Semedi Is Not A Beneficial Activity, Don’t Do It

I hate Monday. A sentence which is not relevant anymore for me in the last few years. Monday has been becoming a day which I always wait. Because at this day, in the afternoon after office hour, I can release my tension in a Hatha Yoga Class in my Office. I’m glad that my office is one of the few offices which provide Hatha Yoga as one of the exercising class as part of the human development program. This monday, as usual, I left my desk at 5 PM, prepared  my self for the class at 5:30. I packed my stuff, put it in the bag and grab my Yoga mat. And then with a couple of my office mate, heading to the class in next level of the building. Something interesting has happened for several times, on the way to our Hatha Yoga class. Just like last monday, one of my office mate,  which I met in the elevator, asked us curiously where we were heading to, complete with our mat which’s hanging on our body, which pretty much made us different compared another passenger. “We are going for a yoga class”, one of  my colleague answered his question spontaniouslly. “Okhh Semedi Semedi?” he said and we could not answer more than a simple smile about that question. “Have you been able to fly?” he continued, and it made our smile even sweeter. This kind of question is thrown almost every time we meet “similar kind of people” on the way we went to a Hatha Yoga class, with our mat hanging on our shoulder. And I can not blame their ignorance about what we are actually doing during a Hatha Yoga class. Hatha Yoga itself basically an ancient physical exercise system which was design in order to improve our physical body just like another type of modern exercise. And with a healthy body, we can use it as any kind of purpose in life, either spiritually or another kind of activities or improvement in life. It’s not some kind of a religious ritual or something like that, even though in the ancient time this exercise was used as a preparation for more advanced spiritual practice like another kind of Yoga, which required a very healthy body in practicing it.

 

Semedi is the word which is very familiar in Indonesian culture, especially in Javanese and Balinese language and culture. And interestingly, most of Indonesian people, when they hear the word “Yoga” the first image which arise into their mind is a person which is sitting in a Lotus posture,  which they call “Semedi”. And they have also a little bit negative image for people which is doing this “Semedi” activity. Yup, for those, the aim of the people,  which are doing this activity,  is inorder to get some magical power, and it’s prohibited by many major religious traditions in this country, including Hinduism and Buddhism, which actually have a very deep relationship with meditation. Why? Because if the goal of a practice is to get some magical power, like flying, just like what was imagine by my colleague above, moreover when it’s used to harm others or to fulfill desire more and more, then this “semedi” stuff will be an activity which will drown a man in more and more deeper attachment. So I pretty much agree which prohibition that most common people has in their culture, about this “semedi”. It’s  not a beneficial practice to be done. So don’t do it.

 

HOWEVER.

 

The word “semedi” itself actually came from a sanskrit root Samādhi,  which is very well known and used in several Indian schools of Philosophy,  especially Patanjali Yoga School of Philosophy. Samādhi is not a verb or activity, it is the latest limb of Patanjali Yogic System, as the goal of their method as described in here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samadhi). This term is also widely used in several Buddhism and Jainishm Schools of Phylosophy, as a Non-Dualistic State of Consciousness in which the Consciousness of the experiencing subject becomes one with the experienced object. It said that samādhi is a meditative absorption, attained by the practice of dhyāna(one pinted mind). In samādhi the mind becomes still. It is a state of being totally aware of the present moment; a one-pointedness of mind. We actually sometimes experience this state of Consciousness also in “deep sleep”, a sleep where there is no objects or events which build a dream. Not event time and space were presented. We intuitively experience the period of this event in a very short of time, like a blink of an eye. The space is also seems collapsed, completely blank, no-thing there to be experienced. This is because in this moment, our mind is completely resting as Pure Consciousness. Time and space which are products of the mind are dissolved as the mind becomes completely still.

 

However in Samādhi we do it willingly with fully aware about the process of dissolving the mind. Start from the absorption of all physical objects of senses  perception into the mind realm(Pratyahara), until the absorption of the mind itself as the result of the focusing(Dharana) and Contemplating(Dyana) the mind. It is not about emptying the mind, it is about directing the mind in one-pointed object and then turn or dissolve the focus into its source, the Consciousness. And the moment the mind purely falls and stay into its source, is called the state of Samādhi. This is the most peaceful state which man could have. A Non-Dualistic state where all problems, as the result of the mind-world interaction, are dissolved. The objects and the subject become One, as the meaning of the word Yoga itself, Union. This state is like fragrance of a rose, the closer we are, the stronger the fragrant of the rose we smell. Even though we don’t reached this state yet completely, the closer we are along with our practice, the more we might have wisdom from it. We might understand many things, like the nature of the mind along with its contents, and even the wisdom about death. And the most important wisdom we might have is the understanding about our true nature, “The Indestructible Self. Indestructible… not because it’s so strong, but because it’s so empty” my mentor said.

