Friday, 11 August 2017

Shaiva or Shakta - 'Same Difference'?



God is Self and Self is God And God is a Person like myself

The other night - or rather in the wee hours before waking - I had a conversation on the astral plane with someone from my past who taught me Neoplatonism, as well as pointed out the parallels between [Western] Neoplatonism and [Eastern/Hindu] Shaivism. It felt like that night/early morning we picked up a dispute we had three years ago, which I feel I wasn't able at the time to complete; because at the time (three years ago) I did (obviously) not have all the facts about Neoplatonism and Shaivism (the latter I studied parallel to my year of Neoplatonic studies). Linda Johnsen - an esteemed writer about Hinduism in general and Shaktism in particular; being a spiritual adept and initiate of the advaita tantra Shakta Tradition - points out in her superb beginners book on Hinduism ('The Complete Idiot's Guide to Hinduism), that Shaivites say that Shiva in his highest form includes Shakti, whereas Shaktas say that Shakti includes Shiva; and calls it a 'same difference' situation. Of course in her wonderful book ('The Living Goddess - Reclaiming the Tradition of the Mother of the Universe') - which is one of my 'staple' and 'frequently referenced' books - Linda Johnsen explains how for Shaktas there is a level above the level of Shiva-Shakti, respectively that this level is Adi Shakti - Shri Lalita Tripura Sundari, as She is called in Linda Johnsen's Tradition of Shri Vidya - who births from within Herself the ultimate reality, which is Shiva & Shakti, and which is inherent in Her. In Tantric Shaktism the above level I mentioned is called the 37th Tattva. Where Shaivism knows Tattva 36 & 35 to be Shiva and Shakti respectively, it is only in Shaktism/non-dual Goddess Tradition that we know even the highest reality - Divinity itself - the Ground of all Being - does not come from Nothing, but rather has its Consciousness-Being-Bliss (Satchidananda) in Shakti Devi Herself.* 
Coming back to my nightly astral plane conversation: I'm very good at playing 'Devil's advocate', respectively at really putting myself into a given perspective, in order to truly understand. Therefore, when I woke up, having just had engulfed myself in the Neoplatonic/Shaivite understanding of the One/Para Shiva as Absolute and Highest (which in a sense it is; but not in the sense that nothing exists beyond/prior to it - although of course we cannot speak here in terms of time and space, that coming a "lot" "later"); I asked myself if the Shaiva/Shakta perspective really is a "same difference"; whether I merely choose to fall on the Shakta side of perspective; and whether I would ever "switch" back to Shaivism/the Shaiva perspective. 
I recalled to myself that I have exercised many times the point of logic that even the highest 'ultimate reality' comes from somewhere, and that this "somewhere" birthing forth the ultimate reality can only be Mother; since the Father always needs the mother-aspect inherent, which keeps us always in the realms of dvaita/duality (even if it is a 'classified duality') - even Parashiva needs his Shakti to "do the job" for him, as does The One/Good/God in Neoplatonism need the inherent Ananke (Necessity); in order to leave dvaita/duality and reach advaita/non-duality we only do so at the level of the 37th Tattva - Adi Parashakti. It is from Her that all forms of duality (classified and distinct) proceeds - that The Great Game (lila) of Shakti, is 'like a game of chess with the Divine Twins at play while Mother makes the rules" [quote Cora Anderson].  
As much as I am Shakta out of devotion to my Lady the Divine Mother; and I choose to be a Shakta both for intellectual and devotional reasons; it is ultimately Divine Knowledge (Shaktividya) - reflected in the lunary realm of reason and logic - which confirms me in that.
As I was contemplating on all of this at that day on my walk to work, it suddenly hit me: I.e. a great saying by Victor Anderson, grandmaster of the Feri Tradition/Vicia, which puts all of this in one simple elegant sentence. (Victor Anderson was amongst many things a great poet.)
God is Self and Self is God - and God is a Person like myself.
Some people - including Shaivites and Neoplatonists - are happy to go no further than the 35&36th Tattvas - which means that the Absolute will either be an incomprehensible Neuter, which incorporates an "active ingredient", and/or be He/Father who creates via an incorporated "mother-component". In both Shaivism and Neoplatonism the Supreme exceeds both the universe (brahmanda/Encosmic One) and is the ground of being (brahman/Hypercosmic One) from which the universe forms - yet the Supreme remains more or less impersonal, (even in the case where the One/Shiva is a quasi 'He').
For me as advaita (non-dual) Shakta (Goddess devotee) - being both jnani (following the Path of Knowledge) and bhakta (following the Path of Devotion) - the Absolute Supreme as impersonal Neuter-He does not make sense, nor does it appeal to me, nor does it sing with my intuition.
God Herself - Dea - Shakti Devi is not some abstract concept; She is Person - transpersonal, i.e. personal in a way which exceeds our human understanding as long as we are not mukti (Self-realised).

