Blog

The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra

I’m deeply indebted to the beautiful work of Christopher Wallis, Tantrika and Sanskrit Scholar for this translation.

The Maha Mrityunjaya is the Death Conquering Mantra
This is a healing mantra for overcoming fear and pain, fear of death or death. It is found in the Rig Veda in the 7th mandala. It is approximately 4000 years old and is one of the oldest mantras in unbroken continuous use throughout the world and as such has accumulated a lot of devotional shakti.
Vedic mantras are also used in Tantra

Om tryambhakam yajamahe
Dugandhim pushtivardhanam
Urvarukamiva bandhanam
Mrytor muksiya m’amrotat

Maha Mritunjaya- is another name for Shiva who was a conqueror of fear. This form of Shiva is also known as Amrtesvara as taught in the Netratantra. It is not a specific form of Shiva from a Vedic point of view, but in the Tantrik lineage it gets associated with Amritesvara- Lord of Nectar. He holds a pot of nectar and his consort is Lakshimi- the Goddess of abundance. This form of Shiva is no longer worshipped.

Tryambhakam- the three-eyed lord- another name for Shiva
Yajamahe- we worship you
Sugandhim- who is fragrant and sweet smelling. This is referring to the fragrance of awake consciousness
Pustivardhanam- he who increases abundance, wellbeing and prosperity
Urvarukam- like a cucumber. This is referring to a cucumber being separated from its vine
Bandhanam- from bondage
Muksiya amritat- liberate us
Together this means: liberate us from bondage like a cucumber separated from its vine (you can’t reattach a cucumber to its vine once it’s picked.)

The Tantrik version includes a couple of bija mantras at the beginning and reads as such:
Om jum sauh tryambhakam yajamahe……..

Blog

The Vijnana Bhairava Tantra

The Vijnana Bhairava Tantra (VBT) first appeared around the 9th Century- 850 CE and is one of the main source texts from the Trika lineage of the classical Tantrik traditions. The author of the text is unknown, but modern day Sanskrit scholars say that it may have been written by a woman!

Vijnana means consciousness or insight and Bhairava is a fierce form of Shiva or consciousness that is present in all times and places. Rajanaka Ksemaraja, a very well known Tantrik master in his time wrote a commentary of the VBT and stated that Shiva is referred to as Bhairava because he makes us cry out in fear of remaining in the dream state after having an initial spiritual awakening. Due to this cry of longing to know your true nature, Shiva/Bhairava manifests in the radiant domain of our heart.

The VBT is played out as a dialogue between Bhairava/Shiva & Bhairavi/Shakti. Verses 1-23 contain the dialogue between Bhairava and Bhairavi. Verses 24-135 are practices and Verses 136 are insight verses.

Bhairavi is the feminine form and she is the state of complete fullness and intensification of being in presence. When consciousness has an intense immediacy, that’s Shakti! Shiva is pure open, spacious, free, empty, grounded consciousness. It pervades everything and this no-thingness is the ground of being.

The texts states that some people can enter the state of Shiva through Shakti, and teaches that by going into the intensity of an experience, you can enter pure presence and openness. The Vijnana Bhairava contains accessible practices that focus on both awareness cultivation and energy body work.

There are awareness cultivation techniques which are designed to alter the quality of your daily life so that you experience more centredness. When you abide in that centre you feel a still point and you feel more into the flow of life, then you start to act and speak from that centred scared space and not act and speak from the  wounded ego, psychological mind.

The aim of the text is to lead us to a direct experience of our own Divine consciousness. 

Our expanded awareness, where all labels, psychological understandings of ourselves and division melt away.

Jon up to the Yogahari Healing monthly news letter to receive free meditation recordings from the VBT and more….

Blog

Human Suffering & The Yogic Perspective

One of my favourite ways to spend my time is to immerse myself in the spiritual teachings and philosophies of yoga. It’s what naturally happens when the heart awakens to the deeper truths of life!  