 

Sunyata, The Empty Void. Void not because there’s nothing there, but because our mind has no idea about It” -Alan Watts

 

 

We all, whatever tradition we take as our spiritual path, always live in three state as the evolution of the Consciousness. Awaking state, where we perceive the senses objects as the material world, Dreaming state where all senses perception objects are dissolved and only the mind which is active and create the dream world, or maybe heaven and hell realm, by itself. Even though we’re in heaven as most tradition believe exists after we die, we are going to experience the objects of heaven. Let’s say we have a beautiful flower in heaven, there will be shapes and colours as its objective perception and there will also be “beauty” as the mind conception. This again will be the source of desire and attachment, and perhaps one time the “beauty” of it would also be very boring. That’s the nature of the mind isn’t it?

However when all of this objective senses perception and mind conception rest in its Source, Consciousness, there will be the ultimate peace we might experience. Far beyond Heaven and Hell, No more good and bad,  no more beauty and ugliness, no more “black” and “white”, no more subject and objects,   just an ultimate peaceful inseparable unchanging state without any judgment at all,  therefore no more problems, questions and doubts. Only  the Ultimat Happiness, Ultimate Peace(Parama Shanti) .   And to attend this condition, first we have to let go or rest both perception as the product of the senses,  and conception as the product of the mind. We “Surrender” completely both elements, senses and mind to their Source.

See.. there is no magical power, or any other hijibiji experience to be attained whatsoever. Forget about magical power, we rest all ordinary things,  we even rest all desires of world, all attacements, all emotions, all concepts and the most important of them, we rest our body and mind, fall them back to its Source, The Consciousness. This is Samādhi, this  is the goal of a real Yogi, even many great traditions also. A total surrender, not only surrendering the world, but also the mind and all of its contents. You might throw away all these terms , Samādhi, Yoga or whatever terms which came from a particular tradition. It’s not something you have to believe, but a stuff you might explore in day to day experience. Look deeply into our life, our problems and turn them inwardly within. Layer by layer from our body, our mind and beyond.

tumblr_nsrd3x6Khw1u5c1iqo1_500

The “I” which is capable of perceiving this vast Universe, The “I” which capable of creating a dream world as real as the awaking world by itself. What could it be? What is the nature of it? The “I”? As what now quantum physic also said, “The Observer,  without which, the physical world is just a matter of potential,  just a mirage”. I really really hope more and more people are interested in this subject. Don’t have to put it as a believe or something religious and mystical , just get use to it, falling back home to The Source, the Pure Consciousness, the state where the ultimate peace can be attaind or at least fall to its fragrance. The state which will bring a great understanding about the true nature of our self, and that we’re just having fun in this life, in all of these experiences, nothing will last forever, therefore nothing to be afraid, live our live in a happy way, whatever coming will also left behind, just like a dream. This will charge our energy in facing this ever-changing world. At last, May Peace will always be available  for all Sentient Being.

 

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti OM

 

Om

Om

Kesadaran, Penerimaan, Transformasi dan Kemenangan

Galungan 10 February 2016, tangah malam sepulang dari persembahyangan di sebuah pura di bilangan Jakarta Timur. Berteman semilir angin malam, terlontar pandangan lepas ke langit gelap, tanpa sebutirpun bintang menarikan kerlipannya. Pandangan beralaskan kerinduan akan kemeriahan perayaan, yang tersirat dalam lekung janur yang terpancang kokoh di sepanjang jalan desa, di tanah Tantra.

Bali. Kemolekannya sedang saya rindukan malam ini. Dia sedang bersolek bak Supraba, yang selalu menggoda mereka yang jauh darinya. Tanah tempat para titisan Gandarwa merajut setiap sudut dengan hingar bingar rasa, sani dan budaya. Yaa… hari ini adalah Galungan. Sebuah perayaan oleh masyarakat Bali, berbalut makna sebuah Kemenangan. Galungan hingga Kuningan memang sebuah rentang dalam dimensi waktu, dimana manusia Bali memenuhi dirinya dengan aktifitas keagamaan, yang bermanifestasi dalam bentuk keindahan seni dan budaya di setiap sudutnya.

Kali ini ingin sekali lagi saya mengangkat cahaya-cahaya suci, dalam bentuk makna eksoterik dari sebuah hari yang menyiratkan arti “Kemenangan Dharma atas Adharma”. Saya pernah menulis beberapa tahun yang lalu, bagaimana segala fenomena hidup sesungguhnya adalah sangat alami sebagai reaksi alam atas sikap dan tindakan manusia itu sendiri, yang dikenal dengan hukum sebab(karma/tindakan) akibat(pala/hasil tindakan). Dan makna Kemenangan Dharma adalah tentang sebuah kwalitas psychologist manusia dalam menyikapi berbagai dualisme kehidupan, yang seharusnya bukan dalam bentuk penghakiman dan berujung keluhan serta rasa rendah diri, tapi dalam bentuk semangat kesadaran penerimaan dan transformasi. Semakin manusia sadar akan kwalitas-kwalitas dalam dirinya dengan penuh penerimaan tanpa menghakimi dirinya sendir, semakin dekat dia dengan langkah selanjutnya, yaitu transformasi diri dalam kehidupannya.