~

For many people who have the concept ingrained that the Absolute is Male, and that the Male contains also the Female, and that the Female emanates out of the Male - respectively that the Absolute is Neuter and either contains both Female and Male, and/or that Female and Male emanate form the neuter original - it can be, at least at first, very difficult to understand the above presented. In many cases such a person is not even willing to open to an attempt of understanding, as this would challenge their long-standing former understanding. Often the Mind rather clings on to the secure darkness of ignorance than opens up to challenging (and even [perceivedly] threatening) enlightening of Jnana (Gnosis).
However, to the open mind the above concept - as Truth (satya) in general/principle - is actually very simple. (Which is something that Cora Anderson is said to have repeatedly re-iterated.)

My former Advaita Vedanta & Shakta teacher once provided me with a good mathematical analogy: He pointed out that the Vedic rishis were the first to promulgate the concept of Zero.
In answer to the question how Shakti can be Brahman (Divinity/Being), and Parabrahman (lit. 'beyond brahman) being the Mother of Brahman, and "half" of Brahman as the duality of Shakti&Shiva/Prakriti&Purusha etc. at the same time; he said that if one divides the Whole, individual parts/aspects still remain the whole. As such - in said mathematical analogy - one can say Adi Para Shakti is 0; Shakti-Brahman is 1; Shakti-Prakriti is 1.1 and Shakti-Purusha is 1.2.

[Nota bene: interestingly Feri initiate T. Thorn Coyle, in her excellent book 'Kissing the Limitless', points out how God Herself is the great Zero - the Centre and Circumference of all that is - rather than being [merely] 'The One'; pointing out that the concept of the One does not quite apply to the Absolute and if taken for the Absolute leads to potential problems.
Here I think lies the the point of difference between originally Greek, male-centred Pythagoreanism/Neoplatonism (which went on to influence all of the other male-centred religions) on the one hand, and the pre-dating female-centred Goddess religions of all cultures on the other hand.] 

--
*In a strange but interesting twist, in order to preserve a coherency of theology, Shaiva Siddhanta theology reverses Satchidananda (Consciousness, Being & Bliss, which is the Ground of all Being) to be Shakti (even "Adi" Shakti, as they, of course, deny any higher form of Shakti). While this is in itself ingenious, it is totally inconsistent with common Hindu thought.



