The Shambhavi Mudra And The Inner Light

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(35) The Vedas, the Shastras and the Puranas are like prostitutes [attainable to all]. The shambhavi mudra, however, is like a chaste woman, carefully guarded.

Wisdom was never secret in the Orient Secret areonly the paths to wisdom.

The intellectually created world of concepts has been dissolved. Now let's return to the man who created a new world by the two levels of vibration (light and sound), that interior world of a higher life, which requires the stronger flame, the flame which he learned to fan by khecari mudra. Dissolution is samadhi; re-creation is shambhavi mudra, work with the sound symbol (mantra) and the image symbol (yantra), the source of inner light.

(36) Shambhavi mudra consists in fixing the mind inwardly [on any one of the chakras], and fixing the eyes without blinking on an external object. This mudra is left secret by the Vedas and Shastras.

What does the yogi do at this stage of training? How does he practice?

He rises at 4:00 a.m., the hour of Brahma, cleans his breathing organs and sits down on bis tiger skin.6 After the introductory practices (such as the nadi purification) he venerates the three aspects of his sadhana (his personal deity): Keshava, Narayana, and Madhava as the three aspects of Vishnu; or Siva, Ganesh, and Bala as aspects of Siva. Then follows a complicated fivefold introductory ritual which leads him to his main practice, the shambhavi mudra. This takes the following course: First he speaks his mantra, clearly and audibly, in expression and intonation exactly as he has learned it from his guru, and retains the sound in his ear.

We will not analyze the sound in the ear here (sec Chapter 15), but will concern ourselves merely with the question of what happens to this sound. The yogi must imagine that the sound is coming from one of the chakras. (The chakra varies according to his sadhana and his state of development.) And this sound is conceived of as so encompassing that it not only vibrates in the given chakra but is passed on--and this is the roost important process--from chakra to chakra.

The mantra consists of various sound elements, each of which has a different function to fulfill. The introduction usually consists of the pranava 0m, while the core, the shakti mantra, is a sound which influences the kundalini by its vibration struc-ture. The framework of the mantra is tuned in part to the respective chakra; in part it contains other activating vibrations.

At the same time, if the yogi is not fully in possession of the yantra inwardly, he fastens his gaze upon the form symbol, the yantra, and imagines that this is the chakra concerned, the mantra that sounds within. For the deity, the chakra, the mantra, and the yantra, are one as name, image, projection, and

6. Only yogis who lead a strictly celibate life use tiger skin. The others use antelope skin. The reason for this is the difference in the power of the respective skins to isolate earth magnetism.

scat of the deity. The deity reposes in the chakra, the yantra is the expression of the divinity and of the chacra, the mantra synchronizes with the vibration level of the chakra, fashions the name of the deity, and is analogous to the yantra.

Add to this the proscribed color scale of the emanation of divine light and there is little room left for distracting thoughts. Many Indian and Tibetan texts which devote so much space to the description of the divine manifestations serve the yogi solely as means to reach the perfection of shambhavi mudra.

(37) It if rightfully called thambhavi mudra, when mind and prana are absorbed by the object, when the eyes become rigid in the contemplation of the object. Once this state has been reached by the grace of the guru [who gives the binding yantra as object], everything perceived becomes a manifestation of the great Shambu (Siva) and is thus beyond emptiness and not-emptiness.

Everything is Siva: everything is kala (ligfit-waves, form, yantra, manifestation of the divine image in all its forms), nada (sound waves, sound) mantra, divine name in all its forms), and bindu (meaning, the divine) and the logos common to both the other spheres).

Before getting to the central point of this chapter we have to answer a question. The culminating point of Part Three was khecari mudra (the upcurled tongue) whereby the life process was intensified by the fanning of the inner fire, the middle plane of vibration. In what relation does the inner fire stand to shambhavi mudra?

(38) Shambhavi mudra and khecari mudra, although they differ in the position of the eyes and the point of concentration, are one in that they bring about the state of bliss in the concentrated consciousness of the mind absorbed in atman.

