And of all the multiplicity
of individual things that exist,
none can be confined in a limited concept.
Staying free from the trap of any attempt
to say ‘it’s like this’, or ‘like that’,
it becomes clear that all manifested forms are
aspects of the infinite formless,
and, indivisible from it,
~The Six Vajra Verses (from, “The Crystal and the Way of Light”, by Namkhai Norbu)
“When all the knots of the heart are released, then the mortal becomes immortal.” ~ Katha Upanishad 6.15
Kali is the most famous of all Maha Vidhayas or Great-Awareness. She is the symbol of action. ‘Kal’ means Time and ‘i’ means the cause; so Kali is the cause of time. When this Great Awareness arises in our heart then we become free of anger and fear (the two most wrathful of all demons that reside in our heart.) And we become capable of dispelling fear and destroy anger from someone else heart as well. Kali is wrathful form of Great-Awareness as it consumes the demons of ‘anger’, ‘hatred’, and ‘fear’. This Awareness, when awakened, destroys the worst form of fear, that is, the fear of death. One becomes thirsty of demon’s (anger and fear) blood and can ‘clearly see’ love and happiness in every heart.
Ramakrishna Parmahansa was known for his love of Kali and this Great Awareness was completely awaken in his heart. He could ‘see’ the love in the most angry, and fearful hearts. A woman came to Ramakrishna and said, “because of the death of my son, whom I loved so much, I have lost my faith and love for God. I don’t feel any love of God and I am in distress. Please, help me.” Ramakrishna, said “do you have any grandchild?” “yes, I have a grand child and love him very much.” “He is your God, feel the love of God through him”, replied Ramakrishna. He was able to ‘clearly see’ through her anguish and distress that there was still ‘love’ in her heart.
“Before this there was one heart
but a thousand thoughts
Now all is reduced to
There is no love but Love.” ~Fakhruddin ‘Araqi
Tripur Sundari means the one who is most beautiful in three worlds, she is also called The Shodasi (lit. the sixteen year old virgin.)
Most of us have experienced the glimpses of Tripur-Sundari sometime or the other in our heart. When this Great Awareness awakens in our heart then we feel like a sixteen year old teenage who is excited and full of idealism and enthusiasm. She can see through all the difficult situations and troubles without being affected by them and can inspire others to do so. World feels wonderful and full of untouched beauty and energy. We are full of knowledge and experience profound harmony in all things. We gain enormous power of focus and perseverance to achieve any goal. This Great Awareness fills our heart with beauty and it is the inner beauty or rasa which draws us to perceive splendor in outer world and drives us to nourish the heart of others with the perception of beauty.
Tara literally means ‘shining star’. Tara is also well known Tibetan Buddhism. We can describe this Great Awareness in one word: Compassion. Compassion is the core of Buddhist path and hence the practice of awakening Tara is an important one in Tibetan Buddhism.
When this Great Awakens in our heart then we are filled with compassion for all being, including for our self. The power of compassion then protects us and others from the all miseries as in the state of compassion we can not hurt anyone or be affected by any misery. We feel like a most benevolent mother who wants to liberate any distressed soul. We feel one with whole world and see unity in all phenomenon. Our heart feels overwhelmed by the upward movement of energy. We feel warmth, compassion towards all beings in cyclic existence. We endanger ourselves to nourishes others and smile with playful mind to relieve others stuck in rigidly serious or tightly gripped situations. Our heart is filled delighted and mind is open and receptive to accept any misery without being in pain.
Tonglen is a practice used in Tibetan Buddhism to awaken Compassion in our heart. Tonglen is attributed to the great Indian Buddhist teacher Atisha Dipankara Shrijnana, (982 CE). Tonglen is Tibetan word: ‘tong’ means ‘sending out’ or ‘letting go’ and ‘len’ means ‘receiving’ or ‘accepting’. Sending and Taking is be practiced alternately and these two ride on the breath.
Trungpa Rinpoche, describes it as follows, “the practice of tonglen is actually quite straightforward; it is an actual sitting meditation practice. You give away your happiness, your pleasure, anything that feels good. All of that goes out with the out breath. As you breathe in, you breathe in any resentments and problems, anything that feels bad. The whole point is to remove territoriality altogether. The practice of tonglen is very simple. We do not first have to sort out our doctrinal definitions of goodness and evil. We simply breathe out any old good and breathe in any old bad.
Usually you would like to hold on to your goodness. you would like to make a fence around yourself and put everything bad outside it: foreigners, your neighbors, or what have you. You don’t want them to come in. You don’t even want your neighbors to walk their dogs on your property because they might make a mess on your lawn. So in ordinary samsaric life. you don’t send and receive at all. You try as much as possible to guard those pleasant little situations you have created for yourself. You try to put them in a vacuum, like fruit in a tin, completely purified and clean. You try to hold on to as much as you can, and anything outside of your territory is regarded as altogether problematic. You don’t want to catch the local influenza or the local diarrhea attack that is going around. You are constantly trying to ward off as much as you can.
This is trying to show us that we don’t have to secure ourselves. We can afford to extend out a little bit – quite a bit… if you develop the attitude of being willing to part with your precious things, to give away your precious things to others, that can help begin to create a good reality.
How do we actually practice tonglen? First we think about our parents, or our friends, or anybody who has sacrificed his or her life for our benefit. In many cases, we have never even said thank you to them. It is very important to think about that, not in order to develop guilt but just to realize how mean we have been. We always say “I want”, and they did so much for us, without any complaint… If we do not have that, then we are somewhat in trouble, we begin to hate the world – but there is also a measure for that, which is to breathe in our hatred and resentment of the world. If we do not have good parents, a good mother, or a good person who reflected such a kind attitude toward us to think about, then we can think of ourselves.”
H.H. The Dalai Lama, who is said to practice Tonglen every day, has said of the technique: “Whether this meditation really helps others or not, it gives me peace of mind. Then I can be more effective, and the benefit is immense”.
I was inspired to write this note because of a quote from one of my teacher (Dr. Lad @ ayurveda.com) . He says, “Awareness is God”. He is referring to the highest of all awareness, the Non-Dual-Awareness (Sanskrit, Brahm-Vidhya.) When Non-Dual-Awareness awakens in our heart then we see ‘no other’, we loose the sense of ‘separateness’. The sages of Upanishads proclaimed (in the state of Non-Dual-Awareness), “tat-tavam-asi” i.e., “I am That”. And I believe, this is also when Christ said,”I and My Father are One”, John 10:30.
“By day I praised You
but never knew it;
by night slept with You
to be myself;
but no, I was You
and never knew it.” ~Fakhruddin ‘Araqi
Reverence to the Sushumna Nadi,
to the Kundalini, to the nectar born of the Moon,
to the state in which mind is dissolved,
reverence to the Goddess, the Great Shakti,
who is the Self of consciousness.
~ Hatha Yoga Pradipika 4.64