Friday, 4 August 2017

Those Traditions which uphold Devi as Sole Supreme and Absolute


Recently I have been made aware of a discussion about non-Deanic Traditions which incorporate a concept of a form of the Divine Mother, respectively a form/forms of feminine divinity; and how it happens that sometimes followers of Dea/Deanics switch to such a -more mainstream religious- Path. Of course it is the prerogative of any person to choose freely any religious Tradition or none to follow - at least that is how it should be. Also, learning about religious traditions and making comparison is super interesting (I know what I'm talking about!). Having said that, I feel I should point out something which is important to remember: In our current time of being, there are only [literally] precious few religious Paths which uphold the Core Truth of Dea/Devi (The Goddess) as Sole Supreme and Absolute. I'm not saying "sole Absolute" as this would be a contradiction in terms; however, this oxymoron is exactly what is attempted by some of these Traditions in question which include a form of Feminine Divine. And this is exactly the crux of the matter: As Deanics (I include Shaktas here) we need to be aware that comparing Deanic Traditions with non-Deanic Traditions that have a form of the Divine Mother, is comparing apples to bananas. There are only 3 Religious Traditions, I'm aware of, which understand and acknowledge Dea/Devi as Supreme and Absolute - i.e. [Hindu] Shaktism, [Western] Deanism/Filianism, and [Pagan] Feri Witchcraft/Vicia. Of these, only two - Shaktism and Feri/Vicia - incorporate a concept of Male Divinity also.
Only in Shaktism and Feri Witchcraft is the Male to be understood to derive from Dea/Devi/Shakti/The Goddess - being Her Child and an actual manifestation/form of God Herself.
Please compare my pages on this matter:
~
If one were to leave Deanism for a non-Deanic Tradition, she needs to be aware that she would either have to abandon the understanding of Dea as Supreme and Absolute, or have this concept constantly challenged. This is what happened to me when I tried to fit in with Wicca after coming to the UK in 2006. I had been a "free-flying" Dianic Witch who could never find community. I did find community at the time within Wicca, which was lovely; and yet, the duotheistic concept did mess with my head - especially as at the time I had not arrived at the thealogy of Shaktam/Deanism/Feminine Essentialism.
The fact is that those traditions which have a 'Father God' and a 'Mother Goddess', operate on either of the three following systems a) there is a neutral -impersonal- Divinity which takes on the form of both Male and Female; or there is a dual-gendered Divinity and focus can be put on either the Male or Female attributes, b) there are "two Absolutes" - one Male, one Female - co-existing (obviously, there are religions which are not too concerned with Logic), c) the Female manifests out of the Male, with the Male being transcendent and the Female being (solely) immanent. The latter is the great corruption by the patriarchal religions, Semitic, Hellenic and Hindu.
~
Conversely, both Shaktism and Feri/Vicia allow a focus on a male god and a female goddess. Having said that, it needs to be understood that this integrated Male/Female concept, is not at the level of the Absolute - that being Dea/Devi/The Goddess alone; but is the very Being of Dea Devi Herself. This 'Being of Shakti Devi' is God/Brahman/Shiva, who at this point is God Herself and thus female, albeit containing all potentialities. From Brahman/Shiva comes 'Man' (the more fitting Filianic terms are 'First Daughter' or 'Maid') as "Man" (or better Maid) is female (xx) at this highest level but becomes male (xy) with the outward direction of manifestation into and within creation. And just to clarify: at this level of consolidation as human souls [on earth]  - incarnated or not, we are all both "male" and "female". This is because all beings in the lunary and sublunary/terrestrial realms are a composite of Form&Matter, Essence&Substance and Quality&Quantity; and thus are a composite of Female&Male.
At the point of manifestation of creation the Holy Mother flows through The Divine Twins.


Monday, 8 February 2016

Illusion and Illumination

For every illusion Mother Shakti takes away, She will grant you with insight. But only if you completely embrace Her dark side -- without any thought of reward, other than Mother destroying your illusions, falsities and attachments as reward in itself.
This reminds me of the fairytale (which name I can't seem to remember not for love or money, and google is letting me down, too) in which the hero marries a Wise Woman; the catch -- and trick-question he is confronted with -- is that he can be with her either at day time during which she is ugly, or during night time during which she is beautiful. This time we have a surprisingly smart man who tells his bride, when she asked him what he wants, that he loves her anyway she chooses and that the choice must be hers and hers alone. Which of course leads to the hero living with his bride both at day and at night.
In Germanic spirituality the Bright Shining Maiden (Freyja) is often said to only reveal her beauty when you dare embrace her as the old ugly hag...

Jai Kali Ma!


Monday, 1 February 2016

Playground

Mother frequently takes me to the Playground – sometimes on my request, other times because She says it is good for me to get out. 
There I play to my heart's content, Mother, smiling, watching me. 
Of course, being my Protector, She prevents me from doing the really stupid things, so that I won't hurt myself seriously. 
If I do get myself bumps and bruises, Mother always comforts me. At other times when I feel too shy to play with other children or too insecure to explore the features, Mother encourages me lovingly.
Yet, being also strict and firm, She will correct me in no uncertain terms when I misbehave or go wrong. 
When I get tired or had enough, Mother will take me Home. Sometimes when it is time to go Home, I argue to stay longer – and most of the time Mother lets me play just that little bit longer. 
However when it -is- time to leave, Mother is all no-nonsense matter-of-fact and then I will be a good child and happily let Her take me Home.
I am Child. I am Mother.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Om Chandikaye Namaha!