The position of the eyes corresponds to the direction of concentration. In khecari roudra the point lies between the eyebrows from where the nectar flows; in shambhavi mudra it is the heart chakra, and therefore the eyes are directed that way, i.e. to the tip of the nose. But this is not the essential difference, although the real difference may be suggested by the direction of the eyes. Decisive, rather, is the fact that khecari mudra acti-vates the middle plane of vibrations, whereas in shambhavi mudra the highest and the lowest planes are affected.

In the region of heat animal life manifests, while there is little influence of the logos (bindu). However, in the region of kala (the upper zone of vibration, light) and nada (the lower zone, sound) there is present "the golden germ," bindu in its plenitude. Thus the step from khecari mudra to shambhavi mudra means a deepening of meditation and extension of possibilities,

Let us consider the form symbol in all its varied aspects: The cross in Christianity, the half-moon in Islam, the star in Judaism. The yantra has a form that we perceive and encompass with our eyes; this is the coarse aspect. It also contains a "light" that we perceive through our heart; this is the finer aspect, which we will presently discuss; and finally the yantra contains a sense (meaning, logos), the bindu, the point in which yantra, mantra, chakra, and the divine unite.

This light, although it has its subtler aspect, should not be considered mystical. It is first of all something that appears quite naturally. The light that emanates from the cross has more radiance for the Christian than for the Muslim, while the light of the half-moon is considerably more radiant for the Muslim than for the Christian. For these symbols have no radiance in themselves. Radiance only unfolds in the heart of the devotee through his devotion, and even differs-according to the intensity of the devotion.

The "inner light" does not imply an immanent meaning for the image symbol, but has a purely emotional value. It is not the meaning that is essential, but the kind of mood that it spontaneously induces.

(39-40) Direct your [inner] gaze upon "light" by slightly raising the eyebrows. Then perform shambhavi mudra as you have learned it. This induces samadhi. —Some confuse themselves by the alluring promises of the shastras and tantras, others by the Vedic Karmas, and still others by logic. None of them recognizes the real value of this mudra, by the aid of which one can cross the ocean of existence.

One hazard which is more or less inherent in all religions is that they promise more to the devotee than he will be able to experience, unless he pursues his goal with extraordinary zeal. Because the Buddha did not make such exalted promises in regard to the divine. Buddhism has often been accused of being atheistic. But it is perhaps the greatest psycho-religious deed of the Buddha that, rather than promising bliss in the heavenly realms, he gave everything man needs to reach the goal of true religion, without obstructing the path with preconceived fantasies. God cannot be "spoken." He can only be experienced, and that is very different from anything projected through words. All too often a devotee is said to have "experienced God," when actually he has only seen the preconceived image of his own fantasy.

Mantra as divine name and yantra as divine form leave no room for fantasy. And thus these active forces of realization, to which even the physical sometimes submit, can be directed without hindrance on their way. For this path demands the whole man and does not permit any one force to deviate. No-body has ever reached a high goal through dreaming alone.

(41) With half-closed eyes focused on the tip of the nose, the mind steadily fastened

[on its object], and the active prana current of the ida andpingala nadis suspended [by guiding it into the sushumna], thus the yogi reaches the slate of realization of Truth in the form of a radiating light which is the source of all things, and the highest objective to be reached. What higher state is there that he might expect?

"In the form of radiating light." does this mean that the divine image here becomes the physically perceptible "radiating light"? Yes, indeed. Experienced mystics have testified that in their deepest concentration a radiating brilliant light appears before their eyes. Here the same phenomena are evidently being described. What is happening?

It is not the object perceived through the senses that radiates, nor is it radiance from the heavenly spheres. A new organ of perception, so to speak, opens up through which the finer nature of the contemplated object is perceived. This organ has nothing to do with the senses. It lies in the heart chakra. It is so extremely subtle that the corporeality of the object is too coarse to be perceived by it, while it reacts directly to the finer nature, the light) which is directly susceptible to emotional values. He who faces this stage of cognition uncritically without

7. Philo fudaeus: ". . . and the divine light precipitated itself like a flood upon the soul, and it is blindcd by its radiance." Plotinui: "The vision flooded the seeker's eyes with light, but he sees nothing else, the light is the vision." Jakob Boehme: "Finally the gates of eternity opened; I penetrated to the inmost being and a wonderful light radiated in my soul. It was a light that did not at all fit the person that I have been."

recognizing its psycho-physical nature inevitably falls into the error of taking the luminous image as something self-existing. He believes that God has revealed himself to him in light, as it is often said, whereas he himself has only developed the capacity to recognize the divine omnipresence for the perception of which the average man has no developed organ. It is not that God has revealed himself to him, but that be has learned to cognize the Divine. A small but essential difference. The emotional value (light) of the Divine remains the same, but the devotee is now in a position to experience it directly.

