The fifth makara in tantra practice

I translated a small part of the Experience in Spiritual Practice (साधना के अनुभव), the book by Rameshchandra Sharma. I think this information will be useful for many practitioners to understand the maithuna topic in Tantrism. It is necessary to practice the maithuna ritual when the sexual energy stagnates in the area of the mūlādhāra and svādhiṣṭhāna cakras. When the kuṇḍalinī ascends, the practice with it becomes a form of yoga, which is mainly contemplative. Of course, these boundaries are very relative, however, there is a general principle of connecting the two poles in order to sublimate our vision and energy. Here is the text:

The Fifth of the Five Makaras

In tantric sādhanā, the practice of pañcamakāra is found. Practice with madya (wine), māmsa (meat), etc., it can also be done with their substitutes. In the pañcamakāra, the fifth is associated with the sense-oriented pūjā, which is known as maithuna. In essence it leads to the regulation of the semen. Maithuna is also called “latasādhanā“, it is a special practice for awakening the svādhiṣṭhānacakra.

Often after the awakening of the kuṇḍalinī, when vāyu (energy) rises to the svādhiṣṭhānacakra, kāma (passion), ascending there, begins to transform into what we know as yogasādhanā. Through the identification of a woman with Devī (Goddess) and himself with Śiva, the practitioner leaves the gross states of the physical body, and his spirit and consciousness are directed to the sphere of spiritual consciousness. This often happens when practicing a mantra with prāṇāyāma. The power in the svādhiṣṭhāna or maṇipūracakra begins to intensify and the practitioner through asceticism becomes an ūrdhvareta – one, whose ascending sexual power is sublimated. Near the maṇipūracakra (just below it) in a woman is the womb (garbhāśaya), which is the most important area in their body. 

So, from the svādhiṣṭhānacakra to the maṇipūracakra there is a point of two poles, the connection of the spiritual and the physical. and through the practice of japa you connect these centers in a pure sāttvic state. In a state of full bloom of power, at the beginning of the practice, you use a special method, thanks to which the power increases and moves further in the direction of the anāhatacakra. Mental worship is the essence, thanks to which everything basic happens there.

In the daily pūjā you can invoke the Goddess into a red flower (yellow in the case of Bagalāmukhī), and invoke Śiva in a white flower. Place the flower where the Goddess is on top of the white flower of Śiva, that will be the symbol of viparīta-rati, symbolically connecting Śiva and Śakti.

Bagalāmukhī as a relevant Goddess for śaktas, śaivas and vaiṣṇavas.

I would like to give a short quote from the Svatantra Tantra about the appearance of the Goddess Bagalāmukhī and her connection with Śrīvidyā, also Viṣṇu and Śiva.

अथ बक्ष्यामि देवेशि बगलोत्पत्ति कारणम्।
पुरा कृत युगे देवि वात क्षोभ उपस्थिते।।

Now, Mistress of the Gods, listen to the reason for the appearance of Bagalāmukhī. A long time ago, a great hurricane appeared in the Satya Yuga.

चराचर विनाशाय विष्णुश्चिन्ता परायणः।
तपस्यया च संतुष्टा महात्रिपुर सुन्दरी।।

All living and non-living began to collapse. Seeing this, Viṣṇu fell into contemplation and in this way he satisfied Mahātripurasundarī.

हरिद्राख्यं सरो दृष्ट्वा जल क्रीड़ा परायणा।
महाप्रीति हृदस्थान्ते सौराष्ट्र बगलाम्बिका।।

Seeing how in the playing waters of the Haridra lake (Turmeric lake) in Saurāṣṭra (now Gujarat), Mother Bagalāmukhī appeared in the heart of the Goddess (Tripurasundarī).

Further, the text says that heat (or light) emerged from Śrīvidyā (Tripurasundarī) and from there spread everywhere, stopping the hurricane. This happened on the fourteenth lunar day (Caturdaśī tithi) connected with Tuesday when the sun was in Capricorn (Makara), also on the night known as Vīrarātri (the heroic night).

Bagalāmukhī is considered as a part of Śrīvidyā Tantra and in her four-armed form she is in many ways identical to Tripurasundarī. There is also a story in the Rādhā Tantra about how Viṣṇu practiced tapasya and could not get success in sadhanā, after which the Goddess Śrī (Tripura) appeared to him and said that he need to manifest with her in Mathura, she would manifest in the form of Rādhikā. And worshiping Kalī in her by the kaulācāra methods, he, being Kṛṣṇa, will reveal all his siddhis. This happened because of the worshipping Rādhā as Parakīyaśakti, Viṣṇu (Kṛṣṇa) gained all success and destroyed many demons. The most interesting thing in all these stories is that the Goddess Śrī can be considered as Lakṣmī, but she is also Tripurasundarī, and we know that Śiva is Bhairava of Tripurasundarī. Thus, based on the analysis of these stories, we see that Viṣṇu and Śiva are one Deity –– Harihara. Also, Lakṣmī and Śrī, who were worshiped by Kṛṣṇa, may be Kalī, whom Kṛṣṇa invoked in them. This wonderful story allows you to cover a lot. We also know that Bagalāmukhī is a stambhinīśakti, she can represent not only the power of Mahāmṛtyuñjaya, but also the sthitiśakti of Viṣṇu. The Sāṃkhyāyana Tantra (Paṭala 35) describes Bagalāmukhī as one who is revered as Kalī in the uttara and urdhva āmnāyas. There is also a description of her as the one on the left side of which is Kalī, and on the right side is Tripurasundarī. Bagalāmukhī includes these two Goddesses who embrace Kalī and Śrī Kūlas.