Om Chandikaye Namaha! 
Jai Chandika! (She Who Tears Apart Thoughts) Thank You, Mother, for shattering my illusions!


Monday, 29 September 2014

A Wise Woman is a truly liberated one

A wise woman is a truly liberated one; as she is with the Power of Fate. Shakti within Brahman is just manifested Fate – within and through Brahman She manifests as Fate [within the universe] (as Her sagun aspect).
A wise woman cannot belong to one man – be that to one man / person in particular or to man in general as society; she is truly free. (This was reflected in Germanic society as the unbound and free-travelling wise woman, subject to none, assuming –and being freely offered- the highest position of authority (e.g. the high seat at every table), as it was understood that she was with that Power that is beyond all other power.)
 Any –product- of fate i.e. husband family etc. is simply Maya – and she knows it; she can enjoy and love Maya, but ultimately she cannot be bound to it; she is one with the Power of Fate that is Shakti [[manifested] within Brahman [which is Her nirguna aspect]].
Shakti is Fate within Reality i.e. ‘realised Existence’ i.e. the universe / Cosmos (Brahman = Existence)
A wise woman can go along with the trappings / pretence of Maya – but she does so consciously; she can never identify with the trappings of Maya. (This translates to jobs, [marriage] partners, and family as well as society / social links on the whole.) This is why the wise woman is always on the [h]edge – she doesn’t actually belong – as she is outside all that is subject to Fate.
The wise woman's initiation is when she makes this cut – this shift; fully belonging outside – belonging to Fate.
As such she can then work –within- society e.g. as mater [familiaris]! Or as mother to the community [or clan].  But no longer is she subject to either society or that which is ruled by Fate – as she now fully belongs with Fate Herself.
That is why both Freyja and Frigg are Mistress of Fate – Freyja as Vanir (Cosmos / Nature), Frigg as Asynja ([human] society)
As wise woman she is co-creator – she flows freely together with Fate through creation – the Cosmos; she completely identifies with her own fate goddess (norn / fylgja).

Fate and Energy = Prakriti = Shakti within the universe
The gods are aspects of Goddess are aspects of Her consciousness:
"I am Adi Parashakti, goddess Bhuvaneshvari. I am the owner of this universe. I am the Absolute Reality. I am dynamic in feminine form and static in masculine form. You have appeared to govern the universe through my energy. You are the masculine form of Absolute Reality, while I am the feminine form of that Reality. I am beyond form, beyond everything, and all the powers of God are contained within me. You will admit that I am the Eternally Limitless Power."
gods come from Her consciousness (Purusa) – goddesses are manifestations of Her within Her creation, within Her consciousness – as “wives” to the gods, thus taking on complementing character to the respective god i.e. respective aspect of Her consciousness – which is Purusa which is Brahman.
“My true Paramatman is known as pure consciousness, the highest intelligence, the One Supreme Brahman.” –Devi Gita
The wise woman then freely associates with the gods as that aspect of her that is Purusa (Brahman).
A wise woman realises that she is a cosmos in herself, and that the gods within are aspects of her consciousness; and as she is with Fate – she recognises the Cosmic gods as manifestations of her own consciousness…

And just as Purusa to Prakriti – Brahman to Shakti – Consiousness / Absolute Reality to Eternal Power; Spirit (Purusa), Consciousness is the play-ground [of all being] upon which Shakti [Lalita] plays. Just as Shakti Lalita plays upon Brahman –Her consciousness- as Her base; so is Purusa (Spirit, consciousness) base to Prakriti –- and so was (and ought) society be base for the wise woman, (so is the male base to the female). Since society / community does not provide the base for the wise woman any longer, she must find her base in someone [/something] else – which in some cases can be one man / husband. And so the wise woman can “use” the power of consciousness i.e. gods as helping Powers – she can ride with their power.

Reality is based on duality / polarity – the Divine Twins [of Feri].


Friday, 27 June 2014

Dedication



This blog is dedicated in loving devotion to my ishta-devi Shree Lakshmi 



She who lets us see Light within the Darkness of Ignorance




and grants Spiritual Wisdom and Divine Knowledge

Maha Lakshmi - Shree Mata - I bow at Your lotus feet 

Om Hreem Shreem Lakshmibyo Namaha