Belakangan Saraswati seperti menuliskan berbagai ayat-ayat pemahaman dalam kesadaran saya. Salah satu yang paling menohok, dan akhirnya menjadi sebuah ukiran cantik dalam pikiran saya, datang dari sebuah tradisi, yang notabene juga adalah pondasi dasar aspek sosial dan spiritualitas masyarakat Bali. Tantra. Sebuah kutipan dari salah satu Text yang menjadi “kitab suci” para penekun tradisi ini. Vigyana Bairawa Tantra. Text ini terdiri dari 112 teknik meditasi yang berumur lebih dari 7000 tahun. Dan dalam kesempatan kali ini, saya ingin menyadur salah satu dari 112 teknik tersebut ,dan mencari benang merahnya dengan makna kemenangan dalam semarak hari raya Galungan. Berikut adalah bunyi salah satu dari 112 teknik yang disuratkan dalam sebait kalimat puitis:

“Simply by looking into the clear blue sky beyond the clouds, the Serenity”

“Hanya dengan melihat ke jernihnya Langit Biru di balik awan-awan, Ketenangan”

2016-02-12 17.32.50

Teknik ini memiliki makna mendalam yang sangat erat kaitannya dengan aspek Kesadaran dan Penerimaan. Dua aspek yang merupakan awal dari keseluruhan proses dalam meraih Kemenangan Dharma, sebagai ukuran kwalitas psychologist manusia. Dan kedua kwalitas ini meruakan yang paling krusial untuk mampu melangkah ke aspek berikutnya: Transformasi.

Kesadaran. Upaya kita untuk selalu sadar akan apa yang muncul ke permukaan.

Pikiran, memory, emosi, rasa rendah diri, ketakutan dll, adalah atribut-atirbut penting dalam pikiran manusia. Atribut-atribut yang sering kali menjadi sumber ilusi dan kenestapaan bagi diri manusia. Realita selalu terdiri dari dua hal yang tak mungkin dipisahkan satu sama lain. Aspek eksternal dan aspek internal, object dan subject. Banyak hal di dunia ini kita ingin ubah, namun faktanya lebih sering kita hidup dalam keterbatasan. Sedikit sekali hal di dunia yang mampu kita perbaiki sendiri. Tapi sekali lagi luar dan dalam sesungguhnya saling melengkapi, andaipun fenomena eksternal manusia tak sanggup kita ubah, satu hal yang pasti. Semua hal yang terkait aspek internal manusia bisa kita ubah. Atribut-atribut psikologis manusia sifatnya personal, hanya milik kita pribadi  dan sesungguhnya tidak membutuhan aspek eksternal untuk merubahnya. Namun, hanya untuk mengakuinya saja, belum merubahnya, manusia butuh effort yang besar. Ini karena banyak hal yang membentuk “diri internal” manusia, melekat demikian lama dan bahkan susah bahkan hanya untuk mengenalinya saja. Untuk itu langkah pertama yang bisa kita ambil untuk perubahan adalah SADAR akan segala atribut atau kwalitas-kwalitas itu sendiri. Kita hidup di masyarakat yang tidak menempatkan pelatihan kesadaran seperti ini dalam kurikulum pendidikan formal. Kita sedari kecil, jangankan untuk menempatkan kontrol didalamnya, hanya untuk menyadari atribut-atribut ini saja kita tidak terbiasa. Pendidikan kita hanya menempatkan pengetahuan objektif sebagai ukuran keberhasilannya. Inilah yang menjadi sumber berbagai masalah dalam panggung sandiwara manusia. Masalah-masalah itu muncul lebih sering bukan karena dunia eksternal sebagai sumber masalahnya, tapi lebih banyak malah dari drama yang dibentuk oleh pikiran beserta atribut-atributnya. Ego manusia adalah sebuah program yang memang dirancang untuk sengaja menjauhkan kita dari Kesadaran. Ego selalu berkata, “Aku yang terbaik, aku yang tercantik, aku yang terkaya, aku yang paling berkuasa, yang lain selalu lebih rendah, selalu salah, aku yang didalam tubuh kecil ini selalu yang paling benar”. Program-program seperti ini hanya melempar pandangan kita jauh ke luar. Ego selalu berusaha agar pandangan tersebut tidak sampai berbalik arah ke arah “Instrospeksi”, ke arah dalam untuk menyadari apa kekurangan-kekurangan yang melekata di dalam. Dan dalam sifatnya yang paling mendasar, ego lah yang membuat kita merasa terpisah satu sama lain. Dan keterpisahan ini adalah sumber persaingan dan kemudian menjadi kebencian bahkan berujung pada konflik dan pertikaian.