Aṣṭa mudrā (the Eight Mudras)

This part is an appendix to the Gorakhbani, a text published by the Gorakshanath Mandir, Gorakhpur. The mudras, especially the five of them in the head area, are described in many Nathā texts, their practices are interpreted there in different ways. The ideal option is when the Guru in a live presentation transfers them to his disciple. For example, khecarī here is associated with taste, someone understands this as control of taste, but others understand taste as Śakti and lack of taste as Śiva, their union is khecarī-mudrā. The same applies to other mudrās, because they all require oral transmission, where the Guru (who is, of course, an experienced practitioner and has achieved high success in the practice of “siddhi“) can convey the essence to a worthy student.

अष्ट मुद्रा स्वामीजी अष्ट मुद्रा बोलिए घट भीतरी, ते कौंण कौंण ।
Tell me, Swamiji, what are the eight mudrās inside the body?

अवधू यंद्री मध्ये मूलनी मुद्रा, काम त्रिष्णा ले उतपनी काम । काम त्रिष्णा समो कृतवा, मुद्रा तो भई मूलनी ।।
O avadhu, in the middle of the perineum is the mulanī-mudrā associated with sex (kāma) and greed (tṛṣṇā). The control of kāma and tṛṣṇā is mūlanī-mudrā.

नाभी मधे जलश्री मुद्रा, काल क्रोध ले उतपनी । काल क्रोध समो कृतवा, मुद्रा तौ भई जलश्री॥
There is jalśrī-mudrā in the umbilical centre, time and anger rise there (Kālabhairava or Kālāgnirudra symbol). The control of time and anger is jalśrī-mudrā.

हुदा मधे षिरनी  मुद्रा, ग्यांन दीप ले उतपनी। ग्यांन दीप समो कृतवा, मुद्रा तो भई पोरनी॥
There is ṣirnī  (or kṣīriṇī) in the centre of the heart, there is the perception of the rising light of wisdom. When one’s knowledge shines there, then this wisdom is realised.

मुष मध्ये षेचरी  मुद्रा, स्वाद विस्वाद ले उतपनी। स्वाद विस्वाद समोकृतवा, मुद्रा तो भई षेचरी ।।
In the centre of the mouth is khecarī-mudrā, the manifestation of taste and its absence is perceived there. If there is harmony there between taste and absence (also between pleasant and unpleasant taste), it is khecarī-mudrā.

नासिका मध्ये भूचरी मुद्रा, गंध विगंध ले उतपनी। गन्ध विगन्ध समो कृतवा, मुद्रा तौ भई भूचरी ।।
In the centre of the nose is bhūcarī-mudrā, there we get odour or lack thereof (also pleasant and unpleasant smells). If there is odour control or lack thereof (also pleasant and unpleasant smells), it is bhūcarī-mudrā.

चषि मध्ये चाचरी मुद्रा, दिष्टि विदिष्टि ले उतपनी । दिष्टि विदिष्ट समो कृतवा, मुद्रा तौ भई चाचरी।।
At the centre of the eye is cācārī-mudrā, the perception of what is visible and invisible rises there. If there is harmony and control of the visible and invisible, that is cācārī-mudrā.

करण मध्ये अगोचरी मुद्रा, सबद कुसवद ले उतपनी। सवद कुसबद समो कृतवा, मुद्रा तौ भई अगोचरी।।
There is agocarī-mudrā in the centre of the ears, pleasant and unpleasant speech is manifested there. If there is evenness with regard to pleasant and unpleasant speech, it is agocarī-mudrā.

ब्रहमंड असथांनि उनमनी मुद्रा, परम जोति लै उतपनी। परम जोति समो कुतचा, मुद्रा तो भई उनमनी ।।
In the universe there is unmanī-mudrā (the symbol of the unfolding mind), the Supreme light is manifested there. If this supreme light (consciousness) is evenly distributed everywhere, then it is unmanī-mudrā.

यती अष्ट मुद्रा का जाणै भेव । सौ आपै  करता भेवे ।। इती अष्ट मुद्रा कर्थत श्री  गोरषनाथ  जती संपूर्ण समापत सिवाय ।
One who knows these various mudrās has a higher nature. Thus ends the complete explanation of the eight mudrās by Gorakṣanāth.

