Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ganga, Shiva and the Earth by Lori Tompkins

How Ganga comes to Earth

'Ganga is said to have descended from heaven and fallen onto Shiva's head, whence from his matted locks the Great God released her in a gentle flow upon the Earth. It is said that the Earth was spared the full impact of her power by this graceful act of Shiva, and that, had it not been so, the planet could not have tolerated the descent of Ganga in her full form.' - Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet,The River of January

The Descent of Ganga
North India Floods, June 15, 2013
'Ganga is the mother of rivers. She is the great Aorta that perfectly harmonizes in her being the planetary dimensions of time and space. Therefore she sets the rhythm of the pulsations that come into being from the contractions of the heart that Gangadevi is. Because of the rhythm of her contracting power, being that she is mystically situated in the land that is the soul of the Earth, she gives rise to other rivers.' - Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, 'The Ganges and the 'River of January''The New Way- a study in the rise and establishment of a gnostic society, Volume 2, Chapter 9. [A larger excerpt of this chapter can be found at]

The importance of the Ganga river as a living symbol is also discussed in Thea's recent 'Message to India', a four-part series.

Part I   On the Nature of Centreship
Part II  The Time has Come
Part III The Choice of Cosmic Truth or Superstition
Part IV India, Egypt and the Enigmatic Sphinx
Excerpt from Part I: 'The goal ... is a Unitary Creation, spherically poised around a centre, no longer linear. This will be completely set in place when India agrees to accept her centre-ship, when, in a reversal of the poet’s words, the Centre WILL hold. She will then abandon the mesmerising aspiration to become a superpower, for that simply indicates a clinging to the old binary formulation with its now outdated nomenclature that does not express the true reality of the new world order she is destined to facilitate. It indicates her reticence to move ahead on the crest of the Aquarian Wave and to be the channel for the ‘waters’ the Water Carrier dispenses upon Earth from his cosmic kumbha or jug. Millions of Hindus celebrate this astrological event at Allahabad precisely during the month of the Aquarian Kumbha. But the point is missed when the oneness is overlooked between the ‘water’ he carries in his kumbha and those the heavenly Ganga releases periodically upon Earth – provided the correct anchoring is done in calendrical/zodiacal time to permit reception of the River-Goddess’ boundless grace, just as the myth describes. The ‘jug’ is filled with her beneficent, re-vitalising energies; therefore her sign, Capricorn, precedes Aquarius in the wheel and the celebration should rightfully begin in her period – more specifically, when her sacred Source is reached in our annual zodiacal time-journey. This is January 3rd in calendar time each year, or when the Sun is seen to occupy the 12th degree of the sign. As centre, India can bridge the heavens to engage in this replenishing directly from the Source.'POSTED BY LORI TOMPKINS

Courtesy  and Link:
Lord Shiva came to the Mother

This was in 1926.

It was only... (how can I put it?) a participation from Krishna. It made no difference for Sri Aurobindo personally: it was a formation from the past that accepted to participate in the present creation, nothing more. It was a descent of the Supreme, from... some time back, now consenting to participate in the new manifestation.
Shiva, on the other hand, refused. “No,” he said, “I will come only when you have finished your work. I will not come into the world as it is now, but I am ready to help.” He was standing in my room that day, so tall (laughing) that his head touched the ceiling! He was bathed in his own special light, a play of red and gold... magnificent! Just as he is when he manifests his supreme consciousness – a formidable being! So I stood up and... (I too must have become quite tall, because my head was resting on his shoulder, just slightly below his head) then he told me, “No, I'm not tying myself to a body, but I will give you ANYTHING you want.”       The only thing I said (it was all done wordlessly, of course) was: “I want to be rid of the physical ego.”
Well, mon petit (laughing), it happened! It was extraordinary!... After a while, I went to find Sri Aurobindo and said, “See what has happened! I have a funny sensation (Mother laughs) of the cells no longer being clustered together! They're going to scatter!” He looked at me, smiled and said, Not yet. And the effect vanished.
But Shiva had indeed given me what I wanted!
Not yet, Sri Aurobindo said.
No, the time wasn't ripe. It was too early, much too early.

                    - The Mother
(Mother’s AgendaAugust 2, 1961)