Penerimaan. Upaya kita untuk mengakui berbagai kekuarangan dan kelemahan.

Langkah selanjutnya yang juga dibayangi intrik sang ego. Semua dari kita pernah merasa bahwa kita adalah yang terbaik dalam suatu hal. Seolah-olah kesempurnaan itu diraih hanya dengan meningkatkan nilai-nilai positif saja. Jika diibaratkan seperti sebuah pedang. Untuk menjadi lebih tajam, sepertinya kita hanya butuh mengasah bagian yang sudah tajam saja, dan melupakan bagian yang masih tumpul. Padahal jika sadar dan menerima bahwa pedang itu masih ada kekurangan, maka disana kita dengan penuh semangat akan mampu untuk mengambil tindakan berupa pengasahan untuk mempertajamnya. Dengan demikian pedang akan menjadi tajam secara merata. Bukankah ini yang disebut dengan kesempurnaan? Perasaan superior sering kali berusaha menutupi kelemahan-kelemahan kita. Penolakan akan selalu dihadirkan oleh sang ego terhadap kekurangan-kekurangan  dimiliki seorang manusia. Jika kekurangan ini tidak mampu kita terima, bagaimana kita akan mau memperbaikinya menjadi lebih sempurna?

Dan karena ego kita kembangkan bertahun-tahun, untuk memecahnya dan menerapkan kedua aspek diatas, butuh effort yang sangat luar biasa. Memutus kebiasaan yang kita tanam bertahun-tahun dalam alam bawah sadar kita. Di sinilah dibutuhkan sebuah tehnik untuk membalikan kebiasan, yang sudah hadir dan terwariskan dalam masyarakat kita selama ribuan tahun lamanya. Kutipan Vagyana Bairawa Tantra diatas dalah satu dari 112 tehnik yang bisa kita gunakan, dan telah menjadi bekal saya dalam upaya melatih kebiasaan baru dalam menghadapi berbagai fonomena kehidupan, walaupun baru saja saya mulai. Penerimaan bisa direalisasikan dengan  selalu menanamkan setiap saat pemahaman bahwa permasalahanpun akan berlalu seperti awan-awan di langit, kelemahan pun bisa ditransformasikan. Kita harus sadar bahwa segala macam masalah bukan lah apa-apa dibandingkan dengan kesejatian diri manusia, seperti langit yang biru dan penuh kedamaian. Dengan melihat dan mengingat akan kesejatian diri kita, yang selalu mempunyai kapasitas yang tanpa batas seperti langit untuk melakukan transformasi, kita lambat laun akan mampu melihat segala bentuk kekurangan dan masalah seperti awan-awan yang pada akahirnya akan berlalu jua. Tantra tidak menitikberatkan pada kepercayaan-kepercayaan, tapi lebih banyak menawarkan teknik untuk dilatih dan dibuktikan sendiri. Walaupun memang dalam perkembangannya, tradisi ini banyak menghasilkan cerita-cerita dan ritual-ritual, yang sejatinya bukan untuk dipercaya sebagai sesuatu yang nyata, yang lebih banyak pada akhirnya berujung pada perdebatan. Tapi seharusnya lebih dilihat sebagai sebuah narasi dari ekspresi hasil penerapan teknik-teknik yang ditawarkan.

Transofrmasi. Tantra(secara arti kata berarti menarik, meregangkan/expansion, pengembangan) memang telah menjadi landasan pacu aspek social dan spiritualitas tanah Bali. Dengannya telah mampu terbangkan nama harum Bali ke setiap telinga para pencari Pharama(Ultimate) Shanti. Seperti halnya sebagai pondasi dalam tradisi tantra, transformasi juga adalah kunci dari kehidupan sosial dan spiritualitas pulau Bali. Baginya dualisme bukanlah hal yg harus dipertentangkan, tapi dua hal yang bisa ditransformasikan. Keburukan bisa dirubah menjadi kebaikan. Kebencian menjadi cinta kasih, kelemahan dan masalah menjadi sumber motivasi kita untuk bertumbuh lebih kuat lagi. Ibarat bunga teratai yang tak mampu tumbuh tanpa peran lumpur dibawahnya. Itulah kenapa, berbagai simbol-simbol negatif dan menyeramkan sering kali malah diangkat dan diagungkan di banyak tradisi di pulau ini. Kadang terkesan seperti pemujaan hal-hal yang negatif. Namun sesungguhnya icon-icon itu adalah sebuah proyeksi berbagai energi prikologis manusia, untuk kemudian dikenali, tidak lari atau bahkan takut dan berusaha menyembunyikannya. Namun harus kita presiasi keberadaannya sebagai hal yang alami dan manusiawi, untuk kemudian ditransformasi. Inilah yang kemudian membuat Bali mampu membangun pondasi kuat sebuah peradaban tanpa landasan penghakiman diri, tapi optimise bahwa segala bibit pesimisme siap untuk disiram dan ditransformasikan menjadi karya yang mengagumkan. Dan pada akhirnya mampu mentransformasikan akar menjadi ukiran, yang menyajikan keindahan yang tinggi, maha karya para maestro-maestro local pulau dewata, Bali.