Romāvalī (Hairline)

This is one of the texts of Gorakshanath, written in a mixture of Hindi and dialects. For this version I used translations from Hindi. Of course, the text requires special verbal explanations of the meaning of the terms and how they all relate to each other. In such texts there are always a lot of symbolic images often used in meditation – the key focus of yoga. I want to draw your attention to the fact that the terms khecarī, bhūcarī, mahāmudrā are found in a variety of sources and in different contexts. Contrary to popular belief that among the Nāthas khecarī-mudrā is the practice of rolling the tongue back, this text confirms that, as in some tantric systems, in Nātha’s practice it may simply be a form of awareness. The same accounts to mahāmudrā, which isn’t described here as Haṭha-yoga technique of stretching one leg, regulating breathing, etc. The mahāmudrā in Buddhism is one of the highest states of consciousness, in this text the term is used in a very similar context. I used for translation a collection of texts published in the Gorakshanath Mandir in Gorakhpur, in addition to this, there are many other texts where you will find the names of mudrās similar to those found in various tantric traditions and their practices. But this is one of the illustrative examples that helps to expand the idea of ​​seemingly “known practices” among “yoga teachers” in the West. Although in India there is a trend to limit variations of practices because of consumerism. But, the true seekers of the authentic state of yoga avoid the limited state and therefor modern artificial paths. For people who are curios and enthusiastic to expand their knowledge, I have translated this text into English.

Romavali (Hairline)

सत पिता रज मात्ता तम करि गाड़ी पाई,
Sattva is the father, rajas is the mother, tamas – decay.

लोह मास तुचा नाड़ी ये चारि धात माता की वोलिये,
Blood, muscles, skin, and veins are said to belong to the mother.

चीरज हाड गृद्र ये तीनि धात पिता की बोलिये,
Semen, bones, bone marrow, these three are said to belong to the father.

ए सप्त घात का शरीर बोलिये ।
These seven joined together are said to be the body.

द्वै हाथ द्वौ पैर छाती लिलाट घाट अष्टांग जोग बोलिये।
Two arms, two legs, two breasts, a torso, and a head, they are said to be the eightfold yoga.

बंद भेद मुद्रा तीन्यू  साधंति ते सिधा बोलिये ।
Bandha, bhedana (piercing), mudrā (symbol of union), it is said that those who know these three are perfect (siddha).

कौंण बंधि बांधिये, कौंण भेद भेदिये, कौंण मुंद्रा मुंदिये ये बोलिये घट भीतरि । ते कौंण कौंण ।
What bandha (connection) should be connected? What bheda (penetration into the hidden) should be pierced? What mudrā (symbol of the Supreme) should be made a symbol of the Supreme?

मन बन्धि बांदिये पवन भेद भेदिये चिंद मुंद्रा सुंदिये।
The mind is a bandha (connecting), it must be bound (by the Supreme); pavan – the life force penetrating within – must be penetrated (by the Supreme); bindu (the essence of creation) is a symbol of the union mudrā, it must be in a symbolic union.

कौंण विमल बिचारै कौंण षिरे कौंण झरै।
Who is pure, who thinks? Who destroys? Who makes it rain?

मन विमल बिचारै सूरज षिरै चंद्र झरै ।
The mind is that pure one who is the basis of thinking, the Sun – who destroys, and the Moon – who sends rain.

हिंद पीर जिंद पीर ए बोलिये घट भीतरि | ते कौंण कौंण ।
Hindu pir (spiritual father), Muslim pir, they are said to be hidden within the body. Who are they?

हिंद पीर बोलिये मन, जिंद पीर बोलिये पवन ।
The Hindu pir (spiritual father) is said to be the mind, the Muslim spiritual father is said to be the pavan (vital force).

षेचरी भूचरी गुपत प्रगट ।  ते कौंण कौंण  ।
Khecarī (moving in the sky) and Bhūcarī (moving on the earth) are hidden and manifested. Who are they?

षेचरी बोलिये मन, भूचरी बोलिये पवन ।
The mind, it must be said, is Khecarī, and the vital wind is Bhūcarī.

गुपत  बोलिये ग्यांन, प्रगट बोलिये सरीर ।
Knowledge, let’s say, is that which is hidden, and the body is that which is manifested.

सरीरारथ परमारथ, गूढारथ । ते कौंण कौंण ।
The truth of the body, the highest truth of the body, the hidden truth, who are they?

सरीरारथ बोलिये सरीर भेद, परमारथ बोलिये प्रांण भेद, गूढारथ बोलिजै विचार ।
The truth of the body, it must be said, – what is realised within the body. The highest truth – what is realised within prāṇa. The hidden truth – what is in the investigation or vicāra.

चारी पीर बोलिजै घट भीतरि । ते कौंण कौंण ।
Please tell about the four masters within the body. Who are they?

मन मच्छिंद्र नाथ, पवन ईश्वर नाथ, चेतना चौरंगी नाथ, ग्यांन  श्री गोरष नाथ,
Mind is Macchindranāth, vital force is Īśvaranāth, intellect is Caurangīnāth, and wisdom is Gorakṣanāth.

चारी तकबीर बोलिजै घट भीतरि। ते कौंण कौंण ।
Tell about four functions within our psychophysics. What are they?