An idea called Shiva 

Photo: Satyajit; model: Sundarmurthty; Body art: Shiva; Styling:Raju

He does not wear clothes. At best he wraps himself with animal hide. He is smeared with ash. His hair is matted. He is the aloof outsider whose silence is thunderous. He does not care what the world thinks of him. He chills alone. He smokes pot, plays the rattle-drum, carries a trident and wanders in mountains and caves and crematoriums, with dogs and a bull for company. He is not a ‘good son' like Ram, not a ‘lover boy' like Krishna. As patron of tantra, yoga, theatre and dance, with the phallus as his symbol, he is the ultimate cool dude!
Little wonder that his popularity is rising among Indian youth, and among new age hippies from the west, seeking divine, sexually charged psychedelic ecstasy in eastern mysticism.
But is that what Shiva is all about?  Is he a Conan, the Barbarian, character of lore, with spirituality thrown in? Or an idea, embodied in human form, transmitted over two millenia through stories, symbols and rituals, across the subcontinent?
 There is this mistaken notion that sacred stories, symbols and rituals are literal signs. They are not. In mythology, men are not men, women are not women and gods are not gods. They are abstract ideas wrapped in concrete forms to allow their transmission and facilitate their understanding. Without this clarity of the medium, the message can never be understood.
Yes, if taken literally, the stories, symbols and rituals of Shiva can seem rather bizzare, not conventionally religious, counterintuitive even. How does one make sense of a god who cuts the head of one son (Ganesha) who is created without his semen, and has another (Kartikeya) who is incubated in multiple wombs? How does one make sense of a god whose offerings include poison (dhatura), narcotics (cannabis) and alcohol? How do you explain a god whose erect phallus is worshipped, but is described a destroyer?
So what is the idea of Shiva? Where is it written? It is written nowhere. And what is written is but a crystallisation of a thought at a particular moment of time, at a particular place. In India, over the ages, wisdom was transmitted through stories, symbols and rituals. To understand Shiva we have to understand these vehicles. And the best way to do it is to compare and contrast the stories, symbols and rituals of Shiva with those of other gods.
Shiva, for example, is offered raw milk; Vishnu is offered butter. Shiva accepts things as they are in nature; Vishnu changes what is given. Shiva's clothes are natural, found in the forest, while Vishnu's silks and gold imply the existence of a settled community of skilled workers. Shiva has to be forced into marriage. Vishnu participates in worldly matters by descending as priest, prince, cowherd and charioteer. Shiva is the patron of hermits and Vishnu the patron of householders. But on closer observation, the divide is artificial. The hermit Shiva is often shown in images with wife and children. Vishnu, the householder, is associated with the doctrine of detachment, the Bhagavad Gita, and never seen with any children.
Shiva's wife, Shakti, anoints herself with turmeric, thus celebrating the body; Shiva covers himself with ash reminding all of the mortality of the flesh. In tantrik texts, the couple debate and deliberate as they make love; she speaks for matter, he speaks for the mind. In the conflicting points of view, India finds its balance.
People frequently assume the pan-Indian nature of Shiva. Yes, Shiva is worshipped across India. But the way Shiva is seen in the north is very different from the way he is seen elsewhere. The image of Shiva as Nataraja, lord of dance, and Dakshineshwar, the original teacher, is popular in the south but not in the north. South India is unfamiliar with the tales of the guileless householder, Bhola and the child Batuk Bhairav popular in the north and the east. Shiva in the south is closely associated with the Siddha alchemical traditions, originating with Agastya. Shiva of north is the Adinatha or first teacher of  the wandering Kan-phata Nath jogis, who are part of the wider Naga Baba community.
That brings us to the question. Is Shiva God? In this question, divinity is expressed as something that is singular, masculine and spelt with capitalisation? This notion of God is once again coming from the west, from the Bible, in particular.
In India, the word God means something totally different. There are two words for God, Bhagwan and Ishwar, each with different meanings. The former is more centrifugal, embracing things material (Vishnu), and the other more centripetal, shunning things material (Shiva). Both words have to be distinguished from words such as god (no capitalisation), used for Deva and Naga.
And from the Goddess (feminine), who embodies nature, all things material, that is home to all living creatures, including Devas and Nagas, held awe and reverence because of their supernatural powers.
The Indian idea of God represents imagination, that only humans have, that allows humans to defy the laws of nature, seek control over nature, and even outgrow nature. God and Goddess, imagination and nature, Purusha and Prakriti, Shiva and Shakti, thus complement each other. Neither exists without the other.
Not all forms of God are worshipped. Brahma who creates is not, while Vishnu, who preserves, and Shiva, who destroys, are. This again is counterintuitive since in western tradition, God is worshipped because he is the creator. So why do Hindus worship a God who is a destroyer?
Few notice what Shiva actually destroys. Popular notion is that he destroys the ‘world with his tandava dance'. But what really Shiva destroys are: Kama (desire), hence his title of Kamantaka, and Yama (death), hence his title of Yamantaka. He is destroying the cycle of birth and death that Brahma creates and Vishnu preserves. He rejects culture, with all its artificial notions of right and wrong, good and bad, beautiful and ugly. He destroys it by shutting his eyes to the world. That's it!
In Shiva, inaction is destruction. If there is no human imagination would the world exist? Shiva is indifference personified. His indifference has cosmic repercussions. Nothing moves. There is no vibration, no sound, no wave, no rhythm, no flow. Only still mountains and snow.
So the gods work to make him open his eyes, get him to engage with the world, establish a relationship. For society, with all its limitations and its rules, matters. Not all individuals and communities can live without structure. That is why the key theme of Shiva lore is his marriage, the domestication of the world-rejecting ascetic.
The narrative describes how Shakti, first as Sati, then as Parvati, gets him to open his eyes and be a householder. When he opens his eyes, and engages with her, he shares his wisdom: he becomes singer, dancer, musician, and even father. But it is a constant struggle to make him a householder.
Yes, we can take the image and story, symbol and ritual of Shiva literally. But that would mean losing access to the vast ocean of wisdom that our forefathers wished to share with us. Shiva is but a single jewel in the vast storehouse of intellectual treasures that is our inheritance.
The author ( is an expert on relevance of mythology in modern life, with over 20 books on mythology.

    The foundation of Auroville was laid on February 28,1968,
with representatives of several nations participating in the solemn
ceremony. Mother did not attend but she broadcast a message
from her chamber.
       The next day the Indian Express carried a photograph of
the ceremony. In the left-hand corner at the top of the picture
appeared a face looming over the horizon, looking exactly like
Mother's face. When Mother was shown the picture, she said :
I was present there.

- M.P.Pandit, Sidelights on the Mother

1 comment:

pianomonika said...

Ganga-Capricon-Aquarius -all is very well explained.
The importance of the Ganga-river is a living symbol, and is the mother of rivers.
India, as centre, can bridge the heavens to engage in this replenishing directly from the source.