Kemenangan. Kemampuan manusia melihat, menerima dan mentransformasikan kelemahan-kelemahan yang  ada.

Apa lagi yang terasa lebih menang dari ini? Dari kemampuan kita menaklukan diri sendiri(ego) ? Bukan hanya dalam relasi dan interaksinya dengan dunia eksternal, tapi lebih pada relasinya pada “musuh-musuh” yang ada di aspek psikologis manusia. Apa lagi yang terasa lebih menang dibandingkan bisa melihat semua masalah hanya gumpalan awan yang pada akhirnya akan berlalu juga. Sebuah kwalitas pikiran yang tak tersentuh oleh samsara. Sebagi saksi dan mengalir dengan arus yang membawanya. Tak perlu tumpukan tulisan dan ayat-ayat suci untuk menuliskan apa yang baik dan apa yang buruk untuk semua aspek kehidupan, seolah-olah Sang Keberadaan demikian kakunya, tidak ada dimanika sedikitpun dalam semesta ciptaannya. Dengan pemahaman mendasar dan kesadaran tentang sang Diri, segala bentuk kebijaksanaan datang pada tempat dan waktunya. Tidak selamanya hal baik akan bermanfaat, dan tidak selamanya hal buruk tidak bermanfaat. Lebih sering hal buruk adalah “pecut” untuk kita berlari lebih kencang, adalah “lumpur” untuk teratai-teratai kebijaksanaan bertumbuh dengan indahnya.
Karena itulah, para tetua kita mengasah kecerdasan kita dengan warisan, bukan sebuah dikte tentang apa yang benar dan apa yang salah, tapi pericikan kecil api kebijaksanaan dalam bentuk puisi sederhana atau sebuah perayaan, untuk kita tiup menjadi bara api kebijaksanaan yang kita temukan sendiri, guna membuatnya labih melekat dalam kesadaran kita.

Rahajeng Rahina Galungan Dan Kuningan Semeton Tityang Sareng Sami.
Dumogi State Karahajengan, Kasuryaning Hening ring Manah, Kukuh ring Hati, lan Urip Sane Majalarang Antuk Dharma, Kaange Ngastawa Ida Hyang Pharama Kawi.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

Siwaratri, Pratyahara and Beyond


Siwaratri…..

Everytime I arrive at this day, the questions  which always hit my face are, “Are you fasting?”  “What type of fasting are you conducting?”  “Still you drink water?”  “When should we start fasting?” “Up until what time?”

It’s so funny, in Indonesia, every holiday people end up with arguing and debating rather than understanding and having research or  contemplative observations about the deeper meaning and the message which’re hidden underneath the ritual. Forget about majority tradition in this country, even Hindus do the same. During Siwaratri, above questions commonly asked in many community discussion, which, in my opinion, should not be the main concern addressed by the elders. Siwaratri should be a reminder for us that contemplative practice hold an important role in our life. That is why, the elders also attached a narrative story along with this reminder. Our ancestors were  kind of genius story tellers. They always transmit their knowledge through narrative stories,  in order to stimulate our intelligence by triggering our curiosity. And below is the story which ware handed down, regarding this Holly day:

In Siwaratri, there is a story about a hunter LubdakaHis everyday life was spent in the forest by hunting and killing so many animals which would be eaten and sold for tue rest. One day, he could not find any animal in the forest,  up until late of the evening, and also without food, not even a bit. He couldn’t be back home with an empty handed. Therefore he decided to stay in the forest, up until sun rose up to the sky. To prevent the animal attack, Lubdaka climbed a tree and tried to stay awake, so he would not fall down from the tree and wouldn’t be eaten by the wild animals. In order to keep his eyes open, he picked the leaves of the tree up all night long. Unconsciously Lubdaka threw the leaf on top of a Shiva Linggam,  located beneath that tree.

The story also said that at the night Lubdaka experienced that situation, was the night where Lord Shiva was also doing His meditation, the seventh dead moon night, and also known as the darkest night, in the year,  according to Balinese calendar. By throwing the leaves to the linggam, he unconsciously was doing japa to Lord Shiva. And the leaves fall down,  beautifully decorated the Linggam. This has made Lord Shiva pleased to Lubdaka. The next morning, Lubdaka finally went back home empty handed and extremely exhausted and then fell sick and died in the next few days because of it.