 दृष्टि कहै क्यूं लीजै दीजै, सुरति कहै क्यूं, बोलिये सुणिये, नासका कहै क्यूं सुगन्ध बास परमालादि लीजै, जिभ्या कहै क्यूं  षाटी मीठी षाइये ।
Vision – which receives and projects; memory – which perceives speech and which allows to speak; nose – which catches aromas; tongue – which takes on pleasant tastes.

चारी दिसा बोलिये धन भीतरी । ते कौंण कौंण ।
Please tell about four sides within the body. What are they?

सबद बोलिये उत्तर, पवन बोलिये पछिम I दृष्टि बोलिये दषिण सुरति बोलिये पूरब ।
Speech “sabad”, I must say – the north; life force – west; south is sight, remembrance is east.

चारि आप कला बोलिये घट मीतरि |  ते कौंण कौंण ।
Please tell about the four manifestations within the body. What are they?

ऊरम धूरम जोति ज्वाला |
This is a wave (of vibrations), smoky or atmospheric substance, light and fire.

ऊरम बोलिये मन, धूरम बोलिये पवन, जोति बोलिये नेत्र, ज्वाला बोलिये श्रवन |
The mind, it must be said, is the wave, the atmospheric substance is the life force,
the light is the eyes, hearing is the fire.

चारि षांणी बोलिजै घट मीतरि । ते कौंण कौंण ।
Tell about four forms within the body (evolutionary memory). What are they?

स्वेतरज अंडरज जेरज उदबीरज।
These are birth from sweat, birth from an egg, birth from a womb, and birth from a seed.

सेतरज बोलिये हाड़, जेरज वोलिये बीरज, अंडरज बोलिये नेत्र, उदबीरज बोलिये रोमावाली ।
Bones, it is said, are born from sweat, semen – from the womb,
eyes – from the egg, and hair – from seed.

चारि बांणीं बोलिये घट मीतरि ।ते कौंण कौंण ।
What are the four kinds of speech within the body?

सहज संजम सुपाइ अतीथ |
This is the one that is innate – “sahaja”; the one that is fully assembled – “saṃyama” (often interpreted as control); the speech that is “svayambhū” – manifested itself (anāhata), and transcendental.

सहज बोलिये सरीर, संजम बोलिये पवन, अतीत बोलिये परम पद ।
महा मुद्रा महां अजाच नग्री महां जोगणी स्वयंभू बोलिये ।
The body should be called “sahaja” (innate), the life force should be called “saṃyama”, the Supreme state should be called transcendental. The great symbol is “mahāmudrā”, the great abode without poverty, the great yogini – “svayambhū”.

जे बांणीं षांणी कौ  बिचारैं  ते निराकार बोलिये, ऊँकार  मधे जोति जांणियै
ऊरम धूरम जोति ज्वाला । भेदौ रवि  का चारयूं  कला ।
Those who meditate on these categories of speech should be called unmanifested. You must know that there is light within Omkara. There is a wave (of vibration), atmosphere, light, and fire. Penetrate the four manifestations of the Sun.

मन करि हस्ती बिमल जल पीवै । द्वै  पष चीन्है  तौ सोलह कला जीवै।
बारह कला सूरज, सोलह कला चंद।
The elephant of mind drinks pure water. Comprehend both poles of life in sixteen manifestations (it is likely said about tithi and two pakṣas). Sun has twelve manifestations and Moon has sixteen.

गुरू जिसका लषावै नहीं चेला तिसका अंध ।
बारह  कला सूरज की, ताकौ  गुण घट भीतरि  ब्यापै । ते कौंण कौंण ।
If the Guru shows nothing, then the disciple is blind. Sun has twelve manifestations and they permeate the body. What are they?

चिंता, तरंग , डयम, माया, परग्रहणै, परपंच , हेत , बुधि ।
काम, क्रोध, लोभ; दृष्टि ये बारह कला सूरज की बोलिये ।
Anxiety (various thoughts), fluctuation, involvement in manifestations, capture by the external, phenomenality, motivation, wakefulness, passion, anger, greed, perception of the visible. These are the twelve aspects of Surya.

सोलह कला चंद्रमा की ताकै  गुण घट भीतरी राषैं | ते कौंण कौंण ।
There are also sixteen manifestations of the Moon, permeating the whole body within. What are they?

सांति, नृवर्त, क्षिमा, नृमल, निहचल, ग्यांन, सरूप, पद,
नृबांण, नृबिष, निरंजन, अहार , निद्रा, मैथुन, बाई, अमृंत 
ये सोलह  कला चन्द्रमा  की बोलिये। 
Peace, detachment from mundane, patience, purity, stability, wisdom, perfect form, perfect state, nirvāṇa (silence of worldly aspirations), fearlessness, spotlessness, satiety, rest (sleep), intercourse, breath, elixir. These are the sixteen aspects of Moon.

ए चारि कला सूरज की साधै तो सोलह कला चंद्रमा की पावै।
Those who are masters of the manifestations of Sun, they will attain the sixteen manifestations of Moon.

एती एक रोमावली ग्रंथ जोग कथितं श्री गोरषनाथ ।
Gorakshanath explained the book on yoga called “Romāvalī” (Hairline).

What is the correct mantra?