At present everything connected with this subtle organ and the "light" is, as far as science is concerned, a matter of faith, just as the theory of the atom put forth by the Vaisheshika school of Indian philosophy was a question of faith until a few decades ago. The "revelation of the atom" was not a work of divine grace but of mathematics and of the electronic microscope; of refined observation. What was at that time divine in the atom still is today. And when some day the subtler organ in the heart chakra is recognized with the aid of a still subtler scientific tool, then the West will be more tolerant of the statements of yogis and mystics and possibly even surpass them. But the divine aspect will in no way be changed. Only one will perhaps accord it a place in the system of fonnulae, perhaps as zero, perhaps as bindu, perhaps as logos. Then one could also gain scientific knowledge from the Bible, for there it says: "In the beginning was the logos (bindu) and the logos (bindu) was God" (John I.I). "That was the true light that lighteth every man who cometh into the world" (Jobn 1.9).

(42) Do not worship the lingam, neither by day nor by night. Only when day and night have been transcended should the lingam be worshipped--unceasingly.

This important sloka throws a significant light upon the whole of Hindu religiosity.

The lingam, the much disputed phallic symbol of the Sivaites, stands for this subtler aspect of all things, for the divine light; the primeval lingam consisted of fire. This is what is meant by the previous warning, not to mistake the radiant light for the manifestation of the God.

"Neither by day nor by night." We remember that ida and pingala stand for sun and moon, thus for day and night. Day and night are overcome as soon as the two prana currents are united in the sushumna, i.e. in samadhi. Only now is devotion real devotion and thus it says in the Kulamava Tantra: "Puja [devotion] lasts only as long as saroadhi lasts."

Day and night are also the signs of time, which is conquered in samadhi. Everything that occurs in time belongs to worldly consciousness, to the image-forming, concept-bound way of thinking.

A worship that venerates the lingam as a concept is not the kind of devotion that is required for deep results, deep experience. The Indian does not make an image of his God for himself. This statement, which seems so paradoxical in view of the inexhaustible Hindu pantheon, actually finds its confirmation here. For all the images of deides are nothing but representations of various aspects of manifesting divine powers--with the exception of Brahman, who is unrepresentable. Now some technical remarks:

(43-50) When prana flows naturally through the two nadis then there is no obstacle to khecari mudra. This is beyond doubt. --When the prana current enters the sushumna between ida and pingala then khecari mudra begins to become meaningful. —Between ida and pingala there is an unsupplied

[i.e., with prana] space. It is there where the tongue performs khecari mudra. —The khechari mudra in which the nectar from the "moon" is collected stands in high esteem with Siva [who is kala, nada and bindu]. The incomparable, divine sushumna is blocked off by the inverted tongue. --The sushumna will also be closed when the prana current is suspended [by entering the sushumna]. This is the perfect khecari mudra that leads to samadhi [unmani, mindlessness]. —Between the eyebrows is the seat of Siva [of higher consciousness]. There conceptional thinking is absorbed. This state is samadhi [turiya] where death has no access. —One should practice khecari mudra until the state of samadhi [Yoga nidra. Yoga sleep] is achieved. He who succeeds in this will conquer death. —After mind has been freed from clinging [withdrawn from conceptualizing objects] it should not produce further thoughts. Then it resembles an empty pot surrounded and filled with space [akasha, ether].

But what has happened to yantra arid mantra? Why are we going back to Part Three?

Once the yogi has reached the fourth stage, he is all too apt to forget the technical requirements, which can lead him into the greatest difficulties. Again and again it must be emphasized: on the highest level of consciousness the inner fire must burn fiercely if the prana flow is not to cease (and with it the yogi's life). But the fire will only blaze when the flow of nectar is deviated, i.e. through khecari mudra. Thus once again high praise is bestowed on this mudra.