The story said that Lubdakas soul was captured by the Lord of the death Yama and ready to be punished in hell because of his deeds, spending his life in killing animals every day. Lord Shiva heard this and asked Indra to take Lubdaka and brought him to heaven because he had spent his Sivaratri Night by unconsciously doing Shiva Japa by overing the leaves to the Linggam. Therefore he deserved to be in Heaven.

This makes Balinese people believe that during this Siwaratri night we have to stay awake along the night to purify our sin. But is this enough?? As a Balinese which always be inherited with a lot of narrative stories by our genius elders, we have to keep our curiosity on to every belief and story, in order to sharpen our intelligence and find peace. For those who put contemplative practice as an important aspect of their life, will immediately understand what message lies beneath this story obviously. Believe or not every single details in this story has a very deep contemplative meaning.

Let start with the words:
Siwaratri which means The Great Night of Lord Shiva and
Lubdhaka which

In Sanskrit name Lubdhaka means hunter/seeker or the star of Sirius.

In Balinese tradition it’s sometimes translated as those who has got rid of the residues of their actions, Lub (get rid of) from the root Celub(put into the water/cleaning up) and Daka from the root Daki(dirt/residues of our action which become the obstruction in the mind)

Both has a similar essence in meaning as a hunter or a cleaner of the obstacles in the mind, spiritually of course.

 

He spent his life in the forest hunting animals.

The forest is always become a symbol of our mind. It’s dark (to enter the mind realm, just close your eyes, it’s dark right?) and full of any kind of animals which’s representing the contents of our mind like thoughts, memories, desires, anxiety, fear etc. This is what we do every day right? This is the condition of every human being, in their day to day life, being lost in the dark forest of the mind, even in the dream world during sleeping. Entering the forest consciously, in Patanjali Yoga School of philosophy, is always representing the Prathyahara practice (closing the senses perception,  in order to face to face with the mind), like in Ramayana and Mahabarata story,  where both Rama and Arjuna,  as a great archer,  had to go to the forest, face the test of life,   in order to grow and became a great warrior.  And a hunter especially a great archer, like Rama and Arjuna, is a symbol of  those who are successfully practice Dharana (perfect focus), which’s required for every archer to be able to hit their target perfectly. Hunting or arching the animals is a symbol of our ability to get rid all residues of actions in the mind, like thoughts, memories, desires, anxiety, emotion,sadness, fear etc. And to do this, focus and control are strongly required, because the nature of our mind is very wild, running, flying and crawling, many time unconsciously.

One day, he could not find any animal and end up in the tree, tried to keep awake by trowing the leaf.
This is obviously a symbol of Dhiana sate of the Mind, where it’s directed to one pointed focus (the mind is empty from its contents) and fall into a complete stillness (climbing the tree, the tree is the symbol of a deep stillness) and leaf, the object of Japa,  which is used to direct the mind to this one pointed state, is the symbol of our breath. And when you are on the Tree (deepest stillness),  keep awake all night long (mindfull/aware/Nirodha),  of the wild animal which probably come (The seed of the mind content/Citta Vrtty),   and at last  your Leaf (breath) finally fall into the Linggam(Consciousness),  you’ll find Heaven,  because we’ve  realized our true nature as Shiva. This is what Patanjali called Samadhi.

Now you understand, when you fall into this stillness, how could you do any other activity like eating or traveling ? Obviously you will do fasting automatically. You don’t have to debate what you may or may not eat, how long should  you do the fasting. Just start the practice and you will fast by your self automatically, could be in a hour, a day, even years like the great yogis in Himalaya. No big deal!!!!

And also remember, in Balinese tradition, there is no concept of  sin and punishment of the sin.  There is only concept of Action, both positive and negative (Karma) and all of it has its own Responsibility(Pala). Therefore, there is no purification of the sin, there is only purification of our action, not in the sense that all residues of the actions (positive and negative) will dismiss just by awaking in one night. The purification will always come from its responsibility(pala). We can not escape from this responsibility whatsoever. The question then, what is the purpose of this Contemplative practice then? As I explained above, everything which has been done in life, soon or later, must be paid whatsoever.  However,  by training our mind to focus, our capacity in facing and accepting the result of our action in the past, as the obstacles in life,  will be upgraded. As my teacher said. Karma-Pala is like trowing a spoon of salt in to the water, we can chose to be a glass of water, or a lake. Contemplative practice is our opportunity to upgrade our self from a glass of water into a lake or even an ocean as we are reaching Shamadi, so that the taste of a spoon of salt, which we must receive as the Pala, have no impact anymore as we grow. That’s how we purify our self.