What is the correct mantra to be practiced by a sādhaka following the traditional path? I suggest referring to one śloka from the Gurugītā:

ध्यानमूलं गुरुर्मूर्तिः पूजामूलं गुरुर्पदम् ।
मन्त्रमूलं गुरुर्वाक्यं मोक्षमूलं गुरूर्कृपा ॥

dhyānamūlaṁ gurormūrtiḥ pūjāmūlaṁ gurupadam |
mantramūlaṁ guruvākyaṁ mokṣamūlaṁ gurukṛpā ||

The image of the Guru is the basis of meditation, 
The feet of the Guru is the basis of worship,
The basis of mantra is Guru’s speech, 
The basis of liberation is Guru’s grace.

It may seem to someone that this is said for a beautiful word, but in reality it is not. In deed, as it is said in this śloka, it is so. However, the meaning of this śloka lies in the correct attitude towards the guru, which is not characteristic of many, especially in the Western environment, including among the so-called “spiritual practitioners”. This happens for the reason that those who declare themselves sādhakas in the West are subject to the trends of the general environment, where a lot of mass delusions are cultivated. But, if you know deeply the topic of mantras, then the mantra is the Deity, and the guru is a good practitioner. A good practitioner is one who has realised the mantra (i.e. the Divine in himself). Accordingly, the transfer of the mantra, of course, occurs from the guru to the disciple, but essentially it is the Deity itself that “transmits” itself through the guru to the disciple. I propose to think about how important, deep and sacred this process is. Therefore, it is necessary to come to the guru precisely for this kind of process. But of course, this does not happen as simply and primitively as many imagine it to be, the level of devotion and understanding of what it is must be extremely high.

About Dhūmra Gaṇapati

The Gaṇeśa Purāṇa as well as the Mudgala Purāṇa refers to धुम्रवर्ण गणेश (dhumravarṇa gaṇeśa) and धूम्रकेतु गणेश (dhūmraketu gaṇeśa). That is a smoky or ash-coloured Gaṇeśa (which is associated with bhasma), so this form is deeply connected to Goddess Dhūmāvatī. The Mudgala Purāṇa lists eight forms of Gaṇapati and the last of them is धुम्रवर्ण गणेश (dhumravarṇa gaṇeśa). There is a mention of another form in the Gaṇapati Purāṇa, one of the four, which is called धूम्रकेतु गणेश (dhūmraketu gaṇeśa). The first form is called महोत्कट विनायक (mahotkaṭa vināyaka) and manifests itself in the satya yuga, the form मयूरेश्वर विनायक (mayūreśvara vināyaka) is manifested in the tretā yuga, गजानन (gajānana) – in the dvāpara yuga, and धूम्रकेतु विनायक (dhūmraketu vināyaka) – in the kali yuga. It is completely normal for different forms of Gaṇapati to be worshipped at certain time periods. That is traditionally performed every month at chaturthi tithi, according to the Indian almanac (pañcāṅga).

1. In the month of Māgha,  भालचन्द्र गणेश (bhālacandra gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
2. In the month of Phālguna, हेरम्ब गणेश (heramba gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
3. In the month of Caitra, विकट गणेश (vikaṭa gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
4. In the month of Vaiśākha, वक्रतुण्ड गणेश (vakratuṇḍa gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
5. In the month of Jyeṣṭha, रथ गणेश (ratha gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
6. In the month of Āṣāḍha, लम्बोदर गणेश (lambodara gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
7. In the month of Śrāvaṇa, विनायक गणेश (vināyaka gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
8. In the month of Bhādrapada, एकदन्त गणेश (ekadanta gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
9. In the month of Aśvīna, कृष्ण गणेश (kṛṣṇa gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
10. In the month of Kārtika, पिंग गणेश (piṃga gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
11. In the month of Mārgaśīrṣa, गजानन गणेश (gajānana gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
12. In the month of Puṣyā, लम्बोदर गणेश (lambodara gaṇeśa) is worshipped.

In general, according to the Gaṇeśa Purāṇa, धूम्र गणेश (dhūmra gaṇeśa) is worshipped. He is described with a vāhana in the form of a blue horse, which differs from the common popular version where he has a vāhana in a form of a mouse. In this form he is associated with Kalki-avatār, a form of Viṣṇu. However, we must bear in mind that in India, followers of different Sampradāyas may see their principal Deity as the highest. So it is not surprising that for some of them Viṣṇu is a manifestation of Śiva, for some – Viṣṇu and even some forms of Śiva are manifestations of the Mother Goddess, and that is also true for the worshippers of Gaṇapati. Dhūmra Gaṇapati is therefore a form of Gaṇeśa, which is the counterpart of Kalki-avatār in Vaishnavism. Although, there are ślokas describing Dhumravarṇa Gaṇapati sitting on a mouse (आखु / ākhu):

धुम्रवर्णावतारश्चाभिमानासुरनाशकः ।
आखुवाहन एवासौ शिवात्मा तु स उच्येत

dhumravarṇāvatāraścābhimānāsuranāśakaḥ ।
ākhuvāhana evāsau śivātmā tu sa ucyeta

The avatāra who has the smoky colour, the one who is also the destroyer of abhimanasura (the demon of pride). The one whose means of transport is in the form of a mouse, who is actually to be called the essence of Śiva.