If no mention is made here of the shambhavi mudra, of mantras and yantras, we must not forget that these are inner events, while khecari mudra is a technical process. One cannot mix two fundamentally different concepts. Shambhavi mudra becomes significant only when khecari roudra has prepared the conditions for it and constantly renews them.

(51) When the outer breath ceases, the inner breath [prana production] also ceases. Prana current and mind current become passive when they reach their center of activity.

Human spirit is impelled only as long as it has a goal before its eyes. Once the goal is reached, the spirit remains there for a certain time. This period of abiding is usually the reason for man's striving at all. An artist often searches for the conflict of suffering in order to bring it into unity by resolving it in his work. To be "desirelessly happy" is possible only when an urgent desire is fulfilled, and relaxation thus induced--usually the calm before the storm of new tensions.

When the mind of the yogi returns to its own Self after its everyday sense-related activities it is relaxed, for with the subsiding breath during practice the active mind which lives from prana subsides as well.

The prana he needs is in the sushumna and is kept active there by the blazing flame of life. All life is concentrated there.

(52) When one thus practices control of breath day and night, the prana becomes more passive in the course of time and mind is naturally compelled to follow the same course.

For as soon as the prana becomes passive it unfolds its highest effectiveness in the sushumna; and as soon as mind is passive the real nature of the world of appearances is recognized.

(53) When the body is thus bathed in the nectar stream of the moon it becomes strong and hardy. In other words, when the fire is burning fiercely enough there is no danger to life and limb.

(54) Place the mind in the shakti, [the manifesting power of nature, kundalini] and the shakti [as "lighf"] in the mind through meditation; then mind and shakti become one. Awa\en the shakti by listening to the mind "with ear in heart" and thus strive for the highest goal of samadhi.

To listen "with ear in heart" is the most crucial factor in the whole process of meditation. This is the true insight, the prerequisite of all Eastern methods of spiritual training. Nothing else is of as such decisive importance from the first step to self-realization up to the arousing of kundalini, the inner light on the highest level.

(55-56) The I [atman] alt in [empty] space, and empty the I (of conceptual being). When thus everything is empty [without lime and space] then the [dynamic] intellect hoi subsided. [Thus the yogi is] empty within and without like an empty pot in space

[akasha, ether], and also filed within and without like a pot in the ocean.

A pertinent simile! An empty pot at the bottom of the ocean. Water inside and out. Is the pot empty or full? Empty yet full; full yet empty. He who has inwardly understood this simile has comprehended the essence of raja yoga. For it is emptiness-- though hard to grasp--which is the decisive factor in samadhi. But this is in no way a mortified spirit but a spirit that has been calmed. What this means, only he can understand whose mind has been completely absorbed in a great experience at least once.

(57-58) He should not think of external things; all personal thoughts he should give up also: abandon all subjective and objective thoughts. —The external universe [in its conceptual diversity] is a creation of our mind; so also is the world of imagination. When the idea has been abandoned that these projections of thought are permanent and mind is concentrated on that which is without change, oh Ram, eternal and certain peace has been reached.

(59) Mind concentrated on the atman becomes one with it like camphor with the flame, like salt with the water of the ocean.

Then there is no I of which thought is aware, for I and thought have been absorbed into each other, because thinking is no longer attached to the object or concept but experiences purely the contemplative state. It is the absorbed observer of a great game in which it participates, and which is no longer a strange event to be analyzed and criticized.

(60) Mind and object of contemplation have been absorbed in each other so that there is no longer any duality.

The great symbol of this union is the union in love of man and woman. Therefore the Upanisbads say: "The atman is as great as man and woman in close embrace." The bliss that ensues is neither I nor you, but the melting together of I and you in the mutual experience of the paramatman, the divine Self that is inherent in all that is created.

(61-64) The animate and the inanimate universe is a creation of the mind. in samadhi there is only oneness. When all sense perceptions are suspended there remains only the Absolute. —The great ancient seers experienced these various paths to samadhi, then taught them to others. —Salutations to the su-shumna, to the nectar-flow of the moon, to samadhi, and to

[the great cit Shakti], the power of absolute knowledge.

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