 

Anyway this is just a commentary from someone who grew up in tantric tradition and interest in Yoga and Vedanta philosophy. Someone who is trying to make his tradition make sense. Someone who has also fall and fought the darkest forest of the life,  as the responsibility which has to be paid for so many bad things,  which have also been done. You may not accept this understanding, however this understanding brings  peace to my self and becomes the path which I use as the map of my practice.  I hope this also brings peace to everyone who read and the most important,  who practice it.  Thank you

Sarasvati, the Dance of Cognitive Experience (The Mothers Dance Part III)

From the image above, we can see the complete description about the most important syllable in Indian tradition, not only Hinduism, but also for Buddhism and Jainism, AUM (OM). This description can be found in Upanishads, the most important part of the Veda, which is called Jnana Kanda, contains the most central philosophical part of the Veda (śruti), concerning the nature of Ultimate Reality (Brahman) and describing the character of and path to human salvation. The Upanishads are commonly referred as Vedānta, variously interpreted to mean either the “last chapters, parts of the Veda” or “the object, the highest purpose of the Veda”. The concepts of Brahman (Ultimate Reality) and Ātman (Spirit, Self) are central ideas in all Upanishads.

There are more than 200 Upanishads are known, one of which, Muktikā Upanishad, [predates 1656 CE] contains a list of 108 canonical Upanishads. From 108 Upanishads, there are about 11 Upanishads which are most popular and important because these Upanishads, along with Brahma Sutra and Bhagavad Gita, became the subject for Shankara commentary, as one of the most influencing Hindu Philosopher specially from Advaita Vedanta school. And among this 11 Upanishads there is Mandukya Upanishad, which containts complete description about AUM(OM) as describe in the image. Mandukya Upanishad  is the shortest of all the Upanishads, and is assigned to Atharvaveda.

From above description we can see the latter A as the representation of the awaking state of consciousness, where cognition of this material world takes place. That is why Brahma( distinguish with Brahman/Ultimate Reality) is known as the Creator of this Universe. From here we can take a conclusion that the creation of this universe is strongly related with our cognitive capacity in the awaking state. All form of this creation, colours, shapes, sound, taste, even space and time, would be meaningless without our capacity in perceiving it, and this physical perception available in the awaking state of consciousness. Without our skin and our eyes, there would be no shape and colours as we perceive, without our ears there would be no sound as we perceive. This cognitive experience about shape, colours, sound, smell, taste and touch, is the source of our Knowledge, therefore this creation can not be separated from our capacity in experiencing things (Knowledge).

In Hindu Tradition story telling is one of the key feature in delivering the core philosophical thinking. For those who are ready and has prepared their soul to receive the main knowledge for many lifes, will easily translate the deepest meaning buried beneath the stories, however for those who hasn’t yet ready, this story will subconsciously program and prepare till the time comes, when it appears to their conscious mind.

One of the story is about the wife of the lord of creation (Brahma), Sarasvati. She is known as the Goddess of Knowledge and Wisdom. Most Hindus think the Knowledge She representing is only the formal knowledge which we get from school. Sarasvati actually as a deeper meaning, Sarasvati is representing all experience which we perceive from the five senses, which make us possible in recognizing the reality as what it is, and called it Universe. Sarasvati is the energy of Maya that makes “the creation” possible. All creation is beauty, order, and a work of art of the endless Knowledge and Experience(Sarasvati). From Her dance this reality appears in the the from of our eyes as a physical world. Imagine the universe without us with our cognitive capacity, how would the universe be? As what Quantum Physic says, without the observer the matter/universe is just un-manifested dynamic potential, or in Hindu Philosophy is called Nirguna Brahman or Unmanifested Reality/Pure Consciousness.

Anyway this is just my commentary, right or wrong, think by your self.

Kali, Judgement vs Knowledge (The Mothers Dance Part II)

Kali…

Have you ever heard this word?  if not, maybe immediately  you will open your browser and start typing this word in Google search engine and stroked by its result. You will find a list of terrifying images, a woman with four arms complete with her sharply drawn sword in her back right hand, a trisula held in her front right hand, a severed human head in her back left hand and the blood is collected in a bowl held in her front left hand. Her terrifying appearance not stop there, a chain of severed heads decorates her neck and  a chain of severed hands is also covers her naked body. She’s also conceptualized standing in a chess of a man, which is non other than her husband, Lord Shiva itself.

Mother Kali standing on top of her husband Shiva

And then, what if I say that I’m one of Her devotee ? maybe some of you might think that I am the son of saitan, or should I say in Balinese I am the son of Leak? or, evil worshiper? Yup it means you are normal according to society. Fair enough, I’m not gonna put any comment on what you are thinking about it. But for a curious mind would keep asking, why this kind of madness has became an icon in religious tradition, like  Hinduism especially Tantric tradition. Maybe this little explanation will full fill part of you curiosity. Just put your curiosity first and leave aside your judgement for a while and enjoy this writing.