Accordingly, it is very common in India to reduce all individual forms of Gaṇeśa or some other Deity to the most popular forms and their attributes at first. And then, to the yogic experience in general, as for example, in the Nātha-sampradāya, where Gaṇeśa has a human face, not an elephant-headed one. That is not because he originally had a human face before Śiva gave him an elephant’s head in the famous story. It is simply that for a yogin the human form is closer and the aim of all practices is to realise the divinity in own body, which is what all practices in tantrism lead to. The aim of realisation of a particular mantra (which is one with its Deity) is that your whole psychophysical being becomes a permanent carrier of the reality of that Deity. Continuous total abiding in God means eternity – the nature of ātman, which is the goal of yoga. However, Dhūmra Gaṇapati, like Goddess Dhūmāvatī, is the symbolic end of the spiritual path. It is a symbol of the burned-out worldly aspirations (saṃskāra), the residing of consciousness in the mundane (vāsanā), and in general – of the fire of any passion for life (kāmāgni). The worldly man is constantly engaged in a bubbling life full of fire, the last sign of which is the smoke of the funeral pyre, it’s grey ashes (bhasma). He who has forsaken all the useless fuss of the world, strives for the silencing of all ‘vṛitti‘ (the endless cycle of thoughts) in the mind. Such a devotee strives unceasingly towards the eternity of his true Self (ātman), seeing all worldly things transformed into the nectar of bhasma, the symbol of emptiness from which all forms, all activities (‘pravṛitti’), have emerged. Such yogins are in no hurry to go anywhere. Even if they do stay in this world, they are in a very nominal contact with everything. Dhūmra Gaṇapati and Dhūmāvatī properly represent the nature of Ketu and Śani in jyotiṣa. Śani is the slowest of all planets, so it constrains the exaggeration in our activities, the same is with Ketu. But these grahas could be helpful to those who choose discipline and aspiration towards mokṣa.

Yogic nature of Dhūmāvatī Goddess

My congratulations on the upcoming event that celebrates the birth of the Hindu Goddess Dhūmāvatī. We should observe Dhūmāvatī first and foremost as a Goddess with the profound symbolism. Officially she doesn’t have her own Bhairava, because she and he are one and the same. She is associated with the upper cakras, the upper āmnāya (transmission of knowledge), which leads to mokṣa and is the essence of all āmnāyas. Her energy is associated with the renunciation from the world, with nirvikalpasamādhi. Dhūmāvatī symbolises the moment when the power of kuṇḍalinī rises upwards, reaches ājñā-cakra and then dissolves into Paramaśiva. I will give you an interesting excerpt from the Siddha-siddhānta-paddhati, which describes the practices involved in realisation of various guidelines in yoga. In describing of the inner lakṣya, I suggest that you pay attention to this passage from the second part:

अथवा ललाटोर्ध्वे कोलोलाटमण्डपे स्फुरत्काराकारं लक्षयेत्।
athavā lalāṭordhve kololāṭamaṇḍape sphuratkārākāraṃ lakṣayet।

Or, one must contemplate a pulsating flash in space above the forehead.

अथवा भ्रमरगुहामध्ये आरक्तभ्रमराकारं लक्षयेत्।
athavā bhramaraguhāmadhye āraktabhramarākāraṃ lakṣayet।

Or, contemplate an image like a red bee in the bhramara-guha (bee cave) area.

अथवा कर्णद्वयं तर्जनीभ्यां निरोधयेत् ततः शिरोमध्ये धूं धूं कारं नादं श्रृणोति।
athavā karṇadvayaṃ tarjanībhyāṃ nirodhayet tataḥ śiromadhye dhūṃ dhūṃ kāraṃ nādaṃ śrṛṇoti।

Or, one should cover both ears with two thumbs and then listen to the sound “dhūṃ dhūṃ” धूं धूं (Dhūmāvatī bīja-mantra) in the middle of the head.

अथवा चक्षुर्मध्ये नीलज्योतिरूपं पुतल्याकारं लक्षयेदित्यन्तर्लक्ष्यम् ॥२७॥
athavā cakṣurmadhye nīlajyotirūpaṃ putalyākāraṃ lakṣayedityantarlakṣyam ॥27॥

Or, between the eyes, contemplate a glowing blue image. These are the inner guidelines of contemplation.

Blue is often associated with various types of Goddesses, it can represent the energy of Tārā (Nīlasaraswati), Śyāmalā (Mātaṅgī), Kālī, which in many ways could also correspond to Dhūmāvatī, as blue slightly resembles the color of smoke. In fact, bījas, Dhūmāvatī mantras, her vibrations in the head, which lead to the dissolution are described here. I will share some personal experience. Although many believe that she represents a withering power, I think that such a view is deceptive and the worldly person does not see the most important thing about her. This Goddess, although depicted as a symbol which is close to the end of life, is also a symbol of the full unfolding of life’s whole potential. It’s a total bloom that, for many, seems daunting and ominous. Its withering contains an infinite blossoming of energy, it is kuṇḍalinī at the very peak of unfolding into infinity. Dhūmāvatī eliminates two kinds of fear, which are essentially one – the fear of life-death.

