Thursday, December 22, 2011

Esoteric symbolism of Aditya Hridayam

The Aditya Hridayam of the Ramayana could be a reference to the heart lotus that Ramana Maharishi refers to as the seat of the soul. The heart lotus is on the right side of the body (and corresponding to the left brain) which is the solar side in yoga physiology, thus it is aditya in nature. Hridayam is of course the heart. So the lotus heart Ramana Maharishi that laid so much emphasis on in his teachings could well be understood as the aditya hridayam.

This heart lotus according to Ramana Maharishi is the supreme seat of the self, the consciousness from which everything else emerges. Once this is realised the ego is eliminated. If the Ramayana be read as a an allegorical tale of the supreme awakening of the infinite I consciousness (Ram) eliminating the limited, contracted egotistic existence (Ravan), then the Aditya Hridayam which the sage Agastya teaches Ram in the Yudha Kandha of the Ramayana can be read as a symbol for the awakening of the lotus heart and the supreme I consciousness after which the yogi remains immersed in the infinite consciousness-energy field and ceases to identify with the conditioned egoistic existence. Ram is the knowledge of the cosmic self that removes Ravan, ignorance born out of egotism.

There are also references to this in the Bhagvad Geeta, ‘Cutting this doubt in the heart, born out of ignorance by the sword of knowledge of the Self, arise, O Arjuna, and engage in Yoga, ‘ and again, ‘Spilt is the knot of the heart; the doubts are removed.’

The Sri Ramana Gita published by the Ramana Ashram explains the significance of the heart lotus, ‘The body is the embodiment of ignorance, conditioned by time and space and characterised by inertness. It is suffused with the light of the notion of ‘I’. Its dealings of knowledge and action, like I know, I do etc. result only from the origination of the I activity. Therefore it is proper to infer that the place of the I-activity, the root of all activities of knowledge and action, pertaining to the body should also be somewhere, pertaining to the body....

Although egoism is surpassed by the I-activity, and all activities having their root in egoism resulting in the culmination in the I-activity, there is nothing wrong in indicating a location as the practice of tracking down to the root of the I-activity culminates in the accomplishment of the Brahmanic state in the form of the throbbing I. As regards the I activity, the bodily site conditioned by time and space, called heart is pointed out. As the true form not being conditioned by time and space etc., being the supporting base of the origin of the I activity is self accomplished there itself, in the groundless, in the unsupported, it becomes established that the same is also the location of knowledge, in the form of the I-throbbing. Thus become appropriate the authoritative statements that proclaim that the knowledge located in the heart itself destroys the ignorance located in the heart....

The place is on the right portion of the chest; not the left side. From here effulgence flows through Sushumna to the Sahasrara.’

One can see that this is a reference to the realization of the atman removing all limited thought constructs which obstruct the same.

- Swetha Prakash

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Storytelling as a ritual

What is a ritual? It is established or prescribed procedure for religious, magical or other rites, a system or collection of religious or other rites, and observance of set forms in public worship. Basically ritual means certain action or set of actions which gives certain results. Man believed that if certain action or series of actions are performed in a correct sequence certain results follow. A ritual is explained by myth. Myth is incorporated in a ritual and gradually the myth-ritual unit grows and evolves further together. - M.L. Varadpande in a History of Indian Theatre.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

'This search led to the mystery of a ubiquitous power that worked like a supreme faculty of self-transmutation. It was called maya. It was then understood as a supernatural force, magical force with the power to change form and appear under innumerable deceiving masks producing illusionary effects.
During the period of Brahmanas, the task of fathoming this mysterious maya was approached through pictographic reasoning of mythology and theology. Superhuman gods and demons were believed to be wielding this magical power and directing the world. Soon, the whole series of masks that could possibly be assumed by this magical power was identified and comprehended and a vast pantheon of gods emerged.' - Rajarshi Muni in Yoga - A synthesis of Psychology and Metaphysics.