I wrote an article also in here about similar topic from a different perspective, more about the relationship between Kali images with the knowledge about how this existence came into being. The relationship among consciousness, maya/perception, ahamkara/ego and existence itself. In this article I’m trying to explore the psychological aspect of the figure. What the seers  ware trying to teach us through these symbols.

The word ‘Kali’ means time or darkness and she is also worshiped as the Mother of Death. From macrocosmic perspective Kali is the symbol of darkness or more precisely the emptiness which was there before creation, before time itself, not only the emptiness of things or matter, but also  the emptiness of the time and space and concept. In this case we might say that this darkness/emptiness is the ‘Mother’ of whole creation, including time, space and matter. To put our self in this perspective we have to cut “the head” of the ego, which has covered us from the Truth, which is laying there, right beneath Her feet (Shiva/Pure Consciousness).

“Time is the only true unit of measure. It gives proof to the existence of matter. Without time, we don’t exist.” -Lucy Movie

And then as The Time. Time  is the mother of all existence including life, and for sure time  is also the destroyer of all things regardless it’s a good or bad, including us which are walking to the same destination, to Death. Seems like this is a very horrible thing which we may think of, yet this is the most “naked” fact/ truth which we’ve been trying to escape from (that is why Her appearance is naked) regardless what is your belief, eternal heaven or reincarnation.  Nothing will be able to run from Her(time). The image also teach us after all of the dramas which we’ve played in movie of life,  after all of the money which we’ve collected along the way, after all the beauty we’ve maintained so far,  we all gonna be end up with the same form, which will be as Her chain of  skull hanging  beautifully on Her neck over and over again. It might be terrifying, but that is the most naked truth which we need to face of. No body can escape from it, yet everybody  pretending that Death might not pick us up immediately. Then when the “Time”  comes we are not ready cuz we’ve never prepared for it. That is why the seers were trying to “alarm” us, with such an annoying (terrifying) image like this, in order to transcend  our fear  into readiness, make us get in touch with the most terrifying fact in our life. Through this image the seers is suggesting us  face to face with Death, bring death in the front of our face every day, raise our most basic energy of life, fear and our capability of survival, in order to develop our self into a ready state of mind,  when Mother (time) come.  How do we do this? The seers  also provided the story behind this image. Kali previously was in rage killing many living things she faced along the way, up until she realized that she stepped on a man chest, which was Lord Shiva itself. Then she was calmed down and returned to Her nature as The Beautiful Goddess. It means that, she as the time (one of Maya manifestation) which is also constructed from our mind, moving very fast in life, taking everything at its end, including our own life. Until we be able to slow it down and at the very subtle state, step it(our mind) on top of our Consciousness. Realize that the true nature of our self is pure Consciousness (Lord Shiva). There we would become a very beautiful being living in this cruel world.

All of our mind quality, creativity, compassion, our effort in bringing the mind into a peaceful state, is base on the energy to survive from death, at least for sometime, so we could have a better life before it.  That is why such “alarm” was made in horrible form. Fear, along with  survival capability as reaction in escaping from it, is the basic human energy which is used for developing the next level state of mind such as creativity, compassion,sincerity, clarity and the ability in bringing the mind into the most peaceful sate, in order to face our life and then death.

Kali Yatra from wikipedia.org

Now you see, the power of this image, it’s not a magical stuff as most people might think so far. Tantric teaching and its methods is always about knowledge of psychology, knowledge of our mind, its behaviors  and beyond. And this method has also been practiced for centuries by many traditions across the globe, such as Sufism with “remembrance of death” (dhikr al-mawt) , Tibetan Buddhism(cemetery meditation), Memento Mori Theory(“The Art of Dying”) a practice from Latin tradition and many more.

“The Way of the Samurai is, morning after morning, the practice of death, considering whether it will be here or be there, imagining the most sightly way of dying, and putting one’s mind firmly in death. Although this may be a most difficult thing, if one will do it, it can be done. There is nothing that one should suppose cannot be done.”

-Samurai

 

“Death is the mother of beauty; hence from Her, alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams and our desires”

– Wallace Stevens in “Sunday Morning”

 

So……

When I say I’m the devotee of Kali, it does not mean that I’m worshiping a horrible creature exist out there, dancing and holding a human head, sucking the blood dripping into the bowl. It means, that I am in a deep practice inwardly, to go along with Time, see it as the most naked fact in the front of us, hardly practice to bring Death as a normal part of life,  transcend the fear of it, into energy of survival, creativity, compassion, clarity, intuitive way of thinking and at last a peaceful mind in welcoming the Death. Thank You.