How are pūjās performed in Navrātri related to yoga?

Many people ask me this question, so I decided to answer simply and accessibly, using examples. To obtain siddhi (success) performing sādhanā, the Deity (the Goddess in this case) must be satisfied. It is as if you have met a very influential person who is satisfied with your communication, then he or she will help you succeed in this world. It remains to understand what the Divine is and what it means to be satisfied, as in the case of the Goddess? The Goddess is a power that is present in the entire universe, we, as particles of this universe (microcosm), also have the representation of this Goddess inside ourselves. She is represented in us in the form of Kuṇḍalinī Śakti. When you honor the Goddess outside and She is pleased with your offerings, you feel tremendous powers in the outside world that help you and contribute to your progress in activities. But, since the Goddess is outside and inside us (like kuṇḍalinī), She also opens up, awakens, wakes up inside. Usually, this is what is called the awakening of the kuṇḍalinī power.

Now, let’s look at what awakening and non-awakening mean. This is a very psychological process, much like in communication, when you do not have a very trusting relationship with someone and the person is closed in relation to you. If the relationship isn’t good, then the person is tense and tight when meeting you. But, if the relationship is good, the person is open and calm in your presence. The same thing happens in your psychophysics, if you remove the psychological tightness, you release all blocks in the psyche. What happens when you release your energy and reveal yourself? As a result – a state of rest. First, a strong release of strength, then a state of peace. That is, you untie your blockages in three granthis, as a result of which you realise a natural state of calm, deep meditation. When you are satisfied, you also experience a state of calm, this is what yoga and tantrism call nirvikalpasamādhi, nirvāṇa, mukti. It is for this purpose that the Goddess is satisfied, Her powers are revealed, for this, practices are done in Navarātri and in other special periods, or they are performed regularly, like nityasādhanā (daily practice).

Summary of my online talk on the International conference on Global Contribution of the Nath Panth on March 21st 2021. The Nath Tradition on Foreign Land.

Guruji ko Adesh! Adesh to all the great devotees of our Tradition! Blessings from Guru Gorakhnath to all those who have a genuine interest in our unique Tradition, which is highly important for India and beyond!

I’ll try to be concise and cover the requested topics in 20 minutes. First and foremost, it is a promotion of the Natha Tradition in the West, which I feel the need to pay special attention to. Undoubtedly, this subject is not an easy one as it involves many different areas of our lives. 

It has been 35 years since I started practicing yoga and 15 years since I began promoting the Natha Tradition in the West, and I have faced many challenges in the process. The first point I would like to make is a cultural one. Westerners, trying to take the easy way, attempt to take something from such a complex phenomenon as the Natha Sampradaya without taking into account the environment in which it was formed. My Guru said that the tradition is like a potion made from various ‘aushadhi’ (plants) put together. We can’t say that it is the same as it was before, but we can’t say that the ‘plants’ are not there either. For many centuries, the Natha tradition has existed in the cultures of the Vedas, Puranas, Tantras, of the many various Sampradayas (Shramana, Shaiva, Shakta, Vaishnava, Buddhist, Jaina and others). We know that India has been partly influenced by Abrahamic Traditions as well, even though they may look very ambiguous in India. And I have found that very few people in the West are interested in all that, which makes it difficult for westerners, including those in the Natha Tradition, to understand the realities of India. We also know very well that western Indology would not be funded by Western governments if it did not show eastern doctrines in a diminished way in comparison to what they consider traditional. Moreover, India’s colonial past is also reflected in the fact that many Indian leaders show a lack of sovereignty. Probably some of my Indian friends think that this would be good for western followers of the Natha Sampradaya. However we do not come to India to join the globalised yoga movement that has flooded the West. Many of my students want to communicate on the themes of yoga which is traditional for sincere Indians who love their country and their culture. Now the world has changed and yoga has become so superficial, that it is very difficult even to call it ‘yoga’ anymore. To tell you the truth, sometimes I am embarrassed to call what I see with that term. But it is not just about yoga, today we face a world where corporations are trying to suppress everything natural in humans. And I think we all know what I am talking about. There is a lot of low-quality food in the world, something that harms people’s health is passed off as a medicine – they are trying to take us away from nature. But yoga is oriented on a natural state of a human being. We live in a world of very aggressive media and now more than ever we need to learn to empty our minds. I am not saying that we don’t need modern technologies at all, but the way I see it, it is good when they are utilised as our tools but not the other way around. So I would like the western followers of the Tradition and those who live in India to think about it. I have sincerely embraced the way of yoga, the way of Shiva, and I wish that the great history, the great guidelines of this tradition would not fade into oblivion. It is very important for us to keep our values sincere and pure.

