Saturday, April 14, 2012

Maha Maya

There is a beautiful meditation in the beginning of the Sri Cakra Puja. You go around the 44 central triangles and at each point with an offering there is a meditation made. You start at the outer ocean, come to a beautiful island of gems, go through many beautiful forests, enter a multilayered citadel made out of gems, pass through wish fulfilling fountains and fountains of mantra, pass through hallways of morning sun light and cool moonlight, you enter the central building and see even the great gods Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Maha Vishnu, and SadaSiva supporting the central throne. Upon that throne is beautiful red silk. And at the end of the meditation, at the bindu? You arrive at a veil.

A veil? Why do we not see Tripurasundari herself in all her glory here? I pondered this over 2 weeks ago when I began this beautiful, extremely powerful puja. I made it 8 days in, getting up at 3 in the morning dutifully.

And then Devi took her sword to me. Like Brahma waving his hand over Vasistha. Like the dwarf trickster taking Lavana for a ride...

I became violently ill (along with my wife) and taken for a nice ride 2 weeks long. I am still ill. My personal misery is pointless to describe here only that subjectively the depth of the veil went far down.

Yoga didn't help, nothing really did. Sometimes the veil is so thick that even the strongest (of which I am not one) are taken. This case is made when Brahma veils Vasistha in the above mentioned story. A sage as powerful as Vasistha, mind born son of Lord Brahma doesn't understand why people suffer so. So he asks Brahma to help him out. When Brahma is done with his fun, Vasistha is in so much pain that he is crying out, terribly, horribly to be freed from this veil. Funny how Brahma has to release him. Most of us don't have that sort of person to help release us.

Glory to Guru. By day 5 or 6 only then was I allowed to think of Guru (truly) and then with the blessing of Varahi my ascent was quick. I am still trying to recover though. Very shaken and humbled. This has happened once before, very different circumstances in a situation of which I won't tell.

So what am I going on about here? Indulging in my own shit? Maybe a little. But more importantly I want to recognize the power of Maha Maya, one of the 1000 names of the great Devi. This aspect is reviled, cast aside as illusion, and completely discarded by some. I have had an interesting time trying to grapple with what it IS through direct experience and instead of discarding it, to understand this amazing power of Devi.

Experience is not uniform. Some break Existence simplistically into Consciousness and "content of Consciousness" or Field and Field Knower, experience being that which is seen by consciousness or the field. Emphasis is placed on the Knower. Classical samkhya divides the "seen" into many layers. Tantra divides it into even more levels.

So for those of us who truly want to understand the Bliss or Sakti aspect of Existence, we have to recognize that Bliss is graded, not just from a theoretical perspective but from a direct perspective. It is not uniform in the same way as Consciousness/Luminosity in itself is. I truly feel that Bliss is continuous as is Consciousness but not uniform.

What does this mean? It means that experience is in "levels" or "grades". This is why Dante talked about the multiple layers of heaven and hell. Why the Hindus talk of the 14 worlds. We can actually break it up into an infinity of layers.

It is like looking at the ocean and seeing calm at some times and at other times seeing the most intense storms, sometimes with swells that can sink a ship, even the best ones.

So what do we do about it? Some would only retreat into the Luminosity aspect and ignore the waves altogether. They are after all inseparable from the luminous aspect.

But there is another way. We have to recognize that we actually have NO actual control over the waves themselves. This is the most important understanding of Maya to me. That Devi is ALL POWERFUL. As limited individuals we are just dust, less than dust. We can surrender to the wave or fight it. When we fight the waves, pain inevitably is the result. And that pain increases the more we resist. There is a real peace that comes in the surrender.

And then there are the times when we are so overwhelmed by the waves we cannot even see straight to get our bearings, to even attempt to surrender. Confusion takes us. I feel that if we truly learn to surrender when we can, when we are given the opportunity to, then perhaps in these harder times, surrender might come easier.

Then we ride with the wave. One with continuity.

I feel like I want to say more but my veil is still thick. Funny in these times I don't even know who writes the words. 

Hail to Maha Maya.