I think we would all agree that human suffering is something that most of us have tried to understand at some point in life.  Below is a brief outline of what creates human suffering based on classical non-dual Tantrik philosophy. In the Tantrik tradition, there are three aspects of reality that create suffering, referred to as the malas or impurities. 

1. Anava-mala– the impurity of individuality. This relates to the human experience that yoga calls bondage and simply means being stuck in limited identification with the body and mind and with no connection to our original source of existence. In yoga, this source of existence is known by many names such as consciousness, awareness essence-nature, the core of our being, Goddess, God, the heart and ultimate reality. Use whatever term you like, but it is important to note that non-dual Tantra is a theistic philosophy- meaning that they saw this ultimate principle of reality/conscioussness as being innately Divine…hey….they believed in the Goddess/God. To digress a little, most of the Tantrik traditions were worshippers of the Divine Feminine. The tradition that I am the most connected to- the Trika lineage, workshipped Paradevi- the Supreme Goddess!
I recently came across a term to describe this reality or whatever term you prefer,  as boundlessness. I love that so much!!!! Boundlessness….think about it….the true essence of your being is boundlessness. Boundlessness makes me feel so free and powerful- not powerful in a dominant way, but powerful in an unstoppable and unrestricted sense. Your true essence is BOUNDLESSNESS!!

Anava-mala refers to that very deep belief that we are insignificant, incomplete and unworthy. In his book Tantra Illuminated, Christopher Wallis notes that, “This belief is what gets in the way of you revering yourself as divine and as separate from God/Goddess”. 

The original purpose of yoga was to find ways to uproot this belief and the way you could do it was to have a powerful abiding experience of purnata- completeness and fullness. On some level you have all had this experience of purnata- it’s what keeps drawing you back to your yoga mat or meditation seat over and over again!!!

2. Mayiya-mala- the impurity of differentiation. This is the form of ignorance that causes us to see everything and everybody separately from ourselves- me versus you, you versus, them, without seeing the underlying unity of our existence. What you see out there in the world through your conditioned filter and senses is separate and different from you. As Christopher Wallis notes in Tantra Illuminated, “True seeing is seeing all beings within yourself and yourself within all beings”. The capacity to do great things and the capacity to do bad things is present in all of us! When we see an ‘object of perception’ ( an object of perception is any tangible thing we can perceive through our senses as well as intangible thing like our feelings, emotions and thoughts) as separate from ourselves, we suffer. 

3. Karma-mala- impurity of action. This refers to the bondage of karma. This mala is deeply related to the first two malas. The way we see ourselves, others and the world impacts how we relate and how we act in the world. These actions have repercussions that bind us to the cycle of karma. This cycle is also closely related to two of the five klesas of Patanjali Yoga, which we will explore in the next newsletter. Attachment refers to the belief that we need something outside of ourselves to experience purnata- fulfillment. It also relates to the way we cling to things and the inability to let things go- both good and bad things!

Aversion is the other end of the continuum and refers to the belief that we will never experience fulfillment unless we eliminate or avoid certain things. The more we do this, the more extreme our actions become and the more we perpetuate karma. It is impossible to be free of all karma repercussions because we are constantly acting in the world. One solution the Tantrikas came up with to be free of karma-mala was to simply stop being the person to whom the karma applied. This is no easy process and takes commitment, patience and time. The best way Christopher Wallis notes to overcome this mala is to work with it from the root as expressed in the following quote, again from his book, Tantra Illuminated,  “Become thoroughly convinced that there is nothing outside yourself that need be added to make you complete nor is there anything that need be added to make you pure. This profound love and respect for your own being will, if achieved even in part, make it easier for you to perform actions without any selfish grasping motives and thus you will be free from karma”. 

I hope these teachings deeply touch and transform your heart in the same way that they have transformed mine!

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti
Yes! Peace, Peace, Peace