Meaning of Ādeś salutation

There is its own Sūkṣma-veda in the Nātha Sampradāya, which is called the Gorakh Sabadī. There is also the Gorakṣopaniṣad and analogues of Vedanta (ātma-jñāna, brahma-jñāna), the Gorakh Gītā, the Gorakh Purāṇa and the Gorakh Tantra. Of course, all of this often differs from what most people see in it, and although essentially it is one whole, it should be better discussed separately. There is also its own nirukta – the interpretation of terms. For instance, according to nirukta, a term ‘ādeś‘ means the following:

आदेश नाम योग – योगेश्वरों का, नाम सत रुप नाथों का, आदेश नाम पूर्ण सिद्धों का आदेश नाम आत्मा, परमात्माऔर जीवात्मा की एकता का । आदेश नाम एक अन्तर आत्मा से दूजा अन्तर आत्मा में योग बनया ज्योति स्वरुप आत्मा को नमस्कार । आदेश नाम अद्वैत आत्मा आदेश नाम निर्गुण निराकार अविनाशी आत्मा को इतना आदेश शब्द निरुक्त सम्पूर्ण भया श्री नाथ जी गुरूजी को आदेश ।

Ādeś is the name of the Lords of yoga and yoga itself, the true state of the Nāthas. Ādeś is the name of realised siddhas, of the unity of ātma (an individual soul as it is), paramātma (an omnipresent soul) and jivātma (a soul incarnated in a body). Ādeś is the name of the unity of a soul (within a person) with another soul, reverence for the luminous nature of the soul. Ādeś is the name of the non-dual ātman, which is beyond qualities, formless and indestructible. This is the full interpretation of the term ‘ādeś’. May there be respect and will (teaching) of Śrī Nātha ji Guruji!

However, according to the Machhindra Gorakh Bodh (6), we see the following explanation of the term ‘ādeś‘:

मछिंद्र: अवधू आदेस का अनुषम उपदेस, सुंनि का निरंतर बास ।
सबद का परचा गुरु कथंत मछिन्द्र नाथ ।

Oh disciple, the guidance (upadeśa) in the immeasurable ‘ādeś’ transmission (anusham), where the infinity (nirantar) lives (vāsa) in the emptiness (śūnya). Speech is a manifestation of the guru (śabd kā paricaya guru) (obviously here is the connection of the guru with vāgbhava bīja “aiṃ”), This is what guru Matsyendranāth says.

That is, ādeś or, in Sanskrit, ādeśa means a certain transmission from a guru to a disciple or from a deity to a practitioner in a special form, where an instruction and the highest essence, or the meaning are inseparable. That is the subtle knowledge which guru reveals in a student, which is, in fact, the yogic experience. Since that is not an ordinary knowledge obtained in universities, it is rather revealed in a meditative state, in a state of utmost peace of mind and feelings, so this transmission may often be a non-verbal one. It frequently occurs even in silence between some yogis or gurus and those who receives śaktipāt from them. This is a relationship of a kind that a student understands a guru giving only a small hint, half the words, on a deeply intuitive level. As a rule, that is accompanied by the deep psychophysical transformation of the student’s nature.

We can find this term in other sources, for example, in Vedanta, in the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (2.3.6):

अथात आदेशो ‘नेति नेति’।

So, the instruction, which is not this (and) not that.
(That is, the truth is outside of the scope of discursive thinking, the nature of the ātman is beyond any description).

Probably, this is where the origin of the Nāthas‘ focus on freedom from the inadequacy of duality or even non-duality, from any extreme, which is destructive and disharmonious comes from.

Thus, ādeś (or ādeśa) means the transfer of essential knowledge, for the sake of the deep spiritual transformation, where a disciple, being in a state of deep respect and utmost attentiveness, both in relation to himself and the guru, discovers the silent truth. We may call it the highest form of the mystical experience, leading to the total transformation, the transformation from a person to a God-man. This is the state of yoga in its essential, unified form and also in its many basic aspects, therefore there could be a connection with any kind of traditional yoga or religious practices here.

Many may consider the greeting ‘Ādeś!‘ among nāthas as an analogue to the well-known ‘namaste‘. ‘Namah‘ – means ‘respect’ and ‘te‘ – means ‘you’. However, as I see it, ‘ādeś‘ has a deeper meaning, it is rather the very essence of ‘namaste‘. By namaste, you honor a guru or a deity or someone you have respect for. It is kind of a pūjā. But why a pūjā is performed? It is performed for the sake of the inclusion in the nature of the divine and the descent of prasādam or śaktipāt. Here ādeś is, rather, the second stage, following the namaste, it is not just a pūjā as an action, but it is a successful performance. Such efficiency actually means staying in goodness, sometimes it can reveal some siddhis as accompanying side effects. Although the siddhis are definite indicators, in this case, it is not them that matters, but the state of siddha puruṣa, a pure perfect being. Whatever the pūjās are performed: vedic, purāṇic, tantric (including non-standard ones, like pañchamakāras), none of them have any meaning if there is no pure grace (prasādam). Therefore, ādeś, for a yogin, is a transforming inner spiritual purity and knowledge, it is more important than any, even the most seemingly exclusive religious techniques. This is not to say that they are good or bad, they may or may not work, as for example, a computer may be useful when it is connected to the Internet and, moreover, to electricity. In the same way, simply put, there is ādeś, in relation to all types of spiritual techniques and systems.