vedanga or subordinate limbs (to the core books of the Veda) and as the Darshana. The core text of Vedanta is the Brahma Sutra of Bādarāyaṇa. The Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita are also generally considered Vedantic texts. But like any older philosophy, it has drifted into mind and concepts and then to distinct schools of interpretation. There are three primary schools of Vedanta with many sub-branches. The … Continue Reading…

Types of Vasanas

Plug by Gideon Tsang

I had a recent insight into Vasanas I wanted to share. Let’s define some terms as we go. The “pain body” is our unresolved emotions. The vasana are more subtle than this. After we’ve resolved a lot of old, previously incomplete emotions, we become more conscious of our deeper drivers behind that. Vasana means unresolved desire or driver. These can express as addictions or latent tendencies. This energy can drive much of our behaviour, seeking resolution. For example, we may fall in love with someone who doesn’t reciprocate. If it’s mild, our interest will fade and we’ll move on. If … Continue Reading…

Knots or Granthi

Knot by Blondinrikard Froberg

Granthi is a term from the Vedas that describes contractions in the physiology. These are places where there’s been a trauma, an unwillingness to experience something, or a grasping. They may be stored at the site of the trauma or contraction or may be placed somewhere else. Granthi means knot but these contractions are also called stresses or impurities. They are essentially incomplete experiences yet to be resolved. Another way of framing them? The seeds of karma or action. We carry quite a load. I was reading an article by Kavitha Chinnaiyan. She described the 3 primary knots in Tantric … Continue Reading…

Primary Impurities

Tree Avatar by LastHuckleBerry

Kavitha Chinnaiyan wrote an article on the Tantric model of the 3 primary impurities or Malas. These are very subtle, on the level of the self-sense. 1) Anava mala: the sense of incompleteness 2) Mayiya mala: the sense of separation 3) Karma mala: the sense of doership She describes the first as the primary impurity that leads to the others. It is the root of suffering. In a more purely Vedic model, the sense of separation, of being a distinct person comes first. But we could argue either way. Do we feel incomplete because we feel separate? Or vice versa? … Continue Reading…

Yoga and Meditation

Meditation on Water by Mario

I’ve described how important transcending was for awakening here. But let’s explore a bigger context. The Yoga Sutra describes 8 “limbs” or approaches to gain Yoga or union and discover our true nature. The first two limbs are the Yama and Niyama, approaches to daily life like non-violence, spiritual study, and honesty. The next five are practiced together to create Raja or Royal Yoga, a path that combines aspects of the other yogas or paths. The result of these 5 is the last limb, Samadhi, when we step into Yoga. Because some of these are done sequentially, the limbs are … Continue Reading…

What Awakens?

Cat by Iezalel Williams

Fundamentally, consciousness is simply aware. Then it becomes self-aware and interacts with itself, causing the appearance of forms and phenomena to arise. This self-interacting dynamic is true both cosmically and locally. We can say consciousness is nested or in layers. With a transcending practice like effortless meditation, we go beyond the mind and emotions, settling into simple awareness without content, pure consciousness. In its pure form, it is beyond time and space, infinite and eternal. This is usually how people come to know consciousness itself – simply resting in their own nature. And yet, often we only notice a pause … Continue Reading…

What is Mind?

Untitled by Joost Markerink

Mind is a big topic. Fundamentally, mind is a kosha or field around our body that is the medium for what we experience as thinking. But there’s a great deal more to it than that. Let’s explore my current take. This field surrounds the whole body but we feel mind is “in the head” because the senses are concentrated there. Mind is the hub that processes and integrates our senses. It also interfaces with the brain and nervous system and emotional body in one direction. And the other way with the intellect, memory, and cosmic mind. The cosmic mind is … Continue Reading…

Nadi Leaf Reading

Nadi bundle

Thousands of years ago, in a higher age, there was a group of very enlightened seers known as the Saptarishi’s or seven sages. They lived much longer than we do now. A need was seen to support people in the future, especially in the current time of transition from the dark to light. They wrote descriptions of thousands of peoples’ lives along with remedies for the major blockages they faced. The rishis wrote by scratching letters on dried palm leaves. We know these leaves as Nadi leaves. They have been carefully maintained over the many centuries since. Originally written in … Continue Reading…